Sunday 31 May 2015

“As within, so without”

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Goethe was a very wise man. A piece of his wisdom that I hold dear is that what we see in the world is what we hold in our heart. Another way of saying this is the universal law of “As within, so without.”

If you want to change your world, change yourself. 

A key way to do this is through the practice of mindfulness.

For most people emotions are things that happen to us.

Mindfulness is the practice where we train ourselves to see our emotions differently. Meditation is a key.

This Strategy+Business book review suggests (and I agree) that meditation is not yet mainstream yet it is no longer on the fringe.

It’s been said that prayer is about asking, meditation is about listening!

I practice breath meditation which is one of the styles referred to by experts as focused-attention. I also practice meditation while walking.

Sleep is also a form of meditation as I was reminded in an email recently from Evan Carmichael.

I'd highly recommend you research meditation and adopt a practice that suits you. Doing so will help to see and experience your emotions differently and to detach from outcomes and what other people do or don't do.

If you practice meditation already I'd love to know your experience. Please email me

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 29 May 2015

Rehumanising leadership and management

I reflected for hours the first time I read corporate anthropologist Michael Henderson's definition of culture.
He says Culture is;

“What it means to be human here.”  (‘Here’ being wherever you are referring to when talking about a culture.) 

Michael's definition for me is far more insightful than the typical definition "the way we do things around here." Being precedes doing.

You can read more from Michael here.

I realised that the key purpose of all my work with clients, online and in person, was all about rehumanising leadership and management.

I realised too the key difference between my work and the work of most leadership mentors. My work is about being, most others are focused on doing. Not a right or wrong situation, just how it is.

I've met a lot of business school graduate leaders. Most learned what to do, not how to be and so I was fascinated recently when I read 'Can Business Schools Humanize Leadership' by Gianpiero Petriglieri and Jennifer Petriglieri of INSEAD.

You can download their paper here.

The following paragraph in their paper inspired me to write a series of seven articles.

A World Economic Forum (2014) survey of nearly 2,000 experts from different fields and countries found 86% agreeing that one of the world’s most pressing issues is a crisis of leadership. Moreover, Edelman’s (2014) annual survey of public attitudes found that “CEOs and government leaders remain at the bottom of the list” of trusted figures (p. 6). The disconnect between leaders and others in organizations and the erosion of trust in leaders make leading and following harder in practice, a predicament that concerns anyone who claims to lead as much as those who profess to help develop leaders.

Rehumanising leadership and management part one addresses a very large problem in the world today that of fundamentalism, which I define as believing your way is the only way. It's not just political and religious leaders at fault here, it's business leaders too. You can read If you think you're always right, you're wrong here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part two addresses a second problem I encounter over and over in organisations, the poor communication skills of leaders and their unwillingness and/or inability to be candid. You can read 13 ways to be a remarkable communicator and connoisseur of candour here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part three gets to the heart of the matter about "What it means to be human here." It's all about character. You can read Where have all the characters gone? here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part four is all about decision making. At least half of the decisions made by business people are not the best decisions that could be made. You can read The right decisions by the right people at the right time for all the right reasons here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part five is all about ending the great dehumaniser - performance management systems. You can read Shifting from performance management to performance leadership here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part six is about 3 behaviours that will determine your being as a leader. You can read These three behaviours/attitudes show you're being a leader here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part seven is about the hallmark of remarkable workplaces - the majority of people feel valued, fulfilled, and loved. You can read Co-creating cultures where people feel valued, fulfilled and loved here. 

This final article in this series is also Module eleven in my Leadership Momentum Online Learning Program.

Until midnight AEST 31st May 2015 you can get full program, have 24/7 access for one year, plus participate in the group master-mind, Q & A and mentoring sessions that I conduct in camera online every first and third Monday's except January, all for just $27. Take up this offer here. Unlikely I will ever make such an offering ever again.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Co-creating cultures where people feel valued, fulfilled and loved

This is the seventh and final piece in a series about rehumanising leadership and management. Part one is here. Part two here. Part three here. Part four here. Part five here. And part six here.

The following is module eleven in my Leadership Momentum online learning program. Find out about this program here.

I get up each morning passionate to inspire at least one person in some significant way to feel more valued, fulfilled and loved.

Why these three you might reasonably ask?

In my work with leaders in over 40 countries since 1991 I have learned that the more people feel valued, fulfilled and loved, the simpler the path to higher employee driven engagement and lower employee turnover, both crucial to high performance cultures.

Key consequences are remarkable top and bottom lines, brands that are loved, and organisations making the positive societal and environmental impact that they must.

When people feel valued, fulfilled and loved they are energised, passionate, compassionate, creative, innovative, decisive, enthusiastic, fun to be with, candid, authentic, committed, and accountable. All these are paramount to being highly productive.


In every organisation there ought to be a strong, unbreakable bond between values, value and valued. Unfortunately their rarely is.

Most organisations have stated values. Very few are lived. Rarely is there a shared- view around the behaviours that demonstrate your values. Of course if you are the exception rather than the rule you have competitive advantage.

