Friday, 20 September 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part seven - culture

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the final in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring culture.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

Here's the Purpose post and podcast.

Here's the Strategy post and podcast.

Here's the Execution post and podcast.

Here's the Progress post and podcast.

I’ve been referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Culture

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.) I have always loved Michael’s definition.

Typically culture is described as "the way we do things around here." I believe this is only part of the story. Who we are as human beings precedes what we do, hence my mantra ‘who before do.’ 

My friend and colleague Steve Simpson created a concept called UGR’s i.e unwritten ground rules.

I very much align with Steve and refer him to my clients where appropriate.

I believe that the key to culture is agreeing to a set of behaviours that demonstrate how we live our values.

Lately I notice conversations about so-called 'traditional values' have entered the mainstream, particularly through religious and political leaders, yet also by citizens in reference to them. I find this all ironic given both religious and political leaders as a generalisation have a lot to answer for when it comes to not living their values!

Most organisations have values described in single words. Only the most remarkable have agreed behaviours about how their words are lived.

Action 

Over time and involving every member of your team turn your values (those single words) into virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards”).

Below are two examples from Netflix and a small Australian organisation The Physio Co that was voted 7 years in a row as a top 50 best place to work.

At The Physio Co one of their values is Be memorable Behaviour wise this means:


At Netflix one of their values is Communication. Behaviourally for them this means:

You listen well instead of reacting first, so you can better understand

You are concise and articulate in speech and writing

You treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you

You maintain calm poise in stressful situations.

Your turn. Your work will lead you to what Dov Seidman calls sustainable values which will set you apart from most organisations who only have situational values.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Real leadership is childlike, never childish

You can download this post as PDF here.

“Four year olds speak the truth.” This is one of many great reminders about how to be in the world from the wonderful television series on ABC TV Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds. You can watch the show here.

We need more childlike leaders.

What we’ve got is a lot of leaders, particularly political, religious and business figures whose behaviour is often childish. You know who these people are of course because you scratch your head, raise your eyebrows and/or just sit there with your mouth open like I do!

God forbid you may even have some of these clowns in your workplace.

The TV show demonstrates delightfully that four year olds don’t just speak the truth, they are also candid, curious and caring all at once.

We need leaders living these characteristics out loud, and desperately. There’s a planet to save and peace to be made for goodness sake.

Behaviour is so childish across the political spectrum that I’ve gone on a quest on Twitter to help bring in #grownuppolitics. This is a work in progress.

In business for over 30 years I’ve been helping leaders see and bring the best out in themselves and other people. Truth, candour, curiosity and caring are all essential to see and bring out the best in people.

And then there’s love.

One of my favourite authors Steven Farber has just released his book 'Love is just damn good business'.

His title is a fact in my experience that more and more people are embracing. You?

I find people need to feel valued, then fulfilled, before they can feel loved.

People feeling valued

In remarkable organisation’s there’s a strong, unbreakable bond between people feeling valued, living values, and delivering value. Remarkable is rare.

Most organisations have stated values. Very few are lived. Rarely is there a shared-view around the behaviours that demonstrate your values. Of course if you are the exception rather than the rule you have competitive advantage.

To help your people feel more valued, your first step is to agree with them about what your values are.

There must be alignment between personal and organisational values. Any disconnect means trouble. The good news is that there are many universal values. The second step is crucial, it’s about reaching a shared view with your people about what behaviours mean you live your values. Learn more about shared-view here.

With the above as a foundation you can accurately determine and agree on what value must be delivered to all the stakeholders of your organisation. Delivering value to others that they demand, desire and feel that they deserve is fundamental to helping people to feel valued.

Living values and delivering value pave the way for appreciating people which is also fundamental in helping them to feel valued.

The eminent psychologist and philosopher William James famously observed:

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

There are many simple and common sense actions for expressing your appreciation to your employees. All of them contribute to them feeling more valued.

Here are just a few
Catch people doing things right and doing the right thing.
Give people genuine compliments.
Informally and formally celebrate with people what is going well for them.
Always say please and thank you and mean it.
Be courteous and kind.
Share stories about the successes of your people.
Be compassionate.

A further simple yet profound way to help people feel valued is to find out what is really important to them and then help them to achieve whatever it is.

The more people feel valued, the more they will deliver value to others, and the more they will live the behaviours of your values. You can see why I say that there ought to be a strong, unbreakable bond between values, value and valued.

People feeling fulfilled

I love the word fulfilled because of what it means “satisfied or happy because of fully developing one's abilities or character.”

There are some great synonyms for fulfilled as well like “realized, carry through, accomplish, execute, carry out.”

The number of employees you have who you could say the above about I guarantee that your business results are a direct reflection.

