Friday 30 November 2018

Write down what your grateful for every day

The following are some of Seth Godin's thoughts on Thanksgiving. Read more from him and download a special reader.

Not the Thanksgiving of a bountiful Massachusetts harvest before the long winter, the holiday of pilgrims and pie. That's a holiday of scarcity averted. I'm imagining something else…

A modern Thanksgiving would celebrate two things:

The people in our lives who give us the support and love we need to make a difference, and…

The opportunity to build something bigger than ourselves, something worth contributing to. The ability to make connections, to lend a hand, to invent and create.

There are more of both now than there have ever been before. For me, for you, for just about all of us. Thank you.

For me I have thanksgiving every day by writing down who and what I'm grateful for. This is a daily ritual my doctor taught me 40 years ago when I was faced with a life-threatening illness. He taught me about having "an attitude of gratitude" that has served me well ever since in every aspect of my life.
Be remarkable.

As a part of my attitude I choose not to participate in any form of Black Friday sales.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Better, Wiser, and More Valuable

I love the action of having 3 words every year to aid focus which I first learned a few years ago from Chris Brogan who says:

"Every year, at the beginning of the year, choose 3 words that have personal meaning to you that you will use as guideposts for your chosen path forward in the coming year. Make the words such that they influence your choice of actions, encourage you to decide in favor of your goals, and guide you towards lasting results that you want to experience throughout the year."

I've already chosen my words for 2019: better, wiser, valuable.

My words are in alignment with my work with clients which can be summarised in a wonderful insight "the aggregation of marginal gains".

The story of this insight comes from this wonderful book where the author tells the success story of British Cycling and the instigator Performance Director Dave Brailsford. Please read the excerpt from the book about this yourself.

By choosing to be and do just a little bit better, wiser and/or more valuable my clients can achieve their own version of the British Cycling Team's success summarised by James Clear as follows:

"Just five years after Brailsford took over, the British Cycling team dominated the road and track cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where they won an astounding 60 percent of the gold medals available.  Four years later, when the Olympic Games came to London, the Brits raised the bar as they set nine Olympic records and seven world records.

That same year, Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. The next year, his teammate Chris Froome won the race, and he would go on to win again in 2015, 2016, and 2017, giving the British team five Tour de France victories in six years."

The aggregation of marginal gains plays a key role in my new book, the final in a trilogy that I'm currently completing research and writing. You can download excerpt here.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday 26 November 2018

"Say what you do and do what you say"

"Say what you do and do what you say" is the mantra of the Premier of Victoria, Australia Daniel Andrews.

He won a second term two days ago by a record margin.

I've been impressed with Mr. Andrews.

He doesn't play what seems to be the typical political game of attacking people who have different opinions.

Instead he actually does what he says he will.

And he does so with positive and optimistic attitude, appearance and language.

In his 'victory' speech on Saturday evening he said with humility words all real leaders should:

We live our values, we keep our promises and we get things done.

And this statement I want to hear more from leaders everywhere. He said referencing voters "you have rejected the low road of fear and division."

Be remarkable.

Friday 23 November 2018

Want to be remarkable at something? Engage a mentor!

I've been honoured to have been a mentor for over 1000 leaders, women and men, in more than 40 countries since 1991.

I also practice what I preach by regularly engaging mentors myself.

Describing what I do for people has always been challenging. It got a heck of a lot easier after I watched the TED talk below.

What great coaches do (I would say and great mentor's do too!)

"They are your external eyes and ears, providing a more accurate picture of your reality. They are recognizing the fundamentals. They're breaking your actions down and then helping you build them back up again."
Atul Gawande

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

A 'war on talent' is a bad idea

I notice that the phrase 'war on talent' is about the place again.

I think it's a bad idea.

All war is a waste, particularly an unnecessary waste of human life.

And a war on talent I think is a chronic waste of time, energy, and money, particularly when what is spent is usually on the few rather than the many.

The phrase ‘war on talent’ was introduced by some McKinsey consultants in the late 90’s.

The poster child was Enron. Enough said right?!

Good people aren't hard to find. Ensure your current employees feel valued and are able to live values and deliver value. Then they'll be your best source for new employees.

Focus on the many, not the few

If your leaders are getting all the learning what does that tell everyone else?

Instead focus on everyone and particularly those in the middle.

The magic is in the middle. 

In most organisations this is most of your employees. They're doing their job but not much else.

