Monday 27 February 2017

When people are quiet inside they're often loud outside

No doubt you've noticed that politicians and Governments usually lose elections rather than win them.

In my observation a key reason for this is the lack of 'cabinet solidarity', or more to the point those outside the cabinet speaking their minds in public in ways that are contrary to the positions of their Government.

Of course this chips away at public confidence and trust in the government, and providing the opposition parties maintain solidarity, they end up in Government.

In Australia right now the former Prime Minister is playing this sorry game, I suspect this is because he feels he is not being heard inside his party, his ego is out of control, or both.

There's a great lesson here for you and your team, and your whole business.

Are your people speaking up? Is dissent encouraged and valued?

The chances are if people aren't speaking up, they are doing so away from your business.

The old adage about what people say and do when you're not around is your culture holds true too.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Here's two suggestions:

1) Become remarkable at communicating and having candid and convivial conversations with others that leads to people being inspired to stay on the same page with you, and be able to consistently bring the best version of themselves to their work.

2) Become remarkable at listening and letting others know that you've heard them and understand and appreciate their feelings and thoughts. When people feel appreciated and acknowledged they're much less likely to show dissent outside your business.

Should you want some help with these two essential leadership skills please give me a call. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Friday 24 February 2017

Distraction is hurting your business long before it becomes disruption

Everywhere I look people are distracted.

Of course when I'm looking I'm distracted too!

Everyone is glued to their computer screen or mobile device. It's downright dangerous to walk on the footpath these days because very few people are actually looking where they're going.

Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents.

In your business how much meaningful and valuable work to others is actually being done?

My educated guess is a lot less than you believe.

Distraction is hurting your business long before it becomes disruption.

3 actions you can take today

1) In collaboration with your employees create and implement a policy that limits the use of smart phones. Read this article on how doing so increases productivity first. It's where I first saw this picture that says it all.

2) Make a carefully considered decision to do less 'shallow work' and more 'deep work'. Encourage others to do the same. Read more about 'deep work' here.

3) Make it a daily practice before you turn your computer on or look at your phone to write down what you're grateful for.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

“If you start work at nine, don’t check your emails until 10. Instead, use that hour to be creative and be working on your business rather than in your business.”
Michelle Bridges

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Every person is accountable for sustaining a remarkable culture in your business

Corporate anthropologist Michael Henderson says

"Culture is;

“ What it means to be human here.”  (‘Here’ being wherever you are referring to when talking about a culture.)
“ An unwritten social contract that turns a person into a people."

and Michael says A High Performance Culture is;

"A culture that clearly defines and inspires people to be at their best, perform at their best and serve others."

These definitions align with my foundational model for purpose-driven business success pictured below:

Every person is accountable for sustaining a remarkable (“conspicuously extraordinary”) culture in your business.

If you’re culture is less than remarkable your business is vulnerable to disruption.

You need culture champions everywhere too. These people are recognised and looked up to as role models.

This is particularly essential when your business has more than one location. If you only have one location, you’re the culture champion, right!?

When you have more than 50 employees it’s critical that a member of your leadership team has accountability for people and culture.

The purpose of such a role can be stated as follows:

Ensuring there’s leadership commitment and capability in place that means the majority of people feel valued and are living values.

Ensuring there’s management (policies, procedures, practices, processes, and systems) competency in place that mean it’s simple for people to consistently bring the best version of themselves to their work, and to deliver value to fellow employees and other stakeholders.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday 20 February 2017

For your best business results, turn your values into virtues

When I left the corporate world at the start of the last decade of last century to begin my own practice as a mentor, speaker, and strategist, for the first couple of years a lot of my work with clients centred around helping them to create or upgrade their vision, mission and value statements, and better align strategy and execution.

I stopped doing this after something profound happened as I share in the video below:

This encounter was the catalyst to finding a better way. 

In the early part of this century I discovered over the course of a 3 year project with one client, that the better way was, through collaboration, to turn values (usually single words) into virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards").

