Monday, 15 July 2019

Why TED Talks don't change people's behaviors: Tom Asacker

There's a lot to love about this TEDx talk by Tom Asacker.

I particularly loved the insight Tom shared from screenwriter Robert McKee:
Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Meetings that actually matter part four - Sparkenators, 21st century managers and culture champions

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is part four 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.

Today I’m exploring Sparkenators, 21st century managers and culture champions meetings.

Much has changed since I first left the corporate world in 1991 and set out on my own as a mentor for business owners and leaders.

One of the actions that I took early on was to declare management dead. I received mostly negative feedback apart from a handful of people.

As I look back I’m glad I took what was then a very counter to conventional wisdom position. It helped to establish myself as a contrarian thinker which is still one of the reasons the right people for me come to me today.

I’ve also discovered that conventional wisdom usually isn’t wise!

I’d long felt back in 1991 that the old command and control management, a hangover from the industrial revolution, was actually bad for people.

Now sure command and control has its place in life and death matters. As a general rule though management of people is long past its used by date.

Even Peter Drucker, the so-called Father of management, was on the record as saying that the task was not to manage people rather to lead people.

As far back as the 1920’s Mary Parker Follett had declared that the purpose of leadership was to create more leaders.

Yet the status quo held sway. Even today there are bosses hanging on to people management.

Leadership is also in crisis today. Many religious, political and business leaders are giving it a bad name from their complete failure to lead us.

So in my view alternatives are much needed. In the research and writing of my Remarkable Workplaces book I put forward the alternative of Sparkenator which includes a special kind of leadership, and 21st century manager and culture champion.

The seven relationship enhancement roles of a Sparkenator plus the roles of 21st century manager and culture champion are all vital for the success in the modern workplace.

Meetings should be conducted as part of learning and development or standalone that enable people be better, wiser and more valuable in these roles and to increase the number of people capable of fulfilling these roles.

My research and work with clients has led me to conclude that there are 3 essential gifts or talents that I recommend should be unearthed and enhanced for each of the 9 roles so this is very much a long term endeavour.

I strongly recommend that should you not have the teaching expertise in house then you must invest in those people who have both the capability and the caring capacity so this is also a long term investment in people development.

Below are the gifts to unearth and enhance.

My recommended action

Conduct an audit of where you’re at in your workplace with these gifts and design a program to progressively raise each to a level of remarkable over the next year or so.

Should you like some help please give me a call. My number is +61 418 807 898. I also have an audit form on a page that I am happy to share with you.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Accountability is owning the value you bring

On the first Monday of the month conversation that I host for my clients. This month a part of the discussion was about accountability.

Paul Schmeja, The CEO of First Contact nailed it when he said:
"Accountability is owning the value you bring."

I think this is brilliant and the simplest and most profound definition of accountability I have come across. You?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Let's not give any more privileges to those who want to discriminate

For me the idea here in Australia of a possible Freedom of Religion Act makes my blood boil.

It seems to me that is a deliberate tactic by those who seek to discriminate against people who have different beliefs to them.

It's also seems to me to be about trying to give religion a place in our society it doesn't deserve. Think child abuse and the disrespect of women as just two reasons why religion should be a private matter.

Should you wish to have a faith that is absolutely fine by me. You are entitled to believe in what and whomever you wish. You are also entitled to speak freely about this in most parts of the world.

For you to say that something untoward could happen to me because I have a different faith or belief to you is self-righteousness and the stench of this hangs around forever. It crosses the line and lacks the love and compassion I expect to be first and foremost from anyone professing religious belief.

I think having a faith for some people has value. I think there are key distinctions between faith and religion and particularly the dogma and doctrines. They fail to benefit society and undermine the good some religious groups do.

I stand with David Marr. You?

The gobbledegook of all this is illustrated perfectly in the Australian government's response to an inquiry they instigated for political appeasement reasons into freedom of religion. Download the response here.

That BS is in direct contrast to the beauty and simplicity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which you can read here.

Freedom of Religion already is alive and well in Australia at least.

We should stand strongly against any changes of law that give any group of people rights that are not available to all.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Meetings that actually matter part three - Learning and Development

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is part three of 7.

Here's part one about value delivery.

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

Today I’m exploring Learning and Development Meetings.

I’m very grateful for the work of Charles Jennings and the 70:20:10 framework

Here's an overview:

I base all design and application of learning and development meetings around this framework.

