Excellence – if not now, when?

Excellence is an exciting topic. Is it about being perfect, never making a mistake? Or is it more about a mindset and set of behaviours?

In this article, I will share five tips that individually, and collectively, will have you achieving excellence more often, than not.

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The Leader-Learner-Trap

Successful people regularly report they are lifelong learners. I want to think that I am a lifelong learner too.

Shayne Elliott, CEO of the ANZ Bank recently shared in a LinkedIn video post that he is “#always learning“. In it, he speaks about a book that has provided great value over many years, Execution – The discipline of getting things done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. It is a terrific book and worth the read.

The ability to learn is essential for success. I argue that today, oxygen and learning are equally important for humans. Without them you are physically dead, or your career is dead. However, are followers tolerant of leaders who are learning? I’m not sure they are, which creates a significant problem for leaders.

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High-Quality Workplace Conversations Matter

Here’s a formula.

High-quality conversations lead to high-quality decisions, which lead to high quality actions and ultimately, high-quality results and performance. The reverse is also true. Low-quality conversations eventually lead to low-quality results.

Achieving high quality results and performance are worth the effort to learn how to conduct high-quality conversations.

The point of leverage in this model is high quality conversations. But what is a high quality conversation?

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Five actions for living your organisation’s values

One of the most significant challenges that staff struggle with is how to “live” their organisation’s values and behaviours. People often say to me, “I’m sick of ‘hearing’ about the values. No one does anything about them.” I then ask, “Do you believe in the values and behaviours yourself?

A typical response begins with, “Yeah, but…”.

This pattern indicates that the real challenge that staff face is that they don’t know ‘how’ to have conversations about the values with their peers and managers. This article will share five actions of which you can use one or more to increase your contribution to your organisation’s values in a positive, constructive manner.

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What are you not saying to your boss?

One of my executive coaching clients is extremely successful. He regularly receives six-figure bonuses and is constantly approached by head-hunters.Gary Ryan

Earlier this year he was flat. He was frustrated with his boss. Despite his success, he wasn’t sure if his boss had his back or understood what frustrated him.

“Have you told him?” I asked.

“No, not really.” he replied.

“Why not?” I implored.

He had a lot of reasons. The biggest one was that he didn’t want his boss to see him as being paranoid. As we explored this issue, he shared that his frustrations were affecting him at home, and he had been less motivated than usual about his exercise and health program. This issue was affecting his entire life.

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How to lead a growing team

You know how it works. You are good at what you do, so more people keep being ‘given’ to you to lead. Not only that, but you are relocated to corporate headquarters and most of the people you lead aren’t co-located with you anymore. You have more meetings than ever to attend, yet you genuinely care for the people you lead but don’t have anywhere near the time you used to to lead them.

What do you do?

This dynamic is very common for the people I coach. Flatter organisations means higher spans of control, which means more direct reports to lead. Below are three tips for leading a growing team that isn’t co-located.

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Focus is what matters

Motorcycle riding is a great hobby of mine. Whilst, undoubtedly, it is a dangerous past time, there is an important secret to safe and effective motorcycle riding: focus on where you are going. One of the first principles taught by instructors is that motorcycles ‘go’ wherever the rider is looking.

This, however, does not mean that everything else should be ignored. Rather, as much as is plausibly possible, it is paramount for a motorcyclist to be as aware as possible of all their surroundings. If a bus is approaching quickly on your left – you must know that. If a car is recklessly changing lanes behind you – you must see that. If a parked car is just about to leave the kerb – you must be prepared for that.

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Lessons about mateship from a 7yo

This Sunday it is Father’s Day. When collecting my two youngest sons from school yesterday, my seven-year-old son, affectionately known as ‘D-Man’, was covering a paper bag with a drawing he had just completed in class.

“Dad, you can’t see what’s inside the bag because it has the presents I bought for you from the Father’s Day Stall.”

 “Okay, don’t worry I promise I won’t look.” I said.

He then went on to say, “Dad, when we get home, can you give me ten dollars?

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Workplace safety starts at home

My eldest son is 17 and is eagerly searching for his first car. We have two parameters for his search. The first is his car must have a 5 Star ANCAP Rating, and the second is our budget.

Prior to facilitating a Safety Conference for Programmed with my good friend Jock Macneish in 2011, I would have shared different criteria with you regarding a first car for my son. He was only 11yo at the time so my criteria were somewhat premature, but a story shared by Programmed’s Managing Director Chris Sutherland changed my mindset.

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