Wednesday 30 March 2022

People want and need to feel appreciated more than ever before

We have post pandemic blues, Zoom fatigue, severe floods and fires, an unnecessary war (as are all wars), clueless politicians who consistently lie to us, and more people considering leaving their current job than ever before.

These are just a few of our challenges. It would be easy to be filled with fear, and doom and gloom.

I feel that this one of the truly great opportunities in history to reclaim our humanity and act accordingly.

All of the challenges mentioned dehumanise us. What if we focus on humanising everything we engage in?

A key is appreciation. It's one of the six essentials of a human being centred workplace.

The eminent psychologist William James observed the following:

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

So not just any old principle, the deepest!

One action you can take right now that enacts this deepest principle

Reflect on the people closest to you at home, at work, and the other places you go.

Write down these people’s names and one way you could show genuine appreciation to them in the next fortnight without any cost except that of your time and energy.

Go show appreciation without attachment to getting back.

Make this ritual part of your everyday life. And if you need any simple, practical help with this, do give me a shout.

A really big action you can take is to see accountability as the other side of the coin to appreciation.

Here's a simple technique that I call The Double A Technique for appreciating people and helping others to be accountable

Ask: “How are things going?”

When you get a positive response:

 Ask: “How does that make you feel?”

(be quiet and pay attention)

Then say, Great, Brilliant or whatever is appropriate.

Then ask: “Any other areas I can help you with?”

(be quiet and pay attention)

When you get a negative response

Ask: “What happened?” (be quiet and pay attention)

Then Ask: “What do you need to do to get back on track?”

(be quiet and pay attention)

Then Ask: “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

(be quiet and pay attention)

Finally, Ask: “Anything else?”

(be quiet and pay attention)

How could you do better in having appreciation and accountability conversations with your workmates?

There's a 12 minutes and 32 seconds video here where I demonstrate this technique.

I can promise you this: become an expert at having appreciation and accountability conversations each day and optimum performance will follow.

Appreciation is one of eight heart qualities that the world needs now

The eight feature in my book Heart-Leadership Become The Wise Leader You Want To Be. Learn more about this book here.

Become the wise leader you want to be.


Monday 28 March 2022

My top 12 books for the first quarter of 2022

I love books!

Here's the top 12 I've read this year so far.

I elevated Jon Alexander's 'Citizens' and Steven Farber's 'Love is just damm good business' to my top 21. I could have done so with many of the others. 

The common thread in all 12 books is that the status quo (normal) is failing us miserably and there are many better ways to be and do.

My top 21

Become the wise leader you want to be.

Thursday 24 March 2022

We Need To Talk - Live Your Essence/Follow Your Bliss

Below is an unedited 40 minutes of an actual We Need To Talk episode. The personal actions decided in the final 10 - 15 minutes were not recorded. My thanks to Claudia Brose, Richard Merrick, Liviu Caliman, Peter Milligan and the two other regulars in this group Terry McGivern and Paul Schmeja who were apologies for this episode.

All are great examples of the high calibre of people who participate in We Need To Talk. 

Here's the transcript of the story shared and the 9 wisdom worlds of wise leaders referenced.

I was raised in the Christian Religion via the Churches of Christ denomination. Church morning and evening and Sunday school in the middle, every Sunday. Bible study groups as well. These were my young and teenage years. It infiltrated our whole lives. There were many rules. One was not being able to play sport on Sunday’s which may have curtailed a possible future playing sports. But that’s another story!

I was baptised by full emersion, one of the rules of the Churches of Christ, at aged 16. What quickly followed was playing guitar and singing for a Christian band. We played almost every weekend at a church or Christian event somewhere in my home state of Victoria for about two years. It was also the beginning of a short career as a story-telling lay preacher in the tradition of my father and grandfathers. 

I also played rhythm and bass guitar and sang in one of Australia’s first Christian Rock and Roll Bands. We were called Harvey Tucker, I can’t remember why. At our first concert in Her Majesty’s Theatre in my home town of Ballarat many older conservative Christians walked out because they believed we were too loud and that our music was of the devil.

In this period I began my career in the corporate world as a credit officer in a finance company. I met many people from the church in business and became increasingly surprised by such people’s lack of ethics, lack of integrity and often a lack of moral fibre.

I began to call this the Faith Behaviour Gap after reading words reportedly said by the Apostle Peter, “faith without our works is dead.”

Later I was to broaden this to the Values Behaviour Gap which of course is still one of the great challenges in business, politics and everything that has been industrialised including religion. 