Are you engaged in a so-called war for the so-called top people? or are you focusing on helping the majority of your people do a little better?  Do the math.

I believe lasting success is about talent and effort

This I know beyond any shadow of a doubt - every human is born unique.  

We all have gifts/talents and a one-of-a-kind way of using them. We need to put in the effort to enhance what we were born with and what we learn in our lives.  

The real job of leadership is to inspire and influence people to become all that we are capable of becoming, which Robert Louis Stevenson once remarked is the only purpose in life.

If you are engaged in a war on talent I suggest you stop today. It’s a chronic waste of time, energy, and money.  

Instead invest in enhancing the gifts/talents of your average performers, more than likely the majority of your workforce.  The magic is in the middle!

Who will you become? What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS If you'd like some help please do give me a shout.

Monday 19 November 2018

65 powerful and proven principles to apply in your own best way

This is my latest ebook.

You can download it via page 21 of my complimentary resources file. It's one document that enables your access to all my writings and recordings. Here's the link. Enjoy and take action!

Be remarkable.

Friday 16 November 2018

The three kinds of change in three key areas

I like the insight from Kevin Roberts that there are three kinds of change:


Read Kevin direct.

Kevin says: Great teams, great companies use all three approaches.  The Leader’s job is to ensure the right kind of change is implemented at the right time for the right reasons.

While I agree with Kevin the key I believe is accepting that all change is personal first, relationships second, and organisations a distant third. Maybe 1 in 100 believe this. You?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

The great battle is not good v evil rather self-interest v enlightened self-interest

I recently completed a study of this book.

It contains many great insights. So many I'm begun to read the next two books the author has written since this one, 'Homo Deus' and '21 Lessons for the 21st Century'!

Through reading this book and watching videos like this one I've become a fan of Yuval Noah Harari.

One insight that's really intrigued me is the concept of 'Imagined Order' or 'Imagined Realities'.  This concept highlights that the world's systems, legal, economic, political, business and religious, are all made up by us, for us, and increasingly obvious to me for the benefit of the few rather than the many.

Studying this book has rekindled my passion for standing for enlightened self-interest and standing against self-interest.

Enlightened self-interest

"Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest." Source Wikipedia

Enlightened self-interest for me is simply acting to further the interests of others without attachment, knowing that my own interests will be taken care of as a consequence.

Zig Zigar had a lovely way of putting this

This is very different to self-interest which seems to drive many of our politicians and so-called business leaders who act according to their own selfishness.

All over the world I see self-interest destroying businesses, families, lives in general, and of course, being in the grip of self-interest means we are not yet able to avoid the catastrophes caused by our inability and unwillingness to live in harmony with our planet.

The good news is that I also see productivity and positivity going through the roof, and the changing of what’s normal for the good of people and our planet, when the awesome power of enlightened self-interest is at work. 

In an article almost a decade ago in CSR Wire, John Elkington, one of my heroes, and the father of the triple-bottom line, said:

Properly understood, sustainability is not the same as corporate social responsibility (CSR)—nor can it be reduced to achieving an acceptable balance across economic, social and environmental bottom lines. Instead, it is about the fundamental, intergenerational task of winding down the dysfunctional economic and business models of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the evolution of new ones fit for a human population headed towards nine billion people, living on a small planet already in “ecological overshoot”.

John's dream can easily be achieved. 

We simply reimagine our systems and models and replace the nineteenth and twentieth century ones!

Of course the stumbling block, the barrier, the mountain to climb over is self-interest.

In his 'Sapiens' book Harari walks through key moments of The Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century. More has happened i.e. been invented and imagined in the last 500 years, than at any other time in history.

One of the triggers for this revolution no doubt was the idea of the earth revolving around the sun by Nicolaus Copernicus. Prior to his publication in 1543 the so-called infallible sources such as religions believed that the earth was the centre of the universe.

Questions to consider and act on

Is enlightened self-interest driving you? Could you do more for your world and therefore for yourself?

How many of your actions yesterday feathered your own nest and cost somebody else something they didn’t want to give away?

In your lifetime what have been the ideas, theories etc once accepted as truth that are no longer believed in or relevant?

In your business what 'imagined orders' in the forms of processes, policies, procedures, practices and systems will you reimagine and replace?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS I've been a keen student of what the last 500 years of history has brought us and the consequences for most of my adult life.

Below is a selection of works I recommend in addition to the 'Sapiens' book referenced here.

Here's my full recommended reading list.

