• Leadership Starts from Within

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    What makes a good leader?

    We have a certain stereotype of a leader: typically, this is someone who is in a positon of power, has authority, is charismatic enough to motivate others to do things, oh…. and is usually male.

    We often talk of leaders as though they were somehow different from us and that only a few will achieve this status.  Our mind set is that leaders exist in a hierarchical structure and are chosen or appointed to lead by others in the structure.

    I believe that these views on a real leader are holding us back – as individuals and in the work place.  This stereotype of a leader defines who we see as leaders around us and also whether we see ourselves as potential leaders or not.  In both cases the results are a lack of real leaders in an organisation and individuals operating as less than their personal potential.  Neither good for growing your business.

    So if this is our current distorted view of leadership, what in reality makes a good leader?  We all have our own ideas of what makes a good leader, however the key elements of what makes a good leader are they know the outcomes they want, can get things done and they can motivate others.

    The most effective leaders are those who, rather than leading from a position of power to assert authority over others, lead first by knowing themselves, have the ability to listen, consider the views of others and essentially lead authentically from the heart – arguably more female traits compared to those masculine traits of power and authority.

    To move to a world where we see and experience more effective leaders around us, we need to change our mind set about who we see as leaders, and really importantly shift how we see ourselves as leaders.

    To explain this in more detail there are essentially three levels of leadership:

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    When we think of leadership we tend to think of it as something that is bestowed upon someone, and our attention is focused on high profile leaders in the public, who lead groups of people from tens, to hundreds, thousands, even millions in the case of country leaders.

    But being a leader is something that has to start from within.  We cannot lead others effectively, not even on a private leadership level, (when we lead and motivate someone on a one to one basis), until have a strong level of personal leadership. Self awareness is at the heart of being a great leader.

    If you are a leader in a public position of power and authority, guiding and directing others – or even just one other, then you need to know yourself because when you lead others there is no place to hide, no room for doubt and no time for experimenting.

    Whilst public leadership involves envisioning, planning, executing and evaluating and private leadership involves appraising, building, training, coaching and delegating. Personal leadership on the other hand involves motivating oneself. It requires you having the right level of technical competence; the right attitude towards other people; the ability to connect with others, self-mastery and ultimately the choice to live a life led by purpose and personal values.

    Personal leadership is how you live your life consciously from within – choosing to be responsible (response-able) rather than reacting and responding automatically to external events and circumstances around you. True leaders can be found anywhere, in all walks of life – not just in positions of power.  It is that sense of alignment to self and purpose and the ability to be authentic with others, that demonstrates who will be a good leader.

    Nurturing effective leaders is critical for the future growth and success in your organisation.  It is time to change your mind set on what being a leader involves and ncourage all your staff to lead from within.  No matter what their role or level of responsibility support them to develop their personal leadership skills so that they can be the leaders of your company in the future.

    Do you lead your company from within? Have you encouraged your staff to develop and grow and be leaders at all levels?  If you would like to find out more about how to develop your staff to be effective leaders in your organisation, contact me for a chat about your needs and how to create the people foundations to successfully grow your company.

     

     

     

     

     

  • 7 Reasons Why Business Coaching Won’t Work For You

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    There is much evidence to prove that having a good business coach can have a significant positive impact on your business.

    An industry study in the UK found that CEOs who consent to business coaching are able to improve their working relations by 77 percent, leading to a 53 percent boost in productivity and increased profits of 22 percent. The International Coach Federation in another study note that PricewaterhouseCooper have established the average return on investment from coaching to be 787%.  Whilst the evidence is strong, business coaching is not appropriate for every business.

    If you are reading this, you might be wondering if you are right or ready to hire a business coach help you to grow and develop your business. However, before you invest in finding a good business coach check out 7 reasons below why having a business coach won’t work for you:

    • You are happy with where your business is today. If you satisfied with your current level of organisation growth and performance, there is no need to look at ways to grow the business further or faster.
    • You are reluctant to change. Whilst you may want to grow your business or feel frustrated at certain areas within your business, if you are not willing to accept that changes are required, and that most importantly you may have to change your thinking and behaviours, then there is no point engaging a coach in your business.
    • You would prefer to stay in your comfort zone. It is quite natural to feel uncertainty and doubts at times, however these fears can keep us stuck doing the same things. To get different results it is necessary to do different things and this can sometimes feel challenging and stretch us out of our comfort zone.
    • You don’t feel the desire to learn new things. If you run your own company, you may feel that the last thing you have right now is the capacity for learning new ideas and ways of doing things.
    • You are not particularly interested in feedback on your performance. If you are confident that you are doing a reasonable job, then you may not feel the need or desire to get feedback on how you are doing from either a coach or your employees.
    • You don’t feel you can afford to make the investment. As you are running your business and you will have many demands on your money and time. Hiring a coach will cost money and require you to make the time for meetings. Maybe you don’t feel that you can commit the time or money required to make a lasting difference to your business.
    • You aren’t committed to taking the actions required to move forward. There is a world of difference between knowing that you need to do verses actually applying this in real life. Implementation is the key and without the commitment to take the right actions on a regular basis nothing will change.

    So whilst you may want to improve and grow your business if you can recognise or identify with one of the reasons in the list above then this is a pretty good indicator that business coaching won’t work for you right now.  There may be other approaches that will work better for you to achieve your aims but it would be better not to waste your time or money investing on business coaching.

    For business coaching to work well the desire for change in your current business must be strong enough, or the frustrations you are facing intolerable enough.

    Business coaching is based on the principle that what got you here is unlikely to get you where you want to get to.  A good business coach will challenge your thinking, encourage you step out of your comfort zone and create a tracking structure that to hold you accountable for your actions.

    To have a successful coaching relationship you will need to be open, willing to listen to and learn new ideas, concepts and principles and be able to hear feedback on your performance – the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is facing this honest truth that you will help you to grow in self-awareness, develop your leadership skills and give you the confidence to lead your company to its full potential.

    “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their full potential.”  Bob Nardelli, CEO Home Depot

    If you think that your company is right and ready for business coaching, then please contact me to find out more about how business coaching could help your company to reach new levels of growth and success.

     

     

  • Values: Vital for a Driven Business

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    When we talk about being driven in a business sense, we think of moving forward with intense desire, toward a destination, and acquiring valuable things along the way…things like experience, connections, notoriety, revenue and more.

    When you know Why you’re in business, then you can move onto creating the How—which is predominantly determined by your core “drivers” (i.e. Values). When the values of your business are clearly defined and so deeply embedded within your professional operations that every interaction demonstrates those values, then the question of How? is more easily answered, because all things will be executed in alignment with those corporate values.

    Consistency is HUGE when it comes to the success of any business, and when values take a central role in decision making (for all parties involved), then there will be common threads that run through all operations. Your ideal customers will take note of this, and will come to trust your business as the go-to in the industry because they know what to expect and can respect your way of doing business because they share the values your brand demonstrates. Those same clients will then spread the word to others who share those values, working to bring more ideal customers on-board to grow your business and drive it forward. When values are at the core of every manoeuvre and professional relationship, the snowball effect is practically undeniable.

    When Values are Core to your Standards of Doing Business, then you have a Values-Based Organisation in which…

    Loyalty begets Loyalty.

    Growth begets Growth.

    A values-based organisation sounds great, right? Everyone should have one, right? Well, there are reasons that some companies that say they are values-based simply aren’t able to make it work. Here are a few of those reasons:

    • A Lack of Honesty: If you’re operating under the guise of values you’ve chosen just because you think that’s what your audience wants to hear, or because those values seems to be ‘trendy’ at the moment, you will be found out. Trust will disintegrate, as will your brand. Instead of putting values down on paper that you pull from exterior sources, pull values from your heart. Choose values that you hold dear, and that you naturally demonstrate every day without prompt. These are the values that will motivate you to drive They are also the values that will foster authentic professional relationships that will be enjoyable as well as profitable.
    • Hiring without Attention to Values: If you want your entire team to drive forward with a common goal and with true allegiance to your business’s purpose, they must share your corporate values. Without this, how can they genuinely support and build your brand? How can they stand behind your brand, make decisions that will grow your brand, seek out opportunities that will benefit your brand…champion your brand? Skipping this step is like marrying someone with the intention of ‘changing them.’ It rarely works, and the business is usually the biggest casualty.
    • A Lack of Focus: Let’s face it: there’s a lot of noise out there. The competition is doing this, the market is doing that, the industry is moving in this direction, the community is moving in that All of these external influences, and many more, can detract focus from How you have committed to accomplish your Why They can cause you to lose sight of your values, and to make decisions that harm the consistency and trustworthiness of your company. Stay focussed by making your values visible to all involved, so that they are top-of-mind at all times. Meet regularly to discuss the team’s adhesion to values. Monitor, measure and refocus when necessary.
    • An Emphasis only on the External: There’s a tendency amongst businesses to hyper-focus on what the public sees, with little attention paid to values that are demonstrated internally. In truth, the unwillingness of any team member to adhere to corporate values will eventually manifest externally. Alignment is crucial, inside and out.

    Your business growth strategy cannot exist [for very long] without a How, and that How is facilitated by an honest, working list of values. Your corporate values may be integrity, excitement, fun, adventure and friendship. Or they might be accuracy, reliability, helpfulness, teamwork and knowledge. No two lists are alike, and yours will be no exception.

    Have you clearly defined your corporate values? Do those values align with your vision? Do your team members, affiliates and clients share those values? For help with these questions and more, contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation. This is a brilliant way to become clearer on the core values that will drive you and your team toward delivering a highly effective business growth strategy.

     

     

     

     

  • Who’s stealing your Time???

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    Who doesn’t wish that there were an extra two or three hours in the day to just get everything done?  One of the most pressing issues that we face daily is how to manage all the demands placed on us by work, family, friends and others, whilst also maintaining our health, well-being and emotional sanity.

    It is all too easy to become victims of working too hard, playing too little, perhaps drinking too much and sleeping too poorly.  No wonder we end up drawn out and stressed, feeling like we are barely surviving rather than living with passion.  Whilst I am a big supporter of endeavouring to be more, do more, have more, give more, this cannot be to the detriment of our inner alignment and ensuring a fully balanced life.

    How can we stop this vicious cycle of feeling constantly that there is not enough time?

    The first place to start is to ask: “Where is my time going?”

    To Do or Not To Do?

    Do you start your day with a clear achievable plan of what you want in terms of results for your day?  Or are you just blindly following your “To Do” list?  I know that for much of my adult life I have let my To Do list be the dictator in my life.  My To Do list is never satisfied; it is a hard task master and never acknowledges me.

    No matter how hard you work during the day do you end the day feeling a sense of overwhelm with just how many things that there are still on your list?

    So here is some bad news…there will always be too many things on your list to ever get finished.  The good news though is that you can change how you view your To Do list so that you become master of it and use it to serve you in your life to get what you want.

    The first place to start is to use Steven Covey’s time management matrix (from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to assess what is important to you and how you are spending your time.

    So create a table like the one below with 4 boxes labelled as shown in the diagram. Re write all your To Dos in each of these 4 boxes depending on each task’s level of urgency and importance.

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    Like most people you will probably find that most of your To Dos are in quadrant 1 whilst those tasks in quadrant 2 (those what will make a positive difference in your life) perhaps keep getting moved from one To Do list to another e.g. update CV, write chapter of my book, create business plan, organise “date night”, go to new yoga class etc.

    One of the key ways to feel a sense of accomplishment every day is to look at your To Dos daily and pick at least one thing from quadrant 2 and make sure that you take one step towards completing the task each day.  This way you know that you are moving forward and step by step making a difference in your life.

    Where Does Time Go?

    How can we ensure that there is enough time to get done some of the things in quadrant 2?

    One important exercise is to start monitoring how you are actually spending your time.  This will help you to raise your awareness to see if you are getting results or simply “being busy”. It is very easy to be the latter so start by splitting your day into 15 minute slots and use the same quadrants you have created previously to note down how you spend your time.

    If you are like me when I did this exercise I was amazed by just how much time was spent in quadrants 3 and 4.  These are areas where time can be regained as To Dos in quadrant 3 and 4 can often be ditched as they are either other people’s agenda, or it is simply wasting time (e.g. filing, cleaning, meetings without purpose etc).  If you want time to do things in quadrant 2 note how you spend your time and start to limit or entirely stop doing these To Dos in quadrants 3&4.

    You can only improve that which you measure.

    Small steps pursued consistently lead to massive change.  Learning how to manage your time is a key skill to master, to help you feel more fulfilled each day and enjoy a sense of well-being and achievement.

    Try these two small steps for the coming week (review your daily To Do’s using the Covery time matrix model and monitor how you spend your time), and see what a difference it makes to you.

    As always awareness brings its own rewards and note what happens this week when you do these exercises.

    My own experience is that by monitoring my time and making sure that every day I do something from quadrant 2, I have found myself becoming more efficient and less distracted by activities in quadrant 3&4. Over time I have learnt to spend less time in fire-fighting mode and more time focused on really moving my life forward and spending it doing what I love.

    Certainly by making and spending time doing things that are important to you, life feels less “busy” and you start generating positive results in your life helping you to feel more fulfilled and stay aligned to your highest purpose.

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

  • Joy – What Is It And Why Do I Want It?

    I went out today on a bike ride, cycling through the hilly lanes in the lovely Devon countryside. I have been tired of late dealing with the stresses of building – or in our case not building our house, and whilst a sneaky nap seemed like a nice idea my feet ended up on the pedals and off I went.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I love biking, but due to work commitments, life and all manner of other things that have got in the way, I haven’t been biking outdoors for a long, long while.  Whilst I normally bike in the mountains around Chamonix, today was a more leisurely jaunt, taking in the hills of East Devon and pondering life while I went.

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    Off I set with no goal in mind.  I had posted a thought on twitter earlier in the day about the fact that the measure of our success is not about how much money we have but how much joy we experience in life.  Being alone on my bike with just my thoughts for company I was able to contemplate this concept at leisure and explore what came up.

    I started to reflect on what joy really was and how it differs from happiness. I remembered an interesting conversation with a company earlier this week, who wanted as one of their goals for all their staff to be happy.  At first glance this seems like an admirable goal, however, a) since happiness is an emotion, other people’s happiness is not something anyone of us can control, and b) happiness generally comes from external things and is different for each person.  Thus creating a “happy” workforce could be quite a challenge.

    Whilst it is true that joy is also an emotion, joy is more often derived from a sense of inner peace and calm, feeling grateful and appreciative, and caring for others.   Unlike happiness which can be fleeting in duration, joy tends to last longer and brings more contentment and satisfaction.  Perhaps rather than striving for a having a happy workforce a better goal would be to have a staff who felt joy in what they do.  Creating a culture of appreciation and holistic leadership, where teams look more strategically at how they can work for the good of the organisation rather than in “silos”, would go a long way to creating a contented and fulfilled workforce.

    Whilst thinking about this I started to think about the way I felt when I was feeling the opposite of either joy or happiness.  When I am not happy I am generally feeling unhappy and feel miserable. However, when I am not experiencing joy I am usually in a state of worry or fear.  So if fear, anxiety, or stress is lurking in your organisation then it is unlikely that a sense of joy can prevail.

    This brought home to me a startling realisation – almost causing me to ride into the hedge – that personally when I am in fear about things:  doubts, failure, not being good enough, upsetting someone etc then this would be a good time to search out some joy  in my life.

    But where can I find joy?   Since joy is largely derived internally rather than externally this made me think that I can find joy in any moment I choose to.  Riding my bike I decided to just be in the moment, stop all the head chatter and appreciate what was around me.  Doing this it was if my senses were suddenly turned on and I could see detail in everything: the intense colours of the flowers; the dappled sunlight through the leaves; the expanse of the cloud strewn sky and the endless landscape of gently rolling fields.  I felt my body alive with sensations: the touch of the wind on my skin, the smells of the countryside in my nose and the sound of the nature in my ears.  Really it was quite an incredible experience and all that I did was turn my joy radar on.

    It made me realise that I live mostly in a one dimensional way.  I live in a world with so much sensory input and data being thrust at me all the time that I tend to limit my experience and tune out what I think is unimportant and extraneous. This means for me tuning out the wonderful things around me that I don’t see anymore.   I realised that if I want to experience more joy in my life I need to pay attention to the detail and the small stuff around me.  It is the measure of our capacity to see the detail in life that determines our ability to experience joy.

    So I have set a new challenge for myself.  I have decided that every day I will look for the joy in the day.  No matter how rubbish the external world is behaving I will spend time experiencing the joy that comes from appreciating the simple things in life.  It’s all about the small stuff.

    I invite you to keep an eye on your joy gauge.  When you are feeling fearful, doubtful or stressed take a moment to stop.  Turn off your head and feel with your body.  What do you hear, feel, see and smell?  Turn on your joy radar and look with curiosity at the things around you.  Taking a moment of stillness to appreciate the things around you will be uplifting and will help you to get through the rest of the external stuff that needs to be dealt with.

    I would love to hear and see the small stuff in your lie that fills you with joy.  If you would like to share with me what brings you joy you can post your comments and pictures below.

    If you would like to find out how to create more joy in your life then click on the link below to get access to my free e-book:

    The Secrets to Producing the Results that You Want in Your Life

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 4

    10 Tips To Help You Live A Life Of Passion

    I believe that passion has become rather one dimensional in our lives, with the focus only on sexual desire.  What a shame.  Passion is actually gloriously multi-dimensional, expressing powerful and compelling feelings or emotions and bringing life into vivid Technicolor.

    Living our lives with passion though is not how most of us choose to live.    Most of us go through life wishing we were somewhere else, doing something else or living somehow differently.     When was the last time in your life that you truly felt the blood pumping in your veins, your heart uplifted and experienced being totally in the moment?

    But “passion can be dangerous” you say.  Goodness, who knows where living passionately will lead us! How much easier to play safe and stay in our comfort zone, dulling the emotions and flattening our life experience.

    For the brave who choose to take the path to a passionate life, the journey takes time and is undoubtedly challenging.   If you are up for the adventure the rewards are profound.  Whilst the destination will vary the features are the same: a life lived with passion is one filled with joy, enthusiasm, simplicity, a sense of purpose, energy and feeling of being connected to yourself.

    Choosing to live your life with passion starts with shifting your mind-set.  It requires deciding that living a life with passion is a goal worth pursuing.  Apathy and lassitude are prevailing forces in our culture, so learning to live a passionate life requires discipline and commitment to overcome these tendencies.

    To pledge to a passionate life requires overcoming a lack of belief that is it possible to do so.  It requires giving up closed or negative thinking that can keep us stuck.  It requires focus, responsibility and the requirement to simplify life.  No one can be passionate if they are feeling cluttered, overscheduled and overwhelmed in life.  Being passionate by definition means to experience powerful emotions.  It is not possible to live a passionate life if you are emotionally unhealthy e.g. depressed, anxious, stressed etc.

    Passion in life starts with having a vision, goal or desire that inspires you, helping you to move towards what you want to be, do or have.  As with changing any old ways of thinking and behaving living life with passion takes time and is testing.  Being willing to keep going no matter what is one of the keys to living a life you love.

    How can you live a life with passion?

    1)      Take time – you can’t make changes in life unless you make time to reflect.

    2)      Change how you see yourself – consider who would you have to be to live the life you want?

    3)      Believe in yourself – you are the creator of your life. You are 100% responsible. You can make it happen.

    4)      Speak from the heart – dare to be honest with yourself and then with others.

    5)      BWTEIM (begin with the end in mind) – create a clear vision of what you really want your life to look like and stick your flag in the sand in front of you.  Now you have a destination.

    6)      Face your fear – look it square in the eyes and take the first step anyway.

    7)      Shut out the self-chatter – be an observer and don’t get enrolled in your mental noise.  Keep focused on vision.

    8)      Write it down – get it out of your head and onto paper in words or pictures.  This helps clarify our thinking and makes it real.

    9)      Look for fun – we miss so many amazing things in life by being so busy, keep an eye out for what brings you joy and happiness.

    10)   Keep going – learning and growth happens in your breakdowns. Have courage, be committed be curious.

    One really good coaching question I like to ask clients who may be stuck looking for their purpose and passion is to ask them:

    “What would you be doing if you only had a short time to live and/or money was no object?”

    I ask this to you now.  I would love to hear in the comments below what are you passionate about?