Corridor catch-ups are one great way to have a learning and development meeting.

Corridor catch-ups are my name for the many informal meetings that happen daily in most workplaces.

Asking How’s things going? when you bump into a colleague is still one of the great questions to ask.

The key is being genuine and willing to be silent while people give their answer.

Corridor catch-ups often lead to appreciation and/or accountability conversations.

Appreciation and/or accountability conversations

+ response to how’s things going?
How does that make you feel? (silence).

You respond Great, Brilliant or whatever and then ask,

Any other areas you’d like to explore with me today? (silence).

- response to how’s things going?
What happened? (silence)

What do you need to do to get back on track? (silence)

Is there anything I can do to help you? (silence)
Anything else? (silence)

The key to success in accountability conversations in particular is understanding track which refers to people’s performance possibility plans.

I use a plan and co-promises on a page you have heard me explore before. You'll find my own and a template at the bottom of this web page.

Your knowledge of people’s plans as you converse with them is important for corridor catch-ups and essential for both informal and formal coaching and mentoring.

Coaching and Mentoring Meetings

I always commence both my coaching (skill development) and mentoring (commitment development and expression) sessions with clients with the question: What’s worth celebrating and what can be better both personally and professionally?

People’s answers to this question humanise the moment and provide a context for the one focus area of the session.

One focus area at a time

My general rule for coaching and mentoring meetings and meetings in general is one focus area per meeting.

Such focus helps in keeping meetings brief, on point and leads to the best outcomes.

Structured courses and programs

Everything previous must be integrated with all learning and development through structured courses and programs.

Dr. Brent Peterson’s research findings are very valuable insights.

He found that 50% of learning happens after an event and 26% prior to an event.

So should you be sending people to courses or placing them in programs without pre and post work you are wasting your money and insulting your people!

Of course Dr. Peterson’s findings are in complete alignment with the 70:20:10 framework.

Below is an overview of my
process for all formal learning and development that I undertake with clients.

We will expand on the components in upcoming podcasts.

For now please embrace corridor catch-ups, accountability and appreciation conversations, one focus coaching and mentoring session and structured courses and programs that embrace the 70:20:10 framework principles and Dr. Peterson's findings.

Learn more.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

There is no road to peace. Peace is the road

I'm not certain it was Gandhi who said these powerful words (I found the image on Pinterest via a Google search) nevertheless they are words for our time.

Spend even just a few minutes on Twitter, read any newspaper, watch any news on TV, and likely you'll come across hate speech.


The language of hate has taken over it seems. It's coming from the far right of religious people (nothing new sadly).

And of course politicians (Trump is a main offender) seem to be all about fear and division, rather than love and interconnectedness.

We can all do our bit to stop this.

I hear lot's of talk about changing the conversation about this or that. Well to change any conversation we must change the language.

Here's what I've found. When our language is enlightened we elevate the conversation. When we do this we enrich relationships and the interactions and transactions that follow are better. I call this convention and picture it as follows in my Remarkable Workplaces book.

Who will you become today, and what will you do next to ensure peace is the road you're traveling on?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Shifting from separatism to oneness

I'm often asked by business owners and leaders when I meet them for the first time what it is that I've seen over my 30 years as a mentor to be the greatest challenge faced by their peers.

My answer is always keeping people on the same page, singing from the same song sheet, whatever you want to name it, yet at the same time enabling individuals to shine and to bring the best version of themselves to their work every day.

I literally help my clients to create organisational, team and individual plans and co-promises on a page.

Pictured opposite is my own.

Please download this and suggestions and a template to create your own.

I am one of the pioneers of one page plans.

I see lots these days with writing so small they're useless!

My insight is that the secret to success is being able get the content at a glance and then using your one page as a conversation focusing tool.

I call the headings the seven areas of shared-view.

Helping people to find and sustain shared-view in these areas is the heart of my work with clients.

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.

There's short videos on each of the seven here and a one-page diagnostic tool that you can download and complete to see where you're at. 

From there should you like some help please contact me on +61 418 807 898.

The world right now is about separateness. Politicians, religious people, business leaders are saying my way is the only way. It isn't. The only way is ours. It's not either/or or this or that, it is always both/and.

