Tuesday, January 31, 2012

9 reasons why your business needs to be more like John Lennon

9 reasons why your business needs to be more like John Lennon is a brilliant article by Ayd Instone a UK based expert on creativity and stories.

You can read Ayd’s great insights in full here.

How will you adapt Ayd’s insights? I would love to hear about what you do. Please let me know ian@changingwhatsnormal.com

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

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Presentations that solve your problems.

Resources that enable you to make your life simpler.

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"It's never too late to be who you might have been."

The worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Kevin Roberts is one of my heroes. His 18th January blog post Regrets of the Dying/Lessons for the Living which you can read here jumped out at me.

Kevin refers to a book by Bronnie Ware in which she shares 5 common regrets.

"1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier."

"It's never too late to be who you might have been." George Eliot

Get moving, change, adapt. Live your best life every day.

Why not?

Stop having expectations of others. Stop worrying about what other people do or don’t do. Stop procastinating.

Start having expectations of yourself and fulfill them one day at a time.

Start eliminating worry from your life and get on with living.

Start small. Do something now. Commit to living your best life and live it.

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

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Presentations that solve your problems.

Resources that enable you to make your life simpler.

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

All of life is a miracle

This week sparkenation.

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

This week live your life as though everything is a miracle.

See what changes for you when you do.

Make adaptions to your life as a result. And keep adapting.

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

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Presentations that solve your problems.

Resources that rock.

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What not to do in the real world

I am a big fan of Seth Godin and most of his daily blog posts get me thinking and often adapting what I do. Seth’s post ‘Learning leadership from Congress’ here certainly got me thinking. Seth lists, using poor old politicians as examples, what we shouldn’t do in the real world.

Three classic what we shouldn’t do from Seth:
“Compromise over the important issues, but dig in and fight forever over trivia.
Along those lines: focus obsessively on the short run.Even though you are virtually assured of re-election, define the long term as "before the next election."
Blame the system, the other side and your predecessors for the fact that you are not taking brave, independent action.”

A co-promise is worth seeking; compromise usually not. Who are you achieving a shared view with and then collaborating to make a real difference?

How many of the debates that you have with your family and your colleagues are over things that really don’t matter? What are you going to do about it?

Short term gain often results in long term pain.
Are your daily actions about the long term? What could you change?

How responsible and accountable are you really? Are you blaming someone or something for not achieving what is important to you?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a leading business figure who told me most business people he knows are ignoring politics and politicians and focusing on what they can influence for the real common good. What are you doing?

We need to sweep away all the BS in our world and get real in order to meet our challenges. How authentic are you?

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

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Presentations that solve your problems.

Resources that rock.

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The 20 Foundations of Real Leadership

I wrote the majority if this article in 2005. Some things don’t change!

I have often reflected on my time as a corporate manager and executive during the 70’s and 80’s. My summary would be this was a period when we over managed and under led.

Today I believe there is a tendency by many to under manage and over lead.

There is so much focus on leadership I sense many of us have forgotten about management.

One of the reasons why leadership is hot is that there is a crisis of confidence in most of our leaders whether they hail from government, business, education or religion, the once four pillars of our society.

I am seeing a hunger for insight into what real leadership is, like never before. I am in no doubt that revolution and evolution are needed in leadership. And people from all walks and ways want to know about real leadership and are more than willing to dispel the myths and kill off the sacred cows. It’s invigorating! A new generation of people who can lead and manage at the same time is emerging and they will get it right. Our very survival probably depends on it.

Leadership is the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything that they do. Management is the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything that they do. Often leadership and management oppose one another. We need both operating in harmony. We must be able to lead and manage at the same time.

Here are 20 foundations that when acted upon bring about harmony between effective leadership and efficient management.

1. Real leaders walk the talk

Some people have heard the talk, don’t believe it and therefore don’t walk the talk.
Some people have heard the talk, believe it, but don’t walk the talk. Some people have heard the talk, talk the talk, but still don’t walk the talk.
Real leaders rarely talk the talk, they just walk the talk.

2. Real leaders ask more questions than they give answers

Any dummy can talk all day about what they know. Real leaders don’t ramble, they ask questions in preference to giving answers, use words powerfully but sparingly and listen more than speak.

3. Real leaders share insight far more than information

When real leaders do speak they concentrate on sharing insight. Any fool can disseminate information. Real leaders see through the overload of information and share only what really matters.

4. Real leaders care about wisdom more than knowledge

Knowing what to do is one thing. Doing it successfully is another thing altogether. This is wisdom.

