Monday 31 August 2015

In every challenge there lies an opportunity

When my wife and I went to Florence, Italy a few years ago we stood for a couple of hours in awe of Michelangelo's Statue of David.

I often think of the experience and the following statement when a client is or I'm faced myself with what appears to be an obstacle.

Whatever seems to be in the way this week look at it from a different perspective. In every challenge there lies an opportunity.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Make a 1 hour appointment with yourself every week

This Sunday's sparkenation (a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal)

The above is great advice.

Make this your one special action to take this week.

Be remarkable.

Friday 28 August 2015

11 questions to answer to increase and sustain momentum in your business

There's greater than usual volatility in world stock markets at the moment. It's a reminder that having your life's savings only in stocks is always a gamble. (A gamble by the way that I don't personally take). It's also a reminder as I heard one commentator say, that the stock market is not the real economy.

In a conversation with a client this week (a medium sized family business in the real economy and not tied to the post of the stock market) I drew the following diagram

I then explored with my client the 11 questions people in his business need to answer with actions in order to increase and sustain momentum, regardless of what the stock market is or isn't doing or any other factors where people have no real influence.

1) How high are the levels of positive and productive energy in all the interactions and transactions of the business?

2) Is leadership leading to more people leading?

3) How can processes, policies, procedures, practices and systems mean it's more simple for people to bring their very best to their work every day?

4) What changes need to be made to ensure that leadership and management are resulting in greater effectiveness and efficiency?

5) How can the ways we lead and manage better result in people taking it on themselves to be accountable?

6) What more can we do that means we're different, better, or more unique than our competitors?

7) How well are we solving the problems of our employees and customers?

8) What more can we do that helps to solve the problems and challenges of the world?

9) How much do people feel better as a consequence of doing business with us?

10) How can we become more of whom we're capable of becoming?

11) Can we dream bigger? How much more is possible if we set our aim higher?

How would people at your place answer these questions?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

The 3 BIG "people centred" issues and one great idea to deal with each one

Three big "people centred" issues are more prevalent wherever I go than they have ever been since I began working as a mentor for business leaders 24 years ago. So evident are these three than I have begun to dedicate some exclusive writing/sharing insights to each one.

To kick off my sharing on the big three I've written a special, short Blue Paper that gives you one great idea you can immediately act on for each of the issues. You'll be able to download these papers at the links below.

The BIG three

1) Far too much time, energy and money is being spent dealing with what are viewed as people problems. 

Find out more here.

2) Far too many learning & development programs aren’t resulting in lasting performance improvements. 

Find out more here.

3) Change is seen as complicated, tiresome, risky and costly, instead of simple, profound, and profitable. 

Find out more here.

Be remarkable.

Monday 24 August 2015

Finding the third way

I love the article 'Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert? You May Be An Ambivert' by Elizabeth Bernstein. You can read it here. It's a fine example of both/and rather than either/or thinking, and of finding the third way.

The trouble with politicians is that they're stuck in an either/or world. And we, who they are supposedly representing, end up with mediocrity, compromise, or worse the uncertainty bred from inaction.

Don't let this happen in your home, your business, or anywhere else, rather find the third way.

We live in 3 worlds, yours, mine, and ours. Only ours really matters.

At home, at work, and at play finding and sustaining a shared-view (the third way) in 7 areas is foundational to success. I've written a blue paper about this. You can download it by clicking on Free Blue Paper here.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 23 August 2015

So what did you achieve this week?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

Here last Sunday I suggested you should have revolutionary goals and then take evolutionary steps towards achieving them (one quantum leap at a time).

So what did you achieve this week?

What did you hear? What did you do?

Be remarkable.

More posts to help you to be accountable to yourself

Where do you stand on the accountability ladder?

"Discipline is the bridge between thought and accomplishment."

Friday 21 August 2015

What's the one thing you'll achieve today?

In a world of overwhelm it's easy to lose focus.

My key discipline to ensure that I thrive is to only focus on one thing I want to achieve every day. Sure I get other things done. I find that focusing on just one thing is paramount to my productivity.

