Thursday, December 30, 2010

Is discipline your bridge between thought and accomplishment?

December 5th is my wife’s birthday. And in 2009 it was the day Jim Rohn, one of my heroes, passed.

Of all Jim’s quotable quotes one stands out for me at this time of year when so many people make new years resolutions they will never keep. Jim said Discipline is the bridge between thought and accomplishment.

How disciplined will you be in 2011 to turn your thoughts into reality?

I have the honour and privilege of mentoring people in 9 countries. One tool I share with many is the rituals I keep daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. I encourage my clients to create their own rituals document and many report back that it helps them immeasurably in achieving their goals.

You can download my rituals one pager here.

Create your own rituals document, be disciplined, and 2011 can easily become your best year yet.

I can help you by becoming your performance partner for a period. Please checkout my mentoring programs here.

On most Monday mornings wherever you happen to be in the world I can provide a 30 minute mentoring session for free. See details at the above link.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Want to do well while doing good? Please watch a six minute video here and then get in touch with me.

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Thankful List

For many people around the world we have just finished giving and receiving gifts. Of course upon receiving gifts we have given thanks in appreciation of what we have just received.


A few days later it is worth slowing down and reflecting on all the things for which we are thankful.

The Dalai Lama has shared that western people, despite their wealth spend most of their life suffering. The suffering comes from wanting something they don't have and not appreciating what they do have.

The Festive Season often results in people receiving some of the things they have wanted. Unfortunately it is not long before western people then want something different, or better than they currently have. So the suffering starts again! It is for this reason that this time of year provides an opportunity to stop, reflect and to consider all the things for which you are thankful.

The act of writing your list seems to make it real. As you write down each item you automatically reflect on why you are thankful for that item.

To create your Thankful List I encourage you to be as specific as possible. Think of all the things from all aspects of your life for which you are thankful. For example name the people for which you are thankful.

You will be amazed at both the length of your list and what you have included on it. Interestingly, it is a list that, once started, seems to keep growing.

Once started, place your list where you can see it regularly. You'll be amazed at the tension in your life that is reduced from running your eye over your list on a regular basis.

What's on your Thankful List?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who writes your favourite blogs?

Here are my top 10 for 2010, not in any particular order.

1) Toby Webb’s Reflections on Ethical Business. Toby’s blog on why Sweden is leading the world in managing climate change is a good example of his well researched blogs.

2) Word of mouth marketing guru Andy Sernovitz’s Dam! I Wish I’d Thought of That! blog.

3) Richard Millington’s feverbee blog is excellent for all things about leading and managing successful online communities.

4) Speaking of communities. I am in awe of my colleagues in differencemakers community who write such inspiring and insightful posts here on this blog.

5) Corporate Eye is also written by many authors. I find it a very valuable blog for my work in the corporate world.

6) Hello my name is blog by Scott Ginsberg, That guy with the nametag. Always thought provoking.

7) Mitch Joel of Twist Image and author of a great book Six Pixels of Separation.

8) Garr Reynolds Presentation Zen. Even though I rarely use slides in my presentations Garr’s work has revolutionized my approach to all things design.

9) Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity.

10) Chris Jarvis and Angela Parker Realized Worth for great insights about employee volunteering and other great things anyone can do to embrace corporate social responsibility.

Who writes your favourite blogs?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cafes and Castles in 2011


Creating hubs for 21st century learning

In a previous post I talked about intercultural leadership and its significance as an aspect of the leadership learning that is required for the 21st century. My intention is to develop learning hubs and projects to support interdisciplinary, intergenerational and intercultural learning. I explain the root of this vision here - click to read my story.

As it's that time of year when I'm reflecting on the year that has passed and considering the year ahead, I am happy to say that this vision is starting to become a reality. This has come about partly as a result of connecting with others through the Networlding approach - one of the incredible new things I have learned in 2010 and been able to share with others.

In this two-minute video I outline a vision I have. Perhaps you're working on something like this or know about similar initiatives? Perhaps you or others you know are working to develop learning for collaboration and innovation in business? Are you passionate about education transformation for inclusion and societal change?

If you're interested in collaborating with me in 2011 to develop this venture - wherever you are in the world I would be very interested to hear from you sara.knowles@connectcreate.co.uk



Click on the arrow to activate the video, enable audio and enjoy!


Sara Knowles - Connect Create
http://www.connectcreate.co.uk/

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you have 'Happiness Magic'?

Last night, while putting my three year old son to bed, he raised his hands, palms facing forward and said, "Dadda, why don't I have magic?"

I couldn't help but think to myself, "Yes you do!", but what was I to say?

Within a moment my answer emerged.

"Yes you do son. You have Happiness Magic!"

A big smile spread across his face.

"Do I have Happiness Magic Dadda?"

"Yes you do," I replied. "Do you notice that when big people are looking at you that they are smiling?"

"Yes Dadda they do smile at me."

"See, you really do have Happiness Magic don't you"

"Yes Dadda I do have Happiness Magic, see", and he raised his palms and faced them toward me.

I smiled a big smile and so did he. His Happiness Magic was at work!

Maybe Happiness Magic is not restricted to children.

During this Festive Season I encourage you to share your Happiness Magic - hopefully I'm sharing mine right now and you are smiling!

Have a terrific and safe Festive Season.


Gary Ryan is the founder of Organisations That Matter and the OTM Academy.
In 2010 Gary published his first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is the ultimate joy giving and receiving at the same time?

For several years now I have embraced a philosophy in ethics called enlightened self-interest which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

Enlightened self-interest is often expressed as doing well while doing good.

I was raised with the biblical concept that It is more blessed to give than to receive. The vernacular for blessed is happy. This concept never sat well with me particularly as a child where I was definitely happier receiving than giving!

As I sat briefly in a shopping mall yesterday and observed 100’s of stressed people carrying Christmas presents and fighting one another in queues to buy gifts, it occurred to me that the ultimate joy is giving and receiving at the same time and that giving and receiving shouldn't be stressful at any time.

I would be very interested in your thoughts.

In whatever way you celebrate Christmas, and if you don’t, I wish you a joyous, stress free time in the next few days and may any reflections you have turn into actions that mean you experience joy in both giving and receiving all year round.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Want to do well while doing good? Please watch a six minute video here and then get in touch with me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is the co-operative business model one you could emulate?

