Friday, December 31, 2010

What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 4, 2010 ebook released

What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 4, 2010 is now released.

This issue includes contributions from Tanya Rutherford and Alicia Curtis.

The ebook is created from the top articles that have appeared on the OTM Academy during the period October 1st 2010 through to December 31st 2010.

Topics include:
  • How to create the conditions for team members to maintain their motivation
  • The role of awareness in providing service excellence
  • Various ways to ensure a consistent and high level of service delivery
  • The link between listening and conversational skills
  • Identifying personal values
  • Workplace trust
  • Problem solving
  • Planning for 2011
  • and much, much more!
As this is a free ebook you have permission to share it with others, providing you do not change or alter the ebook in any way.

You can download the ebook here. 

I encourage you to search the blog tags on this site for all the other free ebooks that are available for you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Business Success Podcast Interview with Annemarie Cross

Listen to a short interview on the Business Success Podcast hosted by Annemarie Cross.

Annemarie is a Branding Specialist and Business Coach and recently requested if I would be happy to be interviewed on her Business Success Podcast show.

In this interview I talk about:
  • The importance of organisational values
  • How to hire the right staff, and
  • How to build a top performing team, and much more!
Please take the time to listen to the short interview here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Thankful List

For many people around the world we have just finished giving and receiving gifts. Of course upon receiving gifts we have given thanks in appreciation of what we have just received.

A day later it is worth slowing down and reflecting on all the things for which we are thankful.

The Dalai Lama has shared that western people, despite their wealth spend most of their life suffering. The suffering comes from wanting something they don't have and not appreciating what they do have.

The Festive Season often results in people receiving some of the things they have wanted. Unfortunately it is not long before western people then want something different, or better than they currently have. So the suffering starts again! It is for this reason that this time of year provides an opportunity to stop, reflect and to consider all the things for which you are thankful.

The act of writing your list seems to make it real. As you write down each item you automatically reflect on why you are thankful for that item.

To create your Thankful List I encourage you to be as specific as possible. Think of all the things from all aspects of your life for which you are thankful. For example name the people for which you are thankful.

You will be amazed at both the length of your list and what you have included on it. Interestingly, it is a list that, once started, seems to keep growing.

Once started, place your list where you can see it regularly. You'll be amazed at the tension in your life that is reduced from running your eye over your list on a regular basis.

What's on your Thankful List?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you have 'Happiness Magic'?

Last night, while putting my three year old son to bed, he raised his hands, palms facing forward and said, "Dadda, why don't I have magic?"

I couldn't help but think to myself, "Yes you do!", but what was I to say?

Within a moment my answer emerged.

"Yes you do son. You have Happiness Magic!"

A big smile spread across his face.

"Do I have Happiness Magic Dadda?"

"Yes you do," I replied. "Do you notice that when big people are looking at you that they are smiling?"

"Yes Dadda they do smile at me."

"See, you really do have Happiness Magic don't you"

"Yes Dadda I do have Happiness Magic, see", and he raised his palms and faced them toward me.

I smiled a big smile and so did he. His Happiness Magic was at work!

Maybe Happiness Magic is not restricted to children.

During this Festive Season I encourage you to share your Happiness Magic - hopefully I'm sharing mine right now and you are smiling!

Have a terrific and safe Festive Season.

Inspire 2011! ebook out now

Congratulations and thank you to all our OTM Academy members who contributed to the creation of our first ever OTM Academy member created ebook - Inspire 2011!

I'm confident that you will agree that after reading Inspire 2011! you will be bursting for 2011 to come along so that you can hit the ground running!

Please note that the entries in this ebook are, for most people, their first written piece to be published, so a huge congratulations to each of them and thanks again for taking the time to make your submissions.

The purpose of this ebook is for it to be shared, so please follow the instructions on page one and share it as broadly as possible.

You can download Inspire 2011! here.


Gary Ryan

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Income grows when you deliver great service

We have already identified that great service requires everyone and everything in the organisation to be aligned to enable the business to meet/exceed customer expectations. Think about your own experience as a customer. When your expectations are met and/or exceeded are you likely to use that service and/or to recommend it to others? Most often the answer to this questions is, “Yes!”.

Therefore it is not rocket science to see the relationship between providing a consistently good service/product and income growth. Don’t forget that a basic principle of great service is knowing and meeting/exceeding customer expectations. As expectations change, so does the service or product. Great service is not great service if it is not current. Gronroos (2000) highlights that it costs 5-6 times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing customer. So not only does great service increase income, it keeps costs down.

Why not use this article to stimulate Conversations That Matter® within your team or organisation?

