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.

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.

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.

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!


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.

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:


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.


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.


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.


“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.


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.


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 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.


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

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.

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.

Friday 17 July 2020

The excitement of enhancing the employee and customer experience

Listen to the podcast version of this post

In writing my Heart-leadership book this week my focus was on simplicity. In the book simplicity has 3 components - purpose, methodologies and the employee/customer experience. Today’s podcast part of what I wrote.

I carry an umbrella in the bottom of my briefcase.  I have only ever been stopped at an airport once. On one particular day I remember vividly the security person went way over the top when my bag went through the security device with my umbrella in it.

On the return I thought I would avoid unnecessary delay and rudeness by taking my umbrella out of my briefcase.  The security guy said “No need mate thank you, our equipment picks them up easily.”  Same equipment, different response. One guy rude, one guy pleasant.

Why the inconsistency? I suspect it has much to do with the employee experience.

The best future of your business depends greatly on how remarkable the experience of your employees and therefore the customer experience which flows from the employee experience.

The very best employee and customer experience begins with four actions:

1) Role clarity and recruiting people to match roles,
2) How well your processes make it simple for your employees to bring their essence to their work,
3) Ensuring your employees are fully equipped to provide memorable service, and
4) How empowered your employees are to use their initiative and create an awesome experience.

If I came to your place what would my experience be like?

In the past week I have experienced great service in person from one organisation and lousy service from the same organisation online.

Would I find your levels of service online and in person to be different?

The service experience we provide our customers/clients with and indeed co-create with them, matters more than ever.

Everywhere you look there's headlines saying The Future of Business Is Technology.

What if it isn't?

All day, every day there's talk of digital revolution and disruption. What if this isn't what really matters?

In her wonderful book MEANINGFUL: THE STORY OF IDEAS THAT FLY, Bernadette Jiwa says:

“... it's not the technology in isolation, particular platforms or specialised functionality that's driving the change; what's driving this new wave of relevance is the humanity of the entrepreneurs and business owners who create the products and user experiences that people love.”

I couldn't agree more.


The future of your business is all about your humanity, how you see and treat people. Then you can concern yourself with how technology can help you to enable and enhance the experience you provide for your customers/clients.

Steve Jobs was onto this long ago of course. He said "You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.”

To get excited I highly recommend head work as follows:

1) Undertake extensive review of your client/customer experience. What is it truly like? How could it be better? Of course it goes without saying that you would ask your customers these questions!

2) Look at every transaction and interaction with clients/customers. What improvements could be made in light of the answers to 1) above.

3) Overall what is the level of employee satisfaction? Ask them of course. And take action accordingly.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

The Magic of Methodology

In my writing this week of my Heart-leadership book part of my focus was on simplification.
A key component is methodology.

In 2005 I began applying research completed in 2004 by Dr. Brent Peterson from Columbia University. He found that 50% of learning happens after an event and 26% prior to an event.

The consequences of applying this research have been profound for my clients. I can confidently guarantee to my clients that working together will mean a minimum 10 times return on their investment when they do the pre and post event work.

Dr. Peterson's research found that 50% of event effectiveness happens after and event and 26% before.

Routinely now the following have become mandatory methodology for me:


I email participants something to read, watch or listen to (or all three) relevant to the focus of the event.

I have a 1:1 conversation with participants to glean their understanding of what I have asked them to read, watch or listen too.

I carefully ask participants about their expectation prior to the event and what I can expect their levels of engagement to be.


For me events are primarily 1:1 or small group mentoring sessions, 1:1 or small group conversations, and presentation/conversations for up to 30 people.


I  email participants a recording of the event and resources for taking action (more read, watch and listen).

For private clients I will undertake an after-action-review.

After-action-reviews are a game-changer and a methodology themselves because while every detail is still fresh in people’s hearts and minds is really the only time to effectively review performance.

This is why all the great sports coaches get their teams in the room privately straight after the game and before they speak with anyone else.

Of course on the training track during the week videos are being reviewed to increase the value of immediate after-action reviews.

I recommend the following 5 stage format for both informal and formal after-action-reviews. The 5 stages themselves are of course a further example of methodology.

1) Review one 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.

More on methodology and simplification in this Friday's post and podcast.

Be remarkable.

Monday 13 July 2020

Friday 10 July 2020

We all win when everyone is playing their role

This post is preceded by the short video and post here.

In writing more of my Heart-leadership book this week my focus was on joy. Today’s post part of what I wrote.

Upgrading to role clarity statements

With your people document who their customers are (relationships) and what value must be delivered to and/or exchange with each person.

Here's a template:

I’ve helped 100’s of my clients to dispense with job descriptions and replace them with role clarity statements. Below are the headings we use. 

In conjunction with Performance Possibility Plans or plans-on-a-page that I explore here, role clarity statements enable conversations about performance to be elevated and lead to greater accountability.

Do this work and in the space of a few weeks you can expect greater value being delivered and exchanged by everyone, meaning happier employees and happier external customers.

What would you and your employees write under these headings?

Workplace or Business Purpose
Role Purpose
Key Accountabilities and Responsibilities
Key Performance Measures and Key Human Indicators (Lead measures)
Key Relationships of the role and the value that must be delivered to each person
Key outcomes of role (Lag measures)
Required levels of commitment (will) and competency (skill)
Key gifts/talents (essence) required and that need to be enhanced to excel in role and prepare for future roles
Learning and development and career path opportunities

All of the above can be outlined on two sides of an A4 page at the most.

People don't have jobs. We have relationships with other people where value delivery and exchange is paramount to the enjoyment of the relationships and the success of workplace.

