Monday, December 31, 2012

Trust is the big key to your success in 2013. How trustworthy are you?

Below is my final sparkenation for 2012.

For your reflection all my weekly sparkenations for 2012 are here.

Politicians everywhere are demonstrating daily, sadly, that they can't be trusted.  The erosion of trust has us gridlocked everywhere.

As a business owner/leader what will you do about this? How many of your actions erode trust with your employees, your customers, all your stakeholders?  And what will you do about it?

Trust is the big key to your success in 2013. How trustworthy are you?

"Technique and technology are important, but adding trust is the issue of the decade."
Tom Peters

"The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything he does becomes tainted."
Mahatma Gandhi

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The most significant business move you can make in 2013 - the shift from performance management to performance leadership

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A nobel peace prize, time magazine person of the year, what’s next?

I wrote the following blog on the 21st January 2009, the day after President Obama’s inauguration.

“From 'Yes we can' to Now We are

As a speaker I watched President Barack Obama's inauguration speech in awe and with tears in my eyes. As a fellow human being I was struck by his use of the word we. I felt in my heart that this is the beginning of a ‘now we are’ time like never before in history.

I am trusting that the 20th January 2009 is the day we will look back on as the day we really began to

make poverty history
provide clean water for every human being
stop people dying from preventable disease
make peace with one another regardless of our religious or political beliefs
collaborate to tackle climate change
build sustainable businesses
allow every human being the opportunity to have a home, earn a livelihood, receive an education and health care
free the world from violence

I am pessimistically optimistic!”

Since then we have made some progress yet I am disappointed. So I suspect are you and President Obama!

We still have a broken financial system in addition to the problems mentioned above and perhaps above all we are stuck with a broken political system.

In the prologue to my Changing What’s Normal book published in June 2011  I wrote:

“From a distance Barack Obama seems to me to be a warm, wise, and wonderful human being, and one of the most articulate people of his generation, perhaps of all time.

He was given a Nobel Peace Prize based on what he might do, rather than on what he had done, in my view.  It is a false hope unless ...

Despite his personal significance Barack Obama is primarily powerless to change what is normal in our world.  His “Yes we can” has become “No we can’t”, unless ...

In an excellent book, a New York Times No. 1 bestseller Switch - how to change things when change is hard, the authors Chip and Dan Heath propose a great three-phase process for change: direct
our rational mind, motivate our emotional side, and shape the path of change.  Their book is about behaviour change that will rarely happen unless ...

Most training or change programs undertaken by millions of people every day fail to lead to behaviour change unless ...

The unless I refer to is: unless intention changes.

The Republican politicians in the United States of America’s parliament have an intention, it seems to me, to replace Barack Obama, a Democrat, with one of their own.  This intention drives everything they do.

The members of the Liberal/Nationals coalition party in my home country, Australia, have the same intent. They want one of their own as our Prime Minister, and it drives everything they do.

This kind of intention has political parties, not in government, all over the world by the throat, and we are all choking as a result.

This kind of intention means good, sound ideas, put forward by politicians in power, rarely see the light of day and compromise and inaction is the result.

Success depends on where intention is.  Right now the political intentions of most are in the wrong place and, therefore, we are heading as a human race to the wrong place.

Consider just two facts, undisputed by any thinking person:
1. How most of us live in the world is unsustainable.
2. More than 6 million children under the age of five die every year, that’s 16,000 per day, simply because they do not have the right nutrition.

We have the solutions to both these problems and many others we are failing to solve.  Why have we failed?  We have failed because the intention of most is about I rather than we, which means winners and losers.

Changing what’s normal is about changing our intention to one where everyone can win.”

Mr. Obama’s recent award by Time Magazine is also I feel one of hope.

I am optimistic that Mr. Obama will take significant actions in his last four years in office that will make the world a better place however no matter what he does, no matter how inspirational and influential he is, each one of us must bring our best to the table.

The world is not going to end today. The Mayans never said it would!  Their insights are not about the end rather a new beginning.

Bring your best to 2013 and may we together end the world as we know it and usher in a new world where 'Yes we can' has become Now We Are.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How Trainers Can Use Webinars to Improve Their Workshops and Seminars

If you're a trainer delivering workshops or seminars to organizations or the public, tap into the power of webinars to enhance the value of these presentations.

Many trainers think the best way to use webinars is to replace their current in-person training courses with online versions (webinars). That can work, but it's not necessarily the best way to start, because:

  • Clients are more familiar with in-person workshops
  • Audiences are more familiar with them as well
  • You generally can't charge as high a fee, so you're harming your own income source

Instead of trying to replace your courses with webinar, enhance those courses instead. Here are some ways to do that ...

1. Market Research

If you're creating a new program for your clients, or approaching a new market with an existing program, you might not know exactly what they want most from you. One way to find out is with a free Question and Answer webinar. You invite everybody in your network (or at least the people in your target market), then turn up and spend an hour answering their questions. Use this for market research rather than promotion. You provide an extremely valuable service, and in return you discover exactly what your market wants to know.

You can improve the experience even further by:

  • Inviting people to e-mail you their questions in advance
  • Arranging the questions in a logical sequence
  • Recording the webinar and sending the recording as a thank-you gift to all participants
  • Transcribing the recording, and using the material for articles, blog posts and other written material

2. Workshop Planning Webinar

If you want your workshop participants to do some planning and pre-work before they turn up to your workshop, run a planning webinar some time before the workshop. In that webinar, you describe broadly what you'll cover in the workshop, and ask participants to do the necessary pre-work.

This has a number of benefits:

  • You can help participants prepare appropriately for the workshop
  • You bring all participants to the same level
  • You can teach more in the workshop itself, because they have already done some planning, thinking and pre-work
  • You establish rapport with participants before they meet you in person

Record the planning webinar, so you can make it available to workshop participants who couldn't attend the webinar.

3. Workshop Support Webinar

You can also run a webinar after your workshop, to offer additional support and assistance. This is especially useful if you expect participants to go away and put your ideas into practice, because they will have further questions later.

This sort of support webinar has a number of benefits:

  • It allows people time for them to use the workshop material
  • It allows you to genuinely help people who need help, without having to run a follow-up workshop or answer a series of e-mails and phone calls
  • It reduces the pressure on you to cover absolutely everything they need to know in the workshop itself
  • It increases the value of the workshop to your participants and clients

Are you using webinars to enhance your workshops?

