May 30, 2013

Same Offer - Different Results

I was on a call recently with two partners in a company. She is details personified and he is all about the idea. They make a great team save when she wants him to be more specific with his ideas, or when he wants her to just figure it out and make it happen. Often the little things become large obstacles and they get stuck. Sound familiar?

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, small things, ideas and details. Once we embrace our differences, find calm in the chaos, and work as a team, we will celebrate more wins.

If conflict can turn to collaboration, magic can happen.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

original: dec 2012 | fineartamerica

May 28, 2013

Fearless Culture

There are plenty of data to show we admire people who take chances as well as create and share new ideas.  The things we can accomplish are astounding but are we admiring more than doing? It takes effort to have an idea, it takes guts to act on it. But what if you let everyone take more chances, act on ideas, and embrace a more creative culture within your organization?

We often hear of companies that tout their forward thinking attitude and openness. But I suppose the cynicism creeps in when those promises are broken or don’t come to fruition in the purest of ways. Life gets busy and we pacify our need for engaging interactions by telling ourselves that only happens elsewhere.

Connecting the Human Dots

Work and business can often get in the way of great ideas, collaborative culture, and true leadership. The creation of meaningful experiences is often replaced by fear and inaction. Cutting the budget seems easier than taking more chances. The intersection of people and business require relationships and the key ingredient is desire.

Sir John Hegarty is one of the principles at the UK based agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and in this short piece succinctly sums up the importance of culture and creativity.

Watch this, then watch it with your team.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

johnhegarty | omgtoptens

May 26, 2013

Embracing Your Big Ideas

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

Change is work so you won't gain consensus from the start. We don't enjoy buy-in from inception. Management consultant 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.”

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 dismiss ours quickly.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.


May 24, 2013

Ctrl Alt Delete – Our Future Depends On It

Back in mid-90’s I met this cool smart dude when we were both slogging it out in the music industry. He was running a music magazine and working with musicians while I was programming radio stations.

Fast forward a couple or 20 years and Mitch Joel has become a great friend, someone I look to for advice, and always enjoy reading his daily blog posts.

He Started It

This site exists because five years ago Mitch kicked my ass to write and keep writing. And you can call him a 25 year overnight success because he only works every day at his craft while sharing constantly, speaking around the world, and ensuring his digital agency Twist Image remains healthy and strong. Other than that, the guy's a slacker!

He published his first book Six Pixels of Separation which you should have if you don't already.  Now he has released his new book which may scare you then inspire you.

Joel's second book Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It is out this week. Mitch and I will have a chat about it here on the site in a while so we can get even more insight from him. We may even talk a little music while we're at it. Pick up the book and let's learn together. Congrats Mitch!

And check out the best book site ever right here.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

Mitch Joel | Ctrl Alt Delete

May 22, 2013

Tom Asacker | The Business of Belief (part 2)

Yesterday, I posted part one of a conversation I had with my colleague Tom Asacker who has published his latest book The Business of Belief.

This is the second part of our conversation.

You write: “We choose what we choose because we believe in it. And those beliefs are driven by our desires.” Can you expand on that?

Tom: Belief is what humans do. Our personal beliefs and desires drive our choices. And in most cases, like fish in water, we’re unaware of that reality. Let’s take a relevant example. Right now someone is reading this blog post. If you were able to ask them why, they might respond, “I enjoy Kneale’s perspective, or I like Kneale.”

If you dug deeper, you may hear, “I was bored and intrigued by the subject matter.” If you go deep enough, you’ll eventually discover that whoever is reading this is reading it because they believe it’s the right decision for them to be making at this time. And why? Because they want to!

It sounds really simple, and it is. But how and why our minds work to create and nourish our beliefs is largely hidden from us. If you become aware of how and why it happens, you’ll know how to better motivate yourself and influence others.

You write there is nothing more powerful than our beliefs and in order to change the world, we need to change our beliefs, but how do we ensure they are our beliefs and not what society or industry or a boss or friend may have convinced us because of their beliefs?

