December 30, 2013

Compassionate Leadership

The sugar buzz from the Holidays may not have worn off yet but it is almost back to business. To many, this will be the toughest stretch of the year. Shortbread cookies and turkey comas are replaced by a look at a few months of work before the Spring or Summer breaks. To many, the cold reality of winter can seep into the consciousness.

So it's soon back to products, sales, marketing, people, share price, competition and many other factors that keep us up at night. As the 10 year anniversary comes up, a look back at the documentary The Corporation which examined the modern-day company. They evaluated its behaviour as a psychiatrist might evaluate you and me.

The Bottom Line

They concluded if the corporation was human, her ultimate goal would be to make money above all else. If that is the sole purpose of your company, be nervous. Fiscal health is imperative but without strong internal customer service, it will be a struggle.

We all share an inherent human need to belong which doesn't stop when entering the work area. Or again, think back a few days or weeks when people were a bit more relaxed and in better moods. We don't need eggnog and brightly colored ornaments to remember the importance of human connections.

Leading with compassion will serve you well.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

buyusedoffice

December 26, 2013

Our Spirit and Time

Google has been preparing a year-end review since 2001. They call it Zeitgeist which means spirit of the time or spirit of age. It's a look at our world in a couple of minutes. It's a snapshot of you and me. Here are the year-end lists since the company started compiling them and here's to a inspiring 2014!

Search on...






20092008200720062005
2004200320022001
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Google Zeitgeist

December 23, 2013

A Gift Idea

Canadian television personality and comedian Rick Mercer has a wonderful gift idea this year for all of us. We have enough coffee mugs.

Watch this


__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Rick Mercer

December 22, 2013

Curiosity Has No Age Limit

I posted this a few years ago and showed it to a client recently. If you visit here once in a while, you know I have a passion for leadership and culture. I also think it's a shame we begin talking about these topics far later in life than we should because they're important to people of all ages.

Meet Adora Svitak


__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

TED | Adora Svitak

December 19, 2013

Thanking Your Team

While many are enjoying the festive joy of the season of merriment (please don't drink and drive!), it is also the more reflective time of the year for most people. It’s the end of another year when we may take pause on our accomplishments and challenges from the past twelve months while looking toward some goals and plans for 2014.

While everyone is egg nogging and fruit caking, take a moment today and thank your team. They actually are your biggest asset and appreciating they show up every day and give their best is what sets your company apart.

Two simple words go a long way – thank-you.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

istock

December 14, 2013

Inquisitive Intuition

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. Albert Einstein

It’s often said that things happen for a reason. It’s often said that we adapt to the result with which we’re faced with at any given time. This is not a work thing, it’s a life thing. We create what we want – even when it doesn't feel like it. Our energy pulls in what we focus on which can be what we want or what we don't want.

As children, one of the first words we learn is "no". Words such as; yes, imagine, how, create, come much later which may be why we gravitate to "can't" far too often. That may be why we first hear no in our minds soon after the idea. As leaders, we need to make sound decisions, but nothing is guaranteed so there is always be a chance of a misstep. But taking chances is where growth thrives.

First Impressions

Malcolm Gladwell talks about that feeling you get in your gut when you know you’re right in his book Blink. It happens to all of us. We sense there’s an opportunity, we feel it’s a good one, and then justify the reasons not to act. Our reflection then creates the "I knew it!" moment.

We have to be careful not to build in failure at the design stage then work toward fulfilling that prescribed inevitability. What we need to do is learn from past challenges but focus on successes. Food for thought for the next time you get that nagging urge to act yet find some excuse stop yourself.

Let's listen to our intuition more and stop thinking so much.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

microsoft

December 11, 2013

Action Vs Noise

Imagine working where ideas are shared and appreciated, each and every person in the organization is valued, and progress is measured not by empty promises and well crafted corporate speak but by the accomplishments of everyone involved. For real!

When you have a roomful of opinions all fighting for a voice in a decision making process, the result is often a lot of indecision. Each of us is entitled to our thesis but this is where the water gets murky. But if you can take time to entertain new ideas then move them forward with a clear plan and data to in turn shape the idea into something tangible while including input from all involved. You will see stronger ideas for your business and a much more engaged team.

Uncharted Territory 

This approach makes some people nervous because the process may seem laborious and could perhaps slow down results when you just want things done. It takes some time to get used to finding room for many voices and opinions while remaining on track.

