Monday, 25 March 2019

Harmony Matters was my first email address. It still works albeit being a tad unreliable and so I'm fazing out its use.

My very first newsletter for my clients, way back in 1991, was called 'Harmony Matters.'

For me harmony matters. It's the foundation for being the best version of myself and living my best life.

Like you I sometimes feel surrounded by disharmony a noun simply meaning lack of harmony or agreement.

I find the many synonyms for disharmony revealing. They include discord, friction, strife, conflict, hostility, acrimony, bad blood, bad feeling, enmity, dissension, disagreement, feuding, quarrelling, disunity, division, divisiveness, informal falling-out, disaccord, discordance.

Think politics, religion and most of the institutions the conservatives are desperately trying to hang onto because they are the source of their power.

I picture disharmony thus

In his great book 'Metaskills' Marty Neumeier says "Reject the tyranny of or and embrace the genius of and. Leave the sides behind, Look for a third alternative based on common-ground instead of compromise."

You only need to think of BREXIT for a second to realise the futility of compromise. 

Co-promise on the other hand fills us with the joy of infinite possibilities which of course is the land of quantum physics. In a word it's harmony!

Co-promise is the final sparkenation in my book 'Remarkable Workplaces'.

I picture harmony thus

We need to sustain shared-view in seven areas of significance. View the seven short videos and complete the diagnostic here.

In 'Metaskills' Marty Neumeier says "Politics, goes the conventional wisdom, is the art of compromise. Unfortunately, this is true. With dichotomous decisions, there are only three possible outcomes: win-lose, lose-win, or compromise. None of these is optimal, and all can lead to gridlock."

Disharmony is the no man's land between what is and what can be. 

See this tension, confusion, doubt, danger, conflict, difficulty or disagreement as your great opportunity.

What are the lessons of all the above for your workplace?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Harmony Matters!

Be remarkable.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Communication part 1. Asking the great questions essential for sustaining shared-view

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

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

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

In business it's essential to sustain shared-view in 7 areas of significance. 

Do so and I can guarantee you better business results at less human and operating costs.

Below are the 7.  

Here's short videos on each of the 7 and more including a simple diagnostic

1. Where are you now (reality)?
2. Where are you going (possibility)?
3. Why are you going there (purpose)?
4. How will you get there (strategy)?
5. Who will do what and when (execution)?
6. How will you know you're on track (progress)?
7. How will you behave along the way (culture)?

To best answer these questions I recommend a process which in part means asking more questions.

The fertile ground is determining what question to ask through carefully assessing the situation and therefore ensuring your question is in the right context.  The right question in the wrong context can cause trouble!  Ploughing the ground is then to ask the question. Seeding is being silent yet completely attentive while the person or people answer your question. The nurturing lies in how well you acknowledge their answers.

The cycle is complete (harvest) when you align answers with who people will become and what they will do next to implement their answers and/or integrate their answers with what is already working for them.

3 recommended actions

1) Download and complete the 7 areas of shared-view diagnostic here.

Undertaking this exercise yourself will give context to all that follows. A strong suggestion would be to ask each member of your team to complete the diagnostic and indicate each of their answers on one form. This will pave the way for great conversation leading to shared-view.

2) Participants in the master-class that I conducted to develop some of this material participants answered the following two questions:

What’s the greatest question you’ve ever been asked?

And what’s the greatest question you’ve asked somebody else?

What are your answers?

My favourite answer was one from a female participant who challenged one of her bosses with Would you talk like that to your sister?

3) We also had great conversation in the master-class around the following quote: 

"In leadership the conversation isn't about the work,
the conversation is the work."
David Whyte

What are your thoughts? Who can you become and what will you do next to embrace these concepts?

Recommended deep work

1) Access the companion resources web page to my Remarkable Workplaces book and download and use 'The great questions remarkable leaders often ask' ebook.

2) Over time develop a set of questions you can ask at appropriate times. I have a list of over 100 questions that I have tried, tested and proven. I simply wait for the right context to use them. 

Usually I invest a great deal of time and energy contemplating which is the best question that will help this person be the best version of themselves.

3) Regularly take courses or participate in programs that will help you to continuously better your language, communication, presentation and conversation skills and attitudes.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Stop saying burnout

I love this video.

