Wednesday 30 March 2016

Bringing out the greatness in others - guest post by Mark Hodgson

This is a guest post by Mark Hodgson from Thought Leaders Global and Thought Leaders Business School.

My favourite definition of leadership is “the role of a leader is to bring out greatness in others”.  I was sad to learn of the recent death of George Martin. A gifted musician, producer and composer, Martin was better known to many as ‘the Fifth Beatle’. If anyone could lay claim to bringing out greatness in others, it was Sir George.

Looking beneath the surface

Pitched to him by their manager, Brian Epstein, Martin heard something he liked, even though the aspiring Beatles demo tape “wasn’t very good... in fact it was awful”. It’s now of course ‘rock and roll’ legend that in just a few years, he helped the four young men from Liverpool to create the greatest quantity, quality and diversity of songs in the history of music.

More than the sum of the parts

Martin was largely self-taught but at some ten years older than Paul, John, Ringo and George, was able to complement their raw talent by overlaying his experience of different genres, such as classical and jazz. This resulted in rich, multi-layered hits that had never been previously contemplated, let alone produced. Just think of the trumpet on ‘Penny Lane’, the harpsichord effect on ‘In My Life’ or the 41 piece orchestral ending to ‘A Day In The Life’. These enhancements were not imposed, but rather suggested. Martin, never claimed to possess the genius of a Lennon or McCartney, but he did know how to help them grow. As he reflected in an interview,

“I realised I had the ability to get the best out of people,”

The reality was Martin and the Beatles were stretching the known boundaries of sound recording almost every time they entered the studio. Martin’s contribution was to guide, stretch, challenge and educate his charges. He enabled their undoubted greatness to emerge and, in the process, changed the world.

How can we emulate this in our own leadership?

Chances are most of us will never possess the insight and talent of George Martin. The good news is that we don’t need to in order to be great leaders. We just need to look for the talents in our people and think how we can grow and complement them. Some useful approaches are to:

Seek greatness at every level

We need to look beyond org structures and reporting lines. Talent exists in everyone and at every ‘level’.

Be generous

Martin was part of extraordinary success without feeling the need to ‘own it’. Be humble and celebrate the ideas and successes of the individuals and your team.

Challenge the crowd

Between 1962-1969, The Beatles produced 17 chart-topping UK singles and over 10 in the giant US market. A big part of the reason for their unparalleled success was their continuing musical evolution. They were the disrupters of their age. We too should encourage our people (and ourselves) to look for answers in unfamiliar places.

Embrace failure

A frequent theme of mine, but so vital in liberating both ourselves and our people. The experimental nature of the Martin-inspired Beatles had its share of flops. The safe route would have been to create a stream of purely derivative songs, but this was not what happened. If we aspire to greatness we’ve got to get over this mental handbrake on our growth.

Have fun while you can

Teams that play together stay together – or at least do something worth doing. Nothing lasts forever and the Beatles were no different. Their split was acrimonious. The excellent Beatles Museum in Liverpool (well worth a visit) is a walking timeline of their story. The last room is very poignant. It exhibits just a white grand piano with John Lennon’s picture and wire-rimmed glasses rested on it. The lyrics to ‘Imagine’ adorn the wall. A sad ending, but these boys (Brian and George) had a lot of fun on the way. It’s our job as leaders to make sure that our teams also make time to smile and enjoy the ride.

Greatness is relative 

You may not feel that your team are doing ‘great’ work. That does not excuse your from the responsibility to bring out their greatness. It’s all relative. I spent three years leading a team of 200 people across Australia. It was a business turn around. Numbers, culture and morale were all terrible when we started. My focus was to build a leadership team and enable them to remove the barriers to their people’s success. By the end, we’d transformed the numbers. The thing I am most proud of though is how many new talents we identified and grew. There’s nothing more powerful and humbling than helping someone to realise their own potential and to watch their confidence and self-belief grow. It is literally life-changing.

Every day you are fortunate enough to lead a team is a gift (yes really!). You are in a position to bring out greatness in another human being. That’s a rare gift. Do not squander it. You never know, like George Martin, you may be just about to start something extraordinary.

More from Mark here.

Monday 28 March 2016

Could you describe your strategy in a sentence others have bought into?

This is the fourth in a series of seven suggestions for working on yourself in order to more fully appreciate and get the best out of yourself and other people. Links to the three previous posts are below.

The Simple, Under-appreciated Power of Appreciation

An ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ is the rocket that enables lift-off from what is to what can be

Your Life Only Has One Purpose. Your Only Quest Is To Live It.

There's short videos and working on your business exercises too that correlate with those for working on yourself. All are in the one place in the handbook you can download here.

I love Samuel Goldwyn's words: If you can't write your movie idea on the back of a business card, you ain't got a movie.

I say, if you can't describe your strategy in 6 words; at worst in a sentence, it's unlikely you've got a strategy that people can own and execute.