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual retailer and they are changing what’s normal.

In the UK they are the fifth largest food retailer, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, the number one provider of funeral services and the largest independent travel business. The Co-operative Group also has strong market positions in banking and insurance. The Group employs 120,000 people, has 5.5 million members and around 4,800 retail outlets.

I read the following on The Co-operative Group’s website:

The Co-operative model

Like any business, we want to be a commercial success. However, even more important to us is the way that we do business, and the way that we use our profits. We believe that we should offer our customers both value and values. Which makes us a bit different.

Our members are our owners; they tell us what is important to them and we listen and act on it. It’s part of our model: as a consumer co-operative, we run our business for the benefit of our members. That means our members are involved in democratic decision-making, and we re-invest in our business – share of the profits - sharing profits with our members. Our members also set a social and campaigning agenda that we support. In fact - because our members wanted it - we’ve become pioneers in areas such as fairtrade and combating climate change. Of course, the more commercially successful we are, the more we can do to give back to the communities we serve and to influence the wider world.


In an article by Adam Jupp in the Manchester Evening News 14th December (see full article here) Chief Executive Peter Marks is quoted as saying The Co-operative Group is aiming for 20 million members by 2020. Achieving this goal would mean this organisation would be serving a third of the UK’s population!

What principles of a co-operative could you emulate in your business?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why low risk projects are a smart leadership tool

As a People Leader/Manager do you have more ideas than you can implement? Are you frustrated by not achieving as much as you would like?

My experience shows that one of the Top Ten motivators for employees is 'opportunities for improvement'. Imagine if you joined these twofactors together; your frustration with not getting as much done as you know needs to get done, with your team members desire for opportunities for improvement.

Below is a four step process for creating low risk successes from this situation.

Step 1
List all your ideas/actions for things that you believe need to be done.

Step 2
'Chunk' these ideas/actions into groups - these groups of ideas/actions form the basis of possible projects.

Step 3

Using the attached matrix, identify whether or not your projects are:
  1. High Risk - Hard Implementation
  2. Low Risk - Hard Implementation
  3. High Risk - Easy Implementation
  4. Low Risk - Easy Implementation

High Risk means that if the project fails there will be a significant and negative impact on the organisation.

Low Risk means that if the project fails there will be no major negative impact on the organisation.

Hard Implementation means that the resources required to implement the project involve both a lot of people and a lot of money/assets to successfully complete the project.

Easy Implementation means that existing resources with minimal budgetary impact can be used to successfully complete the project.

Step 4
Low Risk - Easy Implementation projects are your gold. These are the projects that you can easily provide to your team members. Should the project be a success then the organisations benefits (because it gets something useful that otherwise may not have existed), the staff member benefits (because they have implemented something that didn't previously exist) and you benefit because a number of the ideas/actions that you had on your original list will now have been implemented.

The beauty of creating low risk projects is that they generate opportunities for people to shine. If you have never tried a system like this before, try it out and please let me know how you go.

Gary Ryan is the founder of Organisations That Matter and has published his popular first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What have been your lessons from the saga surrounding WikiLeaks?

There has been lots of talk about WikiLeaks. In my view most of it absolute nonsense, particularly from politicians; some of their rhetoric is so nonsensical it is laughable.

The best balanced view I have come across is from Six Pixels of Separation author Mitch Joel who suggests seven lessons:

1.Transpareny first
2.You are media
3.Publishing has changed
4.Informaiton travels fast. Legal or not.
5.Decentralization is real
6.Credible anonymity
7.We are not ready


You can read Mitch's thoughts in full here.

My one conclusion; it is really a long held feeling that has become a conclusion - Political leadership is an oxymoron! We need politicians however no longer as leaders.

What have been your lessons?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How the Social Web Has Changed Internet Marketing

Internet marketing has changed - in a BIG way - in the last few years. Many people don't know how to take advantage of this change, and most don't even know what has changed. So let's look at what's changed and what it means for you.

In the early days of the Web, when the Internet first peeked out of academic institutions and crept into the "real world", most people only used the Internet for downloading. Whether you were visiting a Web site, downloading a software upgrade, listening to a music clip or watching a (small and slow) video, you were downloading information from the Internet.

Somebody had to upload that information for you to download it, but most people didn't know how to upload. You either needed to have technical skills or money to pay somebody who had the technical skills. As a result, only a few Internet users would upload - or publish - information; while most would download - or consume - it.

That's changed now.

In the last few years, ordinary Internet users have the ability to upload - or publish - their own material to the Internet. And they've used that ability to turn the Internet into an upload medium. If you've heard the term "Web 2.0", that's it in a nutshell.

Here are some examples:
  • Do you know something that belongs in an encyclopedia? Add it yourself to the world's biggest encyclopedia, Wikipedia.org;
  • Want to produce your own movie? It's easy - just publish it to YouTube.com;
  • Think you can write a better newspaper column than most journalists? Start a blog at Blogger.com;
  • Interested in starting your own radio station? Publish a podcast and put it in iTunes;
  • Fancy your camera skills? Upload your photos to Flickr.com;
  • Got an opinion about a movie, book, restaurant, city, restaurant or pop star? Write a review at any of the myriad review Web sites.
  • Passionate about something and want to share that passion with others like you? Start an on-line community at Ning.com;
  • Always wanted to start your own retail business? Start it at eBay.com;
  • Looking for an easy way to share things with your friends? Sign up at Facebook.com.
Get the point? The content on the Internet is no longer in the hands of the few. Now anybody can be a publisher, a content provider and an uploader.

What does this mean for you, your business or your cause?

In marketing terms, the Internet has changed from the Yellow Pages to the White Pages.

If you think about a listing in the Yellow Pages, it's all about being found by category. If you're an electrician, you're listed along with all the other electricians. When somebody wants an electrician, they look up "Electricians", and you hope they choose you. They might never have heard of you before, but they can still find you. The only problem is, you've got to fight hard to make them choose you rather than any of the many other electricians vying for that same business.

The White Pages, on the other hand, works differently. If you're in the White Pages, you're listed by your name. Somebody who doesn't know you won't find you in the White Pages. However, if you've got a strong enough brand and reputation, customers can find you there because they know you by name.

