The 4 Secrets for Building A High Performing Team

The 4 Secrets for Building A High Performing Team

A high performing team is always restless, constantly questioning, never satisfied, challenging norms, believing that things can always be better. 

How would you feel if your team performed like this – all day, every day?

Well – it can be done!

I’m sure you will have heard of a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses etc.

That’s the old way.

Here’s a new way.

A better way.

A simpler way.

I want to share with you 4 very simple questions that you need to ask of your team at least once every six months – so that you can start building a high performance culture. 
Brilliant Basics

Q1. What are the good things we do in our team we must keep doing?

(Your team will be great at answering this question).

Q2. What are the bad things we do in our team we must stop doing?

(Your team will not be so good at answering this question). 

Q3. What are the occasional things we do in our team we must do more often?

(You might be surprised at the answers your team give to this question). 

Q4. What are the things we don’t do in our team we must start doing?

(The answers to this question could transform the way your team perform). 

Want to get in touch?

Email or call us today for more details –

info@leadingedgeleadership.com or  01727 898332

Does Your Business Have A Clear Sense of Purpose?

Does Your Business Have A Clear Sense of Purpose?

by
JJ Lynch

What is the purpose of your business?

When you know your purpose, when you can articulate it succinctly, and when your purpose underpins everything you do, you gain customers, recruit and retain talented employees and ultimately, increase business value.

Purpose drives profits.

Showing you have an authentic and credible sense of purpose – a reason “why” you exist beyond the desire to make profit – drives commercial value in an increasingly competitive world.
  
When Tesco was riding high its former CEO Sir Terry Leahy believed this was due to Tesco’s clarity of purpose – “to earn our customers lifetime loyalty”.

In 2014 Leahy claimed Tesco lost its way when it ended up selling those customers horsemeat labelled as beef.

Failure to control the supply chain suggested that profit, not purpose, had become Tesco’s primary concern.

Customers today want an “experience”.

Today consumers increasingly demand and pay premiums for an “experience” beyond the mere consumption of any branded product or service.

People visit Starbucks as much to “hang out” or catch up on some work as to drink coffee. No wonder Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz described Starbucks as “the third place” between home and work where because of its ambience, and the time you could linger, people would pay a premium price for a coffee.

                   Brilliant Basics

A business with a clear sense of purpose stands for 3 things

1. They stand for something they believe will deliver true value or improve the lives of their customers or consumers.

2. They stand out from their competitors by intentionally and consistently delivering a distinctive customer experience across every aspect of the business that is consistent with their promise.

3. They never stand still, responding and anticipating continuously to the changing needs of customers and society.

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

The 3 Secrets of Great Leadership

The 3 Secrets of Great Leadership

 

by
JJ Lynch

Success leaves clues, and my experience has taught me that all successful leaders do three things; they influence the way their people feel, think and ultimately, act.

The greatest impact that any of us can have is to influence someone. Leadership is about influencing and the growth and development of your people is the highest calling leadership.

I have often remarked that leadership is simple but not easy. Successful leaders make leadership easy – by keeping it simple.

So how do the great businesses and the great leaders influence the way their people feel?

John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, said the deepest urge in human nature is ’the desire to feel important’. The author, Maya Angelou, expressed this same sentiment eloquently when she said:

‘People will forget what you said, people will forget how you said it, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

Great leaders understand that their people work best when they feel good about themselves. Great businesses understand that customers buy best when they feel good about themselves.

In influencing the way their people feel, great leaders influence the way their people think.

Apple is one of the leading businesses in the world today. Why? Apple understands the power of simplicity for capturing the hearts and minds of their customers. It is no coincidence that Apple’s strapline is captured in two very simple words – ‘think different’.

Barack Obama occupies the highest leadership position on the planet today. Why? His eloquent communication skills and all-inclusive message summed up in the very simple mantra of ’yes we can‘ was the catalyst that changed the thinking of a nation and persuaded millions of Americans to make Obama their first black President in 2008.

In influencing the way their people feel and think, great leaders influence the way their people act.

There’s a lovely story told about Steve Jobs at 14 years old. One morning his stepfather asked him to paint their garden fence. The fence was very long so Steve Jobs worked really hard to try to have the whole fence painted in time for his stepdad’s return from work at 5 pm.

By 3 pm Jobs had the entire fence painted inside and outside so he decided to give the outside of the fence a second coat of paint. When his stepdad returned home the young Jobs ran excitedly to his stepdad’s car:

’Dad, Dad, I’ve got the whole fence painted. I gave the inside one coat and I gave the outside two coats’.

’But why did you only give the inside one coat?’ queried the stepdad.

‘No one will see it’ said Jobs.

‘But we’ll see it’ came the reply.

It was a lesson the young Steve Jobs would later apply in business.

Jobs told about the day an enthusiastic engineer approached him with a newly finished iPad. The engineer was so pleased about how neat and sleek and tidy the new iPad looked. Jobs removed the back cover, and spotting a component that wasn’t fitted properly he remarked:

“That component is not straight”.

‘No one will see it” retorted the engineer.

’But we’ll see it’ replied Jobs – and thereafter he insisted that every engineer initial the inside of every Apple product.

So we come back to the point that great leaders and businesses, in influencing the way their people feel and think, will influence the way their people act.

JJ Lynch is an international motivational speaker and author and is available to speak at conferences, seminars, business networking meetings and company away days. 

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

The 2 Skills of Great Leadership

The 2 Skills of Great Leadership

 

by
JJ Lynch

Over the past twenty years that I have been delivering leadership training and leadership talks I have often been asked – what are the top skills of a great leader?

Great leaders ask great questions and great leaders are great listeners.

Great questions are always open-ended questions –

And the most powerful question of all is the one-worded “why?” question.

“Why” gets you to your reason, your cause, your essence.

Great leaders are great listeners.

Look at the word listen.

The letters of listen also spell the word silent.

Great leaders create the context to be silent and to be a great listener simply by asking great questions.

When we ask great questions we challenge.

And when we listen we make people feel important.

The true calling of leadership is to help others to grow and make others feel important.

Be a great leader.

Ask great questions and be a great listener.

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

Presenting to Sell – The 7 Secrets

Presenting to Sell – The 7 Secrets

by
JJ Lynch

Every day thousands of presentations are delivered across the UK. Many are good presentations, some great, but few are “presentations that sell”.

What’s the difference?

                           

“Presentations that sell” change behaviour.They are transformational. They have the audience asking – “What next ? How can I buy that product or access that service?”

So what are the 7 secrets for delivering a “presentation that sells”?

1. You see your presentation not as a product but as an opportunity to inspire further growth towards action.

2. You know your audience – their needs, their challenges, their problems (people with a problem will spend money on it within 12 months).

3. You create a connection with your audience straight away – that they WANT to work with YOU. (Acid test – if you didn’t have any products or services would the audience still buy YOU?).

4. You understand your “Why?” – what’s makes you passionate about what you do. (Your “Why” is the difference between a “pushy” and an irresistible sale).

5. You establish a need- an emotional need – and build a picture (often through stories) of the desired outcome your audience are craving.

6. You focus on benefits – how it will change their lives. (content doesn’t sell, people want benefits).

7. You reveal your products – and you make an offer your audience can’t resist.

To find out more about our one-day course Presenting to Sell – The 7 Secrets, please get in touch.

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.


(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

The Learners of Today Are The Leaders of Tomorrow

The Learners of Today Are The Leaders of Tomorrow

 

by
JJ Lynch

It was back in the early 1960’s when President John F Kennedy said:

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”.

There’s no such thing as instant leadership. Leadership is like a plant. It needs watered and fed to help it to grow.

We are always growing – as human beings, as colleagues, as parents. But the moment we become a leader in the workplace everything changes.

Success is no longer just about personal growth but about growing others – seeing their potential and turning it into ability.

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership, but for this to happen leaders must become role models for learning.

               

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Professor of Business at Harvard Business School, said:

“Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach”.

And the most powerful form of teaching is to lead by example and we lead by example by showing that we are always willing to learn.

