Friday, June 29, 2012

The world we share

I wrote most of the article below more than a decade ago and expanded on the concept in my Changing What's Normal book.

Nothing has changed in our political landscapes!

Please forward to politicians.

As far back as 2003 authors Kouzes and Posner said Collaboration has become the master skill of this age. Our ability to work together will determine mutual failure or mutual success.

How skilled are you?

Very few of our political leaders have the skill or they have the skill just unwilling to use it.

I find politics fascinating from the perspective of how not to be in the modern world.  Almost everything the government says, the opposition fights and vice versa. How incredible that in the age of collaboration, we have to have an opposition!

I listen to parliament in Australia occasionally and did so yesterday during debate about what to do about asylum seekers.  The most basic of actions required to have high value relationships of mutual reward were being ignored by these highly paid so called representatives of ours.

We live in three worlds; the world in here, the world out there, and the world we share. In here our views are just that, out there are other people’s views. In the world we share are the views we agree on.

In any successful relationship the world we share is the critical one.

Human conflict is fundamentally the result of firstly, failure to agree on the goal, and secondly, failure to agree on the strategies to achieve the goal.

This second one often causes all the trouble for our parliamentarians. It seemed they all had the same goal; a more civil universe for all. But do you think they could agree on the strategies to achieve this most noble of purposes?  Not on your life. Every speaker I heard was only interested in the world in here.

I guarantee that today all of our troubles, personal, local, national, and global, are fundamentally based in our perceived need to hang onto the world in here, our issues with the world out there, and, our failure to focus more on the world we share.

In the free countries of planet earth we can express our personal views without fear. What makes life really worthwhile is when we can share our views (without ridiculing one another as these politicians did yesterday) and come together with a shared view, which may mean we let go of things we previously held dear.

I trust that today and every day you will resolve to build more of the world we share and be less precious about the world in here or the world out there.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The 3 Circle Theory for Transformation

The 3 Circle Theory for Transformation, a unique tool for development devised by me, is based on insights from the research on
 Fractal Universe, the Composition of all Matter and how Human Life can be interpreted.

This Theory is ready to be put into practice in Mumbai, India, for developing people and transforming lives.

The Fractal Universe - Amazing!

The Concentric Circle is based on the findings that the Universe is Fractal. A fractal is an object or quantity that displays self-similarity, in a technical sense, on all scales.In the above two pictures, the left one is a microscopic photo of a few neurons. It is identical to a simulated rendering of what astrophysicists believe to be the universe’s structure, with clusters of galaxies and dark matter, whose picture is below it. Marvel at the remarkable symmetry and wonder. One is only micrometers wide. The other is billions of light-years across. One shows neurons, the other is a simulated image of the universe. Together they suggest the surprisingly similar patterns found in vastly different natural phenomena.

From Atom to Galaxy - Its all about 3 Circles

An Atom is a miniature but complete replica of the energy structure common to all forms of life – cosmic, planetary, human & Sub-human. It is made of three parts, i.e., Nucleus, Electron Cloud and the Valence Shell which cane be depicted as 3 Circles.
Similarly, a Galaxy is made up up the (nuclear) bulge, the (dusty) disk and the (spheroidal) Halo consisting of stars and star clusters. Thus, these also make up the 3 Circles.
Similar 3 Circles are found in the structure of the Earth (Core, Mantle, Crust) and also the Sun (Core, Convection Zone, Radiation Zone). Isn't this fascinating?

Understanding the Structure of Human Life

Human life, like other constituents of the Universe studied earlier, can also be explained to be structured on the three concentric circles:

  1. The Core – Includes the Energy source within each of us, our belief system, attitudes, abilities, fears, skills, experiences. It is ever changing, the changes being influenced by our continuous learning. This zone can also be called the Zone of Control, as we have the power to control whatever changes we wish to create within our core. This Circle denotes ‘Self’.
  1. The Inner Circle – Includes the immediate environment and the living constituents. Our near and dear ones (relationships), our friends, colleagues, friends and associates, all fall within this domain. This circle can also be termed as the Zone of Influence, as in this zone, we either influence others or are influenced by others. The control element is almost non-existent. This Circle denotes ‘Relationships’.
  1. The Outer Circle -  The external environment or the eco-system of which we are a part, but have no control and minimal influence. This can be also termed as the Zone of Contribution or the Zone of Collaboration, as it is only this contribution or collaboration that makes life sustainable and adds value to the eco-system. This Circle denotes our ‘Linkages’ with the universe.
How the 3 Circles Lead to Transformation
People tend make incorrect or incomplete choices, which limit them in their actions into one or two of the circles only, hence inhibiting their potential and denying them the fulfillment that comes from living live fully by utilising the entire structure of the 3 Circles.
Once we understand our importance in the larger scheme of things, and the value that we can add to the flow of energies in the universe, we will move towards self actualization by creating synergy among all the three circles to enable transformation as outlined below: -
  • Developing our Core increases our own self-worth and our perceived value by others. However, left at that, it leads to a feeling of emptiness.
  • Developing our Core and our Inner Circle creates positive influence on others leading to successful outcomes. However, the true purpose of life remains elusive.
  • Developing our CoreInner Circle and Outer Circle develops your true consciousness, establishes your purpose in life, making your life truly meaningful.

