Tag: Share Learnings

How clean are your communications?

how-to-communicate-values-without-telling-people-to-live-the-values-18-638

image from a SlideShare deck from OneFish TwoFish called

“How to communicate values without telling people to ‘live the values’ “

So, yesterday I wrote: “Be rid of Brilliant Jerks“. I didn’t say “Fire your Brilliant Jerks”.

So, how can you be rid of brilliant jerks without firing them, particularly in this world where hiring and firing can be a minefield laden with so much employee legislation, policies, procedures, protocols?

My answer? Lead your organisation rigorously based on values (ie where values are not just words framed on a wall or on a website!), then brilliant jerks will leave of their own volition, you won’t need to fire them.

In fact, keep reading my daily posts, as I’m going to keep riffing around this as feel like I’m on a role, and coming soon will be a post on “no fire” policies and companies that have successfully put this at their core. (more…)

Be rid of Brilliant Jerks

rred hastings brilliant jerks

“Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high.”
~ Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix

The Netflix “Culture Deck”, updated in 2018 and hosted on their site prominently here , is full of gems of great clarity around the Netflix culture, including this one around “brilliant jerks”.  I do encourage all leaders to read this, as well as the original deck (you can find it here)

I’ve worked for many years around culture in business, with a primary and all too common gap being that culture is seen as “soft and fluffy”, whereas a values-based business, in fact, uses their culture as the toughest measure of all.

To use the Netflix culture quote above, again and again, I have had clients talk to me about a difficulty they are having with someone. They wring their hands as to whether or not to discipline or fire them.

Sometimes, no, often, the behaviour of the individual is way beyond unacceptable for the business culturally, but they are so valuable commercially that they “can’t” fire them.

In short, they are brilliant but they are jerks. What do to?

My simple advice to leaders? Let them know they cannot stay. (more…)

Solving problems by taking a walk

solvitur

The other day, I felt inspired to write by my friend Morgan DaCosta coining the phrase:

“Coaching by Walking Around”

This was a “level up” from the idea of Management by Walking Around, part of the essence of which is to walk randomly around and be present to those working in the business and what is happening for them.

Reading this post, Bruce Peters, a regular contributor of inspiration for my writing (thank you too, sir!), wrote to me about the idea of:

Solvitur ambulando

Latin for “it is solved by walking”.

I wonder what problems we can solve by walking?

Recently I met someone for a morning coffee, then we took a long walk, and as we started the walk, we both suddenly realised that the conversation was different once we started walking.

I’ll give you three ideas today to begin, and what else would you add? (more…)

Live in the now to provide for the future

“Live in the now to provide for the future”

Exquisite. I love distilled beauty in writing, and gosh how much I love anything that can relate to leadership and business. This hits the mark on all levels for me !

People are my library, and today I am most thankful for learning this from longtime friend and client, Morgan Da Costa, who coined this phrase.

#OpenLeadership is about many things, but in summary is about BEING a Leader, not DOING leadership.

The more the Leader knows themselves and can then bring presence to every moment, the more powerful the opportunity for them to support their team as a leader.

Now, Morgan leads a family business that he is leading through brave transformation. This has been going on for several years and much has been going on within the business, like a caterpillar in a chrysalis readying to fly. Now the business is flying and all new areas and opportunities to lead are happening as revenues accelerate.

It would be so easy for Morgan to jump from one thing to the next as such rapid growth occurs, yet he has coined this phrase to anchor him.

“Live in the now to provide for the future” (more…)

Lessons from the analogue world – Slow Down

Thames bw aug9

Taken after a photo shoot, looking over the Thames to Temple.

London is such a city of both tradition and permanence as well as dynamism and growth.

Yesterday I had a wonderful experience with a highly creative photographer, Simon Edwards, as we walked around London and the banks of the River Thames so he could photograph me for an update to my website.

We simply walked and talked in a leisurely way and every so often he’d stop and take a few shots, with me often continuing the conversation rather than stopping and posing.

