Create or Compete: Leadership Lessons From Minecraft

Create or Compete

I have been learning to play Minecraft with my six-year-old son. I embarked on this exercise because I wanted to be involved with him, I saw it as an opportunity for us to do something together that wasn’t “driven by mum”, and I wanted to understand what the game entailed to ensure I was supporting … Read more Create or Compete: Leadership Lessons From Minecraft


The Knowing-Doing Gap: A Leader’s Guide

You’re pretty clever… I bet you ‘know’ lots of stuff. You went to school, you probably went to University and studied interesting things. Then you launched a career where you have done important, meaningful work – along with some work that seemed less meaningful. You have a whole stack of life experiences: maybe you’ve bought … Read more The Knowing-Doing Gap: A Leader’s Guide


Clear is Kind – Unclear is Unkind

As a leader, this is a really important thing to remember. We often try and soften our message to not hurt someone’s feelings, which in reality, is a selfish move… we don’t want to feel bad. But that lack of clarity creates confusion and doesn’t enable that person to move forward in a useful constructive … Read more Clear is Kind – Unclear is Unkind


Stupid Questions: Learn to Embrace Them

“There’s no such thing as stupid questions.” We’ve all heard that phrase espoused by leaders, project managers, consultants, facilitators and trainers. We’ve probably used it ourselves upon occasion. It’s the thing you say to fill the awkward silence… because you know that what you just shared is new and a little bit complicated, and you … Read more Stupid Questions: Learn to Embrace Them


Creativity with Constraints: Leadership’s Secret Sauce

I’ve never really considered myself to be creative – at least not in any conventional sense of the word, as applied to artistic endeavours. I can’t paint or compose or sculpt… I’m really great at following the instructions. I can play classical piano but run a mile from jazz. I did some acting as a … Read more Creativity with Constraints: Leadership’s Secret Sauce


Obligation: What To Do When It Steals Your Joy

It’s easy to make excuses. To think of a million reasons why you haven’t fulfilled your obligation… whatever the obligation is. I didn’t write a blog article for about six months… why? In my case – it was winter, work got busy, family life was busy, I published my first book… The thing is though, … Read more Obligation: What To Do When It Steals Your Joy


Excuses: Why Great Leaders Never Make Them

There are always excuses available to you. Always. If you fly regularly, you’ve probably noticed that there are lots of things that the flight crew – both those inside the cockpit and outside it – do consistently… the same way… every time. There are checklists and shiny big signs and flags on things reminding people … Read more Excuses: Why Great Leaders Never Make Them


Detail or Big Picture: The Not-So-Obvious Truth

One of the most common ways that management and individual contributors find themselves at loggerheads, is the sense that each has that the other isn’t paying enough attention to something that they value highly – the individual contributor is frustrated that leadership isn’t paying enough attention to why the subtle differences between thing A and … Read more Detail or Big Picture: The Not-So-Obvious Truth


Problem Solving: If Ya Gotta Problem… Yo, I’ll Solve It

I’m not too proud to admit that as an impressionable ‘tween’ I had a girl-crush on Vanilla Ice. In fact, if you’d popped round to our house for a cuppa, you’d probably find me in the lounge playing Ice Ice Baby at full volume, singing and dancing as though no one was watching (which thankfully they … Read more Problem Solving: If Ya Gotta Problem… Yo, I’ll Solve It


Emotional Overwhelm – When Your Feelings are Just Too Big

Have you ever cared about something so much that it hurts? Maybe a person – a loved one, or a cause? Have you ever felt a lump forming in your throat just thinking about the what-ifs? An emotional overwhelm so big it threatens to engulf you? I have. Or should I say, I do. In the … Read more Emotional Overwhelm – When Your Feelings are Just Too Big


First Impressions: Why You Must Switch Off the Autopilot

When someone visits your home – especially if it’s the first time they have visited – chances are, you spend a little bit of time getting ready for them to arrive. You care about their first impressions. You might tidy up a bit. You might plump the cushions. You might vacuum. You might make sure … Read more First Impressions: Why You Must Switch Off the Autopilot


More Than This: The Power of Momentum

The following text is an extract from More Than This: Your Heroic Quest to Find Inspiration, Intent, Impact and Insight  Excellent. Now you are inspired. You have overcome indecision. And you have clearly and specifically set your intent. It’s time to get moving… to overcome inertia. Have you ever push-started a car? It’s less of … Read more More Than This: The Power of Momentum


More Than This: Who Needs Inspiration Anyway?