What are the lessons for you and your business from this video.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Faith without works is dead

"I think the nation is traumatised, I think Catholics are traumatised. I have long lost faith in the institution of the Catholic Church. And I mourn the loss of my faith community. But I made a decision a few years ago that I could not, as a lay person, continue to prop up a failing and decaying institution with my voluntary labour and my money.”
Labor senator Kristina Keneally, as quoted By Neil McMahon March 5, 2019 Sydney Morning Herald

In the light of the criminal conviction of Australia’s most senior Catholic I suspect a lot of people feel like Kristina Keneally.

For me I haven’t changed my view. I’m still totally against religion.

I am supportive though of people who wish to have a faith. I think the institutions and organisations associated with them are the problem.

Religion is the man made (literally men and usually old men) dogma and doctrines.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Book of Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 New King James Version of the Bible

In the case of the Catholic Church they have had 21 major meetings of their hierarchy over the past 1900 years. You could fill a major library with the written decisions of these meetings. These are in stark contrast to the approximately 2000 words of Jesus Christ recorded in the bible.

I am against religion because of the associated violence over hundreds of years and sexual and emotional abuse as well as the cover up of it.

I am against religion because of the influence their men are allowed to have on our politicians many of whom support the institutions.

I believe it is time to end the church as an institution and return the unbelievable wealth and properties to people of faith.

Let the church be self-governed by laity and get rid of all the hierarchy and people who make up the dogma and doctrine to suit themselves.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Book of James chapter 2 verse 26 New King James Version of the Bible

The church has fallen on its own sword. Time to end it.

“Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people living for today.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace”
John Lennon

Be remarkable.

Friday, 15 March 2019

You get what you focus on

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Concentration sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book. Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.

I was raised with the principle "you reap what you sow". One of my grandfathers taught me that the law of the farm is a very valuable metaphor and operating system for all of life.

For getting what you want Fertile Ground - Embrace 'essentialism', Ploughing - Choose one-thing, Seeding -Stretch your mind, Nurturing - Create and Take, Harvest - Integrate.

I’m often asked what do I focus on or how do I maintain focus. The context is usually a conversation about all the distractions, shiny objects and the myriad of choices we are all confronted with. 

My answer is always to concentrate on being better, wiser and more valuable and helping other people to do likewise in their own best way.

When I’m faced with a choice I quickly (mostly silently) ask will this lead to being better, wiser or more valuable? If the answer is no then the choice is obvious. I recommend this practice to you..

I engaged Nick Haines and Matthew Newnham from Five Institute as my mentors for about a year in 2015/16.

'Essentialism' was a book they recommended. There’s a link to this book at the companion resources web page to Remarkable Workplaces.

I have since integrated the central philosophy of "less but better" into my whole life (it's a work in progress!) in conjunction with Cal Newport’s deep work as previously referenced.

Working with Nick and Matthew also highlighted the fact that I was offering too much at once to my clients and particularly prospective clients. They suggested a "less but better" way was only offering one-thing at a time. This fitted perfectly with my use of the science of quantum leaps.

Fascinatingly I was blinded to this in my work offerings and so this became a very large FBO (flash of the bloody obvious).

The above work helped to quiet my mind and as well as stretch it. I also began to revisit some of Glenn Capelli’s thinking insights.

All of the above has been instrumental too in helping me to integrate change in my own life as well as help my clients to integrate their learnings with what is already working well for them.

3 recommended actions

1) Choose one of the 'Essentialist' ways of being every month and integrate each into your life and work.

2) Do some activity every day that will stretch your mind.

3) Fully embrace the science of quantum leaps and The Aggregation of Marginal Gains in all your becoming and all your doing.

The great thing about living your life as a series of quantum leaps and then combining them for overall improvement is that when you have missteps, make mistakes and encounter mayhem, you can move on armed with new learning literally in the next moment.

Recommended Deep work

1) Contact Glenn Capelli and get your personal copy of his book 'Thinking Caps' and work your way through each section.

In the context of pursuing daily being better, wiser and more valuable (Concentration) I recommend the concepts of kaizen and widezen, pages 81 - 89, as a great place to start.

2) Make it your personal mission to keep your mind agile. And nurture taking an agile mindset into everything you do in your life.

The ‘How Leaders Can Improve Their Thinking Agility’ article by Jesse Sostrin for Strategy + Business may help. I personally like their model used.

3) Create a process where you will always integrate new learning with what you're already doing that is working well for you.