It was the first seed most likely of what has become my life’s work to help people to excel in business without comprising your personal values.

I read the bible from beginning to end many times. I was fascinated by the differences and often juxtaposition between the words attributed to Jesus Christ (they are 5 to 6 A4 pages or 2000 words) and the rest of the book. I began to see the stark differences between faith and religion. At aged 18 I was on a serious path to becoming ordained.

The Faith Behaviour Gap took its toll however. My first promotion in business meant a move away from home. A subsequent move back and then away again a few years later all conspired to help me to leave the church and focus on business.

My interest in the vast differences between faith and religion continued however. I went on to study all the world’s religions, faiths, and ways of being. I also began a major interest that remains today of the study and integration of philosophy particularly from the 1450’s and the role of industrialisation in our lives and how it dehumanises us and our workplaces.

At aged 30 I had somewhat of an early mid life crisis. Abandoning my corporate career my wife and I ended up part owning a general store in the Barossa Valley. The plan was Carol would work in the store and I would occasionally, yet my main focus was to become a management consultant. Carol hurt her back and couldn’t work and I ended up working full time in the store. I was most likely the worst shop keeper in history. But that’s another story too.

Within a few months we were out of the store. I was back in the corporate world and also back in a church. This time with the Uniting Church denomination. I returned to playing music and lay preaching including undertaking the course where I became an accredited lay preacher in the Uniting Church.

The Faith Behaviour Gap remained. I was still meeting religious people in business with no integrity or ethics. I did meet some who didn’t have the Faith Behaviour Gap, yet ideology seemed to consume their lives and they mostly approached the wider world with an us and them disposition. These people believed that their way was the only way which often made me laugh because many of my bosses thought the same about their approach to business.

The difference between faith and religion became even starker and I was again disillusioned.

And then in my studies I stumbled on the mythologist Joseph Campbell. Carol and I watched Power of Myth series where he is interviewed by Bill Moyers. I read Joseph’s book Hero of a Thousand Faces and all of his books on mythology. Through them I learned that there is no original ideas in any religion. All of the tenets have been stolen from ancient and indigenous traditions.

The Australian first nations people have a flood story that predates Noah by several thousand years for example. There are many virgin birth stories, and many stories of the gods becoming humans.

My own personal discoveries have been that the idea of an external, masculine, father figure God are extremely unlikely.

There is for me an internal force in us all. It’s called love and it’s up to us individually and collectively to make this a force for good.

Fast forward 35 years.

My lessons from my experience - We are not our jobs, the roles we play or the beliefs or ideologies we hold. We must hold our beliefs and ideologies lightly otherwise they can consume us.

We do have an essence or unique personal wisdom and from this essence we have preferences to how we live, learn and lead. 

Joseph Campbell called essence bliss and coined the phrase ‘follow your bliss’ as a key to living our best one-of-a-kind life.

We decide after learning what our essence is who we must be and what we can’t not do which is Joseph Campbell’s explanation of what bliss is. 

Today will explore 9 possible preferences to help us to be and do that I call the 9 wisdom worlds of wise leaders.

Download the wisdom world's recommenced exercise.

Studying Campbell’s work, which is an ongoing passion, initially awakened my curiosity at a very deep level. I’ve stayed curious!

Of course we’ve been exploring bliss or essence here in this We Need To Talk Season One. 

You might prefer a different term to essence or bliss such as Nature, Song, Quiddity, Element, Voice, Vitality, Gift, Essence Music Ikigai, even Aura You choose what works best for you.

Having been inspired by the work Joseph Campbell, yet treading my own path, I endeavour to shine a light of inspiration on infinite possibilities by telling stories. 

We see through the ancient myths the way our elders have passed on wisdom in ways in which truth is not hidden from us.

We don’t need to know the details when we hear these stories, because the wisdom is embedded in the story, and will be available in the moment when we need it.

You don’t need to understand, until you need to understand!

There are many great works available about the old stories (see some referenced under the video on YouTube).

Their lessons are in part why what I say is important, yet nowhere near as important as what you hear yourself say to yourself, and who you become and what you do next.

What are you hearing yourself say to yourself today?

Become the wise leader you want to be.


Thursday 17 March 2022

I've updated my Performance Possibility Pulse Checks

I am excited to let you know that I have updated my Performance Possibility Pulse Checks adding Human being centred conversations and Human being centred workplaces pulse checks to the existing nine.

This is a complimentary tool to help you to excel in business without compromising your personal values.

 You can download here.

