Thursday, October 29, 2009

And the good news is magazine is inspiring reading. Their good 100 is brilliant. I’ll bet you want to go and do something good as a result of reading about their best 100. And I hope you do.

My favourites are
Hilliary Clinton

Ideo and their social impact program

Bundanoon Australia

Bulldozing cities

Cash for grass

Women are the key to development



Check out the full 100 here.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Partnering passionate people to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Want to control a man's thinking? Just DO NOTHING

From an article The Guardian newspaper about Passion In the Workplace.

QUOTE .... "In public services, however, we rely upon a values-driven workforce as our base, so feel less need to stress notions of good business. But just because an organisation has a strong sense of social purpose does not mean that this filters through the entire workforce in a way that responds to each individual's values. People search for meaning in their jobs every day, and the space to express their own enterprise, innovation and creativity. The danger within some public services organisations is that there can be little room for individuals to express an interpretation of what actually matters to them." ..... UNQUOTE

I don't believe many people join public service organisations because of their own strong sense of social purpose and meaning - they just need to get a job with a level of security. Worse than that, I don't believe people are cognisant of their need to find "meaning, enterprise, innovation and creativity" - because it is the media (in it's all embracing sense) that have become the invisible teacher of social/cultural values. When that teaching is still heavily biased towards "personal wealth" than "societal wealth", do people understand their confusing, anxiety, resistance, frustration and treadmill lifestyle is down to their inability to express meaning, enterprise, innovation and creativity?

From Carter G. Woodson ....

“If you can control a man’s thinking, you don’t have to worry about his actions. If you can determine what a man thinks you do not have worry about what he will do. If you can make a man believe that he is inferior, you don’t have to compel him to seek an inferior status, he will do so without being told and if you can make a man believe that he is justly an outcast, you don’t have to order him to the back door, he will go to the back door on his own and if there is no back door, the very nature of the man will demand that you build one.”

If we play this the other way round to organisations and said "wouldn't it be great not to have to worry about people's actions in the workplace? i.e. they will do your bidding. The answer will be a unanimous YES. But then you say, well ... you can achieve this in 2 ways:

1. DO NOTHING - i.e. it's hard work to help people to find room for them to express meaning, enterprise, innovation and creativity. But if they don't know that is what's missing - what you don't know, you won't miss. It's easier to just retain and reinforce organisational processes to quality check the outcomes from their actions. Of course, the downside is that TRUST spirals ever more downwards.

2. Understand how to deal with people's ideals, passion, emotions. The leader have to learn to think again. Oh, and by the way, they might leave your organisation once they discover that they are unable to express meaning, enterprise, innovation and creativity.

A vast majority of human beings will seek the path of least resistance. DO NOTHING is the path of least resistance.

For me, do nothing IS THE SAME AS controlling a person's thinking - i.e. by actively NOT engaging people's thinking around meaning, enterprise, innovation and creativity.

In the long term, perhaps the shaping of public service delivery is through myriads of social enterprises .. i.e. local councils will increasingly outsource their services to social enterprises where they can really count on a values-driven workforce ..... and all public services departments will have to worry about is checking the quality?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The world's preeminent problem and one possible solution

Fundamentalists are killing us, literally. In my view fundamentalists are people who believe their way is the only way. Today these folk of religious, political, business, and other persuasions are ruining our world. None of us has a mortgage on truth. And none of us has a right to use violence against anybody for any reason let alone because we believe something different or are following a different path.

In the new world being created we will honour everyone's path to meaning, whatever it is, and we will be tolerant of another person's way and co-exist regardless of our differences, indeed we will celebrate our differences.

We live in three worlds; the world in here, the world out there, and the world we share. In here our views are just that, out there are other people’s views. In the world we share are the views we agree on. In any successful relationship the world we share is the critical one.

Human conflict is fundamentally the result of failure to agree on the goal or failure to agree on the strategies to achieve the goal.