The following text is an extract from More Than This: Your Heroic Quest to Find Inspiration, Intent, Impact and Insight  It is from Part 1: Inspiration. It follows on from a previous post – Why Your Leadership Matters Inspiration is the foundation of this journey. If you aren’t inspired, you can expect a life of sitting … Read more More Than This: Who Needs Inspiration Anyway?


More Than This: Why Your Leadership Matters

The following text is an extract from More Than This: Your Heroic Quest to Find Inspiration, Intent, Impact and Insight  I want to teach you what I’ve learned about kick-starting your life. I want to give you the tools you’ll need to build and sustain massive momentum. And I want to help you create and achieve the kind … Read more More Than This: Why Your Leadership Matters


Beyond Self-Interest: What is Leadership Really?

I’m curious about leadership and it’s potential to make a real difference in our lives – from the micro-level of families and communities, right through to the macro-level of nations and international partnerships. But I’ve always struggled to define it clearly. At least, to distinguish between leadership for good and leadership for… well, less good. … Read more Beyond Self-Interest: What is Leadership Really?


Power, Confidence and the Danger of Comparison

What do you think when you look at someone with immense personal power? Say Oprah Winfrey, or Nelson Mandela, or Jane Goodall, or Helen Clark, or Ghandi, or George Clooney, or Bill Gates? Someone who eschews confidence and wields influence? Someone who is humble and dedicated to making a difference? I’m sure you have a … Read more Power, Confidence and the Danger of Comparison


Grievances you Perceive… Your Personal Mission

I am writing this article in Vienna, where I took the time to visit the Victor E. Frankl Museum. I have recently finished reading his book Man’s Search for Meaning, and I was curious to visit the place where he did much of his work, after he was freed from Türkheim camp (associated with Dachau concentration … Read more Grievances you Perceive… Your Personal Mission


Uncertainty: What To Do When You Don’t Know…

I remember as a child, the excitement that would build and build in the lead-up to Christmas Day. Starting with putting up the tree and decorating it, school finishing up for the summer holidays (I live in the Southern Hemisphere), going shopping with my saved-up pocket money to buy gifts for family… There were always … Read more Uncertainty: What To Do When You Don’t Know…


Belonging: In-groups, Out-groups and Other-ness

A sense of belonging is one of those odd things that you don’t notice until it’s gone. In its absence, you feel it acutely, but when you have it, it’s very easy to take for granted. I am travelling at the moment, for work. Without my family. I am missing my husband’s birthday, and it … Read more Belonging: In-groups, Out-groups and Other-ness


Advancing Human Potential: Transformative Coaching

The human brain is a complex and noisy place. It is filled with the knowledge we have learned, the emotions that we feel, the memories we have made and the values and beliefs that we hold. This complex web of ‘thinking’ is what constitutes the human experience. And while we all have a mind rich … Read more Advancing Human Potential: Transformative Coaching


Rejection: Overcoming the Fear of Isolation

Some of you know that I’ve written a book. A serious, 80,000 word, change-the-world book. It took some time, and a lot of effort. A lot of early mornings, and shouting into the void… And initially I had assumed I would self-publish. It’s a credible, professional approach these days – you do more of the … Read more Rejection: Overcoming the Fear of Isolation


Finding Light in the Darkness: Hope and Optimism

I came across this beautiful Facebook post by Elizabeth Gilbert recently, in which she shares that our souls have two ways of communicating with us about what they are on the earth to do… they communicate through joy (the easy way) or by being appalled (the hard way). As I reflected on what she shared, … Read more Finding Light in the Darkness: Hope and Optimism


Why I Write What I Write: Seeking Connection

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about why I write. And why I write what I write. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m seeking connection. But that doesn’t quite mean what you might think. It isn’t about being lonely and wanting to meet like-minded folks to ease the loneliness. And it isn’t about connection … Read more Why I Write What I Write: Seeking Connection


New Beginnings: Goal Setting & Fresh Starts

Maybe it’s Easter, or maybe it’s the changing of the seasons… or maybe it’s because I use the Full Focus Planner and get to start a beautiful new journal every three months… but I’m feeling like it’s a time for new beginnings. As part of my quarterly review, I set myself some new and challenging … Read more New Beginnings: Goal Setting & Fresh Starts


Accessing the Answer Within: How Coaching Can Help

Unless you already have it all ‘sussed’ (in which case, lovely to meet you, but why are you here?) chances are my recent posts about finding your mission and realizing your potential might have been a bit intimidating. Today I’d like to share how coaching can help you access the answer within, enabling you to … Read more Accessing the Answer Within: How Coaching Can Help


Finding Your Mission: Why Are You Here?