These are just three of the ways you can use webinars to improve your in-person workshops and seminars. If you're not using them already, you might be missing a great opportunity to add value, increase your fees, and improve the experience for everybody involved.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We get what we gift

Regardless of your beliefs about Christmas I think it is a great time of the year to think about two key aspects of performance leadership, namely celebration and charisma, and then take action.

In my Enhancing Their Gifts System celebrating is a key component.  People using the system celebrate every time they achieve a milestone or goal in their performance possibility plan and continually have appreciation conversations with their colleagues when they achieve and accountability conversations when they don’t.  Every 90 days system users and their performance partners formally ask what’s worth celebrating and what could be better and then upgrade their plans for the next 90 days.  These are wonderfully positive and productive conversations because many informal exchanges have taken place in the 89 days preceding.

What’s worth celebrating in your life and work?

What’s worth celebrating about the life and work of your colleagues?

Share your answers with people you work with.
  Doing so, providing you then take action, will improve your relationships.

What could be better in your life and work?

What could be better in your business relationships with others?

Share your answers with people you work with.
  Doing so, providing you then take action, will improve your relationships.

Create a plan that begins January the 1st 2013 and write down how you will keep doing what’s worth celebrating and what you will do to change what could be better.  You just might be staggered at the profound results of taking this simple action providing you do what you write down of course!

The ancient Greek word charisma means gift or talent.  There is nothing flashy about real charisma.

What are your gifts/talents?

Are you bringing these special gifts/talent to your work on a consistent basis?

We get what we gift.

There is no greater present that you can give to your world than that of your best self.  That unique, special, one-of-a-kind that you are.

Take time out in the next 10 days to really focus on what your gifts/talents are.  Ask those closest to you to tell you what’s special about you. Then bring that person to everything you do in 2013.

In the past 18 months I have lost my best friend, my dear Mother, another woman who was like a second mother to me, and our beloved dog who was with us from 8 weeks of age till his passing at 14. I am grateful for the massive difference these beings made in my life just by being who they were. Life is too short to waste a second.

Celebrate your life and the special gift/talents you were born with or have learned or nurtured and grown or maybe even are yet to unleash, and bring all of them to everything you do in 2013. Celebrate with others their specialness, their true charisma.  Help people to enhance their gifts.

Make 2013 your best year yet.

PS The power if giving lies in the non attachment to getting back.  Give to others freely with no expectations of getting back and paradoxically you will receive in kind a 100 fold.

PSS My friend and one of the accredited mentors of my Enhancing Their Gifts System Gary Ryan is giving away a great online course for young professionals!
It’s only available until Midnight Friday 21st December 2012 (Australian Daylight Saving Time)

I highly recommend Gary’s gift.  Details here.  
Gary is aiming to give away his course to 10000 people.  Please pass on this post to any young professionals you believe would benefit.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The one action you can take in your business in 2013 that will make all the difference

Google talent management models and you will discover a plethora.

Google talent leadership models and you will find a lot of the same models.

This research suggests we are still searching for what 21st century leadership and management actually is.

Is success in the future about leadership or management? is a question I am often asked.  My answer is that success is always about both leadership and management, never one or the other.  Therefore it is essential to understand,  appreciate and value the difference between them. 

This is where there is often trouble.  For many management is still seen as controlling people and dictating what they feel, think and do and don’t feel, think and do.  This is a nasty hangover from the industrial revolution where it was assumed we could treat people like machines.  The headache this hangover has been allowed to cause is a massive barrier to progress in the 21st century in almost every aspect of our lives.  It is a fundamental reason for non-achievement of what is possible in business, politics, education, family, religion, you name it.

Further we have got carried away with leadership often seeing it as a cure all.  We are drawn to individuals who offer us hope and fail to remember than unless we take action ourselves hope is nothing more than a wish.

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that unique and special person that each of us is) to everything they do.

I stress to anyone who will listen that leadership is usually a massive failure without management.  I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything we do.

Leadership is primarily about inspiring and influencing people.  Management is primarily about systems and processes that help people to bring their best to their work.  We need both leadership and management working in harmony with one another and at the same time.

Most talent management or talent leadership models address many components such as recruitment, induction or onboarding, engagement, learning, performance, remuneration, succession etc., etc,. etc.

The better models also address how leading and managing talent fits with business goals and how deploying talent in special ways means achievement of these goals and beyond.

The problem with most models and frameworks and approaches is that they are beyond the desire and sometimes the capacity of micro, small and medium sized business owners and leaders because they are too costly, too time consuming and too complicated to implement. My Enhancing Their Gifts System is different of course and was specifically designed to address these challenges and more.

I have never met a micro, small or medium sized business owner/leader who isn’t time poor.  I have rarely met one of these people who easily invests money in people either. And certainly I have never met anyone who wants anything to do with people to be complicated!

Uppermost in my mind in my work always is helping my clients to invest wisely in time, giving you very high value for money service, and making leading people for you as uncomplicated as possible.  And I add a fourth challenge for my clients and one for me.  Most business owners/leaders don’t yet know how to lead people or how to design systems and processes that are good for people in uncomplicated ways.  My challenge is that more often than not you don’t want to admit that you don’t know how and your silence is often deafening!

We humans are complicated.  Inspiring us isn’t complicated and nor is co-creating appropriate management systems and processes when you know how.

The one action you can take in your business in 2013 that will make all the difference is to admit that you don’t have all the answers, particularly when it comes to dealing with people, and to seek help in the areas where you don’t yet have the skill required.

Admitting our shortcomings is simple to do.  Simple is rarely easy!

Some things to consider.

Would you leave important financial matters in your business to people who don’t have the expertise?

Would you leave important legal issues in your business to non-lawyers?

Would you trust the supply of essential items for your business to people who can’t deliver?

I am sure your answer to all three questions is no.  Why are you battling on and struggling with getting the best out of your employees?

The most important words I have said to the many mentors I have engaged for my personal development and the development of my businesses is “I don’t know.”

Being prepared to say “I don’t know” is a tremendously freeing up statement.  And it opens the door for the most valuable learning of our lives.

You don’t have the time, energy, or the money to any longer put your challenges with your employees on the backburner.  Learn how to truly lead people and co-create with them systems and processes that make things simple for them to bring their best to their work consistently and you will change your business and your life forever.

