Friday 29 May 2020

Start With Your Heart

Listen to the podcast version of this post

I'm inspired by Viktor Frankl's life and work and love the following insights of his:

"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."

Creating harmony between our Heart, Head and Hands is a practical way to act on these insights.

There’s a natural order. Heart is first, head second, hands third.

The head tries to dominate and be first.

Our quest is to use our heads to work out how to enact the why and what in our hearts and to then trust our hands with the who, when and where.

Hear Your Heart, Ask Your Head, Engage Your Hands is the process I recommend.

I’ll be addressing head and hands in future podcasts and upcoming Sparkenation Conversations online.

There’s three essentials to hearing your heart.

First there’s knowing your essence

I’ve created a short complimentary online course to help you to do this. Here it is.

I often use song, voice or music as metaphors for essence. The more you know the song in your heart the better you will hear your heart in all of the moments of your life.

The second essential to hearing your heart is to understand what brings you joy and to align your life actions and behaviours accordingly.

The third essential to hearing your heart is to understand your calling or your strong urges towards your particular ways of being, working and playing.

For more on hearing your heart please read my daughter Jessica's great piece here.

Essence, joy, calling. The greater your intimacy with these three the better you will hear your heart and then be able to ask your head and engage your hands.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

What is your strategy for thriving AC (after corona)?

The world and all of us living in it have an opportunity approaching AC (after corona) where we can decide how we will make a bigger difference in the lives of others as well as our own life than we ever have.

It used to be that being different was the quest we were on in our businesses or professional practices. We were looking for competitive advantage.

In the new world competition will be left to games and sports. In the new world collaboration is key.

The new world is infinite, the old finite.

In the old world doing differently to others mattered. In the new world difference does matter in the sense that we must continue to celebrate diversity and our difference, yet what really matters is the difference we make.

What is your strategy for thriving AC (after corona)?

I offer 3 complimentary opportunities to help you to answer this question

1) Tomorrow I'm hosting a conversation on Zoom about plans-on-a-page and how vital they can be to difference-making. You can register here.

2) Next Tuesday the 2nd of June at 8 am AEST I'm hosting an open mike conversation about strategy. What is it? How is strategy different now than to what it has been in the past? You will leave the conversation with your strategy for your difference-making future in a sentence. Please email me to get the Zoom link

3) My colleague Susan Furness and I created an alternative to the traditional strategic planning called Strategic Heartistry. Susan is my very special guest next Wednesday 3rd at 3.30 pm AEST. We'll be exploring how Strategic Heartistry can work for you in your own best way. There's a couple of places left. You can register here.

Be remarkable.

Monday 25 May 2020

21st century, AC (after corona) Plans-on-a-page

This Thursday in a complimentary online event at 10 am AEST I'm going to help a small group of people create a plan-on-a-page live. Register here.

I'm one of the pioneers of Plan's-on-a-page. I swear by them as one of the most magnificent tools there is to help us to achieve what's important to us.

I first created a plan-on-a-page in my notebook with a trusted direct report in August 1989. I called it a Performance Possibility plan-on-a-page.

I had 24 direct reports at the time in multiple locations and 1000’s of mile apart! My deep desire was to find a way to keep everyone on the same page collectively and in individual locations.

People started calling them PPP’s and this label is still used by many of my clients today!

Plans-on-a-page or PPP’s are the very best way that I know of to

1) Invoke a great principle that I learned from the poet, author and speaker David Whyte who said “In leadership the conversation isn’t about the work, the conversation is the work.”

2) Help you and others (particularly those people to whom you have promised to deliver value) to be accountable.

3) Sustain a shared-view with your performance partners (colleagues, mentors) in areas you have agreed are significant.

4) Own your piece of  the execution quilt or jigsaw.

5) Capture in one place the quantum leaps (small yet significant shifts) you’re taking to move from current reality to possibility (your next reality!).

Here's my current plan-on-a-page:

Join me this Thursday to create yours. Register here.

Be remarkable.

Friday 22 May 2020

The secret to collaboration is sustaining shared view

Listen to the podcast version of this post

This post and podcast is taken in part from my Changing What’s Normal book Sparkenation 28 ‘Only collaborate with people when you have achieved a shared view.’

You can download Changing What’s Normal with my compliments via the PDF here.