Quote from a research participant
I’m a financial clerk. My job involves a lot of report writing. One day I asked one of the recipients of my reports if there was anything else that I could do for him. He said yes and explained this new report he wanted. It didn’t take long for me to create it and I now include it in my monthly reports. Last week he told me that he had recently made some decisions based on the patterns emerging from the new reports and that sales had gone up. I couldn’t believe it, I’m a financial clerk and I had actually contributed to making more money for the company.

What are your example of how great service has grown income?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to motivate your team members when times are tough

I concur that organisations need to create the conditions that enhance individual motivation and that, most likely, the conditions that have caused people to appear 'de-motivated' now were present well before the economic downturn.

My research and experience has clearly indicated that there are a number of factors that leaders/manager can control that can enhance the conditions where individual motivation has a chance to be raised.

  1. Let people know what is going on - be honest
  2. Remind people of where you are going and how what you are doing now is going to get you there (Vision and strategy)
  3. Recognise people for their efforts - be genuine when doing this else it will backfire
  4. To the best of your ability ensure that people are doing work that engages their talents - this assumes, of course, that you have spent the time working out what their talents are in the first place (if you haven't done this yet, then this too is an opportunity)
  5. Create opportunities for your people to contribute to finding and implementing ways to help the company 'turn things around' - Low Risk Projects are a great way to do this (a Low Risk Project is one that has minimal financial or brand risk associated with it, but a big upside if it comes off)
  6. This builds on number 5 above - continue to create developmental opportunities for your people - how smart can you be with you existing budget line items so that you can stay within budget yet still create developmental opportunities for your people to develop themselves? E.g. you probably can't pay people more, yet you might be able to send some on a conference (that would be relevant to them and their role of course)
  7. Listen to what they have to say and implement (where possible) their suggestions - then let everyone know that you have implemented a suggestion from whoever suggested it - this proves that you have listened
  8. Trust people to do their job - there is not much more de-motivating that someone unnecessarily looking over your shoulder
  9. Give people honest feedback on their performance - what are they doing well, what could they improve on and what could they start doing that they are not currently doing
  10. Re-enforce the value of what they are doing and how it is helping the company get back on track.

These 10 suggestions are all within the control of each manager/leader and in my view are absolutely doable.

What have you been doing to motivate your team members?

How could you use this article to catalyse Conversations That Matter® within your organisation?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Delivering great service gives us job satisfaction

All staff, whether the CEO or the lowliest paid employee in the organisation, have a high sense of job satisfaction when they are able to serve their customers properly. When systems & processes exist to support the passion of people, great service can flow through an organisation.

The satisfaction that comes from serving people results from the positive relationship that staff feel with an organisation when they are supported in serving their customers. Positive staff relationships result in improved service. In turn, this type of relationship results in a positively reinforcing virtuous cycle that generates great service. In this sense, it is absolutely vital that systems & processes support staff in building positive relationships with clients, customers and stakeholders. Without this support delivering great service and staff job satisfaction fall through the floor.

How well do systems & processes support staff to deliver great service in your organisation?

Relationship employees work harder and smarter. They care about the business, its future, its destiny. The business becomes their business. (Leonard L Berry)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leadership Insights Series - Gareth Kent

Gary Ryan interviews Gareth Kent, a 31 year old Director of PRP Geelong. Gareth shares insights from his fascinating journey and in particular how a day spent creating a detailed plan for his future in his early 20s created the impetus for his success. This is a 'not to be missed' interview.

More webinars can be accessed by joining the OTM Academy.

Information regarding the OTM Plan For Personal Success program is available here. A new OTM Plan For Personal Success Webinar Series is due for release and will commence in late January and continue into February. You can express your interest in this program here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Primary school teacher develops conversation skills with children

One of the members of the OTM Academy has applied and modified the OTM Strategic Conversations® process to teach conversation skills to eight and nine year old children in his primary school class.

His humility is such that he has asked to remain anonymous, but for the sake of this article I'll call him John.

Focusing on water conservation as his topic, the children were organised into groups of six. They were asked to be conscious about how much they were talking and listening.

The first question asked was, "What would be the perfect world to have for water?"

The children engaged in the conversation expressing ideas about how water could be managed. While they were conversing, John moved around the room listening to what they were saying. Part of the purpose of the conversation was to see how much they had learned from the previous few weeks of learning about water.

John, initially nervous about using this process with young children, was quickly convinced that the process worked as he heard the children talking with passion, focus and knowledge as they conversed on the first question.

As the process encourages, John mixed up the children in their groups for the second question, "What are the challenges of achieving this world?"

As John moved around the room again he was once again impressed by the way the children were sharing the conversation and demonstrating that they were listening. A Teacher's Aid who witnessed the process remarked that she was amazed at how engaged some of the children were, particularly a number of them who had not previously shown much interest in contributing to classroom conversations.

