I had the pleasure of spending Friday at my colleague Mykel Dixon’s Business Romantic 2017 event in Melbourne. This event was conceived as a contrast to the archetypical business conference with its jam-packed agenda of speakers, carefully curated to serve a central theme. The event title was drawn from the work of its featured speaker, Tim Leberecht. Its design was far from the careful curation of a singular message. The other facilitators (a better term than speaker in this context) were as diverse in message, style and delivery as they could possibility be – from poet to performance artist to entrepreneur. The progression of the day was more an exploration than an agenda. However, the shared purpose of the event was clear – the radical humanisation of the workplace. Read more →
I believe that exceptional business performance – be it customer service, product development or growth and profitability – comes from operational excellence. It comes from a team that is constantly striving to be great at the job of delivering value to your customers. It comes from not accepting ‘good enough’ but from constantly searching for ‘better’ – constantly searching for greatness. Looking to create a culture of operational excellence is that search for greatness. Read more →
Most people base their view of what’s possible in the future on what has happened previously – their history, including all things leading up to the moment they contemplate beyond ‘now’.
While it’s normal to base our worldview on past experiences – and this is as true for individuals as it is for organisations – this belief that history pre-determines our future can create a chasm between current reality and new possibility. Read more →
Devising a strategy is an organisational journey. Like all journeys, it needs a destination. It requires that you set a course – or at least a direction – to take you toward that destination. To make the journey, you need to choose an appropriate vehicle – one that is suited to the terrain. Finally, for it to be an organisational journey, you need to mobilise your people to head off in search of that destination – and one of the most effective ways of doing this is through project prioritisation. Read more →
I have a love-hate relationship with ‘Productivity’. On the one hand, productivity, in the right circumstances, is an essential part of being an efficient business and delivering value to your customers. Its measurement is also invaluable in assessing the effectiveness of your efforts to improve. However, far too many businesses believe that they can increase productivity simply by focusing on productivity – manipulating the inputs and outputs of the productivity metric. Read more →
We’ve all heard the expression that a team or an individual was “operating on autopilot”. Usually this means operating in an automatic, unthinking manner – it’s a bad thing. However, I believe that creating and engaging an autopilot for your business is a good thing. It ensures that the business stays on course no matter what the external influences are. It also gives the business’s leadership – its pilot, if you will – the time and attention necessary to take a longer term view and plot the optimum course for the business. Read more →
As the year starts to wind down, I like to immerse myself in the thinking that I believe should shape the coming year. My take on #BigIdea2017 is that more organisations will look to actively make their people the engine that drives not only the operational elements of the business, but also its growth, development and adaptation. In 2017, I believe we will see a fundamental move away from getting our people to engage in what the business values to valuing what our people have to offer the business.
I’m a bit over discussions on Leadership. As we often use it, I don’t like the term Leader. It conjures up images of someone who needs to be followed. We tend to think of strong leaders as the central point of control, someone directing the troops, with their hands firmly on the wheel, providing decisive decision-making. This makes leadership a position not a quality.
I prefer the term greatness facilitator. Someone that inspires and helps to create greatness in everyone around them. I think defining greatness as a quality and talking about increasing its frequency in your enterprise is the difference between mediocrity and excellence. It’s the difference between performance that serves your customers and the perception of performance that serves no one.
I have a confession to make – as a “project guy” I don’t actually love projects. I’m passionate about projects, but not for the reasons you might think. My passion for projects comes from what they enable…the greatness that they can create. Read more →
I recently had a brief exchange with an existing client organisation that speaks volumes about how a great number of businesses are managed today – the need for improvement is driven by crisis. Instead of being intentional about pursuing excellence, improvement has become a synonym for recovery. More and more the manager’s job has become the never-ending search for the next hole in the cost report that needs to be filled or the next deviation from “the plan” that needs to be corrected.