When you wake up in the morning and think about going to work… what feelings come up for you? Are you excited? Are you anxious? Are you bored? Are you content? Are you stressed? According to Gallup, only 13% of employees, globally, are engaged in their work. This is staggering. Engagement isn’t some impossible feat … Read more Finding Your Mission: Why Are You Here?


Five Things I’ve Learned About Leadership From Blogging

In April, this Blog will turn one. So it seems timely to reflect a little bit on how far it’s come in that time, and, more importantly, what I’ve learned about leadership from blogging. So here are five things I’ve learned about leadership from blogging. There’s more where that came from… What I thought would … Read more Five Things I’ve Learned About Leadership From Blogging


Leadership Presence: It’s Harder Than It Looks

I am in the process of creating a three-part online course for first-time managers. It’s a lot of fun. But I have been struck by just how much is involved. Not in making the course (although that is definitely quite a process) but in actually trying to break down what effective leaders do… how they are… … Read more Leadership Presence: It’s Harder Than It Looks


Generosity: Leadership’s Secret Sauce

I am in book launch mode at the moment, and there are bucket-loads of things that need to be done. Editing, formatting, cover-designing, blurb-copy-writing… the list feels endless. And if I’m honest, overwhelming. I understand why some people write an entire manuscript and then never publish it. But the one thing that has overwhelmed me … Read more Generosity: Leadership’s Secret Sauce


Deficit Thinking: The Problem With Analysing Too Much

In our daily lives as managers, and even generally as people, we tend to think in an analytical way: Is that good, or bad? Should I do this, or that? Do I like that, or would I prefer something else? We spend a lot of our daily ‘thinking’ power on evaluating. Particularly evaluating options. The … Read more Deficit Thinking: The Problem With Analysing Too Much


The Critical Leadership Skill Most Leaders Don’t Have

Critical Leadership Skill

I learned how to make someone cry yesterday. Not because I learned some nasty words, or a painful torture technique, but because I learned the true power of listening. Listening not just to the words that are said, but the words that are not said. And the essence behind the words that are said. Someone … Read more The Critical Leadership Skill Most Leaders Don’t Have


Five Tips for Learning New Skills When It’s Uncomfortable

I’m on a course this week. Learning new skills. And that’s great. I’m looking forward to it… And I’m not looking forward to it. I’m an introvert! I’m sure that I’ll be asked to do something weird… Role-play with someone I’ve never met before, share something with people I’ve never met before, play a silly … Read more Five Tips for Learning New Skills When It’s Uncomfortable


Appreciation: 10 Ways To Show You Care

One of the advantages of living in New Zealand is getting to be first… Our Eastern-most reaches are the first to see the Sun at the dawn of every new day… which means that I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day while much of the world is still enjoying the anticipation of Valentine’s Day… Which got … Read more Appreciation: 10 Ways To Show You Care


10 Surprising Reasons You Should Focus On Doing Less

Doing Less

I’m a self-proclaimed generalist. I’ve never met a skill or a craft or a discipline I didn’t want to dabble in… at least to say that I tried it. I’ve resisted suggestions to focus in on a specific area – I’m OK with being good at lots of things, and not being expert in any … Read more 10 Surprising Reasons You Should Focus On Doing Less


The First Time Manager’s Crash Course – Take It – Share It

I’m super excited to announce that a little project I’ve been working on for a month or so is finally complete! The First Time Manager’s Crash Course is out now on Skillshare. This is the first in a series of three programmes aimed at first time managers, helping them bridge the gap between the technical … Read more The First Time Manager’s Crash Course – Take It – Share It


Are Leaders Born or Made? The Truth May Surprise You

If you have ever been responsible for managing or coaching managers, I guarantee you have asked yourself this question – probably more than once. In fact virtually every leadership development course I’ve attended throughout my career includes the question “are Leaders Born or Made” somewhere in the marketing material. The holy grail of leadership development … Read more Are Leaders Born or Made? The Truth May Surprise You


Shaping the Future – Seeking Feedback Poll

Today I’d like to invite you to tell me a little more about yourself, and help me shape this site into something that truly adds value for you. Please complete my “seeking feedback poll”. It’s short, sweet, and will ensure that what I’m doing is valuable to you! There’s only seven questions – it won’t … Read more Shaping the Future – Seeking Feedback Poll


10 Best Leadership Development Podcasts

Leadership Development Podcasts are a great way to get your daily dose of inspiration and ‘reading’ without having to sit down and read. I love listening to leadership development podcasts while I’m exercising, because I hate exercising, and a great podcast distracts me from the tedium of the treadmill… They’re also brilliant for commuters, and … Read more 10 Best Leadership Development Podcasts


What Will Your Personal Leadership Contribution Be?

