Friday 31 March 2017

Do yourself a favour and end measuring employee engagement

"What companies really need to measure is not how engaged their employees are, but rather how consistently energized they feel. That means focusing not just on inspiring them and giving them opportunities to truly add value in the world, but also on caring for them and providing sufficient time to rest and refuel."
Tony Schwartz, CEO and founder of  The Energy Project

I read the above in this article that Tony wrote for 15Five. I was drawn to it from this 15Five article and this article by Human Resources Today about their Top 10 human capital trends for 2017. The picture below comes from this article.

All of the above has got me thinking what a disservice we have done all humans by using labels like human resources, human capital, and employee engagement.

When you think about it these labels, and the other dreadful one referring to people as assets, all come from a dead industrial revolution concept that we can treat the earth and people as means to end.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

My hope is that part of your answer is to drop all the BS labels and just treat people as they want to be treated, The Platinum Rule as Dr. Tony Alessandra calls it.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

The powerful purpose of regular personal and business check-ups

A one-off and regular professional service that I provide is a Business Vitality Check-up.

It's a bit like the quarterly in person check-ups I have with my oncologist.

I've been battling the melanoma disease for over 40 years and the check-ups ensure I'm winning the battle.

Using blood tests, PET/CT scans and other tests, combined with the expertise of my doctor and his colleagues, we stay on top of everything that matters. In particular we can spot trouble early enough that it can be dealt with quickly and not be costly in the long term.

One of the biggest benefits is the peace of mind that we're doing everything necessary to win.

The powerful purpose of these check-ups is to “give continuance of life” (vitality). 

In the same way I use proven tools and techniques and my expertise to put your business under the microscope. And I provide you with a succinct report including suggested actions to take to guarantee the long term health and success of your business.

This is my latest tool for undertaking your Business Vitality Check-up.

It's one of several available. You can download them all here.

We choose together the most appropriate tool to best suit your circumstances. I also tailor-make tools whenever appropriate or requested.

To arrange a Business Vitality Check-up or to discuss further please call me on +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

PS If you do not yet have at least an annual personal health check-up arrange it now. You may save your life. At very least your peace of mind will be worth it.

Monday 27 March 2017

I've now rectified last weeks BFBO!

I'm sure that you like me have BFBO's (Blinding Flash of the Bloody Obvious).

My latest was realising that it wasn't clear to people that I provide one-off as well as regular professional services.

I've rectified this now at my website and via the one page flyer (pictured) which you can download here. Most importantly where appropriate in conversation I'm letting people know.

What is it about your product/s and/or service/s your best customers/clients are actually unaware of?

Be remarkable.

Friday 24 March 2017

Is any CEO worth a 100M yearly compensation package?

I know that 100M is a lot of money because during my corporate career I led a business unit of that size. Over 500 people were needed every day to keep that business growing and doing well.

I have a CEO client today who leads a 100M+ business and they employ more than 1000 people!

It's not uncommon today for one CEO to be paid 100M in yearly compensation. Here's a few examples.

Personally I don't believe any individual is worth 100M a year, regardless of how many people the business employs, or even if they've found a cure for cancer.

Why? No-one needs that kind of money personally in my view.

How much is enough for you? 

The synonyms for greedy tell a story - avaricious, acquisitive, covetous, rapacious, grasping, venal, cupidinous, materialistic, mercenary, predatory, usurious, possessive.

The underlying cause of many of the world's biggest problems - greed.

How much is enough for you? 

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Gratitude and Happiness

I've been thrilled and challenged by the number of times that the words of Epicurus below have shown up in my world in the past week.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

These words have been both inspiring and annoying at the same time in the past week, 3 days of which I spent in hospital, for the first day in agony, the second being tested for all manner of things, and the third almost pain free and sent home to recover from the so-called episode.

I did a lot of reflecting when the pain was under control and all I could do was sit still or lie down.

Being grateful for my life, loved ones, and the remarkable people I get to work with was where I settled.

It's a remarkable place to just sit or lie in is gratitude.
Be remarkable.

Monday 20 March 2017

The keys to embracing performance leadership and letting go of performance management

I'm hosting the monthly Appreciative Leader Accelerator online seminar this evening for members of The Appreciative Leader Community and owners of The Appreciative Leader handbook and thought the diagrams below might be valuable for you too.