To help your people feel more valued, your first step is to agree with them about what your values are. There must be alignment between personal and organisational values. Any disconnect means trouble. The good news is that there are many universal values.

The second step is crucial, it’s about reaching a shared view with your people about what behaviours mean you live your values. I hope you have been inspired by the previous module and are working on this.

With the above as a foundation you can accurately determine and agree on what value must be delivered to all the stakeholders of your organisation. Delivering value to others that they demand, desire and feel that they deserve is fundamental to helping people to feel valued.

Living values and delivering value pave the way for appreciating people which is also fundamental in helping them to feel valued.

The eminent psychologist and philosopher William James famously observed:
"The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated."

There are many simple and common sense actions for expressing your appreciation to your employees. All of them contribute to them feeling more valued.

Here are just a few
Catch people doing things right and doing the right thing.
Give people genuine compliments.
Informally and formally celebrate with people what is going well for them.
Always say please and thank you and mean it.
Be courteous and kind.
Share stories about the successes of your people.
Be compassionate.
Using the appreciation and accountability technique you learned in Module Four in the Overcoming Resistance section of this program.

A further simple yet profound way to help people feel valued is to find out what is really important to them and then help them to achieve whatever it is.

The more people feel valued, the more they will deliver value to others, and the more they will live the behaviours of your values. You can see why I say that there ought to be a strong, unbreakable bond between values, value and valued.

Some time ago I wrote Values and value based businesses are on the rise.

Is your business on the rise?

Helping your people to feel valued is a key component of the journey. When your people feel fulfilled and loved as well as valued, consistent high performance is a consequence.


I love the word fulfilled because of what it means “satisfied or happy because of fully developing one's abilities or character.”

There are some great synonyms for fulfilled as well like “realised, carry through, accomplish, execute, carry out.”

The number of employees you have who you could say the above about I guarantee that your business results are a direct reflection.

Often when I begin change initiatives with organisations I interview the leadership team and the people that report to them to get a sense of who is willing and able to change. I end up with a rule of thumb assessment of where people are at in the following four categories:

I then dig deeper checking the vital signs of employees feeling fulfilled or not.

I am particularly interested in employee turnover and why people are leaving and staying. I also want to know the amount of time leaders are spending trying to sought out so-called people problems.

Low employee turnover is a sign employees feel fulfilled. The less time leaders are spending trying to solve people issues is also a sign.

I then dig deeper still. I want to know what the majority of people feel and think about statements 2, 3, and 4 of the 16 statements in the pulse check at the end of this page. For now they are:

We understand the defining moments in people’s lives and help them to bring the lessons learned in these moments to their work.

We are aware of and have continual conversations with people about what really matters to them.

We help people identify what is special about them, their unique gifts/talents, and then make it simple for these gifts/talents to be enhanced.

If I find that less than 90% of the time people feel these statements are true, then I know that the organisation has got work to do.

Once I have done my investigative work as described above I design a program with my client to close performance gaps.

The outcomes of such programs are directly and indirectly connected to increasing the number of employees who are fully alive which I detailed in sparkenation 21 in my Changing What’s Normal book.

Fulfilled human beings are spiritually alive, emotionally healthy, mentally alert, physically active, and universally aware. You might like to revisit pages 63 - 66 and 76 and 77 of the book. Imagine even just a small increase in the number of your employees feeling more alive!


Most people live in fear.
Most people are frightened of being hurt.
Most people fear they won’t be liked if they take a certain action.
Most people fear losing.
Most people fear the possible consequences of naming the elephant in the room - the obvious truth that is being ignored or going unaddressed.

I drew a laugh recently when someone in a meeting asked me for my thoughts. Without referring to anyone in particular I said “I can’t speak at the moment because the elephant in the room has got her foot on my throat.”

After the laughter died down and a long silence, the person we probably all least expected had the courage to finally name the elephant. Everyone felt better straight away.

I notice over and over that when fear is named it vanishes or at very least we feel able to confront it.

If you want to help people enhance their gifts (talents) and to perform more consistently at higher levels then help them, support them, encourage them to face their fears.

The opposite of fear is love.

The Ancient Greeks had four words for love. You no doubt know two - eros (romantic love) and agape (love in a spiritual sense). The third is storge, meaning natural affection like parents feel for their children.

The fourth, philia, is the one I find the most insightful. Philia is often translated as affectionate regard or friendship. We need more philia in our organisations.

I find it simple (not always easy) to have affectionate regard for people because I know everyone of us is a one-of-a-kind human being. Only the hardest of heart can’t not love a one-off.

When there is affectionate regard or friendship in our workplaces better performance follows. Usually in my experience very, very quickly.

In Q & A sessions that follow a lot of my presentations I often break the ice by asking people what they are passionate about. The most common answer is family. I then go on and ask the following four questions:
1. What makes great families great?
2. What do great parents do?
3. What do great life-partners do?
4. What do you notice about siblings who really get along?

