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Interview with a BP #2: Marie Ball

The Maps is a tool for having a conversation. The Maps can have such a positive impact on people, but don’t over-promise what it is or tell them it’s a psychometric. It’s a way in.”

 

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Marie Ball is the second of many interviews which will be lifting the lid on Motivational Maps, life as a Business Practitioner, and the difference these individuals make.  

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INTRO

Marie Ball is a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner with a Masters in Human Resources, and a CAHRI Certified Professional (Australian Human Resources Institute). After a career in Welfare and subsequently HR, she started her own business with the Maps. She is one of two BPs in Australia, and it is her mission to make the Maps nationwide!


HR Spirit
TOP MOTIVATOR: SPIRIT

Marie is a Spirit motivator, but she observes that her top three motivators (Spirit, Searcher, and Creator) are all interlinked, fostering a spirit of independent creativity that is focused on helping other people: “I don’t like being told what to do! Any smart manager always left me to my own devices to deliver in my own way.”

 

Being a BP has allowed Marie room to fuel and fulfil her motivators, which has led to independent creation. Marie has a number of exciting projects underway, such as introducing the Maps into the academic sphere and education environments by creating a course / modules that will be available to HR, Business Management, Coaches and Counsellors at Australian educational institutions.

Marie began her Maps network while she still worked for a government organisation in Australia. Given the opportunity, she began mapping people in the department. When she left, she had a community of 300 or so people who’d already had a positive experience of the Maps. There is a huge cultural difference here: “In Australia, there has been government ‘civil service’ work, because these organisations provide a budget per employee for professional development and maps have proven to be a great investment. We haven’t even begun to tap the private sector yet!”

TOP TIP

For a lot of people, leaving their job to work self-employed is a big and frightening step. Marie observed that: “It can’t be about the money. I’ve had people come to me saying: ‘I give up, I’m not making enough.’ They couldn’t sell enough Maps or training. But it should never be about the money in the first place. It’s about helping people. I think it’s my Searcher, that I believe there’s good in everyone and potential in everyone. The Maps allows us to see that. I want everyone to not only do a Map but have a good experience of the Map, like I did.”

 

LINKS

www.marieballconsulting.com

What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.

 

 


Interview with a BP #1: Judit Abri von Bartheld

It takes education, it takes courage to introduce something new. You have to be adventurous and be willing to experiment.”

Becoming a Business Practitioner is a big step, but the rewards are also tremendous. We wanted to speak with our BPs and get a sense of what they felt the biggest challenges and rewards of being a BP were, as well as foreground the amazing work they do. This interview with Judit Abri von Bartheld is the first of many interviews which will be lifting the lid on Motivational Maps, life as a Business Practitioner, and the difference these individuals make.  

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INTRO

Judit Abri is a Motivational Maps Business Practitioner: an International Coach Federation Master Certified Coach, coach trainer, and a leadership expert. She is the founder of Coaching Without Borders, in Hungary, and is currently in the process of introducing the Maps to the Czech Republic in Prague.

HR CreatorTOP MOTIVATOR: CREATOR

Judit's top motivator is the Creator, and believes that her BP status naturally feeds into this motivator. “I like different things every day, to make my day more colourful. Working with different people definitely makes my day more colourful. If I only have clients, if all I’m doing is interpreting Maps and giving feedback, it’s the same routine. But if you have LPs, they’re all at a different stage.”

Creator motivators are energised by creativity: taking risks, innovating, building new things. Being a BP naturally engages this creative approach, presenting new challenges and opportunities. Judit is in many ways at the forefront of this risk as a Business Practitioner in another country where the Maps are not currently widespread. “In the UK you have senior practitioners, there are also lots of BPs. You can look for success stories almost next-door. In other countries however it’s a completely different job. We have an extra challenge...”

QUOTE

Being a BP is more complex than just managing LPs, however. It is a job with many moving parts, and, as Judit observes, different aspects will appeal to different people in different cultural environments. She describes the many facets of being a BP: “It requires entrepreneurial skills as well as coaching skills. You have to be a good mentor. You have to act as a role model. You have to be a leader to a certain extent. An educator. You have to be a good marketer, to get new LPs joining in. To run your website, social media, sales and marketing. You’re selling at two fronts. Selling the Maps and the idea of becoming an LP.”

This is a multi-faceted approach to the Maps; not only nurturing and developing future practitioners and advancing the Maps in creative and collaborative ways, but also trail-blazing new best-practices and uses of the Maps.

TOP TIP

It’s hard enough, even in the UK, where the Maps have more of a foothold, to break people out of these old notions of top-down hierarchical management styles and money-first / people-second attitudes. Introducing organisations to this idea of giving your employees a voice and listening to their motivational needs can still seem like a quite radical process. For Judit, working cross-languages and in completely different cultures, it is even more of a challenge. However, this does not seem to daunt her. She advises:

LINKS

Discover the difference Motivational Maps can make to your business: 

http://www.motivaciosterkeppartnerek.hu/

What is "Interview with a BP"

BP stands for "Business Practitioner". Within Motivational Maps, there are three "tiers" of practitioner: Licensed Practitioners (LPs) who sell and interpret Maps to help companies motivate and improve the wellbeing of staff. Business Practitioners who can recruit and train LPs as well as tackling bigger Maps opportunities. And Senior Practitioners (SPs) who can train and create Business Practitioners, coordinate large networks, and develop Motivational Maps.

 

 


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 9: 7 STEPS TOWARDS EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

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Welcome to the final instalment of Unlocking Motivation. Over the course of these nine blogs, we have explored motivation in the workplace, personal development, coaching, and the need for engagement in modern business, all interconnected by the principles of the Motivational Maps. We’ve looked at content from Mapping Motivation, Mapping Motivation for Coaching, and Mapping Motivation for Engagement. In this final article, rather than simply recapping, I’d like to take you through one last model to help you on your journey with motivation and engagement.

 

I mentioned in the last article that there is a seven step process towards engagement. I want to share these seven steps now and break them down a little for you.

 

1. What is employee engagement and why is it important?

This, really, is what we have covered in part 7 and part 8. Everyone involved in the process of engagement needs to be aware of why it is important and what exactly they are striving for. This is not just for ‘buy in’ at senior level. Everyone down to the grassroots must understand what engagement is and why it is valuable (and beneficial to them, too, because most people, save for masochists, would like to enjoy what they do).

 

2. Where are we now?

You need to get an accurate assessment of where you are in terms of engagement. However, we need to be careful how we do this, as surveys can be highly misleading, if not erroneous. For one thing, they can be grossly inaccurate because the majority of employees will answer in the way they think they should answer, not with total honesty. Secondly, they usually are a massive, massive cost. If you really want to determine how engaged are your employees currently are, then you need to do so indirectly. Engagement can be very difficult to measure, whereas disengagement has far more obvious symptoms:

 

Measuring sickness and absenteeism levels are a very clear way of measuring engagement, as well of course as measuring loss. There are many aspects to this but David Bowles makes the point that ‘clear evidence . . . would support what some long-established theories have put forward that absenteeism and similar behaviours are an effort by the workers to “level the playing field,” to make up for what is perceived to be an imbalance’. Here specifically Bowles is referring to huge disparities in pay and remuneration and staff’s perception of its unfairness – leading to their disengagement.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching

 

So, the first step to measuring engagement is to consider levels of disengagement. What are your levels of sick-days and absenteeism? What are the productivity levels of employees like? Are people working to what you believe their max-capacity is or well under?

 

The next step is to try to measure their energy levels, as energy is a far better indicator of engagement. To do this, we recommend using the Organisational Motivational Map. Quite apart from its massive utility and ability to work at team levels as well as organisational, the great advantage about using the Organisational Motivational Map is that it is virtually impossible to ‘game’: there would be no point in doing so anyway, since the questions don’t lend themselves to internal politics. Here we will have a definitive (albeit temporary, as motivators change over time) fix on the energy levels and direction of the organisation. In addition, compared to an annual survey, it’s cheap as chips.

 

 

3. What will be the measures?

When you are looking to increase engagement, you need to think about what your measures for success are. Is it less absent-days? Greater productivity? Greater staff energy and happiness? What is the most important metric for you? We should say profitability is a very poor metric in this regard, as it is really a narrative of ‘We only care about money’ that will not resonate with staff and makes a very low-grade statement. In addition, profitability can often be pursued to the extent that staff cut backs, downsizing, and streamlining can become harmful to customer and staff experience. Whilst there are many valid reasons to cut the ‘bloat’ in an organisation, taken to extremes (as it often is), it will harm the organisation’s integrity.

 

4. How will you gain ‘buy in’?

As I mentioned in our last article, in order for engagement to be successfully implemented and become a reality in your organisation, you need to have buy-in at every level, including the very top. If you don’t, it will inevitably fail. So, you need to deploy strategies to make sure that you get full buy-in at senior level. Not just an ‘Okay, but you manage it and I’m not sparing any resources’, but a ‘I want to implement this now, what do you need?’

 

We have talked extensively about the merits of engagement, not just at the level of motivation and satisfaction, but also for the bottom line, which is inevitably the language most senior people in organisations understand best. You need to showcase these facts and figures and make a compelling case for why engagement could solve several problems with one lick of paint.

 

5. Identify areas for action: what will you do?

This one is fairly self-explanatory, however, there is a deeper level to it when we consider each individual. When we determine motivation / energy levels by doing a Motivational Map, there are broadly speaking four quadrants people can fall into. Remember, every Map profile is unique and determines what motivates people. However, it does not determine skill levels. You have Creator motivator as your number one, but this might be a new discovery for you, so you haven’t fully harnessed and trained your creative abilities yet. In the light of this, the four quadrants give us an interesting strategic view of the people in our organisation when we also cross-reference it with what we estimate their skill-levels to be:

 

High Motivation / Low Skills

These staff-members need to be trained (or recruited if you are using this tools for those purposes). They have the motivation and energy, which is all-important, but they maybe need to harness their skills. Some of these people might also need to be re-located in the organisation. For example, if their Maps profile has revealed new drives that aren’t being met by their current work, then they are probably best suited elsewhere where their motivational needs are being met. This will increase their engagement levels as they will feel like they are being invested in.

 

High Motivation / High Skills

These are your stars. But don’t get complacent! You need to coach, mentor and retain these people and incentivise them. Think how many companies let go of their best people without so much as a whimper of resilience. You have probably witnessed it many times. There was a story in a company I encountered a while ago where a PA, we’ll call her Margaret, was working for one of the senior managers, we’ll call him John; Margaret was really was more than a PA and working across the entire business creating value. She was still on a very minimal salary, the same in fact since she had joined the company many years ago. She had asked, in the light of her new responsibilities and commitment to the company for many years, that her salary be increased to reflect that. Margaret’s request was pretty modest in the grand scheme. HR flatly said no: they were not giving out pay-rises, John would not give her a pay rise. So, Margaret handed in her resignation and accepted a generous offer from another company. John burst into the HR office a few days later. ‘Why didn’t you tell me Margaret wanted to leave?’ he fumed. HR had not even consulted him. ‘She was invaluable. We’ll never replace her. I would have given up part of my own bloody salary to keep her on!’

 

John showed wisdom here, though sadly it came too late as he had been deceived by his own Human Resources department. He knew that Margaret was a highly motivated and skilled individual and the company should have retained her at all costs, and was even prepared to sacrifice part of his own (rather larger) salary to make it happen. How many managers could actually say they’d do the same?

 

Low Motivation / High Skills

Low motivation yet highly skilled is also in the retain quadrant. However, if the issues with motivation are not resolved, these individual can become extremely costly to the organisation, so it is important to boost those energy levels and get them motivated!

 

Low Motivation / Low Skills

These are employees that potentially need to be released. If they have no motivation, their heart is not in it. This would be a fixable issue, if they had skills that were invaluable and were good at what they do. I should note that ‘high skills’ and ‘low skills’ is not referring to the intellectual standing of the skill. For example, business strategy versus administrative work. It is referring to how good someone is at that particular skill. People who are very good at administration, or telephone sales, or bricklaying – depending on what industry you’re in – are just as valuable as strategy and senior finance management. You need every element to make a business work.

 

So, the low motivated and low skilled individual is bringing nothing to the table. In a way, however, that is not the real reason to release them, however. It is actually the best thing for them. They are most likely not happy, stuck in a rut, and by releasing them you are giving them a new opportunity to rebuild their life. Letting people go is never easy nor should ever be glorified, but it is necessary and there are many people who have been fired from jobs that, looking back, say it was the best thing that ever happened to them. I appreciate this is not the case for everyone, and sometimes being fired can be devastating and have serious consequences, but ultimately, one must act in the interests of the whole organisation.

 

6. How and what will you implement?

Now that you have the data, and a sense of the individuals and where they stand, it’s time to define what you will implement to make changes and how. In other words, create a plan for engagement.

 

7. How will you measure and evaluate your plan?

Again, you need to consider what the metrics of success are. Is it increased employee-energy levels, increased productivity. What plans do you have to improve their abilities and performance further?

 

***

 

Thank you for coming on this motivational journey with me! I hope these articles have been of some use to you and provided you with insight about how you might go about increasing your own motivation levels and the motivation levels of those around you. I have provided a window into the world of Motivational Maps, what we’re about, and what we do. It is my belief that we can all benefit from understanding our inner drives and working in environments and with people that feed our motivators and energy rather than draining it. If you have any thoughts or questions about this series or any topic I have covered, please feel free to leave a comment below. You can engage with Motivational Maps via our website or via Twitter.

 

Thank you & stay motivated!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 8: THREE BARRIERS TO ENGAGEMENT

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Welcome to the eighth instalment of Unlocking Motivation! Last week, we looked at the history of engagement in the workplace and why it is so important as a step forward in thinking about employee satisfaction, happiness, and productivity. Here’s a quick recap:

 

RECAP:

  • Engagement is based on a ‘psychological contract’ between the employee and employer.

  • Engagement is the opposite of ‘scientific management’ or Taylorism and is about enriching the employee’s work life by honouring the psychological agreement.

  • The consequences of failing to engage staff are DIRE!

 

Today, we’re going to discuss the three main barriers to engagement and productivity that one faces, particularly in a large scale organisation (but it can happen in small ones too).

 

These barriers are so big, so threatening, so apparently insurmountable, that unless we address them squarely and head-on, we are unlikely to make any further progress. And there are three main ones…” – Mapping Motivation for Engagement

 

1. Buy in from Senior Management Team (SMT)

 

Sadly, for many senior management people, engagement programs are more of a tick-box exercise than an actual attempt to motivate and engage staff. Many of them will see engagement exercises as a frilly extra that can be purchased with some extra cash sitting in the company account. They think it makes them look good to be running these kinds of programs, regardless of the result. This is completely the wrong approach and will lead to fruitless endeavour. When a company expresses interest in engagement, it must come from the very top. Not just HR or another department, but senior management themselves. They must believe it, want to be involved in it, and seek to directly implement it. They have to perceive the strategic value of engagement and the impact it can have on the bottom line. They have to want to make that happen. In any other scenario, engagement exercises, however well executed, will ultimately fail. We call this ‘buy in’ because the SMTs need to not only financially but emotionally buy in to the program, the mission, the course, whatever form it takes. We outline a seven step program in Mapping Motivation for Engagement, which we will cover in our final article!

 

2. Sufficient resources to undertake the program

 

There are nine core resources to consider: money, time, equipment, people skills, knowledge, right attitude, information, space/environment and agreed co-operation. Phew! That is a lot of potential barriers. However, we find the one that comes up most often is ‘time’. This is because most companies, really, are in survival mode. They are churning out a product or service as fast as they possibly can in order to keep up with themselves. If they stop for one moment, catastrophe might occur! There is no room in these kind of frantic operations for strategy and long-term planning. Or, to put a finer point on it, improvement! How can you improve a service or product or whatever if you never actually stop doing it, step back, and think: Am I missing something? We have an attitude in the West in particular that every spare moment must be occupied by work. But the reality is that we do our best work when we have space around that to think. Looking at it another way, all creative outputs require ‘waste’ and ‘dead time’. I like to consider the universe in this regard. In theory, the universe is full of ‘wasted space’. The black emptiness stretches for a literally unfathomable distance. However, there is this one pinprick (as far as we are aware), called planet Earth, that harbours life. Could Earth exist without the wasted space? Mathematically, no! Any invention requires wasted time and effort. The endeavour of engaging employees is no different. We need downtime, time to contemplate, reflect, think, and feel. Most companies will not afford that space, or give time out of their schedules, for their staff to go through this process.

 

The other resources are important to consider too, but we find time is the most cited one, so…

 

EXERCISE: Consider how you might mitigate the barrier of time. When we run engagement programs, we like to ask staff themselves how they can create ‘capacity’ and time to run the program in their busy schedules. The answers can be surprising. How would you go about de-cluttering your daily tasks and making room for thought and reflection? List three things!

 

3. The human ego!

 

In fact, one of the reasons why our first barrier may never be overcome – that is, we might not get complete buy-in – is because of the egos of the management and leadership. It is, if you like, the flaw in human nature that has always been there, and management writers have noted it from the beginning.” – Mapping Motivation for Engagement

 

It might sound like I am being very harsh towards managers here, but I do not mean to single them out exclusively. We are all capable of becoming enamoured of control or of getting locked into certain behaviours. However, most of the time it is people with a degree of power that are most susceptible to what Professor Brown in the 1950 called ‘petty Hitlerism’. In other words: ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’. When we get control, it can go to our head. We don’t want to relinquish that.

 

The reality is that we can never achieve ‘buy in’ from senior management if, secretly, they like things the way they are: top-down, command and control, a hierarchy. We have to be really honest with ourselves here and make an honest call about where we think our leadership is at. Is our current leadership capable of buying in to employee engagement, and the necessary ambiguity and complexity it brings? Rewards, yes! But complexity too, because now staff, right down to the grass roots level, are going to be influencing decisions, engaged with the company practice, and able to have their say. It’s scary for some people, who are used to their fiefdom.

 

The idea of engagement, is to get people so thrilled about their work, that they want to go the extra mile. We cannot ask them to give that extra mile without giving something back, and without loosening the reins. If we want people to truly engage, we have to be prepared for the results of that, we have to be prepared to hear what they think, and we have to put our money where our mouth is.

 

In the next and final article, we will be exploring the seven steps towards employee engagement!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.

 


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 7: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACT

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Welcome back to Unlocking Motivation! Over the last six episodes, we have discussed content from my first book Mapping Motivation, published in 2016, which outlined many of the theories and practices of Motivational Maps. We have also looked at Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), the second book in the series, which deals with how the Maps can support one-to-one coaching, self-coaching, and personal development. We’ll now be moving on to the final part of this series, which is Mapping Motivation for Engagement (co-written with Steve Jones).

 

Firstly, what is engagement? Engagement is a relatively new concept. William Kahn was one of the first researchers to truly allude to the critical role it plays in business in 1990. Since then, it has become something of a worldwide phenomenon, with countless tools, models, and paradigms for measuring and increasing employee engagement, most of it to no end whatsoever. There are a number of important ideas, what I call ‘preliminaries’, that preceded engagement and informed how we understand it. I cover a large number of them in the book, too many to detail fully here, I do have space to talk about one or two. David Kolb, in his book Organisational Psychology, said that: ‘A company staffed by “cheated” individuals who expect far more than they get is headed for trouble’. He is referring to what is known as the ‘organisational contract’, a concept that arose in the 1970s. It effectively describes the ‘unwritten’ contract between employer and employee, the implied expectations of the employee. For example: ‘This will be a positive and enriching place to work’, might be one expectation. Whilst this is nowhere guaranteed if their contract, if this is what they have been lead to believe through interviews and initial contact with the company, they will feel ‘cheated’ if it is not what they get.

 

In 1995, Mullins put it in the following terms: ‘a series of mutual expectations and satisfactions of needs between the individual and the organisation. It covers a range of rights, privileges, duties and obligations which are not part of a formal agreement but still have an important influence on the behaviour of people.’ I think the words: satisfaction, meaningfulness, psychological, and expectations are extremely significant here!

 

EXERCISE: Consider your role, whether it is a freelance position, organisational post, or even something entirely different, such as a charity board volunteer position. Write down your expectations of the ‘invisible’ psychological elements of your employer-employee contract. Ask yourself whether these expectations are being met.

 

There have been a number of profound changes to the workplace which seems to me to be directly correlated to the emergence and significance of engagement. Firstly, the coming of the Information Age, which has increased the speed of communication to absurdly rapid levels. Whilst this has many positive outcomes, it has also produced negative ones: an erosion of personal space / time, an erosion of traditional working hours, a culture that expects everything immediately. Just as we are adjusting ourselves to this rapid pace, we are also experiencing what I would describe as the deathly slow failure of Taylorism.

 

Taylorism, for those who don’t know, is ‘scientific management’. It is the traditional corporate methodology of defining job roles by breaking them down into prescribed behavioural activities, with a focus on rules, control, compliance, supervision and efficiency. Of course, what we are observing now is a realisation that greater efficiency does not lead to greater effectiveness. Or in other words: efficiency does not equal results. In addition, the negative impact of Taylorism on creativity, responsibility and commitment cannot be overstated. There is a reason that there is a crisis of innovation in most industries in the UK!

 

There are many companies that still cling to the Taylorism model, and that is their prerogative to do so. However, I think it has clearly run its course. In the ironic words of Jacob Morgan: ‘Robots aren’t taking jobs away from humans; it’s humans who took the jobs away from robots’. We have become a society trying to treat people like machines.

 

Once we step away from ‘controlling’ employees, ensuring they are ‘compliant’, and instead move towards honouring our psychological contract with them, we begin to reach engagement. There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that engagement is the way forward for organisations large and small. Here are some facts:

 

1. The cost of employee disengagement to the economy in 2008 was between £59.4–64.7 billion per annum. That is a staggering figure, and it is for the UK alone!

 

2. Only 29% of employees11 were engaged in their work. Which means that 71% are not fully engaged.

 

3. Companies on the Glassdoor12 Best Places to Work list outperform the overall stock market by 115%. Best places to work are, by definition, places where employees are engaged, so from a purely financial point of view engagement is surely desirable?

 

4. In the UK, 82% of senior managers regard disengaged employees as one of the three greatest threats facing their business.13 In other words, engagement is a strategic issue.

 

5. As many as 47% of employees stay in a job they dislike for fear of having no other option. In saying this we are almost raising a moral issue: do we want to be the kind of managers who preside over misery and fear?

 

So, now we know why engagement is important and that we need to take action to work towards transforming our place of work.

 

RECAP:

  • Engagement is based on a ‘psychological contract’ between the employee and employer.

  • Engagement is the opposite of ‘scientific management’ or Taylorism and is about enriching the employee’s work life by honouring the psychological agreement.

  • The consequences of failing to engage staff are DIRE!

 

In the next article, we will be exploring the barriers to engagement and productivity that one faces in an organisation.

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Engagement at the Routledge website.

 


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 6: BARRIERS POSED BY PEOPLE, MONEY & TIME

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The coach has another crucial role, then: he or she has enabled the client to get clarity on where the destination leads, but now the coach has to help the client understand what needs to be done to get there. That is, how does the client demolish the barriers that are preventing access to the ‘promised land’” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching

 

Up to this stage, we have predominantly looked at the primary role of the coach, in which the coach attempts to help their client realise where their destination is. Now, we intend to examine the complimentary function of helping them demolish the barriers that are preventing success. Last week we started looking at ways to form new habits with kaizen, and therefore take the first initial steps towards progress (the first step on a journey of a thousand miles), but now we will look at how to overcome larger obstacles. It’s worth recapping what we learned last week, however:

 

RECAP: Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!

 

The barriers to progress we face are most commonly divided into one of three primary categories: time, money, or people. These categories actually correspond with the three motivational clusters of Relationship, Achievement and Growth. So, if you recall the nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.

 

Each of these motivators falls into one of the three ‘clusters’: Defender, Friend and Star fall into the ‘Relationship’ cluster, as they deal with personal relationships and the past. Director, Builder and Expert fall into the ‘Achievement’ cluster, as they are concerned with success in the workplace and present-tasks. Finally, Creator, Spirit and Searcher fall into the ‘Growth’ cluster as they are focused on personal development. They are ‘future’ focused.

 

People corresponds with the Relationship cluster. Consider if you find meeting and working together with the right people to be a big barrier, how your Relationship motivators stand. Money corresponds with the Achievement cluster. If you find money to be a barrier, look at whether your Achievement motivators are low on your profile. If time is your key barrier, it might be that you struggle to look ahead, which is where Growth cluster motivators excel.

 

So, the primary obstacles we face eerily correspond to our motivational profiles. This is possibly because in actuality, none of these factors are the real obstacles to our progress. In fact, most of what is preventing us from overcoming barriers is internal: our outlook and frame of mind.

 

You will have heard it endless reiterated that to achieve your dreams you ‘just need to believe’ or ‘be confident in yourself’ or ‘make it happen’. Confidence and self-belief have been turned into a branding commodity; a logo that you put on tea-mugs and designer-pillows: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. We see these slogans every day and they have been repeated so often, and without nuance, that they have lost all meaning. At this stage, I am sure that even the wide-eyed and optimistic among you have a niggle of scepticism regarding the power of ‘belief’.

 

So, let us examine what we really mean when we talk about self-confidence or self-belief. What we really mean is a state of mind. In Japanese warrior culture, there is a heightened state of awareness called zanshin. It literally means ‘no-mind’. In this state, warriors empty themselves of all their petty thoughts, doubts and considerations so they become entirely ‘present’, able to perceive every incoming blow from every angle. They are relaxed enough that their muscles can respond frictionlessly to dangers, but alert enough that they do not miss any opportunity. In this state, it is said the great Miyamoto Musashi, perhaps the greatest samurai ever to have lived, defeated hundreds of warriors at once in combat. Musashi believed he was the best. He never doubted the speed or power of his sword-stroke, or his victory. That is belief.

 

State of mind is everything. Belief is not an airy-fairy concept. Nor is confidence. It is a story you tell yourself and a mind-set that you inhabit. Henry Ford once said: ‘If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’ This is a profound commentary on self-fulfilling prophecies. We make these prophecies for ourselves every day: ‘I’m not good enough for this’, ‘I’m stressed out of my mind’, ‘I can’t think straight’. Inevitably, these predictions become true as we obsess over them. The brain moves towards where it is directed by our thoughts.

 

Think of this another way. By controlling how we respond to the world, we control the outcome. We cannot control the world, it is outside of our sphere of influence. We cannot stop people being rude to us, or bills coming in, or changes in government legislation that are unfavourable (at least, most of us can’t!). However, we can change how we respond and adapt to these events. Do we respond in a state of zanshin, or in self-defeating mode?

