Friday, July 29, 2011

Not all the best things in life are free

The explosion that is social media has led to many believing in the old adage, the best things in life are free. I don’t buy it for a second, if you will pardon my pun!

People will always pay for what they perceive is valuable.

Most things that are free on the internet are a marketing strategy to get us to buy something, eventually. Nothing wrong with this. I think it is a good thing to have to demonstrate value before expecting people to pay.

The challenge is, many folk expect everything for free.

Sure some great things in life are free. Most things of value however require an investment of time, energy, or money, and often all three.

The next time you take advantage of something for free on the internet give some thought to how much it cost the providers.

I am finding myself downloading less and less stuff because firstly I don’t really need it, and secondly I am wanting to do my bit to support people who are providing their hard earned, valuable stuff for free, and so I generally only take free if I think I can spread the word for folk, or I think that at some time in the future I will pay for future value.

I think the whole world of free has a rude awakening coming. I am not saying free doesn’t have its place, it does. I am saying that many of the good things in life require an investment of some kind to be made.

I would be very interested in your thoughts. Please email me at ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

If what you sell in your business is a commodity someone will eventually sell it at a cheaper price. I’d suggest changing your business. The next time you purchase something from a supermarket, give some thought to the people in the supply chain getting screwed to provide what they do for almost free. This will eventually happen to you.

The future of business has much to do with providing what people in a niche market want and that they are prepared to pay for.

What niche market/s are you serving? You may have to provide something for free to people in your niche/s to attract them. Don’t fall for the trap of giving away too much, rather give what you need to do to demonstrate value.

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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Your Web site might be so full of pages, links, graphics and interaction that you forget why you built it in the first place! Here's the most important question to ask:
What is the single most important action you want a Web site visitor to take?
Or, to put it another way:
What is the last thing you want them to do before they leave your Web site?
This is especially important for differencemakers, because your Web site needs to persuade your site visitors to join your cause, and then take action. Even if you aren't selling products or services directly, you're selling a message, and that can be a much more difficult "sell". So it's even more important you have a clear call to action.

For example:
  • If you sell products or services directly, you want them to go to your shopping cart, fill in their credit card details, and actually buy something.
  • You might want them to pick up the phone and call you.
  • You might want them to send you an enquiry by e-mail.
  • You might want them to subscribe to your newsletter or blog.
  • You might want them to sign an on-line pledge.
  • You might want them to make a donation.
Whatever the outcome for your business or cause, make sure you make it simple - almost simplistic - for them to take that action.

This might seem too obvious to even bother saying, but you would be surprised how complicated some Web sites are when it comes to this most important part of their site visitor's interaction.

Even if your Web site doesn't sell products or services directly, that doesn't let you off the hook! Think again about the last thing you want people to do before they leave your site, and make sure it's easy for them to do it.

For example, if you want them to pick up the phone and call you:
  • Is your phone number shown prominently on every page (not just hidden away on a Contact Us page)?
  • Do you show area codes for long-distance callers?
  • Do you offer a toll-free number to encourage calls?
  • Do you clearly show your opening times or available times for people to call?
  • If you have more than one phone number (for example, for Accounts, Sales and Support), is it immediately obvious which number they should call?
As another example, if you want them to e-mail you to take the next step:
  • Is your e-mail address shown prominently on every page (not just hidden away on a Contact Us page)?
  • Do you show an actual e-mail address, rather than forcing people to fill in a form?
  • Do you explain how e-mail queries get answered - for example, giving an estimate of how quickly you will reply?
  • If you have more than one e-mail address, is it immediately obvious which address they should use for their situation?
You might think you're doing everything right to get the required response. But go through the process again, this time walking through it in your Web site visitor's shoes. You might be surprised to see how many obstacles you've put in their place - without realising it, of course.

My mentor is Water


I’ve been swimming a long time. Never took lessons but I’ve got a keen eye for imitation and a strong will for endurance. It was my experience on a swim team at ten or eleven that whipped me into shape, gave me the basics of each stroke and educated me about the mindset behind competition. Since then, it’s been my love of water and my professional curiosity about human potential that serendipitously led me into an extraordinary experiencing.

It started thirty years ago. I was keeping a pretty rigorous schedule and making sure I swam four days a week. As most swimmers might agree, swimming laps frequently becomes tedious so I’d always create some challenge to keep me interested for the full mile. Human potential was in full bloom and I was privy to a lot of extraordinary modalities and discoveries. My practice gave me the opportunity to test the merit and truth of what I’d learned plus it also set my mind galloping into ways to reach a broader audience with ‘living value’. So, it was only natural that I mixed business with pleasure and toyed with applications of technique to living circumstance – like swimming.

My swims became explorations. How many different ways can I alter my breathing and what happens? How can I see without using my eyes? What happens to my swim when I focus on the ventricles of my brain or try to approximate the cranial sacral breath during a swim? What if I use my voice and recite poetry, hum a tune, express emotion? It made for very exciting swims.

The day I wondered what it would be like to focus on the ventricles inside my brain and ‘let them swim me’ was a special day. I like the way ventricles look inside the head and I like what they do but the swim was really a ‘create as you go’ moment-to-moment conjuring. I imagined the two large lateral ventricles that looked a bit like rocking horses and imagined them rocking gently as I moved through the water. It felt very sensual and soothing.  




Suddenly, I’m aware that my whole head is responding to the ventricles and the top of my skull feels like it’s being drawn by some external magnetism. Cool. I continue to allow the sensations to come. My rational mind would notice and name, very quickly because the changes were swift and they soon leaped from one part of my body to the next, I couldn’t keep up. Then, it happened. Like the exhilarating rush on rollercoaster, my body started moving faster than my mind could follow and I had to trust the experience or lose it. The front of my head felt like it was elongating and my eyes were tucking up and behind my nose as this very strong magnetism drew me effortlessly forward.  A strange laser vision shot through my crown at the bregma and I’m streaming through the water faster than I’ve ever gone before. The sudden war between rational and intuitive, between controlling my body and experience and trusting the organicity of the uncontrollable left me physically floundering in the pool, my arms can’t move fast enough. I’m inhaling water as I breathe, and floundering in sort of pre-drowning state: I stopped dead in the water gasping for air, looking around and wondering what the hell had just happened.

