In 2022 my focus is on elevating wise self-leadership by helping you to enhance your Response Ability, the keystone character trait of wise leaders.
Thursday 23 December 2021
Monday 20 December 2021
My one word for 2022 is DREAM. My gratitude to Jason Fox for the one word theme for a year idea and to Chris Brogan for his three words for a year insights. Read more about these two visionaries and their ideas here.
For 2022 I've also turned my one word into a matrix as follows. See below the diagram for my thoughts on the fifteen components.
What is your essence?
Please be a Happy Being Magnificent role model in your own best way.
Monday 13 December 2021
Strategic planning is an oxymoron. In my view along with change management and performance management it makes the top three worst actions you could take in your business.
You do need a strategy. Strategy is like a compass.
In simple terms a strategy is the framework within which you make decisions about how you're moving from where you are to where you want to be.
You should be able to describe your strategy in a sentence.
Change cannot be managed. We lead change. You need a change process to lead effectively.
Performance cannot be managed either. We lead performance.
If you're still doing performance appraisals you are endangering your employees well-being. We do not want to be appraised and never have. What we want is to be appreciated.
In the new world of work wise leaders have discarded performance management and are embracing performance energetics. There's a short podcast and post with 25 suggestions about how to do this here.
Like leading change and leading performance you can only know the effectiveness of your strategy through its execution.
Execution is like a quilt. Everyone's piece is different. When everyone's piece is stitched together you have your execution plan. Not a strategic plan, an execution plan.
There are five critical success factors to execution of strategy that I've learned over 30+ years of doing this work.
1) People executing your strategy must buy-into it at worst and at best have input into it.
The days of Boards and CEO's being the sole strategy setters in my view are dead.
When the people doing the work are engaged in determining strategy, execution is almost a given.
2) Practices and Processes are paramount
Do your processes (this includes policies, procedures, practices, principles, systems and structures), mean that it's simple for people to bring their best to their work?
Are the daily practices in your workplaces, i.e. the rituals, routines, ceremonies, stories, narratives in alignment with the behaviours of your values?
Does every employees have a role clarity statement that overviews who they have relationships with and what is the value being exchanged and delivered?
3) Human connection and ongoing conversations are crucial
There are 15 conversations that count. You can download a playbook with my compliments about these here.
4) After-action-reviews highlight accountability
I recommend reviewing one action at a time and answering 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?
5) Integrating new learning with what is already working well
Post after-action-review determine with your colleagues how your answers will be integrated with what is already working well for you. Then I suggest these actions:
Upgrade your processes and practices and role clarity statements where appropriate.
Upgrade learning and development materials.
Should you like some help with any of the above please consider my one-off service.
Susan Furness and myself created a unique process called Strategic Heartistry which Susan facilitates. Learn more here.
Friday 10 December 2021
- Corporations rule the world.
- Many of their CEO's are addicted to greed.
- Most politicians are beholden to corporate leaders and others who donate to their parties. See a great documentary 'Big Deal' by Christiaan van Vuuren for some hard evidence about this.
1) Corporations, and businesses in general, have the capacity to lead the way in solving our climate crisis
sub-title Governments should not be leading rather supporting those who are
(people with three - five year terms are not leaders, they are managers at best.)
I took photo above recently at one of my local supermarkets. Wise leaders are climate change action leaders. ALDI, another one of my local supermarkets, have their stores, warehouses and offices powered by 100% renewable energy.
Please read a most excellent article by Annabel Crabb "Morrison's climate 'plan' reveals a spectacular new model of political leadership in Australia.'
Climate crisis inaction and hyperbole by LNP politicians in Australia, and the money being donated by fossil fuel companies to the LNP (and Labor and other parties too) can be contrasted with exceptions like Mike Cannon-Brookes. and LNP supporter Andrew Forrest's who has a hydrogen deal happening with Queensland government in Australia.
Corporate and business leaders have the wherewithal to lead the way in solving our climate crisis, and are in fact are leading us. In my view governments need to support those leading and stop leading themselves.
THE ANZ CLIMATE TECH 100 list makes interesting reading.
How are you solving the climate crisis?
2) Well-being not financial growth or profit is actually the objective
In much of the world right now I perceive a crisis of mental health that could have far wider consequences than the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is your workplace a role model in these areas?
3) Using technology to help us rather than we being slaves of technology
Yanis Varoufakis suggests in this article that capitalism is bring replaced by techno-feudalism. I agree.
There are alternatives.