It would be easy to think that you – one small person out of an entire planet of seven billion other people – didn’t matter much. In fact it would be convenient to think that… it let’s you off the hook, doesn’t it? I mean, how can your personal leadership contribution possibly have an impact over … Read more What Will Your Personal Leadership Contribution Be?


Why Most Managers Are Terrible At Spotting Talent

Almost all the leadership literature I’ve read has some version of this quote: that spotting talent is one of, if not the main, objective of leadership. And in particular, spotting leadership talent. Yet everyone I speak to about this topic agrees that almost every leader is bad at it. How many times have you witnessed … Read more Why Most Managers Are Terrible At Spotting Talent


Five Leadership Myths and How They’ll Trip You Up

Leadership myths emerge because most of us experience ‘leadership’ for the first time in the workplace. We may have been ‘experiencing’ leadership all our lives – our parents, our teachers, our sports team captains… but until someone puts a label on it, we don’t know quite what it is. Consequently, our view of leadership was informed … Read more Five Leadership Myths and How They’ll Trip You Up


Hey High Achiever… This One Is For You

January is a time when high achievers like you take stock, reflect, and recalibrate for the year ahead. Hey, who am I kidding! You’re a high achiever! You had most of that done before New Year’s Eve! But here’s what I know about you, High Achiever. Even though most of your family, your peers, your … Read more Hey High Achiever… This One Is For You


Nothing Is Perfect – But You Can Make It Better

New Year is a time when many of us review the previous 12 months, and reflect upon our successes, and more often, the things that weren’t perfect. It is also the time we set goals and resolutions for the coming year. For perfectionists, this can be torturous. We can focus more on the gap between … Read more Nothing Is Perfect – But You Can Make It Better


Growth Mindset: What Is It and Why You Should Get One…

Leadership Optimism Growth

For a long time psychologists studying intelligence believed it was a fixed trait. Something that remained stable over the course of your lifetime. This had two outcomes. It made it easy (and worthwhile) to measure intelligence and treat people differently according to their scores… And for those with low scores? They could give up! What … Read more Growth Mindset: What Is It and Why You Should Get One…


The Five Winning Habits of Successful Leaders

Successful Leaders

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” ~ Warren Buffett Many of us take the opportunity during the Christmas/New Year break to reflect on the year that was, and to make resolutions for the coming year. I’m super excited because under my Christmas tree this … Read more The Five Winning Habits of Successful Leaders


“Resistance is Futile!” – Holiday Survival Guide

Christmas

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” ~ Sun Tzu The ‘festive’ season is typically associated with additional stress. There’s the usual suspects – money for example. Increased expectations for treats and gifts can make us feel overwhelmed by financial obligations and the knowledge that a debt tidal wave is likely to … Read more “Resistance is Futile!” – Holiday Survival Guide


2017 Year in Review: The Beginning

2017 Year in Review

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford 2017 is drawing to an end… Along with my first nine months as a Blogger. As it were… my beginning. I thought it would be nice to pull together a list of the posts you read most in the … Read more 2017 Year in Review: The Beginning


Complexity: Why Most Leadership Advice Is Wrong

“Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.” ~ Alan Perlis Two of the roles I had early in my career were in organisations with a macro-level view on systems: one was in the area of public sector management and the other was leadership – or at least public sector … Read more Complexity: Why Most Leadership Advice Is Wrong


“What’s the Point?” – When Motivation Fails

Whats the point

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” ~ Zig Ziglar Just back from a week’s holiday in Sydney with our charming but wilful four-year-old… I’m not sure I have any oomph left. It feels like the run down to Christmas. Like I should be … Read more “What’s the Point?” – When Motivation Fails


Time to Breathe… Your Most Overlooked Skill

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius Breathing is a pretty phenomenal feat. Yet we pretty much take it for granted. So I’d like to invite you to pause, breathe, and pay homage … Read more Time to Breathe… Your Most Overlooked Skill


Two Kinds of People in the World… Which are you?

“…those who divide the world into two kinds of people and…” you get the picture. One of my son’s favourite bedtime stories is “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss. He particularly enjoys the scene where the Star-belly Sneetches and the Plain-belly Sneetches are racing around: “Changing their stars every minute or two. They kept paying money. They kept … Read more Two Kinds of People in the World… Which are you?


