Is it time to fight your biggest enemies?

Is it time to fight your biggest enemies?

2 weeks ago 0 0 62

Sometimes they feel like your closest friends. They seem to want to keep you safe, keep you comfortable. But these two ‘false friends’ are your worst enemies if you want to succeed in business or in life. These old friends are fear and habit. They are insidious. They don’t walk around bold as brass. Most often they hide themselves away and ‘whisper’ into your ear. They sprinkle just enough of their magic on what you do to keep you stuck, keep you scared and keep you small. Have you ever sat in a meeting where someone says “yes, but we don’t do it that way!”. Or someone might find a way to get their point across with something like “But what if we don’t do it!” These are simply versions of your false friends speaking up to keep you stuck. There is some sort of comfort in not changing, not

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Frictionless business.

3 weeks ago 0 0 73

Friction is a force that acts against forward movement. It creates noise, it creates heat, it transforms the kinetic energy of forward motion into something else. Friction is something that takes energy and effort to overcome, and when an object is at rest, can add to the inertia to make it harder to get things moving. It seems like this is just physics, but it is also the underlying problem of so many businesses. Without even realising it they are adding friction to their business processes and slowing down performance. Friction that is converting positive energy into unwanted byproducts, and requiring massive amounts of additional effort to be put in by customers and staff to overcome the inertia that this friction generates. Simply put, a customer experiences ‘friction’ every time the process of doing business with you is slowed or impeded by your rules, habits or inefficiencies. Or a staff

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Stories sit at the heart of culture

1 month ago 0 0 124

The fundamental basis of any group is the culture that forms when two or more people come together. This culture can be described as “the unconscious agreement between members of the group as to which behaviours are acceptable, and what is valued, by the group”. The interesting thing is that culture forms unconsciously, and relies on each of the people in the group negotiating and testing the boundaries of the behaviours that define the group. Everyone brings their own ‘stuff’ to a group – norms, beliefs, behaviours, aspirations, etc. Even when you change only a single person in a group, the whole culture can shift as the new addition begins to bring their own beliefs, habits, patterns and external cultural cues on the group that are different from their predecessor, and forces the group to re-negotiate its cultural foundations. I heard at a presentation recently that ‘culture is what we

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What the Christchurch tragedy can teach us about inclusion and diversity

2 months ago 0 3 283

The terrible hate crime in New Zealand has sparked support for diversity and inclusion, and raises questions about the cost of divisiveness. So in our search for diversity and inclusion, how do we address the comments of a far-right senator , and how do we choose, as a society what is acceptable as free speech or unacceptable commentary? How can we be truly inclusive if we exclude comments such as these? Is there a better way? The media has been full of images and stories related to the tragic events in Christchurch, New Zealand. Whilst everyone was expressing shock and horror over the events, an Australian senator immediately claimed that it was the immigration policies and the nature of the people’s religion that was the cause of the event. I found myself responding to the senator’s comments with disgust, and a desire to see him sanctioned.  The position that he

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Multi-tasking: the myth that is costing you.

2 months ago 0 0 145

How many times do you hear about ‘multitasking’? It seems to be a concept associated with modern times, with everyone under pressure to achieve so much, all at the same time. People are on their phones, sending mails, checking social media, and attempting to do other work tasks. Or you ask your partner to do this, and do that, at the same time. Lets test your multitasking abilities with a little exercise: Part A: As fast as you can, write the first ten letters of the alphabet (hint: a, b, …), then immediately write the first ten numbers (hint: 1, 2….). Time how long this took you. Part B: Now, as fast as you can, write every second letter (hint:a,c..) up to ten letters, then immediately write every third number (1,4…) up to ten numbers. Time how long this took. Part C. This time, write every second letter then every

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Bad incentives create bad behaviour

2 months ago 0 0 158

We use incentives all the time to shape behaviour.  From our kids at home, to employees, to people we have just met, it is almost human nature to offer incentives to encourage specific behaviours.  However, like most things we do without really thinking them through, there is a dark side to incentives that often gets people stuck. Consider what an incentive might be – it might be the supply of some positive reward such as financial, social or relational.  It might also be the removal of punishment.  Often if people know that some punishment comes unless they demonstrate the behaviour, this acts as an incentive for this behaviour to be displayed. We often simply deploy incentives without thinking – in fact, the culture of the group that we are in often dictates what will be incentivised and how.  For example, if the culture can be defined as all the behaviours

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Are your Social Media habits making you more extreme?

2 months ago 0 0 87

That slightly political post comes up in your feed and you click ‘like’. No harm done, right? Maybe not, but it is also the path to creating more and more extreme views. Without realising it, there are a whole series of thinking errors that can lock us in from this first like to be active promoters of strong political opinion. And you wonder why the Russians spend so much promoting seemingly innocent topics on Facebook? Social media is the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) online world of manipulation.  The proven case of Russian interference in the US election with seemingly innocuous posts points towards a deep understanding of human behaviour, which can be ‘nudged’ towards beliefs and outcomes in very specific ways.  Sometimes you are on the hook from the first time you ‘like’ or reshare even a simple, seemly harmless piece of content.  Here is why. Firstly, humans

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The leadership decision ‘speed trap’

2 years ago 1 0 833

Leaders need to know the difference between haste and speed, particularly when it comes to their thinking. In modern business, we seem to be in the habit of needing to be ‘fast’ to just keep up. However, going too fast can get leaders stuck in a ‘speed trap’ that can get you and your business into trouble. Feeling pressured to make fast decisions – and even feeling that you have to make decisions for others when they can make them for themselves – can be critical leadership errors that can impact upon your leadership (and whole organisation) performance. Decision making requires an appropriate amount of thinking. What we have learned through behavioural economics and psychology, is that there are common errors inherent in thinking. These errors, although well documented, are routinely made by almost everyone. Leaders, under pressure to take decisions, often fall foul of these errors, sometimes with catastrophic

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Managing in uncertainty for high performance

2 years ago 0 0 942

What is uncertainty? If we listen to the famous Chinese proverb: “May you live in interesting times”, we can see it as both a blessing and a curse. We are certainly living in interesting – if not uncertain – times. With Brexit, the extended time for Australian election to be decided, the rise of Donald Trump, the disagreements in the South China Sea, we can feel that there is uncertainty all around us. These uncertain times drive very specific responses. Often, these responses are not the best possible responses for the individual or the society in which they exist. How do people respond to uncertainty? When people experience uncertainty, it can mean that the person is out of their comfort zone. When there is uncertainty, people struggle to decide on what to do moving forward. They get stuck, and often have a lack of skill or strategy in deciding how

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The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 731

I was presenting on culture and leadership at a recent conference (#100millionimpacts, for B1G1), and whilst facilitating a panel discussion, a common theme that emerged was the importance of the stories in business. In response to many questions after the session, here are a few thoughts on stories in business to extend that discussion further: Stories are powerful means of communication. Often, people believe that storytelling ends when the kids grow up. However, there are stories being told within your business – and about your business – that can either take it to new heights of success or lead it to ruin. What stories are being told about your business? People communicate through stories. As people communicate, they engage each other through analogy (this is like that), metaphor (the army of sales reps) and stories. Humans are always using these processes to engage their listeners, develop shared meaning and convey

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