Please, uncomplicate your life and take the one action you can take in your business in 2013 that will make all the difference, admit that you don’t have all the answers and seek help in the areas where you don’t. Free yourself from worry and guilt which Wayne Dyer once described as life’s two most useless emotions.

My clients tell me that I see what most people don’t and say what most people won’t.  I am candid and contrarian.  I have also learned to be caring and compassionate.  I am not for everyone though. 

Three possible choices for you.

1) Give me a try by taking up a complimentary Monday morning mentoring session.  Details here.

2) Contact one of my accredited mentors.

3) Contact someone you already know who has expertise in leading and managing for people and engage them to help you ensure that 2013 is off to the flyer that you deserve.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
John Watson

I was delighted to contribute to an ebook produced by my friend and colleague Gihan Perera for the seventh year in a row. 

Please download Expect More From 2013 with our compliments here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Have you a business video that you would like other businesses to watch?

Hi All

If you run a business I thought you might be interested in this - have just launched a new website which hosts Business To Business videos.


About is designed for Business to Business videos.

If you run a business, large or small, and provide services to other businesses then you can post your videos here (for no charge).

Unlike other video hosting sites we only accept videos by businesses for businesses which means that your video is much more likely to be viewed by the people who you want to view it.

We do not accept videos aimed at the general public whether they be business to customer videos or of you playing the mandolin in the bath.

You can view videos without an account, if you want to upload videos then you need to register (for no charge).

Try it now:


All the best


Thursday, December 6, 2012

How Much Social Media Time Do You Really Need? (It's Less Than You Think)

Many business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs know they need to be more involved in social media, but worry that it's going to take up too much of their precious time - especially when it's time taken away from their core business. This is a legitimate concern, because of course some people do seem to spend their lives glued to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. But there's a difference between how much time you can spend on social media, and how much time you need to spend on it. If you're a leader, you might be surprised to discover just how much you can achieve by spending very little time on these platforms.

Of course, the amount of time you need depends on your job and role. If part of your job is to monitor Twitter, engage with customers on your Facebook page, or post event photographs to Pinterest, then you do need to spend significant time on these platforms. But that's because it's part of your job. You're being paid to spend some - maybe even most - of your day there, so what I'm about to share doesn't apply to you.

But what if that isn't the case? If you're a CEO, senior manager, business owner or entrepreneur, it's highly unlikely that social media engagement is a key component of your daily work, let alone one of your KPIs. Even if you're a tech CEO, this isn't necessarily the case (For example, in the early days of Google+, Larry Page, the CEO of Google, was criticized for not using his own social media platform).

To use social media effectively - and efficiently - as a leader, stop treating it as a two-way communication channel, and start thinking of it as a mostly one-way channel. Yes, this is a controversial idea, and flies in the face of what most social media experts will tell you to do. But it's the most effective strategy for most leaders.

Here are five simple things you can start doing now to be a social media leader.

1. Blog

It is appropriate for business leaders to blog regularly, sharing their ideas, insights and vision for the organisation with others. Depending on your organisation, this might be a private blog on the company intranet or a public blog on the public Internet.

2. Record YouTube videos

No, you don't post hilarious videos of your family cat! But there are times when it's appropriate to show your face on camera, and YouTube is one of the most effective ways to do that. There are some well-known examples of CEOs doing this for damage control after a damaging story about their organisation went viral. But don't wait until something goes wrong! Use your YouTube channel to make announcements, talk about your strategy, post media releases, and share success stories about your organisation.

3. Cultivate media relationships

Know where you want your message to be heard, and cultivate relationships with the key influencers in those places. Follow selected bloggers and journalists on Twitter, and re-tweet or reply to their posts occasionally. Go further and comment on their blog posts directly, for an even stronger relationship.

You might have a marketing and PR department to send official media releases to these organisations, but sometimes a personal message direct from the CEO is more powerful than any other form of communication.

4. Host online presentations and conference calls

Host regular conference calls and online presentations, where you take the opportunity to discuss strategic direction and ideas with important stakeholders. These can be run in a number of different ways, depending on what best suits your organisation. Here are some examples:

  • Webinar: A presentation delivered over the Internet, where other participants can see your screen and can hear you speak
  • Teleseminar: Similar, but without visuals (so they can only hear you speak)
  • Conference call: A more open form of teleseminar, where the audience feels more empowered to speak up and participate in the discussion
  • Interview: Somebody interviews you, and the audience listens to the interview live (and has some opportunities to ask questions)
  • Video conference: Similar to an audio conference call, but including video as well
  • Google Hangout: A mix of presentation and discussion, where a few people take part in the discussion, while others can watch live on YouTube

As with your other communication, you can choose whether this is internal or external.

5. Follow influencers on Twitter

All of the examples above are where you use social media for outbound communication. But it can be a powerful inbound communication tool as well (It can still be one-way, just the other way!). As a business leader, it's important to stay on top of trends, environmental changes, current affairs, and other influences on your organisation and industry. You know your favorite sources; now look for ways to subscribe to them online. Follow relevant bloggers and journalists on Twitter, subscribe to RSS feeds from newspapers and magazines, and listen to news and business podcasts.

How can you do social media leadership?

These are just five ideas to get you started on the path to social media leadership. Remember, the key is not about the amount of time you spend, but about the way you use these channels.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sustainability can be simple

My mother-in-laws brother is in his late seventies.  He and is wife travel a lot in a modified utility that is their home away from home. The caravan part of the ute is made mostly of recycled stuff.  The vehicle runs on oil from fish and chips shops!  My “uncle” buys the oil from your average fish and chip shop owner whenever he needs to.  Mostly he gets it for free. He then cleans the oil and puts it in the ute.  These entrepreneurs made a trip recently of several thousand miles for a cost of $25!

Sustainability can be really simple.  It just requires your entrepreneurship, some ingenuity and particularly not listening to the naysayers.  My “uncle” had plenty of people telling him he couldn’t do what he has done.

The great author science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke had some great insights into what can happen with ideas.  My paraphrase as follows:

people tell you that it is a crazy idea, and it will never work.
Next people say your idea might work, but it’s not worth doing.
Finally people say I told you that it was a great idea.

“Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.”
Arthur C. Clarke

What information do you have that you could turn into insight, then an idea and then get inspired enough to turn the idea into innovation?