If it's new to your team, the process won't be perfect, nothing is, but fresh thinking doesn't survive in status quo so it is worth the effort. Let someone on the team facilitate the first few times - not the highest ranking member of the team - and take it slow. Keep things factual and don't make it personal. Your business will be a more collaborative atmosphere where employees can offer opinions and ideas are considered.

People and Profits 

When we meet with a business leader who wants to improve the bottom line, it's usually much more than a revenue issue and it often begins with internal customer service. The relationships you build and nurture inside your business can represent 90% of your bottom line yet far too many companies view it as unimportant.

We work an average of 1,800 hours each year and that number is growing. Collaboration and communication remain critical building blocks for any leader who desires success. But you and I just talking about it won't make it happen.

Let's get to work!
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

emoclear

December 9, 2013

Yeah, But Why?

If you have kids, you have experienced the why game. A four year old won't just accept "because" or "it just is" or "just do it, I'm your mother" and let it go. But we slowly let that inquisitive process slip away as we get older.

Then we may stop asking why. 

Change is not easy but status quo can appear safe. Our inner four year old needs to show up more often so we can discover why do we do what we do.

Tony Robbins shares his thoughts.


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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

TED | Tony Robbins

December 6, 2013

Madiba

The father of democracy in South Africa and beloved man around the world died yesterday with the same dignity that gave him the strength to endure 27 years of imprisonment then emerge as the first black president of his country, the key figure in the ending of apartheid, and the recipient of the Noble Peace Prize.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela's poise, grace, and leadership inspired billions and will do so for generations to come.

PBS tells Mandela's story.


__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela | PBS

December 5, 2013

Do You Cause Trouble?

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.
Jim Rohn

When we look at history, how often do we praise those who stayed between the lines? When did we last commend those who played by the rules and did what they were told? And where is the museum dedicated to those fearful of pushing boundaries?

No idea has ever been universally embraced from day one but that’s around the time most give up. We’ve all done it. We get an idea, someone says it’s dumb, and it dies. In order for a new idea to grow and survive; minds needs changing, focus needs realignment, and bias challenged. Courageous moves, valiant ideas, and brave action create that type of result. But that’s for other people to worry about, not us, right?

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
Katharine Hepburn

We admire those who have guts to take chances. We like people who make a splash and blaze a path. But we subscribe to the “I really really really hope things will get better” strategy. Sure, the troublemakers do all the heavy lifting and change the world, but we’re not them. We prefer to tuck ourselves comfortably into what is expected of us and keep our desires for the wish list. It’s much easier to cite myriad reasons it didn’t go our way than take a chance and face ridicule. Who wants that?

Visualizing the solution before it arrives has been necessary for every idea that has ever seen the light of day. And then it has required help from others to see it through. But we couldn't possibly share our ideas and change the world. That will never work. We have rules to follow and protocol to respect.

Society honors its living conformists and its dead troublemakers. Mignon McLaughlin

There are people working on ideas right now that will change the world. But only those who share those ideas will actually accomplish them. We all have a warehouse full of cool ideas we didn't have the guts to step up and share and what good have those done for any of us?

Leadership is not about covering your corporate backside so you get that bonus and the VP stripes next quarter. It is about providing an atmosphere where ideas can be shared and true growth can happen because finding the no’s is easy. Putting in the time to find another yes requires work. So let’s get to work and share our ideas.

Unless you don’t want to cause any trouble.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

turbosquid

December 3, 2013

Learning and Other Bright Ideas

A couple of years ago, I began posting quotes, ideas, and thoughts on Twitter each morning that could be silly, life changing, or anything in between.

Some from December 2013

Flexibility will garner better results. You don’t need to make every decision.

Show grace under pressure.

If people call you sensitive, thank them.
It's better than being insensitive.

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
Oprah Winfrey

Don't let job titles get in your way.
Trust your gut.

Resist the temptation to take all the credit.
Fall seven times, stand up eight. (Proverb)

A short no is often preferred over a long maybe.
Bury the past. Laugh at least once a day.

We acquire the strength we have overcome.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t hesitate this time. Be honest about your efforts.
No is a perfectly acceptable response.

Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.
Richard Branson

Balance confidence with competence.
Self-doubt serves no one.

Lower the bar and your best people will leave.
The culture begins with you. Own your decisions.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.
Dalai Lama

Imagine. Create. Share. Lead.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

November 28, 2013

The Thankful Leader

We're embarking on list season - best that, most this, least that, hated, loved, etc. Today is Thanksgiving in the US so let's add in items to be thankful for while we're at it.