Often when I begin change initiatives with organisations I interview the leadership team and the people that report to them to get a sense of who is willing and able to change. I end up with a rule of thumb assessment of where people are at in the following four categories:

I then dig deeper checking the vital signs of employees feeling fulfilled or not.

I am particularly interested in employee turnover and why people are leaving and staying. I also want to know the amount of time leaders are spending trying to sought out so-called people problems. Low employee turnover is a sign employees feel fulfilled. The less time leaders are spending trying to solve people issues is also a sign.

I then dig deeper still. I want to know what the majority of people feel and think about the following three statements:

We understand the defining moments in people’s lives and help them to bring the lessons learned in these moments to their work.

We are aware of and have continual conversations with people about what really matters to them.

We help people identify what is special about them, their unique gifts/talents, and then make it simple for these gifts/talents to be enhanced.

If I find that less than 90% of the time people feel these statements are true, then I know that the organisation has got work to do.

Once I have done my investigative work as described above I design a program with my client to close performance gaps.

The outcomes of such programs are directly and indirectly connected to increasing the number of employees who are fully alive.

Fulfilled human beings are spiritually alive, emotionally healthy, mentally alert, physically active, and universally aware.

The above diagram is from book Remarkable Workplaces. You can download it along with my other books and resources, all from the one PDF file here. 

Imagine even just a small increase in the number of your employees feeling more alive!

People feeling loved

Most people live in fear.

Most people are frightened of being hurt. 

Most people fear they won’t be liked if they take a certain action. 

Most people fear losing. 

Most people fear the possible consequences of naming the elephant in the room - the obvious truth that is being ignored or going unaddressed.

I drew a laugh one time when someone in a meeting asked me for my thoughts. Without referring to anyone in particular I said “I can’t speak at the moment because the elephant in the room has got her foot on my throat.”

After the laughter died down and a long silence, the person we probably all least expected had the courage to finally name the elephant. Everyone felt better straight away.

I notice over and over that when fear is named it vanishes or at very least we feel able to confront it.

If you want to help people enhance their gifts/talents and to bring their best to their work then we must help them, support them, encourage them to face their fears.

The opposite of fear is love.

The Ancient Greeks had four words for love. You no doubt know two - eros (romantic love) and agape (love in a spiritual sense). The third is storge, meaning natural affection like parents feel for their children.
The fourth, philia, is the one I find the most insightful for our workplaces. 

Philia is often translated as affectionate regard or friendship. We need more philia in our workplaces.

I find it simple (not always easy) to have affectionate regard for people because I know everyone of us is a one-of-a-kind human being. Only the hardest of heart can’t not love a one-off.

When there is affectionate regard or friendship in our workplaces better performance follows. 

Usually in my experience very, very quickly.

In Q & A sessions that follow a lot of my presentations I often break the ice by asking people what they are passionate about. The most common answer is family. I then go on and ask the following four questions:

1. What makes great families great?
2. What do great parents do?
3. What do great life-partners do?
4. What do you notice about siblings who really get along?

Whatever the answers I then ask: What would happen in your organisation tomorrow if you began to apply the principles behind your answers?

I leave you to answer these questions and then apply the principles behind your answers in your workplace. 

Improved performance will follow your actions I promise.

“Love drives out fear” say many of the ancient texts in all sorts of ways.

“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” 
From the film ‘Strictly Ballroom’.

Helping people to feel valued, then fulfilled, and ultimately loved is grown-up work. The great paradox though is that being grown-up still requires us to tap into the key characteristics of our being a four year old, speaking the truth, and being candid, curious and caring.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 16 September 2019

Forging partnerships to create a tipping point in sustainability

This is a wonderful interview by David Lancefield and Jeremy Grant from strategy+business with Paul Polman the former Chief Executive of Unilever.


In this are a great deal of insights about how to lead a 21st century purpose driven company that is good for all stakeholders including our planet.

Some of Paul's words that I particularly like:

The average life span of a publicly traded company in the U.S. has dropped during my lifetime from 67 years to 17 years. I think one of the main reasons for that has been the myopic focus on shareholders and the increasing short-termism that has crept in.

Some companies have tried to compensate for their own successes by moving somewhat into corporate social responsibility or philanthropy and other things, but ultimately this all falls into the “less bad” category, and clearly we are beyond the point that the world can afford that. So companies need to think hard about having a positive impact.

If they do think about these models, then their development agenda is one of opportunity, and there is probably a bigger market out there waiting for them. And, actually, a very profitable market. Getting companies into this shift in mind-set from moving from CSR to what I call RSC — the “responsible social corporation” — is perhaps a big step, but very rewarding.