I guarantee that today all of our troubles, personal, local and universal, are fundamentally based in our perceived need to hang onto the world in here, our issues with the world out there, and, our failure to focus more on the world we share.

What makes life really worthwhile is when we can share our views (without ridiculing one another or being violent with one another) and come together with a shared view, which may mean we let go of things we previously held dear.

I trust that today and every day you will resolve to build more of the world we share and be less precious about the world in here or the world out there.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There are rarely rewards without first taking risks

have often wondered why many politicians who were very successful prior to entering politics, become but mere shadows of themselves inside politics.

One of my answers to this is that they stop taking risks for fear of losing their seats!

Compromise is the result. Compromise rarely achieves anything great. Politics where there is the Government, an Opposition, and a few Independents and minor parties, like in Australia, fails to understand that success in the 21st century is about collaboration not compromise.

Co-promises rather than compromise work. And they are the result of collaboration. Effective collaboration requires risk.

Right now the world is stalled on economics, climate change, and a host of other issues where change is urgent, because we lack risk takers and are being lead by compromisers.

To get to the point of achieving a co-promise with others we must lead by example. We must take risks. We must risk having our view challenged, risk being seen as out of touch, and even clueless. We must risk being ridiculed, berated, and even abused. We must risk losing in the short term.

Risk takers know what they stand for and stand. They accept what others say as a view and don’t take anything someone else says that may seem derogatory, personally.

Risk takers know that we are responsible for our own intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions. We are not responsible for other people’s intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions, and, we are only affected by them when we choose to be.

Risk takers know that short term pain often leads to long term gain, for all.

As I have written about elsewhere, we live in three worlds. The world in here (my view), the world out there (your view) and the world we share (our view). In the scheme of things only the world we share really matters because from shared view comes a co-promise to stand together and take action for the common good.

Risk takers are innovators more than problem solvers. When we solve problems almost always that means a return to what is normal or the status quo. When we innovate on the other hand, we change what is normal.

Are you are risk taker?

One sign that you are, or are not, is whether or not you are “doing what you love in the service of people who love what you do”, a wonderful phrase from Steven Farber the author of a great book about leadership The Radical Leap.

Other signs you are a risk taker. Your willingness to:

*speak out against injustice
*go against the flow when you see a possible better way forward for all
*speak up even when no one else does
*say what you mean and mean what you say even when it is uncomfortable
*put your insights and ideas forward not worrying about how they will be received
*work hard on relationships (which also require risk) knowing that outcomes are a consequence of processes

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

“A life lived in fear is a life half lived.” From the film Strictly Ballroom.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Content's fine, but Intent is King!

“Intent is a powerful force; it isn't your will, it is more like a focused current of magnetic energy, drawing you towards what you wish to create. You cannot command it but you can initiate it, invite it and prepare yourself for its actions in your life.” — Heather Ash

Just try and google 'Content is King', and you will find 109,000,000 results. Sure, good content is important and makes a consumer/customer decide whether to engage further, whether it is a website, a newspaper, a product or a service. But it is the intent which actually creates the design for a certain type of content to fit in. For example, if the intent is to start something that benefits others, one would start a charitable organisation. However, if the intent is to benefit others as well as ourselves, one would start a profit making enterprise that caters to public demands/ needs. But if the intent is to benefit selfishly, one would tend to get involved in wrong practices and eve crime to serve those ends.

In short, intent defines the purpose and creates the road map or pathway to your destination. It answers the question 'What is it that you want to do?' as against content, which answers the question 'how will you go about doing what you want to do?'

Consider the following: -

1. While focusing on content determines its quality, the true worth of the content is determined by the purpose it fulfils. For example, people who spend less don't necessarily enjoy less.

2. Whenever we communicate with someone, we carry out a quick-check of his/her intent, up-front, which becomes be the fulcrum on which our future communication turns.

