Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Pull of Positioning

An adage of 20th century marketing and selling was - the preferred lead is the referred lead. In the 21st century obtaining referrals is a still a good way to grow your business, however a person to person recommendation is much more powerful.

Recommendations about your work on LinkedIn and other places are useful however when someone who trusts you recommends you to someone who trusts them, person to person, this is far more powerful way to grow your business.

People are more likely to recommend us person to person when we hold a position in our market that is specialised and when our specialisation fits a need or want for the person we are being recommended to.

My expertise is in the broad field of change leadership and management.
There are lots of very good people who work in this field. What sets me apart is my specialisations of changing what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit; change where everyone can win (the technical term is creating shared value or CSV); and change people can actually believe in and make happen. Very few people specialise as I do and therefore I have positioning.

What areas of your broad expertise do you specialise in?
Are your specialisations unique, different, or better than other people who operate in the same broad space?

If you can answer yes to these questions you have positioning. If not, do your work because positioning is the best way I know to pull rather than push in our businesses.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

PS For a short time only you can buy my Changing What's Normal book and 24/7 access to the companion web page that contains downloadable files, references, links, tools, tips, techniques, templates, for just $30 here.

PSS Make it easy for people to recommend you person to person by first recommending them person to person!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What is the return on your investment in social media?

I have a lot of time for Michael Stelzner and the folk at Social Media Examiner, one of the world’s top ranked business blogs.

Everyday I gain something of value from reading or watching. I recommend subscribing.

A recent blog was about simple ways to calculate social media return on investment. You can read the full blog here.

ROI is a hot topic everywhere right now. I expect it will get hotter. This Social Media Examiner blog prompted me to really think hard about what return I am getting from my own investment in social media/networking.

Social Media Examiner say ROI measures the efficiency of an investment.
I say ROI also measures the effectiveness of an investment.

I invest time, intention, feelings, thoughts, actions, and money into social media/networking. I am primarily interested in how long it takes me (efficiency), and does it achieve the kind of results I want (effectiveness).

For me in terms of efficiency, I am happy to invest up to an hour a day providing value online, providing I achieve the following objectives (effectiveness):

1. People buy my changing what’s normal book
2. People subscribe or sign-up at relationship entry points such as my monthly ezine, my e-learning trial, my performance possibility pulse check, join differencemakers community, subscribe to my blog and/or YouTube channel
3. People inquire about my services

I have weekly goals for these three objectives.

What are your weekly objectives and your goals for each?
How efficient and effective are you?

In other words what kind of return are you getting on your investment in social media/networking?

The more we understand ROI for our businesses the more we are able to understand ROI for our customers. For the foreseeable future ROI matters most to most people in business.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

PS For a short time only you can buy my Changing What's Normal book and 24/7 access to the companion web page that contains downloadable files, references, links, tools, tips, techniques, templates, for just $30 here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

How is your hinterland?

The idea of a “hinterland” was the subject of an article by columnist Kathleen Noonan in my weekend newpaper recently. This is part of what she had to say . . .

“The Italians call it retroterra. To me it is the broad deep paddock of ideas, learning and influences that makes us who we are and informs our lives. It's our hinterland.
How's your hinterland? Are you planting it well, ploughing in the fertiliser, making sure the mental topsoil is deep? Or has it gone to weed?

Hinterland is all to do with intellectual pursuits outside your job or career. It refers to someone's depth and breadth of knowledge of other matters, especially of cultural, academic, artistic, literary and scientific pursuits.”

So do you have a hinterland or are you a one dimensional leader who is all work and no life? Creating an engaging workforce is all about growing relationships between leaders and their teams. It is very difficult to have a relationship with someone who has no interests outside of work. If that doesn’t convince you, look at it this way . . . knowing what is going on in the wider world can help you to make better decisions in your working world. Much of the philosophy we use in business comes from other worlds whether they are academic, artistic or historic. Each “world” helps to fertilise the others with new perspectives.

If you feel like your hinterland has gone to seed, then do something about it. Read a book, attend a seminar, visit a museum. For inspiration go back to those subject areas that interested you when you were younger, perhaps even the alternative career you didn’t pursue.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Myers Briggs and Decision Making

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is designed to measure preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

For more information on Myers Briggs see the entry in Wikipedia.

Two of the 'dichotomies' proposed by Myers Briggs suggest an effective method for decision making which should allow all types to contribute effectively to the process. The two types are:

Sensing (S) - (N) Intuition

Thinking (T) - (F) Feeling

The process goes through four stages:

define the problem (sensing questions)

  • What are the facts?

  • What have you or others done to resolve this or similar problems?

  • What has worked or not worked?

  • What resources are available?

consider possibilities (intuitive questions)

  • What other ways could we look at this?

  • What does the data suggest?

  • What are the connections to other issues or other people?

  • What are all the possible ways to address this sort of problem?

analyse each course of action (thinking questions)

  • What are the pros and cons of each course of action?

  • What are the logical consequences of each choice?

  • What are the consequences of not deciding?

  • What impact would each possible decision have on other priorities?

consider values and reactions (feeling questions)

  • How will people be affected?

  • How will each option contribute to harmony and positive interactions?

  • How can we support people as they implement decisions or are affected by them?

  • Does it feel right?

Enhancing their gifts - a tribute to TJ

My best friend Terry Jenner died yesterday after a long illness. I have a zillion great memories. From a business perspective Terry's concept of enhancing their gifts is a gem. It is insight 49 of 58 in my book Changing What's Normal. Here is an extract.


I usually feel emotionally and physically ill when I meet leaders on a quest to change people into someone in their own image.

I once hated people trying to change me. How about you?
In fact I used to be so stubborn sometimes knowing I should change something, however I didn’t because other people I perceived were driving the change, not me.

These days I ignore people trying to change me. I have concluded that what other people think of me is none of my business.

Trying to change other people is futile and is a slippery slope to self-destruction. The good news is we can inspire others to change themselves by being change masters ourselves.

Changing what’s normal

A great way to lead i.e. inspire and influence, is to focus on enhancing people’s gifts and this has much to do with coaching and mentoring.

I am often asked what is the difference between a coach and a mentor. My answer is that there doesn’t need to be a difference in terms of labels; however making a distinction can be very useful in terms of roles.

Coaching is concerned with competency: the skills needed to perform at optimum levels. Good coaching is about maximizing skills.

Mentoring is concerned with commitment: the will we need to perform at our best. Good mentoring is about maximizing will.

In the 90’s I was President of the Tea Tree Gully District Cricket Club in Adelaide for six years and for four of those years Terry Jenner, who played for Australia in the 70’s, was the coach. It was the beginning of a life-long friendship with TJ as he is better known.

TJ believed his role as a coach was to Enhance the Gift of the people he coached. This is a beautiful phrase (from a storehouse of many from TJ) to describe both coaching and mentoring. We are drawing out what is already there.

TJ was widely acknowledged as the preeminent coach of his generation in his field of spin bowling. I was privileged over two decades to watch him work with many people with diverse gifts in both Australia and the United Kingdom, including his work with Shane Warne, regarded by most as the greatest bowler in the history of cricket. I have adopted many of TJ’s philosophies and methodologies in my work as a mentor including: basics are beautiful, inch by inch is a cinch; yard by yard, too hard and, if you practice the things that work, you get better at the things that work. Conversely if you practice the things that don’t work, you get better at the things that don’t work.

