Category: Uncategorized

09 May 2017

Choose: One habit At A Time

We all struggle with our habits — sticking to them, staying motivated, getting started, dealing with disruptions, it can become a big struggle.

And yet, to change our habits is to change our lives. If we can’t make habit changes, we will be stuck in our current way of doing things, which might not be so helpful.

If you want to lose weight, beat procrastination, write a book, get fit, live mindfully … you have to develop habits.

Luckily, the process is simpler than most people realize. Simple, not easy: you have to be committed and really want to make the change. Otherwise you’ll just quit when things get difficult.

Here’s the first thing to keep in mind: just choose one habit for now. Yes, you’ll want to change a bunch of things. Don’t ignore my advice. Later, you can form more, but for now, focus on just one.

With that in mind, follow these simple steps:

1. Start super small. I’ve said this a million times on this blog, so you might gloss over this one — but don’t. It’s the most important thing. Do one habit at a time, and do it super small. How small? Just meditate for 2 minutes. Just write for 5 minutes. Just do 5 pushups or 5 sun salutations. Just eat one vegetable a day. If you start small, you remove the resistance to starting, which is the hardest part. I used to tell myself, “Just put on your shoes and get out the door,” and that’s how I formed my running habit, and I ended up running several marathons and an ultramarathon because of this small habit. For meditation, I tell myself, “Just get your butt on the cushion.” For drawing, just get out your pad & pencil.

2. Remove choice. Don’t think about it — make a decision ahead of time to do it every day at the same time for at least a month, then each day, don’t make it a decision. Just start. Have a trigger that’s already in your daily life (like waking up, or showering, brushing your teeth, starting the coffee maker, eating lunch, whatever) and use that as the trigger for an when/then statement: “When I wake up, I’ll meditate for 2 minutes.” Put written reminders near where the trigger happens. The main point is: make the decision to do it every day, and then just do it without thinking.

3. Get some accountability. Have at least one person you report to — an accountability partner. Or a group of friends. Or a walking/running partner. It doesn’t matter how you set it up, but having someone to report to means you are much more likely to push yourself past resistance when it comes up.

4. Make it fun, find gratitude. Don’t just do the habit as if it were a chore. See if you can enjoy it. How can you make it fun, play, joyous? Can you find gratitude in the middle of your workout? The habit is much more likely to stick if you focus on the parts you enjoy, rather than mindlessly try to check it off your to-do list.

5. Be committed. Why are you doing this habit? Reflect on this during the first week, as you do the habit. What deeper reason do you have? Are you doing this habit to help others? As an act of self-love, so that you can be healthier or happier? If you’re just doing it because you think you should, or because it sounds cool, you won’t really push past the resistance.

You can start with just the first item above, but I would recommend adding as many of the other four as you can during your first week or two, because you’ll be increasing your odds of success with each one.

This is doable. You can change your old ways by consciously doing something new repeatedly, until it’s a habit. Take small steps to get started, remove choice so you don’t think about whether to start or not, get some accountability and understand your motivation so you push past resistance, and find gratitude in the midst of the action.

One habit, done daily. Small steps with intention, support and a smile. It can make all the difference in the world.

Source: This above article was written by Leo Babauta, “The 5 Keys To Forming Any Habit”, April 21, 2017.

24 Apr 2017

Top 10 Self-Limiting Beliefs

…that silently sabotages us in life…

1. I’m too old

2. I’m not smart enough

3. I am not educated enough

4. I’m afraid of trying and failing

5. You have to have money to make money

6. I’ve already tried everything

7. I can’t do that

8. I don’t feel I really deserve it

9. I’ll never be able to do that

10. All the good ones are taken

Maybe you can relate to some these statements? If you are subtly making yourself a victim by your unconscious thought, try exchanging some of the things you say by more positive, actionable and responsible things which gives you control. You can choose.