Get going now.  Don’t wait for anyone.  Most likely you will find sustainability in your life and work very simple too.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Why schools in Australia shouldn't go broke

The recent spate of independent school closures and/or going into voluntary administration concerns me. It concerns me that these schools have managed their way into such a financial mess, but I am even more concerned about the knee-jerk reaction that may be caused by such poor administration.

Schools are not and never will be businesses. I'll say that again. Schools are not and never will be businesses. The purpose of a business is to serve its clients and stakeholders and to make a profit. The purpose of a school is to educate and to provide a sense of community and belonging and while doing so, be financially astute and responsible.

There is a huge difference between running a school so that it fulfils its purpose to educate, than to run a school for the purpose of being financially viable or profitable. 

One of my Executive Coaching clients is a school principal who has been doing a magnificent job in taking his school from being good to outstanding. His school's recent review, coupled with a standing ovation that he received at a speech he gave to 200 of his peers as he spoke from the heart about his journey over the past 2 1/2 years at a recent conference, are indicators of the success of his journey.

He is absolutely passionate that the school he serves exists for the education of its students. The school does not exist to make money. Yet he uses business and financial management principles as tools to help him deliver on the purpose of his school - to educate its students and to provide them with a sense of community and belonging.

His understanding of how the system within which he operates from a financial perspective works is second to none. He uses that knowledge to ensure that the financial management of the school serves the purpose of the school.

In this context, understanding why the school exists is paramount to ensuring that financial management practices serve the purpose of the school, and ensure that the cart doesn't come before the horse. Schools do not exist to make money. This doesn't mean that they can't make money, but if making money becomes the purpose for the school, then education will suffer. Purpose is really that powerful.

The recent school closures are indicators that something has gone terribly wrong. School leaders need to have a strong understanding of finance and need to use that understanding for the benefit of schools. A closed school doesn't serve any purpose.

In closing I encourage better fiscal management of schools. But I urge those of influence to ensure that the school's finances don't become the focus and the reason the school exists, else our children will ultimately suffer.

Like what you're reading. Find out more about Gary here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Passion Matters If You Want Success

If you want to achieve anything worthwhile in life then there is a simple secret that successful people know.

The first principle for achieving success is passion and I absolutely believe that you have to have it in your life if you want to have access to the energy that is required to create success. 

Passion provides our energy, our drive for taking action, especially when those actions are hard and/or challenging. In simple terms we derive energy from our passions.
Try this quick exercise.

Stop and close your eyes for a moment think about your passion. It could be one or more of many things such as:
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Singing
  • Physical exercise
  • Playing sport
  • Water based activities
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Reading
  • Gaming
  • Studying
  • Learning
  • Cooking
This list doesn’t have an end! It could go on and on and on.

Once you have identified your passions focus on one of them and think about it, remember yourself doing, see yourself doing it. Notice what happens to your body when you start imagining yourself doing your passion.

When I ask participants in my programs to do this exercise you should see what I see! While their eyes are closed as they are imagining themselves doing their passion, whatever it is, people smile! It is as if they can't help it. Smiles simply appear on their faces!

It just happened to you too, didn't it.

If you require evidence that passions drive your energy then here it is! Just notice the smile on your face. 

However a sad fact is that as many of us get older, we stop experiencing our passions. Just when our lives get busier and more serious, just when we need more energy to create the success we desire, we stop living and experiencing our passions. If you think about it, isn’t that just plain crazy?

Our passions ‘leave’ our lives or they simply fade away from being present in our lives. Yet we need our passions in our lives in order to give us the energy to get through some of the less passionate things that we have to do. No matter how successful we become there will always be things that we have to do to create our success that aren't the most fun in the world to do.

As you consider your passion or passions, are they present in your life now? When did you last experience your passion? When is the next time you plan to experience your passion?

Interestingly your passion doesn’t have to be 'present' all the time for you to benefit from the energy it provides. As an example many people have travelling as one of their passions. For many of us such a passion is ‘serviced’ when we have annual leave holidays from our work. So what people with this passion will do is book in and pay for their travelling experiences a long time in advance. As a result they have the positive energy benefits of looking forward to experiencing their passion.

If you don’t have a passion and can’t remember ever having one, you have a wonderful opportunity to include this in your Vision. For example. as part of your personal vision you could write, “In 12 months’ time I will be living a regularly experiencing at least one life passion.”

Remember, when planning for success it’s okay to write things down into the Vision section of your plan even when you have no idea about how they are going to be brought into reality. In fact, this is usually true for most things that you write down in the vision section of your plan and why writing them down is so powerful.

In wrapping up, what's your passion or passions? How are you leveraging the energy that they generate?

Gary Ryan facilitates the OTM Plan for Personal Success® program. Click here to find out more about how you can create a plan for your personal success.

Like what you're reading. Find out more about Gary here

Friday, November 30, 2012

Research Shows That Staying Focused Is A Key To Happiness

Trying to understand what makes us happy is a very interesting field of modern research. In the TedX video below, Matt Killingsworth explains the link between mind-wandering and happiness that his research has uncovered.

Using a mobile app he was able to generate 650,000 sets of data responses from people reporting on their level of happiness.

His findings indicated a direct relationship between a wandering-mind and its negative impact upon happiness. He also discovered that our minds wander a lot, so this relationship is difficult to prevent.

The reason is that when people let their minds wander, they tend to think more about negative things than positive or neutral things. As an example, people might start thinking about an argument they had the previous day with their spouse and then start to stress about that conversation, therefore making themself unhappy.

It seems that Matt's research highlights the importance of staying in the moment and being focused on whatever we are doing (which statistically keeps you happier than if you let your mind wander) and/or to be far more mindful about our mind-wandering. In other words, consciously choose to let your mind wander about pleasant things.

The video goes for just over 10 minutes and is worth a viewing.

3 ways to close your talent gaps

I digested with great interest the 15th global PWC CEO survey.  You can download it here.

The headline on page 8 says “Talent shortages biting.”  The opening line on this page is “Talent gaps and mismatches not just an issue for the future, they are hurting businesses now.” Yep!

The final paragraph on page 8 says
“The real question is why talent gaps remain such a challenge, despite being an evident strategic priority.  This is not a new issue. Our CEO surveys throughout the past decade have consistently highlighted the availability of skill as a significant strategic threat across all sectors.”

Why do talent gaps remain a challenge indeed?

