Don’t get too caught up in inspiration

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136545-136519All too often we get caught up thinking that to be great leaders we need to inspire, or to impress.  It’s a romantic view of leadership that looks at charisma as the cornerstone of leadership.

However in reality for a majority of success stories the leaders are ones who focus on doing the little things really well.  They are the ones who never miss a sports training, are always to work on time, who plan at the start of every week (not just occasionally), who read books to better their craft, who are constantly learning, and who are constantly listening.

Great leaders know that Continue reading

Who wants change versus who wants to change

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10957111_887105228001518_1071329284_nI was working with a leadership team last month, working through where they are at with their culture. It was a challenging and robust discussion working through their culture, what it means and why they needed to understand how critical culture was to their future success.

The challenge lay in getting the leadership team to also acknowledge that they were contributing to a culture that was not delivering high performance thereby not helping them deliver on their new strategy. People do what they see leaders do and the culture was not going to change until they also changed.

To reinforce this point, I asked them two simple questions. Continue reading

Smile, it’s contagious

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accrareport_smile-1Recently I was working on a project where I have long term relationship with the organisation.  The team had always had its challenges and always had a challenging culture, but you would still largely find people who were happy and were passionate about seeing the team succeed.  Now it felt like everyone in the team was like one of those zombies in The Return of the Living Dead, but rather than eating brains they were just hanging out for a redundancy.

I felt it myself when Continue reading

Instilling virtues in others

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12BROOKS-blog427I’ve recently embarked on a fairly steep learning curve with a major life change.  I’ve become a mother to an amazing little boy (yes, I’m allowed to be biased!) and one very early Sunday morning at a time I’ve become slightly too familiar with, I stumbled across an article that made me stop and think.  I have to admit, it was the title that sucked me in The Moral Bucket List, but it was the concept of virtues that kept me reading.

The author David Brooks discusses the idea that there are two sets of virtues – résumé virtues and eulogy virtues.  We all have a set of  Continue reading

Making Habits Work for You

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habitsIt’s our daily habits that make the biggest difference in whether we achieve our goals or not.  They can be our greatest help or our biggest hindrance.

Habits are simply behavior we do regularly, automatically and often subconsciously. When something becomes a habit it saves us energy as the behavior becomes automatic and no longer requires mental effort.  For example, it is unlikely you need to think too hard or exercise huge amounts of willpower to brush your teeth in the morning or put your seatbelt on when driving.  If we can develop habits that are aligned to our goals, we also can also save the need exercise so much self-discipline.

Setting clear goals is important, however, Continue reading

Experiences are what matter

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happy-family-silhouette-When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I spent alot of time focussed on chasing achievements.  The next promotion, award, recognition, pay rise or other various forms of validation drove a lot of my motivation.  It was a little like chasing the end of the rainbow.  Really appealing and looks fantastic but does not exist in real life.  That is, you can never find it but there is there constant feeling of chasing it.

On reflection, at the same time, I was part of corporate organisations both in the private and public sector.   I found that when I was in these organisations, it drove this focus on the next goal, milestone, promotion or achievement.  The internal competition, need to validate yourself drives an approach that means that you often forget why we are here.

So why are we here? Continue reading

Are we promoting approval based behaviours as parents to our children?

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fbaby1Harassment and bullying online have become a frequent headline as we live in an age where people are engaging more and more using online social media platforms. My children are currently too young to be able to have their own social media accounts and they are definitely too immature and naive to be able to understand the reality of what behaviours these social media platforms drive. However I was having a conversation recently with a parent who gave me an insight into just how young these children are who are constantly utilising some of these platforms and the impact it can have on them.

What saddens me about all of this is that Continue reading

Governments that back the wrong horses

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402447-bigthumbnailI was on the plane reading the business journal in The Advertiser which is the local paper in South Australia.  There was a very insightful article from industry leaders on 10 March 2015 who had come together in a Round-table forum to discuss how to improve the South Australian economy.  These leaders are all proven entrepreneurs who run successful businesses that export, are market leaders not just in Australia but have also taken many calculated risks that have led to success and also failure over their journeys.

What was also interesting when reading the article was how they were very critical of government in the manner of providing handouts or making decisions or intervening in industries when the private sector would be better placed.  This was particularly Continue reading

Taking the leap of faith. Why moving upstream in the client buying cycle is a must!

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After spending the majority of my time over the past 10 years building relationships with clients, crafting compelling value propositions to secure new work, and coaching others to do the same, I am still amazed about how reactive the consulting and construction industry still is in this area.

Often corporate processes and flow charts highlight the importance of building client relationships and positioning early and not just reacting to tenders when they are received.  The Bid/No Bid or Go/No Go processes are there to follow and are often quite comprehensive.  But even when it is laid out in front of us, we still revert to type too often under stress or when we are busy.

How often do you hear others, or use yourself, lazy responses such, ‘it will just be selected on price’, ‘We didn’t expect the brief to come out that quickly’ or believing that what you want to do is what the client really needs as opposed to truly understanding their challenges and problems!

This reactive and lazy approach usually results in Continue reading

The end is not more important than the means

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entrepreneur-successIs the end more important than the means in any business endeavour?  Does the ultimate outcome quantify success more than whether you have enjoyed the journey?  It is an interesting question to ponder and one that has got me thinking quite a deal recently.

You turn around a business and make lots of money but did not do it the way you know is right.  You secure a great role but have not done the hard work to ensure you can give it your best.   You land a fantastic project through a boys club contact or network rather than legitimately being the best service provider.  All examples where the question pondered is whether we did the hard yards, the positive habits or the necessary rituals to deserve the success that results.

I suspect that this is a question that successful people reflect on often.  They Continue reading