You can change the world by changing yourself. A great first step is to find and sustain shared-view within your family and then your workplace.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Meetings that actually matter part two - sparkenation conversations (every day innovation)

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

Sparkenation Conversations is a format and process that I created and use personally with my clients particularly for inspiring/imagining and creating execution plans for everyday innovation in a selected focus area.

A reminder a Sparkenation is a spark that ignites passion that leads to action 
that changes what’s normal.

A Sparkenation Conversation/meeting is a safe, high energy, candid and convivial dialogue about making change happen in one key focus area at a time.

Sparkenation conversations stir hearts, shift thinking and lead to small yet significant actions (quantum leaps) to take and a co-promises execution plan on a page. See the bottom of this page for an example of a plan on a page.

There are 24 essentials that are embedded in this process of Sparkenation Conversation/every day innovation meetings to ensure their success.

My favourite metaphor for the 24 is a high performance bicycle like the ones ridden by the top professionals.

The Wheels are Accountability and Appreciation.

The Seat and Handle Bars are Self-awareness and Awareness of Others.

The 5 gears are

Empathetic listening.
Epiphanys /defining moment.

The Chain is Shared-view in the seven areas of significance.

The Spokes in the front wheel are

Being in the room.
Enlightened self-interest.
Relationship harmony points.

The Spokes in the back wheel are 

being a Sparkenator, 21st century manager and culture champion, plus generosity.

I realise that there is a lot going on here and so I conduct regular online sessions about these 24 and the process they are contained in on a regular basis. You might bookmark my events page.

I am also available to run this session for you and those interested in your workplace as a complimentary way to introduce my work to you. Simply telephone me on +61 418 807 898 to schedule your session.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Saving community from technology

I love this post by Henry Mintzberg.

And I highly recommend his book that he references. 

I referenced Henry recently in this post about why I believe communities are more valuable than networks.

I love the possibilities of technology. I'm only interested in it though when it can be used to enhance the human experience.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Great things happen to us when we stop watching the news

I've weaned myself off the news. I'm better for it.

Next I'm going to get off Twitter! I'll report back.

Here's some great research to help you quit the news.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Meetings that actually matter part one - value delivery

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This post and podcast is part one of 7 about meetings that actually matter.

Today I’m exploring value delivery meetings which follows on from last weeks podcast about value delivery structures.

Recently I published a short paper about what I consider to be the 21 core challenges that you must overcome to achieve Your Best Results At Less Human and Operating Cost. You can download this paper here.

The solution I offered in the paper was to change, modify or better your conversation convention.

A second solution is to only engage in meetings that actually matter. I believe there are 7 such meetings

I’m introducing Value delivery meetings here today and over the next 6 weeks the others which are:

Everyday Innovation (which I also call Sparkenation Conversations)
Learning and Development.
Sparkenators, 21st century managers and culture champions.
Integration of new perceptions with what is already working.
1:1 check-ins (accountability, appreciation, shared aspirations).

Value delivery meetings

In my book Remarkable Workplaces, I expand on a model that is central to all of my work. I call it the valued, values, value model. It's pictured below.

What makes workplaces remarkable? People feeling valued, living values and delivering of value.

Always begin your value delivery meeting with conversation about how well people are feeling valued and living values.

When both are at high levels the expectation is equally high levels of performance.

Flow is then crucial so next in your conversation is how well or not do processes (which includes policies, procedures, practices, philosophies and structure and systems) mean it’s simple for people to bring the best version of themselves to their work.

The previous two items on your agenda put your value delivery expectations in context. It’s useful at this point in your meeting to remind people of your shared expectations about value delivery. This assumes you’re on song with matters of shared-view.

Now share actual performance results.

Conclude your meeting with an After-action review and then a conversation about Performance Possibilities, including integrating new learnings, in the next 90 days.

Then upgrade your plans and promises on a page accordingly. Should you not yet be familiar with such plans you can download my own and a template at the bottom of this page.

The action I recommend is that you conduct your first value delivery meeting asap.

I’m often asked what is the best time frame for Value Delivery meetings and meetings in general.

There'll be more about this in the ebook that will be published on the 2nd of August 2019. My answer for now is choose an odd number of minutes with a maximum time frame of under an hour so 46 minutes say is perfect.

A key rule for all meetings that actually matter is to start and finish on time.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Introducing meetings that actually matter

Meetings waste time, energy and money every day in most workplaces and organisations in general.

The reasons are too numerous to list!

