Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The trouble for and with western leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be remarkable.

Monday, 19 August 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday, 16 August 2019

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

And then reality would check in.

Now you have choices to make.

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

I recommend two actions 

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

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

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

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

Affirmations need actions or they become just words.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

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

This is a great book. I highly recommend it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What say you?

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

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

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

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

What say you?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday, 12 August 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be remarkable.

Friday, 9 August 2019

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today our subject is reality.

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

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

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

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

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

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

New complimentary resources now available

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

You can download the file at this web page.

What’s new?

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

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

You can register for these complimentary events here.

Be remarkable.

Monday, 5 August 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

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

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

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

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

Friday, 2 August 2019

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

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the final in a series of 7.

Here's part one about value delivery.

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

Here's part three about learning and development.

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

Here's part five after-action-reviews.

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

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

Our subject today is 1:1 check-ins

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

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

Let’s take a brief look at each one:

Frequency and Consistency

Helps with creating habits.

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

Fortnightly or monthly work best for me. You?

Candour, Conviviality and Compassion

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

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

Fred Kofman, a leader in the conscious business movement:

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

Use of focusing tools and proven techniques 

One-page plans previously referenced are key.

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


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

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

People love to get away occasionally.

Neutrality of venue often helps self-expression and creativity.


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

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

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

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

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

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.