Because John Said (WT621)

Because John Said (WT621)


WT 621 Because John said

Twenty years ago, I shouted myself a gold signet ring with the initials R&S etched onto the face of the ring.

Overall, I was happy enough with the ring, however one thing bothered me and that was the shape.

In my mind, I had visualised the ring to be more elongated. To me, it was a bit “fat”.

Each time I would look at the ring, I would feel a bit of an “uggh”.

This week I was talking with John who owns a very successful jewellery store and I showed him my signet ring.

He asked to look at it more closely, so I took it off and gave it to him.

“When I look at the ring Shirl, it looks like a perfect signet ring to me”, he said.

“It’s got such a great energy to it and it’s exactly what a signet ring is supposed to be”, he continued.

With that advice, I immediately let go of my 20 years of disappointment.

Because John said it was right, that made it right. I could relax.

Afterwards I thought about my reaction.

How come one or two simple sentences can erase 20 years worth of angst?

It was because I trusted what John said.

He’s an expert and I know he knows what he’s talking about.

If he said it was okay, then it was okay.

Who’s your John?

Who are you a John for?

Make a list of all the people in your circle whom you trust for the right advice.

Analyse your list to see the particular areas of expertise for each one.

And if you don’t have a circle of trusted advisors, then that’s your homework for this week.

Make a list of potential advisors you’d like to have and then set about making it happen.

We all need a John. Why? Because they make us feel better and help guide us along the way.

Thank you John.                                        

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There’s No Need To Point The Finger (WT615)

There’s No Need To Point The Finger (WT615)


WT 615 There is no need to point the finger

One of the profiles I use in my coaching and leadership experiences gives us a score between 1 and 10 for what we call “Impression Management”.

Impression Management is the degree to which we want others to see us in a favourable light.

It’s our lie detector.

It shows us whether you’re a people pleaser or not.

The higher the number, the more it matters to you that people like you and/or that you are concerned to do the right thing by others.

The lower the score, the less you care what others think of you and the more critical you are – critical of yourself and others.

When I first completed the profile many years ago, my Impression Management score was as low as you could score. It was one out of ten.

I didn’t know how difficult it was to be around me, criticising the work or finding fault in things people did or didn’t do, until a coach of mine blurted it out one day. “You’re just so damn hard” she said, “It’s difficult to be around when you always find fault in things”. 

Ouch and true.

From that moment of transformation I did my best to work on being less critical and more grateful for the effort and support people gave. I still have an eye for detail, however I have learned to keep my mouth shut and say “Thank you”.

For the record, I increased my score from one to three and still working on it.

Why are we talking about this? Because this past week I’ve cringed as I’ve observed others behaving like I used to.

There’s no need to point the finger.

We don’t make ourselves bigger by making someone else smaller.

Stop looking for the mistakes that others make.

We all make plenty of mistakes ourselves.

Be grateful for the contribution others are making. They’re not all as smart and efficient as you.

Rant over!

Have a great week.

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If You Care About The Relationship (WT608)

If You Care About The Relationship (WT608)


WT 608 If you care about the relationship

Day 2 of our Leading Yourself and Leading Others experience.

One of the biggest concepts to appreciate when you’re learning to improve your communication skills is this:

“If you care about the relationship, use your skills. If you don’t care about the relationship, take the gloves off and have a go.”

What does that mean?

It means that we have a choice.

We are always choosing whether to use our communication skills or not.

Why would we care about the relationship?

  1. The person you’re in relationship with is important to you
  2. The relationship is important to you and worth fighting for
  3. Another relationship is important to the person that’s important to you, eg. An inlaw or friend
  4. Harmony is important to someone you care about, eg. your mum or dad or grandparents
  5. You have to work with the person
  6. It’s important to your boss and you care about your relationship with your boss.

Years ago, Ross came home from work and told me about a conversation he’d had with a colleague.

I was initially horrified to hear what Ross said to the colleague until I thought about it and processed it and then realised it was a valid point.

Having what we refer to these days as a “robust conversation”, in other words a fight, Ross told his colleague, “I have to work with you, I don’t have to like you”.  His colleague didn’t like hearing that because he wanted Ross to like him.

How about you? Is it important to you to be liked?

For me, reminding myself of the choice I have when it comes to relationships, I usually end up choosing to use my skills.

Those skills include:

  1. Active listening to what the other has to say.  It doesn’t mean you agree with what they are saying, it means you demonstrate that you heard and understood their message.
  2. Understanding if the issue is a conflict of needs or a values collision. Depending on the answer, we use different skills.
  3. Engaging my empathy and following Steven Covey, “seek first to understand before seeking to be understood”.

There are many many more skills and concepts we can choose to use and if you’re interested to know more, you’re welcome to join our Practical Leadership online membership or register for one of our Leading Yourself and Leading Others experiences.

For today though, your mission is to look at all the relationships you are in and decide if you care about the relationship and why or why not.

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Knowledge or Wisdom (WT606)

Knowledge or Wisdom (WT606)


WT 606 Knowledge or Wisdom

This week I had a wonderful conversation with a colleague around knowledge vs wisdom.

You know my favourite quote in the world is “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action” by Herbert Spencer.

Well this week I learned a new term “propositional knowledge”. It’s a concept in psychology.

If you have propositional knowledge about a topic, you know the theory and you have an understanding of the proposition that you believe to be true.

For example, you can watch someone ride a push bike. You can see that you need to keep your balance centred, your back straight and use your legs to push the pedals to make the bike go.

This is propositional knowledge. You understand the proposition or concept of riding a bike.

It is only when you get on the bike and ride it for yourself (many times) that it becomes embodied knowledge, ie experience and eventually wisdom.

As an example, I remember when I was studying for my teaching degree, I thought I knew everything about class control and discipline strategies and techniques.  I had read the books, listened to my lecturers and completed my assignments, that was, until I actually got in front of a class and realised I didn’t know how to control the class at all.

It was only after having acted out the propositional knowledge that I was able to embody the knowledge and achieve the result of controlling the class.

Propositional knowledge is like having a theory or hypothesis and then testing the hypothesis through experimentation to see if it works.

Until you have conducted a few successful experiments and altered a number of variables, all you have is theory (propositional knowledge) not wisdom or lived experience or embodied action.

Remember, “the great aim of education is not knowledge but action”.

Are you embodying what you know or are you espousing theory?

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The Second in Command (WT604)

The Second in Command (WT604)


WT 604 The Second in Command

This week I thought we’d talk about leadership and what it means to be the Second in Command (2IC).

In a few weeks I’ll be launching my new book called The Loyal Lieutenant: How the Second in Command Brings the CEO’s Vision to Life.

Before we look at the role of the person in your organisation who supports the boss, let’s look at the boss’ role.

The CEO, Managing Director, CVO (Chief Vision Officer) or whatever title the head person goes by, has the responsibility of creating the vision and direction for the organisation.

Being able to see what the majority cannot see is a true gift. That’s what makes them so valuable. They see possibility where the rest of us see darkness.

But – the majority of visionaries lack the ability to clearly articulate their vision in a way that others can see.

This is where the 2IC shines.

The 2IC is an interpreter. The 2IC gets the vision and is able to explain that to the team in a way they can understand.

The 2IC is responsible for bringing the vision to life; for developing the strategy and the plan and the actions that need to be completed by the team.

The 2IC is there to guide and support the team; to provide the resources and to solve problems.

The 2IC is the conduit between the team and the visionary.

The visionary wants to know where the projects are up to and the 2IC is the person who provides the progress updates. Communication is key.

Have a look in your organisation, even if your organisation is your family unit. There will be one person on your team who has the vision. There will be another who interprets and communicates this to the rest of the team, who will get stuff done.

Here’s an example that can be applied at both the workplace and at home.

Visionary decides to take the team to Disneyland. This is the destination.

The 2IC questions and clarifies what the visionary sees and shares this with the team and comes up with the strategy and the plan and then assigns the tasks to the team:

  1. Someone to arrange flights and accommodation
  2. Someone to arrange meals
  3. Someone to arrange insurances
  4. Someone to create an itinerary of activities
  5. Someone to organise transport in America

Every single person on the team contributes to the end goal in some way. Think of it like an orchestra with many different instruments, all led by the conductor. The 2IC is the conductor, guiding and mentoring the team.

Question: if you have a team to complete the tasks, should the 2IC be doing the tasks?

No. The role of the 2IC is coordinate and make it happen.

Who is that person in your organisation or family?

If it’s not you, are you supporting them by doing the tasks or are you standing back and letting them do your job?

The role of the 2IC is to bring the vision to life.

What’s your role?

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It’s Not Okay (WT603)

It’s Not Okay (WT603)


WT 603 It's not Okay

Mostly, I love humans.

Every now and again though, some do some things that really challenge my value system.

We visited a friend for dinner and had parked Harry Hilux in the street. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and were feeling very relaxed and happy when we left (no not drunk, just happy).

We walked up to the car.

Harry Hilux has a tray back and when we got to him there on his back was a half full carton of chocolate milk.

“Really!” Someone had left their rubbish sitting there.

We looked around for a bin. No bins.

We didn’t want to leave it in the street, so I ended up carrying it home in my hands whilst Ross drove and threw it in the bin when we arrived home.

In these days of Covid, I was also a little anxious about touching the rubbish.

What goes on in people’s brains that they think that sort of behaviour is okay?

It’s not okay.

Even if there wasn’t a bin in sight, please take your rubbish with you until you find one.

Okay, rant over.

What would you have done?

Would you have left it in the street or found a bin?

Let’s not litter Australia.

Let’s take responsibility for our actions and look after this amazing country and planet we call home.

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