The Ancient Greek word for gift is charisma. When we coach and mentor well, people’s charisma increases. The higher the levels of charisma, or what I prefer to call personal significance, the greater the performance.

We all need coaches and mentors to help us inspire ourselves to be and do more. My whole life I have worked with and engaged mentors and make it my business to do so at least twice a year.

Are you a good coach and a good mentor? Your people, including your children if you are a parent, need you to be.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

PS You can buy my Changing What's Normal book and 24/7 access to the companion web page that contains downloadable files, references, links, tools, tips, techniques, templates, for just $30 here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Widen Your Circle

To make things happen, you need to meet more people, let them know what you can offer and keep in contact with them. You must actively widen your circle of acquaintances.

How do you meet people? There are lots of ways, for example:
• through mutual friends;
• going to networking events such as breakfasts, lunches, cocktail parties or dinners
• joining clubs or associations in accordance with your interests
• joining a service club like Rotary, Lions or Zonta.
• joining a group in which the members refer business to each other (e.g. a Leads Club)
• through the Internet, using social media sites.

If you don’t like going to networking events, please think again. They present fantastic opportunities to meet new people, in a situation where everyone is there for the same reason – to build business.

There are lots of books and seminars about “networking”, but they tend to focus on how to cope in social situations. They provide advice about how to behave at cocktail parties; how to avoid embarrassing yourself; what to do if you don’t know anyone there; how to “work the room”, how to shake hands; what to do with business cards; how to stay sober; how to make introductions and how to get rid of boring people.

All that is important, but it’s important to move beyond "coping", because:

1. it's about survival, not success. Many people focus on simply surviving the event, so they can get home and relax. If you want to be successful, networking should be a way of life for you.

2. it focuses your attention on you, not on the people you will be meeting. If you are thinking about your own discomfort, you won’t give value and you won' tget the most out of the event. You must shift your attention from yourself and your discomfort to your conversation partner and their world.

3. it treats the event as an end in itself. It’s not. Meeting people is only a first step. Very rarely will anything happen as a result of simply meeting someone at an event and giving them your business card.

It doesn’t really matter how you meet a person; what matters is what you do next. What matters is the relationship you build.

When you return to the office with a collection of business cards in your bag or pocket, what do you do with them? Most people do nothing. Some file them in a business card box. Some throw them away.

If you do anything at all to follow up, that will put you ahead of most people.

I’m not saying that you should hit them with a sales pitch. Think about how you would feel if someone you met for the first time last night immediately starting trying to sell stuff to you. I clearly remember the first time I attended a “womens’ networking” event in the late 1980’s. I was delighted when a woman befriended me. However, a week later she tried to sell me insurance. It was a really unpleasant experience, and put me off networking events for quite a while.

What matters is the relationship you build with the person you’ve met. Maybe they will send you work one day. Or refer someone to you, or recommend you to someone. Or introduce you to someone who one day becomes a major client.

Approach networking events with anticipation, not dread. They’re a bit like the old children’s party game “Lucky Dip”, where everyone receives a mystery gift. You never know what you will get – but you will get something.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to Value a Family Office Database Resource - What to look for before you buy

I’ve discussed these elements before in other articles but a recent stream of questions from people in my network has prompted me to reiterate these points in a more summarised way and all in one place ... eh ... blog.  I trust this blog will help you to establish a value for a Family Office database resource you are considering purchasing, and also hope that as you explore family office databases you will quickly learn what makes them worth acquiring or not. More specifically I hope to provide in this summary basic insights into how to value specific Family Office lists and database resources.

Here are some of the components that make a Family Office database worth the asking price. Ask yourself and/or the vendor these questions:

How often is the Family Office database updated? It should be at least semi-annually. If not what is the reason behind it and does the reason make sense to you?

Is the vendor active in the industry? e.g. does the vendor have a consulting business for Family Offices, or do they operate a Family Office association, an online or offline Family Office social network or networking group? If not, what qualifies them to create, maintain, and update a Family Office list?

Does the vendor offer a refund and what is their refund policy in respect of the Family Office list resource you are considering? At the very least there should be an accommodation for bad data. The best firms in the Family Office industry will gladly offer between a double and quadruple pro-rated refund for bad date in the Family Office resource. This keeps them honest and on top of their game.

What level of work and effort went into the creation of the Family Office list? Okay, so this is tricky ground. How can you determine that? Well, use a couple of basic pointers to the level of seriousness both of the company and the information they offer about the database resource.

  • What does their website look like?
  • How detailed is their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section?
  • What level of statistics do they give you in respect of the list?
  • What do they say about their methodologies for creating, maintaining, and updating the Family Office database?

This next one is crucial to your productivity. Even if everything else is great this one can cause more frustration than it is worth.

In what format does the vendor supply the Family Office database to you? Here’s the thing. If the list is web-only, i.e. you can only access it via the web then you could lose access, for example, if the company goes belly up or if your subscription payment does not go through. How often does it happen that a credit card is nearing its limit because the accounts department hasn’t processed the expense reports? Or even more basic, the expiry date lapses, you forget to update it in the system, and the vendor doesn’t have an early warning system to remind you. 

Make sure that you have a resource that can be downloaded (i.e. avoid CD & DVD based resources if you can) and where the format in which it is supplied is at least Microsoft Excel (.XLSX), or Comma Separated Value (.CSV) These formats are the most flexible and allow you to quickly and easily integrate the new data into your customer relationship management (CRM) system, for example Salesforce.com.

Value is a tricky thing and like beauty it is in the eye of the beholder. If you use the above suggestions to assess for yourself the value of the resource I hope you will make some good decisions. Ultimately the proof will be in the quality of the relationships you are able to build with the Family Offices listed in the database resource that you purchase. Until you have the list though you need to use your gut, some good common sense, and the above tips to figure out whether or not your money to purchase the list is about to be invested wisely or simply spent.


About Paul J. Lange:

Paul J. Lange is a business mentor and business performance coach who helps small to medium enterprise and entrepreneurs to apply big business, enterprise disciplines and solutions to gain a competitive advantage and increase profits. 

Paul's 'Business DIET'© system has helped countless entrepreneurs and business owners around the world to launch start-ups, expand existing operations, and greatly improve bottom lines.

Paul is also one of Australia’s most connected management consultants, and leading business strategists, with a passion for helping entrepreneurs and business owners who are committed to achieving outstanding results.

Paul’s support will help you to develop strategic direction, implement it, execute and make more money. He will have you starting to work on your business, instead of in your business, right from day one; and if you have already started down this path, he will help you to complete the transition to business owner from business manager.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Positioning Your Start-up Using Blue Ocean Strategy - Part 1

By using Blue Ocean Strategy innovative start-ups can identify market spaces that have no competition, and in doing so render their traditional industry competition irrelevant.

The basic premise of Blue Ocean Strategy is that every market can be segregated into both a red ocean and a blue ocean.

Red oceans are consensus driven; more specifically a consensus that defines a default customer, the vendors and their expected behaviours and characteristics, and the type of product the market has to offer. You end up with a situation where everyone is doing the same thing with the same stuff, selling it to the same people; the result, commercial carnage with massive competition and paper thin profit margins.

Uncontested Market Space - the New Frontier

Blue Ocean Strategy is about breaking free from the bonds of traditional market thinking and realising new vast blue oceans of untapped resources. The first realisation of understanding Blue Ocean Strategy is like standing inside a large box leaning against the wall and suddenly there are no walls. You realise there is no box. Blue Ocean Strategy focuses entrepreneurs and business leaders in the direction of a new uncontested market space for their industry. They create a market niche where the venture is so uniquely positioned that competition is rendered irrelevant.

