Friday, 25 September 2020

We can increase our sense of belonging everywhere, every day

Today’s content is drawn from my Heart-Leadership book.

It's also a follow-on from Wednesday's video post here.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Heart-Leadership is an alternative to people, change and performance management. Today my focus is on the places we belong to.

First place Home

Many people are telling me that they have a renewed enthusiasm for family and a greater appreciation of family members as a positive consequence of corona. 

I feel that this will continue and contribute to a more peaceful world. You?

I also hear of increases in personal stress, domestic violence and suicide as negative consequences of corona. 

What do you hear your heart suggesting to you in terms of how you could help other people?

Second place Work

Will the workplace ever be as it was AC (after corona)? 

I hope not.  

In my book The Appreciative Leader (which you can download with my compliments via the PDF at the bottom of this page) I overviewed what I see as the new world of work (see below). It’s four years since I made these observations. My heart is warmed that many people are making the shift from old to new!

Many people have expressed to me the desire to continue to work from home. Of course this is possible for many of us. 

I note that highly successful organisations such at Atlassian are now making working from home normal.

My sense is that less traffic by car, less plane travel, and less urban life would be good for people as well as the planet. You?

Third place Everywhere Else

BC (before corona) I met with my clients online and in person. Most of the in person was in coffee shops or hotels because people often wanted to get away from the office! I expect that AC (after corona) this will continue.

Of course online Zoom has become the third place. 

I was already comfortable in the Zoom room. Now there's more rooms because Zoom have added a great breakout facility! I have very much enjoyed my experiences using this addition to their offering.

I'm continuing to make my conversations online as human-centred as possible. No voice over slides is one way to do this. 

You’ll find the video of the latest such conversation here. 

My sense is more Zooming even AC (after-corona). You?

There is turmoil in many parts of the wider world at the moment. I believe this is largely about the self-centred and the self-righteous trying to hang onto a world that benefited them and not everyone else. I want to see this world end.

I cannot do anything about it directly though. What I can do is be better and wiser and more valuable in the world's that I co-exist in, both online and in person. You? 

When we all do this the wider world will benefit.

I wish you well in your world and the first, second and third places where you belong.

You can increase your sense of belonging everywhere, every day.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Thriving in the ever-changing world of work

I’ve been researching and experiencing and writing and speaking about the ever-changing world of work for over 30 years. In that time I’ve witnessed incremental shifts away from seeing and treating people like machines, to understanding who people are and what we do, and how we can work in harmony with machines.


I’ve concluded that in essence that the best work for us humans involves being the best version of our one-of-a-kind selves and doing work that is meaningful for us and highly valuable for other people.  And the machines will increasingly do the simple, routine and repeatable work.


DC (during corona) and AC (after corona) offer exciting opportunities for seismic shifts in the world of work including redefining the office, the corporation, and what it means to exchange and deliver value.

What are you focusing on?

There's more video's and podcasts to help you here.

More in Friday 25th's post and podcast about the new world of work here.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Monday, 21 September 2020

Heart-Leadership paperback pre-order offers now available

Last week I completed workshopping my Heart-Leadership book. I'm now waiting on input from selected pre-readers. I've begun the final write though based on the inaugural workshop and input from readers already in. I'm on track to meet publishing deadline of 30th November 2020. 

For the past 3 months I've been recording a short video (under 5 minutes) and a short podcast (under 10 minutes) on Heart-Leadership. You can watch and listen and learn about the 3 special pre-order offers for the paperback here.

I'll be continuing with the weekly videos and podcasts until I have finished writing the book.

Be remarkable.

Ian 

Friday, 18 September 2020

25 ways to move from performance management to performance energetics

Today’s podcast and post is drawn from my Heart-Leadership book.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Heart-Leadership is an alternative to people, change and performance management. Today my focus is on performance and 25 ways that you can move from performance management to performance energetics.

Energetics in simple terms means energy quality. Performance Energetics is about sustaining high energy and flow. Sometimes our role is about enhancing energy, sometimes holding it, and sometimes shifting it.

More on Performance Energetics here.

Often following Heart-Leadership work I help my clients to upgrade their performance review system, including eliminating performance appraisals which are one of the all time great energy suckers in the workplace.

Here’s the 25 ways (order not relevant)

1. Stop seeing people as they are.  See people as the can be.

2. Find out what’s really important to your people and help them achieve it.

3. Assess performance not people.

4. Stop trying to manage people.  Instead lead people.

5. Help each employee to create their own personal piece of your strategy execution map.

6. When you assess performance support assessment with data.

7. Provide "feedforward" before feedback and only feedback to people who have asked for it.

8. Focus on standards instead of goals.

9. Discover a shared-view with your employees 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 keep progress in meaningful work visible (progress), and how you will live your values along the way (culture).

10. Teach people to take responsibility for their intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions and then let them be, aside from ongoing helpful conversations.

11. Appreciate people when they do well.

12. Never confuse a person with their performance.

13. Name the elephants in your rooms.

14. Role model candid and authentic conversations.

15. Never review performance and salary at the same time.

16. See problems as opportunities to innovate i.e. change what’s normal rather than solve the problem and reinstate the status quo (normal).

17. Keep your promises.

18. Praise in public and only ever offer critique in private, and only then when you been asked or there is an agreement in place for such conversations.

19. Share success stories other people can see and feel themselves in.

20. Be a disruptive influence for good.

21. Be fully present in the now.

22. Only have performance conversations about previously agreed actions. Only change actions with agreement.

23. Focus on processes not outcomes, yet assess performance on outcomes.

24. Do your life’s work (see previous) and inspire your employees to do theirs. See this blog post and read the section on the Career and Life-calling Card.

25. Be remarkable at all three pillars of Heart-Leadership: Complete the Check-up below to get started. Please download the Heart-Leadership Check-up here.


Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Heart-Leadership is all about energy exchange

Heart-leadership is a digitally-savvy, human-centred design approach to the three pillars of a thriving, modern enterprise – people leadership, process innovation and progress sustainability.

Hear Your Heart (People leadership) is the art of seeing, sometimes unearthing, mostly magnifying and enhancing people's essence including your own.

Ask Your Head (Process innovation) is the collaborative work of ensuring processes make it simple for people to bring their essence to their work. (NB processes include policies, procedures, practices, philosophies, principles, structures and systems).