... keep it simple, in human language, from being a net taker to a net giver. Some people think greed is good, and some in the financial markets even more so. But generosity always wins long term.

Companies are a mere reflection of the human beings that make up that company. There is no reason companies can’t be more human either, and we somehow forgot that. Bringing companies back to humanity is what business leadership is all about: making positive contributions, trying to do that little bit more every day. This guarantees not only your company’s long-term reason for being, but also your financial success.

If you were coaching a new CEO in a large organization, what would you tell her or him to focus on first?


POLMAN: Fortunately, I come from a part of the country in the Netherlands where we keep both feet on the ground. So my first advice would be: Be a human being.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 13 September 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part six - progress

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the sixth in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring execution.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

Here's the Purpose post and podcast.

Here's the Strategy post and podcast.

Here's the Execution post and podcast.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Progress

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.

In the 1990’s one of my clients was a train builder. I remember the whiteboards in the factory where about 300 people worked. Each whiteboard showed each team where they where at with their piece of the build.

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

This was taken to a whole new level in 2011 when Teresa Amabile and her husband Steven Kramer published their book ‘The Progress Principle’, which was rated by Harvard Business Review as the breakthrough idea of 2010’s.

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 statement by William Bruce Cameron in 'Informal Sociology' published 1963:

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Making progress in meaningful work visible takes the old ideas of lead measures and KPI’s to a whole new level.

As an 18 year old my boss came to me one day complaining my sales were down on expectations. I complained I didn’t have enough prospects. He spun on his heels and left my office only to return 5 minutes later with a phone book.

Slamming it down on my desk he said “There are plenty of prospects in there!” He then went on to explain to me that all the prospects in the world matters little unless they are qualified.

He further explained that qualified prospects was a lead measure meaning if I had a certain number at any given time I would almost be guaranteed the number of sales I needed. I could increase the likelihood of sales even more he told me if I kept appointments (another lead measure) with a certain number of qualified prospects every week.

My boss was right, and understanding lead measures matter more than lag measures has stood me in good stead all my life. It means I am never worried about or in fear of the future providing I am doing what I know works for me in the now.

The world right now is attached to outcomes or lag measures. The economy is an outcome. Profit is an outcome. What really matters is progress that is meaningful.

‘Technology vs. Humanity The coming clash between man and machine’ by Gerd Leonhard and ‘Everybody Matters The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family’ by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia, are two of the books on my top 21 recommended business books.

Of the many great take aways from ‘Technology vs. Humanity’ the concept of "key human indicators" as a far better way forward than the traditional and tired KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) got me very excited and led to a lot of thinking about how I can best integrate the concept in ways that benefit my clients.

Of the many great take aways from ‘Everybody Matters’ " ... process must serve the people not the other way around ..." was a favourite and also resulted in a lot of thinking about ways my clients could benefit.

An appreciation of both “key human indicators” and “process must serve the people” are keys to making progress in meaningful work visible.

Action

What are you currently doing in making progress in meaningful work visible?

What improvements will you make?

Please considering the following:

“Post-industrial business is about doing meaningful things with meaningful people in a meaningful way.” 
Esko Kilpi

Machines will soon do most of the algorithmic work, the simple, routine, and repetitive.

This means you have a great opportunity to be remarkable and to do work that is meaningful for you and highly valuable for others.


Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Before you consume, create

This is a great conversation between Bernadette Jiwa and Seth Godin.

Seth Godin : What we need to do now from Bernadette Jiwa on Vimeo.

Seth's comment towards the end is a great insight into being in the world today - "Before you consume, create."

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 9 September 2019

Dealing with distraction in this digital, data dominated age

“Whenever a new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counterbalancing human response…We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human nature.”
John Naisbitt

The above is quoted in this excellent piece 'Distracted: A Manual for Living a Creative, Productive, and Happy Life In the Digital Age', by Brian Solis.


I highly recommend diving deep into his article and taking action in your own best way.

"What we also need is a manual for living a modern lifestyle, one that sheds dated concepts and shares what it’s like to be mindful, aware, analytical and creative, what getting back to the best parts of an analog life combined with new digital capabilities looks like."
Brian Solis

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian


Friday, 6 September 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part five - execution

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the fifth in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring execution.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

Here's the Purpose post and podcast.

Here's the Strategy post and podcast.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Execution

I observe 3 major reasons why most strategies don’t get executed according to plan.

Number 1: The people responsible for executing strategy haven’t been involved in the creation of the strategy and therefore don’t understand it and/or don’t own it.

Number 2. Each employee doesn’t their own piece of the execution plan documented. 

Number 3. Once plans are documented they are not referenced frequently in ongoing conversations about performance.

