Wednesday 30 September 2020

Heart-focused Momentum

The more you are able to reach and sustain momentum the greater your likelihood of success in any pursuit.

Here's my methodology referenced in the video.

And here's some insights for you from my Heart-Leadership book.

I am very grateful to the work of David Cooperrider whose Appreciative Inquiry process has greatly inspired and influenced my work.

Appreciating What Is

I have taken many people through following five questions in order to zero in on reality in any chosen area. In less than an hour great insights can be gleaned:

1. What’s remarkable? i.e. “conspicuously extraordinary”?

2. What’s great? i.e. above average; better than basic?

3. What’s good? i.e. basic standards of performance are being achieved?

4. What’s bad? i.e. of poor quality or low standard?

5. What’s ugly? i.e. unpleasant, displeasing, or threatening personal or business well-being?

Imagining what can be

I have found that the simplest way to shift from reality to possibility is to choose one area at a time from answers to the appreciation what is questions and then 

1. Describe in a present tense sentence what the new reality feels and looks like.

2. Decide who you are going to engage to work with you to ensure the shift happens, then move to creating quantum leaps with them.

Create Quantum Leaps

The common view of a quantum leap is that it is a big jump. In actual fact a quantum leap is a very small change. The significance is that it’s a direct jump from here to there. I call them small yet significant shifts. 


Actually take action. A lot of people have good intentions, even detailed plans, and then don’t do the work. 

This is one reason I say the words Do Your Work so often!


The best way that I have discovered to gain and sustain momentum is the aggregation of marginal gains which is the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do.

I first learned about this philosophy from this article by James Clear

This from the article

“Most people love to talk about success (and life in general) as an event. We talk about losing 50 pounds or building a successful business or winning the Tour de France as if they are events. But the truth is that most of the significant things in life aren't stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we chose to do things 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. Aggregating these marginal gains makes a difference.”

Reviewing your leaps via an after-action-review is a great way to aggregate. 

An after-action-review answers the following questions 

What happened and why? 

What did you learn, relearn, and unlearn (or let go of)? 

How can you be better, wiser and more valuable in applying your learnings? 

Who will we become? What will we do next?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.


Monday 28 September 2020

Measuring what matters

The 'Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism: Towards Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation' is a good read. Download it here.

The 4 pillars pictured below are noble.

I wonder myself, given actual corporate behaviour in general, as to whether these ideals can become mainstream reality. You?

I'd value your feelings, thoughts and insights, and any positive, productive case studies, as I complete the research and writing of my Heart-leadership book. Please email

Be remarkable.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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 

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.


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.

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.


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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.