December 31, 2012

A Year From Now

Each morning on Twitter, I post a lyric, quote, saying, thought, quip, or idea.

Here’s the list from December 2012

We can't control others' perceptions. Make time for life time. You don't need eyes to see, you need vision (Maxi Jazz)

If you want expand your scope, meet a minimum of five new people this week. Shut out the naysayers, especially the ones in your head. If you can dream it, you can do it. (Walt Disney)

If you want to help others, discover what drives you. If you want to inspire others, let them in. One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. (Alain de Botton)

Focus on what you want, not what others think you should want. Are you telling your story or someone else's story?

Never underestimate the power of asking why. The things you are looking for will never be found inside the four walls of your comfort zone. (Mandy Hale) How can you improve your company's internal customer service?

Today is whatever I want it to mean. (Beth Orton) What's on your to-done list this week that will help you grow?

You don't want to be considered the best. Often our biggest obstacle is ourselves. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do. (Jerry Garcia)

Leadership is a verb.

Do something for someone today even if they don't know it was you.A year from now, you will wish you had started today. (Karen Lamb)

Follow your curiosity. (Einstein) Review what worked. Learn from what didn't. Bring forward what you want. Never underestimate the power of teamwork.

Find the quiet and you’ll find your voice.

Kneale Mann


December 30, 2012

Do We Have a Clue?

In 1999, the Cluetrain Manifesto was ahead of its time and in a lot of respects it remains there. One passage that is even more relevant today; “We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp."

Deal with it.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - Jan 2012 | phdworldwide

December 28, 2012

Is Hope Your Strategy?

You've heard the saying – doing the same things expecting different results – but how many of us still do it? We hope this time the campaign will work, this time the client will understand, this time the tactic will gain traction. It’s human nature to miss our part of the equation as what may need to change.

All too often we cite external reasons why our past efforts have not garnered better results. The radio campaign didn't work, television is expensive, social media are too much work, we did pamphlets last time and that should work this time.

Nothing replaces strong leadership, good products or services, and hard work. But all that may not be enough.

This is not to suggest you are doing things wrong or your business plan is flawed but it simply takes a breather from the treadmill to examine the situation calmly. You need to find a way to look at things from 30,000 feet. And that, of course, is easier said than done but should be done.

Take 30 minutes, go off by yourself, turn your phone off and just let your mind rest. Your million dollar idea may not come to you in half an hour but you need to shut off the noise or you will never get there.

We need a break, perspective, space to think and we so rarely make time for it yet it is paramount in the success of our projects. Without ample think time you can spin in the wrong direction quickly and often. It can get rather pear shaped in short order.

A break may bring the answers you've been too busy to find

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - April 2012 | flickr

December 26, 2012

Getting Clear

We all know we are flawed and make mistakes. We know we don’t have it all figured out. And we know there's work to do. But part of finding clarity is discovering the joy in work rather than the seemingly unattainable finish line. Purpose can often be more important than making quota or hitting numbers. And how long does the satisfaction from a "sale" last versus following your passion?

Clutter makes us nervous and stressed. It can derail us from our goals. Clarity will help you find your baseline and silence some of that unnecessary noise.

To gain clarity, there are three questions you can ask yourself

1. What do you stand for?
2. What will you not do?
3. Why do you do what you do?

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - May 2012 | istock

December 25, 2012

A Day to Celebrate

Generous estimates put the number of people who celebrate Christmas at about a third of the world’s population. Some extend their celebrations to boxes of chocolate and elaborate meals, brightly wrapped gifts and a cup of good cheer. While others pay respects in a more religious way. And of course, many do a mix of both.

If you celebrate, please make it a safe and fun one!

Kneale Mann

Pearl Jam

December 23, 2012

Twenty-Three Leadership Ideas

It's been said repeatedly that leadership is not a job title and doesn’t materialize on a company’s org chart. It comes from communication and compassion about helping people grow. It thrives through action.

You don't acquire leadership with a pay raise or VP stripes. It requires daily focus and comes from inside you. Leadership is necessary from all stakeholders. You probably do most of these but here are some suggestions as you navigate your day.

Allow others to inspire. Find the how. Be present even during challenging times Have clear expectations. Don’t expect to ever have all the answers. Helping others is a privilege. Back your people up.Be bold. Never stop learning. Open door policies are for those who mean it. Don’t hide behind busy.

It’s their career too. Invest a minimum of 50% of your time helping people.
Be inquisitive. A team is more than celebrating victories. Lead don't boss.

Listen. Don’t hide when your people need you. Seek guidance from those who are committed to helping you grow. Customer service begins with you. Help grow their strengths. Be fair. Get to know what motivates your people.

Leadership may be the most rewarding work we will ever do. But we won't find it on our business card.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - March 2012 | freefoto

December 22, 2012

Reviewing Ideas for 2012

I've been looking back at the posts from the last year on and wanted to thank-you for taking time to drop by. There are countless trillion websites and you found mine then took a moment to look around. Thanks!