How does that work? How can one recognise these new market niches?

The answer: Value Innovation

Identifying market niches requires a thing called "Value Innovation". Value innovation involves seeing the values and desires behind peoples’ spending decisions. When you witness these patterns you can take a decision yourself to restructure your business resources to provide an alternative that is significantly better and which remains consistent with the values you have witnessed. 

Let’s look again at Cirque Du Soleil. It seems to be the one that everyone quotes from the book Blue Ocean Strategy and it is an example I myself have referred to before in articles, blogs, and speeches. When Cirque du Soleil began the circus industry was on its tail. It had stagnated itself into virtual oblivion. Not exactly an industry one would imagine entering if profit had anything to do with the equation. Rather than creating yet another big top, or little top, circus, the founders of Cirque du Soleil looked at the overall value system of circus goers and the live entertainment industry more broadly so that they might understand what the people, who went out for the evening of entertainment, were looking for.

What motivates or persuades people to go to the theatre or the cinema, instead of going to the circus?

What they found was that the circus was viewed generally as low-brow, juvenile, even crude level of entertainment. The founders of Cirque Du Soleil found that the concept of the traditional three ring circus distracting, annoying, and off-putting to the majority of the public.

Also, public opinion was swaying away from the use of animals in circus. This was pretty dramatic as animals have always been a centrepiece of the circus experience. Driving this was the sensitivity to the possible abuse of the animals behind scenes.

Take Out the Trash: Remove That Which People Don’t Value

The result is Cirque Du Soleil, an experience that is world renowned for being very different to anything else that is out there; indeed since Cirque du Soleil start nothing has even come close to knocking them off their number one spot. The recipe was simple for the founders. They eliminated the three rings; they presented the entertainment more theatrically, more sophisticated and in the form of a narrative; and they removed the animals from the equation – which probably saved them a bundle as well.

By combining the popular and most valued fundamental elements of what people sought from live entertainment, more specifically from both the theatre and circus perspectives, and removing everything that was seen by the public as a negative of both, the founders of Cirque Du Soleil were able to create an alternative far superior to the original; an alternative that neither other circuses nor the theatre industry can contend with directly.

About Paul J. Lange:

Paul J. Lange is a business mentor and business performance coach who helps small to medium enterprise and entrepreneurs to apply big business, enterprise disciplines and solutions to gain a competitive advantage and increase profits. 

Paul's 'Business DIET'© system has helped countless entrepreneurs and business owners around the world to launch start-ups, expand existing operations, and greatly improve bottom lines.

Paul is also one of Australia’s most connected management consultants, and leading business strategists, with a passion for helping entrepreneurs and business owners who are committed to achieving outstanding results.

Paul’s support will help you to develop strategic direction, implement it, execute and make more money. He will have you starting to work on your business, instead of in your business, right from day one; and if you have already started down this path, he will help you to complete the transition to business owner from business manager.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some Basic Tips on How Not to Use a Family Office List

Many people make some very basic mistakes when interacting with Family Offices and lists of Family Offices that they acquire. It is as if by simply having these lists they feel connected, empowered, and invulnerable, and end up making some often irreparable mistakes. The reality is that you should conduct yourself with the same level of decency and integrity as you would with any other human being.

Hopefully the following will provide you with some basic tips on what not to do with a Family Office list, so that you can avoid making common mistakes often made by people seeking to raise capital via a Family Office. Obviously the best way to raise capital via a Family Office or individual Ultra High-Net Worth (UNHW) person is through personal relationships founded on trust and confidence. If you, like most others, are in the situation that you have to start out by buying a list as a first step, strive to achieve such a relationship over the long term and if your enterprises are good you may one day join their ranks.

Here are IMHO the top five Family Office list mistakes you should avoid:
  1. After you buy a family office list you cannot simply send an unsolicited email or snail mail to them with your offer to them. This is still considered spam, and you are not permitted to spam, even after buying the list. This is not like a double opt-in list of people interested in blue widgets. You must first develop relationships with each group on the list and they must opt-in to receive communications from you; double opt-in if by email.
  2. Don’t delude yourself that you have unearthed the Holy Grail and that henceforth capital-raising is going to be a walk in the park because you have bought THE list. Certainly, by obtaining a resource such as a Family Office List will make your capital raising efforts and processes more efficient. If used correctly it will save you an immense amount of time. But how effective you are will rely on other criteria. Capital-raising is essentially a challenge at the best of times. It can be a wonderful challenge that people such as myself thrive on, we love the process and every step in it. Realise that you have increased your chances by obtaining a Family Office list and accept that it will require real work and genuine effort. There is simply too much money at stake and too much competition for the investment dollars for the process to be a cakewalk. 
  3. Once you purchase a Family Office list, do not assume that you will receive a lifetime of free updates. These lists are expensive to update, maintain, and they take considerable time and patience to complete. Ask your list provider to see if they are included or not within your package.
  4. Snatching up the first offer of a Family Office directory that you come across, just because it looks good enough is not really a good strategy. Be sure that you source the list from a legitimate company that has a phone number you can call and talk to real people. You know the ones. They have a pair of lips and a voice connected to a brain that gives real responses. Unless you have come across someone with terminal cancer and 30 days to live, do not believe people who tell you they have a boutique private list that they have worked with for the last 40 years or more. Such people exist, but unless the last item on their bucket list is to donate the list to some lucky schmuck you will not gain access to them. Go through a company that is reputable and has a real website. Before you buy anything do whatever you need to do to gain sufficient confidence that what you are buying is something of value.
  5. Don't think you are smarter than the rest and use their list to create and sell your own Family Office list product. Apart from illegal (check the terms and conditions of your purchase) it is morally wrong and UHNW individuals have a way of smelling bullshit in the proximity. If you only have half a brain and do decide to take someone else’s list(s) to create your own, unless you are going for a smash and grab type of sale, how on earth will you ever maintain it? Be respectful, be ethical and use the list as the seller intended; hopefully to launch some great (new) product or service that will benefit many people and (at least by extension) society as a whole.
Hopefully these tips will help you know what not do once you have obtained your database or Family Office list. I am sure you will realise that this is all pretty common sense, but as the saying goes, there is nothing common about common sense.

About Paul J. Lange:

Paul J. Lange is a business mentor and business performance coach who helps small to medium enterprise and entrepreneurs to apply big business, enterprise disciplines and solutions to gain a competitive advantage and increase profits. 

Paul's 'Business DIET'© system has helped countless entrepreneurs and business owners around the world to launch start-ups, expand existing operations, and greatly improve bottom lines.

Paul is also one of Australia’s most connected management consultants, and leading business strategists, with a passion for helping entrepreneurs and business owners who are committed to achieving outstanding results.

Paul’s support will help you to develop strategic direction, implement it, execute and make more money. He will have you starting to work on your business, instead of in your business, right from day one; and if you have already started down this path, he will help you to complete the transition to business owner from business manager.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why are you always running late??

I still hear feedback several years after a blog post I wrote about some of the reasons why people are late. In particular, one friend and client of mine receives regular hassle from her business partners for her constant tardiness. She's by no means alone. You know the people I mean (and perhaps you are one,) who are perpetually racing out the door and/or driving like a maniac, yet still arriving way after the time they agreed upon to meet a colleague, friend, or family member. Meanwhile, there's the other person, standing or sitting, trying to be patient about the loss of productive time while waiting, and feeling like the latester must not think they are important enough to be on time for.