5. Real leaders have a cause beyond profit and power

The main reason we should be gathering together in networks of relationships (organizations) is to create value for others. Profit and power are legitimate but not real causes. Stand for something greater than these.

6. Real leaders focus on helping others achieve what is important to them

Zig Ziglar was 100% right. “Help others get what they want and you will get what you want.” Real leaders get what they want simply by helping others get what they want. This is the ultimate win/win.

7. Real Leaders are heroes in their own homes first

If you can’t inspire your family forget about being inspiring for those you work with. If you can’t communicate with your kids you’ve got no hope with anybody else.

8. Real leaders actually communicate

Communication has only occurred when two or more people have actually agreed on something even if that agreement is to disagree.

There are only two fundamental reasons for human conflict; disagreement about the direction/goal, or disagreement about how to get there/achieve it.

9. Real leaders bring everything they are to everything they do

I am amazed at how many people I have met who are terrific people in the general community but brain dead at work. To see life and work as separate is a recipe for unhappiness. The trick is to find harmony between what are two sides of a coin.

10. Real leaders inspire hope

Many citizens of planet earth have had their dreams shattered by war, famine and disease. Like no other time in history we must be leaders who inspire hope.

11. Real leaders manage energy, focus and systems

Leadership is about effectiveness, management is about efficiency. We need both.
Effectiveness and efficiency require astute use of our energy and focus and the creation and maintenance of systems that support people in being the best they can be.

12. Real leaders understand and use common sense

Staggering as it is, common sense is often the most uncommon thing. Tap into universal, emotional, mental, and spiritual common sense. The physical senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste are important but often just clues to truths far more important.

13. Real leaders live in the now yet clearly see the future

Now is the only time that really counts. However to not be clear on where we are going is a waste of the power of now.

14. Real leaders respect learning and are committed to life long learning

When we stop learning we die. Every action, transaction and interaction is an opportunity for learning.

15. Real leaders live a defined and measured set of values

To create value we must be valuable. Our worth to others has much to do with the values we live by. Many organizations parade their values however unless they are clearly defined and measured they are mostly just empty words.

16. Real leaders thrive on the challenges of possibility

Nothing is impossible.
There is a solution to every problem and a way out of every difficulty. Life is meant to be challenging however all of the ancient texts promise us we are never challenged beyond our capability to triumph.

17. Real leaders laugh a lot, particularly at themselves

Telling stories that contain self depreciating humour are the most powerful form of influencing others to become better than they are.

18. Real leaders tell the truth as they see it

I have been thrown out of a few organizations because I told the truth as I saw it. I have no regrets.

19. Real leaders create a culture based on serving others

Create a culture based on serving others and you will draw customers to you like a magnet.

20. Real leaders are people of character

The most powerful force in the world is to be trusted. To be trusted means we must be people of genuine character.

Each one of us has the most incredible opportunity to make a profound difference to the lives of people we live, work and play with. It takes character, resolve, resilience, commitment and skill, what I call willability.

The previous 20 foundations of real leadership are powerful platforms to ensure we live a life that is a positive influence on others.

Be the leader you would follow.
Ian

PS My What Real Leaders Do and fake ones don’t elearning course is as popular as ever. And any wonder. At just $97 for the years course you are practically stealing from me!
Please take advantage of me here.

PSS The fastest way to get real with your leadership is to remove the BS from your business relationships. Take the BS Detector Pulse Check here.
You just might be staggered by what is shows and tells you.

For an article like this every fortnight please sign-up for my Changing What’s Normal newsletter and gift here.

As a reward for signing up you will be able to download extracts from my Changing What’s Normal book, and my Differencemakers - how doing good is great for business ebook.

You will receive a digital gift with my newsletter once a month.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seven Trends You Must Pay Attention To (and Three You Can Ignore) in 2012

There's a lot of information about what will and won't happen in 2012, particularly on the Internet. Even if it's accurate, some of it isn't differencemakers and other eGurus. So here's my list of the things you must pay attention to, and the things you can ignore.

1. E-Books

Amazon.com is selling more Kindle books than paperbacks, and its Kindle Fire tablet is a huge best-seller, selling over one million per week over the Christmas period. Printed books still have credibility, but e-books have also gone mainstream. This is the year for you to jump on board with e-books.