3. Most conflicts happen because the parties involved limit themselves to the content of their communication rather than the intent. Remembering to turn into the intent rather than getting stuck in the content when one or both are not open to learning, will keep conflicts from escalating into fights.

4. Even the focus of internet search is shifting from content to intent.

If leadership is about right action that inspires others, intent can be thought of as pre-action. We all have feelings we don’t act on. Conversely, we have actions we didn’t think much about (and there’s healthy and unhealthy varieties of impulsive behavior). But somewhere in the middle, towards the beginning, is our intent, and the intent remains valid (and admissible in a court of law, as premeditated murder makes clear), even if an action is carried out.

For leadership to bear fruit, it has to be accompanied by the right intent. This is because the intent lays the design of the effort which defines the content. If the content is a result of the right intent, it will inspire more and more people to follow the intent (cause) and give them a sense of purpose as well. If the content is the result of a malicious intent, it will further drive the intent of the followers towards similar behaviour. Doesn't this explain how, despite all efforts, corruption in many countries has almost become institutionalised and refuses to be controlled?

Intent is the mysterious force that activates your capacity to create what you desire — to draw you towards your goal by accessing the support and resources to achieve extraordinary results. Intent is a force opening unseen possibilities in order to help you manifest what you most desire.

Claiming your intent is a powerful journey that opens internal possibilities and new insights into how to be more authentic and effective in all aspects of life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Real Power of Collaboration

The Rhythm of Business 13th October blog The Real Power of Collaboration is excellent. I highly recommend dowloading the PDF by Jeffrey Shuman and Janice Twombly. Go to their blog here.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Friday, October 16, 2009

In a ‘hurry-sickness’ world ‘Trust’ accelerates in currency

Fast is the new slow. We wait 30 seconds in a drive-through for instant coffee and berate the tardy service. We press ‘express’ on the microwave and 14 seconds later curse the slowness of the technology. We careen through the air at over 700 kilometres an hour but bemoan the time taken. Evidently, many of us are time-poor. And this comes with a cost. The casualties in this rapid and rabid paced environment are all too often our relationships. In this new, nano-paced, I-want-it-now world, the ‘speed of trust’ has become intensely important. So how do you build swift trust? Prominent consultant Charles Green argues there are four essential elements; credibility (what you consistently say and have said about you), reliability (what you consistently do), intimacy (how you consistently make others feel) and what he calls self-orientation (who you are consistently thinking of). Interestingly, he suggests that only one element requires an extended timeframe; reliability.

I contend that relationships, influence and trust are critical to ‘difference making’. My question then, I’m curious, what do you do to build trust?

To make a difference, make a difference!

If you want to make a difference, you can't keep on doing the same old thing. It's easy to say "We are very innovative". In fact, it's become very fashionable for firms to say this in their marketing materials. It's a bit like "great customer service" - you would be embarrassed not to have it. But in fact it's much easier to keep doing what you're already doing, because humans are creatures of habit.

Innovation offers unlimited potential to differentiate your services from those of your competitors, to respond to the changing needs of your customers and to motivate, energize and engage your staff. But innovation doesn't just happen; leaders have to be a catalyst.

In a study reported by Harvard Business Review, researchers interviewed employees of a high-technology company; exactly the sort of organisation where you would expect ideas to flow freely. However, a climate survey had revealed that employees did not feel free to suggest ways to improve products, services and processes. Three main reasons were given: 1. Some people had experienced a hostile response from their manager when they offered an idea. 2. Some people had heard stories of people who had spoken out and were later "gone from the company". 3. Many people said it just felt risky. They didn't know if their manager would appreciate being told of a problem, or they were worried about showing their manager up in public. It was easier to fly under the radar for a quiet life.