They overview key performance leadership practices, and the key differences between 21st century performance leadership and the old (dead) 20th century performance management.

More about gifts here.

Be remarkable.

PS Should you like some help with any of the above please give me a call on +61 418 807 898.

Friday 17 March 2017

Catch conflict before it negates your value, values, and feeling valued

My client, whom we will call Mark, and one of his most relied on employees, whom we will call Stephanie, are barely speaking to one another.

This is a sad scenario I see often, one where initial conflict, difficulty or disagreement was small and yet because it wasn't addressed it has now grown into a major barrier to high performance. Of course there's a domino affect too, other people are now involved and unhappy too!

Catch conflict before it negates your value, values, and feeling valued, and, if left unaddressed, your relationship

Step one is to see conflict, or difficultly, or disagreement as a positive sign everything in a relationship is not as it can be. Addressing friction is a grand opportunity to reestablish shared-view or common-ground.

In most of my presentations and master-classes I explore shared-view. You can find out more about shared-view and the seven areas of significance where you must have it in order to sustain a high performance culture here.

Mark and Stephanie had both lost sight of ours and were trapped in yours and mine.

Step two in addressing conflict, difficulty, or disagreement is to use feeling language.

"I feel Stephanie's work is a great gift and so do you." I said looking Mark straight in the eye.

He nodded sheepishly.

"I feel we should explore how your work is being delivered Stephanie." I said looking her straight in the eye.

She nodded sheepishly.

As an outsider not emotionally involved, yet aware enough to pinpoint the actual problem, I was able to facilitate a candid and convivial conversation between Mark and Stephanie that led to restoration of shared-view and their relationship.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Monday 13 March 2017

Your life and work are precious gifts

All my life I've been passionate about gifts and giving.

It all began with being born on Christmas Eve and what became a habit of others in giving me presents. They'd say "This is for your birthday and for Christmas."

For many years at other people's birthday parties, and especially at Christmas time, I resented other kids because they got more presents than me!

Then one day in the school yard during football practice a teacher pulled me aside and told me "You have a gift for reading the play. Never waste your gift."

This experience caused a major shift in my thinking and my attitude - gifts weren't just something given to me by other people, they were also things I already had that were of great value to others.

I was also influenced by a strong philosophy lived by my parents and grandparents, the concept that we are happier giving than receiving. It took awhile for this one to become part of my being!

For a short time in my late teens I studied the Ancient Greek language. I was excited when I learned that the word for gift had a transliteration meaning charisma. 

I also learned that gift was another word for talent, and that talent was inherent, yet also could be learned. Later I was to learn that enhancing the inherent is a key to self-leadership, leading for others, and leading for leaders.

During my time studying Ancient Greek one of my lecturer's proclaimed that "life itself is a gift." This was another defining moment in my life, and when learning about gifts and giving, and applying and sharing my learning, became not just my my passion, but also my vocation.

Here's my 5 key learnings over the 45 years since:

1) Giving without attachment to getting back paradoxically means getting back more than we ever imagined possible

For a long time I struggled with giving my gifts away. I struggled particularly with attachment to getting back, or the feeling that I was not getting back as much as I deserved. Many times I was taken advantage of, and often derided for being too generous.

Eventually I let go of my attachment to what other people do or don't do. I learned I am only accountable for my intentions, feelings, thoughts, actions/behaviours, never other people's.

Today I give everything I've learned that I feel purpose-driven leaders will value away here. I know that a small percentage of people highly value a bespoke/tailored experience and will pay handsomely for it, hence I am able to make a great living as well as give more away.

2) Unleashing and enhancing gifts (your own and other people's) is the number one role of leadership

Enhancing their gifts was a concept I learned from my best friend Terry Jenner and his work with Shane Warne and many other spin bowlers worldwide, that I applied to business. Terry and myself spent many, many treasured hours over 20 years discussing the concept. When embraced by business leaders in your own best way this concept leads to profound performance improvement.

You can read more about this concept here.

To get started unleashing and enhancing your own gifts and those of other people I highly recommend two books. 