Collecting the output from the second question John was amazed at the maturity and deep understanding of the topic that the children had clearly developed.

Rotating the children again to ensure that they learned to speak with different children, the third question focused on action. "What are we going to do?"

John was delighted that the children came up with a broad range of practical ideas, which included sharing them with the rest of the school community.

Delighted by the outcome of the conversation John contacted me to share his story. "I was very nervous at first wondering if this would be too much for the kids, but as you had encouraged me, I let myself trust the process. And it worked. I couldn't believe that the 90 minutes we spent talking went so fast. And the kids were on centre stage, not me!"

Teaching people to hold conversations can occur at any age.
The OTM Strategic Conversations® process is based upon the original work by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs.

What are your experiences of conducting large group conversations or, as we like to say Conversations That Matter®?

The OTM Academy is a free Online Community created by Gary Ryan to enhance the Personal & Professional Development of members. More information on how to host a Strategic Conversation® is available in the academy. Otherwise, email for more information.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How should a Team Leader in a poor company culture improve team member motivation?

Unfortunately poor company cultures exist. This is why Organisations That Matter was created - to try, one company at a time, to change this reality.

So, what can a Team Leader do to improve the motivation of their team members when their team exists within a poor company culture?

The first thing is to control what you can control as the Team Leader. My experience and research indicates that pay is a massive de-motivator if it is not 'fair' in the overall context of pay within the company and the industry that you are in. If a person is not being paid fairly in this context, then pretty much everything else that the company does becomes less relevant over time. The pay issue becomes the core de-motivational issue.

If pay is 'unfair' then you must do what you can to fix that situation.

Most companies have systems and processes for accurately paying people. As such, if you believe that a person is being paid unfairly, go in to 'bat' for them. Let them know what you are doing but also let them know that you have to follow the system's rules. Providing you have a record of being genuine, most people will be very pleased that you have taken the time and effort to go in to 'bat' for them. This act of support will often increase a person's motivation. However it won't last forever if the real problem isn't addressed. (Please note I accept that the research indicates that most people feel they are underpaid. However, when 'pay' is placed in the context of company and industry, it is my experience that most people are able to identify if they are paid within an acceptable 'range' of pay.)

If pay is 'fair' then it is the cultural issues that come into play. It is possible, within limits, to create a positive sub-culture that may exist only in your team.

From my research from conducting many leadership development activities on this exact issue, the simultaneous things that you can do are very controllable.

You can genuinely appreciate and recognise the efforts of your team members. This starts with saying, "Thank you."

You can look out for developmental opportunities (including projects) and offer them to your team members.

You can listen to their suggestions and genuinely take them on board and then get back to them about why their idea has/hasn't been implemented.

You can assign tasks to team members that truly reflect their talents while at the same time creating some 'stretch' for them. Of course, this means that you will have bothered to find out what their talents are!

You can create team celebrations to celebrate successes.

You can bother to remember the whole of life details that your team members have felt comfortable sharing with you (ie their partners and/or children's names, their birthday, special events in their life, their sporting teams and heroes etc.)

You can articulate how your team is contributing to your organisations vision and mission and help each person to 'see' how they are personally contributing to bringing these to life.

When times demand it you can make decisions that are timely and help the team to achieve its objectives.

These actions are all doable and are well within the control of a leader, irrespective of company culture.

It is my experience that when these activities are done with genuine intent, most people respond with an increase in self motivation and perform to a higher standard which is ultimately what leadership is trying to achieve.

How have you worked to increase the motivation of the members in your team?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Awareness matters!

The scene
I had been asked to attend a late afternoon meeting with a client in a different part of the city to which my office is located. I decided to drive to the meeting so that I could drive home. As luck would have it, a one hour metered carpark was available immediately outside the client's building.

Upon arrival the receptionist asked where I had parked. I informed her that I had parked in the one hour zone out the front of the building.

I was shown to the meeting room and some cool, fresh water was provided. I was informed that the person I was meeting had been held up in another meeting off-site and was on his way, possibly being 30 minutes late.

The moment that mattered

Prior to the arrival of my client, the receptionist popped her head back into the meeting room and asked whether it would be okay for her to pop downstairs to 'feed the meter' for me.

I had started to wonder how I was going to manage the parking situation given that a large period of my 60 minutes had been 'chewed up' waiting for my client to arrive. The awareness of the receptionist, Crystal, to help me was just terrific. Crystal realised that I might be starting to worry about my car and that the parking issue could end up being a problem for me should the meeting last longer than the now available 30 minutes.

