Wednesday 30 September 2015

Communication and Conversations that matter in the connection economy

Seth Godin and many others are talking a lot today about the connection economy.

Here is an excellent short video from Graeme Codrington about this.

There's also a great article from Graeme’s colleague Keith Coats here.

For me whatever we might call the current era, conversations and communication are what really matter. There's 8 key areas:

1) Self-talk

Continual conversation that overcomes Your Resistance and means you're bringing your very best to each moment.

2) Peer Review

Daily corridor conversations that appreciate remarkable work and help you to be accountable. Having a focusing tool is paramount. I co-create one page performance plans with my clients that are reviewed formally with peers every 90 days.

3) Feedforward

Suggestions from others that provide insight and foresight for you to change your behaviour.

4) Feedback

Gifts of hindsight from others about the past to assist in learning from actions taken or not.

5) After Action Reviews

Structured conversations that appreciate what was remarkable, great, good, bad, and ugly about a specific action; imagine what can be next time; create/update performance plans that reflect agreed personal and business behaviour changes and stay, stop, start actions.

6) Weekly Check-ins

Short, sharp, weekly meetings online and/or in person are crucial to the effectiveness of all champion teams. Following agenda’s and agreeing on actions and accountability at the end of each meeting paramount.

7) Mentor Moments

Real leaders have mentors and are being mentors for others.

8) Master-mind

Being a part of a group of people mutually committed to each others’ success, external to your business, is a powerful force.

How would you rate yourself in each of these areas? Good? Great? Remarkable?

What's the one-thing you will do next to get better than you are?

There's 13 suggestions for you to consider here.

Above all in all your communication and conversation I highly recommend heeding Jim Rohn's advice:

Be remarkable.

Monday 28 September 2015

Are you running your business or is your business running you?

A great question to continually ask and to answer with action is: Am I running my business or is my business running me?

Below is what I typically see in small (6-19 employees), medium (20-200 employees), and large (more than 200 employees) businesses.

If yours is a small business I strongly recommend doing what successful owners/leaders of medium sized businesses do - invest 20% of your time working on your business.

If you lead in a large business I strongly recommend working in your business more regularly so that you are fully aware of what your employees, customers/clients, and other stakeholders are truly experiencing.

Be remarkable.

PS If you need a refresher on what working on your business means check out emyth.

Friday 25 September 2015

I failed several times this week - how exciting!

I always set out to succeed in everything I do and 'pushing the envelope' is in my DNA.

Failure therefore is inevitable.

This week I failed several times. A couple of failures hurt. The lessons I've learned though have more than compensated for my pain.

How's your week been?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

One great idea

I love how ideas progress to innovation when we do our work.

This year a focus of mine has been to simplify my life and to help my clients to do the same.

Simplification has been one of my 3 words. You can read more about the concept of having 3 words to help you to focus in my 20th April 2015 post here.

As I progressed with this concept myself I began to zero in on the power of one. You can read more about this in my 12th August 2015 post here.

Around this time I began to work with two of my mentors Nick and Matthew on a re-imagination of my business.

Guess what? The power of discovering and implementing one great idea at a time emerged as one of my key strengths and something I could do better with my clients. In some ways this was an FBO (Flash of the Bloody Obvious) given my passion and expertise for one as illustrated in my August 2015 post.

In many other ways though my mentors helped me (and still are helping) to pinpoint strategies and tactics previously unseen.

Then last week I went to the inaugural 99U event in Melbourne. One of the presenters was my colleague Dr. Jason Fox. Jason spoke about the power of one word acting as a kind of "fuzzy beacon" to keep us focused.

I was reflecting on Jason's insight, and what my one word might be for the next 90 days, when a link to an interview by Travis Bell with Derek Sivers arrived in my in-box. You can listen to it here.

I love Derek's idea of having a concept as a guiding beacon for doing our best work.

After further meditation and reflection one word came to me as my guiding beacon for the next 90 days - possible. On the same day the picture below featured in a blog from Kevin Roberts.

I thought some more and arrived at a concept that's now guiding me in my life and work - what's the one quantum leap I (and each individual client) need to take next in order to move closer to what's possible?

As I said at the beginning of this post I love how ideas progress to innovation when we do our work.

What will your guiding beacon be for the next 90 days?

If you'd like some help deciding on this please give me a call on +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Monday 21 September 2015

A true story of going the extra mile - guest post by Mark Sutherland

This is a guest post from my friend and colleague Mark Sutherland.

A service agent at a Flight Centre in Melbourne greeted an elderly couple in their early 80’s.  The couple had booked tickets online for flights to China.  They told the agent that they had not travelled for many years.  They were unsure of what they needed to do and what documents they needed to take to the airport.

There was no money to be made here but the agent sat the couple down and asked them some questions.  She looked at the couple as being her grandparents and what their needs might be.

She showed them what documents to fill in and explained what to do with their passbook and visas. She gave them a satchel to keep all the documents in.

The agent gave them an express card so they did not have to stand and wait for ages going through customs.  She also gave them her phone number so they could call her anytime during their trip if they needed help and she could talk them through what they could do.