I have 3 primary answers.

My first two answers invoke the wisdom of Albert Einstein.
1) "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Leader after leader that I meet are thinking how business was in the 20th century and in some cases the 19th and even the 18th century! How it was is no longer.

Many leaders I meet think social media will go away. It won’t.
And crucially despite overwhelming evidence of what works and what doesn’t, a lot of people I meet still don’t get that if you put people first you do better in your business.

There is a lot of stupidity and idiocy across the board in the world today.

I love the following defintions.

Someone said that the definition of stupidity is
“Expecting a different result by continuing to do the same old thing”

Someone said that the definition of idiocy is
“Doing something different and still getting the same result”

What changes could you make today to be less stupid and less idiotic particularly when it comes to how you see people, help them identlfy their talents/gifts and how well you are helping people to enhance their gifts in their best interests, yours, and that of all your stakeholders?

The internet has changed business forever.  What changes could you make today to be less stupid and less idiotic in how you and your people use the internet and the tool that is social media?

What must you begin doing today that means thinking differently than in the past?

2) "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)

The headline on Page 12 of the PWC survey says “Operating in the dark?” and then says “So how can companies become more strategic about talent? One place to start is by getting better data.

CEOs consistently say they don’t have enough information to improve
decision making in areas such as cost of employee turnover, staff productivity, or employees views and needs.”

Only 16% of CEOs according to the PWC survey believe that the data they get is sufficiently comprehensive.

What data do you have?  What data do you need to get?

More importantly what insights do you need to act on to stop the bleeding of money and other resources when it comes to leading people?

What do you measure?

And is your focus on lead measure
s not lag measures as outlined in my blog here?

3) Lack of role clarity

There is a lack of role clarity everywhere in business at two levels, employees and leaders.

I meet employees all day every day who don’t really know where they fit.  They are not clear on their personal piece of your organisation’s strategy execution plan.

Most strategies fail to get executed because employees, the chief executors of strategy, havenʼt yet bought into the strategy or as is more often the case, they donʼt yet understand or own their unique piece of the execution map.

My Enhancing Their Gifts System™ changes this big time.  If you don’t yet know about the system please see overview and links at the end of this post.

I liken strategy to a compass and execution to a map. Ensuring employees co-create with you and own their unique piece of your execution map is a key part of your role as a leader. Imagine a giant quilt woven together, each piece different, yet integral to the whole. All of your employees need their piece. 

Integral to each employee’s piece is how much they’re bringing their unique gifts to their work on a consistent basis. 

Your primary role as a leader therefore is talent maximisation.  There are thirteen key aspects.  Take your pulse here and see how well you are.

Improve your talent maximisation, think 21st century solutions to your challenges, and measure what really matters and there will no longer be a talent gaps at your place.  The results will astound you.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Enhancing Their Gifts System Overview

The Enhancing Their Gifts System is a proven methodology for obtaining full engagement by employees that enhances people performance and workplace satisfaction.  It is about people, performance, results.  In that order.

Please view the FAQs here.

From October 1st 2012 it became possible to not just implement the system with my help in person it can now be implemented through a do it yourself program with support from an accredited mentor online and/or in person.

The best way to see if the Enhancing Their Gifts System is for you is to register for a complimentary demonstration clinic here or get in touch with an accredited mentor or myself and arrange a private clinic.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The power of peer groups

Do you have a 100 year plan for your business? My friend Bob Bradley has one "It is the norm not the exception for a business leader to be in a leadership development peer group." You can read all about Bob's plan here.

I have had the honour of speaking to Bob's groups twice and many other CEO/MD peer groups. It is very clear to me that the people who invest in these kind of groups are better performers than those who don't.

Are you a member of such a group?

If your answer is no you are doing yourself, your people and your business a great disservice.

The other thing I like about Bob's 100 year plan is that it is about legacy.
What kind of legacy will you leave?

And what kind of legacy are you leaving right know?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Be Grateful - A Strategy For Creating Success

Thanksgiving has just concluded and while it is not something we formally celebrate in Australia, my twin brother and his family live in the USA so I have become more and more familiar with the concept over time.

If you are concerned about having a career that is unfulfilled or that the skills that you have will never be fully leveraged for success (amongst a whole list of concerns and worries about your future), then according to research from the University of California by Dr Robert Emmons, practicing being grateful for what you already have can both increase your happiness and increase your success.

Yes, that is correct. Being thankful for what you have increases your happiness and increases your success, which means that you increase your capacity to have more of what you want in your life.
Too often we focus only on what we want. This can increase our dissatisfaction with our present that reduces our happiness in the present.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that too many people spend too much of their time wanting what they don't have which causes unimaginable suffering. Think about it. You buy a new car. For a short period of time you are feeling satisfied and grateful for your new car. Then you see someone else with the same model car as yourself, but it has some extra options that you don't have on your car. "I wish I had those options." you think to yourself. Suddenly your new car isn't quite as good as your thought. So you start to suffer again.

Suffering obviously reduces happiness.

In this context is wanting what you don't have bad for you? I don't believe so. After all I facilitate the OTM Plan for Personal Success® Program which is all about identifying what you want and what you are going to do to create that future. But the program isn't just about that.

It is also about recognising what you currently have in your life for which you are grateful and identifying what you need to do to keep what you are grateful for present in your life.
As an example I am now in my 17th year of marriage with my beautiful wife Michelle. I really do love her more than the day we married. I am extremely grateful to have her as my life partner and the mother of our five children. I practice making sure that I never forgot that I am grateful for who she is and what she does. I do this because I want Michelle to be in my life both now and in the future.
Many people forget this fact. There are many elements of our lives that have contributed to our current success that will also need to be present in our future if we want to continue our success and happiness.

This means that you must plan to take conscious actions to keep the very things that make you happy now continually present in your life.

One way to do that is to create a Grateful List. Simply create a list of the things for which you are truly grateful, place that list where you can see it everyday and then look at it every day. Once every 90 days update your list.

This simple, yet effective strategy can raise your consciousness of what makes you happy in the present, while also contributing to your future success and happiness.

Friday, November 23, 2012

How great is your influence as a leader?

This excellent article The Shift From Chief Executive To Chief Influencer By Julie Moreland provides great insights into real leadership.

How great an influencer are you?

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

I also stress to anyone who will listen that leadership falters and usually badly without management.  I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

How great an inspirer are you?
and how simple are you making it for your people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do?

