Most people who get paid have a job. A job is where someone pays you to do something that they don’t want to do. A career is where someone pays you because you are awesome at something valuable.

In order to build a career you need a couple of things:

  1. Mastery – A Rare and Valuable Skill
  2. Trustworthy – Show up on time, Deliver what you promise
  3. Likeable – People enjoy working with you

I share a story from Neil Gaiman… it is worth your 19 minutes to watch his full commencement address below ;-). I also make reference to the book “So Good they Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport.

Make Good Art

Neil Gaiman’s commencement address: “Make Good Art”

Here’s a short summary from OpenCulture: 10 Essential Tips for Working in the Arts

  1. Embrace the fact that you’re young. Accept that you don’t know what you’re doing. And don’t listen to anyone who says there are rules and limits.
  2. If you know your calling, go there. Stay on track. Keep moving towards it, even if the process takes time and requires sacrifice.
  3. Learn to accept failure. Know that things will go wrong. Then, when things go right, you’ll probably feel like a fraud. It’s normal.
  4. Make mistakes, glorious and fantastic ones. It means that you’re out there doing and trying things.
  5. When life gets hard, as it inevitably will, make good art. Just make good art.
  6. Make your own art, meaning the art that reflects your individuality and personal vision.
  7. Now a practical tip. You get freelance work if your work is good, if you’re easy to get along with, and if you’re on deadline. Actually you don’t need all three. Just two.
  8. Enjoy the ride, don’t fret the whole way. Stephen King gave that piece of advice to Neil years ago.
  9. Be wise and accomplish things in your career. If you have problems getting started, pretend you’re someone who is wise, who can get things done. It will help you along.
  10. Leave the world more interesting than it was before.

And you? Career or Job? If you liked reading this, you will also like The Career Advice you probably didn’t Get and Career Advice from LinkedIn’s founder Reid Hoffman.

NPR have a wonderful speech database with over 350 great commencement speeches on their resource The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever

What are the Most Common Words?

Excluding prepositions and other super-common words, the most frequent words appearing in this database of Great Commencement Speeches were:

  1. Life
  2. Make
  3. People
  4. World
  5. Yourself
  6. Make
  7. Success
  8. Generation
  9. Define
  10. Human

Source: The Top Words of Wisdom for Graduates on NPR, (accessed 7 May 2019)

This list was put together by my father, Terry Neill, in the 1980’s as a reminder for himself and those around him about the nature of good leadership, and the easy pitfalls of Non-Leadership. He led businesses through good times and through tough times and I can see the positive impact he has had on many who worked with him.

He was recently cleaning out some papers in his office and found this and shared it with me and my siblings. I find it simple and clear. Leadership is not easy, but it is necessary in all areas of our lives.

You don’t need Power to lead

You do not need to wait for power, nor permission nor position to decide to act like a leader. You decide to take responsibility and begin. You realise that each of your actions make a difference. You are connected to many people and your actions have impact. You will affect more than 1,000 people over the course of your life. If you have a positive affect on them, they in turn are connected to more than 1,000 people and your leadership will ripple out and touch over 1,000,000 lives. These 1,000,000 lives are connected out to 1,000 in their turn… and your small daily actions of leading and taking responsibility to make things better will ripple out to a billion people. Your actions matter.