A few years ago a mentor once said to me:

“Be so knowledgeable, competent and brilliant at what you do that they just can’t ignore you. Become indispensable”.

Every leadership journey is a journey of learning.

When Nelson Mandela delivered his inauguration speech as President of South Africa he spoke about “the person he had become” and “the journey he had walked” in making his leadership dream of a “new South Africa” come true.

The former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres said:

“If you eat three times a day you’ll be fed. But if you read three times a day you will be wise”.

An idea discovered in a book can change the way you see the world, an idea heard on a podcast can transform the way you communicate, and an idea found in a blog can drive your business to remarkable success.

Remember, the learners of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.


(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

What A Magical Moment!

What A Magical Moment!

by
JJ Lynch

On Saturday the greatest rugby team ever to grace the game, the All Blacks, lifted the Rugby World Cup with a pulsating display against their arch rivals Australia. 

But the day will also be remembered for the magical moment that occurred as the All Blacks completed their lap of honour around Twickenham stadium.  

A 14 year-old boy broke through the ranks of stewards  determined to hug his hero Sony Bill Williams.

Just watch the video clip below to experience the magical moment that then followed:

(Click on the image. Running time: 1 min 47 secs)

So what can we learn from this magical moment?

The young boy took a risk – in life, as in business, we sometimes must take risks to succeed.

The young boy was determined – without such an attitude we won’t succeed in life or in business.

A simple gesture can make a huge impact – Sony Bill Williams’ incredible act of generosity has made headlines across the world.

This simple act reminds me of the words so eloquently expressed by Maya Angelou:

People will forget what you said,
people will forget how you said it,
but people will never forget how you made them feel. 

How does your business make your people feel?

Be like the All Blacks and be the best in everything you do.

Because this weekend we saw the All Blacks as a team, and Sony Bill Williams, at a very personal level, do exactly just that.

Get the basics right – and keep them simple. The best leaders and the best teams always do.

Leadership is simple, but it is not easy.

The best leaders, and the best teams, make leadership easy – by keeping it simple.

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.


(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

What Every Business Can Learn From The Rugby World Cup

What Every Business Can Learn From The Rugby World Cup

by
JJ Lynch

Over the past two weekends I have had the privilege of watching the two teams that will contest this Saturday’s Rugby World Cup Final in London.

Both Australia and New Zealand play a wonderfully exhilarating style of rugby that is based on consistently and correctly executing the basic skills of the game.

What will make the difference between winning and losing the Rugby World Cup this weekend?

It might just be what Sir Clive Woodward refers to as the critical non-essentials.

The Critical Non-Essentials

In 2003 Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory.

Woodward identified what he called the critical non-essentials – those little things that were not essential but were critical to the team’s success.

For years, England, like all rugby teams, wore a baggy jersey.

 

Then England came up with with the tight-fitting jersey.

They found it was good at absorbing sweat but more importantly, it was difficult for opponents to grab or to hold on to.

One little thing that might make the difference between winning and losing.

In 2007 France staged the Rugby World Cup. When the French saw the draw for the tournament they realised that they could be meeting the All Blacks in the final.

So what did they do?

For years France had always worn a bright blue jersey.

 

So they decided to change the colour of their jersey to a very dark blue.

 

What was their thinking?

France realised that if this final pairing did come to pass there would be a clash of colours with the famous black jersey of the All Blacks….

 

and the television companies around the world would insist that one team change to their second kit.

France, as the home nation, would be allowed to keep their first-choice kit, while the All Blacks would have to play in their second-choice kit of all-white.

How less powerful would the All Blacks be playing in a World Cup Final in all- white?
The steps that sporting teams go to to find those critical non-essentials that could make the difference between winning and losing. 

What are the critical non-essentials in your business that could make the difference between winning and losing?

What Every Business Can Learn From The Ireland Rugby Team

What Every Business Can Learn From The Ireland Rugby Team

by
JJ Lynch

Picture the scene.

The Irish rugby players have spent one month away from home in the high pressure environment of the Rugby World Cup.

A longing for family and home might creep in.

So you can imagine how the players felt when they walked into their hotel bedrooms in Cardiff last week and saw a silver-framed picture of people they love on their desk.

The team captain Paul O’Connell was greeted by a photo of him with his two children on holiday.

This was a small surprise that was organised weeks in advance.

As soon as the Irish squad was announced the Irish Rugby Football Union got in touch with the families of the players to request a photograph that the players would love.

The photo would be a small piece of home away from home.

And a lovely reminder of who they are doing all this for.

Great leaders and great teams do the little things others don’t value as much – and do them well. 

On Sunday last Ireland defeated France with a team performance of the highest quality.

The moral of this lovely story:

When you treat your people unbelievably well, they will try unbelievably hard. 

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

Presenting with Confidence

Presenting with Confidence


(Click on the image)

The art of presenting is something we learn
and presenting effectively is at the heart of outstanding leadership. 

JJ Lynch

Being an exceptionally good presenter has never been so important – presenting is a core business skill and can make or break a career.

Our ability to present effectively is best judged by three things:

                  the effect it has on others
                  the impact it generates
                  and the results it achieves. 

This one-day high impact presentation skills training programme is for leaders and managers who wish to greatly enhance their presentation skills. 

This is a “doing” course facilitated by international motivational speaker JJ Lynch. The course takes you out of your comfort zone to bring out the “magic” that is in each of us. 

This programme will give you:

a three-step approach for preparing a powerful presentation and a three-step approach for delivering a powerful presentation

three powerful techniques to engage your audience and present in a way that will get results

three simple tips on:

how to have your audience hang on your every word.
how to produce great slides for maximum impact
how to effectively handle a Q&A session

This is the best presentation skills training programme I have ever attended.
Simple approach yet always challenging.
In one word, brilliant. 

(Jillian Moskowitz, US-UK Fulbright Commission)

The programme is delivered in-company on your premises.

We recommend a maximum of 8 delegates.

Each delegate will deliver 2 x two-minute presentations during the programme with “coaching-in-the-moment” from the programme facilitator.

Every delegate gets a video copy of both their presentations.

Inform, inspire and entertain your audience and deliver your next presentation like a professional. 

To learn more about this programme:

Email us at:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

or call us:

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You!

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You!

by
JJ Lynch

Jack was my A-Level English teacher.

He is the teacher I remember most fondly.

Jack was an enthusiast. He taught by example, the most powerful form of teaching.

And when every lesson finished and we tidied up our books he always reminded us as we walked out the door –

“Boys, be so good they can’t ignore you”. 

That phrase has stuck with me for life.

   What Makes Your Business So Good? 

Is it your products?

Is it your services?

Is it your marketing?

Your culture is what makes your business special….and at the heart of your culture are your people.

Your culture tells your people what’s acceptable and important.

Your culture defines your philosophy, your thinking, your religion, your DNA.

In the best businesses, everyone matters.

In the best businesses, people are treated unbelievably well and, in turn, they try unbelievably hard.

In the best businesses, managers do the little things other managers don’t value as much – and do them well.

If you want to take your business and your people to the next level – so that they are so good at what they do and how they do it – we have the Management Development Programme you have been looking for. 

Coming – Tuesday 30th September 2015

The Leading Edge
Management Development Programme

A comprehensive management development programme that will have a profound impact on how your managers manage. 

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

How You Manage Performance Will Determine How Successful Your Business Will Be

How You Manage Performance Will Determine How Successful Your Business Will Be

by JJ Lynch

I’m privileged to do the work I do.
I get many wonderful opportunities to experience the culture and working practices of a wide range of different businesses and organisations.

I often find some great work practices, some average work practices, and some quite mediocre work practices. 

These experiences have taught me two lessons –

your business is only as good as the people you employ (or have inherited) 

And more importantly,

how you manage the performance of your people determines how successful your business will be. 

I want to share with you what I believe are the three secrets of great performance management.

Secret 1: The key secret to great performance management is writing great objectives – and great objectives are always SMART objectives, therefore:

Every employee has 4-5 SMART objectives.

The 4-5 objectives contain both task objectives and behavioural objectives.

Every employee plays an integral part in framing their own objectives with their line manager.

Secret 2: Once the objectives are set, there is ongoing, informal, meaningful conversations throughout the year between the manager and the employee. 

The secret to meaningful conversations is to ask great questions – and great questions are always open-ended questions.

And the most powerful questions are always the one-word questions:

Why? When? Where? How?….

Secret 3: The secret to ensuring a successful annual performance review meeting is to remember one rule – the 20:80 rule. 

Simply put, this means the manager does 20% of the talking in the review meeting, the employee does 80%.

Why? Because it is the employee’s review, therefore s/he should do the talking.

And the way for every manager to ensure this happens is to ask great questions.

When we ask great questions (open -ended questions) we create the environment to be a great listener – and when we listen we make the other person feel important and valued.

Read more about our one-day training programme Managing Performance by clicking on our Course of the Week (in the top left-hand corner).

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

8 Things Every Leader Should Say

8 Things Every Leader Should Say

by
JJ Lynch 

As a leader what you say tells as much about your leadership skills as what you do.

Using the right words at the right time will increase the odds of your success and the success of your business.

Not sure what to say?

Here are 8 phrases/words every leader should use:

1. What do you think?

Four very empowering words. Four words that show we are interested, that we are keen to listen.

When we listen we make others feel important.

2. No

It’s not easy to say “no”.

The best leaders do – when they have to.

3. Tell me more

Successful leaders are inquisitive.

Being open to all feedback creates a culture of healthy discussion, feedback and innovation.

4. Here’s why

Getting people to agree with your decisions or request to complete certain tasks is often less about what the decision or request is and more about providing a reason why. Explaining “here is why I have made this decision” or “here is why I am asking you to do this” can be very powerful.

5. I don’t know

Three simple little words – yet so very powerful. These words are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of power. They show our vulnerability – and others love to see that we are vulnerable because it means we are just like them –  we are human.

In a wonderful TED talk, Brene Brown says “what makes us vulnerable makes us beautiful”. So, so true.

Here’s a wonderful example of a leader showing vulnerability: (click on the image)

6. Why? 

“Why” gives us the purpose, the reason.

The one-word “Why?” question is the most powerful question anyone can ask.

The best leaders always ask “Why?”

7. I’m sorry

If you have made a mistake, say so.

Once someone says “I’m sorry” there’s very little comeback.

8. Thank you. 

Max de Pree says “the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.”

Coming Soon – in mid-September!

The Leading Edge
Management Development Programme

Tailored to meet your exact needs this comprehensive management development programme will have a profound impact on the way your managers manage. 

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

The Beauty of Simplicity

The Beauty of Simplicity

by
JJ Lynch 

What is difficult becomes habitual,
what is habitual becomes easy,
what is easy is beautiful. 
Constantine Stanislavski

Leadership Anecdote of the Week

There is an old story set during the height of the space race between Russia and America. Concerns were raised that pens could not write in space and therefore taking notes on expeditions was going to be problematic. The Americans subsequently spent millions of taxpayer dollars to research and devise a pen that could write underwater, upside down, and most importantly, in zero gravity. 

The Russians gave each of their cosmonauts a pencil.

The moral of the above story is not to overcomplicate matters. And so it is with leadership. 

Leadership is simple but it is not easy. The secret to making leadership easy is to keep it simple. 

Simple is best. 

The more uncomplicated the language you use to communicate your ideas the more powerful your message will be. 

Reflect on the power of these simple words and phrases:

Please

Thank you

I’m sorry

I love you.

Einstein was near the mark when he advised “if you can’t explain it to a six-year old, you don’t understand it yourself”. 

Keep things simple – the best leaders always do.

Coming Soon – in September!

The Leading Edge
Management Development Programme

Tailored to meet your exact needs this comprehensive management development programme will have a profound impact on the way your managers manage. 

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

Creative Thinking and Innovation

Creative Thinking and Innovation

(one-day training programme)

Do you want your employees to be more creative and innovative?

They can be.

Are you looking for new ways for your employees:

to show initiative?
to manage projects better?
to deal with underperformance?

to show leadership?
to manage a difficult individual?
to come up with new ideas (for fund-raising)? 

When you apply creativity and innovation to every aspect of your business, you are able to stay ahead of a changing marketplace and your competition.

Leading Edge Leadership’s Creative Thinking and Innovation one-day training programme gives participants several really simple tools to stimulate creative thinking and come up with some great ideas and useful solutions to a wide range of workplace initiatives/projects/problems.

Excellent, succinct, and very useful.

Elizabeth Knock

(Head of Corporate Development: Breast Cancer Campaign)

The trainer, JJ, was great. He kept us engaged throughout and really knew his stuff. The course was excellent too and challenged you to think about everyday work issues in different ways.

Cait Wrigley
Social Media Officer: Breast Cancer Campaign

I am excited about putting these techniques into practice.

Beth Palmer

(“Wear it Pink” Project Officer: Breast Cancer Campaign)

                        Course Outline

Introduction: The 6 steps of The Creative Thinking Model.

Step 1: Identifying your workplace challenge.

Step 2: Identifying the causes and the root cause of your workplace challenge – asking WHY?

Step 3: Generating solutions.

Step 4: Finding the best solution/s

Step 5: Getting buy-in for your solution from the people that matter.

Step 6: Implementing and monitoring your proposed solution.

 You will learn:

how to remember each step of The 6-Step Creative Thinking Model

how to use the Why/Why technique to get to the root cause of your workplace challenge

how to use a great technique for generating solutions – The Ideas Generating Model

how to arrive at your best solution – using the very powerful Effort-Impact Matrix Model.

how to get buy-in for your idea/s from those that matter using The 4P’s Model of Influence.

how to ask the only two questions  you need to ask to ensure the success of your proposed solution.

We deliver this one-day programme in-company on your premises.

We work with groups of 12-14 delegates.

Great content…..great trainer….great experience

 Email us at:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

or call us:

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

Presenting with Confidence

Presenting with Confidence

The art of presenting is something we learn
and presenting effectively is at the heart of outstanding leadership. 

JJ Lynch

Being an exceptionally good presenter has never been so important – presenting is a core business skill and can make or break a career.

Our ability to present effectively is best judged by three things:

                  the effect it has on others
                  the impact it generates
                  and the results it achieves. 

This one-day high impact presentation skills training programme is for leaders and managers who wish to greatly enhance their presentation skills. 

This is a “doing” course facilitated by international motivational speaker JJ Lynch. The course takes you out of your comfort zone to bring out the “magic” that is in each of us.

This programme will give you:

a three-step approach for preparing a powerful presentation and a three-step approach for delivering a powerful presentation

three powerful techniques to engage your audience and present in a way that will get results

three simple tips on:

how to have your audience hang on your every word.
how to produce great slides for maximum impact
how to effectively handle a Q&A session

This is the best presentation skills training programme I have ever attended.
Simple approach yet always challenging.
In one word, brilliant. 

(Jillian Moskowitz, US-UK Fulbright Commission)

The programme is delivered in-company.

We recommend a maximum of 8 delegates.

Each delegate will deliver 2 x two-minute presentations during the programme with “coaching-in-the-moment” from the programme facilitator.

Every delegate gets a video copy of both their presentations.

Inform, inspire and entertain your audience and deliver your next presentation like a professional. 

To learn more about this programme:

Email us at:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

or call us:

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

The Privilege of Leadership – 2

The Privilege of Leadership – 2

Leadership Tip of the Week

A 100% Attitude

What does it mean to give 100%?

Here’s a little mathematical formula that will help you answer this question.

If A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented by 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26, then:

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E =
11+14+15 +23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%,

and

H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K =
8+1+18+4+23+!5+18+11 =98%,

but

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E = 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

Attitude is everything.  

Leadership Anecdote of the Week

A bright young psychologist took a month out from his normal work and flew back and forth every day from Los Angeles to New York. He would always sit in the middle seat of three.

After take-off he would start a conversation with the person either side but, rather than trying to be interesting, he would focus instead on being interested. All he did was ask great questions and let the other person speak.



At the end of the journey he would ask for their details on the premise he could do something for them or that they would stay in touch. One week later a researcher would call the people he sat next to. They all remembered him. They all said how much they liked him; although no one could recall if he was married, what he did for a living, or where he was from (because he never told them).

However, the most amazing part of the research was the fact that over 70 per cent described him as one of the most interesting people they had EVER met!


Being interested is better than being interesting if you want to be thought of as an interesting person.

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers at all levels in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

The Privilege of Leadership – 1

The Privilege of Leadership – 1

Leadership Tip of the Week

Listen = Silent

The most effective leaders are great listeners.
Reflect for a moment on the letters of the word “listen”.
The letters also spell the word “silent”.

If you are not silent you can’t be listening. 

Leadership Anecdote of the Week

Keep it simple – and positive.

There is a man who lives beside me and he owns some horses. It so happens that the school bus stops right at the gate to his horses’ field and, while he is at work, the school children feed the horses their scraps.

The horses love it. Mars Bars, crisps and stuff the kids had made in cookery class. The horses even developed a taste for pepperoni pizza. Over time, the horses got fat. So the man put up a sign that said:

Do not feed the horses.

Did it work? Most definitely not! The feeding continued, so the owner changed the sign. It now read:

Please do not feed the horses!

But his problem continued. He didn’t know what to do.

One day he approached me and said: “JJ, I know you do a lot of work around positive psychology and I have a problem”. He explained the problem in the hope of getting a simple solution. “How on earth can I stop the kids feeding my horses?”

“Very simple” I replied and I wrote him a few words on a scrap of paper. My neighbour looked at the piece of paper and laughed.

“No way!” he said, and as he walked away shaking his head I smiled a knowing smile because I knew the problem was cured.

The horses are now back to their normal weight, their coats shining and energy restored. If you saunter past their field there is now a sign that says:

We only eat apples and carrots.

The message is simple and positive. It focuses on what we want to happen rather than what we don’t want.

And best of all, it works.

(For loads more leadership stories like this get your copy of JJ’s new book – How to Win – in life, business, and everything else.)

To get in touch, email or call us on:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.

(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers at all levels in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

What Makes A Great Manager?

What Makes A Great Manager?

Part 1

by JJ Lynch

What does make a great manager?

We all want our managers to show initiative, take responsibility, make decisions, give difficult messages, and be able to make people feel good about themselves.

Easier said than done.

Over the next ten weeks we will explore what makes a great manager – and share with you many of the key messages, tips and techniques from our highly acclaimed two-day programme The Highly Effective Manager. 

So what does a really good manager look like?

Confident? Calm? Approachable? Professional?

Richard Hall, author of The Secrets of Success At Work says:

You just don’t have to walk like a manager,
you must also think like a manager,
and not just think like one,
but also look as if you are thinking.

Activity 1

The Qualities Of A Great Manager

An outstanding manager evokes possibility in others.

Look at the 14 qualities below and select your top 7 qualities (of a great manager):

enthusiastic
likeable
reliable
courageous
patience
sense of humour
inspires confidence
decisive
calm
knowledgeable
committed to excellence
honesty
compassionate
loyal

Now reduce your seven qualities to three

Now select your TOP QUALITY.

This is a very subjective exercise – there are no right or wrong answers. However, a quite fascinating pattern emerges when we do this exercise with different cultures.

Recently while working with 30 managers from China who were visiting the UK for management training, we divided the group into five groups of 6. They all went off into separate break-out rooms, reduced their qualities to seven, then three, then one. When all five groups returned to the main training room, they all had selected the same No.1 quality – decisive.

When working with delegates from the Middle East (Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia) 90% of the time the No.1 quality selected is – honesty.

And when working in the UK with groups predominantly made up of UK delegates 95% of the time the No.1 quality is – inspires confidence.

(When you are confident, calm, approachable and professional you will inspire confidence). 

Have you spotted the quality among the 14 listed above that is NOT a quality?

(Answer is at the bottom).

To get in touch, email us at:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.


(Leading Edge Leadership work with leaders and managers at all levels in a range of businesses and organisations who are leaders in their field.)

(knowledgeable)

10 Questions You Need To Ask On 31 December 2014

10 Questions You Need To Ask On 31 December 2014

by

JJ Lynch

Question 1Are your goals for 2015 written down?

Writing your goals down is a magical act. It makes them real. It clarifies them, and helps bring definition and accountability to them. 

Question 2Are they your goals?

Before you embark on your goals make sure they are truly your own. 

Question 3Do your goals have a deadline?

Goals without deadlines are like a race without a finishing line. 

Question 4What is the cost of your goals and are you willing to pay it?

Every goal has a cost – whether it is time, money or sweat. Make sure you are willing to pay the price to achieve your goal. 

Question 5What help will you need to accomplish your goals?

Truly great goals often require us to go beyond ourselves. Every winner learned from someone else. Success leaves clues. 

Question 6Are you focused on your goals?

Many people fall into the trap of unfocused goals. Or they have too many goals. You must have laser focus on your big goal. 

Question 7Are your goals adaptable?

Life changes. So your goals must be adaptable. This is not to be used as an excuse at the first sign of difficulty. Adaptable goals change, instead of break. 

Question 8: Are your goals stretching?

If your goal is to do something you have already done before, then you will get the same results. Your goals should stretch your abilities. 

Question 9: Do you believe in your goals?

More than anyone else, you have to believe in your goals. There will be critics, doubters, and people who want to see you fail. Don’t listen to them. Listen to the inner voice that drives you. 

Question 10: What are you going to do today about your goals for 2015? 

You must act on your goals every single day. It is not an optional activity. If you truly have the desire and the discipline to reach your goals, you will not only think, but act on them every single day. 

     To get in touch, email us at:

info@leadingedgeleadership.com

Tel: 01727 898332

Click here to download our full training brochure.


Great content…..great trainers….great experience;

the magic happens when all three come together.

LIFE IS CHALLENGING

LIFE IS CHALLENGING

It is usually the most challenging events in our life that truly shape who we are. Challenge, conflict, confusion and uncertainty are stepping stones on the path to growth. Every setback carries the seeds of an even greater opportunity. The more painful the event, the more profound the lesson is likely to be. Pain can serve us so well if we choose to learn the lessons from it.

We learn more from the times that challenge us than we do from times of success. Walt Disney is quoted as saying, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Recently a colleague shared with me a moving account of a difficult family situation he had just come through. He remarked that “The difficult way is nearly over but I have learned in it lessons I could learn in no other way.”

In times of success we can get caught up in shallow pursuits and pleasures. In challenging times we appreciate family, friends and the simple pleasures and beauties that are all around us. So remember, sometimes it is life’s greatest challenges that present life’s biggest opportunities. Challenge introduces you to your very best self. Easy times rarely make you better. They only make you complacent and take things for granted. Difficult circumstances and challenging times often create new ways in which we see the world and others in it, and what life is asking of us.

In times of challenge ask yourself one simple question – “Will this matter a year from now, or five years from now?”

If not, move on.

 

Sometimes it is life’s greatest challenges that present life’s biggest opportunities.

DON’T LIVE SOMEONE ELSE’S DREAMS

DON’T LIVE SOMEONE ELSE’S DREAMS

Be true to yourself. Don’t live your life through others. Don’t spend your life pleasing others – going to medical school because your parents wanted you to, getting married because it is the thing to do, buying a top of the range car to keep up with the Jones’ even though you can’t afford it.

Always remember, “You are what you are.” To express who you really are (or want to be) is a challenging and exhilarating thing to do. The gay community has the song “I Am What I Am” as their anthem. Five very powerful words. I recently spoke with someone who struggled for many years with his sexuality. He lived a lie because he was scared of being rejected. Today he is a confident and outgoing man who is very much at peace with himself. He told me he could never tell his parents he was gay as he didn’t want to disappoint them or make them unhappy. When he did eventually tell them he realised that what makes them happy is knowing and seeing that he’s happy.

Everyone strives for a life of fulfilment. You must never deny yourself fulfilment before you even set out on the journey of seeking fulfilment. To do so results in constantly seeking the approval of others because you are unable to approve yourself. Always put self-approval before social-approval. When you need to seek the approval of others you say and do the things others want to hear and see. You are easily influenced. You always want to be liked. You are never happy with what you have got. Enjoyment is fleeting, often superficial. Your core values and principles are often compromised when you fail to be true to yourself.

What’s more important in life than being who you truly are? Fulfilment comes from living your truth. Pursuing your desires and dreams. “To thine own self be true,” wrote Shakespeare. There’s no point in getting to the end and realising you never let the authentic you come out to play.

Be authentic. Be you.

 

Your core values and principles are often compromised when you fail to be true to yourself.

TIDY UP YOUR INCOMPLETES

TIDY UP YOUR INCOMPLETES

We live in a world of choice. More television channels, more apps, more ways of communicating. Life is more complicated. In a hectic world with many competing interests it is easy to leave something undone as you try to embrace the many daily demands of modern lifestyle. Being a leader means getting things done.

Have you ever had a boss who would start things but never see them through? It is a frustrating experience. What frustrations do you create for others by your incompletes? Five things completed have more power than ten things not completed.

Are there areas of your life that have been left uncompleted? When you don’t complete the past, you can’t be free to fully embrace the present. I recently made contact with two old work colleagues with whom I had reason to disagree with in the past. I simply lifted the telephone and said that whatever had happened in the past was now over and the purpose of my call was to make contact and say hello. You can only tidy up your incompletes when your level of thinking shifts from where it was when the problem was created to where it is now.

Incompletes – whether physical or emotional – drain you. They drain all your energy. Keep in mind the saying – if an untidy desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk? Have a winning mindset and keep your desk clean.

 

Five things completed have more power than ten things not completed.

BE AWARE – THINK STRATEGICALLY

BE AWARE – THINK STRATEGICALLY

Two men are running in a forest when they disturb a bear. It’s that time of year when the bears are hungry and sure enough the bear comes after them. The two men run as fast as they can. But four legs are faster than two and slowly, but surely, the bear gets closer, and closer, and closer. Then, suddenly, one of the two men stops. He goes over and sits down on the edge of a log, and starts changing from his heavy trekking boots into a pair of fancy Nike running shoes.

“What are you doing?” his friend asks. “You won’t outrun the bear, even in those.”

Then very calmly, the man gets up from the log, looks at his friend, and says:

“I know. But I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

 

How aware are you? How strategic are you in the way you think?

Have a look at the sentence below. How many F’s do you see?

Finished files are the result of many years of scientific study combined with the experience of many years.

The 6F thinkers among us will see all six F’s; the 3F thinkers see only 3F’s because they have “tunnel vision” thinking.

Winners are 6F thinkers. They think strategically. They see the bigger picture. They think outside the box. They are aware of everything and everyone around them.

Winning is about being aware. Aware of your thoughts. Aware of your feelings. Aware of your actions. When we have better awareness we make better choices. And better choices result in better results.

 

Winners are 6F thinkers.

WHAT ARE YOUR BELIEFS?

WHAT ARE YOUR BELIEFS?

Beliefs are the essence of a person’s behaviour. Beliefs are your operating principles for how you act. The actions you take, whether in your professional life, family life or personal life, are influenced greatly by the beliefs that you hold.

Your beliefs guide you in perceiving and interpreting your reality. Beliefs may be strongly held and they may enable you to act, or not. Beliefs are not cast in stone. They are only something you have put together in your mind. When they are not helpful to you, you can alter or completely change your beliefs. You once believed in Father Christmas! Your beliefs can be enabling beliefs that help you win in life or they can hold you back from the success that you can achieve.

Giraffes are the world’s tallest animals. They also have the longest legs of any animal in the world. Giraffes give birth standing up and when a baby giraffe emerges into the world it is immediately faced with a six-foot drop, and is almost certainly dropped on its head. At first, the experience might not seem to bother the giraffe too much – but it has an immense impact in later life. Throughout their twenty-odd year lifespan, giraffes don’t jump. Never. Paradoxically, the world’s tallest animal is actually scared of heights. You can see this phenomenon in action in any zoo, anywhere in the world. You might expect a large animal like a giraffe to be penned in by high electric fences, but instead there are just low barriers and narrow moats separating them from the general public. Every giraffe is physically capable of jumping the moat and fence combination, but none ever does. That first terrifying bump on the head mentally conditions the giraffe into the firm impression that it’s better off with four feet firmly on the ground.

The point is – we are all far guiltier than we might think of behaving like giraffes. We too are conditioned far more than we think by our earlier experiences and how we interpret them. Just when we need to change most, we may well find that we can’t. We can be locked in by our past, our subconscious fears, our psychological conditioning or simply by the idea that we’ve always done it that way.

Powerful beliefs can take people to places that they otherwise would not go. Nelson Mandela, when in prison said, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

A very powerful statement and a very powerful belief.

 

Beliefs are the essence of a person’s behaviour.

WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?

WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE?

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.

Each of us is born with a life purpose. Leaders understand what their life purpose is, and then pursue it with passion and enthusiasm.

Many people wander through life accomplishing very little. Knowing your life purpose means you are doing what you’re good at and accomplishing what’s important to you. Simon Cowell’s life purpose is to make money in the music industry; Roger Federer’s life purpose is to play beautiful tennis, win loads of Grand Slams and make money; Anita Roddick’s life purpose was to provide cruelty-free cosmetics and run a profitable global business. My life purpose is to get people excited about leadership – and live very comfortably. I love what I do. I feel privileged to get paid for doing something I am passionate about. The greatest secret to winning is to figure out what you love to do and then organise your life around figuring out how to make a good living at it.

Most people don’t get what they want because they haven’t decided what they want. As a baby you knew exactly what you wanted. You knew when you were hungry so you cried until you got what you wanted. As you grew older you crawled around and moved towards whatever caught your eye. You knew what you wanted and went for it, without fear. When you were learning to walk, you fell. You got up and tried again. And again. So what happened? Somewhere along the way you were conditioned with the thoughts “don’t do that”, “don’t go there” and “stop”. And it is this conditioning that often colours how we feel, think and act.

What often stops people expressing their true desire is that they don’t think they can make a living doing what they love to do. I have a good friend who worked in a large textile manufacturing company for years. He hated his work – same journey, same people, same conversations. He loved sports and every weekend his escape from his mundane week was to watch football or rugby or cricket. Eight years ago he decided he wanted something better. He wanted toenjoy work. He made up his mind to attend photography night classes. Today he is a full time sports photographer, making a good living – and happy.

 

The greatest secret to success is to figure out what you love to do and then organise your life around figuring out how to make a living at it.

THE MOST IMPORTANT ACTIONS

THE MOST IMPORTANT ACTIONS

Actions shape what you achieve. They determine how successful you are, or why you fail. The actions that you take are influenced greatly by the beliefs that you hold. Our thinking dictates our beliefs and our beliefs determine how we respond (act). Here are some negative thoughts to be mindful of:

hopefully is an act of FEAR

might is an act of BEREAVEMENT

won’t is an act of RETREAT

can’t is an act of DEFEAT

Here is the mindset of a leader:

I want to is an act of DESIRE

I need to is an act of ACCOMPLISHMENT

I can is an act of POWER

I did is an act of ACHIEVEMENT

Leaders excel and learn, not because they are told to, but because they want to.

 

Actions shape what you achieve.

THE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS

THE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS

Words shape the way you feel. They influence the way you act. And they can either elevate you to your winning best or relegate you into a losing rut. No matter what life sends us, we are responsible for the way we respond. Starting with our words. Choose them well. Leaders do. Always.

The six most important words:

“I admit that I was wrong.”

The five most important words:

“You did a great job.”

The four most important words:

“What do you think?”

The three most important words:

“May I help?”

The two most important words:

“Thank you.”

The one most important word:

“We.”

 

Words shape the way you feel.

BE A GIVER

BE A GIVER

Be a giver. Leaders are givers. Think Bill Gates. By giving, you are living out a universal law – “life gives to the giver, and takes from the taker.” The more you give, the more you get. If you want more love, more respect, more support and more compassion, give more love, give more respect, give more support and give more compassion. Be a mentor to others. Give back to your community. As a leader, the only way to get what you want is by helping enough people get what they want first. As Winston Churchill once said “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Those who craft extraordinary careers are those who spend most of their time giving their best and going the extra mile. When you give you feel good about yourself. Albert Schweitzer said, “Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.” But don’t let others take advantage of your willingness to give. Don’t carry other people’s monkeys on your back. Learn to say no. Every time you say yes to something that is unimportant, you are saying no to something that is important. Be strong in yourself – don’t seek the need to find affirmation through the approval of others. As Queen Victoria said “The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.”

None of the world’s greatest leaders were self-serving leaders – Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Teresa – all of them put the greater good of others first. Give to get. It’s a very simple little statement but it’s a statement that makes a big impact.

 

Those who craft extraordinary careers are those who spend most of their time giving their best and going the extra mile.

BE A LISTENER

BE A LISTENER

Great conversationalists are great listeners. Reflect for a moment on the letters of the word “listen”. The letters also spell the word “silent”. If you are not silent, you can’t be listening.

Winners listen. And they listen remarkably well.

Listening is the one skill most people find difficult to master. Many of us listen to hear – to hear is to take notice of; to listen is to seek to understand.

Listening shows respect. Listening makes people feel special. Try it. Make a conscious decision to truly listen the next time you are in conversation with someone. Don’t interrupt. Make eye contact. Don’t rehearse your answer while they are speaking.

Many people are so self-focused that they fail to ask good questions when they meet another person. When you listen and ask questions you show humility. You show you are interested. It demonstrates that you are engaged. Most people’s idea of listening is waiting until the other person has finished speaking so that they can interject.

Work at becoming not only a good listener, but also an excellent listener. You’ll know yourself when you have listened well to someone. And you’ll feel good about yourself because you will have so much more to offer. And you’ll be liked and valued a lot more for it.

 

Great conversationalists are great listeners.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Lead by example. I know it’s a cliché but one worth keeping in mind if you aspire to be a truly authentic leader. People don’t follow titles; they follow leaders. The greatest sermon in life is not the one you hear but the one you see. It’s easy to talk a good game. It’s harder to live it. Ask Barack Obama!

Authentic leaders lead by example. Consistently. Persistently. Passionately. Leaders talk less and do more. And in leading by example they don’t worry who gets the credit for a job well done. They just get on and do the next thing that needs doing.

In the theatre it is said, “No role is a small role.” And in life, as in business and everything else, no person is an insignificant person. The person who sweeps the floors or the person who makes the tea is every bit (if not more) significant than the most senior people in the organisation. I remember visiting a school and on a prominent noticeboard in the foyer was a beautiful sign that read, “In every good school, everybody matters.”

What a beautiful sentiment.

In the best organisations, everyone does matter, and where such a culture exists, leading by example is the norm.

 

People don’t follow titles, they follow leaders.


 

NEVER REST ON YOUR LAURELS

NEVER REST ON YOUR LAURELS

Nothing fails like success. You are most vulnerable when you are winning. Winning can breed complacency, casualness, contempt, and most of all – arrogance. When people and businesses win they forget about the things that got them to the winner’s podium in the first place. They stop being creative and innovative, stop working hard, and stop taking risks. They go on the defensive spending their time protecting their success rather than staying true to the very things that made them winners in the first place.

Marks & Spencer are a great example of a high street brand that rested on their laurels. While they dithered and lived off their reputation, new brands, particularly in women’s fashion, emerged to meet current trends. It was a wake-up call to M&S and ever since they have been seeking to wow back customers. They are finding the challenge difficult because when you rest on your laurels you soon become a follower rather than a leader. M&S are just one example – think BlackBerry and Kodak – while other high street brands like Woolworths have paid the ultimate price.

The more successful you and your organisation become, the more humble and customer-focused you need to become. You have to be always improving, always challenging norms, always attentive to what’s happening around you. The moment you stop doing the very things that made you a winner is the very moment you begin to slide back into mediocrity again.

 

When you rest on your laurels you soon become a follower rather than a leader.

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO WINNING

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO WINNING

Reality shows have dominated our television screens over the last decade. They started with Big Brother and Pop Idol to be followed by The X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing among many other dubious and eccentric versions. Shortcuts to glory and fame, a fast track path to winning. Glory, fame and success don’t come that easily and as the reality shows have shown, albeit with a few exceptions, most winners disappear as quickly as they arrive.

We live in a world where easy is fashionable. We want to be spectacularly fit but we don’t want to have to exercise regularly to get there. We want to be successful in our careers but we look for ways to get there without having to work hard and be disciplined. Nothing comes for free because there is no such thing as “free time”.

You need to practise to be a winner. Practice demands discipline. The finest things in life take patience, focus, effort and sacrifice. There are no shortcuts. Behind every extraordinary achievement you will always discover extraordinary desire and discipline. Winning in life, business and everything else requires sacrifices. Most people give up too early. A true sign of maturity is the ability to give up instant gratification for a much more spectacular pleasure down the road. David Beckham scored a wonderful free-kick goal in the dying minutes for England against Greece that sent England to the 2002 World Cup finals just as they were staring shock elimination in the face. The beauty of the execution of Beckham’s free kick was a sight to savour – what we didn’t see were the countless hours of practising free kicks on the training field that Beckham religiously adhered to.

Every journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. We are at our best when we are most challenged. In 1962 Kennedy threw down the gauntlet by challenging America to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” were the famous words spoken by Neil Armstrong at 0256 GMT on 21 July 1969 as he walked onto the surface of the moon – only in time have we truly realised the magnitude of the effort that went on behind the scenes for the previous seven years to make this happen.

The best among us – the winners in life – make it all look so easy and effortless. But like the graceful swan as it glides along the water what you don’t get to see is all the planning, hard work, coordination and near flawless execution taking place below the surface. Yes, there are no shortcuts to winning.

 

Behind every extraordinary achievement you will always find extraordinary desire and discipline.

YOU HAVE UNLIMITED CAPACITY

YOU HAVE UNLIMITED CAPACITY

There are no limits to what you can achieve. The only person who sets limits for you is you. All the words we associate with limits are negative words – keep out, stop, never. When you limit yourself you destroy your potential and seek safety. As Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Seek out your best and discover the wonderful abilities that lie within you.

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Great quote. Think positively – I can, I will, I want to. There are many wonderful examples of people stretching themselves to their absolute physical and mental ability. Think of the great Olympian Michael Phelps who won eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008 to add to the six gold medals he won in Athens in 2004. Before 1954 it was believed no runner could ever break the four-minute mile barrier. But after Roger Bannister broke it many more proved it could be done. Why? Because Bannister showed people what could be done.

Our beliefs drive our actions. Our thinking creates our world. Think small and you’ll act small.  Think big and you’ll act big. In 1980 Bill Gates said Microsoft would put a computer in every home and on every desk. And they did. Richard Branson says he will fly people to the moon for their holidays with his company Virgin Galactic. Branson dares to dream.  So did Bill Gates. Winners see no limits.

Michelangelo said, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

Aim high, because winners always do.

 

Our beliefs drive our actions.

BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE

BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE

Jack was my A-Level English teacher. He is the teacher I remember most fondly.

Jack was an enthusiast. He taught by example, the most powerful form of teaching. And when every lesson finished and we tidied up our books he always reminded us as we went out the door – “Boys, be the best you can be.” That phrase has stuck with me for life.

A manager once asked his mentor “What do I have to do to be the best I can be?” The mentor replied: “It is not the doing, it is the being that counts.” So how does one be the best you can be? Being the best you can be is not a thing. You cannot buy it, fill a bucket with it or give it away. Being the best you can be is an attitude, a belief, a philosophy, and a mindset. So is winning. Winning starts with you and ends with you, because everyone has the ability within them to be the best they can be – and to be a winner.

How do you feel when you’ve given of your best? How do you feel when you’ve put in a good day’s work at home or in the office? How do you feel when you’ve made someone feel good? It feels great. It always does. It reminds me of the words of Martin Luther King Jnr. who said: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or as Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will say, ‘Here lived a great sweeper who did his job well’.”

My grandmother had a beautiful phrase that she repeated often, “There will never be anyone else quite like you.” Others might try to copy the way you think, the way you dress or the way you act. But no matter how hard they try, they will never be you. There is no one else quite like you. And because there will never be anyone else quite like you, there will never be a better time to be the best you than now. Go out today, and everyday, and be the best you can be. Have a winning mindset. You won’t regret it.

 

There will never be anyone else quite like you.

THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE

THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE

Man’s Search for Meaning3 by Viktor Frankl is a small book but so very powerful. Frankl, an Austrian psychotherapist, survived the Nazi concentration camps while so many around him perished. But he never lost hope. His book reflects on what it was that helped him survive – his ability to choose how he responded to the horrendous circumstances he found himself in. They could strip him of everything but his greatest human freedom – the ability to choose.  Frankl writes “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

The most important of all our traits is the power we have to choose. To choose how we live. To choose what we say. To choose what we eat. To choose how we will view and consider a circumstance. While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions. Some of our choices may bring consequences we would rather have lived without. If we had the choice to make over again, we would make it differently. We call these choices mistakes.

Mistakes are opportunities for learning. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, said that we should not fear mistakes because it is through mistakes that we get to know failure. Oscar Wilde expressed such thinking beautifully when he said, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” It is only through experiencing failure that we get to experience the real joy of winning. Hilary Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, echoed this sentiment when she said, “Going out and playing football or baseball with the boys, when I was a tomboy, was a great way to learn about winning and losing, and most girls didn’t have that experience.”

Each day we have the opportunity to make a great many choices. And the way we make those choices shapes who we become.

 

Mistakes are opportunities for learning.

YOUR LIFE: YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

YOUR LIFE: YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

There is only one person responsible for the quality of life you live. That person is you.

Look at the word responsibility – “response-ability” – the ability to choose your response.  Winners recognise that responsibility.  In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,2 Stephen Covey tells us that, “We are responsible for our own lives.”  Every outcome you experience in life is the result of how you responded to an earlier event or events in your life – 10% of life is made up of what happens to you; 90% of life is decided by how you react to the 10%.

Winners do not blame circumstances or conditions. The playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I do not believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” Choosing our response to circumstances will powerfully affect our circumstances. What characterises winners is that they don’t let circumstances influence them; they influence the circumstances.

Life is a game. You can win in the game of life and you can lose. What separates the winners and losers in life is how they handle disappointment. Winning is not just about being ambitious – that’s the easy part. Winning is about overcoming adversity and failure. The media magnet Sumner Redstone believes “Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.”  Achievement in any field is impossible without setback. What separates the field is not the setback but how you respond to the setback.  This is a point Stephen Covey emphasised time and again in his writings – it is not what happens to us but our response to what happens to us that counts. It is as true in life as it is in business and everything else.

Each one of us has control over three things in our life – the thoughts we think, the pictures we visualise and the actions we take (our behaviour). How you use these three things determines everything you experience. You will never be a winner as long as you continue to blame someone or something else for your lack of success. If you want to be a winner, you have to be truthful with yourself – it is you who took the actions, thought the thoughts, created the feelings and made the choices that got you to where you are now. It was you!

When you reach the point of fully accepting and saying “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday” only then are you truly taking 100% responsibility.

 

Life is a game. You can win in the game of life and you can lose.

The Bright Young Psychologist

The Bright Young Psychologist

A bright young psychologist took a month out from his normal work and flew back and forth every day from Los Angeles to New York. He would always sit in the middle seat of three.

After take-off he would start a conversation with the person either side but, rather than trying to be interesting, he would focus instead on being interested. All he did was ask great questions and let the other person speak.

At the end of the journey he would ask for their details on the premise he could do something for them or that they would stay in touch. One week later a researcher would call the people he had sat next to. They all remembered him. They all said how much they liked him; although no one could recall if he was married, what he did for a living, or where he was from (because he never told them).

However, the most amazing part of the research was the fact that over 70 per cent described him as one of the most interesting people they had EVER met!

 

Being interested is better than being interesting if you want to be thought of as an interesting person.

The 5 Reasons Why Apple Are So Successful

The 5 Reasons Why Apple Are So Successful

Apple are a truly unique species. One hundred per cent dedicated and loyal – almost to the point of religious fervour. But how did this once struggling tech company evolve? How did Apple expand its appeal beyond niche graphic and creative segments and morph into the most profitable business in the world today? And what it is that makes them so successful? Here are five reasons that every business leader can learn from Apple.

1. Their products are accessible. You get it. Or you don’t. Most people do.

Make it easy for people to understand what it is you do and how they can benefit. Think of ways to simplify your message to potential customers and highlight your strengths. Look at your brand. Is it strong and straightforward? Does it have a consistent tone of voice?

2. Apple thinks differently. Computers were once viewed as merely functional, a bit boxy and boring. Apple believed they didn’t have to be, and created products that have become objects of desire.

Think of ways to make your product different from the competition. What can you do to reinvent yourself so that you are clearly the best option available in your market? What can you simplify or beautify?

3. People want products that are easy to use and always work. Apple delivers.

Make sure the quality of your products is excellent and that you listen to feedback from your customers. Address any complaints as quickly as possible and continually look for ways to improve your products or services.

4. Their goals are realistic. Apple never claimed they were out to conquer the world – they just do what they do, the best that they can .

Don’t make outlandish claims. Just be the best that you can be. Perhaps you can focus on one aspect of your business and become the leader in a specific area. Not everyone can become a jack of all trades – nor should they be.

5. People don’t buy products based solely on what the product does. There needs to be a reason why they should buy it. That’s what makes the difference.

At the end of the day, you can have the best product or service in the world but if you don’t connect with your target market your business might never take off. Think about the best ways to get your message out there and explain clearly how your product will benefit the buyer.

 

Your Leadership Point Of View Is Not the Same As Your Leadership Style

Your Leadership Point Of View Is Not the Same As Your Leadership Style

In my experience very few leaders are able to define and succinctly articulate their leadership point of view. The reason – they haven’t
taken the time to think about and reflect on their leadership point of
view.

Your leadership point of view is not the same as your leadership style.
Your leadership style is how you lead; your leadership point of view is what you believe about leadership. Your leadership point of view answers the “why” question and more often than not, influences how you lead.

There are three key questions every successful business or organisation needs to ask – what do we do, how do we do it, and “why” do we do it? Every individual leader needs to ask the same three questions of him/herself. When you have answered the last of these three questions, namely the “why” question, you are expressing your leadership point of view.

Appreciate The Moment

Appreciate The Moment

We live in a culture of wanting everything now. To wait is to be left behind. We look for the shortest queue at the supermarket check-out, we get agitated at the slow driver in front, we wouldn’t access the internet if we didn’t have broadband. Modern lifestyle dictates that time is precious and yet happiness is defined, at least in part, as having the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually.

Moments are special. They are to be enjoyed. Do you remember your first kiss? Or buying your first record? Kelly Clarkson had a massive No.1 worldwide hit with the song A Moment Like This. So also did Whitney Houston with One Moment In Time. People empathise with songs that relate to special moments because they help to recapture their own special moments from their lives. Life, itself, is all about key moments. Older generations can recall exactly where they were and what they were doing when Kennedy was shot or when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. Many of us can remember where we were when hearing of the death of Princess Diana or when the planes struck the Twin Towers. The feel good factor created by the election of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States will resonate as a key life moment for so many people worldwide for years to come.

At midnight tonight each of us will get a fresh set of 24 hours. Tomorrow is a new day. Not everyone gets one. Make the best of today and tomorrow. Yesterday is history, never to return. Enjoy the moment.

Do something for the first time

Do something for the first time

Human beings crave routine. It’s just the way we are. It’s a survival thing. It is so easy to eat the same breakfast each day, to visit the same hairdresser, to do the same things at work each day.

Why is routine so important to us? Because we need certainty and anything else makes us feel uncomfortable. Successful people hate routine. They get bored with it. They love the challenge of difference, of trying out new things. Because so many of us fall into routine, we take things for granted, we play small with our lives, we stop taking risks, we stop aiming for the mountaintop.

I lived in a small village at the foot of a great mountain for almost all of my childhood and teenage years. The saying “those who live nearest the mountain are usually the last to climb it” is very apt here. People came from far and wide to climb that mountain. I never did, until recently.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Do something new – today!

being comfortable with difference is about getting good at being uncomfortable

Be magnanimous

Be magnanimous

How often do we see people displaying admirable generosity of spirit unspoilt by petty feelings? Not very often would be the honest answer. Pope John Paul II went to visit the Turkish gunman who tried to assassinate him when he was imprisoned in jail. Nelson Mandela invited three of his jailers to his inauguration ceremony as President of South Africa.

Magnanimous people rise above all circumstances to see the best in others.

A fellow statesman once asked Nelson Mandela how he’d managed not to be angry after all his years in captivity.

He confessed that walking from his cell he had almost been consumed with anger but he knew that if he took his anger
with him beyond the gates of his prison, those who treated him badly would still have a hold on him.

“I wanted to be free” he said, “so I let go. It was an astonishing moment in my life, it changed me.”

The White Room And The Building Block

The White Room And The Building Block

Picture the scene.

You walk into a room. The walls are white, the ceilings are white, the doors are white, the carpets are white. In fact, everything is white, except for the pile of different coloured children’s building blocks lying in the middle of the carpet.

You pick one of the coloured building blocks.

What colour do you pick?

 

Picture a different scene.

You are going to London for an interview for a top job in a top creative agency. You walk into the interview room. You are told the interview consists solely of one task. You are instructed to go to the top of the stairs and enter the room facing you, pick one building block and bring it back to the interview panel.

You go upstairs and enter the room. The walls are white, the ceilings are white, the doors are white, the carpets are white. In fact, everything is white, except for the pile of different coloured children’s building blocks lying in the middle of the carpet.

You pick one of the coloured building blocks to bring back to the interviewing panel.

What colour do you pick?

 

Go to Leading Edge Leadership’s Twitter page to find the most likely response.

 

Affirm yourself and others often.

Affirm yourself and others often

The prime need of every human being is to be loved, valued and respected. All teaching starts with yourself. Do you love yourself? Do you value yourself? Do you respect yourself? When you answer yes to each of these questions you can truly affirm yourself, and in turn, affirm others. Being the best you can be means affirming yourself and others, and doing so often.

Each of us likes to be affirmed. We feel good as a result of being affirmed. It could be a simple statement like well done or I am pleased with you or your hair looks well or that dress suits you. An affirmation may come in the form of a thank you card for something you have done or your boss giving you Friday afternoon off in recognition of a good week’s work. I often refer to this as “the human touch”.

The famous fashion designer Coco Chanel was once asked “how do you judge the success of one of your dresses?” Chanel responed by saying that “if a man walks into a room and goes over to a lady wearing one of my dresses and says to the lady “that dress looks fabulous” then I have failed as a designer. But if a man walks into a room and goes over to the lady and says “you look fabulous” then I have succeeded as a designer”.

This little story reminds me of the lovely quote from Maya Angelou:

people will forget what you said, people will forget how you said it, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

People never forget how you make them feel.

The Leadership Lessons Of The Past Few Days

The Leadership Lessons Of The Past Few Days

When Brian Cowen stepped down as  the Irish Taoiseach at the weekend there was a message for every leader at every level. Cowen is a brilliant politician but a poor leader. His ultimate failure was his belief that he didn’t need to consult those around him about key decisions. When people don’t feel involved, they are not committed. No involvement, no commitment. Confidence in an organisation, a business, a political party, or, in Cowen’s case, a coalition,  comes from knowing and understanding what is happening within it. Brian Cowen’s railroading leadership style doesn’t cut any ice in today’s world. The essence of leadership is achievement through people.

The sacking of Roy Keane as manager of Ipswich Town two weeks ago mirrors the Cowen scenario. Keane was a brilliant player but a very poor manager. People management is the biggest challenge facing any leader. It would appear that Keane’s aggressive and demanding leadership style was his undoing.

In both Cowen’s and Keane’s case it is worth remembering that people will only follow you “not because they are told to, but because they want to”.

Life Is Challenging

Life Is Challenging

It is usually the most challenging events in your life that truly shape you. Challenge, conflict, confusion and uncertainty are stepping stones on the path to growth. Every setback carries the seeds of an even greater opportunity. The more painful the event, the more profound the lesson. James Allen, author of As A Man Thinketh, put it most succinctly when he said “circumstances do not make us, they reveal us”.

You learn more from the times that test you than you do from times of success. Walt Disney is quoted as saying “all the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me….you may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” In times of success you can get caught up in shallow pursuits and pleasures. In testing times you appreciate family, friends and the simple pleasures and beauties that are all around you.

So remember, sometimes it is life’s greatest challenges that present life’s biggest opportunities. Challenge introduces you to your best self. Easy times don’t make you better. They only make you complacent. Difficult circumstances often create new ways in which you see the world and others in it, and what life is asking of you.

Don’t live someone else’s dreams

Don’t live someone else’s dreams

Be true to yourself. Don’t live your life through others. Don’t spend your life pleasing others – going to medical school because your parents wanted you to, getting married because it is the thing to do, buying a top of the range car to keep up with the Jones’ even though you can’t afford it.

Always remember – you are what you are. To express who you really are (or want to be) is one of the most challenging and exhilarating things to do.

The gay community has the song I Am What I Am as their anthem. Five very powerful words.

Everyone strives for a life of fulfilment. You must never deny yourself fulfilment before you even set out on the journey of seeking fulfilment. To do so results in constantly seeking the approval of others because you are unable to approve yourself. When you need to seek the approval of others you say and do the things others want to hear and see. You are easily influenced. You always want to be liked. You are never happy with what you have got. Enjoyment is fleeting, often superficial. Your core values and principles are often compromised when you fail to be true to yourself.

What’s more important in life than being yourself? Fulfilment comes from living your truth. Pursuing your desires and ideals. There’s no point in getting to the end and realising you never let the real you come out to play.

Best summed up with these words from Shakespeare “to thine ownself be true”.

Giraffes Don’t Jump – What are your beliefs?

Giraffes Don’t Jump – What are your beliefs?

Beliefs are the assumptions you make about yourself, about others in the world and about how you expect things to be. When you have clarity about what you believe in, who you are, what you want, and why you want it, the happier and more effective you will be.

Many of the limitations you face in life are self-imposed. What you believe about yourself can keep you locked behind your fears or thrust you forward into living your dreams. You become what you believe you are.

The reason why giraffes don’t jump is a great example of the power of our beliefs.

Giraffes Don’t Jump

It’s pretty common knowledge that giraffes are the world’s tallest animals, and that they have the longest legs of any animal in the world too. What you might not have known is that giraffes give birth standing up. This means that when a baby giraffe emerges into the world it is immediately faced with a six-foot drop, and is almost certainly dropped on its head.

At first, the experience might not seem to bother the giraffe too much – but it has an immense impact in later life. Throughout their twenty-odd year lifespan, giraffes don’t jump. Never. Paradoxically, the world’s tallest animal is actually scared of heights. You can see this phenomenon in action in any zoo, anywhere in the world. You might expect a large animal like a giraffe to be penned in by high electric fences, but instead there are just low barriers and narrow moats separating them from the general public. Every giraffe is physically capable of jumping the moat and fence combination, but none ever does. That first terrifying bump on the head mentally conditions the giraffe into the firm impression that it’s better off with four feet firmly on the ground.

The point of all this is that we are all far guiltier than we might think of behaving like giraffes. We too are conditioned far more than we think by our earlier experiences and how we interpret them. Just when we need to change most, we may well find that we can’t. We can be hemmed in by our past, our subconscious fears, our psychological conditioning or simply by the   idea that w e’ve always done it that way .