Reflecting on that experience, I took lessons from the value of slowing right down. (more…)

What do your actions say about your Leadership?

GV how you do anything

Fergus Conolly is the author of “Game Changer” and someone I follow closely around his learnings on elite performance across multiple sports. He recently shared an article from The Observer about Marcelo Bielsa, a legendary coach now leading the once great Leeds United. In Fergus’ tweet he highlighted a snippet from the article, referencing the manager being told that the average fan has to work three hours to pay for a ticket to a match:

“he told them that, for the next three hours, they would be picking up litter from around the club’s Thorp Arch training ground. He wanted them to learn a lesson; to appreciate how the fans laboured to fulfil their passion”

The short article is excellent and speaks volumes about actions both small and large that Bielsa insists on and that he has shown again and again with teams he has coached will turn into results on the football field. I then retweeted Fergus’ post with a favourite line:

“How you do anything is how you do everything” (more…)

Prepare, then throw away the script

Today a reflection of preparing in advance so that we can discard what we prepared.

I then share similar learnings from an interview with the director and writer of the latest Mission Impossible movie.

I love movies and recently watched this movie. It was terrific, and as the interviewer noted, somehow they have got better and better with the last three in the series. Why ? Part of the secret lies in that balance between planning and then discarding what was prepared.  (more…)

What is your original idea today?

In my role as an experienced coach supporting leaders to reach their peak, I’m highly focussed on limiting beliefs, choice of words, and also where language is phrased negatively rather than positively.

It is a little absurd then, that I have often used a certain phrase, and even written an article about it: “No such thing as an original idea“. As I put in that brief article:

“…I recognised that {a recent post} was, to use a musician’s analogy, a riff on a recurring theme, in this case: “less is more”. A favourite phrase of mine is “there is no such thing as an original idea”. I believe, though, that we are always listening, learning, developing new ideas to develop, extend, evolve ideas.”

So, my own belief around the phrase “no such thing as an original idea” can be qualified as I described above.

That said, in a recent call with Nilofer Merchant, author of “The Power of Onlyness” (see article here), she totally challenged me when I used that line around the themes I am looking to incorporate in the book I am in the processing of writing. (more…)

Kintsukuroi – Leadership Lessons

Kintsukuroi

Continuing a theme from this week’s post “Beautiful words bring dimensions of meaning“, today considering the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi and lessons that leaders can learn from it.

So many entrenched organisational paradigms look to avoid breakdowns, mistakes, even to pretend they didn’t happen.

At a human level, we are the sum total of all of our experiences and the cracks and breaks that we repair are part of our uniqueness in and for the world. (more…)

Beautiful words bring dimensions of meaning

Recently I wrote “Petrichor – How our environment can impact us

In that post, I reflected on Petrichor, a word of rich meaning.

At the heart of my writing is a passion to elevate Leadership, and so much of that comes from understanding of self and others. Words of such richness of meaning can also facilitate awareness and understanding of other areas, fields, dimensions.

I frequently say “a Leader is someone others choose to follow” and we follow leaders partly through rationality, through thinking about what they say. However, we also process (often unconsciously) other ways in which they communicate. Are they calm?  sage? energised? fierily passionate? purposeful? resolute?

We process in ways beyond language, and words of rich meaning can be a bridge for us between our thinking to our feeling and our intuition.

Petrichor, as it turns out, though from ancient greek word roots, is a modern word, coined by Australian researchers in the 1960s.

Over time though, I’ve reflected many times on this site around words of beauty from other languages, often with deep meanings of cultural richness over many generations and that do not directly translate into English.

What this has meant for me, then, is that each of them can catalyse our thoughts around the meanings and allow us to bridge to our awareness of self and others.

Today I simply collate a few of my earlier posts around such beautiful words and encourage you to explore those posts. I share my own thoughts in each post, and I hope these writings also catalyse your own unique reflections. (more…)

Romantic and Beautiful Business

red heart romantic beautiful business

So, the last two articles I wrote here have mused on romance, idealism, romanticism and magical reality.