They centre around lack of purpose (reason), poor preparation and/or follow-through, and the out of control egos of the people supposed to be leading them, and/or their desire to control people.

The resulting demotivation, dehumanisation and disruption affect the well-being of people and have far reaching effects on society.

There is no number large enough to put on the human, planet and operating cost of poor meetings.

This is partly why since 1991 I’ve been on a mission to change all of the above.

I’m grateful to my clients from whom and with I have designed meaningful meetings that really work.

I've started writing an ebook for you based on real world experience called 'Meetings That Actually Matter'.

In the ebook I'm exploring 7 meetings that I believe matter the most:

1. Value delivery.
2. Everyday Innovation (Sparkenation Conversations).
3. Learning and Development.
4. Sparkenators, 21st century managers and culture champions.
5. After-action-reviews.
6. Integration of new perceptions with what is already working.
7. 1:1 check-ins (accountability, appreciation, shared aspirations).

In this Friday's blog post and podcast I'll be expanding on value delivery.

On the subsequent 6 Friday's I will be posting and podcasting on the other 6.

I'll publish the ebook in early August 2019.

On the 1st July I'm hosting a Sparkenation Conversation online. Learn more and register from here.

If you'd like to contribute to the ebook (your contribution will be appropriately acknowledged) please email me with a paragraph about how you believe you can contribute.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 17 June 2019

The special, unique components of sparkenation conversations

In my 2011 published book Changing What's Normal I introduced the term Sparkenation - a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal.

Since then the term has become synonymous with all my writings.

This year Sparkenation conversations have become my main methodology in my work with clients.

A Sparkenation Conversation is a safe, high energy, candid and convivial dialogue about making change happen in one key focus area at a time. Sparkenation conversations stir hearts, shift thinking and lead to small yet significant actions (quantum leaps) to take and a co-promises execution plan on a page. Learn more.

In my next first Monday online conversation on July 1st I will be exploring the 24 unique components of Sparkenation Conversations. I call them 'The Essentials'.

Will you join me in this conversation?

First Monday online conversations are complimentary for current and past clients.

For this conversation I'm waiving the $330 fee for 5 people who I haven't yet worked with. All you need to do is register here as a client for the July 1st event and I will contact you to schedule your 90 minute onboarding session. We will meet online before the July 1st event.

Be remarkable.

PS Sparkenation Conversations are one of the meetings I believe that actually matter. I'm currently writing an ebook 'Meetings That Actually Matter'. More about this and how you may be able to contribute in this Wednesday's post.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Workplace operating structure is simple when your focus is on the success of other people

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

What is your value promise to each of the various stakeholder relationships and how well are you currently fulfilling these promises?

Many organisational structures are too complicated. Usually the problems are an outcome of command and control management where one or more individuals want to be involved in everything and can’t or won’t let go of decision-making.

I love the work of German author and advisor Niels Pflaeging.

Niels believes that every organisation has three structures, formal, informal and what he calls value creation structure. It’s this one that I’m particularly interested in for this post and podcast.

The keys to value creation for me are roles, relationships and what value is demanded, desired and felt deserved, and what is actually being delivered to people.

We have already touched on aspects of these in the podcasts of the past two weeks where we have explored role clarity statements and performance possibility plans.

Value like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

What are the key relationships in your workplaces?

Most likely there are 7 to carefully consider:

1. Employees with customers/clients.
2. Employees with other employees.
3. Employees with employers.
4. Employees with external suppliers.
5. Employees with other stakeholders.
6. Employees with communities in which your workplace operates.
7. Employers with such communities.

The action I highly recommend you take over the next 90 days is to answer this question

What is your value promise to each of these relationships and how well are you currently fulfilling these promises?

In Sparkenation 4 of my Remarkable Workplaces book pages 30 - 33 there’s a great starting place for you. You can download this book with my compliments here.

Value delivery is one of the components of remarkable workplaces that I explore in the book using this model:

To further help you to get started check out this great article by Stowe Boyd where he takes a look at the work of the world-renowned management theorist Gary Hamel and his collaborator Michele Zanini about their published magisterial analysis of the huge innovations at Haier over the past decade by 'renegade CEO' Zhang Ruimin.

To quote two paragraphs from this article

“For decades, most companies have worked diligently to optimize their operations. More recently, they’ve raced to digitize their business models. Important as this is, Haier has done something even more consequential: It has humanized its management model."