At the end of each year I set my goals for the next year and then create a 90 day execution plan on a page which overviews the quantum leaps I will take personally and in my business. I formally update my plan every quarter. I also engage mentors who will have regular appreciation and accountability conversations with me. I've written a blue paper about this. Click on Free Blue Paper here to download it.

A vital action is my nightly ritual of deciding on the one thing I am going to achieve the next day. Sometimes I review my 90 day plan on a page. Sometimes I just reflect on what's happened today and therefore what must happen tomorrow.

What's the one thing you'll achieve today?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

4 timeless lessons about mentoring

I highly value receiving Adam Grant's monthly updates.

One article he referred to this month was this one about one of his mentors Jeff Zaslow who taught him the following 4 timeless truths:

1. Great mentors don’t give answers. They ask questions.

2. Great mentors are proactive, not reactive. They don’t just respond to outreach; they reach out to their mentees.

3. Great mentors see more potential in their mentees than their mentees see in themselves.

4. Great mentors focus on their mentees’ success, not on their own.

These very much reflect my beliefs about meaningful mentoring. You?

Be remarkable.

Monday 17 August 2015

Where do you stand on the accountability ladder?

Fundamental to my work with all my clients is helping them to have appreciation and accountability conversations every day. They're about appreciating people when they do well and helping people to be accountable. Both are crucial in everyone achieving personal and business aspirations.

Accountability is a mystery to many. I was thrilled therefore to see the model below courtesy of a LinkedIn post 'Be true to yourself' from my friend John Toms which you can read here.

Where do you stand on the accountability ladder?

How will you be more accountable this week?

How will you help others to be more accountable this week?

Be remarkable.

More about the accountability ladder here.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Have revolutionary goals, take evolutionary steps

This Sunday's sparkenation.

We live in a world of overwhelm. A key to being happy and successful in such a world is having revolutionary goals and taking evolutionary steps towards achieving them.

What are your 'BHAG's' (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)?

Get crystal clear on where you're going and then focus only on taking your next quantum leap to get there.

Would you value some help?

Contact me to arrange your complimentary one quantum leap at a time momentum session. 

My number is +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Friday 14 August 2015

Artisans, Minorities, and disrupting the status quo

Recent events in Australian politics where the Speaker of the House of Representatives was forced to resign over her use of travel entitlements is just one indicator for me that the Aristocracy is alive and well. Of course it's emerged that the Speaker wasn't/isn't the only one accessing privileges beyond the reach of most other people.

"On current trends, Oxfam says it expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world's wealth by 2016."

There's another trend that I'm more interested in - the rising influence of artisans and minorities and how they/we are disrupting the status quo. This trend is impacting your business as much, and I suspect it will soon be more so, than the whims and ideologies of the Aristocracy.

Increasingly my wife and I are buying goods and services made or provided by artisans. We can visit dozens of markets and speciality shops within a few miles of our home. We prefer to buy what's been made with love. We prefer to support artisans than greedy corporates. Often we gladly pay more than what's on offer at the supermarket and other big box shops. We're using services provided by entrepreneurs who love what they do and are doing so for people who love what they do. You?

In your business, as in every business, there's an increasing disquiet, in some places downright anger, that bosses and owners are receiving unfair rewards on the back of the labour of employees.

Herein lies a wonderful opportunity, one that smart, savvy, and salt of the earth business leaders are grasping with head, heart, and hands.

We humans are one-of-a-kind beings, remarkable simply by virtue of our birth.

Of the 100 billion people who've have walked planet earth, there's never been a duplicate.

Today millions of people the world over are reclaiming their remarkability.

Women and other people in minorities when it comes to leadership roles, are leading the way.

They're driven by three intrinsic motivators according to Daniel Pink in his wonderful book Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

The BIG question for you to answer with your actions is How well are we helping our people to achieve what is driving them?

Your employees are disrupting the status quo (normal) with gaining speed, as are entrepreneurs everywhere - think Uber, Airbnb, and Alibaba, just to name three that are well known.

You have three fundamental choices - be a disrupter (change what's normal), join those disrupting, or be disrupted. What choice have you made?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

5's foundational, 7's significant, 3's a great rule, yet 1 is where the power is

I'm not a mathematician. I do place a lot of value in numbers. 5, 7, 3 and 1 are my most valuable numbers.

