Monday, December 30, 2013

Co-creating cultures of creativity that result in innovation

This weeks sparkenation.

Co-creating cultures of creativity that result in innovation i.e. changing what’s normal for the benefit of others and sometimes for everyone are a key to your success in 2014 and beyond. There are some great take-aways from this video by Tina Seelig to help you.

I particularly liked “Culture is something that infuses an entire organisation.” and “Culture is like the background music of any organisation.”

The concepts of framing and reframing problems, connecting and combining ideas, and being quilt makers as opposed to puzzle builders are also great.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

What's worth celebrating and what could be better?

This weeks sparkenation.

A key component of my Enhancing Their Gifts System is the informal and formal exercise of asking two questions: what’s worth celebrating and what could be better?

Authentic answers to these questions form a solid foundation for creating plans that will be executed to improve our lives.

Do this exercise regularly and formally at least every 90 days. The last days of this year is a perfect time to start.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.”
Tom Peters

More sparkenations.

Get my sparkenations direct to your in-box in 2014 by signing up here.

You will be able to download my ebook, a resource 1000's of people have used as a 1 year personal and business development program, as soon as you sign-up.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Money can't buy me love and the power of small

This weeks Sparkenation.

More sparkenations here. 

You can get my sparkenations direct to your in-box here. As a reward for subscribing you will be able to download my ebook 52 Actions of the Wise, a resource 1000s of people have used as a 1 year personal and business development program.

One of the reasons I am a proud partner of Buy One Give One is that 100% of what I give goes to the causes and people that I support.

A second reason is the power of small. B1G1 is really about the little things that make the big difference beautifully tied in with the everyday transactions and interactions of business.

A third reason is that many causes B1G1 supports are about helping people to take care of themselves so that eventually they don’t need help from others.

"A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
Ralph Nader

As you shop in the coming days think not just about what you’re giving and getting, think and do something about helping others to help themselves.

And think too about the greatest gift of all that you can give to the world, your best self.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“I may not have a lot to give
But what I've got I'll give to you
I don't care too much for money
For money can't buy me love”
John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Flip the Classroom – What Every Professional Educator Needs to Know

Flipping the ClassroomSuppose your best client came to you for advice about the best way to teach what you know. They want you to design a program for their people, who work all around the world. Money is no object, but they want you to design the absolute best program possible, using whatever technology and other tools are available, and not being constrained at all by what you have done in the past. They want something that's world's best practice, and they need your help.

What sort of things would you design for the participants?

Would you ...

  • Fly in the world's leading experts in this area (apart from you, of course!) to present to them?
  • Deliver new material via Twitter, Facebook and Google+?
  • Create interactive multimedia presentations they can install on their phones?
  • Upload training material to YouTube and Slideshare, integrated with self-assessment quizzes?
  • Set up a private online community for them to share ideas and ask questions?
  • Host a monthly videoconference for them to share ideas and ask questions?
  • Integrate the training into their daily work, so they get constant reminders to reinforce new habits?

Of course, depending on the exact situation, you might do any of these things - and many more I haven't mentioned.

But one thing you probably would not recommend is to get the participants to stop what they are doing, gather in a classroom, and listen to you presenting material all day long.

And yet, that's how most training workshops still operate.

Yes, I know you do more than just lecture at your audience all day! You have lots of time for Q&A, handouts and workbooks, group activities, and lots of opportunities for interaction. But it's still a bunch of people in a room learning from a teacher. And that just doesn't even come close to world's best practice!

The fact is, most training is still stuck in this mode, which - to be fair - was the most practical option in the twentieth century. But there are so many other - and better - opportunities available now for sharing your thought leadership. We have social media, online collaboration, Google, gamification, smartphone apps, on-demand streaming video, educational podcasts, webinars, iPads and other tablets, and much, much more.

If you're not taking advantage of these opportunities, you're falling behind - and doing your clients and audiences a disservice.

How can you flip your classrooms?

I'm not suggesting there's no place for classroom learning. There are benefits to getting participants together physically in a room. But it's a waste of time if you use that time to teach them stuff that they could just as easily have learned before they arrived. Instead, use that classroom time to facilitate discussion, encourage group participation, and provide support, assistance and mentoring.

I didn't invent this concept. It's called "Flipping the Classroom", and it's becoming increasingly popular in educational circles. Some schools and universities are taking this on board - and you should, too, because it's the future of adult education.

Take one step at a time.

Flipping the classroom seems like a gigantic step, and in some ways it is. But the biggest step isn't in doing it; it's changing your mindset - and letting go of what has worked for you in the past.

If you're designing a new training program, don't automatically design most of it to be delivered in your training room. As much as possible, think of other ways of delivering the material, use the training sessions for what must be done there.

What if you already have a training program in place? In this case, don't throw it out! Instead, start by examining it for components that don't need the participants to be physically in the room. Then consider how you can deliver these components in other ways, and re-design those parts of the program. You don't have to do them all at once, either. Just do as much as you can handle at first.

Either way, I strongly urge you to start flipping your training programs around in this way.

This is no longer optional; it's a necessity. If you don't do it with your programs, somebody else will come along and put you out of business!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Making a difference and making a living

This weeks sparkenation.

I am inspired this week by my daughter Jessica who has embarked on a crowd funding project (see below) to get her amazing books for children published. Jessica is doing what she has always wanted to do, bring her unique gifts to the world.

When Jessica was a child my focus was about making a living and climbing the corporate ladder. When I reached the top I felt empty inside and for a period regretted the climb and the lack of quality time I had spent with my family.

For the past 22 years my focus has been about making a difference. My corporate experience and success has mattered and still does. As a consequence of my focus and my expertise I am making a very good living.

The majority of people focus on making a living. Some people focus on making a difference.

A few people are focused on making a difference and making a living.
Is this you?

In the great entrepreneurial revolution we are experiencing today, fueled by the power of the internet and a vast array of technological tools, we can all make a difference and make a living. And we can do so with joy by doing what we love in the service of people who love what we do.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.”
Steven Farber, The Radical Leap.

More sparkenations

Get Sunday Sparkenations direct to your in-box. You will be able to download my ebook 52 Actions of the Wise, a resource 1000s of people has used as a 1 year personal and business development program, as soon as you subscribe.

Monday, December 2, 2013

We often overlook the critical factor to achieving success

This weeks sparkenation.

I am very much enjoying reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book at present.

I heard about the book in many places however it was this slideshare that got me to buy it.

Gary’s book is full of many insights brought to life with great case studies however the following words by Gary are now etched on my mind

“Effort is the great equalizer.”