That's the key difference in Internet marketing now. It's no longer about fighting it out in a crowded marketplace, shouting, "Pick me! Pick me!" as customers walk by. It's about getting an unfair advantage over your competition by being so good and so well-known that customers seek you out by name.

At first glance, this might look unreasonable, but in fact it's easier than you think - and a huge advantage for small players.

So what should you do?

In brief: Use Internet marketing techniques that build your on-line reputation - things like blogging, video, webinars, slide shows, podcasting, writing articles, and answering questions in forums.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dare you create a newspaper of YOU? You can do it now online free. Absolute revelation!

I think paper.li is going to redefine social media (if it survives its embryonic beginning). I have just created my own newspaper online - The Kwai Yu Daily.

Paper.li takes its feed from what you have posted and those you follow on Twitter and Facebook - and create a newspaper from all the updates. When you see it like that, it absolutely gives you the best impression about the company you are keeping. Here are the questions that dawned on me
  • How good are my own content?
  • How good are the content given out by the company I keep?
  • How remarkable is my OWN paper?
  • How long would my OWN paper survive the circulation?
More importantly, what does the paper say about ME? ...... and here's the Kwai Yu daily on 11th December 2010.

http://paper.li/kwaiyu

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 reasons why making the impossible possible is the coolest way to grow



I met Ronald Ligtenberg yesterday. A brilliant Dutchman who founded the skywayfoundation. An organisation that is dedicate to making the impossible possible.

Ronald's journey started when he was challenged by his sister to do more with his 'cool' life as a music lover. He took up the challenge .. and still wanted to remain a cool dud! So he began thinking about bringing another purpose to his life whilst remaing cool ... and that's when it struck him.

"TAKE ON SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE ..... " thought Ronald - 'now that would be seriously cool'. And that's exactly what he did.

He decided to organise the Deaf Valley event. A music event for deaf, hearing impaired and hearing teenagers. Yes, you heard it right. A music event for deaf and hearing impaired. This took place in the club Nighttown, in March 2003. Ronald and the team organised all kinds of 'happenings' that give the audience different sensory awareness of the music they were experiencing, from;
  • spraying scents for different aspects of the music performance - smell the music
  • providing ice creams flavours that evoke a certain mood - taste the music
  • standing on a large vibrating floor that vibrate to the music - touch the music
  • dancers who 'sign-danced' the words to the music - see the music



People responded enthusiastically to this music event, and so Skyway Foundation was born. Skyway Foundation began to organise more events like Deaf Valley. It has already happened several times in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Mexico, Jamaica, South Africa and the United States. More than ten-thousand people visited these events.

From making one impossibility possible - Ronald has now created lots of possibilities to tackle more impossibilities! Making the impossible possible is challenging of course. However, the fringe benefits are so cool because making the impossible possible
  • gives a great sense of fulfilment. That's what happens when you are on purpose and following your passion
  • helps you to develop your authentic self ... and to be yourself and be who you are all the time ... now that is very, very cool indeed.
  • fun (that's cool too)
  • grounds you in curiosity - you have to continue to learn if you are to succeed (this kind of learning is cool)
  • nurtures and grows your creative (creating things is cool - look at Apple)

In short - when you tackle the impossible ... you become I'M-POSSIBLE.

I take my hat off to Ronald Ligtenberg for being another shining example of someone who knows what it takes to move from Knowing to Doing to Winning.

Are you expecting more from 2011?

For the fifth year in a row I have contributed to the expect more ebook compiled by Gihan Perera.

Differencemakers Community Members Karen Boyes, Shelley Dunstone, Maree Harris (Torchbearer), Sharonne Phillips, Ann Rolfe, Karen Schmidt, and Dr Ann Villiers (Torchbearer) also feature.

This edition of the ebook contains strategies for success from 29 leading experts in personal and professional development.

You can download it from the home page of my website here.

Just scroll down to the picture of the ebooks cover. The download link is on the left.

I wish You and your family, friends, and colleagues every good thing for 2011 and beyond.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
The Change Master - catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 actions for adopting a strengths based approach

A colleague recently posed the following question - “ how do we get organisations and managers recognising and acting on the strengths concept, rather than the negative weakness focus we see so regularly? ”

Here are 10 things you could consider for your team, organization and business:

1) Having right people in the right job/role so they can use their key strengths has to be a start!

2) Continuously ask, “What is working well for our team, organization or business?”

3) Ask routinely, “What do we well which we need to keep doing?”

4) Do a strengths-based check. How much of our daily work time is spent using our strengths?

5) Not everybody including managers and leaders always know their strengths. Get feedback on what others perceive as your strengths. Sometimes we can be too close to it and or take it for granted.

6) For leaders to commit to fostering a culture that values innovation and creativity and enables individuals within them to utilize their strengths and “push the envelope” without feeling they will be penalized. Clearly leaders in organisations have to be supportive of a strengths-based approach otherwise it can feel all uphill!

7) Check regularly and tune in to where our own cognitions and feelings reside. Where is the “default” setting? What do we spend more time thinking about – problems or the desired future, solutions, possibility and what could be?

8)For managers and leaders to acknowledge, praise, notice and give feedback when they notice people using their strengths. This can be a powerful reinforcement as it makes the recipient feel good and also increase their levels of engagement.

9) All of this has an assumption that people are still enjoying using their strengths. There is thing called overused strength! (Not being negative here in this strength-based piece!!) Just acknowledging though that overused strengths which can lead to burnout is not what we are referring to here.

10) Finally, as Mary McGuiness said to me, a few weeks ago at the Australian Association of Psychological Type Conference, “make sure you use your strengths in ways that you enjoy outside of work things.” This really struck a chord as indeed this a part of that essential yin yang of “balance and restoration.”
Jasbindar Singh is a Business Psychologist and leadership coach who loves working with people in business.

Jasbindar Singh is a business psychologist and leadership coach. She loves making a difference to the lives of people at work.
www.sqleadership.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are you measuring what matters?

I was taken by the following comments by Rebecca Charles in a email to me about the upcoming Measuring What Matters workshop in London on December 14th.

Why should you or someone from your organisation attend this workshop?

1.) 80% of CEOs at large cap companies now believe sustainability and CSR performance is critical to long term success

2.) A wide variety of leading British brands have already made substantial investments in sustainability and the reporting process. See here.

While European countries continue to lead in sustainability performance, every OECD country is exploring mandatory non-financial reporting requirements.

