The less you do, the more valuable you are to your business.
In recent months I’ve worked with a number of leaders who have found that, with the extra time they have had during the lockdown, they have found themselves focussing more ON their business than simply being IN the business. They’ve become re-energised about the potential and vision for the future, truly energising for me to be there to support them.
However, in more recent weeks I have seen some shift back towards the old habits. It is a common habit for business leaders to spend the great bulk of their time working IN the business, pushing the focus ON the business down the list. You know, the way the “busy” work gets done before anything else, how the “urgent” always pushes aside the “important”.
“Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.”
Jim Collins, from his book “Good to Great”.
First, if you are seeking to build a business that is not only good but great, read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Second, putting your modesty aside, please take a moment to recognise that YOU are one of the best, if not the “best people” in your business.
So, my concern for you is that you will not realise your potential and that of your business if you allow yourself to now be drawn back into working IN the business as the expense of working ON the business.
Do you know why you are doing what you are doing? Share it with the world.
This morning I woke up to a tweet from Do Lectures asking us to:
Tell the world why you are doing what you are doing
My purpose is #MakingPotentialPossible. It has always been deep inside me to see the potential in people, businesses, organisations, then I sit with them as they choose and act to realise it. I love in particular when this inspires bravery.
This is a time of great opportunity for those willing to look at what has historically been “not for sale”.
At the North-Eastern tip of the North Sound of Grand Cayman is the popular vacation home area of Cayman Kai. It has been a property hotspot for decades, with many curious visitors interested in buying properties.
Many of the homes on the most prime beachfront spots are quaint cottages built in the 1980s, often with cute hand-carved wooden signs with funny names for the homes. One such house is literally called: “Not for Sale”. Clearly a message being given to curious passers-by!
Now, as we began to recover from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, I started to look at opportunities in my role as Commercial Director for a family-owned business with deep roots in property development. Such companies always have a “land bank” of sites for the future, but through the 1990s and early 200s, prime real estate in Grand Cayman had become not only priced high, the best was also literally “Not for Sale”, so we never considered approaching the owners to look to make deals.
The key shift we made in 2005 in our thinking was to look at the map of Grand Cayman and review what parcels of land we felt we really wanted for our land bank, then to approach the owners and ask if they were open to selling. From this, we were able to make some key deals that would simply not have been possible prior.
The uncertainty created by the massive damage from the Hurricane created openings that we, with a strong Balance Sheet, stepped into, creating long term value for the business.
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
So, today a few tips for those ready to look over the uncertainty of how we gradually emerge from lockdown, to look ahead bravely to value creation 12, 18, 24 months and more down the line.
Recently I came across an idea to harness gravity in disused mine shafts to generate and store electricity, with multiple uses, including balancing power to electricity grids.
I liked the idea. Well, liked it so much I invested in Gravitricity through CrowdCube. Oh, and Crowdcube itself is another simple innovation, a way to crowdsource investments in businesses, a simple extension to the crowdfunding concepts innovated by Kickstarter etc.
“..the objective of economic policy should be collective well-being: how happy and healthy a population is, not just how wealthy a population is.”
~ Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, TED Summit, Edinburgh, July 2019
As UK government and politics, in general, continue to flail along with no clear sense of direction or what success would look like, earlier this week, on the day that the new Prime Minister chose to visit Scotland, a TED Talk that was given last week by the First Minister of Scotland was released. What a stark contrast in leadership it offered and in what two countries (the UK overall and Scotland separately) seek to measure.
Long-time readers will note that in amongst the shorter and often more eclectic daily posts I intersperse longer and deeper reads, often around Economics and, more specifically the future of both Economics and Capitalism in service of the broader society.
So, today share the video and transcript of Ms Sturgeon’s powerful talk, then connect that to some earlier posts and thoughts of my own on what we measure.
“Your mind is like a parachute: If it isn’t open, it doesn’t work.”
Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut
Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, July 20th, 1969.
It all began with the open mind and huge vision of one man.
On May 25, 1961, President John F Kennedy told Congress that the US “should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
On July 20th, 1969, that vision was realised.
This came only 20 days after the first time any NASA mission had taken someone out of the earth’s atmosphere, and then only for a 15 minute sub-orbital flight.
JFK, however, had the vision to restore confidence in his country that had been dented by the space race and cold war with Russia. He believed that this lunary goal could play a key role in building on the ability of Americans to innovate and achieve. The lunar landing was a massive vision and one that took 400,000 people to achieve, but many historians now look back on it as leading an epochal shift for the USA in the 1960s.
Now you may say you are not JFK, but I challenge you to be your own JFK.
“You are only as good as your people and you are the greatest asset we have. You are our high performance system.” – Chelsea Warr
Recently I had a check-in call with a long-time contact who is a shooting star rising up in one of the world’s top financial institutions. This individual is someone I know will be a model of #OpenLeadership for decades to come, they absolutely model the attributes of being Hungry, Humble, Brave and Open that are essential to leading now and into our future. This young leader absolutely gets the power of putting people first in business, and their business is currently investing in them by having them work out of any formal target-driven role for several years as they shift around areas of the global business learning as they go.
