The Fault Finder

It’s easy to be the fault finder – to point out what is wrong and how it should be better. Anyone can do that – and they always will.

It’s much harder to build someone up, but the rewards are immense. It creates connection and this drives influence.

As always I’d love your thoughts on this here.




They don’t help you or others.
Grudges create triangles between colleagues, families and friends. They cause us to priorities our connections (If you have a grudge against her and I like both you and her, how do I handle your grudge to her?) and this reduces our ability to influence.

As always I’d love your thoughts on this here.


The Vulnerable

Dr Brene Brown is an amazing researcher, author and speaker on being brave. She’s not the kind of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’ brave, but the ‘let people in’ brave – which is arguably tougher.
This sort of brave is about lowering your guard, even when it may hurt. It’s about showing you have a human side and that you may not have all the answers – even when your title implies you should. It’s about showing that which we would call our ‘weaknesses’.
While many people find it difficult to share their weaknesses, here’s the irony – we see vulnerability in others as a strength. It shows you can do something others won’t, it makes you more relatable and it makes me feel at ease with my own weaknesses.
Displaying vulnerability builds massive connection with your team and makes it easier for them to get on board with your message. This is influence at its best.
Your weaknesses may just be your strength.
As always I’d love your thoughts on this here.


Michaelia Cash – Oh no! Not Twice!!!

Senator Cash said some dumb things in Senate Estimates on Wednesday. Unsubstantiated slut shaming is never a good look. We all stuff up. But the way she handled it means she stuffed up twice and will hurt her government in the process.

In the heat of battle it can easily cross the line – it seems right at the time, but on reflections we know it was wrong. It’s how you handle it that shows your true character.

What voters expect

We don’t expect our leaders to be perfect, but we wont accept them being cows either. We know they are human and are bound to make mistakes – we all do. Cash made an error of judgement and could have responded completely different and it would not be dragging on and drowning out the governments message, dragging other ministers into the mess and giving ammunition to political foes.

How to handle stuff-ups

When you stuff up (and we all do) the first step is to stop digging the hole. The further you entrench yourself in the position the harder it is to deal with later (as she is finding out).

The easiest way to do this is to apologise and withdraw. Apologise and withdraw without qualification. Cash did not do this. She said, “If someone has been offended I withdraw the comments”. This tells us that she stands by her comments if no one is offended. She would rather be right than happy (her version of right)

The power this gives you

When you apologise it takes the steam out of the attack. Anything that is said by those against you can rightly be shown to be all about the attacker. If the issue is again raised what can it achieve? Nothing. If the opposition escalate it to ask for Cash to resign there is a credible defence that you would not sack someone who has such integrity to apologise the moment they realise they have made an error.

Will it be easy?

No – but it will be easier. Apologising on the spot may cause a few hours of embarrassment and shame (rightly so), but this will be nothing compared to having to arrange a whiteboardto run behind to keep out of the eye of the media.

It is our pride that feels it will be hurt fi we apologise, But as the old saying puts it, pride goes before a fall.

The unintended benefit

Apologising gives you strength. It shows you to be the bigger person. In 2006 Kevin Rudd apologised for visiting a stipe club in New York and his popularity went through the roof. Same for Bob Hawke. More recently, Nick Xenophon apologised for a major stuff up in his health budget calculations and the problem went away quickly.

We all stuff up once in a while. The way we handle it determines if the impact is short or sustained.

As always I’d love your thoughts here.



Let Them Speak

Everyone has an opinion they want to share. (You just have to look at the pointlessness of Twitter to see this). It helps us feel heard and connected to our community and tribe. Abraham Maslow described this as one of our basic human needs.
As a leader it’s your job to let them share their opinion.
Your challenge is to ensure that they don’t take too long, do it in the right place and understand that they don’t have the final say. This will drive connection and this will in turn drive your ability to influence.
Are you up for that challenge?
As always I’d love your thoughts on this here.


The Bermuda Triangle

When I was a kid I was fascinated by the Bermuda Triangle. How could planes and ships just seemingly disappear without a trace with no valid explanation? Various theories have been put forward by experts, authorities and fortune tellers as to what happened. Only recently have valid theories been offered – namely that they are just coincidences.