And these words have also brought the following wisdom from the late Jim Rohn back to the forefront of my mind

"The unique combination of desire, planning, effort and perseverance will always work its magic. The question is not whether the formula for success will work, but rather whether the person will work the formula!

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Get Other People To Do Your Dirty Work

outsource versus in-house road sign cycleAs an expert and thought leader, you should do three things: Think, Sell and Deliver. Are you giving yourself enough time to do these things? Or are you wasting time doing other tasks in your business ... tasks that should really be done by somebody else?

I'm not just talking about administrative and secretarial work - although this certainly applies to those tasks as well. I'm talking about some of the other peripheral things that are required in delivering your expertise. Things like:

  • Proofreading and editing written material
  • Editing audio recordings
  • Transcribing recordings
  • Designing better-looking PowerPoint slides
  • Web page layout
  • Designing workbooks and handouts

It can be very tempting to do some of these tasks yourself - especially when you know that you can do them in a fraction of the time it would take somebody else. But that's a common trap! And it can get you caught in a time-consuming, energy-sapping, costly routine.

Why should you change?

Here are four compelling reasons:

  1. Your time is too valuable. If you're wasting your time on this mundane work, you don't have time to develop and present your ideas.
  2. Other people can do this better than you can (sad as it may be to admit to yourself)! Stick to your own expertise, and buy in other people's skills where required.
  3. Other people can do this faster than you can. This might not be true the first time, because you might have to invest time teaching them. But in the long run, it certainly takes less of your time.
  4. It's more profitable, because it frees up your time to focus on income-producing activities.

Where do you find these people?

You might already know people who can do this work for you. In that case, why aren't you using them? Seriously - if you already have access to these resources, use them.

If you don't already have access to such people, you can outsource these tasks to "talent markets" - the name given to online sites that bring providers and customers together. These include places like, and They brings together suppliers and customers from all around the world. Not only do you get to pick from many suppliers, you also get highly skilled people offering their services. Even if you have used local providers in the past, it's worth considering these talent markets for your next job.

Outsourcing has other benefits, too.

Outsourcing to these global talent markets also has other benefits.

For example, compared to outsourcing locally:

  • It’s often cheaper
  • Providers are used to working electronically and remotely, and the talent markets facilitate this
  • You can review feedback and testimonials of their past work
  • You might end up choosing a local provider on these talent markets anyway!

Compared to hiring staff:

  • You don’t need to hire staff
  • You can bring together project teams quickly
  • You don’t need in-house skills

Build long-term relationships

It’s tempting to view these talent markets as a pool of on-demand resources for one-off jobs. Some people do use them that way, but it can be very frustrating. A better approach is to take a more long-term view, and use them as a starting point for finding reliable people for the long term.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The machines will only take over the world if we let them

This weeks sparkenation.

I very much enjoy the musings and insights each week of Kevin Roberts worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. This blog post 'Will CBDs Become a Car-free Zone?' got me thinking about how easy it is in a technology dominated world to forget we are human beings craving the human experience.

I am making it one of my principles that I live by each day of my life to use the great tools of technology wisely and not let them dominate my life. My focus is about enjoying the human experience on purpose, like smelling a flower, walking the dog and interacting with my neighbours doing the same, sitting down in person with someone for no other reason than valuing and sharing each others human experience.

I have actually taken to switching technology off a lot of the time. I no longer do emails on my phone. I still over deliver on the promises I make to my clients. I have discovered that being on 24/7 is actually a distraction, a bad decision. I am more productive as a result and when I am on I am more present and accountable and everyone around me is better off.

The machines will only take over the world if we let them.

Where are you at?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Are you letting yourself loose?

This weeks sparkenation.

“What lies behind us and what lies in front of us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are you letting yourself loose?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How Google Has Destroyed Your Business

How the Internet has Destroyed Your BusinessWay back in the 20th century, I used to run workshops to teach people how to find stuff on the Internet. At that time, there was no Google, and the leading search engines included Yahoo, Alta Vista and Ask Jeeves. In the first half of the workshop, I explained how each of them worked; and in the second half, they worked in teams to find the answers to 10 questions - including these:

  • What is the time in Toronto?
  • What is the weather forecast for London today?
  • What are the current performances at the Sydney Opera House?
  • What is the postcode for Geelong?
  • Why might some Berliners confuse John F. Kennedy with a jelly doughnut?

In 1998, it wasn't easy to find these answers quickly on the Internet! The participants had to decide which search engine to use, what words to type in, and how to then drill down through the results to find the answer.

Then Google came along and destroyed my business.

Google completely changed the way people found answers. Now, you can find the answers to all these questions by simply typing them - word for word - into Google.

As a result, Google completely wiped out that part of my business. Those workshops became redundant, and I moved on to other things.

Has Google destroyed your business as well?

I was lucky because I knew my workshops had become irrelevant. But many businesses are limping along, knowing something has made their life more difficult, but not knowing what - or why. If you're in the business of providing information especially, you might not realise that Google - or another online service - has changed your business forever.

Here are just a few examples ...

1. Leadership speaker

You're a leadership speaker and trainer, helping organisations with their new and emerging leaders and managers. But now, instead of booking you to run another workshop, a client uses their internal L&D people to run a workshop, where participants watch videos of leading thinkers and facilitate a discussion about how to implement some of these ideas in the organisation.

2. Customer service trainer

You might have based your livelihood on customer service training for front-line staff. But the Internet has made it easier for your clients to outsource or offshore services - and of course, we all know how much customer service is being handled by overseas call centres. Suddenly the audience for your workshops has disappeared.

3. Real estate agent

In the past, you've been attractive to vendors (people selling their homes) because - in addition to your expertise and experience - potential buyers come to you to see what's available. But now, with online real estate sites like and, buyers are no longer automatically beating a path to your door. Suddenly, you've become a lot less attractive to vendors, who are increasingly turning to private listings.

4. Travel agent

You've provided a valuable service to your customers, because you have expertise and insights about the best ways for them to travel, best places to stay, and how to make the most of their experience in an unfamiliar place. But of course your customers can now find much of this information using Google, Trip Advisor, Expedia and other online services. What's more, they are increasingly making their own bookings as well.

Could this be happening to you?

When I present this sort of scenario to some people, a common response is, "Ah, yes, but ..." followed by a reason why they are different, their clients are more loyal, or their business is indispensable. Don't fall into this trap!

I'm not sharing this to depress you, but to inspire you. See, here's the point: If the Internet can disrupt your business, why can't YOU?

All of the examples I've presented create opportunities for you - as long as you're willing to look at your offerings differently. Don't just be a speaker, trainer, or service provider. Be somebody who genuinely understands your customers and clients, and is willing to add value to solve their problems and help them achieve their goals.

