“Some People Go 24 Hours Without Hearing a Single Positive Thing Said About Them” Coach George Raveling (on the Tim Ferriss podcast)

Coach George Raveling

I was struck by this sentence.  I was inspired by Tim Ferriss’ interview with Coach George Raveling.  George speaks so clearly and concisely about life and learning and our role.  His life has had some amazing adventures that came from him being open to the advice and suggestions of mentors at a young age.

So I made a video…  back again after a couple of months away from video making for YouTube.

Who will get a positive word from you today?  Don’t forget the power we each have with our words…

Leadership is about raising up those who follow you. Leadership is not so much about doing, but about having an effect on how others do.

The Tim Ferriss podcast episode: https://tim.blog/2018/08/09/george-raveling/ Great episode, loved listening to Coach George Raveling

Subscribe here to my channel http://cono.rs/utube I upload videos every Tuesday about leadership, personal development, entrepreneurship and the power of communication to drive change.

Check out my online course: Speaking as a Leader, 10 weeks of lessons on becoming a more impactful speaker https://conorneill.com/improve-your-speaking/

And you can message me and connect via Facebook: http://facebook.com/rhetorical

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle

There are few things more important than understanding your own personal strategic recipes for enjoying a positive, fulfilling experience of your own life.  What is a Strategic Recipe.  Let’s start with what constitutes a “strategy”.

“A Strategy is a system of producing a consistent result”. Tony Robbins

This sentence is deep.

A Strategy:

  1. is a System – repeatable, objective process
  2. of Producing – there is no strategy without action, “producing” implies that something must be done
  3. A Consistent Result – time and time, over and over again you achieve a specific outcome.

I would class these systems as “Recipes”.  A Recipe is a specific process and clear starting state (quantities of ingredients, saucepans, oven temperature, time required) that consistently delivers an outcome (delicious, tasty meal that impresses the guests).

Let’s call these effective processes Strategic Recipes.

My Strategic Recipes

Running in Nature – In my case, going for a run is a Strategic Recipe. No matter how crap and aimless that I feel before I start running (and often for the first 15 minutes of the run), by the time I have run for 20 minutes, my mental chatter starts clearing out and I start to be present in the day, in my body.  I start to reconnect to what is important for me, to the people that I want to be with today. I have (what feel like at the time) good ideas and clarity on actions that are important for today.

The gym doesn’t work the same way for me… it has to be running outside… I don’t know why this is, but that doesn’t matter…  it only matters that I have a Strategic Recipe for turning unmotivated fuzz into disciplined productive action.

Brompton with Daughter – Taking my daughter (the 2 years old one) out on the infant seat on my brompton bicycle and cycling around Barcelona is another Strategic Recipe.  It feels like a meaningful activity – and I love the way she shouts “Wheee!” and “Faster Daddy!” as we cycle.  We don’t have any real destination, but might stop off at a playground or a Starbucks along the way.  It has to be the brompton bicycle… going for a walk to the park doesn’t give me anywhere near the same positive emotion as the brompton (my daughter is also necessary… heading out alone is just a lonely loser on a bike without a destination…)

Drinking Makers Mark bourbon whisky at night is another Strategic Recipe.  (I don’t like that it is… but as I reflect I have to accept that it is…). Watching TV without the whisky makes me feel ordinary and boring.  Throw in a neat whisky and I feel like some sort of awesome sofisticated TV watcher.  Nuts.  (I don’t do this every night…  we had some alcoholism in my family and I really watch out for any regular habitual daily drinking… and stop immediately if I notice it)

Curious this…  I am sat in a Sandwichez coffee shop near my house and trying to think of the Strategic Recipes that I have in my life to achieve a positive mental state as a result…  and the recipes that I find are random…