The modern day version of the Bermuda Triangle is the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370. No one (alive) seems to know what happened to it.

But if you search the internet you will find hundreds of theories on both the Bermuda Triangle and MH370. These theories range from a suicidal pilot, the plane being captured by the Russians through to North Korea using a remote hacking program to steal the plane and harvest the body parts of those on board.

The individuals creating these theories are basing them on their own understanding of the facts, research, observations, beliefs, mis-understandings, biases, suspicions, paranoia, vendettas, agendas, desires to build themselves up and the wish to be the person that is right. People create theories because we don’t like incomplete information – we guess and make stuff up to fill in the blanks.

The same thing happens in your workplace. When people don’t know why certain decisions are being made, they cannot help but use their own understanding of the facts, research, observations, beliefs, mis-understandings, biases, suspicions, paranoia, vendettas, agendas, desires to build themselves up and the wish to be the person that is right to explain what is going on.

Stopping this is simple. Explain the reasoning behind decisions that effect people. When they know why, they wont have to make up a reason for a decision they don’t understand. This builds trust and increases your chance to influence your team.

As always I’d like your thoughts on this here.




Two Levels of Positioning

There are two levels of positioning you need in the market. The first is company positioning. This is brand management, PR, social responsibility and all the other important activities that brand managers look after.

The second is individual positioning. This covers the well-known macro concepts like employee behaviours, codes of conduct and other modifiable activities. But it also covers the intangible micro activities of employees. Do they have the ability to hold their ground, lead a sales conversation and push back with the right amount of pressure at the right time?

If your organisation has strong positioning in the market, but your sales team cannot match that positioning in the sales conversation all your money and effort in company positioning is wasted. The customer only deals with the sales/admin/support person – never the company itself. The way your team position themselves is just as important as how the company positions itself.

As always, would love your thoughts on this here.



Do you believe in climate change?

It’s the wrong question. Beliefs are hard to change. They are bound up in what we think about ourselves, our biases, what we think people like us should think. Changing a belief means admitting how I defined myself as yesterday is no longer correct for how I define myself today.

Whether someone believes in climate change or not is a moot point – it’s happening with or without their belief

The better question to ask is, “Do you understand climate change?”

If you ask better questions you get better answers…and more sales.

As always I’d love your thoughts on this here.



We don’t need another connection

We don’t need another connection; what we need is help.

Over the last week I have been contacted by 3 people on LinkedIn stating that they wanted to connect with me so they can add greater value to their ‘5000+ connections.’

But I’m not sure that their connections are sitting down thinking, “I need to get some more LinkedIn connections!” But they are thinking, “I need help with this problem!”

The one telling aspect as to whether someone is of value to their connections is the amount of publishing they do. It is easy to get to 5,000 connections – anyone can do that with a bit of effort. What’s more difficult is to publish 10 articles over 10 consecutive weeks. That requires thinking, being vulnerable and putting your ideas on the line. That is much harder than getting 5,000 connections.

When you provide value people see it. It may not be value they need today – but value never goes out of fashion.

As always, I’d love your thoughts on this here.



The Story Behind The Numbers

How do you find the stories behind the numbers? Just tell us what the numbers mean

I fly a lot and Virgin Australia told me what my numbers were….and what they mean.

Over the last 12 months I’ve:

– taken 76 flights….which means I must know the safety demo off by heart

– Spent over 5 days in the clouds….which means I have seen a lot of in-flight movies

– visited Melbourne 17 times….which means they think I like the coffee

– travelled 76,829kms…which means I’ve done over 2 laps of the globe

…which all puts me in the top 1% of Virgin Australia travellers.

As a self-confessed #AvGeek these numbers mean something to me – and engage me in their brand.

It gives me insight into my travel, something trivial for me to talk about….and costs Virgin nothing.

When you share the numbers in your sales presentations do they engage your audience and connect with them on an emotional level?

As always, I’d love your thoughts on this here.



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