There are many great opportunities AC (after corona) to ensure a better world.

One of them is to leave behind competition between nations, political parties, religions and businesses and start collaborating for the good of people and our planet.

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

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

There's videos and podcasts and a diagnostic tool here to help you to sustain shared-view in what I call the seven areas of significance.

I find that there are three main reasons for human conflict:

1. Disagreement about the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

2. Disagreement about how the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s will be achieved.

3. Assumption of agreement in 1. And/or 2., and a negative response when such assumptions result in perceived betrayal.

I suggest seven special steps to successful collaboration

1. Establish that there is agreement concerning the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s. Don’t move on until you are absolutely certain there is agreement.

2. State what you can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

3. Ask the other person or people involved to state what they can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

4. State what you feel are the milestones or quantum leaps (small yet significant shifts) that will indicate that you are on track to achieve what you say yo will in 2.

5. Ask the other person or people involved  to state what they feel are the milestones or quantum leaps that will indicate that they are on track to achieve what they say they will in 3.

6. Agree on the dates and times that you will be in touch with each other to discuss progress and celebrate achievements.

7. Confirm in writing via email or letter your agreements in 2. through 6. And ask for a confirmation response from the other person or people involved.

Follow these seven special steps and I guarantee a better future whatever your endeavours.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Thinking inside the box

'Thinking outside the box', or as we prefer here in Australia 'thinking outside the square', is a great metaphor for thinking in non normal ways.

Such thinking is essential at any time let alone in DC (during corona) and in preparing for AC (after corona).

In my observation however there's not enough thinking inside the box.

Even more so for me there's insufficient feeling in the heart and then aligning thoughts in the head.

Heart, head, hands is the order of things in my world.

I often draw it like below:

I'm inspired by Viktor Frankl's life and work and love this line of his:

"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."

Heart, Head and Hands can be felt and heard as a mnemonic. Play with it.

There’s a natural order. Heart is first, head second, hands third. The head tries to dominate and be first. Our quest is to use our heads to work out how to enact our hearts and to then trust our hands.

In preparing for life and work AC (after corona) what is your heart telling you is the best way forward?

How will you align your thinking (head) and your doing (hands)?

Be remarkable.

Monday 18 May 2020

I've chosen to play the infinite game, You?

I prefer this book by James P. Carse, published in 1986, to the one pictured below by Simon Sinek that was published in 2019.

I highly recommend reading both.

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 however 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 humans is a one-of-a-kind.

The central message of these two great books:  A finite game that is played with the purpose of winning, means the game ends.

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

These are highly valuable insights DC (during corona) and for AC (after corona).

If the game in your business or professional practice wasn't winning or growing for growth's sake what would it be?

How would your strategy and/or your tactics be different?

Should the world go back to how it was AC (after corona) we have learned nothing and we will all be poorer spiritually, emotionally, physically, economically and universally.

Who will you be that is different, wiser or more valuable than you were BC (before corona)?

What will you do that replaces the status quo (normal) when sameness is no longer serving you, your family, your local community, and the wider world?

Be remarkable.

Friday 15 May 2020

Thriving using the wonderful rules of one, three, five and seven

Listen to the podcast version of this post

I'm not a mathematician. I do place a lot of value in numbers.

I believe 7's significant, 5's foundational, and 3's a great rule. Your use of the number 1 however is where I see the most value.

7 is significant

I'm not aware of any team that is highly successful where there is an absence of shared-view in what I call the seven areas of significance.

The seven are:

Reality, Possibility, Purpose, Strategy, Execution, Progress, and Culture.

At this link are videos and podcasts that I have created on each of the seven areas. They are all on the same web page where there is also a simple diagnostic tool that will help you to see where you’re at and where you can go.

5 is foundational

I learned from my Grandfather that when we focus on the fertile ground, plough it, seed it, and nurture it, a harvest is the outcome. My Grandfather taught me that most people want the harvest and yet are not prepared to do the work. It takes discipline to focus on the processes and detach from the outcome. I believe this is foundational to success in everything.

Here's a short online course I’ve created for you that will help you to apply the law of the farm in your own best way.