Engage Your Hands (Progress sustainability) is the joyful craft of ensuring progress towards possibility (desired new reality, shared goal/objective/aim) is kept visible.

Heart-Leadership is all about energy exchange



Please place your hand on your heart. What you’re feeling is your own unique frequency, one-of-a-kind rhythm, your own special energy.

Leading from your heart has a different energy to leading from your head.

Feeling, thoughts, and actions have their own energy. 

Negative feelings, thoughts and actions have low vibrational energy forces. Positive feelings, thoughts and actions such as kindness, appreciation, compassion are high vibration energy forces.

Heart-Leadership causes high energy responses from other people.

Heart-Leadership is all about enhancing the energy when it's good and shifting the energy when needed.


There's more videos and podcasts here to help you to excel in your own best way at Heart-Leadership.

Here's a post from my soon to be published Heart-Leadership book. It's about Performance Energetics my alternative to performance appraisals and performance management systems.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 14 September 2020

The 3 key differences between Heart-Leadership and most political leadership

Heart-leadership is a digitally-savvy, human-centred design approach to the three pillars of a thriving, modern enterprise – people leadership, process innovation and progress sustainability.

There's 3 key differences between Heart-Leadership and most political leadership. 

1) The economy is part of society never the other way around.

2) The common good is always more important than our beliefs or ideologies.

3) We never oppose anything simply for the sake of being in opposition rather we debate premises and then fully support execution plans once we've reached agreement.

These 3 differences have implications for your enterprise or professional practice.

What are these implications as you see them?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Ian

Friday, 11 September 2020

When we’re all playing an infinite game

The content for this post and podcast is drawn from my Heart-Leadership book.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

I'm long done with winning and competition. Instead I'm focused on continuity and collaboration. 

I still compete with myself. 

I'm long past trying to compete with other people. Friendly games of golf or chess etc etc the exception! 

Life is much more joyful and enjoyable when my focus is on being the best version of me. 

There's no need for comparison or competition anyway of course because each of us is a one-of-a-kind human being. 

A finite game has the purpose of winning, meaning the game ends once there’s a winner or winners. 

An infinite game is played with the purpose of continuing the game. 

An infinite game is a much more curious and interesting game. 

Consider the damage that the finite game of economic growth has done to our world particularly post GFC (Global Financial Crisis) and DC (during corona) and no doubt AC (after corona). 

Remember the one rule previously explored. More about this here.

In many Western governments the one rule is economic growth and therefore decisions made in GFC times and DC and AC were fundamentally flawed because we were looking at everything through an economic lens rather than equally through social, environmental, spiritual and universal lenses. 

I recommended Simon Sinek’s book on the subject published in 2019 and the book by the originator of the idea James P. Carse, published in 1986. More about these books here.

As an action I recommend writing down all the areas of your life that are winners and losers games and consider and take action that would turn them into games that you can keep on playing.

The big infinite game we can all play is about value exchange and delivery 

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

Many organisational structures are too complicated to be able to effectively answer this question. 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. 

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 and exchange with people. 

Value like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. 

What are the key relationships in your workplace? 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 within communities where your workplace 
operates. 


7)  Employers within such communities. 


Over time consider each of these relationships and how you can be better and wiser in exchanging and delivering value.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Transparency is a sign of real leadership

There are a lot of fake leaders masquerading as real ones today. 

Lack of transparency is one way of spotting a fake. Sadly many political, religious and business leaders are not transparent. Some are blatantly so for all the wrong reasons! 


Transparency is letting us know that what you promised us is in jeopardy, whatever the reasons.

Transparency is not telling us you have a plan, it’s sharing your plan with us and showing how our input has been taken into account.

Transparency is showing us how you arrived at your decisions. Even if we disagree with your decision we are much more likely to help you when we can see the process of how you arrived at your decision.

In my Heart-Leadership book I share this model for making decisions

Also in the Heart-Leadership book I share the following:

The right decisions made at the right time by the people in the best position to make them is what everybody wants right?

In reality at least half the decisions made by business people are not the best decisions that could be made. 

These were the findings of two decades of research by Dr Paul Nutt of Ohio State University and involving hundreds of organisations. The research found that there are three key reasons why 50% of decisions fail:

1)  “1/3 driven by ego.
 
2) nearly 2/3 of executives never explore alternatives once they make up their mind.

 3) 80% of managers push their decisions through by persuasion or edict and not by the value of their idea.”

Ego is a sign of fake leadership. So is not exploring alternatives. And not basing decisions on the vale of an idea is unforgivable.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 7 September 2020

How to love living in your learning zone with Peter Milligan

 This month's Sparkenation Conversation with a special guest featured Peter Milligan.

Some gems from Peter:

"connection before direction."

"wisdom is knowledge successfully applied with love."

"go slow to go fast."

Learn more about these conversations and watch recordings of the previous two here.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Friday, 4 September 2020

The 8 stages to guaranteeing innovation

Listen to the podcast version of this post

I created a process to help my clients learn and take action. It’s turned into a way to guarantee innovation and progress. It’s also a track I use regardless of the kind of work I’m doing or the event I’m conducting.  I’m taking people on a journey from information to insight to inspiration to idea/s to implementation to introspection to integration to innovation. This is my fundamental methodology.

Let’s take a quick look at each phase:

Information

Information is everywhere right. We’re drowning in it. It’s accessible and mostly free. Deliberate distribution of disinformation is now rife. One of the challenges today is determining whether information it’s true or false. The bottom-line, information is actually of very little value. What we crave is insight.

Insight

Insight is everywhere too. Yet not easily accessed. 

A most worthy pursuit because it’s the beginning of more people feeling valued, living values and delivering value, which are the fundamentals of a thriving enterprise.

Inspiration

Very few people take the time and energy to savour insight and imagine what can be. To be inspired heart is required. Emotions need stirring.

Idea/s

Any idea from the heart inspired by intuition is worthy of consideration. There’s three key questions to answer:

1) What’s your process for considering people’s ideas and getting back to them once considered?

2) What is the decision-making process for choosing an idea to implement?

3) How much freedom do your people have to implement ideas?

Then love your idea like your dearest. Find people who love it too. Work with them to turn your idea into innovation through the final three crucial stages.

Implementation

There are three essentials for successfully implementing any idea.

1) do so one quantum leap at a time.

2) implement in 90 day blocks using performance possibility plans-on-a-page. 90 days is enough time to do things that matter and yet short enough to be able to correct any missteps.