In the case of this client 18 behaviours were the result of significant work. (we subsequently learned that 18 is too many!)

As behaviours became the focus, or as one of the leaders involved described it "As soon as living our values became our intention, and the key focus of our attention, performance dramatically improved."

I was astounded by the performance improvement and observed two other deep factors at play. The more values were lived, the more people felt valued, and the greater value they delivered to other people. I also learned that sustaining a high level of feeling valued, living values, and delivering value, depended greatly on leadership, management, and culture.

My foundational model (pictured below) for co-creating remarkable workplaces was born.

In the 15 years since many clients have successfully adopted this model, in their own best way (the key to their success). And profoundly, industry, country, or economic climate are irrelevant.

A 14th May 2010 New York Times article by one of my favourite authors and writers, Thomas L. Friedman, drove another stake deeply into the ground.

"So more and more of us are behaving by, what Seidman calls, “situational values”: I do whatever the situation allows. Think Goldman Sachs or BP. The opposite of situational values, argues Seidman, are “sustainable values”: values that inspire in us behaviors that literally sustain our relationships with one another, with our communities, with our institutions, and with our forests, oceans and climate. Of course, to counter this epidemic of situational thinking, we need more and better regulations, but we also need more people behaving better. Regulations only tell you what you can or can’t do in certain situations. Sustainable values inspire you to do what you should do in every situation."

The Seidman Thomas Friedman refers to is Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN who help companies build ethical cultures. More about Dov here. Please read the full Friedman article here.

Sustainable values are for me virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards"). And sustainable values are a key to your sustainability as an organisation in a world viewed by a few as "post-truth", "fake news".

There's more to your sustainability, and by definition remarkability too.

Be remarkable.

Other Valuable Reading

'Big Arrow Behaviour'

Mental Virtues

Business Values - do they exist?

Values or behaviours? Where to focus your culture efforts

Values for working together and professional behaviours

Culture & Values/Behaviours Mapping

Friday 17 February 2017

Ensuring everyone owns the strategy and execution plan

I’m deeply into Marty Neumeier’s book at the moment.

I’m also loving the great visuals inside the book.

The visual below Marty succinctly explains here.

I love how Marty differentiates mission and vision.

And I love this piece from Marty

“Also notice that purpose is on a higher level than both mission and vision. That’s because even when the mission isn’t going well and the vision seems like a mirage, a strong purpose will keep people coming back to work day after day.”

I would add the following to Marty's model

If you would like some help with creating or instigating any of the above please give me a shout. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Raising The Vitality and Positive Impact of Your Leadership

The most valuable lesson I have learned about workplaces, through working as a mentor with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries since 1991, is that when people feel valued, live values, and deliver value, the enterprise is highly successful, regardless of industry, country, or economic climate. 

There are two caveats to the above equation:
1) There has to be sound and ethical financial processes and systems in place, and 
2) Products/services being provided are grounded in a unique understanding of what customers/clients need and want, including their experience preferences.

Building and sustaining a valued, values, value workplace requires an ongoing investment of time, energy, and money, remarkable leadership, management, and culture, and the steadfast application of proven principles in your own best way.

In the past decade I have witnessed the addition of a further criteria to this success equation. It's a game changer - leaders must be purpose-driven. This has come about through both evolution and revolution. 

Often in my work I explore this with clients in an historical context as pictured below.

You can read more about this in this previous post where my terms of differencemakers and insightpreneurs are explained.

You might also be interested in my top 21 recommended business books for purpose-driven leaders. You can view and download the list here.

I have been doing a lot of 'deep work' in the past few months to create a simple yet profound diagnostic tool to enable you to assess all of the above. I've also been locking myself away to create a new flagship leadership development program. 

I'm excited today to announce the release of the

It contains 58 statements to check your current vitality and positive impact leadership pulse.

Emailing your aggregated team results to me enables you to schedule a complimentary, no obligation online mentoring session with me. This means that both of us can accurately assess if a tailored program is for you and your team or not.

