Video on How to get started

Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t?

One area where getting started seems to be a little harder than usual, is starting something that is completely new – and Matt Cutts from Google has some thoughts to offer in the short video below.

Matt has another approach to getting started.  He suggests “Try it for 30 days”. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

Watch this quick video from Matt Cutts related to how to get started: Try something new for 30 days…


What do you think?  Does this work for you?  Have you ever tried it?
Does this sort of short term but consistent commitment help you to get started?

The surprising science of motivation

There has been a lot of research done on exactly what motivates employees.

Although money can be a motivator if the work is mechanical, mindless and repetitive, for cognitive or creative work financial rewards can actually reduce performance!

What works is providing work that offers autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Here’s one of the best explanations or the research I’ve seen: Daniel Pink speaking on The Surprising Science of Motivation at TED:


It’s well worth the 18 minutes to watch if you have employees – live or virtual. Hope you enjoy it.

Steve Jobs’ Vision

Sad news with the death of visionary leader and creative genius Steve Jobs at just 56.  If you have never watched Steve Jobs inspirational 2005 Stanford Commencement Address on ‘How to Live Before You Die’ it is well worth your time.

Vale Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

And in his own words:

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

Steve Jobs

Thank you Steve, for your vision, for following your inner voice and for the extraordinary gifts you have left to the world.


“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.”

Barack Obama, US President

“He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it.”

Larry Page, CEO Google

“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and Chairman

“All of us would be touched every day … by products that he was the creative genius behind.”

Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister

“He was genuinely someone who changed the world.”

Tony Abbott, Australian Opposition Leader

Leave a comment below to add your tribute.

Agree or disagree?

Mentoring Fact Sheet

A number of people have asked for a Mentoring fact sheet based on our recent article Seven Good Reasons to Set Up a Leadership Mentoring Program so we are happy to oblige.

You can download your mentoring fact sheet here:  Free Fact Sheet – Seven Good Reasons Why Mentoring Works

See below for resources that may help you develop an effective mentoring program:

Mentoring Adds Value

Mentoring valueThere are many ways that a mentoring program can add value to your company, association or organisation. Here are just some of them:

  • Mentoring is a very effective way to welcome new employees and induct them into your organisation’s culture and values or to support recently promoted employees.
  • Mentoring can offer effective support for minority groups or special employees and promote diversity.
  • A faciliated mentoring program can build a collegiate group which is more willing to share their experience and informal knowledge in a productive way.
  • Mentoring can assist in succession planning and the development of new leaders, provide a better basis for promotion and advancement decisions and shift high potential individuals onto the fast career track.

The messages that an invitation to participate in a mentoring program can be transformational.


“A lot of people don’t do great things because great things really aren’t expected of them and because nobody really demands they try.”
Steve Jobs

The power of demonstrating that great things are expected is immeasurable.  Mentoring really does add value.

Leadership Expertise – Quick Tips for Building it

Leadership expertise tipsTo follow from our recent article on Leadership Styles and Being an Expert I thought I might share with you some Quick Tips for building your leadership expertise.

There really are only a few ways to build expertise. If you do need to rapidly build your leadership expertise here is how to do it:

  • Ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask others who know. Most people are more than willing to share their information if you ask for their help and advice.
  • Ask someone who already knows. Find a mentor or attend a course. Sign up for one of my seminars or courses, or contact us for details of individual or group coaching programs.
  • Make lots of mistakes. This is called gaining experience. It may be a painful, high-risk way to learn, but it is very effective if you reflect on the lessons you gain from your experience – and a great way to develop your leadership expertise.
  • Read lots of books. This is a much less painful way to learn from other people’s mistakes than making them yourself! Have a look at just some of the books in the Bookroom.

If you are doing lots of these four things regularly, your personal leadership expertise will develop much more quickly than otherwise.

Leadership styles – Being an expert in everything

Leadership stylesOne of the first things we notice about good leaders is how many different yet effective types of leadership styles there are. While one of these leadership styles will be authentically right for you, and it might be very different to the leadership styles adopted by others in your organisation.

But regardless of your personal leadership style, there is one trap we find new leaders fall into, far too frequently.