 

Similar to the events and buffets of the world beyond our control, we have the barriers to stop us doing great things: ‘I can’t find the people to help me’, ‘I don’t have the money’, ‘I don’t have the time’. However, when we approach these problems with the right mind-set, we can see that none of these are insurmountable. There are numerous online and face-to-face platforms for meeting the right entrepreneurs and professionals. Collaboration has also never been more accessible with online calls, seminars, shared-docs, and tools such as Slack.

 

EXERCISE: Create a list of ways you can find the best people to help you achieve your goal. What networks will have the right people. How can you use what you have learned about Motivational Maps to make sure you find people with the right motivational alignment / balance that will compliment yours?

 

It is highly possible in today’s world to loan money to start a business, or even to find investors. It is not easy, no one would ever say that, but there are ample solutions. New solutions are emerging all the time as well. Kickstarter and crowd-funding campaigns are changing the game of start-ups. Kickstarter has raised something like $4.17 billion dollars for businesses worldwide. Money is out there for you. You just have to be creative about how you get it, and offer value to people.

 

EXERCISE: Create a list of ways that you could raise capital. Weigh the pros and cons of each method.

 

The same is true of Time. One of the key strategies for maximising our time is using the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle taps into the uneven nature of the universe. For example, most of us assume that everything we do is equally valuable. If we have 100 emails, we read them all with equal attention. In reality of course, only 20% of those emails probably contain anything worthwhile! Pareto posits that 20% of what we do produces 80% of the results. 20% of people in a large company are producing 80% of the sales. 20% of homes cause 80% of the fires. 20% of people own 80% of the money of the world (in fact, it is actually a far more unbalanced statistic than that). However, this principle is not to be railed against. On the contrary, it can be used to our advantage. Once we become aware that 20% of what we do is producing 80% of the value, we can do more of what is in that 20% to double, quadruple, quintuple our value-output.

 

For example, if each day you were trying to sell a product online, but never got much traction, but you also made one phone call that instantly led to a sale, wouldn’t it be sensible to increase the number of calls you made? Or, vice-a-versa. If you sold hundreds online, but only ever made one or two sales via the phone. Why keep making phone calls? Harness the most productive aspects of what you do, and do more of them and less of what isn’t working!

 

EXERCISE: Make a list of all the things you do in your day and week. Now, identify what roughly 20% of those things (it might even be 30% in some cases) are valuable and creating the most value for you. Now, as yourself how you can do more of those things.

 

Hopefully you can see that all barriers can be overcome with the right thinking and tools. That is the role of the coach, and has been my role in writing this summary-article for you. Next week, we will be giving you a break to catch up with everything we’ve written. After that, we’ll be returning with part 7, out first look into Mapping Motivation for Engagement, co-written with Steve Jones.

 

FINAL RECAP:

 

Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.

 

Kaizen is the process of continual microcosmic improvements that leads to perfection. It is about taking the smallest possible step towards your goal, rather than large creative leaps that might be risky or daunting. Kaizen circumnavigates the amygdala fear-response and allows us to make a start by breaking things down into tiny steps. Kaizen strategies last long term. Remember the story of the steppers in Manhattan!

 

The key barriers of people, time and money correspond with the Relationship-Achievement-Growth clusters of Motivational Maps. The real obstacles, however, are our approach and mind-set. We must cultivate self-belief and motivation to overcome barriers with creative solutions!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 5: THE JOURNEY OF A 1000 MILES

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By now, if you have been following this blog series, we should have some idea of the Self. I asked you previously to assess your physical health, mental strength, emotional well-being and spiritual health in order to give you a picture of where you are at now and how you can improve to give your best performance. Combining this with the Maps is very powerful, as you now not only know where you may need to improve, but what kind of actions motivate you – killing two birds with one stone. For example, if you wanted to improve your physical health and you were a Builder motivator (at the number one slot), then it would probably benefit you to do a competitive sport, rather than simply going to the gym. Competing would boost your motivation levels, whilst also improving your fitness, leading to a massive overall increase in your well-being!

 

However, I am skipping ahead slightly. Let’s quickly re-cap on the purpose of coaching (which includes self-coaching):

 

Recap: Coaching can be defined as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’ (MacLennan). It is also about motivating individuals on a one-to-one basis.

 

So, how can we use coaching techniques to build a plan to improve our lives (or indeed, to improve the lives of those who work with/for us). I’d like to introduce to one powerful technique called “kaizen”. Kaizen is a Japanese word that literally means “improvement”, however, as with many words derived from Japanese kanji, it has many deeper meanings and associations, one of which is specific to business practice. The business philosophy of Kaizen is: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. It is a process whereby one makes continuous small improvements which over time become exponential. In the West, we tend to think of “innovation”. We want to make big bold creative leaps, where we imagine something entirely alien and new, and then bring it into being, thus radicalising the market and world around us. However, these are tremendously risky and one tends to fall victim to the ‘mad scientist’ psychological trap of always chasing an event horizon that never manifests, or manifests in undesirable ways.

 

Kaizen is a subtle alternative that the Japanese automotive and electronics industries have used to gain world market domination in a relatively short space of time.

 

So far as coaching goes this is important because one aim of the coach is to get the client to adopt new habits or rituals that are more helpful to them than the ones that led to their issue.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching

 

In order to change our lives, we have to change our habits. This much, we know. We know that to lose weight, we need to exercise more and to diet. We know that to break addictions, we have to form new patterns. However, doing it is always significantly harder than we think. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that most of us believe that we have to go on ‘crash courses’ in order to transform ourselves. We fast or only drink special shakes, we eat radically different food, we start running every day. This is a tremendous amount of effort and automatically sparks the ‘fear response’ in us that says: I don’t want to do that. The second reason is linked to the first: our brains are hard-wired to repetition. Even the most creative and spontaneous of us have patterns; we eat similar foods each day, walk similar paths, drink tea or coffee at the same times, have similar conversations, have similar practices for getting ‘in the zone’. Repetition is security. The more that the brain can put on auto-pilot, the less it has to worry about infinitesimal details or things going wrong. That’s why, in order to get really fit, the best way is actually to continuously vary your exercise regime, so the body doesn’t have time to adjust or fall into a pattern. The military use this to great effect.

 

So, we know we need to create new habits and change, but we can’t. The exercise regime is too stringent, the diet is too controlled, etcetera. How do we break through these mental blocks and doubts? The answer is kaizen. The ‘small steps’ of kaizen allow us to circumnavigate the fear response. Let’s do an exercise.

 

Exercise: Consider a key area in your life where you are not satisfied, or that you want to improve. Now ask yourself the question: What is the smallest possible step I could take towards my destination?

 

In order to help you with this exercise, let me give you a brilliant example. There was a study done on two office blocks in Manhattan. Specifically, companies that worked on the tenth floors, really high up. Both organisations had problems with employee fitness levels due to the location of the offices. In order to help employees, each company was offered a fitness plan. Company A employees were given unlimited gym membership and access. They could go any time, use any machines, swimming pool, all of it. Company B employees were asked to, once per day in their lunch break, walk up and down a flight of stairs. Each day, they had to add one step to the number they climbed. After a year, the fitness levels of the employees were measured. To the surprise-not-surprise of the researchers, Company B employees, termed affectionately ‘the steppers’, were fitter in every single metric. Most Company A employees had barely used the gym. It was too much, an overwhelming amount of options, and required them to travel and find a place in their busy lives to schedule it in. The change for Company B employees was so manageable, they stuck to it.

 

Consider now how this might apply to your life, or indeed the life of someone you know. How can you make one simple, minuscule change that will, over time, have a tremendous impact? Many successful people cite tiny routines, that they keep to every day, that have laid the foundation for their achievements. Remember, the habit must be small, manageable, and easy to incorporate into your existing daily life. Telling yourself you will run four miles every day will probably not work. You might manage it one or two days, or even a week, but after a while you’ll burn out. However, doing five (or even three or one) push ups before you go to work, and adding one push up each week, that is stick-able to!

 

Circling back to the beginning of this article, let’s look now at how you can use your Motivational Map, or your sense of what your top motivators are, to maximise this kaizen activity. If you wanted to improve your mental well-being, and you were a Creator, then perhaps journaling dreams or experiences or writing creative fiction, for just five minutes a day, would be a good exercise. You don’t need to write The Odyssey. Sketching out ideas, without the burden of engaging in a full blown project, will be liberating. On the other hand, if Defender was your top motivator, and you wanted to improve your mental well-being, then you would probably have a different strategy; planning your daily and weekly activities ahead of time, and doing this every day for a few minutes, would probably be a better solution.

 

I hope this article has given you some more ideas about you can use kaizen and coaching to drastically improve areas of your life. Thanks once again for stopping by!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.

 

 

 

 

 


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 4: THE ROLE OF A COACH

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Welcome back to Unlocking Motivation! Over the last three episodes, we discussed content from my book Mapping Motivation, published in 2016, which outlined many of the theories and practices of Motivational Maps. This week, we will be taking our first dive into Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), the next in the series, which deals with how the Maps can support one-to-one coaching, self-coaching, and personal development.

 

Before we get going, I should say that if you are sceptical about the number of books in this series, I don’t blame you. These days, there are so many publishers and writers and film-makers and all sorts cashing in on the idea of a series that largely repeats itself with every entry. However, it is my express intention not to do this. The subject of motivation is rich and can be applied to many different fields. This is partly why I have recruited experts in various fields, such as Bevis Moynan, Director of Magenta Coaching Solutions, an organisation that fosters excellent coaches, therapists, trainers and consultants. My hope is that each entry in this series is as fruitful as the last and offers new insights rather than endless re-iteration. So, on that note, let’s look at coaching!

 

So, firstly, what is coaching? Professor Nigel MacLennan defines it as: ‘the process whereby one individual helps another: to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement.’

 

Phew! This is a comprehensive definition, and needs some unpacking. Firstly, at a basic level, it is a process where ‘one individual helps another’. In other words, it is one-to-one, unlike training or teaching, which can be one-to-many. Interestingly, a recent survey showed that training (one-to-many) increased organisational productivity 22.4%, whereas select one-to-one coaching increased organisational productivity 88%! That is a significant difference of 4x!

 

When most people hear the word ‘coach’ they immediately think of a sports coach. It conjures the image of a sweat-suit clad person standing at the side of a race-track or basketball court, yelling advice at the top of their lungs. However, we should not dismiss the association. The purpose of a sports coach is to get the best out of their player, their performer, and this is through one-to-one interactions before the game / event, and also by offering advice and strategy through the day itself. As business people, we need coaches too. We need someone helping us to unlock our best performance throughout the day-to-day stuff, and ‘on the day’ too. ‘On the day’ could mean many different things depending on where you work and in what role; it could be a major sales event, a management meeting, a performance review, a pitch, a presentation, or a networking event. The point is, there are certain occasions, whether we are Olympic athletes or marketing executives, where we need to perform at our very best.

 

I think one of the most powerful definitions included in MacLennan’s quote is ‘to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement’. The role of the coach is not just physical, passing on wisdom, practical advice, and techniques to get them to the next level, but also psychological. It is about overcoming the inhibitions present within our own minds! And I’d argue it is almost impossible to do this yourself. We need coaches, or at least a role model, to help us do it. We also need tools. I mentioned in an earlier article that the Motivational Maps function as a mirror, allowing us to see ourselves in a way we previously could not.

 

There is one aspect missing from MacLennan’s awesome definition, and that is motivation itself. One of the primary roles of the coach is to motivate. Motivation leads to performance, as we have already seen in previous blogs in this series. Motivation is the fuel, the driving force, the energy, that allows us to do great things. A coach should inspire those motivation levels and be able to maintain them. The problem is, we are all motivated differently, and discovering what drives someone has hitherto been quite a lengthy and laborious process, more akin to a series of therapy sessions. Most trainers or managers or leaders follow one of two modus operandi. Either, they define motivating people as a ‘carrot or stick’ approach, effectively reducing people to one of those two boxes. Or, even worse, they commit to a cookie-cutter ‘one approach fits all’. In the latter, we often see what has aptly been termed ‘Ra Ra’ motivation: fire-walking, motivational speeches, away-days doing extreme sports, activities that are sure to raise the adrenaline and motivation levels temporarily, but wear off within a fortnight.

 

So, what we propose is that by using the Maps, which provide immediate insight into motivation levels, we can empower coaches to work even more effectively with their clients, and we can even empower people to become self-coaches too!

 

“Coaching starts with considering the issue of self-awareness for the simple reason that the person who is not self-aware has – by definition – no awareness, or consciousness, that there is anything on which to work within oneself.” – Mapping Motivation for Coaching

 

So, to become a coach, we need self-awareness. But not only that, to benefit from coaching, we need self-awareness as a first step. We need to identify whether something is wrong and get at least an approximation of where that something is. Here is a model that can help you with these early stages of self-awareness. We call it the four strands that form a person: the body (physical – doing), the mind (mental – thinking), the emotions (feeling), and the spirit (knowing / being). Well-being is critical in all four areas. Whilst the areas each have separate domains which I have extrapolated in brackets, they are also deeply connected, and one affects the other. We only have to look at studies such as psycho-immunology, the effect that psychology has on the immune system response, to know that each part of us is interconnected with the whole in more ways than we can imagine. Let’s look at this another way:

 

PHYSICAL HEALTH Health

MENTAL STRENGTH Clarity

EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING Optimism

SPIRITUAL HEALTH Mission

 

EXERCISE: As a starting point for self-awareness, ask ‘How resilient am I in each of these four areas (or strands)?’ Rate yourself out of 10: 1 being the lowest, and 10 being the highest.

 

You should now have a rough picture of where you are and what areas you feel are weaker. Note that Spiritual Health does not necessarily mean religious in the strict sense. It could be another core belief, such as vegetarianism or responsible ecology. How connected are you to that ‘mission’ and purpose? Do you feel it is being fulfilled?

 

Now, take your lowest score, and use this as the basis for forming an ongoing development plan that takes at least 18 months to complete. Nobody can change their life overnight. It takes a while to introduce new habits, and to transform thought processes. We’ll be looking more into how you can form this plan, using Kaizen and other methodologies, next week. Until next time, thank you for reading; stay motivated!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of coaching, then you can find Mapping Motivation for Coaching at the Routledge website.

 


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 3: THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’

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Last week, we explored the nature and applications of Motivational Maps in greater detail. We talked about the deeper values and emotional drivers our motivators represent and how this can lead to conflicts. We also discussed how these conflicts can be resolved using the appropriate language to talk about our motivations. This week’s blog will be the last blog focused on the first Mapping Motivation book. Next week, we will be looking at Mapping Motivation for Coaching, my book co-written with Bevis Moynan! This second book focuses more on coaching and one-to-one motivational interactions: how you can boost the motivation levels of others. For now, however, let us continue our personal journey with the Maps.

 

RECAP: The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us. What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. As an exercise, we wrote down lists of motivators that may come into conflict.

 

I want to share some insights from the book relating to how the Maps can change over time. The Maps do not stereotype people, nor are they fixed. Unlike psychometric tests which measure the approximately 30% of your personality which is static or biologically encoded, the Maps measure the rest of your personality or ‘Self’ which is influenced by experience. There is a lot more to be said about the ‘Self’, how it is compartmentalised, and how we can define it, but it would be too much to go into in the space of this one blog. Suffice to say, when we talk about what your ‘top motivators’ are, we are talking about a moment in time. It’s important to always bear in mind that as your life changes and you grow as a person (hopefully we are all looking to grow), your motivators will change.

 

A classic example of this is someone who has fallen on hard times suddenly finding that the Builder motivator is in their top three, whereas before it was way down at the bottom of the motivational list! A financial crisis means that even someone for whom money is not normally important begins to recognise its value. Positive changes can also influence our profile. Sometimes, as we move towards our motivators, we can sometimes grow beyond them. For example, how many teenagers do we know that desperately want autonomy? They are driven by a powerful Spirit motivator. However, once they get out into the world away from home and begin struggling in the Darwinian kingdom of work, many of them suddenly recognise the value of the support families and friends can offer. They have proven to themselves they have autonomy and now it becomes less of a core driver. New horizons emerge.

 

A change in our circumstances, in our situation, may mean a slow or a swift change in our beliefs: in our self-concept, beliefs directed inwards about our Self; and in our expectations, beliefs directly outwardly and about outcomes.” – Mapping Motivation

 

The phrase ‘mid-life crisis’ is becoming more and more common, it seems, but what does it really mean? This sudden realisation many middle-aged people seem to come to, that everything they have been striving towards is suddenly worth very little to them, is nothing other than the sudden (or seemingly sudden) emergence of new motivational values. However, without the understanding and language to deal with this, it can feel like a very serious issue indeed.

 

Understanding how motivators change, and specifically how your motivations in life have shifted over time, is a great way to re-evaluate what you might deem as past ‘mistakes’. It is a great way to understand how you got from then to now, and why you may have made certain choices.

 

EXERCISE: Rank your top three motivators in the here and now. Then, think back to 5 years ago and rank your top three motivators as you think they might have been then (it is okay if they are the same, but it is likely at least one has shifted). Do the same for 10 and 15 years ago. You should now have four stages of motivational evolution. What does this tell you? What key events may have influenced these changes?

 

Hopefully the above exercise has been insightful for you. I know that my motivators have shifted greatly over time. As a drama teacher going back some thirty years, I know I was motivated by making a difference to my students (Searcher) and possibly also by that recognition so key to those in theatre and performing arts (Star). However, I have always carried the Creator deep in my soul, I think, in the form of poetry, which I have not stopped writing for forty years. Some things, of course, do not change, and that can be just as revealing as what does.

 

FINAL RECAP:

 

The nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.

 

The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us. What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. As an exercise, we wrote down lists of motivators that may come into conflict.

 

Unlike psychometric tests which measure the approximately 30% of your personality which is static or biologically encoded, the Maps measure the rest of your personality or ‘Self’ which is influenced by experience. This means they change over time.

 

Next week we will be having a short break, so see you in two week’s time where we will be talking about motivation and coaching!

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation at the Routledge website.


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 2: REVENGE OF THE DIRTY COFFEE CUP

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Last week, we began our journey with the first in this webseries, entitled Unlocking Motivation. We talked about how we are all driven by nine motivators, but these nine motivators are ordered differently within us. We talked briefly about reward strategies, and how we can move from treating everyone ‘the same’ to customising our approach to each individual person based not on a false meritocracy, but on what drives them.

 

RECAP: The nine motivators are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Director, the need for control, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world.

 

This week, I want to talk about what the Maps can reveal about human relationships and the startling way they can be used to improve communication and teamwork in an office.

 

Most of our arguments with people are not about the thing we are arguing about. We all know this at an intuitive level. It isn’t really all that angering that someone has left a dirty coffee mug in the communal area, or that they talk loudly on the phone. It is the messages behind these, what we call in literature ‘subtext’. One of my first great loves was writing, and it remains so to this day. Mainly poetry and non-fiction. My wife, Linda, the Managing Director of Motivational Maps, avidly reads probably 60 or more novels a year. Our interests overlap when it comes to watching Game of Thrones, and we have lots of interesting discussions about stories from this! The thing about narrative and storytelling is that if you want your characters to feel deep, three-dimensional and fully-realised – like George R. R. Martin’s – you need to understand that when people talk, most of the time they are not saying what they really mean. The same applies to the things we do. Sometimes, even seemingly altruistic actions can actually have hidden subtexts, agendas, and intended meanings. We sense these, often, at a kind of primitive animal-level, but it can be very hard without experience to decipher them.

 

So, back to the dirty coffee cup. What does that symbolise? Perhaps, to someone who likes things to be clean and ordered, it makes the statement: I don’t care about my working environment or the other people in it. If someone said these words to you directly, it would be pretty shocking and cause for alarm. The anger is understandable and it arises from a conflict of values. Another way of looking at this is that people do not disagree over things, or words even, they disagree over values. The motivational drives within us directly correlate to our values, therefore they are deeply important to us.

 

What the Maps does is give us a language to firstly understand where people are coming from, and from that, talk about any conflicts of values. Let’s look at this in a little more detail to see what I mean. Let’s say there is someone in the office with Director as their number one motivator. The Director is fuelled by the desire for control. They want to have control over their life, environment, and yes, also their work colleagues and friends. They want to be organisational chief. It is likely that if you have someone in your office who has a tendency to micro-manage, who likes to tidy up, and who is always volunteering to be in charge of one committee or another, they are a Director motivator. Now, the Director motivator has one immediate and obvious point of conflict within the Maps. How well did you study the nine motivators? Here’s an exercise:

 

EXERCISE: Write down a list of two or three possible motivators that could clash with the Director based on their drives / values. Ask yourself if you have seen any of these conflicts in action. If you are already familiar with the Maps, try picking a more unusual motivator or a motivator that you would normally consider cooperative with the Director and investigate where there might be tension points.

 

So, hopefully you have come up with some interesting answers there. For me, the number one conflicting motivator with the Director is the Spirit. The Spirit represents the drive for independence. Spirits don’t like to be controlled or told what to do. They abhor hierarchy. When they work, they like to go about things in their own way and reject repetitious process. One of the great strengths of the Spirits is that they are pro-active go-getters. However, you can probably immediately see that the relationship between these two motivational drives can be antagonistic if not managed correctly. In simple terms, they want opposite things.

 

Now, the purpose of the Maps is not simply to just provide words for existing things you are already aware of. It is not a label. Your motivators change with time, experience, and circumstance. A classic change I often see is when people first start their own business, suddenly they find the Builder in their top three motivators where it had never been before. Of course, money concerns starting a new business have meant that the need for material gain has shifted and become more of a priority. No, the Maps are a practical tool. Having a neutral language to discuss these difference of value allows the individuals themselves to have open, frank, adult conversations, as well as providing management and leaders with insights on how to go about solving the issue.

 

We need to constantly fine tune our teams because as I said before the law of entropy means they will run down without inputs.” – Mapping Motivation

 

Something I’ve observed in a lot of businesses, particularly in the UK, is the blame culture. Every process is designed to mitigate potential blame allocation. In fact, many people in offices spend more time covering their backs (sending emails confirming what so-and-so said to so-and-so or what instructions were given at what time), than they do getting on with work, and it is not their fault by any means. It is the societal culture we have created where every boss lives in fear that if they fire someone they will get sued, and everyone else lives in fear they will be held responsible for the actions of their superiors. We can become blame-culture enthusiasts in our personal life and our work relationships too. We blame people for things they do (or don’t do). The beauty of understanding our values and motivators is that it removes this blame-language. It moves from Why don’t you follow my instructions? to I can see that maybe my Director motivator is trying to control your Spirit. How can we work in a different way to avoid this?

 

It opens up a bounteous treasure-trove of possible solutions. Maybe the Spirit can work alone and then present their work to the Director at the end of the process, rather than getting feedback along the way. Maybe the Director can give the Spirit a lot of information and background and then step back and let them take the project away and finish it without intervention.

 

EXERCISE: I want you now to pick two other motivators from the remaining seven: Creator, Defender, Friend, Star, Searcher, Expert, Builder – and explore ways in which they might conflict given their drives and values.

 

So, the more we understand about one another and what drives us, the more sympathetic and communicative we can be. In the next blog, we’ll explore the further benefits of motivation in a team and why making a difference to the people who work for an organisation is ultimately going to benefit every other face of the business, including the bottom line.

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation at the Routledge website.


UNLOCKING MOTIVATION PART 1: INSERT MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH HERE

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We’ve all heard the phrase ‘practice what you preach’. It’s an essential concept. We need to embody the principles that we expect others to uphold. The problem is that, being human, we are susceptible to hypocrisy. I found this myself, at cost. I spent years using the Motivational Maps tool, getting people to realise what their true drivers were, their energy source, their motivation, and helping them to align their lives with these inner drives for greater wellbeing and performance. I then disregarded what my motivational profile was telling me. That I needed to be doing more creative pursuits. I had gotten so locked into delivering: going on the road, turning up at meetings, giving talks, training one to one and training teams, that I had somewhere lost sight of my true primary driver, which was to create content (not deliver it). I am fairly sure this is part of what resulted in my crash and subsequent cancer, though there were perhaps other factors at play there as well.

However, surviving the cancer, emerging from the belly of that whale, I had a new outlook and perspective on life, and also a new outlook on how to transform my business so that I could do more creation, what was truly at my core. The fruit of this labour are my three (soon to be four) books on motivation: Mapping Motivation, Mapping Motivation for Coaching (with Bevis Moynan) and Mapping Motivation for Engagement (with Steve Jones). These three texts explore the greatest challenge that most organisations face: that of motivating their staff and creating a strong, cooperative team environment. At the heart of these books is my product, the Motivational Map, which is self-perception diagnostic tool that makes visible what is invisible: our inner drives, desires, and feelings. It should be noted, however, that this is not a book just for managers, CEOs, or management consultants; this is a book that promotes overturning the traditional command and control hierarchy of business and replacing it with a modern bottom-up approach, where people are empowered. I hope it is of benefit to anyone who wants to learn more about what drives us and how we can boost motivational levels for ourselves and others.

Motivation is not secret, it is not Hermetic lore to be sealed away by a cadre of elite. Motivation is for all. As a result, I want to share some of the information and secrets contained in these books with you here to help you think about how you can improve your life. I’ll be writing nine blogs in total, covering topics from all three books. Are you read to come with me on this motivation journey? I hope so!

 

Independent of whether we have high IQs or low ones, whether we are tall or short, or whether even we are rich or poor, perhaps the biggest single determinant of the quality of our lives is how motivated we are at any given moment, and over prolonged periods of time.” - Mapping Motivation

 

The word ‘motivation’ and ‘motivational’ is bandied around a lot nowadays, but it is never very well defined. We talk about motivational athletes, or even billionaires who tell their motivational sob-story about growing up with ‘only a dream’. None of this is very useful or something that the every day person can really harness in any meaningful way. Organisations spend thousands, sometimes tens of thousands or even hundreds, on booking motivational speakers who rev up their sales force for a day, only to see their performance drop back to normal within 48 hours. Where are they going wrong?

I like to define motivation as energy. It is what feeds us. When we do things we are motivated by, it increases our excitement, our focus, our energy, our commitment, and also our enjoyment. Identifying what we are motivated by, however, is not easy. I know many people, who are very insightful, who have spent a lifetime trying to figure out their own motivations and really revealing they are completely blind to them. We all are, to an extent. Our self is always the blind spot. We cannot ‘see’ ourselves, except when we look in a mirror. So, the mirror is a tool to reveal what we cannot see. The Motivational Maps, similarly, allow us to look at ourselves more clearly.