And CEO of Haier Zhang states:
“We want to encourage employees to become entrepreneurs because people are not a means to an end but an end in themselves. Our goal is to let everyone become their own CEO—to help everyone realize their potential.”

There are many organisations doing what Haier is and in their own best way.

I’d recommend the great book by Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organisations for insights into many such organisations.

A key starting place is basing your operating structure on value delivery.

Workplace operating structure is simple when your focus is on the success of other people!

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Have you downloaded or purchased Remarkable Workplaces yet?

Later today in the place of my birth (Ballarat) I'm conducting a special one-off workshop about my new book, the final in a trilogy.

Have you downloaded your copy yet?

You can do so here with my compliments.

At the above link you can also order the signed, special souvenir edition.

And, I have 4 opportunities remaining for me to workshop the book with you and your team at a special one-time-only investment.

Please call me on +61 418 807 898 to explore this offer.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Communities are much more valuable than networks

If you want to understand the difference between a network and a community, ask your Facebook friends to help paint your house says Henry Mintzberg in this piece for Drucker Forum.

In this interview Ben Elton says "The "age of outrage" can largely be blamed on the speed of social progress."

"Communities now are people like you with the same agenda, sexuality, race, creed, religion or politics.

"It's not a physical community at all and I think that's a very interesting and confusing time for us all."

I have a different view to Ben in that I'm very much cultivating in person communities that are complimented with a private online group.

We do have niche shared focus. The purpose of our community being:

1) Share insights, ideas and inspiration about being Sparkenators and fully alive human beings.
2) Ask questions about resources use.
3) Extend Sparkenation Conversations held online and in person.

We chose Facebook as the platform for our private online group even though most of us don't use Facebook a lot personally. Interestingly Facebook is placing more emphasis on groups see this Wired article.

One of my recommended actions in the Communities Sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book is the following - 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?

Communityship is a concept I love from Henry Mintzberg. Please read more here.

Henry's insights add great value to my long term investment of time, energy and money in communities both in person and online, and mostly with the emphasis in person.

In my case there's been many evolutions in the names Differencemakers. Changing What's Normal
Talent Enhancers, Appreciative Leaders, and currently Maverick Thinkers Farm.

The common thread is about being the best human beings that we can be.

I'm personally convinced that communities are much more valuable than networks. 

What say you?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 7 June 2019

The Power of Performance Possibility Plans on a Page

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

Along with Role Clarity Statements, which was the subject of last Friday's post and podcast, PPP’s are a key focusing tool for conversations about performance.

The PPP was the first one page tool I created 30 years ago as a pioneer of one page plans.

The original PPP (personal performance on one side and business on the other of an A4 page) is pictured below. The format is still the preference of some of my clients.

PPP’s contain a shared-view with performance partners of people’s personal and business goals for the next 90 days and how they will be achieved.

90 days is the time frame I have settled on as the best for optimum performance. It’s long enough to achieve meaningful results and short enough to make adjustments next time especially when there are surprises or unexpected challenges.

The PPP is critical to sustaining an ongoing shared-view about

where you are (reality)
where you’re going (possibility)
why you’re going there (purpose)
how you will get there (strategy)
who will do what and when (execution)
how you will know you are on track (progress)
how you will behave along the way (culture)

For good reason I call these the seven areas of significance where the most successful leaders stand out.

My preferred way to create PPP’s today is to use these 7 as the headings.

This also means you can align individual plans on a page to those of the team, and/or other local, national, and international plans on a page.

My recommended actions to get started are

1. Take an A4 page and write 7 headings i.e. reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

2. Under Reality write 1 - 3 paragraphs about your current status in your chosen key performance areas.

3. Under Possibility write 1 - 3 paragraphs about your goals for this performance period i.e. the next 90 days, in those same key performance areas.

4. Under Purpose write 1 paragraph about your reason for being.

5. Under Strategy write one sentence about how you will move from reality to possibility.

6. Under Execution write 1 - 3 paragraphs about your key tactics to execute your strategy.

7. Under Progress write 1 - 3 paragraphs about how you will make progress in meaningful work visible and how you will communicate, and converse about progress towards possibility.

8. Under Culture write 1 - 3 paragraphs about how you will further inspire and influence people to be accountable for living the agreed behaviours of your values.

9. Share what you have written with your team mates and colleagues and make adjustments.

There you have it. You now have a PPP!