2. Google+

Google+ keeps growing, with one estimate suggesting it will have more than 400 million users by the end of the year. I think that's a gross over-estimate. But regardless of its size, here's the one thing that matters to us as business owners: Google+ is owned by Google, and what you do on Google+ affects your search engine ranking on Google. That alone should make you sit up and take notice.

3. Video

Video is a natural medium for presenters, but until recently it hasn't been easy to produce, watch or consume. That's all changed now. Although it still takes high bandwidth (especially on mobile phones and tablets), there's no doubt that Internet users flock to video sharing sites. Last year, YouTube alone boasted over 1 trillion plays (about 140 views for every person on the planet). If you don't yet have an active YouTube channel, you're missing out!

4. Webinars

Webinars continue to grow in popularity among business owners - particularly among non-presenters, who see their value as a powerful marketing tool. In fact, many professional presenters shy away from webinars because they are perfectionists, so they never get started. That's a mistake! Start using webinars now, not to replace your existing presentations, but to complement them.

If you want to start learning about webinars, visit the Webinar Smarts Web site.

5. E-Learning

On the same theme ... Organisations and individuals are looking for education that's more flexible, more convenient and more accessible. Now is the time to add on-line learning to your face-to-face presentations, coaching and consulting. There was a time when this was an unexpected bonus; now it's fast becoming the norm.

6. Tablets

Apple's iPad, Amazon's Kindle Fire, and a slew of Android tablets will continue to spread among consumers and business users. If you don't have one yet, you might be missing out on the productivity, convenience and flexibility they offer. You'll also discover just what all those people in your audiences are using, and how you can tap into that in your presentations!
(Image courtesy of Courtbean on Flickr)

7. Your Web Site

Although all the hype and buzz is about social media and apps, the humble Web site is still as important as ever, because it's the last place people visit before they decide to do business with you. Build a clean, simple, fast-loading Web site that positions you as an authority, promotes what you do, and makes it easy for people to get in touch with you.

You Can Ignore: On-Line Advertising

There's nothing wrong with on-line advertising itself, and it works for some businesses. But it's not the best option for us. Don't spend your time and money on on-line advertising (and yes, that includes search engine optimisation!). Instead, focus on what you need to be positioned as a leading authority in your area of expertise, to the people who will engage your services and buy your products.

You Can Ignore: Social Media Marketing

Social media is important, but social media marketing is a low-return activity for most eGurus. Yes, it's possible to market directly using social media (for example, by running competitions, promoting stuff directly, and trying to generate buzz about events), but it's not easy, and not the most effective use of your time. Use your time on social media to share your expertise, broaden your network, converse with peers, and strengthen your existing connections.

You Can Ignore: iPhone/Android Apps

The iPhone and Android app markets are booming, but most of the apps people download or buy aren't the sort of apps we differencemakers would create. So don't try to create the perfect app that goes viral or makes you a gazillionaire. Do consider building a mobile Web site that's a hub for your other on-line activities.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How much of an entrepreneur are you being really?

This weeks sparkenation.

Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.
Howard Stevenson

Read more in an article here by Eric Schurenberg.

How much of an entrepreneur are you being really?

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

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!

Please register for my complimentary webinars on the 7 seven essential willabilities of real leadership here. Begins this Friday 20th January.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Are you addicted to technology?

Ecademy’s Chairman and Founder Thomas Power says “technology can be like alcohol, so be careful.”



What’s your feelings and thoughts about what Thomas is saying in his video?

Where are we going? And do we really want to go there?

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

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!

Please register for my complimentary webinars on the 7 seven essential willabilities of real leadership here. Starts January 20th.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are you embracing The Blue Economy?

The Blue Economy: 10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs is a brilliant 1 hour and 24 minute presentation by economist Gunter Pauli. It is one every entrepreneur and every person who really believes in possibility should watch and act on.

You can watch here.

Please let me know about your innovations in 2012. I would love to share your stories here.

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

What's in me for you?

Our work together means you:
Remove the stuff (the BS) that is stopping you from moving forward at great speed,
Actually do what you know you should do,
Discover profound insights that lead to breathtaking, pioneering, and truly innovative action.

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stop thinking like a chicken if you are an eagle

The first sparkenation for 2012.

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life, the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air. Years passed, and the eagle grew very old. One day, he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked.
“That’s the eagle, the king of birds,” said his neighbour.
“He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth. We’re chickens.”
So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.

Anthony de Mello

20 sparkenations here to help you ensure 2012 is your best year yet!

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

What's in me for you?

