Managers and Leader are very different animals.

Management is about Control.

Management controls 1 of 3 things:

  1. Quality
  2. Time
  3. Money

Management is always about tradeoffs. If you want quality, you have to sacrifice time or money. If you want fast, you have to sacrifice quality or money. If you want cheap, you have to sacrifice quality or time.

Leadership is about People

If you push people, you don’t know which way they will go. If you use your power to tell them how to act, you will create a push back.

If you can learn to pull people, they will follow.

Power comes when people freely give you their support.

If you take that power and reflect it all back to them, they give you more. If you use the power for yourself, they give you less power. If you give people back the power that they entrust to you, more and more comes to you. You get to use this power for a Just Cause, something bigger than yourself, a Vision of a better world for all of us.

“Leadership is the most valuable commodity on the planet and it is the rarest commodity we have”

Bob Davids

This video is about 4 ways to bring more luck into your life.

We Make our own Luck. 

Why do some people lead happy successful lives whilst other face repeated failure and sadness? What enables some people to have successful careers whilst others find themselves stuck in jobs they hate? Can unlucky people do anything to improve their luck?

In the book The Luck Factor, Professor Richard Wiseman (good name for a professor!) shares his research into luck. He has spent over a decade investigating the beliefs and experiences of lucky and unlucky people.

If you think you’re unlucky, that bad luck may be the direct result of you believing you’re unlucky.

The path of the company and the person that takes no little bets, never risks an error, never risks a mistake… is to slowly die and then risk everything on one big “Hail Mary” pass.

What’s the worst life strategy for a person?

and also for a company?

Complacency.

Rely on what has always worked. Cross your fingers that it will remain an effective approach forever.

It is hard to overcome. When something is going well, you enjoy it. It’s hard to spend time on areas that are not flourishing. You have a successful, money making product… all your resources are there…

…and then one day it is not a successful, money making product. Ask anyone at Kodak.

Jeff Bezos is scared of complacency. He knows that Amazon has taken the wind out of many other companies’ money making products and strategies… and that someone somewhere is looking for a way to take down Amazon.

Jim Collins says that there are 3 ways to fail in Innovation. Here’s my video from earlier this year on Jim Collins lesson #6 – Shoot Bullets, then Cannon balls.

Shoot bullets, then Cannon balls…

Listening to Jeff Bezos recently, he was so clear on the vital need to allow for failure, to actively seek to try new things that are likely to fail… and learn…. as a company and as a person.

Where do you do little tests? As a business? As a person?

4 Approaches to handle anxiety as shared with me several years ago by Pep Mari, psychologist to the Spanish Olympic team. (Check out his youtube channel here, full of great tips, in Spanish)

How to Handle Anxiety:

  1. Avoid – don’t go into the situation that causes you to feel anxiety in the first place
  2. Manage – become aware of your state of anxiety at regular intervals and find tools to increase or decrease your level.
  3. Accept – allow the physical and mental signs of anxiety to exist in you and maintain a state of curiosity and exploration without resisting
  4. Growth – see the anxiety as part of being human and be so focussed on the learning about what it is to be human that you forget about everything except the experience

How To Reduce Stress:

List shared as a comment below the video by Bright Minds

  • 1. Don’t respond to negativity
  • 2. Stay active
  • 3. Eat healthier
  • 4. Read and write more
  • 5. Give without expectations
  • 6. Visualize, then act
  • 7. Spend quality time with family
  • 8. Write ‘thank you’ notes
  • 9. Be a better friend
  • 10. Do a random acts of kindness

This video is about 4 mindsets that we strive for in a Vistage Group Chair, and can also serve to bring out the best in the people around any leader.

The 4 Leadership Mindsets for Growing the people around you are:

  1. Care-frontation
  2. Assertive
  3. Vulnerable
  4. Exploratory

Care-Frontation

A bit more on the word “carefrontation”. It is a fundamental operating agreement in Vistage groups. The word comes from the combination of “Caring” and “Challenge/Confrontation”. These are two of the 4 pillars of Vistage groups.

What does it mean? It means having the patience and non-judgmental approach to first understanding another’s problem from their own perspective; and then the courage to challenge them where there are incoherent aspects to their story.