Three Steps For Bringing Organisational Values To Life

I recently published an article titled "Company Values Need to Be Talked About" and I was asked to provide a follow up to that article. So here it is!

Organisational values are too often left to gather dust on office walls. If you are a leader and your organisation has values, how regularly do you bring those values alive in conversations with your team members? The usual response is, "Not very often." Yet when we ask leaders if they believe in their organisation's values they reply with a resounding, "Yes!".

So what is the problem? Why is it that so many leaders struggle to host conversations with their team members about their organisation's values?

The answer often lies in two issues. Firstly leaders simply forget to take responsibility for keeping their organisational values alive by talking about them with their team members. Such behaviour is simply not on their radar.

Secondly, many leaders aren't taught how to tell effective stories. It is assumed that leaders know how to tell stories. In part this is true. People DO know how to tell stories. However, telling effective stories is different. Telling effective stories requires some structure.

Thankfully most storytelling structures are quite simple. Here's one that most of you will remember from your childhood. The structure was effective then, and it is still effective now.

Step 1 - Start the story.
This usually involves setting the scene and context of the story. For stories regarding the organisations values you would explain a situation and set the scene that you are going to explain how the organisation’s values can be used in real situations.

Step 2 - Explain the middle section of the story
This usually involves the details about what happened and who did what. It is where the rationale behind how the values were used would be explained.

Step 3 - Finish the story
This section provide the "So what!" part of the story. What was the result? In this case, what was the impact of using the organisation's values to guide decision making and actions.

These three steps effectively catalyse Conversations That Matter®.

An example

When I was on the executive team of a medium sized business some legislation was passed that affected $14million of our revenue. In 12 months time it would be gone. This revenue directly paid the salaries of over 200 people.

Having already performed some scenario planning on this outcome, the executive team met to confirm what would be done for the staff to ensure that the values of integrity, teamwork, service and community were upheld throughout a difficult period. A decision was made to use the organisation’s training and development budget to up skill the staff in resume writing, interview skills and outplacement programs to ensure that as many staff as possible could find new jobs.

All staff who wished to access the support were provided with the training and outplacement support that they required. While it was a difficult period for everyone involved staff consistently reported that while they wished that the situation had not occurred, they were delighted with the support that the organisation had provided them throughout their transition. The vast majority of staff found new jobs and opportunities that fitted with their career aspirations.

A significant benefit of storytelling is that it helps people to makes sense of situations. After you have told a story it is worth asking people if the story has triggered any similar examples that also might show the organisation’s values in use. When listening to their stories listen for the start, middle and end. Not everyone tells stories correctly so they might miss out some important parts of the story. If you are listening you can help them out. For example, if someone shares a story but leaves out the end, ask, "What happened? What difference did your actions make?". You'll be amazed at the difference asking such questions can make to the quality of your team members storytelling.

Using this technique can create highly engaged and flowing workplace conversations. Without even knowing it your team members will start to deepen their understanding of what your organisation's values really mean in action. So, set aside 15 minutes once a month in your team meetings and see if you can bring your organisation’s values alive through storytelling. Follow the simple start, middle and end structure and you'll be surprised just how effective it can be. Please leave a comment or let me know how you go using the three steps for organisational storytelling.

Gary Ryan works with Senior and Developing Leaders who share the view that organisational success is achieved through enabling people to use their full suite of talents.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The key to life

This weeks sparkenation.

My thanks to my friend and colleague Susan Furness for emailing me the following:

More sparkentations here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Seven Simple Formulas for Writing Articles and Blog Posts Fast

Articles can be one of your most powerful on-line marketing tools, because they provide high value to readers, Google and other search engines can index them easily, and they can be used in a number of different ways (for example: on your Web site, in your newsletter, in blog posts, in Google+ posts, on Facebook, and so on).
Many people – even experts – struggle with writing an article because they don’t know how to get their ideas out of their head and into a coherent, well-organised article. If you’re one of these people, the secret is simple: it’s all about structure! If you know some simple structures for an article, it’s easy to fit your material into one of those structures.
Here are seven simple structures you can use for your articles. Not all of them will apply to every article, but by having them at your fingertips you should be able to find at least one that will work for each article you write.

