Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eliminating show from your leadership and adding more value

On August 15th I began posting weekly sparkenations to my websites and here.
This weeks:
There is a saying about professional golf that goes something like “driving is for show and putting is for dough.” The folk who win golf tournaments have great short games and are not necessarily great at the big shots.

What will you eliminate this week from your leadership that is show and what will you add that other people will find really valuable?

You can read previous weekly sparkenations here.

In my Changing What's Normal book there are 58 sparkenations.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Founder Differencemakers Community
Leader Changing What's Normal Tribe


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Being comfortable and uncomfortable in our own skin - a thank you to Steve Jobs

My favourite line is by Oscar Wilde:
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

I have thought a lot about this in the past 24 hours in the light of Steve Jobs resignation as the CEO of Apple. I have never met him. I admire him because it seems to me he is comfortable in his own skin and yet at the same time he appears to me to also be uncomfortable and therefore is always pushing his own boundaries and striving to be better. I trust we haven’t seen the last of Steve Jobs and that a third comeback happens!

To be comfortable in our own skin is life’s greatest journey. It is also uncomfortable as we strive each day to be more of who we are capable of becoming, that unique, special, one-of-a-kind, each of us is.

Steve Jobs changed what's normal and will forever therefore be a hero of mine.

What are you changing that's normal, that no longer serves you and the world.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Leader Changing What's Normal Tribe


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Change is evolution and revolution

I have begun posting a short sparkenation each week on my changing what's normal site. I will also be posting them here. This post is this weeks sparkenation.

Change is evolution and revolution and usually at the same time. The trouble is we often see change as either/or rather than both/and.

What will you change this week that's both? Think small change/s. Think incremental.
Most revolutions were/are a tipping point preceded by a whole lot of small changes that in themselves were revolutionary for those who made them.

Conscious evolution starts with a conscious conversation with ourselves and then a decision to change. What are you saying to yourself? What are you doing about what you’re hearing?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Leader Changing What's Normal Tribe


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stop Chasing Traffic and Start Looking for Customers

When I ask people in my network:
"What's the biggest challenge you have about making more money from your Web site?"
by far the biggest question that comes up is, "How do I get more traffic to my web site?"

It's absolutely true that if you get more traffic, chances are you'll make more sales. But it's also true that if you were able to improve the conversion rate of the people you're already getting, then you'll also make more sales.

It's often much easier to improve the conversion rate than it is to get more visitors to the site, and it's also much more cost effective.

Most of the things related to your conversion rate have nothing to do with technology. They're mostly to do with psychology. It doesn't mean that you have to invest lots of money in having a much more slick, expensive, high tech Web site. That's not the case. It usually means that you have to change the wording on the pages of your site, which is usually a much cheaper option.

So if you've been obsessing about getting more traffic to your web site, stop! You don't have to stop completely, but also look at ways of converting the people that you've already got.

Know their mind set

When people go searching the Internet they've got a very different mindset than when they go shopping in the real world. For example, if you walk into a bookstore, chances are that you're looking to buy a book. On the Internet, when people go searching in somewhere like Google, what they're doing is generally looking for information and they may not have the mindset of buying something. This means you have to work much harder to convince them to buy your product.

This is a very important distinction, and most Web sites don't go far enough to convince people to buy. They just assume that somebody visiting a product page on their site is going to read about the product, take out their credit card and make a purchase.

That simply isn't the case most of the time. Occasionally you'll find someone who is just looking to buy, and in that case they might stumble on your Web site and buy directly from you. But that's the exception that's not the rule.

So one of the things to change quickly is to change the focus of your Web site to help people first, and sell them later.

Small changes can make a big difference

For most Web sites - especially those that have never considered conversion rate before - their conversion rates will be pretty low at the moment. The Internet marketing experts consider themselves very good if they get a 1% conversion rate. That means of every 100 people that come to the site if one person buys, they think they've done a really good job. If they get 2% then they're extremely good, and if they get 5% they're pretty much at the top of the Internet marketing field.

So don't be disheartened if you're not getting many sales at the moment, when you consider that even the experts are getting about one in every 100 to convert.

The really good thing about this is, of course, it means you've got 99 people out of 100 who are not buying every time they visit your site. If you can reduce that to just 98, you just doubled your whole conversion rate, which means that you've doubled your profits, you've doubled your sales, you've doubled everything. So if at the moment you're not getting a lot of sales that's not necessarily a bad thing. It could be the perfect opportunity!

11 Key Leadership Attributes for Restaurant Managers

Much of the following can be applied to almost any industry. In this article though I’ll use the restaurant and hospitality industry as an example, as it is one in which the lessons are particularly pertinent.


Your value to your brand as a leader in the restaurant and hospitality industry is derived from your ability to manage various metrics that contribute to excellence in service and profitability of the venue. These metrics include but are not limited to costs for food and labour, and table turnover. Staff engagement and training, and production efficiency also form part of your commercial brief.  All of these are areas you are expected to manage and monitor, and improve!


Note above that I have not said you are responsible for managing the staff, but you are responsible for staff engagement and training. Some restaurant managers believe that they are responsible for the day to day management of the personnel; however effective managers know that their brief is to manage processes and things and to lead the people in their charge. The following points offer some important traits of good leadership that every manager who seeks to improve themselves, their people and their venue should master:


1. BE STEADFASTLY COURAGOUS - A leader’s courage is based upon their knowledge of their subject matter, confidence in their abilities, and understanding of their functional role within the venue. You will find that the venue personnel will not tolerate being told what to do by a manager who does not possess self-confidence and courage. Employees are intelligent and will cease to follow such a leader, even work against a weak leader, quite rapidly.


2. ALWAYS MAINTAIN SELF-CONTROL - A restaurant manager must always be in control of his/her actions, especially in pressure filled situations. Without self-control you cannot hope to lead your staff effectively. Good self-control sets a shining example for your personnel and you will find that they will start to emulate you. This is a case of do as I say AND do as I do!


3. BE CONSISTENTLY FAIR & JUST - All employees expect to be treated fairly. If they do not have a sense that their treatment, indeed the treatment of the staff generally, is measured, fair, and just they will not pay you the respect you need to be able to lead through either difficult or good times. Good restaurants will have an operational manual and policy handbook for personnel. The policy handbook provides you with a reference guide that is known to the employees what they may expect when an infraction occurs.