This is one of those intent vs. impact situations. Chronically late Lucy or Larry may genuinely be trying to arrive on the dot of the agreed-upon time – but as repeated occasions of their tardiness occur, the people who are waiting for them might begin to interpret Lucy’s and Larry's constant lateness as laziness, disorganization, a show of apathy, or a power play.

Although you might intuitively notice different ways of perceiving time, there is a scientific explanation for the differences in how people handle time use. Anthropologist Edward T. Hall, after substantial international travel, identified two different types of time sense: monochronic vs. polychronic.

  • Do one thing at a time.
  • View time commitments as critical.
  • Are committed to jobs (projects and tasks).
  • Adhere religiously to plans.

  • Do many things at once and are highly distractible.
  • View time commitments as objectives.
  • Are committed to people and relationships.
  • Change plans often.
  • Base promptness on the significance of the relationship.
  • Have a strong tendency to build lifelong relationships.

No wonder that the time issue creates such tension! In the U.S. we’re in a very monochronic society, with every moment scheduled, such that even the most time sensitive have to hop to in order to meet our commitments. The society is mobile, and often the focus is on tasks rather than relationships. Businesspersons, students, even retired individuals are guided (or ruled) by clocks and calendars.
As individuals, Americans are not exclusively monochronic or polychronic – one person might be at any spot on a continuum in between the two extremes. But if a person has polychronic tendencies it’s typically played out in the transition from one activity to another. Coach Martha Beck suggests a coping strategy in what she calls “The Art of the Dismount:”  If you are a polychrone who is constantly late, and it's a problem for you or other people who are important to you, here are some ideas:

  1. Accept transition trauma - Sometimes it is hard to think about letting go of the activity right in front of you to switch to another, especially if the current activity is interesting and absorbing. It might not feel good to stop, but regardless of how it feels it might be necessary.
  2. Plan your dismount backward - Start with the time that you know you have to arrive, then work back from there. How long is the walk there from your car, and before that, how long is your drive? How long will your personal preparation be before you can hop into the car? So by when do you have to log off of your Facebook account?
  3. Say goodbye before you say hello - Determine ahead of time what you are going to say when it is time to leave. You might need to say it in a few different ways before you take off. If you are concerned about hurting feelings, it will be helpful to think it through ahead of time - you won't be as likely to procrastinate on your departure if you know how you are going to do it.
  4. Set up redundant reminders - You might need a watch alarm, a beep from your smart phone - even a staffer or family member to keep you on the path to disengagement. This thing right in front of you is hanging onto your attention, so it will likely take some extra steps to make you actually push back from your desk, stand up, and walk out the door.
  5. Give the dismount half the energy - Assume that you'll have to expend energy into developing your eventual disengagement, enough that it might be a full 50% of your total energy on the project or event in which you're involved.
Time sense is a significant way in which people are different from one another. If you are a polychrone who has to live and succeed in a monochronic world, you can use some of these adaptations to help yourself perform more effectively. If you’d like to read Martha Beck’s article, check out this link:

20 Things to Blog About

Blogging is really, really important now, because your blog can be embedded easily into other places, such as on-line communities, Facebook pages, and even iPhone apps. So if you're not blogging yet, I hope this article convinces you that it's easy to do. I'm going to share here 20 things you can blog about, with some examples from my own blog. I hope this convinces you that it's easy to blog, and you should never run out of things to write about.

1. Report on current affairs and news

One of the easiest and most obvious options: Simply link to an on-line news story, and add a paragraph or two of your commentary to it.

2. Summarise the latest research

Take some in-depth research from your area of expertise, and summarise it in a form that's relevant and meaningful to your market.

3. Share stories from your life

Differencemakers are always finding ways to work in anecdotes from their life into their presentations. There's no reason you can't do the same thing with your blog.

Example: Creating the dinosaur experience

4. Rant!

Express an opinion! You don't have to be rude and obnoxious, but your blog is the place where your personality comes through. So be direct, forthright and don't sit on the fence (You are a differencemaker, aren't you?)

Example: Differencemakers make a difference

5. Review a book you've read

If you've read a good book recently, write a brief book review on your blog. Again, your purpose is to help your blog readers, so they can decide whether or not to read the book themselves.

Example: The Dip, by Seth Godin

6. Promote a product or service

If you regularly publish high-value content, your blog readers won't mind the occasional promotional blog post. In fact, they almost expect it. If you can tie in the promotional stuff to some content (for example, a high-content blog post that ends with a link to the product), so much the better.

Example: The Seven Biggest Mistakes Business Owners Make With Their Web Sites

7. Announce something new

Use your blog to make announcements - whether they are new products, new services, new staff joining your team, success stories from a client, and so on.

Example: Are you on their iPhones?

8. Refer to other experts in the field

Everything you write doesn't have to be original content. In fact, it's quite common for bloggers to refer to other Web sites - and in particular, to other bloggers. It's a great way to provide value to your readers, and also encourages other Web sites to link back to you.

Example: How to Enthrall an Audience Like Steve Jobs

9. Copy other people's material

In some cases, you can even use other people's material directly, without having to link to it. Of course, this only applies if you have explicit permission to do so!

10. Profile a client or customer

Use your blog to write a profile, case study or success story about a client or customer. You could even ask them to answer, say, three questions, and post this as an interview on your blog.

11. Share a positive testimonial

When clients say nice things about you, get their permission to use that as a testimonial, and then post it to your blog. Again, as long as you don't do this all the time, your blog readers won't mind this occasional self-promotion.

12. Record an audio clip

Some people find it easier to record audio than to write. I don't - I find it much easier to write than to record. But I know some people who think nothing of pulling out a voice recorder, iPod or iPhone and recording a brief audio clip, which they can then publish to their blog. It doesn't have to be CD quality, either - as long as it's not scratchy or difficult to understand.

13. Record a video clip

The next step is video, and again I know some people who find it a breeze to record a video clip of themselves, with a short, sharp message they can then publish to their blog.

Example: Expect More: Inspiration to keep going

14. Insert a YouTube video

You don't even have to record the video clip yourself. YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler and other video-sharing sites make it easy for you to embed their video clips into your blog.

Example: Three stories of brand reputations spoiled online

15. Recommend a Web site

Find a Web site you like, that your readers might find useful as well? Write a brief review of it on your blog, along with a link to the site.

Example: File your documents and clippings with Evernote

16. Answer a frequently asked question

I bet your e-mail program's "Sent Mail" folder has some gems of information you've shared with somebody, in answer to a question they asked you. Why limit this to just one person? Many of these answers you write could easily apply to lots of people, with a bit of editing to hide confidential details and put it in context. This is great source material for blog posts. In fact, every week I go through my Sent Mail folder looking for just such material.

Example: How to reach people who don't know they need you

17. Jot down a half-formed idea

Blog posts don't have to be long, structured articles - as you would do for a newsletter, magazine or even an article on your Web site. It's OK to just jot down a few notes, as long as they make sense.

Example: Give value, get business

18. Publish your podcast posts

You might have a podcast that people subscribe to, so they receive your episodes automatically. To reach even more people, publish each episode on your blog as well, so that non-subscribers (to the podcast) can stumble across it.

