Monday, July 27, 2015

The wonder of weeds

This weeks sparkenation.

I have spent several hours over the last two weekends weeding my garden. I'm preparing for Spring here in Australia.

I've also done a lot of thinking about the weeds that have gathered in my heart and mind. There's much I have had to get rid of, misguided intentions, useless emotions, clouded thoughts, actions I'm not taking that I know I must.

What weeds have gathered in your heart and mind that you need to get rid of?

I have reflected too on my Grandfather teaching me about the law of the farm as a boy. It's a law we all need to live in our own way.

You can watch and read what Grandpa taught me by scrolling down here.

There's wonder in weeds. They're alive as much as the flowers. Weeds gather and impose themselves in our hearts and minds. If we fail to pay attention and remove them we are hiding the flowers, the beauty our lives have for others.

Be remarkable.

Changing What's Normal book and more sparkenations here.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant,”
Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, July 20, 2015

The only journey we're really on

This weeks sparkenation.
Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A one page constitution for your organisation

This weeks sparkenation.

I'm following the Holacracy movement with great interest. When I read their constitution here I kept saying to myself surely success is simpler than this.

Perhaps this is a quest like Einstein I believe suggested "We need to make everything as simple as possible yet no simpler." 

In work with my clients my quest is always about simplification without losing the profound. One way I do this is to continually ask the question of processes, policies, procedures, practices and systems, Does this mean it's simple for people to bring their best to their work?

I love Nordstrom, the US department store. Their employee manual says:

We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Rule #1: Use best judgement in all situations. There are no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

25 years ago, just before I left the corporate world to start my own practice, I was inspired by the book All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum.

This book inspired me to create one page business plans, strategy documents and performance plans.

Since such one-pagers have become a keystone of my client work helping 1000's of people to maintain focus and improve performance.

Recently the celebrations around the 800 year anniversary of the Magna Carta have renewed my passion for creating one page constitutions or charters for organisations. Watch this space.

If you'd like to collaborate on this or know of something that already exists please get in touch with me.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How and When does Intent get Formed

A Sikh man broke strict religious protocol on Friday and removed his turban to help a child who’d been hit by a car outside his home in Auckland.

Harman Singh, 22, saw that the 5-year-old boy’s head was bleeding and acted immediately, removing his turban despite the fact that his religion prohibits him to do so in public.

In taking this immediate action, Harman's intention was to provide immediate help to save the child's life and his thoughts were focused on what he could do to achieve that.

Looking back at this incident, I wondered what came first - the thought of how to save the child or the intention of saving the child. The Chicken and Egg Dilemma is seen in many situations in life, and one of the things that many intellectuals and thought leaders ask is, " Does thought follow intent or does intent comes first followed by thought?"

For either of the cases, I have a question - How does the intent get formed? If that is clear, the earlier question will perhaps be easier to answer.

The dictionary meaning of 'Intent' or 'Intention' is " the thing that you plan to do or achieve".

Now, how can you plan to achieve something if you have not even thought about the same? In other words, only after a thought comes to your mind can you create a feeling which tells you, "this looks good, I am gonna plan on this whenever I can". Once you feel this, the thought stays fresher and longer in your mind, like how data stays in the RAM for quick application and usage.

Now that we have figured out that the thought comes first, we need to determine how does intent get generated.

There are 3 ways the thoughts gets manifested as intent: -

  1. By our Experiences -  We are constantly a product of our experiences, so if we have had a good experience of a person, place or a thing, we will form an opinion of the same. So whenever any thought comes to our mind pertaining to that person/place or a thing, and we wish to take action on it, the intent will get formed immediately, in our subconscious mind. A girl who is molested at a young age will always have a cautious approach whenever she is in close proximity of another person later in life, and her intention will be to avoid getting close to the person to avoid getting hurt.
  2. By our Instinct - Generations of mankind have built in certain codes in our genes which activate our response mechanism when we are faced with a similar situation or when we reach a certain age. The reflex thoughts that are triggered follow a pattern and led to a particular intent being formed. A Gurkha warrior in a battle has only one intention - to get into close combat with the enemy and use his Khukri to kill him, like his predecessors have done so. 
  3. By our Opinions and Judgments - We continuously form opinions and judge others based on impressions and experiences. These get stuck in our subconscious mind. Whenever a thought about the concerned person occurs, these opinions and judgments then become carriers of the thought to guide us towards the intent, and if we allow the process to carry on automatically, the resulting actions will also occur likewise. 