Tom: That’s a great question. And I’m not sure I can answer it in a way that would “ensure” an unbiased assessment. We are all products of our past our upbringing, experiences, acculturation, genetics, etc. It’s simply not possible to scrub our brains of all of that influence. The challenge is to develop a personal philosophy of life and living, and then consciously consider our decisions and choices within that framework. That’s what makes leaders great, and people special.

If you suggest beliefs are nothing more than working assumptions, how do our beliefs become habits or unconscious actions?

Tom: It’s simple, really. If we develop a working assumption, say that a particular brand will do the job for us because we like the price, people, design, et al., and then it DOES that job, we now have evidence to support our belief. And so, we don’t have to spend time and energy considering that particular choice in the future. The process is the same for all of our decisions.

What have been some of the influences in changing your beliefs?

Tom: I’m probably a bit different than most, in that I make it my business to know why people do the things they do. So I’m always looking for the underlying reasons behind various decisions, including my own. And it’s that process, of questioning, that has influenced most of my changes. Of course, I have been influenced by others, including my friends and the media. But I try to make sure that those influences mesh with and contribute to my personal philosophies and evolving narrative. We all do.

Our minds are motivated by various stimuli, how can we shape that data to stay focused on the beliefs that will be helpful to us and those around us?

Tom: Desire will do the shaping for you. The stronger it is, the more influence it will have over your mind’s assessment of the various stimuli. It will screen and interpret the data to reinforce your desires and beliefs. This process is neither good nor bad; it’s simply how the brain works.

You also write in the book that our feeling mind and impulses can lead us astray, so trust our guts or not?

Tom: Know when to trust your gut. If you’ve developed expertise in a particular field or domain, pay attention to the signals being sent from your unconscious with regards to that domain. But, in general, be very skeptical of your feeling mind. It’s a short-term thinker. It’s an impulsive, impatient, and quite fearful companion.

What are the key hopes you have for anyone reading this book?

Tom: To be more conscious, of their beliefs, their choices, their words and actions and to live life on purpose, with caring and daring.

Thanks Tom! The Business of Belief is out now.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

tom asacker | learntoem

May 21, 2013

Tom Asacker | The Business of Belief (part 1)

Writing a book is hard work. Many who have never attempted this endeavor, like many disciplines, have an opposite opinion. If you have ever had the inkling, here are a few things to consider. First, you need a thesis to carry your book. It is an angle, a story you want to share, a theory or outline that will hold your readers’ attention.

Next you need to write

For business books, generally that means 50-80,000 words, novels are 75,000 words and up. Then you need someone to edit it to ensure there is a flow which will keep that reader hooked. There are footnotes and credits and all that fun stuff to add in next.

Now the work begins

Once that is complete, you need to actually get it in the hands of readers which requires marketing, advertising, speaking engagements, social networking, or a myriad other channels. Oh, and if you think publishing a book will be an instant financial windfall, well, unless you’re Stephen King or John Grisham, don’t hold your breath.

Still interested?

I first met Tom Asacker through Twitter. He posted something that got me interested, then more, then I visited his website and read more about his work and philosophies. Then watched some of Tom’s speaking engagements and followed that with a phone call. We had a great chat and we've been in touch ever since.

I like Tom’s straight forward approach and he's an entertaining and thought provoking speaker. He is a seasoned business strategist, author, speaker, and marketer who knows his stuff and keeps learning every day.

His latest book is entitled The Business of Belief and it’s a fascinating read. Tom and I touched base a while back and decided to do something different. I asked if I could interview him about the book and his life and he obliged. This is the first of two parts of that conversation.

Why did you write The Business of Belief?

Tom: I don’t know yet. I’m being quite sincere. These types of non-fiction books are really about one thing: Changing people’s lives by illustrating and illuminating an emotional truth. When I hear back from people who have read the book and, as a result, have changed their businesses and their lives, then I’ll know why I wrote it.

You outline in the book that there are two factions or sources of energy working against each other.

First, is our ability to share and spread ideas faster through technology and the second is the difficulty in actually influencing the beliefs and behaviors of our intended audiences. You call it the Issue-Attention Cycle. Explain.

Tom: Awareness is obviously still a prerequisite in any type of communication process. But it’s a time consuming and expensive undertaking if it doesn't accomplish the end goal, which is belief and behavior change.

The issue-attention cycle refers primarily to public opinion, how our enthusiasm for programs or issues initially peaks and then fades off. There’s no doubt that the same thing happens with organizations.

The difference is that the leader of an organization has a captive audience. It’s up to her to make sure that she communicates clearly, frequently and passionately, and that she eliminates competing priorities on her people’s time and attention.

The theme of the book, and I assume now, your life, is belief and the ability for us to stay clear on our values. What is belief for you?

Tom: I’m only human, so many of my beliefs go unquestioned. There’s simply not enough time in the day to evaluate each and every decision. But I do make it a routine practice to question my work: Am I making a real difference in people’s lives and how can I change to improve my impact?

I also continually question my humanity: Am I as compassionate and caring as I can be? Am I making decisions that will make the world a better place in the future? The key is to be conscious, which is hard for people who are hurrying through life making most of their decisions on autopilot.

More with Tom and the Business of Belief tomorrow.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

tom asacker | learntoem

May 17, 2013

Our Ongoing Education

We live in a fascinating time. Technology, communication, collaboration, and knowledge bring us more changes every day to connect and grow. As far as leadership and business culture, it’s also an ever more complex time.

We have four and sometimes five generations in the workforce side by side trying to homogenize the experience through systems and processes, strategies and priorities, options and competing priorities. This is challenging for all of us.

I do subscribe to the mantra that education is a lifelong journey and that may be more important now than every before in our existence.

Sir Ken Robinson is a fascinating man who is a tireless champion for creativity, education, and possibilities. Watch his latest TEDTalk and replace teacher with leader and children with team and see if this may help for your career as well as our kids.

Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

TED | Ken Robinson

May 14, 2013

Be a Human Leader

There are over seven billion of us on this planet, over two billion online, and the noise is unbearable most days. Look at this, click on that, check my offer, attend this event, go to that store, read this article, buy that cool gadget, the list is endless. Then we're expected to share it, text it, tweet it, connect it, friend it, email it, or blog it.

The cries for attention seem unrelenting and perhaps as we have trained ourselves to sift through endless data, content, and advertising, we have forgotten ourselves? But it would be good to think we take more care with our relationships and careers. This creates strong bonds, great friendships, and successful companies.

Culture Matters

Leadership and culture are not job titles and your team is not a group of robots carrying out mindless tasks to grow the revenue for your shareholders. Like you, they have dreams and goals and a need for more meaning and passion in their work.

If you focus on the meaning of your business, significance of your people, and importance of creating a collaborative culture, the focus on revenue will no longer get in the way of creating all of your goals.

Daily Care

If you feel yourself wanting more on a deeper level, it’s safe to say so does every person you work with, every partner you do business with, and every connection. In a busy world with too much going on, keeping relationships our biggest priority will serve us well. Letting the distractions replace the interactions is dangerous.

If you understand that everyone around you is not too different than you, have a need to belong like you, and want contribute and be a part of something like you, that will go a long way.

As a leader, be human, they will thank you.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.


May 10, 2013

Awaken the Child

When you were a kid, you were probably discovering new stuff all the time. There wasn't corporate governance tied to strategic objectives to increase third quarter earnings, you just tried stuff.

Some stuff went well, some not so well, some evolved into other stuff, but you probably didn't over think much because you were too busy discovering and creating. My mom still remarks about how I would get lost in my own world when I was a kid. That kid is alive and well. Is yours?

Snakes and Ladders

But as we grow, we begin to form teams and norms and start to worry more about the opinions of others and grow older and our image becomes more critical than our identity rather than the other way around.

Then we enter the workforce and the race is on to be better than that guy, sell more than her, dress better than him, get the promotion she wanted, make more money than he made, and the world continues to push us to do more – often for them.

Time Flies

So in just a few short years, we go from a kid to a competitive driven individual. Now the business world will love her because there is no place for that childlike wonderment, there is far too much work to be done, meetings to attend, emails to return, and profits to increase. He needs to stay focused on company goals and revenue projections.

Then you may get to a point when you discover your values have been compromised, your goals have been shelved and replaced by those of the person who pays you every two weeks, and you yearn for the simple times when you just discovered new stuff every day without all this noise.

Do As They Say

If you own the company or you’re in a leadership role, telling your employees what to think, want, and feel will work never. Embracing that they do have goals and dreams will work if you do it with authenticity. Don’t be afraid to wake up and help those around you do the same. Put culture and humans in front of profit margins and share price.

Don’t shy away from that young girl who spent hours discovering new ideas on her own. Don’t shun that little boy who lost himself in creativity. Embrace life and let everyone on your team do the same.

The results will astound you.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

static.guim | flickr

May 6, 2013

Customer Service in Two Steps

If you were to ask everyone you know if they enjoyed receiving great customer service, the suspicion is most (all) would say yes. If you asked them if they received great customer service 100% of the time, the suspicion is most (all) would say no.

If you asked them if they would enjoy working in a company which supports value-based collaborative culture, most (all) would say yes. Then ask how many have experienced or experience it in their career, and far too many would say no.

Add it up...

So if all of those facts were true, do the math, some of us are giving less than great customer service or failing to create strong company culture. So how do we fix that and work to toward what we say we want?

Here are two suggestions: 

Provide superior customer service to your customers, your partners, and your team through strong leadership, culture, and communication.

Then repeat daily.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach engaging leaders to build successful talent and profitable business.


May 3, 2013

Think Time

I was recently in a meeting with a client and asked how often she has time to think. She laughed and looked at me curiously and claimed she was thinking all the time. I clarified my question by asking when she booked time to just think – no emails, no meetings, and no interruptions. She laughed even louder.

What followed was a list of tasks and deadlines and deliverables like we all have on our plate. There was no time to just think – time is money and there are things to get done.

Cut the Waste

I like to challenge leaders to find 25% of their week they spend on tasks they don’t need to be doing such as; too many meetings, meetings without a clear agenda, meetings that go on too long, emails that can wait, time which could be used to just think and plan and clear their head.

This realization hits me daily as I discover time wasted on unnecessary items that seemed important at the time. They say time is our most valuable resource yet do we give it the priority it so rightly deserves?

A Challenge for You

Find one work day a month and don’t go to the office, don't book any meetings, tell your team you aren't available. Then get a pad of paper, your laptop, your tablet, or any other note taking device of your choice. Get in the car, treat yourself to a decadent beverage, find a spot by yourself, and just think, make notes, get clear, then focus on the core of what you need to get done. Then make time to visualize the things you want to accomplish for you.

Think of it as career or business meditation. You may have immediately dismissed the idea as lunacy because how could you possibly give up one entire day a month to just think? There are things to do, deadlines to meet, emails to send and receive, and... Wait, we’re doing it again. You may realize think time needs to be a part of your life.

Something to think about.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach engaging leaders to build successful talent and profitable business.


May 1, 2013

Thoughts from April

Every morning, I post something on Twitter I’m thinking about or perhaps a saying or quote and here are some highlights from April 2013.

Three simple business rules: Respect. Help. Inspire. Why would you let naysayers stop you today? If you want the best from your team, listen to them. Inspire through action.

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes 
off your goal. Henry Ford

Take from the past what will help you and discard the rest. Don't let naysayers litter your path. Cut meetings by a minimum of 50% and watch what happens. Learn from challenges; don't wear them around like a bad suit.Take time for you time.

Let's celebrate and embrace our differences. Who can you help right now?
None of us is as smart as all of us. Japanese proverb

Get out of your way. We are not self-made; we are dependent on one another.
Kirby Ferguson

Four powerful words of leadership: What do you think? Be careful not to let collaboration turn to collusion or conflict. Success is measured by experiences not possessions. Busy is not always a good thing.

Relationships are not 50-50, they are 100-100.

Never underestimate what you bring to the table. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

Communication and collaboration are the cornerstones of a successful business. Watch the windshield not the rear view mirror.

Be grateful.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach engaging leaders to build successful talent and profitable business.

© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
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