What is your one-word theme for 2019?

one word theme year

First of all, welcome to 2019 as today is the 1st of January!

Over the last two weeks or so I’ve mused on a process for first a) reflecting on the last year, then b) being present to where you are right now, then finally c) setting a focus for 2019.

Now, you may well have some ideas for 2019. You might have, for your business, a strategic plan for one or more years, allied to operational plans, budgets etc.

However, do you have a one-word theme for the year? If not, I recommend you do.

In all my years, with around two decades building and leading businesses, then the last decade or so supporting leaders with their own journeys and those of their organisations, I have distilled my work to a few core areas.

One of these is around the simplicity of messaging to engage, align, motivate, empower your people.

As humans, we tend to love complexity and detail, not to mention long project and “to do” lists. However, as leaders, counter-intuitive as it may seem, I’ve found that one of the absolute keys to successful leadership is to distil to simplicity.

It does not matter whether you are leading self, leading family, leading a team, leading a large organisation, leading a country, or whatever level of perceived ease or difficulty of leadership role or opportunity, my advice will almost always be to make it simpler.

The ultimate in simplicity is to get your theme down to one word.

How do you get there? How about if you have a leadership team, how do you get a team there? What about a multi-national organisation?

Well, you don’t just pop it out (unless you are very, very practised at the process!).

No, there is a distinct process that is patient, focussed, thorough and requires mastery of both process and managing energy of those in the room, in the process.

It is facilitated externally (certainly until you gain your own level of mastery and ability to be independent and without judgement of others opinions).

Often I will facilitate a leadership for two full days to get them down to a takeaway that is as simple as one sheet of paper. On that sheet of paper is a one-word theme with no more than three or (at most) four focal areas that both stem from and give meaning to the one-word theme.

From that point, depending on the size, scale and scope of the organisation, it can take weeks or even months to engage everyone across the organisation and then align, empower, commit and more. However, again and again, I’ve seen the immense power of every single person in an organisation understanding and getting behind a one-word theme.

Oh, and I practice what I preach. For 2019 my one-word theme is


The three areas of focus from and giving meaning to that one-word theme are:




This one-word theme flows across my client work and broader projects, voluntary work, even my personal life.

Regular readers know that I am committed to the concept of Beautiful Leadership and making business in all forms more and more beautiful.

2019 will see me highly committed to this in bringing in more and more Beautiful Leaders as clients, as programme participants, as faculty and community around both client work, programmes and more.


Such commitment to work that is deliberately set out to be beyond the norms, this requires bravery from all involved, to stretch beyond what they are currently doing and who they are currently being, to lead more and more beautifully. I see my role at the heart of what is being created in 2019 and so Bravery is a key focus for me to lead by example.


My homepage begins with the words:

“Command-and-control leadership is losing its grip. A new way of thinking is emerging: leadership that embraces change as constant, encourages individual thought, relies on intuition more than data, fluidity more than hierarchy, trust more than fear, and the common good more than profit.”

I truly believe in these statements and that Beautiful Leadership empowers others. This second focal area is, therefore, a core of what will create more and more Beauty in Leadership and business.


The year 2019 will be the first full year of focus of our nascent community on Beautiful Leadership.

As such, we will maintain focus on those clients, those programmes, those projects, those people who, whether in the present moment or further down the line, will have the highest impact for others and the broader world through their leadership, their business, their tribes, communities, networks.

That is my example shared with you. As you can see, one word can cascade to more and more and more detail, yet it is key to have the discipline to go through a process to get to your one-word theme.


What’s your one-word theme for 2019?

If you would like expert support in getting to this for yourself, your team, your business quickly and fluidly, the first quarter of the year is, for many, the perfect time.

I do have some space in the first quarter to work with new clients and organisations, I would love to talk to you either in person or on a call.

Oh, and I guarantee you that I can get you to a strong preliminary idea of your one-word theme in a one-hour introductory call.

As my #BeMoreYou page says, I work with brave leaders who are also hungry, humble and open. In fact, these are key traits I see in Beautiful Leaders.

Are you one?

Also published on Medium.

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