Thursday 23 December 2021

Helping you enhance your Response Ability, the keystone character trait of wise leaders

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.

In the short video below I explore each of the nine future ready skills that I believe you need to master in your own best way to thrive in this time of great uncertainty.

In February 2022 I'm offering a unique opportunity, with my compliments, to enhance your Response Ability. Learn more about this here.

Kind regards

Monday 20 December 2021

The D.R.E.A.M. Matrix For Sustaining Wisdom In Personal Well-being

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.

You can listen to the podcast version of this post here.

What I say in this post is important,
yet nowhere near as important
as what you hear yourself say to yourself,
who you become and what you do next.

The following is not advice rather insights from my personal experience for your consideration as you decide your own best way to embrace the 15 components of The D.R.E.A.M. Matrix For Sustaining Wisdom In Personal Well-being.

1. Diet

Diet for me is not some fad to lose weight, rather a daily regime and philosophy I live by that is a foundation for over-all well-being. 

You most likely know the adage 'garbage in, garbage out'. Most processed foods are garbage so I choose fresh whenever possible and eat mainly plant based food. My preference is low sugar and high protein.

I recommend studying mitochondria and gut health. Take action is your own best way.

Personally I eat primarily small portions and sit down to eat four to six times a day usually between 7 AM and 7 PM.

I keep a close eye on always being fully hydrated.

2. Differencemaking

We all make a difference in the lives of other people whether we are conscious of it or not.

Being conscious or aware has much to do with understanding and living our essence or unique personal wisdom. For example my essence is holding space for possibility focused leaders as you enhance your Response Ability.

I've developed and continue to hone a presence and story-telling, conversation and peer group and 1:1 mentoring skills, that enable safe and creative places for people.

What is your essence?

Should you love some help with enhancing your Response Ability, and seeing, unearthing, and magnifying and enhancing your essence, then undertake The Wise Leaders Workshop. There's a special complimentary version coming up in February 2022. Learn all about this at the above link.

3. Decision-making

In the moment decisions are fundamentally about our disposition. More on this in the next section about responding.

Major decisions require a process like the one below.

Should you not have such a process I highly recommend creating one. At very least such a process means transparency and people can see how you arrived at a decision which greatly helps buy-in.

4. Responding

I'm deeply inspired by the following words usually attributed to Viktor Frankl: "​Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Working with this insight over many years has led me to respond and not react to situations and circumstances. Sure I lapse occasionally. I have anchors in place for this that means I can quickly adjust and get back on track. With practice my overall disposition in life is about what's possible even in difficult circumstances.

5. Relationships

I believe that all change is personal first and relationship change second. Organisational change is a distant third. My aim is always to serve others and to be helpful and valuable. To achieve this aim I embrace eight qualities in my personal and business relationships - love, gratitude, appreciation, care, happiness, compassion, harmony and kindness. To learn more about these eight heart qualities get my Heart-Leadership book.

6. Rhythm

We are all one-of-a-kind human beings. Of the 80 - 100 billion people who have walked the earth, no duplicates. We each have our own rhythm. I've got in touch with mine over four decades of breath meditation. I have a low pulse rate. I can feel it when I'm rushed or out of sync with myself. What's your pace?

I make my best decisions and choices when I'm in my rhythm. You?

7. Exercise

I have a home exercise program tailored for me by physiotherapists. I follow my program every other day. I also walk daily, rain, hail or shine. I've learned from medical people that an hour of walking per day (in my case two by 30 minute walks) is one of the best things I can do for maintaining my ideal weight and for well-being in general. One thirty minute walk where you vary your pace also does the trick.

8. Energy

As leaders we are holding or increasing positive and productive energy, or we are reducing it via our behaviour. I regularly check-in with my peer group colleagues to ensure that I'm holding or increasing energy. They have permission to hold me to account whenever I'm reducing energy!

9. Enthusiasm

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson 

10. Attitude

Download resource mentioned in video via a one-page here for insights into maintaining an "attitude of gratitude".

11. Appreciation

The eminent psychologist William James said the following "The deepest human desire is a craving to be appreciated. Appreciation is a heart quality. We live it by appreciating ourselves and then everyone we meet.

For decades now Appreciation has been the number one requirement when I ask people what they truly want from employers and fellow employees.

12. Accountability

The wisest and best leaders I know are accountable for their intentions, feelings, thoughts, actions and behaviours. And they are accountability partners for other leaders.

Accountability is still rare. When lived it is a powerful component of well-being particularly when we fail to meet our own standards and are helped back to our best by peers.

13. Meaning

Doing what is meaningful for us as well as being valuable for other people are two of three keys to thriving in the new world of work. Here's my detailed thoughts on the three.

