Friday 28 December 2018

May 2019 be your very best year yet

I wish you and yours a 2019 that is your very best year yet.

To help you please download my complimentary resources file. Inside are links to all my books and many other resources.

My focus in 2019

Online and in person the focus for me in 2019 is on elevating the value of people, workplaces and communities through #sparkenations and #Sparkenator advising, mentoring, authoring and speaking.

sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal.

I invented the verb sparkenation and introduced it in my 2011 published Changing What's Normal book which contains 58 sparkenations.

The second book in the trilogy, the 2016 published The Appreciative Leader, contains 29 more sparkenations.

Remarkable Workplaces, the final book, (being published in 2019) contains 13 more sparkenations.

In Remarkable Workplaces I expand on the role of Sparkenator first introduced in Changing What's Normal. Sparkentor:  a person who elevates the value of people and increases the value being delivered.

Now available is the first Sparkenator Program.

Be remarkable.

Monday 24 December 2018

Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do

Today is my 65th birthday.

Once turning 65 meant retirement day.

Not anymore.

Certainly not for me.

A prime reason is that I am able to work in the top right hand corner of the diagram below:
I'm deeply grateful for being able to operate from the top right hand corner.

Thank you to all who make this possible. You know who you are. You often feature on my gratitude list.

I write down who and what I'm grateful for every day. I've been doing so for a very ling time as I reflect on here. 

Steve Farber often makes the list for his wonderful insight Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do which comes from his great book The Radical Leap.

Who is on your gratitude list?

How will you stay in/get to the top right hand corner?

Be remarkable.

Friday 21 December 2018

Wherever there is discrimination, democracy and decency are in danger

I'm mystified by many things the Federal Government in my country Australia has on it's agenda. It seems to be hellbent on doing everything it can to make sure it doesn't get reelected.

One thing on their agenda that I am strongly against is a proposed freedom of religion law. In some ways I'd like a freedom from religion law!

I deeply respect your right to have religion as part of your life. You do not have any right though to try and force your beliefs or the dogma attached to them on me or anyone else.

You certainly have no right to discriminate against anyone who doesn't believe what you do. In current Australian laws (Disability, Racial and Sex Discrimination Acts for example) that would be illegal.

On the second page of the Government's response to the Religious Freedom Review is the following:

The Expert Panel that conducted the Religious Freedom Review importantly noted in its
Report that:

“Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a right enjoyed by all, not just those of faith. It protects those who live a life of faith and those who live by other beliefs or, indeed, no beliefs. It protects those who face coercion that impairs their freedom to choose their religion or beliefs. It protects those whose views on faith or belief change over their lifetime. It is not a protection for religions. It is a protection, a human right, for the religious, the non-religious and those who subscribe to other systems of belief.” 

The above being the case says to me a freedom of religion law would be against the spirit of the above.

The proposed freedom of religion law is actually I suspect all about a few middle aged white males who are angry that the Marriage Act now allows LGBTIQ people to get married.

Wherever there is discrimination, democracy and decency are in danger.

I'm very happy to wish everyone Merry Christmas whether you believe in the Christ of Christmas or any other religious figure or not.

We are not our beliefs rather the human beings who have chosen to have such beliefs.

To enable peace and harmony we need to respect all beliefs and stand against any nonsense that would allow discrimination based on beliefs.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

We could do a lot worse than become a people-centered economy

I've just added 'The People Centered Economy to my top 21 recommended reading list.

Download full top 21 list.

I don't like the use of the word economy. The People Centered Society of which the economy is a part would have been great!

Nevertheless I like this book because some of it’s authors are technology guru’s. And in the case of one, Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet.

I mostly like this book because it’s focus is on raising the value of people in stark contrast to what most business leaders are trying to do, lower the cost of tasks.

I think this is a noble cause.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday 17 December 2018

Consciousness - one of 13 Sparkenations of Remarkable Workplaces

Below is Sparkenation 4 in draft 11 of my new book.

Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal.

Download draft 11 and learn more about the book.

Sparkenation 4 Consciousness (part of the section on self-leadership)

In a nutshell

A defining moment occurred in my life as I left hospital following a life-saving operation over 40 years ago. I share my experience via a short video (‘Don’t die with your music locked in you’) at the companion resources web page.

I was to go on and discover that the number one skill of leadership is self-awareness. And the number two skill is awareness of others.

A key to both is unlocking our music i.e. our unique gifts and talents and helping other people to be and do the same.
There’s nothing quite like a human being who is fully alive as we explored in Sparkenation 1.

The five faces (spiritually alive, emotionally healthy, mentally alert, physically active and universally aware) overviewed there are one way to establish that your own and/or someone else’s music is unlocked. I’ll suggest a few more ways in the recommended actions and deep work section of this sparkenation.

Self-awareness and Awareness of others is a pre-curser to genuine empathy which in turn precedes helping others to achieve what’s valued by them as referenced in the Zig Ziglar quote at the bottom of page 16.