Humans are ingenious, but humans are humans. We have to deal with the "herding" or "conformity" instinct. It's easy to stifle innovation without meaning to. Human ingenuity can easily be sabotaged by human nature. This means that managers must specifically invite ideas and actively develop a climate where people feel free to contribute suggestions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Three types of corporate responsibility managers by Toby Webb

I encourage you to read an excellent article here by Toby Webb the Founder of business intelligence company Ethical Corporation. I like his take on change-makers or as we call these wonderful folk, differencemakers.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Percpetions of you are alive and well, what percpetion do you leave?

I'm organising the speaker's program for an Association conference. This Association is a long standing client of mine and one that I support with volunteer contributions as I believe in what they do and stand for. I wanted a social networking expert to speak at the conference and a female expert was recommended to me by a colleague.

I Googled this expert and it appeared that she was indeed a social networking expert, so I called the mobile number clearly listed more than once on her website. It seems she doesn't really want to work as a conference speaker or she doesn't understand customer service or she is just plain arrogant. I actually believe she is just plain arrogant.

To my surprise, the voice mail message I got when I rang the number which appears on every page of this "expert's" website went as follows " I can't take your call right now, don't bother to leave me a message, as I'm too busy to clear voice mails when I'm teaching, send me an email or why not Tweet me". I chose to leave a message "You've got to be kidding".

Does this woman really want business? If she is too arrogant to condescend to clear a voicemail message and make such an effort to call me back, then she obviously doesn't want to work. At least that's my perception!

Think for a moment what perception do your prospects or customers get when they call you and get your voice mail? Are you leaving the right impression?

Call yourself now, how would you react to your voice mail?

Kind regards
Lindsay Adams

So what will you do with that?

I had lunch today with my mentor and friend Kevin. He asked me all about what I'm doing and how it's all working out. I launched immediately into a long answer and expressed my enthusiasm for the recent learnings I've had about myself, the work I'm doing, my strengths and some great insights I've had lately working with some of my clients.

When I finished, he smiled and linked his fingers together across the table, as though preparing to offer a prayer, paused and looked me deep in the eyes before asking: "so Maria, what exactly are you going to do with that?".

What a powerful question! I thought about it for a moment before replying, explaining how I felt I could best use the learning and do something good with it. I thought about that question all afternoon and realised that it was one of the most riviting moments of my week, if not my year. What was I going to do with it?

We should all be asking ourselves the same things, every time we reach for a new understanding of what makes something work or not, how success can spring forth from a lesson, be it big or small, and what we can best do to fully benefit ourselves from those lessons. Every day we are able to tap into other people's wisdom via blogs, articles, websites, training opportunities and even converstaions with friends, coaches, consultants, and let's not overlook the wisdom that comes from our children sometimes too. But how we choose to treat the insights and understanding we get each day can make the difference between making a difference (to our lives, our businesses or those around us) or not.

What did you learn today, or this week? Now let me ask you, what are you going to do with that before next week rolls back around?

I will spend the weekend listing the best things I learned last week, and deciding which things will impact on my week ahead, and what I shall take forward to my next goal setting session with my colleaques.

How about you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Have an attitude of gratitude

32 years ago I was given 90 days to live. My doctor's advice surprised me to say the least. He said "The secret to getting well is to have an attitude of gratitude."

I have since learned, and I am still learning, a great truth, when we are grateful for what we've got, we can have more of what we want. Are you grateful for every aspect of your life? To be so is the first step to creating the new world that is waiting to be born. We can only begin with ourselves. We must compete with ourselves and cooperate with others. For 12 ways to maintain an attitude of gratitude click here

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Monday, October 12, 2009

How selling should be in the 21st century?

My colleague from France David Ednie recently made the home page of slideshare with this brilliant story of how selling should be in the 21st century.

Please enjoy and take action.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Please support President Obama

US President Barack Obama's 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is an award for the future yet to be created.

Obama himself says he's "surprised, humbled" and doesn't yet deserve it -- but he's accepted the Prize as a call to action, "to confront the common challenges of the 21st century".

Please send President Obama an encouragement message through the Avaaz organisation here.

“Avaaz” means “Voice” in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European languages.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Doing well by doing good" and "reaching out and giving back"

"Doing well by doing good" and "reaching out and giving back" are key strategies for growth of some of the world's largest organisations. Why not you? Find out more by reading an excellent article in Harvard Business Review by Sylvia Ann Hewlett here. The article is headed "Boost Performance By Tapping Employees' Altruism"

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Friday, October 9, 2009

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself.

I enjoy this quote for a number of reasons, the key one is that it inspires thought about what else a person can do with their skills and intellect during their time on our planet. There are literally countless opportunities to create positive change. It can mean providing a fairer go for those less fortunate today or finding ways for future generations to add greater richness to their heritage and culture.

That said, a combination of achieving balance and exercising resilience are the underlying challenges to breathing life into these opportunities.

Let me explain. Considering balance first and taking a somewhat clinical perspective, throughout the world systems exist which drive cultures, commerce and behaviors. Placing aside their origins, these systems have created what we know to be the status quo. In the spirit of open debate let’s continue with this line of thinking. When people, organistions or movements have identified opportunities for positive change in the past, little consideration has usually been given to how their ideas complement existing systems. This is not to say their thinking wasn’t sound, quite the contrary, it maybe didn’t extend far enough to see how existing systems could be used to help realise the benefits of their idea.

Finding the balance in this case centers on discovering how a great idea blends with existing systems (in the short or medium term) to result in the desired outcome - which might be completely reengineering a system or starting a new one. Why is this important? Amongst other reasons a balance approach helps mitigate the risk of becoming (or being perceived as) an extremist which can serve to marginalise the great thinking that started it all in the first place.

The process of achieving balance isn’t an easy one and there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Just ask Steve Jobs at the start of his tenure at Apple or Clive Palmer - an Australian self made billionaire - 20 years ago when he saw the value in Western Australian iron ore country.

This leads to the concept of resilience - the ability to recover from or adjust easily to change or misfortune (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Consider an aircraft designed to take passengers from point A to point B. It almost never travels in a straight line; taking ideas from concept to reality are the same, and rarely follow a linear path. Be motivated and prepared to exercise resilience in dealing with the inevitable issues and challenges linked to starting something new. Revisiting our titans of industry Mr Jobs and Mr Palmer - think this worked for them?

Given the role we play at HSC & Company, I speak from the experience. After 18 months in conceptual development, our group was established in the same week HBOS in London announced it was the first European casualty of what we now know to be the global financial crisis.

Although still considered a ‘start up’, it’s this approach to balance and resilience that now see us enjoying the position we do.

I’m certain some might consider this thinking overly simplistic or too naive. Perhaps they are right although the best laid plans all contain the hallmarks of simplicity.

To that end, the quote in the title finishes with “Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential”. Are you surprise to know the author is Barack Obama?

So where does this leave us? Have courage to be bold in thought and thoughtful when being bold, seek to achieve balance in approach and be motivated to be resilient.

Phil Hayes-St Clair

Chief Executive Officer, HSC & Company

From the author

I trust these thoughts are useful and you’ve enjoyed the read.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Really Motivates Us? Daniel Pink has some great answers

Daniel Pink’s TED talk about what really motivates us is a beauty.

Daniel is a builder of our new world and his three key insights in this talk; “autonomy, mastery, and purpose” are key for anyone wanting to make a difference.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making a contribution

Congratulations Ian on starting this blog.

I came across a couple of quotations at the National Museum's exhibition "From Little Things Big Things Grow: Fighting for Indigenous Rights."

Shirley Andrews 1996: "One of the viruses of democracy is that people develop this habit of moving motions and having long discussions about things and then I think they feel they've done it."

Does democracy get in the way at times, of making a difference?

Charles Perkins 1990: "Everyone I think is only on this earth to make a particular contribution and you've got to make the best you can and then you've got to move on."

Do we hang around too long? How do we know when it's time to move on and let someone else do the difference making?

Ann Villiers

Where have all the people of character gone?