14. Moments

There is only now. We can't change the past. The only way to create the future we want is to do our best in this moment. Become a Nowist. Learn more about how here.

15. Magnificence

For me there are, broadly speaking, three kinds of people that I meet in the modern organisation:

The happy being miserable: these folk complain about everything and are disengaged from their work. It is not that these people aren’t good people, they just haven’t found their place as yet.

The happy being mediocre: these folk sit in silence, however they are open to inspiration and influence, and therefore can be engaged.

The happy being magnificent: these folk refuse to complain about anything and are fully engaged in their work.

For years the typical organisation’s people engagement percentages have been, 10% miserable, 80% mediocre, and 10% magnificent.

The happy being magnificent are on the rise. I have had the great privilege and honour to work with many of these folk. Often they have been part of “change champions” teams to implement the agreed personal, relationship and organisational change.

The happy being magnificent have had enough of fake leadership and have taken their destiny in their own hands. 

The happy being magnificent have a sense of self that is inspiring:

*I am a one-of-kind. Therefore I am obligated to be the best I can be.
*I can’t wait for other people to take action. I will do what I can regardless of what others do or don’t do.
*I will do today what others won’t be doing until tomorrow.
*I am doing what I love to do in the service of others.
*I know my life’s work and I am fulfilling it.
*I live with passion.
*I am responsible for my own intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions and behaviours.
*I know it is not what happens that is important, rather how I respond to what happens.
*I don’t judge how others live their life, I simply follow my own path.
*I am aware of my essence (unique personal wisdom, and I am putting them to good use.
*I know my shortcomings and collaborate with others who have strengths that I do not.
*I maintain “an attitude of gratitude” no matter what.
*What I do matters. I make a difference.

Please be a Happy Being Magnificent role model in your own best way.

I recommend writing down your own feelings and thoughts on the 15 components of D.R.E.A.M. 

I also recommend creating your own one word theme to guide you in the year ahead.

Kind regards.

May 2022 be your best year yet.


The pulse checks are designed to help you to see at a glance where you’re at and where you can move to personally, and in your team/practice/business, in the nine areas of vital importance for being and becoming a wise leader.

You can start with whichever one of the pulse checks resonates with you right now. All of the pulse checks are analogue. There's something really great about printing them out and contemplating before completing with a pen.

Completing one or more of the pulse checks and scanning and emailing results to me can also act as a guide for our next 1:1 conversation.

Monday 13 December 2021

What's your post pandemic strategy?

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. 

There's a short podcast and post here about how to do this.

Change cannot be managed. We lead change. You need a change process to lead effectively.

There's a short podcast and post here about how to do this.

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.

Kind regards


Friday 10 December 2021

3 key ways wise leaders are leading for the common good

I hold the following beliefs (held lightly):
  • 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.
Imagine what could happen if it was illegal for corporations and lobbyists etc to make donations to politicians!

While researching and writing this post I googled how many corporations are bigger than countries? The answer "Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries."

In a wonderful book 'Confronting Capitalism', author Philip Kotler offers 14 solutions to a better world. I drew great inspiration from this book I researched this post.

"To get people less interested in an endless pursuit of consumption, other life-styles need to be promoted: the value of relationships, the joy of nature, and the pleasure of good community need to be stressed."
Philp Kotler

3 key ways wise leaders lead for the common good

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.

Google is famous for their 2012 Aristotle project. Their quest was to answer the questions 'What makes teams successful?' Here are the full findings.

The following outcomes are all worth considering for your team, peer or community or sporting group.

In my work with clients I have used these as a guide with a particular focus on people doing work that is meaningful for them as well as being highly valuable for others.

Here is an interesting OECD article with links to several others about countries measuring well-being.

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?

Kind regards


Wednesday 8 December 2021

Don't die with your music locked in you

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.

Get the book here.

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.

Kind regards


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.

At the link you can also download with Sue's compliments 'Being Seen & Heard… Notes for People Professionals' which I find to be an excellent guide in my own professional practice of holding space for possibility focused leaders as you choose wise responses in your life and work.

Sue and her husband Steve run The Waterside, a unique place in Wales for conversations about life and work.

As they say "By creating breathing space for better words, we believe that together we can make a difference – because good words make good trouble."

Kind regards

Thursday 2 December 2021

Keith Abraham on Abundance in a post pandemic world

I was thrilled to have my colleague of 25 years Keith Abraham as my very special guest in this sparkenation conversation.

More about Keith here. 

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?"

Kind regards


PS The Enough book mentioned is here.

PSS Keith's best selling books here.