I recommend 'Another Now' by Yanis
and 'Technology v Humanity The coming clash between man and machine' by Gerd Leonhard
as places to kickstart or progress your feelings, thoughts, behaviours and actions about how you are using technology personally and professionally.
Is technology primarily enhancing the human experience in your life and work?
Who will you become?
What will you do next?
Wednesday 8 December 2021
Music is a great metaphor for our essence (unique personal wisdom).
Seeing, unearthing, and then magnifying and enhancing our essence, and being alongside others as they do the same, is for me the heart of real leadership.
Listen to my story about this metaphor in this 4 minutes and 42 seconds podcast.
Watch my story below.
You can read my story, and ways you can apply it in your own best way, in my chapter in this book.
This was the greatest collaboration that I've been involved in with sixteen of my colleagues from The Right Company.
You can begin anywhere you choose in the book.
Terry McGivern, Regional Managing Director (CEER ME APAC) Kingspan light +Air captures this book well:
"If people interest you, and the distilled wisdom of peoples' experiences fascinate you, then you will cherish this collection.”
I was thrilled to have a longer conversation with Cat Preston (also one of the authors) about essence in her 'Collective Wisdom' podcast.
It's one hour and three minutes and you will find it here.
A few times a year I offer a complimentary version of The Wise Leaders Workshop which is my signature experience for helping you to discover and live your essence. The next of these is in February 2022. To receive an invite learn more and subscribe to my newsletter here.
Monday 6 December 2021
Sparkenation conversation with Sue Heatherington about the role of Quiet Disruptors in the new world of work
Sue Heatherington's book is a game changer for me.
Before and since reading this book it's been wonderful to get to know Sue.
The recording below is our conversation about the role of Quiet Disruptors in the new world of work.
Part of this new world is the re-humanisation of the workplace and therefore a letting go of the command and control and divide and conquer hangover from the Industrial Revolution.
Thursday 2 December 2021
I was thrilled to have my colleague of 25 years Keith Abraham as my very special guest in this sparkenation conversation.
If 2020 was unprecedented and 2021 unpredictable, then could it be that 2022 is uncharted?
What an opportunity. An "ocean of opportunity" as Keith says.
Many gems from Keith and guests in this conversation.
My favourite from Keith is "Are we starving our distractions and feeding our focus?"
Monday 29 November 2021
We have a federal government in Australia in my view stuck in inertia about most things.
Of particular interest to me is their failure to establish a federal integrity commission.
This is despite the fact that a bill introduced by Independent member Helen Haines is endorsed by the Centre for Public Integrity as the best model in the country.
I've a long held view (held lightly) that politics is part of the status quo that no longer serves us. I will not be voting for this government.
In my own life, and you in yours, we don't have to wait for election cycles or any cycle for that matter to shift to possibility when the status quo is no longer serving us.
Three practices I recommend:
1) Once a month think about inertia "a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged," and take immediate action
Are you guilty?
Were there moments in the past month where you did nothing and would have been better to do something?
Are there processes (includes policies, practices, procedures, structures and systems) that remain unchanged despite the fact that they don't mean its simple for people to bring everything they are to everything they do every day?
Think about this well worn yet often ignored adage:
The definition of stupidity is to expect different results by doing the same old thing.
2) Make after-action-reviews integral to everything you do
I recommend the following 5 stage format:
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.
3) Get serious about learning and development
I know from recent conversations that many people still tick boxes when it comes to training and learning and development. Many believe that the actual event (the seminar, course, or whatever) is the thing. It's not. The most important factors and what happens before and after the event.
Research in 2004 by Dr Brent Peterson proved that 26% of success happens before and 50% after an event.
What's possible today for you?
Monday 22 November 2021
The new world of work - fully alive human beings, doing personally meaningful work that is valuable for others, supported by technology
As I highlighted in the post Could 'The Great Resignation' actually be the great shift in why and how we work? the keys to making the shift to the new world of work are three-fold
1) being and becoming the most remarkable human beings we can be.
2) doing work that is meaningful for us and highly valuable for others.
3) ensuring technology is adding value to the human experience.
Remarkable Human Beings Are Those Who Are Fully Alive
We are all one-of-a-kind human beings.
As many have observed we have become human doings.
The five faces of a human being fully alive
Workplaces that do not enable people to be fully alive human beings face a precarious future.
Doing work that is meaningful for us and highly valuable for others
The key to doing meaningful for you work is to "follow your bliss."
To make a difference doing work that is meaningful for you must also be valuable for others
Ensuring technology is adding value to the human experience
What is your stance? A human front and centre in your organisation or is technology dictating?