You can purchase Sir Ken's books here. They are even more valuable than his great TED talks. 'Element' is his word for gift. In 'Finding Your Element' there's over 50 great questions to discover your unique talent.

If you'd like further help please get in touch with me.

3) Candid and convivial communication and conversations are critical to gift and life enhancement

My mother used to say that I could talk under water with a mouth full of marbles. 

I can tell you that turning my gift for talking into one of communicating and conversing is one I've been enhancing for over 30 years. And I still have a long way to go to be the best version of myself even though a substantial part of earning my living comes from sharing this gift.

Here's 13 ways to be a remarkable communicator and connoisseur of candour.

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios has many great insights into candour.

I was inspired to get the book after watching Ed here.

The video and the book intrigued me because of Ed's insights into and work with candour, a key to the huge success of Pixar and Disney films created through the leadership of Ed and many other people.

Being a connoisseur of candour (a constant work in progress) is a key to all my work. People are sick of spin and BS. Being able to cut through the crap gives my clients and myself an edge.

Being a connoisseur of candour is a one of the eight roles Appreciative Leaders play remarkably well. 

If you'd like some help with being 'connoisseur of candour' please get in touch with me.

4) Every human being is remarkable

The follow is an excerpt from The Appreciative Leader handbook (see above link).


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.

Everyone's birth is remarkable. 

Being born at all is even more remarkable. 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 eggs 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.”

Being an Appreciative Leader is living this purpose and inspiring others to do the same.

2 Possible working on yourself and/or your business actions

1) See yourself as remarkable. Become who you see, one small step at a time. 

2) Help everyone else to see themselves as remarkable and to become who they see.

Remember that many people have forgotten they’re remarkable or haven’t even as yet realised it. 

Therefore you’ll need to inspire and/or persuade some people. For now choose one person and work with them for the next 90 days.

5) Your work is a gift

I was attracted to the video below because of the title and because it was recommended by Bernadette Jiwa whose work on story telling and story sharing I really value.

James Victore is yet another great example of how being true to ourselves is a key to success.

You will enjoy the interview James did with with Bernadette Jiwa as well.

Your work is indeed a gift. Do you see it as such? Do you value it as precious? And are you doing your work for people who truly value it.

A great way to answer these questions is to ask the people you work with what value they want from you, and the best ways to deliver such value to them, and then take action accordingly.

Be remarkable.

PS To apply these 5 key learnings in your own best way I highly recommend embracing the concepts of 'deep work' or 'deliberate practice'.

PSS A synonym for gift is charity which is from the same root Ancient Greek word meaning charisma or 'gift of grace'. There have been many positive advances in charity work in my lifetime meaning that what we give actually gets to people who need our gifts. One of my lessons has been to truly understand that when a lot of people give a little big things can happen. Two great examples are Buy One Give One where I am proud to be a life-time partner, and World Vision where my wife and I have supported one disadvantaged child at a time for decades and yet have been a part of schools being built and all kinds of wonderful work.

Friday 10 March 2017

Reduce costs or increase value?

This is very wise advice from Seth Godin.

I reckon Mr. Buffett would concur.

It's wise to always be keeping a close eye on costs and reduce them prudently. It's wiser still to focus on increasing value.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

The 3 essentials for maximum ROI&I from your leadership development

Highly successful leadership development is essential for the longevity of every business, yet meaningful ROI&I (return on involvement and investment) eludes the vast majority.

In 'Why leadership development programs fail' McKinsey experts Pierre Gurdjian, Thomas Halbeisen, and Kevin Lane, suggest sidestepping four common mistakes can help companies develop stronger and more capable leaders, save time and money, and boost morale.

The four mistakes:
"Overlooking context
Decoupling reflection from real work
Underestimating mind-sets
Failing to measure results."

Through working with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries since 1991, I've seen plenty of evidence of these mistakes, and the necessity to avoid them. They also point to three underlying causes of failure that I've consistently witnessed.

The 3 underlying causes of why leadership development fails and proven solutions to each one

1) Leadership development is seen as a tick-the-box exercise rather than an essential ongoing experience that is integral to personal and business growth.