Example: Google vs Beijing: More to this than meets the eye

19. Share a PowerPoint presentation

Create a message as a PowerPoint presentation, and then use SlideShare.net to publish it to the Internet. You can then embed this into a blog post, just as you would do with a YouTube video.

Example: Personal Productivity and Time Management 2.0

20. Announce a coming event

Use your blog to announce your coming events. You probably promote them everywhere else as well - such as your Web site, your e-mail newsletter, your Twitter feed, etc. - so why not post them on your blog as well.

Whew - that's just for starters!

There are many other things you could blog about, but these 20 should give you enough for starters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

7 tips for when you have lost your mojo

Do you feel like you have lost your spark? Perhaps things aren’t quite going your way. Or you find yourself going through the motions but deep inside are feeling lost and directionless? Or perhaps you have gone through some significant life events and your life as you have known it has changed forever? The old is gone but the new isn’t entirely clear. You have more questions than answers, if you are even clear about what these questions are. It’s quite normal during such times to feel despondent, doubting of your own self and your abilities and experience feelings of anxiety and or unworthiness.

Well – the good news is that this is a very natural part of the evolving human journey. Everything changes and nothing stays the same. Life does what it does and sometimes we get served circumstances way beyond our control. And even if within our control, we make choices and decisions which take us down a path that hindsight suggests we could perhaps have made other “better” choices. However, as the great philosophers have said – what is is. We can’t undo what has happened but we can start afresh.

Here are 7 tips to finding your mojo and to get your groove back ( not in any particular order)

1) Accept where you are right now. There is power in acknowledging the truth of your situation as is. By acknowledging and accepting, you can move forward. Give yourself permission to really feel the feelings. The more you fight, the longer it takes to get back on track.

2) If possible – take time out for yourself. Our life has its own rhythm – sometimes there is high activity and demand, other times there is a lull. As a client put it, “outside there is summer but I feel stuck like I am in the winter of my life.” This reflective time can connect you with what really matters to you. Our sense of meaning, purpose and relevance change with the different phases of our lives.

3) Re-visit the big picture – what do you really want out of your life now? How do you want to be living? What about your job and relationships? If you could have all that you wanted – what would this list or picture include?

4) Re-connect with your sources of inspiration. What are the small and big things that energise you? What gives you a sense of connection? How about meaning? Or purpose? Brainstorm and or list these. Choose to do something from these identified activities every day.

5) Enjoy dreaming, creating and planning. Capture these thoughts, ideas, images, symbols or pictures in a diary or vision board. Externalize it if you can. If you could have things your way, how would it look, feel and be? Try and experience these feelings now.

6) Find support with close friends and trusted others you can talk at the heart level. Ask them to remind you of what they see as your gifts, talents and abilities. Try to connect with that which is your biggest strength and the unique value and gift you bring to others.

7) Appreciate – focus on all the things that are good and working well in your life right now. Things that you are grateful for. Give yourself time for the new to evolve. Know and trust that you will be okay!

Before long, you will find yourself back in the groove with a renewed perspective and greater compassion for yourself and others. Challenging times grow and stretch our resilience and like everything else in life- it too passes! Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

Jasbindar Singh is a coaching psychologist and author of “Get your groove back.”

Changing what's normal do it yourself program

All human beings have aspirations. Most people do not achieve them. In my view this is because most of us do not feel we are worthy of achieving what we aspire to.

Three of our greatest aspirations are to be loved, valued, and fulfilled.

My changing what's normal do it yourself program explores 15 ways for you be loved, valued, and fulfilled.

You receive my book and 24/7 access to the companion web page that contains downloadable files, references, links, tools, tips, techniques, templates.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

Monday, May 16, 2011

If you want to provide great service, exceed expectations!

People expect good service. Period. Often, their expectations are not met. Too often. Just think about your own experiences as a customer. How often are your expectations met? How often are they exceeded? 

Customers expect their expectations to be met. You expect your pay to arrive when it is due. You expect your food to be delivered as ordered within a reasonable timeframe and at the appropriate temperature when you order food at a restaurant or cafe. You expect finance reports to be delivered and inclusive of all appropriate information as scheduled. You expect to be treated as a human being when you visit a government agency, education institution or medical facility. 

In order to be able to consistently meet expectations, your organisation must aim to exceed expectations. It is likely that there will nearly always be a lag between when you last checked the expectations of those you serve and the actual service that you are providing them. The lag time may include a change in the level of expectations of those you serve. 

Unless you are aiming to exceed the expectations at the level that you understand them to be, you may not achieve a consistent level of meeting the expectations that you do know exist. This never-ending journey means that exceeding expectations is a challenge. A real challenge. A challenge worthy of your commitment. Is your organisation currently worthy of your commitment?
Copyright Gary Ryan 2011
 “Consistently exceeding the expectations of the customer, personalizing his or her service experience, and continuously improving your product or service so that it creates greater value for the customer produces a level of customer loyalty that cannot be matched by your competitor.” 
Theo Gilbert-Jamison, service excellence expert/author

Gary Ryan
Organisations That Matter
Providing services and resources to Senior and Developing Leaders who believe that people matter!
Connect with Gary on LinkedIn

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Be a hero in your own home first

Be a hero in your own home first is insight 26 of 58 insights I share in my book Changing What’s Normal which is available now for the special pre-release price of just $30 plus postage and handling. This offer is available until 17th June with delivery on or before 6th July 2011.

My book and 24/7 access to the companion web page that contains links, downloads, tools, tips, templates, & techniques for your contemplation, and to help you take action in your own way, is a Do It Yourself Change Program.

The format for my sharing of each insight in my book begins with my view of what’s normal, some insights into changing what’s normal, and then an action/s section which includes where appropriate a link to the companion web page.

Find out more here.

Be a hero in your own home first


There is conflict for most people between work and home life and never the twain shall meet and one is seen as a means for success in the other.

Changing what’s normal

The first place we must collaborate in is own own homes.

One day at the peak of my corporate career in 1989 when I was working over 100 hours and mostly 7 days a week, I decided on one particular day to arrive home early. I had picked up a new company car on this particular day, the first I had driven with electric windows.

On the way home I played with the new windows and began to reflect on my life. It’s fair to say that by the time I arrived home I had a big head thinking how well I had done from poor beginnings and on how well I was providing for my wife and two children.

With a beaming smile I got out of my new shining car to greet my wife who was standing at the top of the stairs. Right of the bat she said: We need to talk. Now what does that mean male readers?!

She then said: Your children do not know who their father is. And after a long pause she said: I’m starting to wonder as well.

You see I was a hero in my own mind yet not in the hearts and minds of the people who mattered the most to me.

A few days later my daughter came into my study and asked:
Hey Dad, Do you want to get a video?
I will never forget the look on her face when I said: Yes. Let’s go.
Previously I would have told her to get lost or can’t you see I’m busy!

The videos we rented that day were the two part, Anne of Green Cables.

At a certain point in the first part I began to cry. The first time my daughter had ever seen me cry. I was raised that real men don’t cry and had hidden my emotions until that day. Real men do cry.

I changed what was normal for me from that day forward and it has made an incredible difference to the lives of my family and many other people as I have shared this experience worldwide.

It’s not what the world holds for you.
It is what you bring to it.

Anne of Green Cables

In my book each insight is followed by a Action/s section.

You can download this insight and two more here.

