Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Overcome These 21 Challenges And You Can Achieve Your Best Results

With the change influenced by distraction, disruption and data I've updated my list of what I see are The Top 21 Challenges Stopping You From Achieving Your Best Results in you workplace.

You can download the list and recommended actions here

1. People are distracted by what’s going on outside of the workplace. Smartphone use is the tell tale sign.

2. People are feeling overwhelmed.

3. Bosses wearing busyness as a badge of honour.

4. Bosses believing their way is the only way.

5. Saying people are your number one priority and then behaving as if they’re not.

e.g.  Profit is actually the number one priority in many workplaces. The talk is that they put people first. The walk says otherwise. There are some business owners and leaders who still don’t get that profit is a result of being good at business never a reason for being in business.

6. Unclear or undocumented decision-making process for major decisions meaning non-transparent decisions (and often poor or inappropriate decisions).

7. Majoring in minors.

8. Thinking that sending people off to a course or to take a class is all that is required to tick the learning and development box.

When there’s no follow-up after the above or no integration of the above with what is already working well for you then likely you have wasted your money and insulted your people.

9. Engaging consultants who tell you what you already know or who willing endorse what the key influencers are saying without questioning their assumptions and premises.

10. Unheeded disruption.

11. Words on walls and/or in glossy documents that proclaim your values and yet in the halls and corridors there is obviously no agreement on the behaviours of how these values are lived.

12. There are processes in existence that make it difficult for people to bring the best version of themselves to their work. (Processes include policies, procedures, practices, philosophies, structures and systems).

13. Leadership hasn’t led to communityship.

 If there’s not an increased sense of belonging by people when leaders leave the room (physically or virtually) then leading is not up to standard.

14. Double standards.

15. Performance ratings and/or appraisals still exist despite overwhelming evidence of their lack of value.

The best time to review performance is immediately after the action. Think what the best sports coaches do. If after-action-reviews are not yet integral to work at your place then begin integrating them today.

16. Performance agreements are not documented.

17. Conversations about performance are focused on the person rather than the problem or the solution.

18. Inequality.

19. Recruiting people to put bums on seats rather than fulfill roles that have been carefully calibrated.

20. Onboarding or induction programs that fail to engage and enable people to literally hit the ground running, bringing their best to their work.

21. Poor or ineffectively considered use of resources - time, energy and money.

The great news is that all of these challenges can be overcome and in 90 days or less. The work required is to change the conversation you and your colleagues are having and then your behaviours. Shifting to new ways of being and doing is simple which rarely means easy

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Download this post and 3 recommended actions for overcoming these challenges.

Monday, 20 May 2019

When all the world is like a jazz band

In the car on the way to Ballarat on 29th April 2019 I listened to The Conversation Hour hosted by Jon Faine on ABC radio Melbourne.

Jon's special guest on this day was jazz musician extraordinaire James Morrison.

I almost had to stop the car when I heard James say "if all the world was a jazz band everything would be cool."

I've heard James play live on a couple of occasions. It is an incredible experience.

He went onto to say in this conversation with Jon and other guest about how listening and improvisation are essential in order to play well with other musicians.

What a brilliant insight into living and work well together.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Designing and delivering meaningful and valuable work

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Connections sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book.

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

In a nutshell

We all have needs, expectations and desires (NED’s). We rely heavily on other people to satisfy our NED’s.

In the modern world the quality of the experience/s through which we satisfy our NED’s is paramount.

To thrive in this new world of work it is essential to design your work so that it is meaningful for you and valued by others and then in the words of Steven Farber “do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.”

3 recommended actions

1) Observe your behaviour over the next week. When are you most doing work that is meaningful for you? 

2) How will you do more of this kind of work?

3) Ask the people you work with for feedforward concerning how you deliver what you do to them and modify your actions accordingly.

Recommended deep work

1) Establish a work group to read and discuss Steve Farber’s great book ‘The Radical Leap.’ 

2) With this group enact the Personal Change Journey and coaching and mentoring models that I first explored in ‘The Appreciative Leader’ handbook and pictured below. Get your copy of The Appreciate Leader handbook from the PDF file you download here

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Being on the right side of history

I'm hopeful that despite last minute lies, misrepresentation and fake news from their allies in the Press that the current government in Australia is voted out big time this Saturday.