Heavy storm clouds stay hanging over business, religion, politics, sport and the media. Almost daily many so called icons are continuing to have their character questioned. These clouds always produce rain and wash away the stars like twigs in a river.

Like never before the world needs ordinary people of character to stand up and be counted because many of the people leading us don’t understand leadership, have sacrificed their characters in their quest for power, and in some cases their behaviour threatens our very lives.

Recently the father of a good friend passed on. He was a man of character and an inspiration to my friend. His passing caused me to reflect on my own father who passed 10 years ago.

Life my friends Father, my Dad never had his name up in lights too often but left a legacy to be proud of in his world nonetheless. I miss him. Dad was a man of character. We never always saw eye to eye. It was the words of the Mike and the Mechanics song ‘In the Living Years’ that urged me to settle my differences with Dad not long before he died.

“It’s too late when you die” the song says “to admit you don’t see eye to eye” Towards the end Dad came to hear me speak and said before I spoke “I probably won’t agree with everything the speaker says this morning but I am proud he is my son”

People of character lay it on the line like that.

People of character are unafraid to speak their minds.

People of character always tell the truth as they see it

People of character are trustworthy

People of character have integrity

People of character enjoy being popular but don’t seek popularity

People of character seek win / win but do not compromise their principles

People of character do what they believe is best for the common good regardless of the resistance they encounter

People of character praise in public and criticize in private

People of character put others first

People of character are givers not takers

People of character focus on building people’s self esteem and never engage in put downs or the blame and shame game

People of character are those we really look up to and admire

People of character are those we follow when it matters most.

Be a person of character. You are needed like never before.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Purple Cow

Congratulations Ian on getting this Differencemakers blog underway. Whilst I already have my wn blog, I'm pleased to contribute to the Differencemaker commnunity by reposting some of my postings here - whether people welcome or agree with them I've no idea, but it adds to the debate!

Anyway readers of my own blog know that I'm a fan of Seth Godin and in particular his concept of The Purple Cow. I've recently found that he wrote a good summary of the book in the Guardian which you can see here, or if you want my really short summary read on...

The Purple Cow: You're either boring or you stand out. You're either invisible or remarkable. If you want to grow, you have to be remarkable like the Purple Cow.

And for a slightly longer summary, here are the ten key steps to being a purple cow:

1. Understand the urgency of the situation.

2. Remarkable means being remarkable to the reader. Are they going to make a remark about you?

3. Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable.

4. Extremism in the pursuit of remarkability is no sin. Rock stars have groupies because they're rock stars, not because they're good looking.

5. Remarkability lies in being he biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult.

6. Most people don't appreciate your efforts to be remarkable. Your goal is to please those that will spread the word.

7. If it's the accepted wisdom, it's not remarkable. You have to do something first and best.

8. It's not really as frightening as it seems.

9. A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than thousands of people who are mildly interested.

10. What's fashionable soon becomes unfashionable. You have to reinvest and reinvent.

Be remarkable. Go all the way to the edge. Not in a big thing, perhaps, but in a little one. Find some area where you have a tiny bit of authority and run with it.

Be remarkable - Now! If you don't start tomorrow, you're not really serious. Tomorrow night by midnight or don't bother. Don't wait for the perfect moment. Start now!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Who am I - the power of a personal brand ebook

This ebook Who am I - the power of a personal brand was written to celebrate The World Day of Interconnectedness held on 090909 and was co-authored by Leo Sonneveld the founder of the World Day of Interconnectedness and fellow differencemakers community members Jane Chin, Remi Cote, Shelley Dunstone, Joel Graham-Blake, Pat Nautin, Kwai Yu, and myself. This ebook was designed and produced by Carol Berry. This was a remarkable collaborative effort.

Please download your free copy here.

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Are the values on your wall lived in the hall?

Be remarkable
Founder Differencemakers Community
Writer and International Business Speaker on how doing good is great for business