After the couple left a colleague said, “Why did you do that as there was no money to be made? I wouldn’t have done that”.  The agent said, “Well I just thought of my grandparents.  I would hope that if they were ever in this predicament that they would be treated with respect and dignity.  It made me feel great to know that I was able to assist them”.

There is no doubt as to how this agent became the number one Flight Centre agent in her branch.

In your business do you treat people as you would want to be treated or as you would want your Grandma and Grandad to be treated?  It is the best brand exposure and marketing you can do.

As the father of that agent, I am extremely proud of her and her values.



Be remarkable.

PS I'm having a candid and convivial conversation with Mark about leadership soon. Details here.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Where and Why precede How and Who, What and When

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

This infograhic about Australia's 66 political leadership changes in the past 13 years caught my eye.

Any leader who fails to share with us in inspiring and authentic ways, where we are (reality), where we're going (possibility), and why we're going there (purpose), loses the good will from others to lead.

And Where and Why precede How (strategy) and Who, What and When (execution).

If you're not where you want to be right now in your business reflect on the good will of your leaders and their ability to present, communicate and converse about where and why in inspiring and authentic ways.

To focus on strategy or execution without the good will of people is a fools journey.

Be remarkable.

Thursday 17 September 2015

The secret to your success in overcoming change fatigue

The ‘Darth Vader’ in the way of your increased and sustainable momentum is change fatigue.

My best advice on what you should do next is to decide on and take one quantum leap (see below) at a time.

First consider very carefully the following 4 signs of change fatigue

1) Change isn't being embraced in a human way.
2) People aren't being fully present in the moment.
3) People are being snared by subtle traps.
4) We've overcomplicated pretty much everything.

You can read about these 4 signs here.

Make a list of priorities based on what you believe will have the greatest positive and productive impact on your increased and sustainable momentum.

Decide on one thing and do that. Repeat.

Embracing the science of quantum leaps will be a key to making your greatest impact.

One small leap at a time is the most significant way that I know of for you to increase and sustain momentum.

Momentum is another word for force. There’s no greater force than that of Mother nature. To live in harmony with her we must connect with all that’s remarkable about human nature and stand firm against all that isn’t.

Ultimately guaranteeing you succeed in the change/s you lead is all about the triumph of good over evil.

"May the Force be with you!"

We have to do it ourselves, yet no-one can do it alone.

The leadership challenge facing you is impossible for you to handle alone. It can’t be done. 
John Kotter

Making Change Work For You: A Risk-Free Way To Remove 'Darth Vader' from your place

If there's evidence of change fatigue at your place and you’d like some real world, friendly and impartial advice on your next quantum leap, I’d love to "meet" with you for an off-the-record chat.

Find out how this works here.

Be remarkable.

Monday 14 September 2015

"Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication." and a key to overcoming change fatigue

You can begin to simplify your life today. The question is will you?

You can begin to simplify your relationships today too. The question is will you?

And you can begin to simplify your business today as well. The question is will you?

What will you simplify today without losing the profound?

In your business accept change is constant and embrace every day innovation.

Every interaction and transaction that happens in your business today (and every day) is an opportunity to change what's normal (innovation) where the status quo (normal) is no longer serving.

Every day you can improve a policy, procedure, practice, process or system (the stuff that's 21st century management) and make it simpler and more meaningful for people to bring their very best to their work.

Simplification is a key to overcoming (and avoiding) change fatigue.

There are four essentials in addition to simplification:
bringing your humanity to your work,
living in and being with people the moment,
avoiding 3 traps,
and embracing the science of quantum leaps which will be the subject matter of my next post on Thursday.

Be remarkable.

Sunday 13 September 2015

Avoiding three traps is essential to overcoming change fatigue

Every day in the trenches with my clients I am helping them to avoid three traps opinion overload, the sea of sameness, and mobile mania.

Avoiding these three traps is essential to overcoming change fatigue, the Darth Vader in the way of increased and sustainable momentum in your business.

Opinion overload

Everyone’s got a opinion.

I read recently that LinkedIn is now the world’s largest publishing house. Spend just 5 minutes there, or anywhere online, and you’ll be overloaded with opinions.

Astute leaders focus on feelings and facts and ignore most opinions.

Sage leaders continually ask:

What is the real evidence telling us?
What are our employees, customers/clients, and other stakeholders truly feeling?
Of all the information we have what is the single insight we can leverage this week that will really make a difference?

Sea of sameness

Why do you drive past seven service stations and stop at the eighth?
Why do you walk past numerous coffee shops before settling in at your favourite one?
Why do you buy from Susan’s and not from Sam’s?

Because the people in these places are doing what no one else is (very hard to do) or more likely they’re doing what others do, just better, differently, or more uniquely, and in ways that give you the value you demand, desire, and feel that you deserve.

How about are your place? Are you the same as everybody else or are you standing out in special ways that really matter to people?

Discerning leaders are continually asking:

How can we do XXX differently, better, or more uniquely?
What needs to change so that people feel more valued and therefore live our values and deliver greater value?
If Joe Bloggs competitor is zagging how can we master zigging?