3.) Institutional investors and financial advisors are making buy recommendations based on sustainability and CSR performance

4.) Consumers and other stakeholder groups are using CSR rankings to run comparative campaigns and this will have continued impact on purchasing decisions over time

5.) Companies that are not reporting, or are reporting poorly, are having their messaging hijacked by activist organizations and international NGOs


What does the above mean to you? I would be very interested in your thoughts.

There are some valuable short interviews with Martin Smith of Just Means here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lost in translation. Why Robert Burns would turn in his grave.



I heard a wonderful 'lost in translation' story today relating to Burns Night.

The Burns Supper is an institution of Scottish life: a night to celebrate the life and works of the national Bard. A haggis supper can range from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner full of pomp and circumstance.

One of the key elements to the running order is 'Address to a Haggis'. The honoured reader seizes their moment of glory by offering a fluent and entertaining rendition of To a Haggis ... which goes something like this.

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm :
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.


A Burns Night was organised in Germany and the 'Address to a Haggis' was emailed to the German host. For reasons unknown, the host had the address translated to German and then back to English again. As a result, the line that read 'Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!' became ....

'Mighty Fuhrer of the sausage-people'

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thinking in Pictures

A strategy needs a vision, and the first ingredient is imagination.

A mental picture of a desired future situation motivates people much more than does a carefully worded vision statement. If people can “see” what they are trying to achieve, it brings the vision alive for them.

Imagination (sometimes called “the mind’s eye”) is “the ability to form images and ideas in the mind, especially of things never seen or experienced directly”.

To come up with an aspirational vision, you need to project yourself into the future, take a quantum leap, and see beyond the incremental options of extending, adding-onto or tweaking what already exists.

Some people are more imaginative than others, probably because they permit themselves to be. Some people see themselves as “unimaginative”. Sometimes imagination is denigrated using phrases such as “that’s fanciful”, “completely unrealistic”, “you’re dreaming”, and “she has an overactive imagination”. Sharing an imagined new future requires courage, and the knowledge that there is likely to be some resistance.

There are three skills needed here:
1. Being able to visualize an alternative future, and
2. Being able to describe to others what you see, and
3. Being able to listen to what others are imagining, whilst suspending judgment.

Even thinking about a future very different from the present can feel extremely audacious. Have you ever thought fleetingly about some possibility and then thought better of it, not even permitting yourself to develop the idea, let alone voice it to others?

To create a mental picture of your new future, speak to yourself as if you are already achieving it, e.g. “We are…” “We have…” rather than “We will…” or “We want to…”

Marketing pioneer Theodore Levitt said “Nothing drives progress like the imagination. The idea precedes the deed”. Let your imagination go to work for you.

Without imagination, you’re stuck in precedent.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Creativity Loves Constraints

How many people do you know would describe themselves as being creative? A lot I find.

“I love new ideas, creating new concepts, building new models, etc.” they will tell you.

And many of them are highly creative when working with a clean sheet of paper, in “green field” situations or without any limiting constraints. This could be considered as pure creativity. But I think that the really creative people are those that can come up with new ideas, a reconfigured concept or innovative new models in response to constraints in order to solve a problem. This is what I call practical creativity. In other words it is the constraints that trigger the creativity required to overcome them. Cause and effect. Now, ask those same people how good they are at problem solving. I think you might get a very different answer? Creativity seems to evaporate rapidly when confronted with real problems to be solved.

So here is my point: No constraints, no creativity. The good news is that you can activate your creativity on demand by recognising problems, existing constraints or future constraints. Practical creativity is simply an advanced form of problem solving.

The key thing to remember is that creativity loves constraints. It is often times difficult to tap into our full creativity, but it is seldom difficult to find a constraint or three in our daily lives.

May the problems you face become the drivers of your practical creativity.

2.2 Billion Imaginations

2.2. billion is the approximate number of children and young people in the world. That's a lot of imaginations to light up.

Imagine it, the glow of 2.2.billion lit up imaginations, just for a second



Imagine…every child has access to cultural learning as part of their education from birth onwards - stories, literature, music, drama, dance, visual arts, museums... In this way every child has the ability to grow, see things from new perspectives, comprehend humanity, be socially included themselves and, ultimately grow their own creative abilities. Why is this so critical?

In the Five Literacies of Global Leadership (2007), the futurist Richard Hames foresees that, ‘The future belongs to a very different kind of leader with a very different mind and very different values: those who can create and connect; those with compassion; story tellers and meaning makers’.

Creativity is a critical skill or competency for navigating the new world during the so-called ‘age of austerity’. Creative and cultural education - focussing on the arts in all their forms, communication, observational, performance and making/creating, collaboration and appreciation of diversity and heritage – will be the key to developing collaborative communities capable of innovating, dealing with the world’s unprecedented volatility and navigating the future.

Nurturing creativity is critical



Yet cultural learning continues to have a relatively low profile in school/national curricula and its incorporation into the currculum is ad hoc, often the reserve of schools with teacher-leaders passionate about cultural learning.

Should the profile of cultural learning – the arts and intercultural understanding - be raised to sit alongside literacy and numeracy?

How can we better prepare our young people for the challenges of the 21st century?

What is the business world and economic climate already telling us about the skills and competencies required to lead the future to make it a brighter place for the 2.2.billion and their children?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

When It's Darkest, Men See The Stars - Ralph Waldo Emerson

A blog post by Steve Blank by the same title got me thinking about leadership and networked intelligence for entrepreneurs - that is, what kind of leadership and networks are needed now for pioneering leadership? (Steve's blogpost is well worth a read). In essence, Steve talks about the current financial crisis may be the beginning of an economic revolution - the entrepreneurial revolution. A revolution that will permanently reshape business. Steve talks about how startups in the past were mainly constrained by six barriers

However, the evidence is that these barriers to innovative startups are being removed because we are seeing:
  • Compressed product development cycles
  • New structures springing up in the venture capital industry
  • Entrepreneurialship is developing its own management science
  • The consumer and internet are often driving innovation rathe than organisations themselves

Image credit: http://steveblank.com

These structural changes to the entrepreneurial landscape has led (and leading to) an entrepreneurial explosion.