Some positive statements:

1. I’m too old – You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream

2. I’m not smart enough – I am good enough. I am smart and I can do anything I put my mind too

3. I am not educated enough – I am intelligent enough to succeed

4. I’m afraid of trying and failing – Yes I might fail but I don’t try, I’ll never know

5. You have to have money to make money – Just start, take actions, embrace uncertainty and create your future

6. I’ve already tried everything – Try again or try something new

7. I can’t do that – What have you done successfully in the past?

8. I don’t feel I really deserve it – Am I being fair saying that?

9. I’ll never be able to do that – Well never is a long time.

10. All the good ones are taken – They are still lots of interesting and kind people out there

 

11 Apr 2017

Key Steps To Blitzing Tough Decisions

When faced with a tight deadline, many leaders just go with their gut. How can you avoid bad moves in decision-making, and feel confident that you are making the best decision?

  • Don’t rely on intuition alone. Overconfidence in your own intuition, can lead you to select data that supports your initial conclusion, rather than looking at the broader picture. Be more analytical and fact based in your approach.
  • Be aware of bias and realistically assess your knowledge of the situation, by bringing a range of data to the table. If you don’t have the time initially to get all the facts, be aware and open about this and factor it into your decision – allowing a review once a clearer picture is available.
  • Do a pre-mortem to deal with pitfalls before they happen. Look at why your decision may lead to failure, listing all the possibilities, and use this information to tweak the decision to avoid this outcome.
  • Review whether past experience offers a reliable platform to move forward from. Actions already taken can anchor subsequent thinking. Avoid the emotional response to believing previous decisions were correct and look from an outside perspective when addressing a new situation.
  • Be aware of emotional platforms that may sway your decisions. Open your eyes to blindspots. Understand who or what are the major sources of influence that may affect your objectivity.

 

Taking these extra steps when facing tough decisions can mean the difference between success and failure.

Leaders need to be aware that they may have surrounded themselves with people who think as they do. Everyone needs a challenger – so don’t shy away from opposition: embrace and encourage it for better decision-making.

If you are looking for a creative and ethical challenger give me a call on +61 (0) 2 9411 3900– The Decision-Making Maverick.

11 Apr 2017

How To Influence Decision Makers

Here is a wonderful article from Marshall Goldsmith, giving advice on how to be more effective in influencing up. Maybe there is an answer there for you too.

 1. Accept the facts

 Every decision that affects our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision, not the “right” person or the “smartest” person or the “best” person. Make peace with this fact. Once we make peace with the fact that the people who have the power to make the decisions always make the decisions and we get over whining that “life isn’t fair,” we become more effective in influencing others and making a positive difference. We also become happier.

2. Realise You Must Sell Your Ideas

 When presenting ideas to decision-makers, realize that it is your responsibility to sell, not their responsibility to buy. In many ways, influencing ultimate decision-makers is similar to selling products or services to external customers. They don’t have to buy–you have to sell. No one is impressed with salespeople who blame their customers for not buying their products. While the importance of taking responsibility may seem obvious in external sales, an amazing number of people in large corporations spend countless hours blaming management for not buying their ideas. A key part of the influence process involves the education of decision-makers. The effective influencer needs to be a good teacher.

3. Focus on contribution to the larger good – not just the achievement of your objectives

 An effective salesperson would never say to a customer, “You need to buy this product, because if you don’t, I won’t achieve my objectives.” Effective salespeople relate to the needs of the buyers, not to their own needs. In the same way, effective influencers relate to the larger needs of the organization, not just to the needs of their unit or team.

4. Strive to win the big battles

Don’t waste your energy and psychological capital on trivial points. Executives’ time is very limited. Do a thorough analysis of ideas before challenging the system. Focus on issues that will make a real difference. Be willing to lose on small points. Be especially sensitive to the need to win trivial non-business arguments on things like restaurants, sports teams, or cars. You are paid to do what makes a difference and to win on important issues. You are not paid to win arguments on the relative quality of athletic teams.