Mobile Mania

I was an observer in a meeting this week at the request of a client. The observations I shared with him shouldn’t have been a surprise. I shared with him how it’s very hard to get anything productive achieved in a meeting when the majority of participants are more interested in what’s happening on their mobile phones than what’s before them in the meeting.

It’s easy to suffer serious injury if your not careful from people who run into you in the street because they were only looking at their phones.

What does an email sent to your employees at 2 am tell them about you and what you really think about them?

We live in a world of mobile mania where fools think it’s OK to be on 24/7.

Perceptive leaders are continually asking:

How can we be more human here?
What needs to happen today to ensure our smart phones and other technology aren’t outsmarting us?
What must we do to ensure time out is taken to relax, reflect, re-imagine?

Avoid these three taps and you'll be well on your way to overcoming change fatigue.

There are two pre-requisites. Bringing your humanity to your work and living, and being with people, in the moment. Read about them here and here.

Be remarkable.

Friday 11 September 2015

"Wherever you are, be there" - the second step to overcoming change fatigue

The Darth Vader in the way of increased and sustainable momentum in your business is change fatigue. The first step to overcoming this is fully bringing your humanity to your work. Read more about this in part one here.

The second step is to fully understand what actually causes stress and then act accordingly.

In the game of cricket an astonishing number of batsman get out just before reaching the coveted milestone of making 100 runs. A key reason is that they start thinking about being there rather than playing the next ball on it's merits.
Professional speakers plan and rehearse so diligently we're able to be in the moment with the audience. We call it 'planned spontaneity'.

I was very fortunate in the mid 90's to spend a few hours in conversation with three other people and the legendary speaker Jim Rohn. My enduring memory - Jim's ability and willingness to be fully present in the moment. 

Astute leaders are crystal clear on where they're going, yet highly disciplined to live, and to be with people, in the moment. You?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

The one thing to be and do to start to overcome change fatigue

I’ve been taking a really hard look at the uncertainty and overwhelm we face.

Right now, the cost, time and stress of people and performance related issues is higher than I have ever seen it since I began working as a mentor for business owners and leaders 25 years ago.

Some business leaders are worrying about the threat of recession, others political inaction. Some leaders are losing sleep through fear of being disrupted in some way. Many leaders are worrying about all three.

Astute leaders are having conversations and making decisions about something else entirely. I'm naming it the Darth Vader in the way of increased and sustainable momentum - change fatigue.

Vast numbers of people are suffering from this dis-ease. Failure to address it will kill your business.

This post is the first in a series about who to be and what to do.

The one thing to be and do to start to overcome change fatigue

The starting place I believe is to be more human in our workplaces and everywhere else.

Tomorrow is RUOK day. It should be every day. Find out more here.

image from website

My clients are used to me asking them How's things going? They know it's a genuine enquiry into their well-being.

In the UK a colleague greets people each morning with the question: Everything all right?

How are you asking RUOK?

Corporate anthropologist Michael Henderson defines culture as:

“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 of culture "the way we do things around here." Being precedes doing.

You can read more from Michael here.

What does it mean to be human at your workplace?

The Force for dealing with Darth is to be a better human. 

"May the Force be with you."

Be remarkable.

Monday 7 September 2015

A key philosophy to embrace to ensure learning and development leads to lasting performance improvements

For many years now I have used the 70:20:10 philosophy as a reference model to help my clients to ensure learning and development leads to lasting performance improvements.

Find out more about how I can work with you on this here.

At the link you can also download my Blue Paper about the one foundation I believe to be a pre-requisite to success in learning and development whatever the models deployed.

Be remarkable.

PS - There's an awesome toolkit from Charles Jennings and his colleagues here.

Sunday 6 September 2015

Self-discovery and Self-creation

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

I believe we find ourselves as well as create ourselves.

The one thing that's vital for me is not to just rely on discovery, it's being proactive in self-creation too.

Be remarkable.

Friday 4 September 2015

Investment or cost is a vital distinction to make

I met with a prospective client yesterday who clearly at the beginning of our conversation saw providing learning and development for his employees as a cost rather than as an investment.

I shared with him an old yet powerful story where the CFO asks the CEO: "What if we invest in our people and they leave?" To which the CEO responded: "What if we don’t and they stay?"

Investment or cost is a vital distinction to make in all aspects of your business, and particularly where people's performance is concerned. What do you believe?

I believe there's one thing you must do to pave the way for learning and development that will lead to lasting performance improvements and a very healthy return on your investment.

And it will help you also to retain and engage your current employees more, meaning you will avoid the 1.5 to 3.0 times a person's wages/ salary you have to invest to replace people who leave.

I've written a short Blue Paper about the one thing.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

The awesome value of a fresh perspective

I'm currently working with two mentors who are helping me to re-imagine and reposition my business. Like me they're blessed with the skill of seeing what most people don't.

I've been amazed at what I wasn't seeing about myself and my business.

Who is helping you to see what you currently don't?

There's awesome value in a fresh perspective.

In my case I knew I needed help yet was reluctant to ask for it. Finally I let go my ego and put my hand up.

Feeling overwhelmed or uncertain or even if you're at the top of your game? Ask for a fresh perspective today.

Be remarkable.