Your use of the Plan and co-promises on a page referenced at the end of this workbook is a great tool for this. Download here.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Book review of 'No More Feedback' by Carol Sanford

This book makes my top 21 recommended business books because it is a very well argued case against the very common and defended practice of feedback.

For many years now I have called feedback the least most valuable of conversation and communication tools.

I personally only value feedback when it comes from people I trust and when I have asked for it.

Carol Sanford goes a lot further saying and demonstrating why feedback is actually a toxic practice that comes from a machine rather than human standpoint.

I love Carol's book and the many practices it suggests. In particular I loved the idea of self-governance, what I call compete with yourself, as a way forward to greater accountability and purpose driven organisations.

Carol suggests self-governance comes from the development of three core capacities. These are pictured below along with Carol's explanation of each one.

"Locus of control
…the degree to which we experience and exercise control over our own lives, particularly on direction of our self-development and our resilience to adversity.

Scope of considering
… what we take into account in our actions and endeavours, especially in relation to other people and living beings.

Source of agency
… where we find authority for our initiative or actions. The more we are able to direct ourselves, the better our capability to connect to larger systems and help actualise them."

I highly recommend the development of the above as part of your ongoing work.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Reasons, Relationships, and Routines Guarantee Results

I recently updated my one page rituals document. Please download it.

Rituals is another word for routines or standards. I update mine a least every quarter.

Reasons, Relationships, and Routines Guarantee Results.

I created a short complimentary online course for you on this with videos and a workbook.
Start the course.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 8 March 2019

The best future has much to do with self-governance - compete with yourself

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Compete with yourself 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.

Do you want increased personal accountability in your workplace?

My guess is you answered yes.

My current reading is this excellent Carol Sanford work.

Carol makes a very compelling case that most feedback we receive from other people is toxic.

One of her premises for changing this is self-governance and helping people to do this well.

There’s many ways to increasing accountability. Helping your employees to be more self-governed is one way.

I’ve been helping my clients with this for 25 years. It’s a process I call it compete with yourself.

In a nutshell

We start comparing ourselves to others very early in our lives. Doing so is a journey to dissatisfaction, unhappiness and mediocrity.

We are all unique. We are not comparable to anybody else.

Not a single duplicate in the 100 billion lives that have walked planet earth.

The quest is to become the best version of our one-of-a-kind selves. This means we must continually compete with ourselves.

You are accountable for your intentions, feelings, thoughts, actions/behaviours, never anyone else’s.

3 Recommended Actions

1) Create a profile of what the best version of you looks like on one page.

First create a picture of what remarkable looks like for you.

Remarkable people don’t bully others.

Remarkable people don’t show their lack of intelligence by being violent towards others.

Remarkable people respect views and opinions that are different to theirs.

Remarkable people are passionate and persuasive yet never arrogant enough to think and act as if their way is the only way.

Remarkable people have ditched dogma and instead lead by example.

Remarkable people are not attached to their ideology, belief system, or political party bias, instead they debate ideas and then collaborate to achieve what really is good for humanity.

Remarkable people have roles not jobs. They understand that jobs are part of roles and that all roles are about relationships and delivering value to others as perceived by them.

Remarkable people are candid and authentic. They say what they mean and mean what they say.

Remarkable people promise big and deliver.

Remarkable people do their deep personal work and show it through their acute self-awareness, and therefore their willingness and ability to be highly aware of others.

When remarkable people are in the room, they’re in the room (thank you Nigel Risner).

Remarkable people share powerful stories, the kind that others can see and feel themselves in.

Remarkable people co-create cultures of candour where elephants in the room are named, and closets are absent of skeletons.

Remarkable people tell the truth as they see it, yet never in ways that are a put down of others.

Remarkable people ... Please insert your thoughts.

Now create your one page. Start with putting your name on the top, today’s date and the heading I am remarkable when

To help you to live your one page choose a theme song for competing with yourself and play it regularly to help you to get into the state right for you.

2) Write down what you stand for

Below are two examples to help you, my own and my client Jamie Wilson.

What I stand for - Ian Berry

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.

Homes, workplaces and third places where it’s standard practice for people to feel heard, understood and appreciated. Therefore I stand for:

1) People being willing and able to have the candid, convivial and compassionate conversations essential for other people to feel valued, live values and deliver value.

2) Every person having continuous opportunities to be the best version of themselves and to do work that is meaningful for them and highly valuable for others.

3) Sparkenators inspiring, reminding and persuading others to be and do as above.

What I stand for - Jamie Wilson

I stand for OUR People, OUR Team. Our people should not be managed, they should be lead, guided and encouraged to prosper, achieve and be their best.

Business objectives are achieved as a consequence of individuals achieving their objectives

We need to manage processes, procedures, policies, practices and systems to ensure our people can deliver their and our objectives

I stand for OUR culture. A culture that everyone invests into and leads from example and owns their unique piece of it

I stand for communication improvements across all areas of the business. We are the BEST at what we do, lets not let this bring us down


Now go create your own. Clue: What you stand for is the change you want to see/make happen.

3) Develop and stick to a one page for your rituals or standards

You can download my one page via the companion resources web page to my Remarkable Workplaces book (See link just under Compete With Yourself).

Use it as a guide to create your own.

Recommended Deep work

There are 3 areas I recommend you focus your deep work on.

1) Regularly transform yourself by undertaking the compete with yourself exercise which you will find at the companion resources web page (see link above) (it’s in the short and succinct Reasons, Relationships, and Routines Guarantee Results Course).

2) Discover, unleash and enhance your own and other people’s gifts. I believe this is the number one role of leadership.

3) Get better everyday at engaging in candid, convivial and compassionate conversations with fellow humans.

Should you not yet be familiar with the Enhancing Your (Their) Gifts concept you’ll find links at the this web page. 

You will also find at the link above content to consider about conversations. It is key from a self-governance perspective and therefore competing with yourself that you master all conversations in the essential conversations matrix you'll see at the link.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Book review of 'Brave New Work' by Aaron Dignan

This is a profound book.

I read it in one sitting and then studied it carefully for many hours.

It makes my top 21 recommended business books list.

I love this book because it's content is what we need to embrace in order to thrive in the new world of work.

I believe that applying the lessons in the book in our own best way will allow us to finally get rid of the dehumanisation and bureaucracy hangovers of scientific management and the Industrial Revolution.

I particularly like the concepts of evolutionary organisations needing to be people positive and complexity conscious which Aaron explains brilliantly with sound research, examples and metaphors.

I also agree with Aaron that we have an operating system challenge. This has been my own personal work since 1991. The 12 chapters in Aaron's own operating system example have a great layout namely thought starters, Questions on, what does it mean to be people positive about insert subject and what does it mean to be complexity conscious about insert subject.

Part three of the book is a how to and details how to use what Aaron call's patterns, rather than steps of which there are six. I love these because they evoke self-discovery and action rather than a prescription so many management consultants provide.

I also loved the proposed practices in part three.

All up a wonderful book for anyone wanting to do brave, meaningful for you work that not just provides value for others, yet also contribute to world changes we desperately need.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Your rituals, rhythm and routines are key to your success in this the year of the earth pig

After listening to this webinar with Chinese philosophy expert Nick Haines on 9th February 2019 I upgraded my rituals one page pictured and which you can download here. I recommended creating your own rituals one page.

Since the 9th February I have been diligent (another great action in the year of the Earth pig according to Nick) in following my one page. I was out of my rhythm a little and glad it's now restored.

We each have our own rhythm. It's very easy to lose it or being inadvertently put off it.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 1 March 2019

The simplest, most profound way to get what you want

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

Today’s podcast is from the Consciousness sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book. Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.

In a nutshell

A defining moment occurred in my life as I left hospital following a life-saving operation over 40 years ago. I share my experience via a short video (‘Don’t die with your music locked in you’) that you will find under Sparkenation 4. Consciousness here.

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

A key to both is unlocking our music i.e. our unique gifts and talents and helping other people to be and do the same.

There’s nothing quite like a human being who is fully alive as we explored in last week’s podcast. The five faces overviewed there are one way to establish that your own and/or someone else’s music is unlocked. I’ll suggest a few more ways at the end of this podcast.

Self-awareness and Awareness of others is a pre-curser to genuine empathy which in turn precedes helping others to achieve what’s valued by them.

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

 “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar

3 recommended actions

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

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

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

Hope for the future

How well are you providing your employees with the above? 

How can you do better?

Would you add anything to my list?

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

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

Mutual respect 

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

How can your employees do better?

Would your employees add anything to my list?

What customers/clients really want

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

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

In my work over the past 28 years I would concur with every one of these.

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

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

How can you and your employees do better?

Would you add anything to Geoffrey’s list?

Recommended deep work 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Monday, 25 February 2019

Rebalancing Society by Henry Mintzberg

I love this book.

Clear and concise about what's wrong with our world and what we do right now to make everything better, both individually and together.

Here's a good summary by Henry himself.

Means another update to my top 21 books I suggest you read.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 22 February 2019

There’s nothing like a fully alive human being

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

Today’s podcast is from the cognition sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book. Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.

We learn, grow and understand primarily through experience, what happens to our senses as a consequence, and what we intend, feel, think about, our behaviour and the actions we take. As a process this is called cognition.

Like most things a key to cognition is context.

Through working with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries since 1991 I’ve learned that there are intentional/spiritual (the fertile ground), emotional (ploughing), mental (seeding), physical (nurturing) and universal (harvest) components to every solution to your challenges.

Let’s look at these components as five faces of a fully alive human being which I first explored in my 2011 published Changing What’s Normal book, the first book in the trilogy. Download this book and all my resources for humans co-creating/sustaining remarkable workplaces.

The five faces of a fully alive human being are excellent context to explore cognition.

3 recommended actions

1) Complete the pulse check inside the download above yourself and with your team.

2) Create a performance improvement plan for yourself for the next 90 days. Then repeat this process or move to one of the other solutions in the Remarkable Workplaces book and integrate into your plan. There’s a performance improvement plan template at the companion resources web page under Sparkenation 13 Co-promises.

3) Create a performance improvement plan for your team for the next 90 days. Then repeat this process or move as recommended in 2) above.

Three recommended deep work actions:

If you’re not yet familiar with the concept of Deep Work I highly recommend Cal Newport’s book of that name

"Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate."

"Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world, and are easy to replicate."

1) Make deep work as a personal practice at least a once a week ritual.

2) Over the next 3 months eliminate shallow work. Keep a log of your time, energy and money savings. (You’ll be surprised!)

3) Set up a value-delivery deep dive conversation which each person your role has a relationship with. Ask them to tell you what they must have from you and their delivery preferences. Update your Role Clarity Statement (in the old out of date 20th century language that’s your ‘Position Description’). Ask people to describe how they feel about their relationship with you and for feedforward on how you could be and do better. Commit to a series of quantum leaps to improve your value delivery and check-in regularly with those your delivering to.

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

I love this insight.

It’s a perfect fit with taking quantum leaps.

I first learned about the aggregation of marginal gains via the writings of James Clear which he has now included in his great October 2018 published book ‘Atomic Habits’

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

What I love about the new world

Every month I update below. It helps me to stay focused and positive.

What would be on your list?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 18 February 2019

All we have to do is wake up and make changes!

Maybe 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg will be the catalyst who will bring us to our individual and collective senses!

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Communication and conversation never need to be toxic

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

The following is an extract from the Convention sparkenation in my book Remarkable Workplaces.

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

Convention is simply the agreed ways we make things happen and get things done.

My convention for you to adapt to best suit yourself is

Enlightened Language elevates conversations,
Conversations enrich relationships,
Relationships enable business.

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

My objective is to make my language enlightened. I use the word enlightened as a reference to enlightened self-interest the philosophy in ethics that’s about ‘doing well by doing good’, or as Zig Ziglar so wonderfully put it “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Your language (intention, words, tone, timing, body language) must be exactly right for the right person/people at the right time for them. Your language package must be such that people are not left in any doubt that you are here for them.

Conversations are elevated when we use such language.

Language too is about eliminating words that do not serve other people.

In other parts of the Remarkable Workplaces book I explore conversations, presentations and communication, relationships and purpose in depth.

For now your work is to get your language enlightened.

3 recommended actions

1) Take a very careful note of language being used in your workplace (any place for that matter) that causes people to roll their eyes or visibly withdraw. Examples I’ve seen are bandwidth, engagement, empowerment, disruption, scale, pivot, leverage, synergy.

2) Eliminate slogans and sound bites from your business. We get annoyed when the media and politicians use them so why on earth would we make our people suffer?

3) Invest time and energy in bettering how you speak, your messaging, making eye contact, using tone variations and pausing.

Recommended deep work

Invest time in other cultures where different languages to your native tongue are used. Note observations about how the best communicators and conversationalists operate.

France, Germany and Italy and many parts of Asia have been favourites for me as an English speaking person.