Our work together means you:
Remove the stuff (the BS) that is stopping you from moving forward at great speed,
Actually do what you know you should do,
Discover profound insights that lead to breathtaking, pioneering, and truly innovative action.

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.

No BS Mentoring It takes you further than you've ever imagined.

Please register for my complimentary webinars on the 7 seven essential willabilities of real leadership here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Year of Opportunity and Promise


I was pleased to see my former employee, TIME Magazine, name The Protester as its Person of the Year for 2011.
Not that I necessarily agreed with each and every protest movement the world witnessed last year, but more because I was pleased to see multitudes of people rise together in collective action in various attempts to be difference makers in their own corners of the world.

As 2012 gets underway, many are painting gloomy economic and political scenarios for the coming year. Of course, if we all focus on these negative possibilities, imagine what a horrendous immediate future we would conjure and create.
I see 2012 as a unique opportunity where those with confidence and optimism will be poised to make important and significant contributions in the areas they choose.
No, I am not a lily-coated optimist with rose-colored spectacles. But we need not pull political disarray  and the political minefields of confrontation and disunity with us into this year. This can be the year where we tell our current politicians to go home and replace them with citizens willing to collaborate on finding resolutions to society's ills and injustices. The opportunity to do so awaits at ballot boxes across the globe, most particularly in the forthcoming U.S. Congressional elections.
There is also no need to continue the trends of avarice, wasted materialism, negativity, envy, and ecological disdain that have partly characterized the increase in global wealth over the past two decades. We can conduct business and commerce with integrity, fairness and in ways that do not erode the wealth and well-being of others. But, of course, we must individually and collectively choose to do so.
While economies recover, this is an opportune time to reap personal fulfillment from activities outside the business world, whether this comes through family, friends, social engagement, or being involved in matters of importance to our communities, a sustainable world, or humanity in general.
We all start the new year with renewed hopes, dreams and goals. Unfortunately, the majority of these are individual in nature and have personal relevance only. Where are our collective goals and dreams for 2012 and beyond? What are our New Year's Resolutions as communities, societies or even as members of the Differencemakers Community?
In other words, how can we work together and collaborate to make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren?
I start the year without answers to these questions, and thus seek input and ideas from the readers of this blog.
In the meantime, I deeply hope that you each have a great year of achieving your own dreams and goals, while helping others do the same (which is actually more of a blessing and often a greater reward).
After all, isn't that what being a difference maker is all about?

Friday, January 6, 2012

The wizard and myself are building a fire that's going to start a cracker conversation

The Wizard of Wow Paul Dunn and myself are building a fire that's going to start a cracker conversation.

Do you want to ensure 2012 is your best year yet, and,
remove 87% of your business problems fast?


In the past month I cleaned out much of the great amount of stuff I have collected particularly during the years of my research for my changing what's normal book.

I discovered something truly amazing re-reading, sorting and recycling - 87% of our business problems are gone when we remove the BS from our business relationships!
I told Paul about my discovery and he yelled so loud you probably heard him.

Imagine the results possible in 2012 when you have removed the 'stuff' (the BS) that is stopping you from moving forward at great speed.

No BS relationships is one of 7 willabilities.

The Willability Webinar Series are conversations on each of the 7 and No BS Relationships is the first one on January 19th.

Most webinars are dull, colourless and boring because the presenter does all the talking and slides cure sleep deprivation. My webinars are real, changing what’s normal conversations with real people, in real time, with masters like Paul, and with real world outcomes assuming you do your work immediately following.

Paul and I are building the fire for the conversation right now. When the webinar begins we will light the fire in you.

To ensure everyone has a front row seat and can engage in the conversation the number of participants is limited.

Please register for The Willability Webinars here. Registration is complimentary.

You might want to take the BS Detector Pulse Check first.
You just might be staggered by what it shows and tells you.

“See” you online 19th January 2012 for a conversation that will lead you to ensuring 2012 is your best year yet, and to removing 87% of your business problems fast.

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

What's in me for you?

Our work together means you:
Remove the stuff (the BS) that is stopping you from moving forward at great speed,
Actually do what you know you should do,
Discover profound insights that lead to breathtaking, pioneering, and truly innovative action.

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The seven essential willabilities of real leadership

Please register for my complimentary webinars on the 7 here.

I have been carefully choosing a book to read over the Christmas/New Year holiday period for many years. And because my family knows my passion for reading I generally get more books as gifts! Since my early 20’s I have read at least one book a week. Often these days I scan and thumb through until something really grabs me.