Whatever the answers I then ask: What would happen in your organisation tomorrow if you began to apply the principles behind your answers?

I leave you to answer these questions and then apply the principles behind your answers in your workplace.

Improved performance will follow your actions I promise.

“Love drives out fear” say many of the ancient texts in all sorts of ways.
“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”
From the film ‘Strictly Ballroom’.

Maybe Modern Greece needs a lot more eros, agape, storge and philia. And a lot less financial advice!

Further Action
Download the diagnostic below here. Complete it and take appropriate action.

Be remarkable

View the other 21 modules in my Leadership Momentum online learning program here. Get 24/7 access to the program for 1 year and more for just $27 here. You must sign-up before midnight AEST on May 31st 2015.

Monday 25 May 2015

These three behaviours/attitudes show you're being a leader

This is part six in a series of seven about rehumanising leadership and management. Part one is here. Part two here. Part three here. Part four here. Part five here.

I meet a lot of people when walking with our dog Molly who don't understand dogs. These people want their dogs to be like them e.g. if they're frightened of large dogs they think their dog is too.

I meet many parents who don't understand children. They have an expectation for their kids to be like them, rather than the one-of-a-kind human being that each of us is.

I meet leaders everywhere who have an expectation that other people should be, feel, and think and act, just like them.

A key difference between my work and the work of most leadership mentors is that I'm about being a leader, most others are focused on doing. Not a right or wrong situation, just how it is.

I've met a lot of business school graduate leaders. Most learned what to do, not how to be. Be Feel Think Do = what is.

Leadership's great challenge
One consequence of being a leader, and a great paradox, is that you'll be able to close the gap between what your people do and what they're capable of doing. The narrower this gap of course, the greater your business results, your life/work harmony, and your peace of mind.

What’s the biggest reason there’s a gap between what people do and what they're capable of doing? Well, it's a being gap!

In the 5 minutes 50 seconds video below I explore this.

My message is this:

You have a small percentage of people bringing their best to their work every day. I refer to these people as the Happy Being Magnificent.

You have a similar small percentage of people who drive you crazy. They're not bringing their best to their work. These people take up a lot of your time and energy. They're disengaged, disruptive and discouraging. I refer to these people as the Happy Being Miserable.

And then you have the majority of your people who are doing their jobs, yet not consistently bringing their best to their work every day. I refer to these people as the Happy Being Mediocre.

You don’t have to be bad at leadership to get better.
Stephen C. Lundin Ph.D. Author of the five million copy best selling FISH!

While I agree with Stephen, in today's technology driven, mobile centric, and self-focused world you have to be a remarkable leader to move up the Mediocre to Magnificent and move up or move on the Miserable. In short you have to be a leader.

These three behaviours/attitudes show you're being a leader

Most people either don't know or have forgotten they're remarkable. Real leaders inspire, remind, and persuade people to be remarkable (Happy Being Magnificent).

Behaviour/attitude one: See yourself as remarkable and become who you see.

We are all unique. Not a single duplicate in the 100 billion lives that have walked planet earth. When we bring our best, free of BS, we are all remarkable.

Everyone's birth is remarkable. Being born at all is even more remarkable. For most men only one or two of the 500 billion sperm cells produced in a lifetime reach the female egg, one of less than 500 that each woman produces in her life.

The fact that any of us is alive at all says to me that every life has a profound purpose.

Robert Louis Stevenson put it this way: To be who we are, and to become all that we are capable of becoming, is the only purpose in life.

Real leadership is living this purpose and inspiring others to do the same.

Behaviour/attitude two: See other people as remarkable.

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind that each of us is) to everything they do.

Leadership falters and usually very badly without management.

I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Leadership is about people. Management is about processes, policies, procedures, practices, and systems.

How remarkable are you?

Behaviour/attitude three: Be accountable for your intentions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours and let other people be accountable for theirs.

Be remarkable.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Ian MacLaren/John Watson.

PS Until midnight on the 31st May 2015 you can get a years access and more to my Leadership Momentum online learning program for just $27. It's all about being a leader. Get access here.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Shifting from performance management to performance leadership

This Sunday's sparkenation is article five in a series of seven about rehumanising leadership and management. Part one is here. Part two here. Part three here. Part four here.

The great dehumaniser in business is performance management systems i.e. in summary - the recruitment, induction (onboarding), engagement and retention of people and how we help people to learn and grow. 

The diagram below illustrates the key differences between the old world of work - performance management, and the new world of work - performance leadership.

Have you made the shift from performance management to performance leadership?

If you see people as cogs in a machine, as means to an end, you're stuck in the old world of work. 

You won't get away with it for much longer. Generation Xers (born 1960 - 1980) and more so Generation Y (also known as The Millennials, born 1980 - 2000) are leaving your businesses because they refuse to be treated as numbers, assets, resources, and that terrible descriptor, human capital.