To me Crystal's actions highlight the importance of awareness and how it is directly linked to service excellence. Crystal could not control whether my client's availability, but she was able to control her awareness to relieve a problem before it occurred.

That is exactly what awareness does. It 'heads problems off at the pass', before they have a chance to take effect.

What are your examples of how awareness has both enhanced service excellence and resolved a problem before it occurred?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Teams That Matter Webinar Recording

Webinar Recording, November 2010.
Gary Ryan introduces the seven key elements for creating Teams That Matter. High performing teams are rare, but they don't have to be. Discover the key elements that will help you to create a high performing Team That Matters.

Please contact me if you would like to learn more about how I can help you create a Team That Matters.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why workplace trust is a challenge

The challenge with workplace trust, whether from leaders to employees or employees to leaders or employees to employees is that to trust another person you must be willing to be vulnerable. That is, the act of trusting someone means that you are openning yourself up to the 'risk' that whoever you are trusting could 'break' your trust.

You see, trust cannot be broken unless it is given in the first place.

This is one of the factors that makes trust within an organisation so hard.

Whether this be from leader to employees, or from employees to leaders. The same is true.

In this context leaders must be able to demonstrate that they are willing to be vulnerable by trusting employees, and employees need to demonstrate that they too are willing to be vulnerable by trusting their leaders.

I'm suggesting that trust is built by demonstrating trust and being open to the vulnerabilities that come with trusting others.

What are your experiences of organisational trust?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Research shows that part time work and volunteering pay off

Research based on member responses and presented at the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) showed that 83% of graduate roles were given to applicants who did part-time or casual work. The research also showed that doing volunteer or charity work is highly regarded from a prospective employers perspective as 48% of successful candidates had indicated that they had been volunteers.

Establishing your employability largely comes from your ability to demonstrate that you can work with people to achieve shared objectives. Part-time/casual work and volunteering provide opportunities to do exactly that.

I often hear young people say, "Oh, I just work in a supermarket" or "I just work in a cafe." or "I'm just doing some volunteering for my local charity".

There is no such thing as 'just' a part-time/casual job or volunteering role. All these roles help to prove that you are employable because they all involve teamwork, communication, leadership, innovation, problem solving - the list goes on!

The evidence is overwhelming that part-time/casual and volunteering roles matter. Don't forget it. Notice the 'real' employability skills that you are learning. Employers are interested and your chances of being employed are significantly higher if you understand and practice this fact.

Monday, November 8, 2010

After Year 12, What's next?

If you or someone you know has just completed Year 12 in Australia and would like to know which career paths are most likely to result in an available job, then you can't go past the DEEWR New Jobs 2010 Report.

The report includes job projections to 2014/2015 for the following 19 industries, with the most growth expected in declining order:
1. Health Care and Social Assistance (3.3% per annum)
2. Mining (3.3% per annum)
3. Education and Training (2.7% per annum)
4. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (2.6% per annum)
5. Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services (2.4% per annum)
6. Construction (2.4% per annum)
7. Transport, Postal and Warehousing (2.3% per annum)
8. Accommodation and Food Services (2.0% per annum)
9. Information, Media and telecommunication (1.8% per annum)
10. Retail Trade (1.8% per annum)
11. Financial and Insurance Services (1.6% per annum)
12. Administrative and Support Services (1.6% per annum)
13. Arts and Recreation Services (1.5% per annum)
14. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (1.5% per annum)
15. Public Administration and safety (1.3% per annum)
16. Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Service (1.3% per annum)
17. Other Services (0.5% per annum)
18. Wholesale Trade (0.5% per annum)
19 Manufacturing (-0.7% per annum)

This information can be vital in terms of the post secondary education/training choices that people make, so it is well worth keeping up to date with the report, which is available here.

It is also important to recognise that qualifications take time to be completed, so looking ahead at what the jobs landscape can be very helpful and important.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How great service attracts requests for a broader range of products/services

In much the same way that great service attracts new customers, it also attracts existing customers to enquire about new services/products that may be provided by the organisation. Consulting firms in particular are familiar with this phenomenon. Satisfied clients will request if new services can be provided before seeking another consulting firm to supply the service. This can help an organisation grow.

A word of warning.

Just because a customer asks your organisation to provide a new service or product doesn’t mean you should do it. As long as the new service or product fits with your organisational purpose and will continue to take the organisation towards its desired future and the organisation has the capacity to provide the new service, then it should do it. Otherwise it should refer the customer elsewhere. This too is great service.

How is delivering great service increase resulting in requests for 'more' from your clients/customers?