Keep Sharing Ideas

There are visitors here from over 280 countries and every continent on the planet and if we haven't connected through the social web or via email, let's do that.

As we wind down 2012, I thought we'd look at the top 10 posts here according people like you. We'll begin that tomorrow but first let's review the list published here on January 1st, 2012. Let's see how we did.

Travel more Forget the past Turn your phone off Some day is not on the calendar Don't wait for approval Talk about them Say sorry Excuses won’t help you Dream big. Do bigger Be gracious Thank your parents Make quick decisions Trust yourself Numbers are irrelevant Read more, skim less Stop comparing yourself to others Make eye contact Their opinion is just their opinion Smile more Take one digital day off a month Enjoy the ride Stop doing anything that weakens you Keep an open mind Busy is a victim word Plan ahead then be flexible Respect your own time Write something every day Move from what if to why not It's okay to be wrong Ask for help Hang with winners Don't rest on past accomplishments Reach higher Follow through Meet five new people each week Take time off It doesn't matter what they say There are no instant wins No excuses Help someone without their knowledge Go for it Ignore the news Don't waste your time on naysayers Sing often Let them be right Tell others about someone fabulous You’ll never been done Say thank-you Have dessert for dinner Trust your gut Do something ridiculous Sit quietly Be more tolerant Success is not a number Focus on your strengths Start now Laugh at yourself Take the victory Get some sleep Less talk, more do Do something scary Do nothing Go for a drive Cherish friendship Negative thoughts are a waste of time Be yourself The bucket list is meant to be lived Mistakes are allowed Your resume is not you Yes you deserve it Don't wait No one can want it more than you Lead with passion Take yourself out for dinner All we have is now

Kneale Mann

cbc | original: jan 2012

December 21, 2012

Your Answer Might be Steps Away

I shared this in a presentation recently and shared it here previously. It gets a reaction every time so I thought I’d share it again. Yes it's a clever commercial but the message is what’s important.

As most wind down the year and enjoy some needed rest and family time, the work and stress will be waiting for them when they return to work in January. The pressures of making revenue numbers are often the very catalysts to crush creativity. But if you open your mind, the solution might be closer that you think.

Will you make the next step?

Kneale Mann


December 19, 2012

Collaborative Direction

Leadership is about finding ways to accomplish goals through collaboration. This requires people who may have different levels of knowledge, expertise, background, interest, and perspective. This tapestry makes teamwork interesting and robust. But we can often get tripped up if we only look at things through our own lens.

Derek Sivers reminds us the opposite of our viewpoint can be just as valid an idea.

Kneale Mann

TED | Derek Sivers

December 17, 2012

The Human Stuff

Making more money, climbing some corporate ladder, buying a bigger house, getting that promotion, not getting the deal, all pale when tragedy hits. Our relationships are important and necessary. We have a human need to belong and have purpose.

The world is stunned by the unthinkable events at Sandy Hook Elementary. There are no words or explanations that will suffice. We struggle with sadness and rage while keeping focus on the families and friends.

Let us never forget Rachel D'Avino, Dawn Latterty Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Russeau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden,
Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Dylan Hockley, Madeline Hsu, Catherine Hubbard,
Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell,
Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos,
Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison Wyatt

This is the human stuff. This is what matters.

Kneale Mann


December 16, 2012

Your Team in Five Minutes

It's a simple group exercise. Each person has five minutes to make note of as many of their interests and/or abilities as they can. Then share it with the team. The lists usually begin with work items but eventually get to personal interests and passions.

The purpose of this five minute exercise is to hit re-set and help everyone remember that outside world they've been told to leave at the door.

The results will surprise you.

Kneale Mann


December 14, 2012

The Spirit of Our Time

The annual Google Zeitgeist reminds us some of the big events from the last twelve months. A billion dollar election, a skydiver from space, and a destructive storm.

But as you look back at the struggles and victories, hurdles and smiles, it might be a good time to give yourself a break and focus on the good stuff. I know I am.

Our love and prayers to the families and friends in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
No words suffice.

It has been quite a year.

Kneale Mann


December 11, 2012

Defining Innovation

It’s that time of year when we see all those lists – top this, best that, prediction this, future that. The list published on this site each year is simply some of the items I’m thinking about, you may do the same.

Fast Company began as a magazine in November 1995. After 17 years it remains a well respected outlet (and website) for technology, business, and design ideas from around the world. FC publishes many year-end lists and recently outlined what contributors and editors deem The Most Innovative Companies in the World.

Innovation may mean different things to each of us. It's akin to words like; important, good, essential, and leadership. Often it's a word attributed to the newest and shiniest simply because it's shiny and new.

For 2010, the Top 5 were Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Huawei.
For 2011, the Top 5 were Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Nissan, and Groupon.
For 2012, the Top 5 are Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Square.

Other notables this year include; DropBox, LinkedIn, Kickstarter, and PayPal. But there may be some you don't know.

To some, it might just be another arbitrary list. But it could lend insight into how to improve leadership and business ideas within your organization.

Kneale Mann


December 8, 2012

When a Community Creates an Idea

How often do you drop an idea because you don’t think you have the money, time, expertise, business savvy, marketing acumen, or network?

Here’s how Britta Riley solved the issue of growing food in her cramped New York apartment. The result is a global organization called The Windowfarms Project which was built through teamwork, open source, social media, and determined people.

Kneale Mann

TED | Britta Riley

December 7, 2012

Chaos and Collaboration

I was on a call recently with two partners in a company. One is detail guy personified and the other is all about the idea. They make a great team save when detail guy wants idea guy to be more specific, or when idea guy wants detail guy to figure it out and make it happen. Often the little things become large obstacles and they get stuck. Sound familiar?

Leadership is 25% products or services and 75% people and life.

You often see it in sports. Two evenly matched teams play each other to a lopsided result. Each seemed to have the same amount of talent and tools yet it wasn't enough to predict the outcome.

In that perfect world void of egos, job titles, org charts, and territorial battles, every relationship has open dialogue to deal with big things, little things, ideas and details. Once we embrace our differences, find calm in the chaos, and work as a team, we will celebrate more wins.

Easier said than done but it can be done.

Kneale Mann

guardian uk

December 4, 2012

Your Communication Challenge

Beyond job descriptions and organizational charts, strong leadership, communication, and presentation skills are critical for business success. In an era when there can be four generations within your company, the old model of corporate communications is changing and challenging.

In order for companies to tap into the knowledge and expertise of all stakeholders, it is imperative to provide training and experience for them to lead now and in the future.

Follow the Money

Every organization wants strong revenue and growth but it begins with your internal customer service between each person within the company. This is as important as ensuring there is a healthy sales funnel and strong external customer engagement.

Skip Weisman, a workplace communication manager, conducted a survey of 200 executives from large corporations to small business owners. They were asked specifically about their communications skills. Seventy percent believe they need to adjust their approach to how they communicate to improve motivation of their teams.

Inside and Out

Infrequent communication from leadership can have an adverse reaction to your customers as well. If employees are unclear about your company’s story, clients and partners can receive mixed messages which may negatively affect enterprise health. Some may think this is only necessary to sales, marketing, and public relations’ roles, but it’s imperative for everyone on your team.

Consistency can go a long way to improving leadership and communication within your culture. If you remain open to suggestions, make clear decisions, and speak in plain language, your internal customer service will thrive.

Check the Survey

Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind recently published an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Changing the Conversation in Your Company” where they discussed the results of a survey they conducted with about thirty leaders of various sized companies ranging from manufacturing to health care to financial services.

Respondents outlined where they wanted to grow. One of the key areas is narrowing the gap between leadership and employees and rethinking the traditional top-down approach. Another element leaders outlined in the survey was promoting a two-way dialogue with everyone in the organization.

Boss Says

All too often, the manager will send an email which outlines a new initiative. This proposal may be beneficial to all involved but without that ongoing conversation, adoption may be less than optimal. Keep everyone in the loop as much as possible.

An additional opportunity to improve communication within your organization is delivering sharper and clearer presentations. As I often outline to teams, you’re not doing a slide show but rather presenting your ideas.

Slide Shows Begone

Think about how many meetings and presentations you attend on an annual basis and now earmark the memorable ones. When a great idea is presented to us well, we may make time for it. But if we present all of our ideas with the same tone and message, they will all be weighted the same and progress can suffer.

Strong communication and presentation skills help leaders serve internal and external customers more effectively, become better listeners, and provide exemplary service inside and outside of their organizations.

I can help, let's chat

Kneale Mann


December 1, 2012

Actions and Behavior

It began sometime last year and has become a daily item each morning on Twitter.
I post a thought, an idea, a quote, a timely event, or wisdom from somewhere.

Here are some from November 2012

Leadership is a choice. Push yourself; you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. Look at your list, pick something, do it today.

They're entitled to their opinion and you're not required to endorse it. Leadership is about people not parties. The past has passed, enjoy right now. Never underestimate the power of you. If you're going to have ideas, why not have big ideas?

Let's not waste any more time on shoulda woulda couldas. Three questions of clarity: What do you stand for? What will you not do? Why do you do what you do? Thank them. Let's celebrate The International Day of Tolerance.

It's not how we fall; it is how we get back up again. It is no negative thoughts allowed day. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

If your people are your biggest asset, prove it through your actions.

Let's not take it all so seriously. The best indicator of future behavior can be past behavior, how can you improve that?

Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better. Connect and help. Pick five people you connect with online and book a call. Never underestimate the power of saying no. The high road has less traffic.

The idea you've been holding on to is ready to be shared.

Kneale Mann


November 30, 2012

Shut Up and Listen

Ernesto Sirolli is a charming and engaging man who is the founder of the Sirolli Institute, an international nonprofit organization that teaches community leaders how to establish and maintain enterprise facilitation projects in their community. He shares his valuable insight and ideas on leadership, business, success, and helping others.

Kneale Mann

TED | Ernesto Sirolli

November 28, 2012

Making the Right Decision

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book entitled Blink which begins with a story about an art gallery that is offered what appears to be authentic paintings. The curator suspects the pieces might be forgeries but he's then filled with hope that he's wrong. To be safe, he hires appraisal experts to make their recommendations.

They confirmed authenticity and the gallery purchased the pieces which turned out to be fakes. The curator wanted the pieces to be real even with doubt in his mind. And he may have convinced the experts to ignore their doubts as well.

The Gut Complex

We have the chance everyday to make a quick decision or belabor for a potentially better outcome. That is why we spend endless hours in meetings pondering the pros and cons of every decision. It’s the reason economic realities cloud our judgement. It’s at the base of demands from prospective customers and clients for positive results before the work begins. Return is expected before investment.

Leadership is about making decisions and producing results but every move we make is a risk. There are no guarantees. But if we always wait for the perfect time to do anything, it will never arrive. That doesn't mean we buy fake art or ignore our instincts but the guarantee we seek can be a fabrication we have created for the sole purpose of not making the call.

Some decisions take time and care, but if we blink, we may miss the opportunity entirely.

Kneale Mann


November 22, 2012

Planting Our Big Ideas

We all have big ideas yet often we don’t know what to do with them or we fold our hand the moment we get negative feedback. Most of this is self-inflicted conditioning.

It's common to get stuck on that fearful part rather than to keep working no matter how much resistance we face. We may not be able to visualize the final solution so we give up. We may be making it more complicated than necessary.

What If It Doesn't Work?

It can be scary to share our ideas and often we make the early decision to keep them to ourselves. Shoulda coulda woulda replaces why not and what do we have to lose.

The late Princeton philosopher and author Walter Kaufmann coined the phrase decidophobia to describe those who would rather leave the deciding to some authority. Kaufmann opined once the decidophobe has relinquished they will accept anything argued by that authority. I call it "boss is always right" syndrome.

Let Someone Else Decide?

She's a thought leader, he's a thinker, they're the idea team. All crutches we create to stop us from contributing to the process. We all have ideas that are valuable and if you are in a leadership role, open the doors a little wider and let those ideas in because there's brilliance waiting to be seen.

Two hundred years ago there was no Internet. A century ago we didn't have interactive technology built into the steering wheels of cars. And unless you share it, we will never enjoy what you have been thinking about which could change the world.

Let’s think big and stop over thinking.

Kneale Mann


November 17, 2012

Carrots and Sticks

How often do we talk about motivation in business and relate it to a monetary reward? Some say all you have to do is create an award system of new titles and higher compensation and everyone's happy.

Daniel Pink has been studying human motivation for years, he's written books on it, and speaks all over the world about it. He explains in his 2009 Global TEDTalk about the science of motivation. Lose the carrots and learn more about people.

Kneale Mann

Daniel Pink | TED

November 14, 2012

Today We Could

Today we could stretch a little more. Today we could make another phone call. Today we could not be so hard on ourselves. Today we could lead by example.

Today we could stop worrying about what others think of us.

Today we could take a step forward. Today we could not think too much. Today we could laugh at ourselves. Today we could understand this may take a while.

Today we could stop making excuses. Today we could listen to our own opinion.

Today we could worry less. Today we could recognize our goals are not their priority. Today we could exceed expectations.

Today we could not put it off until tomorrow. Today we could listen more.
Today we could grab life by the throat. Today we could stop blaming others.

Today we could be open minded. Today we could help someone.

Today is up to us.

Kneale Mann


November 12, 2012

How Are Your Meetings?

It’s easy to do. There’s a lot on the go and what better way to ensure alignment than to have a meeting and discuss expectations and deliverables. But how often have you attended a meeting that resolved nothing? It happens too often and we can fix it. If "the boss" likes meetings, show her a way to have less of them, make each one effective, and create a much more focused team.

Here are six simple rules we've all broken more times than we can count that will instantly improve your virtual or in person meetings. If everyone involved adheres to the rules, alignment will happen quickly.

1. Meetings begin and end on time
2. The person instigating the meeting sends a brief and concise outline
3. Only those essential are involved and prepare ahead of time
4. Each meeting begins with a clear outline of expectations
5. No meeting lasts more than an hour
6. Meetings conclude with clear indication of who does what by when

Good luck and if you need a hand, I’m happy to help.

Kneale Mann


November 11, 2012

Never Forget

Let us always remember the brave women and men who gave their lives and to those who continue to fight for freedom.

Kneale Mann

November 8, 2012

Our Distracted Minds

Other than our ability to reason and opposable thumbs we humans certainly do spend a lot of our precious time worrying about stuff that has happened or may never happen. Eckhart Tolle says we spend most of our time thinking of the past and the future and very little on the moment we’re in right now.

Make more money, have more time, buy more things, all seem to be what we think are linked to happiness. There is ample data proving that is untrue.

What Was That?

Another fact is our inability to fully focus. We spend a lot of our time thinking about other things other than what we're doing. Think about that as you become a better leader. Half of your team may not be paying attention at any given moment.

Matt Killingsworth has been studying what makes us happy and explains some of his findings in his 2011 TEDx Talk. This video is only 10 minutes long so hopefully your mind won't wander too much.

Kneale Mann

TEDx | Matt Killingsworth

November 6, 2012

It's About People

The topic of leadership has gotten quite a good trouncing in the U.S. lately. There is anger and finger pointing, claims and promises, fuzzy plans and selective history, polls and opinions, red and blue, and 314 million people hang in the balance.

It has been an interesting election to watch as a foreigner but I thought it would be good to step away from the noise and offer some leadership inspiration.

Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand.
Chinese Proverb

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people,
but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
John Buchan

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
Steve Jobs

Don't waste a single second. Just move forward as fast as you can and go for it.
Rebecca Woodcock

The price of greatness is responsibility.
Winston Churchill

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world.
Margaret Mead

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.
Colin Powell

If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
Margaret Thatcher

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
John F Kennedy

Never hold too closely to your idea but be open to change and innovation.
Jean Chong

The led must not be compelled; they must be able to choose their own leader.
Albert Einstein

When you accept a leadership role, you take on extra responsibility
for your actions toward others.
Kelley Armstrong

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.
Tom Peters

Take successes and failures as they come,
since things often change at a moments notice.
Juliette Brindak

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

The road to success is always under construction.
Lilly Tomlin

Leadership is the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard,
the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
Peter Drucker

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

Kneale Mann


November 5, 2012

Virtual Teaming

There are exceptions of course, but in many cases technology affords us the opportunity to work from anywhere. Millions can accomplish their work without ever going into a formal office. If I’m not on the road or with clients, I do much of my work from a home office. The remote environment isn't for everyone and it can be especially distracting if you let too much work blend into life.

It takes discipline to work when you have work and walk away when you can. But for more and more companies, virtual teams are on the rise. As social networks continue to grow and more than half of the online users on earth are connected through a profile, we're getting more and more used to connecting with others electronically. That is growing in the workplace too.

Who’s on the Line?

I was on a conference call recently with client leaders and almost half were calling from a location other than their formal office. The tools which allow this to happen can benefit companies, make people more efficient, and often save money.

Many leaders need to open their minds to the possibility that some (if not all) of their team may not report to a company desk at 8:30 every morning. I know many who haven’t been in the office in months. This is where strong communication and presentation skills become even more important. You are sharing ideas remotely which can be a challenge but conversely think of the amount of time you waste sitting in meetings that fail to result in solutions.

Try It You May Like It

This is not to suggest it works for everyone or immediately or all the time. There are growing pains as with every new initiative but if there was a way to increase productivity and improve revenue, you would investigate it so this falls into that category.

We can't forget the human work so open your mind, start slow, ask your team, try it out, and see how virtual teaming could open up possibilities.

If you need a hand, I’d be happy to help out.

Kneale Mann


November 3, 2012

Inspirational People #8

The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy has reminded us there is a lot more to life than making money or getting more readers or having a bigger title. The northeast of the United States will never been the same and it will take years to rebuild. This is when we need to reach out and lend a hand and get inspiration from each other.

A couple of months ago I started an ongoing series to highlight those who inspire the people who visit this site. The rules are simple. Is their information valuable to my work or life? Are they doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something?

This time, it’s a great list from Phil Gerbyshak

Native of Crivitz, Wisconsin, he’s a Brewer’s fan, a Packer’s fan, and most of all a people fan. He works with small businesses and organizations to increase employee and customer engagement by using social media to create and build relationships. I've spent time with Phil and he is a fascinating, energetic, and passionate guy.

Here are some of the people who inspire Phil.

Glenda Watson Hyatt

Anytime you think you have it bad or you got a bad break or you don’t think you can do it, think of Glenda. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and has fought every single day of her life. And she is one of the most inspiring and delightful people I have ever met. She writes, she blogs, she tweets, she teaches, she helps, and she fights for the rights of those with physical difficulties. Glenda speaks and writes candidly about her life and her sense of humor is quick. We all need to read her blog, buy her book, engage with her online, and quit our whining.

Jonathan Fields

Jonathan is an author, entrepreneur and speaker on a mission to help individuals and organizations cultivate the personal practices, workflow adaptations, as well as cultural and environmental shifts needed to become more agile, creative and innovative and embrace action in the face of uncertainty with a greater sense of ease. Jonathan is a proud New Yorker who bring his excitement with everything he does.

Sheila Scarborough

If you don’t want her opinion, don’t ask. If you do want it, Sheila will give you a straight answer and stand by her convictions. She is a writer specializing in travel. tourism and social media. She is also the co-founder of Tourism Currents with another inspiring person mention in this post, Beck McCray, which offers online and in-person training in social media for tourism and hospitality. And she says one of her prime motivators is to “guide you to the good stuff.” Sheila holds no punches, shares great ideas, and seems to have an endless supply of energy for herself and those around her.

Ramon Deleon

While in school, Ramon wanted to score a part-time gig at a local Domino’s pizza so he called the store and asked for a job. And he closed the deal on the phone. On his first day, he was told if he didn't wear a belt he couldn't work at the store. Not having one, he thought quick and raced home to borrow his sister’s belt. He served his customers with care and has carried that commitment to today where he owns six Domino's franchises in Chicago. In his spare time, not sure where he finds it, he speaks at conferences and events about his journey and business ideas.

Becky McCray

It seems so simple when you ask Becky but she sums up a lot of the chatter and natter you see online succinctly by saying we need to stop talkin’ about talkin’ about it and start doing something. She writes and speaks about small town business. When she’s not writing, speaking or consulting, she runs several interests including Tourism Currents with Sheila Scarborough, a cattle ranch, and a liquor store with her husband in Alva, Oklahoma. If you have excuses or complaints, do not share them with Becky because the next boot on your butt will be hers. If you want some real advice on how to get it done, then reach out to her because her heart is as big as her ideas.

Thanks Phil!

Kneale Mann


November 1, 2012

The Magic of Collaboration

Each morning on Twitter, I post something insightful or funny or silly or inspiring. These are from websites I've visited, pieces I've written, historical inspiration that might help, leaders who give us perspective, and ideas in my head. October began with five quotes from the late Steve Jobs on the first anniversary of his death.

"One home run is much better than two doubles. Design is not what it looks like, design is how it works. Remembering you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Stay hungry, stay foolish."

Here’s the rest of the list from October 2012

Focus on what went well this week. The past has passed unless we let it drag us down or we build on it.To my fellow Canadian friends - Happy Thanksgiving. To my American pals - Happy Columbus Day.

Leadership begins with you. Hindsight is a terrible business associate. We do our best work when it doesn't seem like work.

Never underestimate the power of questions. The perfect time will never arrive. Where we stretch, we learn and grow. Leadership is about guiding and helping then getting out of the way.

No one said it would be easy. Keep going. If you feel held back, loosen your reins. Belief in you begins with you.

Provide the guidance for them to lead themselves. Who can you call at 3am if you need them? Who has you on their list?

When did you last take an entire day just for you? Leadership begins with you. Ask them how they're doing and wait for their response. Have a look at your to-do list for this year, how are you doing so far?

Never underestimate the power of collaboration. Don't ask for praise, give it. Yes we can do better. Let's get on that today. If you're looking for inspiration, offer your help to someone who needs it. Share your mind, most can't read it. Say thank-you, often.

Step out of your comfort zone where you can grow.

Kneale Mann


October 31, 2012

Be Unpopular

It was May 2010. I was in a room full of smart people wondering how I snuck by security. I sat quietly to learn. At some point during the first morning, someone asked a pointed question that was quick and sharp. Erika Napoletano was funny, strong, and smart. I had a chat with her weeks later and my suspicions were confirmed.

Leadership isn't about being popular, it's about being fair and balanced and inclusive and having the ability to stand for something others can believe in. If that makes you popular, that's fine but if popularity is your only goal there will be trouble.

Now watch how Erika reminds us being popular shouldn't be the goal. There are some bad words in her TEDxBoulder Talk. You may be offended and she may not care.

Kneale Mann

TEDxBoulder | Erika Napoletano

October 27, 2012

Do We Have Choices?

When I think about strong leadership, words like inclusive and collaborative come to mind. But we can lose balance and let small hurdles get in our way. And if we're not careful, we can slip into complain mode which seems to draw a crowd.

We can continue down a destructive path or take a breath. Sometimes bad news is actually bad but often we allow setbacks to be bigger than they need to be and we lose all perspective. We can say the same about the people who distract us as well.

As leaders, we have choices to make every day. If we take time for think time. those decisions may be easier to make. 

Kneale Mann


October 25, 2012

Are You Doing the Human Work?

There is a chasm between your products or services and your customers. Without strong internal customer service, your interaction with the outside world will be flawed. If you don't do the human work, the tasks and tactics will suffer.

I was buying gas a couple of weeks ago and the guy behind the counter was annoyed I had gotten in the way of his work. I apologized for interrupting him.

Entities and Enterprise

The world is shrinking. Our behavior can be viewed through non-verbal cues that lead to misunderstanding. And we often hide behind the very technology we claim is helping us communicate better. It's telling to watch some unravel on the social networks where human connections can appear to be as strong as face to face.

In the enterprise, virtual teaming is on the rise so it has become critical to be aware of all the human work we’re doing to build our companies. Leadership is more than improving a bottom line. Without compassion and collaboration, the ideas and hard work alone won’t get you there.

Their Opinion Counts

Years ago, I was working with a large corporation that conducted an employee wide survey. The top concern was management’s inability to deal with non-performance. People notice when you aren't treating them well. If the human work subsides, productivity will be compromised. If you stop caring about your people, they will stop caring about the work.

If you sense the team is off course, it may not be for reasons you think. Products, services, and strategy could all be sound but the most critical piece might be missing.

The human work is the most important element of the job.

Kneale Mann


October 23, 2012

Inspirational People #7

We seem to be good at finding impactful words then throwing them around in all situations. One of them is inspiration. Those who inspire you shouldn't be downplayed. They give you perspective and guidance, ideas and experience, deep thought and clearer outlooks. Leadership begins with us but others can help on our journey.

A few weeks ago on this site, we began looking at people who inspire us. Email me yours and we’ll add them to the list. The rules are simple: Is their information valuable to my work or life? Is the author doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something?

What Do You Think?

Today we look at some who inspire my friend and colleague Jason Dykstra who is a conflict management consultant specializing in relational issues. He takes these conflict situations and turns them into creative solutions. He deals with these relational conflicts primarily in three areas; Family, Congregations and Workplace situations.

Jason and I have had some good chats and tweet exchanges. He’s an inspiring and engaging guy. Here’s a few who inspire him.

Sean Aiken  

Between February 2007 and March 2008, Sean completed an epic journey around North America, working 52 jobs in 52 weeks. His journey took him across North America to find his passion. He trekked more than 46,000 miles, slept on 55 couches, tried every job he could including; Bungee Instructor, Advertising Executive, Stock Trader, Baker, NHL Mascot, and raised over 20 grand for charity.

His website OneWeekJob continues to grow and Sean is now spreading his message through his book, speaking appearances and consulting others on how they can help those around them. He also spoke at TEDx Vancouver which is posted below.

Julia Rosien  

Julia is the founder and Chief Idea Officer of SocialNorth, a social media strategy firm as well as founder and owner of GoGirlfriend, a travel-based website for women. Julia serves on various boards of directors and is 2012 president for, a non-profit organization for women in the home and furnishings industries.

I’ve the pleasure of spending time with Julia and talking about her work, her passions, and most importantly what makes her inspire others. She loves her family, cares about the people around her, and I know from seeing her morning tweets that begin every day, she is determined to make it better than yesterday.

John Michael Morgan

John calls himself the Chuck Norris of branding which in itself is great branding! My theory on the topic is that brands cannot be created, that’s the audience’s job, but we must set the scene in order for the experience to be valuable to them.

John is the author of "Brand Against The Machine" and his clients range across the globe to include Fortune 500 companies, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and start-ups. John has started 3 successful businesses both online and offline. And he says he began studying branding and marketing when he was a teenager.

Thanks for the inspirational list, Jason! We must do the work that makes us passionate and cannot stop until we find it.

Kneale Mann

TEDxVancouver | Sean Aiken

October 19, 2012

What's Your Big Idea?

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream despite overwhelming opposition and it cost him his life. Steve Jobs built a company that changed the game. Mother Teresa served her religion and her people with dignity and grace. Oprah Winfrey smashed the glass ceiling while creating a unique brand.

Those are big ideas. And we all have them. They don't have to cure a disease or move a generation but we will never know their potential until we explore them, share them, and see where they'll go.

Ideas come to us constantly

Tom Peters says; “The new idea either finds a champion or it dies. No ordinary involvement with a new idea provides the energy required to cope with the indifference and resistance that change provokes.” Change is work so you won't gain consensus from the start.

The next time you can’t seem to shake the idea, let it percolate and rest. You won't have all the parts figured out at first. Give it more time to develop. No big idea has ever or will ever be embraced by everyone right away. But throwing it away the moment it meets a naysayer is a waste of an idea that could be big.

Resistance to new ideas is easier than embracing them.
The trick is not to resist our own too quickly.

Kneale Mann


October 17, 2012

Nog for the Noggin

About three weeks ago, I was in a store and saw it. The smugness was evident. It made no excuses for its early arrival. Right there by the chocolate milk it proudly stood in defiance of the calendar. Egg nog - a strange concoction that isn't custard but isn't a milkshake. Its familiar yellow hue and viscous properties are quite unique.

Halloween and Thanksgiving hadn't arrived and here was egg nog, usually reserved for the "holiday" season. So it seemed appropriate to review the bold and brazen list of things I published here this past New Year's Day.

Travel more Forget the past Turn your phone off Some day is not on the calendar Don't wait for approval Talk about them Say sorry Dream big. Do bigger Be gracious Thank your parents Make quick decisions Trust yourself Numbers are irrelevant Read more, skim less

Stop comparing yourself to others Make eye contact Their opinion is just their opinion Smile more Take one digital day off a month Enjoy the ride Stop doing anything that weakens you Keep an open mind Busy is a victim word

Plan ahead then be flexible Respect your own time Write every day Move from what if to why not It's okay to be wrong Ask for help Hang with winners Don't rest on past accomplishments Reach higher

Follow through Meet five new people each week Take time off It doesn't matter what they say There are no instant wins No excuses Help someone without their knowledge Go for it Ignore the news Don't waste your time on naysayers Sing often Let them be right Tell others about someone fabulous

You’ll never been done Say thank-you Have dessert for dinner Trust your gut Do something ridiculous Sit quietly Be more tolerant Success is not a number Focus on your strengths Start now Laugh at yourself

Take the victory Get some sleep Less talk, more do Do something scary Do nothing Go for a drive Cherish friendship Negative thoughts are a waste of time Be yourself The bucket list is meant to be lived Mistakes are allowed Your resume is not you Yes you deserve it

Don't wait No one can want it more than you Lead with passion Take yourself out for dinner All we have is now

Enjoy the nog

Kneale Mann


October 15, 2012

What's Your Ask?

The core of leadership begins with you, with me, with each and every one of us in our own lives. If we’re fortunate enough to live in a place where freedom is cherished then we have the chance to make it better, to not follow our dreams but create them.

It's not easy to make changes. It's much simpler to sit and put up with what you may think there's no choice over but you begin to believe the story in your head.

Extended Community

We are more connected than ever. We are growing virtual teams and connections that can help us. It may not happen immediately or all at once, but one small step right now can get things moving.

So if you are not satisfied, feel stuck, don’t know where to ask for help, who to talk to, where to find what you want, one thing is clear, doing nothing is simply not an option. Conceding that your situation rules your life and not the other way around should not and can not be your only option.

Let’s get up, grab life, reach out for help, and have some fun!

Kneale Mann


October 13, 2012

Dream Like a Child

There is no doubt the marvel of a child’s mind. It is full of possibilities and wonder. It can imagine worlds that may not exist and it doesn't limit itself by self-doubt and profits. We take art classes in grade school where we can express ourselves yet as we get older we are told to get serious and competitive.

Running a business and providing strong leadership is hard work. Our perspective is often the single reason we have conflict instead of collaboration.

Raghava KK is an artist, an idealist and a creative spirit who has gone through a lot in his life but has retained his childlike spirit.

Kneale Mann

visual credit: TED
Originally published: Sept 2011

October 10, 2012

Inspirational People #6

Ideas are all around us but how many are heeded and how many are ignored? That’s why I started a series of posts on this site a while ago to highlight inspirational people.

There are three simple rules. Is the information valuable to my work or life? Is the author doing actual work to back it up? Do they challenge me, make me think, and/or make me move to do something? Share those who inspire you.

Matt Ridings is the co-founder of SideraWorks with partner Amber Naslund and sent along some people we should know.

Saul Kaplan

As Chief Catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory, Saul created his non-profit organization to explore and test new business models and system level solutions in areas of high social importance including health care, education, entrepreneurship, and energy independence.

Saul is immersed in the social web through his blog, regular contribution to the Harvard Business Review and Bloomberg Business Week, and author of The Business Model Innovation Factory: How to Stay Relevant when the World Is Changing.

Jason Fried

37 Signals started as a web design company that has become one of the leaders in the collaborative space. Jason and his co-founders Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim have created products such as Campfire, Backpack, Highrise, and Basecamp. This is a cool company that continues to be connected to users and customers for the purpose of providing great service, asking for feedback, and advancing their solutions.

Jason is also the co-author of Rework with David Heinemeier Hansson which outlines why business plans are actually harmful, why you don't need outside investors, and why you're better off ignoring the competition.

John Hagel

Author, consultant, and infomediary (a word invented in his book NetWorth), John founded the Deloitte Center for the Edge Innovation, the International Academy of Management, and the Aspen Institute. He is also involved with the World Economic Forum, and Innovation Exchange. Other than that, he's not doing much. Ha!

Reading more about Jason, John, and Saul is a good kick in the butt. Let’s follow our dreams, collaborate with smart people, and stop wasting time on excuses.

Thanks Matt!

Kneale Mann

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