The key consequence of ESI (enlightened self-interest) is that you will achieve what you value.

3 recommended actions

Meet with your team to discuss the insights below and to answer the questions.

What Employees Really Want From Employers
(from my research over the past two decades)

Appreciation. The eminent psychologist William James observed: “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
To be held to account via regular, constructive performance feedforward and feedback
Opportunity to master something
Role satisfaction
A feeling that their work contributes to a higher purpose
Knowing that their work is helping them to achieve their aspirations
Open, regular, truthful, information gathering and sharing
Remuneration perceived to be at least equal to effort
Trust and trustworthiness
Happy and healthy working environment
Fairness in all dealings
Hope for the future

How well are you providing your employees with the above?

How can you do better?

Would you add anything to my list?

What Employees Really Want From Each Other
(from my research over the past two decades)

Goal and strategy alignment
Promises kept
Open communication
Understanding of personal needs
Trust, trustworthiness, and confidence
Appreciation, support and encouragement
Sense of family
Acceptance of the merit of ideas
Mutual respect 

How well are your employees providing each other with the above?

How can your employees do better?

Would your employees add anything to my list?

What customers/clients really want

Geoffrey James has sold and written hundreds of features, articles and columns for many publications including Wired, Men's Health, Business 2.0, SellingPower, Brand World, Computer Gaming World, CIO, The New York Times.

Geoffrey believes all customers want the same 12 things, regardless of who they are, who is selling to them or what they’re buying.

In my work over the past 25 years I would concur with every one of these.

They want to feel important.
They want to be appreciated.
They want you to stop talking about yourself.
They want you to stop talking about your firm.
They want you to truly listen.
They want to be understood.
They want to teach YOU something.
They want and need your help.
They want to buy something.
They want you to delight and surprise them.
They want to pretend they make logical decisions.
They want success and happiness.

On a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being remarkable how well are you delivering on the above 12?

How can you and your employees do better?

Would you add anything to Geoffrey’s list?

2) What modifications will you make to your processes (and/or policies, procedures, practices, and systems) to ensure more stakeholders of your workplace are receiving what they want?

3) In your recruitment what tools do you use to help you to uncover people’s unique music/gifts/talents? How will you do better?

Recommended deep work 

1) Seeing people as they can be is the first step to helping people to discover their unique music/gifts/talents.

My ‘You’re Special’ story illustrates how I believe we should see and treat people.

Schedule a session just for the purpose of watching the video of this story at the companion resources web page and answer the following questions:

Share with your team what you feel is special about you and What you love to do that you are good at?

Ask each member of your team to share as you did.

Have a candid, convivial and compassionate conversation about how much you are all doing what you love to do, and that they are good at. How could you increase this?

What processes (and policies, procedures, practices, and systems) would you need to have in place in your workplace to ensure that you and all of your people are continually enhancing what you love to do and are good at?

2) Pay careful attention to defining moments in your life and in the lives of other people.

Defining moments are those times that make or break a situation or sustain the status quo.

From defining moments emerge stories, those we share and those we tell ourselves.

Know the stories you are telling yourself and that other people are telling themselves. To improve performance change your stories and help other people to change theirs.

There’s a back story to everything. When something happens we all play a story or stories we made up and act them out as part of our response/reaction to situations.

Sharing stories and helping each other to change the stories we tell ourselves are not just a key to music/gift/talents enhancement they are also key to developing high value and mutually rewarding relationships because trust is an outcome.

There’s more on music/gifts/talents in the next Sparkenation.

Do Your Work.

Friday 14 December 2018

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Progressives, Conservatives and Smart Cabinets. And Success and Oblivion

I love this protest sign.

It's featured around the world in protests by our children!

Here in Australia recently our kids have been out in great numbers protesting about our Federal Government's lack of action on climate change.

And the reaction from our cabinet ministers, including our Prime Minister, has been dismissive, clearly demonstrating that they are clueless and not representatives of the people.

The Conservatives (read out of touch middle aged and older men) have the power in our Federal Government here, albeit it seems to me that they are in the minority.

Recently these fools got rid of our previous Prime Minister (a progressive) despite their own polling suggesting they could win the next election.

The Federal Government here is made up of members of the Liberal and National Party who both once upon a time were known for being progressive and conservative. Not anymore.

By contrast the State Government in my home state of Victoria, is made up of people from the Labor Party, see my previous post about them. These folk have stolen the progressive ground and will win the next Federal election in a landslide unless they make a big mistake beforehand.

In your workplace you must be progressive and conservative while fully understanding and delivering what all your stakeholders really want. If you're not being and doing this you face oblivion.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday 10 December 2018

60% or less of work time is actually spent productively

Pictured is a snapshot of a great infographic by Atlassian which you can view in full yourself here.