3 is a great rule

I'm sure you're familiar with many famous 3's. The theory is we can easily remember 3. And it works in practice! I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the 'Rule of Three' is pervasive everywhere in our society. Think stories, fairy tales and myths, and the lines from history that inspire us

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen”
“Blood, sweat and tears”
“The good, the bad and the ugly”

are just 3 of zillions of examples. Of course today we’re using the language BC (before corona) DC (during corona) and AC (after corona).

We know that we humans can last 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food.

I know in my business I host events, provide online course and provide mentoring with heart for leaders with heart. I do other things. These 3 however are where my gifts (talents) lie and where I provide the most value to my clients.

The power of one

Above all for me one matters most.

In all work with my clients I am helping them to focus on one action at a time through embracing the true science of quantum leaps, I.e. one small yet significant shift at a time.

When I first started my professional practice 30 years ago I believed simplicity without losing the profound was key to the success of my clients and to my own success and so I pioneered many ways to do this. I continue to evolve the following:

One quantum leap at a time momentum.
One sentence strategy.
One page role clarity.
One page performance development/strategy execution plans.
One focus conversations.
One purpose meetings.
One message story-sharing.
One module at a time learning.
One page agreements.
One shift at a time change initiatives.
One great idea at a time innovation.

I also work with one word as my theme for a year. This year it's

Learn more about using three words and one word here.

What numbers count for you?

What words have the most meaning for you?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

What's worth celebrating? What can better?

A simple way that I teach and work with my clients on to conduct informal performance and after-action-reviews is to answer two questions:

What's worth celebrating?
What can be better, wiser or more valuable?

What's been your highlights DC (during corona)? What have been your great learnings, insights, positive experiences? what are you celebrating?

What are you working on for AC (after corona) to be better, wiser, more valuable, or whatever inspires you and brings you joy?

We're accelerating cautiously and curiously to a new world. What great paradox. And a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Be remarkable.

Monday 11 May 2020

What is wealth to you?

I read the following in a blog post by James Clear.

"Wealth is the power to choose.

Financial wealth is the power to choose how to spend money.

Social wealth is the power to choose who to hang out with.

Time wealth is the power to choose how to spend your day.

Mental wealth is the power to choose how to spend your attention."

I would add:

Emotional wealth is the power to choose how I feel and how I use my energy.

Spiritual wealth is the power to choose who I want to be.

What is wealth to you?

Be remarkable.

Friday 8 May 2020

Solving our and purpose and process problems

Listen to the podcast version of this post

In my 30 years working as a business mentor specialising in leadership development, the biggest problems that I come across are at heart purpose or process problems or both. What is also fascinating is that many leaders name purpose and process problems, people problems when 9 times out of 10 the problem is not a person.

First purpose. Many leaders still believe that profit is the purpose of business. Many politicians think economic growth is the be all and end all.

Here’s what I believe: profit is not a reason (i.e. purpose) for being in business, rather profit a result of being good at business. Confuse reason with result and you are asking for trouble.

In the same way by making economic growth the purpose the powers that be create a myriad of problems for our society and everyone and everything in it.

Process is a little more complicated.

Process management is one of the three key areas of accountability in heart-leadership. The other two are people leadership and progress sustainability.

In heart-leadership, which I believe is the new normal, your role is to ensure processes, (which include policies, procedures, practices, philosophies, principles, structures and systems), mean it’s simple for people to bring their essence to their work.

Just a reminder heart-leadership is the art of seeing, sometimes unearthing, mostly magnifying and enhancing people's essence (that’s difference-making personal significance), including your own.

Here's my heart-leadership programs. You will see at the link that I offer a complimentary heart-leadership check-up.

Maybe you would value it. Check-out the check-up and get in touch should it resonate with you.

Purpose and process problems are easily solvable. Solutions requires decisions.

First we need to decide the deep human reason we do what we do. Second we must decide to put people and planet before profit. We then systematically over time ensure that our processes mean it’s simple for people to bring their essence to their work.

Who will you become? What will you do next? 
This is the sequence - who before do. In the new world the focus is on being and then doing. 

Hopefully we are closing down the old world that focused on doing before being.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Embracing the circular economy and thriving AC (after corona)

I'm a great admirer of Kate Raworth and her concept of Doughnut Economics which I see as the present and the future.

I'm also inspired by the concept of a circular economy. This too for me is our best present and future as a human race.

Kate explains the circular economy wonderfully in this 3 minute video:

More wisdom from Kate in this TED article about an economy that can regenerate itself.

