Tag: Elite Lessons

Language, Truth and Trust

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One of the things I love about London is the ease of attending talks and workshops and learning from amazing intellects. Last week was one such occasion where I went to a talk by Dr Christophe Fricker and his colleague Cory Massaro on Language and Leadership.

I then had the lovely opportunity to have lunch with these two gentlemen, a conversation which flowed and ranged widely, very inspiring. I hope to talk more to them and then post something about their talk soon.

For now, a few thoughts that came to me from that, starting with a thought from Cory:

“you know a word by the company it keeps” (more…)

The map is not the territory

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from a wonderfully indepth powerpoint deck by Cristiano Damiani Vasconcellos

Language is powerful. Stunningly so. The language we use about ourselves and others can fundamentally change our perception of reality.

Tip of the hat (or, as cyclists say, chapeau) to David D’Souza today for sharing on Twitter a wonderful and in-depth article from Farnam Street explaining the background to this concept and giving me a nudge to share it with readers. (more…)

Don’t tell and yell. Ask

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Sir Alex Ferguson in customary pose, yelling at his players

Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest football coaches, was famous for “giving his players the hairdryer treatment”, ie yelling at them.

Today a repost of a wonderful interview this week by Kieran Shannon of the Irish Examiner of Wayne Goldsmith.

I have been focussed for many years on the overlaps between coaching sports and coaching individuals and business. I am privileged to count as a dear friend one of the swimming worlds all-time great coaches, Ian Armiger (who shared this article me too).

I’ve learned as much or more from top sports coaches about human behaviour as any business or leadership thinker, speaker, consultant or coach.

So many nuggets in this powerful article, but one that  truly stands out from me and is so, so relevant to all forms of coaching, mentoring, management, leadership:

“As a coach, start connecting with the players, even if they’re as young as six. Don’t tell and yell — ask.” ~ Wayne Goldsmith

He then goes on to explain that most coaches spend 70% of their time commentating and otherwise being unconstructive, only 30% being of true value. Oh, and that a calm coach is far more valuable than one who yells.

As for Sir Alex Ferguson, as I wrote about in: “Ferguson and Cantona – Vulnerability and Strength“, there was much more to Sir Alex than the “hairdryer”.

Enjoy the article and I hope you take at least two or three things from it you can apply yourself in your life, work, family. If you are a sports coach, perhaps you too can learn specifics from Wayne Goldsmith too.

Oh, and as to family, the final part of the article talks about swim parents not allowing their children to take self-responsibility for what they need and need to do. How often do we do that as leaders and managers too? Allow your people, your kids, your community to step up rather than you jump in to fix things. You may be powerfully amazed at what happens.

So, enjoy the article, the bold type parts are my contributions to highlight certain sections. I give you just one here:

“Creativity comes from difference. Being able to see different connections. Constantly rejecting what is and looking at what could be.”

I hope you find more for yourself too.

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Give less advice

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Coach Gregg Popovich running a timeout for the San Antonio Spurs

Imagine that coach watching the game. Naturally, he can see many things he could advise individuals and the group to do, to change, to stop doing.

However, the best coaches do one thing consistently in such situations, they:

give less advice

To illustrate this, a lesson learned from my own experience as a basketball coach running time outs. (more…)

Golf Trips and Collaborative Leadership

Iceberg principle

Collaborative Leadership:

“the process of engaging collective intelligence to deliver results across organisational boundaries when ordinary mechanisms of control are absent”

Oxford Leadership – Collaborative Leadership White Paper, 2011

The other day a dear friend of mine, a top elite sports coach and voracious learner and networker around leadership and behaviour, sent me this white paper.

Within it are some powerful learnings for leading collaboratively, yet, as so often, I wonder why corporate leaders and their consultants need to speak in such overly complicated ways.

Today let me endeavour to use Oxford Leadership’s version of the iceberg principle (ie the image above, captured from their white paper), to make a few simple points for leaders to anchor upon if they choose to lead collaboratively. (more…)

Where Entrepreneurialism comes from

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“..entrepreneurialism can’t be taught and the library full of books attempting to teach it are a waste of time. Short of travelling back in time and putting your childhood self through some sort of trauma you cannot ‘become’ an entrepreneur.”