Don't ignore the threat - or the opportunity.

It's easy to do what you've always done, blissfully unaware that the Internet is going to pull the carpet out from under you.

Ignorance isn't bliss; it's bankruptcy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Nothing beats a good walk and a talk

This weeks sparkenation.

Many times my mentors have taken me for a walk and a talk. They have been deep and great learning experiences.

My wife and I often walk and talk. The experience still enriches our relationship even after 40 years!

I take my clients for a walk and a talk frequently. It’s often when breakthroughs for them happen, usually unplanned by me and unexpected by them.

I take myself for a walk and a talk at least twice a week. We are what we hear ourselves say to ourselves.

Nothing beats a good walk and a talk. Are you walking and talking? And who with?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We are prepared to change. We are not prepared to be changed. Therein lies significant opportunity.

Recently I received an email from the people who host my personal website telling me that from February 2014 my domain name would no longer be supported.

Oblivion is not something we want to contemplate. 

My initial reaction was rage. My domain name is my name and therefore a key to my branding and my business. And it has existed since the late nineties when I had to choose the domain name ending in because the one I wanted (.com) was already taken. 

This turned into an advantage I have exploited ever since. Advantage gone I thought.

Imagine the number of links accumulated both online and in print over the past 16 years! 

It never ceases to amaze me that we humans tend to think the worst when we first find out about change, particularly imposed change! We are prepared to change. We are not prepared to be changed. Therein lies significant opportunity.

I recovered from my rage and began to see a great opportunity for reinvention, something I have done in my business several times since 1991. I have also helped many of my clients to reinvent.

These words hang in my office

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

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

Reinvention is essential otherwise we end up being stupid. 
If reinvention doesn’t lead to a different result, we’re idiots!

The first step to reinvention is to imagine and reimagine.

As John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ is a favourite I began to play it often, hum it, reflect on it. My own line emerged “Imagine everything being simpler and better for everyone, it’s easy if you try.”

Questions for you to answer

How did you react the last time you felt change was being imposed on you?

How did others react the last time you tried to impose change on them?

When was the last time you reinvented your business? Is is time to do it again?

If you were to reimagine your life and your work where would you begin?

The results of my imagining and reimagining so far

I have a new personal website where you will see that I have reduced the number of my services to these

I have begun to simplify and upgrade the changing what’s normal website. For those of you who own a copy of my Changing What’s Normal book the link to the companion vault is unchanged, just no longer visible.

I have changed the website for my clients from one of equally attracting clients and serving clients to primarily for serving clients. This is a work in progress so please be patient. I will be in touch with all of you who are my clients personally before the end of the year. In the meantime your login details are unchanged.

The following words of wisdom from Albert Einstein are a great guide for me at present:

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." 

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Are you proud of where you live?

This weeks sparkenation.

I wondered out loud while walking our dog Molly yesterday why some people don't pick up after their dogs. Later while gardening and doing the edges on my nature strip I had a flash back to when as a child I asked my father why he cut the edges of the lawn so neatly. He replied "There is nothing wrong with being proud of where you live."

We are not responsible for what other people do or don't do. We can be role models. A key is what we do when no one is watching.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No-Fuss Online Collaboration

Virtual TeamIf you're an independent business owner, you must be able to collaborate effectively online with clients, colleagues and close business associates. It’s no longer enough to keep them at arm’s length and work around the times you’re not available in person. Because so much work nowadays is done remotely, online collaboration needs to be part of your normal working day.

Let's look at the steps involved in working together online. You won't need all these steps every time, but it's useful to have them as a step-by-step checklist.

I'll mention a few tools and services along the way, just to give you an idea of what's available. However, these are just a small sample of what you can find, and new tools are cropping up every day. So use them as just a starting point for your own work.

Build up: Choose the initial work space and environment

You'll choose your collaboration space depending on the job you want done.

For simple jobs, a shared Dropbox folder might be all you need. Everybody can add, change and delete files from there; and as long as they understand what they are doing, they won't get in each other's way.

For bigger jobs, you might want to use something more structured, with better document control and more features for interaction between team members. For longer-term collaboration, you might even go as far as a Ning community for the project (like having a private Facebook page).

Team up: Choose your work team and plan the project flow

The next step is to form your team. Of course, you might have chosen them already, or them might have been chosen for you. However, if your team doesn’t have all the expertise required, the Internet makes it easy to find other providers. You can use general outsourcing sites like Elance and oDesk, crowdsourcing sites like 99 Designs, or specialised sites that offer specific services.

When working together, you also require a project planning tool, where people can check deadlines, deliverables, ‘To Do’ lists for the week, responsibilities for various tasks, and so on. An excellent tool for this is, a project management service that allows you to set actions, due dates, calendars and the like.

Set up (meetings): Schedule meetings – internal or external

Meetings are important and inevitable in online collaboration, and the first step is scheduling them. Bringing a team together for a meeting seems like it should be an easy task, but it can be surprisingly challenging when working with a dispersed team. Fortunately, there are a number of scheduling tools you can use to simplify this process. and are two of the many options available.

Meet up: Come together at a set time to discuss issues

Having scheduled the meeting, the next challenge is to run the meeting. The simplest option is to conduct a meeting by telephone, using Skype, a teleconferencing service, or even just the plain old telephone system. Although this is fairly “low tech”, it’s still effective and reliable.

The next step in sophistication is to include screen sharing and/or video. I like GoToMeeting from Citrix, which provides both of these features, as well as other features for online meetings. A Google+ Hangout is another good option, and it's free.

Most of the online meeting tools have the capability to record the meeting, which means you can send the recording to participants afterwards, or get it transcribed for reference.

Chat up: Conduct informal conversations and discussions

Since you aren’t going to bump into colleagues in the corridor or around the water cooler, you’ll need online tools to conduct informal discussions. These tools fall into two categories: Deferred, where everybody doesn’t have to be there at the same time; and Immediate, which requires everybody to be present.

The deferred communication tools are more formal and considered, because people have the time to think about their responses before contributing. They include things like a discussion forum, bulletin board, and even a private LinkedIn group.

The immediate communication tools are less formal, but allow people to interact with each other in real time. These tools include online chat rooms, instant messaging services and Twitter.

Mark up: Share and edit documents together

Working together on a project isn’t only about meetings and conversations, of course (although it can sometimes seem that way). In between these conversations, team members work independently on their tasks – including collaborating on documents.

The tools you use depend on the work environment you set up initially. For example, if you use Google Drive for your work environment, it's already designed for people to collaborate on documents.

