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