Find out what you can do to describe your strategy for growth, in your business, and in your life, in a single sentence at the handbook link above.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

The internet is the greatest rubbish tip in history - how to turn trash into treasure

It’s easy to drown in the sea of information that is being added to every second of every day in a world dominated by digital technology and 'The Internet of Things’.

What really matters is insight (treasure), not information (trash).
(I accept beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!)

What is your process for turning information into insight and insight into inspiration and ideas that become innovation?

Should you not yet have a process that's working wonders for you, please give me a shout. I can help you to create your own process.

Be remarkable.

Monday 21 March 2016

Your life only has one purpose. Your only quest is to live it.

This is the third in a series of seven suggestions for working on yourself in order to more fully appreciate and get the best out of yourself and other people. Links to the first two posts are below.

The Simple, Under-appreciated Power of Appreciation

An ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ is the rocket that enables lift-off from what is to what can be

There's working on your business exercises too that correlate with those for working on yourself. All are in the one place in the handbook you can download here.

Your life only has one purpose. Your only quest is to live it.

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.

Your birth was remarkable. Being born at all is even more remarkable than our birth. 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.

Your greatest gift to the world and to yourself is to fulfill this purpose, and then help others to do the same.

One action you can take right now to live on purpose

Take a sheet of paper and without stopping to judge what you write down, make a list under the following statement:

Who I wish I was that I’m not yet

Then choose the one that most appeals to you right now than you can shift from what is to what can be in the next 30 days.

Make the shift.


If you need any simple, practical help with this, do give me a shout.

In appreciation.
Ian Berry

Friday 18 March 2016

Should You Stop or Continue To Pay Executives For Performance?

Paying executives performance bonuses on top of their salaries and offering additional incentives for performance in general has been a common topic lately with some of my clients.

To help my clients to make the best decisions for them I've used the following Harvard Business Review articles as conversation starters:

Stop Paying Executives for Performance by Dan Cable and Freek Vermeulen, and

Performance-Based Pay for Executives Still Works by Alex Edmans.

What do you believe? Should You Stop or Continue To Pay Executives For Performance?

What do you actually do?

My conversations with clients led to three conclusions. Firstly, paying CEO's 300 times or more, than what the lowest paid employee receives is immoral, and secondly so are the amounts many people receive.

There was lot's of chuckling when this chart of what Australia's top 10 CEO's are paid was explored. Is anyone delivering such value that they're worth 30 million a year? was a typical question.

This led to the third conclusion of conversations with my clients, people should be paid according to value delivered.

When determining how you pay all of your employees do you ask

What is the value being delivered and how much is that value actually worth to the business?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Moving from what is to what can be matters

Below is a favourite quote from Seth Godin. I get his blog every day. You?

Moving from what is to what can be has been the theme so far this month in my Monday Morning Momentum videos and the associated handbook. Check them out here. Inside you'll see there's two working on your business and two working on yourself exercises that will help you to move from what is to what can be.

Be remarkable.

Monday 14 March 2016

An ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ is the rocket that enables lift-off from what is to what can be

This is the second in a series of seven posts about working on yourself in order to more fully appreciate and get the best out of yourself and other people. You can read the first post here.

When suffering from a life-threatening illness 37 years ago my doctor advised me to have ‘an attitude of gratitude.’

Every day since, at least 3 times a day, I stand in front of a mirror and say out loud "I have an attitude of gratitude."

My stance helped me to not die from my illness. Every day since it has helped me, even in my darkness moments, deep disappointments, and digression from my path, to live a life that matters to me and the people I encounter.

The day I received my doctors advice and began to apply it was a defining moment in my life.

I use my ‘attitude of gratitude’ ritual too as a restart button whenever situations threaten my core appreciation of myself.

Restarting helps me to bring to the forefront of my mind an unchanging principle I’ve learned the hard way - when we’re grateful for what we’ve got, we can have more of what we want.

Over the long haul too I’ve been fascinated and enriched by another way this principle plays out - the more grateful I am for what is, means what can be becomes crystal clear, and therefore the pathway to achieving it also reveals itself.

One action you can take right now to adopt an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in your own best way

Start each day, before you turn your computer on, or do anything else, making a list of what you’re grateful for right now. Start with yourself personally, other people, and then things in general.

Take the intentions, feelings, and thoughts that arise into every action and transaction.

Make this ritual part of your everyday life. And if you need any simple, practical help with this, do give me a shout.

In appreciation.
Ian Berry

PS At this link you find the videos and first and second working on your business exercises that I recommend you undertake in conjunction with the working on yourself suggestions. Just watch the short videos and download the handbook at the link.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Evolving Your Business Yet Staying True To The One Thing You Do Best

I'm very much enjoying studying this book by one of my heroes Nancy Duarte, and her colleague Patti Sanchez. Stay tuned for my Amazon review!

One thing that's great about the book so far is the candid reflection of the evolving journey of the Duarte organisation and their struggles to articulate the one thing they do best.

