Monday, June 30, 2014

Do you share stories that fire the imagination and stir the soul?

This weeks sparkenation.

One of the key roles Change Champions play remarkably well is 'Storyteller of Significance'.

Is this you?

Do you share stories that fire the imagination and stir the soul?

Doing so is a skill and an art accessible to every human being.

I will be sharing my insights about this and 4 other key roles of Change Champions in a upcoming webinar series for the International Institute of Directors and Managers. Please email me if you're interested in participating in these webinars or getting the recordings.

In October I will also be conducting live events in Melbourne (with Steve Simpson), Singapore (with Paul Dunn), and London (with Nigel Risner).
Find out all about them here.

"A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied permission: our need to wrap your vision into a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul."
Harrison Monarth, Harvard Business Review
as quoted in The Art of Connection. See blog post here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What paths are you making to create your future?

This weeks sparkenation

The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating.
The paths are not to be found, but made.
John H. Schaar

What paths are you making to create your future?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Three Undeniable Facts Keeping You Trapped In E-Mail Overload

E-Mail OverloadAre you sitting there trying to get work done, but you're faced with an overflowing e-mail inbox that just keeps growing bigger despite your best efforts to clear it? I hear you! I've been there myself ... in the past.

But my life (my work life, that is) changed when I looked at e-mail a different way. So here are three undeniable facts about e-mail that are contributing to your overflowing inbox.

1. You Don't Treat Your E-Mail Inbox Like a Mailbox

Tell me this: Every day, when you hear the postie drive by, and you go to your letter box to collect your mail, how do you sort through the mail? You might throw out the junk mail immediately, open and read a few other pieces and then throw it out, and then keep the rest for processing later.

But I bet you don't stuff any of the mail back into the letter box. Do you? That would just seem bizarre. After all, the mailbox is only a convenient, temporary storage place between you and the postie. She puts stuff in, you take it out. That's it.

So, if this is the case with your physical letter box, why don't you treat your e-mail inbox the same way?

Stop keeping things in your e-mail inbox. It's only there for messages to pass through.

2. E-Mail Is Not Your Problem

Most e-mail is somebody else's problem, turning up in your To Do list for the day. If you spend your day responding to what's in your inbox, or keep messages in your inbox after you open them (see the previous point!), all you're doing is living your life according to other people's priorities.

If that is your job (e.g. you're an EA or work in some customer service roles), then that's fair enough - it's what you need to do. But if it isn't, then stop acting as if it is.

3. Going Through Your Inbox Is Fun

OK, let's face it ... Even if you have an overflowing inbox, it can be enjoyable to go through it, processing messages and reducing the number of messages still sitting there. Even if you don't think of it as the most fun thing you ever do, it can be a light, fun distraction from doing more important work. And it has an in-built reward - seeing the number of messages go down - that lights up our brain's pleasure centre.

That doesn't make it worthwhile, though! It just means you're rewarding the wrong things, and it's still taking you away from what really matters.

So what are you going to do about it?

So here are the three undeniable facts again:

  1. You Don't Treat Your E-Mail Inbox Like a Mailbox
  2. E-Mail Is Not Your Problem
  3. Going Through Your Inbox Is Fun

I realise that, even if you agree with these three things, I haven't told you how to address them. But just understanding and accepting this is a good start!

Monday, June 16, 2014

How you could make your life and work simpler yet more profound?

This weeks sparkenation.

I ordered a coffee for my client and one for myself. The waiter smiled and gave me a buzzer. “When this goes off” he said “Come back and get your coffees from the window ledge.” Then his eyes moved to the next customer. As with me he didn't say anything, just looked at the person.

When I went back to get the coffees I said “Thank You.” Not a word from the waiter.

I won’t be going back here. The staff may have made their lives simpler yet the profoundness that happens with real human connection has disappeared.

Leonardo da Vinci said: ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

How you could make your life and work simpler yet more profound?

Hint: The answer lies in your humanness.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Albert Einstein

Simple is often mistaken for easy. 