My body tingled with excitement. I’d never felt anything like that before and a voice in my head kept saying, ‘you swam like a fish, you swam like a fish!’ Maybe so, maybe not but certainly something significant had just happened to me. I remember the kid on my swim team who was fast as a minnow and the mermaids in Disney films but the real possibility of ‘swimming like a fish’, actually becoming fish-like had never entered my mind until that moment and the idea didn’t seem preposterous. After all, I had tapped an effortless inside line. Just to be sure I went back to find it again, and did. It was very real.

The rational mind simply cannot participate in the experiencing of this inside line. It can’t keep up. Only organic intelligence can. Nor does one ‘give in’ to these altered states, you actually align with them, you become contemporaries and allies or the experience cannot exist. There is no breaking through ‘the wall’ mentioned so often in running for there is no exhaustion and therefore no need to shift gears or catch a second wind. As I have come to discover through thirty years and thousands of swims when you tap this ‘streamline’ you enter a realm of boundless energy, zero fatigue and no compelling need to stop, you are essentially confluent with the field dynamics of the habitat and belong to that world.

Fish comes from ‘fisc’ an Old English noun for any living animal in water. Well, I thought, why not me? How do I translate land animal to water animal? Little did I know when I began that it would lead me to a radical reappraisal of life as we have come to accept it.

So, thirty years and thousands of swims, glimmers, insights, strange sensations, fear, excitement, and following the organic indications one at a time, I have now become an apprentice to Water. Yes, I continue to learn and discover, and through time my attention has shifted from transforming myself into an amphibian human to learning from Water how to partner with that environment. I have moved away from the intrusive, dominating visitor to being friends. Quite like a child discovering their verticality I learned to reorganize my physical presence in water in order to gain access to its force field and support system, gaining the skills to become partners.

To do this, I had to suspend ego. I had to release my attachments about what I thought ‘human’ was, even the good stuff, I had to drop the drama, release the emotions as they came up, stop anticipating outcome and relinquish all pressure to conclude. Not easy. Not easy at all. Essentially, I was undergoing a deep metamorphosis that, ultimately, had nothing to do with becoming a mermaid and everything to do with becoming a whole human being.

Think of it this way. Take our finest competitive swimmers in Shanghai right now and have them swim fifty or 100 yards against a minnow or a dolphin. Who wins? Why? The fast answer is fish, fish win, always, because they are designed for water. Yes. True. Now, consider redesigning the swimmer to be more streamlined. The two biggest challenges are posture and breath.

Let’s address posture. The sketch on the left shows two postural positions for the human being, misaligned and aligned, both exist but the first is more common because the lifestyle, work habits, and creative inventions that represent our upgraded quality of life have seriously disturbed our rapport with gravity and, by consequence, our health.

                                          


                                                         


Alignment with gravity is an absolutely natural phenomenon. We are anatomically built to be harmonic with gravity. If you watch the infant navigate verticality you see the organic, developmental impulse leading the search and the intuitive responsiveness, attentive at every turn, alert, sensing, literally building verticality from the inside out. The child works kinesthetically and when balance is suddenly reached the child often looks surprised by the lift and levity they feel, surprise at the effortlessness. Then, the inimitable grin spreads across their face and lights up their eyes. Found! Alas, through time, with the wrong information and development of unsuitable habits we are weaned away from intelligent living as well as health.

The good news is that the body never forgets and its capacity for recovery is as outstanding as its ‘ecospheric’ intelligence. I purposefully use the word ‘ecospheric’ because part of our genetic intelligence concerns our capacity to create and maintain a harmonic alliance with our environment.

Fish, on the other hand, don’t have chairs and cars, they don’t slouch or eat fast food, there’s no reason for them to get out of shape. There’s also no reason for them to toy with a flawless, ergonomic design, and certainly they want to live and perpetuate as much as we do, that’s what all life strives for, so they aren’t adverse to improving; it is more likely they comprehend the intrinsic nature of evolution and simply remain vigil and responsive, knowing Nature will handle the rest.

For everyone who has observed fish, from the goldfish we won at the fair to visits at the aquarium or vacation sea diving we are utterly captivated by their weightless ease. Big or small, these creatures embody levity, vitality, and agility. It’s practically impossible to know when they’re going to move, they don’t ‘get ready’ like we do, they simply move.

How does that happen? Can we do it too?

Animals have an unbreakable liaison with their environment that is sustained and nurtured by and through their structural alignment. Think of it as streaming conversation on multiple levels. Fish are genetically designed to live and thrive in water. To live, they must have water. To thrive, they must optimize their understanding of the habitat in order to fully capitalize that environment, get food, find shelter, and protect self and offspring. In return, they are careful to preserve the ecology of environment because without it they die. It is a fair and equal exchange between living entities. Sensibility. Reciprocity. Rapport. Alliance.

Humans actually experience those same qualities of weightlessness, levity and agility when they are correctly aligned. Finding and maintaining this alignment requires that we, like other animals, stay mindfully aware and attuned to our surroundings. Overdependence on rational mind and linear thinking must go, (one of the slower frequencies of consciousness), as we embrace the full spectrum of our of intelligence network, sensing, perceiving, and responding to subtle stimuli that optimize our ‘liveability’ and keep us in the flow. No more stop and start.

Practice.

So, whether we are fish or human, the aligned body has a very specific structure and function, form and dynamic, that is linked to and responsive to environment. If you walk, run, somersault, or swim, there is a specific alignment that perpetuates the weightlessness, levity and ease in motion. You simply need to find it. 

Practice.

The challenge with swimming is that we are no longer vertical and on dry land. We are horizontal and dealing with the substance water. Even though we change axis and environment the principles are still the same. Like the infant navigating verticality the swimmer can use the same innate intelligence to reorganize their structural alignment to suit being in water and, from there, tap into the electromagnetic force field. Essential to our success is a stop to the land-based animal identity otherwise we continue to perceive water as an enemy territory and continue our unconscious need to dominate it.

Seems simple enough until you do it and Pandora’s box opens and all our preset beliefs and behaviors constructed around the Homo sapiens myth of superiority raise their mighty fists. Our lives have been infused with an untenable egocentrism that has resulted in the devastating global issues we face today. Fortunately, many are striving to revise and repair the situation but it is very clear that dressing the emperor in new clothes and campaigning with new jargon is not enough. We must recognize and behave as members of an intricate and intelligence ecosystem.

This means dismantling ego and relinquishing those beliefs, practices and illusions of autocracy that have spun an intricate and clever web of exclusivity and importance in our psyches. This means harvesting a brand new paradigm forged through an ecological alignment, rapport, and alliance with our ecosphere, ‘the power of I’ emerging through ‘the genius of ‘we’. Confluence. Reciprocity.