• Thanks for helping me succeed and grow
• Thanks for the freedom to share our ideas
• Thanks for the chance to speak my mind
• Thanks for the ability to decide our own path
• Thanks for helping me learn and grow
• Thanks for the chance to collaborate and share
• Thanks for making me better each day

Thanks dude, thanks a lot, much appreciated, thanks for that - it takes literally two seconds to look someone in the eye and sincerely thank them.

Let's do it today. Let's do it often.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

istock

November 26, 2013

The Power of Grit

What does success, excellence, and 7th graders have in common? Consultant, teacher, researcher, and psychologist Angela Lee Duckwork decided to figure it out.

Watch this.


__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

TED | Angela Lee Duckwork

November 24, 2013

1000 and Counting

Today marks an interesting milestone. This is the 1,000th post since the inception of this site in April 2008. In 291 weeks, there has been a post every couple of days totally more than half a million words to visitors from more than 160 countries.

Thank-you for dropping by!

In just over five and a half years, there have been challenges and setbacks but those happen as part of life. But writing and publishing on a regular basis has garnered interest from three publishers and more importantly created friendships and business relationships around the world that would not have happened in countless lifetimes if I hadn't taken the chance and stuck with it.

Take a chance

There are usually three reasons we don't do something; we don't know how to do it, we need more information about it, or we don't want to do it. If you haven’t, try it, and if you try it, don’t be afraid to let us know about it.

If you have social profiles, promote it there. If you have friends who may want to hear about it, tell them. And what is “it” for you? Well, that’s up to you. So write when no one is reading, publish when no one cares, and if you do it consistently and tell us about it, we will find you.

The world does not need more cat videos, the world needs you and your ideas, so hit publish now!
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

static2stuff

November 21, 2013

Not Today

Today we won’t focus on what we can’t change. Today we won’t compare ourselves to others. Today we won’t do what they say we should do. Today we won’t second guess ourselves. Today we won’t make assumptions. Today we won’t worry about yesterday.

Today we won’t sabotage our goals. Today we won’t lament about our weaknesses.

Today we won’t listen to opinions. Today we won’t expect them to read our mind. Today we won’t get distracted by actions that will derail us. Today we won’t change the past.

Today we won’t be hard on ourselves. Today we'll focus on today. Today we won’t fret the details. Today we won’t listen to our inner critic. Today we won't concern ourselves with petty arguments. Today we will get to that item we keep meaning to complete. Today is all we got.

Today we won't settle.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

wallpaperstock

November 18, 2013

The Disconnected Leader

I saw Warren Buffet along with his son and grandson on CNN last week. One of the richest humans on earth has sent exactly one email, drives a six year old car, and lives in the same Omaha, Nebraska home he and his family has lived in since 1957. Something to think about the next time we feel compelled to want the newest latest shiniest gadget.

Imagine we woke up tomorrow and there was no Internet, the smartphone had not been invented and there is no email. We have all those things but one idea we could try is to type less, turn off our toys more, and speak directly with humans rather than devices or channels. Mr. Buffett is worth more than $63 Billion. He may be on to something.

If we disconnect once in a while we may be amazed how connected we can become with each other.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

impowerable

November 12, 2013

The Six Degrees of You

The world is shrinking. This is not new learning or a new concept. In my work, I can talk to people in 2-3 countries in 8-10 locations in any given day through email, phone, meetings, and webinars. It's the new reality.

Virtual teaming is one of the fastest growing aspects of business today and it will only continue to grow. Enterprise leaders are overseeing vast teams of people across large geographical areas and sometimes many are working from their home office.

Gary Kovacs is CEO of AVG Technologies. When he was CEO of Mozilla, he discussed the pros and cons of living in a connected world.


__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Gary Kovacs | TED

November 11, 2013

Always Remember

Today is Remembrance Day in some parts of the world, Veterans Day in others, and the reason for any days like today is our fault, our conflicts, our disagreements, our doing. War is unthinkable yet daily and countless millions of lives have been torn apart by it since we began to walk this great earth. We started it, we can stop it.

One of the most powerful human emotions is hope so let's hold on to that a bit tighter today as we remember all who gave the ultimate sacrifice for conflicts that were avoidable and senseless. Today is about them and perhaps there will be some day when the need for such conflict is eradicated.

