Plan to fail - don't fail to plan

Plan to fail – don’t fail to plan

2 months ago 0 0 47

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything” (D Eisenhower). Planning is such a critical part of success – but plans are not.  How many times are plans made and simply forgotten?  How many times do people and organisations spend massive time and effort generating a ‘plan’ only for it to be completely out of date before the ink is dry? We are living through such a reality now – As we go through the uncertainties of COVID, organisations and individuals are describing how they have had to ‘pivot’ and ‘adapt’ – meaning that whatever that they had planned to do has been made obsolete.  If plans are worthless, why should we plan? Lesson 1: The future is uncertain “No plan survives the first engagement with the opposition main force” (Helmuth von Moltke, 1871). We cannot forecast the future with any certainty.  We cannot know – or control – what is

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The simple success formula

8 months ago 0 0 282

In business, we are often looking for the perfect answer to our problems.  The answer to our complex problem should be ‘simple’ – but is it really? The idea of a simple answer to uncertainty and complexity drives so much of the coaching and consulting industries, because: People want simple answers to complex problems People buy certainty to escape uncertainty, and simple appears more certain than complex. A critical question arises, however: If the answer was simple, wouldn’t you have already discovered it and implemented it? When we consider the nature of business, it is impossible to think of every business as the same.  Each business has unique attributes and histories, including cultures, strategies and purposes.  There are different capabilities, skills and processes. There are different capacities to operate and to adapt. So how do we help such businesses? We can look at ‘models’ – frameworks that generally apply to

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Making resilience real

11 months ago 0 0 307

In times of extreme change – as we have seen in 2020 – resilience becomes a key property of individuals, teams, and organisations that want to not only survive, but to thrive. Resilience is often used to describe an ‘ability to cope’ – like a spring that bends under pressure that then ‘snaps back’ when the pressure is released. As we have learned from the accelerated and amplified change of 2020 and the COVID pandemic, not everything that changes ‘snaps back’ – which means that the change pressure doesn’t go away, it remains in place and may even get greater. Consider your business circumstance through the pandemic, and in particular what has changed for your customers: What changes have occurred that will now remain as the new ‘normal’? What changes occurred that will ‘snap back’ to the way they were when the change pressure is removed? What changes have been

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Is it time to fight your biggest enemies?

2 years ago 0 0 790

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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The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

5 years ago 0 0 1112

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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snap out of it! – your workplace trance is stifling your performance

5 years ago 0 0 950

We can’t help it – we all get hypnotised by our circumstances. The quality of your performance and culture is often a direct result of the workplace ‘trance’ that you and your teams are in. So many people seem to get stuck in low quality ‘trances’, where poor performance is the only practical outcome. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. We can consciously choose a higher quality trance and then achieve so much more. Hypnosis works by placing people into trance. Whilst there are lots of scary ideas about hypnosis and trance, world experts in the field define trance quite pragmatically: Trance is a simply a state of focused attention. Consider when you are absorbed in a great book or TV show. People can walk in and out of the room, and you may not even notice them. You can be absorbed in the story, and instead of

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12 steps to tactful communication

5 years ago 0 5863

“What we have here is a failure to communicate” –Cool Hand Luke. (Paul Newman) How often is performance derailed by a failure to communicate? We lead and work through others, collaborate and seek to influence beliefs and behaviours. These all take quality communication to achieve. However, communication is perhaps the greatest single opportunity for increased efficiency and effectiveness in any business, organisation or system. It simply does not work well enough, often enough – because although we are taught to talk, we are rarely truly taught to communicate. Communication, at its heart, is about ‘transmitting’ a message of some kind to one or more recipients, in such a way that the message they understand is equivalent to the message that was transmitted. This transmission requires pre-processing by the communicator (translation) and post-processing by the receiver (reception and decoding). The transmission is conducted through a medium using known symbols (language, hand

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5 steps to achieving your goals in 2016

5 years ago 0 0 2211

So, it is that time of year to plan for 2016 – perhaps to set some goals for the year ahead to be the foundation of your success. There are many reasons people set goals. We are encouraged to set goals to work out what we want to achieve, what we want to prioritise, and to build action plans that we can follow. We also create goals because we have to or are expected to. We may be asked by the board to set some specific targets and goals for the business, or we may even have a coach that pushes us to set ‘big hairy audacious goals’. Goals are important. They provide targets, benchmarks and measurable steps to achieve something of value. They allow review and learning, coordination and ongoing development. Regardless why your goals are set, there is every likelihood that they are simply set to fail. Just

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Mindfulness – The business performance secret

6 years ago 1 0 1261

Do you want to be more effective, efficient – and at the same time enjoy everything more? Are you being overwhelmed, diverted and unable to achieve what you want? Too often high performance is derailed by over-load, multi-tasking and lack of focus on what matters. Sometimes our minds are so full – we are ‘mind-full’ – that we have no time or space to really think. Perhaps it’s time to become mindlessly mindful –that is, to stop being ‘mind-full’ and start being truly mindful. It is a skill which is critical to high performance but can be difficult to realise in the hustle and bustle of modern business life. The myth of multitasking Have you ever noticed how you can be here, and not here? Whilst you are ‘listening’ to someone on your team, you are thinking about the next meeting? As you are working on an important project, your

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