I'm hopeful too that the new PM will emulate Jacinda Ardern, in his own best way, and get us back to being on the right side of history.

Watch her 1 minute and 20 seconds video here.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 13 May 2019

An alternative to the so-called fourth industrial revolution

The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution is an idea that I don't believe in.

It's supporters suggest that The First Revolution was when we shifted to mechanised production, The Second when we shifted to mass production, The Third when digital automates at speed, and The Fourth when technologies mean the lines are blurred between physical and digital. Nothing wrong with these descriptors within themselves.

The reason I don't like the terminology is that first through fourth has meant dehumanisation. We are still recovering from the first in this sense!

In my ebook pictured I offer a different perspective by looking at history through ages namely agricultural, industrial, information and purpose.

This ebook is highly practical.

You'll find it a valuable resource for putting humans first and making sure that technology use is such that it enhances the human experience.

You can download the ebook along with all my resources with my compliments, all from the one PDF which you download here.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Making meaningful progress visible

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Connections sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book.

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

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 the companion resources web page to my Remarkable Workplaces book. 

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 "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 in 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 the other Sparkenator roles. Include your being better, wiser and more valuable as a Sparkenator in "making progress in meaningful work visible.”

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

New employees need much more than onboarding

I love this article by Scott Belsky. It's headline 'It’s not enough to hire great people; you need to graft them onto your team.' I agree.

Recruiting/hiring - onboarding - valuing - retaining - succession/departing friends are the five stages of the best employer/employee relationships.

When either an employer or an employee make a mistake in recruiting/hiring it's often not something we recover well from, and yet onboarding is often the weak link in the chain.

Scott puts forward 4 ingredients in his article:
empathy, integration, psychological safety, and communication.

I think all are essential. You?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Self-reflection is a key to consistently being the best version of ourselves

Self-awareness is the number one skill of self-governance or self-leadership. Self-reflection is a key way to sustain high levels of self-awareness.

For me personally I still prefer pen and paper as my way to self-reflect, and so I was inspired by this article by my colleague Alicia Curtis.

On reading Alicia's insights who are you inspired to become and what will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 3 May 2019

No more change management or change programs, just follow your change process

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Coexistence sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book.

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

In a nutshell

The secret to leading change and thriving on the challenges of change is following a change process. There's nothing to be gained from trying to manage change or participating in change programs.

Why are we having trouble coexisting in some parts of our world? My short answer is self-interest, self-righteousness, greed, apathy,

Why does us and them still exist in many organisations? My short answer in addition to the above would be change management!

Change management for me is one of the three great oxymorons in business.
The other two are strategic planning and performance management.

Change and performance can’t be managed. They can be led. Your strategy and your execution plan are joined at the hip however they are both very different and must be determined individually.

To sparkenate change we need a change process, not change programs. My change process is pictured below. This was addressed in ‘The Appreciative Leader’ handbook.

There are several exercises in the companion resources web page to the handbook that will help you to master this process or develop and master your own.

Here's the companion resources web page.

My change process is as follows:

My process is adapted from W. Edwards Deming’s work and David Cooperrider’s Appreciative Inquiry.

3 recommended actions

1) Meet with your team and schedule taking the actions relevant to the above change process that are at The Appreciative Leader handbook companion resources web page. You’re looking for the Appreciating what is (Sparkenation 15) and 'Shifting from reality (what is) to Possibility (What Can Be)’ (Sparkenation 16) exercises. Direct link.

2) At a to be scheduled team meeting discuss other uses of the change process or whether or not you should create and use your own process.

3) Choose a theme song for team meetings and always play it at the start of every meeting to get into the state right for the team. Encourage team members to choose songs and regularly change them.

Recommended Deep work

1) Ready and apply in your own best way my ebook ’19 Really Useful Techniques for making difficult conversations history’.

2) Read and apply in your own best way my ebook ‘The great questions remarkable leaders often ask’

3) Decide together as a team how you will incorporate the teachings of the above ebooks in your own best way to uplift your culture.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Essential ethics for trustworthy AI

I don't watch reality TV for one simple reason - it's not real.

I've withdrawn a lot from social media for one simple reason - it's increasingly antisocial.