I gave you an immediately implementable solution to number 1 in last Friday's podcast and blog post. Today our focus is on number 2 and 3.

Strategy is your compass. Execution is your map. And every employee needs their own piece of your map.

When I was a boy I was always fascinated to watch my Grandmother Ruby Sherriff making quilts.

She would have individual pieces all over her house and then one day she would magically stitch them all together.

Each piece individually crafted yet only in all it’s glory when stitched together.

When everyone's piece is stitched together you have your execution plan. Not a strategic plan, an execution plan. This is where many organisation suffer. They have a strategic plan not an execution plan.

The best way that I know of for employees to create their piece of your map is one page plans. I call them performance possibility plans. At the bottom of this page you can download a template, my own plan and a blank for you to get started.


The best format I’ve co-developed with my clients over the past 30 years is to use the seven areas of shared-view as headings for your one page plans.

Reality, Possibility, Purpose, Strategy, Execution, Progress and Culture all on just one page

Imagine all of your employees owning their piece of the execution plan that is a part of your giant quilt map.

You can begin today. Check out my plan and the template at the link and get started.

Then the key to success is to use people’s performance possibility plans (PPP's) to focus conversations about performance. Once you are in the habit of doing this you will soon see performance improvement regardless of how good your current performance may be.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Human capitalism

I love the article 'Humanity is more important than money — it’s time for capitalism to get an upgrade' by Andrew Yang.

Andrew proposes the following:

Human capitalism would have a few core tenets:
1. Humanity is more important than money.
2. The unit of an economy is each person, not each dollar.
3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values.

In your business how well are you valuing humans? How could you do better?

In what ways could you help your market to better serve our common goals and values?

Please craft your actions from the above and also with my previous post about tomorrow's capitalism and my 12th August post 'Three female Prime Minister's leading the way in prioritising well-being.'

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 2 September 2019

Tomorrow's capitalism

Today's capitalism isn't working.

The folk at Volans, led by one of my heroes and creator of the triple bottom line John Elkington, are doing something about this. Read all about their tomorrow's capitalism inquiry.


Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian


Friday, 30 August 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part four - strategy

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the fourth in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring strategy.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

Here's the Purpose post and podcast.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Strategy

Most organisations have a lot going on. What I observe in most is that there seems to be no guiding light or compass. This is strategy.

Of course many organisations have strategic plans. Mostly they make interesting reading and yet rarely get executed. You’ll find them on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.

I have had to read 100’s of strategic plans over my three decades as a business advisor and mentor, and for a few years I helped to create them.

In the past decade I have partnered with my clients to separate determining strategy from the plans to execute it. I agree with Alan Weiss that strategic planning is an oxymoron!

The great writer Ernest Hemingway thought the following were six of his best words: For Sale: Baby shoes, Never worn. 

Inspired by Hemingway, my friend and colleague Kwai Yu, founder of Leaders Cafe, asked the following question on a LinkedIn discussion: Who are you? Could you tell the story of you in six words? 

Kwai received hundreds of extraordinary responses which inspired me to think about a way I could best teach people about strategy!

I now work with my clients to help them describe their strategy in 6 words, at the most in a sentence.

Could you describe your strategy in 6 words? 

Strategy is the reference point from which we make all decisions about our future direction. It is the guiding light. Tactics are about the what, who, and when. We confuse them at our peril, and to have tactics with no clear strategy means we are going somewhere, however most likely not to the place we really want to go.


My own strategy is:

High value relationships lead to valuable clients.

This guides everything I do. I consider strategy to be the compass that guides our decisions and execution the map.

Imagine if you asked your employees: What is the company’s strategy for moving forward?

And they could give an answer in a sentence that they believe in!

And imagine too if they had their piece of the execution map on one page.

Well you can make both these dreams comes true. Next Friday I’ll be looking at execution plans on a page.

Recommended Action

For now take your team aside for 20 minutes and ask them to write your strategy in a sentence, compare their insights and then together create your one sentence.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

PS If you’d like some help please give me a shout. My number is +61 418 807 898.

PSS The folk at six word memoirs are doing some great stuff too.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

24 innovation conversation essentials with Peter Milligan

Welcome to another conversation with my friend and colleague, psychologist Peter Milligan. This time I explore with Peter one of the seven meetings I believe actually matter - Sparkenation Conversations (Everyday Innovation). You can download the slides here.



Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 26 August 2019

I'm greatly inspired by Richard Flanagan's six sentences of hope

In a wonderful article a great Australia Richard Flanagan, "considered by many to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation", suggests 'Six sentences of hope: defining a unifying vision in the face of the climate crisis.'