5. Present a realistic “cost-benefit” analysis of your ideas – don’t just sell benefits.

Every organization has limited resources, time, and energy. The acceptance of your idea may well mean the rejection of another idea that someone else believes is wonderful. Be prepared to have a realistic discussion of the costs of your idea.

6. Challenge up on issues involving ethics or integrity – never remain silent on ethics violations

The best of corporations can be severely damaged by only one violation of corporate integrity. Refuse to compromise on company ethics. Take action immediately.

7. Realise that powerful people also make mistakes

Don’t say, “I am amazed that someone at this level…” It is realistic to expect decision-makers to be competent; it is unrealistic to expect them to be anything other than normal humans. Focus more on helping them than judging them.

8. Don’t be disrespectful.

While it is important to avoid kissing up to decision-makers, it is just as important to avoid the opposite reaction.

Before speaking, it is generally good to ask one question from four perspectives. “Will this comment help 1) our company 2) our customers 3) the person I am talking to, and 4) the person I am talking about?” If the answers are no, no, no, and no, don’t say it!

9. Support the final decision.

 Treat decision-makers the same way that you would want to be treated. If you stab that person in the back in front of your direct reports, what are you teaching them to do when they disagree with you?

10. Make a positive difference–don’t just try to “win” or “be right.”

We can easily become more focused on what others are doing wrong than on how we can make things better. An important guideline in influencing up is to always remember your goal: making a positive difference for the organization. Focus on making a difference. The more other people can be “right” or “win” with your idea, the more likely your idea is to be successfully executed.

11. Focus on the future let go of the past.

One of the most important behaviors to avoid is whining about the past. Have you ever managed someone who incessantly whined about how bad things are? Nobody wins. Successful people love getting ideas aimed at helping them achieve their goals for the future. By focusing on the future, you can concentrate on what can be achieved tomorrow, not what was not achieved yesterday.

In summary, think of the years that you have spent “perfecting your craft.” Think of all of the knowledge that you have accumulated. Think about how your knowledge can potentially benefit your organisation. How much energy have you invested in acquiring all of this knowledge? How much energy have you invested in learning to present this knowledge to decision-makers so that you can make a real difference? My hope is that by making a small investment in learning to influence decision-makers, you can make a large, positive difference for the future of your organization.

Source: This above article was written by Marshall Goldsmith, “11 Ways to Influence Key Decision makers”, April 30, 2015.

28 Mar 2017

Leadership Decision Making in a VUCA World

Today’s business environment is best described as VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. VUCA is, quite simply, the expression of the fact that the rate of change is outpacing our ability to adapt.

As a result of this, businesses, industries and careers are disrupted faster than ever before. We have to seriously rethink about how we lead ourselves, others and our organisations. Old ways of leadership have to give way to newer mental models based on agility in decision making, critical thinking, adaptable learning, people orientation and responsiveness to change.

Whilst none of us is really in control of our environment, most of us are working hard to anticipate the changing conditions of our business.

In his series of blogs in HBR late 2010 – early 2011, the late former US Army Colonel Eric Kail outlined adaptive leadership tactics for operating in a VUCA world –

For Volatile Situations…

  • Communicate clearly
  • Ensure that your intent is understood

 

For Uncertain Situations…

  • Get a fresh perspective
  • Be flexible

 

For Complex Situations…

  • Develop collaborative leaders
  • Stop seeking permanent solutions

 

For Ambiguous Situations…

  • Listen well
  • Think divergently
  • Set up incremental dividends

 

While his advice was constructed within the context of small-unit combat activities in the military I believe it is easily convertible into applications for all organisations.

The antidote to VUCA is about moving from Volatility to Vision, from Uncertainty to Understanding, from Complexity to Clarity and from Ambiguity to Agility. This means exercising leadership in every aspect of our lives and exercising leadership means making wise decisions.

