Thursday, 31 January 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 subscription?

I am amazed at Microsoft because their latest offer on Office 2013 seems too good to be true! 

What's the catch? For a small home based business the Office 365 Home Premium looks like a dream solution.

I will investigate and make a decision next week.

What the heck is happiness at work?

Really interesting little video with some key messages on taking responsibility for being happy at work, and why it's important to the bottom line.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

How much of your energy do you squander on internal politics?

Thanks Trimmy for great HBR article and there is a lot that I take from that article.

Last week I was brought in at short notice to be the 'team builder' for a kick off meeting on a major IT project. There were limitations on how much I could do with them as there was a lot of information sharing that had to be done, but when I left them they seemed to be in a good place.

My final messages to them was that they need to be positive and think how they can make it work, not why it can't. To work as one team caring enough about one another to challenge what they don't believe will work, and to do this in the spirit of openness and trust.

To end with a quote from Tony Schwartz ....

I'm convinced that it's the strength of our community at The Energy Project which has allowed us to become a truly high-performing team. The safety and trust we feel with one another has freed us to focus our efforts on our mission. We have a small full-time staff — 14 of us, along with another dozen working part-time — but we've been able to work at senior levels in some of the world's largest companies. One reason is that we squander almost no energy on internal politics. We're in this together, including when one or another of us is struggling and needs help.

I've always thought of our core team as a living laboratory for the practices we teach our clients — whether it's the power of renewal, or focusing on one thing at a time, or learning to deal more skillfully with conflict. What I now realize is that I've been overlooking one of the most powerful elements of our work.

Each of us is far less likely to succeed by forever pushing to stand out from the pack than by building communities of care and trust committed to raising the bar for everyone.

Transformation takes a village. None of us can truly do it alone.



Monday, 21 January 2013

Visual Leaders book

Amazon delivered my copy of David Sibbet's latest book 'Visual Leaders' and it looks great, all in full colour. I really look forward to reading it over the coming days.



My Belly-Basement

I'm reading 'Gone Girl' on my iPad on a train journey from Geneva Airport to Vevey and have just read a few great lines that sum up the issues so many people suffer from.

The words are:-

"I wanted them to go out and search for my fucking wife. I didn't say this out loud, though: I often don't say things out loud, even when I should. I contain and I compartmentalise to a disturbing degree: In my belly-basement are 100s of bottles of rage, despair, fear, but you'd never guess from looking at me."

The guy obviously needs a coach!


Sunday, 20 January 2013

My Fitness Pal

I was introduced to My Fitness Pal by my son and his wife. If you want to take control of your weight and fitness in a gentle non invasive way, then this is the app for you.

I started to use it at the beginning if the year, and apart from losing the excess of three weeks holiday in South Africa before Christmas plus Christmas it has given me a real insight into the importance of exercise and eating sensibly.

S U P E R B !

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Another good article in today's Times is on Stuart Lancaster the England Rugby Union Head Coach. The article starts :-

"This is an interview about coaching. It is about leadership and smart practice and how on earth someone with no international experience, who hardly anyone had heard of, managed to rescue an England rugby team at their lowest point in decades."

Well worth a read about a down to earth modest 43 year old coach is making a real difference.

The bit that really came home to me was:-

"This brings us to the essentials of what Lancaster is good at: getting people to do stuff.

He is too modest to sing his own praises, but he does mention his changing-room speech before the third international against South Africa last summer, when England were fatigued, 2-0 down in the series and all portents were bad. “I said to them: ‘There is no way we are coming off this pitch having lost, you’ve all worked too hard.’ I felt they deserved it.” They drew 14-14.

“Emotional intelligence is the key requirement to get the best out of people,” he says. “I was never academically straight As, but being self-aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, I am pretty good at that. I can sense how people are feeling and see through their eyes, have empathy for their position, all those softer skills.”

Here is an interesting video where Daniel Goleman explain Emotional Intelligence.


How to improve your memory

There is a great article in the Times today entitled 'How to improve you memory in 5 minutes' which is well worth a read.

As a trainer I take away a few key messages that reinforce my approach to adult learning.

There are three tricks of memorisation:

  • The brain remembers visuals better than anything else
  • It remembers the bizarre better than the ordinary
  • It remembers stories better than lists.

So lets get rid of those boring wordy PowerPoint slides and replace them with great visuals. Let the words come from you, and let them take the form of stories that capture the imagination of the learner.



Sunday, 13 January 2013


Carrying on with the theme of focussing on people's strengths I was introduced to this video this week.

I found it quite an emotional watch!


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Picture your Future

Happy New Year and may 2013 be a special year for you.

What do you have planned? Perhaps you haven't got around to it, or when you do make New Years resolutions they don't seem to work out. In that case I would like to share a very simple idea I learnt from someone many years ago.

I was on an advanced coaching course and met Martin and he shared his family 'objective setting' technique with me. Every year Martin and his wife sit down with their kids and say what do we want to do / achieve in the coming year. This generated a mixture of places they wanted to visit, things they wanted to do, school and work things they wanted to achieve. Now the really clever bit that prevented it becoming the usual old boring list, was they turned their ambition into a picture. They harvested pictures from old magazines and created a montage which they framed and hung in their kitchen.

I said to Martin that I thought it was a great idea, but how successful was it in terms of achievement. His answer was that it was amazing as every year they achieved almost 100% of their goals. This really impressed me and years later when I was developing a team programme I got in touch with Martin to get his permission to use his goal setting tool. He told me they still used it, it still worked for them and the only difference was that as his kids got older they had become increasingly ambitious in their ambitions particularly for holidays.

I called the tool 'Picture my Future' and introduced it as a very powerful coaching tool as I realised that the more people visualise what they are setting out to achieve, the more the goal resides in their subconscious mind. Somehow they then strive subconsciously to achieve their goals, and true enough the results flow. I have used this tool every year for the last six years and I know it works very well. Just before Christmas I received an email from someone who I had introduced the tool to years ago. She too had continued to use it and confirmed that it had 'made her dreams come true'.

Why don't you try it and picture how you want your 2013 to look like.