3) aggregate the marginal gains.

Introspection

To reflect on actions taken and their impact is vital to all learning and progress or innovation of any kind. I help a lot of my clients with after-action-reviews and have a simple 5 stage process that I’ll mention shortly.

Integration

Integrating new perceptions with what is already working well for you is an essential to embedding learning and established new levels of performance.

I recommend the following 5 stages to for introspection and integration work.

1) Review one implementation action at a time and answer the following questions what happened and why? what did we learn, relearn, and unlearn? How can we be better, wiser and more valuable in applying these learnings? Who will we become? What will we do next?

2) Determine with your colleagues how your answers will be integrated with what is already working well for you.

3) Upgrade your individual, team and organisational plans and co-promises on a page accordingly.

4) Reflect new perceptions in appropriate standard operating procedures, policies and practices.

5) Upgrade learning and development materials.

Innovation

Innovation has occurred when we have changed what’s normal, when we have shifted from sameness or the status quo that was no longer serving us, to something more valuable.

The 8 stages to guaranteeing innovation are integral to Heart-Leadership. There's more podcasts plus videos and online courses here to help you further.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Lead people. Manage processes


In a workshop with CEO’s in 1990 I declared people management dead and that the new management was all about processes. 

There were a lot of sniggers in the room and a couple of out loud laughs.

Nobody sniggers or laughs anymore.

Mind you the pandemic is highlighting that some people still think people can be managed. Don't be tempted. People need to feel appreciated, valued and loved. This is real leadership.

People leadership is the art of seeing, sometimes unearthing, mostly magnifying and enhancing people's essence including your own.

People leadership needs to be in harmony with process innovation

Process Innovation is the collaborative work of ensuring processes make it simple for people to bring their essence to their work. (NB processes include policies, procedures, practices, philosophies, principles, structures and systems).

People leadership and process innovation are two of the three pillars of Heart-Leadership. The third pillar is progress sustainability. Learn more.

Make it your business every day to lead people and manage processes. You will make sustainable progress when you do.

There's more videos and podcasts here to help you.

A key action is to ensure that every day you and your fellow employees are systematically reviewing and updating your processes so that it is always simple for people to bring their essence to their work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Monday, 31 August 2020

Leaders don't always know best. They do know who to rely on for what's best

One of the things about politicians that I detest is that many of them think they know best despite a pile of evidence to the contrary.

Thankfully some who deny the overwhelming advice from people who know about climate change are paying more attention to health experts DC (during corona). There's some notable exceptions of course!

Who do you rely on for advice? 

When people come to you asking questions do you answer them honestly? Do you say "I don't know", when you don't?

Social media is dominated by opinions and those for and against. Very little of it is the truth and nothing but the truth.

Who are you paying attention to?

We need less pontificating and posturing in our world and more genuine focus on the needs of people and the best, proven ways to meet these needs.

You may know best about some things. Mostly however you need other people you can rely on for what's best.

Who will you become?
What will you do next?

One way forward is to embrace Heart-Leadership in your own best way. The heart knows. The head lies. Learn more.

Be remarkable.

Ian


Friday, 28 August 2020

Everything of meaning and value begins with harmony

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Today’s post and podcast draws from writing my Heart-Leadership book. I’m currently workshopping the book for the first time with group of leadership peers from different organisations. I will then complete the writing ready for publication by the end of November 2020.

Harmony is perhaps my all time favourite word. I believe everything of meaning and value begins with harmony.

Harmony, Heart, Head, Hands in this order lead to coherence which in turn leads to happenstance (i.e. coincidence, synchronicity, serendipity).

“Coherence is the state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation,” HeartMath Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty says. “It is a state that builds resiliency – personal energy is accumulated, not wasted – leaving more energy to manifest intentions and harmonious outcomes.”

We are in great need of coherence right now when many world leaders are incoherent. 

It all starts with Harmony.

The idea of harmony is perhaps best illustrated in the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang.


I observe many apparent opposing forces in the workplace. I make a difference to my clients through work with them that brings these forces together in harmony.

There’s 

Relationships and tasks,

Processes and outcomes,

Commitment and competency,

Influence and standards,

People and systems,

Effectiveness and efficiency,

Growth and sustainability,

Bosses and employees,

Masculine and feminine,

Leadership and management,

 to name just a few areas where there can be tension that is not helpful and therefore achievements are far less than what is possible.

The great disharmony is between leadership and management. It’s caused by business owners, bosses, executives and shareholders holding onto the concept of people management, an oxymoron if ever there was one.

Where do you see disharmony?

How could you be better, wiser, more valuable in creating and sustaining harmony?

Resources to help you

As I complete the writing of the Heart-Leadership book I'm recording short videos as well as podcasts for posterity. There's also online courses. You'll find them all at this web page.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Doing work that is Meaningful For You and Highly Valuable For Others

In the past eight years I’ve been very focused on doing work that is meaningful for me and highly valued by the people I work with. These two I believe are key for all of us to thriving in the new world of work.

My quest began because I’ve never thought much of the idea that 'what gets measured gets done'. I’m much more aligned with the William Bruce Cameron insight:

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

I highly recommend forgetting about measuring stuff and just focus on doing work that you find meaningful and that is also highly valuable for the right people for you. I feel this is front and centre in the new world of work which looks like this:


There are many ways to discover what kind of work is meaningful to you.


In my Heart-Leadership book being published in November 2020 I explore creating a Career and Life Calling Card as one way to find out what is meaningful to you. I draw heavily on the works of Joseph Campbell, Ken Robinson, Steven Farber, Daniel Pink, and Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles for their work in the area of vocation/work/mission/purpose. 

Sadly Ken passed away a few days ago. This video demonstrates why he will be sadly missed yet never forgotten.

In Heart-Leadership I recommend creating a one-page visual Career and Life Calling Card where you would feature your answers the following questions:


Can Do

What do I know?
What are my key skills?
What is my real expertise?
How do I practice what I know?

Will do

What is my attitude to living?
What am I really committed to?
How can I be more disciplined in taking action?
How I am really different from others who do what I do?

Love to do

My purpose in life is?
I am passionate about?
I find Joy in?
My art is?
My essence is?

People who love what I do

How do I 
Serve others?
Help people achieve what is important to them?
Solve people’s problems?
Offer solutions to people’s challenges?
Exchange value with other people?
Deliver value to other people?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 24 August 2020

4 key questions to ask before your next meeting

 I limit myself to two Zoom sessions per day at the absolute maximum. The last thing I want is fatigue.