A. Begin all leadership development design with the purpose of leadership firmly in mind. For me Mary Parker Follett nailed this purpose nearly 100 years ago

B. Ensure unleashing and enhancing gifts (talents) is front and centre.

As a starting place I highly recommend Sir Ken Robinson's books. He is a genius and his books reflect his gifts as much as his most watched TED talks.

You can get the books pictured above here. In 'Finding Your Element' there are many great exercises to undertake to find your element (gifts).

2) There's an attachment to the methodology rather the seeing 'the way or ways' as simply the processes that encourage the journey.

There is no model or methodology that's perfect. Should you be using external experts to help you with your leadership development, and they're attached to their way, fire them. Methods matter, however what really matters is people following proven principles in their own best way.

3) The development is a present time event without appropriate consideration of the past and inadequate follow-through to guarantee desired future.


Books, mentoring, online courses, conferences, coaching, training courses, diagnostic tools, tests, workshops, classes etc., etc., etc., can all have a role to play. The key is the framework within which the tools will be used.

The three primary ways that we learn and develop (our own experience, through other people’s experience, and through formal courses and programs), must be in alignment to fully enable us to bring the best version of ourselves to our work.

70:20:10 is a great framework for leadership development and learning and development in general. The percentages vary of course according to individual situations. For example I have a current client where the percentages are 50:25:25.

Pictured below is slide 26 from an excellent slideshare by Charles Jennings. It is an excellent summary of the framework. Here's a link to the slideshare. There's an amazing toolkit here.

A key to effective use of the framework above is to use it in conjunction with a change process which puts your leadership development into a past, present, and future context, as well as ensuring there is continuous alignment with people's actual work.

Below is my change process. You'll find more about the process, the truth about quantum leaps, and how the process is used when working with you bespoke here.


Leadership development can provide remarkable ROI&I (return on involvement and investment). It is hard work, yet highly rewarding. I accept that I've only scratched the surface in this article however get the 3 essentials right for you and you'll be on your way:

1) Leadership development is an ongoing experience that is integral to personal and business growth. Successful design is grounded in the intentions of creating more leaders, and unleashing and enhancing their (your) gifts.

2) Methods and models are simply processes that encourage the journey.

3) A framework and a change process enable proper consideration of the past,  the most appropriate present learning, and the best possible follow-through to guarantee desired future.

If you'd like some help please give me a call on +61 418 807 898. How we can work together is overviewed here.

Be remarkable.

Monday 6 March 2017

Re-imagining capitalism

There's a lot of common-sense wisdom (counter to current conventional wisdom) in this video interview with one of Britain’s leading and most respected economists John Kay. Global Managing Partner of McKinsey's Dominic Barton adds a lot of value too.

My favourite piece (at about the seven and half minute mark) is when Kay says "Capitalism and markets only work if they're embedded in a social context." 

There's also some great insights into separating corporate donations from politics, CEO salaries, purpose-driven or conscious business, and why human capital is a bad description of human beings.

Another favourite is when Barton, talking about some Canadian wealth funds, where a quarter for them is 25 years not 3 months!

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday 3 March 2017

The very special combination of wisdom and compassion

There's a lot of truth for me in the following attributed to Fred Kofman, a leader in the conscious business movement:

Wisdom without compassion is ruthlessness,
and compassion without wisdom is folly.

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Your most valuable space

One of the most valuable skills I've learned and continue to hone in my public speaking work is the pause.

Long ago my speaking coach David Griggs taught me to never speak while moving on the stage, rather to wait until I was still. Another coach Max Dixon calls the pause 'a beat beyond.'

I've learned that careful and considered short pauses, and sometimes long ones, are powerful ways for engaging an audience small and large. I've also learned that silence is indeed golden.

Yet most of all I've learned the power of the pause in every day life. I believe the pause as Viktor Frankl describes it to be your most important space.

My friend and colleague W. Mitchell says: “It’s not what happens to you.  It’s what you do about it”

Whatever happens to you this week, don’t react.  Instead pause, use the space, and then respond in a way that will likely lead you and others to the best possible future.

The moment something happens it’s the past.  We can’t change the past.  We can respond in the present in ways that determine a better future.

Everything depends on how we use this most valuable space, the tiny moment between stimulus and response.

Be remarkable.