1. Timeline (Past, Present, Future)

This is the classic structure that often appears in business presentations:
  1. How were things done in the past?
  2. What is the current situation?
  3. What are you proposing for the future?
This structure is particularly useful when your article is about change, particularly if the underlying environment has changed and your readers don’t realise it.

2. Geography

Some topics lend themselves to a geographical approach. For instance, if you’re describing something that affects people differently in different parts of the country, you provide a brief introduction, then take them mentally to each of the locations, and then summarise in your conclusion.
For example, if you’re writing about taking action to address climate change, you could start by discussing what countries are doing, then individual cities, and finally talk about what individual readers can do.

3. Scope (Broad to Narrow)

A similar approach is to talk about your topic at a very broad level, then narrow it down, then describe it in a lot of detail. Some readers will want to know the big picture and others want the nitty-gritty details, so this approach allows you to appeal to both types.
For example, if you are writing about personal fitness, you could start by talking about how it adds years to your life and makes those later years more enjoyable; then talk about how it improves general well-being and happiness; and then describe what readers should be doing every day.

4. Problem to Solution

For some topics, it’s useful to explain the problem and then describe the solution. In between these two, also describe the cause and effect. So the structure looks like this:
  • Problem: What is the problem your readers are facing?
  • Cause: What’s the underlying cause of that problem?
  • Effect: How much is this costing them?
  • Solution: What are you suggesting to fix the problem?
This structure is particularly useful when your article addresses something that your readers know is a problem in their life.

5. 4MAT System

Different people have different learning styles. The 4MAT System comes from research by Bernice McCarthy into children’s learning styles. It breaks down your article into four steps:
  • Why: Tell the reader why this is important.
  • What: Tell them the main points.
  • How: Explain the process or solution in more detail.
  • What Next: Tell them the steps to take – in other words, your action plan.
This structure is very good for educational articles.

6. Traffic Lights (Start, Stop, Continue)

Another approach, which is very good when writing articles that give advice, is to break down your advice into three sections:
  1. What should they stop doing? (Red)
  2. What should they start doing? (Green)
  3. What should they continue doing? (Amber)

7. List

In this, one of the most basic structures, you simply list all your topic items in a particular category – for example, all digital cameras, all types of urban renewal, all food groups – and address each in turn. The article you’re reading now is in exactly this style!
This is a very popular style, particularly on-line, because readers like lists and article titles with numbers (“7 Habits”, “Ten Steps”, “6 Keys”, etc.) are attractive to readers. However, these articles generally don’t have as much depth as the other formats, so keep this in mind if you choose this format.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Would you like to be free of people problems in your business?

Are you a business owner or leader employing 10 to 200 people?

Would you like to be free of people problems in your business?

There are massive rewards from doing so, namely:
increased top and bottom lines
freedom to do more of what you want
improved well-being and the many associated consequences

Enhancing their gifts™ is a low investment/high return system that you implement in your own way.

Subscribe here to the complimentary 9 lessons online course and learn how the system can be the game-changer in your business.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to Make the Most of Attending a Webinar

Attending a webinar is different from attending a face-to-face event, like a workshop or seminar. Because it's usually shorter, done from the comfort of your home or office, and there's nobody watching you, it can be tempting to treat it with less respect. But if you do this, you won't get much value from it. Instead, make the most of it by planning clearly and taking action.

Here are some techniques for making the most of every webinar you attend.

Know what you want.

Don't be a webinar junkie, who attends every webinar that's advertised, simply because it's free and convenient. Even if you don't pay any money, you're paying with your time, attention and focus. So before you register, be clear about what you want to learn from the webinar.

As a starting point, ask yourself these three questions:

  • "What do I want to THINK after this webinar?"
  • "What do I want to FEEL after this webinar?"
  • "What do I want to DO after this webinar?"

You probably won't answer all three for every webinar, but if you can't answer even one, then it's probably not worth attending!

Set aside the time.

It's easy to turn up late and leave early, but you won't get as much value if you do (and it also shows a lack of respect for your own development, let alone a lack of respect for the presenter). So turn up on time (a few minutes early if possible, to make sure the technology is working) and stay until the end.

Of course, if the webinar turns out to be irrelevant to you, then there's no need to stay until the end! But that should be the exception, not the rule.