The sketch below transposes the core rhythmic pattern of goldfish to the human body. Forty years of research actually demonstrated that application of this vibrational frequency replenished and revitalized the body. Today, it is available to the public as a Chi Machine.


My purpose, however, is to intrigue you with the vision of what happens when the ‘land animal’ is infused with wave patterns, when the density and weight of joints is replaced by sensations of fluid motion and liquidity. I want your imagination to lead you by ‘osmosis’ to intuitively experience this difference and sense how versatile and smart and responsive the body is. You look at a picture and the body interprets and brings it to life for you, instantly.




Ultimately, the perfect swim is a streamlined swimmer. This means the swimmer has optimized his body to capitalize on the dynamics of water and experiences effortless motion. It places the swimmer and water in a continuous, reflexive alliance of effortless motion, effortless for water and effortless for the swimmer.

The streamline is an electromagnetic field. We feel it when we are aligned with gravity, the head levitates heavenward and the feet feel the draw into the earth, the body seems like it’s floating in a supportive magnetic field and movement is effortless. Similarly, in water, once the streamline is found the arms still move, the legs kick, and the head turns but there is absolutely zero exhaustion at the conclusion of the swim. 

Breathing is the second big hurdle for swimmers. Obviously, the less need there is to turn the head the faster we move but remember, just like fish, our optimal alignment in water includes respiration. For us, however, our alignment adapts to the stroke as well as the body of water we swim in. Fish don’t do backstroke, we do, and in order to tap the streamline we have to modify the alignment. Really, it’s no different than what we do when we run or jump, change in speed or style of locomotion requires us to tweak our alignment and as a result our breath.

The majority of us don’t really know breath very well. We’ve either taken it for granted or developed disciplined strategies we follow. Seldom do we allow breath to be the guide and yet, as I discovered, breath knows the perfect quality and quantity for every situation.

At the end of my long swims I’d conclude with 25-yard sprints, no breathing except for the starter breath. In the beginning, I’d fill my lungs to the max and ‘hold’ the breath as I swam.  Completing the sprint was easy but finding and maintaining the streamline was impossible since my attention was consumed with holding the breath. In fact, I overexerted and ultimately exhausted myself. It was overkill. As I experimented with different quantities of air and rhythms of exhalation, and continued to wear myself, I did finally realized my attention to breathing was my way of hedging my bets, assuming I wasn’t going to be able to complete the sprint without ‘running out of air’ and therefore compensating by filling up or outsmarting the inevitable.

All I did was engulf my system and exhaust myself. It wasn’t until I took breath out of the equation that I began to discover the way breath actually works and found the hidden reserves. Oxygen was everywhere, in my lungs, blood, organs, cells, and there was plenty for what I needed to do. With my mind was out of the way my breathing revealed its own consciousness and added dimension to my swimming beyond inhalation and exhalation. Breath knows when and how to breath, exact quantities and quality, it varies moment to moment and is perfectly attuned to my be-ing in the water. 

A ‘sip’ goes a very long way.

I had no idea when I started my experiencing that I’d become an apprentice of water or be initiated into the art of forging sustainable alliances between man and environment. Little did I know that ‘swimming like a fish’ would lure me into the kinesthetic world of physics, electromagnetic fields, streamlining and flow, bring me face to face with my own Pandora’s box of limiting and untenable beliefs as well as immerse me in the sociology of alignment, rapport and reciprocity with the biosphere. But it did.

I’m still an apprentice only much wiser than when I began. Now, my hope is that this story not only intrigues swimmers and athletes who will certainly seek me out for more detailed consultation but that it also captivates the imagination of those investigating paradigms of ecology and sustainability.














Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is there a difference between responsibility and accountability?

My friend and colleague Kwai Yu, the founder and CEO of Leaders Cafe, asked an interesting question in the Leaders Cafe group on LinkedIn recently: "I am not responsible for 53,000 employees" - so says Rupert Murdoch. What would you have said in his position?

You can read the very interesting Yeses, No’s and Maybe’s here.

Here is what I added to the discussion:

I imagine that Murdoch is far removed from the day to day actions of his people (53000 employees). There are probably 1000s he hasn’t even met. Is there a failure of management in the company. Absolutely in my view.

I suspect there are policies, procedures practices, systems etc, the stuff of management, that if followed mean what happened shouldn’t have, and obviously somewhere along the line several people broke the rules which means several people have failed as managers and probably as leaders as well.

The GFC, BP are more examples of poor management. It is ironic that the poorest managers on the planet, politicians, are finger pointing and yet not doing management which is to change what's normal with policies, procedures and practices etc.

As to the big question circulating the globe, is Murdoch responsible? I don't think so. He is only responsible if he knew what was going on and did nothing about it. This we will probably never know.

As another one of my colleagues Terry Paulson said in the discussion "I do not think he knew. If he did, he should be held accountable."

There is a big, big difference between responsibility and accountability. In the end of this Murdoch will be accountable. An interesting question is: Will he be held to account by others or will he hold himself and the people who failed their responsibility to account?

What say you? Is there a difference between responsibility and accountability and if so what are the differences?

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, July 22, 2011

Decision making: Choosing the information that fits

We tend to select information that fits our preconceived ideas or the context the information is received with. In an economic recession news that ‘inflation rises’ or ‘major company goes bust’ appears in context and so we tend not to examine it carefully whereas in a period of economic boom the exact same headlines might lead to further examination.


This human trait is a useful shorthand for our cognitive processes. It would be highly onerous to examine at the same level all the data we are presented with on a daily basis. On the other hand this tendency will increase our likelihood of making decisions based only on what has worked in the past (and may not work this time around).


‘Fruit flies like a banana’ can be interpreted in two ways. That a certain type of fly likes to eat bananas or that all types of other fruit tend to fly through the air in the same way that a banana does. Because of the context (the things that seem to make sense to us) we usually would go for the first interpretation.



This is not so clearly defined when we look at the following object:


B13alone



In the context of:


B



we normally would interpret this as the letter B.



Whereas in the following context:


13



we would normally interpret this as the number 13.



This is a simple example of how the same data can be interpreted differently simply because of its context. It could fit equally well in either situation.


In decision making tasks we need to make sure that the relevant data is actually what it seems to be and does not just appear to fit because of the apparent context or even just because we want it to.