And although I'm fascinated by what technology can make possible I'm worried about AI for three simple reasons - firstly it's artificial!

My main two reasons I have concerns about AI though are that it could threaten humans, and most importantly there's not yet an agreed ethical framework for it's development.

I read this Ethical Guidelines for trustworthy AI from the European Commission with great interest.

There's also a great podcast with futurist Gerd Leonhard here.

I highly recommended his book too.

The book makes my top 21 recommended list.

Finally a very valuable website is The Ethics Centre.

Your thoughts?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Your best future has much to do with your self-governance and accountability

Self-management is a very hot topic.

The Morning Star Company is a great example. Here's an good article about them.

Morning Star were a case study in one of my top 21 recommended business books 'Reinventing Organizations'.

Here's my full top 21 list.

I struggle with the term self-management because I think there are too many negatives around management.

For many people management is still about command and control.

In my world management is now about processes which includes principles, practices, procedures, philosophies, as well as structures and systems.

I struggle with the term self-leadership too. Leadership is now overrated because it's been tarnished by political, religious and business leaders.

Perhaps self-leadership is appropriate and untarnished. I certainly like the work of Andrew Bryant in this area.

I also like Carol Sanford's term self-governance.

Whatever the label we are all able to compete with ourselves. We are responsible for our intentions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours/actions. We are not responsible for other people's intentions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours/actions.

Learn more about compete with yourself under Sparkenation 5 here.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Your contribution to the world is happening every moment

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Contribution sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book.

Special thanks to Helen Macdonald who conducted the master-class with a group of my clients that inspired this content.

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

In a nutshell

Our lives are a continuous cycle of living, loving, leading and leaving (our contribution) 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 of this podcast 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 my The Appreciative Leader book, 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 in the service of people who love what you 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?

"You lead best when the best version of you, leads the best version of us."
Matt Church

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.

3 recommended actions

1) In your daily routines, rituals, habits become more conscious of how you live, love, lead and leave. Make it a deliberate 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?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Letting It Happen Versus Making It Happen

I like this Medium article by Brad Stulberg particularly the fourth practice he recommends:

"Practice being a curious observer. Let things unfold on their own time and in their own way. When you feel yourself tempted to jump back in the driver’s seat, give it 24–48 hours before you do. See what happens."

Be remarkable.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Why I'm engaging less publicly online

I think the current Australian Federal Government is dysfunctional, deceitful, incompetent, wasteful, conservative (read out of touch), bullying, ignorant, and arrogant, just to mention a few negatives.

I find nothing attractive about them. It seems to me that they are self-interested and not at all interested in what we the people actually want.

So I can't wait for the current election campaign to be over. I've already made up my mind. I'm voting for the Labor Party.

Mind you I don't find Labor at all attractive either.

It staggers me that in a both/and world our political systems still operate on either/or.

If there was an Independent person running in my electorate I would be voting for them.

Recently I've been expressing my views as civilly as I can on Twitter.

Am I doing any good? Am I positively influencing anyone? Honesty I don't know.

This has led me to rethink once again about my online engagement which overall is considerably less since my month long rest from any form of media. (It was getting less and less before then anyway primarily out of boredom).

I've come up with a question that I endeavour to answer before I post or engage online: Who is this for and is this an important for them way I can reach them?

My answer is often no which is why I am engaging less and less with the masses and focusing on people who have subscribed to my blog or who have indicated that they wish to engage privately online.

You might also be interested in my post 7 solutions to lessen the negative impact of self-interest, party politics and economics?

This is a book I found very helpful in deciding my engagement levels online.

Learn more about this book here.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

PS I'm not anti technology.

I use Zoom for example for having conversations with my clients 1:1 and in groups.

I'm currently forming a private Facebook group for my clients.

People are enjoying my short (less than 10 minutes) podcasts.

Friday, 19 April 2019

In person communities are key to being our best as humans

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Communities sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book.

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

In a nutshell

There was no television in my home when I was born in 1953.

Consequently I am in awe of the vast array of technological advances of my lifetime. Many are simply breathtaking.

The only ones I truly value though are those that genuinely enhance the human experience ethically.