In speaking with people, particularly those still in DC (during corona) lockdown a common theme is meetings. My conversations really are tales of the good, the bad and the ugly!

The four questions in this article by Elizabeth Doty really nail it when it comes to ensuring good meetings:


1) Why are we gathering?
2) Who needs to be here?
3) What conversation needs to happen?
4) How might we create the conditions for that conversation?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian 

Friday, 21 August 2020

14 ways to live well and work wisely

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Today’s post and podcast draws from adjustments I've made to how I live and work while researching and writing my Heart-Leadership book.

We’re all making adjustments right? 

The world will not be returning to normal. 

This is a great thing. Normal wasn’t serving us well.

The good news is that when we all focus on living well and working wisely we can build a better, fairer, kinder world.

He’s my top 14 ways to live well and work wisely:

1. Heart-focused meditation daily.

2. Plant based diet 5 days a week.

3. Daily walk, gratitude and home exercise rituals.

4. Living and Modelling Heart Qualities - love (philia), gratitude, appreciation, care, happiness, compassion, harmony, kindness.

5. No more than two Zoom sessions per day.

6. Having at least one helpful conversations with a client, colleague, or candidate every week day.

7. Working in 90 minute blocks and then taking a break to re-energise.

8. Giving value via online courses and resources via blog which is now Read (Monday’s), Watch and Read (Wednesdays), Listen and Read (Friday’s).

9. Hosting one-of-a-kind Sparkenation conversations online.

10. Leading The Heart-Leadership Online Village.

11. Presenting/co-presenting board-room briefings on Heart-Leadership, Strategic Heartistry and other selected and relevant topics for leadership, CEO and other peer groups.

12. Conducting Heart-Leadership Check-ups.

13. Facilitating Heart-Leadership and Strategic Heartistry programs.

14. Working equivalent to 10 days per month (Feb - Nov); 4 days per month for fee and the rest as above.

In creating your very own ways to live well and work wisely what would you include?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Choice is a powerful gift

Viktor Frank chose joy in the most difficult of circumstances. 

While a prisoner in Auschwitz where over one million people died he wrote: 

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. 
 
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom." 

A mantra I use to choose a response to stimuli rather than react to what happens is ‘Start With The Heart’. 

The more I put this mantra into practice the more joyful my life is, the better choices I make, and the less I concern myself with what other people do or don’t do. 

Every choice you make is a gift. You get to choose your intentions, feelings, thoughts, behaviours, everything.

My friend and colleague W. Mitchell put it this way:

Possible Actions

1) Examine with your team your last 5 major decisions and answer the following questions:

Do you follow a process that means your decisions are transparent meaning people can see how you made the decisions even when they don’t agree with them?

2) Look back over the last week as an individual reviewing the every day choices you’ve made. 

How aligned were you with your essence? How many times did you feel unable to sing your song? And how often did you sing it? What lessons are here for you to take on board and sing your song more often?

3) Explore this blog post with your team mates and decide what your one word will be as a team and as individuals for the next year.

Be remarkable.

Ian

 

Monday, 17 August 2020

The most interesting facts about the Fortune Global 500 isn't the profits they're making

The Fortune Global 500 list of companies came out recently.

Source https://fortune.com/global500/

What I found interesting was not the fact (apparently) that their combined revenues are about 40% of the world's economy, rather that they only employ 69.9 million people i.e. less than 1% of the world's population.

You might get the impression that I'm not at all impressed by corporations. You'd be right. They control the world it seems to me, and most politicians do what the so-called leaders of these behemoths tell them.

Granted there are some purpose-driven leaders amongst the ranks. They are the exception though not the rule. I think the salaries paid to most executives in corporations is immoral, unethical and in no way reflects the value of their contribution to their companies or most importantly society.

I do back up these feelings with my actions. I do not advise or mentor executives in corporations unless there is indisputable evidence they are purpose and not shareholder driven. 

The stock market is nothing more than licensed gambling. It ignores the many people who own and operate private and family owned businesses, and the zillions of SME's who with these private and family companies employ the most people.

Yes I buy things from giants like Amazon and Apple. I would not own shares in them. 

Where do you stand?

Be remarkable.

Ian

PS the other interesting things about the Fortune Global 500 list are 1) China has 124 companies listed and the USA 121. A sign of the times perhaps and the rise of one empire and the decline of another. 2) These companies are only represented by 32 countries.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Compete with yourself, collaborate with everyone else

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Today’s post and podcast draws material from the Progress sustainability Sparkenation in my Heart-Leadership book.

In times of uncertainty or crisis, fear often emerges and some people revert to the old command and control behaviour, or take action that is only in their best interests.

The rush on toilet paper and then other products DC (during corona) is a perfect example of fear and self-interest driven behaviour.

I encourage you to lean in to yourself. Compete with yourself. Seek to collaborate with everyone else.

My online course Relationships, Reasons and Routines Guarantee Results may help you. This short course consists of five videos (total viewing time 46 minutes and 38 seconds) and a short workbook. Begin this course from here.

Here’s some of the inspirations, insights, ideas and actions from this course.

You're accountable for your intentions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviours and actions. You're not accountable for anyone else's. 

What other people do or don't do is none of your business. 

This is sometimes difficult to grasp and accept. Doing so is essential to being the best version of you.

We are all doing our best. One of my all time favourite conversations about this concept is between Russell Brand and Brene Brown. Listen/watch yourself here.

Take this Compete With Yourself Action often. You can apply it to any area of your life.

1. Describe an outcome/circumstance you want to improve in your life/work. 

2. Then list how you can change or modify your behaviour, your thoughts, your feelings, your intentions, in relation to what you want to improve. These are the key processes that lead to a change of outcome or circumstance.

Take this collaborate with everyone else action. You can apply in to any relationship in your life.

 1. Detail a relationship you want to improve in your life/work. 

2. Then list how you can change or modify your commitment, your finding common ground, how you make connection, the regularity and kind of contact you have with the person you want to improve your relationship with. These are the key processes that lead to an improved.

What's worth celebrating in your life and work? and What can be better?

I've been asking myself these two questions every day for more than 40 years.

I believe they're two very powerful questions because they ensure I began every day grateful and focused.

Try the above yourself for at least a month. It will help you to ensure that this year is your best year yet. Maybe this will become a life-long habit!

