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    Boss, manager, leader, supervisor - they all mean the same right?

    You might call me pedantic, but thinking they're just words for the same thing is a big part of the problem. I came across this image* recently and it stopped me in my tracks because it absolutely nails it for me.

    Look at Boss. They've made it and they're happy. Dancing, congratulating them on succeeding. Awesome. Look where Boss' people are though. Still struggling to make it. Oops, some won't make it. No matter, Boss has and that's all that matters, right?

    By contrast, look at Leader. Hasn't made it yet. In fact, Leader seems more concerned with helping others than individual success. My guess is that when Leader eventually does make it, she will be surrounded by her people, all of them, and together they can say "We did it".

    Where is your focus? Individual honors or collective success?

    What difference are you making to your people?



    Driving change is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader. Yet, in my view, most organisations do change really poorly. Many are confronted by and even scared of change, and as a result fail to plan and implement it well. The result is, well, failed changed and the cynicism and mistrust that follows. Here is a way of better understanding change that will lead to us being less afraid of it.

    The Force Field Analysis was developed by Kurt Lewin, a German American psychologist. It involves understanding the two opposing forces in a change. Firstly, Driving Forces are those that represent the reasons why the change should happen. Restraining Forces are the opposite - they are the reasons why there may be resistance to the change. 

    When you realise that a change needs to happen, list the driving forces. That should be easy. Now, walk around to the other side of the issue and look at it from a different perspective. How does it look now? Not so easy? List the reasons why the change might fail or where the resistance could come from.

    Now that you understand the forces involved, design the change. In the past I have been guilty, when faced with restraining or opposing forces, of simply increasing the driving forces. Why? Because I could. A smarter way might be to address and thereby reduce the power of the restraining forces, meaning the change will succeed with even less driving force, or effort.

    Perhaps taking the time to better understand change is the smart way to change?


    Ikea’s Approach To Measuring Performance

    I love IKEA. I don’t like shopping, but I love IKEA. For me, the most attractive thing about the Swedish furniture and home accessories chain is its focus on simplicity.

    I did a presentation today to the Managers and Supervisor’s of IKEA’s Customer Support Centre at its national HQ in Tempe, Sydney. I arrived early so I had the opportunity to have a quick look around the store, (and to have some of their famous meatballs!).

    On the way out of the the cafe I noticed a sign asking ‘How was your dining experience today’? As you can see in the photo above, the Happy Or Not panel has four options. No written survey that would take minutes and might have 10 or so questions, just four coloured buttons with emoji faces.

    Simple to participate in, simple to analyse the results. My guess is they get a really high participation rate due to its simplicity.

    Part of my presentation to IKEA’s managers was about how to increase employee engagement. One of my Care Factor 100 Principles is to give honest and regular feedback on performance. I reckon one of the reasons managers don’t do this is because they perceive it to be too complex (eg annual performance reviews). My theory is that if we kept it simple, really simple, we would do it more often and the effect would be better performance and better engagement.

    Imagine using the Happy or Not approach once a week with your employees? You would then follow it up with a conversation that would improve performance and increase engagement.

    What do you think? Happy or Not?




    It’s become customary that when someone is asked how they are, the answer comes back something like, “flat out, busy as, out of control” or, as a client recently said to me “I’m as busy as a one legged man in an butt kicking competition”! It seems like it’s a badge of honour to admit that you are really, really busy.

    My issue is, that just being busy does not cut it. Being productive, efficient and making progress towards your vision or purpose should be the name of the game, but I see too many people floundering despite being ‘busy’. It’s simply not good business.

    Here are five things that will make a difference.

    1. Get a system for your time management. Be disciplined and systematic about how you allocate your time to your tasks.

    2. Slow down. I see too many people in chaos and they are running really hard and basically getting no where. Slow down or STOP! Get in control, and go again.

    3. Prioritise. We simply cannot have it all and do it all. Work out what are the most important things and work on those first.

    4. Delegate. Every senior executive I have worked with was doing tasks that someone else in the organisation could and should be doing. Focus on your highest value contribution to you business. Delegate the rest.

    5. Say No! We all like to be liked and sometimes we say yes just so we can please or not offend others, when we really should be saying no. Be honest and say no, so you don’t set yourself up for failure.



    "I'd be a better leader if I just had more time".

    I have worked with thousands of aspiring leaders; managers that want to be more influential, but don't have the time to be.

    It's not as if it's not important to them, it's just that everything else is getting in the way and they simply don't have time to do the 'non urgent leadership stuff'.

    The answer is simple. Become more organised, more productive and manage time better. That way, you will be able to do all of your operational stuff in less time, creating time for you to focus on leading.

    Better time management requires two things - a system, and discipline. Here is a proven system that I have taught to thousands. It works. The discipline? That's up to you!

    BOPAD - funny name, big results.

    1. Brain Dump: Take a clean sheet of paper. Write down every detail, deadline, task, commitment that you can think of. Don't stop until there's nothing more coming.

    2. Organise: Rewrite the items under logical headings eg Clients, Admin, Follow Up etc. 

    3. Prioritise: All things are not equal. Identify the highest priority items.

    4: Allocate: Open your diary or calendar. Allocate time for you to complete the highest priority tasks.

    5: Do: There should be no doubt about what you need to do - you have identified the most important tasks and made time to do them. Just do it!