Leadership: Romance, Life in Full Colour and Magical Reality

Life in Full Colour – Cry, Heart, But Never Break

In (so far) nearly 300 daily articles on this site, I have covered a wide range, and beauty is a recurring theme, but what does beauty have to do with business ?

A few years ago I came across the writing of Tim Leberecht, who calls himself (and this is also the title of his book) “The Business Romantic”. We’ve not yet met, though I look forward to doing so as I know we will have much to share and perhaps synthesise together !

In writing those two posts above this past week, I remembered coming across Tim so started to research his more recent work and came across a TED Talk which I will focus on here. (more…)

Onlyness and Chip Conley

Nilofer Onlyness

In the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to several thought leaders, speakers, writers who I have very much admired and respected for many years.

Two of those people are Nilofer Merchant and Chip Conley.

Nilofer I just talked to for the first time recently, Chip I first connected with via my writing on this site late last year, then I followed the energy and spent time with him and an amazing cohort of Modern Elders in Baja, Mexico this past April.

Now, from talking to Nilofer, today I simply will connect her concept of Onlyness to what I see that means for Chip Conley.

In her book, she writes about this word she came up with:

“You’re standing in a spot in the world that only you stand in, a function of your history and experiences, visions, and hopes. From this spot where only you stand, you offer a distinct point of view, novel insights, and even groundbreaking ideas. Now that you can grow and realize those ideas through the power of networks, you have a new lever to move the world.”

“Through the power of onlyness, an individual conceives an idea born of his narrative, nurtures it with the help of a community that embraces it, and, through shared action, makes the idea powerful enough to dent the world.”

Nilofer and I recently had a wonderful “virtual walk and talk” call (after all, she did a wonderful TED talk on walking meetings!). On that call, among other things, she helped me see my own “Onlyness”, for which I am deeply grateful, and as the call progressed I also witnessed and had insights around hers.

This call then saw me muse back to spending time with Chip a few months ago. (more…)

Create Serendipity

Are you or your business lucky ? do you benefit or suffer from coincidences?

I don’t believe in luck, I believe in serendipity. Serendipity is not luck, it is not coincidence.

Serendipity is something you can choose to create for yourself and in the way you lead and structure your organisation.

You see, I hold true to the concept of “I create the whole of my reality”, and at one level, this links to Serendipity.

So, what is Serendipity ?  (more…)

Levels of Leadership – Idioms

dilbert cliched idioms

Today a Leadership lesson at two levels around the use of Idioms.

Level One: Leaders, avoid USING clichéd idioms.

Cliché : 

“a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.”

Idiom:

“a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words”

“a form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people.”

Level Two: Leaders, avoid BEING clichéd and losing your “idios”.

Level one feels easy, yes?  Level two though? What is Tom talking about? (more…)

Storytelling as Aural History

stories are light

In the early 1990s, we saw the beginnings of the widely available internet. Dial up only, super slow, very expensive.

At one point I read an article in, I recall, Time Magazine, about the explosion of use of the internet by people, often older generations, seeking to research their genealogy using the new resources available.

In the article, I read that Scotland was one of the world leaders in making such registers of births, marriages and deaths open to the public via the internet.

The General Registry of Scotland had partnered with a business called Scotland Online, and they’d even already set up online payments along with this public / private joint partnership. World leading indeed!

My family is largely from Scotland, so my natural curiousity had me, sitting in the Cayman Islands, go online and pay and search records and research my father’s side of the family (reasonably easy, as our surname is not that common), and within literally minutes I could track this back to the 1700s!

I then went online to some bulletin boards (some may remember those!) and found a member of the family from the tree about three generations ago. They had also been researching my great-grandfather and had a fascinating story to tell around his funeral.

Now, my grandfather was still alive at this time, so I planned a trip to visit him a few months later in the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. I’d never asked him about the family, but this time we sat down several times and he told me tales from his childhood.

He then died shortly afterwards, quite suddenly.

What if I’d not asked him?

What information may not have been passed down to the next generation?

(more…)