The policy handbook will be helpful in maintaining consistency in respect of the consequences of unacceptable behaviours, and consistency is the key. Also remember that an effective leader must not ever play favourites. At the same time, you will forge relationships that could lead to the perception of favouritism. If the need arises to redress an infraction with someone where the perception of favouritism is likely, be on your guard to also not over react in a kind of affirmative action in an attempt to set an example that you are not playing favourites. If you do you will weaken your powerbase and circle of influence even more .


4. CLEAR AND DECISIVE DECISION MAKING - The restaurant manager who is unable to take decisions and wavers when a decision is required broadcasts to the staff that he or she is not sure of themself. Such a manager will find it challenging to obtain buy-in from his staff. Be clear, be decisive, take a decision and stick with it. You may not always make the correct decision, but you will be respected for your strength of character in taking the decision without hesitation and following through. Staff who smell weakness will quickly lose respect and an indecisive approach will lose you respect very quickly. If your motto is ‘I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure’ then be a follower and don’t aspire to leading.


5. EFFECTIVE PLANNING - You’ve probably heard the famous quote “The failure to plan is planning to fail. “. Although this is attributed to a great many people it is originally from Joe Paterno, a famous American football coach born in 1926. Any leader wishing to succeed in his role of restaurant manager must plan his work, and then work his plan. A restaurant manager who works reactively and predominantly by guesswork (most of the time delusional and calling it instinctively) without practical and definite plans, is comparable to a plane without landing gear. It will land but the result will be everything from bumpy to disastrous and fatal. Every restaurant should use systems that assist and structure the planning process.


6. OVER DELIVER ON EXPECTATIONS - A good leader will always lead by example. People don’t care as much about what you say as they care about what you do and how you go about doing it. A leader must be willing to do more than he demands of his staff if and when required. As a restaurant manager you must you be able to manage staff training on top of being able to step into and perform any of the functions in the restaurant, at least to an adequate level. This is different to some industries where the leader can remain above the operational aspects of the business but in a restaurant or hotel the leader must be able to lead by example and assist when necessary.


7. PLEASANT DEMEANOUR - Being rude and overbearing is not a quality or trait anyone should have at the best of times. As a restaurant manager this type of behaviour will contribute to your failing quite rapidly. Leadership demands respect, both of others and of you. Staff will not respect a leader who does conduct himself in a socially acceptable manner and exhibiting a pleasant personality.


8. BE FIRM BUT BE EMPATHETIC AND UNDERSTANDING - If you wish to be successful as a restaurant manager you must have empathy for your staff. How your personnel perform has a lot to do with the success of the restaurant. A leader must understand his people and their problems; if necessary he/she must also be ready to come to their rescue, for example with a difficult guest. Remember the guest is always right, except on those occasions when they are WRONG. As their leader there will be times when you must step in and defend your staff. A good leader will recognise such occasions.


9. ATTENTION TO DETAIL - The successful leader of a restaurant must pay attention to detail and more to the point have a keen eye for it. In the restaurant and hotel industry, perhaps more than any other, it is important for you (and your staff for that matter) to see the restaurant through the eyes of the guests. You as the leader also need to see the restaurant through the eyes of your staff. Remain vigilant and look for ways you can both improve the guest's experience and make the functions and roles for your staff easier to perform.


10. THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU - ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY - To be successful as a restaurant manager you must assume full responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of your staff. Do not try to move responsibility or you will very rapidly be deposed as leader either actually or effectively as you will lose the respect of the people working for you. If one of your followers does make a mistake and/or shows himself to be incompetent, as the leader you must consider how you can prevent the situation from happening again. This is of course referring to genuine mistakes and not wilful acts with malicious intent.


11. COOPERATION IS KEY- A good leader is in service of his people. You have probably heard this before but may not be quite sure what to make of it. If you think the concept is rubbish then you are probably not yet ready to lead. A successful restaurant leader understands the principle of cooperation and applies this consistently. He uses cooperation as part of his standard operating procedure and through his example causes his followers do the same willingly.


Do not confuse cooperation with weak command and control. On the contrary, a leader who is a strong commander and in control of his people will have the cooperation of his people without force. A weak leader will only ever gain cooperation begrudgingly.


In Conclusion

As a restaurant manager you should continue to invest in yourself and attend leadership training and leadership development courses. There are many great courses to take including from Dale Carnegie Institute and Franklin Covey as well as a large number of more boutique training programmes offered by exceptional individuals. Look in your city and I am sure you will find them. These course and continued education will prove invaluable to your effectiveness as a leader. If you are serious about developing yourself as a leader, whether to continue in the restaurant and hotel industry or to branch out into other industries, consider also finding yourself a good mentor and/or coach to be a guiding light and to assist you with your career path.


Although the above list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is it, it provides a solid basis on which you can successfully develop your own style of leadership as a restaurant manager that your staff will respect and follow. If you do not have the ability to lead, you will rapidly discover that there is no one following you. As my grandfather used to say, if you are leading but there nobody is following, we call that taking a hike.


I trust this has been valuable.


Paul


 

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 corporate leaders, 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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Entrepreneurs Insights into Family Office Data Base Trends

The fast growing and rapidly evolving Family Office space as a separate vertical industry is a phenomenon not to be underestimated. This article is intended to highlight some of the top trends that affect the creation, use, and expansion of Family Office data base resources. Whereas this space was hitherto below the mainstream radar, there are daily more competitors jockeying for position and for the attention of Family Offices so that they might gain access to the very large pools of concentrated wealth that these organisations manage.


Some of the top trending items within the Family Office space include:


Trend #1


Frequently more fund managers from large fund management companies and middle to large investment banks are committing to monthly or annual subscriptions to ensure they regularly receive the latest updates to their Family Office data base resources. Given the amount of money involved for these people and organisations, they clearly have prioritised the need to have the most up-to-date information possible, the instant it is available.