In the Groove… or Stuck in a Rut? Avoiding Stagnation

“Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation… even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci The english language intrigues me… perhaps never more so when two idioms that strictly speaking say the same thing, mean the exact opposite. In a recent poll on this site, a … Read more In the Groove… or Stuck in a Rut? Avoiding Stagnation


Complaining, Gossip, Sarcasm and Other Office Ailments

“Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything – for better or for worse.” ~ Simon Sinek Workplaces are made up of people. And people are, well… people. And people can be motivated and driven by invisible and incomprehensible forces… Our brains don’t work the same, and yet we expect other … Read more Complaining, Gossip, Sarcasm and Other Office Ailments


Management Challenge: Poor Performing Staff

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” ~ Peter Drucker Teams come in all different shapes and sizes… and performance levels. It is very rare for a manager to have the opportunity to appoint … Read more Management Challenge: Poor Performing Staff


10 Ways to Make a Terrible First Impression

“If people are failing, they look inept. If people are succeeding, they look strong and good and competent. That’s the ‘halo effect.’ Your first impression of a thing sets up your subsequent beliefs. If the company looks inept to you, you may assume everything else they do is inept.” ~ Daniel Kahneman Your first day … Read more 10 Ways to Make a Terrible First Impression


10 Things Every Leader Needs to Learn the Hard Way

“You learn by mistakes. When you make those mistakes, you try not to make them the third time or the second time. You learn from them. Sometimes you learn the hard way. In football, if I held on to the ball too long, I got my butt kicked. You better make that decision quicker.” ~ … Read more 10 Things Every Leader Needs to Learn the Hard Way


Leadership and Exceptional Service – One and the Same

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi I have always been passionate about exceptional customer service. I started my working life in retail and hospitality. I worked in a technology superstore when internet was dial-up and modems were optional. I manned the phones in … Read more Leadership and Exceptional Service – One and the Same


Opportunities: Seeing What’s Missing and Taking Action

“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” ~ Richard Branson Management is Seeing What’s Missing Have you ever noticed that there are some things in the world that you really despise when you have them, but that you don’t notice when you don’t have them? Like pain. Or feeling unwell. While it’s … Read more Opportunities: Seeing What’s Missing and Taking Action


Value Vs Status: Attain Fulfilment By Finding Your Niche

Value

All that glisters is not gold– Often have you heard that told. Many a man his life hath sold But my outside to behold. ~ William Shakespeare A few days ago I caught up with a very dear friend and former colleague for coffee. We haven’t seen each other for about two years, but as … Read more Value Vs Status: Attain Fulfilment By Finding Your Niche


Urgent Versus Important: Playing Corporate Whack-a-Mole

“Any emails that contain the words ‘important’ or ‘urgent’ never are, and annoy me to the point of not replying out of principle.” ~ Markus Persson You know the feeling. You’ve overcome your procrastination… You’re fed and hydrated… You’ve put your social media well out of arm’s reach… You are about to start that important … Read more Urgent Versus Important: Playing Corporate Whack-a-Mole


Diversity: The Power of Multiple Perspectives

“Our diversity is our strength. What a dull and pointless life it would be if everyone was the same.” ~ Angelina Jolie I have been trialling a new tool with some of my coaching clients, and I wanted to share a couple of observations with you about the breathtaking beauty of diversity. And the extent … Read more Diversity: The Power of Multiple Perspectives


Personal Brand: Objectivity, Ownership and Letting Go…

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of … Read more Personal Brand: Objectivity, Ownership and Letting Go…


Maximising your Impact – Personal, Professional, Global

Impact

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” ~ Jackie Robinson It’s been a tough week this week. Or maybe I should say a busy week. I’m trying to find my ‘why’. If you’ve seen it lying about somewhere, please let me know! I feel like the lack of … Read more Maximising your Impact – Personal, Professional, Global


Just Get Started: The First Step is Always the Hardest

First Step

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. The world is full of challenges and issues and problems. Every day on the news, in our social media feeds, and in our conversations with colleagues and family and friends, we are confronted by the things … Read more Just Get Started: The First Step is Always the Hardest


Time Management: Make the Most of What You’ve Got

Time Management

“Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.” ~ Jim Rohn I’m not sure I truly appreciated time until I had a child. I’ve always been ambitious and impatient to accomplish things quickly, but there’s nothing quite like waking up … Read more Time Management: Make the Most of What You’ve Got


