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    In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown encourages us to discern 'the essential few from the trivial many'. He recommends focusing only on essential tasks, those things that make the highest value contribution to achieving our vision or purpose. (By the way, its a great read / listen. I highly recommend it).

    In order to make your highest value contribution, you need to say "No" more often.

    You should say 'No" when ... you are saying "Yes" just to be nice or please someone else. We all want to be liked, but we will create a difficult situation if we become a "Yes person". Leaders need to get comfortable with not being liked.

    You should say 'No" when ... you know that saying "Yes" will set you up for failure. When you know you can't deliver on what is being asked, you have to either decline or negotiate a different time frame. This isn't being rude, just assertive.

    You should say 'No" when ... you know that the task is not your highest value contribution to your vision or purpose. You have a responsibility to be as productive and efficient as possible and being caught up with tasks that someone else could do defeats this purpose. Delegation is the key here.

    You should say 'No" when ... being authentic is important to you (and it should be). Saying "Yes" when you know you should be saying "No" means that you are compromising your values. Being authentic sometimes means pushing back.

    You should say 'No" when ... you need time to think, create, plan, recharge. We can't be at our best when we are too busy. We need to eliminate non essential activity and focus on 'protecting the asset', as Greg McKeown puts it. Don't feel guilty about looking after yourself.

    Saying "No" to a lot of things means that you are saying "Yes" to just a few, but it is the laser sharp focus on the most important stuff that the best leaders apart.



    A hot topic at the moment is ‘employee engagement’.  What is it and how important is it?

    When two people become engaged it means they are making a commitment to each other. It means that they intend to be loyal and loving into the future. It means that they care, deeply, about each other.

    How I explain employee engagement is whether your people care about the organisation they work for or not. What is their ‘Care Factor’?  This could range from ‘Care Factor Zero’, where, as a someone recently told me “They couldn’t give a sh#t”, to ‘Care Factor 100’ (the name of my next book), where 100% of your people are 100% engaged.

    There is strong worldwide evidence (Gallup Consulting) that high levels of engagement correlate with positive organisational performance. Organisations where the ‘Care Factor’ is high experience better profitability, productivity, growth, safety and quality.

    Think about this question. What is the ‘Care Factor’ of employees at your organisation? How much do they care about your organisation? Where, on the scale between ‘Care Factor Zero’ and ‘Care Factor 100’, would you employees be?

    It’s our goal in 2017 to help as many people get engaged as possible! We want both employees and organisations to care more about each other, so there is loyalty, happiness and greater organisation outcomes.

    Can we help you to achieve ‘Care Factor 100’?



    I strongly believe that our lives are better when we are more aware of those things in our life that we should be grateful for. In a busy, sometimes stressful world, a great way to do this is simple exercise where we list the positives in our lives followed by a short 'why'.

    There are no hard and fast rules, but here is a format that works for me and the people I work with. Take a clean sheet of paper (or screen), write in the middle in a circle 'What I am grateful for'. Simple fill the page in other circles with the things that you appreciate in your life. For example ...

    'What I am grateful for'

    • My family. Why? They love me and I love them.
    • My partner / wife / husband. Why? If we are lucky, they are our best friend and someone to share our life with.
    • My health. Why? Without it I can't be there for my family and live a full life.
    • My work. Why? It allows me to fulfill my life's purpose.
    • My friends. Why? They add value to my life and I add value to theirs.
    • Where I live. Why? It allows me to live the life I want to live.
    • The ability to make decisions about what kind of a life I have.

    By the way, the exercise isn't over until you have done two more things.

    • Expressed thanks for each of the things that you are grateful for. Eg, tell you family you love them.
    • Identified what you need to change to have a better situation in some areas of your life.

    This time of the year is a great time to reflect and take an hour to complete the exercise.




    Read / Listen - Audio book sales are growing at 40% per year. They are a great way to learn and grow productively. Get a free 30 day trial of Audible here. It's an app that you listen to audio books on.

    BONUS TIP: Essentialism by Greg McKeown is the best book I've listened to in the last five years.

    Sleep - there is strong evidence that we perform better when we are well rested. If you want to be at your best you must get enough sleep. Here is a great TED talk by Russell Foster on the importance of sleep.

    Laugh - 'living lightly,' as Marty Wilson puts it, helps us build resilience and boost our mental health, Marty is a friend of mine, professional speaker and ex Australian Comic of the Year. In this TEDX talk he shares the wisdom he has gained from interviewing over 1,00 high achievers.

    Meditate - I am amazed at the difference meditating for just 10 minutes each day makes to how productive I am. Calming the 'monkey mind' makes everything better. Calm is a great free app that guides your meditation practice. Check it out.

    What good habits are you going to make in 2017?




    Many don't believe me when I tell them that we should spend 20% of our time planning. "Sounds ridiculously high", is what they tell me.

    Well, just think of how productive 48 minutes in an hour would be if you spent the first 12 minutes doing nothing but planning?

    If you were working on a three month project (which was actually 60 working days), imagine how awesome it would be could if you spent the equivalent of 12 days mapping it out, reviewing progress, and improving!

    One departure from this theory is that you don't have to spend 20% of your year. In fact, I reckon if you spent a day this side or the silly season (or early in the new year) getting your big picture right, you would be setting yourself up for an outstanding 2017.

    It has the planning secrets of some on the world’s most prominent thought leaders and entrepreneurs. People like Tony Robins, John Maxwell and many more. I have been using the methodology developed by leadership expert, Michael Hyatt for many years with great success. He has gathered the thoughts of some of the world’s best. Why not learn from the gurus? 

    It really is an incredibly valuable resource, and it's free!