Trend #2


I discussed in a recent article that spamming of any kind is never a good thing, especially not with Family Office lists that you purchase. Clearly that message hasn’t yet filtered down to some hedge funds that are still making the mistake of sending spam, or mass emails, to ultra high net worth (UHNW) wealth management firms. What’s surprising is that they are still not surprised by the low rate of response they receive from their canon full of buckshot campaign. Ultimately this will only serve to hurt (what is left of) their reputation within the industry.


Trend #3


The Family Office database product has almost become a mainstream list product. It’s not quite as mainstream yet as buying a list of people who are in the market for a holiday within 12 months, but if this trend continues it will go down that route. The major difference however will remain quality. There is an increasing number of media companies and individuals who offer Family Office directories for sale on the open market. The volume is at levels never seen before. Certainly, this growth will reflect the number of ultra high net worth (UHNW) families out there but a lot of it is opportunistic and mostly not worth the pixels it is displayed on the screen with. As a result you must perform thorough due diligence before acquiring a Family Office database or list.


Trend #4


The more sophisticated hedge fund managers and private equity fund managers have turned their attention to using the contact details of multiple Family Office lists. They deploy a complex multi-modality marketing method aimed at raising more capital. The basic principle of their methodology is to send out mailings, send emails, place phone calls et al that are all sequenced strategically to maximize the response rate, and over time convert more leads to funds. I have very little doubt that more fund managers will take this up over the next few years and the practice will grow. The irony is that the concept is already outdated, and the reality is that the true innovators and early adopters within that sector of the financial services industry, which targets Family Offices, are already deploying more intelligent multi-modality marketing automation to their processes.


Trend #5


You can still find Family Office databases for less than $1,000; if you look around you may event find a couple that are worth the purchase price, or more. The simple fact is that many Family Office database sellers are increasing their prices, and that is understandable to some degree as these resources do cost a lot to maintain and keep up-to-date year-in and year-out. What can you expect to pay for a Family Office database of reasonable quality? Your budget should start somewhere around $2,000, and ultimately expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 on the top end.


Years ago it would have take the Hubble telescope connected to a super computer to find a lot of detail on the Family Office industry and identify trends or patterns in the way the industry players are interacting with the resources that are available to them. These days it is much simpler. The information is out there if you look in the right places. The question is, with this new knowledge what are you going to do?


By watching trends and changes in specific parts of the investment industry you can discover how to use Family Office databases significantly more effectively. Who knows, as a result perhaps you will be able to fund, or be at least be a part of launching, the next great discovery that serves mankind.


Kind regards


Paul




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 corporate leaders, 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.


Web: http://www.paullange.com.au

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pauljlange

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pauljlange

Ecademy: http://www.ecademy.com/user/paullange

Klout: http://www.klout.com/pauljlange

Peerindex: http://www.peerindex.net/pauljlange

Empire Avenue: http://www.empireavenue.com/pauljlange

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thriving in a low confidence-high anxiety world

Some people are describing the status quo in much of the world right now as low confidence-high anxiety and I certainly sense this. In my 20 years as a business owner I have never known it to be so tough. Much of what used to work, doesn’t work anymore. I am not in any way depressed however, rather I am excited by the possibilities and results of changing what’s normal.

Here are five of my key actions that can lead to thriving in your business no matter what seems to be status quo:

1. Concentrate on serving niches.
As my friend and colleague Gihan Perera says “Niche guys finish first.” Become the go to person for people looking for specific products and/or services that you can deliver. Two excellent books on how to do this are: 'Becoming a key person of influence' by Daniel Priestley and 'How to be that guy' by Scott Ginsberg.
What niches do you own?

2. Charge for value as perceived by buyers.
If your product and/or service is a commodity or can be commoditised it is only a matter of time before someone offers a cheaper price, therefore ensure your products/services are not seen as commodities, and leave that kind of business to the big boys (well it usually is boys!).

When people ask me what is my fee? my answer is always, that depends, because I only offer tailored packages based on a simple yet very powerful formula I learned from Alan Weiss - agree on objectives, how they will be measured, and what is the value of achieving the objectives according to the buyer. My fee depends on the value of the result of working together as determined by the buyer.
How do you get paid?

3. Control what you can and stop stressing over what you can’t


“Control the controlables” is often how this action is stated. I am in charge of my intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions. And you are in charge of yours.
How are much in control are you? And how much are you letting what you can do nothing about get the better of you?

4. Compete with yourself and only collaborate with people when you have achieved a shared view.

These are two of the 58 sparkenations in my changing what’s normal book.

If you want to change yourself, change or modify your intentions, feelings, thoughts, and/or actions, and you will soon have different and hopefully better better results.

If you want to change a relationship, change or modify how you contact, connect, establish common ground, and demonstrate commitment to the person or people and very soon your relationship will change. And if this doesn’t happen maybe you have your ladder up against the wrong wall.
How well are you competing with yourself and collaborating with others?

5. Champion causes that people in your tribes are passionate about
Champion what people in your tribes are passionate about and people will reciprocate in no time.
What tribes are you leading?
And what are the members of these tribes passionate about?
How are you helping these people to achieve what is vital to them?


The above are just 5 ways of many to thrive in a low confidence-high anxiety world.

I would be very interested in your thoughts because there are a zillion more ways to stop the status quo from strangling the life out of us by changing what’s normal. Please comment here or email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Leader Changing What's Normal Tribe


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Choose the Right Family Office Database

As I have discussed in other articles there are many different Family Office list resources to choose from. Many are quite worthless, some are very good, and a few are outstanding. I trust the following will provide you with some guidance on how to tell which family office database resources are worth your investment, if you are looking to use them to compliment your efforts to raise capital, or perhaps enhance your marketing activities, within your company.


Here are some basic criteria to watch out for when choosing a Family Office database resource:


Reject web-only resources. If you cannot export to a common spreadsheet format such as Excel or even basic CSV it will cause you a load of additional grief to be able to exploit the data. With web-only resources you lose the ability to upload the data to your customer relationship management (CRM) system. For this you will commonly need XLS(X) or CSV. Also, depending upon how solid the company is that you purchase the service from, if it is web-only you risk losing access to the data altogether in the event the vendor goes belly up without warning, or if you miss a subscription payment you will most likely find your account suspended and your access to the data is denied. For my money, why even risk it? Go with a company that provides the data for download in a common format.