The 17th and closing tweet in a thread posted this week by Mike Driver of Convex.

In short, Mike’s Twitter thread is concise, incisive and brilliant. Yes, it concludes that entrepreneurialism can’t be taught (so don’t bother trying to learn how to be an entrepreneur as an adult), but in his thread, he explains where it comes from.

As I put it in when sharing his thread onwards on Twitter:

“deep thinking around source from evidence in practice, allied to comprehensive and wide-ranging reading around relevant topics. Aligns closely to my own findings with many hundreds of entrepreneurs”

Today I’ll share his tweet thread (presented as a short opinion piece in this post for ease of reading, as well as my thinking around why I use Twitter.

Please read it.

Oh, and if you are thinking of embarking on a course of study on being entrepreneurial, don’t 🙂 (more…)

To see ourselves as others see us

DFW this is water quote

picture credit Sloww.co

Today I am reminded of the difficulty of seeing ourselves how others see us and the power of critical thinking both for that and to truly see and understand others.

These are universal challenges for each of us. For those who lead others, the “self-leadership” part is at the core, then the layers and dimensions simply expand, to the people in our organisation, the values, beliefs and cultures consciously and unconsciously present. The opportunities for understanding and exploring are endless as we then look at societal, systemic, structural issues.

For this reason, we often look to understand such issues through philosophy and also art, including writing.

Today I’ll share teachings from this from two great authors, David Foster Wallace and Robert Burns, I hope this supports you in looking at what you can do to see yourselves as others see you, as well as to look to understand and see others more clearly. (more…)

How many blue cars do you see?

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When my two oldest sons were very young, one summer we visited great friends in Norway. One day my friend and I took his two sons and mine, all aged between about 3 and 8, for the over two-hour drive from Oslo to their cottage on a lake for an overnight trip.

It was a wonderful trip, but on the way back the boys were bored. My friend asked them to pick a colour. They chose blue. He then asked them to count all the blue cars they saw.

Amazing how many blue cars you see when you are looking for blue cars.

Today a story about the word beautiful as it relates to business and seeing it when you are looking.

Also a thought around the power of having a focus word like Blue, or Beautiful.

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Mark Hollis – Learn how to play one note

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“Before you play two notes, learn how to play one note, y’know? And don’t play one note unless you’ve got a reason to play it.” ~ Mark Hollis

Yesterday Mark Hollis died.

He was the leader of Talk Talk. Their music really touched me in different ways, then he stepped away from music and fame completely, at the top of his game. Last night, then, I spent hours listening to that music to mark his passage.

The quote above also says so much about how he evolved and grew as a musician over time, distilling to essence.

Learn how to play one note.

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Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards

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“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Today a simple thought around living life.

Learn from the past, analyse it, study it all you will so you can learn more about yourself, others, your business, your leadership.

When it comes to the future, however, trust yourself.

Like the kid on the skateboard, he knows what he has learned about riding a board so far, now he has to just go for it!

Today sharing (not for the first time) my favourite speech of all time, as the first of three themes within it is all about this. (more…)

Look for the spaces between

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“Look for the spaces between” 

This week I am at the Modern Elder Academy in Baja. On the first day, one of the directors, Christine Sperber, took time to give us a “level set”, positioning the week for us.

One key phrase that resonated for me is that she encouraged us to “look for the spaces between”. Yes, there is a full schedule and curriculum, but they have also very consciously left lots of space for members of the cohort to find space to talk to each other, to share, to learn from the amazing experiences of this curated group of budding Modern Elders. (more…)

Maslow’s Hierarchy and Beauty

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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a powerful tool for understanding what drives us. I’ve used it often including this post on “At risk versus taking risks“.

My friend and business hero, Chip Conley, is a leading expert on Maslow through his work in taking Maslow’s hierarchy into business through his book Peak and subsequent synthesis of ideas. For more on Chip, visit “Humble Leadership and Trust

Today, sharing an unexpected link between two people I’ve got to know in the last year or so and admire greatly around their wisdom and take on business and leadership, Chip and Alan Moore. (more…)

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