January 27, 2009

Beyond Great

Pilot Chesley Sullenberger was recently honored for his successful landing of US Flight 1549 in the Hudson River of New York. This was the first time in 50 years that a major aircraft crash-landed in the water with everyone surviving.

From the pilot who somehow managed to beat the odds and land the plane in one piece, to Josh, the passenger who actually read the safety card, so knew what to do once the plane landed. (note to myself: read the cards!), to the many people who stayed calm - Flight 1549 is an amazing story of teamwork, leadership, courage, luck and just plain beyond great.

Where can you go beyond great?

Whether you lead a company or team, sell products or a service, choose a context of beyond great and watch your people and business thrive.

"The greatest thing a man can do in this world is to make the most possible out of the stuff that has been given to him. This is success and there is no other." - Orison Swett Marden

January 21, 2009

Just Do It

"the most important rule of business in today’s integrated and digitized global market, where knowledge and innovation tools are so widely distributed. It’s this: Whatever can be done, will be done. The only question is will it be done by you or to you. Just don’t think it won’t be done. If you have an idea in Detroit or Tennessee, promise me that you’ll pursue it, because someone in Denmark or Tel Aviv will do so a second later." Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, December 10, 2008

I read this and was inspired to set my 2009 goals accordingly.

This year I have two overall themes: turning up the volume and having fun - in business and in life.

Now, I'll translate those themes into solid goals and measures and get into action.

What is your 2009 going to be about?
What will you achieve this year?
What ideas have you been sitting on that you can act upon? NOW!

Have fun!

January 19, 2009

Clear Thinking

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is the lack of time or opportunity to do high-level clear thinking about their business. It’s also one of the most critical elements to successful leadership.

We just came back from a holiday on the South Island of New Zealand. For two weeks we had no phones, TV, newspapers, email, computers or cars. We were off the energy grid so no wires. No industrial noise, energy or pollution. Only clean air, trees and pristine sea surrounded our house.

For the first time since I can remember, my mind was totally clear and calm. None of the usual background noise or constant chatter (aside from my two children). That was a first!

While this didn’t last the entire two weeks, I did experience a clear mind for most of the time.

The impact? People keep telling me I look years younger. I came back fresh - fresh approach, fresh ideas, and a fresh perspective on business, life and relationships. Clients watch out!

While we don’t always have the chance to take off for remote parts (although I highly recommend it) there is no underestimating the critical value of time away from everyday life to think from a clear perspective.

It’s what separates the winners from the whiners.

What clears your mind?

How much time each week do you REALLY need to engage in critical thinking?

How much time are you spending on high-level, critical thinking, and what is the impact on your business of not taking that time?

Schedule at least one hour per week. Combine it with a brisk walk if you need the exercise. If you can’t find a park, go to the library or any other spot away from the office chatter and general noise.

You can’t afford not to.

Thoughts lead on to purpose, purpose leads on to actions, actions form habits, habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny -
Tyron Edwards

A great book - not light reading but very useful: “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche

January 12, 2009

Innovative thinking

This weekend, the New York Times ran a commentary on the bankruptcy of Waterford Wedgewood. Once known for it's innovative thinking around design and selling, Wedgwood is fast becoming a dinosaur.

I was surprised to discover that Josiah Wedgwood pioneered direct mail, money back guarantees, self-service, among many other ground-breaking practices.

The Wedgwood lesson is something we should all take to heart. Now, more than ever, we need to engage in critical thinking from the future we want to create. Lessons from the past are important for learning but we need to move on and up from there.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect - not just because it’s the start of a new year, but current global circumstances demand we be smarter than ever.

Given that our company is all about helping people and businesses develop peak performance thinking and practices, we ensure we “walk our talk”. Some of the questions we engage in to keep ourselves on our toes include:

What’s at the source of our current results? (win or lose, we need to know why)
What do we really want to cause? (if our heart’s not in the game, we can’t possibly win)
What’s missing that would make the most difference? (we look to the gap)
What are the easy wins that build momentum now? (the best way out of the doldrums is movement and wins)

It’s what’s enabled us to continually grow, build on our successes and expand our competencies and capacities. We do this in business, with our health and well-being, our families and relationships, finances, etc.

What difference would it make to you, your business and your family to spend 30 minutes engaging in these questions on an ongoing basis?

Try it on for a month or two. It’s an addiction worth keeping.

January 9, 2009

Law of Attraction

In a recent conversation with a client who has a science background, they challenged the Law of Attraction theory, calling it a whole lot of hooey.

They have a point.

Let’s assume for a moment that there isn’t a Universe out there, listening to our thoughts and translating them into actions.

Let’s assume for a moment that all we have are our thoughts, observations and our reality. Remember, reality is all about our perceptions.

What is the difference between someone who wants something, but doesn’t believe it can happen, and someone who believes with all their heart, soul and mind that they can achieve what they want?

How will each person view opportunities and setbacks? What will they listen for in conversations? What will they look for, think about, dream about, plan about and act on?

Remember, what we look for, we find.

The person who KNOWS it’s possible will look for opportunities, hear possibilities, take action, have the conversations that will lead to RESULTS.

The other? They’ll be more likely to find evidence to support their doubt, sit home waiting, then complain when it doesn't happen.

So, whether or not you believe in the Law of Attraction, thoughts do become actions which lead to results.

Try planning 2009 with that in mind!

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." - Henry Ford (his people would do well to remember this now)