Client quote
Because of the great job that you did with our leadership training I was wondering if you could assist with improving our inter-departmental relationships? I thought that I’d check with you first before trying out some of our other suppliers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Service enables us to identify our customers

Your customers can be colleagues, your supervisor, the staff who report to you, the people and/or organisations to whom you provide services, the people who pay for your services or products even though others may use them. Often your service or product will have multiple layers of customers. The customers who actually use your service or product may be different from the customers who purchase your service or product. A service focus helps both you and your organisation to identify and differentiate the expectations of these different customer segments. If you don’t get this right, you may be left with no customers at all.

Understand your customers across the multiple levels of service you provide. Do you understand yours?

Quote from a research participant
“I first thought that this service training stuff was a load of, well, you know! But it got me thinking. Who are my customers? Funnily the first person who’s head popped in my mind was my boss’s. I’d never really thought of my boss as a customer. Yet, she probably is.”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Creative Tension Trumps Problem Solving

Creative Tension involves three simple concepts that, when put together, create a structure that provides the energy for effective action. Many of you will have seen me refer to the 'elastic band' metaphor (see TEDx Talks - Creating a Plan For Personal Success) that enables us to create the life we desire.

You see, Creative Tension is about creating what we want. Problem Solving, on the other hand, largely focuses on what we don't want.

Artists tend to use Creative Tension while people in business tend to use Problem Solving. My argument is that business people should follow the practices of artists and also focus more on using Creative Tension rather than Problem Solving.

Imagine that Pink has decided to write a new album. What approach do you think would provide Pink with the biggest probability of creating an album full of smash hits.

a) To take the approach that at the start of the writing process that she has a problem to resolve. The problem is, "I don't have any new songs ready to put on my album."

To resolve this problem Pink may recruit a bunch of her musician friends and brain-storm a heap of ideas that they believe would be likely to eventually generate the 'right' songs for her album. As each song is recorded Pink's problem would reduce because she would now have some songs for her album. Finally Pink would finish her album and release it to the public.

b) To take that approach that an album is a work of art and that the art requires some form of inspiration. Focusing on the quality of the album that she wishes to create, Pink would generate a number of experiences to enable her to fully picture what the album will be like.

Once the 'direction' of her album is clear, Pink would then recruit artists to help her to bring her 'picture of success' into reality. The number of songs on the album and the length of the songs would all fit into Pink's vision of what the album was going to look like. Eventually, Pink would 'create' the album that she desires.

Music, art and films are all treated as creations to be made rather than problems to be solved. Alfred Hitchcock is famously reported to have refused to let his writers 'close out' a story line too early. Instead, Hitchcock would prefer to 'hold the tension' of an unfinished storyline so that true creativity amongst he and his writers could be inspired. The result; Hitchcock became one of the greatest film directors of all time and is still known today for creating stunning plots, scenes and movies.

Business people
Business people want to be successful, just like artists do. However business people are trained to see problems and to focus on fixing those problems. Common problems that business people try to fix include:

* The problem of under-performance
* The problem of low motivation in employees
* The problem of maintaining efficiencies
* The problem of low supply and high demand
* The problem of high supply and low demand
* The problem of not enough resources
* The problem of poor communication
* The problem of poor internal service
* The problem of poor external service

Really, this list could go on and on, but I think you 'get' the picture.

Business people use the same approach to these problems as described in 'a' above for the artists. They gather a group of colleagues, brainstorm a bunch of ideas to resolve the problem, select the 'best' answer and then implement that answer in the hope that the problem is resolved.

Usually the 'best answer' does have an impact on the problem and it does reduce in its intensity. As this occurs and the original problem is less of a problem, less effort is put into resolving the problem. Why? Because now other, more serious problems require focus. And so the process goes, on and on and on. A bit like a dog chasing its tail!

What if, on the other hand, business people learnt to focus on what they are really trying to create? Rather than focusing on problems that need to be resolved, what if business people focused on the customer experience, the employee experience, the community experience of their service or product? And what if this focus was present at all levels of the organisation?

There is a difference between art and business
Art is generally not released to the public until it is created. In many ways art is created in a vacuum. Once created it is then released. Business is different. Much of what goes on in a business can't be placed into a vacuum until it is created. The way the world works simply won't allow it. In business we 'change the wheels on the bus while the bus is driving down the road'.

It is for this reason that problem solving, in a business context is still relevant. There are some problems that simply have to be resolved. Such as an unhappy customer 'right now'. However, what if problem solving in a business was provided within the context of Creative Tension? In other words, what if the experience that we are trying to create for our customers, or the experience and culture that we are trying to create for our employees was the guiding force for our strategy, actions and problem solving?

Creativity is challenging because of the tension that is generated when we become clear of what we want, but have no idea of how to bring what we want into reality. Artists experience this tension all the time and have learned to embrace it. Business people on the other hand are scared out of their minds when they don't know 'how' to bring the future they desire into reality. This is why most business people focus on Problem Solving rather than Creative Tension. Problem Solving is simply more comfortable. "We know 'how' to problem solve. We don't know 'how' to create."

If you are not sure of what I mean you might like to view the video The Gates (below). As you watch the short video, consider the power of Creative Tension that went in to bringing the vision of art on such a large scale into reality.

How present is Creative Tension in your organisation? What are your examples?

Please feel free to comment on this article.

Gary Ryan is a founding Director of Organisations That Matter and can be most easily contacted at .

I would like to recognise Robert Fritz whose writing over the past two decades has inspired my thinking and practice on this topic.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Is your message and the experience you create aligned?

This really isn't rocket science but I am continually amazed at how many organisations get this wrong. Recently my family have been doing high school tours to help us make a decision regarding the right school for our eldest child.

The schools have had many different approaches to this process. However, their messages have been very similar, "We create a caring, belonging and nurturing environment for your child where we seek to create well rounded young adults with strong academic and life skills."

Yet it is our experience of this message that has stood out the most for us. One school that had over 900 students crammed us into a room where three teachers and three students spent 60 minutes 'telling' us about the nurturing and sense of belonging that the school creates. The speeches were fine, the images shown to us on the Powerpoint presentation also looked fine.

The teachers then stayed in that room while the three students led over crowded tours around the school. Classrooms were closed, it had become dark and lights were off and we spent most of the time peering in through windows trying to get a sense of what the school was like.

After a while the litter on the ground became more and more noticeable. After all, there wasn't much else to see or experience.

It seems to me that if you are going to promote a sense of belonging, then that is the 'experience' that you should do your very best to create. This is a classic case of ensuring that your message and the experience you create are aligned. All it takes is a few moments to ask this question, "Is the experience we are going to create aligned with our message?"

The school I have described is no longer on our list. Other parents who have also visited the school for their tours have expressed similar concerns. The school is completely unaware of the misalignment between their message and the experience they are creating.

How do you make sure that your message and the experience you create are aligned?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Service helps us make sense or our strategy at the day to day level

Business strategy focuses upon enabling an organisation to move from its present state to a desired future state. It provides the ‘roadmap’ for this movement. Ultimately this results in thousands upon thousands of actions happening throughout the organisation. The intention of these actions is to move the organisation in the desired direction that the strategy dictates.

Each action is therefore an example of the organisation's ‘strategy in action’. A clear service focus enables these actions to ‘make sense’ in the context of the overall business strategy and can help to connect the people within the organisation to the business strategy on a day to day, action by action level.

Quote from a research participant
When I understood that all I had to do was to focus on understanding the expectations of the people I serve, the whole service thing became a lot clearer. I’m not into big words and I’m not a manager, but I can find out what people expect of me and do my best to fulfil those expectations.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TEDx Talks Plan For Personal Success by Gary Ryan

Keynote speech for TEDx Talks at NAB, Docklands Australia on Thursday 21st October 2010.

Gary Ryan, founder of Organisations That Matter explains the underlying concept and five principles and six vital strategies for creating a Plan For Personal Success.

Please visit here to discover more about our options for creating a Plan For Personal Success.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Learn how to ask 'Questions That Matter'

Questioning skills are highly under-rated. Enhancing your ability to ask Questions That Matter will have a profound impact upon your ability to effectively communicate with, and to lead people.

No matter what your organisational role, developing this skill will enhance your effectiveness and performance.

In this interactive webinar recording Gary Ryan provides insights to the basic qualities of creating Questions That Matter.
Duration: 45 minutes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's good business to increase complaints!

The American Express Global Customer Barometer has highlighted the importance of being easy to complain to, especially in places like Australia.

The Australian figures, second to Mexico, highlighted that 86% of Australians will cease doing business with an organisation after a bad service experience. Yet the majority of these Australians will not tell the organisation about their experience. Rather, they will tell their social network, especially if asked. The research reveals that the reason for this behaviour is that Australians find organisations notoriously hard to complain to. So instead they simply switch and tell their friends.

What is interesting is that approximately one in two of these same Australians are willing to give an organisation a second chance, especially if they have previously had good service experiences with that organisation. The issue is that after the second chance, the Australians will simply 'disappear' as customers, especially if there is a viable alternative that is available to them.

The pure economics of the above statistics highlight that it is good business to increase complaints. If an organisation were to become 'easy' to complain to, that same organisation would have more of a chance to 'recover' the customer and maintain a positive relationship with them and stop them from leaving. In simple terms this means that the company ensures that future expenditure from this customer will remain with them.

