A guy loses his keys during a night on the town…


A guy loses his keys during a night on the town…
Despite losing the keys in the darkness, the guy gets on his hand and knees to search for his keys under a streetlight. A little while later, his friend finds him grovelling around on the tarmac within the beam of the streetlight. When asked, “Why are you looking for your keys under the streetlight?” the guy replies, “Coz there’s more light over here. I can see better.”

What can we learn from this scenario? – other than perhaps to have your keys on a chain that’s attached to your belt (prison officer style).

Well, we can relate this to our working lives (and, indeed our personal ones too).
We can take a little time to step back and assess where we’re applying our efforts and resources. Is it on the actual challenges that, while difficult, really require attention or on things that aren’t really the challenge, but are easier to do?

In other words… Are we finding where the keys actually are despite the difficulty of the darkness or are we spending our time and energy under the streetlight just because it easier to see, even thought the keys aren’t there?

To your success – in key hunts and other challenges!

The power of “This time.”

When agreeing to do a favour for someone else, be it at work, at home or out with friends, be sure to apply the all powerful, “This time”.

How can two common, little words be so powerful?

a) “Yes, I can help you with writing the report so it meets the deadline” becomes b) “Yes, I can help you with writing the report so it meets the deadline, this time.

Phrase a) comes with an unspoken contract assumed by the ‘askee’ that you will, henceforth, forever be on hand to help write reports to meet deadlines; and possibly other tasks with deadlines too.

Phrase b) comes with the spoken clarification for the ‘askee’ that you are not necessarily henceforth, forever on hand to help write reports to meet deadlines, and that it is this particularly occasion that you are engaging with. The assumptions of a) dissolve away.

Am I being unkind using the “this time”?

On the contrary. By deploying the “this time” you are…
1. still assisting the ‘askee’ on this occasion,
2. discouraging the disempowering state of learned helplessness in the ‘askee’ and
3. ensuring that your energies and performance are sustained – rather than being harmed by burn out and missing your deadlines because you’ve been heavily supporting/doing the work of others.


Where are you deploying your first “this time” and what impact will it have on your and others?

To your success…not just this time!

Biro or pencil?

Upon going to the poll station to cast my vote re the UK’s place in the EU, I notice quite a number of people brandishing biros. When I asked why, the answer was that placing one’s vote in biro, rather than with the pencils provided, one could be sure that one’s vote wouldn’t be tampered with.

This got me thinking about trust, distrust, trustworthiness and how the use of a biro was a signal of distrust in “the powers that be”.

In this thought-provoking talk, philosopher Onora O’Neill explores three common about trust.  

Onora explains that trustworthiness must come before trust.

To your trustworthiness

Why “pulling in an all-nighter” isn’t the best way to work

Not that long ago, “puling an all-nighter” became an accepted measure of commitment to work and productivity.

While Shakespeare portrayed sleep as valuable – eg –“Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber.” (Julius Ceaser) – by the 1980s we had the likes of Maggie Thatcher and Gordon Gekko from “Wall Street” saying such things as, “Sleep is for wimps” and “Money never sleeps”.

In this entertaining and thought-provoking talk, Russell Foster shares three popular theories about why we sleep, busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health; that, in turn impacts on performance and productivity.

So how do you encourage a good night’s sleep to ensure greater productivity and mental health?

Let me know HERE

To your many nights of good sleep

Play ain’t important to just the kiddies…

It’s widely agreed that play is an important, nay essential, part of youngsters’ development; in the animal kingdom as well as for us humans.

As we mature into adulthood, play often dwindles and being childlike becomes a criticism – “Stop being so childish!” “Act your age” etc

Play is good for our mental/physical health and for our professional performance.

In this interesting podcast, the argument is put that play needs to be something that is sustained throughout our lives.

Listen to the podcast HERE

How do you like to play? Share with me HERE

To your playfulness

Practice Doesn’t Simply Make Perfect

They (whoever “they” are) say that “Practice Makes Perfect”.

I’m not sure that that’s entirely true or helpful.

To my thinking, practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice improves the chances of something being accurate or excellent; it doesn’t guarantee perfection of itself.

I’m not suggesting that practice isn’t worth it; quite the reverse in fact.

