Tag: Elite Lessons

Diversity and Culture – a lesson from an elite sport

“Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game” ~  Lou Gerstner

What can leaders learn from pro athletes ? After all, elite professional athletes are known to be paid stupefying amounts, be full of ego, selfish, etc etc etc.

Except…perhaps not…read this closing to a lengthy, passionate and erudite open letter written by a superstar player who has earned well over $100m in his career and felt to come to the defence of someone in that sport, that league. In this, he stands up for diversity and for the feeling of family. You can sense his pride and passion.

Can you guess the sport and the league? : (more…)

Michael Jordan : I failed, that is why I succeed

Michael-Jordan-Quote-1

I love this quote from Michael Jordan, as it speaks to “Deliberate Practice”, a topic I wrote about yesterday, focussed on golf and Ben Hogan, as well as looking to prompt readers to consider where they are deliberate in what they do, whether it be in their personal life or at work, in what they do personally or what they guide and lead their people to do.

So, to “MJ” or #23″. Oh, and I’ll come back to that quote at the end of this post to reflect on perhaps his greatest success. (more…)

Ben Hogan : Deliberate Practice

ben hogan five lessons.jpeg

The summer I was 15, the weather in the Scottish Borders was beautiful (so my memory tells me !). That year I got the “bug” to play golf. Junior membership was almost free and I rode my bike to the club with an old “half set” of clubs and spent all day there most of the summer. All that time I had with me a very old copy of this book by Ben Hogan, first published back in 1957.

Ben Hogan was one of the greatest golfers of all time and was known to practice more than any of his contemporary golfers. He is said to have “invented practice”. Hogan himself said, “You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but… I was enjoying myself. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning so I could hit balls. When I’m hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply, it’s a joy that very few people experience.”

Hogan believed anybody, through “deliberate practice”, could “break 80”, which in plain English means to become a good golfer. So what do we mean by deliberate practice(more…)

Wait overnight before replying

**first a note..historically I have posted “Writing I Love” posts on Tuesdays, and “Movies with Meaning” posts on Wednesdays. Effective this week, I’m iterating a change. My writing and movie posts will continue, simply on weekends, leaving Monday to Friday for evolving in my usual eclectic way my themes and posts around #OpenLeadership 

keep calm and just wait

What if you waited  at least overnight to reply to all your emails and messages ?

What Tom ? Are you crazy ?  I can’t do that !

Really ? Yes… (more…)

What is your 80 days ?

Mark B ES 2018

On April 26th, I was at Gleneagles for a truly inspirational and world-class day at the Entrepreneurial Scotland annual conference, themed “Global Mindset, Scottish Heart”.

The conference was opened by my friend, the truly inspirational Mark Beaumont, who just over a year ago utterly smashed the round the world cycling record, taking it down 40% to under the mythical “Around the World in 80 Days” level.

Mark taught us a two part lesson.

Mark spoke of two individuals who have asked him for support in breaking another round the world record. He asked them both, separately, “how fast do you think you can do it ?”. They both answered “well, the record is x days, I’ll beat that”. His response to each of them was simple.  “Then, you will fail”.

You see, they had ignored Mark’s first lesson.

That first lesson is to become really clear on who you are and how much you are capable of, to find your own personal best. He speaks from experience. He had stretched himself to the absolute limit in prior endurance adventures. I’d also add that it is a true privilege to have got to know Mark over a number of years. He is truly a massively self-aware and humble leader, and an old soul. An old head on young shoulders would be another phrase. Inspirational !

Knowing who he is and what his ultimate capability was, Mark then set that 80 days target.

The second part of the lesson is then to design and build a plan and then execute it, as if you truly are going to achieve your full potential, your own “80 days”. there will be times when you are at the limit, and you need to stop thinking and simply execute a well thought out plan that you know you can deliver on. To go on automatic pilot when needed.

A famous quote from Mike Tyson is “everyone has a plan, until you get punched in the face”. If I may extend that from what Mark taught us, “everyone has a plan, until you get punched in the face. When you get punched in the face, you need a plan more than ever.”

So… what is your 80 days ?

What is your personal best, your true and full potential ?

If you know that, what then ? What do you need to have in place in order to achieve that potential ?

Movies with Meaning – Different Perspectives

Weekly series. Do please send suggestions via email, twitter etc. You can send a theme and/or specific movies. Each week we feature three movies with meaning, so send in a movie with a sentence or two on the core meaning you take from it and a clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning.

As a trained and practiced coach, in my work as a sounding board to leaders, I am always deeply listening. In this, I seek to understand the perspective of the individual or group I am listening to. Sometimes my role is then to give my perspective as an impartial and outside observer, sometimes to help them see the source for the perspective they have themselves (which they may or may not be conscious of!).