We can always hope.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

wikipedia

November 9, 2013

More or Less

Start more. Eat less. Enjoy more. Work less. Focus more. Talk less. Laugh more. Envy less. Move more. Complain less. Fulfil more. Worry less. Sing more. Compare less. Live more. Network less. Contribute more. Use less. Help more. Stop less. Connect more. Hope less. Play more. Skim less. Communicate more. Say less. Learn more. Waste less. Smile more. Own less. Listen more. Fret less. Thank more. Reflect less. Collaborate more. Annoy less. Dream more. Nag less. Write more. Doubt less. Read more. Whine less. Accomplish more. Drink less. Love more. Meet less. Do more.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

knealemann

November 7, 2013

Where Do You Start?

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to tackle a new task or refine an idea or meet a deadline but been unsure where to begin? That’s obviously rhetorical because we all have but the trick is how we successfully get out of that first key step to move forward.

It’s often been said leadership is about results but those results have to begin with an idea that must be advanced and refined before we can deliver it. But how much think time do we allow in our day to even get any of done? Our biggest hurdle is often us and in our inability to get started.

Here are some ideas to get us moving forward.

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.
Henry Ward Beecher

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
not going all the way, and not starting.
Buddha

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
Walter Elliott

Now is the operative word. Everything you put in your way is just a method of putting off the hour when you could actually be doing your dream.
Barbara Sher

Distant fields always look greener, but opportunity lies right where you are.
Robert Collier

The beginning is the most important part of the work.
Plato

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today
and make a new ending.
Maria Robinson

The idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.
Seth Godin

The beginning is always today.
Mary Wollstonecraft

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
John Wooden

Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.
Dr. Joyce Brothers

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Chinese Proverb

The starting point of all achievement is desire.
Napoleon Hill

I haven't failed. I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.
Thomas Edison

Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.
Mattie Stepanek

Never consider the possibility of failure; as long as you persist, you will be successful.
Brian Tracy

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.
Anne Frank

Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never
have a beginning.
John Henry Newman

Let’s get started!
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

backofthepacker

November 2, 2013

Helpful Hints and Other Wisdom

In the last couple of years, I've gotten into the habit of finding quotes or sharing quick ideas every morning on Twitter. Use ‘em, toss ‘em, share ‘em, your call.

Here are some highlights from November 2013

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Steve Jobs

Collaboration only thrives when all involved care about all involved.
Help someone without them knowing. Your experience and time are not free.

Understand what you need and then ask what they need.

Our best work is ahead of us. Connect don’t collect.
Why would you hire you?

Example is leadership. Albert Schweitzer

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow will never arrive. Let's focus on today.
You’re only as good as your team. Be kind to yourself. Never stop learning.

I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you're going to innovate.
Jeff Bezos

Complaining solves nothing. Few argue with their own data.

Success is not a random act. Malcolm Gladwell
Power is the ability to get things done. Rosabeth Kanter
The secret of success is getting started. Mark Twain

Stop comparing yourself to others.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

istock

October 31, 2013

Did You Know?

There are people working on inventions we will someday feel we can’t live without but don’t even know we want or need yet. There will be channels and gadgets and toys and advancements that may give us the impression they have improved our lives. At the core of it all is our ability to connect human to human which began thousands of years ago and we've been trying to figure out how to do it properly ever since.

This may be scary, it could be a refresher, it might be exciting, but it is our reality.

Watch this.


Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Virtue | Shift Happens | Coldplay

October 29, 2013

The Face of a Leader

“Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”

Much has been written, discussed, and said about the attributes of a great leader. It’s perhaps easy for us to look to sports or business for those examples because they are plentiful but how often are they right there, in the middle of real life?

Before October 9th, 2012 most of us had never heard of Mingora, Pakistan. It is located in the Swat District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The landscape is stunning, the people are strong, and at one time it was a tourist destination. Queen Elizabeth called it the “Switzerland of the new Empire”. But fear and terror are now part of daily life in Mingora as the Taliban’s presence has replaced peace.

"I am not here to speak against the Taliban. I'm here to speak up for the right of every child."

Three years ago, a young Mingora girl began writing a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. Her perspective was simply from a girl who wanted to realize her potential and for those around her. The New York Times filmed a documentary of her life which created more exposure for her and her cause.

She gave television and print interviews and soon her real identity was known. Her work garnered a nomination for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.

"The extremists are afraid of books & pens. The power of education frightens them."

Malala Yousafzai was a brave young girl who was simply sharing her feelings and telling the stories of her town. But the Taliban was paying close attention and October 9th, 2012 they attempted an assassination on her life.

While she was returning home from school, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head and neck leaving her for dead. Malala miraculously survived and has become more vocal than ever, speaking for the rights of girls around the world to gain a good education and realize their dreams.