Details of my very special pre-release offer are here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Second hand information and decision making

We tend, wisely, to take less account of information that comes to us from a distance than information which is relayed to us from a trusted and reliable first hand source. Unfortunately information from distance sources can get distorted in its travels and by the time it gets to our source may have been distorted dramatically. If we think that this information is coming directly from our first hand source then we may not be alert to the possible distortions in the information.

The distortions are not necessarily because of evil intentions of individuals in the link but the nature of how normal humans relay information. We all tend to make distortions to information for a variety of very sensible reasons:

A good story is always important for communicating information. We tend to take the gist of the message (as we perceive it) and relay only the gist as that is more concise. Because of this we also tend to drop a lot of the details, some of which may have been caveats to the validity of the information.

We tend to make distortions to the information for informativeness (by dropping qualifications) and entertainment value (it happened to us, it happened to a friend of mine etc.).

We make distortions out of self interest. A good story reflects well on us.

We make distortions due to plausibility. If something seems likely to have happened then we may portray it as actually happening.

Of course the more links in the chain that the information travels the more of all these types of distortions are likely to occur.

So to summarise we tend to distrust information that comes to us from a distance but may be fooled into believing erroneous information because it appears to come from a close and trustworthy source. Consider what they original source of the information was, trust facts and distrust projections.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nestlé Prize for Creating Shared Value

As my regular readers know creating shared value is the fundamental business growth model I follow and help my clients to follow.

In The Responsible Business Group of Ethical Corporation on LinkedIn I put the question Will CSV supersede CSR? a fascinating conversation has followed and one participant referred me to the Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value that is awarded in alternate years to an individual, a non-government organisation (NGO) or a small business to reward an outstanding innovation or project in the area of water, nutrition or rural development.

I would be very interested to know if you know of any other organisations who are making a difference in this way or similar. Please let me know.

You can find our more about the Nestlé prize here.

And you can join in the LinkedIn discussion here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

If you have a deep hunger to:

make a real difference
leave a legacy
do something pioneering, breathtaking, and truly innovative
do well by doing good i.e. thrive in your business and solve a problem in your world at the same time
then please review all the details here of my year of changing what's normal leadership development program.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Beware of Imitations

One of my favourite words is “fungible”. It refers to something that is a commodity; interchangeable with others in its category. When something is regarded as a commodity, people will buy the cheapest they can find.

If you are fungible, you could easily be replaced by another person in your category. If you want to make a difference in the world, you should be proud of what makes you different.

However, we often feel pressure to conform and be like others. We imitate what we see as a “model” of success. My background is in Law, and these are some of my experiences. Have you experienced something similar in your field of work?

My first job in legal practice was with a sole practitioner, working on debt recovery litigation. Being a very eager young achiever, I dutifully followed his methods. I imitated his uncompromising approach to litigation, the tone of his letters and the way he spoke to the clients. I was a 22 year old female imitating a 43 year old man. The clients must have thought I was very strange.

Later, I worked for a lawyer who achieved great success by escalating the litigation, almost as a sport. I followed his approach for a while, until I found a way that worked better for me. But meanwhile, I developed the inscrutable “poker face” of the negotiator, which made me seem uptight, bland and humourless. I’m sure that wasn’t very attractive to the clients.

When I trained Law graduates in legal practice skills, I noticed the students’ tendency to imitate what they saw as good lawyer technique. In their written work they relied on legalistic words and phrases, instead of using their own words. During negotiation and trial advocacy classes they seemed to be imitating someone else’s stance, posture and tone of voice. It’s so easy to absorb and adopt other people’s ways of behaving, without even realizing it.

When interviewing lawyers for jobs, I noticed that they often behaved as they thought I wanted them to behave. Perched stiffly on the edge of the chair, a fixed smile, very guarded in their speech, they would respond to my questions by reciting prepared speeches. This concerned me greatly. If they hid their personality, how could an employer assess what they would be like to work with? In my career mentoring work I encourage interviewees to relax a little, and show something of themselves to the interviewer.

Beware of imitations! It’s good to learn from those who are more experienced, but don’t lose what is distinctive about you. Imitating the behaviours of others can appear inauthentic. Clients sense that you are putting up a façade; that you are not showing your real self, and this causes discomfort - even if your intention is behave in the "correct" way. Your personality is a unique asset.

Aspire to be of unique value. You can best make a difference by being you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Power of Words

This is the most powerful 1 minute and 48 seconds I have seen about making a difference.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

If you have a deep hunger to:

make a real difference
leave a legacy
do something pioneering, breathtaking, and truly innovative
do well by doing good i.e. thrive in your business and solve a problem in your world at the same time
then please review all the details here of my year of changing what's normal leadership development program.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Donating overseas is a vexing issue and today, even more so.

By Phil Hayes-St Clair
Executive Chairman, HSC & Company - Philanthropy and Community Investment Advisors.

I was asked to write this article before the devastating events in Japan took place. In light of the enormity of that disaster my original message hasnʼt changed.

I am naturally intrigued by the ever-changing landscape of international policy and social issues. In my corporate life I keenly observe systems and markets with a view to help steer companies to a position of competitive advantage. As a philanthropy advisor I use the same skills to keep a close eye on the reactions that people have to humanitarian crisis and see, more often than not, a disturbing cycle of habit and history repeating itself.

Advising HSC & Companyʼs clients on overseas donation and social investment have revealed two clear camps. The first is the ʻI get better bang for buck when donating overseas than domesticallyʼ camp. The second is the ʻI donʼt know how much actually ever gets to where I want it to goʼ camp. Is there a middle ground? The answer is YES but what you find there is a myriad of complexity and difficult-to-answer questions that usually encourages people to do one of three things: Go back to the camp they came from; quickly adopt the philosophy of the other camp; or say ʻforget it, too hardʼ and look to engage in domestic social issues.

These are all (semi-) rational behaviours but what about the deep sadness and gut wrenching emotion we all feel when we see images of people who are themselves heartbroken by a large scale and ferociously sudden natural disaster that claims their family, their friends or their livelihood. What then? Well you reach for a mobile phone or laptop and donate, right?


Read the full article here

Gender Versus Leadership and Management

I was recently asked by Friday Magazine out of Dubai about the differences I saw in leadership and management issues today and their relationship to gender. Here is what I said…

Leaders and managers are totally different in my view. Most today perceive the two as being the same as it is what the western culture has created over time. For example to become a business person one usually is encouraged to get an MBA degree which is learning how to administer and/or manage. We have also confused over time the concepts of leadership with those of being successful at achieving certain things… position, money, status etc. Whenever people today say they are going to bring leaders together, they look to certain positions and invite whomever has that position at that moment in time… mayors, politicians, business executives, etc. We have been taught to think of leaders as those who are winners or those who have successfully obtained what they were after.

Leadership is much different than that. Leadership is finding who one is (core values), knowing one’s purpose and making choices in every moment that are aligned with those values and that purpose. Leadership is being who one was born to be and finding a way to create that dream that is within each of us. Leadership is helping others lead from their values and purpose so that they can be and create their own dream. Leadership is helping people who share common purposes and dreams create a life that has meaning and that makes a true difference in the world. Leadership is leading WITH people in such a way that together, people build things that others thought to be impossible because they believe they can and because they are deeply committed to their efforts, actions, values and purpose. Leadership is helping people create the impossible out of nothing if need be because believe they can and choose to.