With other systems, this might not be the case, and you need to be careful about how people work together on documents.

Fix up: Track issues, actions, problems and concerns

Finally, you need some way of managing tasks and issues that crop up during the work.

A good issue tracking system (sometimes called a bug database or online help desk) lets you add all these issues to a database, and then team members update them as they work on them. At any time, anybody can log in to check on progress.

There are a variety of tools that will enable you to do this, including They can either be installed on your company’s Web server or an external Web host. Either way, only you and your team have access to the database.

How can you use this in your work day?

Online collaboration is an increasing part of your professional life. Make it work for you, and learn to do it effectively and efficiently.

This article is an edited extract from our book Out of Office: Using the Internet for Greater Freedom in Your Work Life, by Chris Pudney and Gihan Perera. The book has an entire chapter about online collaboration, and includes more information about principles and tools to make it work for you.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What do your customers/clients truly value?

This weeks sparkenation.

"What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance. What the consumer thinks he is buying, what he considers 'value' is decisive." 
Peter Drucker

What do your customers/clients truly value?

Answering this question is the key to the future prosperity of everyone’s business.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, October 21, 2013

All change is personal first

This weeks sparkenation.

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

If you are bringing the same intentions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours to this week likely you will get the same results as last week. Want a different result this week? Modify or change your intentions, feelings, thoughts first. Then behave in alignment. The outcome will take care of itself.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Seven Habits of Highly Connected People

Social media and highly connected peopleThe late Steven Covey's famous habits for highly effective people have guided many people's personal and professional lives. They are based on timeless principles, not gimmicky practices. That's exactly the same approach you should take to online marketing and social media.

In fact, all seven principles can be applied just as effectively to your social media strategy. We'll look at each of the principles here, and I'll give you three practical ideas for each.

1. Be Proactive

Part of your social media activity will be to respond to other people's contributions - for example, sharing a photo, commenting on a blog post, "thumbs up" a YouTube video, or retweeting a comment. That's good, and an important part of building your network. But don't make it all about that. Take initiative and create original material as well. That's the first step to establishing yourself as a trusted authority.

Here are three key ideas:

  1. Publish a blog, and post to it regularly (at least once a week).
  2. Connect your blog to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, so every blog post appears there automatically.
  3. Identify key people in your network and send them something of value regularly.

2. Begin With the End in Mind

Social media is - or will be - an important marketing piece for any business, so you do need to master it. But success in social media (as with any other relationship in your life) takes time. Start small, and focus on building relationships, not just getting a quick sale.

Here are three ideas if you're getting started on a social media platform:

  1. Look, listen and learn from others before you jump in and start contributing.
  2. Connect with people you know rather than trying to convince strangers to follow you.
  3. Do something nice for somebody every day.

Also keep in mind that social media influence is a process, not an event. Don't expect instant results, and don't give up too soon.

3. Put First Things First

Steven Covey puts it beautifully like this, "Don't major in minors". Unfortunately, many people don't follow this advice on social media, and waste a lot of time on unproductive activities. There's nothing wrong with using it for personal activities and fun (that's what most people use it for!). But if you're planning to use it for your professional life, make sure you focus on that as well.

  1. Choose one (maybe two) social media platforms, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
  2. If you can't help yourself with wasting time on social media, set a strict time and time limit (e.g. the 15 minutes before lunch every day).
  3. Know your business and professional goals, and always ask yourself, "How is this advancing my goals?"

4. Think Win-Win

Too many business people think of social media as a marketing tool, but in fact it's a relationship tool (think "social", not "media"). Think less about what you can get from it, and more about what you can give.

  1. Every time you contribute something, make it something of value to others (whether or not they do business with you).
  2. If you really want to promote something, do so - but make sure you've earned the right. The 80/20 rule is a good guide: At least 80% of your contributions should be value, and at most 20% promotional.
  3. Look for ways to work together with other people you meet - for example, interviewing them for your podcast, or writing a post for their blog.

5. Seek First to Understand – Then to be Understood

When you're involved in any online conversation, look at it from the other person's point of view first, and use that to tailor your response.

  1. Know your market's biggest problems, concerns, questions, issues and goals. That will help you to be relevant.
  2. Speak in their language, not yours.
  3. It's difficult to convey tone online. Re-read what you write to make sure it can't be misinterpreted and to be sure any words out.

6. Syngergise

Synergy is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Social media gives you many opportunities to connect and form relationships, and the best relationships are more powerful than the individuals in them.

  1. Look for people with complementary skills - for example, where you have some expertise and they have a market that can use that expertise.
  2. If you know of somebody who might be a potential partner, approach them, but do it patiently and slowly.
  3. Join communities where the value you contribute can help many people at a time - for example, LinkedIn groups of colleagues or clients.

7. Sharpen the Saw

Social media for business doesn't always have to be about business and marketing. Take time to relax, enjoy yourself and participate for fun, not just for profit.

  1. Share funny things - such as photographs, videos and articles - but be sure the humour is appropriate.
  2. Allow yourself some time to "goof off" on social media each week.
  3. Use social media to connect with family and friends. This not only allows you to connect with loved ones, it also gives you an idea of how most people in the world use social media.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Two types of employees. Which one are yours?

This Sunday's sparkenation is a follow-on from last weeks about shareholder value being the "dumbest idea in the world."

"Every company at a certain stage ends up with two sorts of employees... some that work hard to improve the experience and value for the original customers, and some that tear down that experience and value in order to please shareholders in the short run."
Seth Godin

Seth's full post about this.

Which type of employees are yours?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What have we learned from the mistakes that caused the GFC?

I was interested in this Harvard Business School article about whether or not we have learned from the mistakes that caused the GFC. The authors of this article say there has been real progress. They also lament missed opportunities and remaining challenges.

I was also interested in a further HBS article that argues fixing climate change should be left to the markets

I don’t think so. We left finance to the markets did we not?

Our challenges are simply too big for one sector of society to solve. Sustainability requires all of us working together and this requires putting aside ideaologies and finding a shared-view of the way forward. 

Politicians think they rule the world and they keep trying to prove it as evidenced by the stupidity going on in between Republicans and Democrats in America that if unresolved may again bring our world to it’s knees.

Corporations rule our world. Corporations don’t exist of course without employees and customers. We the citizens of the world have a clear choice in my view and we all need to take a stand.

Which side of the fence are you on? And what are you doing about it?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Shareholder value - "the dumbest idea in the world"

This weeks sparkenation.

The first time I made the statement below to a group of CEOs 20 years ago there were giggles and sniggers in the room

"Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business."

