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.