Atlassian's solution to poor productivity of course is their software called 'Confluence'. It might be great. I'm not in a position to comment.

My solution is more common-sense and being better humans. We simply must decide to have less meetings, send less emails, and ensure less interruptions. And instead be better, wiser and more valuable to each other.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday 7 December 2018

Maintaining your attitude of gratitude

You may know that maintaining an attitude of gratitude has been a 40 year journey for me. Read more here.

I write about gratitude often. Just last week reflecting on some great insights from Seth Godin.

So I'm always fascinated by the growing pile of research and experiences that prove being grateful is good for our health, our performance, indeed every aspect of our lives.

There's some great articles linked to in this piece from The Ready about being grateful.

Today my wife features first on my daily gratitude list seeing it's her birthday. She too has been battling a life-threatening illness. She's winning by being grateful and focused on living and being well.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Remarkable questions that demand remarkable answers

I love Seth's latest book.

See my full Amazon review below or read it here.

This book has helped me to further narrow down who I work with, what I do with them and how together we make change happen that is vital to us.

We're all marketers and we can get better.

This book is a great guide.

Be remarkable.

Monday 3 December 2018

Living on purpose and leaving a legacy

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 being held in Ballarat.

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

Much gratitude to Helen Macdonald who presented a wonderful master-class on this topic of living on purpose and leaving a legacy on 28th November 2018 and who inspired the following:

In a nutshell

Our lives are a continuous cycle of living, loving, leading and leaving which result in our legacy.


My quest each year is to be better, wiser and more valuable than I was last year. What's your quest? We have never arrived. Life is a journey not a destination.

A key to living your best life are the laws, proven principles or standards you live by. In the recommended deep work associated with this chapter I share 11 laws that I follow and ask you to take action in your own best way.


We are all in love with significant people in our lives and with certain actions we take in our lives.  

If you know me well you will know that I'm big on being before doing or who before do.

Who do you love? How do you express this love to these people? How could you be better in being in love?

What actions do you love to take?

As explored in The Appreciative Leader, living Steven Farber's beautiful line is a key for me. He said "Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do."

What do you love to do? 

Who loves you doing what you do?

How can you get better are what you love to do?


Our living and loving heavily influence our leadership. Your best leadership style is being yourself, that one-of-a-kind that each of us is. How are you bringing your living and your loving to your leading? How can you be better?


How we live (fertile ground), love (ploughing the ground), and lead (seeding) drive the feelings we leave behind (nurturing). 

Write down how people feel when you leave home, meetings and other regular interactions.

Who will you become more of? What will you do better? so that when you leave anywhere people feel better because you have been with them.


What's the impact you're making? In the master-class Helen Macdonald explored what she calls small l legacy. In other words the zillions of little opportunities that we have every day to leave a big impact.

The actions below are designed to help you to optimise your impact.

3 recommended actions

1) In your daily routines, rituals, habits become more conscious of how you live, love, lead and leave. Make it a practice for the rest of your life to always be making quantum leaps (small yet significant) that mean you're more valuable for others.

2) When you leave the planet what small yet significant actions or behaviours of yours will your loved ones and people you worked with remember the most? Make a list? Keep adding to the list at least once a month.

3) Engage in feedforward with the people closest to you about your impact. Share with them that you want to make a greater impact in small yet significant ways and ask them for two suggestions. Say thank you and take action!

Recommended Deep work

Consider the following 11 laws for leading your best life and take action to integrate them into your own life in your own best way

1. We live in a field of infinite possibilities thanks to discoveries in quantum physics. Taxes, change and death are the only certainties. Your action?

2. An "attitude of gratitude" I discovered through the doctor who saved my life 40 years+ ago is paramount to daily fulfillment Your action?

3. We are the observers and creators of our thoughts as many meditation masters have taught us, therefore we never need to let ourselves be held hostage to our thinking nor anyone else's. Your action?

4. We’re making it up as we go along. Much of life is an ‘imagined reality’. Religion, laws, you name it, we make them up for our own reasons. I recommend Yuval Noah Harari’s 3 books on this topic and more. Start by reading this article. Your action?

5. Life/work balance is nonsense. Life/work harmony is possible which I wrote about in the first book in this trilogy Changing What's Normal. Here's a refresher. Your action?

6. Combining a series of small shifts is the key to significant improvement. Think the true meaning of ‘quantum leaps’ and ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’, as we have already explored. Your action?

7. Systems and processes to achieve your goals are more important than your goals. Your action?

8. Being an essentialist is a key way to live your best life. If you're not familiar with essentialism learn more here. Your action?

9. Thinking about strategy and planning at the same time is a mistake. Strategic planning is an oxymoron. Think about strategy as a compass and your execution plan as a map. Your action?

10. Making meaningful progress visible or the 'progress principle' is a key to being open and honest in reflection and after-action reviews. Your action?

11. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Value is too. And legacy? yep that too. Your action?

Be remarkable.