I highly recommend reading his article and taking action in your own best way.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 23 August 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part three - purpose

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the third in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring purpose.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Purpose

Most people are pushing to grow their organisations.  Social media is a great example where it seems everyone and their dog is pushing their products/services.

Pulling is simpler and more attractive.  And nothing pulls like purpose particularly if you are pulling in a clearly defined niche or niches.

A lot of people still think that profit is the reason for being in business.

In the 21st century having profit as the reason for the existence of your organisation is a recipe for going broke.  And it is a sure sign of pushing.

Profit is not a reason for being in business, never has been.  Profit is a result of being good at business.

When I made this statement to a group of CEO’s in 1992 there was laughter in the room.  No thinking person is laughing any more.

Are you confusing reason with result?

And are you pushing or pulling?

Making a profit is one measure of being successful.  There is nothing evil about profit.  If profit is your reason though it drives you and confuses your customers/clients. As Simon Sinek exclaimed in a great book Start With Why “people don’t buy what we do they buy why we do it.”

Why do you do what you do?  What is your reason?

Reason is another word for purpose.  There is power and pull in purpose.  It draws people like a magnet to us.

Randy Gage’s great book 'Risky is the new safe' is on my recommended reading list.  Randy refers to a leading expert in the field of purpose Ian Percy Ian is a great man whom I have had the pleasure of meeting and hearing speak. Ian says “You can’t have peak performance without first having a peak purpose.”

What is your peak purpose for doing what you do?

There’s two actions I recommend to zero in on your purpose or the purpose of your business

Randy proposes three great questions to help us find our true purpose.

“What do I love?
What makes me cry?
What is the injustice I want to right?”

What would be your answers to these questions?

The second action I recommend is to use a technique known as the ‘five whys’. 

Start by answering the question What do we do? Then ask Why? several times.

In a great book ‘Scaling Up’, Verne Harnish and the folk at Gazelles suggest “keep asking until you get to your version of “saving the world” and then back up one step.”

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

FYI very recent happenings:

"For more than two decades, the influential Business Roundtable has explicitly put shareholders first. In an atmosphere of widening economic inequality and deepening distrust of business, the powerful group has redefined its mission."
article by Alan Murray

Excellent response to the above by Bob Chapman, CEO and Chairman, Barry-Wehmiller an co-author of one of my favourite 'Everybody Matters.'

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The trouble for and with western leaders

Many western male leaders, most notably Trump, and closely followed by Morrison here in Australia think either/or or yours or mine whereas people like President Xi from China thinks both/and and are looking for ours, more than yours or mine.




From my observations Trump is bad for both America and the world. His trade wars being a prime example of his failure to understand how Eastern leaders think and work.

This 'Trump-Xi…. Avengers Chess – the endgame' piece by David Chin provides excellent insights.

I'm grateful to David Thomas for referencing the above article in one of his daily China Bites which I find an excellent source for understanding China and the East in general.

In a recent China Bites David highlighted the most likely event that the next person to walk on the moon will be Chinese. Vice-President Pence (just as bad if not worse than Trump in my view) in a recent address just talked about America in space and never mentioned anybody else!

Clearly Trump and Morrison and many other male Western leaders are driven by self-interest and are therefore placing their nations in a position of doing less than what is possible in our relationships with Eastern countries.

Either/or thinking and actions in your business is a recipe for disaster right? Only finding ours (shared-view) actually works.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 19 August 2019

The essential skills for doing personally meaningful, highly valuable for others work

This is the new world of work as I see it.


My belief is that as machines take on more and more of the algorithmic work - the simple, routine and repetitive, the more opportunity we humans have to be remarkable and to do work that is meaningful to us and highly valuable to other people.

In a wonderful book Technology vs Humanity (see my review of this book here) Gerd Leonhard refers to this as andorithms "those qualities that makes us human" have more meaning than algorithms.

Embracing this in your own best way is a key to every human's happiest future.

Each of us needs to decide what skills we need to thrive in this new world. There are many to choose from.

Here's some from Seth Godin. Original post of his

"Discipline, rigor, patience, self-control, dignity, respect, knowledge, curiosity, wisdom, ethics, honor, empathy, resilience, honesty, long-term, possibility, bravery, kindness and awareness.

All of these are real skills, soft skills, learnable skills.

But if they’re skills, that means that they are decisions. A choice we get to make. Even if it’s not easy or satisfying in the short term.

These skills are in short supply sometimes, which makes them even more valuable."

I liked this blog post from Mark Hodgson about new world of work skills. Here's Mark's list:

Influence, Communication, Creativity, Agility, Resilience, Proactivity, Teachability, Curiosity, Empathy, Collaboration, Vulnerability, Humour, Humanity, Self-leadership.