Image credit: http://steveblank.com

Pioneering Leadership

The wonderful thing about this entrepreneurial revolution is that people are rediscovering what it means to be a pioneer and to be a builder. (see Umar Haque's brilliant The Builder's Manifesto). In our pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness (you need them), the industrial revolution and the science of management has managed out the pioneering spirit from our human nature. It has managed out the six irresistible human endowments that compel human beings to lead irrespective of age, gender, status, race, nationality, creed and religion. These six irresistible human endownments are;
  • Purpose
  • Passion
  • Hope
  • Curiosity
  • Tenacity
  • Courage
And here is a wonderful example of this pioneering leadership - of how Robert Harrison, Space Enthusiast, records earth on £500 budget!


Social Networking and Network Intelligence

This structural change to the entrepreneurial landscape is also supported by the explosion in social networking and social media. It is hard to believe that the World Wide Web is only just 20 years old and the term 'social media' is less than 10 years old. It is social networking and social media that has brought about:
  • Low cost to first product
  • Short time to first product
  • (Getting to) large pool of risk capital
  • Fast customer adoption rate (creating fans and followers)
  • Lower startup failure rate
  • Global innovation

Those who have truly mastered social networking understand its true value, which is helping to establish trusting and meaningful relationships that lead to collaboration to build better business faster. The world is too complex for budding entrepreneurs to go it alone.
In short, how do they create a networked community to deliver networked intelligence that matters! In his brilliant book, The Five Literacies of Global Leadership, Richard Hames says of Networked Intelligence - "the key aspects of Networked Intelligence are ...."
  • The creation of preferential networks (look outside your normal hierarchies and boundaries for really fresh insights)
  • The strength of weak ties (don't just connect with people you know - those you do not know offer windows into different worlds)
  • Link to ideas not just people - the meeting and mating of ideas to spawn others generates innovation while helping to integrate and transcend what you already know.
  • Networked intelligence is the capability to continuously connect with and relate to other people and ideas in the process of sensing and making sense of complexity. You cannot fully understand complex systems if you do not have real-time intelligence.
Social networking and social media has been a gamechanging enabler in that it has enabled entrepreneurs:
  • to shift from 'selliing' to connecting with their audience at scale and at no cost. In the past, the only way you can reach a large audience and connect with them is via the tradition (and expensive) outbound marketing activities (PR being the exception).
  • to turn followers into fans, and with their help, making a produce/service go viral. That is to say, social media has enabled people to drive inbound marketing activities (at very low cost) instead of traditional outbound marketing activities.
  • to move from 'hard to reach' to being 'available everywhere'.

What are the 10 'Holy Grail' characteristics of a great primary connector in your network

In order to establish this kind of collaboration - entrepreneurs must be able to use social networking and social media to create and lead authentic conversations that matter. Authentic conversations that lead to great primary connections. And how do you know if you already have great primary connections in your network? Accordingly to Melissa Giovagnoli of Networlding, here are the 10 'Holy Grail' characteristics for anyone to be considered a great primary connector in a network.
When it's darkest, men (and women) see the stars .... stars by the names of ........ purpose, passion, hope, curiosity, courage and tenacity (with a dollop of social networking)

Survival of the fittest or the wisest?

I was intrigued by a comment made by Deepak Chopra in the video referred to in my previous post - along the lines there is a shift happening from the survival of the fittest to the wisest. I see this shift happening everywhere.

A few years ago I wrote 52 actions of the wise an e-book designed for you to take just a few minutes a week for a year to improve your life immeasurably. You will be wiser and happier.

You can purchase it here for just $7 or get it for free here by completing my employee engagement pulse check.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Is the Worldshift 20 Declaration a call to action for you?

I watched this inspiring 12 minutes with Deepak Chopra yesterday.



and then downloaded a very powerful 8 pages called the Worldshift 20 Declaration. You can read more and download the PDF here.

I would be very interested in your thoughts on this and on how we can collaborate to do our bit to make these shifts happen.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are your messages cutting through the clutter?

Once upon a time I could send one email to my contacts in a given city and fill the room for one of my seminars. Not any more.

To get 20 people to a seminar recently, in the city where I work the most, and have my largest database, I sent 6 emails to my list over 8 weeks, and made more than 100 phone calls!

I also called people to find out why they didn’t respond to what I thought was a very compelling message on a topic that would help them to build a better business faster and give them a competitive edge. The following were the three responses I received the most:

I don’t reply to emails anymore unless I am specifically asked to?

I get so many emails unless they really grab me in the moment I delete them.

I would not have given the seminar a second thought if you hadn’t called me. Personal contact stands out today.


Are your messages cutting through the clutter?

The clear message for me was the power of personal contact. Social media and social networking, great tools that they can be, mean many people are starved of human contact, in fact people are telling me they are craving real conversations with real people in real time.

When was the last time you met with some one face to face with no agenda just a genuine catch up? My resolve is to stand out by being the king of personal contact. How about you?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vision - Strategy's Secret Sauce

Most strategic planning starts with a discussion of "What's your vision?" and that's the first place where people get stuck. Everyone gets frustrated with trying to "wordsmith" the perfect vision statement. I prefer to think of a business strategy having a "built-in" vision. I find that a vision tends to crystallize during the strategy discussion.

Why is vision important?

Strategy needs vision to give it life. Without vision you have no direction, and are stuck doing what you've always done. Without direction, you have no clarity about where you want to go and what you want your business to be.

Vision gives you focus. Without an understanding of your vision, your staff have no clarity about the organization's purpose or what they should be doing to achieve it. That's demotivating. Without a unified sense of purpose, performance suffers. There is a wastage and leakage of energy, rather than a sense of "pulling together".

Ambitious and energetic people like working in an organization that has a clear sense of direction. If the business seems to be drifting, they are likely to look elsewhere for a position where their contribution can have more impact.

I'm sure you've heard all this before.

It's very easy to say "We need a vision". So why is it so hard to have one? To have a vision, you need to be able to imagine something beyond the current reality; something you haven't seen before. It should be aspirational, rather than a statement of the current situation. A vision is not just an incremental step. Your vision might not currently be possible, but could be achievable over a given time-frame. It's important to have a unique pathway in mind.

To have a vision, you have to allow yourself to imagine something that doesn't presently exist. Author Jonathan Swift said "Vision is the art of seeing the invisible".

It's so nebulous, but so important.