We are fortunate to live in a world where a customer complaint can be made to a social network and, if you are easy to complain to, that complaints will be heard even though it wasn't said directly to your organisation. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter where the complaint is made, it matters that it is heard and acted upon.

As an example I recently had a poor service experience about an organisation. I 'tweeted' that I was going to write a blog about my experience, which I did the following day. Within eight hours of posting my blog I was contacted by a representative of the company asking for more details and wanting to know how they could resolve my issue for me. Within a couple of days a resolution for my poor experience had been created and I have remained a client of that organisation.

I had no idea that the company had set up (due to a recommendation from a teenage casual contact centre staff member) a 'twitter watch' and a 'blog watch' to look for complaints (and positive comments) so that they could fix them as quickly as possible.

It is in this manner that an increase in customer complaints should be seen as a positive measure rather than a negative one. Unfortunately it is my experience that most companies see increased complaints as a poor result rather than a positive one. Alas, most companies are poor to complain to because they don't want their complaints metrics to rise. Silly, isn't it!

How easy is your organisation to complain to and what are some examples of how this is done?

Gary Ryan has led service excellence award winning teams in multiple categories and is a co-creator of the OTM Service Strategy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Improve your listening by enhancing the quality of your conversations

So you are in yet another meeting. The conversation is flying back and forth yet you feel frustrated by the lack of people really listening to each other. In fact, you find yourself waiting for a 'gap' in the conversation so you can throw your two cents worth into the debate.

The meeting ends. Everyone respectfully nods at each and walks out feeling that the meeting was largely a waste of time, again! You wonder why so many of the meetings that you attend seem to go around and around without people really listening to each other. You try to listen yourself but you find that your listening is just as bad as everyone else's. The real cost as a result of the time wasted in these meetings seems to high to even calculate. Yet the problem persists.

Yes you have been to communication workshop after communication workshop. But it seems that learning to become a better listener is like shouting at grass to grow. Just because someone says that you should listen and paraphrase and watch your body language doesn't actually mean that you'll become a better listener, just like grass won't grow any faster just because someone is shouting at it!

What if there was a technique that enabled you to become a better listener, yet didn't require you to specifically focus on listening?

If you shift your focus away from becoming a better listener to becoming a contributor to higher quality conversations, it is amazing how your listening improves! Higher quality conversations or Conversations That Matter® enable us to see things differently; new horizons, new possibilities, new ways of working together which result in tangible benefits such as new innovative products, new savings, better efficiencies. As Juanita Brown and David Isaacs shared in their wonderful book, The World Cafe, "...accepting the centrality of human conversation as a key organisational means for achieving desired results entails a profound shift of mind - from seeing conversation as a peripheral activity to seeing conversation as one of the organizations most valuable assets."

So how do you even start to create this profound shift of mind?

One way is to start to focus on the quality of the questions that you ask in a conversation. Think about it. What positive difference to the quality of conversations that you participate in would an improved quality of questions (even from just one person), make to that group's conversation? Brown and Isaacs suggest that focusing on the right questions themselves is a powerful way to enable people to open their minds to higher quality conversations. For example, what if in one of the meetings described above you asked, "What questions, if answered, would enable us to achieve the results that we truly desire?"
Part of the reason for the consistently low quality of conversation that many of us experience in organisations is due to the fact that most people are focusing on answers rather than discovering the right questions that are worthy of an answer. For example, how easy would you find it to come up with questions in response to the question above, without trying to answer your own questions first? It is my experience that many people are uncomfortable focusing on generating questions (without answers) largely because it is a skill that has had little attention or focus throughout their development.

At your next meeting, as you follow the conversation, try focusing on this question, "What's the most powerful question that I could ask that will help to improve the quality of this team's conversation?".

A side benefit of focusing on asking powerful questions is that your listening will improve, without you having to focus on it. Try it, you will see that this is true.

I'm interested in hearing about your experiences with regard to enhancing the quality of your workplace conversations through improving your questioning skills.

If you are interested in discovering how to ask 'Questions That Matter®' you may wish to join my free webinar on that topic on Thursday 22nd October, 2010. Please register here if you are interested.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Free Ebook - What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 3, 2010 released

What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 3, 2010 has just been released. It is a collection of the main articles on The Organisations That Matter Learning Network (which is hosted by Gary Ryan)  from July 1st 2010 through to September 30th 2010.

The ebook makes it a lot easier for you to reference your favourite articles, as well as providing you with an opportunity to provide a gift to a friend and/or colleague.

You can download the ebook here.

After downloading the ebook, please remember to click the 'Back' button to return to this site.