If you’re like me and many of my clients you will keep your PPP handy so that when it’s time to discuss your performance you will be able to refer to it and focus the conversation.

Below is my own PPP using this format.

You can download the above along with a template here.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

A virtuous cycle that makes a remarkable workplace

"Enlightened hospitality drives a virtuous business cycle that revolves around respect, relationships, and revenues. The cycle starts with hiring naturally empathetic people, whom workplace psychologist Adam Grant calls “givers,” and continues by investing in their professional and personal growth. Employees share their goodwill with customers, and that positive dynamic drives the repeat business that is so critical to restaurant profitability. “Hospitality is not our end goal. Being essential is,” says Meyer. "

The above image and words are from this article by Ann Graham for strategy + business.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 3 June 2019

The anti-CEO playbook by Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya

The video below is a wonderful story about how all businesses and all workplaces should be. When I first saw it I emailed all my clients to thank them for the opportunity of working with them because this is the kind of workplaces they are sustaining.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Role clarity improves well-being, job descriptions don't

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

One of the actions I recommended in last weeks podcast about co-promises was to review your position descriptions and change them to role clarity statements.

Role clarity improves well-being, job descriptions don't

The problem I see with most job descriptions is that they list tasks and say very little about relationships or value delivery which are what every role in your workplace must be about. And often down the bottom of the form are the words "and anything else as directed."

Dispense with job descriptions and watch your people soar.

Every person in your workplace has a role to deliver value to other people. Value that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve.

"Your customer is whoever gets your work next." said the great Japanese management thinker Kaoru Ishikawa.

Recommended Action

With your people document who their customers are (relationships) and what value must be delivered to each person.

I’ve helped 100’s of my clients to dispense with job descriptions and replace them with role clarity statements. Below are the headings we use. In conjunction with Performance Possibility Plans, where personal and workplace goals for the next 90 days and how they will be achieved are documented, role clarity statements enable conversations about performance to be elevated and lead to greater accountability.

Do this work and in the space of a few weeks you can expect greater value being delivered by everyone, meaning happier employees and happier external customers.

What would you and your employees write under these headings?

Workplace or Business Purpose
Role Purpose
Key Accountabilities and Responsibilities
Key Performance Measures and Key Human Indicators (Lead measures)
Key Relationships of the role and the value that must be delivered to each person
Key outcomes of role (Lag measures)
Required levels of commitment (will) and competency (skill)
Key gifts (talents) required and that need to be enhanced to excel in role and prepare for future roles
Learning and development and career path opportunities

All of the above can be outlined on two sides of an A4 page at the most.

There's some examples and template at the bottom of this page.

People don't have jobs. We have relationships with other people where value delivery is paramount to the enjoyment of the relationships and the success of workplaces.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

My Remarkable Workplaces book is ready for you to download

This book is the final in a trilogy that I began writing in April of 2009.

The first book Changing What's Normal was then published in June 2011 and the second The Appreciative Leader in November 2016.

You can download all 3 books and all my resources with my compliments from the one PDF here.

Remarkable Workplaces is my most practical book with high emphasis on who you can become and what you can do next in your own best way to be better, wiser and more valuable.

You can download Remarkable Workplaces and/or order the special, signed, souvenir edition here.

Remarkable Workplaces Executive Summary

The working model

Sparkenator's, 21st century managers and culture champions


The change I’m seeking to make with you are shifts in being, feeling, thinking and doing that mean the maximum number of people in your workplace feel valued, live values and are delivering value.


Think, read, listen, watch, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention with the never-ending curiosity of a child and the hard-earned wisdom of a grandparent.


My way of making change happen is to use enlightened language that elevates conversations which enrich relationships. You can easily adopt my convention in your own best way.


Our aim in a our work together is to ensure that high levels of self-awareness and awareness of others are a hallmark of your workplace culture.

Compete with yourself

Your only competitor is the person you looked at in the mirror this morning. Your life’s quest is to be the best version of you, the one-of-a-kind human being you are.


“Less But Better” is a great motto for life and work. You become who you focus on being and less but better ensures laser like focus.


Creating and sustaining shared-view (ours) in seven areas of significance (reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress and culture) is a consequence of wise, witty and warm communication, powerful presentations and candid, convivial and compassionate conversations.


Opposition, Competition, Us and Them and references to They are all relics of the past. The best present and future are all about Us, We and Embracing Mwe (Me + We = Mwe)


We gather where we feel genuine connection with fellow human beings, and have a sense of belonging, meaning and being cared for.