Long gone are the days of command and control. 

Today your key role as a leader is to identify, enhance and deploy the unique talents/gifts of your employees in their best interests, the interests of all your stakeholders including the planet, and your business.  To fulfill this key role you must be inspiring, a prerequiste to positive and productive influence.

How inspiring are you?

The more inspiring you are the more you can step away from old style ineffective leadership and make the move from performance management to talent leadership and the profound difference such a move makes to your people and your business results.

The talent maximisation pulse check here is one way for you see how inspiring and influential you really are.  Take the pulse check.  You just might be staggered by what it reveals to you.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Social Media Leadership: The Story Every CEO Should Read (and Tell)

According to the "2012 Fortune 500 Social CEO Index", just 19 of the CEOs of the world's top 500 companies use Twitter - and that' being generous and including those who have somebody else tweet on their behalf. That number is low, but it's hardly surprising. After all, most social media marketers tell businesses to use Twitter at a very detailed, tactical level - listening to customers, engaging in conversations, solving customer problems, running competitions to gain followers, and so on. It's not that some of these aren't important for a CEO to know about, but they aren't what a CEO should be doing on a daily basis.

Some people have criticized CEOs who don't use social media, using the argument that they aren't using the communication tools their customers and employees use. But that doesn't make sense. After all, they probably don't drive the same cars, live in the same sort of houses, or have the same circle of friends as their customers - and that alone doesn't preclude them from doing their job. And just because they don't answer phones in the call center - like their employees - doesn't mean they are out of touch, either.

That said, most leaders - whether they are CEOs, business owners, entrepreneurs, or influential intrapreneurs - could gain a lot from using social media. But only if they use it properly.

The secret is social media leadership.

If you're a CEO, think of social media as another means for spreading your message - just as if you were the guest speaker at a networking event. This is not about spreading your marketing message by pushing your products and services - just as you wouldn't turn a speaking engagement into a product pitch. Rather, it's about sharing your insights, knowledge, ideas, wisdom and inspiration with those who care to listen.

If your job is to focus on strategy (and if you're a CEO, it is), then use social media platforms for talking strategy.

You do need to communicate your strategic message to various stakeholders - including customers, clients, shareholders, employees, the community, media, investors and regulators. Social media platforms give you another communication channel.

Can you do that in 140 characters or fewer? Sure, although Twitter is not your only social media outlet. But even if you do have Twitter alone, you should be able to articulate key components of your strategic message in 140-character tweets (If you can't, you'll probably struggle to get your message across elsewhere as well).

But that's not the only way to make a point. For example, think about one of your key strategic initiatives and messages for the next 90 days, and look for examples of where that message appears in the world. For example:

  • An online news story related to it (tweet about it)
  • A video about this message (embed it on Facebook)
  • An example of an employee who has implemented this strategy in their day-to-day work (post their photo online)
  • A customer testimonial proving that your company is on the right path (post it to your blog)
  • A presentation from an industry conference (tweet about it)
  • A personal anecdote from a recent business trip (blog about it)

These are all examples you can share online that demonstrate at a tactical level what you're thinking about at a strategic level. By sharing them in social media, you're not only making them more real for your stakeholders, you're also being a person that people truly want to follow.

And that's social media leadership.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Action, Brevity and Conviction" keys to all forms of communication

In his Change This manifesto Matt Eventoff states what leaders can learn from masterful orators of the past - "Action, Brevity and Conviction."

Read Matt’s manifesto here and take it to your heart and then change what’s normal about all your communication. You will become a greater leader. And you will inspire the people you work with to become greater leaders too.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Secret Colours of Marketing & Communicating Your Message - Part 1

Choosing the right colours to accurately convey your message or create the right perception in your marketing materials is as much an art as it is a science. Colours impact the emotions and actions of your target audience so it is important to make the right colour choices to maximise these impacts.

Here are a few things for you to consider, so that the colours you choose support your marketing message, and don’t disadvantage you or even work against you.

Why should consider colour in respect of marketing?
Colour is part of our inner take on the world. It's an instinctive thing, it’s fundamentally linked to our nature and intrinsic to the person we project. Every one of us has an emotional response to the different colours of the spectrum; more often than not this response is an unconscious one. It is this unconscious emotional response that matters in creating successful marketing campaigns, and colour is a key piece in the marketing puzzle.

Logos and websites - colour plays an important initial role with regard to the initial reaction.
There has been much scientific research into colours, and science offers us ways of thinking about colours in marketing to elicit a desired, or undesired, response. Take a colour wheel as an example. A colour wheel contains both warm and cool colours, each provoking a different emotional response. A warm toned colour will elicit an active response whilst a cool tone colour will elicit a calming response.

So before you start ask yourself what type of response do you want your message to elicit? The warm colours we find in nature, such as reds and yellows indicate action. Why? Think of the sun and fire. When you see fire or feel the heat of the flames, you will either be drawn in by it or you will take it as a clear indication to remove yourself from a dangerous situation. Irrespective of which camp you are in, unconsciously the message is that you should "act now!".

Cool colour tones however are different. They don't elicit action but instead they invoke serenity or calm, and stability. Think of things like our earth and a clear or slight cloud dusted sky. The message therefore with cool tone colours is "steady as she goes there" and "all good, we're stable". If you're objective is to calm the viewer, or to impart to the viewer an inner sense of timelessness, blues and the cooler colour tones are best.

Then of course there are the many different variations; the combinations of the primary colours (red, yellow, and blue) and these are very complex when talking about unconscious  or subconscious responses to colours in our marketing. Take the example in some prisons, and this is quite interesting, where pink is used to evoke a more human response from otherwise aggressive inmates.

In the next part of this series i will go into more detailed analysis of colours and their use in marketing. I trust you have found this helpful thus far.

Be sure to return soon to read the remaining two parts to this series.

I trust this was valuable.

Original Article Source:

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.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sustainable, sociable (Social) Business – What’s Not to Like?

Sustainable, sociable (Social) Business – What’s Not to Like?

By Connie Comber, Managing Director, Re-Imagine Business.

Does it matter whether we like ourselves when we go about doing business? [Not ‘Like’ in the Facebook sense, I hasten to add; like, in the appreciate and respect ourselves, sense.] 