Commit to reading more or listening or watching if reading is not your preference.

I was interested to note recently that more than a third of Seth Godin’s sales in his latest best seller ‘This Is Marketing’ have been audio books.

You have no excuse for not tapping into other people’s experience and wisdom through reading, listening or watching at least once a week.

Learn new words regularly and test and evaluate their value in your overall communication, conversations and presentations.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

There's great power in being able to make things up

I've pre-ordered this book and very much looking forward to reading it when it arrives later this month.

Below is an extract:

“Which brings us to one of the most important things leaders and teams need to internalize: our way of working is completely made up. This isn’t the way it has to be, or even the way it always was. Our way of working was created, brick by brick, by gurus, industrialists, robber barons, unions, and universities  — generations of managers and workers who came before us. We can thank them for what is still serving us, and we can change the rest.”

There's great power in being able to make things up. 
What's your next invention?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 11 February 2019

People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership - The United Nations

I love the following from the United Nations. Please read the full piece yourself.


We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.


We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.


We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.


We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.


We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focussed in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.

The interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals are of crucial importance in ensuring that the purpose of the new Agenda is realised. If we realize our ambitions across the full extent of the Agenda, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better."

Be remarkable.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Without a common cause, common sense eludes us

You can listen directly to the podcast version of this podcast here.

Today's topic addresses common-cause in the above model. Learn more about the model and how you can use it in your own best way here.

It’s my firm belief that without a common cause, common sense often eludes us in the workplace as much as anywhere else.

In the late 1990’s, a time some writers have noted as the beginning of another renaissance, I observed that values and value based businesses were on the rise.

I saw this accelerate over the next decade. I wrote about this in a 6th February 2012 blog post.

More and more we are buying products and services we perceive to be of high value that are provided by people who live values that align with ours. In short from people we trust.

Of course trust has been heavily eroded.

Number 6 in Mark McCrindle’s top 6 trends for 2019 is the power of trust.

"6. The power of trust
The last few years have seen Royal Commissions and other inquiries refocus and recalibrate Australians’ trust. Few sectors have been immune, from religious and political entities to corporations in the financial sector, to aged care providers to social media and tech companies, trust has been eroded. The year ahead will see consumers value trust, whether it be in a brand, person or entity above price, promise or experience. Those who can gain and keep trust, through transparency, and values-based offerings will thrive in the trust-as-premium environment.”

A consequence of client work and conversations with clients was the realisation that people need to feel genuinely valued before they will consistently live values and deliver remarkable value. Of course trusting people and being trustworthy are integral to this.

Forthwith I began to use the following words to describe the common-cause of remarkable workplaces: 

people feeling valued, living values and delivering value.

Imagine a 3 legged stool or as I picture them as a triangle.

It had become obvious to me that having the common-cause to increase the number of people feeling valued, living values and delivering value was the simplest yet most profound process to achieve what everyone deep down really wants - better business results at less human and business cost.

By 2014 my feelings and thoughts evolved to a working model.

By the time the second book in my remarkability trilogy ‘The Appreciative Leader’ was published in 2016 the model had grown further and had been through tried, tested and proven.

Through further work with clients it became obvious to me that leadership needs allies to thrive. In part this is because leadership has been degenerated by political, religious and business people over generations. Real leadership is important yet more is needed.

I’ve thought long and hard about this and took a detailed look back at the wonderful people I have been privileged to work with searching for commonalities. I concluded that the most inspiring and influential people making the greatest positive difference were all in their own best way living seven relationship roles remarkably.

As a collective I named this being a Sparkenator from the verb I created in Changing What’s Normal, the first book in the remarkability trilogy. Sparkenation (a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal).

Sparkenator - person committed to the life-long process of mastering the 7 relationship enhancement roles (wise, witty and warm communicator, candid and convivial conversationalist, engaging and inspiring speaker, maestro mentor, compassionate coach, change champion and appreciative and value driven leader, and trusted adviser)

I also upgraded the other roles in the model: 21st century managers (people ensuring policies, procedures, practices, processes and systems are simple, real world and focused on value delivery), and culture champions (people who role model agreed behaviours and the who before do concept as well as what it means to be a human being fully alive.

Hence a further evolved model as pictured that I now use widely.

In the Remarkable workplaces book, the final in the remarkability trilogy, I recommend 3 actions and also some deep work.

