The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 703

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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Do you trust your intuition or use logical decision making?

3 years ago 0 0 1060

When you make a decision, how confident are you that you make it logically? Most people will say that they make most of their decisions using logic, weighing up the facts and figures and coming up with a reasoned, logical outcome. However, in reality, our brain is designed to short-circuit logical decision making and make emotional, non-rational decisions. We often call this ‘intuition’ or instinct. These instinctive decisions are critical to survival when there is little time. However, the benefit gained through the speed of response is traded off for accuracy. An experiment in thinking: Try these two tasks: Task one: What comes next? Apple, Orange, Banana …… Task two: without calculator or paper and pencil, find 23 x 17. • Which task was easier? • Which task was faster? • Which task has a ‘known’ answer, and which one did you create? • Can you explain why you gave

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Beyond logic to effective communication

3 years ago 0 0 722

Have you ever noticed that sometimes- even when there is no logical reason for it- your staff or your customers simply won’t take actions that are clearly in their best interests? They have made their minds up about what is happening before you have had a chance to explain it, or they agree with what you propose, but just don’t seem capable of taking action. Regardless of the best intentions, our brains have a ‘fast’ decision circuit that leaps to conclusions before we can logically process information. If we don’t help our customers or staff to make the right ‘leaps’ and conclusions, their cognitive processing will often make a decision to avoid change, and therefore to not take the action which would be in their benefit. Beneath all of the logical processing that occurs in our minds runs a much deeper, almost primitive evaluation system. It is this system which

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How the status quo is quietly killing your change efforts

3 years ago 0 0 775

Working on many change projects, you often see highly motivated people, with brilliant change plans and clear benefits to all. And yet these best laid plans simply fail. The time, investment and effort put in counts for nothing, and somehow the organisation manages to veer back to its old habits and its established status quo. There are several key factors that ensure that your change process will succeed. The most overlooked one is hidden within the culture and fabric of your business – the human systems that have developed over time. Your business is actually full of these human ‘systems’, which actively work to derail any change efforts you seek to make. A business full of human systems A system is any group of interactions between individuals or groups. Most businesses have many overlapping ‘systems’, which each develop their own rules, structures and processes, becoming more and more closed to

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How your behaviour is shaped by what happens in Paris

3 years ago 0 0 594

The terrible incident in Paris, where a coordinated attack led to significant loss of life and injury, has been extensively reported and commented upon.  Whether you like it or not, it’s effects reach right around the world, and unconsciously impact many people’s behaviours and decision making.  Here’s how it is probably making an impact on you, whether you want it to or not. The risk / control equation: People are notoriously bad at assessing risk.  More than anything, a person’s perception of control modifies how much ‘risk’ they perceive.  For example, an Australian was 5 times more likely to die in a car accident, than a Parisian was to die in the recent terrorist incident.  However, we all have a ‘competency bias’ and believe that when we have control ( as we often believe when we are driving) our perception of risk is reduced.  A terrorist attack is designed to

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Welcome to ‘Back to the future’ day – what have we learned?

3 years ago 0 0 497

Today – October 21, 2015 – represents the day 30 years into the future that Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown visit in their time machine.  If we could find the town ‘Hill Valley’ we could watch them burst through the space-time continuum.  What have we learned – both in terms of what was predicted in Back to the Future II, and from reality, now that 30 years have passed? Human behaviour is still human behaviour In 30 years, we can see how much things have changed, but what has not shifted at all are the key drivers of human behaviour – as demonstrated in leadership, work, play and consumption.  Whilst the context has changed, the behaviours of individuals remains the same as it did in the 80’s.  People still follow trends and fads, are scared of uncertainty, driven by scarcity and comparison, know they have capabilities beyond what they

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‘Trance formation’ for brilliant transformation

3 years ago 0 0 822

When we talk about change, we seek transformation to something better. What if, to borrow from the world of hypnosis, that the transformation was really a ‘trance’ formation? How can understanding the concepts of trance help us to lead change? What has hypnosis got to do with it? Hypnosis is characterised by the ‘state’ of trance that people experience. Often it is misunderstood, as a state of ‘mind control’ where the hypnotist exerts some special power over the person entering trance. This concept has been completely debunked over the last thirty years, with over 4000 clinical papers into understanding hypnosis and trance. Even more recently, with the availability of new brain imaging modalities, we are learning to understand trance in a whole new way. What has been discovered is that trance is simply a state of personal absorption. This means that parts of our experience are in focus and more

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Creating Creativity – what you can do (part 2)

3 years ago 0 0 796

In part one of this series, we explored the elements of individuals and teams that limit creativity and innovation. In the second part of the series, we will explore what organisations can do about it.  By creating a culture of innovation, designing your thinking and taking true innovative leadership in your organisation, you can move beyond the things which impede creativity, and really create something special. Create the culture for innovation For innovation and design to be a reality in an organisation, it has to move from being a peripheral activity to a culturally accepted process, central to the business. This means the culture has to be accepting of the time and effort that creativity can take, and reward ‘exploration’ rather than outcomes. Peter Murphy, design instructor in Melbourne suggests that creativity is a difficult process, and to be truly innovative, they must “roll their sleeves up, say goodbye to

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Creating creativity- overcoming the corporate blocks to innovation

3 years ago 0 0 1239

In a two part series, Phil Owens explores the concept of creativity in organisations.  In part one, Phil looks at what makes innovation and creativity difficult, and in part two proposes some new ways to approach creativity to make it a core part of your differentiation and success strategy. Creating creativity:  Part 1 – what gets in the way? Why do organisations struggle with creativity? How often do you attend meetings that have lofty ambitions to reach agreement, but simply fail?  How many ‘innovation’ or ‘creativity’ sessions have you been a part of, only to walk out with the same ideas that always seem to come up? Creativity is such a vital asset for business.  Peter Murphy, design instructor in Melbourne points out “Apple is a classic example – they put design at the centre of their business rather than the periphery.   As you build an organisational culture around creativity,

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Organising behaviour – learning from Zappos shift to holacracy

3 years ago 0 0 1355

We create structure and process in a business for only one purpose – to organise behaviour so as to create efficient and effective ways of getting things done. With Zappo’s in the news for instituting a ‘holacracy’ model of organisation, it raises some interesting questions about how we can – and should – organise behaviour. How well does it work when you tell someone with depression to “Be Happy”? The paradox implied in the instruction “Be spontaneous” should be clear – how is spontaneity spontaneous if you have ordered it? This has never been better demonstrated in the corporate world than is currently happening at Zappos: “You will become a holacracy”! Forcing the organisation to become self-organising has an ironic paradox buried at its heart. However, as the organisation pursues this idealised structure, it will provide a fascinating case study over time. With it reported that one in seven employees

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