Examples of Care-frontation:

The assumption is that there is a relationship of trust between you and the other person when you ask these questions… Where there is no relationship of trust, these questions are just rude.

  • How is your mobile phone usage affecting your relationships with your kids?
  • What impact is this constant rush having on your health?
  • What impact does your difficulty in taking this decision have on meeting this years growth goals?

More on what it takes to be a great Vistage Chair: What does it take to be a Great Vistage Chair?

Any questions on these 4 mindsets?- leave them in the comments below and I will be answering over the course of this week.

This summer I read “The Penguin History of the World”. “The entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book”.

Conor’s World History in 1 Paragraph

World history 9000BC to Today:

The life of the poor was shit under every civilisation. It was short, dangerous, local, painful and dependant. Greek peasant life was bad under Sparta, Athens, Macedon. Roman peasant life was bad. Indian peasant life was bad under Indian rulers, under Mongol rulers, under British rulers. Chinese peasant life was bad under every empire. Russian peasant life was bad under Mongols, Muscovy Princes, Tsars. There were very few wealthy people. Most of the world has always been very poor. Tax systems extracted everything leaving only enough for peasants to not die. Tax was extracted to pay for palaces, rarely improvements in infrastructure.

8 Lessons from World History

The earliest written records are cave paintings from 65,000 years ago. The earliest written culture is 9000 years ago (7000 BC Sumer & Mesopotamia). (History can only begin when we have written records, otherwise it is just guesswork.)

  1. Civilisation rises and civilisation falls: there have been major losses of technology over the last 17,000 years. (This was something of a surprise to me as I realised that I had an untested assumption that innovations don’t disappear from civilisation).
  2. Geography matters a lot. The physical location and terrain of a nation shapes the people. Ireland, Britain, Japan – island nations.
  3. Agriculture allowed wealth creation. Agriculture allowed population growth and the first wealthy individuals (kings, emperors). A king without wealth will soon not be king.
  4. Fragile: Until 1500AD most empires, kingdoms, cities were only 1 or 2 poor harvests away from collapse.
  5. We need a common enemy An Empire without a common enemy will collapse from internal divisions (Rome, Mongols). A common enemy can create an empire or a nation (Greeks vs Persians, France vs England)
  6. Absolute power is the norm The separation of church and state, and limitations on political power are not common. Absolute monarchy that unites political, military and religious power is extremely common.
  7. Guttenberg changed everything. The availability of the printed word changed how we live more than any other change in history. How will the internet & AI change the next 1000 years?
  8. I like my life: I would prefer to be me than any Pharaoh, King, Emperor, Pope, Tsar of the last 17,000 years. The Sword of Damocles is real. (I would prefer to be king than peasant, but that is a different comparison).

The Penguin History of the World

The entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book.

J.M. Roberts, CBE, published The Penguin History of the World in 1976 to immediate acclaim.

Odd Arne Westad, FBA, is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics.

Here’s the book The Penguin History of the World on amazon.

Got a speech to give? What should I say?

That is a terrible place to start.

What’s the most important question you can ask yourself before preparing a speech?

It was fun to make this short “elevator pitch” video with the production team at @iesebschool only 7 floors to make my point!

The founder of Strategic Coach, and one of my favourite podcasters, Dan Sullivan plans to live to 156 years old. It will allow him to see 3 different centuries (19,20,21).

What will it take for him to live that long? He’ll need to eat well. He’ll need to stay physically and mentally fit. He’ll need medicine to come up with some new techniques to extend life…. but more than all of this, he will need a powerful motivation to remain alive.

What gives a powerful motivation to remain alive? In an interview with Peter Diamandis, Dan and Pete shared the perspective that if you have friends, money and purpose: you’ll have a pretty damn good reason to keep on living.

Here’s the original podcast episode: Living to 156 Years old

If you love podcasts, you’ll like my post The world’s best individual podcast episodes

Paul Graham is founder of Y Combinator. Together with Tim Urban, Seth Godin and Derek Sivers these are true artists of the blog format.