Avoid companies that insist on sending you a CD or a DVD with a code that locks the use of it to one computer. Seriously, where do we find these people? This is so archaic that it should not rate a mention but I have come across a few dinosaurs like this. Information must flow freely, and frequently. CD’s & DVD’s are neither and typically anything that wants to lock use to one system can be a costly technical nightmare when you realise that this is impractical.


Always work with an organisation that displays their team publicly on their website with biographies of all of the team members; or at least the key team members. Also expect to see phone numbers, possibly email addresses, and most certainly a professional looking website. Bottom line, ask yourself whether they look like they are a real business; more specifically do they look like they are a real business that has the skills and ability to develop, maintain and update a Family Office database resource seriously?


Always consider the refund policy of each company you are evaluating. You might not expect it but the terms and conditions of refund can differ dramatically from one vendor to another.


Be quite particular and consider carefully the future update process. How will you ensure the Family Office directory you purchase today is kept up-to-date into the future? Obviously you and your team could update the list internally, but if you have chosen the right vendor, it will be much more cost effective to subscribe semi-annually, annually or bi-annually for automatic updates. Check whether your Family Office resource provider offers this service and subscribe. In reality, it isn't that you are not able to maintain and update the Family Office list yourself. It is simply that the vendor is probably better positioned to do it and if, as said, you have chosen wisely they will be expert at updating and maintaining Family Office lists. A subscription could save you and your team hundreds of hours.


I trust that you will ultimately connect with a vendor of a higher quality for your Family Office database, and when you do, and start to use it, I wish you the very best of luck in your fundraising activities.


Kind regards,


Paul



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 corporate leaders, 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.


Web: http://www.paullange.com.au

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pauljlange

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pauljlange

Ecademy: http://www.ecademy.com/user/paullange

Klout: http://www.klout.com/pauljlange

Peerindex: http://www.peerindex.net/pauljlange

Empire Avenue: http://www.empireavenue.com/pauljlange

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to Make Hotel Investments

Emerging markets such as India and China are augmenting an otherwise lack lustre global travel industry. The reality is that the upswing in recent years in the hotel industry is due mainly to travellers from these too massive regions. It should therefore not come as a surprise that hotel investment experts are excited about the trend and the potential growth it can bring with hotel owners, hotel operators and industry investors all being prompt to pounce on new acquisitions.

At the same time though, investment in the hotel industry is still plagued with all of the normal complications and commercial risk. There is always very large amount of capital at stake, and this requires meticulous planning and considerable expertise by and of the investor. Investors should upon expert opinion, and often do, before finalising a decision for an intended investment. Several points that should be considered, and indeed re-considered, prior to outlaying any investment funds in a hotel are outlined below.

Always Inspect, or Have the Property Inspected

The property may be useless for the purpose you intended upon completion of the deal; this can occur, and does occur often, despite the hotel displaying all of its best attributes during the negotiation and paper due diligence process. The most common reasons are often:

  • underground environment pollution
  • interior mould infestation, and
  • structural damage from termites and rodents.

You should only ever finalise a deal once you have completed a thorough physical investigation of the property yourself or by your trusted advisors and professional service providers. Remember though in the case of the latter they too can ‘get it wrong’ and their contracts with you will indemnify them if they do, so you are still left holding the bag. That said you should certainly engage an engineer to check for the conditions mentioned above and authenticate that the property does not present any of these problems. Such authentication will usually be something you can rely on at law and is necessary for you to be sure that the investment property complies with all building codes.

Familiarise Yourself with Your Hotel Management Company

If you are contemplating engaging a specialised hotel management firm to oversee the operations of your hotel business, reassure yourself of that company’s capabilities via several sources. Look into and consider its operational performance, and also run some cross-checks with other properties that it has under management. Look closely at and analyse its track record with regard to maximising revenues and managing expenses responsibly.

Analyse Where Your Visitors Come From

The hotel should have a good mix of visitors across various market segments including commercial, group travel, business travellers, and leisure or vacation travellers. If the hotel depends on a single segment, unless you have a very specific and focused niche you should reconsider your investment as such properties rarely do well throughout the entire year. Properties that attract visitors from across several or all segments of travellers are able to bridge slow periods in one segment with increased traffic in another.

DO NOT Depend Upon a Single Business for Your Hotel

Amazing as it seems this happens a lot. Hotels cater to a single client and when that client takes a dive, so too does the hotel. If your hotel exists to service visitors from one company, you are relying on that company’s ability to perform and grow. Frankly you would be better putting your money into the S&P500 or similar. Properties that depend upon obtaining visitors from an airport, another company, a business park, or an amusement park, can go crazy when these businesses cease to generate the income they once did, or worse they shut the doors completely.

For example, with airports, when less people travel by air and the airlines are hurting; your business will suffer the knock on. In regional areas an airport might be relocated or a new larger regional airport may be created elsewhere. Either way if your hotel is relying on traffic from the airport you will feel the pinch very quickly. Similarly if the business on which you are relying for your visitors decides to change its headquarters, or the business park starts to lose clients, or the amusement park is hit with heavy competition from a better, your business will fall. It is important that you look at your revenue sources so that if one segment hits on hard times, it does not impact you to the point of distinction and you can progress through the tough times keeping the hotel fires burning.

When is the Hotel In-Season?

Your new hotel should have an in-season of at least eight months of every year. If it doesn’t then, unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances, it simply is not an option worth your consideration. If the in-season is shorter than eight months your hotel will need to have premium rate occupancy during the in-season to cope up with annual operational costs. The in-season months should also be consecutive lest you will most likely experience lower than potential revenue.

Some Obstacles You May Face

Some markets already have extensive land allocations that are zoned for hotel development and acquiring land in these markets can be relatively simple. Subsequently, when requirements for obtaining finance are made easier through pre-zoning and pre-development approval, these markets will experience overcrowding with a large amount of competition going up around your hotel. If a market has barriers that make entry for the hospitality trade difficult, the possibility of over-population and/or overcrowding of other hotels is less likely.