No one person is an expert in everything and the fact that you are leading a team certainly doesn’t mean you know everything that everyone on your team does.

In fact, the job of a leader has more to do with knowing what needs to be known than knowing everything.

Once we know what needs to be known it becomes possible to acquire either that knowledge, or the people who have the knowledge. The most effective leadership styles reinforce this. Leadership styles that demand all-encompassing leadership expertise demotivate other team members.

Good leaders need to be confident enough in their own leadership styles and positions to be able to ask the people who do know, and to still take charge (without all the knowledge) when the situation requires it.

Yet so often when I am mentoring managers and executives I come across people who feel under great pressure to be an expert in everything, just because they are in charge. And their leadership styles reflect this. They are concerned that their lack of detailed knowledge of some of the things their team members are doing will make it too hard for them to earn the respect of their people or even undermine their authority.

But it isn’t necessarily so. I’ve known outstanding leaders who knew little about the technical detail of what their team members individually did who still displayed really effective leadership styles.

So much of your success in this sort of situation depends on your personal leadership styles.  In particular on the way you pay respect to the team members who do have the knowledge, without relinquishing your own role as team leader. Effective leadership styles achieve this by placing focus on the contributions of every of team member, including the team leader, rather than on individual deficiencies – even their own.

Expertise and Leadership Styles

However, there are plenty of things a leader does need to be expert in.

Even though good leaders may not know how to do everything each individual team member does, they will always know exactly what each team member contributes. They will know what needs to be done. They will know how to build a diverse group into a well functioning team, how to change attitudes and manage organizational change. They will know how and when to listen, and when to act.

All in all, when you are in charge of a team you need to be expert, not in the work your people do, but in all the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours of being a leader.

Whatever leadership styles different effective leaders display, they all have this in common.

Leave a comment below to share what you think are the most effective leadership styles.

Is there a risk your key people make you vulnerable?

risk you are vulnerableIn one of the seminars I present we do a quick organisational vulnerability audit or risk assessment. Regularly, participants list key person dependency as one of their organisation’s critical vulnerabilities.

The fact is that people do get hit by buses, laid low by the ‘flu, headhunted by competitors, or worse…

How well are you equipped to handle a risk such as the loss of one of your key team members?

What if it happened in the middle of a crisis? Or is there a risk that such an event would actually precipitate a crisis for you? How much valuable information or experience would you lose if you lost one of your key people? Can you affors the risk?

Easy risk management

One of your easiest protective actions is to ensure that your key individual’s second-in-charge is being mentored, coached and developed as a future leader and is aware of organisational issues beyond their responsibility.

Coaching or mentoring at each level in your organisation is a powerful way to encourage your team leaders and managers to think beyond their day-to-day responsibilities and contribute more to your business.  By recognising their value through a special coaching program you can also show your appreciation and develop their skills and commitment further at the same time as you reduce your own business risk.

Quote of Note

“There is no one who is successful today who has done the whole thing on their own …”

Jackie Stewart

I’ve heard some people say that training and developing people is a waste of resources because they might leave.

Smart leaders know that it is worse not to train and develop people, because there is a real risk they might stay!

See more details here on our Executive Coaching and Business Coaching Services

Investing in the development of your organisation’s current and future leaders is not just good risk negotiation, it’s essential to your long term business success.

Your Turn: Do you have any advice you would like to share? What tips would you like to add? Please comment below.

Making connections

AutumnI learnt a lot about making connections when I was giving a presentation to an industry association conference in Osaka, Japan, a while back.

All presentations were being translated simultaneously between English and Japanese.

The Japanese take their responsibilities as hosts of such a major international conference very seriously and their natural formality made it very difficult to ascertain their true response to most presentations.

A single word made the connection

One speaker, however, completely broke through the audience reserve and generated smiles and murmurs of delight with a single word.

The word was “Konnichiwa“.

A simple “Hello” inexpertly pronounced, but in their own language, created a stronger connection than any number of words expertly translated.

Whether we are making a formal presentation, leading a team or serving a customer, the key to building a relationship is making a connection.

There won’t often be a single word which can make that connection but communicating from the other person’s perspective rather than your own will always produce better results in any of your business (or personal) relationships.

Next Page »