5 is foundational

I learned from my Grandfather that when we focus on the fertile ground, plough it, seed it, and nurture it, a harvest is the outcome. My Grandfather taught me (read more here) that most people want the harvest and yet are not prepared to do the work. It takes discipline to focus on the processes and detach from the outcome. I believe this is foundational to success in everything.

Two ways I apply the law of the farm - compete with yourself, collaborate with others.

Try these exercises

Compete with yourself
If you want better results in any area of your life change or modify

Your intention (the fertile ground)
Your feelings (ploughing)
Your thoughts (seeding)
and/or Your actions (nurturing)
and a better result will be the consequence.

If you want to better a relationship with any one or any group of people change or modify
How you contact them (fertile ground)
How you make emotional connection with them (ploughing)
How you establish common-ground with them (seeding)
and/or How you express commitment to them (nurturing)
and a better relationship will be the consequence.

7 is significant

I'm not aware of any team that is successful where there is an absence of shared-view in 7 areas

3 is a great rule

I'm sure you're familiar with many famous 3's. The theory is we can easily remember 3. And it works in practice! I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the 'Rule of Three' is pervasive everywhere in our society. Think stories, fairy tales and myths, and the lines from history that inspire us

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen”
“Blood, sweat and tears”
“The good, the bad and the ugly”

are just 3 of zillions of examples.

And of course we know that we humans can last 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food.

I know in my business I speak, mentor, and provide online programs and resources that support both. I do other things. These 3 however are where my gifts (talents) lie and where I provide the most value to my clients.

The power of one

Above all for me one matters most.

In all work with my clients I am helping them to focus on one action at a time through embracing the science of quantum leaps.

When I first started my business nearly 25 years I believed simplicity without losing the profound was key to the success of my clients and to my own success and so I pioneered many ways to do this. I continue to evolve the following:

One quantum leap at a time momentum
One sentence strategy
One page role clarity
One page performance development/strategy execution plans
One focus conversations
One purpose meetings
One message story-sharing
One module at a time learning
One page agreements
One shift at a time change initiatives
One great idea at a time innovation

What numbers count for you?

Be remarkable.

Monday 10 August 2015

4 actions to rise above digital noise

It's very easy today to be overwhelmed. Digital noise on it's own can drown us in a morning if we let it.

Here's 4 actions I find highly valuable in rising above the noise

1) My phone is switched off more than it's on. My clients know I will get back to them promptly. I have set the boundaries with them.

2) I only answer emails when it suits me. Usually this is first thing in the morning and last thing when I decide to finish work for the day. I only email at other times if I feel like it. My in-box is always empty after email sessions. Yes I file stuff for later review. Again I have a shared-view with my clients about what I will do and what I won't do. Nobody minds because they have been involved in the decision-making.

3) As a general rule I never spend any more than 30 minutes at any given time in front of my computer. I take breaks and do something else, including doing nothing. I find this makes me highly productive.

I love technology and the amazing things we can do with it all. I value being with human beings much more highly and so above all my focus is on connecting with humans. Yes I use technology to do so however I prefer to be with people for real more than anything else.

4) A lot of my meetings with my clients are in coffee shops. Usually before and after such meetings I spend time alone. My journal is always handy. Often I just sit for a few moments. My greatest insights and best ideas have often emerged after such moments.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 9 August 2015

"You can't base your life on other people's expectations"

This Sunday's sparkenation.

We all have aspirations. The trouble often is that they are based on other people's expectations.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

These 3 are prerequisites to Accountability

The subject of accountability comes up frequently in conversations with my clients. Recently I came across below from sideways thoughts.

I like the equation of Accountability + Empowerment = High Performance.

What I've found in my work with my clients is that empowerment is one of 3 prerequisites to accountability.

1) Empowerment

Empowerment is the opposite of control. I suggest taking some observation time this week and see how many of your employees actually have full responsibility for their actions and those who are under the control of somebody else.

What's the one action you could take that would mean more of your employees are truly empowered?

A frequent action I see is changing job descriptions to role clarity statements. I've been banging on about this for two decades I know. It is without doubt a crucial action to take. Read more in my post Your work is not your job Make sure you click on the link in the post dispensing with job descriptions for more on role clarity.