There are nine motivators. These are synthesised from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Edgar Schein’s Career Anchors and the Enneagram. They are: the Defender, the need for security, the Friend, the need for belonging, the Star, the need for recognition, the Builder, the need for material gain, the Expert, the need for knowledge and skills, the Director, the need for control, the Spirit, the need for autonomy and independence, the Creator, the need to either bring new things into the world or improve existing things, and the Searcher, the desire to make a difference to others, or, in fact, to the world. No motivator is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another. All of them are valid. In fact, we all have all nine motivators within us, but generally two or three of them are dominant.

How is this helpful? Well, it reveals, very simply, what drives us. For example. I am a Creator, that is my number one ranked motivator, and therefore I need to make sure that I have time in my day for creative things: writing motivational books, writing blogs, listening to music, composing poetry. When I do these things, I get a massive energy and happiness boost. It is why I get out of bed in the morning, it completes my life. However, you might be motivated by something completely different. It seems obvious when you look at it like this, but it is amazing how many people take this cookie-cutter ‘one size fits all’ approach to people and wonder why it doesn’t work.

Let’s look at an example. What if a CEO wanted to reward their employees for a good year? What if they decided to give them all a pay-rise? That seems pretty sensible, right? Everybody wins. Except, actually, only 1 in 9 of your employees is likely to be a Builder and therefore motivated by material gain (perhaps more if they worked in an Accountancy firm or Banking – different professions attract different motivators). I’ve seen numerous examples of companies who give all their employees a pay-rise and it actually de-motivates them! It creates all kinds of problems when you look beneath the surface: ‘He got a bigger pay-rise than me, that’s not fair’ or ‘He got the same rise as me yet I’ve worked five times harder than he has’. Can you see how money does not, in fact, solve the problem of motivation at all, except when you are perhaps dealing with a Builder motivator.

Now, what if that CEO approached their reward strategy differently? What if it was custom to each person? The problem with that is working out what people want. The idea of Motivational Maps is to make it very easy to do this.

 

EXERCISE: Your exercise for this week is to make a note of the top three motivators from the list I have provided that you think could be applicable to you. Try and rank them from 1 through to 3. What does this reveal to you? Does it cause you reflect on previous roles and why they were or were not suitable for you? What does it say about your current role? We’ll look at this in more depth next week.

 

If you want to read more about Motivational Maps and unlocking the secrets of engagement, then you can find Mapping Motivation at the Routledge website.


10 Commandments of Impractical Entrepreneurship - Revisited!

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A couple of years ago, following a lunch with my friend Brian Jenner, I posted an article outlining the ‘10 Commandments of Impractical Entrepreneurship’! This was based on an outline of a talk he was preparing, and he kindly allowed me to share his brilliant ideas. Recently looking back over these commandments (one always needs to refresh oneself sometimes) I realised that many of them have acquired new meaning in our current business, economic, and, indeed, cultural climate. So, I wanted to share these commandments again with some new thoughts.

 

The first commandment of impractical entrepreneurship is thou shall not be afraid. Brian reminded me at the time that God's most common exhortation in the Bible is: ‘Fear not’ or ‘Don't be afraid’. God says this some 80 times and more than any other piece of advice. Frank Herbert, author of the incredible Dune series, once wrote: ‘Fear is the mind killer’. And indeed, he was right. Fear shuts us down. It reduces our ability to think laterally, placing us in a state of fight or flight (on fact, there is also a third response, which is ‘freeze’). Of course, none of these responses are particularly helpful for dealing with modern day issues. I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently, perhaps because right now you can practically smell it in the air. With the presidency of Donald Trump and the prospect of Brexit, many people feel less and less certain about their futures. Whilst I deeply sympathise with this, it is also frustrating to see people lose their heads. One would think we were entering another world war, or that the bombs were already falling, with the way people talk. A few days doing relief work in Syria or Africa might help people get a sense of perspective. The world is changing for us, not necessarily ending just yet (though all empires fall one day). It is also frustrating to see the media, rather than allaying fears, to be relishing in the fear-mongering. It is, truly, Orwellian to watch the spread of misinformation, speculation and outright lies. One might almost think they want us to be in a state of blind panic. But, I digress. If you want to weather the storms, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur in these uncertain times, you need to shed your fear. You must look at the chaos of our era as opportunity rather than be afraid of what might or might not happen. After all, we have to overcome fear if we're going to be able to achieve anything in life.

 

Commandment number two is: Thou doesn't need to have a job! We are, certainly the UK, conditioned into the idea of thinking that education is all about finally getting a job that will solve all our problems and make us happy. This is really just a fixed idea which is not helpful, and furthermore many people don't even enjoy their jobs, so seeing the ‘job’ as our inevitable future may be irrelevant. Jobs and the job’s mentality can often lead to endless and unsatisfying activity; whereas creating your own business can more easily lead to purposeful goals and real service. In our current climate, this is truer than ever. People spend so much time bewailing the lack of opportunity, the lack of good jobs, and yet how is it, then, that many groups of teenagers can be making, if not millions, a more than satisfactory living wage off of YouTube videos? Talking about what they love, playing video-games, reviewing exciting new films. This is not even the golden era of YouTube content creation! Yes, there are problems with that lifestyle too (burnout, isolation, to name just two) but there are pitfalls in any profession. Coaches and mentors burn out! I did myself. What I am trying to say is, as one door closes (stable jobs-for-life in the public sector, for example), another door of potential opens for those willing to make the leap of faith. In a few years’ time, YouTube may not exist. This doesn’t mean it is the end. We must adapt and change to our new environment.

 

The third commandment is Thou shalt try things out. You cannot discover profound and useful things unless you do things other people don't do; you need to experiment and need to innovate, and unless we do we won't get anywhere. It was Drucker who said that only two things made money for a business: marketing and innovation. So trying things out is really important. There might be an activity you do which suddenly sparks a new idea, or else puts you in a great mind-set for working. Not everything has to be work related, but at the same time, the things you do in your free time might well feed into your work and feed that passion. I myself love classical music. I can’t play, but I love to listen and have an eclectic collection. This is nothing to do with my work. Or is it? I regularly listen to this music when I am writing, or creating new content for the business. It stimulates and relaxes me in a way rock or pop music rarely does. What kind of music might relax you when you work? Try it out!

 

Fourth, Thou shalt accept failure. Accepting failure in the right way is the potential catalyst for learning. The famous Edison story tells how he perfected 10,000 ways how not to make a light bulb before he went on to establish how he could do it. Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish between success and failure. As Rosabeth Moss Kanter observed, 'Everything looks like failure in the middle. In nearly every change project doubt is cast on the original vision because problems are mounting and the end is nowhere in sight'. It's only with hindsight we realise the problem is a necessary part of the solution; so it's important not to get demoralised by what appears to be failure at some point during the process.

 

Then most interestingly, Brian shared the Fifth commandment: Thou shalt not give anything away for free. In our current era of relentless charity, and the way we are more connected than ever to people in need via online services, this might sound cruel. The fact is, you cannot help others if you cannot first help yourself. Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘The best way to help the poor is not to become one of them’. The majority of entrepreneurs providing a service are certainly under-charging. The majority of writers, artists and creators in the UK and US are paid less than a living wage (the 2018 ALCs study revealed the median income of a professional author is now at under £10,500 a year). We must get creative on how we can offer assistant to people at fair prices, but still run a viable business. Do we have multiple revenue streams from different projects? One project which is more altruistic and one more profitable in the traditional sense? If we really think about helping people as our top priority (whether we’re providing business or financial advice, counselling services, writing coaching or something else entirely) then we can create new ways to add value to people’s lives, and adding value is a sure way to increase your own value.

 

 

Thou shalt account for every penny, commandment number six. This shows a healthy respect for money and actually values its value. We can be driven by ideals, or large humanitarian goals, but still value money and not be wasteful of it!

 

Commandment number 7 is Thou shalt move with the times. This is more important than ever before! My good friend Ross Thornley is writing a book about just how rapidly our modern era is changing. How many organisations do you know that use old ideas, old methodologies, old technology, and wonder why they are becoming less and less competitive? If an organisation or business isn’t growing, then it’s dying.

 

Thou shalt not sacrifice thyself. This is the timely commandment number 8. We see it all the time, don’t we? The entrepreneur that mistakes stubborn stupidity for savvy persistence. Some ideas need to be abandoned as soon as it is clear that they are not going to work. But we get attached to ideas and won’t let them go; we sacrifice ourselves, re-mortgage the house and even our relationships, on the altar of some flawed idol that is never going to deliver. The counter to this is good information and accurate intelligence.

 

At number 9 we have: Thou shalt learn some psychology. Brian Jenner recommends Robert Cialdini’s famous book, Influence, and so do I. Getting to Yes is also another classic in the same mould. And if I may be immodest, try my Mapping Motivation, published by Routledge. But without understanding people, we may not be quite dead in the water, but the swim is going to be one hell of a harrowing experience; but if we understand people and can get them alongside us, then we really will gain leverage and buoyancy.

 

Finally, Brian recommends as his tenth commandment: Thou shalt walk away. This of course is one of the key negotiation principles of Getting to Yes. But you will experience indifference, opposition, and competition to your ideas and sometimes the best option is to walk away rather than confront these negative situations. As they say in martial arts: ‘What you resist persists’. Letting go can be much more effective and harmonious.

 

So ten brilliant commandments, all with plenty of meat round them. But as I said to Brian as we sat there, he with his coffee and me with my mint and ginger, ‘There’s one missing commandment, Brian’. So here is my extra bonus.

 

Commandment number 11: Thou shalt have a story – for the story will excite and energise, the story will create friends and allies, and the story will expand all our horizons and possibilities. The story will let us all understand what is going on and why! In times of turbulence, fear, uncertainty, stories become more important than ever. In fact, they become fuel which people burn through the long winter. We need stories, to feed our imaginations, to stimulate our creativity, to remind us what heroism looks like. Why do you think shows such as Game of Thrones have become so popular? It is because the brutal and treacherous world of Westeros gives shape to our fears and shows us how real heroes, like Jon Snow (played by the stoic Kit Harrington), deal with them. So, stay strong as we head towards the future, and remember, do not be afraid!


Transforming The Self

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As a motivational mentor I encounter people with many issues and these always divide along the lines of the three core life elements: achievement, relationship, or self growth. Paradoxically, sometimes the more the serious the issues, the easier they are to support and help. People who believe they are doing all the right things sometimes cannot change, and therefore cannot transform their Self.

In this way, it’s easy to become stuck in life, sensing vaguely that something is ‘wrong’ or requires improvement but not sure where to start. How many people who are diagnosed with cancer have the thought: “But I eat healthily, exercise, I do all the right things!” I myself thought along those lines when I received my own diagnosis, although examining my life after the event, I saw quite clearly some areas where I could have improved my way of life and perhaps if not prevented it, but reduced its seriousness.

There is a wonderful story in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers about Abbot Lot: “Abbot Lot came to Abbot Joseph and said, ‘Father, to the limit of my ability, I keep my little rule, my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; to the limit of my ability, I cleanse my heart of thoughts; what more should I do?’” This question – what more should I do? – is relevant to us all in our odyssey through life. And I am sure you can see how difficult it is to answer, given the fact that Abbot Lot is already doing so much. Indeed, Abbot Lot specifically refers twice the ‘limit of his ability’ – he is doing, in our language, the max!

As mentors and coaches, then, it is easy to see how to help or direct somebody who is all at sea, who is not doing any of the basics in the three core life elements. But how do we help the person who is dissatisfied by their progress when they are sincerely doing the best that they can already?

Let me invite you now to reflect on what would your answer be to either Abbot Lot or to one such client that you have experienced or might experience in future. What would you say?

What Abbot Joseph said is revealing: “The elder man rose up in reply, and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said, ‘Why not be utterly changed into fire?’”

Whilst on the surface, entirely cryptic, this answer is instructive and brilliant on many levels. First, he “rose” – the physical body changed in order to make his response. Second, the digits of his hand ‘became like ten lamps of fire’. As a theological point, what may the ten represent? It is likely the Ten Commandments – the law – the very thing that Abbot Lot is consumed by following – all the right procedures, and protocols, and ‘rules’ that supposedly lead to heaven. Third, the all-consuming question – not an answer – a suggestion almost: become fire!

This is a staggering suggestion: that at root we need to burn up the old life and become something completely new, and wholly free, and incandescently bright. It suggests to me a state of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. Abbot Lot is concerned entirely with this question ‘What more can I do?’. Abbot Joseph’s reply is that he should change into fire. In other words, become something else. This represents transitioning from a state of practising religion or faith, to embodying its meaning. The same can be true of our coaching clients. There comes a point where simply ‘doing’ the procedures, the routines, that lead to a better life or business practice will be unsatisfactory because there is a higher level of ‘being’ to attain. Exactly how we reach that transformation is, of course, another question, and a complex one. But it must surely begin for all of us, if we consider the real meaning of the story, with the vision and the intention to be that flame.

 


Best Ever Year, 2019

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I hope that everyone has had celebratory New Year’s Eves full of life and laughter! I hope, too, that the morning, whilst possibly bringing a hangover, has also brought the promise of an exciting year ahead. Whilst Time is certainly an artificial device, something we use to measure out life, we derive our measurement of Time from the natural cycles in the world. The rotation of the Earth about the sun. The procession of the Equinoxes. The wax and wane of the Moon. So, it is important, regardless of our views, to mark time, transition, to acknowledge the moment where one thing becomes another: spring becoming summer, one day becoming the next, one year becoming the another. Whilst some people might say that nothing has changed with the advent of a new year, I disagree. Everything may have changed, even if it is only our perspective. This reminds me of a story I may have told before, but it’s an important one, so I want to re-iterate it. I think, if anything, it is more pertinent now than when I first told it.

There is so much to learn from children, if only we could listen. Of course, one needs to be clear: there is a world of difference between being child-like and childish. We need to avoid the latter and embrace the former. One way I have come to appreciate this is through my own son when he was young. I vividly remember when he was about six years old and I was encouraging him to do the homework his Primary school had set him to do (yes, unbelievable, I know – what are these people on?) and he turned to me, disarmingly, and said: “Daddy, children were meant to play.” As soon as he said it – like a blow to my heart – I knew he was right. What was I thinking? That at six years old he should spend all day at school and then come home in the evening and start toiling over a load of nonsense that had no bearing on his life whatsoever?

“Carry on playing, Joe,” I said, and quietly crept away, ashamed I had disturbed him. And before then and after then, my son had a knack of identifying the real issue without thinking about it, and without being a smarty-pants. But one of his best perceptions only emerged gradually. My wife and I noticed a pattern when we asked him a familiar family question. For example, he had been to visit a friend, or he just had been to his martial arts club, or had a special meal, or we’d come back from going to the cinema with him or even watched a DVD at home. This typical question always went along the lines of: “How was it Joe?” – how was the visit to your friend, or the martial arts club, or the meal, or the film? And we kept getting this unselfconscious response: “Best ever.” Indeed, this response became a bit of a family joke and persisted into the present time: “How was your date with your girlfriend?”

“Best ever, dad.”

And I realised this was fundamentally important. So many people look back to the best ever time of their life, and then spend all their time regretting how this could not continue. The truth is, of course, no matter how old we are, we are now at the best ever moment of our life, and the next moment is going to be even better. This is a vital expectation for our lives, for without it we are going to subscribe to the zeitgeist philosophy that being old is bad, decrepitude is inevitable, and that only being young is worthwhile. On the contrary, being old has massive advantages and things are even better – ‘best ever’ – now than they were before. Expectations are, of course, our beliefs about future outcomes, and so a belief that is so positive, so pregnant with energy, so vital, is going to have a massive effect in exactly the way that self-fulfilling prophecies do. In other words, it is highly likely to become our reality, if we believe it and not just ‘think’ it.

Certainly, for me, I realise that I am at the very best time of my life now. Eight years ago I nearly died of cancer, but that was best ever too: best ever illness that enabled me to move on from where I was utterly stuck. Every year since has got ‘best ever’ written all over it too. So as we all face 2019 what are we thinking, or rather believing? Is this going to be your ‘best ever’ year? Or are you already resigned to mediocrity, more of the same, or worse: a gradual deterioration in everything – health, wealth, relationships and the self? Do yourself a favour, then: take advice from my son, and from children and from the child-like everywhere, and whenever asked ‘how’s it going?’, reply: ‘best ever, thanks’.


Motivational Maps Round-Up 2018

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It was a busy year for me and for Motivational Maps as a whole, but we’re so excited with all that’s going on with the maps. The greatest thing for us is seeing what other people are doing with the maps and how they are using our tool in their own way, deepening the collective knowledge base and taking what maps has to offer into new fields. In the light of this, I’ve been co-authoring books in my series Mapping Motivation to expand the knowledge-base with input from others. Two of these books were published by Routledge this year: Mapping Motivation for Coaching (co-written with Bevis Moynan), which is all about one-to-one coaching and mentorship, and Mapping Motivation for Engagement (co-written with Steve Jones), which is all about engagement and the big picture of getting employees on board (and why the modern work environment is so dis-engaging). We had launch events for both books in London at the Judge’s Court. Both were fabulous events. I must thank everyone who attended and all our sponsors!

 

I’ve also published a fair few of articles, on a variety of platforms and about various things, but particular to maps are my Motivational Memos. I thought, what with it being the end of the year, it would be good to revisit some of those articles as we review the year. So, here are three (for three is the magic number) of my favourite articles published in 2018, and some of the reasons why! In no particular order…

 

Recruitment and Motivation

Recruitment is such an important issue. As many people go through Christmas and the New Year, it will be with the prospect of new beginnings on the horizon, a fresh start for next year. While some undoubtedly still consider this corny, there is something to be said for, once a year, re-evaluating what you are doing and why and seeing if there are not ways you can do it better, or perhaps somewhere else that you should be. Recruitment is the hiring of new staff. In the New Year, many companies will be inundated with people looking for new role and new futures. So, now is an important time to review your recruitment practices, and, almost more importantly, your recruitment philosophy!

 

What the World Cup 2018 Can Teach Us About Motivation

The World Cup was a major event this year for many people and, whilst I am no major football fan, it was quite inspirational to see even snippets. We saw that it is possible to break from the paradigms and ‘curses’ of the past, that strong leadership, in the form of Gareth Southgate, can develop people in a kind-hearted way. Southgate cut through even entrenched psychological game-playing and negativity that had besmirched England’s playing ability (and frankly honour) for years. He was the embodiment of gentlemanly machismo. No posturing, no aggression, just quiet determination and confidence. Many managers, if they are looking for a role model, could do well to look to Gareth Southgate. Why not make it a 2018 resolution (or as I like to call them: intention)?

 

Motivation & Psychopathology

An expanded version of this article actually appears in my book Lotus Eaters & Myrmidons. It is all about how, beneath Maslow’s secondary hierarchy of drives, lies the deeper drive for survival, and some people, regardless of living in the modern world and a first world country, are stuck in this instinct. It is very difficult to motivate or coach people like this. It is even difficult to give them therapy. We must, all of us, deal with difficult people in our lives, and people who are struggling to survive because they have created needs for themselves which must be met at all costs (read: addictions). Though we go forward to the future positively, we must remember not to go blindly, and I think this article can help people identify and deal with those dangerous individuals that might lurk in the office!

 

So there you have it, a recap of my three favourite articles. Which is your favourite from the year? And what are your intentions as we move toward the end of the year and into the next?

 

Wishing you all happy holidays!

 


The Need for Resilient Leadership

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Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who came to our Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch last Thursday (29th November). It was a fantastic event, with some brilliant talks and insight and laughter. Most of all, it very motivational indeed, which is what it should be! I certainly learned a lot from being there.

 

Today, I want to talk about so-called ‘Resilient Leadership’. Cary Cooper, the well-known professor and business expert, depicted some while ago the hard times we live in and suggested a call for resilient leaders. He paints a vivid picture of the stresses the economy is undergoing and suspects the SME sector in particular will be severely hit. The changes coming will no longer be optional but inevitable, so embracing change becomes the mantra. To do this we need what he calls ‘resilient leaders’ and elsewhere ‘real leadership’.

 

I guess I am not being merely pedantic when I say that all leadership is ‘real’ enough, certainly for those experiencing it; and resilience may not be a quality we want in certain types of leaders: the case of Hitler springs to mind – he who was incredibly ‘resilient’. If only he hadn’t been.

 

What the words ‘real’ and ‘resilient’ are actually disguising is a sort of adjectival tautology: what we want are leaders who lead. What we want are - to use the Jim Collins’ terms - good and great leaders. There, I have said it. ‘Real’ and ‘resilient’ give the impression that we are talking about something objective, that we can empirically conjure up and control in some way; ‘good’ and ‘great’ are just so purely subjective that they seem all froth. We end up knowing we have great leaders only after the event - which is useless when we want to appoint them in advance. As Cooper says, ‘Britain needs them by the hundreds and thousands, if it is to prosper’.

 

Interestingly, the activities that these ‘real’ types undertake, according to Cooper, are allowing staff ownership of the business problems, increasing their decision making, listening and supporting. In short, they do less command and control, more empathy, sensitivity and openness. Indeed, they possess more personal qualities that require ‘real’ character - the ability to engage with another human being without rushing to tell them what to do and how to do it.

 

This is a tall order even in undemanding times. With the pressure of the economy weighing down on business owners, how likely is it that they are going to opt for character over control faced with spiralling loss of revenue?

 

What is really needed I think are new ways of approaching how staff and teams work - and specifically of tapping into the motivational core of performance. We should try this because it is quite clear the alternative - what we are currently doing - doesn’t work. As was observed during a talk at the book-launch: Engagement levels have remained at around the 30% mark (i.e. 30% of staff are engaged and 70% are disengaged) for the last 30 years! Given the massive amounts of research and investment into engagement, a sum that is no doubt in the billions, this seems almost inconceivable. What is wrong with this picture? Well, it’s clear the reason we haven’t seen any significant progress is because at a fundamental level it is all coming from the same place, the same top-down and command-and-control approach. If we are to truly engage people, and to truly lead them, we must have, as Cooper advocates, empathy.

 

To this end, then, Motivational Maps have an enormous role to play: they can provide the missing language and metrics which have so far bedevilled attempts to make the soft skills rigorous and measurable. It should be noted that narrative, the true object of language, is actually a form of healing. In this way, the Maps are not just a business tool for insight, engagement and personal development, they are also a therapeutic tool in some regard. (More on this in future articles!) The Maps can provide the link to performance that is so necessary; and we know that performance leads to productivity. And guess what? Productivity leads to profits – if the strategy is right. Part of that strategy needs to be the people, and especially the leaders. Call it resilience; call it great; but for crying out loud let’s put the language and metric of motivation at the heart of it.


MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR ENGAGEMENT: THE IMPORTANT INVISIBLES

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The Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch is almost upon us! Next week, authors Steve Jones and James Sale will be hosting the launch at The Judge’s Court in Brown’s Covent Garden, London, on the 29th November. James and Steve welcome you warmly to this event and will be present to answer your burning questions about engagement, motivation, book-writing and much more.

 

Engagement is an important topic, and becoming increasingly more important as a greater portion of the world becomes part of the province of big business. Mapping Motivation for Engagement promotes a new model for engaging and motivating employees which takes a bottom-up, people-centric approach. In this extract, James Sale and Steve Jones explain where most people go wrong with engagement:

 

“It is our considered view that the more intangible, invisible and ‘airy-fairy’ an element of organisational development is (and specifically in relation to employee engagement), the more likely it is to be of paramount importance. In a way it is easy to see how ‘enabling managers’ contribute – almost by definition – to employee engagement; but a strategic narrative? Isn’t this just something for boffins at head office who love producing pages of paperwork and who simultaneously like to consider this ‘real’ work? Sadly, it would be easy to become cynical, but the reality is that even the engaging managers will in the end run out of steam if there is no ‘strategic narrative’ underpinning their efforts, strengthening their resolve and fortifying their motivations.

 

“The truth is that the seriously important things in life all tend to be intangibles, and invisibles – like values, beliefs, emotions, motivations, dreams – precede, and so drive, the outcomes in the concrete world we experience. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to them, and not, as so many executives do, just consider the tangibles: the revenues, the profits, the assets and all the ‘things’ we can list on or deduce from a balance sheet. It is the lack of attention – and so respect – paid to people generally that is at the root of so much disengagement and disaffection in the work place.”

 

There is a famous line from 2 Corinthians 4:18 which is: “What is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal”. Regardless of the religious connotations, this is part of the ethos of Motivational Maps, unveiling the unseen and invisible emotions, desires, drives and dreams that lie within us. The Maps are just that, a way to chart and observe the unseen landscape of the psyche. If this sounds ‘airy-fairy’, to use words from the book itself, it should in one sense. But the genius of the Maps is that it is also a business tool that provides metrics: motivational scores, ways to gauge motivation levels and satisfaction in the nine key areas.

 

One of the key ways in which engagement can slip, and employees (or managers or business owners for that matter) become de-motivated, is via a conflict of values. The nine motivators, whilst they represent ‘drives’ that fuel us, also correspond to things that we value. For example, the Defender is the need for security, therefore they value stability and order in the workplace (and indeed at home too). However, this value might conflict with someone who is a Creator motivator, who has a need to innovate, and who therefore values what is new and dynamic. A Creator motivator is much more likely to value risk-tasking and bold ambitious ideas, because it can lead to creative reward. These two values, Defender and Creator, can be in conflict, and it’s easy to see how two people might lock-horns over them. Or, indeed, how a company that is laden with bureaucratic safety measures (Defender) might totally wear down an employee motivated by creativity. Mapping Motivation for Engagement aims to put this knowledge and toolkit into the hands of those who are looking to make a difference!

 

To learn more about engagement, motivation, and to hear directly from James and Steve, please join us at The Judge’s Court in London. There will be food and drink, inspiring talks, Q&A, and opportunities to network, including with our four incredible sponsors: Evolve, Liberating Leadership, Ellis Jones Solicitors, and Peer2Peer Boards. All of them are passionate about motivation and will be featured at the event. If you wish to find out more about them, please check out our article introducing them.

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An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!


MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR ENGAGEMENT: THE PEOPLE-CENTRIC APPROACH!

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Time is flying by us as we draw ever closer to the Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch, with authors Steve Jones and James Sale! This book, and the launch itself, marks a key evolution of thought on employee engagement, as is described in this extract from Mapping Motivation for Engagement:

“Whereas it has always been obvious that leadership is of critical importance in the success of any organisation, or endeavour for that matter, engagement, and its significance, has been a relatively recent phenomenon even as a management concept. William Kahn was one of the first researchers to allude to its crucial role, and it has arisen almost certainly as a failure of ‘scientific management’ approaches that had held sway in the USA and UK for at least a century.