For more than a quarter of a century these two questions have been the foundational performance energetic conversations by my clients. Several clients began their team meetings with answers to these questions.

These two questions are critical in the quest of competing with yourself and collaborating with everyone else.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Hearing Your Heart, Quantum Leaps and Aggregation of Marginal Gains

 There's three key principles that I work with my clients on to help them to achieve what they want:

1) Clarity of desired result/change.

2) Creating and taking quantum leaps.

3) Aggregation of marginal gains.


Stephen R. Covey got it right when he said "begin with the end in mind."

From this position of clarity there's millions of options as to who to be and what to do next. I favour quantum leaps and the aggregation of marginal gains.


Get really clear on what you want to achieve/change and then design and take a series of small yet significant shifts.

I've been working with the true science of quantum leaps for many years. More about quantum leaps here.

When I added "the aggregation of marginal gains" to my work I began see better results and a lot less personal and business costs for my clients.

I first learned about "the aggregation of marginal gains" from James Clear in his great book Atomic Habits where he shares the success story of British Cycling and the instigator Performance Director Dave Brailsford. Please read the excerpt from the book about this yourself.

By choosing to be and do just a little bit better, wiser and/or more valuable my clients can achieve their own version of the British Cycling Team's success summarised by James Clear as follows:

"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."

A key is start with your heart


The three principles I summarise here work better when you start with your heart. Hear your heart first regarding the what and why, then ask your head how and then engage your hands to do your work. This is heart-leadership. 

More on heart, head, hands here.


Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 10 August 2020

Navigating The Mindfield with Anne Riches

Thrilled that my long standing friend and colleague Anne Riches was my special guest in this Sparkenation conversation.

Go here for the previous month's conversation with Steve Simpson on UGRs (unwritten ground rules) and workplace culture, and to learn about the upcoming conversation with Peter Milligan on September 2nd 2020. All three conversations are linked.

Be remarkable.

Ian

Friday, 7 August 2020

The game-changer of checklists


‘The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right’ by medical doctor Atul Gawande wonderfully illustrates how checklists save lives.

We know that DC (during corona) following a 6 point checklist has saved lives. 

I’m sure you’ve seen a version of the following

1. Wash your hands often.
2. Avoid close contact.
3. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
4. Cover coughs and sneezes.
5. Clean and disinfect.
6. Monitor Your Health Daily.

Once not even doctors washed their hands. As the good doctor points out in his book this cost many lives. Importantly doctors adopting the practice as routine has saved many lives.

In operating theatres a leader calls time out to check that everything is in place and all instruments etc are accounted for. This simple checklist has saved many lives and many pre and post operation disasters.

In my work I use checklists for many things to ensure that I never leave anything important or vital out of interactions and transactions. I encourage my clients to adopt checklists as a matter of normal practice. Many report the well-being impact on people as well as financial savings and rewards.

Here’s two examples:

The Future Manifesto


‘The Future Manifesto, 10 guiding principles for co-creating a positive future’ is an ongoing project I am engaged in with colleagues from The Right Company.

Manifesto’s make great checklists. I use The Future Manifesto in a number of ways. One way is to choose one or more of the 10 guiding principles as an overarching theme for my work over a set period of time. For example while writing my Heart-Leadership book June - August 2020 I chose principles 1., 4. & 7. (see below).

So every morning before beginning to write I check-in with these three principles and align my intention through hearing my heart and then asking my head. I then engage my hands and write.

“The 10 guiding principles

1. Focus on inspiration more than motivation.
2. Jump from competition to collaboration.
3. See what emerges when you dance with fear, ambiguity, and not-knowing.
4. Discover the inner energy of your breath and your heart.
5. Your health and that of the world are one.
6. Start your mission to be kinder than necessary.
7. Create something humanity really needs.
8. Move from measurement into the universe of possibility.
9. Join the infinite game and become a compass and guiding star.
10. Take this as a time of opportunities, unique in our history.”

The Career and Life-calling Card


Discovering our life’s work is one of the most fulfilling quests we can achieve. I recommend creating a checklist like the career and life-called card below and reviewing it at least twice a year to see where you’re at and where you could move to.

According to Gallup and many other leading researchers into employee engagement, most of the world’s employees are not fully engaged in their work.

There are many reasons for this disaster.

Often overlooked is the fact that millions of people aren't able or allowed to do what they love in the service of people who love what they do. Hence they're disengaged. A career and life-calling card helps.

I’m am very grateful to the works of Joseph Campbell, Ken Robinson, Steven Farber, Daniel Pink, and Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles for their work in the area of vocation/work/mission/purpose.

The concept of “Follow your bliss” from Joseph Campbell in ‘Hero of a thousand faces’ has always resonated with me since I first read the book over 30 years ago. It means "doing what we can't not do."

In an excellent book ‘The Element - how finding your passion changes everything’, Ken Robinson says about the element “the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together.”

“Do what you love, in the service of people who love what you do.” Steven Farber in ‘The Radical Leap’ is perhaps my favourite line of all time when it comes to meaningful work.

What drives us according to Daniel Pink in ‘A Whole New Mind’ and ‘Drive - the surprising truth about what motivates us.’ Is the three factors below:

“Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters
Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves”

The Japanese say everyone has an ikigai. The French call it raison d’etre. In their beautiful book ‘Ikigai The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles quote from people born in Okinawa, the island with the most centenarians in the world - “our ikigai is the reason we get up in the morning.”

All of these works and from my own experience in working with people to find their essence I conclude that our life’s work, our reasons for being is found at the intersection between Can do, Will do, Love to do, and People who love what I do. 

I recommend creating a one-page visual checklist Career and Life-called Card where you would feature your answers the following questions:


Can Do

What do I know?
What are my key skills?
What is my real expertise?
How do I practice what I know?

Will do

What is my attitude to living?
What am I really committed to?
How can I be more disciplined in taking action?
How I am really different from others who do what I do?

Love to do

My purpose in life is?
I am passionate about?
I find Joy in?
My art is?
My essence is?

People who love what I do

How do I 
Serve others?
Help people achieve what is important to them?
Solve people’s problems?
Offer solutions to people’s challenges?
Exchange value with other people?
Deliver value to other people?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian


Wednesday, 5 August 2020

One rule to cover many situations

There’s a big focus on rules right now in Victoria Australia where I live. Authorities have declared a state of disaster because of surges with the corona virus. In Melbourne there’s a curfew, the first of my lifetime.