_____________

Reinvention and Redefinition - signs of the times

In the past 2 weeks I have given several presentations in Australia, Macau and United Kingdom; all to senior business leaders, and on two occasions for large corporations with significant brand recognition. There has been a reoccurring theme - redefinition and reinvention.

Like it or not business leads the way forward. In a recent interview the Managing Director of McKinsey, Dominic Barton, said the common theme of his interviews with over 300 CEO’s in the past 12 months is transformation.

If successful businesses are focusing on redefining, reinventing, or transforming themselves, what does this suggest for us?

This week I have also taken some time to tune in to the Reinvention summit organised by Michael Margolis of Get Storied fame, and others. The stories we tell others and the ones we tell ourselves are key to our evolution and growth, and to our willingness and ability to make a difference. What stories are you telling?

In Birmingham United Kingdom last Tuesday I was asked by a member of the group I presented to How often do you reinvent yourself and how often do you redesign what you do and how you do it?

I answered daily, weekly, fortnightly, quarterly, yearly and that I have specific processes and methodologies for doing so. How about you?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why workplace trust is a challenge

The challenge with workplace trust, whether from leaders to employees or employees to leaders or employees to employees is that to trust another person you must be willing to be vulnerable. That is, the act of trusting someone means that you are opening yourself up to the 'risk' that whoever you are trusting could 'break' your trust.


You see, trust cannot be broken unless it is given in the first place.


This is one of the factors that makes trust within an organisation so hard.


Whether this be from leader to employees, or from employees to leaders. The same is true.


In this context leaders must be able to demonstrate that they are willing to be vulnerable by trusting employees, and employees need to demonstrate that they too are willing to be vulnerable by trusting their leaders.


I'm suggesting that trust is built by demonstrating trust and being open to the vulnerabilities that come with trusting others.


What are your experiences of organisational trust?

Gary Ryan is the founder of Organisations That Matter and has published his popular first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Performance reviews deservedly getting a poor review

In the Wall Street Journal of 8th November Joe Light writes:
Performance reviews are getting a poor review—from the very people who run them.

About 58% of human-resources executives graded their own performance-management systems a C or below, according to a May and June survey of 750 HR professionals conducted by New York-based consulting firm Sibson Consulting Inc. and World at Work, a professional association.

Many HR professionals say they're frustrated that managers don't have the courage to give constructive feedback to employees.


Sadly this is not new to me.

On the 8th of November I posed a question to my LinkedIn connections: How often are employees you know having formal performance reviews? More than 50% answered annually. Very few answered quarterly which my experience suggests is best practice.

Success of formal performance reviews however depends on the success of informal reviews. I teach my clients to have frequent appreciation and accountability conversations with their employees. Such conversations are based on personal performance plans that detail personal and business goals and how they will be achieved.

The success of appreciation and accountability conversations dramatically improves performance and means formal reviews only have two purposes; celebrate performance with people and help them update their performance plans.

I am on a mission to eliminate appraisals because in the main they are demotivating for people and deserve their C rating or below.

I would be very interested in your experiences. Please get in touch with me.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What triggers our worst behaviour also presents us with an opportuntity for our best behaviour

I have had a busy week. I left home in Adelaide on Monday morning, flew to Sydney and had several meetings Monday afternoon. I gave a presentation Tuesday morning and had more meetings in the afternoon. Early Wednesday morning I flew to Hong Kong and then caught a ferry to Macau where I have been busy ever since. After giving a presentation later this morning I go back to Hong Kong and then fly to London tonight.

Travel can bring the worst out in me! On this trip I read a wonderful book called The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz with Jean Gomes and Catherine McCarthy, Ph.D.

It is a wonderful book. I pondered pages 139 and 140 carefully. The authors call the following triggers and suggest that most come from a feeling of being devalued.

Feeling spoken to with condescension or lack of respect

Being treated unfairly

Not feeling appreciated

Not being listened to or feeling heard

Someone else taking credit for my work

Being kept waiting

Someone else’s sloppy work on a project I’m overseeing

Unrealistic deadlines

People who think they know it all

Knowing these has helped me to enjoy the travel this week in the main.


What trigggers you?

Are you devaluing other people?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wisdom co-creation for collaborative education and business








Collaboration



Wisdom co-creation for creative and collaborative education and business

There is much talk about the need to transform education. Approaches to teaching and learning that nurture creativity and emphasise the importance of collaborative working are more important than ever given the social, economic and geopolitical challenges we face. Transformation at every level of the education system is of paramount importance. This is perhaps with the exception of pre-school education where the emphasis is largely on nurturing creative expression. Yet, in many cases, creativity is all too soon suppressed when children enter mainstream primary education and is enduringly depleted throughout their school lives.

Many enlightened schools and teachers are committed to supporting creative education, working in partnership with one of the plethora of creative and arts education organisations that lobby for a more creative curriculum and education ethos. In education we strive to improve standards of teaching and innovative approaches to supporting learning. In business we seek to better understand how to make money by pushing the bounds of our creativity and connecting better with each other. Increasingly humane and ecological concerns are at the heart of ‘doing well by doing good’, a kind of corporate social responsibility (CSR) philosophy. I dream that at some point business, education, science and art will talk to each other, engage in a multi-lateral way to focus on and address the challenge of creating an education system fit for preparing our young people and emergent business, education and other social and ecomomic change agents for 21st Century challenges.

Take two well known experts


One in education, the other in marketing and business:

Sir Ken Robinson is an international advisor on creative education to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. Some of his most compelling ideas about education transformation are conveyed here and well worth twelve minutes of your time:





Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, philosopher and thought leader in marketing. Seth echoes Ken’s frustrations with the education status quo here. To summarise the problem: often in the academic world there is a lack of connection with the world 'out there' which has an impact on standards of teaching, learning and ultimately the economy and society as a whole.

Both Seth and Sir Ken have written books on similar but connected topics – the importance of harnessing creativity, and nurturing talent - the combination of passion and skill - to create a remarkable future at individual, organisational and societal levels.



I compare these two figureheads as they come from different fields: education on the one hand (Sir Ken); and marketing, business and entrepreneurship (Seth) on the other. They have a lot in common.


The thread that runs through the work of both of these thought leaders is that personal potential is released when a person is: supported in developing and nurturing their talents; when creativity is harnessed; courage displaces fear; and other leadership qualities are developed. Education needs it. Business needs it.