Thursday, July 21, 2011

Writing and sharing what we write is great for business

Changing what’s normal is my fourth book. It is the one I always wanted to write. It was also the most difficult to write. I don’t find writing easy. I do find it a very valuable and rewarding experience nonetheless.

Do you write your feelings and thoughts down and share them with others?

I would highly recommend that you do so frequently.

Writing is a valuable action for leaders for five key reasons. Writing can lead us to clarity, content, communication, community, and creativity:

Clarity

Getting really clear about our intentions, feelings and thoughts means our actions are more considered, conscious, and deliberate. Being really clear is a key to investing in time wisely. You have 168 hours each week like everyone else. You will use the time you have much better by being really clear. Being really clear also helps others to know exactly where they stand with us. Writing and sharing what you write increases clarity.

Content

In the digital world content is king. The more content you make available in all forms of social media, the more you will attract the kind of people you need and want in your business. Having great content online as well as in print makes it easy for other people to spread our messages. Word of mouth marketing is and always will be the best form of marketing. The more you write and share what you write, the greater your content will be in terms of quantity and quality.

Communication

Clarity and content pave the way for better communication.

Lack of clarity and content by leaders has a massive negative effect on productivity. I estimate poor communication to be one of the single biggest reasons for low productivity and low people engagement.

The more you write and share what you write the better communicator you will become.

Community

Clarity, content, and good communication are all prerequisites for creating community with all your stakeholders. Robert Frost once remarked that home is that place that when you go there, they have to let you in. This is what I mean by community, a place we can belong to and be who we are.

There is no greater place to belong to than community.

Writing and sharing what we write also creates community itself for it attracts people to us who have a shared view with us about the things the really matter to us.

Write and share what you write and you will increase your sense of belonging in the places that are important to you as well as attract other people to those places.

Creativity

Writing for me is a daily discipline. I have been in the habit of writing daily since I began blogging in May 2007. I don’t publish everything however the discipline has helped me to be more disciplined in many other areas of my life.

Daily writing has forced to me to have daily thinking time and this has done wonders for my creativity.

How often do you write?

When and where to you share what you write?

My strong suggestion is that writing and sharing what you write frequently are a key to the successful future of your business, no matter what your product/s or service/s.

What do you think?

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, July 19, 2011

What is your service-quality gap?

Gap 2
It is one thing to be able to understand the expectations of those you serve. A gap can emerge if your translation of those expectations into service standards is inaccurate.


Service standards are effectively the systems and processes that you put into place to ensure that you can consistently meet the expectations of your customers. This is very easy to get wrong and requires a high understanding of the expectations of your customers, as well as a high level of understanding of how your organisations works if you are to minimise this gap.
Copyright Gary Ryan 2011
Research participant
The members said that they wanted the gymnasium to open at 6am. So I employed the staff to start their shift at 6am. The members were still not happy. I was confused. When I asked them again why they weren’t happy they said, “We told you that we wanted the gym open at 6am, not ‘opening’ at 6am. There’s a difference!” Finally I understood. The staff would be paid to start at 5:45am so that the gym would be truly open as had been requested. I had been wrong. I had misinterpreted the expectations of the members.

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, July 18, 2011

Leadership is useless without management

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are, that one-of-a-kind each of us is, to everything they do.

Leadership usually fails without management. Management is the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

I caution, simple rarely means easy!

Across all walks of life I see leadership failing because very few people are managing.

How about you? Could you achieve better harmony between your leadership and your management? We all lead and manage. It is a matter mostly of getting the harmony between the two right for us.

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, July 15, 2011

Sustainability is an outcome of intention, heart and mind set, and action

On the 5th of August 2008 I was privileged along with several other international speakers and their life partners to take a private tour of the United Nations headquarters in New York. I was not a fan of this organisation prior, believing that they were a toothless tiger.

As I sat in the Great Hall where world leaders gather and heard and read the stories in other places of the United Nations work, I changed my mind. I came away feeling and thinking they make a difference and without them we may not even be here!

Realising sustainability was our greatest challenge almost a quarter of a century ago, The United Nations commissioned Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland to define sustainability. In the 1987 World Commission of Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) Report, sustainability was defined as
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Forum for the Futureʼs Jonathon Porritt improved on the definition of sustainability in my view.
Sustainable development is a dynamic process which enables people to realise their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways which simultaneously protect and enhance the earthʼs life-support systems.

Both Brundtland and Porritt are talking about a process, whereas for me sustainability is both process and outcome.

All outcomes are preceded by process of course. A key process for any outcome is intention, feeling, thinking, and action.

Members of The Australian Government are currently on the road vigoursly selling a new carbon tax. With the support of Independents and The Greens Party the tax will soon be law. The lead up has caused quite a stir in my country with most polls showing the majority of people are against the tax.

I think the proposed tax is better than doing nothing. I believe the government is having trouble selling it because most people doubt their intention. As a general rule we simply do not trust politicians, and with good reason. Our Prime Minister promised the people there would be no carbon tax during the last election campaign. She changed her mind, or maybe it was always her intention. Whatever the reason, I am glad she is doing what she is.

The President of The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Bjorn Stigson says, Business cannot survive in societies that fail.

What are you doing in your business to ensure society’s survival?

All action is preceded by intentions, feelings, and thoughts.

I believe that sustainability is an outcome of intention, heart and mind set, and then action.

What are your intentions, feelings, and thoughts about sustainability?
Whatever they are, they precede and determine what you are doing.


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.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Promoting Your Services the Right Way

As a differencemaker, persuasion is an important part of your message. And if you have a Web site, it's not enough to assume people will look at every page in detail - you need to persuade them to do so.

Every Web site is different, of course, but there’s a common structure that underlies every successful Web site. It consists of four layers, so think of your Web site as being like an onion.

The first, innermost, layer is your on-line "shop", where your Web site visitors take the ultimate action you’d like them to take – buy a product, order something, register for an event, or even just pick up the phone and call you:

Even if you aren't selling any products and services directly, you're still selling a message - and your Web site still needs a call to action, even if that action is for them to think differently.

Every product and service you offer should have some call to action, and a process for your Web site visitor to take that action. If you don’t have a shop of some form, there’s not much point to your Web site.

On the flip side, if you only have a shop, it’s unlikely anybody will "buy" without any other supporting material. So the second layer of the onion is to write a sales letter, brochure of flyer to promote each of the products and services you offer:

Each product and service you offer should have one of these sales letters, describing its benefits and features. This is an important step, because you’re now promoting, not just taking orders, on your Web site.