"I am focusing on women to be independent."

United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai's name, using the slogan "I am Malala" demanding all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015. Time magazine featured her on the cover as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World".

Malala has become the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Noble Peace Prize and has won the Pakistan National Youth Peace Prize, Sakharov Prize, and Simone de Beauvoir Prize.

"I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard."

In just over a year, she survived being shot in the head, written a book, shown her bravery in the face of terror, spoke at the United Nations, appeared on countless televisions networks, met with country leaders – including President Obama – to fight for woman’s educational rights, and created The Malala Fund to further the cause.

If you want to see leadership personified, meet 16 year old Malala Yousafzai.


__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

tribune | united nations

October 25, 2013

Successful Leaders Do Less

There is a ravenous appetite for information that seems to be more pronounced than in any other time in history. Information is travelling at the speed of light. Theories, news, priorities, ideas, deadlines, profits, voices, thoughts, it never seems to end but to borrow from the Bard, how much has any significance?

The problem we often face is we don't know what may be important until its emergency has passed. Everything is code red, all meetings deemed critical, every email needs a reply. Hurry up, this is important! I need to get to the next crucial deadline!!

Busy is the new black

Here's a suggestion. Ask your team to cut every meeting next week by 50%. That one-hour meeting on Tuesday is now 30 minutes. If it doesn't have a stated reason, cancel it. Only those necessary should attend. And without clearly stating who does what by when, the meeting may be a complete waste of everyone's time.

A room full of people not paying attention while staring at their smartphones looking at email that might be important is not a collaborative exchange.

We need to do less so we can accomplish more.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

writeanything

October 23, 2013

Are People Important to You?

We marvel at those who appear fearless in their pursuits. We look for inspiration from individuals who seem to know exactly what they want to do.

We may think they've done it all on their own but if you believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers theory (which I do), none of us is self-made. Conversely, none of us need to do it on our own. In fact, we need each other to help us get there.

No Experience Necessary

To make the dangerous assumption you don't require experience and perspective from others can only hurt you. To create a matrix that you have it all figured out, your way is always best, or worse, you need to figure it all out, can hold you back. It often personifies in arrogance which makes the climb even more difficult and lonely.

Look at the people in your life offering to help and thank them. Extend your hand to help others. Collaboration is not a hashtag or a word to put on a t-shirt. The realistic optimist in me thinks you want a better work culture while the recovering cynic hopes you mean it. It takes a village to raise a child and a network to grow a career.

Four words we shouldn't forget – can you help me.
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

knealemann

October 17, 2013

Starving the Fearful Leader


Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
Steve Jobs


We've heard the old saying ‘starve a fever, feed a cold’. As leaders, what would happen if we applied that to our lives by feeding our passions and not giving any table scraps to our fears? Yes, easier said than done but worth a shot.

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell


Some organizations, for all their efforts, become a dysfunctional environment. This is where I can help. Some don't want to be helped and it's best we leave them to their misery. But perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs to be put on a diet.

You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith. Mary Manin Morrissey

Open your calendar and go to a random date last year. Check out all that you had on that day. Now think about what made you stressed and what is now irrelevant. Some items may no longer be concerns and some you conquered. It may now look like a nothing day but at the time there was something that was stressing you that you were trying to get past. Now much or all of your fear may have dissipated.

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
James Stephens


Often, much of what we may fear isn’t the big scary monster but simply something we haven’t tried or an instance where we need help from others or a bit more experience. We may have fear while others navigate it with ease and can help us. There will be times the roles are reversed but we need to starve our fears together.

The enemy is fear. Mahatma Gandhi
__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

yogaheals

October 13, 2013

The Underdog and the Shepherd

I like Malcolm Gladwell. I think he is a gifted writer and story teller. He makes me think and more importantly do something about it. His latest book entitled David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants is causing quite a stir.

Malcolm has a simple suggestion, if you don't agree with him, don't read his books.

The title and thesis are lifted from the Bible. As you know, it's the story of the perceived underdog beating the clear favorite. Gadwell opines our beliefs in each character may have been wrong. You can make up your own.


__________________________________________________________________
Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

TED | Malcolm Gladwell

October 11, 2013

The Busy Culture

The year was 1582 and changes needed to be made. There had been much discussion for many years over this critical issue and the solution had been found.

This was the year the Gregorian calendar (also known as the Christian or Western calendar) was more widely used. It featured 365 days, 5 hours, and 49 seconds which was a reduction of 10 minutes and 48 seconds from the Julian calendar to align the celebration of Easter with the Spring Equinox. It's the calendar we use today.

Some of the prominent inventions of the 16th century included; bottled beer, the graphite pencil, the pocket watch, the map projector, the knitting machine, and flush toilets. Each was created within the time constraints of the calendar we have today.

What about now?

Since the year 2000, we have seen the emergence of the iPod, the Braille glove, birth control patch, artificial liver, the virtual keyboard, and the iPhone.

In the 16th century, the average life expectancy was around 50 and in some areas of the world – like North America – it’s close to 80 today. The world’s population in 1582 was about 500 million and it’s over 7 billion today.

Why is this important?

Since our current calendar was adopted, we are living 40% longer and the population has increased 350% but each of us still has only 24 hours in each day. Yet we continue to attempt to jam more and more stuff into each of them. More meetings, more email, more tasks, more deadlines, more sales calls, more everything.

In a hundred years, they may come up with another way of measuring days, years, and centuries. There will be medical breakthroughs to give humans a longer lifespan, and our finite planet will probably have a couple more billion people living on it which gives pause to the environmental impact. But hopefully the desire to do more tomorrow than today will at some point subside.

Let's exchange emails and book a meeting to discuss.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

antiqwatch

October 7, 2013

Data and Reality

Years ago, I worked at a media corporation which had about 4,000 employees. The company is still alive and doing very well. One day, a company-wide email was sent from the VP of Human Resources outlining an upcoming employee voluntary survey.
He outlined the reasons for it, the benefits of it, and the fact that over a hundred stakeholders has been involved in creating it.

The usual items were mentioned; fair compensation, good health benefits, the ability to advance, and an atmosphere where strengths and passions are encouraged.

Drawing Conclusions

One item that scored surprisingly high on the survey was management’s inability to deal with non-performance. So what did that meant? This is what Malcolm Gladwell outlines in “The Tipping Point” as the broken window hypothesis. It is an environment where the little things are ignored which become big things which are also ignored. It’s easier to avoid than to deal. But if we don’t deal, we are fooling ourselves to think our behavior goes unnoticed. If we don’t care, how can we expect them to care?

Gladwell uses the example of the NYC transit commissioner who vowed no subway trains would leave the station with graffiti on them. Each time a car came into the yard marked up; it was cleaned and put back out. This cycle continued until maintenance workers began to see something remarkable – the tactic was working. The transit authority cared so New Yorkers began to care. Management dealt with non-performance – or in this case, the defacement of public property.

Willing Participants

Recently, a colleague contacted me about doing some team building and leadership workshops with her team. They had conducted an internal survey and some behavior issues had come to the forefront. The challenge was how to address them. The purpose was not to call out the one or two employees others “thought” were the “problem”. It was a matter of including everyone in the solution.

Two members had been with the organization more than 25 years and their behavior had been endorsed and rewarded so neither thought they were the cause of any concern. They were the two people most other members mentioned when discussing any said concerns. But think about it for a moment, do we ever volunteer ourselves as the cause of the problem?

Didn't Want to See

In my colleague’s case, instead of moving forward with some valuable workshops that would have created a more cohesive team, stronger bottom line, and more enjoyable working atmosphere, she was fired. The non-performers had enough influence on the manager who didn't want to deal with all that icky people stuff he felt it was easier to get rid of the troublemaker.

We are living in a time when the world is still dealing with the worst economic downtown in 80 years yet we continue to hope problems go away and people just work harder.

Before we cut another job or corner, let’s have a good honest look at our own performance.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

encana

October 3, 2013

Free Experience

To anyone’s measurement, Pablo Picasso was one of the most talented artists of all time. His complicated life mixed with inspired work continues to make him a fascinating subject to study and learn about.

Pablo and a friend were having lunch one day and one of the other patrons recognized the great master. After some hesitatation, she approached him with a napkin. She asked Picasso if he would take a moment and do a quick drawing for her.

He said it would cost one million dollars.

Shocked, she questioned why a simple drawing would be that much. Picasso replied that it took him thirty years to perfect his talent and it is not free.

We shouldn't put a price on every moment of the day, and none of us is Picasso, but we should be careful not to always give away our experience simply because it would take just a minute to share it.

Got a napkin?
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Pablo Picasso | Three Musicians

October 1, 2013

Simple Can be Complicated

A couple of years ago, I started something on Twitter. It began with a thought or quote, an idea or something funny, and now it's something I post every morning.