Our lives are entangled in the so-called ‘Internet of Things’, the network of connected “things” that we have allowed to invade our lives.

I’m grateful for the convenience that the things bring.

Yet I’m increasingly skeptical of their real value because what I am seeing is more human disconnection, less sense of belonging, and an absence of meaningful and caring communities.

Consider how much of social media is anti-social?

And how much of this new media is really just the old media on steroids? Where would the social media companies be without advertising?

Add to these Reality TV that isn’t real and artificial intelligence that by definition is artificial!

There’s a better way forward.

In August 2018 I undertook a month long experiment of not participating in social or mainstream media because I was seeking more human to human connection.

I faced some significant health challenges at the time and had lost touch with my proven methods for dealing with them. A friend had challenged me with these words “What’s going on mate? You’re obviously not feeling your best self.”

I was grateful for his challenge. On reflection I realised that I become distracted and disillusioned.

I wrote down that I was tired of social media, particularly the endless self-promotion, quoting of other people by so-called experts, and the lack of value.

I wrote down that I’d had it with mainstream media too. Endless negativity, bad news and self-interest.

I wrote down that I was tired of algorithms trying to dictate what I look at.

The more I wrote the better I felt!

My passion for ‘andorithms’, those qualities that make us human, reemerged.

Here’s my 9 key lessons from my month’s experiment of no media.

1) I've enjoyed and given and gained great value from conversations in person and online where there wasn't a smart phone distracting or disrupting us.

2) I have a couple of hours per day to be a better human, and to better experience nature and other humans.

I'm better and wiser for the experience particularly as I can invest in more deep work and by definition less shallow work.

3) Life is so much better without the negativity, self-interest and bias, and the bullshit (fake news, lies and propaganda) of all forms of the media.

4) As a consequence of unsubscribing from emails that are just fronts for trying to flog me stuff I don't want or need, my in-box is much easier to empty every day and my replies to other emails are better and more valuable to the recipients.

5) I'm much more relaxed. I feel a better human. I'm free of the false feeling of the need to be liked, instead I'm more loved by family, friends, colleagues and clients (and my dog!).

6) Living a life without the constant noise of the media in the background means that my life is more peaceful and in harmony and flow.

7) My social network more than ever now is being in person with family, friends, colleagues and clients. Online still has a place in my future particularly in increasing the value of my relationships with my network through technology like Zoom. 

The big difference is that I'll be much more deliberate in choosing when, where and what. I've lost interest in algorithms and their undue influence.

8) Just sitting and thinking and often just sitting are more of a practice now. Less distracted by technology and more distracted by life in a non shallow way.

9) I'm more valuable to the people who matter in my life.

3 recommended actions

1) Make it your personal practice to regularly take time out from all forms of media. 

2) Undertake a review of your personal and family philosophies concerning the ‘Internet of things’. Ask, What is truly adding value to our lives? Disentangle yourselves from everything that isn’t adding real value.

3) Of all the third places you feel you really belong to where are you giving and receiving the greatest value? What modifications/changes will you make?

Recommended deep work

1) Involve people at all levels in your organisation in an extensive review of your philosophies concerning the ‘Internet of things’.

2) Undertake a further detailed review of all your policies, procedures, practices, processes, projects and systems and update so that they truly mean it’s simple for people to bring the best version of themselves to their work.

It’s likely that in your review you will discover that many people are still not doing work that is meaningful for them and highly valuable for others.

There’s more about this in the designing and delivering meaningful and valuable work section of Sparkenation 12 in my Remarkable Workplaces book.

For now consider the following diagram that depicts the new world of work and ask a part of your review, How will we better our competitive advantage?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Women and men being real not parodies

This opinion piece 'What Happens When Women Stop Leading Like Men' by Tina Brown got me thinking about a sign that I read and contemplate on every day:

This above all - to thine own self be true.

I often wonder what was going on in Shakespeare's heart and mind when he penned these immortal words.

Are Jacinda Ardern and Nancy Pelosi just being true to the best version of themselves?

CreditCreditMarty Melville/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Are Trump and May being true to the best version of themselves?

I have not closely studied Nancy Pelosi, Trump or May like I have Jacinda Ardern.

What I am in no doubt about is that the world needs more women like Jacinda Ardern. Not being her just being true to themselves as human beings and as women.