Friday 19 November 2021
There's a lot of talk about 'The Great Resignation' where people are leaving current roles for ones that better fit their personal lives.
In my experience this is not a new phenomena. Personally I've being working with my clients on a new world of work for about fifteen years. In my book Heart-Leadership I provide the following
The keys to making the shift to this new world of work are three-fold
For me the pandemic has highlighted starkly that most people want greater respect and better and more flexible working conditions.
Monday 15 November 2021
Below is an update I received recently from the folk at Local Futures
The COP26 meetings in Glasgow this month represent a step in the wrong direction. While the presence of fossil fuel barons has received criticism, the involvement of big tech, big agriculture, big banks and other global corporations has gone largely unchallenged, while a critical discussion of the free-trade rules that drive escalating resource use and emissions has been all but completely omitted.
By further cementing the alliance between big government and big money, the COP negotiations have consistently served to steer the agenda of the environmental movement away from fundamental structural change, towards pseudo-solutions like carbon trading, synthetic food, and investment in technological expansion. And COP26 is no different.
However, all is not lost. At the grassroots, people are taking genuine steps to face up to the climate crisis. The call for systemic change is becoming mainstream, while localization projects across the globe already demonstrate the potential to drastically reduce emissions and support biodiversity while increasing human wellbeing."
One of the massive problems of our time in my view is "the alliance between big government and big money..."
Local Futures offer an alternative in this short film.
I'm doing my best in my own way to move on from a world controlled by corporations and politicians.
I've been weaning myself off exposure to media too, both mainstream and social, as a part of my quest. In my view the media as a collective is a massive part of the problem.
With few exceptions my feeling is that the majority of mainstream journalists are fanning the flame of corporate and political dominance over our lives.
I don't feel that social media is helping us move in a better direction either. Too much division and duality for me.
Over the weekend I deactivated my Twitter and Facebook accounts as a part of my journey to hold my beliefs and opinions lightly. I will still be offering them when asked, just in settings where I feel safe and welcome to do so.
In future my focus will be on LinkedIn, my YouTube channel, my blog and podcasts where my aim is to be helpful and valuable to the people who value my research findings and also learnings gleaned from the weekly peer group gatherings I host for my clients and the regular story telling and conversations.
I have more clarity than I've ever had to just focus on my small circles of influence (about 150 people).
I've been helped with this by revisiting Dunbar's Law which I've embraced since anthropologist Robin Dunbar published his research in the 1990's. I see this in new light lately.
For me Dunbar's Law works like this: my Inner Circle is about 5 people, and the next group of people that I have close relationships with is about 15. My Peer Groups are growing to about 35 people. I have meaningful connections with approximately 150 people. These are the folk I stay in touch with regularly. All are on my small monthly newsletter list. Then there are Acquaintances (about 500 people) and People I recognise (about 1500). Interestingly my LinkedIn connections number 2407. I reckon I only recognise about 1500!
Carol and I have discovered many great things locally during the pandemic including a great sourdough bread place called Ket Bakery we were always going to visit, just never did.
A great insight I received while researching this article is that local is a great metaphor for life too
Local is our inner life and what we allow in to our hearts, minds and bodies.
Local is family.
Local is friends.
Local is our neighbourhood.
Local is our home town or village.
Local is those we work with.
Local is those who engage with us in meaningful ways on the whatever platforms you choose.
Local is the cohorts, community and sporting groups we are involved in.
What is happening for you?
How is local a key to your future?
Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org I'd love to hear your stories.
Monday 8 November 2021
These are the top 10 books I recommend for you should you be looking for different to mainstream views on how economics should be in the 21st century.
In my view the current systems favours the few not the many and therefore is a major driver of inequality.Confronting Capitalism
Wednesday 3 November 2021
This was the greatest collaborative project that I've ever worked on.
My gratitude to fellow authors Claudia Brose, Con Christensen, Jacqueline Davis, Jeremy Deedes, Mark Dyck, Caroline Harvey, Sue Heatherington, Joel Hughes, Jacquie Landeman, Kim LeClair, Darcy Lee, Pete Michaels, Cat Preston, Ulla Raaf, Tricia Van Vleit.
My gratitude also to Bernadette Jiwa founder of The Right Company. It is the best cohort that I've been engaged in of my professional life.
More at the Enough website.
"If people interest you, and the distilled wisdom of peoples' experiences fascinate you, then you will cherish this collection.”