Some other Strategic Recipes that I have:
  • Write a blog post – like just now…  20 minutes of activity and I feel that I have accomplished something for the day. They often trigger interesting comments or email dialogues with interesting people.  This adds a bit of feeling connected and significant to my day.
  • Networking on LinkedIn – I have a whole bunch of searches set up (I use the paid Sales Navigator version of LinkedIn) and I can identify a number of inspiring people that I reach out to.  My business Vistage depends on building deep, trusted relationships with a wide range of high integrity spanish CEOs.  LinkedIn is a gold mine for this.  (probably because I spent 15 years blogging, 8 years making videos and generally have what is known as a “personal brand”)
  • Cooking a Meal – I love cooking.  Gives me a sense of accomplishment, creativing and completion.  I start with raw ingredients, end with a tasty meal… all in 20 to 60 minutes.  My current favourite recipes are Thai chicken curry (yellow, green or red), Mexican fajitas or Indian curry (korma or tikka masala).  I used to love BBQ, but have lived in places where you can’t BBQ for last 4 years…  I do miss that.
  • Playing Cards with my family – they are very smart and there can be no distraction when I play… or I will be destroyed.  Tough to deal with when you are dealing with a 14 year old and an 11 year old.  But I always feel connected and intensely present during the games.  We currently play Dou-Dhi-Zou, Georgian “Stupid”, Hearts and Gin Rummy.  What other good card games are there for 3 or 4 players?
  • Watching Big Bang Theory with my older Daughter – we are on season 6… got hundreds of episodes to go.  Love the inside jokes that she and I can make based on Sheldon and team’s on screen antics.

It would be good to have a set of Strategic Recipes in our armory that allow us to meet the 6 human needs:

  1. Safety (or Certainty)
  2. Risk (or Variety)
  3. Significance
  4. Connection
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

What are your Strategic Recipes?

I’ve been going through a 2 month period of feeling unmotivated.  I had a very busy May, June, July and it put me off balance…  I am only now noticing that I am unmotivated and would like to get more clarity and fulfillment back into my days.  I’d love your help.  What works for you?

I’d love to hear from you.  What are your Strategic Recipes?  What set of steps systematically lead you to a consistent positive feeling (through meeting in some way some of the 6 human emotional needs)?

Comments below are excellent, but more than happy to hear from you via email.

 

I was on the road for 8 hours over last 2 days, lots of podcasts.

I listened to Tim Ferriss speaking to Jason Fried.  Jason seems an interesting character – professes to have no goals as he learnt at a young age that setting and aiming at goals only served to detract from his joy of life.  I don’t think his approach works for everyone, but I do think I have something to learn from his attitude of learning to enjoy and contribute rather than focus on task completion.

One sentence really hit me as he said it:

“In schools, you don’t learn to iterate. You complete the task, you hand it in, and you are done. In life, iteration is everything.” Jason Fried

When I heard this I repeated “iteration is everything” over and over for a few miles… because I completely agree.  Why am I good at giving a speech?  Iteration.  I get to speak hundreds of times every year.  Writing?  this blog.  I write hundreds of posts, edit them, improve them, republish them… each iteration is a slight improvement.

There is a story from Toyota in the 1980s.  Globally they decided to implement an employee suggestion scheme, but they left it up to each national leadership team to decide how to implement the scheme.

In the US, the leadership decided to pay 2% of the value of the change once implemented.  Imagine you are working on the factory floor of a Toyota plant in US.  What type of ideas are you looking for?  You will get 2% of the value of the change…  big ideas, huge ideas!

In the US they received an average of 1.5 ideas per employee of which less than 10% were actually implemented.

In Japan, the leadership decided to pay $50 for every idea.  Imagine you are there on the floor of the Japanese factories.  What type of ideas are you looking for?  Small ideas, little improvements, anything that slightly improves the efficiency or quality of life of the factory.

In Japan, they received an average of 55 ideas per employee, of which around 70% were implemented.  Within 2 years the Japanese operations were so much more efficient that they took the new Japanese operations and re-implemented them around the world.

Iteration is Everything

All excellence is from iteration. World class musicians play a piece hundreds of times with small improvements (or just changes) with each iteration. Sports is repetitive. My speaking is repetitive.