You can download the pulse check here. 

Details of how we can work together are here.

I'm also going to conduct the program as a 6 months intensive open to individuals.

You can begin with the standalone half-day master-class in Ballarat on 22nd March. You can register here where you can also download the pulse check.

Or you can come straight into the intensive choosing one of the three beginning days. You can also download the pulse check at any of the following links.

Be remarkable.

Monday 13 February 2017

Involuntary = challenge; Voluntary = Opportunity

In this interview with Philip Adams former Greek finance minister talks about two causes of dissatisfaction/disruption in the world and why people are moving away from status quo politicians - involuntary under-employment/unemployment, and involuntary immigration.

This is also a great reminder about change (innovation) in your business. If people feel like they have volunteered, positive change is likely. If it feels like change is involuntary, there will be resistance, and no change, or worse negative change, is the consequence.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday 10 February 2017

Stop Focusing on Engaging Your Employees

The Corporate Leadership Council 2004 survey of 59 organisations and 50000 employees was the first major piece of research that I took notice of concerning employee engagement.

The findings blew my mind.  They were: “13% of employees actively disengaged from their work, 11% of employees fully engaged in their work, 76% of employees open to persuasion through increased emotional commitment.”  It was the 76% figure and the accompanying words that blew my mind.

Guess what? Despite billions of dollars being spent on employee engagement nothing much has changed.

The 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study involving 32000 workers found that nearly two-thirds (65%) are not highly engaged.

The latest Gallup research here says "87% OF EMPLOYEES WORLDWIDE ARE NOT ENGAGED AT WORK."

Engagement is a lag measure. It's a result. To improve results we must stop focusing on them and get better at lead metrics. (There's more on lag and lead and performance metrics here.)

Possible action you can take - Stop trying to engage people and focus on helping them to feel valued

Help people to feel better about themselves and their work and they'll become more engaged.

The good news about poor employee engagement is that the magic is in the middle.

First step in recommended action. Start helping people in your business who are neither engaged or disengaged to feel valued.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS If you have recent results from your employee engagement survey on your desk (or worse your drawer or cupboard!), start collaborating with your employees today in taking action.

PSS If you're like many businesses I see who either don't take action on surveys or their action is perceived by employees as inadequate, or it's taken too long to take action after results are in

My best advice is to stop doing your survey, because your inaction is a major contributor to employee disengagement!

Wednesday 8 February 2017

The meaning of value

Two short talks (about 25 minutes each) that you can access here by Brian Eno and Yanis Varoufakis about the meaning of value are worth your time and energy.

Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

My thoughts on listening to the above talks:
Price is quantifiable whereas value is something we determine.
The relationship we have with a person, group of people, as well as with things, largely determines our perspective of value.

An interesting conversation between Eno and Varoufakis in the Guardian here.

Value delivery in your organisation in my view is a consequence of how well employees feel valued and live your values. Valued, Values, and Value are a consequence of your leadership, management, and culture.

Assuming your product/s and service/s are what people value, and that you have sound financial systems in place, the future success of your business is all about your capability as pictured below.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

“The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.”
― Coco Chanel

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”
― Oscar Wilde

Monday 6 February 2017

The 3 key benefits of leaving the distracted masses and joining the focused few

In the third last paragraph of this wonderful book Cal Newport says "To leave the distracted masses to join the focused few, I'm arguing, is a transformative experience."

Cal won the argument with me. Studying and applying this book has for me been transformative.

Early in this book Cal says: "A deep life is a good life." I agree.

For me the quest to live a deeper life began 5 years ago when I set a goal to travel for business less, and to do meaningful work with less clients while working from home, or being with people no more than an hour and half from my home.

My journey experienced a high note while working with two of my mentors who recommended the book 'Essentialism' This book articulates the concept of 'less but better.'

Integrating 'less but better' into my personal and business life helped me to do more valuable work with my clients.

Integrating 'Deep Work', in my own best way, has enabled me to increase my value even more.

"Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate."

"Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world, and are easy to replicate."

3 key benefits of doing deep work and less shallow work

1) More time and energy to do meaningful work that's rare and highly valued by other people.

2) Less distraction and therefore more joy in the moment.

3) A new and vital understanding of attention and that our brains construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to.

What I witness in most workplaces is that many people are distracted more often than not. (the misuse and abuse of smart phones and email, and addiction to social media are three key ways we get distracted).

Distraction means that the most valuable work is not getting done.

A consequence is that value required is not being consistently delivered.

It follows therefore that the value of the business is far less than it should be.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

"A commitment to deep work is not a moral stance and it's not a philosophical statement - it is instead a pragmatic recognition that the ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done."
Cal Newport

Friday 3 February 2017

The significance of who with, where, and when and why of sharing your stories

It's been said that "stories are the fabric of culture". I couldn't agree more.

Who you share your stories with, and where, and when and why, really matters.

First place is home. I regret that during my corporate career I never shared enough stories at home. Fortunately my wife was willing to share her story and I was able to make amends.

Who will you become? What will you do next? to be more of a hero in your own home?

Second place is work. Our ability and willingness to have candid and convivial communication and conversions at work, and that include the sharing of stories, are fundamental to being human at work which is foundational to co-creating a culture where people feel valued, live values, and deliver value.

Who will you become? What will you do next? to be a more candid and convivial communicator and a story-sharer of significance in your workplace?

Third place is everywhere else, yet in particular those places where we gather with other people where we share a sense of belonging and a shared-view about what really matters in our lives.

Who will you become? What will you do next? to become the best story-sharer you can be in the third places that matter.

Two suggested powerful actions

1) Get these books and learn, unlearn, and relearn. There's links to each one below.

The Leader's Guide to Storytelling

The Presentation Coach

The Naked Presenter and Presentation Zen


TED Talks

Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work

The Hero With A Thousand Faces

What's The Story?


2) Get a coach/mentor

Through my membership of the Global Speakers Federation I know or know of many of the best speaking/presenting coaches/mentors. If you'd like a referral to someone near you please call me on +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

There must be dissent otherwise poli-tics reigns

When I googled the definition of politics I found the following (bold mine)

1. the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.

2. activities aimed at improving someone's status or increasing power within an organization.

Not a lot of difference between Robin’s satire and the actual definition!

'More Misleading Mischief' by Richard Hames, which you can read here, contains the following:

“Recent research from the University of Southern California proves conclusively that those in power will ignore irrefutable evidence and rational arguments for change if the information provided does not accord with their own beliefs."

'True Leaders Believe Dissent Is an Obligation' is an insightful Harvard Business Review article by Bill Taylor. You can read it here. I think it's also a rallying cry you must act on to guarantee your future. Note this from the article:

"... the best leaders I’ve studied — executives and entrepreneurs who have created enduring economic value based on sound human values — recognize and embrace the “obligation to dissent.” Put simply, you can’t be an effective leader in business, politics, or society unless you encourage those around you to speak their minds, to bring attention to hypocrisy and misbehavior, and to be as direct and strong-willed in their evaluations of you as you are in your strategies and plans for them."

I believe that politics as we've known it is over. Trump, BREXIT, and emerging right wing extremists in main stream politics are the trend. I hope they don't become the norm. I don't believe they will.

For further reflection there's a very insightful article here by respected journalist Peter Hartcher contrasting the difference between China's President Xi Jinping and Trump.

A study of left and right wing politics is an interesting one in itself. Here's an example.

The most stunning example of poli-tics I've heard lately is the words of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, as quoted by Yanis Varoufakis in this interview with Philip Adams "When the going gets tough we know we have to lie. We know what to do, just not how to do it and get reelected."

I see left, right, and centre, and all persuasions in business too! And yes I hear appalling language like the quote above.

You need dissent in your business, I prefer to call it candid and convivial communication and conversation, otherwise wilful blindness will find a way to negatively impact your culture and thereby your results.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.