Friday 30 October 2020

Invoking key actions of our hands

This post follows on from this post about the catalysts of the head and this post about the qualities of the heart. All are part of my Heart-Leadership work.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Invoking key actions of your hands

The following actions are crucial to engaging your hands and those of other people.


When I made the decision to ensure that every action I take is an expression of my DNA and leaves a unique mark like my fingerprint or signature, I became much more considered about my actions.

Such expressiveness is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


Being patient is not natural for me. Applying the science of quantum leaps i.e. small yet significant shifts, has helped me to enhance the skill over time. 

In addition as I pay greater attention to my natural heart rhythm which I have referenced is slow, I get better still. These nuances have helped me to better my sense-making in my head and be patient for the results to come naturally after I take action.

Such patience is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


Taking less actions, indeed doing less work, means quality has come to the fore. It’s an old adage yet I find it to be true that focusing on taking quality actions is better than quantity. 

Such quality is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


A focus on quality of course helps us in being reliable. I’m finding more and more that reliability within itself is a key to exchanging and delivering value. Of course our reliability is a key component of being trustworthy. In a decidedly digital world trust is what makes us decisively human.

Such reliability is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


Being in the zone is the place all athletes and professional practitioners desire. For us Heart-Leaders flow is a consequence of hearing our hearts first, then thinking things through via the head catalysts, which act as a springboard for hand actions.

Such flow is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


For many years now flexibility has been in the top echelon of what employees want from employers. Being flexible I believe is one way to stay in harmony with ourselves and other people as we do work we love in the service of people who love what we do.

Such flexibility is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Value delivery

The key measure of any output is determining whether or not the result was valuable as we promised or agreed it would be. Value is in the eyes of the beholder.

Such value delivery is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


To have successful shifted away from the status quo when sameness was no longer serving is innovation. As we have explored every day innovation is desirable and imminently possible.

Such innovation is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

The following is the flow of each of these eight hand actions from the eight heart qualities and the head catalysts.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Ensuring Love Is More Visible

The opposite of fear is love.

The song says "what the world needs now is love sweet love, because that's the only thing that there's just too little of."

Could it be that there is enough love and that our quest is to ensure it's more visible?

The following extract from my Heart-Leadership book where I write about eight heart qualities beginning with love will help you to ensure that love is more visible in your life and work.

At the link above you will see that there are more videos, podcasts and online courses available to help you to bring your best and that of other people to the world.


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 Heart-Leaders. 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 hearts cannot love a one-off.

Philia love is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Be remarkable.


Monday 26 October 2020

Jacinda Ardern is a prime example of a Heart-Leader

There's a lot of reflections around at the moment about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. And rightly so in my view. She exemplifies for me what a Heart-Leader sounds like.

Next month my book on Heart-Leadership will be published. It's been a labour of love that began in 2017. I've been researching, writing and workshopping content in earnest for the past six months. Along the way I've been on the look out for role models amongst well known people as well as my clients.

I've observed Australian cricket coach Justin Langer as a Heart-Leader. Human rights activist, Television presenter and former Socceroos captain Craig Foster is one too. Richmond Football Club (not mine yet is my brothers club) President Peggy O'Neal is definitely a Heart-Leader.

Jacinda Ardern is a prime example of a Heart-Leader

Here's Ally Head's 14 reasons why Jacinda Ardern is such a successful leader, according to the experts.

I particularly like numbers 3, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

I love this piece about Jacinda on getting your message across by my friend and colleague Michael Dodd.

This podcast by Eleanor Ainge Roy perhaps gets to the heart of the matter that a key to Jacinda's success is kindness, one of the eight heart qualities I explore in Heart-Leadership.

Who will you become?
What will you do next?

Be remarkable.


Friday 23 October 2020

Invoking key behaviours of the head

 Content for this post and podcast 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.

In a section of the book about exchanging and delivering value I explore eight qualities of head behaviour that flow on from the eight heart qualities that I have previously mentioned here. Learn more via the video and resources here.

The eight head qualities Openness, Sense-making, Decision-making, Problem-solving, Imagination, Human-centred design, Systems-thinking, Curiosity. 

Let’s explore each one:


From a thinking perspective openness means avoiding bias and suspending ideologies and beliefs and being completely open to the unlimited possibilities every moment offers.

Such openness is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


Sensemaking or sense-making is the process by which people give meaning to their collective experiences. It has been defined as "the ongoing retrospective development of plausible images that rationalize what people are doing”

The key for me is giving meaning. A wonderful habit to nurture is exploring with folk what they mean and what has meaning for them.

Such sense-making is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


We will address this formally in the section on transparency coming up next. For now see it as a process that helps others to see how you thought through something or arrived at the decision you did. This is a great giving meaning to something action within itself.