It used not to matter whether we like ourselves in business. In fact – whimsically - the more ‘unlikeable’ we were, the more likely we were to get ‘promoted’. Being ‘tough guys’ and ruthless was ‘sharp business’. Turns out – that’s proven to be pretty unsustainable business. 

But adopting sustainable practices in business [broadly defined from ethical to ecological considerations] is often questioned - and criticised - as an impost on businesses.

We hear: Is it a cost – or a value-add? Does it make money, or take money? If it takes money – does it return it, if so, when and to what degree, etc?

This is the classic picture of a business-culture in transition. These are the same anxieties that came up when businesses were required to act on their responsibilities in OH&S, or developers were ‘imposted’ with contributions to community services. In the end, have these proven to be imposts or business improvements?

Those answers lie in the perceptions and values of the businesses (owners/managers) themselves. They lie in the value system of our surrounding society. On reflection, do we really want to go back to hazardous work practices that lack care? Would we go back to the days when developers were not expected to take some responsibility for the impact of their projects on the surrounding community?

Many developers, nowadays, pride themselves on their engagement with the surrounding community and their literal, and visionary, contributions. Most businesses would keep their OH&S standards in place if you took away the legislative requirements – now. They like themselves as a safe and caring employer.
So how do we value the qualities involved in becoming sustainable businesses? Because, ‘liking ourselves’ has a value; both intrinsically, and as a culture-base to the operations of a business.

It's well documented, businesses that have positive, proactive cultures have better customer service responses and are likely to be more innovative and responsive in a changing environment. They are more likely to thrive.

A dog-eat-dog, competitive-at-every-turn business is looking to win ‘against’ others and is eroding the suppliers’ and customers’ value-relationship to their company. That used to be common.

Things are changing. Customers, (the community) now, want to see businesses ‘caring’. They don’t have a clearly articulated definition of that caring – but, businesses having a conscience, and a socially responsible basis to their decisions in business - ‘matters’, now. Increasingly, this is a fundamental component of any definition of sustainable business.

New methods of doing business sustainably are being posed by luminaries such as Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter and Mark Kramer. They espouse creating shared value as a next-step in sound, enduring commercial practice. In their article in HBR [] ‘Creating Shared Value’, they point out that “no company is self contained” ... so, they affirm that the ties between societal and economic needs are inherently interconnected. Shared value, they believe, is about breaking through “a narrow conception of capitalism [which] has prevented business from harnessing its full potential to meet society’s broader challenges.

“The opportunities have been there all along”, Porter says “but have been overlooked ... society’s needs are large and growing, while customers, employees, and a new generation of young people are asking business to step up.”

Porter and Kramer see the new business methods stemming from, for example, “reconceiving products and markets, redefining productivity in the value chain, and enabling local cluster development”. These methods require behaviour qualities like collaboration, cooperation and mutuality.

These reframed behaviours create a very different kind of ‘competitive advantage’ from past teachings. As they, also, point out “there is nothing soft about the concept of shared value”, it does not depart from economic value creation.

So, while we’re formulating new ways of doing business – let’s not forget the value of ‘liking ourselves’ and liking the way we do business.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen some people – otherwise perfectly reasonable, decent people [mostly], do some terrible things in business: ‘rip others off’; even determinedly ‘push another business over’ out of an aggressive need to ‘win’, (or a desperate need to stay in business); treat suppliers [or lessees] poorly to ‘get the best out of them’. It’s pretty ugly stuff.

We used to call it ‘clever business’ - until we called it the GFC.

Now we know there are downsides to ‘clever business’, and, now, we’re waking up to how we felt doing business that way. Fairly ugly.

Here’s the upside we usually forget to talk about when it comes to implementing sustainability in business; we like ourselves better – naturally.

That is, it’s ‘built into our DNA’ to feel better when we do good.

Scientific studies [examples below] have shown the link between acting with generosity - and achieving greater feelings of well-being, better physical health, and an increased tendency for further generosity. Similar results have been found for kindness, happiness and social connectedness. Some studies showed remarkably improved life expectancies as a result of increased socially-positive behaviours.

There are measurable hormone changes in response to acting generously, or kindly, which enhance well-being. These changes are self-fulfilling; they induce further actions of generosity, kindness and connectedness. This author believes that is a fundamental anchor in the success of shared value methods in business; why they are proving highly effective commercial strategies. We like to like ourselves and we like to like the way we do business.

So the notion that the business world is a ‘natural jungle’ and aggressive, dominating behaviour is our ‘natural instincts’ - is rapidly being debunked. The appearance of winning against others – may have shown immediate rewards but we know, now, those gains had long-term erosive qualities that have caused huge destabilisations across most economies. We thought it was ‘OK’ to ‘not care’ – that it ‘wasn’t our problem’ – until it is.

As Porter and Kramer demonstrate so capably, the time to say ‘it is our problem’ has come – and, more to the point - we can respond to it positively and in mutually-connected ways that “has the power to unleash the next wave of global growth”. 

While we’re doing that – we get to swap feeling stressed, dog-eat-dogged, one-upped/one-downed, and kind of ‘going through the motions while you leave your heart and soul at home’-ed - for feeling generous, kind, socially connected, and healthy!  

There’s value in that, I would argue – what’s not to like?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

25 ways to move from performance management to performance leadership and make a real difference

25 ways to move from performance management to performance leadership and inspire premier employee performance (order not relevant) 25 ways to move from performance management to performance leadership and inspire premier employee performance (order not relevant)

1. Stop seeing people as they are.  See people as the can be.

2. Find out what’s really important to your people and help them achieve it.

3. Assess performance not people.

4. Stop trying to manage people.  Instead lead people.

5. Help each employee to create their own personal piece of your strategy execution map.

6. When you assess performance support assessment with data.

7. Provide "feedforward" before feedback.

8. Focus on standards instead of goals.

9. Discover a shared-view with your employees about where you’re going, why you’re going there, how you will get there, who will do what and when, how you will live your values.

10. Teach people to be accountable and let them be.

11. Appreciate people when they do well.

12. Never confuse a person with their performance.

13. Name the elephants in your rooms.

14. Role model candid and authentic conversations.

15. Never review performance and salary at the same time.

16. See problems as opportunities to innovate i.e. change what’s normal rather than solve the problem and reinstate the status quo (normal).