I also am working with a client a quarter-century into their career who is about to take a brave leap out of the world of driving to corporate targets as short terms as monthly and often weekly, week in and week out. They have recognised the untapped opportunity for businesses to focus so much more on their people, not just in funding L&D and other programmes, but truly and deeply investing in people as more leaders see that this is where their unerring focus needs to be.
In my own three decades in business, I absolutely see that organisations that truly believe in, trust in and invest in their people are those that do and will thrive into the future.
Those are some thoughts, and I also love the quote from Chelsea Warr:
“You are only as good as your people and you are the greatest asset we have. You are our high-performance system.”
Managing your energy is as important as managing your time and money.
So, I sit here at 7pm on Thursday to write the daily blog for Friday at 8am, feeling quite tired after a really active day full of a variety of meetings.
As I am about to write, I get an email reply from someone I’d messaged about a meeting with them for next week that I thought I had confirmed but didn’t see in my diary. They had replied to say that my wonderful EA, Katie, had noted to them that my diary was a little packed that day and that, as it was the day before I go away on a trip, they agreed together to move the call to after that trip.
Perfect timing as a reminder to manage my energy.
If Katie had only focussed on managing my time, she would have put that meeting in the diary, but as she has a higher context of managing my energy, not my time, she didn’t.
Katie’s key role for me is to manage my diary. With that context of managing energy and not time, we took time from the outset and on an ongoing basis for her to understand what works for me in terms of when what and how many meetings to book for me so that I can always have the energy and the right kind of energy for the people I am meeting and talking to.
Hey, I often coach leaders on managing their own energy for their optimum performance and wellbeing, so I do always do the same for myself.
So, today I give thanks to Katie for managing my energy through her awareness and understanding, also for bringing me a reminder that sometimes we don’t know what we need, we need other to see it for us. We can’t see the goldfish bowl we are swimming in!
With all of this pointed out to me, and with it being 7pm at night as I write this, that’s it for today’s post, I’m tired, I need to recharge for tomorrow.
I work one on one with leaders around the world to create alignment for groups and individuals.
On the #BeMoreYou page of this site, the “How I Work” section of that page outlines how I work 1:1 with leaders around the world.
What that page doesn’t mention is that I also love to work with boards and leadership teams whenever they need to come together for a longer meeting (anything from half a day to two or more days) to create alignment for taking their business or organisation forwards.
I’m mentioning this today as yesterday I posted “Can you do what you love?“, noting that, over the last week, I’ve done just that, facilitating two-day meetings in Canada for two organisations, one a multi-billion dollar business, one a charity. Both are growing fast and are at pivotal and transformative stages.
So, my website highlights my 1:1 work, and at the same time, I love to work with groups.
Today, some thoughts on the poem “Drawing one voice out of two separate strings” by Rilke, and how it relates to changing paradigms of leadership.
Today’s post comes from one of my usual wide-ranging conversations with my brilliant friend Bruce Peters. Our general theme was, as it often is, about how to support organisations and leaders to play to their strengths in a way that is, in Bruce’s words, “Beyond Teal” or in mine, about #OpenLeadership. As my home page puts it:
“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.”
Today, an inspiring poem that inspires and gives food for thought on how any leader, any organisation, can inspire and draw the most from every person within it. (more…)
Leading from Purpose is a golden opportunity to bring out the best in your people.
“There is a natural pull for executives, even CEOs, to be managers rather than leaders. They can become so focused on profit that they cannot generate profit because they cannot release the human commitment that lies dormant in the organization. The workforce does not flourish or exceed expectations.
This blindness is your opportunity. If you dedicate yourself to learning how to imbue an organization with purpose, your chances of succeeding at every level go up. You will be able to do what many CEOs cannot do.”
I strongly believe in remote working. However, today let me take it a level further. For now let’s call it “WorkAnywhere”, as the idea of remote working still implies a paradigm where there is a central point of focus for a business, an office or “head office”.
We don’t need that paradigm anymore, it does not serve our thinking and so our practices. Technology has shrunk the world and enabled many of us to be able to work almost anywhere, anytime and with even more effectiveness than if we had to travel to an office or even place our focus around such a place. That said, I also believe that it is a “both/and” conversation, that often we miss the huge value of creating and building meaningful relationships by being “offline”, by being face to face with people.
So, to me, there are wonderful lessons in the book “Remote” that I will touch on later, yet my core message is that many of us can consciously operate a “WorkAnywhere” model, going beyond the idea that we can work remotely from a central office or HQ.
For us to WorkAnywhere, we then leverage both the power of remote working with online tools as well as recognising the power of actually being in the same room as people and so investing in that time (and travel to do so) as a core element of WorkAnywhere life.
Today, then, I’ll tell my own quarter-century long story of how I have evolved to my own WorkAnywhere model.
In that, I’ll share some of what I have learned along the way to support that work model, including some thoughts on the book “Remote” and the lessons from the huge success Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have had in building and running their remote business (that itself offers remote tools for collaboration).