Adapted from: “Adaptive Leadership for the VUCA World: A tale of Two Managers”, Paul Kinsinger, June 6, 2016, Global Business Magazine

 

14 Mar 2017

Crazy Busy or Just Crazy?

Here is a wonderful letter and answer from my friend Dr. Sylvia LaFair giving advice on how to achieve a healthy balance. Maybe there is an answer there for you too.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

It’s summer and all the ads show people sipping lovely drinks at a pool or beach. Except me. Now, I shouldn’t complain. Life is good when you are busy? Right?

It’s just that I am over-scheduled, over-committed and overextended.

I am proud that so many people want so much from me. And yet, I am desperate to get some down time.

Now, don’t tell me to just stop and smell the roses. Actually, I have allergies so I would then just sneeze my head off.

What I need from you is a strategy that will go with my busy lifestyle. I need some kind words from you to tell me that life without stopping is normal and really a good thing. I need you to tell my wife and kids to leave me alone, that I am making the money so they can sit by the pool and sip lovely drinks.

I need you to tell me to keep doing what I am doing because it is the right way in business these days.

Can you please reinforce my crazy busy life model as a good one?

Signed,

Pooped

Dear Pooped,

You, sir, are on INTERACTION OVERLOAD. And the signs of this are to be both filled with pride and desperation at the same time.

The only thing I can do to be helpful is to give you the results of research that will prove you are truly crazy by being so busy!

Look, we are built to both spend and then renew our energy. Think of a pitcher full of clear lovely water. It is meant to be used and used up. Then when the pitcher is empty it needs to be refilled to replenish us with what is needed for growth and health.

Here is my BIG QUESTION for you: when you are left alone with your thoughts in a quiet time what do you think about?

For so many crazy, busy individuals there is a mighty fear about reflection and solitude. The fear is that what we will bump up against is the deeper, negative feelings we so often push away with work and food and all the other addictions that abound.

Here’s the bad news, dear pooped. Suppressing negative feelings only gives them more power. Get busier and busier to avoid them. I think that may be what you and millions of others are doing. These feelings are like stuck plumbing (funny you named yourself ‘pooped’) and sooner or later they will build up so much muck they will eventually spill over and create a huge mess.

Better learn to live with yourself, with the solitude, with reflection time, with memories.

Mindfulness to the rescue. Learn to meditate and my dear friend Chade-Meng Tan has written a marvelous book to help you learn to look inside yourself, titled Joy On Demand.

Meng could have become a crazy busy guy, since he was one of the first engineers at Google. Instead he learned about balance and meditation and mindfulness, and he shares his wisdom with all of us.

And here is one more thought. If you are worried about some awful thing happening when you take time to be still, not to worry. Research by Kerri Smith in Nature magazine states that even in a do-nothing state the brain is still active. It is completing the task of integrating and processing your experiences.

So, take a break and let your brain do the work while you relax.

Best,

Sylvia

 

03 Mar 2017

10 Reminders To Live In The Now

1. Remember that habits are changed by practicing new behaviour. By practising new thinking every five minutes, you’ll soon began to master the art of present-moment living.

2. Do an honest assessment of your “problems”.
You’ll very likely discover that almost all your problems are really in your head and not located in reality.

3. Take time to be mindful of everything around you. Begin to look at your entire surroundings in a new light. Observe every detail on every face, every building and every project. If you do this often it will become a habit that will facilitate your being alive in every moment of the year.  

4. Change your attitude. Begin an attitude-redevelopment plan. That means practice enjoying everything you do.

5. Be specific about what you want and take action. Decide on one thing you would like to work on and do it today. Work at it daily, rather than making it a long-range objective.

6. Create a self-improvement agenda for yourself. Put on your agenda whatever activities you’ve always thought about but never had time to do. Do them now.

7. Rid yourself of mundane chores that are not really that important. Spend more time making your life a pleasure.

8. Eliminate procrastination as a lifestyle. Instead of talking to yourself about what you are going to do next week or even tomorrow, use this time to start a new task.