Women and men being real not parodies is a key to all of our future's and that of our grandchildren.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Is your smartphone use impairing your decision-making?

I found this article by Emma Young very insightful. This picture from the article is a typical scene we all witness daily eh?:

Personally I have had to work very hard to avoid smartphone addiction. You?

It could well be that your smartphone use is actually impairing your decision-making? Please read Emma's article carefully and take action.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Collaboration - an essential skill for thriving in the 21st century

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Collaboration sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book.

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

In a nutshell

Every problem/challenge in our world today (and in your life) is a human one. Every solution has relationships with other humans at heart.

We’re hardwired for collaboration.

My friend and colleague Keith Abraham says:
“Achievement is never an individual activity.”

And it’s literally about matters of the heart.

“Most of us think about ourselves as thinking creatures who feel but we are feeling creatures who think, and we live in a society that values what we think over what we feel.”
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a leader in the world of neuroscience.

There’s a link to a great TEDx talk by Jill at the companion resources web page to my Remarkable Workplaces book.

Collaboration is the other side of the coin to competing with yourself.

At the heart of collaborating of course is relationships. To improve/sustain highly valuable and mutually rewarding relationships we must change or modify how we contact, connect, establish/sustain common ground or shared-view and demonstrate commitment with other people.

3 Recommended Actions

1) Write down your greatest collaboration or relationship story and one where you failed. Who will you become and what will you do next to better live the lessons from these experiences?

2) Review the seven special steps to successful collaboration on pages 99, 100 of Changing What’s Normal with your team/performance partners and explore changes/modifications you could make to your relationships. The seven steps are also available for your convenience at the companion resources web page to my Remarkable Workplaces book.

3 a) Review your diary for the past month. Are more than 75% of your actions some form of communication or conversations with family, friends, colleagues and stakeholders? How could you better invest your time and energy to build and grow high value mutually rewarding relationships?

b) Choose a theme song for collaboration and play it regularly to get into the state right for you.

And while we’re referencing diaries; How much of your time is not scheduled. The very best Sparkenators I know have only a maximum of 50% of their diaries with appointments scheduled (including meetings).

Recommended Deep Work

1) If you have not yet watched the compete/collaborate video and started to make the compete with your yourself and improve relationships exercises part of your routine then now is a good time to start You'll find this at the companion resources web page.

2) For your business/organisation staying in touch with customers/clients and continually adding value to the ways you delight them is fundamental to remaining relevant and successful. Explore with your team how you could better utilise the contact-connection-common-ground-commitment as a service-sales-experience and value adding cycle.

3) What is a major collaboration you have thought about however not yet acted on? Who will you become and what will you do next to better turn your thoughts into reality?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Is there a shared-view around the behaviours that demonstrate your values?

This is the third recent post on living values. The first was What do you mean when you say 'traditional values'?  and the second Turning values into virtues (sustainable not situational values).

The key to living values is turning words into behaviours.

In most workplaces values are words. In remarkable workplaces values are behaviors.

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

Should you not yet have agreed behaviours in place for each of your values begin to do this work.

There must be alignment between personal and organisational values. Any disconnect means trouble. So begin here. Often conversations around behaviours that are acceptable in families is a good starting place.

I suggest 3 to 5 behaviours that cover key aspects of human relationships as plenty.

Below are examples of behaviours from one workplace:

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Is it time to break up our big institutions?

"The 2010s May become known as the decade in which we lost trust in big institutions eg the church, big business & politics. Justice & atonement must follow. But beyond that, in the 2020s, there may be a return to a tribal trust & hope placed in authority."
Bernard Salt on Twitter 30th March 2019

I have great respect for Bernard and generally align with his predictions.

On this occasion I retweeted Bernard's tweet with this comment:
"Ironic cannot read full article without a subscription to a Murdoch owned newspaper. Trust in big institutions lost long before 2010s and that trust will never be regained."

What say you?

I'm concerned that there are corporations with more money than many countries and that leaders from such corporations have undue influence on politicians.

I'm worried that leaders of institutions based on faith (by definition something that cannot be proven) are allowed influence, based on such faith, on fact and conversations about the future. (I am not against faith. Each person to their own perceptions and beliefs).