As far as gender, I believe in the bigger (macro) picture there is no difference in their ability to both lead and/or manage. They both are capable of getting from point A to point B. What many do not understand is that there is no one formula that is the correct way of getting from one point to another. Men and women may use different routes, different talents or different processes to get to another point in the distance but there is no question they can both get there.

Yet, in the micro picture of gender many things have created a perception that one gender is better at managing than another. Religion has had much to do with this. Cultural norms have had a lot to do with this. The willingness of so many to turn a blind eye when gender violence and rights are trampled upon has played a role in this. It is in this micro world where people have been trained to think in a particular way about men and women in regard to managing and leading. And yet, even with all of the pressures keeping women from having positions of authority in policy-making areas, there has been a steady movement forward into leveling the playing field over the centuries. In time I believe the world will look upon men and women as being brilliant managers and leaders… in other words the perceptions will change in time. They will change because deep within us we know that though there are differences between gender, the ability to manage and lead is not one of them.

I work with men and women to help them realize their own true potential, to see each others potential and to guide them in their understanding of what leadership truly is versus the roles of managing and administering. Everyone is a born a leader as everyone has the ability to lead themselves to be who they were born to be. Yet this is very hard work and in the end, not everyone will choose to lead and be who they were born to be. Yet for those that do, they will find great power from within themselves that has been their from the moment of their creation, they will find great meaning and fulfillment in their everyday lives no matter what their social-economic position in life, they will find that the impact of their choices will make a difference in the world, and they will by their example and choices, help others be all they can be as well. And when people choose to create together that which they share in common in passion and purpose, miracles will happen. Those who understand this will be the leaders the world needs… and it could be any of us and hopefully, all of us.

If you wish to know more or start your own personal leadership journey to find more meaning in your life contact me at: David@leaderdevelopmentgroup.com Making a meaningful difference is just a choice away… David

Friday, May 6, 2011

Classical decision making techniques: PEST


“Complexity is the decadence of society; simplicity is the path of reality and salvation.”

Egyptian Proverb

This technique helps to identify the effects and consequences of external factors on a decision. It looks at the following influences:

  • Political

  • Economic

  • Social

  • Technological


These are factors related to how much the government intervenes in the economy. Examples include taxation, employment law, international trade etc. You need to also consider political stability and the effects of a change of government in this influence.


hese are factors related to the economy including interest rates, inflation, employment levels etc.


Includes factors such as population growth, the age distribution of the population and socially acceptable and unacceptable behaviours.


Includes technological trends, computerisation, automation etc.

using the technique

The simplest way to use this is to draw four boxes on a piece of paper and label them and then populate the boxes with as many effects and consequences of the decision that you can think of. The resulting lists will help with deciding whether the decision is a good one or not.

extending the model (pestel)

The model is commonly extended to include another two factors:


These are factors such as climate, climate change, weather etc.


Factors related to legislation in a specific country of operation such as the law relating to discrimination, health and safely, employment etc.

extending the model further

The model can be extended further to include Education and Demographics (the steepled model) or in fact in any other way that you might find useful. In most cases though a relatively simple four or six factor model is all that is needed. Adding further factors tends to cause some overlap between influences and can cause some confusion about which box to put an individual factor in.

making your decision

This technique can be used as a decision making technique in its own right. The usual way is to look at the output of the technique and decide on the individual factors that most affect your decision. Considering these will usually make the correct decision more obvious.

This technique can also be used in conjunction with a swot analysis, helping to populate the 'opportunities' and 'threats' boxes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Writing Makes a Comeback!

There’s no doubt video has been the hot on-line medium for the past few years - so much so that YouTube is now the world’s second-biggest search engine. But right now we're seeing a resurgence of (gasp!) the written word.

There are four reasons why ...

1. Content marketing

Smart businesses know they need to become trusted advisers, not pushy salespeople. And they can’t do this just by being friends on Facebook, tweeting regularly and connecting on LinkedIn. They need to create valuable content as well, and it’s easier to do this in blog posts, articles, e-books and special reports than to create video (Actually, creating high-content video is easy, but there’s a perception that it’s not).

2. Re-imagining content

The word "re-imagining" comes from the book "Content Rules", by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. The point is, there’s so much existing text material that is just so easy to publish - for example:
  • a printed book that can be delivered as an e-book
  • a series of articles that can be combined into a special report
  • a blog that can be published as a book
  • old newsletters that can be published in your blog
  • a chapter of your book that can be published as a special report

3. Consumer technology

E-readers have finally come of age (for example, Amazon.com recently sold more e-book than print versions of its top-selling titles). Amazon.com is leading the way with the Kindle (and their Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC, - i.e. everywhere), but there are others as well.

And it’s not just about e-books; it’s also about ease of reading other written content - e.g. blog posts using Google Reader or Read It Later. Fast Company magazine wrote recently about how tablets have increased reading among consumers.

4. Distribution

Fourthly, we now have solid ways to connect content producers with content consumers - for example, Amazon.com, the iTunes Store, the Android Market. This means it's easier for consumers to buy stuff, which helps producers make money, which of course encourages them to produce more content.

This is great news for us!

The good news is that the resurgence of reading is perfect for most of us as Differencemakers ... if we take advantage of it.

The even better news is that you don't have to write a lot of new material!

Of course, you can produce new material if you wish. But you don't have to. Just have a look around your hard drives for material that you can take and re-use - for example:
  • Half-written book chapters in that book you never got around to completing
  • Full book chapters you've written for that book you did publish
  • Articles you've written for industry magazines, printed newsletters, etc.
  • Old e-mail newsletters you've sent in the past
  • Tip sheets, booklets, handouts and other bits and pieces of content you've used in the past
Now just take that material and "re-imagine" it (to use Handley and Chapman's word) as an e-zine article, blog post or special report.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Networking with purpose - introducing Networlding

Networking is normally seen as a necessary evil by most people and is undertaken grudgingly because it is seen as a have to do particularly by business people in order to stay in touch, be seen, and possibly extend or uncover business opportunities.

Changing what’s normal

Two years ago I was introduced to the concept of Networlding and participated in a webinar presented by founder Melissa Giovagnoli.

I was immediately taken by the differences between networlding and traditional networking and soon began to practice them. The results astounded me. So much so that I became the Ambassador to Australia for Networlding and earlier this year presented the first classes in Australia to inspire other people to engage in the practice.


Goal based
Undisciplined effort
Often one-sided
Opportunity specific
Two dimensional


Values based
Leveraged effort
Long term
Mutually beneficial
Opportunity expansive

Networlding is not about the number of connections you have on LinkedIn, the number of followers you have on Twitter, or the legion of fans you have Facebook, nor the size of your business card collection – it is about the quality of the connections you have and develop.

Networlding is a powerful concept to embrace because it involves ensuring a values match with people before you pursue a business relationship; and once such a values match is confirmed, relationships are only pursued with people who meet the following criteria:

1. Have a wide variety of connections
2. Are observant of people and environment
3. Have a talent for staying in touch
4. Are outwardly focused
5. Are sensitive to other’s needs
6. Have access to different information
7. Have a natural talent for helping
8. Are focused on diversity
9. Are spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally balanced
10. Are influencers to a broad base

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favourite books about change and how change can happen quickly. Malcolm refers to three kinds of people who are critical to the spreading of a story, an idea, anything; Mavens, Connectors, and Salespeople.

Mavens are people in the know and across the details of things.

Connectors are people with a special gift for bringing people together and are also gifted at spreading the word.

Salespeople are people are persuaders, influencers, and inspirers.