Kind regards


Thursday 10 March 2022

We Need To Talk About The Future of Work

This video is a preview of the upcoming season two (June and Sept 2022, and February and April 2023) of my signature online program We Need To Talk.

There are many insights that you can immediately apply in your own best way.

Here's the 6 minutes and 44 seconds podcast of this post. This video is 7 minutes and 55 seconds.

Here's the transcript

The talk about hybrid work has confused the issues. Hybrid and what it stands for are only half the story.

Mary (not her real name) is a long term employee for a highly successful business. I know her well having worked with her for over a year. Recently Mary went from having a great boss to one who resembles the old command and control type who believes people need to be managed. She told Mary in a first 1:1 that she doesn’t fit future requirements and may have to consider moving to another team. Mary is high performer loved and trusted by her team mates so I am mystified by the new boss and her attitude.  

This scenario is typical of what I call industrial revolution hang over. 

I’m appalled by the talk and writings about a second, third, fourth and fifth industrial revolutions. The language is entirely inappropriate for the 21st century given in my view that the industrial revolution between 1760 and 1840 dehumanised work and we have not yet fully recovered.

We must humanise the workplace. Key are human centred conversation and human being centred workplaces which I will come to in a minute.

I’ve been in the room with more than a million people since 1990 and I can vouch that we are better at leading people and managing process than we were then, yet still there are a significant number of places where people are referred to people as resources, assets or capital, all terrible and demotivating descriptions of one-of-a-kind human beings that each of us is.

John (not his real name) is a long term employee who I have worked with over a five year period. He is an excellent leader, loved and trusted by his team mates. Recently while working from home he was forced, along with all of his team members, to sign-off from work to go the toilet and sign back in again. This kind of distrust of people is rife in workplaces where command and control people management still exists.

John and his team have been forced during covid-19 to attend numerous, useless meetings, that have wasted people’s time and energy and further decreased trust in bosses.

You can see a theme here bad bosses. We know from an immense amount of date that 7 out of 10 people leave their bosses rather than their workplaces.

Sally (not her real name) is a senior executive who I have worked with for more than a decade. Despite above average performance and making a significant contribution to her company’s success, and wealth, recent hiring of new members to the team have worked under instructions from the higher boss to undermine Sally and force here out. This is one of the worst cases I have seen of not living the agreed values of behaviours and shifting to a for profit purpose business rather than a for people business.

Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business. 

There is overwhelming data that shows that for people business making significantly more profits than for profit businesses. Slowly for profits businesses are becoming dinosaurs yet there are still a number of greedy people driven by self-interest and ego.

Those succeeding and getting through the covid-19 cloud are having less meetings about compliance and more human being centred conversations. There are none essentials to such conversations.

These kind of conversations cause sparkenations. A sparkenation is a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.

We crave conversations that stir our hearts, shift our thinking, and inspire us to be and do differently. Such conversations feature engaging language which elevates the conversations which in turn enriches relationships, the lifeblood of everything we are and do as humans.

The power of these conversations is that they are a catalyst for meeting deep human needs: 

  • Being heard, understood and appreciated, valued and loved.
  • Belonging and feeling connected to people who support us and whom we can support.
  • Seeing, unearthing, magnifying and enhancing our essence (unique personal wisdom), and helping other people to be and do the same.

In the upcoming second season of my signature We Need To Talk experience I’ll be exploring the future of work using human being centred conversations and how they lead to true 21st century workplaces, recovered from the industrial revolution hangover, by being human being centred.

Here's a previous video and post about human being centred workplaces.

Become the wise leader you want to be.


PS One thing I forgot to mention in the video and podcast is the Buckminster Fuller insight long ago that not everyone needs to work. Google Universal Basic Income, read a wonderful book by Yanis Varoufakis about what's possible.

“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.”

- R. Buckminster Fuller

Monday 7 March 2022

A map for transformation by Peter Milligan

I've known psychologist Peter Milligan for over 25 years. We have had some great conversations. 

In this conversation Peter overviews his wonderful map for transformation that draws on biology, ecology, mythology, philosophy, and psychology.

Become the wise leader you want to be


Thursday 3 March 2022

Models to help make meaning and to live a life that matters

 I'm excited to publish The Wise Leaders Playbook #4 which is about models to help make meaning and to live a life that matters. Here's one of the nine models featured in the playbook.

In the playbook there are links to read, watch and listen resources and online courses that will help you to adopt each model in your own best way.

You can download this playbook here.

Become the wise leader you want to be.