But this still isn’t enough. A purely promotional Web site is most likely to turn people away, unless you have a strong relationship with them already. The next layer of the onion is your free, high-value content you create to make your Web site attractive and useful:

This can take the form of articles, video clips, photographs, audio clips, surveys, slide shows and so on. The point is you’re giving value, not just promoting your products and services.

You do promote as well, but only at the end of each content piece. For example, you could write an article with tips on how people can improve, followed by a direct link to the sales letter you’ve written for a related product. Or, if you're asking people to join your cause, you could write a story about somebody who has benefited from your cause, and that leads to a "sales letter" about how people can join your group, and that then leads to the call to action (perhaps they phone you, make a donation, subscribe to your newsletter, or pledge to take action in their local community).

You now have high-quality content that leads people to compelling sales letters, which in turn lead them to your shop. The only thing missing is the outermost layer, which is the starting point for most visitors – the home page:

So these are the four layers of every successful Web site:
  1. The shop, for taking orders or actions
  2. The sales letters to promote your products and services
  3. The quality content to demonstrate your value
  4. The home page

Does YOUR Web site have all four layers working for you?

If not, maybe it's time to evaluate your Web site again, and plan a strategy that makes each of these four layers work effectively.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Best Practice" doesn't make a difference

Operational tasks (which include market research, product and service development, pricing, promotion and sales, budgeting, staffing, setting key performance indicators and measurement of results) are functional specialties. Usually there is someone in the organization with the right expertise to get results in these areas, or it is possible to bring in an expert on a short-term contract who knows what needs to be done. Operational decisions are informed by "best practices". You look at what other people have done, and either copy them or learn from their mistakes.

When it comes to developing an innovative strategy, however, there is no "best practice". By definition, you are pioneering. Strategy requires reconceptualizing the organization's purpose, conceiving a new vision, to redefining your target market(s), recognizing strengths that were not previously identified, and segmenting your customer base in a new way, to identify new sources of competitive advantage. This requires challenging all your assumptions about the correctness of what is, and focusing instead on what could be.

Another distinction could be this. An operational issue is one where someone knows the answer. The expertise is available, either within the organization, or externally. A strategic issue is one where no one knows the answer, because a new path is being forged. No one really knows how your business should compete. You make a choice and then build an implementation plan based on this choice.

You don't make a difference by copying someone else's strategy. Your strategy should be unique, based on the current environment, the needs of your chosen target market and the organization's unique strengths.

When you are building a strategy, the question "What are other people doing?" should sound alarm bells. Marketing guru Seth Godin says "By the time there is a case study in your specific industry, it's going to be way too late for you to catch up." You make a difference by choosing a unique path and committing to its success.

The first step in formulating a new strategy is to accept that no one knows the answer. The complexity of this task should never be underestimated. Everyone involved needs to be willing to suspend judgment, explore the questions and resist the temptation to supply the "answers" from their own expert point of view.

Community precedes culture change

The cultural change talk inside organisations is again alive and well. I have observed this happens in tough times and leaders are searching for ways to gain competitive advantage or strategic positioning.

Most of the talk never leads anywhere. When good times return it mostly disappears from the boardrooms and corridors of most organisations.

If you are or want to be on the leading edge, change must always be top of mind, regardless of situation or circumstance. Change is both evolution and revolution and usually at the same time.

In addition to all change being personal first, followed by change in relationships, there are three critical factors we must embrace to ensure that we thrive on the challenges of change. These are community, culture, and creativity.

Community leads to culture and culture to creativity, and creativity to change. What kind of community are you creating at your workplace?

In thriving communities or tribes to use the vernacular, there are 9 foundations I observe that are essential for success:

1) Leadership is everyone’s business
Leadership is not about title or position. Leadership is about who we are and what we do that inspires other people to be the one-of-a-kind that each of us is

2) There is a shared view about:
Where we are, Where we’re going, Why we’re going there, How we will get where we’re going, and Who will do What and When.

3) People are appreciated when they do well

4) People hold themselves to account when performance is less than agreed it will be

5) Values are virtues
This means our values are demonstrated by our behaviours.

6) People genuinely care for one another

7) There is a deep underlying cause or purpose for our existence as a community/tribe

8) People compete with themselves and not with other people

9) There are high levels of collaboration

Culture, meaning, the way we do this around here, emerges from community. We then avoid the domination by what a colleague of mine, Steve Simpson, calls UGRs® (undwritten ground rules).

Creativity emerges from culture.


If there is insufficient innovation in your business or at your workplace I suggest that is primarily because there is a lack of community or a less than possible sense of belonging in your tribe.

The good news is you can change everything beginning right now by changing yourself, your relationships, and then building a community and culture where creativity is a natural consequence.

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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Is the imagination genie out of the bottle at your place?

Sir Ken Robinson is one of the world’s leading educators. He is the author of The Element - how finding your passion changes everything, a must read book in my view.

In many of his speeches Robinson (he is a must see and hear speaker) says we don’t just have a natural resources crisis, we also have a human resources crisis. He also says imagination is the most distinctive feature of human nature.

One of the reasons we do indeed have a human resources crisis is that our workplaces are often not the kind of places where imagination is allowed to thrive. We seem to have a focus on knowledge and have ignored Einstein’s famous edict: Imagination is more important than knowledge.

When imagination is allowed to flourish, inspiration follows, as does insight and then ideas. An idea successfully implemented is innovation, particularly if the implementation changes what’s normal.

If you aren’t really innovating in your business, and you must if you want to thrive, it is likely that imagination is not being allowed to flourish.

How we solve problems and meet our challenges is a great way to ensure imagination is alive and well.

A typical scenario is this: We recognise a problem, and solve it. What has happened 9 times out of 10 is that what we have done is reinstated the status quo and haven’t really removed the cause of the problem in the first place!

Every problem and challenge we have is a gift, for it is an opportunity for innovation, to change what’s normal.

Please look at all your problems and challenges with new eyes. See them as opportunities to let your imagination run wild.

Let your imagination loose.
Encourage everyone around you to do the same.

You will have opened the door to inspiration, insight and ideas, the essentials that precede authentic innovation.