In general, it will more often be preferable to invest in a market where the barriers of entry are higher than average. A word of caution though, do approach this carefully. You do not want to be the trail-blazer who did all of the hard yards at exorbitant expense to enable a market to be opened for your competitors to flock to and reap the reward of your hard labour.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid ... ‘it’ in this case are the Terms

Every investment should have an exit strategy. Hotels are no different. Always consider the eventuality that you will sell the hotel at some point in the future. Your hotel acquisition should be planned with this or some other exit strategy in mind. The Management Contract and Franchise Agreement should be designed with clauses that permit termination without having to jump through hoops. There are a number of ways you can maintain a more dynamic and flexible capability with your hotel investment. For example, assign or prepay the mortgage, buy out existing partners and use a good industry experienced chartered accountant to assist you to minimise your tax exposure.

Take Care to Choose the Brand for Your Hotel Wisely

Like with any business, how you brand your hotel will have major implications on the type of visitors you attract. In the hotel industry most people don’t invent new brands but reach an agreement with an existing brand subject to a variety of pre-conditions, quality and other control parameters. The established brands are generally safer than newer brands seeking to establish an identity and a footprint in the market. However newer brands may be more dynamic, and easier to deal with than the more established brands. Irrespective of whether you choose an established brand or one of the new kids on the block, look to the visitor demographic attracts.

  • Are the visitors to your hotel more likely to be travelling for business or leisure?
  • Is the brand better known as a business hotel or vacation lodging?
  • How does the brand fit in the area where you are considering your hotel investment?

These are just a few of the questions you should consider.

In Conclusion

The above is simply a guide to assist and is by no means a complete plan on how to ensure your hotel investment is a successful one. I do suggest that if you consider the above and take action on at least these areas before any funds change hands, you will certainly be better positioned to expect a better outcome and realise dividends from your investment.

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.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The trouble with, and the triumph of, tribes

The mob mentality that triggered the UK riots and recent stock market crashes are just two examples of the trouble produced by the cocktail of tribes and the influence and impact of the internet.

The good news is that tribes and the internet are also forces to be reckoned with for good.

Collaboration is at the core of both negative and positive consequences.


The diagram above is one simple way to represent what happens.

To illustrate:
One of the tribes I lead is the changing what’s normal tribe. You can find out more here. I build relationships with leaders of other tribes where there is a aligned purpose with why our tribes exist and therefore opportunity for collaboration is high.

One of my subscribers to this blog is Kwai Yu, the Founder of the Leaders Cafe tribe. There is much alignment with the purposes of both our tribes.

Another one of my subscribers to this blog is Maria Carlton, the Founder of the Ideas to Authority tribe. Again there is much in common with what Maria’s tribe is about and what the changing what’s normal tribe is about.

What tribes do you lead? And which leaders of tribes with an aligned purpose with your tribe are you building relationships with?

Such relationships lead to further relationships with leaders of tribes online and in person. Out of all these relationships emerge partnerships and through the work of such partnerships change on a massive scale takes place.

Could you be a better leader of your tribe/s?

Could you do better in building relationships with leaders of other tribes?

How many partnerships are emerging from your relationships?


I believe we can all do better. And we must. Our world needs positive change on a massive scale right now.

For the best talk I know about on Tribes check out Seth Godin’s TED talk below and get your copy of his Tribes book as well. It has a permanent place on my desk!



“Find something worth changing and assemble tribes.” Seth Godin

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Leader Changing What's Normal Tribe
Sparkenator

a sparkenation is a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SBM and B1G1 - two outstanding examples of changing what’s normal

Selective Behaviour Modelling™ (SBM)

This revolutionary innovation developed by my friend and colleague Allan Parker is about achieving mass behaviour change simultaneously in your organisation. Please watch the short video below to fully appreciate the power of SBM and download the one page overview here.



For a detailed information kit about SBM including results from organisations using it to great effect, please email me ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

And for folk in Brisbane, Allan will be speaking live about SBM as my co-presenter at my changing what's normal book launch on September 22nd. Details here.

B1G1 (Buy1Give 1)

For some time now I have been, in a small way, a part of the B1G1 family through my role as the Founder of Differencemakers Community. See here.

I began increasing my engagement yesterday. Every sale of my Changing What's Normal book, now means a child learns to read and begins to develop a lifelong learning habit. Almost 800 million people can't read. Together we are changing this appalling status quo through Room to Read, whose work in the past decade has benefited more than 5 million children. We help through my partnership with Buy1Give1.



In my book I refer to the great example of the Chairman of B1G1, Paul Dunn, The Wizard of Wow, who is a great influence on my life. I also devote one of the 58 sparkenations (a sparkenation is a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal) in my book to the concept of Generation G where the G stands for generosity.

Buy1GIVE1™ or B1G1™ matches businesses with charitable causes right around the world so that every business transaction makes a difference somehow, somewhere, every second, every day. But it doesn't just 'match' businesses with worthy causes; it does it at a level never seen before by matching every transaction in some way to a specific outcome. And it does more than that too. It adds a powerful branding and marketing 'engine' that actually builds business. And that simply means that businesses can give even more to make a difference.

"We’re not here to give in order ‘to get’. We’re here to have more to give more." says Founder Masami Sato.

More about About Buy1GIVE1 here.

I would love to know about other great examples of changing what’s normal. Please comment or email ian@changingwhatsnormal.com
I will be giving away copies of my book to people whose stories I write about.

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

Author of Changing What’s Normal

Partner of passionate and enlightened leaders in several countries since 1991, to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gap 4 - The Market - Communication Gap

If you say that you will respond to online customer feedback within 24 hours and you consistently take 48 hours to do it, then you have created a Market - Communication Gap.

The local barber who cuts my hair has two signs out the front of his barber’s shop. One sign says that the shop will be open at 8:30am. The second says 8:45am. The barber is rarely there before 9am. He has no idea how many people have looked in his window when he wasn’t open when he advertised that he would be.

My expectations are consistently not being met. One day a new barber/hairdresser will move into an empty shop in the shopping strip. What do you think I will do?

What Market - Communication Gaps are you creating?
Copyright Gary Ryan 2011
Quote from the barber
Sorry mate. I know that I said sorry the last couple of times but my car broke down and I had to wait for my wife. Sorry mate.

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is the social purpose of your business?

The Book Rapper and creator of the 1000 manifestos site Geoff McDonald says this Apple ad created by agency TBWA/Chiat/Day in 1997 is one of his all time favourite manifestos. It is one of mine too and I have the words (see below) on my office wall as a constant source of inspiration.



Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.


I typed this on my mac computer and use an apple phone so clearly I am an Apple fan. I was very interested to see a retweet yesterday by David Coethica (who writes a great corporate social responsibility blog I recommend) of a Forbes articles by Paul Klein titled Where Is Apple’s Social Purpose. You can read the full article here.

I agree with Klein’s assessment “We love Apple, but we’re hungry for its social purpose. Today being the world’s most valuable company also means being the world’s most valued company—and Apple’s got a long way to go.”

I ask How is Apple actually changing the world for the better? Absolutely they are a prime example of changing what’s normal. I ask to what end?

What is the social purpose of your business?

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

Author of Changing What’s Normal

Partner of passionate and enlightened leaders in several countries since 1991, to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Changing What's Normal Conversations

Two trends I like in professional speaking are that presenters are more and more catalysts for conversation and there is an audience expectation of the speaker to engage in conversation. I love these trends as they are a personal preference.

Conversations of meaning are a challenge for most people particularly in the age of all things digital.

Here are my top twelve tips for engaging in meaningful conversations:

1) Craft and present your messages with the receiver/s in mind

2) When sending a message be clear on what you want to happen as a result of sending your message. The more clarity you have, the clearer your message will be and therefore the better reception you will get

3) Ask the receiver/s for feedback on your message effectiveness, i.e. do they get what you intended them to? Often we think we have been understood and we haven’t been. Such misunderstanding can have devastating consequences. Feedback clarifies for us that others have got our message

4) When receiving a message focus on understanding and not on responding

5) Respond enthusiastically in genuine ways to what others share with you

6) Give feedback to the sender so that they know you got their message

7) Focus on reaching a shared view as a result of conversations. We live in three worlds; the world in here, that’s my view, the world out there, that’s your view, and the world we share, things that matter that we agree on. Ending up with a shared view should be the aim of all our conversations

8) Sometimes other people say things that conflict with our beliefs or values. Meaningful conversations are beyond beliefs and values and require an openness to changing our hearts and minds as well as acknowledging and valuing beliefs and values that are different to ours

9) Share stories other people can feel or see themselves in

10) Be spontaneous using I language and expressing how you feel

11) Take nothing others say as personal even if you feel or think it is

12) Above all, be yourself

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

Here’s to joy and success in all your conversations.

On a regular basis I host online conversations about the status quo and how we can change what's normal in order to build a better world. Each conversation is limited to a small group of people.

Several time slots are available for each particular topic. You can be notified of the available times by signing-up here. By signing up you can download a one page PDF version of the 12 tips above.

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

Author of Changing What’s Normal

Partner of passionate and enlightened leaders in several countries since 1991, to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit.

PS Don't forget I conduct free mentoring sessions on most Monday mornings. Details are here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Give Away More - It Builds Your Authority

In a recent webinar about Web sites, one of the participants asked me, "How much should I give away on my Web site?"

The answer is: A lot!

I'm surprised at how many business owners are reluctant to share information freely on their Web site. They seem to think that if they give away too much, clients won't want to hire them, and audiences will be bored because they've seen it all before.

But this is exactly the wrong sort of thinking.

Clients and audiences aren't booking you purely for your content. If you think clients won't book you because you've given away all your content on your Web site, you've got a pretty low opinion of your skill as a presenter! They aren't buying the content alone - they are buying your ability to share it with them and their people.

In fact, if you hold back content, you're more likely to face the opposite problem: Clients won't book you because they don't know enough about your content.

As Internet marketing expert Chris Brogan says:
"If you’re not blogging about your message, no one knows what you’re going to say on their stage."
If you've been in business for a long time, you might disagree with this statement. After all, you might be getting most of your work through repeat and referral business, so you don't need to convince new clients of your expertise and authority.

Even so, it would be dangerous to assume this situation will continue forever. Clients change, the world changes around them, your referral sources might choose to refer other people, and past performance is no guarantee of future success (as financial planners like to say).

So it's important that you become an authority.

An authority is not just an expert, but an acknowledged expert. More and more, this means demonstrating your expertise on-line.

When you're an authority, you leverage yourself into a position of choice with your clients - for a number of reasons:
  • You stop competing on price. Your clients choose you because of your authority, not because of your fees.
  • You deliver value. When you establish a clear and direct connection between your fee and the increased value you bring to your clients, your fee becomes an investment rather than a cost.
  • You work with your clients, not for them. Being an authority puts you in a different position in your client's mind. You'll be seen as a trusted adviser, not a pushy salesperson.
  • You solve problems rather than pushing products. When clients and prospective clients find you on-line, they are asking the question, "How can I solve problem X?", not "Where can I buy product/service Y?" Salespeople and order takers address the latter question, but authorities make the real connections, because they answer the former.

How to build your authority on-line

Don't start with social media - that's the third step in the process.

The first step is to build a high-quality Web site, which identifies your ideal site visitor and their key problems, and leads them to the solutions you offer.

But that's just for starters. Many people won't find your Web site first - they will find you on-line in other places. So build up a body of work that demonstrates your expertise and authority. In particular:
  • Publish a high-quality e-mail newsletter every week or two weeks (or every month at worst).
  • Post regularly to your blog.
  • Write high-content articles that address your market's problems, and publish them on your Web site, blog and article directories.
  • Write a special report or "white paper" discussing the key problems of your target market.
  • Create short, high-quality educational video clips and publish them to YouTube.
  • Publish a regular podcast, which is an audio newsletter.
  • Create short, high-quality educational slide shows and publish them to Slideshare.com.
Don't have time to do all of these things? That's fine. Do the first two (newsletter and blog), plus one of the others.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gardening of the heart and mind

I recently spent 3 hard days working in my garden mostly weeding out the dreaded winter weeds nicknamed sour sops. They take over everything in sight, almost overnight it seems.

This exercise, and that it was, got me thinking about how easy it is to allow weeds, meaning negative feelings and thoughts, to take over our hearts and minds.

Have you done some gardening in your heart and mind lately and removed your weeds?

I am normally very disciplined in not feeling or thinking anything negative. As I pulled out weeds, cursing at the start, I started observing that indeed some negative stuff had crept in. I resolved to be even more disciplined to not let this happen.