“It is to be hoped, then, that with the advent of the new twenty-first century, there will also be a new paradigm, or perhaps shift in paradigm, away from what can only be called ‘old-school’ thinking and behaving, towards a more necessary and effective methodology. In one sense the creation of Motivational Maps is one aspect of this ‘newness’. Our own view would be that the personality tests and tools that arose after World War 2 were generation one of the serious attempts to get inside what makes an employee tick, but they had limitations. So subsequently, generation two, a wave a psychometric tools developed that enabled a wider sweep (but which still included personality) of qualities to be assessed. But the advantage of the psychometric was its arduous validation process whereby its measures were compared to a representative sample of the population at least twice. This was and is all well and good, except the net effect of it has been to disempower leadership in two ways: first, the very fact that the psychometric requires (in the second testing) for the subject to be consistent actually tends to hypostatise the person – or put another way, ‘fix’ or stereotype them. Which leads to the second problem: leaders, instead of employing engaging managers and able leaders based on a range of criteria – critically motivation should be one of them – tend to look for the simple and simplistic solution of the ‘right’ psychometric profile.

 

“And that is why Motivational Maps as a third generation tool is really the right idea at the right time, for in yet another important way it does what the other tools do not: it reverses the flow of management focus. What do we mean by that exactly? Well, personality and psychometric tools operate on a top-down approach: it invariably seems to be about finding out whether the employee fits the manager’s box. Top-down or command and control in other words. Motivational Maps cannot and do not work like that: the essence of doing a Motivational Map is to understand the employee in order for the management to accommodate the employee, not the other way round. In short, it is a bottom-up approach, a people-centric approach, an engagement approach.”

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“People-centric” is the core strength of Motivational Maps, but it isn’t just about saying the right things. The only way to improve success in business is to improve the energy levels of staff. There is a direct correlation between motivation levels and performance; performance, of course, leading to results, results which in turn lead to profit. It’s so much more likely to see good performance in employees who actively care about the company, who feel valued by their employer, and are emotionally invested in the organisation’s ideals and beliefs. While this sounds obvious, it’s surprising how many companies seem to miss it. Where many organisations deliberate over creating a set of core company ‘values’ and telling the world about them, it is surprisingly rare to find instances where all the employees feel connected and aligned with those values (or, sadly, who feel the organisation itself ‘practices what it preaches’). Motivational Maps hopes to change this, and Mapping Motivation for Engagement is a significant step towards allowing anybody to achieve it!

People-centric is what we will be all about at the launch too! There’ll be snacks, beverages, motivational talks, and a chance to present your burning questions to Steve Jones and James Sale, the authors. The book launch will be held at The Judge’s Court in Brown’s Covent Garden, London, on the 29th November. James and Steve welcome you warmly to this event!

There will be opportunities for networking at the launch with a bright, vital community. Our last event, launching Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-authored with Bevis Moynan, had over 120 people present, and this year promises to be even bigger! There will be thought-leaders and creators and experts present across the range of the personal development field as well as many other business fields.

This includes our four incredible sponsors: Evolve, Liberating Leadership, Ellis Jones Solicitors, and Peer2Peer Boards. All of them are passionate about motivation and will be featured at the event. If you wish to find out more about them, please check out our article introducing them.

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An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!


MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR ENGAGEMENT: MEET OUR SPONSORS!

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On the 24th October, we announced the Mapping Motivation for Engagement book launch at The Judge’s Court, Brown’s Covent Garden, in London, on the 29th November. We also introduced our two authors Steve Jones and James Sale. This launch promises to be a galvanising event: full of ideas, energy and expertise, opening up the wider discussions of how we solve the problems of engagement, employee morale, and motivation in our modern world.

As we draw closer to this auspicious occasion, we would like to introduce you to our four incredible sponsors for this event, who are champions of engagement and motivation:

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Warren Munson, Founder of Evolve, will be hosting the Q&A session with James and Steve. Evolve is an exclusive membership community of ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders. Their purpose is to bring like-minded, innovative individuals together so that they can realise their personal and business ambitions in an environment of shared learning, exploration and evolution. Through their unique eco-system of inspirational events, insights and coaching and development programmes, they help people discover the knowledge and connections they need to lead a fulfilling and rewarding life – both personally and professionally.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is a leading regional law firm in the South of England, with offices in Bournemouth, Poole, Ringwood, Swanage, Wimborne and London. They are a full service law firm able to advise upon any legal issue for companies and individuals. They have a number of specialist areas, and many of their teams are recognised as leaders in their fields by the industry experts (Chambers & Partners/Legal 500). To find out more about their services please visit ellisjones.co.uk.

We’d also like to welcome back sponsor Ali Stewart, whose work with Liberating Leadership is mentioned in the book. Liberating Leadership, first published as Leading & Developing High Performance, is based on the extensive research and work carried out by leading change management expert, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and HR professional, Dr Derek Biddle. Ali worked alongside Derek for more than 20 years. She is especially delighted to support the launch, since Steve Jones is one of her most experienced Liberating Leadership practitioners. She says: “It is wonderful he has joined forces with James to bring leadership and motivation together. This is a powerful resource for leaders!”

Peer 2 Peer Boards is a challenging, motivational and supportive peer group for enlightening CEOs & business owners, meeting monthly at a venue local to you. They are all about helping you to run your business by providing a feedback group for when you have to make tough decisions and problem-solve issues with your business. They will help you gain: clarity, direction, and inspiration in your business, and they will also hold you to account on any objectives or goals that you want to meet. Each meeting starts with an up-skill workshop, focusing on important topics, such as how to improve company culture, how to transform your proposition, or even how to transform your business model. Meet like-minded business entrepreneurs, move your business forward, and fast track profit growth.

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Engagement is such an important topic for anyone serious about their business or staff. As James Sale and Steve Jones outline in chapter four of Mapping Motivation for Engagement:

 

“One of the reasons why engagement is popular with HR and in organisational literature is that it is, allegedly, ‘measurable’. Indeed, the Macleod Report makes that very point. But whilst being measurable is a good thing, because then we can view the effects of our actions to improve things, one still has to ask the question: given its measurability, why hasn’t employee engagement significantly improved in the 20 or so years since this concept went mainstream?

 

“Perhaps the reason is that what is being measured is not really the right determinant, and the way in which it is being measured – invariably through a ‘staff survey’ – is also not the optimum way to do the measuring. This latter point – how it is being measured – is relevant here because we are going to address the issue of ‘employee voice’, the third strand, according to Macleod, of employee engagement. It would seem obvious that by having a staff survey – inviting staff to comment on their impressions of the organisation – we are at the very heart of employee engagement: what could be more engaging than listening to the employee’s voice? And we would agree that it is better to have a staff survey – at least one that is well constructed – than not to have one. But our point is, it’s probably not optimum, and there is a much better way to get at whether or not staff are engaged, via Motivational Maps. Naturally, it requires a little more thought, a little more understanding, than simply distributing a staff survey and reading off the results, but the extra care and attention – and the insight it thus generates – is worth it, as we hope to show.

 

“Unlike a staff survey, Motivational Maps are relatively inexpensive to implement; one reason for this of course is that they never need to be bespoke. They are what they are and their use and usefulness is universal. That’s quite different from having to create a staff survey and agonise over the wording to ensure it covers all the bases, and is in a language suitable for the espoused values of the organisation. So, a corollary benefit of this point is that Maps are far faster to implement and understand; there is therefore a time saving too.

 

“Second, and paradoxically, Maps are subtle, and reveal both specifics and trends, despite the fact that the language of the diagnostic tool is actually simple to understand, and is standardised (via sentence stems) in very specific ways that make it easy to grasp. Thus, what is revealed is not obvious. We talk of making the ‘invisible’ visible. But although not obvious, the information can be readily understood and can be immediately acted upon. It also has a direct bearing on the staff and the teams in a way that no staff survey can – for the Map knows what people really want! And this must always be a matter of serious interest to the effective leader. Indeed, we have found in fact that it is only effective leaders who want to embrace this technology; weak, ineffective leaders are frightened of it, because actually finding out what your employees really want – as opposed to ticking boxes – is really letting the genie out of the bottle! So, this is not a form of management disempowerment either, because what the Maps reveal no-one could reasonably expect a manager to know, though once known, it becomes extremely actionable and practical. Finally, the individual Map tells us what the individual wants; the Motivational Team Map tells us what the team collectively wants, and it also points towards potential conflicts (conflicting energy directions) within the team that might derail it from its remit. The more recent organisational Map takes mapping to another level: it tells us what each team wants, and also what collectively the whole organisation wants. One needs to grasp at this point that when a large number of people are profiled the collective effect of the motivators is more or less now equivalent to measuring the ‘values’ within the organisation. Why is this significant? Because we can now begin to see whether the espoused values – and its translation into mission and vision statements – are really reflected in the aspirations of the staff. If they are not, then a major problem looms ahead, and one which needs immediate attention.

 

“And further, that immediate attention can itself be addressed through the Maps’ own reward strategies, which is to say, giving employees what they are likely to want.”

 

Want to read more? You can purchase the book at a significant discount from the Routledge website here. Simply enter the code: SOC19 at checkout to get 20% off!

 

There will be opportunities for networking at the launch with a bright, vital community. Our last event, launching Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-authored with Bevis Moynan, had over 120 people present, and this year promises to be even bigger! There will be thought-leaders and creators and experts present across the range of the personal development field as well as many other business fields.

An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!


Mapping Motivation for Engagement: Book Launch!

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Employee engagement is undeniably a crucial focus point for organisations in the twenty-first century, with motivation comprising the often missing, but vital, component of the developmental mix. A reliable method of keeping employees happy and motivated has long eluded managers and senior executives due to the difficulty of measuring motivation levels. Therefore, profits and turnover, the traditional metrics of business, have always taken precedence while the people at the heart of any business suffer as a consequence. But if staff and people thrive, the business itself will thrive, because success and ‘performance’ is directly correlated to energy levels, which in turn is driven by motivation. Revealing what people truly want and giving it to them is a powerful way to supercharge your organisation. This is the ethos of Motivational Maps and what the Maps diagnostic tool uncovers.

Mapping Motivation for Engagement, a new book by James Sale and Steve Jones, advocates a new paradigm for the twenty-first century: away from hierarchies and command-and-control management styles, towards a bottom-up approach in which the needs and motivators of the employees take centre stage.

But who are James Sale and Steve Jones? In brief:

James Sale is the Creative Director of Motivational Maps Ltd, a training company which he co-founded in 2006, and the creator of the Motivational Maps online diagnostic tool used by over 400 consultants across 14 countries.

Steve Jones is MD of Skills for Business Training Ltd and as a result of over 20 years’ experience in management and business, was invited in 2010 to serve on the Government Task Force Team looking at employee engagement, Engage for Success, which he also co-chaired for a while.

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This is the third in a series of books that are all linked to the author James Sale’s Motivational Map diagnostic tool. Each book builds on a different aspect of personal, team and organisational development. This book is a practical guide to the complexities of understanding and dealing with engagement in modern organisational life. Along with clear diagrams, reflective points, activities and a comprehensive index, the book provides free access to the online Motivational Map tool to facilitate a greater understanding of the contents. Drawing on copious amounts of the latest research, as well as models like the Macleod Report for the UK government, this book shows how Mapping Motivation can play a significant and crucial role in making engagement a reality, instead of a dream.

Mapping Motivation for Engagement is a stimulating and thought-provoking read for a wide audience including, but not limited to, trainers and coaches working in management and motivation, experts in human resources, internal learning and development and organisational development as well as change and engagement consultants and specialists.

In order to celebrate the recent publication of this forward-thinking work, we will be hosting a book launch at The Judge’s Court in Brown’s Covent Garden, London, on the 29th November. James and Steve welcome you warmly to this event and will be present to answer your burning questions about their extensive experience, the book, and of course: motivation!

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There will be opportunities for networking at the launch with a bright, vital community. Our last event, launching Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-authored with Bevis Moynan, had over 120 people present, and this year promises to be even bigger! There will be thought-leaders and creators and experts present across the range of the personal development field as well as many other business fields. We’d especially like to welcome back sponsor Ali Stewart, whose work with Liberating Leadership is mentioned in the book. Liberating Leadership, first published as Leading & Developing High Performance, is based on the extensive research and work carried out by leading change management expert, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and HR professional, Dr Derek Biddle. Ali worked alongside Derek for more than 20 years.

An event not to miss, whether you are a mapper or simply interested in personal development, growth in business, and putting people first. Join us for an evening rich in insight and sharing!

Event sponsored by:

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WORKING ON ENCOURAGEMENT (AND THE DEVIL OF DISCOURAGEMENT)

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Increasingly, organisations are beginning to wise up to the idea that change management is one thing. Let’s improve the structure, the strategy or the system, or all these things in tandem. But unless the people can ‘perform’ all their labour is in vain.

 

And frankly, people performing begins at the top. As the great Quality Guru, Crosby, once put it: ‘Good ideas and solid concepts have a great deal of difficulty being understood by those who earn their living by doing it some other way’. Those at the top can be the most averse to realistically appraising themselves. But if they don’t, as sure as night follows day, neither will their staff!

 

Furthermore, given the importance of people to our long-term success, it really does pay off to consider recruitment, retention, and reward in depth, and go on considering it. If we think about it, these three Rs are at the core of a HR department’s role. Recruit the best staff. Make sure we retain those excellent staff members via incentives and an alignment of values and expectations. And reward good performance. Most HR departments focus solely on the first and last of these – recruiting new staff (normally due to such a high staff turnover rate in the company) and dishing out arbitrary bonuses. However, in terms of added value to the company, retention is by far the most important. Retaining good staff has an effect on morale, it negates the extensive costs of paying recruitment agencies and taking on new people (setting them up on the system and all the other paraphernalia which accompanies a new hire), and it allows employees to establish long-term working relationships with each other.

 

Paraphrasing Sun Tzu, Krause observes: ‘Leaders who complain about morale of their employees evidently do not realise that employee’s morale is a mirror of confidence in their leadership’. This is a pretty heavy-going statement, but it’s eminently true. Alexander the Great, one of my favourite examples when it comes to leadership, was often outnumbered and exhausted. His army was famous for crossing vast distances, including the Gedrosian desert, only to arrive and immediately engage the enemy without a moment’s rest. Yet, such was his leadership that his army was able (and more importantly willing) to perform at superhuman levels. His confidence infected his men (and women) so that they, too, felt like Achilles reborn.

 

I am sometimes asked what is the single most important quality in an employee. That’s difficult to answer with total certainty, but I like this story:

 

The Devil realised he was never going to win in his battle against God, so he decided to throw in the towel. To this end he held a car boot sale in order to flog off all his tools and assets.

 

The day came - it had been well advertised - and various colleagues and peers turned up looking for bargains. And, boy were there some bargains!

 

There was this sharp, shiny, pointy spear - Pride - that could shatter anyone’s armour. Very expensive, but a tasty piece of equipment.

 

Alongside this there was a multi-pronged mace - very menacing - that had a curious magnetic property, drawing things to it and destroying them at the same time. This was Envy - really cool. Very expensive.

 

All in all, the Devil had some fantastic, high-tech equipment - stuff that could really get in you and mess you up. All very expensive. His colleagues were standing there drooling over it, wondering which pieces they could afford to buy.

 

But in the centre of the collection was a large, nondescript, blunt, lustreless piece of metallic tubing – its only possible use was as leverage.

 

Beelzebub said, ‘How much is that old piece of junk?’

 

The Devil smiled and quoted a price. There was a gasp all round - the price he asked was worth more than all the other pieces put together.

 

That’s outrageous!’ said Beelzebub. ‘That’s just a piece of junk’.

 

That,’ said the Devil. ‘Is Discouragement. Without it, none of the other tools work. When I want to tempt someone I always start with Discouragement. Buy it and you’ll see.’

 

Ever seen the effects of discouragement on members of staff? It’s far worse than lack of skill. Do we imagine that Alexander the Great discouraged his men when he asked them to cross the desert? You already know the answer. Another example comes to mind when I consider the value of encouragement. There is a scene in the movie Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom, where the Knight Balian must hold the city against the vastly superior and numerous forces of Saladin. There are hardly any true warriors among them, most of the knights having departed or been killed. So, Balian (Bloom) goes into the streets of the city, finding any men or women who wish to fight alongside him. Those who offer their services, he asks to kneel. He knights them, then and there, without any training, and tells them to ‘arise’. One of Balian’s fellow knights is outraged. He upbraids him: ‘Do you really think making them a knight will make them a better fighter?’ Balian turns and answers: ‘Yes.’ The psychological insight of this is profound. In believing they are knights, and having gone through the ritual ceremony of the sword touched to their shoulders, they arise with a complete psychological shift that will 100% make them more loyal, more steadfast, and better warriors.

 

So I guess as managers we must work on encouragement – in the structure, strategy, and systems and in everything we do. May be then we can sustain that enthusiasm that is oh-so vital.


Maslow and Motivational Maps


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Recently, on a Maps training session, my friend asked me about the strange anomaly of the eight levels of the Maslow Hierarchy, according to the version that we refer to, and the way we fit the nine motivators into it. How does that work? he asked. It’s a good question, and important to get to grips with.

To refresh , the eight Maslow levels of need are, from the bottom up: biological and physiological, safety, belonging and love, esteem, cognitive, aesthetic, self-actualisation, and transcendence. These are eight levels of need; and to make things more complex, from the Maps point of view we discount the lowest need. We do this because it is a basic need and not a want. It is not a ‘motivator’ per se, because it lies like a survival instinct at the root of us. Without shelter, food, water, we all enter a state of survivalism in which we lose sight of planning for the future or getting things we want and instead seek the swiftest possible ways to meet our basic needs. There are people who operate at this level of existence: those in extreme poverty, or those in war-torn countries, ghettos, born into crime, prisoners, addicts (who may have food, shelter and water but have created another basic need within themselves which eventually takes over and must be met at all costs). This type of need is so powerful it overrides any other motivator.

Usually, it is not found in business or most organisations; when it is, you have a person who is a game player. The Map may be accurate about their higher motivators, but their survival instinct at level one will render their other wants obsolete or irrelevant – they are in the grip of a more primitive need or emotion. This, bizarrely, creates a complex duplicity, where their survival urge becomes a kind of smokescreen. One would think that a survival instinct would simplify things, and in the case of people genuinely in need it does, of course. But for someone living in the modern world with a job and all their needs met, but yet who is operating at a survival level, the story is very different.

Thus, we now have seven levels in which nine motivators fit! You will know from our diagram that each of the motivators correlates especially with one level of Maslow’s hierarchy. We start, then, with safety needs and this correlates with the Defender motivator. Belonging and love corresponds with the Friend motivator. How we solve the problem is at the esteem need level; for here we suggest that three motivators are involved: the Star motivator, wanting recognition, the Director motivator, wanting control, and the Builder motivator, wanting material possessions. Why should that be?

Two powerful reasons. The first is that if we consider our own wellbeing and our own effectiveness, then self-esteem is invariably considered to be the single important factor. Indeed, Dr Nathaniel Brandon, a foremost authority in this area, said self-esteem is the single most powerful force in our existence: on it everything depends. And he goes on to say: “Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.” Thus, esteem is core to motivation and wide-ranging; therefore, should it surprise us if more than one motivator fell within its orbit?

But the second reason explores terminology. I am of the view that what is meant here by self-esteem is actually the self-concept, which of course incorporates self-esteem, but also more beside. The self-concept has three components: the self-esteem (or how we feel about ourselves), the self-image (or how we see ourselves) and the ideal self (how we want to be in the future).

These three elements or components, then, each have their own motivator as it were. The self-esteem is very much connected to our internal locus of control, and this is related in a sort of inverted way to the Director motivator where we project the control outwards. Similarly, our self-image is about how we see our self and this finds a correlation in the Star motivator where we – projecting outwards – want others to see us in a certain way, to recognise us if you will. Finally, we have the ideal-self that wants to grow, to become, to be successful in the future, and so needs nutrients to do that – in other words, the soil of material possessions that enable this to happen even if one finally becomes a St Francis or a Buddha or a St Thomas Aquinas. I mention these three in particular because they all started from wealthy backgrounds which enabled them finally to eschew material things and transcend; but they started there.

So we see that the fourth level, half way up the hierarchy, is quite pivotal in terms of moving towards self-actualisation and beyond, but also pivotal in motivational terms. The correlation between Motivational Maps and the Maslow model is profound. Understanding both systems can lead to a fuller picture, and deeper insight when interpreting a Maps profile. Both systems recognise that our needs, and motivations, are not fixed points in time. Whilst some might be more dominant than others, circumstance and time change us in significant ways, leading us on a journey – ultimately, I believe, towards the ‘transcendence’ that Maslow spoke of.



Building Unshakeable Optimism To Stop the End of the World

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Every culture, at almost every stage of history, has believed that theirs is the last civilisation, that they are living in the end times. We think, often, of the endless re-worked predictions about the date of the world’s end as being a modern and Christian thing, but in actual fact, human beings have always been this way. The Anglo Saxons thought that the world was old, and could not go on much longer. That was some 1100 years ago! The Romans marvelled at the ‘ancients’, who they felt they ‘hardly understood’. This was some 1600 years ago. The ancient Nordic peoples told tales of Ragnarok, the inevitable world-ending event where the Wolf would be freed.

 

The same is true in Asia, surprisingly. Buddhism teaches a descent from a golden age of the True Law (Shoho) – just as in Africa the Ancient Egyptians taught that originally there was an era called the Zed Teppi, the golden era in which the gods walked amongst us, after which all things declined. The Buddhist narrative culminates in an apocalyptic age called Mappo — the Latter Days of the Law. A ninth-century Japanese cleric wrote that “In the Latter Days of the Law there will be none to keep the Buddha’s commandments. If there should be such, they will be as rare as a tiger in a market place.” A terrifying vision of a world without morality, much similar to the latter days of Revelations where we live our lives in worship to the Beast. Science contradicts itself, at once telling us that it will solve all our problems with new technology, and revealing, within its only laws of Entropy and Thermodynamics (The 2nd Law), that all things will inevitably peter out. Even progress is not forever. 

 

Why all the morbid thinking, you might ask?

 

Well, one cannot help but be inspired, if that is the right word, by current events. We are living in an era of great uncertainty, where so many things seem to be going irrevocably wrong. It’s easy, when we’re surrounded by such madness, to lose sight of who we are, to abandon any hope of making a positive difference. But we must not abandon hope. Things get bad, but then they change for the better. We’ve seen it time and time again. Tragic events often lead to periods of prosperity. Empires end, which is usually a good thing for most people.

 

In order to turn calamity into success, we need a very special force: optimism. Optimism is one of those prerequisites for a successful life. Why? Because fundamentally it is about our belief system: the belief that things will turn out well. To those who believe, as Jesus himself said, all things are possible. And the well known law of attraction also informs us that what we don't want will come our way if we spend most of our time thinking about it.

 

How, then, can we get more optimism in our life? Belief is not something static – a sort of, we have it, that's it. It grows – like the mustard seed; it needs exercise and constant handling to ensure it reaches its full potential. We need to differentiate in our minds between real belief that is organic, and that static kind of dogmatism that embraces 'propositions of faith' and then proceeds to build a wall around all mental activity. That isn't really faith or belief; it's a kind of deadwood rigidity that derives from the termites of fear that corrode our being. Don't get me wrong: I am not saying that propositions of faith are valueless – we need these things to understand what we do think – but unless they can 'grow' we are shut off from life.

 

So to return to the central idea of optimism: how do we get more of it in our life? Here is a five step process for generating more optimism in your life:

 

Step 1 is to question frustrations. Can our frustrations be changed? Are we just accepting situations and problems. A good starting here is to write down exactly what the frustration is. When we see it in print we can begin to become more ‘objective’ about it – we can more literally ‘handle’ it. Is your boss causing frustration – who, when, why? The more specific you are, the more you will be able to see specific avenues that may remove you from the impasse. This will make you feel more in control; this will make you feel more optimistic.

 

Step 2 is to affirm that I can work this out. Affirmations are incredibly powerful. Feed your subconscious mind a continual diet of positive thoughts. Affirmations need to be: personal (‘I’ am/have/do something), present tense (avoid the future and past as the subconscious mind does not recognise them), and positive (again, do not say ‘not’ as the subconscious mind can’t read it – ‘I do not think of pink elephants’ – damn! Foiled again.)

 

Step 3 is to recall past achievements and better performances. Many people have problems recalling good events and high achievements. I once coached a young man whose only recollection of success was being able to recall winning a swimming race when he was ten! Clearly, this is wholly debilitating. One secret to overcoming this handicap is to remember that small things are an achievement. For example, your ability to make someone smile is a great achievement – ultimately, 85% of the satisfaction we are ever going to achieve in life will come through relationships. In other words, by serving and helping others we achieve wonderful things. Small things can be highly significant. See Step 5 to help you further with this.

 

Step 4 is to detect patterns – and having done so to break bad patterns. This is easier said than done – but the first thing is to notice the pattern. Most people don’t get that far, so cannot possibly destroy bad habits or increase their optimism. For example, it’s easy to snack on chocolate bars all day long without realising they are responsible for our weight increase! We have not noticed the insidious pattern. Similarly, it’s easy to spoil a relationship because one habitually says the wrong and thoughtless thing without seeing our action for what it is. KEEP A DIARY - keeping a diary is invaluable for spotting a pattern - log stuff.

 

Step 5 is to record good events and achievements. Our self-talk tends to be 75% negative, so we need to consciously reverse this. Keeping a diary and looking to log at least 3 achievements a day is wonderful in this regard and helps step 3 as well – go back over your diary and start ‘dwelling’ on high achievement moments. Re-create them in your mind – re-live them – can you ‘feel’ how you felt then? Can you see it? Hear it? Even taste or smell it? For example, that swimming race he (at Step 3) won, can he smell the chlorine on that day as he recreates it in his mind? Can he hear the cheers? See the applause? If you can do this, then you can ‘anchor’ these experiences into your conscious mind and call them up whenever you want. This is important.

 

Imagine you are going for a job interview. You feel nervous. You have made a deal with yourself. Every time you say the words ‘swim win’ you flash the images of that glorious winning day. You do this just before you go in to the interview. How differently do you think this will make you feel walking into the room? Try it (using your formula to re-create the high achieving moment).

 

One final comment to make here is on being persistent. People become more enthusiastic and energetic when they can go for goals that are quickly obtained; however, persistence isn’t about the ‘quick’, but the long haul. To develop resolute optimism requires persistent application in the same way that running a marathon requires constant training. So you can start with the affirmation of step 2: I can do it! From there, press on. It’s the only way we can stop the end of the world.


COACHING QUESTIONS: EXTRACT FROM MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR COACHING

EXTRACT FROM “MAPPING MOTIVATION FOR COACHING”

As some of you know, my book Mapping Motivation for Coaching, co-written with Bevis Moynan, was published by Routledge earlier this year. This is a complete guide to mapping for coaching and an invaluable resource for coaches worldwide. Currently, Routledge are offering (until July 31st) a 30% discount on the book when you buy it from their site and use the code MMJS230, so now’s the time to get your copy! You can find the link to it on Routledge’s site here. If you want to read reviews on Amazon, then you can click here.

This extract is from Chapter 1: “Coaching Questions”

“Underpinning coaching, and great coaching especially, is the issue of asking useful, relevant and sometimes intuitive questions. In later chapters we consider in more detail other core skills that make up the tool-kit, as it were, of the effective coach. But keep in mind that it is not the function of the coach to provide answers for the client; mentorsi may do that; however, coaches enable the client to find the answers for themselves. In fact, the coach is always acting as a mirror to the client, reflecting back to the client what they have just said because:

a. In the pause between saying what the client says and the coach restating it – reflecting it – back to the client, the client’s own deeper mind, their subconscious mind, has more chance of kicking in and providing a new insight which had not occurred before;

b. And in the re-statement the perceptive coach has a chance to not only re-state what has been said, but also to draw out its true significance. Re-statement is not always exactly the right term for what the coach is doing; paraphrasing would perhaps be more correct. The essence of paraphrase is summarising the essential aspects of what is said;

c. By reflecting back to source the issue, the client is hearing it again, though with a slightly enhanced or nuanced emphasis (where the coach is being effective) and what this does is reinforce the client’s own ownership of the issue. This increased ownership intensifies the desire to solve the problemii - it motivates.

People want to use a coach because they have an ‘issue’ or a ‘problem’; in a perfect world they would not need a coach since they would know what to do. But it mustn’t be thought that coaching is for ‘problem’ people; on the contrary, coaching is possibly the number one technique (alongside its cousin, mentoring) for enhancing just about anybody’s performance. Recent research in business indicates that coaching has dramatic effects on performance outcomesiii and this sort of effect is felt in all areas of coaching. Thus coaching, as has emerged over the last 20 years in the Western world, is a standard process that can help not only the performance of individuals and the productivity of organisations, but also anybody and everybody in facing the ‘issues’ they have in their private and personal lives. These range from improving health and fitness, raising the level of sporting achievements, coping with relationship, emotional and stress issues, and helping break addictive tendencies.”

REFERENCES

The distinction between a coach and a mentor or between the two processes is subtle and sometimes blurred, but generally it is thought that the mentor tends to be more directive towards, more experienced and knowledgeable than, more senior than, the client; whereas the coach tends to be more exploratory, more outside the immediate domain of the client, and ‘more’ equal in terms of status.

ii Nigel MacLennan, Coaching and Mentoring, Gower, (1999). MacLennan puts it this way: “If you own a problem – if that problem is inside you, if it has become part of your soul – finding the energy, commitment and persistence to solve it is easy”. For ‘energy’ we might substitute the word ‘motivation’.

iii “Organizations where senior leaders “very frequently” coach had 21% higher business results.” – 2017 from Bersin: http://bit.ly/2sRdMfv; the Ken Blanchard Organisation puts productivity gains from coaching at 57%: http://bit.ly/2tdmP6j

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Want to find out more, why not grab the book at a 30% discount. Remember to use the code MMJS230 at checkout. In the next few weeks, I'll be posting more extracts from Mapping Motivation for Coaching, so be sure to stay tuned to get more insights into coaching, mapping and mentoring. Thank you.


The Healing Moment: Towards Wholeness

Photo on 08-10-2016 at 10.51

Just over five years ago, aged 58, I suddenly, after a lifetime of being in pretty good health, mysteriously and suddenly collapsed; I was rushed to hospital where after a week's tests I discovered there was a small, dark 'shadow' in my small intestines. They didn't know what it was, but they did know it shouldn't be there, so they advised an operation. The morning after a five hour and extremely dangerous operation - as it proved to be - I woke to find the surgeon informing me that he had removed two malignant sarcomas (a very rare form of cancer effectively), one the size of a grapefruit, the other the size of an avocado; the latter pressed against an artery and threatened to split it. Which would have meant instant death. So much for ‘small’.

Unfortunately, the operation wasn't successful and two weeks later I had another five-hour operation and by this time some 30% of my small intestines had been removed: that's about 6-7 feet of internal tubing. Then they waited, for my system to kick in and work, which it didn't. So I went on to Nil by Mouth for nearly 5 weeks. For those who don't know Nil by Mouth it means that I couldn't eat or drink anything; all nutrition came, belatedly, via an IV Drip. Personally, I found the hunger easy to deal with, but the thirst - the unending desire to drink water, the dryness of the throat - is a torture almost beyond bearing. And I say belatedly because they took a while to realise that I needed the drip, and so I was wasting away. I read in America that 40% of cancer patients die of malnutrition, and I lost about 4.5 stone in that period, and looked like somebody from Auschwitz or Belsen. Indeed, I looked like somebody who was soon to die.

I should say at this point that my parents were atheists, and I was myself, but I had become a Christian in my mid-twenties, and a Quaker when I was about 50. And by the time I was taken ill had no previous experience of strange or mystical experiences.

Thus it was that during my 3 month stay in the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, lying in the hospital bed, early one evening, practising meditative breathing in order to control the pain, psychological and physical, and resisting - which I did consistently - the urge to activate the morphine drip that I was supplied and that they were eager that I used - I had a healing experience which changed my life.

I was staring at the blank ceiling above my bed. Without warning, effortlessly, I suddenly found that my consciousness was leaving my body and heading up and out into deep space. It was not alarming; I was curious. Ahead of me in the deep black I saw a light. Aware my body was far behind me on Earth, I willed my consciousness to head towards the light. As I approached I saw what looked like a huge, white, translucent index finger wrapping white - what appeared to be - candy floss round in a spiral, shell-like pattern. Intrigued, I willed myself closer. The finger casually flexed itself and just flicked the candy floss which spun off into space; as it did so, equally casually, the finger seemed to trail lightly behind.

Then I realised with total astonishment that this wasn't candy floss but an enormous white star that the finger had created and set off into its orbit in the cosmos. I realised that God - the mere finger of God - was about what it was always about: creation, and a star had been born. And as this sunk into my consciousness I became critically aware of the disparity between myself - helpless in pain, consigned to death on a hospital bed - and the Lord of all Glory, serene above the clouds, in deep space, creating a star. My whole consciousness was swept by an anguish that shook me to the roots of my being, and I cannot claim that I willed it, but almost involuntarily, as if I had been taken over by the Power who enabled me to do the only proper thing: my consciousness cried out in deep despair, 'God help me'. It was the simplest and profoundest of prayers.

And there in deep space as I made the cry, the finger instantly, broke from its casual sauntering, and like a gun turned and aimed itself at me. Before I could think what did it mean, the finger rushed straight at me - faster than light itself - and I simultaneously recoiled backwards and in one consummate movement I was abruptly back in my body as the finger went straight into me: straight into the point where the operation had opened up my intestines. It was like some pulverising shock, and I felt as if my whole body bolted upwards in the bed some six inches or more - though probably only less than an inch -  and then thudded backwards, relapsing as it were, on the bed.

There I was: my whole being suddenly and immediately was immersed, was saturated, in joy, sheer joy. The physical and psychological pain had all vanished, all gone. I felt the presence of God - which even to recall now fills me with awe and fear and trembling, like nothing else - and I wept. Not tears of pain; I wept tears of joy. And I became aware that I could die now; and thoughts of my wife and children came to my mind, and I saw the pain of leaving them, especially their pain in not having me. But selfish as it sounds, it didn't matter - dying was better, to be with God. Because, anyway, this power, just as it had looked after me, would look after them; in His hand, everything was possible. So I wept more, and more, and became aware too of the deepest thing of all: the one word for me that described this God who held me now. The 'purity' of God. I struggle to convey my sense of it. How unworthy I felt in myself, and yet God held me: the disparity between my unworthiness and His purity; my weakness and His strength; between my mortality and His unquenchable life.

 I wept yet I was in perfect peace, and in a perfect place where I never wanted to leave. My body curled up into a foetal position, and like some baby being rocked, slowly, slowly, I drifted into sleep. How long had the experience been? I do not know - maybe 30 mins - but it may have been 2 minutes or 2 hours.

But here's the thing: in all my 3 months in hospital I never got one night's sleep. The maximum was 2 hours before one was awoken by something or other. Yet on this night, for some reason, I slept till the new nurse shift at 6.00 the following morning. A perfect and profound night's sleep of at least 6 if not 7 hours. I woke feeling as if I had had pleasant dreams, which I could not remember, and feeling so refreshed. But more than that I woke knowing one other thing: that I wasn't going to die from this cancer now, that I was going to leave the hospital, and that I was going to re-create my life.

Curiously, too, my youngest son came to visit me from his university sometime after, and he told me. Dad, he said, I had a dream. In the dream I was crying and crying. Suddenly a man - a woman? -  a being of light stood before me and said, 'Why are you crying?'

And I said, 'Because my father is dying'.

And he said, 'Stop crying, your father is not going to die. He has not finished his mission yet'. The being disappeared and my son instantly woke with the scene fresh in his mind.

So I have come to believe that what happened to me - the healing that has allowed me to re-enter life - that has re-claimed me for a mission - is not unique to me or even to do with my being special in some way. No, as I contemplate that finger, and those words, I realise that every single human being is precious to God, and everyone has a mission - that their words and actions count. When we abandon these beliefs we are no better than atheists, and just as hopeless. True healing is from God - the Spirit - the Light - the Christ and I feel blessed to have directly experienced it. For this is the strange reality it has led me to: I am glad that I had the cancer - still have the cancer - I am glad that my pain and suffering enabled me to have the opportunity to experience the mercy, the compassion, and the healing of the Lord. And as a result I feel unafraid of death in a way that would have been impossible before this illness overtook me.


New Product, New Skills, New Consultants Part 1

Late in 2016, after 18 months of testing, we finally released the new Motivational Organisation Map. What is it? What can it do? And why should that concern you? Or, put more accurately, What’s In It for Me? Perhaps before looking at these questions, vital as they are, one might also consider how does this affect the users and licensees of Motivational Maps generally? Indeed, does it affect them?

Yes, it affects them – or some of them – profoundly, but to understand how we need to go back to the beginning. The original Motivational Map is clearly a personal or a one-2-one product; ideal, in other words, for either personal development and growth, or for coaching and managing. Its focus, then, is on enabling the individual to develop themselves, and so in a sense it is about self-coaching – or for a coach to coach a client, or a manager to coach an employee. In short, the Motivational Map, whether you use it for personal growth or use it in a 1-2-1 situation is at root a tool to enable coaching.

But if we scale the Motivational Map up to a Motivational Team Map, then coaching is still possible, but another key skill is also relevant: training. Now the focus can shift from an individual’s motivational profile and what that might mean, to what the combined profiles of the whole team look like, and how the motivators interact with each other, not just internally, but between people. This is a fascinating area. As I have often observed in the past, we frequently find that many team problems that have been ascribed to one simple factor or another, for example, personality clashes, are not that at all. Instead, they are at root competing motivators, rival energies, that drive in opposite directions. As a result of these competing energies, naturally, people do come to dislike their opposition too – but the core of the dislike may not be personality at all. But motivation. So, faced with a Motivational Team Map, a team may well want the expert trainer in to draw out all the threads of team dynamics that the ‘team Map’ can do.

So, what I am saying, but without being dogmatic or insistent upon it, is that coaching is really suited to the individual map, and as we move towards the team map we find training enters the frame. It should come as no surprise, then, if I say that another key skill comes to the fore when we come to the Motivational Organisational Map.

Just as the team map scales up the individual maps, so too now does the organisation map scale up the team map. In its report on the Data Analysis Table, instead of having the individual scores listed, as we do in the team map, we now have the team scores listed. And this scaling up has some incredible effects.

Before, however, talking about these effects, let’s get on the table what the new skill set is which is crucial to the Organisation Map. From coaching to training and finally, at level three, we need to be consultants. Now don’t get me wrong: of this triumvirate of skills – coaching, training, consulting – we can use any set of them at any stage, and I should know because I have done so. But the fact remains that at the organisation map level, consultancy is where the game is; indeed, where the serious bread is, and where the big difference also resides. It is also true to say that whilst most service providers can easily shift between all three modalities (and don’t we all have to nimble to win business?), it is also true to say that we all have a dominant mode, with a strong secondary bow, and the third skill that may well be average. Speaking for myself, by way of mea culpa, I think my dominant strength as a service provider is in training. So I, too, have to up-skill if I want to utilise the Organisational Map fully! But that said, then, why is consultancy so crucial to the organisation map? It is really because of three key ideas. 

Part 2 of this article will cover the 3 key ideas and also reveal 3 'incredible effects' of scaling up the data. IMG_2383


Reviewing 2016 in 12 Easy Steps

IMG_2816

Self-awareness, self-examination, are the foundations of the spiritual life, and so unsurprisingly of personal and self-development in all its forms. We instinctively know that the end of the year marks, albeit arbitrarily in some ways, a turning point in which it is highly appropriate to review that chronological unit. I'd like to give you all my top ten experiences or achievements of my year, but then again I found in reviewing what has happened to me and putting it in rank order would be like comparing apples and oranges; all things are good to the healthy mind, but our preferences must necessarily seem somewhat idiosyncratic.

Thus, I am not going to labour on about three things that may obsess some people from 2016: namely, politics and whether or not Brexit or Trump are significant; my very personal good stuff, which is inevitably about my relationship with wife and family; and finally I don't want to go on about bad stuff that happens either. Partly because focusing on the negative drains energy, but more importantly, what is the bad stuff anyway? In 2011 I developed a malignant tumour that nearly killed me. Bad year? Not really; it led directly to the greatest experience of my life, so that I think, from the spiritual perspective everything has meaning, and everything can be good.

Given all these caveats, then, if I review the year it will be best to consider it month by month. A high point of January was an email from Evan Mantyk, the President and founder of The Society of Classical Poets, based in New York, and inviting me to join its Advisory Board. This was a great honour, and important for and to me because I have spent my life advocating real poetry, and form in poetry, and all the time have found myself swimming against the tide. There is so much non-poetry out there masquerading as poetry that it is important to find allies in the quest for the real ‘thing’.

No question here: in early February Linda and I put on a special launch for my new book, Mapping Motivation, published the month before by Gower. We put on a splendid do at the Radisson Blu 5-star hotel in Leicester Square, and to add to the pizzazz Ben Stiller and Jennifer Cruz decided to patrol outside to promote their new film, Zoolander 2. Some of our guests probably trod over their red carpet thinking it was for them!! And what fabulous guests we had, including our great editor, Kristina Abbotts. She, of course, was now a senior editor at Routledge, which had purchased Gower just as my book was being printed.  Clearly, the real reason for Routledge’s acquisition was my book! The place was buzzing; we had booked the Penthouse Suite, which curiously was not on the 5th floor but the 8th, and so we had this marvellous view over London while all the merriment was going on. Food was great; sold lots of books; what was not to like? Before leaving February, though an honorary mention must be made of late February when my good friend Tony Henderson invited me to give a talk on motivation at the Oxford Technology and Media event. This was a tremendous event – wonderful people present, curious, engaged, and challenging. Thanks Tony.

Then March: well, early on we were given a conducted tour of Parliament by my friend, Robert Oulds, who runs the Bruges Group, and were given an insight both into Parliament (from an insider perspective) and into the forthcoming Brexit campaign from someone at the centre. Enough of that, though. The great event of March for us was getting away on holiday to Cannes and in particular to the Lerin Isles, especially St Honorat. What a place of peace and tranquillity – centuries of it. We bought the monk’s honey, only alas to have it confiscated at the airport on the way back. The sweetness, then, we never tasted.

April, too, was jam-packed with incidents, but what stays in my mind happened at the end: meeting up with Frank Chambers in the Crypt of St Martin-in-the-Field in London. I taught Frank Chambers English at Secondary school, and he had been my star “Macbeth” in the school production I had directed. But I hadn’t seen him in 32 years. What an amazing thing to meet him, catch up on 32 years of absence, and reminisce over old times. I gave him a special gift: a digitised recording of the whole play from 32 years ago! Nobody, apart from myself, had seen that recording in 32 years; I had the only copy. I understand Frank’s children were pretty amazed to see their dad in action all that time ago!

Mid-May a wonderful article on Motivational Maps, courtesy of our friend Carole Gaskill, appeared in The Guardian. This was a welcome recognition of the product.  Near the end of the month Linda and I travelled to Taunton and to the classic Castle Hotel where we had a meal and a working session with our two fellow shareholders in the Maps company, James Watson and Rob Breeds. They are such great, upbeat, positive and creative people; it was a tonic spending time with them.

In June my poetry appeared on the Yellow Bus, circulating Bournemouth, as it were forever, with no escape! A prelude, perhaps, to a Dante moment. And I attended my niece’s, Samantha Williams’, wedding in my old Alma Mater, St David’s University College. She actually got married in the university chapel. We stayed a week in the area too and had an amazing time. But also that month I went on a 3-day retreat at Ammerdown, near Bath, to study Dante and his poem, The Divine Comedy. This was totally inspirational and I have been returning to Dante ever since. Indeed, my next collection of poetry will be based on my reading of him.

So after all these highs, it is pleasing to record that in July Linda and I managed something we had failed to do in 2015: we went swimming in the sea in Bournemouth. Heck, we live there. We managed 7 trips for a sea swim and each one was joy. On one visit down we ran into my dear friend, Chrissie Laban, and joined her for an oven-baked pizza. Chrissie, of course, was one of the surgeons who operated on my tumour in 2011. We caught her in time: she was leaving the Royal Bournemouth and about to serve in Southampton General. (Spoiler alert: and she is now in Royal Bath hospital – a wonderful surgeon).

August continues the holiday theme. The end of July saw us reading a 70th birthday poem in honour of my friend, Bob Sutton, in Bedfordshire; what a party that was! On to Durham, discovering Bill’s Restaurant, and finally ending up in Lichfield where we had even more great experiences. Then, curiously, Linda and I had a day out in Swanage. It was a perfect day. We used the chain ferry, the weather was fine, and the beach was packed, but somehow Linda found a wholly secluded spot and from it we went into the sea again. Like being re-born!

In September two very different highlights occur. First, I am a keynote speaker at the Dominion Theatre in London, which is a great opportunity. Second, my laptop blows up and I have had it, I am done with Microsoft, so I buy an iMac. Oh, heavens – what have I missed all these years? Why did I not believe the hype? Yes, they are that much better – no going back, as I type this now on my … iMac!!

And if 2016 hasn’t already been a fabulous year – yes, fabulous, as in a fable – then October steps it up further: I do a day’s training on our new product, The Organisation Motivational Map, to 8 colleagues. My first training in 10 months, since I am effectively retired from doing it, but I felt like an old Yoda going back to train the Obi-Wan- Kenobi masters, and yes, I still had the Force with me! Linda and I go to Avignon, and inadvertently I step into a live drama performance in the nave of Chartreuse Cathedral, and improvise in it. The audience applaud. The actress, after it is done, comes up to me and congratulates me: “You are very confident”, she says and smiles. I don’t want to disabuse her and tell her the truth: ‘No, I am just bl**dy old and don’t phase easy, baby’! My wife, of course, comments truly: ‘I can’t take you anywhere!’

My son Joseph Sale’s book, The Meaning of the Dark, comes out in November. It is a masterpiece in the tradition of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and he is well on his way to becoming a great writer. We meet our friends Ross Thornley and Karen Rayner at the Ancient Technology Centre and listen to a live re-telling of the Gilgamesh epic, one of my great favourites. The story is nearly 2 hours long – there is a real log fire burning on a dark winter night – and the story teller does it without notes and without faltering once.

In December Routledge ask me to review a book for them and address me as “Professor Sale” – the absurdity, but it tickled my funny bone. And then later they agreed a 6 book deal with me to write The Complete Guide to Mapping Motivation. Phew! Awesome. And Christmas was on us – relax, reflect, and rejoice. So much omitted from this story; but so much covered too.

Let’s all focus on what we can do in 2017 – how we can make a difference, how we can be on mission, and how we can get joy from every aspect of our lives, even when we receive what we haven’t planned for! God’s blessing to everyone for 2017 – peace and joy be yours.


The Incredible Transformation of Mark Terrell from Super-Shopper to Super-Coach!

Mark terrell and james at launch 0216

Finally, then, we reach Chapter 9, the last chapter of the book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq - last, excluding the Resources section and Index etc.) and a chapter very different from the rest in that it is the proof of the pudding: it contains two case studies of the Maps in action in actual organisations. One case study is one I did myself with the Ordnance Survey, involving nearly 200 employees in their sales and marketing divisions; the second was undertaken with The John Lewis Partnership by Aspirin Business Solutions who are advanced Motivational Map users and practitioners (we call them Senior Practitioners, but not because of their age!).

The prelude to the case studies goes something like this:

 

The first comment I would like to make about the case studies and about Mapping Motivation more generally is that this process is always about, and highly geared towards, change management. When we think of change management in an organizational sense, then we have a pretty clear idea of what is entailed in this; but change management also affects teams and individuals. We are all changing all the time; sometimes in small, barely noticeable steps, but other times in huge, perceptible strides. And the point that has been made many times in this book is that energy is underpinning all change; energy, or motivation, is enabling all change to occur. If that is the case, how can ignoring motivation be a sensible strategy for an organization, team or individual to adopt? ." [from Chapter Nine of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

 

This point – that motivation is really about change is a fundamental point. It must be about change because energy is constantly moving, constantly shifting, always alternating between the poles of positivity and negativity or yin and yang. So if we want to understand what is going on and what is likely to happen, then studying motivation is critical. Now the book in the case studies deal with whole organisations – or large sections of them – because that is the most spectacular example. But it is equally true of individuals. Indeed, there will be a complementary book out soon precisely about mapping and coaching; and as it happens, just one such example has occurred recently that I’d like to finish this series on.

By pure accident – or synchronicity! – I recently migrated from Windows 10 to an iMac and have decided to go all Apple. The consequence of this, of course, is that I have 20 years’ worth of Microsoft stuff, so some sorting has been in order. Thus I came across a file dated 25/8/04 and it was a Motivational Map that I had manually calculated for an MD called Mark Terrell (http://1stclasscoachingsolutions.com ). Keep in mind, the electronic version of the Map only came in March 2006. So this really was at the coal face where it started. Mark, then, was MD of a retail store which was part of a well-known, national licensing franchise. He was very successful, and I had helped his business achieve Investors in People status and along the way had trialled the Map on him.

This first Map revealed that he was motivated by – in order of importance – creativity, belonging, and money. But his least important motivator was controlling or managing people. Which of course was strange: since he had a large shop with a significant number of people to manage, including part-timers and all the fiddlesome stuff that that required. I pointed out to him that being an MD, then, would be stressful in the long term, since although he had the knowledge and skills to do it (and he was very successful), ultimately managing a shop was never going to satisfy him because he didn’t ‘want’ to manage; he could manage, but he didn’t want to. He wryly acknowledged my point, could see and feel the stress points in himself, but knew too that this was he had to do for now.

Roll forward 11 years to 6/11/15 and we find Mark Terrell doing another Map. This time his top three motivators are, in order: making a difference, expertise, and belonging. Wow – what a change! Only belonging remains in the top three. But – wait for it – managing and controlling is still lowest. In fact, has scores even more negatively than it did in 2005. And what has happened to Mark in that intervening period?

He has successfully sold his business – perhaps that is why money is no longer a key driver for him; and he has re-invented himself as a coach, someone who can really help – make a big difference to – other SME business leaders like himself through his coaching expertise and advanced developmental toolkit. That toolkit – yes, it’s true, also contains Motivational Maps. Twelve years on from being one of the first people ever to do a Motivational Map – in the days when I manually calculated and trialled it – Mark Terrell has become one of the big advocates of its power, is an expert in it, and uses it himself with all his clients.

Change or what? Possible or what? Only the other day in the Times, the famous Lucy Kellaway, one of the Financial Times most brilliant columnist (I love her work), who has been a columnist for 31 years at the FT, and is now 57 years old, announced she was giving it up in order to re-invent herself as a Maths teacher in inner-city London schools. She clearly knows her motivators without having done a Map. But most of us aren’t so lucky. As Mark Terrell found, the Map helped guide him to his change destination in a most remarkable way.

If you are the MD of an SME, why not contact Mark to see if he can help you grow your business or even re-invent yourself if you are feeling that you want a change?

Finally, I hope you have found these blogs on my book, Mapping Motivation, interesting and useful. I have to believe they are relevant because we all need motivation!

 

 


A New Model of Leadership

Carole gaskell with james 1216

As we approach Chapter 8 and getting near the end of my book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq ) we find the topics become ever more serious and vital. Motivation has this tendency to become ever more involved in key aspects of human life and work. We have dealt with things like performance, teams and appraisal already, but now we shift up a gear and start considering how motivation impacts leadership and engagement. It should be obvious that with only one chapter devoted to leadership AND engagement that there must be more books in the pipeline – and there are – because these topics are so big one chapter can scarcely cover any ground at all! That said, however, I believe the chapter is absolutely crammed with insights and useful activities that can get anybody started on better leadership and more engagement in the work place. A clue is given early on in the chapter when Eisenhower’s definition of leadership is quoted: “Leadership is the ability to get a man to do what you want him to do, when you want it done, in a way you want it done, because he wants to do it”. The most difficult clause in that sentence is the last one: ‘because he wants to do it’. And that is all about motivation.

So from Chapter 8, we find:

“If we then consider all this together it might successfully be argued that a full 50% of leadership comes down to motivation: the leader being motivated, motivating others, ensuring new recruits are motivated, sustaining motivation, motivating teams and so on. Thus contrary to what we expect, or what we typically experience, motivation is at the core of leadership; there is scarcely a more important area for the leader to master. But as we discussed in Chapter 1, its ambiguity is why it gets less attention and more avoidance than it should. The creation of Motivational Maps with its language and metrics is a step forward in reversing this trend.” ." [from Chapter Eight of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

This paragraph appears after Motivational Maps own model of leadership is unveiled and discussed; it is called the ‘4+1’ model and what it does is identify and analyse the four key skills of leadership plus the one personal quality that underpins their reality. I will say what this ‘4+1’ is in a moment, but the point to emphasise here is the fact that the analysis comes up with the astonishing fact that at least 50% of effective leadership is done to motivation. Indeed, it could be argued that some 60% of leadership is about motivation: motivating individuals, motivating teams, and ultimately motivating the whole organisation to move in a specific direction that correlates with the strategy. I have to emphasise this point because it is so counter-intuitive and so not what we read about in most of the literature. The conventional view is that the primary skill of a leader relates to clarity of vision – and I do not in any way wish undermine the importance of that fact, as the ‘4+1’ model makes clear – or related to the ability to implement systems. But the reality is, doing all things is good yet without motivation the engine – like the absence of fuel in a car – is simply not going to fire, not going to move.

And to add to the complexity of this situation: the book discusses in detail the psychological reasons – mainly to do with the avoidance of ambiguity – why leaders do not address issue. Why, instead, they pour over spreadsheets and forecasts and strategic plans, without actually contemplating getting a handle on the motivation issue. Well, the book outlines a brilliant solution to this, which I cannot cover in a brief blog. But as I promised, what about the ‘4+1” model?

The ‘4+1’ model puts forward the idea that there are four absolutely key skills a leader must master: one, Thinking skills which include vision and strategy; two, Doing skills, time management, recruitment and implementation; three, team building skills, which overtly involve motivational aspects; four, motivating skills, which involve communicating and engagement. In fact, all four skills are given a much deeper breakdown, and whereas the role of motivation in the process is evident in the team building and motivating components, there is also a hidden motivational component hidden in the Doing skill. But the ‘+1” is also key, for without it the other three wither on the vine: it is not a skill but is an ongoing commitment to Personal or Self-development. This is crucial for without it we are constantly, as leaders, trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s learning; we simply have to current.

For more on all this, take a look at the book. If you like this blog, you’ll love the book!


How Mapping Motivation Helps Performance Appraisals

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Chapter 7 of my book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq ) is about Performance Appraisal and, though I say it myself, is one of the most fascinating and original chapters in the book. Indeed, I think Motivational Maps provides one of the most ingenious solutions ever to the problems that beset Performance Appraisal in the modern world; problems so serious that the credibility of the whole process is under threat. Many organisations now have abandoned even doing a review of and for their employees. Before quoting an early passage in the chapter I would just like to say, however, why this is so important to me.

First, because how we perform always impacts our self-esteem, our self-concept, and so our overall well-being. If we do not have mechanisms that support that, what then do we have that can produce any goodness in our working lives? Second, the benefits of performance appraisal are not merely confined to the employee: the improvement in performance of any individual can directly lead to increased productivity for the company. And thirdly, and on a more personal note: performance appraisal was where I really started my management consultancy journey long ago in 1990! I was selected as one of a small and unique team of senior leaders to be trained for 3-plus days to be a County-wide trainer for other senior teachers in the educational authority in which I was based; after the training I spent five years going round the county delivering what I had learnt – and adding to it. So when I left teaching in 1995, and switched to the commercial and business sector, it was natural to build upon my appraisal expertise and become a trainer. In short, I believe I developed a deep understanding of the process, its benefits, and certainly its flaws.

We learn from Chapter 7, then, that:

“The purpose of Performance Appraisal is really one thing and one thing only: to improve the employee’s performance; all other purposes dilute this central mission, and are correspondingly responsible for many of the reasons why Performance Appraisal fails to deliver. Gerry Randall describes it this way: "Employee Appraisal can be seen as the formal process for collecting information from and about the staff of an organization for decision-making purposes... one overriding purpose of this decision making emerged, improving people's performance in their existing job." [from Chapter Seven of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

The rest of the chapter goes into a lot of detail as to the how Motivational Maps can provide the solution to the central problem of appraisal: namely, that it has become a tick-boxing exercise. But failure to understand this point about purpose has led so many managers and leaders into a bewildering wilderness of confusion and despair; why doesn’t appraisal ‘work’? Because they are falling victim to what I called in an earlier blog ‘The Stalingrad Principle’. What is the Stalingrad Principle? It is my way of describing what in terms of military principles is sometimes called ‘the principle of focus’. You will recall that in 1941 Hitler’s army reached the gates of Moscow and his army could have taken the city. But before they could do so Hitler issued an order, which his generals disagreed with but had to implement anyway, to divide his forces into three: one to take Moscow, the other to march towards and take Leningrad, and the other to go south and take Stalingrad. The net result of this order was an attack on three major cities over nearly an 18-month siege, but in which Hitler ended up winning none of the battles; and in particular at Stalingrad he suffered a devastating reversal – losing the whole of his 6th Army – which was truly the beginning of the end for him. In other words, dividing our attention, our focus, our forces, our resources in order to achieve too many goals or objectives is a sure way to achieve none of them, even though the objectives themselves may be extremely commendable in terms of our overall, envisioned end-state.

In the book I point out that the one, overriding purpose of appraisal is “to improve performance”; all other uses of the process are abuses of the process and will undermine its core effectiveness. Because of constraints of space I do not go into much detail about these other ‘purposes’ and I would like to now. What are they? And why are they so attractive?

Given that appraisal happens, takes up employee and the manager’s time, and is not directly productive or usually part of anyone’s job description, it’s natural that managers would want to make every second of the interview count, so that as much as possible can be done. Thus the central purpose – improving performance – can easily become answering the question of: evaluation, or how well is he or she doing the job? As a focal point, this is a critical mistake since it engenders fear, the number one thing, according to W.E. Deming, that we need to drive out if we want a highly productive workforce.

But evaluation leads almost imperceptibly into another process that the quest for certainty engenders: the appraisal become an auditing of the employees. Finally, we discover what jobs are being done?! Wow – that really can lead to lots of ticks in boxes! Once we have these boxes ticked, we can go even further and seek validation: we can know the right things are being done. So we have here in evaluation, auditing and validation almost a beautiful transformation of appraisal into an accountancy model.

Then again, we know – because this is in our management job description – that we need to do something about training next year. So the focus shifts to training and what do people need to do the job? Of course this is a good question, but it must never be the focus; alas, too often it can be because in a way it makes the manager seem like a good guy/gal – you are supporting the employee. However, it’s not the hard love of performance. And neither is another soft love option: development, or the ‘we’ are looking forward to plan.  Development is good, but it has to be massively subordinated to performance or else the organization is going to be in deep trouble. And as much as I regret saying it, motivation too must be subordinated and is not the central purpose: yes, by all means constructive and useful feedback is good and motivating, but this must not be an end in itself. It’s a feature, not the benefit: the benefit of performance as focus and purpose.

 Lastly, some are not seduced by soft love. Appraisal for them is all about controlling employees. In other words, I am telling you what to do. It’s the old top-down, command and control methodology that totally violates all we know about effective leadership (excepting in extreme, often military situations) in modern organizations. And allied to this, in terms of overt manipulation, we have the appraisal really determining succession planning, a very specific form of evaluation. Who should be promoted in the next season? A good question but not one appraisal should be answering because when it does it will again create fear and trembling in the majority of one’s employees.

Thus, we have here a lot of focuses that appraisal needs to avoid if it is going to deliver. It needs to avoid emphasis on evaluation, auditing, validating, training, development, motivation, controlling and succession planning; and performance needs to be at the forefront of its concern at all times. How to do that? Well, I would say this, but chapter 7 is a good starting place to find out!

             


Teams Multiplying Motivation

Akeela plus 2 with maps book 0816

At last – after five fascinating chapters (in my book, ‘Mapping Motivation’, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq ) on motivation and then performance, we go in chapter six into the one of the crux issues – conundrums even – for all businesses and organisations: the issue of teams. Indeed, managing and leveraging the power of teams is one of the key skills of true leaders, an issue we deal with in more detail in chapter 8. But for now let us consider just one aspect of ‘teams’ that is important. The chapter contrasts the difference between a ‘group’ of people and a team. Groups may have names like ‘finance’ or ‘HR’ but having a shared name does not make one a team. So, as it says in chapter six:

“There are at least four characteristics that are vital to creating effective teams. First, the team has to have a clear remit, or mission. It is effectively what in military terms is called the Principle of the Objective. It asks overtly, what do we exist to do or to achieve? This principle or question enables the focusing of all the energies in the team towards accomplishing the thing that is the most important, namely, the mission.” [from Chapter Six of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge,[  http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

So let’s consider just this one thing, the remit, and how it relates to motivation. First, it is important to understand at a deeper level what a remit, or mission, is. Simon Sinek’s wonderful book, ‘Start with Why’, sheds some great light on this. For Sinek mission most usually means (in Corporates-ville) the WHAT we do. But as he points out, the WHAT can easily become mere manipulation; the great organizations provide a powerful WHY as well. This WHY is compelling when we clearly see our values are aligned with it; for WHY always reveals some aspect of our value system. Of course what Sinek is saying here is vitally important to motivation too, because as he observes it is highly motivational for individuals (and teams) to share the WHY.

Why is this? Because WHY is about values and values are essentially beliefs that we especially hold dear or important. In short, values are critical beliefs. But we know – and chapter 2 of ‘Mapping Motivation’ makes this abundantly clear – that the roots of motivation itself, or about 70% of the roots, derive from our beliefs. So that if mission is value-driven, there is a high probability that the remit itself creates motivation and engagement with the employees! Wow, that is a big plus factor; and it comes down to being clear, and letting everyone know, WHY we are doing what we are doing, and WHAT that big objective is ahead of us that we need – we want – to achieve. You’d think, then, that this was a no-brainer, but we have to keep beating the drum.

There are two further consequences of this sharing the WHY of the remit or mission. The first is that it is cohesive in itself: it, in other words, binds people together, so that a group is more likely to be a team. Why is that? Because trying to achieve a large and worthwhile objective that realizes important values frequently means that people will subordinate their own agendas in order to collaborate. Which means being a team: Together Each Achieves More. They get together so that they get focused on the HOW they will work towards the goal.

Second, and to return to the quotation from chapter 6, values and beliefs unleash energies in us, and the important thing is enabling ‘the focusing of all the energies’. In fact, it’s not just the energies – or the motivations as we call them – that need focusing. When a team is really in play, the energies first and foremost become focused into a laser like intensity, but so do the intentions, skills and knowledge of the members. All these start producing synergistic effects.

The chapter of course goes on to discuss the other three key factors in building a successful team, how groups have arithmetic, whereas teams have geometrical, strength, and to provide a whole raft of practical ideas, including reading Team Motivational Maps, that enable managers and organizations to get a stronger handle on how to build an effective team. Why not try the book for yourself? It’s a small investment with a big payoff.


Retaining High Performers

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One of the weirdest things about my book, Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq), is the fact that in a 9 chapter book it is not until we get to Chapter 5, that is half way through the book, that we get to the real meat that businesses and organisations want. What do I mean by this? That the first four chapters are irrelevant? No! On the contrary they need to be studied extremely well because they are the foundation of what is about to come. However, the fact that is most people, businesses and organisations as much as they talk about motivation do not really take it seriously; for it is a feature. What they want is to go straight into the benefits of motivation. Hence the title of Chapter five is ‘Motivation and Performance’. We all want to perform; businesses want to perform; and performance can lead to higher productivity, and so to profit. Still, we need to consider things in their correct order: motivation precedes performance as performance precedes productivity; and only then and afterwards we reach the real fruit that is profit (or, in a non-profit organisation, value) that is the true goal. So we find these words from the chapter:

This point of ongoing inputs is all the more important for two other fundamental reasons. The first is to do with relationships. If we employ people (and the same is true, incidentally of taking on external contractors or consultants), then whether we like it or not we have established a relationship with them. We can either develop that relationship and make it meaningful, or we can become utterly transactional about it. If we choose the latter course we will never get commitment, engagement or the highest levels of productivity; never. But if we choose the former, then we need to consider the obvious fact that arises from our own important relationships – be it husband, wife, partner or friend. For example, I do not tell my wife ‘once’, on the day I marry her, that I love her and think that that is satisfactory and enough, and when she complains twenty years later that I never say I love her, ‘Well, I told you when I married you, nothing has changed’! That would be both fatuous and inept. No, the relationship to be a relationship that is real must be renewed on an almost daily basis. And so it is with our employees and their development: there needs to be mechanisms in place to ensure learning and productivity if only because the rate of change is so high and so real.

But second, if we only consider the generational gaps and what they mean we know we must take action. We are told that there are the Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials, and each has specific characteristics. What are these characteristics? Well, Baby Boomers (my generation) apparently are less adaptable and less collaborative; whereas Generation X are less cost-effective and have less executive presence; and the Millennials are lazy, unproductive and self-obsessed (UXC professional solutions)! These are stereotypes and of course they have strengths too; but if we take the Millennials these strengths are: enthusiastic, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, opportunistic. Hmm – these are the people born 1980-1995 – the up and coming work force of the future. Does it sound like they want to stay anywhere for very long? Not really!

That is why, if organizations want to be productive in the long-term, they need to commit to people development, especially on a relationship basis, but also in terms of knowledge and skills, and – fundamentally if we are going to retain them – on a motivational (which is a subset of that relationship) basis. Hence the need for regular and ongoing Motivational Map audits.

Chapter 5 of the book contains loads of practical examples, questions, ideas to get you, your organization, seriously addressing these issues; and don’t forget that every purchase of the book also includes a free opportunity to do a Motivational Map and see for yourself how your motivators stack up. I recommend you try it!


The Hygiene Factors of Motivation

James and sgt pepper T shirt 1016

We come to chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq). One vital aspect of this chapter is the exploration of what we call ‘Hygiene Factors’ in Motivational Maps’ jargon. 

“Your lowest motivational score can be very revealing. The top three scores are more exciting, but noting our lowest motivator can also give useful clues about improving our motivation and our life. First, ask the question: is my lowest motivator causing me a problem? We sometimes call this a hygiene factor, which means that the motivator does not motivate us, but its absence can lead to de-motivation.”  [from Chapter Four of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

One of the really fascinating aspect of motivation that Mapping Motivation explores is the idea of hygiene factors. It would be very easy to focus on someone's top three motivators - or a team's or whole organisation's - and think one had the job done. But we must constantly be aware that all nine motivators are related in the psyche and so effect each other, whatever their rank order is. Indeed, the least important motivator in terms of its effect on our motivation is - paradoxically - vitally important for our overall welfare. Thus, the phrase 'hygiene factor’ comes from the work of Hertzberg and is used in mapping to refer to - though not exclusively - the lowest motivator in our profile.

What Hertzberg meant by a hygiene factor was some aspect of the work that did not motivate the individual, but its absence might become extremely de-motivating. So, for example, people in an organisation, may not be motivated by tea/coffee or canteen refreshments, but the absence of their availability over time in the work place may seriously begin to demotivate the staff and lead them to take a negative view of management. This idea is taken a stage further in Mapping Motivation and Motivational Maps. Perhaps the synonym for 'hygiene factors' that would best convey what exactly extra we mean is: 'Achilles' Heel'. That the absence of some motivators - in a given context, not in an absolute sense - may prove to be extremely detrimental to the performance (and so work well-being) of an individual (and also read team and organisation).

Some examples here might best illustrate what I mean. Take the Searcher motivator: the desire to make a difference. Making a difference is always for someone or some group. The essence of making difference means having a customer/client focus. Suppose then that one is appointed to a role where customer focus is the very essence of the role, AND suppose that the Searcher motivator is the lowest drive in your profile. Problem? Well, the person may have the skill set, the qualifications, the previous experience to fulfil a customer service role, BUT - deep down - they don't really get a buzz out of it. Hmm! Long term that will definitely prove to be a problem; and it may even be an issue short to medium term, depending on the severity of the scoring.

Or take the Director motivator - the desire to control and manage - and imagine this being lowest in the profile of somebody applying for a management job? Or take Builder - the competitive desire for more money - and this being lowest in someone in a commission-led sales role? Or take the Spirit - the desire for freedom and autonomy - and the applicant applying for a desk job where every 10 minutes of their time has to be accounted for and charged out to a client? I could go through all 9 motivators and position them as number 9, the least important in someone's profile, and then provide a job or role context in which that lack of drive might clearly be seen to have important implications for overall performance.

In this sense, then, it should be clear what I mean by an Achilles Heel; it is a weakness that can quite literally trip you up in the job you are doing, because ultimately you lose the desire, you lose the internal energy - the fire - that makes doing the role satisfying. One of the tragedies of work is that so few individuals understand this; if they did then they'd stop applying for jobs that can never satisfy them.

But Mapping Motivation isn't just about analysing problems; it's about providing solutions, and there are two solutions here that are extremely useful. One is to head off the problem before it arises: in other words, use the Motivational Maps in the recruitment process. Select more people to work in your organisation whose motivators match the roles you have available. Motivational Maps has a wonderful and cost-effective process to help businesses do just that.

The second solution is what we call Reward Strategies. Licensees of Motivational Maps are all trained to provide creative and pointed ideas to compensate for the hygiene factor, and to enable managers to do the same. So, to take one example from above - and perhaps the most common - Director motivator as the lowest for someone in a management position? The key reward strategy here is to get the manager to accept that managing is not what they want to do and as a result to increase their knowledge and skill set in the one area that could compensate for ineffective or negligent management: namely, delegation skills. Even though one does not especially want to manage, if one has effective delegation skills one can become super-competent in this area. So that becomes the positive area to focus on.

For more information on hygiene factors and how they work, do take a look at chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation. As Sam says, That's a real eye-opener for sure!


Lowest Motivators that Can Trip You UP

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We come to chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq). One vital aspect of this chapter is the exploration of what we call ‘Hygiene Factors’ in Motivational Maps’ jargon. 

“Your lowest motivational score can be very revealing. The top three scores are more exciting, but noting our lowest motivator can also give useful clues about improving our motivation and our life. First, ask the question: is my lowest motivator causing me a problem? We sometimes call this a hygiene factor, which means that the motivator does not motivate us, but its absence can lead to de-motivation.”  [from Chapter Four of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

One of the really fascinating aspect of motivation that Mapping Motivation explores is the idea of hygiene factors. It would be very easy to focus on someone's top three motivators - or a team's or whole organisation's - and think one had the job done. But we must constantly be aware that all nine motivators are related in the psyche and so effect each other, whatever their rank order is. Indeed, the least important motivator in terms of its effect on our motivation is - paradoxically - vitally important for our overall welfare. Thus, the phrase 'hygiene factor’ comes from the work of Hertzberg and is used in mapping to refer to - though not exclusively - the lowest motivator in our profile.

What Hertzberg meant by a hygiene factor was some aspect of the work that did not motivate the individual, but its absence might become extremely de-motivating. So, for example, people in an organisation, may not be motivated by tea/coffee or canteen refreshments, but the absence of their availability over time in the work place may seriously begin to demotivate the staff and lead them to take a negative view of management. This idea is taken a stage further in Mapping Motivation and Motivational Maps. Perhaps the synonym for 'hygiene factors' that would best convey what exactly extra we mean is: 'Achilles' Heel'. That the absence of some motivators - in a given context, not in an absolute sense - may prove to be extremely detrimental to the performance (and so work well-being) of an individual (and also read team and organisation).

Some examples here might best illustrate what I mean. Take the Searcher motivator: the desire to make a difference. Making a difference is always for someone or some group. The essence of making difference means having a customer/client focus. Suppose then that one is appointed to a role where customer focus is the very essence of the role, AND suppose that the Searcher motivator is the lowest drive in your profile. Problem? Well, the person may have the skill set, the qualifications, the previous experience to fulfil a customer service role, BUT - deep down - they don't really get a buzz out of it. Hmm! Long term that will definitely prove to be a problem; and it may even be an issue short to medium term, depending on the severity of the scoring.

Or take the Director motivator - the desire to control and manage - and imagine this being lowest in the profile of somebody applying for a management job? Or take Builder - the competitive desire for more money - and this being lowest in someone in a commission-led sales role? Or take the Spirit - the desire for freedom and autonomy - and the applicant applying for a desk job where every 10 minutes of their time has to be accounted for and charged out to a client? I could go through all 9 motivators and position them as number 9, the least important in someone's profile, and then provide a job or role context in which that lack of drive might clearly be seen to have important implications for overall performance.

In this sense, then, it should be clear what I mean by an Achilles Heel; it is a weakness that can quite literally trip you up in the job you are doing, because ultimately you lose the desire, you lose the internal energy - the fire - that makes doing the role satisfying. One of the tragedies of work is that so few individuals understand this; if they did then they'd stop applying for jobs that can never satisfy them.

But Mapping Motivation isn't just about analysing problems; it's about providing solutions, and there are two solutions here that are extremely useful. One is to head off the problem before it arises: in other words, use the Motivational Maps in the recruitment process. Select more people to work in your organisation whose motivators match the roles you have available. Motivational Maps has a wonderful and cost-effective process to help businesses do just that.

The second solution is what we call Reward Strategies. Licensees of Motivational Maps are all trained to provide creative and pointed ideas to compensate for the hygiene factor, and to enable managers to do the same. So, to take one example from above - and perhaps the most common - Director motivator as the lowest for someone in a management position? The key reward strategy here is to get the manager to accept that managing is not what they want to do and as a result to increase their knowledge and skill set in the one area that could compensate for ineffective or negligent management: namely, delegation skills. Even though one does not especially want to manage, if one has effective delegation skills one can become super-competent in this area. So that becomes the positive area to focus on.

For more information on hygiene factors and how they work, do take a look at chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation. As Sam says, That's a real eye-opener for sure!


Emotions, Risk, Change, Feel, Think and Know: geddit?

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In my third blog based on, Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq) I'd like to look at one fascinating aspect of Chapter 3. The nine-point summary at the end of the chapter says:

"Speed of decision-making, attitude to risk, and desire for change are also aligned with the nine motivators - as are our orientation to people, things and ideas".  [from Chapter Three of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

I need to spell this out in more detail, because it is quite staggering what I am saying; and then having spelt it out I'll add some more detail.

We talk about the Motivational Maps ‘making the invisible visible’, by which we mean that like emotions themselves, our motivators are invisible to us most of the time. In some way we mostly feel them operating in the background and rarely draw our awareness to the foreground where we see them clearly. In that sense our motivators are like a fan operating on a hot day: we are glad of the coolness but pay no attention to – hardly notice even - the persistent humming of the blades. But emotions are not like thoughts; they are much more powerful than that; they literally drive us. But just as thoughts – ideas – can be connected, so emotions are connected (or perhaps more strongly, intertwined), not only with each other, but also with other aspects of our lives that we consider vital.

So, in the first instance, and given the quotation from the book, we realise that when we start mapping motivation, then we are also mapping our attitude to risk, whether that be risk-aversion or risk-friendliness. That’s significant, isn’t it? Hey, the whole financial service industry, for one area alone, has now to note what the clients’ attitude to risk is before one can professionally advise them on relevant investments. They tell you what they ‘think’ their attitude is, and based on their thoughts, the IFA, or whoever, advises them. But as we often say in Maps, what we think is often not what we feel. The Maps actually can tell you with great certainty what the client feels about risk. And that’s not just important for financial services: it’s important for every employer to know about every employee, given the context of certain roles. Would too much risk-friendliness create risks and liabilities for the company? Or, would too much risk-aversion lead to underachievement in certain contexts? Can you see how important this issue is?

And no less important is the issue of change; for just as Motivational Maps measure risk, they also calculate attitudes to change. This is vital in all team and organisational initiatives: it means that where we have large change programmes but we know – because we have done the Maps – that the employees are change-averse, or even strongly change –averse, then more resources must be deployed if we are to stand any chance of getting a result from the change process.

If we add to risk and change, the fact that the Maps also measure speed of decision-making too: wow! Isn’t that something? And if it seems almost too much, consider this: of course it will measure speed of decision-making because there must be a direct correlation between being, say, risk or change averse and making a decision. The risk-averse will be slow to make a decision because they will, first, want to defer it, and secondly, they will want to be more sure, and that requires more evidence.

 Then there is the question of ‘orientation’. Now keep in mind that most people are a blend of motivators, and this can be especially true of the top 3 motivators: we can find a mix of all three types of Relationship, Achievement and Growth motivators. But where we find a strong dominance of one type, then we also find an ‘orientation’. So, for example, it should be no surprise to find that Relationship type motivators (and motivators change over time so there is no stereotyping here) are people-orientated. This means not only is their interest in other people and their relationship to them, but that their communications too will primarily be about ‘people’. This can be positively in seeing the best in people and supporting them, or it can be negative: critical – projecting and blaming. Whereas if we consider the Achievement motivators we find that talking about people is much less important: results and ‘things’ are important. There will be much more emphasis on the material side of life and how things work, technically. Finally, at the top end of the hierarchy the Growth motivators. Here people like talking about not other people, not things, but ideas. Ideas have an exciting and visionary quality for the Growth motivator types and you hear it in their conversation.

Now all of this is an awful lot to get one from one little Motivational Map. But I said there was more, which the chapter explores further! This is learning styles. We are all familiar with the Kolb learning styles, probably the best known example of this kind of analysis; we all have preferred ways of wanting to learn. In Kolb there are 4 types of learners; in Maps there are 3. And these three are often associated with the phrase Think-Feel-Know, or as we call it: Feel-Think-Know. For us it is important that the order follows the three power centres of the body: Feel, the heart, Think, the head, and Know, the gut or Dan Tien (in Chinese medicine). In practical terms if we know someone’s Map we can be sure then that we know the best way to present data to them. So, in brief: if we are dealing with a predominantly Relationship person or team, then we need to ensure that there are plenty of examples, descriptions, stories and anecdotes; if we are dealing with a predominantly Achievement person or team, then we need to ensure that there is plenty of hard data, information, evidence and statistics; and if we are dealing with a predominantly Growth person or team, then we need to ensure that there are plenty of bullet points, simple facts, and summaries.

I am sure you will agree that this is a very rich cocktail of information to find out any one person or team, or indeed a whole organisation. If you want to learn more about it, read chapter 3 of my book – there’s a lot more there. This is all about getting on top of a whole load of ‘ambiguous’ information; or heretofore ambiguous – now the Maps put some numbers around this and draw these concepts into the light. We are entering a new age of understanding people, teams and organisations through Motivational Maps.


Review: The Meaning of the Dark – Novel by Joseph Sale

I have just read The Meaning of the Dark, a sci-fi thriller by Joseph Sale, that perhaps most recalls '2001: A Space Odyssey' in its situational tropes - man alone in space with a human-like computer on a voyage of discovery - but which in other respects is entirely original. In truth the book is really a psychological thriller; an exploration of the mind of man, as much as an exploration of space itself; and in the mind of man, as we know from Gerard Manley Hopkins, the 'mind has mountains; cliffs of fall/ Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed'.

The story, apart from the final chapter, Discovery 71, is told in the first person and this is entirely appropriate for the effects that Sale is trying to achieve: a concentration of one man's will, thoughts, emotions faced not only with the prospect of his own personal death alone in space, but also, as a consequence of his failure, the probable demise of the whole human race - or what remains of it, as Earth has long since been vacated. For this story, then, to work the central character - indeed the only character we encounter in real time until the final chapter - has to be resourceful, interesting, intriguing and maybe even symbolic. Symbolic, perhaps, of every man, so that we can identify and be interested in his fate.

A personal side note here: before 1995 I avariciously read novels, but since then my tastes have strayed to non-fiction and I find it difficult to get excited by fiction (excepting poetry). That said, this novel is a total page-turner: I found myself unable to put the book down; I was completely absorbed in this one, lead character. And without labouring the point, symbolically, the character is called Adam. Sale turns on effortlessly the mythological references without at any point drawing attention to the fact. Not only that I suspect that whilst he is 'loading every vein with ore' in terms of deeper mythology and symbolism, he is simultaneously aligning the story with his own life and psyche, so that the story has - as bizarre as that might seem - a personal resonance. 'Style most shows a man' as Ben Jonson once observed, and it is here in Sale's writing. A small, tell-tale example of what I mean - and so understated - might be the number of the Pilot: Adam is Pilot 93, which only becomes significant if we realise that the author himself was born in 1993!  Every man, finally, boils down to one man, one representative.

But the power of the story does not depend just on the power of Adam's thoughts and feelings and responses to deep space - as fascinating and profound as some of these insights are. No, the drama is built round a triangle. After Adam, there is the spaceship's computer, Penny. We learn that she has been imbued with a personality 'upload'; a fact that Adam finds difficult to accept or believe, except to say that Penny is a fascinating 'character' who is constantly interacting with the hero, Adam. And of course on a symbolic level, Penny is actually Penelope: the mythical wife who draws Odysseus home through all his trials and tribulations. Penny seems to be on Adam's side, but is she? Then, with that drama running, we have the black box from the wreck of an earlier space craft, Columbus (yes, also trying to find that brave new world where humans can live!). The audio-video, or Logs, that can Adam can play from this wreck become almost embodiments of the meaning of all human history, and although what Adam sees and hears has happened long ago, yet their presence becomes entirely 'present' to him on the journey. Will the load of human history ultimately destroy or empower him?

It would be wrong to give away the resolution of this wonderful novel: suffice to say it is gripping until to the very last sentence. And in case it sounds all so high falutin  and symbolic, you do need to know that the descriptive ability of Joseph Sale is truly remarkable. You feel the claustrophobia on the space ship; you can almost smell the vomit; and you see what can be seen in deep space in a remarkable series of descriptions. In short, Sale creates a fully-imagined world, which is why the whole story so believable.  

Thus, I strongly recommend this novel to anyone who wants a gripping read, to anyone who wants to escape the Earth and explore new worlds, and to anyone who wants to find out what happens to the mind when the pressure of space threatens to bend it into dreadful, delusional states. This is a five-star novel and I do believe that Joseph Sale is a major writer in the making. Go https://josephsale.wordpress.com for his website and blogs.


Book Review: Leading for a Change by Paul Canon Harris

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This new book,  Leading for a Change, by Paul Canon Harris is a worthy addition to the ever-growing literature on change and leadership. Indeed, one of its strengths is precisely that it makes so strong a connection between leadership and change; some leadership books seem to regard leadership as merely the possession of certain abstract virtues that exist in a vacuum. Not so Canon Harris: he depicts time and time again just how ubiquitous change is, and how potentially destabilising; and so without effective leadership where would we be? The stakes could not be higher. But before I go any further I ought to tell readers by way of transparency that I know Paul personally via the fact that I admire him as a poet and performer.

But to return to his book, as the subtitle of his book makes clear, this is leadership exercised in a specific situation and capacity: to wit, the Churches and Christian leadership. To his credit Canon Harris is not insular in any way, drawing upon the best research he can find from business and other leadership scenarios, but importantly never being overwhelmed by their authority. There is always in Harris' thinking that wider, deeper, more spiritual source from which to draw. In fact, Harris is a master of evangelism without in any way seeming fundamentalist or simplistic. He does this in the carefully understated way he refers to God, Jesus and the Bible: they never seem like 'laws' in his writing but more as examples from which various messages and interpretations are possible and relevant. A great example, showing his lightness of touch, is when he says: "The perennial questions about what constitutes being 'in the world but not of it' are ones which the leader should return to regularly."  That is so well expressed and at the same time seems to me to possess nuggets of wisdom even an atheist might accept. Another way of saying it (and taking out the God-dimension) might be: that leaders need to be more objective, more outside the current zeitgeist, fads and fashions of the day, so that they can see things as they truly are, and not be be-fogged by too deep an involvement in contemporary trivia. But that subtle quotation from John's gospel gets all that across effortlessly.

Thus, I have to say by way of reviewing this book that I like it a great deal: it is full of fascinating detail and research, it has just enough personal anecdote in it to make it seem non-academic, there is wit and humour, and above all Canon Harris writes extremely well. Some of his lines - as we have seen - are extremely potent and so quotable: "A thousand distractions will intervene but once a priest loses his or her fascination with what God is doing throughout history and throughout the world, all that remains to the priest is the detail of ecclesiastical machinery". That is beautifully put, and also a searing indictment of what can so easily happen.

And it reflects one of the wider themes of the book: namely, the important distinction between managing and leading. As Canon Harris points out: this is not an either-or, we need both, but currently we are sorely in need of more leadership. Approvingly quoting Field Marshall Lord Slim here: "Managers are necessary. Leaders are essential.” Again, although not his words, the quotation has that pithiness and strength that Canon Harris’ own sentences possess. So reading the book is a joy, aesthetically as well semantically.

Another important theme is about the need to be open and admit mistakes, yet at the same time it is essential that leaders love themselves, for if they fail to do this they will never have energy in their batteries for the long haul. Harris explains exactly what this means and how to go about achieving it; and needless to say, loving oneself is not some ego-trip or self-indulgence.

There are many handy and practical checklists in the book that would enable any leader to diagnose how they are doing. Perhaps the final one before the useful appendix is the most fascinating: ‘Hallmarks of Godly change’. Yea! Exactly – if you are not a theist or a Christian (and bear in mind the book is written for them, so don’t complain!) it’s a little off-putting, but consider these Hallmarks: Honesty and openness, avoiding artificial experiments and spurious reasons for change, communication, advocates, using outsiders, prayer. Harris gives some telling advice in each of these categories and with the possible exception of the last one, prayer (which I consider essential whether one believes in God or not) which atheists may demur at, aren’t these all great things for a leader to consider when contemplating a change initiative?

All in all, then, a fabulous book I strongly recommend, full of practical wisdom, insights derived from a life lived fully in the ‘inferno’ of events, and yet also infused with a compassion and love for people, and a longing for his old, ex-employer (the good ol’ Church of England) to thrive and prosper in the future when he acknowledges that the spirit of these times is working against them. Go out and read this book – it’ll do you good! Available from: http://amzn.to/2fFmBlb  


Mapping Motivation and Freedom

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Recently I published a blog based in my Gower/Routledge book, Mapping Motivation (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq) which was published earlier this year. The idea was to take an extract from the first chapter and expand it; the book provides much more detail and analysis, but given that the kind of people who follow me and read my stuff are the kind who like deep expertise, I wanted to add even more to the book content, so that it would drive more people to read the book and talk about its ideas. On that principle then I’d like to repeat that exercise but now to address a paragraph in chapter 2.

“Arvey (Arvey, R. D., Bouchard, T. J., Segal, N. L., & Abraham, L. M.. Job satisfaction: Environmental and genetic components. Journal Of Applied Psychology) put job satisfaction (which is effectively motivational satisfaction) down to 70% environmental factors, and so only 30% to genetic influences; these are approximate figures but it would seem reasonable, therefore, to assume that the personality probably accounts for about 30% of an individual’s motivation, and the self-concept and their expectations the remaining 70%. This is a good working assumption to make (and not least because it means we are not determined wholly by our genes – a belief itself that has important ramifications) but it needs also to be borne in mind that for some people these numbers will look wildly different. For example, the kind of person who has never engaged in any personal development or serious introspection, who has hardly been exposed to positive life experiences and success, is likely to be far more motivated by the raw components of their personality than by their developing self-concept and their advancing expectations. In such a situation the attitudes as well as the motivations of the individual are likely to be ‘locked’, or fixed, and they will experience change as threatening and difficult.” [from Chapter Two of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

This is in my view a fascinating paragraph simply in terms of the concepts that it addresses, or even touches on and fails to address further. The ‘good working assumption’, for example, has, as the content in brackets suggests, ‘important ramifications’. That is a profound understatement; it would have gone way beyond the scope of the book to explore this issue in detail, but I am of the opinion that the well-being of the world hinges on this ‘working assumption’, and that this assumption is always under threat one way or another. Indeed, it is a critical philosophical issue.

What, then, am I saying? The book, Mapping Motivation, makes the case that motivation derives from three primary sources in the human psyche: one, personality; two, the self-concept; and three, our expectations. It outlines briefly what these three sources are, and notes that whereas personality is a ‘given’ – something determined at birth, in the genetic code as it were – the other two areas are primarily forms of belief, which are malleable. Human beings can change their beliefs; this is not always easy but it is possible. Further, citing the similarity of Arvey’s research to the motivational situation, the proportion of the ‘fixed’ to the ‘fluid’ aspect of motivation is probably about 30:70. And what this means is that people are not determined by their personality – or even their genes for that matter. That there is a sort of built-in indeterminacy; that people can choose their futures. For here is the important point: if people are ‘determined’, then the net result is to become ‘pre-determined’. In other words, ‘we can’t help it – it’s just the way I am’; and ultimately this leads to a weakening of personal self-responsibility and accountability.

Why is this important? Because we note in history that the rise of such a philosophy (in politics and religion) always leads to extremism, oppression, and the destruction of democracy as oligarchs and fascists scramble for control. Two examples of this will suffice: the rise of Calvinism in the Sixteenth Century and its notion of the Elect. God had predestined some to salvation and others to hell, and there was nothing one – you – could do it about it. The doom and gloom and devastating oppression of having a belief system like this still haunts us to the present day where there are residual cult groups still practising it. Incidentally, of course, believing you are one of the Elect inevitably leads to a personal sense of superiority, and the ‘club’ effect: are you one of us or not?

In the political field one is spoilt for choice. But a great one would be communism in the whole of the Twentieth Century. A core communist belief is that history is some sort of inevitable ‘progress’ to some workers’ utopia: determinism completely underwrites the whole project and of course can be attractive to the weak-minded since it would appear – if oe believes it – that one must be on the winning side, since the destruction of capitalism is inevitable.

Another word for this, then, is fatalism. It’s like believing in the kind of astrology that says it’s all in the stars and nothing you can do can prevent or affect the final result. It can start off with something small – like thinking that as you are a Scorpio only a Piscean partner will do – and before you know where you are you have embraced fatalism lock, stock and barrel. And the problem is the more we become fatalistic, the more we devalue life and its opportunities; the more we box ourselves into our limited beliefs; the more we become less in fact.

Thus, and if for no another reason, the chapter on the origins of motivation is important because it is flying the flag for human freedom, which is always under assault.  Don’t you just hate it when – given that as business people we all like marketing – some marketer thinks that using their formulaic presentation you are bound to buy the product. At those moments don’t you just want to be free? It was William James, the great American psychologist, who said: “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will”. This is the paradox: we are free but our own beliefs can subtract our own freedom from us. So what we believe is of vital importance and we must be constantly vigilant to ensure that we are.

Motivational Maps – and by implication my book, Mapping Motivation – are then on the side of freedom; and the fact that we insist motivation changes over time means that we do not fall into the stereotyping trap of so many psychometrics. The trap in which you hear people justifying their bad behavior on the basis that it is ‘who they are’, their personality,  which is fixed. It’s a great thought to think that in its own small way our product is fighting for freedom in this world!


Motif and Motivation

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Gower/Routledge recently published my book, Mapping Motivation (http://amzn.to/2eqdSQq) earlier this year. It has sold extremely well and doubtless will continue to do so; for there is a hunger to know more about motivation: what it really is, how it works and how we can optimise motivation in our work, for our teams, and in our whole organisations.

Here is a key quotation from one chapter of the book and what I’d like to do in this blog is explore this in a little more detail; clearly there is plenty more in the chapter about it, but as always there is yet more to be said than can be said completely in any chapter or any book! From Chapter one then:

“But if motivation is like electricity, it can flow both ways, its power and intensity can wax and wane, and although its effects are felt, it is itself, as we said, invisible. So the best parallel of all – and the one most frequently used in motivational literature - is with energy; the flow of energy within us. And this fits with the word’s etymology – from the Anglo-Norman term, ‘motif’, which is often translated as ‘drive’. So, drive and energy are two powerful synonyms for motivation. But we need to remember that energy is energy, or put another way, as Hilgard and Marquis put it: “The motivation of behaviour comes about through the existence of conditions (drive-establishing operations) which release energy originating in the organism’s metabolic processes. This energy, in and of itself, is directionless and may serve any of a variety of motivational objectives.” [from Chapter One of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ http://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

The first extra point to make is etymological. I have already commented on the origins of the word ‘motif’ as meaning drive, but of course there is a subsidiary meaning to the word motif, which is less apparent: a motif also means ‘a distinctive constituent feature of an artistic composition’. We hear it in music – like a pattern of notes that keep recurring, sometimes in the background, and sometimes to the fore, but always there. In fact, these patterns, these motifs, eventually become thematic. The best way of grasping this is to use a contemporary example: great TV serials – for example – Game of Thrones – always have these motifs in their opening credits, and often as some exciting event occurs in the drama, the motif reappears. In some way – Pavlovian almost – the association of the notes with the meaning or theme of the drama starts becoming automatic; we hear the notes, and we – like the Pavlovian dogs hearing the bell ring – salivate with the anticipation of the ‘meat’ we are about to devour.

In this way, then, the nine motivations can be understood as motifs – patterns – within us that play out our destiny. Just as with our favourite TV programme, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, 24, or whatever – the playing of the music sets up the expectation, so the motivators set up expectations within us. And when the music is played – when the motif is realised – boom! We are so happy, so fulfilled, so complete.

It should be obvious, then, how powerful this is: because the motifs lead to patterns of behaviour as we seek to gain more fulfilment. As the process is emotional, so it is pleasurable; and thus it is what we want, and so will override what we need to do every time! The only caveat to that observation is where the self-esteem of the subject is so low that they no longer experience ‘hope’, and so in a state of despair can only address ‘needs’ issues. Clearly, hope is closely allied with the word we used earlier: expectations. For expectations are our beliefs in future outcomes, just as desire is our wish for certain, specific future outcomes. Both are lodged in our heart – that is, are emotional – and centre on the future. The motifs – as they recur – excite our expectations for a fulfilled future.

We have, then, in the human psyche all nine motivators playing their notes like instruments in an orchestra; but the motivational profile of each individual is based on the cluster of notes which become dominant and start informing themes and patterns and behaviours. They are more powerful than just individual notes; perhaps they are like chords. Listen, that person wants to make a difference and to combine that with deep learning; but that other, her motifs are for independence and security. As our symphonies progress, the notes change, and so do the motifs. It is a very dynamic model.

I hope you have enjoyed this little detour and expansion of my ideas on Mapping Motivation, the book. If you haven’t read it, please do and review it on Amazon for me. And if you would like me to do further and deeper work about the book on my Linkedin Blog page, then please say so and I will get some more ideas out to you shortly. Stay motivated – and work with your motifs!!


Connecting creativity and leadership

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In my last blog, which derived from my recent talk at the Dominion Theatre, we observed three ways in which people were not things, and we discussed why that was important. We concluded that being authentic was important and that one consequence of authenticity was that it enabled one to be creative; creativity and authenticity in fact go hand in hand. The more creative we are, the more authentic we become; and the more authentic we are in ourselves, the deeper the roots of creativity grow within us. And I said this was important for two very big reasons concerning leadership.

The first reason comes down to a favourite quotation that I often use from Peter Drucker: namely, that only two things make money for a business and everything else is a cost! The two things are marketing – no surprise there – and innovation. Yes, innovation, which of course derives from creativity, is the key element that enables us to maintain a real competitive advantage. Innovation enables us to develop value by either making products, processes, systems, services faster or cheaper or better than they were before; or beyond mere innovation and incrementally improving things we can go straight to pure creativity whereby we generate something – product, service, process, system – that is entirely new; that is ground-breaking in its field. That kind of change is game-changing and we know recently that it is the kind of creativity that we associate with a company like Apple whose technology entirely transformed the music industry.

But if this is important – critical indeed – then to say that the second reason may be even more important than the first sounds a little overblown! However, it probably is even more important! Dr Alan Watkins in his important book, Coherence, said: “Many executives are very skilled in operational thinking, but creating difference, setting the business apart – that is a completely separate ability”. Effectively, it is applying creativity not just to the operational stuff but to the strategic direction itself. When leaders become strategic they have to be creative, and only then can they start addressing the issue of organisational longevity.

Research from the German Savings Bank Association found four key factors in organisational longevity. First, that there is a dedication to customer service. We have of course the old-fashioned sort of customer service that still continues to astound: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen continues to supply replacement parts for a 100-year old printing machine! And then there is the new sort, a sort of customer service that has to be re-invented from the bottom up, from seriously imagining and empathising with the customer. A true case indeed of new and more innovation.

Second, focusing on long-term value rather than quarterly results. But to focus on long-term value is again an act of creativity, for value itself is a creation. Third, caring for employees so that trust and sharing are possible and actively encouraged. And finally, fourth, setting ambitious goals and enabling collaboration. These are the things that true leadership will aspire and inspire to do. Of course, it’s not easy, but then achievement never is, for if it was then it wouldn’t be an achievement: it would happenstance or a silver spoon in the mouth, or magic, or something else that effortlessly produced results without any of the focus, hard work and perseverance that is necessary to make reality become something else – something imagined first and then realised.

Finally, then, as I sail away from the Dominion Theatre, I must remind you all that we had two sponsors at the event – two leaders – two imagineers: say it then for Garry Mumford of www.insightassociates.co.uk and Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk : thanks guys, you are creative, innovative and may you be around for a long time!


How Understanding People are not Things helps promote effective Leadership

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In my last blog, which derived from my talk at the Dominion Theatre last week, I discussed the most difficult thing to deal with in business, the most difficult thing being people. I suggested that three problems typically beset managers about this and that in the next blog I would tackle what the differences between things and people actually are. Of course, put like that, it sounds obvious, but is it? Hardly, for what we need to do is press for a deeper level of understanding.

There are three key differences between people and things that help us understand why clarity is so important here. First, ‘things’ are eternal, but people are temporal, or inhabit time. Wow! That’s a really significant point for effective leadership. When I say that things are eternal what I mean is that in their nature they are: they have taken 3000 year old honey out of a pyramid and found it still edible; and the mummies within could remain mummies forever, only the living person inside the wrappings has perished. No environment could or would make a human being immortal, but things – objects – could exist indefinitely. So, with that in mind, the consequences are that being temporal means some humans - and a significant number – (like lost souls) are locked into the past and all the mental baggage that that entails; they rarely move beyond nostalgia and regret. And then there are many people who are living in the present; they have to, as they have to make ends meet, and there is no thought for tomorrow. Indeed many business managers and leaders live almost entirely in the present, despite having been on personal development courses or been involved in strategic review. But for them, really, it’s all about getting the job done now – exercising control, making money, demonstrating expertise. So, we come to the few, the rarer sort, the leaders: they must be somebody with a long-term and future perspective. This is their defining characteristic; and that sense of the future is visionary. In other words, the leader has created the future, believes in the future before it has arrived; put even more strongly, the leader has faith. Somebody once said: How can you lead somebody through a desert if you have never been there yourself? But everybody as a leader is faced with never having done it before: Odysseus when he set sail from the ruins of Troy, or Ernest Shackleton when he arrived at the Antartic, or Nelson Mandela when he stepped out of prison in South Africa, or Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta, had never been in those deserts before; yet they led others to freedom, empowerment and life. Things stay in an eternal present, but people can project into the future, and it is where the leader needs to be in their mind and imagination; and we might call that visioning. Apparently, Roy Disney was invited to the opening of Disney Land in Florida and a Disney executive said to him that it was a shame that his father had not lived to see this event. To which Roy replied that ‘he had seen it and because he had seen it we were seeing it now’. That perfectly encapsulates what being temporal, what being a leader, what a future perspective is all about.

A second key difference is that things are solid: there they are, what you see is what you get, and a consequence is we can define them, these things, relatively easily. But people are not solid; people are - and we are not looking for words like liquid or gaseous or flatulent here! - people are, in contradistinction to solid, ambiguous. And ambiguity has all sorts of implications. It means Risk, it means Change and it means Uncertainty. These qualities are ones leaders should love, but we have special reasons in the UK at the moment to know that most senior leaders inside (and outside too!) the country actually hate risk, detest change and can’t abide uncertainty, don’t we? But here’s the thing for leadership. Faced with risk, our most important response has to be courage; faced with change our response needs to include resourcefulness; and faced with uncertainty we need endurance and positive expectations (that faith and long term perspective again). If we think about Odysseus, Shackleton, Mandela, and Mother Teresa, surely, that is exactly what we find?

The third key difference between a thing and a person is identity, or individuality, or what might be called tautologically, personality. Things just don’t have personality or individuality, although sometimes we like to attribute these qualities to them. I myself go to bed with a fluffy baby duck and I talk to it, but I know it’s a thing! But individuality has consequences too for leadership. The first consequence is authenticity. Things are always authentic, even when they are ersatz products, because they are what they are, although marketeers - people - can try to fool us with the packaging, as when, for example, we learn that a soft drink is the ‘real thing’! People, however, have to strive to be authentic; it scarcely ever happens accidentally or through a genetic gift of birth. Like acting, the most authentic people are those who have trained the hardest. What? Those who have committed to the discipline, the learning, prove to be most authentic. One aspect of this which is particularly dear to me is summed up in one sentence from one of my great heroes, Dr Johnson: ‘Clear your mind of cant’ - in other words, engage in the discipline of challenging the clichés, the jargon, the stereotypes that people, like sheep (that is, in-authentically), bleat and repeat as if they were thinking, when what they are doing is simply re-arranging their prejudices (to quote William James). To be authentic has another awesome quality about it that grows the nearer we approach true authenticity: namely, creativity. Just as people are individuals, and no two people are the same, so as we go deeper into our own true self, so the capacity to create develops, and this is really important to true leadership for two reasons.

Two reasons? Yes, let’s look at them in my next blog. Co-incidentally, we had two sponsors at the Dominion – two leaders – two visionaries for the future: say it then for Garry Mumford of www.insightassociates.co.uk and Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk : thanks guys, you are temporal, ambiguous and individual and we all love you for it!


How in Management People Become Things

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Speaking at the Dominion Theatre last week I talked about the most difficult thing to deal with in business. The most difficult thing is of course people. Indeed I added by way of a sidebar that people were also the most difficult thing to deal with in life (whilst also acknowledging that they are paradoxically our greatest source of potential pleasure); and that if we extended the phrase from 'most difficult thing in life' to 'most difficult thing ...' then the answer was still people, although in this case it was quite specific, since the most difficult thing of all to deal with is 'me', a person! We all know as we grow up that we are always self-sabotaging, revealing addictive and co-dependent behaviours and attitudes, and experiencing a smorgasbord of the emotional cocktails called guilt, fear and anger to mention only three. Dealing with that 'thing' is the most arduous aspect of our passage through life.

But to return to my talk, the main problem leaders have is the thing that we call people. And as a result of this three less obvious problems arise. The first is that leaders secretly wish that people were things. Why? Because if they were business and organisational life would be a lot easier. In fact the word that springs to mind is that business would be so much more manageable! It is relatively easy managing 'things', but people? Yes, they have to be led, a far more complex and ambiguous operation.

This secret wish - that people were things – however, leads directly into a second problem for the leader: subconsciously if we keep wishing for something, then, like rubbing the genie's lamp, lo! It magically appears. In the mind of the leader the person, the people, become things; by reverse alchemy they are transmuted into things. The gold that was a person, now becomes the lead that is more useful. After all, lead is practical: we can make gutters and piping with lead and put it up everywhere; gold, on the other hand, is valuable and we need to think very carefully about how we deploy and use it, and we certainly must ensure that no gold is wasted, for it is precious. See how the reverse alchemy effects a whole attitudinal change?

And if you thought that was bad enough, the third problem then emerges from the second: namely, having mentally and emotionally transmuted people to things in their own dark recesses - keeping in mind that the process is subconscious, so they are not even aware they have done it - they then 'thing-ise' people at work. Technically, the word for it might be they reify them. What was a person is only now a thing and so the imagination imagines they can now be managed. Easy? Yes, except for the kickback that happens when you do it; the inevitable and irreversible kickback that is so detrimental to business when they lose the commitment and engagement of their people. But what exactly happens in 'thing-ising' people?

Instead of respect, we find we have systems; in place of autonomy we have processes; procedures replace empowerment; and policies stand for engagement. Instead of reality, there are substitutions - doubtless well meaning - at all levels for what we really want as humans, as people.

I then went on at the Dominion Theatre to explore what the difference was between things and people - fascinating. So my next blog will cover that. But talking of people and before I leave this one, who could not mention our great sponsors at the Dominion who made the day so possible? A cheer then for Garry Mumford of
www.insightassociates.co.uk and Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk : thanks guys, you were great and truly people, not things!!


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #9

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At last: we have arrived at the 9th and the final reason to attend the Leadership Showcase at the Dominion Theatre on the 8th September (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/); and also check out: https://youtu.be/dHl02RgiNug. It’s been a long haul, and in case you have not been following this epic let me remind you of the 8 reasons we have covered so far. Come to the Dominion Theatre next week because you want to be near and around people who are energetic, charismatic and insightful and this is going to help you at work and at play! Come because the people attending and presenting are great people to network with – want some new, great contacts? Then be there and join us: meet our sponsor Gary Crouch of www.spectrumoa.co.uk for one! I love Gary – he’s been my friend for 20 years. Thirdly, come along because the overt topic, leadership, is one that will certainly benefit you at all levels. Fourthly, given what we have already said, given that an accountant is another of our sponsors, Garry Mumford (www.insightassociates.co.uk ), then any rational cost-benefit analysis will show that you are approximately over £14,000 up on the event!!! Bargain, or what? Garry thinks so. And fifth, the centre point between 1 and 9, you need to come because this is going to be great fun – we love fun at Motivational Maps – come, see. Sixth, returning to the themes of the Showcase, and remembering that accountants like Garry Mumford always follow the money, this Showcase will be exploring business development – how we get more business! Yum-yum. Then at 7, and magisterially, if none of these reasons yet appeal to you, perhaps it is because you are not motivated; you know, that just happens to be my and Steve Jones (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/) and Kate Turner (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/)’s expertise. We have so much to share on motivation – a whole new world, new language and new metric. Don’t miss that. And at 8, you need to attend out of sheer curiosity: surely, you want to learn about these cutting-edge insights in all these fields? I am sure you do: join Ali Stewart (http://alistewartandco.com/ ), Bird on a Bike (http://birdonabike.co.uk/ ) and Harry Singha (http://www.youthcoachingacademy.com/ ) in a jamboree, an explosion of knowledge and expertise.

Finally, then, what is reason number 9 why you should, you need, you want to attend? Well, it is because you need to hang on in there; you need to be a true leader; and one of the recently identified and critical elements of being a leader means developing resilience. Yes, for resilience – your own and your employees – come along to learn from all of us (I am pretty resilient, having nearly died of cancer five years ago) but especially Bird-on-Bike who is going to share her special expertise in this area: what to think, what to do – and this is something we all need and also need to replenish. It is so easy in life to go on automatic pilot and when you do you soon find your results deteriorate.

One definition of resilience I like is: ‘the strength and flexibility to produce your best results in challenging times’. Isn’t that good? Is anyone not living in challenging times? Is this relevant to you as a person, as a leader? I think so. Just like motivation. My own view of developing resilience is three fold: we need to develop self-awareness and self-esteem, focus on optimism and motivation, and then translate that into performance. And this at three levels: individual, team and organisation! Phew – a lot then? Let’s remember what Anna Harrington said: “Problem solving and emotions have a symbiotic relationship”. Profound, or what? Get more into this whole debate – get there on the 8th – get your ticket now.

I am so looking forward to seeing you all, meeting you all, interacting with you all at the big event. So, have you got a big enough reason to be there? I hope so.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #8

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We come now to the penultimate reason why you should attend the Leadership Showcase at the Dominion Theatre on the 8th September (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/). The 8th reason for the 8th! If motivation, as our previous reason, weren’t enough, and was too obvious, then this is a subtler reason: curiosity. One of the things that I have discovered in life is the importance of curiosity and the appalling consequences of its absence. Naturally, if you feel you have no curiosity, then I must suggest in the jargon of our time: fake it till you make it! But first, before considering why curiosity is so important to business and organisations, let’s take a moment to understand why its absence is so detrimental.

The absence of curiosity invariably signifies one thing: a know-it-all mentality either manifesting as a smug complacency or in a busy-busy attitude that prides itself on the fact that it has no time to ‘stand and stare’. What this leads to is an absence of openness and – at its deepest level – an inability to learn. So here we are in the C21st, surrounded by my knowledge and more data than has ever existed in the history of the world, and we can’t learn anything from it because we already ‘know-it-all’. Further, we spend a fortune on OD – Organisational Development – or L&D – Learning and Development – departments and staff and find that we have employees but that not a lot really changes in terms of the big picture. We need to be clear here: having people whose fancy title is something to do with learning is no guarantee that it will. In fact I have a great story about exactly that. Some years ago I did Motivational Maps with a large organisation and found that the head of the department had the Expert motivator as her lowest score. When she came for her one-to-one feedback she sensed herself that ‘That’s not good is it?’ I said, ‘No, not really: you may have the skills to be head of L&D but actually you are not really interested in learning, are you? Looking at your profile, you like organising people’s learning, like being in charge, but others will almost certainly perceive you as not walking the talk. When was the last time you booked on a training session for yourself?’ And so it all came out! Of course, the point is more general here: if leaders aren’t curious about new knowledge, new learning, how can they expect their employees to be so?

But what about its presence? Well, its presence is absolutely essential. Why? Because without it, one of the two, and core, ‘things’ that one has to do is much less likely to happen. What is that? Those regular readers of my blogs will know that one of my all-time favourite observations comes from Peter Drucker: only two things make money for a business and everything else is a cost. What two things? Marketing and innovation. And it is this latter requirement, the need to innovate within a business or organisation, that is so crucial for its success. Indeed, even our marketing strategy too can – and maybe ought to - depend on innovation. When we say, for example, that we need to ‘niche’ our offering to the prospect, we are really talking about noticing that if we say that we are a ‘coach’ then that is one thing; we have a million competitors. But if we notice that there are far fewer ‘business coaches’ or ‘relationship coaches’ and our curiosity enables us to review exactly what is going on in these ‘niches’ and craft our offering accordingly, then we find we are far more likely to achieve positive business results.

Indeed, speaking for myself, the whole issue of curiosity led me15 years ago to notice that whilst everyone talked about motivation, yet there was no real language to describe it, no metric to measure it; and furthermore, I noticed too that in all successful businesses, especially deriving from the USA there was a processing and systematising that enabled scalability. That if one could create a language, a whole new area might open up. Curiosity, then, was at the root of my discovery for the business. But it went even deeper than that: I took to reading round the literature and diagnostics such as they were and then noticing – note that word noticing! - curious overlaps between ideas and systems. From this I was able to construct Motivational Maps.

There is a wonderful line from a Thomas Hardy poem called ‘Afterwards’. It’s highly appropriate because Hardy was a Dorset poet first and foremost and I live in Dorset. The line is: “will the neighbours say,/
“He was a man who used to notice such things”? Are we people who notice such things? Will people say that of you, that you notice such things? We need to start if nowhere else then by associating with people who do – who are curious!

Coming, then, to the Dominion Theatre gives you a chance to notice such things, to expand your curiosity, to investigate the new! You will find not only new knowledge from the brilliant speakers we have on offer: Steve Jones (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/), Kate Turner (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/), Ali Stewart (http://alistewartandco.com/), Bird on a Bike (http://birdonabike.co.uk/) and Harry Singha (http://www.youthcoachingacademy.com/) and of course myself. But knowledge is dry; we learn from people. It’s not just the speakers: our sponsors too are dying to meet you – curious to meet you – and they have deep knowledge in their fields: Garry Mumford (www.insightassociates.co.uk ) and Gary Crouch ((www.spectrumoa.co.uk ). So there is so much there to satisfy your curiosity!

My next blog will deal with the final reason #9. Expect it soon!


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #7

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I have reached blog 7 in my reasons why you should attend the Leadership Showcase at the Dominion Theatre on the 8th September (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/). Clearly, after 6 blogs already this needs to be a special blog if for no other reason than that it is the number 7. 7 is generally considered to be the most magical and lucky number of all, even outranking 3! Before revealing the topic of blog 7, I must tell you why 7 is such a magical number; it is magical because it is perfect. The perfection derives from the fact that it is the sum of heaven and Earth. Heaven is, numerologically speaking, always represented by the number 3: hence in Greek mythology the gods were ruled by the three brothers, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, and this pattern in various variants runs through many religions, including Christianity with its specialised theory of the Trinity. But if heaven - the godhead - is 3, then Earth is 4. Hence the four corners of the Earth, the four points of the compass, the four cardinal virtues, and so on. Thus total completion - total harmony - is the sum of 3 + 4, which is 7.

And my 7th reason why you should come to the Dominion is motivation; truly a topic that involves heaven and Earth: the gods are motivated and we humans need to be so too. How do I know the gods are motivated? Because they have energy. What is energy? Energy is all but motivation. In Motivational Maps we talk about the three Es. First, there is energy - a basic driving force or fuel. But second, when that energy finds an appropriate vehicle to propel, and goes in the direction it wants to go, then the energy changes into a rarer gas called enthusiasm: another E. Once that is blowing awhile, the organism becomes totally engaged, the third E. You will unsurprised to learn that often when the Greek gods came to Earth they disguised themselves as humans and the only give-away sign that they were really gods was the eyes: their eyes shone with a strange fire or sparkle - a sparkle from which the word enthusiasm is etymologically derived: it comes from the Greek: enthousiasmos (Plato), meaning inspired, or ‘breathed, or possessed by the god, or meaning 'the god in us'. Energy - enthusiasm - are really all divine qualities, and we know this anyway since when we experience these qualities we feel truly alive.

Now some of you might be saying: 'This James Sale, he's a bit of a nut job - rabbiting on about gods and Greeks, but I'm a business man or I'm a coach woman and what I want is real tools to help me get my staff engaged or motivate my clients'. Great! Then coming to the Dominion is exactly what you need, for the same nut job James Sale who is deeply interested in gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece is also the entirely practical James Sale who has invented the language and the metrics of motivation, The Motivational Map, by which and through which you can really understand both yourself and your employees in a way that has never been done before. And not only will James Sale - me - be talking about this, and allowing you access to his Map and also to his new e-learning package, but two other leading experts, Steve Jones of Skills for Business (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/), and Kate Turner of Motivational Leadership (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/), will also be presenting information, ideas and case studies on how this works in the real world.

So if you want motivating because you are not yet a god (or goddess), or if you simply want to find out the latest cutting-edge ideas about motivation, then you need to be there, because in the course of a day we are going to cover a lot – and inspire you along the way! Be there.

My next blog will deal with reason #8.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #6

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We now return our reasons based on the topics themselves for our 6th reason to attend. You will remember leadership I rated such an important issue for us, not only in business but in life, so that for that reason alone the conference (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) was worth attending. But there is also another prominent topic that the day is about. True, this is much less generic than leadership, but if you are in business or even in a not-for-profit organisation it is still vital; I mean business development.

Business development and its associate, selling, is the life blood of any organisation and without it nothing happens. I heard on social media recently some report outlining the number one reason businesses fail: poor cash flow! Almost sounds like a tautology, doesn’t it? But it’s not if I think that poor cash flow results from poor sales, and poor sales inevitably stem from a lack of business development. Without in any way undermining marketing, which should go hand in glove with business development and selling, I can truly say that often times I have encountered situations where organisations have failed because they have marketed and relied solely on that or those marketing channels, and there has been no effective business development or corresponding sales strategy to realise the power inherent in the marketing. At the end of the day – certainly in service businesses – one cannot overestimate the importance of people in the business development and selling spheres. Certainly in the SME arena, I would always err on the side of committing to business development rather than more money in a marketing budget, since I know the results would be far more immediate and tangible (a generalisation, but I hope an acceptable one, as I would accept that longer term the absence of sufficient marketing would make business development increasingly problematic).

If we are going to develop a business we need – in simple terms – to think of three areas where we focus our efforts: where can we find more prospects for the products and services that we currently have? Or, how can we develop further products and services for the clients we already have? Or, how can we create new products and services for entirely new markets? Usually, one might work on one area at a time, since any one area is substantial in itself, and we all wish to avoid the Stalingrad effect: namely, dividing our forces when we reach Moscow and trying to capture Leningrad, Stalingrad and Moscow at the same time and thereby wholly losing the war and capturing none of them.

One noticeable thing about all these three areas is: they require innovation and creativity. It’s not easy to acquire clients when there are so many other people in the market place. One of the experts speaking at the event is my good friend, Steve Jones (http://www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk/). I have known Steve for 12 years and been consistently impressed by his business development skills; he is like a kung fu master at selling and business development! He will doubtless provide many insights into business development and selling when he speaks, but I strongly recommend anyone attending to speak and connect with him during the breaks, since one will learn a lot just speaking directly with him; indeed, you can learn a lot watching Steve Jones perform too – which is true of course of all high performers.

For myself I shall also be offering insights into business development based on my 21 years in the game. Here are two points for starters that I shall doubtless be enlarging upon on the day: one, that everything gets tired and weary after a time, including products and especially services; there is a need for constant re-invention because prospects need re-stimulation. And, two, the strongest way forward of all is through IP or intellectual property. We need to take far more seriously the need to innovate and then ask ourselves how we can protect and develop that innovation. As we develop our innovations, so we develop our business and our potential markets. On the one hand, this can seem intimidatingly difficult, but on the other it is actually what you, as a human being, are born to do: to create. If you haven’t done it already, it is either because of a deficiency in your awareness or a limitation in your self-belief system. To find out more join me on the 8th September. If you are not there, how will you grow?

My next blog will deal with reason #7.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #5

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I am now exactly half way through my nine reasons to attend the leadership Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/), and so, as you can imagine, it seems a bit of a slog. Which is why the 5th reason – five, incidentally, signifying the number of grace – must be because it is fun! Fun! Fun! Fun! And fun is so important. Fun arises when we play and it is when we play that creativity emerges, slowly like a tortoise’s head protruding from its shell, or suddenly like a blast of lightning across a darkened sky.

Without fun the event at the Dominion would never have taken place anyway. I am of a certain age whereby I no longer want to put up with over-serious, over self-important people, even if they might be potential clients. Who can be bothered? You know the sort? Here are some general, though not infallible symptoms: always on a mobile phone having loud, meaningful conversations, no matter how inappropriately (eg. in a crowded train, or on a 90 C sunny beach, or parading and strutting round a £100M yacht; or banging on and barraging endlessly about results, the bottom line, winning, oblivious to other people’s situation, circumstances or feelings; or always putting you and everybody else they come into contact with down, and never giving credit to anyone else apart from themselves. How these people make time drag; how they make the heart heavy. They have no humour, no wit, no perspective on anything else and they destroy camaraderie and all good fellow feeling.

So as I say, without fun the event at the Dominion Theatre would never taken place. I am sure my co-conspirators, consciously or otherwise, made the same decision. When we all met up for the first time, we were all thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she is like; are they going to be easy to work with; is this going to be work – or fun?’ And the great thing was: we all found each other fun and so decided to work together and commit to putting on this event at the Dominion. Yes, within seconds of being together Ali Stewart (http://alistewartandco.com/blog/) and I were laughing, having a ball, about this, about that – Bird (http://birdonabike.co.uk/about/) hadn’t arrived, so we had some fun at her expense (in the gentlest possible way: she had come to Hampshire from Kent) – and then Bird added to the mixed of 101 preposterous things to say before breakfast. We were all killing ourselves laughing and then Kate Turner (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/) turned up and paid for all our breakfasts: wow! You can imagine how funny we found that too – and so we’d do it all again. It was a no-brainer to be involved – because it was fun.

Fun is a precursor to all great achievement, especially team achievements. Sometimes they speak of ‘high morale’ and sometimes of ‘esprit de corps’ and sometimes, more prosaically, of ‘team dynamics’. But whatever the language, when you get down to it, there is an indefinable something invariable accompanying all great achievement. We see it now in Team GB: yes, they have achieved, but is it not visible to all that they are also having a huge amount of fun? Fun isn’t a waste of time; it is an essential pre-condition for most great things we want to do. For one thing, when we are having fun we are never in a state of stress; instead, we are relaxed but also ready, energised, as laughter releases all the positive and healing endorphins within us.

This sense of fun has run through the whole organisation of the The Dominion event – heck, even our sponsors took it on the chin, were fun to deal with! Garry Mumford, even though he is an accountant (www.insightassociates.co.uk) didn’t look stern and say, ‘How much???!!!’ as I outlined the cost to him; on the contrary, he chuckled as he joined in the game. And Gary Crouch, our other sponsor ((http://www.spectrumserversafe.com/), didn’t blink when asked to sponsor; on the contrary, he expressed the view that he knew he was going to have some fun as I was involved (thank you Gary)! So, on the day, one thing you can be assured of if you attend this event: there is going to be massive amounts of fun. To qualify this: we are not comedians, we are not working on our joke sketches – no, I mean the kind of fun and wit that arise spontaneously and naturally from the interplay between all creative peoples. And this kind of fun truly enhances learning, deepens creativity, and as a sidebar, ultimately leads to the results we want without directly aiming for them. The difference in this case being, though, we get there with fun along the way instead of having to shout at the top of our voices down a mobile phone in a packed railway carriage. No wot i meen?

My next blog will deal with reason #6.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #4

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My third reason for attending the leadership Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) was the topic itself, leadership, which I pitched as being of incomparable importance for all of us. As it happens, there is a second topic which the conference will cover that I consider to be almost equally important, namely business development. So I shall write a blog on this as a reason to attend, but not sequentially now (to avoid the boredom of similarity), for in blog #4 I want to discuss a completely different of reason why one might attend this Conference: cost-benefit analysis!

Sometimes you have to force yourself to do something that is not your natural strength, but it is necessary. I am sure one of our sponsors, Garry Mumford of Insight Associates (www.insightassociates.co.uk), an accountant, lives and breathes cost-benefit analysis; possibly wouldn’t make a decision without it. When you meet him at the Conference, he’ll tell you. I, of course, make decisions without it all the time – it’s called intuition, but it can be scary and, frankly, sometimes it really is better to do a bit of homework.

So here is James Sale doing a very un-James Sale type of thing (except that I do like arguments against myself): giving you a cost-benefit analysis of why you should attend this event.

What are the costs? Well, the first and most obvious is the cost of the ticket. There were early bird discounts, but if you came in latterly it’s £97+VAT for the day conference. But then there are other costs: travelling to London and possibly in some cases staying overnight. That said, most people will be from the London area, so I don’t imagine that the average cost would be more than £30. And then there is the invisible cost: the cost of not doing work and being there. The client work you didn’t do or couldn’t do. How much is that worth? I can’t possibly average that, can I? For some it is significant, for others negligible because of how they structure time. But let’s allow a low consultancy day rate – say, £500+VAT – as our figure, and then we reach a total of £627+VAT for the total cost. Seems high? Seems expensive?

What, then, are the benefits? What do you get? What could possibly compensate for a certain £627+VAT loss?

First, we have the ostensible reason for the event: delegates will hear 6 expert speakers talk about leadership, business, business development, motivation and a host of related topics as they emerge. Is that worth anything? Speaking for myself, it could be worth a fortune! I have been in this game for 21 years and I came from a teaching background. Truly, I knew very little about business, had negative views on leadership based on various headteachers I had known, and my views on what made performance tick were extremely impressionistic. So what did I do? Three things: I studied in the evenings at Bournemouth University for a Diploma in Management Studies, which I acquired with ‘Distinction, I read voraciously, and – and critically – I went on every course going. And it was those courses that really opened my mind to what was possible. Indeed, it was through the courses that I was able to innovate myself and create new things because I understand what some of the ‘old’ things were. Put another way, one good idea can be worth a million pounds or more. There are so many people who encounter or even discover great ideas everyday, but who simply fail to act on them because they have a limited view of what is possible, certainly for them, and so remained trapped in less than optimal circumstances for themselves. But it is going on a course just such as this that introduces new ideas and explodes possibilities in the mind.

So, if you could get three great ideas either for your existing business or work, or for your new business or role, what might that be worth? Shall we say a million pounds because that’s what it’s worth to me? I exaggerate? OK, £100,000? Still too much. Alright - £10,000, but that’s the lowest I would ever concede.

Second, we have the non-ostensible reason for being there; though for some, it is THE reason: the network. I can tell you now that there are some absolutely fabulous people, aside from the speakers, who are going to be there. And I also need to tell you this: everything you want in life, everything, depends upon somebody, somewhere, opening a door for you. Thus two conditions appertain for that door to open: first, that you have met that person somewhere; and second, that they like you. But if you don’t meet them, they will never like you. So be there – so you can be liked, and doors can open. How much is that worth? To meet the right person for your business and for your job, well – could be everything. One of my fellow speakers on the stage I introduced some years back to a friend of mine, they hit it off, and they have been equal partners in business ever since. What is that worth? Literally, hundred of thousands of pounds! But if we consider just a simple introduction leading to consultancy work with a typical SME, then we are probably going to make about £5K.

Third, and I’d better make this finally – we have the goody bag all delegates get. All the speakers (6 of us) and sponsors, Garry Mumford (whom I’ve mentioned) and Gary Crouch of Spectrum Office Automation (http://www.spectrumserversafe.com/) are all contributing to the goody bag to enrich the experience. Now it would be wrong of me to tell you what they have for you, but I can tell you that my company’s contribution to this bag is worth exactly £175! Even if my fellow speakers and sponsors are meanies relative to me (but not to the general population; I just happen to be excessively generous – and modest), we could still say £25 per contribution and that would give, a £200 goody bag!

Let’s tally then:

Costs (ignoring VAT)

97

30

500___

£627

Benefits (ignoring VAT)

10,000

5,000

200___

£15,200

I rest my case except to point out that the value of the benefits are over 24 times greater than the costs to you the delegate. A no-brainer or what? The risk of actual ‘loss’ therefore is marginal. Come along and have a great fun day. Ooops – fun? How much is that worth? Did I add that? See you there.

My next blog will deal with reason #5.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #3

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For those of you who know your Motivational Maps you will know that if your number one motivator were Expert, then the primary reason for attending the Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) would be the topic of the learning itself: namely, leadership. Of course, Expert is not everybody’s number one motivator, but as it happens, everybody should be interested in the topic of leadership because it is of vital importance to all of us – at all times and at all stages of our life.

We can barely not remember a time, even if we go right back to our experiences in pre-play school, when we became distinctly aware either that we were taking the lead or somebody else – to our chagrin or delight, usually depending on whether we regarded them as friend or foe – was. Indeed, like fish being unaware that they thrive in the medium of water, we lived our lives assuming it was entirely natural from the beginning that our parents or carers led us. And even if later on we discover their leadership – or ‘parenting’ as it might be called – was defective or inadequate the effect on us remains profound and indelible.

This reminds me of the great Bob Dylan song from the late ‘70s, ‘You Gotta Serve Somebody’. The reality is that nobody is self-raised any more than they are self-generated; we are all contingent beings, and to follow is as natural as to lead.

But leadership is particularly important for human beings, and for one reason I want especially to point to here (do come to my talk at the Dominion to discover my take on 3 qualities of leadership you won’t find in most text books or courses on the subject). The reason is this: humans build civilisations for one primary purpose (though there are other reasons too) – to increase security, and thereby to remove doubt and uncertainty. The essence of civilisation is predictability; and the essence of life is that it is not.

So psychologically speaking people crave leadership, they intensely desire follower-ship, because strong leadership removes nagging doubts. The doubt that says in the first place: am I really secure here? And, in the second place, answers the question: why am I doing this? In other words, leadership has to confront head-on the meaning question.

Thus the third reason to attend the Showcase on the 8th September is to come and hear 6 eloquent speakers with long track records in this field provide some serious fuel to the fire of what leadership is, how it works, and how to improve it – at an individual, team and organisational level.

In the days when I was a trainer and a coach – 20 years’ worth of days in fact – I used to say to clients at the end of a session one small thing: if after today you can identify 3 learning points (from the 99 I have covered) and then focus and action those three, you will change your performance, your productivity, and possibly your life. And that is still true. There is so much to learn about leadership but I guarantee that if you attend with an open mind you will gain at least 3 actionable points that can transform your situation. Try it!

My next blog will deal with reason #4.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #2

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You will remember the first reason to attend the Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) is people. Well, the second reason to attend is – wait for it! - people too. This time, however, in a very different capacity. The first reason was for people as energisers, as models for charisma, and for deep insights. In short, all that we can learn from other people. Now, though, I think the second reason to attend is because of people and the networking opportunities that they represent. Indeed, we all know of people who attend events for no other reasons than to meet the ‘right’ people; forget what the famous guest speaker has to say about vital world events, that is all background noise, for they are all there to meet that special someone.

Since all the speakers are business people, and if we confine ourselves to business (although many of the applications of the day will apply well beyond business – more anon), then the most obvious reason to network is to meet prospects. Of course, one needs to know who is a good prospect for one’s business. But at this event we have some truly diverse people attending; in a blog like this it would be wrong to mention names (with two exceptions: the sponsors!) but I can say from the list to date we have top people from several fields: CEOs and MDs from marketing, coaching, training, consultancy, IT, accountancy and more beside. Indeed, we have the newly appointed – on the day before the conference! – CEO of one of the most significant leadership organisations in the country along with 5 of his staff attending. Wonderful. Effectively, if you are in the services sector you are going to find someone here who will purchase something from you if ...

But let’s be clear: I personally regard turning up for events to ‘sell’ as pretty low-grade. Selling is a by-product of something much more important: in the first instance, a great relationship between two people. We need to know, like and trust someone before we do any deal of any significance. And we need to understand the important thing is adding value to somebody else’s business or life.

This leads, then, to other reasons for networking. What is important is not to attend any event with a closed mind, but to be open to all the opportunities and surprises that people invariably represent. We all can become so closed and narrow in our thinking; if only one thing – one sale – were to happen then all our problems would be solved. But true networking goes way beyond this kind of thinking.

A good example would be now to invoke the names of our two sponsors for the event who are massively relevant to any small to medium sized business owner, especially but not only if they are relatively new. We have Garry Mumford of Insight Associates (www.insightassociates.co.uk): accountants!!! What do we need them for – we’re coaches?! But Garry and his business really take accountancy to a new level; they understand that book-keeping is merely level 1, down in the shallows, and that accounting itself is merely level 2, whereby we report and analyse, but that financial management and control itself is the real deal at level 3 where finance can really support informed business decision making. If we are running a business, then the sooner we get that clear, the better. And one of the great pieces of advice for always is: get great financial, legal and IT advisers set up right from the beginning of your business – don’t wait.

Or take my friend Gary Crouch of Spectrum Office Automation (www.spectrumoa.co.uk). What does he provide? Something the older I get the more I realise is essential for the long term health of my business! As with accountancy, it is easy to stay in the shallows and fail to grow because of a limited strategic view. Well, we now are in a world where data is strategic, massively so. In fact my own company, Motivational Maps Ltd, depends for its entire existence on IP or Intellectual Property, which IP in the 11 years we have been in business has grown geometrically: from one small map, we now have 4 large ones plus an e-learning package and more stuff on the drawing boards. The question is: where is all this information/data backed-up and how secure is it? And by the way, IP is not only diagnostic formulae and algorithms, it also means at a fundamental level even client data. Backing up data is a b***er and all research indicates that most companies don’t do it well if at all. Thus, if you meet Gary at our event, although it may have been the last thing on your mind as something you needed, you will discover how he can certainly, absolutely guarantee to back-up and recover your data, usually within a very short window of time. In other words, he can get your business back on track even after the most appalling catastrophe. In reality, then, IT has become a kind of insurance, with Gary Crouch your insurer!

So networking, then, is important – for prospecting but also for exposure to new ideas and people who can be incredibly useful – indeed, life saving – for your business. That’s my second reason. Are you persuaded yet to sign up yet?

My next blog will deal with reason #3.