So What is a Good Intent and what is a Bad Intent?

An intent is termed good or bad by the direction it gives to the thought. A good intent is sure to take a thought towards an action which is well meaning and aimed towards positive results. A bad intent will do it otherwise, leading to an action with negative consequences. The obstacles to good intent are ego, jealousy, anger, greed and lust.

Does all intent lead to action?

No. For an intent to lead to action, there has to be a will and finally a decision taken to act. Many people are weak-willed and do not have the confidence or the courage to take their thoughts towards actions. And even after people are willing, they stop short of taking action owing to fear that grips them - it could be fear of consequences, fear of failure, and fear of the unknown.

Do we act without Intent?

Yes, we do. Just like there are response mechanisms which are coded in our being , there are also those decisions that are dictated by the nature of our being and the sum total of our past experiences and insights. Harman's example above is one where he instinctively knew that he must do something immediately to save the child and therefore the intent pre-existed even before he faced the situation.  This, in my opinion , is what is Mindfulness - being alive to the moment and using all your wisdom drawn from your experiences to act spontaneously.

(Readers may also like to read other articles on Intent - 'Content is fine but Intent is the King', 'What is the Quality of Your Actions' and 'How do You Lead Yourself')

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Thriving in a VUCA and SuperVUCA world - inspiration from Kevin Roberts

This weeks sparkenation.

We're certainly living in a VUCA world.

I prefer Kevin Roberts definition in what he calls SUPER VUCA than the one above.

The video below is 4 minutes and 46 seconds from Kevin on this.

Read all of Kevin's speech here.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Five Ways to Use Webinars to Support Clients and Customers

Five Ways to Use Webinars to Support Clients and CustomersThe most common use of webinars is for marketing purposes: a free webinar that attracts new potential customers to your products or services. But another very powerful use of webinars is to support existing customers and clients. Although you will generally get much smaller numbers for these webinars, you’re providing a valuable service to people who have already done business with you. And we all know it’s far easier to get more business from them than to try and convince a stranger to buy from you.

Here are five ways you can use webinars to support existing clients and customers:

  1. Reward loyal clients: If you’re looking for ways to reward your best and most loyal clients, put on a webinar just for them. For example, if you’re a financial planner, you might conduct a quarterly client-only webinar that talks about the economy. You provide a valuable service (not just a “just keeping in touch” phone call, which can be an annoying intrusion more than a useful gesture) and demonstrate your on-going value to them.
  2. Leverage access to you: Webinars allow you to reach many people at the same time, rather than having to deal with them individually. This is useful in a number of places in your business, including product training, customer support, and presentation follow-up.
  3. Offer more frequent training: Because webinars are easy and cheap to schedule and run, you can run them whenever they are needed, rather than waiting until you can get enough people together to make a training workshop feasible.
  4. Create a training library: What’s more, webinars are dead easy to record (no expensive recording equipment, no hiring trained video operators, no complex post-event editing). So in addition to running the live webinars, you can also make the recordings available for people who missed the live training sessions.
  5. Lower cost: Webinars cost less for you than bringing a group of people together at a venue, because you don’t have to pay for venues, refreshments, printing handouts, air fares, accommodation, travel costs to the venue, parking and other incidentals. But webinars also save money for the participants, because their greatest cost is the lost time for attending the event. With a webinar, they don’t have any wasted time. They are just sitting at their desks working, then they log on to the webinar for its duration, then hang up and get back to work.

If you’re not already using webinars to support your customers and clients, you’re missing the opportunity to create a deeper connection with them. And that connection leads to better connections, longer relationships and ultimately greater profit in your business.

Want to know more about webinars?

Webinars can be one of your most powerful marketing and educational tools - if you know how to run them properly.

My book "Webinar Smarts" covers nearly everything you need to know about planning, preparing, promoting and presenting powerful and profitable webinars.

If you’re interested in tapping into the power of webinars in your business, this book is for you.