The great news is "Do unto others as they want done unto them," what Dr. Tony Alessandra calls The Platinum Rule,  and everything will change in your business for the better.

The great movement in business is the shift from performance management to performance leadership. Are you onboard?

To get started remove the BS about people in your workplace. Join me here if you'd like help and support.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 22 May 2015

The right decisions by the right people at the right time for all the right reasons

The rehumanisation of leadership and management part four. Part one is here. Part two here. Part three is here.

As referenced in my slideshare above at least half of the decisions made by business people are not the best decisions that could be made.

You can ensure better decisions in your business in two keys ways:
1) adopt a processes for big decisions like the one in slide 10 above.
2) for every day decisions genuinely empower people to make them.

I love Nordstrom, the US department store. Their employee manual says:

We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Rule #1: Use best judgement in all situations. There are no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

What does your employee manual say?

Taking the above actions will help you greatly to rehumanise your leadership and management, and paradoxically reduce human error in the big and every day decisions made.

Decision-making structures and systems like those referred to above are a key part of ensuring that your management (processes, policies, procedures, practices, and systems) mean it is simple for your people to bring their very best to their work every day.

Be remarkable.

PS Harnessing doubt to improve your decision-making will help you too.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Where have all the people of character gone?

The rehumanisation of leadership and management part three. Part one is here. Part two here.

This is the book I'm studying at the moment.

It's a book I will soon be placing on my recommended reading list because it's not just a good read, it's evidenced based and one of the few books about who leaders are and can be rather than the normal focus on doing.

I particularly liked chapter 7 which the author calls a workshop. This chapter is very practical and has some great flow charts to facilitate step by step action.

You can get this book here.

Take the character test here.

As the Insead paper which inspired this series of posts, and referred to in part two says, one of the world’s most pressing issues is a crisis of leadership.

Character is at the heart of overcoming this crisis. I offer the following from Sparkenation 10 in my Changing What's Normal book Where have all the people of character gone?

Heavy storm clouds stay hanging over business, religion, politics, sport, and the media. Almost daily many so-called ‘icons’ are continuing to have their character questioned. These clouds always produce rain and wash away the ‘stars’ like twigs in a river.

Changing What’s Normal

Like never before the world needs ordinary people of character to stand up and be counted because many of the people leading us don’t understand leadership, have sacrificed their character in their quest for power, and in some cases, their behaviour threatens our very lives.

Recently the father of a good friend passed on. He was a man of character and an inspiration to my friend. His passing caused me to reflect on my own father who passed more than a decade ago.

Like my friend’s father, my dad never had his name up in lights too often but left a legacy to be proud of in his world nonetheless. I miss him. Dad was a man of character. We never always saw eye to eye. It was the words of the Mike and the Mechanics song In the Living Years that urged me to settle my differences with Dad not long before he died.
“It’s too late when you die”, the song says, “to admit you don’t see eye to eye.”

Towards the end, Dad came to hear me speak. Before I began he announced publicly: “I probably won’t agree with everything the speaker says this morning, but I am proud that he is my son.”

People of character lay it on the line like that.
People of character are unafraid to speak their minds.
People of character always tell the truth as they see it.
People of character are trustworthy.
People of character have integrity.
People of character enjoy being popular but don’t seek popularity.
People of character seek win/win but do not compromise their principles.
People of character do what they believe is best for the common good regardless of the resistance they encounter.
People of character praise in public and offer critique in private.
People of character are givers not takers.
People of character focus on building people’s self esteem and never engage in ‘put downs’ or the blame and shame game.
People of character are those we really look up to and admire.
People of character are those we follow when it matters most.

Be a person of character. You are needed like never before.

PS My Leadership Momentum Online Learning program is all about being a leader, not just doing leadership. Until 31st May 2015 you can get the program, have 24/7 access for one year, plus participate in the group Q & A and mentoring sessions that I conduct every first and third Monday's except January, all for just $27. Take up this offer here.

Monday 18 May 2015

13 ways to be a remarkable communicator and connoisseur of candour

The rehumanisation of leadership and management part 2. Part 1. is here.

The remarkable leaders I know are all remarkable communicators and connoisseurs of candour. They're up front, authentic, and share what's on their heart and mind. And all the while being convivial.

Here's 13 of their understandings and actions:

1) Remarkable leaders get that communication has occurred when two or more people have reached a shared view regarding the way to move forward together, or not. Remarkable leaders equally get that communication is never one way. They fully understand that communication is not information sharing, sound bites, tweets, LinkedIn or Facebook updates, or any social media posts, advertising or press releases.

2) When communicating and conversing remarkable leaders get the why factor, i.e. they fully understand why their message will really matter to the receiver/s. For more on this read this post by Colin James.

3) Remarkable leaders are Star senders and not black holers.

Typically stars are messages that promote the high self esteem of receivers and the likelihood of personal best performance. Examples are enthusiastic greetings, smiles, recognition/appreciation of effort and achievements, genuine compliments, including people, putting ourselves out for others, asking someone else for advice, showing genuine interest.