Turn off distractions.

If a webinar presenter is boring or irrelevant (and unfortunately too many of them are!), it's hardly surprising that participants turn away from the webinar to check their e-mail, work on other tasks, or even leave the webinar completely. However, don't start by planning to do these things during the webinar. Start the webinar with the intention of giving it your total focus, so turn off your e-mail program, instant message programs, and any other distractions.

Take notes.

Even if you have an excellent memory, take notes of important points during the webinar, so you can use them later. In particular, note the specific things you can do after the webinar. This makes it much more likely that you'll take action, rather than just collecting lots of webinar notes!

This can be even more effective than in many face-to-face sessions, because you're sitting at your computer, so you can enter some notes directly into your calendar, action list or other documents (as long as this doesn't distract you!).

Ask questions.

If you don't understand something during the webinar, ask a question. Most webinar technology allows you to type questions, so you can do this at any time without worrying about interrupting the presenter.

If the webinar has a large audience, your question might not get answered during the webinar. So if it's an important question, ask it as soon as possible. If it still doesn't get answered, e-mail it to the presenter afterwards. Some won't respond (and that's their choice, so don't get upset), but some will. It doesn't hurt to ask!

Do something - anything!

After the webinar, choose one of the action items you noted during the webinar and do it! Even if it's only a small action, it gives you some return on your time, and gives you momentum to take the larger actions as well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who are you being there for?

This weeks sparkenation.

I loved a blog recently by Warwick Merry on the Thoughts Leaders Central site that talked about consistency and used these great photographs of  Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Consistency and being there for people are hallmarks of authentic leadership.

Who are you being there for? 
And how consistent are you?

Please check out the years sparkenations so far here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.


I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where do you stand on the leaders ladder?

Even good leaders tell me that they are spending 25% of their time solving or attempting to solve so called people problems. Where do you stand on the leaders ladder below?

If you stand where good or most leaders do and want to step up and be remarkable I can help you.

I am in the process of completing my Enhancing Their Gifts™ system, the culmination of my life’s work to make it simple for leaders to ensure that the majority of your people are performing at their best on a consistent basis.

And as I complete the development of this system there is a never to be repeated opportunity for a limited number of organisations.
Find out all about this opportunity here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What the world needs are people who have come alive

This weeks sparkenation.

The following is one of my favourite quotes:

“Ask not what the world needs. Instead, ask what makes you come alive and go do that, as what the world needs are people who have come alive.”
Dr. Howard Thurman

One of the things that makes me come alive is making a difference. I am blessed to have a lot of friends in Differencemakers Community who inspire me every day.

Please find out more and join us here and come alive.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Closing your leadership gap

At least once a week I observe what I call The Leadership Gap.

Business owners and entrepreneurs suffer big time from this gap and so do leaders in multinational corporations.  No one is immune.  The consequences for your business are dire - lower than possible morale and productivity, employee turnover and therefore unnecessary employment costs, lower than essential levels of service and therefore you lose customers/clients as well as failing to gain new ones.

The list of dire consequences is a long one so I won’t add anymore. Ultimately failure to close your leadership gap can mean the end of your career and/or your business.

The Leadership Gap occurs when the Leader is so far out in front of their people that they turn around one day and find no one is with them.  And as they old saying goes you discover that “you’re not leading, just out taking a walk.”

Closing your leadership gap

*There must be authenticity and transparency, in a word, truth, about where your business is really at.  BS is bringing down organisations everywhere.  Remove the BS or you might be next!  Take the BS Detector Pulse Check here.  You just might be staggered by what it shows and tells you.

*The story you are telling about where your organisation is going must be compelling and contain no BS.

*The strategy that you have in place, the compass, the how you intend to get where your going, must be owned by your employees, the primary executors of your strategy.  If your strategy is hidden in a thick document in a drawer somewhere you are in deep trouble.  And if a stakeholder asks your employees what your strategy is and they can’t answer truthfully and enthusiastically you are also in deep trouble.

Ownership of your strategy by your employees is impossible without a performance leadership and management system.

Such a system means:

*recruiting of people aligned with your values and how you live them

*people are properly inducted and engaged to bring their best to their work consistently

*leaders having informal and formal and candid conversations about performance that appreciates people, inspires them, and leads to personal accountability

*employees having informal and formal and candid conversations about performance with each other and other stakeholders that appreciates people, inspires them, and leads to personal accountability

*wisdom is retained when people move on

*succession planning works in practice

*overall the special gifts or talents of individuals are being enhanced on a daily basis

Do you have such a system?