What piece of old writing could you dust off and improve 1% and produce a new iteration?  What skill could you focus 5 minutes each day on iteration?  What animal have you always wanted to be able to draw… draw a bad version today and iterate every day for the next month…

How to practice iteration… Check out this from Jason The Writing Class I’d Love to Teach

Screenshot 2018-07-31 21.39.54
Mark Fritz, Vistage Expert Speaker

Mark Fritz is a regular Vistage speaker who is on a mission to end micromanagement around the world.  He is passionate about helping leaders create highly engaged organisations where every employee treats the business as if it were their own.

One of my favourite examples from Mark is his question: “why does nobody ever wash a rental car?”

Why Does Nobody Ever Wash a Rental Car?

Have you ever washed a rental car?  No.  It is not your car.  You give it back covered in muck and full of litter.  It’s not your problem.  Its someone else’s car.  It got you from A to B.

Many people treat their work like a rental car.  Do your employees treat your business like it is their rental car, or do they take care of it as if it were their own vehicle?

Leaders must be great at 3 things to create Success…

The 3 Necessary Conditions for the Success of your Organisation

Clarity – when things are clear, you take more action. When things are clear, everybody takes more action.

People – it is not your people that are your most important asset, it is your people pipeline. How are you developing the next generation of people?  If you are not developing people to replace your current leaders, your current leaders can’t grow into their next roles.

Influencing Skills – if your people can’t influence someone else on the team, where do they come to get help?  to you.  If your people can’t influence, they depend too much on you.

As a leader who really wants everyone to grow around you, you need to help people around you develop two abilities:

  1. Business Judgement
  2. Influencing Skills

Check out Mark’s short video from a recent Vistage open day in the UK:

Check out some of Mark’s recent blog posts:

Learning Business Judgement

I am biased.  I believe business schools are excellent at developing business judgement.  During the 19 months of my MBA program at IESE Business School, I worked through 650 cases.  Each case is a business decision.  Each case requires some individual work to practice your own ability to focus on what is important and develop a plan.  Each case then requires that you work with a small team to influence them about your plan, and to allow your ideas to be tested and changed by their influence.  Each case then requires that you enter a classroom with an excellent teacher who will take the discussion even deeper.  There is no better way to develop general business judgement than in the business school environment.

Learning to Influence

I have a vested interest in this.  I have taught over 44,000 business leaders, MBAs and political leaders to Speak more Powerfully – specifically to Move People to Action.  I would suggest you begin by taking my Speaking as a Leader online course (currently free).  You can also watch the playlist on my Youtube channel (over 70K subscribers) called Develop Your Speaking Skills.

 

Have a great summer.

If you want your kids to thrive in the next decades in the commercial world, internet sage Seth Godin tells us that they need to learn to be good at two (and only 2) things:

  1. Solve Interesting Problems
  2. Lead

If you can raise a kid who can solve interesting problems and lead (which requires emotional intelligence and generosity).  The way you learn to solve interesting problems is by solving interesting problems.  The way you learn to lead is by practicing generosity and kindness for a higher goal.

Everything else, you can look it up on the internet, or you can hire a pay a commoditised skill person to do it for you.

Exams certainly don’t test these 2 skills.  They check whether you can solve un-interesting repetitive problems that have already been solved.  They don’t test how you affect other people and get them to be better because of your presence.

Check out the answer from Seth:

 

This video is about how to become someone who is inspiring to those around you.

There are 4 key ingredients of the people that get the best out of the teams around them. I shared this talk with over 800 school heads, teaching leaders and educational leaders at the Global Forum on Girls Education in Washington on June 19 this year.

The book mentioned in the video is “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner.

Summary of The Leadership Challenge

Here’s a customer review by Daniel King on Amazon that gives a great summary of the book:

The Leadership Challenge is considered a classic on leadership principles. Kouzes and Posner have spent more than three decades studying the best practices of top leaders. In their book, they explain five practices that all great leaders engage in. Under these five practices, they also discuss ten commitments of exemplary leadership. Below are some of the ideas and quotes that stood out to me.