Typically black holes are messages that mean a likely drop in self esteem and the corresponding drop in personal performance. Examples are not saying hello or greeting people as though they barely exist, not saying thank you, not recognising/appreciating other peopleʼs efforts, claiming the credit for someone elseʼs work, ignoring or excluding people, putting people down, criticising as opposed to providing requested feedback and feedforward, thinking our way is the only way and demonstrating this in our behaviour, having a closed mind.

4) Before sending any verbal (face to face, voice mail) or written message remarkable leaders check intention to ensure they have a shared outcome with the receiver/s in mind, and to ensure it is honourable and in the best interests of achieving a shared purpose and that it will likely build the receiver/s self esteem and/or help them to perform at their best.

5) After sending verbal or written messages remarkable leaders check in with the receiver/s to ensure the effectiveness of their message.

6) When receiving messages from others remarkable leaders ensure their intention is to understand the senders perspective and not to judge it or be prejudiced against it.

Remarkable leaders get that the purpose of listening is simply to fully understand the senders view.

Remarkable leaders listen to what the other person is saying (content), what they are making that mean (concept), and what that is really about (context). For more on this check out this piece by Matt Church.

7) Remarkable leaders share stories other people can see and feel themselves in. Self-depreciating humour is common in these stories.

8) Remarkable leaders share their feelings. They say I feel ... often. They also make it clear when they are sharing their opinion and what they believe to be a fact.

9) Remarkable leaders say what they mean and mean what they say in ways that there's never any doubt about the message. Spin is a "sin" remarkable leaders never commit.

10) Remarkable leaders confront BS and help people to humanely remove warts, skeletons in closets, and elephants from boardrooms, offices, factories and shops. They do so in convivial ways i.e. they're cordial, cheerful, friendly, good natured and good-humoured.

11) Remarkable leaders are experts at optimum communication i.e. they have such powerful and highly valued relationships with people that often all that is needed is an exchange of looks, e.g. How do I know that my wife is ready to go home even though she is on the other side of the room? Answer: It's just her look, followed by my look of acknowledgment!

12) Remarkable leaders are continually honing their presentation and public speaking skills by attending classes, working with coaches and mentors, and practicing their craft so that they can be spontaneous and inspirational in all situations.

13) Remarkable leaders engage every day with others in candid and convivial conversations with people about performance in ways that people feel appreciated when they do well and to be accountable when performance is less than agreed it will be.

Be remarkable.

PSS My thanks to Peter Marshman and his Communication Magic program for the concept of stars and black holes. As an Accredited Master Facilitator of the program, for assistance in the implementation of these concepts please contact me.

PSSS I recommend downloading 'Can Business Schools Humanize Leadership' by Gianpiero Petriglieri and Jennifer Petriglieri INSEAD here. It's the paper that inspired this series of articles.

Sunday 17 May 2015

If you think you’re always right, you’re wrong

This Sunday's sparkenation and the rehumanisation of leadership and management part 1.

The Federal Budget in Australia was released on Tuesday to much fruitless fanfare. There's now a whole lot of BS happening to try and sell it. The overwhelming view is that it's a pre-election budget, not what we actually need as a country.

The sellers, the naysayers, and those opposed all have one problem. They're think they're always right which means they're wrong because nobody is always right.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

I would add, and to do what's best for the common-good even if that means taking on someone else's idea, or better still to reach a shared idea through much candid yet convivial debate and where everyone is prepared to let go their perceived need to be right.

Most political, religious, business, and educational leaders are intelligent people. The sad news is that only a tiny minority demonstrate it in their actions.

In remarkable workplaces reaching and maintaining a shared-view in 7 areas is what real leaders are masters at. How masterful are you?

If you think you're always right, you're wrong. Real leadership is all about the wisdom and the skill to let go of the need to be right and instead find a way forward together. How wise are you?

The tyranny of either/or as Collins and Porras called it is the sad side of humanity. Embracing both/and is what being truly human is all about. And it's not about compromise. It is about a co-promise.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Winning the only game you really can every day

In a great article on LinkedIn ‘Leading and Managing in a VUCA World’ my friend and colleague Gihan Perera says:

“You might have come across the term “VUCA”, which has been borrowed from the U.S. military and is now often used in a business context to describe our world today. It’s an acronym that stands for “Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous” – and that’s a pretty good description of our world now:

Volatile: Things are changing fast, often and in big ways
Uncertain: It’s difficult to predict the future – even in the short term
Complex: There are many factors that affect anything
Ambiguous: Things are hazy, fuzzy, and not clearly defined

In a nutshell, it says: Our world is messy.

Many leaders struggle to lead in this VUCA world.

If you’re a leader who has been used to leading by example, leading from the front, leading by showing the way to your people, or leading because you have greater knowledge and experience, you might struggle in this VUCA world. After all, if the world keeps changing, how can you possibly give your people the guidance and direction they have come to expect from you?”

Gihan suggests 4 great ways for dealing with VUCA which you can read here.

If VUCA is what’s going on in the outside world, and I believe it is, what’s going on inside you as a leader is more important than ever.

Real leadership is a inner game first. If VUCA is dominating your intentions, feelings, and thoughts, then your behaviours are mirroring these three because as ancient wisdom says “As within, so without.”

One of the reasons that people management, the concept that we have to plan, organise, and control what other people do, is dead, is because in a VUCA world people are rejecting the feeling that their destiny is in someone else’s hands.

I believe that remarkable leaders today are first and foremost human beings who are fully alive which is the subject matter of Sparkenation 21 in my Changing What’s Normal book.

Here’s part of what I say in the book

“When I was a boy my father often used to say that a key to living a good life was to be spiritually alive, mentally alert, and physically active.

Over time I added emotionally healthy and universally aware and thereby created what I call the five faces of a human being fully alive.

For me, being spiritually alive is the fertile ground of living a good life. 

When we are spiritually alive we feel valued. When we feel valued we are best able to capitalise on our unique gifts/talents in the service of others, show our true character, and be committed, courageous, honest, and to live with integrity.

For me being emotionally healthy is the ploughing. When we are emotionally healthy we feel at peace. When we feel at peace we are able to be caring, joyful, kind, open, patient, passionate. Feeling at peace is sometimes hard work. Yet the work ends in joy.

For me being mentally alert is the seeding. When we are mentally alert we are feeling clear. When we are feeling clear we are able to have an “attitude of gratitude”, to visualise, and to be focused, insightful, inspired, all of which are key to doing things right for us and doing the right thing by others.

For me being physically active is the nurturing. When we are physically active (regardless of our physical capabilities, which differ for us all of course) we are feeling well. When we feel well we are fit and able to be accountable, competent, energetic, productive, and innovative.

For me being universally aware is key to creating a harvest.
When we are universally aware we feel connected. When we feel connected we are able to maximise the high value and mutual reward of one-degree relationships, and active social networks. We are awake, conscious, enlightened and can live the unchanging laws of life (such as the law of the farm) to the full and, in doing so, achieve whatever we dream we can.”

How alive are you?

The more you’re a fully alive human being the more you’ll bring your one-of-a-kind self to your work. And the better you’ll lead for others in a VUCA world.

I define such leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do. Self-leadership is all about you. All other leadership is what you do for others.

Leadership falters and usually very badly without management.

The more you’re a fully alive human being the more you’ll let go of old management and the less VUCA there’ll be messing in your world.

I define such management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Your leadership is ever-evolving. It’s about continually seeing yourself as remarkable and becoming who you see.

Management is in the grip of revolution. The old is being overthrown. In some remarkable workplaces the battle has already been won. When you embrace this revolution you stop trying to manage people and instead co-create environmments with them where they see themselves as remarkable and become who they see.

There’s one definitive way to win every day in a VUCA world. It’s being a fully alive human being and bringing everything remarkable that you are to everything you do. The stakes are high. Your only competitor is yourself.

Be remarkable.

PS My leadership momentum programs, online, in person, and both, provide proven pathways you can follow in your own to master your inner game and to be there with others as they master theirs. Find out more here.

I'm conducting online in camera tours of Maverick Thinker Studio to show you what I’ve got for you this Friday 15th May. All you need is your computer, your mobile, or your tablet. We'll be online for 20 minutes plus Q & A and there will be no silly sell at the end. This is either for you or it's not.

Three time slots to choose from:

Go here at 7.30 am sharp AEST this Friday 15th May.

Go here at 12.30 pm sharp AEST this Friday 15th May.

Go here at 4.30 pm sharp AEST this Friday 15th May.

If none of these times suit you please contact me on +61 418 807 898 and we'll arrange a mutually convenient time for me to show you around.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Taking your leadership from good/great to remarkable

I'm excited to announce that my advanced Leadership Momentum online learning program is now ready for you at Maverick Thinkers Studio.

Until 5 pm 31st May 2015 you can have one years access to the program and the group Q & A and mentoring sessions held every first and third Monday's except January (at times suitable for you wherever you are in the world) for just $27.

I've promised my wife that I will regain my senses by 31st May and never again offer this opportunity for such a ridiculously low fee.

A limited number of 1:1 mentoring options with the program are also available.

This program is perfect for you if you're a business leader and you're good or great yet not yet remarkable in the 8 key roles 21st century leaders play.

I'm conducting online in camera tours of Maverick Thinker Studio to show you the program this Friday 15th May. All you need is your computer, your mobile, or your tablet. We'll be online for 20 minutes plus Q & A and there will be no silly sell at the end. This is either for you or it's not.

Three time slots to choose from:

Go here at 7.30 am sharp AEST this Friday 15th May.

Go here at 12.30 pm sharp AEST this Friday 15th May.

Go here at 4.30 pm sharp AEST this Friday 15th May.

If none of these times suit you please contact me on +61 418 807 898 and we'll arrange a mutually convenient time for me to show you around.

You can take up this now or anytime up until 5 pm 31st May here. Click on Joining Options where you'll see the picture below and scroll down.

You'll also see an overview of the content of the program at the link above.

See you on the inside.

Sunday 10 May 2015

The real work real leaders do

This Sunday's sparkenation.

This is a very insightful article by Tomorrow Today's Keith Coats. He says:

The ‘real work’ is to step back, to pause, to stop, to ask, to reflect, to review, to take some time. The real work is the exact work that most leaders will tell you they are too busy to do. The real work is to rethink, to challenge assumptions and to experiment, inherent in which is the risk of failure. The real work involves the willingness to disrupt one’s own viewpoint in order to find another way to see things.

I love too Keith's idea of having 'curiosity conversations'.

How well are you doing this work?

Be remarkable.

PS My in person and online Leadership Momentum Programs will help you to do this work well and much more. Find out how here.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 8 May 2015

The number one role of real leadership

The number one role of real leadership is to be a Maestro of Gift/Talent Enhancement. It's about seeing people as they can be, rather than as they and helping people every day to bring their best to their work through enhancing their gifts (talents).

For most people this takes an evolution in their leadership and a revolution in management.

In this months candid and convivial in camera conversation online I’ll be exploring what this means, why it really matters, and how you as a consequence can ensure that more of your people are bringing their very best to their work every day.

I look forward to “seeing” you in the 21st May. Find out more and register here.

Be remarkable.

PS Being a Maestro of Gift/Talent Enhancement is one of 8 key roles that 21st century leaders play remarkably well. Mastery of these 8 roles is what we're all about at Maverick Thinkers Studio

For the month of May you can take up Gold membership of Maverick Thinkers Studio for just $27. That’s a savings of $578. And you’ll be providing nourishing meals to people in need through my partnership with Buy1Give1. Follow the links here to find out more or contact me on +61 (0) 418 807 898.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

When you should choose second best first

“The best things in life are free" said Coco Chanel. She went on to say "The second best things are very, very expensive.”

The explosion that is social media has led to many believing in the old adage, that the best things in life are free. I don’t buy it for a second, if you will pardon my pun!

People will always pay for what they perceive is valuable.

Most things that are free on the internet are a marketing strategy to get us to buy something, eventually. Nothing wrong with this. I think it is a good thing to have to demonstrate value before expecting people to pay.

The challenge is, many folk expect everything for free.

Sure some great things in life are free.

Most things of value however require an investment of time, energy, or money, and often all three.

The next time you take advantage of something for free on the internet give some thought to how much it cost the providers.

I am finding myself downloading less and less stuff because firstly I don’t really need it, and secondly I am wanting to do my bit to support people who are providing their hard earned, valuable stuff for free, and so I generally only take free if I think I can spread the word for folk, or I think that at some time in the future I will pay for future value.

I think the whole world of free has a rude awakening coming.

I am not saying free doesn’t have its place, it does. I am saying that many of the good things in life require an investment of some kind to be made.

I would value knowing your thoughts. Please email me at

If what you sell in your business is a commodity someone will eventually sell it at a cheaper price. I’d suggest changing your business. The next time you purchase something from a supermarket, give some thought to the people in the supply chain getting screwed to provide what they do for almost free. This will eventually happen to you.

Most of the big box shops it seems to me have forgotten about fairness to their suppliers in their quest to make money while offering what they believe their customers want.

I believe in values based businesses where people live their values, where employees feel valued and are delivering value to each other and to all the stakeholders of the business. You?

Be remarkable.

Monday 4 May 2015

Life/work balance is nonsense

I hear a lot of talk about life/work balance and I think most of it is nonsense.

The word balance for me implies equal. I prefer the word harmony, therefore life/work harmony.

My personal and business life are not equal or in balance and are never likely to be.

They are in harmony with one another, that is, they work together like a symphony, two sides of the same coin

Below are my 11 laws of life/work harmony. They're sparkenation 26 in my Changing What's Normal book. I trust they will help you live a more harmonious life.

1. The Law of Harmony

Opposites attract. There are always at least two sides to every story.

Possible Action/Results: Always think both / and, rather than either / or; accept the good with the bad; appreciate pleasure, gain from pain; focus on the positive, learn from the negative; and you will soon begin to find harmony in your life.

2. The Law of Possibility

The opportunities life offers us are endless. There are no limits, except those we place on ourselves. There is nothing we cannot achieve.

3. The Law of Personal Responsibility

No one else can make us feel or think glad, sad, bad or mad. How we feel and think are choices we make.

Possible Action/Results: We must own our feelings and thoughts and not get tangled in other people’s feelings and thoughts. We must let go of attachment to what other people feel and think. Soon we eliminate guilt and worry; two of life’s most useless and most debilitating emotions.

4. The Law of Attraction

Success is not something we attain, rather something we attract.

Possible Action/Results: Commit to life-long learning; focus on insight more than information and wisdom more than knowledge. The more we become who we are capable of becoming the more we attract success.

5. The Law of the Farm

You find fertile ground, plough it, seed it, and nurture it, and more often than not you reap a harvest. We get what we give. What goes around comes around. These are modern ways of describing an old adage; we reap what we sow.

Possible Action/Results: The message of this law is that we must focus on proven processes and detach from outcomes. If we are taking the right action, results take care of themselves.

6. The Law of Relationships

We gravitate to those we like, know and trust.

Possible Action/Results: Establish shared values with family, friends and work colleagues, and agree on how they will be lived; have shared goals and agree on the key strategies to achieve them; practice non-judgment; give genuine attention to others. Before you know it your relationships will be stronger and the great door of opportunity will open more often.

7. The Law of Service

Giving without attachment to getting back creates one of life’s great paradoxes; we get more back.

Possible Action/Results: Fully understand what others need and provide it; go the extra mile.

By adding value to every transaction and interaction; co-create wow experiences at work, home and play. Before long others will be serving you in ways beyond your wildest expectations.

8. The Law of Confidence

Confidence is to maintain a positive inner and outer image and display them. The problem can be that confidence is often perceived as arrogance.

Possible Action/Results: Demonstrate openness to learning and not asserting your way is the only way while at the same time believe in yourself; believe in others; speak and communicate from your heart; and confidence will rarely get mistaken for arrogance.

9. The Law of Actual Communication

Not all talk is communication. We often talk just for the joy of it. To actually communicate is to agree on some course of action even if it is to agree to disagree.

Possible Action/Results: To communicate better speak with a specific goal in mind and listen simply to understand, and when speaking and listening ask for feedback to ensure message effectiveness. You will most likely find you will speak less and listen more. The result however is to eventually eliminate misunderstanding, one of the great negative stress causes in life.

10. The Law of Adaptability

I heard a great saying one time “better to adapt than be a sitting duck and get run over”

Possible Action/Results: Our willingness to adapt, be flexible, and go with the flow are keys to a negative stress free life. A key seems to be to realize it is not what happens to us that is important rather our response to what happens. Take responsibility for your responses to life and life will respond to you.

11. The Law of Synchronicity/Interconnectedness

Everything is connected in some way to everything else.

Possible Action/Results: Seek coincidence, follow your heart, “do what you love” says Steven Farber “in the service of people who love what you do”; and your life will soon change for the better.

Have a personal sustainability plan (thank you Adam Werbach for the idea from his book Strategies for Sustainability) i.e. do what you can personally for the good of people and our planet. Imagine if everyone did this. We would have universal harmony.

Some other contrarian viewpoints I like
Four reasons why organisations need to promote conflict over harmony from OSullivan Field.

and Work Life Freedom is better than Balance by Matt Church.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Change is not difficult or hard

This Sunday's sparkenation.

The cells in your body are dying and replacing themselves all the time. All change is like this. And as John Lennon famously observed

Change is a normal part of life.

There's things we can change and things we can't. We can change our intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions and behaviours anytime we choose to. All change is personal first. We cannot change other people's intentions, feelings, thoughts, actions or behaviours. We can inspire, influence and impact other people. We can allow other people to inspire, influence and impact us. Or not.

There's a plethora of stuff that says change is difficult or hard. I have a very different view. I think change is simple. What's often difficult or hard is making the decision to change.

What often makes our decision to change difficult is the feeling or expectation that others want us to change for their benefit.

A lot of people talk about change. What they really mean is everyone else changing and not them!

As a leader think about the following questions and then answer them with your actions.

Do you have expectations that other people should change and not you?

Are you co-creating an environment in your workplace where it is simple for people to make decisions to change themselves?

Does your management (policies, procedures, practices, processes, systems) mean it is simple for your people to bring their best to their work every day?

What will you do and who with when the answer is no to the previous question?

In your personal life as well as your business do you have clarity of what is and what can be and a strategy and execution plan to close the gap between the two that you're actioning daily?

There's a great little ebook here from John Kotter that will help you. The ebook is an update of Kotter's famous 8 steps to succeeding with change initiatives.

I love this from the ebook

Here's a post that will help you to remove barriers. It's the new normal in management.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

PS Get all my accumulated wisdom for just $27 during the month of May 2015. You'll be helping 12 families in need as well. Offer includes my flagship Leadership Momentum online learning program plus your ability to participate in the Q & A and mentoring sessions that I conduct in camera online every third Monday (except January). Take up this offer today by clicking on Joining options at Maverick Thinkers Studio

Friday 1 May 2015

"Content will never be king"

I love this article by Chris Brogan.

I particularly love this piece in the article:

Content Is Just the Campfire

When it comes to belonging, content is the campfire that lets us gather around (if you do it right). Content is that thing that gets us together, that lets us see eye to eye, that helps us find like-mindedness, etc. Content is the start of a journey but it’s all about the people and who we meet, and then what we do.

What kind of campfire are you keeping going? 

And who is gathered around it?

Be remarkable.

picture courtesy of