But where is the dialogue between business and education?

Moreover, where do the conversations between the arts, science, business and education take place, the conversations that I believe hold the key to a future of deep learning and co-creation of wisdom networks?

-What will enable us to breach the status quo?
-What has to happen in our own sphere of influence to bring about a tipping point for change and transformation?
-How great, in fact, is our sphere of influence and how will we know?
-What will education transformation look like and who will lead it?




Art and science meet education and business







For some time now I have been thinking about creating spaces where multi-lateral, interdisciplinary conversations about education transformation can take place. Not just another online network or platform for learning content but physical spaces – from cafes to castles (places grand and small) where people of all ages and backgrounds can meet to learn and grow (spend a frivolous 2 minutes watching this to gain further insight into my vision – link). The agenda is intercultural leadership: the ability to work collaboratively and comfortably with a diverse group of people – with deep understanding and empathy - a compassionate style of leadership that enables people to connect, build trust and mutually beneficial relationships. Deep learning combining self awareness and empathy for others’ world views, the ‘big picture’ of global concerns and challenges and collaboration are at the heart of intercultural leadership. So I was delighted to discover there is a proven methodology for building transformational learning networks. The methodology is known as Networlding. Designed initially as a tool for supporting business development I feel it has a number of benefits for the education, cultural and learning sectors:





1. As a way of gaining momentum for the transformation in education movement that links people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines – arts and sciences - and business sectors to form alliances and collaborative networks
2. In higher education as a way of stimulating conversations within and between universities – between teaching and research and between both the arts and sciences
3. Between schools – in all their forms: business schools, universities, and influencers of the primary and secondary education systems, so that real conversations take place about how to prepare our young people and other learners for 21st century challenges where team work skills and intercultural leadership will be tantamount to success.





To what extent is this really a new kind of networking technology that will take us from a collection of connections to knowledge and wisdom?





An outline of Networlding, is provided here









To summarise, Networlding is based on the idea of forming circles of support consisting of those in your network who share your values. Most people value education, so that’s a good starting point for most of us educationists. The art is in finding connections who work in diverse fields and developing mutually beneficial relationships with them that provide seven levels of support. Known as the Support Exchange Model it offers a framework for engaging with connections in your trusted circle by developing:

1. Emotional support
2. Information support
3. Knowledge support
4. Promotional support
5. Wisdom support
6. Transformational opportunities
7. Community support


This is explained in this video


Ntworlding webinar July 2010 - Presented by Melissa Giovagnoli Wilson.


How can Networlding enable us to work collaboratively to transform education?"Networlding seeds change[/caption

The Networlding approach enables our trusted contacts to become more than connections, as their values are expressed as actions towards a shared vision or goal through the process of developing and nurturing relationships. Consider this. Our goal is education transformation at an institutional and societal level. We draw upon a diverse range of contacts through the formation of Networlding circles of support and provide input from a wider range of backgrounds – business, arts, science as well as education and the multde of organisations striving for enhanced creativity and an ethos of collaboration in education. This is required to inform the development of an education philosophy, and ultimately actions towards education transformation. The process can be enhanced further by introducing participation from young people by enabling them to form and develop their own circles.

So I’m welcoming Networlding into my world and look forward to bringing it to the world of education as a tool for enhancing interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration, unleashing creativity and knowledge and bringing about much needed transformation to the education status quo.

What do wish to transform? How can Networlding help you to achieve your personal, business and career goals?

Let’s discuss the art and science of connecting more wisely for education and cultural enhancement.

Comments welcome below.

Contact me to discuss Networlding for education transformation, business and career

sara.knowles@connectcreate.co.uk
http://www.connectcreate.co.uk

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Power of Now

I have clients I mentor in 9 countries. Many I have never met in person. Our mentoring sessions are conducted on skype. This is just one example of the power of now.

By the way on most Monday mornings wherever you happen to be in the world I can provide a 30 minute mentoring session for free on skype. All you need to do to book your session is email me ian@ianberry.au.com with a date and time. If I am already booked I will email you back with alternative dates and times.

One of my business leader heroes is Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi. He says New is old, now is the new new. For an excellent interview with Kevin click here under favourites.]

Now is the only time that matters.

One of the beautiful things about life is that if we stuff up this moment, we can do better in the next moment.

You can change your life for the better, now.

You can change the experience you provide for your customer/client, now.

You can create a better strategy, now.

You can execute, now.

You can be better for your spouse, your child, your friend, now.

You can call that person you have be procrastinating about, now.

You can make amends, now.

You can stop doing, start doing, or stay doing whatever you want, now.

Success in life is about the choices we make and the choices we don’t make. You are choosing, now.

Stop grumbling about your life, now. Start your life over, now. And make a vow to never waste a moment, now. And then don’t!

In my country, Australia, average life expectancy is 81.4 years, that’s about 29,500 days! Make every second of your life matter. Start now!

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

PS Recently I joined a movement to end starvation as a major cause of death for children. While you were reading this 11 children died simply because they do not have enough to eat. In the last 6 months my colleagues and I have provided more than 3 million meals. Find out how you can join us here or give me a call on +61 418 807 898.

PSS I highly recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Details here along with other books I recommend you read. Remember, leaders are readers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inspiration is closer than you think!

Inspiring stories don't have to come from far away places. On many occasions they can come from a single degree of separation. This article is about a family friend, Camilla. My wife and I met Camilla through our local primary school where our children go to school together. Camilla has an inspiring story about creating the future that she desires. Camilla has two daughters and is an active mum.

Camilla's story
At heart, Camilla is an artist. Trained as a secondary school teacher, Camilla teaches Italian part time at a local private girls school. As her life unfolded and the pressures of family life grew, Camilla's art took a back seat in her life. Yet, deep down she wanted to see if she really had what it took to be a genuine artist - could she create an exhibition and sell her art?

When rare opportunities arose Camilla continued to paint her oils on canvas, producing at least a couple of paintings per year. On occasion friends and family would say to her, "Camilla, these paintings are so wonderful. They are bright and the colour combinations are amazing. You really should try to sell them."

Self doubt sat heavily on Camilla's shoulders for a long time. "No one would ever buy my paintings, they aren't good enough.", she would say to herself. This went on for many years. Then one day Camilla asked herself, "What do I really want?". Her answer was to "Have a go. You never know, maybe my dream could come true! I'm going to have an exhibition!".