In his wonderful book Metaskills Marty Neumeier says that the following are the 5 most valuable skills you will need to thrive in the new world of work. More about Marty's book here.


In another wonderful book (learn more about it here) Geoff Colvin suggests the following as the 5 most valuable skills of the 21st century: empathizing, collaborating, creating, leading and building relationships.


What 5 skills will you choose as your must have's for you to thrive in the new world of work?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 16 August 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part two - possibility

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the second in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring possibility. Here's Reality post and podcast.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Possibility

According to quantum physicists we live in a world of infinite possibility. I see this truth in my own life every day. i'm sure you do too. We are barely scratching the surface of what’s possible in most of our endeavours.

In last week’s post/podcast we explored how being grounded in a true picture of reality means you are ready to imagine where you can move to.

If you were to let your imagination loose right now and there were no limits on what you could achieve what changes would you make to your goals, ambitions or desires?

My guess is that at least one change would come to mind straight away.

And then reality would check in.

Now you have choices to make.

In the next 90 days what actions can you take that will lead you closer to what you're imagining?

I recommend two actions 

1) Watch and/or listen to the Seth Godin piece on possibility and enrollment. You'll find it here.

2) I recommend my Shifting from reality (what is) to Possibility (What Can Be) exercise. This will help greatly with enrollment.

You will need to have done the Appreciating what is exercise from last weeks post/podcast.

You can view this tool on page 7 of the short paper that I mentioned earlier and which you can download here.


Affirmations need actions or they become just words.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

There can be good come out of the wreckage of neoliberalism and social democracy

This is a great book. I highly recommend it.

Speaking for myself I am deeply disturbed by conservative politics particularly it's self-serving, self-righteousness, and the increasing violence associated with both.

It's the old, very old story of divide and conquer and ruling through fear and hate narrative. It's the tyranny of either/or in all its ugliness.

The ideologies of neoliberalism and social democracy and attempts to combine the two with some new no longer serve us. I doubt they ever did.

We need a new story. Thankfully there are hints of it everywhere.

This book suggests 16 principles for the new political story. Below are the first two:

1. We want to live in a place guided by empathy, respect, justice, generosity, courage, fun and love.

2/ We want to live in a place governed by judgements that are honestly made, supported by evidence, accountable and transparent.

What say you?

Of course these are great principles for a remarkable workplace to right?

This is also a great book. It outlines the flaws in our economic system and what we must do to co-create a new system.

In a conversation with my daughter a few evenings ago (she is in her 40's) she spoke of our need to stop trying to fix the old systems and instead build new ones. I couldn't agree more.

Politics, religion, education, economics, as well as many aspects of business are broken. We need to co-create new systems that truly serve people and help to take care of our planet.

What say you?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 12 August 2019

Three female Prime Minister's leading the way in prioritising well-being

This is a great TED talk from Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon.



Nicola is one of three female Prime Minister's leading the way in prioritising well-being, the other two being Iceland's Katrín Jakobsdóttir and New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern.

In the Opening address at the Wellbeing Economy Governments workshop on May 1, 2019 Katrin said:

Fifty years have elapsed since Robert Kennedy rightly said that GDP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile. Economics is nonetheless still centered on the measurable. We have built an economic model under which constant growth is not only essential, but also considered positive no matter how it is achieved and at what costs. This has led to increased social and economic inequality and an ever-escalating climate crisis. It has left us in a cycle of wasteful consumption where we need to produce in order to get by and we need to consume so that we can produce more. 

The Well-being Economy Governments project differs from this thinking. It entails not only an analysis of the drawbacks of our current economic model, but also a commitment to building an alternative future, focusing on the wellbeing of current and future generations. Sustainability is at the heart of the wellbeing economy. Recent works by scholars, academics and the OECD have been influential in reshaping the way we think about going beyond the GDP; we have seen diversity enter economic thought and increasing numbers of economists point out that economics aren’t a value free zone and economic decisions affect our society and our environment.

What are you measuring in your life and workplace that could give way to a more meaningful way of showing your progress towards your higher purpose goals?

I for one am seeking to help end neoliberalism which is the resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism. GDP is one of the useless ideas from this out-dated way of thinking.

I'm also trying to help end self-interest driven, self-righteous, conservative politics & everything either/or. Think Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the more well known leaders (mistakenly so called I believe) Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.

None of these three men, nor people with ideologies like them are good for our personal nor the world's well-being. Thank goodness for @katrinjak @NicolaSturgeon and @jacindaardern.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 9 August 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part one - reality

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the first in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Most of our troubles, personal, local, organisational, national, and international, are fundamentally based in our perceived need to hang onto the world in here (my view), our issues with the world out there (other people's views), and, our failure to focus more on the world we share (ours).