It’s led me to contemplate higher purpose rules as I explore in 1 minute and 13 seconds video below.


“Use good judgement in all situations” has been the one rule at Nordstrom’s for over 100 years.

Ritz-Carlton have their $2000 rule. Employees can spend up to $2,000 per incident to rescue a guest experience.

My one rule is a lot less grand yet profoundly effective. I’m seeking to see the essence in every person I’ve have a conversation with and to reflect their one-of-a-kind significance back to them.

What’s your one rule?


Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 3 August 2020

Future Manifesto - 10 guiding principles for co-creating a positive future

I've loved co-creating this manifesto with my colleagues at The Right Company. HT to Michael Wahrheit who leads the project magnificently.


My favourite personal use of this manifesto is to randomly choose one of the 10 principles and use it as a guiding theme for the week. Happenstance has followed!

I highly recommend downloading the 10 principles as cards from the web site here. 


There's also a PDF version that you can download.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 31 July 2020

Routines are good when they become rituals we love

Listen to the podcast version of this post

In writing my Heart-leadership book this week my attention in part was on a section in the Focus chapter of the book where I explore pre-action rituals. Today’s podcast is part of what I wrote.

Most people working from home are in a routine now. Routines are good when they become rituals we love and that bring us joy. They’re bad when they become ruts we unconsciously fall into.

In all of my work I have pre-action rituals. In the Heart-Leadership book I explore 18 of my regular actions. These are appointments, blogging, helpful conversations, creating online courses, decision-making, eating, emails, Events I’m hosting, Events where I’m a participant, Exercise, Meditation, Podcasting, Researching, Silence, Social media, Videoing, Writing, Publishing.

Some examples of my rituals are:



  • Heart-focused meditation before each action.
  • Deliberately turning my attention to the desires and expectations of the person or people I will be meeting with, sharing, having a conversation, whatever.
  • Taking a moment to be grateful following each action.
  • For major decisions I follow the decision-making process. For every-day decisions warm heart, clear head and a feeling this is the way forward are my criteria. If there is any lack of clarity then I follow the FREEZE-FRAME technique from the people at HeartMath
  • Carol and I shop for locally grown fruit and vegetables together which is another ritual that adds to the overall experience.
  • For Event I lead, I have pre, during and after actions that I know add great value to participants.
  • Exercise. Carol and I walk every day rain, hail or shine.


Below are my broader daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly rituals. Please download as a PDF.


My favourite insight into rituals comes from the 19th century humourist Josh Billings who said “Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability of sticking to one thing until it gets done.”

Of course postage stamps may very soon be a relic of the past, nevertheless the principle of sticking to one thing until it gets done is timeless.

Health challenges have meant having to change my lifestyle and work habits in order to maximise my energy levels.

I have reduced my working hours considerably from 250 hours a month to around 100 hours a month. Not surprisingly to me I have not lost any productivity, am doing my best work, and I am providing better value to my clients. This is possible because of the rituals I follow enable me to maintain my rhythm.

My heart beat is slow. It’s been this way since birth. I do my best work when I am slow and considered. This doesn’t mean that I cannot act fast when needed rather it means that flow happens when I am slow and considered.

Recently I had to have an ultra-sound of my heart done to check on possible side affects from the drugs I have to take to keep my melanoma at bay. It was incredible to watch my own heart beating and the experience gave me a great reminder of my natural rhythm.

What is the pace of your heart beat?
How will you change your rituals to match your circumstances or turn your routines into rituals you love?


Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Happenstance (coincidence) is a consequence

I believe that coincidence is no accident. I love the word happenstance to describe it.

I find that there's a sequence to happenstance and that coincidence is actually a consequence of deliberate intention, feeling, thought and action.. The sequence is harmony, heart, head and hands. They lead to coherence and happenstance follows.



The following is from the last chapter of my Heart-Leadership book that will be published before the end of 2020.

Harmony, Heart, Head, Hands in this order lead to coherence which in turn leads to happenstance.

“Coherence is the state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation,” HeartMath Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty says. “It is a state that builds resiliency – personal energy is accumulated, not wasted – leaving more energy to manifest intentions and harmonious outcomes.”

Also from HeartMath (same link as above)

“When the physiological coherence mode is driven by a positive emotional state, we call it psychophysiological coherence. This state is associated with sustained positive emotion and a high degree of mental and emotional stability.

“In states of psychophysiological coherence, there is increased synchronization and harmony between the cognitive, emotional and physiological systems, resulting in efficient and harmonious functioning of the whole. … Studies conducted across diverse populations have linked the capacity to self-generate and sustain psychophysiologically coherent states at will with numerous benefits.”

Be remarkable.
Ian

PS You may be interested in joining the inaugural Heart-Leadership peer group series online. 4 sessions commencing 25th August. Learn more and register here. There are 3 places still available.

Monday, 27 July 2020

An alternative to the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution

This is a repost from 13th May 2019  I'm currently reviewing the ebook referenced for what content might be included or referenced in my Heart-Leadership book that I am currently writing.

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

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

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

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

This ebook is highly practical.

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

You can download this ebook with my compliments, on the last page of this PDF which contains links to all my digital resources.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 24 July 2020

Sparkenation conversations are integral to your Heart-Leadership

In writing my Heart-leadership book this week my focus in part was on the the essentials for Sparkenations conversations that are integral to your Heart-Leadership.

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

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Please also watch the video and read the post here where I explore the 8 heart-qualities that are in bold in the graphic below.


Kindly note that playing your role, self-awareness, awareness of others are covered elsewhere in the Heart-Leadership book.

Empathetic listening


Understanding the feelings of a fellow human being and engaging in feeling talk is a great gift we give others as well as ourselves. Sharing feelings is heart language. It’s very different to usual conversation which is about opinions and facts or what people perceive as facts that are actually opinions!

Noticing


A wise mentor of mine once told me that giving a gift was not as important as the words on the card. I have never forgotten this.

Questioning


Heart-Leaders are admired for the questions they ask, more than the answers they give to other people’s questions.

Silence


I have come to recognise that wonderful words of inspiration and ideas that take your breath away often follow moments of silence. I once waited 11 minutes after posing a question to a group. The most inexperienced person in the room was the first to speak and her words changed us all forever.