Hawthorn Football Club case study and Bill’s story

In 2015 the Hawthorn Football Club won their third successive Australian Football League (AFL) premiership. This feat has only been achieved 6 times in the history of the AFL.

I'm not a supporter of the club. I do admire them greatly.

Their Play Your Role campaign is one action you can emulate and immediately improve your business. Learn more here. 

For over a quarter of a century I've been helping my clients to dispense with job descriptions and replace them with role clarity statements. It all began when I met Bill.

Bill's story

I first met Bill in the early nineties. I was in the early days of doing discovery work into how I could best help Bill's organisation. This meant meeting with lots of people in the offices and factory.

I began to notice that each time I exited a conversation Bill was close by leaning on his broom.

Soon curiosity got the better of me and so I made a beeline for Bill. After explaining who I was and what I was doing I asked Bill "So what's your role?" "I thought you'd never ask me." he replied and then said "I'm the Assistant to the Managing Director.”

Bill's job was Head Cleaner. His role was of far greater significance.

I invested several hours with Bill and learned everything I needed to know about the organisation. Included in what I learned from Bill were two insights he had previously passed on to the management team that they had failed to act on. When they did take action the bottom-line improved by 4 million dollars!

What have your employees been sharing with you lately that you haven't yet acted on?!

Like the Hawthorn Football Club every person working in your business has a key role. Not just the star players, every human being. If you're focused on a few and not the many you're missing a magic opportunity in your business.

When everyone is playing their role we all win.

One simple yet profound action. Lead with your heart. Learn about relationships.

Begin today to have conversations with your employees about their roles.

Over time get rid of job descriptions and replace them with role clarity statements.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

People don’t have jobs. We have roles

In my writing this week of my Heart-leadership book part of my focus was on roles.

One of the most deeply demotivating documents in the workplace is the job description!

The problem I see with most job descriptions is that they list tasks and say very little about relationships or value delivery, the two matters about which every role in your business must be about. And often down the bottom of the form are the words "and anything else as directed.” As I say highly demotivating.

Job descriptions are a hangover from the Industrial Revolution and they still cause headaches.

Role clarity statements, my recommended replacement for job descriptions, improve well-being.

Dispense with job descriptions and watch your people soar.

Every person in your workplace has a role to deliver value to and to exchange value with other people. Value that we all demand, desire, and feel that we deserve. I sometimes refer to these as must have’s, should have’s and nice-to-haves.

"Your customer is whoever gets your work next." said the great Japanese management thinker Kaoru Ishikawa.

I highly recommend taking Iskikawa’s concept to heart and undertake a value delivery and exchange review and then in collaboration upgrade everyone’s role clarity statements.

Here's a template

Workplace or Business Purpose
Role Purpose
Key Accountabilities and Responsibilities
Key Performance Measures and Key Human Indicators (Lead measures)
Key Relationships of the role and the value that must be delivered to each person
Key outcomes of role (Lag measures)
Required levels of commitment (will) and competency (skill)
Key gifts/talents (essence) required and that need to be enhanced to excel in role and prepare for future roles
Learning and development and career path opportunities

All of the above can be outlined on two sides of an A4 page at the most.

More about role clarity in this Friday's post and podcast.

Be remarkable.

Monday 6 July 2020

Having "an attitude of gratitude"

My wife 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. It was as a 23 year old that 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.

Be remarkable.

Friday 3 July 2020

Radiate joy even when your work is hard

In writing more of my Heart-leadership book this week my focus was on joy. Today’s post part of what I wrote.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Several years ago my wife and I completed the restoration of a 100 year old property that took us several years part time.  We cried as our friends and family shared the joy of the finished product.  It was amazing to see the old house with a fresh coat of paint they said. 

What was unmentioned was the untold hours of back breaking work and the preparation to get ready to put on the finishing touches of a coat of paint on that made our home look so grand.

All great work is like this. 

Often we feel joy at the end of something rather than recognising our joy throughout as well as on completion.

My wife and I, even when exhausted, were in the habit of stepping back and admiring our progress even when such still looked like a mess. We grew accustomed to finding joy even when the work is hard.

We have a crest adorning a wall in our home.  The Latin words underneath translate “Nothing without labour”.

We believe this was the creed of our family from a very, very long time ago.  Marketing people never invented tag lines!  

Whether it is our families credo or not I certainly learned the value of hard work from an early age.  

Barely a teenager with my brother four years younger, we built our family home (all except the bricks and tiles on the roof) with our parents and with our bare hands.  I remember once my football coach saying to my Father  “Your boy has a great work ethic.” My father surprised at the remark simply replied “He knows the value of hard work.”

I do know the value of hard work. My real learning though has come through ensuring that the work is joyful even when it’s hard.

Having a great work ethic is important to being a person of value and to delivering and exchanging value. What is key however is finding joy in the work.

One of the most profound statements I have ever heard comes from the great book ‘The Radical Leap’ by Steven Farber.  It’s a wonderful fable with a great message. Steven says “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do”

What an insight eh?

I woke up this morning as I do every morning ready to work hard. I know that nothing of value is created or delivered without labour. 

Above all though today like every day I’m seeking to do what I love in the service of people who love what I do, and to find personal joy in such work.

Are you doing what you love in the service of people are love what you do? 
And are you radiating joy even when your work is hard.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.


Wednesday 1 July 2020

Have you made the shifts essential to the new world of work?

Below is my picture of the new world of work from my book 'The Appreciative Leader' that was published in 2016. Should you not have this book you can download it here with my compliments.

What shifts are you still to make?

There has never been a better time in history than to ensure you are on the right side above.

Be remarkable.