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, July 8, 2011

Practical Decision Making: Force Field Analysis

quote



“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”



Professor Stephen Hawking




This is a framework for looking at the forces that influence a decision. There are two types of forces:




  • Helping forces: Drive movement towards the decision


  • Hindering forces: Resist movement towards the decision



using the technique




The first step is to draw a box within which you write the decision. Then you list all the helping and hindering forces. The example I will use here is whether I should buy a new car:








Having spent some time trying to think of all the forces in play you then assign a strength to each force between 1 and 5 where 1 is weak and 5 is strong:







We can then add up the strengths of the forces to give a helping:hindering ratio. In this case it is 7:11 so initially it looks like the decision to buy a new car will not be made because the hindering forces outweigh the helping forces.



tip





The forces in a force field analysis are dynamic and will change over time. Doing the same analysis in a months or a years time will usually produce a different result.





If we do want the decision to go ahead we can now look for ways to increase the helping forces and decrease the hindering forces.





Looking at the hindering forces:





  • Cost: If I leased a car then I could change this from 4 to 2.


  • Time: As I don't have much time to look at other models I could always just buy the same model which would change this score from 4 to 1.


  • Which model: Would therefore also decrease from 3 to 1.





So by decreasing the hindering forces the analysis now gives 7:4, much more promising.



In my example the helping forces will mostly increase with time as reliability, decreased maintenance and fuel economy become more significant. We might say that in a few months time that these will change to 4, 3 and 3 respectively. (It is unlikely in a few months time that I will care any more about my car looking new, so that score would stay the same.) So in a few months time this may change to 11:4, even more promising.



My conclusion from this analysis is therefore that I should lease the same model of car as I have already either now or in a few months time.








My best work so far says Gihan Perera

I was thrilled to see this short video review of my Changing What's Normal book by Gihan Perera.



I am really excited by the response to my book. It is fair to say it has taken me my life to write it! The response since its release 2 weeks ago has been awesome I am very grateful to people like Gihan who are spreading the word. My exhaustion from finally get my book out there has turned to delight.

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.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where, when, and how do we draw our ethical lines?

 
I went to a conference last weekend dealing with some powerful technological instruments that were created to aide man in healing imbalances in the body that would eventually allow the individual to become capable of self-regulation and evolvement. Powerful tools. Positive tools. Proactive tools.

Then came the ‘conference stories’ of opportunities, great opportunities, personal bests, small and large miracles, stories that demonstrate successful use of a brilliant tool for the benefit and blessings of the individual. I had my own so I knew it wasn’t hype.

Then, crescendo please, the BIG ONE!  A story about the Olympics in China, testing teams and ultimately eliciting and evoking dynamic responses that dramatically changed training times, cutting up to 5 seconds from standard performance. Wow! You could feel the room shift to the front of their chairs. Yes. More. More.  Well, these changes were induced by altering hormonal balances through ‘frequency enhancement’ and these alterations are undetected in doping tests because the genetic shape isn’t altered, only the number counts result significantly higher than normal, hence it is ‘legal’. Isn’t that amazing! Isn’t that wonderful!

Well, the individual athletes demonstrate significant, radical psychological alterations but, hey, since the performance results are so extraordinary those psychological alterations are ignored. Coaches don’t care. More. Better. Come on, can you even stop menstrual cycles, the coaches asked. You know how that gets in the way! Two deep, suggestive sighs and back to the results. After eighteen-hour days, seven days a week for four months the results spoke for themselves and the illustrious contracts and individual sales followed. Massive. Millions.

My throat went dry. I raised my hand.

“Are you following up to see the long term effects of this induction?”
“Nobody cares.” 
“Does that include you?” I asked.
“They don’t want to know,” I am told.
“Do you want to know?”
“We were there to investigate a possible strategy.”
“So, no, you don’t care either?”
“You need to realize that we got our foot in the door, we demonstrated the extraordinary potential of this tool, and we now have contracts with world-renowned sports clubs and training facilities. This is huge.”

My stomach turned. Nausea skyrocketed.

“So, these ‘lovely, young women” become testosterone ‘bitches’ over night, ‘nobody cares’ including you because the contracts are ‘huge’ and who gives a sh—if these young athletes end up damaged, they lowered their times and had their big chance for the gold, silver or bronze, end of story? Everybody goes home happy. And you sell these tools to the very people who don’t give a rats ass about wellbeing, only performance, only the big bonus for a win, did I get that right?”

“You need to realize….” Party line. Capitalistic line. Necessary sacrifice.
“Can we move on,” an annoyed, female voice bellows behind me.
“No, we can’t move on,” I counter. “This isn’t the first time, it’s the nth time we hide behind getting our foot in the door of great opportunity only to transform it into ego gratification, illusions of grandeur, and personal wealth. There is no greater good here. These athletes aren’t being instructed on how to access and harness the power within, they are guinea pigs and those that are lucky will have 5 minutes of fame followed by the possibility of a lifetime of medical issues nobody cares about because they are ‘out to pasture’, it’s over for them.”

No one cared. Not one person in that room. It was stunning. These are individuals who have read everything there is to read on quantum physics, they quote famous research and researchers, drop names of Nobel laureates and athletes in the past who have used the ‘tool’, and they travel the world in illustrious company. These are people ‘at the top of their game’.

That does not mean they are in peak performance. This does not mean they stand in the tensegrity (tensional integrity) of their humanity. They wear the clothes. They talk the luminous talk. Living ‘off the lint in their pockets’ they say, they went grey and lost their hair in four months to make this historic achievement possible ‘for the greater good’.

And they are not alone. It is rampant in every community at some level. That doesn’t mean everybody, it does imply the vast majority and understandably so, our cultural mindset is replete with euphemistic and metaphoric language that plays to the heartstrings of our souls longings, real longings, authentic heartstrings and honest searching for solutions to the human dilemma.

And, that dilemma is not about making us better individuals it is about freeing us to full potential without psychic and psychological fear of reprisal. I ask you to reflect. Ponder.

We were raised on children’s fairytales but what is the adult fairytale? Fairytales induce our complicity to strange obedience and from there we begin to formulate goals our imaginary heroes would be proud of only to find that we haven’t tapped into that authenticity of the ‘hero’ within so essential to actual success. We’re simply trying to duplicate the win, forget the hero’s journey; that takes a lifetime and our goal is outcome, to be ‘the winner’. 

How can we draw ethical lines if we are ethically imbalanced, which we are, if we honestly research our motives and modus operandi back to their original imprinting?