Usually when I ask people what kind of performance leadership and management system is in place I hear about annual appraisals and how they don’t work.  I am no longer surprised by this.  Appraisals went out with the ark.  The main reason they are walking dead is that most people don’t have the expertise to replace them with a viable and vibrant system as referred to above.

I have such expertise.

If you are suffering from a leadership gap or don’t have a proper performance leadership and management system in place then it’s time we had chat.

I can help you put such a system in place, fully customized for you. And I guarantee you performance improvement and at least a 10 times return on your small investment within 90 days. Get that from your bank!

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Outsourcing Using Talent Markets

Talent markets are Web sites that connect customers with freelance providers. In this podcast, we look at how you as a business owner can get best use from using outsourcing services like Elance and oDesk.

Listen to the podcast here:

Download the MP3 file here.

Subscribe to the podcast here.

Buy the book here.

Web sites we mentioned:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Being wise is far more valuable to you and everyone you connect with than being clever

This weeks sparkenation.

See all this years sparkenations and 20 more here.

On June 1st in Melbourne I participated in the Key Person of Influence Brand Accelerator Day, a game-changing event for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to be the go to people in their field.

One of the presenters used this line:
"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is knowing not to put tomatoes in your fruit salad."

Be wise this week and every week. Being wise is far more valuable to you and everyone you connect with than being clever.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.

PS If you can be in Sydney on 30th June I highly recommend you participate in the Key Person of Influence Brand Accelerator Day there. Details here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is the behaviour of most politicians the opposite of what we actually need and want?

After hearing for the umpteenth time last week the following coming out of the mouths of Australian politicians from all sides, “We must do whatever it takes to uphold the integrity of parliament,” I looked up integrity on my computer dictionary. It says: “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. The state of being whole and undivided.”

Instead of being whole and undivided it seems to me that most politicians behave in the opposite.  Their brawling in question time in the Australian parliament is something to behold.  I saw veins popping last week and behaviour that wouldn’t be tolerated in the school yard. It is a farce.

We need people of integrity and character leading us and we don’t when it comes to most of our politicians.  The political system it seems to me is largely to blame.  I regard Barack Obama as a true visionary and a person of integrity and character, yet even he can’t bring about the changes he desires and most of us want, because he is strangled by a system that is about division not wholeness, walls in the way of progress rather than bridges to progress, a system that perpetrates disharmony rather than wholeness.

And how about the organisations you lead and belong to, are they being whole and undivided?  And what are you doing about it when they are not?

Sparkenation 10 in my Changing What’s Normal book is titled Where have all the people of character gone? and reads:


Heavy storm clouds stay hanging over business, religion, politics, sport, and the media. Almost daily many so-called ‘icons’ are continuing to have their characters questioned. These clouds always produce rain and wash away the ‘stars’ like twigs in a river.

Changing What’s Normal

Like never before the world needs ordinary people of character to stand up and be counted because many of the people leading us don’t understand leadership, have sacrificed their characters in their quest for power, and in some cases, their behaviour threatens our very lives.

Recently the father of a good friend passed on. He was a man of character and an inspiration to my friend. His passing caused me to reflect on my own father who passed more than a decade ago.

Like my friend’s father, my dad never had his name up in lights too often but left a legacy to be proud of in his world nonetheless. I miss him.  Dad was a man of character.  We never always saw eye to eye.  It was the words of the Mike and the Mechanics song In the Living Years that urged me to settle my differences with Dad not long before he died.

“It’s too late when you die”, the song says, “to admit you don’t see eye to eye.”

Towards the end, Dad came to hear me speak.  Before I began he announced publicly: “I probably won’t agree with everything the speaker says this morning, but I am proud that he is my son.”

People of character lay it on the line like that.

People of character are unafraid to speak their minds.

People of character always tell the truth as they see it.

People of character are trustworthy.

People of character have integrity.

People of character enjoy being popular but don’t seek popularity.

People of character seek win/win but do not compromise their principles.

People of character do what they believe is best for the common good regardless of the resistance they encounter.

People of character praise in public and offer critique in private.

People of character are givers not takers.

People of character focus on building people’s self esteem and never engage in ‘put downs’ or the blame and shame game.

People of character are those we really look up to and admire.

People of character are those we follow when it matters most.

Be a person of character.  You are needed like never before.”

Send me a email and I will send you the eversion of my Changing What’s Normal book.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

In fond memory of my mother Gwenda who passed on 14th May 2012 aged 82.  She lived her whole life a person of integrity and character.  I am glad I was able to often tell her so.