Gary Vaynerchuk and the Older Woman

“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.” ~ Brene Brown Who is Gary Vee? I first heard the name “Gary Vaynerchuk” in a … Read more Gary Vaynerchuk and the Older Woman


“I Surrender” – Why Taking Control Means Letting Go

“Control what you can control. Don’t lose sleep worrying about things that you don’t have control over because, at the end of the day, you still won’t have any control over them.” ~ Cam Newton The bigger the job, the more complex the problem, the more crowded the market, the more things seem to be … Read more “I Surrender” – Why Taking Control Means Letting Go


“What if I’m Wrong?” Leadership and the Moral Compass

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” ~  Michelle Obama I’m picking that you’re reading this article because, like me, you’re educated, ambitious, articulate and confident. … Read more “What if I’m Wrong?” Leadership and the Moral Compass


“What are you Waiting for?” Time to get Motivated

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain Do you remember when you were a kid, and you still believed you could do anything you wanted? A fire-fighter. A mermaid. A princess. President or Prime Minister. As a child, the world – and your whole life – stretched out in front of … Read more “What are you Waiting for?” Time to get Motivated


“We Will Prevail”: The Power of Persistence

“Do not think your single vote does not matter much. The rain that refreshes the ground is made up of single drops.” ~ Kate Sheppard Yesterday was Election Day in New Zealand – 23 September 2017.  Earlier this week we marked 124 years since New Zealand women became the first in the world to gain … Read more “We Will Prevail”: The Power of Persistence


5 Books you Must Read if you Consider Yourself a Leader

People often ask me about the books I read. Specifically, they want to know what leadership books I’d recommend – there are so many!  Usually I try and curate a list on the spot based on what I know about the person who is asking, but I almost always miss something. There are already lots of “Leaders’ … Read more 5 Books you Must Read if you Consider Yourself a Leader


“I’m Not Going to Make it…” Surviving Professional Crises

Professional Crises

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity” ~ John F. Kennedy I sat in my office on a Sunday afternoon and the tears began to flow. I was embarrassed – but I needn’t have been, there was nobody else around. I don’t … Read more “I’m Not Going to Make it…” Surviving Professional Crises


10 Simple Ways to Boost your Leadership Today

Leadership

“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine” ~ … Read more 10 Simple Ways to Boost your Leadership Today


“…With a Head Full of Brains”: Dr Seuss on Leadership

Leadership Dr Seuss Title

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” –  from The Lorax, by Dr Seuss. Like many kids, I loved the rhythmic rhyming and colourful plays on language that litter the works of Dr Seuss.  Much to my delight, my son loves his work too – so … Read more “…With a Head Full of Brains”: Dr Seuss on Leadership


Feedback Unleashed

Feedback

“True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.” ~ Daniel Kahneman As a kid, I loved playing cricket.  I was a fast bowler, and also a halfway decent batsman. We had a lawn big enough to have a cricket pitch, and all through the summer, I’d practice my bowling, using our … Read more Feedback Unleashed


Hypocrisy: Why Morality, Authenticity and Civility Matter

Hypocrisy Authenticity

“When people talk, they lay lines on each other, do a lot of role playing, sidestep, shilly-shally and engage in all manner of vagueness and innuendo. We do this and expect others to do it, yet at the same time we profess to long for the plain truth, for people to say what they mean, … Read more Hypocrisy: Why Morality, Authenticity and Civility Matter


“You Got This” – Confidence in Spite of the Odds

“Cognitive psychology tells us that the unaided human mind is vulnerable to many fallacies and illusions because of its reliance on its memory for vivid anecdotes rather than systematic statistics.”  ~ Steven Pinker My first senior management role came with a media delegation.  This meant that, once I’d had media training, I was authorised to … Read more “You Got This” – Confidence in Spite of the Odds


Blogging: A Tool for Leadership Development

Blogging Leadership Development

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe” ~ Gustave Flaubert I’ve been ‘blogging’ about leadership development for a while now (OK – nearly five months), and I have been reflecting on what I’ve learned in that time. Probably the most significant lesson – and possibly the biggest surprise – is … Read more Blogging: A Tool for Leadership Development


“I’m Not Good Enough”… the Gender Confidence Gap

Gender Confidence

“Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good” ~ Charlotte Whitton This particular quote gets bandied around a bit, and with recent developments at Google it seems that this old ‘chestnut’ has a bit more life in it yet! So let’s start at the beginning. There are … Read more “I’m Not Good Enough”… the Gender Confidence Gap