“Second order thinking” is a big part of Paul’s approach. Second order thinking is looking for non-obvious rules that improve decision making, efficiency and quality of life. Check out the Python Paradox for an example 😉

Paul’s Essays that have most Impacted My Approach to Life

  1. How to do what you love?
  2. Good procrastination and bad procrastination
  3. The lies we tell our kids, and the lies that our parents told us… and how important it is once in your life to review this set of accepted lies before they mess up your life
  4. Beating the averages
  5. Money is not Wealth, and How to Create New Wealth (not take money from others…)
  6. Relentlessly resourceful
  7. How to Disagree (a ranking order of methods of refuting the other person’s argument)

Google Based Ranking of Paul Graham Essays

This is an interesting big of research – Colin Wright produced a ranked list of Paul Graham’s essays based on google pagerank.

23.02 Beating the Averages
19.84 Lisp for Web-Based Applications
5.56 What You Can’t Say
3.81 Revenge of the Nerds
3.72 The Roots of Lisp
3.66 The Age of the Essay
3.29 What Made Lisp Different
3.26 Why Nerds are Unpopular
2.81 Taste for Makers
2.77 Great Hackers
2.33 The Other Road Ahead
2.12 How to Make Wealth
1.91 Succinctness is Power
1.74 A Unified Theory of VC Suckage
1.73 The Word “Hacker”
1.67 How to Start a Startup
1.43 Hiring is Obsolete
1.39 Why Startups Condense in America
1.39 Programming Bottom-Up
1.35 Inequality and Risk
1.35 How to Be Silicon Valley
1.21 After the Ladder
1.04 How to Do What You Love
1.00 Good and Bad Procrastination
0.90 After Credentials
0.88 The Equity Equation
0.88 How Not to Die
0.84 What You’ll Wish You’d Known
0.83 A Plan for Spam
0.80 How to Be an Angel Investor
0.76 Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy
0.74 The High-Res Society
0.67 The Python Paradox
0.65 Ideas for Startups

0.64 Better Bayesian Filtering
0.64 Filters that Fight Back
0.61 Relentlessly Resourceful
0.61 The Future of Web Startups
0.61 The Hundred-Year Language
0.60 Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas
0.59 The Submarine
0.59 The Power of the Marginal
0.59 How to Fund a Startup
0.56 Why TV Lost
0.56 High Resolution Fundraising 
0.56 Being Popular
0.56 Stuff
0.56 Trolls
0.49 Why There Aren’t More Googles
0.49 The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups
0.48 The Top Idea in Your Mind 
0.48 Hackers and Painters
0.47 What the Bubble Got Right
0.46 Five Questions about Language Design
0.46 The Venture Capital Squeeze
0.45 Cities and Ambition
0.44 Startups in 13 Sentences
0.44 A Fundraising Survival Guide
0.44 The Hacker’s Guide to Investors
0.43 Design and Research
0.43 Two Kinds of Judgement
0.40 An Alternative Theory of Unions
0.38 Can You Buy a Silicon Valley? Maybe.
0.38 Why to Move to a Startup Hub
0.35 Founder Control
0.35 Why to Not Not Start a Startup
0.34 What Business Can Learn from Open Source

Who are your favourite Bloggers? What are some specific blog posts that have really impacted your views on the world?

Would love to hear in the comments below…

I have this blog. It has been going for over 10 years. Above all other benefits, writing blog posts helps me clarify what I think.

I published my first post on 25th January 2009. It was a paragraph from a book I was reading that I thought was valuable advice. I have written ideas on something 1-2 times every week since January 2009. There are 1,025 posts (not including this one).

I also have a youtube channel that today has a much wider audience than my blog, but it is the blog that has helped me get clarity and sharpen my ideas. Writing is the power tool in clarifying your ideas.

11 Reasons Why You should have a Blog

  1. Improve communication
  2. Clarify your thinking
  3. Library of thinking
  4. Share your Vision
  5. Raise your Visibility
  6. Become a Thought Leader
  7. Build a Community of Support
  8. Build trust
  9. Build Authority as an Expert
  10. Receive Feedback
  11. Mentor Others

How to start a blog?

Pick one of these and start writing. I use wordpress. I used to use Blogger (a google product).

Keep it simple, start writing. Get your thoughts down.