I don't get derision any more.

The purpose of your business is the unique way you add value to all the stakeholders of your business including our planet and society. Shareholder value and profit are outcomes of the value you provide other stakeholders. They are never reasons for being, always results of being.

For the article that sparked this post please check out Steve Denning's article What Killed Michael Porter's Monitor Group? The One Force That Really Matters.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.


Friday, October 4, 2013

The delightful design of a distinguished 21st century business

To guarantee success in business today and tomorrow we must provide a distinct experience for our customers/clients.

The journey to distinction begins with radical differentiation - what our people do that is better, different, or more unique than anyone else providing the same/similar product/service.

Radical differentiation is only possible when people are bringing their best game to their work every single day. This is only possible when people have discovered their unique gifts/talents and are continually enhancing them. Enhancing people’s gifts/talents is the number one role of leadership and followership.

Fundamental to discovery is understanding what intrinsically drives people. We must help our people to fulfill their deepest desires.

Differentiation, discovery and drive make the delivery of value to our stakeholders, value that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve, possible.

How we deliver such value must be distinctive.

Differentiation + Discovery x Drive + Delivery x Distinction = a Distinguished 21st century business.

This is so important to me, and I suspect to you, that I have written a 2500 word article.

Please read it and take action. You can also download my article as a PDF at the link.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

5 New Fixes For Your Social Media Campaigns

Post It NotesThere's no doubt that you need to be active on social media, but are you doing it well? If it's taking too much time and effort, and not giving you enough of a return, perhaps it's time to re-think your strategy. Here are five small - but significant - adjustments you can make to your social media plan.

1. Be more social.

Whether you call it social media, social media marketing, or social networking, focus more on the social side of it and less on the media, marketing, and networking. No, this doesn't mean you should share family photos and cat videos! It means you use social media with the intent to build connections and help other people. Forget about tying every tweet, post and update to some marketing campaign or product launch. Instead, use it to genuinely connect with people (as people, not prospects).

2. Pick your battlegrounds.

Find the social networks where you can make the biggest difference, and focus your participation efforts there. This is unlikely to be your own Facebook profile, LinkedIn network or Twitter followers. But it might be a particular LinkedIn group, a specific Twitter hashtag you follow regularly, a private Ning community, or some other discussion forum. For me, one such place is, where both my colleagues and clients hang out. It allows me to help out colleagues and peers, and in turn that demonstrates my expertise and authority.

3. Solve their problems.

Keep your eye and ear out for problems, concerns, issues, questions, goals, and aspirations that people mention in social media. If you can help out, do so. If you can refer them to somebody or something else, do that instead. Don't always be looking for opportunities to promote yourself; just be genuine, sincere, and helpful.

4. Share other people's expertise.

Be a curator (filter) of other people's material, and share it with your network. You should already be reading blogs, watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading books, watching slide shows, and so on as part of your own professional development. Some of this material is appropriate to share on social media, so share it. Just be sure you do it with permission (for example, by using a link, rather than the original material itself).

5. Blog.

Finally, make a commitment to blog regularly (at least once a week, preferably more). Your blog is the hub of your social media efforts: Everything you do elsewhere should be copied into your blog, and your blog posts can be distributed automatically to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and some online communities. Every blog post is a Web page in itself, so blogging also helps raise your profile in Google's eyes. Apart from anything else, blogging allows you to demonstrate your expertise in small but well-considered chunks, and that helps to build your reputation.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What are you loved for?

This weeks sparkenation.

This week do more of what you are loved for. And do it in the service of people who love it.

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”
French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947

"Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do"
Steven Farber in The Radical Leap

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BS Free workplaces - a personal manifesto by Ian Berry

Following a number of keynote/plenary session presentations I have given at conferences recently I have also been on panels with fellow speakers. The audiences have been very diverse and yet a common question that has been asked in all manner of ways is “With all the focus on employee engagement why is actually engaging employees still a challenge for most organisations?” 

I have given seven answers to the question which are contained in a special report. If you would like a copy please email In addition as a result of reflection on my own and other people’s answers my personal manifesto has evolved.

BS Free workplaces - a personal manifesto by Ian Berry

The greatest nonsense, the biggest load of codswallop, the BS that is permeating most workplaces is seeing and treating humans as numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets, or capital. 

My reason for being is to change this because we are none of these things. We are, every single one of us, a one-of-a-kind human being. When we are treated as such we respond in remarkable ways.

Creating workplaces free of BS is often hard, emotionally draining, exhausting work. We encounter self-serving, greedy and as yet unenlightened folk who think life is all about them. We run into fear, mediocrity and massive resistance.

For these reasons I can’t say I have loved every minute of my work since I began my quest in 1991. What I do love, with an abiding passion, is the results. I particularly love the defining moments I observe every week, often unexpected, usually a surprise to the person, when their light goes on and someone is finally home.

There is nothing on earth as magnificent as a human being fully alive. 

When we remove BS, people come alive.

In workplaces where people have come alive:
People feel valued, fulfilled, and loved.
Values are lived.
Value as perceived by others is delivered to all stakeholders including our planet.
Numbers are seen for what they are, results, not reasons.

Every business should make a profit. There is nothing evil about money. How we make it and what would do with it is what matters. Profit is not a reason though for being in business, rather a result of being good at business. Our reason for being in business is about how we have personally chosen to serve humanity.

The trouble with BS about people is that we have become used to counting the wrong things. Millions of people feeling that they don’t count is the sad consequence. 

At the heart of all the world’s troubles is seeing people as things, as means to an end, rather than beings who can take us far beyond our wildest dreams.

I am in the business of increasing profits without hurting people or our planet. Will you join me? 

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

To get your copy of the special report 7 fool-proof actions that guarantee employee engagement please email me

Monday, September 23, 2013

What advice that you received as a child haven't you yet followed that you should?

This Sunday's sparkenation.

More than likely most of us were given good advice by our parents or grandparents and haven't yet followed it. What advice that you received as a child haven't you yet followed that you should?

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
John Lennon

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Internet Has Changed The Way We Buy ... Everything

Cash And SmileThe Internet has changed the entire buying process – and it affects you, even if you don't sell anything online. Barry Trailer and Jim Dickie, writing in the Harvard Business Review, put it this way:

“Buyers have always had a buy cycle, starting at the point they perceive a need. Sellers have always had a sales cycle, starting at the point they spot a prospect. It used to be that these were in sync ... [but] now, the buy cycle is often well under way before the seller is even aware there is a cycle.”

They wrote this in 2006, but still too many business owners haven't changed the way they work!

Buyers still deal with sellers, but in a different way.

In the past, when they wanted to buy something important – whether it was insurance, real estate or their next car – they would start by talking to a professional, preferably somebody they already knew, liked and trusted. Although they might not be ready to buy immediately, this adviser (read: salesperson) would take them on a journey, guiding them to the right buying decision.

That's no longer the case. Now, when they want something, they turn first to Google. And then perhaps they will ask their Facebook and LinkedIn friends. Or send a tweet to their followers. Or be guided by an e-mail newsletter or blog they read recently. At the end of this process, they might still choose to talk to a supplier, but now the interaction is very different. If information is power, the customer now has all the power.

Here's an example ...

For example, if you're a car dealer, the customer who walks into your showroom is no longer relying on you to provide most of the information. Rather, she has already chosen the make and model; she has checked the Web site to determine her maximum buying price and the trade-in price for her old car; she has asked her friends for recommendations and advice; and she has arranged finance with an on-line finance company. She's entering this negotiation holding all the cards.

Of course, that's assuming she has chosen you! After doing all her research, she might have chosen somebody else instead – even if she was a past customer of yours. Alternatively, she might not have excluded you, but you might be just one of many dealers she is investigating.

So what can you do to cope?

You might wish for the good old days, when customers would contact you as the first step of the buying process. Of course, there's no way to turn back the clock. However, the solution is the same in principle: Get involved earlier in the buying process.

That's easier said than done, because you don't know exactly when the buying process started. So the only way to be there is to always be there.

Be there in your prospective customer's life, always delivering value and always demonstrating you're the right person to call when they are ready to buy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

How will you change what's normal (innovate) this week or at least begin the actions that will lead to innovation?

This weeks sparkenation.

While I like this from Harvey Firestone:
"Capital isn't so important in business. Experience isn't so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn't any limit to what you can do with your business and your life."

our real asset is an idea implemented i.e. innovation, which by definition means to change what's normal.

The journey often looks like this: We turn information into insight which becomes inspiration which becomes an idea. Our work is then to turn the idea into innovation.

How will you change what's normal (innovate) this week or at least begin the actions that will lead to innovation?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Put talent at the heart of everything

This weeks sparkenation.

Towards the end of this great clip from his keynote address at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, legendary actor and current Artistic Director of London's Old Vic Theatre, Kevin Spacey makes a statement every business should take to heart “Put talent at the heart of everything.”

At the Talent Enhancers Tribe we believe that the number one role of leadership is to enhance people’s gifts/talents – in yourself and in the people around you.

The Talent Enhancers Tribe is all about helping you to be breathtakingly brilliant in this role.

If this resonates with you Get on Board.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Get More Bang In Your Social Media

Blazing FlowerAre you worried about how much time you're spending on social media platforms - without getting anything in return? You're probably engaging in a lot of shallow interactions, which do very little for building your presence and reputation. It's far more powerful to engage in fewer, more substantial, interactions.

Here are some examples of shallow interactions:

  • Liking a Facebook post.
  • Re-tweeting a tweet.
  • "+1'ing" a Google+ post.
  • Sharing somebody else's blog post.
  • Liking a LinkedIn group discussion.
  • Making a brief comment on any of these platforms.

There's nothing inherently wrong with these actions, except they take up your time, energy and focus; and generally don't give you much in return. To really get them to work, you have to do a lot of them.

More importantly, these activities don't do much to demonstrate your expertise. Although they might position you as somebody who's active on social media, they also position you as just "one of the crowd", who's happy to interact and engage but doesn't necessarily have any particular knowledge or expertise.

A far more effective way to boost your social media presence is to make more substantial contributions. These fall into four categories.

  1. Comment with value: Make comments on other people's material, but do it in a substantial way, such as making meaningful and useful comments on blogs, publishing book reviews on the Amazon Web site, or reviewing podcasts and apps in the iTunes Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Curate with context: Share other people's material with your network, but do it in a way that explains why you're sharing it and why it's relevant to your network. This is called content curation, and its power comes from you being selective with what you share. You consume a lot of material, choose not to share 90% of it, and that way your readers know you're sharing the cream of the crop.
  3. Collate with perspective: Point out patterns in seemingly disparate areas, such as news and current affairs, behaviour in different fields and industries, or results of scientific research. By taking a "big picture" view of the individual data points, you can point out patterns that others don't see.
  4. Create unique material: Finally, you can generate and share your own ideas, models, metaphors, concepts and research. Publish them on your blog and YouTube, and then distribute them through social media platforms.

By commenting, curating, collating and creating in this way, you'll be building a powerful social media presence with a solid foundation based on your expertise and authority.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Key discoveries I have made about people and talent enhancement

I believe that helping your employees to feel valued, fulfilled, and loved is the biggest and best thing you can do to grow your business. It is also in my view paramount to differencemaking leadership.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, September 2, 2013

You can't grow vegetables online

This weeks sparkenation.

It’s the first day of Spring here in the Southern hemisphere. In readiness my wife and I replanted over vegetable garden this week. It got me thinking that most of the great things in life don’t happen online.

How many marketing messages did you get this week and last week and the week before that promising you the inside secrets of building your business online? Heaps right? 

It’s become boring. Most miss the point. Technology is a great enabler, an amplifier, a tool. Humanity is what matters.  

The big key to your success is how you connect with people in the room. You can attract people online, you can use online to help build relationships, you can add value to relationships online. And yes you can sell stuff online. 

What really matters is how you connect in-person, starting at home, in your neighbourhood, in your community, in your workplace, in the wider world.

Have you had your hands in the earth lately?

Be grateful for the gift of the online world. Be especially grateful for the gift of humanity and the earth we call home.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“Relevance, simplicity, and humanity-not technology-will distinguish brands in the future.”
Scott Bedbury, former SVP of Marketing at Starbucks and Head of Advertising at Nike, in his book A Brand New World.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Are you are a star in helping people to discover their unique music/talents/gifts and then enhance them?

I learned very little of value about my true self in school. Most teachers just wanted me to go with the status quo. The curse of my school days was that I learned I wasn’t normal in a negative sense. One teacher in my final year of high school did kindle the flame and I realised not being normal was a positive!

I learned a lot about myself and life in general from my grandparents and sports coaches.

My first boss in the corporate world saw me as I could be rather than as I was. He was the exception not the rule. For me it was the beginning of an ongoing journey of self-discovery.

I truly began to discover my real talents when I began to notice how I learned best. Ovecoming adversity was a key way I learned and it still is.

You are where you are in your life largely because of how you learn and how you have applied what you have learned.