2) Feeling valued

When we feel valued we bring our best to our work. I suggest here that we need to feel fulfilled and loved as well as valued in order to sustain high performance.

What's the one action you could take that would mean your employees feel more valued, fulfilled and loved?

3) Giving people what they truly want

I read countless so-called performance development plans. The majority are mostly about the business and very little about helping your employees achieve what's important to them.

What's the one action you could take that would mean your employees know in their hearts that you truly believe in them and want to help them to achieve what's important to them?

Be remarkable.

The consistent answers over more than two decades from my research into what employees want

What Employees Really Want From Employers 

Appreciation.  The eminent psychologist William James observed:  “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
To be held to account via regular, constructive, candid and convivial conversations about their performance
Opportunity to master something
Role satisfaction
A feeling that their work contributes to a higher purpose
Knowing that their work is helping them to achieve their aspirations
Open, regular, truthful, information gathering and sharing
Remuneration perceived to be at least equal to effort
Trust and trustworthiness
Happy and healthy working environment
Fairness in all dealings
Hope for the future

What Employees Really Want From Each Other 

Goal and strategy alignment
Promises kept
Open communication
Understanding of personal needs
Trust, trustworthiness, and confidence
Appreciation, support and encouragement
Sense of family
Acceptance of the merit of ideas
Mutual respect

Don't allow yourself to be overwhelmed by any of the above. Do your work - review, have conversations with others, reflect, and then decide on 3 actions you will take, one at a time over the next month. You might surprise yourself with the outcomes of such work and laser focus on the actions.

Monday 3 August 2015

Are you "doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do"?

After you read this post I highly recommend you invest 30 minutes to watch a video by the Hamel brothers about Bringing Your Heart To Work. The link is at the bottom of the page.

There's a lie out there that persists. It says "do what you love and the money will follow."

Steve was right.

Steven puts it all in perspective.

I've been in contact with Steven recently. His words changed everything for me a decade ago in the first release of his book 'The Radical Leap' which is just out as a 10th anniversary edition as pictured above. Steven's words inspired how I illustrate the personal change journey below.

I've been lost a little myself recently on my own personal change journey. The fog was lifted for me when one of my mentors, aware of my connection with Steven, asked me "How come you've largely stopped doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do?

My first love in my work you see is speaking. I love the research (finding out why my clients aren't doing what they're capable of and what they don't know they're capable of and the awesome difference it makes when they find out and take action). I love the presentation of the tailored talk, master-class, or breakthrough session. I love the post presentation mentoring that ensures people take action and get the return on investment they deserve. I love it all.

I gave all sorts of excuses to my mentor - the travel is a pain in the arse, it's lonely work, finding the right people is tough, blah, blah, blah.

He said "You're a pain in the arse when your not doing what you love. And there's 1000's of people out there who will love what you do. And they need you more than ever before."

I recognised my Resistance and surrendered. I'm back on my bike. 

How about you? Are you doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do?

If so I honour you.

Be remarkable.

PS Check out my most requested speaking topics here.

Bringing Your Heart To Work video

Sunday 2 August 2015

Feeling stuck or overwhelmed? Choose and take one action at a time

This Sunday's sparkenation.

It's easy to feel stuck and/or overwhelmed in this seemingly always on world.

Choose and take one action this week that will move you forward and then choose and act again. Embrace the science of quantum leaps.

Assuming you have products/services people want and you're well positioned in your market/s, there's really only two areas to focus on in your business in order to increase positive momentum, people and processes.

If your lacking positive momentum or want to increase it ask: How can our processes be better so that it's simpler for our people to bring their best to their work? Your processes include your policies, procedures, practices, and systems, the stuff of modern management.

Ask: How can we better inspire our people to bring their best to their work? This is the stuff of modern leadership.
Choose and take one action this week that simplifies your processes and/or inspires your people. Then choose and take action again. One quantum leap at a time is the secret to positive momentum and avoiding feeling stuck or overwhelmed.

Maybe I can help you. We all benefit from a fresh pair of eyes to help us to see what we currently can't. Our first and possibly only conversation is complimentary. Find out more here.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.