Epiphany/defining moments


There’s nothing quite like it is there when the penny drops for someone? Witnessing other people’s ah ha moments always gives me joy.

Significance of shared-view in the seven areas of significance


When there is a shared-view of these seven in any team, desired results happen.

1. where you are (reality),
2. where you're going (possibility),
3. why you're going there (purpose),
4. how you will get there (strategy),
5. who will do what and when (execution),
6. how you will know you are on track (progress),
7. how you will behave along the way (culture and values).

The magnificent seven are explored in detail in ‘The Appreciative Leader’ handbook which you can download via the PDF here.

Being in the room


Legendary United Kingdom based professional speaker and author Nigel Risner says “when you’re in the room, be in the room”.

It is easy to get distracted particularly online. We are doing each other disservice though when we are not giving our undivided attention.
I was reminded of this once many years a go when a colleague whose opinion I still seek out and highly regard, suggested to me after coming to hear me speak that I gave a great presentation yet let people down because I wasn’t really in the room before hand. Ouch. I have been in the room every time since!

Curiosity


I am fortunate that I was born curious. I’m curious first about people. Everyone we meet is a one-of-a-kind human being. What’s special about this one-of-a-kind in front of me? is the silent question I am always asking.

I’m curious process. How does this work? How could it work better for people?

I’m curious about unchanging principles and how I can apply them and help others to apply them in our own best way.

Essentialism


I invested a year (2015) in studying ‘essentialism' and it central idea of “less but better”. Living this concept has been transformational for me and those I have supported as they adopt it.

Openness


The ability to hold opposing views in our minds at once was regarded by the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald as a sign of first rate intelligence.

I believe in social democracy for example and lean to the left. Therefore I need to understand the right and other forms of democracy and how different views are opposed to mine in order to sustain an openness. I do not believe is right or wrong or any particular way being better than another. What I’m searching for is a shared-view and how to collaborate with other people who may have fundamentally different beliefs to mine.

Best version of you inspiring the best version of me


My friend and colleague Matt Church says “Leadership is about making sure the best version of you speaks to the best version of us.”

This is at the core of heart-leadership, seeking the best version in people. process and progress.

People first, environment second, profit last


The biggest losers in life I have observed are those who put profit before people and the planet.

There is nothing wrong or evil about making money. Profit, I believe, is a result of being good at business. It can never be a reason for being in business. And it can never be made at the expense of people or our planet.

Generosity


I love this wonderful line from the founder of Wired Magazine Kevin Kelly “Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.”

I have found that the more I give without attachment to getting back the more I get back.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

PS I host Sparkenation Conversations online on the first Wednesday and the third Tuesday and third Wednesday of every month. Learn more.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

The 8 heart qualities the world needs now

I'm currently writing my Heart-Leadership book. The working draft will be ready for the inaugural Heart-Leadership peer group program that commences on August 25th.

A key to being a heart-leader is your ability and willingness to live 8 heart qualities in your own best way.



Here's some of my thoughts on these 8 heart qualities from my book:

In the wonderful book The Heart Math Solution the authors reference often what they call core heart qualities. My favourites are love, gratitude, appreciation, care, happiness, compassion, harmony and kindness.

Here’s some heart reflections of mine on these qualities:

Love


The Ancient Greeks had four words for love. Two are well known - eros (romantic love) and agape (love in a spiritual sense).

The other two are not generally as well known. There's storge, meaning natural affection like parents feel for their children.

And then there's philia. This is the one I find the most insightful for workplaces. Philia is often translated as affectionate regard or friendship. We need more philia in our organisations. It will lead to more philia in the world. And we need it right?

I find it simple (not always easy) to have affectionate regard for people because I know everyone of us is a one-of-a-kind human being. Only the hardest of heart cannot love a one-off.

Philia love is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Gratitude


Carol and I walk with our dog Molly every day, rain, hail or shine.

A ritual we have adopted is to express out loud what we're grateful for. It really sets up the remainder of the day for us.

We're well practiced in gratitude. We know that being truly grateful for what we have leads to more of what we need.

Being grateful is something I have practiced daily now for 43 years. As mentioned earlier I was a 23 years old when I faced a life-threatening operation with a 1 in 5 survival rate. I became the 1 largely because my surgeon taught me gratitude. In preparing for the operation that saved my life I followed his instructions to stand in front of the mirror and say out loud "I have an attitude of gratitude." I have been carrying out this ritual every day since!

In the best and worst of times I have learned that being grateful and having "an attitude of gratitude" is the key to living a happy and contented life.

Having "an attitude of gratitude" is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Appreciation


I have been researching what employees really want from employers and fellow employees for more than two decades. Appreciation tops the list.

The eminent psychologist William James observed: “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”

Feeling appreciated and being willing and able to show appreciation to others are foundation stones of Heart-Leadership.

Care


“People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” said Theodore Roosevelt, the youngest person to ever be President of the United States and generally regarded in the top 5 Presidents, not least for is work in ensuring fairness for all people.

Care begins with self-care. As a boy my father taught me that the keys to living a good life were to be spiritually alive, mentally alert and physically active. Over time I added emotionally healthy and universally aware. I called these the face fives of a human being fully alive. Heart-leaders are fully alive.

Caring for others is to support them in being fully alive human beings. In many of the best workplaces today and also some countries well-being is measured and seen as more valuable than the traditional economic measures of success.

Caring for self and other people are foundation stones of Heart-Leadership.

Happiness


The Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel in an excellent book ‘The Real Enjoyment of Living’ said:

“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”

I contemplate this often.

Such happiness is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Compassion


There's a lot of truth for me in the following attributed to Fred Kofman, a leader in the conscious business movement:

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

One of the Apostles of the Christian Church is reported to have said, “Faith without works is dead.”

A lot of faiths are dead, dying, or in trouble today because the actions of a few of the faithful betray their stated beliefs.  I meet a lot of people more interested in being right than being compassionate for example. Compassion for me is at the truthful heart of all the world’s religions. Compassion is not a belief, it's a behaviour.

If we are not living and breathing a compassionate life we render whatever we believe as null and void, regardless of what we say.

A new world is being born.  Compassion is a key component. There is a place for faith in this new world. For me belief is personal and therefore deserving of respect. What really matters in this new world though is behaviour.

Some people have asked me what has compassion go to do with the future success of my business? My answer is - Everything! particularly in a world where being purpose driven and people focused, and seeing technology as an enabler and enhancer of the human experience, is the leading edge.