The three books I have read in the past two weeks all grabbed me and I have added them all to my recommended reading list (see below).

The New Leadership Paradigm by Richard Barrett was my personal choice after I watched an interview with Richard on Conscious TV.

The two gifts were Screw Business As Usual by Richard Branson (I really chose this one too, just encouraged someone else to buy it! because Richard is one of my heroes.), and Adapt by Tim Harford.


All three books have challenged me as well as confirmed many of my thoughts about real leadership.

I have been convinced for some time that many people have the skills of real leadership and yet very few have the will.

Skill without will is a ship without a rudder. Competency (ability) is useless without commitment (will).

By combining them together in remarkable ways we bring our true character to everything we do and demonstrate our true capability. I call this willability.

In preparation for some upcoming mentoring assignments I created the concept of willability in order to emphasise for my clients that commitment is really what makes competency worthwhile.

There are seven essential willabilities of real leadership.

#1. No BS Relationships

Two massive problems in organisational life today: Leaders who only hear what fits their point of view and employees who only tell their leaders what they want to hear.

Tim Harford provides many graphic stories of these problems and how to solve them in his book Adapt, and Branson and Barrett highlight this problem and solutions in their own ways in their books as well.

My research tells me that 87% of the problems in organisations no longer exist when we remove BS from our relationships.

Please take the BS Detector pulse check.
You just might be staggered by what it tells and shows you.

#2. Purposefullness

I love Richard Branson’s thrust to not accept the unacceptable. To do so requires a strong sense of purpose.

Why do you do what you do? The great lesson of philosophy for me is that when we understand our why, the how is easy.

The bigger our purpose, the stronger our why, our reason for what we do, the greater our leadership.

Barrett, Branson, and Harford’s books have inspired me to think bigger and be stronger particularly in not accepting the unacceptable and to be prepared to fail more in the quest to fulfill my purpose.

The three great lessons of Harford’s book have helped me:
Try new things (expecting some will fail).
Make failure survivable.
Make sure you know you’ve failed.

#3. Adaptability

Obviously a central them of Harford’s book and also of Barrett and Branson’s works. Barrettt even demonstrates that adaptability has been a hallmark of thriving on the challenges of change for 14 billion years!

For me Charles Darwin nailed it.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

How adaptable are you?

#4. Wisdom

It is not what you know that matters rather what you do about what you know. Closing our personal knowing-doing gaps is our great quest. Much of my work is helping people to do what you know you should!

What do you know that you are not acting on?
Knowledge applied successfully is wisdom.

“To know and not to do is really not to know.”
attributed to Stephen R. Covey in some circles and simply as Zen wisdom in other places.

#5. Shared-view

There are three worlds. The world in-here is my world. The world out-there is your world. The world that really matters is the world we share.

Think about this - all the troubles of our world can be traced to a pre-occupation with the world in-here or the world out-there, rather than the world we share.

Stop focusing on your view or trying to change someone else’s view and have the courage to get in the middle.


#6. Collaboration

Richard Barrett addresses the immense power of collaboration in great detail in his book. I love Richard Branson’s idea that we have spent a great deal of time finding ourselves, now it’s about finding each other!

Collaboration begins with shared view and then actually co-operating.

Who will you collaborate with this year?
Nothing great has ever been achieved alone.

#7. Differencemaking

What are the legacies you are leaving each day?
How much does your life actually make a difference?

Leaving a legacy while we are alive is real leadership.

I love the line - If we think we are leading and no one is following, then we are just out taking a walk.

There might be a spark that ignites your passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal in my slideshare: 20 sparkenations to help you ensure that 2012 is your best year ever.

Maybe you will be sparkenated by reading the books referred to by Richard Barrett, Richard Branson and Tim Harford or others I recommend.

Put ceo in the password box here to access my full recommended reading list and other resources that rock.

Please do whatever it takes to arouse the 7 willabilities of real leadership in you.

Please register for my complimentary webinars on the 7 here.

2012, because of the magnitude of our challenges, is a year of shifting away from the status quo when same no longer serves us.

What will you do to break free and in the process make your world a better place?

A great way to get going is to take the BS Detector Pulse check.

May 2012 be your best year yet.
Ian

What's in me for you?

Our work together means you:
remove the stuff (the BS) that is stopping you from moving forward at great speed,
actually do what you know you should do,
discover profound insights that lead to breathtaking, pioneering, and truly innovative action.

I work with people worldwide who want to accelerate turning possibility into reality.
No BS Mentoring