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.