Here are the highlights from September 2013

Don't let tomorrow wreck today. Randy Pausch
Sometimes you need to cut the line and find a new lake.
What will get your focus today? Take time for think time.

The secret of success is getting started. Mark Twain

Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness.
Never underestimate the power of helping someone.

Someday is today. Focus is a choice. Lend a hand today.

Leadership is to create an alignment of strengths,
making our weaknesses irrelevant. Peter Drucker

There is a distinction between meaningful work and busy work.
Trust yourself, you've earned it.

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
Albert Einstein

No is easy. How requires effort. Be persistent.
Say thank-you to those you appreciate today.

Anything is possible when everybody buys in. Ray Lewis

Be who you are. Say what you feel.
Those who mind don't matter.
Those who matter don't mind.
Theodor Seuss Geisel (03-04-1904 - 09-24-1991)

Obstacles, hurdles, and challenges are where we grow.
The occasional digital day off can do wonders.
Surround yourself with people who will help refine your strengths.

Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.
Steve Jobs (02.24.55 - 10.05.11)

You are capable of so much more.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

asianscientist

September 27, 2013

Learn, Lead, Share, Repeat

Leadership is a complex and iterative journey. It would be simple to look back at when you got a raise or promotion or that first big client as moments of growth. But when you look deeper, it's often before and after those events where you can see the change.

Since we aren't machines nor are our co-workers and fellow stakeholders, we need to keep a keen eye on human elements and interaction. So if we pause for moment and look at those times in our career where we felt hampered perhaps in a restricted environment, were those possible learning opportunities or obstacles?

Two-Way Leader

If you feel you need to be strong, even when you aren't sure, then you may be setting yourself up for future problems. If you think you may appear weak if you need help, trouble may be imminent.

Life can be an overwhelming place at times and none of us get through it without challenges. There is often little allowance to pause when the pressures of the day need our attention. But we need to keep trying to find think time to grow. And asking for help is a sign of strength. None of us has all the answers.

Ask someone on your team for help. Be open to their ideas and experience. The results may surprise you.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

istock

September 24, 2013

Do You Enjoy Your Work?

Millions of employee surveys have been conducted in our time on this planet.  The usual issues come up in every one – our compensation, ability to advance, appreciated talents, and purpose realized. The interesting discovery in most studies is that someone's salary is usually not the source of their biggest grievances.

I'm sure you know someone (I hope it’s not you!) who is unhappy at work. It could be the work, but it’s quite often the stuff around the work – leadership, culture, people, collaboration, communication, and other human elements. Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers writes; “Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.”

Dan Arielya professor of psychology and behavioral economicsexplains some of the elements that make people happy or unhappy at work.


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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

TED | Dan Ariely

September 20, 2013

Taking Our Own Advice

I've run into more and more people suffering the fate of the cobbler. Something we all have to manage. It's the story of the shoemaker who works hard but has no time to make shoes for his own children.

It's also the story of us. It's the story of how we feel the need to constantly keep up, have more meetings, be on more channels, do more stuff, tweet, meet, check email, and keep busy busy. One hundred years ago, there was the same number of hours in the calendar week yet we foolishly think we can cram more into it and still be efficient.

Take a Number

Customers were waiting for their orders so the cobbler will have to wait until tomorrow to fix his children's tattered boots. There's a meeting at 10 that conflicts with a conference call at 10:30, but you can't move it to 11 because there's a client coming in, so your 1:30 will have to be changed to tomorrow because the boss is going over every single client file which will take well over three hours to resolve nothing. But you answer four more emails on your way to grab a coffee before the meeting.

The shoemaker has one more order then he may finally make a pair for himself this time. But the familiar bell rings on the shop front door and those shoes will have to wait. You know indistinctly those meetings could be half as long to give you more time to help your team and clear your head yet you go headlong into another day full of them.

Maybe there will be time tomorrow.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

timesunion

September 17, 2013

Change: It Looks Great on a T-Shirt

Change is a concept that seems to drive us, win elections and create stress. We hear the word and feel two immediate and visceral responses: things will improve for us and everyone will need to change but us. We think change will bring about success but it may also bring uncertainty.

Change Cannot Be Measured

You can’t grab yourself a nice cold refreshing tall glass of change. Your closet cannot be filled with long sleeved hand sewn change. Driving to your next appointment won’t happen in the comforts of your brand new two-door Change. But we love the idea of it, the non-committal nature of talking about it. "They need to change." "We need to bring about change." "Change is gonna come." It all sounds good.