It will go back to childhood I assure you, you will begin to remember the first times your young mind was unable to find the connection between what you were being asked to believe and obey, and the actuality of your experience. If you follow it fearlessly to its inception you will kinesthetically feel the impact of that forceful request to suspend your authenticity and buy into the story, play by the rules, get the approval of others and reach the promised land, success and reward.

You will remember the day you switched channels. You will also realize that the original channel is still alive and kicking, in fact, it is the force driving you to satisfy the vision passionately beating inside your heart. The challenge isn’t whether we choose to satisfy that vision but once we do choose to have the fortitude not to compromise.



The business paradigm that exists today makes compromise top tier parlance and sets the stage with a well-disguised drop hole dead center. Both parties give up something to get something else but authentic compromise has no drop hole, nobody gives up anything, both parties win full, there is no sacrifice because the compromise is a reshaping of core intent, honing it so that the ‘journey’ to fruition has no drop holes and completion is assured since every dimension has been harnessed to make it possible.

It isn’t only in the business sector, this same style pervades in the private sector as well. There is no real separation, I know we try to keep them separate but even that is illusion, there is no separation between the mind, body and soul, they are integrally aligned, deeply coherent and transparent. If there are discrepancies between how you ‘act’ at home and on the job something is amiss.

 When your child comes to you with their vision do you embrace their eagerness and invention by assisting them to hone that vision and fortify their knowledge base or do you clip their wings, wear them out and blind them with histrionics of the way the real world works and then suggest they lower their sights or begin with something easier? Do you engulf their power and passion with your stories of impossible and improbable or do you give them a fresh piece of paper, sit beside them, and ask them to lay out their vision and encourage them through the struggle, throughout the journey of developing the vocabulary, mindset, skills and tools needed to authentically describe the full design of their intent?

How can we draw ethical, or moral lines if we haven’t taken the journey to find them, if we don’t know where they originate, what they look like and how they work to keep us sane, healthy and empowered?

How can we speak of ethics if we believe in separate realities, public and private?

What are the kinesthetic signals for honest and authentic? What are the signals for insidious, contrived, dishonest and cruel?

How can we speak of ecology and sustainability when our own core ecology continues to be in red alert, at serious risk of implosion and extinction, not because we use it - but because we don’t

Imagine your daughter or son was training for the Olympics and underwent the tests and alterations mentioned above. Are potentially severe health hazards down the road worth the sacrifice just for the chance of a 'win'? The majority would say yes. Do numbers make it alright?

 




Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Management Perception Gap

This is the first post of a five part series. 
Over two decades ago Parasuraman, Weithaml & Berry (1988) introduced the concept of Service Gaps. Each gap contributes to an organisation’s capacity to meet or exceed the expectations of its customers and the cumulative effect of the gaps have the potential for significant performance failures. The gaps are as relevant today as they have ever been.

The first gap is known as the Management Perception Gap.

Gap 1 The Management Perception Gap

A gap can exist between managements understanding of customer expectations and the actual expectations of customers. If management get this wrong, everything else they do will be wrong and the service gap is likely to grow exponentially. Organisations must do everything in their power to minimise the chances that Gap 1 exists. When was the last time your checked your perception of your customer's expectations against reality?
Copyright Gary Ryan 2011
“Service. If you haven’t got it, don’t even bother getting out of bed if you want to be a senior leader.  It’s such an entry level requirement it isn’t even worth talking about it.”  (Jack Welch, ex GE CEO)

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, July 4, 2011

When people need your help is your process simple, quick, and easy?

It is common sense to me, due to the power of technology, that when people need our help, the process of getting help from us should be simple, let alone quick and easy.

In the past week I have been upgrading/changing many things to coincide with the launch of my changing what's normal book. I have had many technological challenges and have had to call for help from many service providers.

I have been very disappointed with the lack of help I have received. One exception has been my internet strategist Gihan Perera and his team at First Step.

My conclusion: Most online providers make it very difficult for us to find out how we can get help from them in the first place! And, their service, once we do find out, leaves a lot to be desired.

I am a big fan of LinkedIn. I have tried for 3 days to change my photo on my LinkedIn profile and keep encountering an unknown error. After searching for 20 minutes I found out how to contact LinkedIn for help and sent an email. I got an automatic response saying we will get back to you soon. I am still waiting and as I write my profile still has no photo.

I am a big fan of Apple, typing this on my Mac, and trying to call them on my iphone. I am finding it very difficult to get any help.

How simple, quick and easy is it for people to contact you when they need your help?

My experience of most online providers, including all the big names, is that their service is pathetic, in fact most make it hard for us to get help when we need it.

Great service is a given today. It is normal. What most of us expect is more. As I write in Changing What's Normal, we expect to be wooed and wowed. Most online providers in my experience woo and fail miserably to wow.

How much are you wooing and wowing?

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, July 1, 2011

Half the year has gone. Are you glad, sad, or mad?

This is the first article from my new Changing What's Normal monthly newsletter. You can subscribe to receive future articles here.

As soon as you sign-up you will receive a welcome message that will enable you to download my ebook, Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business, and a special report about my year of changing what's normal program.

Also in the welcome message is a link to previous gifts. You will receive more gifts each month.

2011 is half over, gone, finished.

For some of us this means our financial year has ended too, and we know how well we have gone in that aspect of our business. Perhaps I should rephrase that for some. You won't know your actual financial result for some time yet!

How are you feeling?

Excited because you exceeded your expectations? If so, you are probably glad!

Satisfied because you achieved what you set out to? If so, you are probably sad. You actually expected to do better, right?

Annoyed because you didn't achieve what you wanted? And you are mad at yourself.

There are 9 critical factors, I am willing to bet, that have been key to your goal achievement or non achievement this year:

1) Your intention
2) Whether or not you actually had real goals in the first place
3) How you've been feeling and thinking most of the year
4) Your strategy
5) Your execution plan and how disciplined you have been in carrying it out
6) The decisions you have made and those you haven't
7) The company you keep
8) The success or otherwise of your collaborations
9) How much you have appreciated yourself, been appreciated by others, and how much you have held yourself to account

Intention

Quite simply, success depends on where your intention or your purpose is. Why did you decide on the goals you did? The great lesson of philosophy, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, "When we understand the WHY the HOW is easy!"

Now I wouldn't say easy myself. I would say simple. If you are not finding achieving/exceeding your goals simple, which usually doesn't mean easy, most likely you haven't yet discovered your deep reason, the why you do what you do, or the why you want to achieve what you do.