The differences between Leaders and Non-Leaders

by Terry Neill, partly based on “Search for Excellence

LEADERSNON-LEADERS
Carries water for peoplePresides over the mess
A coach appealing to the best in each person; open door; problem solver and advice giver; cheerleaderInvisible – gives orders to staff – expects them to be carried out
Thinks of ways to help people be more productive, more focused on practicval goals and how to reward themThinks of personal awards, status, and how he or she looks to outsiders
Comfortable with people in their workplacesUncomfortable with people
Wants anonymity for self, publicity for practice of othersThe reverse
Often takes the blameLooks for a scapegoat
Gives credit to othersTakes credit. Complains about lack of good people
Gives honest, frequent feedbackInfo flows one way – into his or her office
Knows when and how to deal with non performers or unfair clients’ comments or pressuresDucks unpleasant tasks
Goes where the trouble is – to helpInterrupts people in crisis and calls them to meetings at his or her desk
Has respect for all peopleThinks operators, clerical staff etc are lazy, incompetent ingrates
Knows the business, and the kind of people who make it tickThey’ve never met him or her
Honest under pressureImprovises, equivocates
Looks for controls to abolishLoves new controls
Prefers eyeball to eyeball instead of memosPrefers memos… long reports
StraightforwardTricky, manipulative
Admits own mistakes. Comforts others when they admit themNever makes mistakes. Blames others. Starts witch hunts to identify culprits
OpennessSecrecy
Little paperwork in planningVast paperwork in planning
Arrives early. Stays lateIn late. Usually leaves on time
Common touchStrained with shop or office floor
Good listener‘Good’ talker
Simplistic on organisation valuesGood at demonstrating his/her command of all the complexities
AvailableHard to reach from below
FairFair to the top. Exploits the rest
DecisiveUses committees. Makes accountabilities opaque
ModestArrogant
Tough – confronts nasty problemsElusive – “the artful dodger”
PersistantOnly when his/her goodies are at stake
Simplifies (makes it look ‘easy’)Complicates (Makes it look difficult)
Tolerant of open disagreementIntolerant of open disagreement
Knows people’s namesDoesn’t know people’s names
Has strong convictionsVacillates when a decision is needed
Trusts peopleTrusts words and numbers on paper
Delegates whole important jobsKeeps all final decisions
Keeps promisesDoesn’t – unless it ‘suits’
Thinks there are at least 2 other people who would be better at his/her jobNumber one priority is to make bloody sure no one remotely gets near to being a threat
Focused to the point of monomania on values and ethical principlesUnfocused except on self
Sees mistakes as learning opportunitiesSees mistakes as punishment opportunities
Does ‘dog work’ when necessaryAbove ‘dog work’
Consistent and credible with the troopsUnpredictable. Says what he thinks they want to hear

About Terry Neill

Terry Neill

Father of 4 wonderful children and Grandpa to 9 grandchildren.

In his 30 year career with Accenture/Andersen Consulting he was based in Dublin, Chicago and London. He was Chairperson of Andersen Worldwide and Accenture; and was worldwide managing partner of the Change Management Practice.

He returned to Ireland in 2005 and was a Director of Bank of Ireland Group, UBM (the world’s biggest events company) and CRH plc. He is chairperson of the National Council of Wexford Festival Opera.

He is a maths/physics graduate of Trinity College Dublin. He was for 13 years a Governor of London Business School, where he had also gained his MBA. He is a member of both the Board of Trinity Foundation and the Trinity Arts & Humanities Governance Board.  He was chairperson of Co-operation Ireland (GB) and Camerata Ireland, Barry Douglas’s all island chamber orchestra.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you will also like What is Leadership? and 17 daily habits for a fulfilling life.

This week I have been teaching at the Mid Atlantic Business School on the island of Santa Cruz de la Palma. This video shares a lesson that many participants took from the day: “Listen with Your Eyes“.

Hearing is a sense that differs from all our other senses, because it has a buffer. I am able to re-listen to the last 8 seconds of what I have recently heard. This allows me to pay little attention to what is being said, until I hear my name or a silence that indicates that someone is waiting for me to respond. We need to practice listening to a deeper level – what I call “listening with your eyes”.

If you liked this post, you will also like listening is seeking to be changed by another person and How to ask the best Questions.

This is an interview with John Zimmer, one of the leadership communications coaches who joins me regularly at IESE Business School for various programs. This week we are teaching the Executive MBA program.

John has a wonderful blog: Manner of Speaking. Four of the top posts at his blog are:

About IESE Business School

IESE Business School

IESE Business School is a global business school offering MBA and Executive Education programs. Ranked #1 in world by FT, four years in a row (2014-2018). IESE has locations in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, Munich and Sao Paulo.

The Mission of IESE Business School

The mission of IESE is to develop and inspire business leaders who strive to make a deep, positive and lasting impact on the people, companies and society they serve.

“We want to educate leaders to whom we can entrust the future of business and society. For this reason, we develop the integrity, spirit of service, professional excellence and sense of responsibility of all those who take part in one of our programs.”