The exciting news is that when we find and sustain shared-view (ours) we can triumph over all our troubles.

In organisations there are seven areas of significance where sustaining shared-view is paramount to your success:

1. Reality
2. Possibility
3. Purpose
4. Strategy
5. Execution
6. Progress
7. Culture.

These seven areas are also the headings for your plan and co-promises on a page (often called one-page performance possibility plan (PPP). You can download mine and a template at the bottom of the page here.

Today our subject is reality.

Being brutally honest about where we are now is the first step to successfully moving to what’s next. Appreciating what is precedes imagining what can be (possibility).

When you’re completing your own plan on a page I recommend that you seek input from people you trust who will tell you exactly how they see you.

For teams I recommend a powerful exercise be under taken by each team member. Then you combine results into one document for team meeting use.

The exercise is to ask each team member to complete a one page diagnostic with the headings as pictured below. Download the diagnostic here.


You can view this tool on page 6 of the short paper that I mentioned earlier and which you can download here.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

New complimentary resources now available

On August 2nd I completed updates to the PDF that contains links to all my complimentary resources for people wanting to achieve your best results at the least human and business cost.


You can download the file at this web page.

What’s new?

There’s a short action paper on sustaining shared-view (page 4), my new book Remarkable Workplaces (page 5), an upgrade to the what’s worth celebrating/what can be better performance review one-page template (page 8), and a new ebook on meetings that actually matter (page 21).

Please join me on a first Monday online or in person quarterly for conversations about using these resources in your own best way.

You can register for these complimentary events here.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 5 August 2019

Small wins in small games lead to the big results (HT E. F. Schumacher)

It's obvious that many politicians haven't read this book.

If they had and taken appropriate action the world would be a very different place and troubles like poverty, climate change and trade wars, not to mention a broken financial system that causes inequality, would not be keeping concerned citizens awake at night.

I've been very fortunate that my mentors of 40 years ago were savvy in the art of small wins in small games lead to the big results.

I'm glad I paid attention an eventually mastered the art too.

I was also lucky to learn about the true science of quantum leaps and the wonderful philosophy called 'the aggregation of marginal gains.'

My great lesson is that focus on big goals leads to even bigger disappointment. The trick is to be crystal clear on the goal and then focus only on the quantum leaps.

Having a plan and co-promises on a page is how I stay focused. I use the same conversation focusing tool to help my clients stay focused.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

PS Some astoundingly accurate observations from E. F. Schumacher bearing in mind he made them in the 1970's and earlier:

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.

The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Meetings that actually matter part seven - 1:1 check-ins

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the final in a series of 7.

Here's part one about value delivery.

Here's part two about Sparkenation Conversations (every day innovation).

Here's part three about learning and development.

Here's part four Sparkenators, 21st century managers and culture champions.

Here's part five after-action-reviews.

Here's part six integrating new perceptions with what is already working well.

Here's the PDF version of all seven together. There-in are links to each of the podcasts.


Our subject today is 1:1 check-ins

I’ve learned through experience and observation that there are 5 keys to success for 1:1 check-ins:

1. Frequency and Consistency.
2. Candour, conviviality and compassion.
3. Use of focusing tools and proven techniques.
4. Location.
5. Follow-through.

Let’s take a brief look at each one:

Frequency and Consistency

Helps with creating habits.

Habits are what lead us to our best results, let alone our sense of well-being.

Fortnightly or monthly work best for me. You?

Candour, Conviviality and Compassion

Candour is a key to the success of Pixar! And everyone of the successful people I know.

Some people struggle with the bluntness of it and so I find conviviality helps. Some synonyms for convivial: friendly, genial, affable, amiable, congenial, agreeable, good-humoured, cordial, warm, sociable, outgoing, gregarious. We're all capable of these character traits when we're being the best version of ourselves.

Fred Kofman, a leader in the conscious business movement:

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

Use of focusing tools and proven techniques 

One-page plans previously referenced are key.

There are many techniques that you can access via a PDF that links to all my resources.

Location

More than 50% of the 1:1 and group mentoring sessions that I conduct are away from the clients workplace.

Coffee shops, restaurants as well as places where there is privacy are popular.

People love to get away occasionally.

Neutrality of venue often helps self-expression and creativity.

Follow-through

As referenced in learning and development meetings podcast and blog post we know that 50% of success depends on who we become and what we do post an event.

Simply put meetings of any kind without follow-through are a waste of time, energy and money.

Everyone should leave all meetings with what they are accountable for documented and have awareness of what others are accountable for making follow-through more likely and meaningful particularly when follow-through is the norm.

There you have it 5 keys to success for 1:1 check-ins.