Reboot: How to Get Going when you’re Stuck

Reboot

“New Year’s Eve is a great time to think about making a resolution to change a behavior, improve upon a practice, or to start something new. Most people don’t keep their resolutions very far into the year, but there’s no reason to wait until Dec 31st to reboot” ~ Dana Perino No matter what sort … Read more Reboot: How to Get Going when you’re Stuck


Skeptical Optimism: Reality Checks and Fake News

Skeptical Optimism

“I encourage active skepticism – when people are being skeptical because they’re trying to identify the best course of action. They’re trying to identify the next step for themselves or other people” ~ Tim Ferris I am proudly on the record as a self-proclaimed optimist – and I think that optimism is vital for leadership, … Read more Skeptical Optimism: Reality Checks and Fake News


Possibilities: Why I Love Books (and Journals)

Possibilities

“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh My local bookshop, Unity, has to be one of my favourite places in the whole world.  Small enough to be personal, but big enough to have so many books and choices I’ll never run out of options to browse. I’ve … Read more Possibilities: Why I Love Books (and Journals)


Adversity: How to Thrive on Setbacks and Disappointment

“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages” ~ Michelle Obama Anyone can lead when the path ahead is clearly mapped and free from obstacles. Anyone can manage when the task is well … Read more Adversity: How to Thrive on Setbacks and Disappointment


Overcome Overwhelm: Managing Work-related Stress

Overwhelm and Stress

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” ~ David Allen I’ve been reflecting on how much I’ve taken on.  Of my own doing, of course, but commitments none-the-less.  This week is particularly busy at work – largely responsibilities that … Read more Overcome Overwhelm: Managing Work-related Stress


Procrastination: Is it your Kryptonite?

Procrastination

“The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy” ~ … Read more Procrastination: Is it your Kryptonite?


The Perils of Perfectionism – A Pragmatist’s Guide

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be … Read more The Perils of Perfectionism – A Pragmatist’s Guide


Curiosity: A Vital Leadership Superpower

I know that they say “curiosity killed the cat” but I’m not convinced. I reckon there’s more to the story.  Because I suspect, even if ultimately curiosity did kill the cat, that cat accomplished a lot more in its life than it otherwise would have, because of curiosity! The practice of being a leader can be overwhelming … Read more Curiosity: A Vital Leadership Superpower


Complacency: The Danger of the Comfort Zone

Complacency is the enemy of mindful, deliberate leadership. Like many things in life, leadership follows a ‘bell-curve’ shaped trajectory.  You take on the big exciting new role, and you (hopefully) recognise the steep learning curve ahead of you.  You work hard – probably doing longer hours than you planned when you took the role – … Read more Complacency: The Danger of the Comfort Zone


Understanding: Who’s Responsible for it?

Understanding

I was sitting in a cafe the other day, enjoying a delicious latte, when I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation at another table that raised my ‘understanding hackles’ (yes, they do exist!)… “But what my clients refuse to understand is just how big a discount I’m getting them!  Sometimes 20, 30, even 40% off retail…” … Read more Understanding: Who’s Responsible for it?


Self Leadership: Take Care of You First

I’ve just had three days out of action with a particularly nasty head-cold.  (It’s winter right now in my part of the world.)  And while I really wanted to get in front of my computer and slog out something helpful for all of you fabulous people – I knew I wasn’t leading if I wasn’t … Read more Self Leadership: Take Care of You First


Assumptions: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Assumptions

Your brain loves to make assumptions.  They’re efficient.  They’re practical.  They’re quick.  But often, they’re just plain wrong! Early on in a big IT project I’m familiar with, a tiny and seemingly inconsequential decision was made…  The project was incredibly complicated – it involved replacing one big complex IT system with another big complex IT system with … Read more Assumptions: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Parenting: An Opportunity to Practise Leadership

Parenting

Parenting provides a myriad of opportunities to hone your leadership skills.  If you’re anything like me, your kids are both your pride and joy, and a regular source of frustration.  They can be horrible one moment – and positively angelic the next.  And while I would never ever suggest you should experiment on your children, … Read more Parenting: An Opportunity to Practise Leadership


Five Fun Things: The Best Bits of Leadership

Often, leadership is very serious business.  There are weighty responsibilities, and vital goals to be accomplished.  But if it were all hard grind all the time, why would anyone do it?  Leadership can be lots of fun too – and it should be. So today I want to share with you five fun things about … Read more Five Fun Things: The Best Bits of Leadership


The Inexplicable Power of the Humble Question Mark

Question

It is entirely possible that the most powerful thing in the world is the humble question mark. Whether written, or spoken, it has the potential to create revolutionary change, turn mice into men and bring dictators to their knees. How?  (See what I did there!) By creating a gap. A powerful, searching, probing gap.  And … Read more The Inexplicable Power of the Humble Question Mark


6 MORE Traits of Bad Bosses & what to Strive for Instead

Bad Bosses

It’s pretty well understood that we learn the most from our worst bosses, in the same way we learn most from our own mistakes.  Here’s a look at a few more things I learnt from my worst bosses. To learn about Traits #1 – #6 see 6 Traits of Bad Bosses – and what to Strive … Read more 6 MORE Traits of Bad Bosses & what to Strive for Instead


6 Traits of Bad Bosses & what to Strive for Instead

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend and former colleague who has just started his first chief executive role.  He’d invited me to share any insights I had from my own experience transitioning from senior manager to CE.  What an excellent question!  It created an opportunity for me to reflect … Read more 6 Traits of Bad Bosses & what to Strive for Instead


“I Failed” or “I’m a Failure”: Growth from Adversity

I failed this week.  Does that make me a failure? Last Sunday, I set myself and my readers a challenge:  every time someone asked me a question, I was to answer with a question.  I failed miserably.  I managed to do it twice, out of what must have been hundreds of questions.  What a failure! … Read more “I Failed” or “I’m a Failure”: Growth from Adversity


The Difference between Leadership and Management

Leadership & Management

There are some people who use the words leadership and management inter-changeably – as two words that mean the same thing.  This bothers me. Not because I am a stickler for correct usage of the english language (although that’s a perfectly acceptable reason) but because it stems from a lack of understanding that there is … Read more The Difference between Leadership and Management


Thinking on your Feet: Leadership Communication

Thinking on your Feet

In a recent post, I spoke about a leader’s most valuable talent – the ability to resist making complicated things overly simple, appealing to the lowest common denominator.  This really got me thinking about one of the skills that we all respect and admire in great leaders: thinking on your feet. Some people are brilliant at … Read more Thinking on your Feet: Leadership Communication


Leadership Matters – A Talent for Turbulent Times

Leadership Matters

  The first thing I read when I woke up this morning was Seth Godin’s post Off the Hook with Milton Friedman.  In it, Godin sets out how easy it is for people to latch on to simple ‘catchy’ ideas – even if they just shouldn’t be given air-time.  The first thought that followed?  Leadership … Read more Leadership Matters – A Talent for Turbulent Times


Leadership Insights: Alfred Adler & the Servant Leader

What is a Servant Leader? Hierarchies grant positional power… Most organisations with more than a handful of employees have a hierarchy.  It helps get things done – decisions are made, strategic directions are communicated, and performance expectations are set, managed and measured. Hierarchy, by definition, provides some employees with ‘positional power’:  that is, the role that they occupy … Read more Leadership Insights: Alfred Adler & the Servant Leader


Overcome Impostor Syndrome by Becoming a Superhero

What is impostor syndrome? If you are a human being, and you care – even just a bit – about what other people think, you have almost certainly experienced Impostor Syndrome.  It is insidious.  It can be debilitating.  And it is completely false. Experienced more frequently by women, and usually when you first move into a … Read more Overcome Impostor Syndrome by Becoming a Superhero


21st Century Leadership: Ditch the Military Metaphors

Early in my leadership journey, I attended a three day retreat on Emotional Intelligence for Leaders.  There were about 20 of us, all from different organizations, all at different stages in our careers, and all starting with a different understanding of what emotional intelligence was. Over the three days, there were a range of activities and … Read more 21st Century Leadership: Ditch the Military Metaphors


Decision Making: The Pitfalls of ‘Over Correcting’

Pleasure & Pain – The Heart of Decision Making At our most basic fundamental level, human decision making is driven by two things:  moving away from pain and moving toward pleasure. Within the personal development literature, there is a very compelling argument that ‘towards’ goals are more emotionally compelling than ‘away from’ goals.  In other words, that … Read more Decision Making: The Pitfalls of ‘Over Correcting’


Leadership Insights: Perceptions of Time

When I was pregnant, my fabulous hairdresser, Jason (who Blogs about Barbering and basically anything), said to me: “the truest thing I ever heard about having kids? The years fly by, but the days last forever!”. Truly the most useful advice I received about parenting!  And believe me, everyone has advice. This post is the first … Read more Leadership Insights: Perceptions of Time