There is real power in deep listening. As Stephen Covey advises, “listen with the intent to undestand, not to reply”.

Numerous movies have utilised the idea of different perspectives to dramatic effect in telling stories. As a practice for yourself in taking time to see things through the eyes of others, perhaps watch one or more of these three movies.

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Movies with Meaning – John Cusack edition

Weekly series. Do please send suggestions via email, twitter etc. You can send a theme and/or specific movies. Each week we feature three movies with meaning, so send in a movie with a sentence or two on the core meaning you take from it and a clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning.

Some weeks my theme is deep and meaningful, this week simply to honour one of my favourite actors with three movies of his that I love.
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Movies with Meaning – Trust and Consistency

Weekly series. Do please send suggestions via email, twitter etc. You can send a theme and/or specific movies. Each week we feature three movies with meaning, so send in a movie with a sentence or two on the core meaning you take from it and a clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning.

Recently I was at a talk given by Rachel Botsman, author of “who can you trust” who I found last year (thank you google search) is pretty much the only other person using the term “distributed trust” to describe the trust revolution ahead of us (and I’ve written about this in multiple posts on this site).

Anyway, inspiring talk and one piece she talked about was to ask who the most trusted person in the UK is. A survey has been done on this, and the answer was David Attenborough, who has been making TV documentaries on nature for many decades, and is still doing so in his 90s.

To me, the key reason we trust him is his consistency. He has never varied in what he is about, what he does, why he does it.

There are many elements around what makes us trust others, today I focus on consistency. Yes, the work of Joseph Campbell means that so many movie characters live the dramatic steps of the hero’s journey, yet some of our heroes we trust as they have a powerful consistency of intention and purpose under pressure throughout.
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Be ruthless with your time

Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world, and also a friend and mentor for many years to another, Bill Gates.

In this short video (yes, it will take less than two minutes of your time, please invest in that!), Bill talks about the blank pages in Warren’s diary and how this amazed him when he first found how ruthless Warren is with NOT being busy.

“I can buy anything I want.. but I can’t buy time:

Much of my work is spent with leaders, helping them elevate, and one paradigm shift is around VALUE and TIME.

Plenty of paradoxes here.

Here’s one. I don’t work with clients based on TIME, on a “power by the hour” basis, I work based on VALUE. Sometimes takes a while for them to understand they can contact me anytime as I am not “on the clock” (professional firm partners are particularly connected to the TIME trap!). I vividly remember a client once calling me to work through something before a key meeting. We had been working together for years at this point, and it took only a few minutes to work through something powerful, simply because we had a shorthand of understanding developed over the relationship. Later, they remarked “a few years ago that would have taken well over an hour. Perhaps I should be paying you more when it takes less time to get what I need”. Paradoxical thinking, huh ?

Another Paradox is that time is free, yet it is our most valuable resource, and Warren Buffett says you can’t buy it, but can you ? In some ways you can. Adam Smith worked this out hundreds of years ago with “division of labour”. I have an Executive Assistant who manages my diary. I pay her for something I could do myself, but I pay for the fact that is saves me time (and energy, a whole other related topic). What do you do for yourself that you could pay or otherwise delegate to someone else to do ? I see so many business leaders who keep involving themselves in so many day to day activities that take their time and energy away from what truly matters.

My dear friend and mentor Suki Laniado Smith signs off every email with :

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change”

Every client I have ever worked with, every person I have ever known (and yes, very much including myself) could always benefit from bringing what I would call “ruthless awareness” to where we spend our time.

This does NOT mean being scarce with our time. To the contrary, using myself as an example, I practice “radical abundance” with my time (as does Professor Adam Grant), but it is really important therefore to a) have boundaries, and b) make sure you don’t spend time doing stuff that doesn’t matter.

(BTW, I just thought about NOT taking time to add links to past posts that relate to the above thoughts, but to me sharing my writing and my thoughts DOES matter, so I have taken the time to do so.)

One of the most meaningful quotes in any movie for me comes from the movie Lucy “the whole purpose of life is to pass on what was learned. There is no higher purpose”, watch a clip in this post, the very first in my weekly series of “Movies with Meaning”

I leave you with two quotes from Steve Jobs :

“Your time is precious, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”

(Visit the post with video of the speech in which he said this, along with other thoughts on “Memento Mori” (remember you will die))

and

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It is really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.

~ Steve Jobs

steve jobs time

 

Movies with Meaning – Focussing on what matters

Weekly series. Do please send suggestions via email, twitter etc. You can send a theme and/or specific movies. Each week we feature three movies with meaning, so send in a movie with a sentence or two on the core meaning you take from it and a clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning.

a river runs through it

Of late I have been musing and writing on focussing on the present and on what matters.

This week three movies on these themes.
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