IESE Business School

IESE Business School activities are centered around three management axes:

  • global mindset
  • general management approach
  • people-centered vision, with the ethics and social responsibility that entails. We believe that companies are, above all, communities of people who work better in atmospheres of respect and trust.

This is a 36 minute conversation with Bill Gallagher, a business coach and speaker who is beginning to work with Vistage Groups.

In this conversation we discuss how a speaker can build their relationship with Vistage leading to invitations to deliver workshops to Vistage groups in their area or region. We also discuss what is expected by Vistage group members during the expert speaker session during their montly group meeting.

Overview of the Vistage Speaking Opportunity

Speaking to the Vistage community is your opportunity to share your insights with small- and midsize-business leaders in an intimate group setting. Our members, more than 23,000 worldwide, meet on a monthly basis in groups of 12 to 16. Each member is the top decision maker in their organisation or region.

Vistage, the world’s leading CEO organisation

Vistage members expect to learn something of value – new skills, information, tools and techniques that they can take away from the meeting and implement immediately in their personal or professional lives. Members expect your presentation be highly interactive. They will interupt and ask questions. They will expect that you have real-life examples and experiences that demonstrate the ideas and concepts you present to Vistage. Members will need the presentation to be engaging and well paced.

Qualifications of Vistage Speakers

  1. You have a specialized skill or capability in which you are considered an expert in the field.
  2. You know the C-suite and how your expertise can help them make better decisions.
  3. A dynamic speaker and workshop facilitator who can connect with an executive audience.
  4. Comfortable challenging and being challenged by CEOs and senior executives.
  5. Excited to forge relationships with our global community of 23,000 members.

Apply to Become a Vistage Speaker

About Bill Gallagher and Scaling Up

Connect to Bill https://www.linkedin.com/in/billgall/ and on twitter https://twitter.com/billgall

Last week I finally got to meet the Arbinger Institute. On Thursday I attended a workshop in Barcelona for one of our Vistage CEO Groups led by Arbinger Institute. On Friday I had the privilege of meeting the CEO of Arbinger Institute and hearing about his personal mission to expand the impact of their work.

The book The Anatomy of Peace made a big impact on me when I first read it back in 2009. Each year I am a little less “in the box” than the previous year.

Arbinger’s 2 Fundamental Mindsets

“So if we are going to find lasting solutions to difficult conflicts or external wars we find ourselves in, we first need to find our way out of the internal wars that are poisoning our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward others. If we can’t put an end to the violence within us, there is no hope for putting an end to the violence without.”

The Arbinger Institute

Arbinger distinguish between “in the box” and “out of the box” mindsets.

  • In the box, or what they call the “inward mindset” is a narrow-minded focus on my own goals and objectives. Other people are either “Vehicles” that serve me or “Obstacles” that impede my progress.
  • Out of the box is the “outward mindset” which sees all the people around me as having goals and objectives of their own, and the greater a role I can play in understanding, clarifying and supporting their goals, the more I will find they give back to me.

About The Arbinger Institute

The Arbinger Institute was founded in 1979 by Dr. C. Terry Warner, the scholar who solved the central problem at the heart of the human sciences: the problem of self-deception. That work revealed two distinct mindsets from which people and organizations operate—a self-focused inward mindset and an others-inclusive outward mindset—and the path to sustainably changing mindset and results.

Arbinger Books:

Last night I drove home from the Costa Brava. This is a 90 minute drive. I spent 89 minutes looking at the road ahead and about 1 minute using the mirrors to see what was behind me, and what was in the lanes next to me.

Driving while looking mostly in the rear view mirror is dangerous.

Do you know where many people spend their time looking while driving their life?

Looking in the Rear View Mirror

Income statements, balance sheets, project status reviews, current account balance, kilos overweight… These are all backwards looking indicators. They describe the past and the effect of past action.

These are useful indicators for Levels 1 to 3 on Jim Collin’s 5 Levels of Leadership. They are terrible indicators for a leader that aspires to Level 5 Leadership.

What are the forward looking indicators in your business and in your life?

Driving while Looking Forwards

Gratuitous photo of me & Jim Collins at Vistage Chairworld

As we drove yesterday, we were listening to a conversation between Jim Collins and Tim Ferriss (it is excellent: I highly recommend that you find 2 hours to listen to their conversation about life, disciplines, purpose and the essence of a well lived life).