The workplace can be a great classroom for life. As a leader you are a teacher in this classroom. How well you teach plays a huge role in the success of your organisation. Are you kindling the flame? Are you are a star in helping people to discover their unique music/talents/gifts and then enhance them?

Doing this well is perhaps the greatest differencemaking action you can take. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”

Be the difference you want to see in the world

Monday, August 26, 2013

Nothing is impossible

This weeks sparkenation with thanks to Kevin Roberts.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Four Powerful Ways to Share Other People's Content With Your Network

Post It NotesPeople in your network suffer from information overload because there's so much material available that it's too much for them to receive, read and digest. If you can be the person who filters this content and only sends the most relevant material through to your network, it makes you a highly valuable and trusted resource because you're reducing their information overload.

This process of reading, choosing and sharing other people's network has become known as "content curation". Like a museum curator, who carefully chooses which items to include in a particular exhibit, you choose which items to share. You don't share everything, of course - you only share what's relevant and meaningful for your network.

Don't under-estimate the value you provide by curating material in this way. You don't always have to be the author or creator of the content. Even though you're sharing other people's material, your network will still value and appreciate you, because you've taken the trouble to decide exactly what is relevant for them.

When you share other people's content with your network, you can do it at different levels. The exact level you choose for any piece of content depends on the content, what people want from you, and the amount of time and effort it takes. Here are four levels you can consider.

1. Like

The simplest form of sharing is to simply say you "like" it - for example, clicking the Like button on Facebook, cliking the "thumbs on" on a YouTube video, or rating a blog post from 1 to 5. This takes hardly any effort at all, but still sends a positive signal to other people who see the same content. That makes it useful because people do decide whether to read something based on its popularity.

With some services (such as Facebook), when you "like" something, this also tells your network you like it, so you're also helping to spread its reach.

2. Forward

The next level is to actively send the content to your network - for example, by posting it on social media networks, re-tweeting it, posting a link to it on an online forum, and so on. This helps to actively spread the message to others, who might not otherwise have stumbled across the content.

You might choose to add your own comment when you forward the content to your network, and that can help to add context (in other words, to explain why you're forwarding it). But even if you don't add anything, the mere fact that you do consider it worth sharing is valuable, because your network only expects you to send relevant material to them.

3. Recommend

When you forward something, it doesn't necessarily mean you recommend or endorse it (although that's often the case). You're merely saying, "I thought you would find this interesting". The next level is similar, except you explicitly recommend the content.

The mechanics might be the same (for example, you could still be retweeting something), but now you say that you're recommending it. This is putting your reputation on the line, but it's also more valuable for those in your network, because they know you're putting your reputation on the line. So they are more likely to prioritise this material over things you simply like or forward.

4. Organise

The first three levels of sharing are simply about filtering the material that comes your way and passing it on to your network. But you're doing it as it happens, without any thought of organising the material in a logical way.

The fourth step is to add that level of organisation. After sharing the content, you also carefully put it into some organisational structure, and that becomes available for your network to browse and search later. This is exactly what the museum curator does: She doesn't simply select items for an exhibition and dump them all on the floor in a haphazard way. Rather, she carefully arranges the material in a logical way, so museum visitors can see how the material fits together in a bigger picture.

This takes a lot more work than the first three levels, but it's also the most valuable. There are online tools available to help with organising your material - such as Seth Godin's service Squidoo, or content curation services like But the most work is not in the technology, but in the planning of the organisational structure that makes most sense to your network.

What content curation can YOU do?

Content curation isn't difficult; it just takes the right mindset. You should already be consuming a lot of content for your own education and learning in your business. Now it's a matter of looking at that content with a different perspective: could this be useful to others as well? If so, share it.

You can curate content at any of these four levels, so it's easy to get started.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Are you intent on making a living or on making a difference?

This weeks sparkenation.

When I left the corporate world in the early 90s and began my current work my decision was based on a deep desire to make a difference.  In the early years it was hard to also make a living.  In the almost quarter of a century since there have been times when making a living has been hard and my resolve tested, yet overall my intention to make a difference has also meant making a good living.

An intent on making a difference instead of an intent to make a living was also a turning point for Seth Godin as he touches on towards the end of this podcast.

Are you intent on making a living or on making a difference?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Of all the great stories we tell ourselves only the ones that come true really matter

This weeks sparkenation.

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
Mark Twain

Of all the great stories we tell ourselves only the ones that come true really matter.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Do You Need a Mobile Version of Your Web Site?

Mobile Web SiteMore and more people are accessing the Internet using their mobile phones and tablets. So how do you make your Web site work effectively when accessed from mobile phones and tablets? Don't automatically assume you need to create a completely new Web site - or even a phone app - for your Web site. Those might not be the best options, as this cartoon from the XKCD site humorously points out (used with permission):


So what should you do? Broadly, there are three options - from easiest to hardest:

  1. Mobile-friendly Web site: Make sure your existing Web site works well when viewed on a mobile device.
  2. Mobile Web site: Build a separate Web site specially for use on mobile devices.
  3. Mobile app: Create a mobile app instead of a Web site.

1. Mobile-friendly Web site

A Web site is "mobile friendly" if it works when viewed on a mobile phone. It means you don't have to design and maintain a separate site or app; your main Web site just works.

This isn't as hard as it seems, unless your Web site uses fancy graphic design techniques or complex technology. But if it's designed well, according to the rules of good, solid Web design, it should work.

Here are some things that could "break" a Web site on mobile devices:

  • Flash: Your site won't work on iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices.
  • Certain kinds of drop-down menus: These won't always work on mobile devices.
  • A design that's too wide and can't be shrunk: This will be clumsy to use on a mobile device, especially if it involves horizontal scrolling.
  • Font too small: A small font is OK, as long as the user can enlarge it. But some sites don't allow this, and this will make the site difficult to read.
  • Buttons and links too small: Apart from being difficult to read, this can make them difficult to click.
  • Lots of graphics: Web sites load slower on mobile devices, so use fewer graphics and smaller graphics.

If you have a Web site already, simply load it on as many mobile phones and tablets as possible, and just try reading and clicking your way around as if you were a first-time visitor. If it works well, that's a good sign. It's not a 100% guarantee, because there are so many mobile devices now, and you can't possibly test all of them - but it's a good start.

Alternatively, if your Web site is built using Wordpress, you can install the WPtouch plug-in, which automatically shows mobile users a mobile version of your site (with all the graphics stripped out, and showing just the blog posts and essential pages you want). This is an easy solution, but be warned that it might strip out too much, and you might not like showing users such a bland Web site.

2. Mobile Web site

The next option is to create a second Web site, which has been designed specifically for use on mobile phones. The advantage of this approach is that you can create a trim, fast-loading mobile Web site that only offers the essential features; without constraining your main Web site in any way.

However, it does mean you now have to manage and maintain two Web sites. This increases your workload and expense, and increases the risk of the two sites being "out of step".

Another problem is that the mobile version is sometimes too limited, and is missing some essential features.

3. Mobile app

The third, and most sophisticated, option is to build an actual mobile app for the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play Store. If you've used apps on your phone, you know they can be more powerful than simple Web sites.

However, there are some disadvantages as well, and the biggest is that it's not a good substitute for your Web site. If your Web site doesn't load well on a mobile device, it's unlikely that somebody will think of going to the iTunes Store to download an app! It's more likely that they will just leave in frustration.

For this reason, most businesses don't have apps as a replacement for their Web site. If they do want an app that reflects part of their site, they will build a mobile Web site instead (the second option above), and use an app for doing something else related to their business.

If you really want to build an app for your business, contact an experienced app developer. For the iTunes Store in particular, it's better to use somebody who has done this already, because Apple is very picky about what it will allow for an app.

Monday, August 5, 2013

To change reality we often have to change perception first

This weeks sparkenation.

I met with a prospective client for the first time during the week who had been referred to me.  After exchanging pleasantries he said: “I have to tell you up front that as a general rule I don’t have a high regard for consultants.”

I asked “What kind of consultants?”  “What do you mean” he asked.

I replied “In my experience there are two broad kinds of consultants, those who have solutions they think will fix all problems, and those prepared to work with you in bespoke ways that lead to the discovery and execution of your own solutions.  I am of the latter kind.”

A different conversation proceeded than what might have been.

"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”
Abraham Maslow

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Talent Enhancers Tribe has a new online home

 am thrilled to formally announce that the Talent Enhancers Tribe has a new online home.

The Talent Enhancers Tribe recognises that organisations have different needs and budgets. There are 8 levels of engagement you can choose from. E1-E4 offer online support. E5-E8 provide bespoke services including in-person mentoring and online support.

When you visit our online home here please click on the icons below to find out all about the great benefits of each level.

Our cause, our reason for being in the Talent Enhancers Tribe is to fundamentally change how most people see themselves and other human beings. We’re about influencing and inspiring each other and everyone we connect with to discover, enhance and bring our unique talents/gifts to every aspect of our lives, every single day.

If you believe like we do that the number one role of leadership is to enhance people’s gifts/talents – in yourself and in the people around you, please join us today.

Best wishes
Ian Berry
Founder Talent Enhancers Tribe and on behalf of tribal elders.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy, sad, glad, or mad

This Sunday's sparkenation.

This week you will feel and encounter four basic emotions, happy, sad, glad or mad. You will choose to feel one of the four in any given moment.  Everyone you meet is choosing one of these four as well, whether conscious of it or not.

Catch yourself feeling, and be in the moment. Then choose how you will feel in the next moment.

And when you sense how other people you meet are feeling, feel with them in the moment.

Life is not complicated.  We make it so.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

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

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Seven Practical Ways For Leaders To Use Twitter

concertThere's a lot of advice about how to use Twitter for business, but most of it is aimed at marketers and customer service representatives. This advice is generally not appropriate for leaders, because it's time-consuming, low value, and a distraction from their key responsibilities. But leaders should use Twitter - they just need to use it properly.

In January 2013, the Digital Policy Council reported that three out of four heads of state were Twitter users. Whether they are tweeting directly or not (and they are most probably not), this certainly shows they care enough to have a Twitter presence. The same should apply to business leaders and thought leaders, who should use Twitter to share their strategic messages and ideas with the key people in their networks.

The problem for most leaders is that the general advice about using Twitter is not appropriate for them. Of course, they shouldn't be tweeting about what they had for lunch - that's obvious. But what's not so obvious is that they also shouldn't be trying to get as many followers as possible, tweet 5-10 times a day, spend all day watching what their customers are saying, or engage in back-and-forth conversations with followers. That doesn't make sense for them, because it's not part of their role.

Instead, leaders should use Twitter as another channel for sharing their key strategic messages and ideas, sparking relevant conversations, and connecting with key stakeholders.

If you're a leader, here are seven practical things you can do to use Twitter effectively.

1. Get a Twitter account!

This might seem obvious, but it needs to be said. Get your own Twitter account, in your name, and set it up with a brief profile and photograph. Even if your organisation has other Twitter accounts, get one for yourself. This will represent you, and will be a vehicle for you to share your ideas and messages.

2. Invite people to follow you

Announce that you're on Twitter, and invite people who are already in your network to follow you. For example:

  • If you have an e-mail newsletter, announce it to your subscribers.
  • If you are a CEO, invite employees, media outlets, and other key stakeholders.
  • If you're a business owner, announce it to your customers.

Don't make a big deal of this, and don't try to "sell" them on the idea. That's undignified and inappropriate for a leader. Simply announce it, and know that the right people will choose to follow.

3. Follow people you like and respect

Don't try to follow too many people; it will clutter up your incoming tweets and will make it too easy to miss something important. Instead, look up the people who matter to you, and follow them if they have Twitter accounts.

The people you follow will depend on you, of course, but they could include: thought leaders and other experts in your industry, peers and colleagues who share valuable information, selected media outlets and journalists, bloggers who write about your industry, and perhaps even competitors.

4. Be ruthless about culling irrelevant tweeters

If you're not sure whether somebody is worth following, follow them anyway; but drop them from your list unless they continue to deliver useful information. You have enough other things to deal with in your day anyway, and some of them are out of your control. This isn't, so be ruthless in "unfollowing" people who don't consistently deliver value.

5. Retweet selected tweets

When somebody tweets something that's worth sharing, retweet it so the rest of your network gets it. Do this selectively and infrequently, so your network knows that you only share the highest-quality material, which enhances your reputation.

Be aware that what you retweet carries your implicit endorsement (even if you don't intend it to be that way), so be sure you're happy for it to be treated this way.

6. Share links to other people's material

You don't only have to share other people's tweets. If you find relevant articles, blog posts, slide shows, infographics, or videos online, tweet about them, with a brief description and a link to the original material.

Again, your tweets carry an implicit endorsement of the material, so check it carefully first.

7. Share YOUR key ideas and messages

All of the ideas above will help build your reputation with the right network of people on Twitter. That's all leading up to the most important thing you can do: Share your own key strategic messages and ideas on Twitter. These might only be 20% of your tweets, but they carry more weight because they are directly from you.

If you need more than 140 characters (and you usually do!), write a blog post or record a video, and tweet a link to it.