Such decision-making is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


Asking people you meet what problems do you solve? Or my preference what challenges do you help other people to overcome? are much more intriguing question that so what do you do?

Like decision-making problem solving that is transparent and meaning helps us all to think clearly and to fully utilise our minds amazing capacity to provide us with how to’s.

Such problem-solving is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


The following is from Albert Einstein’s 1931 published book “Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms’

“At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact, I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.”

I love “For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

John Lennon of course was onto this insight in his wonderful anthem ‘Imagine’.

“Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion, too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You, you may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you will join us

And the world will be as one …”

Such imagination is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

Human-centred design

I’m a fan of the people at IDEO. In their Field Guide to Human Centered Design, they say, “When you understand the people you’re trying to reach—and then design from their perspective—not only will you arrive at unexpected answers, but you’ll come up with ideas that they’ll embrace.”

I only do bespoke work with my clients for this reason. I’m meticulous in my research with the goal of understanding the people I’m working with and then the work is all about you applying proven principles in your own best way.

Such human-centred design is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


I’m always interested in how humans interact and transact with other humans as well as with technology. Any technology that doesn’t enhance the human experience is of no interest to me.

Heart-Leaders are asking how does this feel or how could this feel? before engaging the head to work out system changes.

Such systems-thinking is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.


Curiosity is also one of the 24 Sparkenation Conversation Essentials. From a thinking perspective being curious is paying attention to the human experience and thinking about how things can be different, better or more valuable from a human perspective.

Such curiosity is a foundation stone of Heart-Leadership.

The following is the flow of each of these head qualities from the eight heart qualities to the corresponding hand actions that we will explore in next Friday's post and podcast.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.


Wednesday 21 October 2020

Values must be behaviours

In the very best teams and organisations values are not just words they are agreed behaviours.

I learned this the hard way a long time ago as I share in the 2009 video below.

Values must be agreed behaviours otherwise they are just meaningless words.

Over the course of a three year project with one client, I helped them through collaboration with one another, to turn values (single words) into virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards").

In the case of this client 18 behaviours were the result of significant work. We subsequently learned that 18 is too many and that three to five is good practice.

As behaviours became the focus, or as one of the leaders involved described it "As soon as living our values became our intention, and the key focus of our attention, performance dramatically improved."

I was astounded by the performance improvement and observed two other deep factors at play. 

1) The more values were lived, the more people felt valued, and the greater value they exchanged and delivered to other people. 

2) I also learned that sustaining a high level of feeling valued, living values, and exchanging and delivering value, depended greatly on leadership, management, and culture.

I have since evolved my work to the current Heart-Leadership. Learn more here.

A 14th May 2010 New York Times article by one of my favourite authors and writers, Thomas L. Friedman, deeply influenced my thinking.

"So more and more of us are behaving by, what Seidman calls, “situational values”: I do whatever the situation allows. Think Goldman Sachs or BP. The opposite of situational values, argues Seidman, are “sustainable values”: values that inspire in us behaviors that literally sustain our relationships with one another, with our communities, with our institutions, and with our forests, oceans and climate. Of course, to counter this epidemic of situational thinking, we need more and better regulations, but we also need more people behaving better. Regulations only tell you what you can or can’t do in certain situations. Sustainable values inspire you to do what you should do in every situation."

The Seidman Thomas Friedman refers to is Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN who help companies build ethical cultures. More about Dov here. Please read the full Friedman article here.

Sustainable values are for me virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards"). And sustainable values are a key to your sustainability as an organisation in a world viewed by a few as "post-truth", "fake news".

Who will you become?
What will you do next?

Monday 19 October 2020

We Are Not Divided

 I've been inspired by the Reasons to be Cheerful project 'We Are Not Divided'. Learn more about it here.

The primary reason I dislike politics is because divide and conquer seems to be the main modis operandi. Trump is a major example.

Of course people like Jacinda Ardern are the opposite. She proved in the New Zealand election two days ago that decency can trump division.

In my home state of Victoria, Australia, the right of politics have politicised Covid-19 and are trying everything they can to divide us and turn us against Premier Dan Andrews who it seems to me is doing a great job to ensure that we don't have to experience further lockdowns like many other states and countries. 

The right are not succeeding. All they are doing in my view is making a bad situation worse and shining a light on their own incompetence and failure to properly care for citizens in a myriad of areas, notably aged cared.

I get that many are suffering because of the lockdowns. In my view the approach of Andrews is about short term pain for long term gain. Whether he is right or wrong in his approach I don't know. What I admire about him is never once has he engaged in the dirty and divisive tactics of those trying to undermine him.

We're better than Trump or anyone else who says "my way is the only way". 