Inside the vault, that is a companion to my changing what's normal book, there is a link to a great 18 minute talk by Simon Sinek, author of a very powerful book Start With Why. You can take a peek here. Look under Sparkenation 38.

Real Goals

Denis Waitley once observed: "The reason most people fail to achieve their goals, is that they never really had any in the first place."

I meet lots of people who tell me their goal is to lose weight. I don't think so. Losing weight is one of the tasks necessary to look good, feel well etc., etc.

Many folk confuse action to achieve goals with the goals themselves. Do you?

Feeling and thinking

Getting intention right for you and ensuring you have real goals are only the beginning to goal achievement. You then need to align your emotions and your thinking with your intention and your goals.

If you can't really feel your goals in your bones and are not passionate, you've got no chance of achieving what you want and your thinking will stop you from doing what you need to do. If you don't feel really excited about your why and your goals, your thoughts are telling you that you are not serious, and therefore you're gone, because doing follows thinking as thinking follows feeling and feeling follows intention.

Strategy

I define strategy as "the reference points from which we make all the key decisions about exchanging value." Exchanging value is what a business is all about. You demand, desire, and feel you deserve something from me and you are prepared to give me something in exchange for it.

What are your reference points? If you can't get clear on this give me a call some time and I will help you.

Execution plans

Strategic planning is an oxymoron. Never confuse strategy with your plan to achieve it, as millions of business people do. I strongly recommend that you never think about strategy and execution at the same time.

Strategy is how. Execution is who, what, and when. Please don't confuse these.
And remember it will all be academic if you are not clear on why (your intention) and where (your goals).

Decision making

Please download here a little slideshare I put together about decision-making for you to reflect on and then change what's normal for you where you need to. This is my gift to you this month.

The company you keep

Do you hang out with happy people?
Are you surrounded by happy people?
Decide today to only belong where there are happy people.
Remember this: happiness is not so much a result of what we do, it is more a decision we make to be happy. Happiness then is an intent, and then we feel, think, and do accordingly.

Collaboration

Only collaborate with people when you have achieved a shared view with them about the following:

Where you are going together.
Why you're going there.

If you can't agree on these two, collaboration is not possible.

When you can agree, the steps then are: reaching a shared view on who will do what, and when, and how progress who will be measured.

Appreciation and accountability

We probably have no greater need that our wanting to be appreciated. The journey begins with appreciating ourselves for the one-of-a-kind each of us is. We then lead my example by showing genuine appreciation to others when they do their work in a such ways that exceed the norm and inspire others. Start really appreciating yourself and others today and you will change what's normal in your life for the better.

Appreciation and accountability are two sides of the same coin and one will fail without the other. Be accountable. Keep your promises and help other people keep theirs by asking great questions like the ones outlined in the Double A technique you can read here. Please put ceo in the password box at this link. The Double A Technique is also in the Changing What's Normal vault.

Summary

Intention, real goals in the first place, and aligning feeling and thinking with these, are the place to start to get on track to ensure that on the 31st December 2011, when you look back, you will be glad and not sad or mad.

Make sure of your success by being really clear about your strategy, not confusing your execution plan with your strategy, and making the right decisions at the right time.

To be doubly sure of your success, only hang out with happy people and only collaborate with people with whom you have achieved a shared view about where you are going together, and why you're going there.

Finally, nail it by appreciating yourself, appreciating others, holding yourself to account, and making it simple for others to hold themselves to account.

Special events on this month

I am presenting book launch seminars as follows:

Sydney next week, the 6th, with the one and only Allan Parker. You would need to register today to grab the few remaining places.

Adelaide on July 20th on with the funny and feisty Colin Pearce. Registrations close on the 13th.

Melbourne on July 28th with The Ideas Architect Geoff McDonald and The Get More Guy Warwick Merry. Registrations close 14th.

These seminars are just $40 per person and you get your copy of my Changing What's Normal book.

I will be conducting these seminars in Brisbane, Dubai, London, Oxford, Manchester, and Auckland in September and October. Details soon.

In this little black page-turner-of-a-book, Ian got my attention from line one - and kept me to the end. His short, sharp, compelling words of wisdom resonated at every point. He had me drooling as I scribbled copious notes and wonderful reference points that have already proven their worth. Changing What's Normal - as we shift, and we are shifting, every home, office and handbag should have one!
Susan Furness, CEO of UAE-based Strategic Solutions, a global Edgewalker and guide for Conscious Communications.

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

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

PSS To receive articles every month please subscribe to my Changing What's Normal monthly newsletter here.

Receiving and Giving - how much is enough?

When I hear or see that a child has died somewhere in the world from hunger or a preventable/curable disease (as 27000 will today) I feel an emptiness I cannot describe. I have always felt this way.

Sometimes when confronted with this appauling news I stare for a few minutes without a single thought crossing my mind. When I return to normal I am renewed once more to do my bit to make poverty history.

My wife and I support children in need through World Vision and we know that our support combined with many other people’s mean less children live in poverty. We also give a percentage of the fee from Torchbearer membership of our differencemakers community through our membership of Buy1-Give1 to help others in doing their work. We often ask ourselves however, can we do more? are we doing all that we can?

Recently I read Peter Singer’s lastest book The life you can save - acting now to end world poverty. Singer, named by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, leaves me with no doubt in my mind that each of us can and should do more.

Singer displays a chart in his book that shows that even if just the top 10% of income earners in the United States gave modestly we would raise more than twice the amount respected economist Jeffrey Sachs suggests we need to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals that would end poverty by 2015.

Singer clearly demonstrates that these goals should be easy to achieve. The reality is none are looking as though they will be!

So we have the means to end poverty, why aren’t we? I commend Singer’s book to you as he gives many reasons why we aren’t including the fact that a lot of aid that we do give is tied up in politics and doesn’t actually help make poverty history. The good news is he also gives many ideas of what we can do and how to do it.

For me there is one main reason why we haven’t yet made poverty history. Very few people know how much is enough when it comes to receiving and giving.

The top 10% of income earners in the world earn just over $100,000 per annum. Even if they all gave 5% of their income, and could be certain their money actually went to the right places, poverty could be history. And consider this. The world’s top 0.01% of income earners earn more than 10 million dollars per annum. Singer points out that these folk could give a lot more than 5% and still be very comfortable!

How much we receive for our labour and the value we provide and how much we give away to those less fortunate is a personal decision. I know how much is enough for me to receive and to give. How about you?

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.