3 recommended actions

1) Decide once and for all that no matter what, people and the planet are always before profit in your workplace.

2) Discuss with your team how well you’re going in ensuring people feel valued.

Below is a short list of actions you must be doing. What would you add to the list?

Catching people doing things right and doing the right thing.
Giving people genuine compliments.
Informally and formally celebrating with people what is going well for them.
Always saying please and thank you and meaning it.
Being courteous and kind.
Sharing stories about the successes of your people.
Being compassionate.

3) Systematically begin to review all your processes (includes policies, procedures, practices, and systems) and upgrade wherever appropriate to ensure that they mean it’s simple for people to be the best version of themselves and deliver value.

Recommended deep work

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:

You need a common-cause for your workplace, a purpose beyond profit.

Profit is a result of being good at business, never a reason for being in business.

Make sure your cause embraces people feeling valued, living values and delivering value and you will not only achieve better business results at less human and business cost, you will also be future-proofing your workplace.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

7 solutions to lessen the negative impact of self-interest, party politics and economics?

In a blog post 'The Fall of Davos Man' Robert Reich says:

The real source of the rise of repressive authoritarianism, nativism, and xenophobia in the United States as well as Italy, Spain, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece, France, and Britain is a pervasive sense that elites are rigging the world economy for themselves. And, guess what? They are.

In his Map #40: Corrupted Currencies and the Path to Collapse futurist Chris Kutarna says:

A big, looming question right now—as a new year gets going, as the US and the UK struggle to get going, as markets and climate fluctuate—is: are we on a path to renewal or collapse?

Chris goes on to provide some very interesting insights using the term currencies:

By “currencies” we mean not just monetary currencies, like dollars and euros, but all the things that parties to a bargain widely decide have value. Such things are more commonly called “virtues” or “norms”, but it can be helpful to think of these things as currencies instead, because—like money currencies—they only have value when we buy into them. 

What have we bought into?

I am deeply mystified at how people like Donald Trump can be President of anything let alone the United States of America. My friend and colleague Colin James suggests Trump is the poster child for solipsism (the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist; the quality of being self-centred or selfish).

Colin is onto something I reckon.

1) We have bought into self-interest

There's displays of self-interest everywhere: selfies, likes, consumerism just to name three obvious examples.

We have made the choice to allow self-interest to rule.

2) We have bought into political systems

The Electoral College in America

Unlike in other U.S. elections, the president and vice president are not elected directly by the people. Instead, they’re chosen by “electors” through a process called the Electoral College.

The idea of using electors comes from the Constitution. The nation’s founders saw it as a compromise between electing the president by a popular vote among citizens and electing the president in Congress.  

I personally fail to see how the above is good democracy.

The Westminster Political System e.g. Australia, United Kingdom

We don't get to elect our Prime Minister either. That privilege is left for party members, which here in Australia means Labor or Liberal. The winner of elections here never get a majority vote on their own, rather they rely on preferences where there are all sorts of dodgy deals deal done.

I personally fail to see how the above is good democracy either.

Other political systems

I tried researching how the Chinese people elect their politicians and admit absolute confusion. I couldn't find any evidence that the people have any say in who is their President. The only thing I got clear about is that bribery and corruption are rife.

I'm not aware of any political system where the people have a direct say in who will lead their country. 

Leads me to ask Why are politicians our leaders?

Something is wrong worldwide with politics and politicians. 

Reflecting on Robert Reich's comments above could it be that the elites are rigging everything for their own gain?

3) We have bought into the economy being the be all and end all

In my life time (65 years) we have stopped being a society and instead have become an economy where the people who create the various formulas don't know what they're creating will lead to.

And we still use GDP, the total of what we spend as a measure of well-being. Laughable.

Summary and possible solutions

Self-interest, our political systems, and modern economics are all pathways that are leading to the destruction of our planet (our home). And unless we do something very soon they will bring about our own demise.

Possible solutions

1) Refuse to buy-into self-interest rather live a life of enlightened self-interest.
2) Peacefully push for third alternatives in politics e.g. elect Independents for local governments and eventually eliminate party politics.
3) Move to the people not parties or electoral colleges electing Presidents or Prime Ministers and asking them to govern with fellow Independents.
4) Be part of a movement that reinstates peaceful and productive society as our purpose and redesign economics to support this purpose.
5) Put a panel of judges* in charge of national and international decisions to do with climate change, health care, privacy, education and military matters, and whatever else we the people deem as our priorities.
6) Ensure 50% of these judges are women.
7) Make it illegal for any decisions made by the above to be discriminatory in any way.