We're proving all over the world, as the Reasons to be cheerful project is highlighting, that we are not divided, in fact we are more united than ever to see the back of people who seek to divide us.

Be remarkable.

Friday 16 October 2020

The very best leaders lead with 
and from their hearts

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

Heart-Leadership is an alternative to people, change and performance management.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

I sense a movement gathering momentum fast. Not a movement that is focused on single issues like climate change, police brutality or political corruption, rather one movement that focuses on being better humans and that encompasses all the issues where we are failing one another and the environments in which we live. 

I sense an international movement for our challenges are global. For sure there are local and national solutions. It’s just that we are one human race, each of us different for certain, yet not divided as many in power would have us believe.

There are several World Leaders and Business Leaders who appear to have lost their minds. A new kind of leadership is needed. This kind of leadership is noticeable and inspiring through its coherence.

Heads of State like New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern are showing the way. She is leading with and from her heart. She is demonstrating in a powerful and non-violent way that we can be human and be a politician!

2020 marked 30 years of deep engagement for me in leadership development through being a mentor for leaders as well as giving presentations, conducting workshops and master-classes, and engaging in numerous conversations.

I’ve been honoured to work with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries.

In the past eight years I’ve focused on my own style of presentation/conversations with primarily small groups of people both in person and online. 

I’ve been able to observe and interact with leaders up close and personal and from a myriad of industries. 

I’ve been involved in organisations of all shapes and sizes, small, medium and large, family and privately owned, purpose-driven corporations, professional service firms and professional service providers.

I’ve also been privileged to work with many leaders over several years.

One thing stands out in all of my work, the very best leaders lead with and from their hearts.

More podcasts, videos and resources via this link.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.


Wednesday 14 October 2020

Heart first, head second

For just over 3 years I have been consciously leading with and responding to what happens with my heart first and then my head. I was in the habit of leading and responding habitually with my head.

Since I've made this shift my energy has increased. I'm clearer, calmer and more considered. As a consequence I'm more valuable, and my impact and contribution are greater.

My discoveries include the following:

Your heart always knows.

Feelings are different to thoughts.

Feelings come from your heart.

We are feeling creatures who think (HT to Dr Jill Bolte Taylor).

“Most of us think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, but we are actually feeling creatures that think.” Dr Jill Bolte Taylor

Feelings are an inner knowing.

Feelings have a different energy, a different frequency or vibration to thoughts.

Thoughts are from our past. Feelings are from our present and future.

The heart knows why and what, the head how, and the hands take care of who, what, where and when.

I have come to understand that this is the natural order of things. I learned and practiced for much of my life that the head ruled and that the brain was in control.

In my Heart-Leadership book I use Harmony, Heart, Head, Hands, Happenstance as a mnemonic and for the flow of book.

Harmony within ourselves is a precondition to hear our hearts, ask our heads and then engage our hands. Happenstance (coincidence, serendipity, synchronicity) follows.

The great challenge for me has been learning to hear my heart first and getting my head to wait until asked.

In your life and work are you leading and responding with your heart or your head?

Be remarkable.


Monday 12 October 2020

Changing What's Normal

On the 20th or 21st of October, depending on your preference, I'm hosting a one-off complimentary Sparkenation Conversation based on my Changing What's Normal book that I have recently relaunched the paperback version of and for the first time the electronic version. 

You can register for the 10 AM AEDT 20th October conversation here.

You can register for the 3.30 PM AEDT 21st October conversation here.

The central theme of the book that all change is personal first, relationship change second and organisational change a distant third, is highly relevant for thriving in this DC (during corona) and AC (after corona) world.

You can purchase Changing What's Normal here.

Be remarkable.


Friday 9 October 2020

Heart-Leadership Peer Groups

This post and podcast follows on from last Wednesday's 'Our four greatest teachers' post and video.

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

Heart-Leadership is an alternative to people, change and performance management. Today my focus is on peer groups.

Listen to the podcast version of this post

Are you a member of a peer group, a group of colleagues within your organisation, outside your organisation, or maybe a combination of the these? 

If you answered yes then it's likely that you are a wise person who is making the best contribution you can make to all the places that you belong to.

I’ve been engaged in master-mind groups for over 30 years. The first was a bunch of blokes who met weekly to explore what it really meant to be great husband’s and father’s as well as true friends. We’re called ourselves ‘The JourneyMen' and were referenced by Steve Biddulph in one of his early books on Manhood. There was nothing much happening for men in those days and domestic violence and other matters were just starting to be discussed more openly.

I’m in no doubt that for the small group of us we all became better people because of our regular candid conversations (often around the pot belly stove) in Philip’s shed.