What emotional and thought weeds have taken over you?

And what will you do about it today?

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

Author of Changing What’s Normal

Partner of passionate and enlightened leaders in several countries since 1991, to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Human error drives the service - delivery gap

Gap 3 - The Service - Delivery Gap
Even after all the systems and processes have been created, both the automated and human elements of the system must do what they are supposed to do. System errors or breakdowns and humans not doing what they are supposed to do can create immediate service gaps. No system or human is perfect or infallible. As such your organisation must continulayy focus on minimising system and human errors. In addition, know what you will do if a Service Delivery Gap does occur. 

A local small business operator has a sign on his door that he will open at 8am. His staff are never there by 8am despite being employed to be there at that time. Consistently being late on a personal level creates a service delivery gap for an organisation.

What are your service-delivery gaps?


Copyright Gary Ryan 2011
Research Participant
Ultimately your staff have to do the right thing. It’s important to have the best systems and processes that you can, but ultimately your staff have to do the right thing. They have to properly implement what they are supposed to do.

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

Monday, August 1, 2011

Decision Making: Handling Information


Our brains have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to help us survive and to that end they are highly effective decision making instruments. However in modern day situations, and especially in business, these mechanisms for decision making may not be the best. So rather than spending time on developing sophisticated decision making strategies it is bound to be useful to understand some of the mechanisms that our brains have developed to make decisions. By understanding these mechanisms we can become sensitised to their shortcomings and so develop approaches to counteract these shortcomings and thus make better decisions.




The way we process information is critical to our decision making. Unfortunately we do not always process this information correctly. We do not always see what is actually there. If we are basing our decisions on correct information which we have processed incorrectly this will obviously lead to faulty decisions.



We tend to see what we expect to see. Have a look at the following diagram. Which square looks darker, A or B?

















The vast majority of people think that square B is lighter than square A. However if we draw some uniform grey bars on the diagram we can see that A and B are exactly the same shade.
















In the first diagram without the bars we make the assumption that the cylinder is casting a shadow and our brains automatically make the B square appear lighter than it actually is. Now look back to the diagram without the bars on. Even though you know that squares A and B are exactly the same shade B still appears to be lighter.



Here is another example of how we see what we expect to see rather than what is actually there. Try reading the following:



I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.



Even though all the words are seriously misspelt we still impose meaning on them. We are not seeing what is actually there but what we would like to see and what we expect to see.



So that is just a couple of examples of how we see what we expect to see rather than what is actually there. In order to make effective decisions we need to see what is actually there not what we expect to see.



If you would like to improve your decision making by seeing what is actually there, try making a list of the ways that you see what you expect in information rather than the actual information. When you have done this you could go through the list and see if you can develop any techniques that would help you see information as it actually is.



There is another way in which information affects our decision making. That is when we have to much information. The next diagram is a simple picture. It is not animated in any way. However when you look at it, it will appear to be moving.










This is a nice example of how too much data causes confusion. Even though the diagram is not moving it still appears to move because of the way our eyes view the picture. If you don't believe that it is not moving try focusing on one individual spot. You will see that it is not moving but other areas appear to move. Then try to focus on one of the areas that still seems to be moving. It will now appear to be stationery and other areas will appear to move. Or if you focus on the two small red markers on the two top, middle circles, you will see that these circles are stationery.



If you would like to improve your decision making try making a list of the ways that too much data causes problems for your decision making. When you have done this try going through the list and see if you can devise techniques that would help.









A pathway to achieving possibility

This article is my changing what's normal newsletter for August. Each month I write an in-depth article. You can subscribe to my newsletter here.

I also provide a digital gift each month that I have created or come across. The August gift is from a friend in the UK Rob Brown, '101 Great Tools, Tips and Tactics to Build Your Mental Toughness' You need to sign-up to get it however well worth it and of course you can unsubscribe from Rob’s list anytime you wish, although I don’t think you will. Rob always provides great value. Get Rob’s white paper here.

A pathway to achieving possibility

I doubt I will ever lose my enthusiasm and excitement for the “privilege of the platform”. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to travel the world and share my ideas and insights with willing people. When clients/organizers agree I always end my 30, 45 and 60 minute presentations with a question and answer time.

After giving a presentation in early 2006 the first question threw me momentarily and the answer I gave surprised me, so much so I almost couldn’t wait to get back to my hotel room to write down what I said so I wouldn’t forget it! The questioner said “I’ve very much enjoyed your presentation but can you put it all into one sentence? After what seemed to me to be the longest pause I had ever taken in 15 years of professional speaking I said:

Principle before passion; passion before purpose; passion and purpose during practice = possibility

The audience cheered wildly including the questioner (You had to be there). On reflection these words capture what I am mostly on about.

Principle

For me there are three great life principles, an attitude of gratitude; the law of the farm; freedom of choice. These principles are unchanging and uncluttered by dogma, the hallmark of fundamentalists whether they are religious, political, business or otherwise. Fundamentalists believe their way is the only way and create dogma to justify their ideology. Principles don’t change, nor do they favour ideology, they simply just are, and, they can be lived in any number of ways regardless of beliefs, mindsets or culture.

An attitude of gratitude
When faced with a potentially life ending illness 33 years ago my doctor’s advice was to first have an attitude of gratitude. In order to get well he told me, I must first be grateful. I remember my reply as if it was yesterday. “You’re telling me I may die and you want me to be grateful. You have to be joking!”
In recovery I learned, and I am still learning, a great truth, when we are grateful for what we’ve got we can have more of what we want. The most productive people in history have an attitude of gratitude.

The Law of the Farm
My grandfather, a farmer, taught me this law. Grandfather knew the law as you reap what you sow. He believed as I do that more often than not if you have fertile ground, plough it, seed it, nurture it, you get a harvest. Today we phrase this law as what goes around comes around, or you get what you give. In my Changing What’s Normal book I use this law to explain my perspective on many things and how you can choose to use this law in your own way.

Freedom of Choice
We are the sum of the choices we have made and those we haven’t. As history has demonstrated over and over again, regardless of where we were born, and even in the most dire of circumstances, we can live a fulfilling, happy life that influences and inspires others. The most productive people in history make the wisest choices for them on a daily basis.