Practice 1 – Model the Way

1. The first step to being a great leader is to clarify your values.
  • “You must be able to “clearly articulate deeply held belief” (44).
  • “To find your voice, you have to explore your inner self. You have to discover what you care about most, what defines you, and what makes you who you are” (46).
  • Question: What values guide your current decisions, priorities, and actions? (69).
2. The second step is to set an example by aligning actions with shared values.
  • “Credibility is the foundation of leadership” (37). You have to practice what you preach. Do what you say you will do. (39).
  • “Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that earns you respect” (16).
  • “Leader’s deeds are far more important than their words” (17).
  • “Leading by example is more effective than leading by command” (17).
  • “What you do speaks more loudly than what you say” (76).
  • Use stories to “pass on lessons about shared values” (91).
  • “How you spend your time is the single best indicator of what’s important to you” (96).
  • Question: How are you spending your time?

Practice 2 – Inspire a Shared Vision

3. The third step is to envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
  • Vision begins with “one person’s imagination” (103).
  • “Leaders are dreamers. Leaders are idealists. Leaders are possibility thinkers” (105).
  • “Leaders need to spend considerable time reading, thinking, and talking about the long-term view, not only for their specific organization but also for the environment in which they operate” (110).
  • “Imagination is more important than intelligence” – Albert Einstein (112).
  • It is easier to drive fast when there is no fog on the road. This “analogy illustrates the importance of clarity of vision…You’re better able to go fast when your vision is clear” (123).
  • Question: What do you care about? What drives you? Where do your passions lie? What do you want to accomplish and why? (126). What ideas and visions do you hold in your mind of what can be? (100).
4. The fourth step is to enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  • “You can’t command commitment; you have to inspire it. You have to enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations” (18).
  • “No matter how grand the dream of an individual visionary, if others don’t see in it the possibility of realizing their own hopes and desires, they won’t follow voluntarily or wholeheartedly” (117).
  • “The best leaders are great listeners (118).
  • “People commit to causes, not to plans” (121).
  • “People aren’t going to follow someone who’s only mildly enthusiastic about something. Leaders have to be wildly enthusiastic for constituents to give it their all” (129).
  • “Visions are about ideals. They’re about hopes, dreams, and aspirations. They’re about the strong desire to achieve something great. They’re ambitious. They’re expressions of optimism. Can you imagine a leader enlisting other in a cause by saying, “I’d like you to join me in doing the ordinary?” (130).
  • “Feeling special fosters a sense of pride” (134).
  • “Show people how their dreams will be realized” (138).
  • “Visions are images in the mind…They become real as leaders express those images in concrete terms to their constituents” (143).
  • Question: What common ideas are you appealing to? (152).

Practice 3 – Challenge the Process

5. The fifth step is to search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward for innovative ways to improve.
  • “Maintaining the status quo simply breeds mediocrity” (156).
  • 100% of the shots you do not take will miss going into the basket (166).
  • “Find ways for people to stretch themselves. Set the bar incrementally higher, but at a level at which people feel they can succeed” (169).
  • “Be on the lookout for new ideas, wherever you are” (181).
  • Question: What are you doing new today in order to become better than yesterday?
6. The sixth step is to experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
  • “Nothing new and nothing great is achieved by doing things the way you’ve always done them. You have to test unproven strategies…break out of the norms that box you in…venture beyond the limitations you normally place on yourself” (188).
  • “Big things are done by doing lots of little things” (196).
  • “It is hard to argue with success” (197).
  • “Small wins produce results because they make people feel like winners and make it easier for leaders to get others to want to go along with their requests” (199).
  • “Learning is the master skill” (202).
  • Question: How are you changing, improving, growing, and innovating?