Camilla's first step was to find out what was involved. Her research uncovered that she required 30 paintings, but she only had 12. So, with less than 12 months to prepare, Camilla set about creating a further 18 paintings. This is an important step in her process. When Camilla discovered that she was well short of the required number of paintings for an exhibition, she could have easily given up. Yet her clarity about why she was doing what she was doing it was such that quitting never entered her mind. "I just had to paint, it was as simple as that!" Camilla told me. This is the power of desired futures in action!

Later that year Camilla opened her exhibition at an art gallery in Glen Waverley, Melbourne, Australia. Her 30 paintings looked amazing as they adourned the walls of the gallery. Varying in size from 30 square centimetres to 1.5 metres by 1.8metres, Camilla was stunned when a single buyer bought a collage of her paintings. By the end of the exhibition, 22 out of her 30 paintings had been sold. I'm told that such a high number is extraordinary for a first time exhibitor at a local community gallery. It certainly looked impressive to walk around and see so many red dots (which means that theb painting had been sold) on her paintings.

Camilla is now preparing for her next exhibition. What is also interesting about her story is how she discovered that the energy that she gained from living her passion enabled her to get back into exercise and to increase her fitness. People often report how living their passion provides energy for the rest of their life. What is your passion? Are you living it, at least in some part of your life?

Camilla's story really is inspirational in the context that she had a dream and made it come true. No doubt a lot of effort went into creating her dream, and while it was terrific that she did sell her paintings, she genuinely states that it was the experience and the fact that she was having a go that was more important than selling her paintings. An added bonus was the look on her two daughters' faces. They were so proud of their mum that it cannot be put into words. And what do you think the lasting effect on them will be?

If you are interested in seeing Camilla's art, please check out Art By Camilla.

What are your examples of inspiring friends or family who are truly creating the future they desire?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The 15% Solution

Adopting the Gates/Buffett template to make a difference

I read an interesting article recently of the efforts by Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to persuade the billionaires in the USA to pledge at least half their net worth solving the social and medical problems of the world.

The trio are asking the wealthiest Americans to pledge 50% of their net worth to charities during their lifetimes or at death.

What effect will this have on philanthropic institutions? Nothing short of HUGE.

The Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest people in America estimates their total wealth of approximately US$1.2 trillion. Half of that would result in US$600 billion being channeled to charities.

This will certainly make a difference!

To date, some 40 pledges to give the majority of their wealth have been made. You can see the list of these donors, and read their own comments, at www.givingpledge.org.

As the site says, these pledges are a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. Also, it does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations.

Having attracted interest in their movement domestically, the Gates pair have also had meetings in London, India and China to enlist interest and support outside America.

Of course, this concept need not remain the domain of the super wealthy.

Those of us who are Baby Boomers will, over the next 15-20 years, be the beneficiaries of the greatest transfer of inherited wealth the world has ever seen.

What is 10%, or 15%, or even 20% of that inheritance pool was diverted to charities? Can you imagine the positive impact this would have?

What would it take to create a 15% Giving Pledge within your local community or social network? What would it take to create a 15% Giving Pledge nationally?

Having read the article on the 50% pledge challenge, I pulled out my own will and did a quick calculation of the charitable contributions listed. Let's just say the figure fell a bit south of the 8% mark. I now pledge to increase this to 15% in an updated version.

Mrs. and Mr. Gates, along with their pal Mr. Buffett, have given us the template.

Let's make a difference at our own socio-economic levels. Let's put the 15% Solution to work -- for the future of our children and grandchildren and the world they will inherit.

After all, if they collectively inherit a better world, wouldn't this be better than simply leaving them only our accumulated assets and bank accounts?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Changing what’s normal - Business Building in the 21st century Part 3

I have a thriving business today because I have embraced 9 massive changes to business building strategies and tactics that have occurred over my 19 years in business for myself. See my 25th and 28th of October blogs for my insights on the first six changes. Today I am exploring the final three.

6) generalist to niche

Once I tried to be all things to all people. I learned the hard way that I can only truly serve people in certain niches. Are you open for business to everyone or are you the go to person for certain people?

7) provider to partner

I was once a provider of certain services and usually I was hired for a specific period of time to provide a specific solution or meet a particular need. Today I don’t provide my clients with solutions to their challenges or problems, rather I partner with them to discover their own solutions. A consequence is that I get paid for the value that I provide rather than the time it takes.

Do your customers/clients see you as a partner or a provider? If your answer is provider then it won’t be long before someone makes your customers/clients a perceived better offer and you will lose their loyalty. Being perceived as a partner is a key way to build loyalty and therefore retain customers/clients.

8) service to experience

Providing our customers/clients with great customer service is a given today. Provide less than high standards of service and people will simply go somewhere else. What kind of experience do you provide for your customers/clients before they buy, when they buy, and after they buy? Unless your answer is memorable across the board, then you are not building the business you could be and not only are you are missing out on significant income and profits, you are most likely go backwards.

9) strategic planning to strategic synergy

I have had to read 100’s of strategic plans over my two decades as business advisor and mentor, and for a few years I helped to create them. In the past decade I have partnered my clients to separate determining strategy from the plans to execute it. I agree with Alan Weiss that strategic planning is an oxymoron!

I define strategy simply as the big picture how to get from where we are to where we want to be. Tactics are the actions we take to execute our strategy. As a general rule six words are all you need to describe your strategy!

The great writer Ernest Hemingway thought the following were six of his best words: For Sale: Baby shoes, Never worn.

Inspired by Hemingway, my friend and colleague Kwai Yu, founder of Leaders Cafe, asked the following question on a LinkedIn discussion: Who are you? Could you tell the story of you in six words?

Kwai received hundreds of extraordinary responses which inspired me to think about a way I could best teach people about strategy! I now work with my clients to help them describe their strategy in 6 words and when this is accomplished it becomes one of the best engagement of people tools I have ever developed.

Could you describe your strategy in 6 words?

There you have it, 9 massive changes to business building. How do you measure up?

Complete the following fast audit and see where you are and then take massive action to get to where you want to be.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Catalyst for changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit

Sign-up here for a least one free resource per month and to get your complimentary copy of my ebook Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business.