Terry McGivern, Regional Managing Director (CEER ME APAC) Kingspan light +Air, Cavan, Ireland
"Enough forms an assembly of wise souls and trusted mentors, distilling their best advice into a powerful call-to-action. It combines practical tips and compelling stories, forming a beautifully paced piece of work. ‘Enough’ reassures that your own unique talents and perspective mean you already have the tools you need to curate the life you want. It then gently takes you by the hand and says, “now let’s try this…” Think of ‘Enough’ as a user guide for creatives - especially those who feel stuck, rudderless or weighed down with imposter syndrome.
It swerves well-worn platitudes and instead presents a generous edit of new ideas, habits and ways of working. It’s a book that’s as hopeful as it is wise."
Fiona Mattesini, journalist and writer, United Kingdom
“Book shops and libraries are full of self-help volumes for people in business who may be frustrated and who desire to change and improve their situation. Why this book then? Enough, is different in that it features sixteen diverse first-person accounts of how experienced managers and entrepreneurs from many different parts of the world have successfully confronted these very issues and transformed their professional lives.
It is not a book which offers a single formula or strategy but, rather, provides different real-life examples and, hopefully inspiration, on how to move forward on your own unique path. You will be informed and also entertained. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to blaze their own trail but who might be having some difficulty defining the way.”
John McDermott, internationally recognised photographer and writer, USA/Italy
Monday 1 November 2021
and the following with my compliments:
Self-directed online courses.
and a monthly newsletter.
Every resource is carefully crafted to help you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and to become the wise leader you want to be.
Monday 25 October 2021
Ernest Hemingway believed the following were six of the best words he ever wrote “for sale, baby shoes, never worn.”
Way back in 2010, and building on the insight from Hemingway’s words, my friend Kwai Yu asked two questions in a LinkedIn discussion:
Who are you?
Could you tell the story of you in six words?
Kwai received some extraordinary responses.
They gave me great inspiration, which led to an idea that I implemented. I began asking my clients, could you describe your strategy in six words?
I also developed a simple, fun exercise where participants in my presentations and programs came up with six word or one sentence strategies. Many have been fully embraced. They have helped my clients to thrive in the best of, as well as the most challenging times.
I've asked 100’s of people from all over the world, Could you describe your strategy in six words? There have been many, many memorable answers.
Adopting a six word or one sentence strategy also means avoiding strategy planning which in my view is an oxymoron and therefore not worth your time and energy. Let alone that by the time you print your strategic planning document it could already be out of touch!
Strategy is like a compass. It’s simply the guide by which you make decisions. It should never be confused with the map i.e your execution plan, or better still your execution process.
Of course living and leading in a pandemic influenced world, let alone other major challenges such as climate change action, a simple yet profound, six word or one sentence strategy is needed now more than ever.
Embracing a six word or single sentence strategy is what wise leaders do.
My own strategy in my professional practice has been nuanced several times in the past twelve years. I help my clients be innovative and to stay ahead of curves and patterns by doing the same in their own best way.
My current one sentence strategy is 5 words:
55% helpful conversations, 45% referrals
By way of explanation helpful conversations for them with people after working with them, or hosting an event, generates 55% of my new clients, while the other 45% come from referrals form current clients.
My strategy has also played a major role in a choice I made to significantly reduce my working hours (I've got other pursuits in life), yet at the same time embrace the "less but better" principle, while also expanding on the number of people I work with by shifting to group mentoring with 1:1 support, and expanding the number of peer groups I host.
How would you describe your strategy in six words or a single sentence?
PS You might find inspiration, as I do, from the six word stories website.
Monday 11 October 2021
What are the changes you can influence and want to see in the world?
I have three primary changes I'm working on with collaborators and through my unique way way of working with leaders (storytelling and conversations that inspire and enable best people leadership, process innovation, purpose impact).
Part three is here. It's about It's about how our personal and shared practices are the precursors to change.
1) Structural changes in society (including workplaces) that better eliminate environmental injustice and economic inequality, and enable personal well-being.
This book has been on my side table for a few weeks now. It is a collection of conversations between progressives about post covid-19 pandemic possibilities.
My favourite is the conversation between Yanis Varoufakis and Johann Hari, two of my favourite authors, Yanis with 'Another Now' and other books, and Johann with 'Lost Connections'.
2) Citizens councils determining our direction and destiny and not politicians
Google citizens councils. Some amazing things happened in Ireland for example where the Catholic Church's archaic wishes were not granted by the council, the people or the parliament.
There are many, many examples out there. I feel citizens councils are zeitgeist.