Since then I’ve been a member of many groups, led quite a few, and presented to over 100 around the world in the leadership peer-group space. 

The original idea put forward by Napoleon Hill in his famous book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ still holds true: “The co-ordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definitive purpose, in the spirit of harmony.

No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind {the master mind].”

What’s emerged in more recent times is that people want to gather to not just engage with our minds, we want to engage in our hearts too. 

We want to do this work with people we trust, who believe in us and appreciate us, yet also challenge us. 

We want to belong to places where we can be candid.

We want to share our dreams. Sure we want considered responses to our requests, mostly we want to share what is in our hearts.

Where do you belong?

The most remarkable leaders I know are in the habit of regularly stepping off the field of play to work on yourself and on your business.

Because of the wonders of technology the majesty of Heart-Leadership groups can now happen online where we can tap into the wisdom of peers operating in non-competitive businesses and from different countries and cultures.

I regard having a mentor/s and belonging to a master-mind group/s as the top two essentials for personal and professional growth.

One of the reasons that I host online conversations every month is because for the regulars they are a form of Heart-Leadership group.

Of course the concept of a peer groups shifts to a whole new level when we consider them in the light of heart, head and hands and in that order.

There is nothing quite like belonging to groups of peers where the focus is on hearing our hearts first, then asking heads, and then being with one another/working with one another as we engage our hands.

Performance Possibility Peers as with Performance Possibility Partners are special kinds of friends.

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Who will you become?
What will you do next?

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.


Wednesday 7 October 2020

Our four greatest teachers

The above video is the 14th in a series as I complete the writing of my Heart-Leadership book. You can watch all videos here. All are under 5 minutes. There's also 16 podcasts, each under 10 minutes, plus 3 self-directed online courses.

The following is from my Heart-Leadership book

The Power of Performance Possibility Partners

Performance Possibility Partners are people we trust, have our best interests at heart, and who are non-judgmental of our performance.

Performance Possibility Partners can be family members, friends, mentors, coaches, advisors, anyone who is not directly involved in our work, yet has expertise to inspire, encourage, and support us.

We all need others to magnify and enhance our essence.

In particular Performance Possibility Partners are people we have chosen to be there for us as we take action and to hold us to account when our performance is less than we have agreed it will be.

The Power of Performance Possibility Peers

Performance Possibility Peers are colleagues in the same organisation as we are or are people who are on a similar path in other organisations.

In either case we form master-mind groups or peer groups (I call mine Heart-Leadership groups) as a way to share stories and make decisions about how we will change, modify or nuance our performance.

During the writing of this book I formed my latest Heart-Leadership group called The Heart-Leadership Online Village.

In this Friday's blog post and podcast I'll continue this topic of our four greatest teachers.

Be remarkable.


Monday 5 October 2020

Sustaining shared-view in the seven areas of signifcance

Apparently we live in a post-truth world i.e. objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Post-truth politics is arguably the greatest example.

Speaking for myself I want a world that is post-politics. I prefer a shared-view world where we rise above our different opinions and agree on things that matter to all of us. In such a world we are not divided as human beings, rather we respect difference and diversity.

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.

I recorded some short videos and podcasts and created a one page diagnostic to help you to find and sustain shared-view in seven areas of significance. 

In this week's Wednesday video and Friday podcast and associated blog posts I will be exploring the power of performance possibility partners and peers in finding and sustaining shared-view and building together a world where politicians have a lot less influence.

Be remarkable.

Friday 2 October 2020

Plans-on-a-page and Momentum

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

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

Listen to the podcast version of this post

I'm one of the pioneers of Plan's-on-a-page. 

I swear by them as one of the most magnificent tools there are to help us to take action, sustain momentum, and 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 a remarkable way to

1) Keep focused personally, for a team, for an organisation.

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 possibility partners (colleagues, mentors) and possibility peers in areas you have agreed are significant. More on partners and peers in next weeks videos, podcasts and blog posts.

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!).

One of my most prized possessions is a small quilt my Grandmother Ruby Sherriff made over 50 years ago. I have wonderful memories of her and husband Fred. They lived less than a mile from me when I was a boy and so I was a frequent visitor to their house. 

A vivid memory is Nana making quilts. There'd be a piece here and another over there etc and then one day it would magically come together as one and yet each individual piece stood out. 

Little did I know then that Nana's quilts would many years later inspire a remarkable idea. 

In business strategy is like a compass and execution a map. For your strategy to be executed every employee needs their unique piece of the map. I call it a quilt map. Performance Possibility Plans (PPPs) are an individuals piece of the quilt.

Visual plans-on-a-page work best. My latest PPP is below. I hope it inspires you to create your own PPP.

If I can be of assistance please give me a shout.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.