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


Enlightened self-interest, sustaining shared-view and noticing (mindfulness) are the essentials of coexistence and living in harmony with one another.


"Making progress in meaningful work visible” is one of the truly great success principles. It is one of the consequences of being deeply connected to fellow human beings.


Our ultimate success depends on fulfilling co-promises that mean people feel valued, live values and that ensure we’re better and wiser in delivering value.

Download Remarkable Workplaces with my compliments and/or order special, signed, souvenir edition here.

Be remarkable.

PS I have places in my schedule to workshop the book with 7 more leadership teams. You must schedule before 30th June 2019 to take up the special investment offer. Please contact me on +61 418 807 898 to explore further.

Monday, 27 May 2019

In pursuit of employee fulfillment more than employee engagement

There's a lot of value in this research findings paper from Purpose specialists Imperative.

I think they are right in their assertions that employee fulfillment is a far greater goal than employee engagement and that destiny is in the hands of employees.

I highly recommend downloading, carefully considering this research and taking action.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Our ultimate joy comes from fulfilling co-promises

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Co-promises 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 People Centered Economy: The New Ecosystem For Work’ makes my recommended business books to read list. One reason I like this book is that some of it’s authors are technology guru’s. And in the case of one, Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet.

There’s a link to this book at the Remarkable Workplaces companion resources web page.

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

To achieve this most noble of objectives requires not a compromise rather a co-promise. Let me explain:

In the Epilogue of the ‘Changing What’s Normal’ book I said:

“In my year as President of the National Speakers Association of Australia Ltd (NSAA) (now Professional Speakers Australia (PSA)) in 2003/04 I chose Fulfilling Our Promise as my theme.

It was our Association’s 16th year and I determined, after consultation with many members, and untold hours of soul- searching with fellow Board members, that is was time to change what was normal about how our organisation was going to get where we wanted to go.

The process of changing what’s normal became known as Operation Stature reflecting our desire to be an organisation recognised internally and externally as one of stature.”

I learned crucial lessons that year about being a Sparkenator (someone who is on the never-ending journey of being a wise, witty and warm communicator, a trusted adviser, a compassionate coach, a maestro mentor, an engaging and inspiring speaker, a change champion, an appreciative and value driven leader, and a candid, convivial and compassionate conversationalist).

I learned that compromises lead to mediocre performance. It takes a series of co-promises to achieve magnificence.

I was learning the science of quantum leaps in those days. And although I didn’t know it then I was also practicing the art of the aggregation of marginal gains.

Above all I learned that through small yet significant steps and their combining, human capacity is something to treasure and value above everything.

The following is a standout line early in The People Centered Economy book (page 11).

“Human capacity is probably the world’s most underutilized resource, the world’s largest potential market.”

Although I detest referencing humans as resources (or even worse assets or capital!) and breaking everything down to markets or economies I value the sentiment of the wisdom above.

To co-create a Remarkable Workplace requires the majority of your people to be operating at their capacity, i.e. as pictured

The journey to the majority of your people operating at their capacity begins with appreciating their character and is extended through care, compassion, commitment and courage, while improving competency.

A lot of businesses focus is on increasing just competency or skill. Don’t be one of them. Go deeper and tap into the deep humanity of people.

The recommended actions and deep work recommended below will help you.

3 Recommended actions

1) Review your position descriptions and change them to role clarity statements. Make these about relationships and value delivery and not about tasks. Leave tasks to operating manuals and checklists. There’s a template that you can download at the bottom of this webpage.

2) Make sure that all your future recruitment is about hiring people of character, willingness and attitude first and abilities second.

3) Review all your key relationships. Who will you become and what will you do next to be more compassionate and caring?

Recommended deep work

1) As a team complete your Plan and Co-Promises on a page. You can download recommendations and a template at the bottom of this web page.

2) Translate the above into individual Performance Possibility Plan’s (PPP’s). See example of my PPP and a template for you and your colleagues at the above link.

Should you not yet be familiar with PPP’s and their power as conversation focusing tools please reread ‘The Appreciative Leader’ handbook and check out the videos and other resources at the companion resources page to that handbook here.

Please also participate in my online first Monday of the month Maintaining Momentum For Mavericks conversations as I explore PPP’s and related tools regularly.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

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 willingly 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.