3) Co-operatives owned by employees being a great influence for good and helping to end the reign of corporations.
I feel this in my bones. Again do your own research. Get your own feel.
Please write to me should any of the above resonate with you or be in tune with your geist.
Helping you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and become the wise leader you want to be
Wednesday 6 October 2021
This is part three of four. It's about how our personal and shared practices are the precursors to change.
Our financial system is flawed. It increases the inequality gap by advantaging the rich and disadvantaging the poor, and every one in between.
There's a lot of reimagining taking place, as well as action to make the current system obsolete in favour of a system that promotes equality and equity of opportunity and how we can all contribute to societies greater good.
One movement is about replacing current welfare systems with some form of universal basic income.
Recently I discovered a lot of great insights (pro and con) about this via the Humanists Victoria, Australia website. See them all here.
You may also be interested in previous pieces I've posted and podcasted about this:
“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."
Buckminster Fuller most likely in 1970!
“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”
What personal and shared practices are you engaged in to ensure the status quo is serving you and those you live, work and play with?
Here are five of mine:
1) When I meet with clients we follow our warm greetings of one another with a short conversation to answer two questions 1) what's worth celebrating? 2) what can be better? A simple yet profound, short conversation around the questions always keeps us living in the now not the normal.
2) Every morning mostly before doing anything else I make a list of what I'm grateful for. Sometimes my wife and I share what we're grateful for individually and together. We speak out loud during a daily walk.
3) The daily walk is a ritual my wife and I having been undertaking for many years. I also take walks alone to contemplate, and sometimes just simply to enjoy nature.
4) I meditate daily and have done for over 40 years. I use a form of heart felt meditation and breath meditation. An open and warm heart plus a clear mind keep us sharp and aware and free from any kind of complacency or procrastination.
5) When my clients and I part company after conversation we ritually end with our key take aways, the actions we will take, and how we will help each other to be accountable. My work is primarily in peer groups so this is also a great team/peer group/community/sports group exercise. It promotes belonging, living on purpose, and being accountable.
Who will you become? What will you do next?
Helping you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and become the wise leader you want to be.
Tuesday 21 September 2021
This is part two of four.
I'm using this model as a process.
Three aspects that I love in particular are:
1) The idea of exponential humanism "the philosophy to find a way forward that will allow us to embrace technology but not become technology, to use it as a tool not as purpose."
2) The concept of "key human indicators" as a far better way forward than the traditional and tired KPI's.
3) The insight of androrithms "those qualities that makes us human" having more meaning than algorithms.
I believe our personal value behaviours and our shared values behaviours are key to bringing Gerd's insights into reality in your own best way.
Personal Values Behaviours
I have five foundational personal values behaviours as follows:
1) Tender-hearted - I let people know they are valued, understood and that they have been heard.
2) Tough-minded - I call out less than agreed standards of behaviour.
3) Tolerance - I celebrate diversity and honour opinions and beliefs different to my own.
4) Truth-telling - I tell the truth as I see it regardless of the situation.
5) Trustworthiness - I never break confidentiality and always keep my promises.
What are your foundational personal values behaviours?
I live eight heart qualities: love, gratitude, appreciation, care, happiness, compassion, harmony, kindness.
I wrote about these eight heart qualities, and the eight head catalysts and eight hand actions that support them, in my book Heart Leadership Become the wise leader you want to be. Learn more.
What other personal values behaviours in addition to your foundational personal values do you have?
Shared Values Behaviours
The concept of shared-view is fundamental to everything I teach and work on with my clients.
There's a complimentary self-directed online course with short videos and podcasts here that you can undertake in an hour or so about the seven areas of significance where sustaining shared-view is paramount. The seven are reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, culture.
Critical to culture is have a shared-view about what the behaviours are for our shared values.
What are your shared values behaviours in your team, peer groups, sporting club, community organisations, family, wherever you belong?
Please give me a call should you like some help.
Here's some further resources and insights that I have found highly valuable
There's two short videos in this post Values Must Be Behaviours. In this post I also reference Dov Seidman's work about the great difference between 'sustainable values' and 'situational values.' There's a list of other insights and resources at the bottom of the post.
I love Brene Brown's work and her complimentary download about values behaviours is very good. Get it here.
Friday 17 September 2021
This is the third video I've recently changed from private to public viewing settings. The stories and concepts stand the test of time.
All three of these stories and concepts form part of a complimentary self-directed online course: Reasons, Relationships and Routines Guarantee Results. You can access it here.
Helping you to hone your one-of-a-kind way of leading and become the wise leader you want to be.