Practice doesn’t just dramatically increase our chances of something being accurate or excellent; it goes beyond that.

Practice generates the skill set, experience and flexibility to adjust when things go less well. In turn, this offers the knowledge to know that our very existence or validation of who we are doesn’t rest in that one moment of perfection if it goes wrong.

So, I suggest that, while practice does increase our chances of perfection, it also provides us with a means to develop grit and resilience.

Keep practicing!


Better conversations get better outcomes

Exchange of words happens many, many times every day. But do these exchanges amount to effective, meaningful conversations? Do we sometimes (maybe often) lose the balance between talking and listening? Are we sometimes kidding ourselves that we’re listening when what we’re really doing, when the other person is talking, is simply thinking about the next thing we want to say?

Wouldn’t all areas of our organisations benefit from better conversations? Wouldn’t better conversations lead to better outcomes?

In this entertaining talk, the amusing and down to earth, Celeste Headlee reveals 10 practical and free ways to improve our conversations.

Celeste says, There’s no reason to show you are paying attention if, in fact, you are paying attention”

I couldn’t agree more.

How are you now going to experience better, more productive, conversations?

Let me know HERE

To your success

What you do does more than you think…

So you’re a hotel – Do you simply provide a place to sleep and eat, or are you in the business of creating fond memories, providing an oasis of calm or rekindling relationships?

So you’re a vets – Do you simply make sick pets well, or are you in the business of enabling a child to have her playmate back, helping someone to have more quality time with his closest companion or assisting in the maintenance of someone’s well being and independence?

For me, this advert really neatly sums up how we have further reaching impact than we might first think.


What additional impact your does business have on those you serve? Whay additional value does you business have?

Share that impact with me HERE

To your success

What workforce members need from their leaders: Part IV

Often, as leaders we spend considerable time exploring how we want to be as leaders. While this is worthwhile, it’s also useful to step back and consider what it is that our workforce (our followers) need from us.

There are four key things that workforce members require from their leaders in order to be motivated and perform well in a healthy and sustained way.

What workforce members need from their leaders: part 4 – HOPE

It seems that workforce members want stability for now and hope for the future.  The deployment of direction, faith and guidance fall under the umbrella of hope.

Rath & Conchie (see below) discovered that 69% of workforce members that agreed that their organisation’s leadership made them feel enthusiastic about the future, were engaged in the their jobs. Hope is a powerful motivator and builds engagement.

Hope gives something for followers to look forward to; a no-brainer and never the less an important point.

A sense of hope helps those we line manage and lead to see and understand a way through the chaos, complexity and change that organisations often experience.

When leaders choose to initiate and be proactive, as opposed to constantly reactive, hope for the future is created naturally/subconsciously.

Hope eliminates helplessness; helplessness being a viral de-motivator.


As a leader, how are you consistently creating genuine hope for the members of your workforce? How are you encouraging your managers to create genuine hope  for those they line-manage?

Let me know your thoughts…

Contact me HERE

To your success

p.s. Want to know more about what followers need? Pick up n read
‘Strengths Based Leadership’ (Rath & Conchie)

What leaders can learn from wheelchairs

In this interesting and inspiring talk, Amos Winter explains the valuable lessons he learned from creating affordable and robust wheelchairs initially for people in countries India and Sri Lanka.

While we may not be reinventing a widely needed resource for people around the world, these learnings can prove useful to us in our businesses and organisations.

  1. While developing and creating a new and/or adapted resource, it’s vital to combine the ‘expertise’ with user-centred design – i.e. – the expert isn’t enough. Input and feedback from the endusers is essential; not just for articulating their problems but for articulating their solutions.
  2. The constraints on a new design/system/resource really pushes innovation; and rightly so. Constraints around cost, varied use, ease of sustainability etc give us the parameters of the challenge for which we are working to develop a positive response and solution.
  3. Innovation, from inception dissemination, works well when all the stakeholders, at each stage of the process, are engaged. The cycle of innovation needs to start and finish with the endusers. It is the endusers, when incorporated into the process, that define the requirements and give the thumbs up.

So, how can you now apply these learnings to the innovations in your business or organisation?

Let me know HERE

To your success