Being compassionate is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Harmony


Harmony matters, perhaps above all else. Living a life at the intersection of yin and yang is the daily quest of the Heart-Leader.

Living in harmony with self, other people and our planet is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Kindness


There’s a a 1 minute and 47 seconds video at this blog post.

Please take time to watch it. I have never seen before or since a better demonstration of kindness.

Such kindness is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Which of these heart qualities make your heart sing? 
Such resonance are key to your essence?

How can you become more of whom you are capable of becoming?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable
Ian

Monday, 20 July 2020

Breaking Free From People Management

You can download this article as a PDF here.

DC (during corona) and AC (after corona) are both exciting, once in a lifetime opportunities to break free from the status quo when sameness is no longer serving you, or our world.

In organisation's I believe this means taking the opportunity to break free from people management and the terrible twins, change and performance management. People, change and performance cannot be managed!

My alternative to these three relics is Heart-Leadership.

Heart-Leadership is the new normal. Heart-leadership is a digitally savvy, human centred design approach to the 3 pillars of a thriving modern enterprise -
 people leadership, process innovation and progress sustainability.

Hear Your Heart (People leadership) is the art of seeing, sometimes unearthing, mostly magnifying and enhancing people's essence including your own.

Ask Your Head (Process innovation) is the collaborative work of ensuring processes make it simple for people to bring their essence to their work. (NB processes include policies, procedures, practices, philosophies, principles, structures and systems).

Engage Your Hands (Progress sustainability) is the joyful craft of ensuring progress towards possibility (desired new reality, shared goal/objective/aim) is kept visible.

Below is an excerpt from my soon to be released Heart-Leadership book. It's from the first Sparkenation (a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal) in the book called Harmony Matters.

My first email address when I began self-employment in 1990 was harmonymatters@. It was in part a statement of my fundamental belief that the best in life happens when we are in harmony with ourselves, other people and our planet.

The idea of harmony is perhaps best illustrated in the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang.

"Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. According to this philosophy, everything has both yin and yang aspects (for instance, shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation.” 

My first newsletter for my clients in 1990 was called ‘Harmony Matters’. I wrote about overcoming the conflict, difficulty and disagreements in relationships and organisational life and how seeking and sustaining harmony between what sometimes seemed to be opposing forces was a key to happiness and bringing our best to our work.

I observe many apparent opposing forces in the workplace. I make a difference to my clients through work with them that brings these forces together in harmony.

There’s
Relationships and tasks,
Processes and outcomes,
Commitment and competency,
Influence and standards,
People and systems,
Effectiveness and efficiency,
Growth and sustainability,
Bosses and employees,
Masculine and feminine,
Leadership and management,

to name just a few areas where there can be tension that is not helpful and therefore achievements are far less than what is possible.

The great disharmony is between leadership and management. It’s caused by business owners, bosses, executives and shareholders holding onto the concept of people management, an oxymoron if ever there was one.

I will argue strongly here that people cannot be managed and that the concept, like traditional religion, modern day politics of all persuasions, and profit driven corporations, the concept is actually about controlling the masses for the benefit of a few people.

Traditional management owes it roots to many people. For our purposes here I’ll refer to five people, Henry Fayol, Frederick Taylor, Peter Drucker, Mary Parker Follett, and Marvin Bower.

Henry Fayol was a French engineer and mining executive. He and his colleagues are responsible for the planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling model still practiced by many today. Fayol lived from 1841 - 1925.

At the same time as Fayolism as it was often known as, Frederick Taylor, also an engineer was creating what he called ‘scientific management’. He became one of the first management consultants of the kind that I personally despise, they have solutions and are out looking for problems. Taylor published The Principles of Scientific Management  in 1911.

Taylor's concept was based on the following four principles:”
1) Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks.

2) Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves.

3) Provide "Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker's discrete task" (Montgomery 1997: 250).

4) Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers apply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks.”

Of course there’s value in the ideas of Fayol and Taylor and other management theorists. Today I apply their insights to process and not to people, hence my concept of process innovation being one of the three pillars of heart leadership, the other two being people leadership and progress sustainability. I believe process innovation is 21st century management.

Heart-Leadership overall is an alternative to people, performance and change management. It’s about leading people and managing processes, all the while ensuring that progress is sustainable.


The so-called father of management Peter Drucker was onto this a long time ago.

Sadly many people forget Drucker’s edict - “One does not manage people—the task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of each individual.”

Drucker defined leadership as “The lifting of man’s vision to higher sights. The raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard. The building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.” 

Accepting that language in the 1950’s was very masculine what I don’t accept is that the majority of these pioneers of management ignored the feminine energy and therefore encouraged further disharmony.

Largely ignored in her day because she was a women my hero is Mary Parker Follett who in 1924 wrote:

“Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power 

but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led.

The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders.”

Instead of emphasising industrial and mechanical components, or seeing people as replaceable cogs in an organisational machine, as many of her contemporaries advocated, Follett saw what for her was the far more important human element.

In many circles we persist in referring to people as resources, as assets, or as capital, the other dreadful yet common expression. In my mind such labels suggest that people don’t matter, only the organisations balance sheet matters.

I am all about changing this. I am doing so with great respect for the many people I know who have HR in their career title. I know their label doesn’t signify who they really are or what they do.

Trying to manage people is the great disharmoniser. People cannot be managed.

Performance and change cannot be managed either. People, performance and change management, along with strategic planning are the great oxymorons of business.

I repeat, Heart-Leadership is an alternative to people, performance and change management. The Strategic Heartistry program that I co-created with Susan Furness is an alternative to strategic planning.

Heart-Leadership and it’s three pillars is the great harmoniser. It puts people first and leads to people feeling valued, living values and delivering and exchanging value.

Turning Possibility Into Reality - further suggested actions


1) See every person as a leader.

2) Make leadership development a priority. Start by reading this excerpt from the book ‘The Will To Lead’ by Marvin Bower, McKinsey’s managing partner from 1950 to 1967. He was ahead of his time advocating the abandoning of command and control structures long before most people.

3) Remove over time the words resources, assets, capital where they refer to people from all your language, documents and titles.

4) Ensure all your design is human-centred.

5) Put people first in all the interactions and transactions of your business.

6) Look for the harmony point between what seem like opposing forces.

7) Take the actions recommended in the sections to come.

Do Your Work. 

Be remarkable.
Ian