Practice 4 – Enable others to Act

7. The seventh step is to foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.
  • “The team is larger than any individual on the team” (21).
  • “‘We’ can’t happen without trust” (219).
  • “When you create a climate of trust, you create an environment that allows people to freely contribute and innovate” (222).
  • “Placing trust in others is the safer bet with most people most of the time” (223).
  • “People have to believe that you know what you’re talking about and that you know what you’re doing” (226).
  • “Once you help others succeed, acknowledge their accomplishments, and help them shine, they’ll never forget it” (234).
  • “Demonstrate that you trust them before you ask them to trust you” (239).
  • Question: Who are you willing to trust?
8. The eighth step is to strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
  • “The paradox of power: you become more powerful when you give your own power away” (244).
  • “Feeling powerful…comes from a deep sense of being in control of your own life” (246).
  • “Individual accountability is a critical element of every collaborative effort” (252).
  • “The more freedom of choice people have, the more personal responsibility they must accept” (253).
  • “If your constituents aren’t growing and learning in their jobs, they’re highly likely to leave and find better ones” (261).
  • Question: Do the people around you feel powerful?

Practice 5 – Encourage the Heart

9. The ninth step is to recognise contributions by showing appreciation.
  • “The climb to the top is arduous and steep. People become exhausted, frustrated, and disenchanted, and are often tempted to give up. Genuine acts of caring draw people forward. “recognition is the most powerful currency you have and it costs you nothing.” (23).
  • “Say Thank You” (294).
  • “Spontaneous, unexpected rewards are often more meaningful than expected, formal ones” (292).
  • Question: Do you say “thank you” enough?
10. The tenth step is to celebrate values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
  • “Leaders never get extraordinary things accomplished all by themselves” (30).
  • “Celebrate accomplishments in public” (307).
  • “Get personally involved…leadership is a relationship” (315).
  • “Make celebrations part of organizational life” (323).
  • Question: Who are you celebrating?

What is a Leader?

Simple answer: Someone with Followers.  You have to have Followers in order to be a Leader.

How do you get Followers?

2 things Make you a Leader with Followers:

  1. See a Change that is Required in the World
  2. Bring together Resources to Achieve this Change

“If every one of you changed the life of just 10 people… in 6 generations we will have changed the world” Admiral McRaven

Admiral McRaven offered advice for changing the world from his 36 years of experience as a Navy SEAL:

  1. Ask for help when you need it,
  2. respect everyone,
  3. persevere through failures and,
  4. make your bed every day.

So, go back to your bedroom… and make your bed.

 

When I run seminars on leadership, I often share the lessons learnt from the work Kouzes and Posner did to create their book “The Leadership Challenge”.  They identified the 4 most important characteristics of a leader that gets the greatest discretionary effort out of the people around them.

Number 2 on this list is “Competence”.  (You can find the full list on a past blog post here)

Identifying Competence

How do you know if someone is competent?  The simple answer: they have books on their desk.

The proxy for Competence is whether you have books on your desk.  If you care about being competent, you will be competent.  If you don’t take care of your learning, if you don’t have a plan for your own development needs – you might accidentally be competent now, but with the changes in the environment you will rapidly lose that competence.

Here’s a recent interview at UCD Smurfit Executive Development where I talk about the need for leaders to take charge of their personal and professional development.

What are the next development steps you will be taking for your own competence?

What is the good life?

We can survive for 75 years… but what is a good use of those years? The good life is choosing to go beyond mere survival.  The good life is a daily intentional choice to flourish.  We can develop the best of our strengths and bring the worst of our weaknesses under disciplined control.

The ABC’s of a Fulfilling Life

The ABCs of living the Good Life:

  • Action towards your strongest values (Productivity) make progress towards important things; Eisenhower’s matrix
  • Belief. Give your life away… chosen sacrifice-Sense of purpose (contribution, give your life away… can’t “save” your hours, must invest). The test of value: you get paid. Paid doesn’t guarantee value, but free is idealistic… and idealists will kill us all.
  • Curiosity – Life long learning (always curious, painful feedback) be better today than yesterday, be better tomorrow than today
  • Discipline over your poorer habits
  • Energy. Health (Imagine you had 1 car all your life… how would you take care of it? that is your body…)
  • Friends (top 20… when was last you spoke?) inner circle… better a shack with someone who loves you than a mansion with those that use you