I also love the concept of 'Torchbearer Leadership' because of how Nancy and Patti describe it, and also because of my long standing embracing of the insight myself.

Early in 2004 I provided online learning for a special group of my clients who became known as The Torchbearer Tribe.

This was all about the insight of leaders being people who shine the light on possibility for others. Internally we even had a logo as pictured!

When my Changing What's Normal book came out in 2011 I changed the group's name to The Changing What's Normal Talent Enhancers Tribe to reflect the idea that all leaders are 'Change Champions' and that the number one role of leadership is to unleash and enhance people's gifts (talents).

The group's name changed again in 2014 when I added Maverick Thinking to the equation of being a Torchbearer, Change Champion and Gift Enhancer.

Recently the group name has changed yet again to Better Business Results Less Personal Cost Master-mind group adding the concept that we can achieve great results without the unwanted personal costs normally associated.

What's been interesting for me to observe is that despite changing group names (which I admit has been confusing for some people) to reflect additions to thinking and action, my core work with my clients remains the same as it was when I began 25 years ago i.e. helping business owners and leaders to fully appreciate and get the best out of themselves and other people.

This year I've returned to this work being front and centre and the one thing I do. I can tell you that I now fully understand the following words by T.S. Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

What's been the evolution of your business and how could you perhaps better articulate the one thing you do best?

Be remarkable.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Remarkable One-time Only Opportunity - The Appreciative Leader Pilot Program

The Appreciative Leader Pilot Programs - sustaining shared-view in the seven areas of significance where the most successful leaders stand out.

I'm looking for 14 maverick thinkers (7 per group) to join me online for 1 hour per week (30 minutes together as a master-mind group, and 30 minutes 1:1 with me) for 7 weeks. 1:1's will be scheduled at mutually convenient times.

Group 1 commences 8.30 a.m. Australian Eastern Time on Tuesday the 22nd of March 2016 and Group 2 at 8.30 p.m. that day.

This is a pilot to help me to fine tune a standalone online version of my current flagship in person and online work.

For you it will mean better business results at less personal cost and a minimum 10 times return on the small investment of $700AUD.

This upgrade to my work is a labour of love. Should you have more than 7 people in your business or team,and the call to being an Appreciative Leader resonates (you want to fully appreciate and get the best out of yourself and other people every day), you'll love this too!

The future of business is providing experiences and meaning - says Futurist and Nowist Gerd Leonhard

This pilot program will provide both experiences and meaning for you, and help you to accelerate doing the same in your business.

I'm taking expressions of interest up until midnight today (Tuesday March 8th Australian Eastern Time). Gain more insights into this program by checking out the current program here.

To express your interest please email with your telephone number and I'll be in touch.

Be remarkable.

Monday 7 March 2016

The Simple, Underappreciated Power of Appreciation

Showing appreciation is simple to do. And it’s so powerful it’s actually the cornerstone of my life and work. However, just because it’s simple, it isn’t always easy to do it in practice. Here’s a quick way to help make it work.

My friend Nigel Risner provides us with a big clue when he says IF YOU'RE IN THE ROOM, BE IN THE ROOM.

Yet situations can throw us off course from this wonderful advice and take us away from our internal core appreciation of ourselves which enables us to be in the room in the first place.

Below is part of a conversation I had recently with a client who had temporarily lost her bearings regarding her core appreciation of herself, after a heated discussion with her boss.

I asked her “Outside of the workplace where do you feel most appreciated?”
Straight away she replied “My eldest son is brilliant at showing appreciation to me, and often it’s just little things that surprise and delight me.”

“What little things could you do to surprise and delight your boss? I asked.

What followed was a candid and convivial conversation that revealed my client had rarely, if ever, shown appreciation to her boss. I explained to my client that often we don’t receive what we most need ourselves unless we’re giving it to others without attachment to getting back. I also said “It’s OK to ask for help!”

In most workplaces there’s a lack of appreciation going on despite a known fact best described by the eminent psychologist William James who said:

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

One action you can take right now that enacts this deepest principle

Reflect on the people closest to you at home, at work, and the other places you go.

Write down these people’s names and one way you could show genuine appreciation to them in the next fortnight without any cost except that of your time and energy.

Go show appreciation without attachment to getting back.

Make this ritual part of your everyday life. And if you need any simple, practical help with this, do give me a shout.

In appreciation.
Ian Berry

PS The above is the first in a seven part series of suggestions in my Monday Morning Momentum offerings for both working on yourself (as above) and working on your business. You'll find the video and the working on your business suggestion here.

Friday 4 March 2016

Wednesday 2 March 2016

'Matter' - the best business book I've read in a long time

I know Peter Sheahan and have devoured all of his previous books.

This one is the best business book I've read in a very long time. It makes my top 21 reading list and of course my full list.

I highly recommend it. See my Amazon Review here.

Be remarkable.