Don’t Assume Malevolence (WT567)

Don’t Assume Malevolence (WT567)


WT 567 Don't assume malevolence

You know I love quotes and mantras. Well here’s another one that a colleague of mine shared with me recently. Thank you Mark!

It comes from Jordan Petersen, “Don’t assume malevolence, when ignorance will suffice.”

First of all we’d better define malevolence. Without consulting the dictionary, in this context for me it means, don’t assume malice. Don’t expect that someone is intentionally wanting to hurt you in some way.

When you combine it with, “When ignorance will suffice”, my interpretation is that the other is not even aware of the effect they are having on you. The meaning of ignorance is to not know something.  

Okay, so why the English lesson?

These words remind us to not jump to conclusions. They remind us that our suffering is caused by one thing and one thing only and that is our thinking. They remind us to not get caught up in what Loretta Malandro calls Automatic Listening, where we make stuff up based on a reaction and judgement we have to a situation and then we create a story and look for evidence to predict the future and prove ourselves right. In NLP, we call it mindreading.

We do this from a very young age and for many, the ignorant ones, they continue into old age. But not you! You know better.

Here’s an example:

Christine was venting to her colleague about her manager. “He’s horrible, Shirley. He never asks me how I’m going or if there is anything I need? He’s just not interested in me at all.”

“Do you know that for a fact?” I asked.

“Well, that’s what he does”, she replied.

“Yes, that’s what he does. Do you know for sure that he is not interested in you or your work?”

“No, I suppose I don’t know for sure. But he’s horrible.”

“Yes, I understand that’s what you think. How about you ask him what he is thinking?” I encouraged her.

The following week she reported in. “You were right”, she said.

Now that was an interesting comment because I had simply asked her to ask her boss a question.

“He thought that because my personality profile was a Driver or Director (depending on the profiling system you use), he assumed that I wouldn’t want to talk about what was happening for me or what I needed. In fact, he was very interested. He was actually holding himself back, thinking that that was what I wanted.”

“Well, there you go. Don’t assume malevolence, when ignorance will suffice.”

Your turn! What situation have you recently reacted to and decided the other was acting from malicious intentions?

How about you go and have that conversation and check it out and save yourself the angst and grief of reacting to what you’re making up.

P.S. Our next free monthly webinar will be held next week on Friday 14th May at 11:00am Sydney (AEST) time. This month we’re focussing on improving team productivity through a secret system. Click on the link to register, even if you can’t attend, you’ll be able to catch the recording.

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What Lesson Did I Just Teach? (WT566)

What Lesson Did I Just Teach? (WT566)


What Lesson Did I Just Teach (WT566)

One of my weaknesses is that I let everyone else go first and I put myself last. It’s not a great quality and for the most part it only affects me (and of course, Ross from time to time).

I was horrified the other day to realise that I may have taught this to my friend’s 2 year old child, unintentionally of course, but a life lesson, none the less.

Here’s what happened:

Magnus was climbing the slippery dip at a local café where we were having breakfast.

Another kid, possibly the same age and a bit bigger in size, height and weight started climbing too.

I was standing behind Magnus to make sure he didn’t fall backwards and the second kid pushed his way past and up to the top of the slippery dip and I let him.

This same kid also attempted to take Magnus’ water bottle off him in another section of the playground but Magnus fought back.

Wow! Such an innocent event and yet so powerful in what it teaches us as well as the beliefs it generates. Powerful also in that our beliefs dictate our destiny and our beliefs are often created at a very early age.

Whilst I’m working on my own limiting belief of letting others go first (which I learned from my dad), I apologise if I just taught that to Magnus.

Remember, what you tolerate you teach.

What are you unconsciously teaching your kids?

Regards Shirley

P.S. Our next free monthly webinar will be held on Friday 14th May at 11:00am Sydney (AEST) time. This month we’re focusing on improving team productivity through a secret system. Save the date and we’ll share more over the coming weeks.

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Can I Have a Go? (WT565)

Can I Have a Go? (WT565)


WT 565 Can I have a go?

“Excuse me.”

“Excuse me.”

“Is that an electric bike?” asked one of the kids in the caravan park where we’ve been staying.

“Yes”, replied Ross.

“Can I have a go?” the young boy asked.

“No, it’s too big for you”, replied Ross.

“Does it go really fast?”

“Have you got to peddle all the time?”

Ross chatted with them and answered their questions.

They didn’t push the point for a ride and I couldn’t help admire their confidence to ask for what they wanted. Straight up!

I love how kids don’t prejudge an answer.

I love how they simply ask for what they want.

It makes me curious. At what point do we learn that it’s rude to ask for what we want or that people will think less of us if we ask or any number of variations on this theme?

When you think about it, you’ve got a 50 50 chance of getting a Yes or No.

If you get a Yes, you’re in front.

If you get a No, you’re no further behind. You’re still at the same spot you were when you asked.

If you have trouble asking for what you want, my recommendation is to go to and order the book Go For No by Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton.

It’s required reading in my Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience.

The message is clear, “If Yes is the destination, No is how you get there.”

This week why not be childlike?

Why not ask for what you want?

It’s not that hard to ask “Can I have a go?”

Regards Shirley

P.S. Our next free monthly webinar will be held on Friday 14th May at 11:00am Sydney (AEST) time. This month we’re focussing on improving team productivity through a secret system. Check out our Events Page for more information.

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Don’t Jump to Conclusions (WT564)

Don’t Jump to Conclusions (WT564)


WT 564 Don't jump to conclusions

This week we’re in Canberra, running my signature Leadership Experience and the Canberra weather turned cold on the weekend and we are back in our winter woollies.

Speaking of cold, I want to share Larry’s story with you this week.

“He won’t do what I ask him to do”, cried Larry.

“Who are you talking about?” I asked.

Larry had two boys so I assumed he was talking about one of his sons.

“My manager”, he said.

“Your manager? What do you mean?” I asked.

“I told him I wanted a stocktake done before the end of the first quarter.”

“Larry, that was a week ago.”

“Yes, but I told him to do it in January.”

“What do you mean you told him to do it in January? Do you mean you told him in January to do it in March, or you told him to do it in January?”

“I told him to do it in January”, he said with frustration.

“Oh Larry, I’m still confused. You wanted him to do the stocktake in March before the end of the quarter. You’re telling me that you told him to do it in January. To me that sounds like you told him in January and you wanted it done in January.”

“Well that’s not what I wanted”, he snapped.

“I understand that, however if you gave your manager the same instructions that you are giving me, I can understand why he didn’t do it now. Did he do it in January?”

“Yes and I was annoyed then because he didn’t do what I asked. He did it early.”

“Larry, is it possible that you are jumping to conclusions here?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said he won’t do what you ask. From what I’m hearing, he did exactly as you asked. He did it in January. It doesn’t sound to me like he isn’t doing what you told him to.”

Larry wouldn’t have it. He had decided that the manager was deliberately disobeying him. In my opinion, Larry had jumped to conclusions.

“Do you mind if I talk to him Larry”, I asked.

“Be my guest”, he huffed.

It turns out that the manager thought he was obeying Larry. He was doing his best to impress Larry. He jumped straight on to any request. He hadn’t understood that Larry was asking in January, even though he wanted the actual work carried out in March.

With a little coaxing Larry finally accepted that his manager was doing his best to please him.

This is a fabulous wake up call for us to be mindful about jumping to conclusions.

Before you decide, please take a moment to check your facts or as Steven Covey teaches us in Habit #5; “Seek first to understand then to be understood”.

It’s simple really, don’t jump to conclusions.

Regards Shirley

P.S. Our next free monthly webinar will be held on Friday 14th May at 11:00am Sydney (AEST) time. This month we’re focusing on improving team productivity through a secret system. Save the date and we’ll share more over the coming weeks.

P.P.S.Invite your friends to get the Weekly Thoughts delivered directly to their inbox. Go to

How Good is Your Culture? (WT563)

How Good is Your Culture? (WT563)


WT 563 How good is your culture

You’ve heard me mention the REACH profile before. It’s a psychometric tool we use to understand people’s personalities as well as their REACH – their agility to adapt to the other profiles or as a leader, their ability to use all of the 16 leadership competencies.

This week I did some peer reviews for one of my clients and we used the REACH Ecosystem Culture Survey.

The results we received were outstanding.

Both sets of results showed the current engagement scores for both leaders were in the top 10% of all culture surveys globally.

So what do the Culture Survey or engagement scores show us?

The scores are a reflection of how people feel about their workplace, which is commonly directly related to how the leaders execute the 4 key characteristics of a REACH Culture – the Who, Why, What and the How.

The report shows the percentage of participants who:

  1. Would recommend the organisation
  2. Enjoy their work
  3. Respect their team leaders
  4. Perceive that the team has a measurable impact on the organisation
  5. Believe that the organisation offers value
  6. Intend to remain in the organisation.

Obviously the higher the scores the better the team and organisation perform.

My question to you is, “How good is your culture?”

Do you know?

As a first step, why not ask your team to rate the above statements on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 lowest and 5 highest).

Calculate the percentages to see what your team really thinks.

Let me know how you go.

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Phenomenal Coaching (WT562)

Phenomenal Coaching (WT562)


WT 562 Phenomenal Coaching

One of my clients was sharing a coaching experience they had recently. It unnerved me a little because if she was talking about them, it’s most likely only a matter of time before she starts talking about me.

On a tangent here, I remember confronting a coaching client about the same thing. He was complaining about all of his suppliers. After he stopped ranting, I looked him in the eye and said “I’m just wondering when it will be my turn.”

“Your turn for what?” he asked.

“My turn for you to p..s all over me”, I answered and continued, “You’ve just sat there for 20 minutes and told me all the things your suppliers have done wrong and haven’t taken responsibility for any part of it, so I can only imagine that you’ll be saying something about my work at some stage.”

Not exactly what he was expecting to hear and it was true and he needed to hear it. He didn’t continue coaching after his initial commitment was completed. No real surprises there.

Back to this week’s thought.

So my client was talking about a previous coaching experience.

“The coach kept telling me what to do. That doesn’t work for me. Giving me strategies doesn’t work. All that does is make the coach feel good and superior because they think they have solved my problem, when they haven’t.”

“Did you speak up?” I asked.

“No, because it’s no use arguing with them, because they’ve decided what you need and will argue the solution. It’s easier to say nothing and do what I want anyway.”

“And you’re paying for the coaching” I stated, yet it was really a question.

Hearing this reminded me of what David Bayer calls “Ordinary Coaching” and I’m sad to say, I used to be guilty of that myself.

Until I learned about what he calls “Phenomenal Coaching”.

In Phenomenal Coaching we invite what David calls The Phenomenon into the conversation. The Phenomenon is Infinite Intelligence. David sees it like an old friend.

It’s also the part of us that knows what we want and how to solve our problems. In my Lifeline Telephone Counsellor’s training, I learned that the person with the problem is the best person to solve the problem because they know all the reasons why your solutions won’t work. They may also have a different set of beliefs and without the belief being in alignment with the strategy the coach or the counsellor is giving them, it simply won’t work.

Stop making yourself feel good by solving others’ problems.

Listen to them, ask them questions and invite The Phenomenon to help them find the answers that are already inside of them. That’s Phenomenal Coaching!

Regards Shirley

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