9. Don’t give up control of your life to others. You cannot enjoy the present moment if you are busy trying to make everyone else like you. People respect you more when you operate from a position of strength and self-reliance.

10. Feel good about yourself. You are a magnificent human being. Always feel good about that self that you are always with.

Source: Adapted from Hay House – Dr Wayne Dyer newsletter, 3rd January 2017

28 Feb 2017

What Causes Job Burnout?

According to the Mayo Clinic job burnout can result from various factors, including: 

  • Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job – such as your schedule, assignments or workload – could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
  • Unclear job expectations. If you’re unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you’re not likely to feel comfortable at work.
  • Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. These and related situations can contribute to job stress. 
  • Mismatch in values. If your values differ from the way your employer does business or handles grievances, the mismatch may eventually take a toll.
  • Poor job fit. If your job doesn’t fit your interests and skills, it may become increasingly stressful over time. 
  • Extremes of activity. When a job is always monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused – which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
  • Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you may feel more stressed. 
  • Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don’t have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you may burn out very quickly.

Can you relate to any of the above? Take action now and seek support before your health and relationships are affected. Remember, you have the power of choice, and it is your choices that will lead you out of situations that lead to burnout.

Job burnout is not to be handled lightly. To help turn things around, I’m offering the opportunity of an initial free 30 minute session where we can identify how to take control of your life and work towards a healthy and positive future.

CLICK HERE NOW!

This one off is only for my subscribers and valid until the 15th April 2017. 

15 Feb 2017

Who Is Your Competition?

This question seems so simple however a company that defines its competitive set too narrolwly can miss disruptive attackers and high potential growth opportunities.  Just take a look at Blockbuster, Nokai and Kodak.  They were all market leaders who fell pray to either disruptive technology or market changes.  How can your company avoid a similar fate?

Let me guide you:

1. Define your target/objective

Far too often, organizations make decisions too quickly and without a strategic context — it is a case of ‘ready, fire, aim’ The internet has not helped this mindset, as the speed to market has become a more critical factor. Understand what you are looking to maximise.

2. Ask the right question or questions

Experience has shown that ‘asking the right question’ is one of the hardest steps for management.  The key here is to understand what your business really wants, and how the insights uncovered will directly relate to a management decision or course of action.

3. Manage information effectively

The next driver for understanding what you have and don’t have within the business needs to come from studying the forces at work on your business’s competitive ability. These forces include competitors, technology, consumers, new entrants, industry trends and so on.  Getting information on these forces is the first step in becoming knowledgeable about your competitive environment.

4. Analyse for insight and intelligence

A strategic plan that doesn’t include insight about the near future is truly next to useless. Yesterday’s information and methods are increasingly ineffective for making today’s decisions — and even less effective for identifying tomorrow’s opportunities, problems and unknown competitors.

The value of insight is early awareness, as it enables you to recognise and monitor the future as it unfolds, thereby reducing risk and minimising mistakes.

Today, managers are faced with many pressures — they may sometimes seek only short-term gains — but costly mistakes from managers making uninformed decisions are no longer an option.

 Today, competing effectively is not just understanding existing competitors and the current business environment.  It is strategically about having a picture of what the future business environment will look like and addressing the following questions:

 

  • What business are you in today?
  • How will new technology affect you and your customers?
  • What new opportunities does the disruption open up?
  • What capabilities do you need to realise these opportunities?
  • What are you doing to protect your business performance when new and sometime unusual competitors are just now a click away?
  • Are you aware of the external changes that are going to take place in your industry and how it will affect the business’s performance?

 

How your business prepares this future will provide you with either a strategic advantage — or the demise of your business. The most critical strategic issue for a business is its competitiveness.

Looking for a mentor in strategy and competition for you business or division?  Give us a call (02) 9411 3900 or have a look at some of the projects we have worked on here.