How many Mavens, Connectors, and Salespeople do you know?
And more importantly how many people know you as a Maven, Connector, or Salesperson, or all three?

After reading The Tipping Point when it first came out I immediately caste a critical eye over all my connections to see how many of these kinds of people I knew and began to focus on pursuing relationships of mutual reward with such people. I also closely reviewed all my business relationships where I thought people would see me as Maven, Connector, Salesperson, or all three, and began to strengthen my ties with these people.

When I first embraced Networlding I was shocked that with many of the Mavens, Connectors, and Salespeople I knew there, and with many people who knew me as having the skills, there wasn’t a values match, and when there was, very few people met the 10 criteria stated above.

Since then I have began to build relationships of mutual reward with vastly different people to the past and the results have taken my breath away.

Possible actions:

As I write there are Networlding Circles In Australia, United Kingdom, and United States of America. Melissa is very keen to expand these to everywhere. Get in touch with Melissa.

At very least buy Melissa’s books and learn to Networld yourself. You will be amazed at how it will help you to change what’s normal.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Founder Differencemakers Community

If you have a deep hunger to:

make a real difference
leave a legacy
do something pioneering, breathtaking, and truly innovative
do well by doing good i.e. thrive in your business and solve a problem in your world at the same time
then please review all the details here of my year of changing what's normal leadership development program.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Influence NOT included

"There is no greater agony than bearing an UNTOLD STORY inside you." ~ Maya Angelou

View more presentations from Kwai Yu
Businesses are told that they must come up with unique selling points (USP) to differentiate their business from the competition. Sadly, in the 21st century, so called USPs are actually turning into Common Selling Points (CSPs). For example, how many businesses have you come across that have USP along the lines of:

  • Our service is delivered with care and precision .... yields amazing results
  • We ensure your experience is incomparable, unequalled and unique
  • We are passionate about ....
  • We are dedicated to providing quality service ...
  • We are honest, friendly and reliable ....

Let's be honest, isn't that what every business would say (and must say) about their product and service offering. The problem is, these Common Selling Points doesn't tell the stories about you or your business. More importantly, these CSPs come with the label INFLUENCE NOT INCLUDED.

Is Storytelling Influence-in-Disguise? (Part 1)

"These days you can't own your own market; but you CAN own your story."

(Michael Margolis, Author of ‘Believe Me’).

You can think about story (in a business context) in a number of ways, for example:

  • Your basic elevator pitch (the response to “Hi, what do you do?”).
  • Anecdotes with a message or moral.
  • The wider meaning of your brand, vision or cause.

In this piece I’m going to explore the power of story and storytelling in these and other senses. My aim is to demonstrate how, far from being a fluffy topic with no place in the boardroom, stories lie at the heart of our ability to influence others.

First Impressions – making an impact

I once went to 3 networking events in a single day – and that’s too many! Two friends of mine who were similarly ‘over-networked’ joined me at the third event and agreed to play a game – we would pretend to be something we were not! We adopted false business identities: one was a dolphin trainer, the other ran a funeral parlour and I was a paranormal investigator. We kept up the pretence for about half an hour before retiring to the bar, but I do recall my first encounter with someone (using my new identity). He asked what I did, I explained I was a paranormal investigator and he replied, “Oh right, where are you based?”

Now to my mind, that kind of response indicated that he really wasn’t listening! And it reminded me how de-sensitized people get in the networking arena because they listen day-in day-out to bland, vanilla-style elevator pitches. But you can hardly blame them for not listening properly to, “Hi, I’m Geoff and I’m the owner of XYZ web design company and we’ve been in business for”…zzzzzzzzz

So I encourage clients to develop more of a Marmite pitch, something that will trigger a reaction (“no thanks, not for me”….or “Wow, that’s amazing!”). It’s refreshing to find someone who knows their own story and puts it across compellingly, someone on a mission, someone who sees their business as a cause. So as a simple exercise, ask yourself TWO questions:

  1. What’s the wrong you’ve set out to right?
  2. WHY do you do what you do?

Get these 2 points across when you deliver a 60 second summary and you’re less likely to the get the vanilla response!

The power of the anecdote
We're always told we need a Unique Selling Point, but what people normally communicate is a CSP - Common Selling Point! "We're No.1 for Customer Service...We're a client-focused organisation...We believe our People are our best asset." Oh yeah? Join the queue!

But explain how you delivered a kitchen to a client who lived in an inaccessible location (hemmed in by trees and water) on a BARGE, by lowering the units one by one from a bridge and sailing it there...now THAT's what I call customer service! (true John Lewis story).

The benefits of a great customer service anecdote like this are:

The listener can make their own mind up about your attitudes towards service (the story PROVES it - you're not asking people to take your word for it – it’s ‘values-in-a-packet’).

It's memorable and will get passed on.

It’s more enjoyable to listen to, so you’re a more engaging networking partner!

It’s truly UNIQUE (U-sp) because YOU’RE in the story!

The art of persuasion – getting emotional buy-in

When you’re conversing with co-workers, customers or investors, the richness and meaning of your story is what people really buy. Everybody thinks it’s the return on investment that you’re selling…but it’s really the story about ROI that an investor takes away.

(Tom Durel - Former CEO, Oceania: from ‘Believe Me’ by M.Margolis)

If you’re seeking to influence others with your message, you have 2 options:

Present a logical argument, using detailed PowerPoint slides and conventional business-language. “Here’s the problem, this is what we need to do to fix it…buy now!”

But as Robert McKee points out (Harvard Business Review, June 2003), there are two PROBLEMS with rhetoric. “First, the people you're talking to have their own set of authorities, statistics, and experiences. While you're trying to persuade them, they are arguing with you in their heads. Second, if you do succeed in persuading them, you've done so only on an intellectual basis. That's not good enough, because people are not inspired to act by reason alone.”

“The other way to persuade people—and ultimately a much more powerful way—is by uniting an idea with an emotion. The best way to do that is by telling a compelling story.”

Stories engage people on an emotional level. According to Peter Gruber, CEO of the Mandalay Entertainment Group, ALL of us who seek to influence others (and we're doing that all the time) are in the emotional transportation business. In other words, we've got to transfer the passion and belief WE have in our message to our audience.

Stories are the way we make sense of the world. A well told story that we can identify with stirs emotions and, when married with the statistical/logical argument, leads to the kinds of BEHAVIOURS we’re looking to stimulate.

Selling Possibility – the Big Picture Story

Stories are also a terrific way to motivate people because they convey a sense of possibility, that, “there might be a bigger and better story for me.” We like watching Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma on Britain’s Got Talent because it reminds us that, “maybe, just maybe I could do something extraordinary.”

The same applies to a CEO who sells a terrific vision for the company. It’s a classic piece of storytelling/leadership – this is the direction we’re going in…are you ready to help us get there? Australian speaker Daniel Priestley describes this is your ‘big picture’ story. For Bill Gates it was to put a personal computer in every office and bedroom in the world. For Martin Luther King it was his “I have a dream” speech.

But on a more down to earth level, smaller companies can have a big picture story too. There’s no reason you can’t dominate your own niche and set out to change the way people think about it (although the narrower the niche the better). I love Simon Sinek’s concept of the Golden Circle – the way great leaders and companies communicate their WHY first (then their how and what). It’s their mission, their purpose or cause that gets centre stage. It attracts the right people to you – people who “believe what you believe.”

(Part 2 to follow)