Living by principles such a these, is in my view the first step to achieving possibility.

Passion

I live and work with all the passion I can muster and inciting passion is very much a part of what I do. Two of my mates who are also experts on passion, best selling authors Keith Abraham and Charles Kovess.

I asked Keith and Charles three questions. Here are their replies

Question: What is passion?
Keith: “It is loving what you do and doing what you love. It is the desire to work towards a worthwhile goal that stimulates your enthusiasm.”
Charles: “Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul (or 'spirit' or 'heart') that enables a person to produce extraordinary results. Why 'extraordinary'? Because most people are not passionate about their work, or are not pursuing their passion in their lives, and this is the 'ordinary' level. When you tap into passion, and the amazing energy source that it is, you will perform at an 'extra-ordinary' level.”

Question: How do you discover your passion
Keith: “You can either list the activities that you love to do with your time or you can list 100 things you want to achieve in your lifetime and see what reoccurring theme keeps on coming through.”
Charles: “I recommend a four step process:
1) Be a Passion Seeker: decide to discover your passion. It's like making a decision to run a marathon: first you have to decide and then take action
2) Be a Detective: look for the clues throughout your whole life, since you were born up till now, that will give you the solution to the puzzle. Ask your parents, their friends, your siblings. Do a chart of your life, showing the ups and the downs, to raise your conscious awareness of your life journey so far.
3) Be the Riddler: once you discover it, it may be a 'riddle' to work out how to earn a living from your passion. I have always found, when advising people, that it is possible to earn money from pursuing your passion.
4) Be the Risk Taker: take the plunge! Take the risk and pursue your passion. Remember, 'the hardest thing in the world is to leap a chasm in two bounds!' I promise that the rewards will be worth it, because you are discovering and pursuing, your soul's purpose.”

Question: Once you have found your passion, how do you keep it?
Keith: “Make sure that you are spending time pursuing your passion each week or day. Focus on the things that count for you, that give you the greatest energy and enjoyment.
Charles: “You keep the passion alive by using the same principles that you use to stay fit and healthy. These are:
Write out your goals in great detail
Read them every day
Don't hang around with energy suckers, or negative people. Get them out of your life.
Don't share your goals with people who might kill your dreams.
Spend your time with passionate people.
Look after yourself physically, so that the machine you live in (your body!) can help you rather than hinder you.”

Living your passion, is in my view the second step to achieving possibility. When we are passionate in applying unchanging principles in our own way, we have unlocked the door to world of infinite possibilities.

Living on Purpose

The Macquarie Dictionary defines purpose “the object for which anything exists or is done, made, used etc; an intended or desired result; end or aim; intention or determination”

Poet and writer Gita Bellin said “success depends on where intention is.” This is a very powerful statement. To change an outcome we must modify or change behaviour, because continuing to do the same old thing expecting a different result is a good definition of stupidity! In my experience before behaviour change is lasting we must first modify or change our thinking and to do that we often must modify or change our feeling and to do that we often have to modify or change our intention or purpose!

So what is your purpose? What was your aim when you got up this morning? What were you feeling and thinking literally? If you are like me the answers to these questions can be elusive and often the day is over before it really seemed to begin.
I believe we humans all have the same broad purpose: to be at peace with ourselves. For only then can we make peace with others. How we find peace within ourselves and then make peace with others is an individual journey.

I have found regular contemplation, reflection, and just plain hard work on the following as great ways to keep myself living on purpose

Knowing my strengths and applying them excellent way to find out your key strengths click here
Allowing the strengths of others to make up for my shortcomings
Seeing my work as a calling and never a job or a career
Spending a hour a day on my own personal development
Engaging in activities that give me a sense of purpose
Knowing and understanding what gives me meaning and pursuing these things with vigour
Being the best I can be in each moment (and when I mess up, take the lesson and move on)
Continually asking why and why not
Maintaining positive self talk
Never saying anything negative about myself or others
Competing with myself and collaborating with others

When we combine purpose with passion (bringing everything we are to everything we do) and unchanging principles (gratitude, the law of the farm, and freedom of choice), we have unleashed an unstoppable force for good, leaving only one step left to achieve possibility.

the nitty gritty – practice

Actions do speak louder than words. We can believe in principles such as an attitude of gratitude, freedom of choice and the law of the farm; we can understand passion, “the amazing energy source” to quote Charles Kovess; we can grasp purpose as being at peace within ourselves; however it all means nothing if we do not take this trilogy into all that we do or practice.

12 actions for taking our principles, passion and purpose into everyday life

Instead of a to do list have a won’t do list and don’t do whatever you list

Be crystal clear on your goals but more importantly the steps you will take, one at a time, to achieve your goals. Then detach from your goals and put everything you’ve got into taking the steps

Wherever possible add value to transactions and interactions. The extra things we do that usually cost nothing, are often perceived as the most valuable to the recipient

Take responsibility for your feelings, thoughts and actions, but take no responsibility for other peoples feelings, thoughts and actions

Stop to celebrate failure as much as success, and then move on

Live in the now. Now is the only moment that matters. The past cannot be changed (we can view it differently) and the future will take care of itself if we are bringing everything we are to everything we do, right now

On a weekly basis review your actions. Next week repeat what worked and don’t repeat what didn’t work

Always tell the truth as you see it. My father used to say this means we don’t have to remember anything!

Invest wisely in time. We have 168 hours every week that’s it! I devote a third to work, a third to sleeping, eating and personal time, and a third to family and friends. Whatever your investment, see it as just that, and you will get a return. Forget about time management, it’s investing wisely in the time we have that counts

Apply the 80/20 rule; we get 80% of our results from 20% of our efforts. Known as the Pareto Principle, the law of imbalance or least effort, this one is worth a lot of thought. Most people are trying to achieve a lot by doing a lot. This principle says do less; just make sure that what you are doing is producing what you want. More with less is possible

Whenever you are doing a particular task focus on doing it to the best of your ability and do not allow yourself to be distracted

Be intense for short periods of focus then take a break. 45 minutes of intensity then a complete break for 10 minutes does wonders for our productivity

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

Author of Changing What’s Normal

Partner of passionate and enlightened leaders in several countries since 1991, to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit.