Monday 29 June 2015

27 ways to become a better leader|mentor today

Half the year is gone. The following have been the reoccurring themes in my candid and convivial conversations with clients both in person and in camera:

1. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job - Jim Rohn.

2. Invest at least 20% of your time, energy and money working on your business (with thanks to Michael Gerber).

3. See your number one role as helping other people to discover and enhance their gifts (talents).

4. Help everyone to see themselves as remarkable and then help them to become who they see.

5. See yourself as remarkable and become who you see.

6. Change with the people using them any policy, procedure, practice, process, or system that doesn't mean it's simple for people to bring their best to their work every day.

7. Systematise the sh?t i.e. everything that happens more than once create simple systems anyone can follow.

8. Understand that repetition is the mother of skill (with thanks to Tony Robbins).

9. Ensure people have accountability to make decisions at every transaction and interaction with other people points of your business.

10. For major decisions have a process that is transparent so that people can see the logical and emotional steps you made to arrive at your decision.

11. Simplify your strategy into a sentence.

12. Help people create their own unique piece of your execution map.

13. Co-create a culture of candour where people are having candid and convivial conversations about their piece of your execution map every day.

14. Ensure that appreciating people when they do well and helping them to be accountable when they don't are integral to daily conversations.

15. Compete with yourself. Take responsibility for your intentions, feelings, thoughts, actions and behaviours.

16. Collaborate and let other people be responsible for their intentions, feelings, thoughts, actions and behaviours.

17. Co-create a shared-view about how your values will be lived behaviourially.

18. Give people immediate feedback when you see them living your values and when they don't.

19. Co-create and maintain a shared-view with people about where you are (reality; what is), where you're going (possibility; what can be); why your going there (purpose), how you'll get where you're going (strategy), who'll do what and when (execution; role clarity, execution plans, conversations), how you'll know you're on track (milestones; lead measures), how you'll behave along the way (culture, values)..

20. Respectfully and with dignity let go any person not in alignment with shared-view. Everyone has a place, just maybe not at your place.

21. Stop saying you don't have time. You have 168 hours every week and what you do with every second is your choice.

22. Make a list at the end of every month as to what you'll stay doing, stop doing and start doing, and follow it.

23. Say please, thank you, and I love you. They're still the most powerful words in our language.

24. Stay focused on reasons, relationships and routines. Result follow.

25. Focus on lead measures. Detach from outcomes.

26. Maintain an "attitude of gratitude." no matter what happens.

27. Be kind.

What would you add any to the above? I'd love to know your thoughts. Please email and I'll share them in future posts.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 28 June 2015

Who are you holding a mirror up for?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

"The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures she will ever see." says Seth Godin in this great post.

Who are you holding a mirror up for?

Who is holding a mirror up for you?

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 26 June 2015

I know I should but I don't have time

Every business owner/leader I've met lately tells me that they know they should invest more time, energy, and money working on themselves and their business and yet they're not. "I know I should but I don't have time," they say. You?

My friend and colleague Keith Abraham says "If you're not investing in yourself you're a poor judge of a great investment." You?

You must make the time before it's too late.

If your life or that of your family was threatened would you make the time? Well it is and they are!

Folklore asks "What if I train them and they leave?" and answers "What if you don’t train them and they stay?"

The same it is for you. Failure to invest time, energy, and money working on yourself and on your business is costing you dearly.

Like everyone else you have 168 hours every week. It's your choice what you do with your time.

Is it time literally for you to make different choices?

Start small using the science of quantum leaps

Below is what I do and help my clients to do every 90 days:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a process visual is worth a thousand pictures. 
Alan Weiss

1) Appreciate what is

Take a sheet of paper and write down what's remarkable, great, good and bad and ugly about your life and work. Share what you wrote down with people you trust and who will give you candid feedback.

2) Imagine what can be

On another sheet of paper write down who you're still to become in your life and what you're still to achieve in your business. Share this too with people you trust and who will give you candid feedback and feedforward.

3) Create a 90 day execution plan

On one side of a A4 sheet of paper summarise what is in a paragraph and what can be in the next 90 days in a paragraph.

Describe in a sentence your strategy to move from what is to what can be.

Describe in a sentence your gifts (talents) that you will need to enhance in order to move from what is to what can be.

Outline 3 quantum leaps you'll take in the next 90 days to move from what is to what can be. Remember quantum leaps are not big jumps rather small jumps from here to there.

Share your plan with people you trust and who will give you candid feedback and feedforward. Get a commitment from them that they will engage in candid conversations with you every week to appreciate you when you take action and help you to be accountable when you don't.

4) Leap.

The above 4 actions will see you gain positive momentum and achieve what you want one quantum leap at a time.

You'll soon have more time and energy as a consequence of doing the above.

Repeat the 4 actions every 90 days. 

Help everyone else in your business to take these 4 actions.

Soon you'll be in the habit of working on yourself and your business. And so will everyone else. You'll never look back. And everyone will be happier, more productive, and achieving better results.

Be remarkable.

Contact me on +61 418 807 898 if you'd like a performance partner external to your business.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Leading and managing in the new world of work

The diagram below represents in a simple yet profound way the ecosystem you encounter every day as a leader.

We are living in the greatest entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial revolution in history, and as a consequence a new world of work is with us. To thrive in this new world requires more than ever before a deep understanding of interconnectedness and an ability and willingness to connect the dots and to be emotionally connected with the people playing with them.

A key characteristic of this new world is self-management. Workplace democracy sometimes referred to as workers self-management, has been a driver of the new world of work where people now plan, organise and control themselves. They don't need or want industrial revolution style managers. I myself have been inspired by the work of Ricardo Semler detailed in his book 'Maverick - The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace.' Semler's work was part of the inspiration for my Maverick Thinkers Studio.

Is there an app for that? is now a very common question with the answer almost always yes! The rise of freelancers, portfolio workers, and people using the Internet of Things to make their living and their life is also unprecedented.

Peter Drucker is often referred to as the father of 21st century management. He's certainly a voice to be reckoned with long after his death. And I suspect he will be for all time. I have many favourites from his wisdom. The one below ranks highly.

Why do so many people still think people can be managed?

My short answer is "Beats me."

Have you let go of the no longer relevant management where you planned, organised and controlled what people did or did't do?

Management today is about Processes, Policies, Procedures, Practices, Systems (PPPPS’s). You can read more about this here. Management today is essentially about What and How always in the context of When and Where and Why and Who. Rudyard Kipling was onto this long ago.

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
and How and Where and Who.”
Rudyard Kipling

Today who is always before do and why before what and how. A deep understanding of where and when is paramount.

The key focus of my leadership and mentoring development work is on who because I believe that real leadership is fundamentally about who we are as one-of-a-kind human beings.

Self-leadership is everyone's business and therefore self-awareness is critical.

The more acute our self-awareness of course the greater our awareness of others and therefore our ability and willingness to lead for them.

Purpose (reason/intention/meaning) and possibility (vision in the old business language) are paramount too.

Meaning and work are now deeply connected and drive the self-leadership and self-management phenomenon.

One of the underlying reasons for low employee engagement worldwide is because there's a mismatch between what your employees want and what you think they want. Meaningful work (hence purpose and possibility) is at the top of the want list. Read more about this here.

Underpinning the new work of work is massive changes in places, programs and platforms.

Today there's a platform for everything. Movements and tribes are everywhere. We're driven by a deep desire to belong, find meaning and share, and to make sense of our world. All is made simpler of course by social media and the Internet of Things. The paradox of course is that everything is also much more complicated and we can easily get paralysed by the countless choices available. The surge in online learning mean there's a program for just about anything. See Udemy and Lynda (now owned by LinkedIn) just two examples of zillions.

Added to all this is the never before value we place on third places (think cafes, clubs, and the myriad of ways we "meet" with each other online).

Sense-making is key to finding your way in this new world.

If you're not familiar with sense-making check out the work of Karl E. Weick.

Below are the key shifts in the world of work that help me to make sense of what's happening, to find greater meaning, and to help my clients to do the same.

If you'd like help with making sense of any of the aspects of how this new world of work is impacting and influencing your world of work please contact me on +61 418 807 898 or email your questions to

Be remarkable.

Monday 22 June 2015

Leading in a Changing World by Keith Coats and Graeme Codrington

I highly recommend this book.

I know Graeme and feel like I now know Keith too.

See my Amazon review below.

I found it very beneficial to watch the video below before reading the book. I had high expectations of the book and found myself really grounded after watching the video and then getting into the book.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 21 June 2015

These 30 a real leader|mentor be

This Sunday's sparkenation.

In my Academy for leading and mentoring these are the 30 principles and practices I work with you on to apply them in your own way.

Find out more here.

Be more remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 19 June 2015

8 leadership lessons from deposed Prime Ministers

I've been watching the Australian ABC television series 'The Killing Season'. It's about how the Australian Labor Party replaced Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Julia Gillard and then replaced her and went back to Kevin. One outcome is that Bill Shorten, a key figure in the demise of both, now leads Labor in opposition and Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party is Prime Minister. Abbott was clearly a beneficiary of the in-fighting of Labor.

photo source

Both Shorten and Abbott are in my view much lessor leaders than Rudd or Gillard. In fact there's nothing that I can see from either that suggests they know anything about 21st century leadership.

How could we end up with two weak leaders, neither of whom is the best available in their respective parties?

Here's my observations - 8 leadership lessons from deposed Prime Ministers

Clearly Rudd was smart. He was ahead of the game when the Global Financial Crisis hit for example and almost pulled off a world agreement about action on climate change. He also didn't like it when he didn't get his own way and sulked.

Lesson one. Never be the smartest person in the room. Always have people around you who can challenge your view and provide alternatives.

Lesson two. Leadership is never about your way being the only way. One of the reasons party politics is a dumb concept is that people who disagree with policy, like many do in the Liberal Party about marriage equality for example, are forced to vote against what they believe. This always ends in frustration, resentment, let alone a delay in doing what's right.

Lesson three. Be open and authentic about what you're debating. Share your disagreements, conflicts and difficulties.

Lesson four. Once you've made a decision be transparent about how you arrived at the conclusion you did. People may disagree. At least they can see the emotional and logical journey you went on.

Assuming this television show is the truth it's obvious that lot's of people struggled with Rudd's leadership style yet no-one spoke to him about it, rather they gossiped and plotted behind his back.

Lesson five: How are you receiving feedforward and feedback about your leadership? Are you and the people around you mature and experienced in how to have candid and convivial conversations about performance particularly when there's disagreement, difficulty or conflict? A no answer to these questions means you've got work to do and fast.

Lesson six: Say what you mean and mean what you say and say it looking people in the eye. This includes naming elephants in the room. I have a clear sense that had the Labor party confronted Rudd in a mature way that he was able (and I suspect willing) to change his leadership style. I reckon he would have been a good long term Prime Minister, Gillard would be now and be better than she was. And, we wouldn't have the disastrous duo of Abbott and Shorten, neither of whom can lead us anywhere remarkable in my view.

Lesson seven. Values like accountability are useless unless there's a shared-view about how they will be lived and consequences when they're not.

Lesson eight. Self-awareness is the number one leadership skill. Remarkable leaders appreciate the remarkable, the great, the good, and the bad and ugly about themselves, imagine what can be, create plans to change, and then change. Positive momentum is a consequence as is achieving what we want.

We cannot do this alone. The great paradox of remarkable leadership is that we need others, not least to hold up a mirror for us. Our part of the bargain is to see what is and then take appropriate action.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Why remarkable leaders are remarkable mentors too

The evolution in leadership and the revolution in management is gaining momentum. This manifesto is my latest written contribution.

I'd love you to have this providing you'd really value it.

I've decided not to do the normal thing and make the download freely available or even worse have you subscribe to something and then me bombard you with automated emails to tempt you to do business with me. I don't operate like this and suspect if this manifesto is for you, then you don't like this methodology either.

My manifesto is about 8 roles 21st century leaders and mentors play remarkably well. It's for you should you be on the great quest of real leadership - to see yourself as remarkable and become who you see, and you've heard the great calling of real leadership - to be a mentor for others so that they see themselves as remarkable and become who they see.

If you're not yet remarkable ("conspicuously extraordinary") in one or more of these 8 roles then my manifesto is for you. To receive it please call me on +61 418 807 898 or email with a paragraph or two about why you'd like to have my manifesto.

Be remarkable.

Monday 15 June 2015

It's meaning not money for millennials

My thanks to my friend and colleague Gihan Perera for highlighting Mary Meeker's annual “Internet Trends Report” here.

One slide stands out for me in my work in the human side of business.

One of the underlying reasons for low employee engagement worldwide is because there's a mismatch between what your employees want and what you think they want. Close this gap and immediate improvements in your business will result let alone improvements in your peace of mind.

Be remarkable in helping your employees to achieve what they want.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Friday 12 June 2015

What people want at work more than anything else

This is a humourous and poignant TED talk by Rainer Strack. People’s number one want from their work didn’t surprise me. You?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Where I go to get the insights I want (and having an empty inbox)

It's very easy to get caught in what I call the screen trap - spending way too much time in front of our computers and mobile devices.

I've set myself free from this trap through being very disciplined with email (I highly recommend Gihan Perera's approach here) and checking my Alltop and scoopit pages once a day.

Featured in Alltop

My Alltop page is here. I recommend setting up your own.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Being and becoming is where all leadership begins

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Living this purpose and inspiring others to do the same is at the heart of remarkable leadership.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 5 June 2015

Soft is hard and hard is soft

When I Googled "soft skills" today there were over 7 million results.

I was pleased to see my colleague Maree Harris feature twice in the top 10. I recommend her book.

There were only 430,000 results on Google for "hard skills."

One was this article about employers demanding hard skills over soft skills. WTF?

When articles like this refer to skills gaps they're usually referring to hard skills. The largest skills gap in my view is in soft skills.

I'd much rather employ someone with soft skills willing to learn the hard skills than employ someone with the hard skills yet little in the way of soft skills. You?

For me self-awareness is the number one soft skill. It's hard to be self-aware. It requires continuous personal work.

Leaders who are self-aware are more aware of others and therefore better leaders. How aware are You?

Real leadership is all about your mastery of soft skills. It's hard work.
Real management is all about hard skills. It's soft work because it's simple to do yet only meaningful when you do the hard work first.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

The surprising truth about what motivates us

This is a great Smart Company article by Eloise Keating after a recent talk by Daniel Pink.

If you haven't yet read Dan's great book I highly recommend it.

It easily makes my recommended reading list.

I admit it didn't make my top 21 recommended business books list.

Dan's 'A Whole New Mind' did. I recommend reading this one first.

Be remarkable.

Monday 1 June 2015

These are the 9 conversations that count

Remarkable leaders engage in 9 conversations that count:

The ultimate test of your leadership and management at any given moment is the status of shared-view in 7 areas. Candid and convivial communication and having the 9 conversations that count are therefore crucial.

How remarkable are you in having these 9 conversations that count? 

What is the status of shared-view in your team, in your workplace, in your home?

Yes authentic answers to these questions will tell you how alive and well you are in your business.

Candid and convivial communication and conversations that count not only maintain shared-view, they are crucial to maintaining the 3 vital signs of a remarkable workplace as pictured below.

You can download the above diagrams in one PDF document here.

Be remarkable.