*an alternative to a panel of judges could be a council of elders with no political or ideological attachment. Age of the council members would be irrelevant. The main criteria for election would be track record in doing the right thing by people and planet.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

What are your solutions?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 4 February 2019

I say it again, values are behaviours not just words

I like this infographic from Briana Nguyen from 'Delivering Happiness'. Please read her full article here.

At risk of being a broken record I say it again, values are behaviours not just words.

Be remarkable.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Wisdom Workers are a key to your success in the new world of work

You can listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

Wisdom Workers

Today’s post/podcast is inspired by this beautiful book that I’m currently studying by Chip Conley, Strategic Advisor at Airbnb.

Go to my website and click on the complimentary resources tab.

From there you can download a PDF document that contains links to all my digital resources for humans co-creating/sustaining Remarkable Workplaces.

One such resource is my ebook Meaningful Work and The Meaning Of Life. The link to it is on page 20.

This ebook contains my best insights, inspiration, and ideas for our times from my first decade of blogging.

In the ebook I reference what I believe are 4 distinct ages in human history.

Firstly the Agricultural Age of 10-12000 years ago when key roles where Landowners and Labourers. Power was in the hands of a few.

Then the Industrial Age that commenced 300 years ago. Key roles were Industrialists and Factory workers. Power was still in the hands of a few.

The third distinct age in human history the Information Age began 50 years ago. The key roles technology guru’s/experts/entrepreneurs and knowledge workers, a term created by Peter Drucker in 1959 that found its place in this age. Power was still however in the hands of a few.

The current and 4th age I call The Purpose Age. It began perhaps 30 years ago. The fall of the Berlin wall was certainly a sign of significant change.

I believe that this purpose age is an age for the foreseeable future. The key roles are Differencemakers and Insightspreneurs (people able to turn information into useable insight/s).

The really big change in this purpose age is that power is now in the hands of many.

At the moment this power is only used wisely that I can see in small pockets.

A revolution is on our doorstep though as differencemakers and insightpreneurs become wisdom workers, a term I will credit to the writer and CEO of Age Wave, Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. who from what I can tell coined the term in 1989. Wisdom workers will break the digital spell that we’re currently under. HT to Chip Conley.

For me wisdom workers are todays artisans and meaning makers. They are the role models of value delivery and of what it means to be a human being fully alive in the 21st century.

Fully alive human beings I describe in my writings as people who are universally aware, emotionally healthy, mentally alert, physically active and spiritually alive.

I recommend having a conversation with your team members about what it means to be wisdom workers in your team.

Some context I’d recommend

For a number of years now I have been following Chris Brogan’s lead by choosing 3 words as my theme each year. You can read more about Chris’s idea by reading my 28th November 2018 blog post.

This year my 3 words are better, wiser, valuable.

Choose one of your words this year to reflect wisdom as a theme for your team’s performance.

A second part of context I’d recommend is for you and your team mates to think and take action following the proven principles of quantum leaps and "the aggregation of marginal gains”.

"The aggregation of marginal gains” is a wonderful concept that I first learned about from the great writer and author of Atomic Habits James Clear.

James tells the success story of British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford.

James Clear says:

Brailsford had been hired to put British Cycling on a new trajectory. What made him different from previous coaches was his relentless commitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do.

Brailsford said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

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

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

True quantum leaps and the aggregation of marginal gains play a key role in all of my work with my clients. I wish you well as you tap into their magic. If I can help you please get in touch with me.

I wish you well in having a conversation with your team members about what it means to be wisdom workers in your team. Please call me or email should you wish to share your results.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Not intending to take action, then forget doing the survey

I'm amazed at the number of organisations who do employee engagement surveys, post online purchase surveys, you name it, and then fail to use the data.

Worse still is doing the surveys and not taking actions that mean the employee/customer/stakeholder experience is better.

Worst of all is not getting back to people who completed your survey/s with what you've done from their input.

We are in an age where the employee/customer/stakeholder experience is paramount to your success.

In the most remarkable workplaces what I see happening is:

the tendency to be overwhelmed by data is top of mind and therefore surveys and the like are used wisely and sparingly

action is taken,

people are communicated with about the actions and wherever appropriate engaged in them.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.