I'm fearful of the money we spend on military matters compared to what we invest in avoiding conflict.

What say you?

I have doubts about institutions like politics where there is no due diligence on the people we elect before we elect them.

In Australia for example we have one influential politician who thinks Al Jazeera is an individual, only remembers books by the colour of the covers, and who confuses insurance companies with national associations in other countries. Clearly this person is not competent enough to serve us.

I am worried about political systems that result in deadlock because individuals are serving themselves or the ideologies of their parties above the best interests of citizens. BREXIT is the current prime example.

I am equally concerned by a political system able to depose Prime Ministers based on vengeance. This is Australia for the past 9 years.

What say you?

One solution to these dilemmas is to break up our big institutions.

Ironically this is probably not possible because of the power of the people who run such institutions.

What I've done personally is to live my life wherever possible as if it's
post industrial revolution,
post politics and religion,
post big business,
post violence of any kind.
post greedy bastards and do gooders.
And I live keeping my part of our planet at its regenerated best.

It's living with an attitude of gratitude mainly, and it makes a significance difference.

"Forget fake news, now we've got fake politics, fake government, fake democracy, fake life. Our most critical institutions, the very structures that underpin our society, have become parodies of themselves.

And the most terminal symptom is that many within these institutions think ordinary people don't believe in them because they are too stupid or delusional to sort between fact and fiction.

Maybe. Or maybe those people within the institutions have so thoroughly trashed them that there is simply nothing left to believe in."

Joe Hildebrand (read his full article)

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Communication part 3. The four success principles of powerful presentations

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Communication sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book.

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

In a nutshell

I began speaking professionally in 1991. Five years later I engaged my first coach/mentor, the genius David Griggs from The Speakers Studio in Adelaide, Australia. I wished during my first session with David that I’d hired him 5 years earlier! The full story is in my Changing What’s Normal book.

Since that defining moment in 1996 I’ve left nothing to chance. 

Now I’m not saying here that you need to be able to speak professionally. What I am suggesting strongly is that you must be professional when you speak. 

The world doesn’t need any more death by powerpoint or boring presentations that fail to inspire.

I’ve learned that there are 4 principles that you really must learn to apply in your own best way.

The first and therefore the fertile ground is knowing your audience. 

You need to know their needs, wants, expectations and desires. 

You need to know what they believe in and what they don’t. 

You need to know their worldviews on the subject you’re speaking about. 

You need to understand where they are, where they want to move to and why.

Such knowing makes the second principle (the ploughing) simpler, that of crystalising your message so that it is just right for your audience.

My coach David Griggs used to continually ask me what my message was because in my early work with him I wasn’t crystal clear. In the deep work recommended below I’ll share some resources that I rely on to ensure my message is precisely right for the audience on the day.

Stories that match your message is the seeding of the ground. The best stories are those that people in your audience can feel themselves in. 

Becoming a great story teller or story-sharer as I suggested in The Appreciative Leader book is a must have passion and skill for everyone wanting to be a Sparkenator in the 21st century.

Principle 4 and the nurturing component of powerful presentations is your use of pauses and how you make your points.

David taught me to not speak while moving and to always make my points from centre stage or the same place in a room. I learned over time and deliberate practice to become a master of short and long pauses. You can become a master too.

Message, story, point, pause, link to message is a proven method for presenting professionally.

3 recommended actions

1) Speak or present to groups as often as possible. Make this part of your community service. Community organisations are always wanting speakers. Assuming the right kind of practice you will get better, wiser and more valuable the more you speak. And you will enjoy the enormous privilege that presenting is

2) Learn who the best presentation skills coaches and mentors are in your area and work with them.

3) Ask these people to be in the room ocassionally and meet afterwards to explore your messaging, stories, pausing and point making and impact on the audience.

Recommended deep work

Immerse yourself in the following resources:

For messaging I highly recommend ‘The Presentation Coach’ by Graham Davies and ‘Think’ by Matt Church and Peter Cook. 

For speaking in general I recommend ‘Speakership’ by Matt Church, Sacha Coburn and Col Fink.

The above resources also contain some great insights into sharing stories. There’s other great books and resources too which are referenced at the companion resources web page to the Remarkable Workplace book here. 

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.