Technology can make our lives simpler. Without humanness technology actually makes our lives more complicated.

How you could make your life and work simpler yet more profound?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A workplace culture of candor and trust is a key to the future prosperity of your business

This weeks sparkenation

Co-creating workplace cultures of candor and trust are a key to the future prosperity of your business. And even if you are your business!

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, in conversation with Stanford Professor Bob Sutton, is a gift full of many great insights for such co-creation.

Be inspired by it on YouTube here or as I preferred watching it in segments here.

You will no doubt value these tips for creativity from Mr Catmull as well.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

PS Close of business 15th June 2014 is the deadline to become an inaugural member of Maverick Thinkers Studio. I will never be repeating these very special offers. After inaugural is exactly that.

Find out more and join here.

If you are not intending to join I would real appreciate you completing this 1 question survey here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Win the Social Media Battle

Winning the social media battleThe biggest battle most people face with social media is finding the time to do it. Obviously, you need to spend some time being active on it in order to build your profile and presence. But there are some simple tools you can use to leverage your efforts and build your online reputation.

Broadly, there are four things you should be doing to build your online presence:

  1. Comment with value: Make relevant, useful comments on other people's material.
  2. Curate with context: Share other people's material with your network.
  3. Collate with perspective: Point out patterns in seemingly disparate areas.
  4. Create unique material: Create and publish your own material.

I hope you're doing some combination of these four things as part of building your social media presence. If not, you should be!

OK, so how do you get more leverage from your efforts? Let's look at some options ...

Commenting: Make your comments go further

If you answer a question in a LinkedIn group, do you stop there or copy your answer into a blog post? It only takes a few minutes to do, but it spreads your expertise further.

When you finish reading a book, do you write a review on You should. And do you then copy that review into your blog? You should do that as well.

Curating: Make it more efficient

Curating content means you read (or watch or listen to) a whole bunch of stuff, discard most of it, and share the gems with your network.

First, choose when and where you want to consume the content by using a tool like Pocket to bookmark interesting stuff to the Cloud, so you can read it later on your phone or tablet. That way, you won't be distracted from your other work.

Then, when you want to share something, use a tool like Buffer to distribute it to your social media networks. Buffer lets you space out your postings over time, so you don't flood your followers with a whole bunch of updates at the same time.

For even better results, use a tool like Crowdbooster to figure out the best times to post.

Collating: Gather and store ideas quickly

When collating, you're looking for patterns across different areas, so you won't necessarily be able to post something immediately. So you need a way to efficiently gather, store and then find material later.

Use a tool like Evernote to store your ideas, and make sure you connect it to your Web browser, e-mail, phone and tablet, so you can easily store things you find in your Evernote account.

Also choose the best sources for new ideas and material. For example, Slideshare is a great source for getting an overview of a topic, because it's less detailed than reading a book or watching a video.

Creating: Make each piece work harder!

Make no mistake: Creating highly-relevant, engaging content is not easy. So when you do create something - whether it's a blog post, newsletter article, video, slide show, or webinar - work really hard to make it work really hard for you.

The key platform for this is your blog. Post everything there, and use a tool like Twitterfeed to distribute it to your social media networks.

How can you use these ideas?

First, are you commenting, curating, collating and creating? If not, get started - even if you start slowly at first.

Then look at ways to get more value from it. I hope you've got some ideas - now put them into practice!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Do you really want what you currently don’t have?

This weeks sparkenation.

I had a conversation with a prospective client during the week who was expressing frustration about not getting what they wanted in an aspect of their business. "Do you really want this?" I asked them. "Of course." was the adamant reply. "Then you will find a way." I said. 

"A man who wants to do something will find a way; A man who doesn't will find an excuse."
Stephen Dolley, Jr.

Do you really want what you currently don’t have?

If your answer is yes from the depths of your being, you will find a way. 

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

"The unique combination of desire, planning, effort and perseverance will always work it's magic."
Jim Rohn