I love this diagram from the article that originates from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Below is the Doughnut Economics graphic from Kate's website. I recommend visiting the site for the active version.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Monday 4 May 2020

What is the value of economic crashes for you?

BC (before corona) there were four global recessions since World War II according to the IMF (International Monetary Fund). They began in 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2009. My working life coincides with these.

The first two I don't recall any personal impact. I was employed in management roles by corporations in the financial sector and remember being told to just work harder.

The 1991 recession did have an impact because I was only a year into being self-employed. Most people in the corporations who were my clients stopped buying the people development I was offering at the time.

Through a lot of personal hardship and questioning myself I eventually pivoted to having privately owned and/or family business people as my clients, more than leaders in corporations.

Broadly speaking the former seemed to care more about people than those leaders in corporations with few exceptions did. Nothing much as changed in this regard!

The 2009 global recession also had a big impact on me. I was constantly on a aeroplane then and had clients in over 40 countries. I had learned many lessons in 1991 though about re-imagining, re-purposing and re-starting and so although I took a hit I recovered much faster than most and I also had cash reserves to withstand a hit.

Big lessons

1) Corporations as a general rule are the causes of recessions. I suspect they will be up to their necks in the causes and outbreak of corona too. Corporations don't care about people. There are a few purpose-driven people who lead corporations ethically and who genuinely care about people and our planet. These folk are the exception not the rule.

2) Governments by and large are heavily and unduly influenced by corporations.

3) In global recessions governments do what corporations want them too.

The value for me (and perhaps you) of economic crashes is three-fold:

1) Understanding that corporations rule the world and that greed and self-interest eventually cause trouble

Being prepared personally means that at any given time economic storms can be weathered. In such times taking advantage of government assistance is prudent. I see it personally as some return on the investment I made through taxes.

2) Controlling the controllables

There are things we can control and things we can't. Knowing which is which is important for sanity and staying focused.

This doesn't mean we give up on making a difference. I do my very best for instance every time I have opportunity to positively influence leaders in corporations. I know there are more purpose-driven leaders with heart in corporations than there has ever been and so I keep my shoulder at the wheel.

3) Re-imagining, re-purposing and re-starting are common-sense regardless of what is happening in the economic world

Particularly since 2009 I have re-invented myself in some way every year and help my clients to do the same.

Beginning early 2019 I began shifting to doing 80% of my work with clients online. This shift has served me well DC (during corona).

There is life AC (after corona). We get to decide what kind of life it will be. Re-imagining and re-purposing before re-starting is essential.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Maybe I can help.

My colleague Susan Furness and myself have co-created a 3 sessions online programme called Strategic Heartistry. We still have a couple of places for programme 3 that begins tomorrow and the registration desk is open for programmes 4 and 5.

Learn more here or contact me on +61 418 807 898.

Be remarkable.

Friday 1 May 2020

Being decisively human in a digitally-connected world

Listen to the podcast version of this post

When I watch, listen to or read about Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, what I notice is someone whose best humanity is in full bloom and on display.

She is articulate, kind, compassionate, curious, empathetic just to name a few of the uniquely human skills she excels in. She provides a very stark contrast to Donald Trump.

The world needs more Jacinda Ardern’s, people who lead with heart.

One of the key reasons Susan Furness and myself co-created Strategic Heartistry was our deep feeling that the world needs an alternative to strategic planning.

Aside from the fact that strategic planning is an oxymoron what I have seen the process and the results become is decisively inhuman. We have forgotten it seems that humans execute strategy.

I once read a 178 page strategic plan and not once was the word people mentioned. There were references to human resources and that dreadful descriptor human capital, yet nothing that I would call decisively human.

We are at a unique cross-roads in human history. 

After-corona on the one hand we can go back to a world where being inhuman rules, think right wing governments, think corporations, many of whom it seems have forgotten that they don’t exist without human customers.

Or After-corona we can embrace a world that is fully human, the kind where people sing from their home balconies, deliver food to strangers, and where people volunteer to clean carry baskets at supermarkets.

The best of us humans leading and being in the majority means a marvellous world capable of restoring the earth, stopping our relentless consumerism, and avoiding the catastrophe of man-made patented viruses being let loose.

Will you be decisively human in a digitally connected world? 

If so who will you become and what will you do next?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.