Jim Collins’ Important Concepts for Life & Business

Jim Collins shared many of the concepts that he has been working on for the last 30 years:

Three things struck me from this conversation:

  1. Clarity of speaking comes from consistently writing your ideas down
  2. Excellence is the fruit of a conscious decision and commitment to long term disciplines (that are not easy for anybody)
  3. Evidence matters (especially in living our own lives)

Clarity of speaking comes from consistently writing your ideas down

How to Speak Clearly?

I love Tim’s podcast. He is interested in exactly the same range of questions that I find myself interested in. He asks good questions and pushes his guests to be specific, to give examples, to be clear. He doesn’t invite people who are not experts, and he doesn’t let them away with generic, vague concepts… he pushes them to get clear.

Both Jim and Tim have spent a lot of time writing.

As I develop the next iteration of my programs at IESE Business School, I realise that the biggest growth step that I can develop for my participants is to push them to think clearly. I believe that the only way to check whether you can think clearly is to learn to write clearly… and great writers know that great writing is the result of multiple processes of editing.

The big gap between most people becoming great speakers, is to first become clear thinkers.

Social media and rapid meetings and political correctness has allowed lazy thinking to become normal.

Excellence is the fruit of a conscious decision and commitment to long term disciplines (that are not easy for anybody)

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Aristotle

Jim’s first question to Tim (I love how Jim immediately took control of the conversation, rather than just react to Tim’s questions): “What was the topic of your senior thesis at Princeton?”

It turns out that Tim has been studying, investigating and writing about the same general concepts for years. How do humans learn? and the more specific: How do the most effective human learners actually approach learning?

Tim is no overnight success. He’s been committed to learning in the same general themes for over 20 years. Jim is no overnight success. He’s spent the last 30 years committed to learning in the same few general themes.

Evidence matters (especially in living our own lives)

Poor data leads to poor decisions.

The person that each of us is most capable of manipulating is ourself. In their conversations, Tim and Jim reiterate the importance of evidence.

Very often, an accepted truth is the barrier to your next step of growth. One small, well intentioned, bad habit is costing you more than all the good habits you have invested in.

Often the members of a Vistage group play an interesting challenge role in calling out “The Elephant in the Room” – where they see you reliving a repetitive delusion that is damaging your progress in work, relationships and life.

We can fool ourselves better than anyone. Often the delusion is blatantly obvious to everyone, except me.

More Jim Collins…

I’ll leave you with one of the few video recordings of Jim Collins that are available publically:

Here’s a quick analysis (not scientific nor complete) of poor ways of listening. I am guilty of #1 and #2, I can enjoy #3… but I really hate #4. (#2 is my Achilles Heel).

The 4 Categories of Poor Listening

  1. Knows it Already
  2. One Upper
  3. Gossiper
  4. Black Hole

Knows it Already

As you get half-way through your sentence, the Knows it Already already knows what they think you are going to say. They are now preparing their response rather than listening to the rest of your words.

One Upper

Whatever you have done, they have done it… but twice as well, or twice as big or twice as impressive. You share that you went on safari last year and saw 2 elephants. They went on safari 2 years ago and saw 4 elephants, 10 lions and millions of other animals.

  • I give thanks to Florian Mueck for helping me recognise and reduce my tendency towards “One Upping”

Gossiper

Whatever you share, they will share something negative or comparative about other people who are not in the room.

Black Hole

Life is shit.

Here’s a growing list of some of the best specific podcast episodes (I will keep updating this blog post). Some are my favourites and some have been recommended by readers and friends.

What are some of the best podcast episodes that you have heard? (looking for specific episodes rather than the whole podcast…) . Thanks!

I’d love your recommendations of channels or specific podcasts in the comments below.

Tim Ferriss

(link to his podcast https://tim.blog/podcast/) (itunes)

Dan Sullivan

(itunes)

Dan has several podcasts and often appears on others’ podcasts…

Leading Voices in Real Estate

(itunes)


Brian Buffini

(itunes)

Kevin Rose

(itunes)

Malcolm Gladwell

(itunes)

Matt Brown

(itunes)

James Altucher

(itunes)

Evolution 2.0

(itunes)

What Episodes Do You Love?