Elkington, John; Hartigan, Pamela; The Power of Unreasonable People, Harvard Business Press, 2008

Flannery, Tim; The Weather Makers, Text Publishing, 2005

Friedman, Thomas; Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Allen Lane an imprint of Penguin
Books, 2008

Friedman, Thomas; The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Anchor Books a division of
Random House, Inc. 2000

Friedman, Thomas; The World is Flat, Penguin, 2006

Gerzon, Mark; Global Citizens, Rider, 2010

Gore, Al; The Assault on Reason, Bloomsbury, 2007

Gore, Al; The Future, W H Allen, 2013

Goldin, Ian and Kutarna, Chris; Age Of Discovery, Bloomsbury, 2016

Grayling, A. C.; The God Argument The Case against Religion and for Humanism, Bloomsbury, 2013

Grayling, A. C.; The Age of Genius The Seventeenth Century & The Birth of The Modern Mind, Bloomsbury, 2016

Heffernan, Margaret; Willful Blindness, Simon & Shuster, 2011

Hitchens, Christopher; God is Not Great, Allen & Unwin, 2007

Holiday, Ryan; Ego Is The Enemy, Profile Books Ltd, 2016

Hollender, Jeffrey and Stephen Fenichell; What Matters Most – Business, Social 
Responsibility and the End of the Era of Greed, Random House, 2004

Hollender, Jeffrey and Bill Breen; The Responsibility Revolution, Jossey-Bass,

Hurst, Aaron; The Purpose Economy, Elevate Publishing, 2016

Keen, Andrew; The Internet Is Not The Answer, Atlantic Books, 2015

Kiel, Fred; Return On Character - The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win, Harvard Business Review Press, 2015

Korten, David C; Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth, The People-Centred Development Forum, 2nd edition, 2010

Laloux, Frederic; Reinventing organisations, Nelson Parker, 2014

Leonhard, Gerd; Technology vs. Humanity The coming clash between man and machine, Fast Future Publishing Ltd 2016

Macdonald, Hector; Truth How the Many Sides to Every Story Shape Our Reality, Bantam Press, 2018

McKeown, Greg; essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Virgin Books, 2014

Neumeier, Marty; Metaskills: Five Talents For The Robotic Age, New Rider, 2013

Newport, Cal; Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, GrandCentral Publishing, 2016

Peters, Tom; The Excellence Dividend Principles for Prospering in Turbulent Times from a Lifetime in Pursuit of Excellence, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2018

Pinker, Steven; Enlightenment Now - The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, Penguin 2018

Porritt, Jonathon; Capitalism as if the World Matters, Earthscan, 2005

Raworth, Kate; Doughnut Economics Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist, rh business books, 2017

Sisodia, Raj, Sheth, Jag, Wolfe David B; Firms of Endearment, Wharton School
Publishing, 2007

Yunus, Muhammad; A World of Three Zeros, Scribe Publications, 2017

Monday 12 November 2018

Competency based assessment is only a tiny part of the success story

Competency based assessment has a place however it is a small place compared to all the others pictured.

To improve recruitment, induction, and retention of employees, everyone’s overall well-being, and ultimately of course performance, assess all seven pictured.

If you’d like some help please give me a shout.

Be remarkable.

Friday 9 November 2018

The great story of Change Please Coffee and Virgin Trains

This is a great enlightened self-interest story of big business helping a social enterprise make a big impact in solving a social problem.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Words to eliminate from your business language

I like this article by Eric J. McNulty and the diagram below is from his article.

What words have you/should you ban from your workplace?

I also like Eric's use of the word harmony in his article. I much prefer harmony to alignment or balance. Here's my best example of harmony.

Language is the fertile ground (starting place) for achieving your personal and business purpose and any outcome you desire. When language elevates conversations and conversations enrich relationships the work (transactions and interactions) is enhanced and results take care of themselves.

The model above is a favourite with my clients.

Like some help in applying the principle/s in this post in your own best way?

Choose a presentation/conversation/mentoring package.

Speak with me about a 1:1/group mentoring program.

Speak with me about a mentoring your mentors program.

Be remarkable.

Monday 5 November 2018

When your call is not urgent or important

The tram is jam packed. Some of us are literally hanging from the rafters!

A guy two bodies away from me is oblivious. He's on his so-called smart phone speaking loudly on a call that's obviously not urgent or important.

In my view this guy is rude, ignorant and self-obsessed. What do you think?

A few minutes after I get off the tram a young girl runs into the old lady walking near me because she's glued to her phone. She doesn't apologise or even recognise the older woman.

In my view this girl is rude, ignorant and self-obsessed. What do you think?

A few hours later I'm on the train going home. A middle aged man opposite me never stopped taking or making telephone calls for the next hour. I now know lots about him, none of which is very impressive.

In my view this man is rude, ignorant and self-obsessed. What do you think?

When your call is not urgent or important don't make it. You don't need to be on your bloody phone every waking hour.

According to recent research from Harvard Business School, being always on lessens our effectiveness. Read more.

I gave up on a 24/7 always on world a long ago. I knew it wasn't good for me or anyone else. I choose when to email, when to call, when I do anything. I also choose when to receive calls from others and when to read anything others send. You?

By all means take pictures whenever you like, however please show respect to other people and their privacy. And please don't forget to experience the wonders of life in the moment without your bloody phone.

One of the great joys of life is to ignore electronic devices for as much of every day as possible.

I personally love the weekends because most of the time my electronic devises are switched off and in the cupboard out of sight.

Be remarkable.

Friday 2 November 2018

Making progress in meaningful work visible

I’m currently presenting and hosting a series of master-classes as I complete the writing of this final book in a trilogy.

Learn more about the master-classes held in Ballarat on the fourth Wednesday of every month.

This post is from the content component in the change leadership section of the book.

In a nutshell

For most of my 48 years working life I’ve observed that in the very best workplaces progress towards shared objectives has been visible via scorecards and/or scoreboards of some kind.

When ‘The Balanced Scorecard’ concept began to be adopted from 1996 not only did the pictures get better, so did what was being pictured.

In the last 8 years there’s been a further raising of the bar as the wisest people apply ‘The Progress Principle’ which was rated by Harvard Business Review as the breakthrough idea of 2010.

You can learn more about ‘The Balanced Scorecard’ and ‘The Progress Principle’ via this link.

The key for me about ‘The Progress Principle’ is the insight "making progress in meaningful work visible.”

I’ve never thought much of the idea that what gets measured gets done. I’m much more aligned with the following:

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
William Bruce Cameron in 'Informal Sociology' published 1963.

3 recommended actions

1) Have a candid, convivial and compassionate conversation with your team about your keeping score philosophy.

Ask these questions:

How much is our focus on tangibles or outcomes/results?

How can we get better at focusing on intangibles or processes or routines/rituals, i.e the things that lead to our outcomes/results.

2) Explore the concept "making progress in meaningful work visible” with your team. 

How could you embrace it and make it integral to daily work in your workplace?

3) Use visual formats and processes that the people involved relate to

Beyond traffic lights, graphs, thermometers and the like, what visual formats will you use to “making progress in meaningful work visible,” and that people really relate to?

Recommended Deep work

1) Over time create harmony between Key Human Indicators and Key Performance Indicators.

I first learned the phrase Key Human Indicators from futurist Gerd Leonhard.

I also love Gerd’s idea of androrithms "those qualities that makes us human" having more meaning than algorithms.

In my work with clients the behaviours that demonstrate the living of values are key human indicators. Here’s an example from Jamie Wilson, Sales manager for Victoria, Australia for Haymes Paint:

“In all interactions and transactions with fellow employees and business partners we perform with passion, pride in our work, professionalism, and the highest levels of honesty.”

Key Human Indicators are also the essential skills required to thrive in the new world of work.

Below is a partial list of these skills. What would you add to the list?

empathizing, collaborating, creating, leading and building relationships. Source.

Influence, Self-leadership, Communication, Agility, Resilience, Proactivity, Teachability, Curiosity,
Vulnerability, Humour. Source.

2) The skills referenced above are all critical to value delivery. What other lead value delivery indicators need to be maximised in your workplace.

The format is which people receive what they want is one such lead indicator.

Elements of your customer’s experience when doing business with you are indicators.

I love the insight that it's jobs being made redundant not people. Learn more about this.

Make a list of the jobs that you believe will never be redundant? What you've listed are a key to value delivery.

Being of value is the great quest we're all on. As Einstein put it:

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value"
Albert Einstein

3) Create and execute a plan over the next year to improve your communication, conversations and presentations in general and also about "making progress in meaningful work visible.”

These are the outer ring of the essential skills and attitudes essential to thriving in the modern world. Learn about my unique program where you can improve in these areas in your own best way.

Be remarkable.