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.