17. Keep your promises.

18. Praise in public and in private.

19. Share success stories other people can see and feel themselves in.

20. Be a disruptive influence for good.

21. Be fully present in the now.

22. Only have performance conversations about previously agreed actions. Only change actions with agreement.

23. Focus on processes not outcomes.

24. Do your life’s work and inspire your employees to do theirs.  Taking the pulse check here may help you and your people.  As soon as you complete the pulse check and press send you will be able to download the PDF version of my Changing What's Normal book. Sparkenation 6 in my book 'Discovering Your Life's Work' will help you a great deal because it contains lots for you to think about concerning the 16 statements of the pulse check.

25. Be remarkable at identifying and deploying the gifts/talents of your people. Take the Talent Maximisation Pulse Check here.  You just might be staggered by what completing this pulse check will reveal to you.  As a thank you for completing the pulse check, as soon as you press send you will be able to download my appendix ebook to the leaders guide in my Enhancing Their Gifts System™ - 45 really useful tools, tips and techniques for recruiting, engaging and retaining great people, a resource people worldwide have used to help them maximise the gifts/talents of their people.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders of medium sized business and leaders of divisions in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

Why some people succeed while others just have great potential for success

Take any task you are doing and you will find loads of people who can tell you how to do it better. That group can generally be broken down to friends and family who care for you, colleagues, partners and associates who want you to succeed, and the other group that both stands alone and crosses the previous two, namely those who are in the same space as you and deep down consider themselves at least your equal if not better.

Now reverse the roles, when was the last time you saw someone in your business space doing something and you thought ‘there is no way they can succeed doing it that way!’ or ‘if they took my advice and did it the way I would do it they would be far more successful!’?

The differences should be clear for two people in the same commercial space.

Those who do something will always achieve more than those who stand on the sidelines and think about how they could do it better.

Those who do something and enlist the (commercial) support of others to help them do it better will always be more successful than those who help them do it better.

Those who believe they can do it better can achieve more if they are prepared to do it!

Doing something is always better than doing nothing or as Carl Taylor, founder of the Business Builders Academy puts it “option one is better than option none”. For me Carl Taylor is one of Australia’s leading and most inspiring young entrepreneurs.

A few final thoughts, if you think that you can do better, when you look closer you may find that you are indeed the other persons equal in all ways professionally, however clearly the other person who is doing something has some different personality traits to you. Is there something that you can learn from them? How would having a collaborative attitude to what you know help advance your cause?

Reach out, talk, and find the place where you can both benefit. That place is out there. Collaboration is the key, and from experience something tells me that the person who is doing something will be very open to collaborating.

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rather than trying to manage your poor performers out, how about leading them in?

I have had many people contact me following my recent article Performance management is an oxymoron too!  There have also been several discussions in LinkedIn groups about the article.  I have felt despair at times because when a lot of people talk about performance management what they often mean is managing someone out of their workplace because of poor performance and so performance management’s bad name is heightened.

Rather than trying to manage your poor performers out, how about leading them in?

There are many tell tale signs of under performing workplaces.  Here are my top 10:

#1. Leaders avoiding and/or putting off difficult conversations about performance.
#2. Leaders confusing problems with people.
#3. Leaders confusing problems with personalities.
#4. Leaders have poor communication and presentation skills.
#5. Lack of a shared view between leaders and employees about where the organisation is going, why it’s going there, how it will get there, who will do what and when, and how we will behave regardless of the situation.
#6. Employees don’t know the organisations strategy for moving forward and particularly they don’t know and own their piece of the execution map.
#7. Leaders failing to truly appreciate people when they do well and employees failing to appreciate other employees when they do well.
#8. Poor accountability.
#9. Blaming and shaming rather than being accountable.
#10. A focus on business goals and how they will be achieved rather than a focus that maintains harmony between personal and business goals.

Seth Godin offers some great insights into overcoming these short comings in a recent blog Bad performance, good performance and the other two kinds
Seth talks about personal performance.

All change is personal first. Relationship change is second.  Organisational change is a distant third.

Start with the personal.  Humanize your relationships with your employees.  They are people first, employees second.  Get to know your people, their hopes and dreams, their fears and failings.  See your people as they can be, not as they are. 

Have conversations with your people about how they can turn their personal hopes and dreams into reality.  Document with them how they will do this.  Keep this to a page and just focus on the next 90 days yet with the long term firmly in mind.  On the other side of the page help your people to outline how they will bring their unique talents to their work on a consistent basis.  Use this document as the basis for daily appreciation and accountability conversations.

The writer Leon Gettler, who for me makes the Management Today magazine in Australia, said in a recent article “The toughest job for managers is having difficult conversations.”  If you don’t know how to have such conversations get to learning how and fast.

My promise to you is that the more you treat people as the one-of-a-kind human being that each of us is, the tough conversations get simpler and paradoxically there is less of a need for them because people become accountable for their own intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions.

Documenting performance possibility and having daily appreciation and accountability conversations (the tough ones) are key components of a performance leadership system.  Operative word leadership.  System is the management bit.  Rule of thumb leadership is about people, management is about systems.

I actually prefer the word talent to the word performance in this context.  Talent or the lack of using our talent/s well is what leads to performance, good and bad.

A powerful talent leadership and management system means we

*recruit people aligned with our values
*identify and cultivate people's gifts/talents
*induct and engage people to bring their best to their work consistently

Such a system also means:
*leaders are having informal and formal and candid conversations daily about performance that inspires and leads to personal accountability
*employees are having the same kind of conversations with each other and other stakeholders
*wisdom is retained when people move on
*how achievements are celebrated is known, agreed, and lived
*succession planning works in practice
*overall the special gifts/talents of individuals are being enhanced

How does your system stack up?

Having such a system is integral to leading people in and soon means a far less need to manage people out.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

PS My Enhancing Their Gifts System™can help you move quickly from performance management to talent leadership and management.

In just 30 days time the very special offer for implementing and embedding the system via a web based learning program and with the help of an accredited mentor expires.  It is an offer I will never be making again.

I will hold the offer for anyone who participates in a demonstration clinic.  The next clinics are on this Thursday the 15th.  Details here. There will be more clinics before the December 12th offer cut off day.  You can also make arrangements for a private clinic simply by contacting an accredited mentor or myself.

Friday, November 9, 2012

biases in decision making

This short video looks at (in a hopefully entertaining way) one of the biases we have in our thinking - and how we can do something to overcome this bias.

find the gold bar