To most, change is about control and standing still while others make the shift. You may be one who thrives on change but be careful when you want to instil it on others. They too may like the theory but will define it to fit their own convenience.  And who among us admits to be part of the problem?

Cause and Effect

If we eat cheeseburgers and sit on the couch, there is a pretty good scientific chance we will gain weight. If we work hard and focus on our goals, there is a better chance of success than tweeting all day about being busy. Complaining about the current state verses accepting responsibility and offering solutions may slow down our progress and goals as well.

We want things to change but often under our rules and our guidelines. And whenever you include anything or anyone outside of your own mind, the grip must be loosened or collaboration becomes a challenge.

Moving change from concept to reality is the tough part.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

callcentrehelper

September 12, 2013

Lead Through Doodling

It begins before we can speak and, in some cases, continues for life. People do it in public, in private, at meetings, in airports, at family gatherings, or any other place where a writing implement can be found. Great ideas are discovered through it, strategic plans are mapped out by it, businesses have been created from it.

Sunni Brown is the leader of the Doodle Revolution. In her TEDTalk, Sunni explains why we must continue to doodle.

You may need some paper and a pen.


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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Sunni Brown | TED

September 11, 2013

12 Years Since

12 years since that crisp blue Tuesday morning sky was shattered. 12 years since confusion commenced while anger and fear increased.

12 years since terrorists cut almost 3,000 lives short and injured 6,000. 12 years since, there have been many tragedies, wars, victims, and death.

12 years since we remember where we were that fateful day. 12 years since we vowed we would be kinder and gentler to each other. 12 years since we were reminded of the fragility of life and to live every last moment.

12 years since, there have been many happy moments, great victories, and incredible advancements. 12 years since we promised to be better to each other.

12 years since, let's keep that promise.
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Kneale Mann

September 11 Memorial

September 9, 2013

Let's Go For Coffee

Wanna get together for coffee? How about we meet for coffee? Let's book coffee some time. Where are we meeting for coffee? We know it's about much more than coffee.

Steven Johnson explains.


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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Steven Johnson | TED

September 6, 2013

Put the Phone Away

Marketers will tell you all about the overwhelming metrics on cell use. Conservative estimates say we will have more activated mobile devices this year than people living on the planet. We are using them to do just about everything in our lives and the time we spend on them increases with every passing day.

We’re in meetings sitting right beside each other mesmerized by that little screen in our hands. We’re checking email at stop lights. We’re ensuring we didn't miss something while we wait for our flight. Look around a public place and count the number of people not on their device. They are the endangered species.

I was having lunch with a client recently and he just about lost his mind because he forgot his phone at the office. And we wonder why we have disengaged employees, connections, and relationships. We're vacant in a connected world.

Charlene deGuzman forgot her phone and discovered something interesting.


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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

Charlene deGuzman

September 4, 2013

Too Busy to Get it Done

You are a busy person doing busy things. After all, the job description said you would have to work independently in a fast paced environment handling many duties at once with a calm demeanour. Emails come at you all day and you’re expected to respond to that urgent text you received last night at 9:37 during your one hour of television this week void of interruptions. The promise of a paperless world with a four-day work week has been replaced with much busyness and still no jet packs.

There are meetings and deliverables, research and decisions. And when you get a moment, you check on your social streams. You haven't tweeted in well over an hour and people may have commented on that article you shared on Google+. Your friends on Facebook want your thoughts on the best sushi in town and there hasn't been a fresh blog post on your site in almost two whole days.

Here's Where We Get into Trouble

We are so afraid to miss something we tend to skim over everything. You're probably doing it with this post. Our lives are 140 characters or acronyms on the smartphone. It's okay, they're busy too and we added that semi-colon and a closed parenthesis so they know we're kidding, right?

In your quest to stay on top of everything, shortcuts are taken and suddenly a friend contacts you through one of the eleven ways they can and mentions that your last response seemed a bit dismissive. Suddenly a dozen messages back and forth could have be more enjoyable and far less misunderstood with a phone call. Or perhaps we have strapped on the suit called busy because it's what others think we should.

A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep

There is certainly no time to have a meaningful conversation, we are far too busy for that. And we wouldn't dare show up for that dinner engagement without our mobile device so we can check it half a dozen times before the appetizers arrive.

Business Week recently published a study stating that only 38% of people can make effective decisions today due to the overwhelming amount of data which is increasing at a rate of 60% a year. It may be time for us to have less meetings, put our phones away, and have more meaningful interaction.

Or perhaps we're too busy for that.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

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