What changes or modifications will you make you your 1:1 check-ins?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Dark Emu - the truth about our first people

This book makes you cry at the injustices done to the first peoples here in Australia.

I understand it's a similar story for first peoples in other countries.

It turns out that the first peoples here were not the uncivilised savages we were taught that they were in school.

In fact the truth is the Aboriginals were the civilised ones!

The ways of the Colonists were backward compared to the Aboriginals.

The Colonists quickly destroyed the environment that had existed for 60,000 years plus. They're still doing it and the stench of their self-righteousness lingers.

My loathing of religious dogma and doctrine has increased. As it has for missionaries.

My respect for people able to live their faith without the dogma and doctrine has also increased particularly when they are able to live in harmony with people who do not share their beliefs as well as respecting different beliefs.

“Those preferring to rest an argument on relative morality should examine the religion and morality of Indigenous Australians and then compare it to those who murdered them in the 1800s and those who try to excuse or deny it today.”
Bruce Pascoe in Convincing Ground

"If we look at the evidence ... Aboriginal people did build houses, did build dams, did sow, irrigate and till the land, did alter the course of rivers, did sew their clothes, and did construct a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity, then it is likely we will admire and love our land all the more."
Bruce Pascoe in Dark Emu

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 29 July 2019

Celebrating your own and everyone else's music

Music is a wonderful metaphor for talent or gift. I'm very grateful that I learned this a long time ago as I explore in the short video below.



Sometimes we can't hear our own music and just need to stop and be still and silent until it returns.

Sometimes we're afraid to dance to our own music and need to forget about what other people might think and just go for it.

Sometimes we're so wrapped up in our own music that we can't hear anyone else's. Personal time is essential for well-being yet most of the time we are living our lives with others.

Are you celebrating every day your music/talents/gifts?

Are you celebrating every one else's?

It some times seems like the world is all about either/or. In truth it's never about this or that rather our quest is to fully appreciate difference and live our lives embracing both/and.

As the great jazz musician James Morrison says In order to play well with others we must listen and improvise.

Here's three suggestions for celebrating you own and everyone else's music

1) Choose a theme song for
your life,
your work,
your projects,
your team,
whatever you wish.

Change your theme song regularly to match the seasons or whatever. In your teams and communities let others choose the themes as often as you do.

2) Think about the words of your favourite songs. What was the songwriter feeling and thinking when they wrote the song? What do the words mean to you, your loved one's, friends, colleagues?
Have informal conversations about what the words mean.

3) To further unearth, unleash and enhance your music/talents/gifts what ritual will you build into your weekly, monthly, and quarterly routines to ensure you are always becoming more of whom you are capable of becoming?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 26 July 2019

Meetings that actually matter part six - integration with what is already working

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is part six of 7.

Here's part one about value delivery.

Here's part two about Sparkenation Conversations (every day innovation).

Here's part three about learning and development.

Here's part four Sparkenators, 21st century managers and culture champions.

Here's part five after-action-reviews.

Our subject today is integration of new perceptions with what is already working well for you.

I’m staggered by the number of organisations who invest a lot of money in doing surveys and then do nothing with the results. Data without action is useless data.

I’m equally staggered by the number of organisations who learn new things yet fail to integrate the new with what is already working well.

I do a lot of integration work with my clients. I've learned that integration work must be done well with great care and skill so that no undue stress is placed on your systems and structures and so that people who didn’t participate in developing the new can feel a sense of belonging and have eventual ownership too.

I’ve developed two specific processes for integration work.

Firstly there’s working out who should be engaged in the work. Here's the one-page planner I use for this action and the second action described below.

Once you decided who should be engaged you then hold an execution planning meeting with these people. This meeting ends with the completion of action ready reckoner one-page which you then use for follow-through apprecation and accountability conversations.  

The Action Ready Reckoner's headings are:

Following project management principles are key to successful integration work.

There are accepted principles of project management. The seven areas of significance in my shared-view approach mirror such principles so they can be easily utilised.

The accepted principles are:

1: Vision and Mission. 
2: Personal and Business Objectives. 
3: Standards of Engagement. 
4: Strategy and Execution Plans. 
5: Organisational Alignment. 
6: Measurement and Accountability.

There are also accepted principles of business process improvement that are also key to successful integration work. My top 5 are:

1. It’s all about people and making it as simple as possible for them to bring the best version of themselves to their work
2. Must be performance driven.
3. Change decisions must align to value delivery of all stakeholders.
4. Initiatives must be repeatable and owned by the people doing the work. 
5. All change is in itself a process, not a program.

My recommended action is that you download the one-page planner and get started on your first piece of integration work. 

Of course you would need the details of your latest after-action-review to begin this work. After-action reviews were addressed in last weeks podcast and blog post.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian