June 30, 2012

Inspiration and Opinion

I was recently hanging out with three buddies I have known for a long time and perhaps it's an age thing but we remarked how we care less and less about others’ opinions.

There’s a successful home renovator, a thriving real estate broker, a well established professor, and a leadership consultant. I met them when we were starting our careers and perhaps worried more about what others thought about us. But the realization that your own fulfilment is key can be a great motivator.

Each of us is responsible and does good work. But it’s more about how things change as you grow through your life. When you start out, you’re climbing ladders and establishing yourself, and perhaps the thoughts of others weigh heavier on you.

Why Do You Do That?

As you get more mileage under you, hopefully you realize your contribution is more critical than judgement. The challenge is how you get inspiration from others while keeping their opinions in perspective.

My professor friend asked me why I blog. He doesn’t get the point. His opinion is that it’s a waste of time. I told him that I began blogging simply to get my thoughts organized.

Learn and Share

If you enjoy the content, that’s fantastic! If you feel I can help your company, let’s chat. If you just want to drop by once in a while, that’s cool too. If something inspires you, that makes me happy. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine.

Through my work, I have the privilege of meeting business leaders who seek new learning and strategies to improve their leadership skills. Like my buddies, they have moved from relying on opinions to inspiring themselves and others.

That’s a pretty good work/life balance.

Kneale Mann


June 28, 2012

What Don't You Know?

Management at the Encyclopaedia Britannica recently announced that after 244 years, the iconic printed book series was going digital. No surprise. John Rives thought it would be fun to try a game he played as a kid with the books.

In business, leadership, and life, if you don't know you don't know, it can be fun to learn how you may know. Chimborazo

Kneale Mann

TED | John Rives

June 26, 2012

Our Collective Impatience

Let’s face it, we don’t want to wait and see. We have no interest in letting it formulate. We want it all to work out, in our favor, right now. We have the patience of a three year old and it’s getting worse.

Many self-appointed business, marketing and social media experts or gurus continue to claim that the conversation is how business leaders will gain what they need. All you need to do is make friends and your dreams will be delivered by diminutive characters wearing emerald apparel riding strange horned stallions.

How Can I Help You?

Your customers and clients don’t care about your influence score or how many people pinned your sale on Pinterest. They have zero interest in the fact that you’re the #1 volume dealer, have been in business for 3 generations or that your product is 13% better than your competition. Their need is their focus.

Business and human relationships require work. Hard work. Real work. As long as we use the return on investment crutch, we will forever focus on the return and not our investment. How much are we putting in before we can expect anything out.


The bigger question is your return on expectation or return on intention. What do you want from this deal, event, friend, partnership, campaign, etc? If you don’t know, then throwing a tantrum when it doesn’t go your way, won’t help.

Business and relationships are not created by the click of a mouse. You wouldn't let a stranger take care of your child or visit your home for a meal, so why would you expect them to instantly love and embrace you?

Some connections start through technology, but if we expect more return, we need to invest more on a human level which will help curb our impatience.

Kneale Mann


June 23, 2012

Radiohead or Barton Fink?

Elizabeth Gilbert who authored the wildly successful Eat Pray Love admits that she may never replicate that accomplishment for the rest of her life. She adds that it doesn't mean she won't find satisfaction and passion from the rest of her work.

Playwright Barton Fink had some success but fell apart when he was forced to create the next great American work. The Coen Brothers' story gets weird from there (no surprise) but Fink personifies the fear every writer has within. Will he write another successful work? Is her biggest success behind her?

OK Computer or The Bends?

Music purists argue over Radiohead’s finest hour. All measurements of commercial success point to the fact that the band has never reached the level of achievement they had with two iconic albums.  Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief are also fine works and I'm certainly glad the band didn't decide to pack it in and measure success with metrics from earlier milestones.

And when you can look at your successes, perhaps you worry if the good times will continue. Companies attempt to recapture former glory all the time and few achieve it. But the bigger question is, why do we do it? Why do we point to a single event in our careers or businesses and use it as a barometer for the rest of our work? Why do we think that future success - though different - can't be just as or even more satisfying?

Dump and Roll

One of my mentors once explained that he would toss early. He knew himself well enough that if an idea was struggling after a few passes, he’d leave it to fend for itself. Some came back, some went away.

When you’re experiencing business or leadership best sellers, celebrate them. But understand that to replicate the past will require a time machine and a bunch of luck. It’s how we grow with wins and losses that make us stronger.

Try Learn Grow

There are negative events in your past that you can point to as leadership growth spurts. They may not have felt so at the time but with reflection you can see that you needed them to get closer to your next win.

Any great leader will have a long list of events that didn’t go their way. That’s why they can navigate through the set backs and successes we all experience. That’s why they are leaders. And the essence of leadership is helping people who are flawed, make mistakes and find solutions just like you.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, best sellers and writer’s block come with the territory. It's what you do with them that counts.

Kneale Mann


June 19, 2012

How Can Leaders Use Comedy?

Crisp and clever writing can take a lifetime to master. Writing comedy can be the most difficult form of communication. It can create a viral explosion or fall on its face.

Chris Bliss writes and studies communication through translation and comedy. He may give you some ideas of how to create better lines of dialogue for your work, your leadership journey and other aspects of your life.

Kneale Mann

TED | Chris Bliss

June 18, 2012

Pick My Brain

If you have a profile on any social site, you’ve experienced it. You friend, connect or follow someone and moments later their pitch is in your in-box before you have the chance to say hello and get to know them.

We've all had our brains picked without compensation. One of my clients lamented about it last week but there are tire kickers in every business. The challenge is to separate those who are serious from those who are just trying to sneak a freebie from the candy counter. And that's something we need to manage.

An Offer to You

I've cleared two 30-minute confidential free coaching calls for the first two visitors who email me with a legitimate business or leadership issue. There will be no sales pitch from me. We will focus on you and perhaps unlock some ideas.

If there are blind spots or snags you can’t seem to get around, let’s discuss them. If not, let’s continue to get to know each other and you can always drop by here for free. Calls will happen by June 30, 2012.

Email Here

Update: The response has been overwhelming. I received over a hundred emails in less than 90 minutes, thank-you for your trust. Clearly we'll need to do this again sometime!

Kneale Mann


June 17, 2012

Thanks Dad

Thanks to all our dads for all your hard work doing the most honourable job there is and thanks to my dad and step dad for reminding me to go with my heart, do great work, respect others, enjoy life, and not spend a moment worrying about comparing myself to others.

Biology doesn't create fatherhood. Money won’t make you a great dad. Proximity can’t ensure a strong bond. Like any relationship, our actions cause richness and meaning.

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
Sigmund Freud

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.
Clarence Budington Kelland

I started businesses, I made a lot of money, I lost a lot of money, I made it back.
But no job is as demanding and rewarding as being a father.
John Harrison

Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.
Ruth Renkel

To become a father is not hard; to be a father is, however.
Wilhelm Busch

When I was a boy of 14 , my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. At 21, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in 7 years.
Mark Twain

Bono pays tribute to his father Brendan Robert Hewson who passed away in 2001 but it also serves as a tribute to those who we have lost and miss.

Kneale Mann


June 13, 2012

What Do You Feed?

One evening a man told his grandson about a struggle that goes on inside people. He wanted to illustrate the internal conflict each of us has and the choices we make to navigate that battle. The story can help us in life, in business, and in ourselves.

He said - “The battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, serenity, humility, hope, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, compassion and faith.”

The grandson then asked - “Which wolf wins?”

The man replied - “The one you feed.”

Kneale Mann


June 8, 2012

Your Summer Business Strategy

If you live in the western hemisphere, you've been enjoying the warmer temps for a month or more and summer officially begins in a couple of weeks. So it's only natural to want to slow down at this time of year.

A growing trend is the remote office approach. I was on a conference call this week with members of a client's company from around the world. It didn't matter if any of us was in an office, we accomplished a lot. With wireless, gadgets, wi-fi, webinars, telepressence, live meeting, email, phones, and many other solutions, there is no reason we need to sit at an assigned desk or in a meeting room every day.  

Remove the Office Walls

I was speaking with a colleague a couple of weeks ago and the number one reason she moved companies recently was because her previous "boss" insisted everyone was in the office at all times. He didn't trust his team if he couldn't see them. How sad. Relax the reins and you will be surprised how ideas begin to flow. Let your team fly, let them out of the routine, and they will enjoy their work even more.

And when the weather begins to cool and you've taken some needed vacation time, you can keep this more relaxed workflow model. If you haven't tried it, you will be quite surprised how people will appreciate the freedom to think and create their best work in a way that best suits their process.

Your busy mind and your team will thank you.

Kneale Mann


June 6, 2012

Today I Won’t

Today I won’t focus on what I can’t change. Today I won’t compare myself to others. Today I won’t do what they say I should do. Today I won’t second guess myself. Today I won’t make assumptions. Today I won’t worry about yesterday. Today I won’t sabotage my goals. Today I won’t muse about my weaknesses. Today I won’t listen to opinions. Today I won’t expect them to read my mind. Today I won’t get distracted by actions that will derail me. Today I won’t try and change the past. Today I won’t be hard on myself. Today I won’t fret the details. Today I won’t listen to my inner critic. Today I won’t settle.

Today You Won’t?

Kneale Mann


June 3, 2012

Key Elements of Presenting Ideas

Much of my work and passion is helping people with their leadership, collaboration and business development. Whether it's a keynote address or a small group in the office, your ability to explain your plan or concept is critical. An idea often dies because we are unable to articulate it to our intended audience. It’s not about simply creating a slick deck of slides. We must focus on the idea and how we want it to resonate with the audience. Then we need to ensure something happens to turn it into reality.

Sebastian Wernicke has created a template for developing a successful TEDTalk which may help you to prepare for your presentations. You might find this entertaining, but there are actually some good tips in here.

Watch, enjoy, and have fun presenting your ideas!

Kneale Mann

TED | Sebastian Wernicke

June 1, 2012

31 Ideas in 31 Days

Inspiration, quip, something timeless, an idea, or a bit of learning from some place, I share one each day on Twitter.

Here’s the list from May 2012

• Celebrating May Day, celebrating life
• No matter how much time, money or expertise we apply, we can't change the past
• Don't let anyone crush your ability to realize your potential
• May the fourth be with you
• Respect for the rights of others means peace. Benito Ju├írez (for Cinco de Mayo)
• Never underestimate the power of helping someone define their goals
• Share often
• Are you doing all you can do to create the success you wanted?
• If you’re not where you need to be, change your story or change your audience
• The best evidence of future behavior is past behaviour.
• Leadership is not a job title
• Kindness and success can coexist
• Thanks mom!
• Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things. Peter Drucker
• Success loves company
• Don't be the victim of busy
• Yesterday is gone
• Don't email them, pick up the phone and call them
• Without action, all the thought in the world won't get us there
• Teamwork happens when everyone on the team, works
• Speak with five new people this week
• It's not them, it's you who will realize your goals
• Never underestimate the power of your own curiosity
• Do something today that puts you at the edge of chaos
• Make the distinction between meaningful work and busy work
• Potential amounts to nothing without action
• Example is leadership
• Focus is a choice
• Good enough is never good enough
• Do you have a people strategy?
• Someday tomorrow won't be an option

May this be your best June ever!

Kneale Mann

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