Please feel free to comment on the value that this ebook provides you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Options For The What Really Matters For Young Professionals! Online Course

The What Really Matters For Young Professionals! Online Course is a 16 lesson program that takes the content of the book to the next level. Each lesson is designed to take between 10 to 30 minutes to complete and is delivered directly to your email inbox.
Links to materials that can be then downloaded and used over and over again, as well as presentations and short videos are included in the lessons.

I recommend that you create a special email folder for the course so that you can refer to the lessons again and again.

While the content for the course is exactly the same, three different course durations are on offer. You simply choose the duration that best fits your situation. You can even purchase the course for a family member or friend - I bet that you have never thought that personal and professional development could be offered as a gift! Who knows, with Xmas around the corner this might be the perfect and unique gift that you could give someone. More information regarding the course is available here.

The three course options are:
  1. 16 lessons in 16 days - click here to order
  2. 16 lessons in 48 days (just under seven days with each course delivered every third day) - click here to order
  3. 16 lessons in 16 weeks - click here to order
In summary you get:
  • An online course delivered directly to your email inbox
  • A free ebook version of What Really Matters For Young professionals!
  • Choice over the timeframes for the course
  • Information in various forms of media to take your understanding of the book's contents to the next level
  • Access to a range of exclusive downloadable forms, presentations and videos that are only available through the course
  • Ability to revisit the course materials as many times as you wish

All of this for just AUS$99.

Please feel free to email me at if you require more information.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In elite sport, as in life, one percenters matter!

For me a defining moment in the Australian Football Leagues (AFL) 2010 Grand Final Replay was the desperate lunge by Collingwood defender Heath Shaw to knock the ball from the hands of St Kilda Captain Nick Riewoldt as he was about to kick the Saints first goal.

Coming from ten metres behind Riewoldt as he marked the ball, Shaw said, "I think little things like that maybe spur the team on. I was just happy to contribute to it."

While very few of us get to reach to glory of becoming an elite sport champion crowned with being a member of the best team in the nation (or world, depending on the sport), we all have the capacity to done 'one percenters' whether at work, at home or in our relationships.

So, what do such 'one percenters' look like?

At work they can be as simple and saying a genuine, "Thank you" or "Please", or remembering a colleagues birthday or partner's and/or children's names. They can be as simple as suggesting a team member leave early one day because of the extra effort they have been putting in over time. They could even involve cleaning up a meeting room and returning it to its pre-meeting state once your meeting is over.

At home they can be as simple as acknowledging and thanking whoever did the cooking, and then taking the time yourself to clean up. With friends it can be a quick phone call, text message or Facebook 'Like' or comment.

'One percenters' by nature aren't hard. They simply take a level of awareness to recognise that they 'can' be done and all they take is a little effort.

On their own 'one percenters' don't make much difference. But added up over time, just like all the 'one percenters' in an AFL Grand Final, they can make all the difference to your performance and the quality of your relationships.

How present are 'one percenters' in your life and what examples do you have of putting them into action?

PS For those who need to know, I am a member of the Western Bulldogs in the AFL

Friday, October 1, 2010

Leadership Insights Series - Cecilia Chan The LiTMUS Group

In the second of our Leadership Insights Series webinar recordings, Gary Ryan interviews Cecilia Chan, a young professional experienced in providing consulting services related to business process management, process design and analysis, process simulation and enterprise architecture.

In this 30 minute webinar you will learn about Cecilia's strategies to progress her career throughout her first five years of employment. You will also learn about the benefits that volunteering provided Cecilia in enabling her to initially break into the workforce, as well as the benefits that can be gained from being a pro-active networker.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

AFL Grand Final Draw Calls For Simple Leadership

As a guest of the AFL Coaches Association for their annual Awards Dinner during the week, little did I realise that I would hear some fateful words of advice for the 2010 AFL Grand Finalists.

Legendary coach Ron Barassi was being inducted into the AFL Coaches Association Hall of Fame. As part of his induction, premiership player (and later a coach in his own right) Stan Alves was delivering a speech regarding the special characteristics of his former coach.

Part of Alves' speech focussed on the 1977 drawn Grand Final. Alves shared the absolute confusion that swept the players and officials immediately after the final siren sounded.

"We were spent. I was spent. None of us knew what we were supposed to do. It was absolute mayhem."

Alves shared that when the players, officials and supporters made their way into their rooms, the confusion seemed more intense than out on the ground. Then Ron Barassi did what he did best. He focussed everyone on what needed to be done.

First Barassi asked the players to go into the meeting room and to sit in the order in which they had played.

"Henshaw, you were in the back pocket so you sit here, now everyone else sit in your playing positions."

Club officials were then invited into the room and Barassi instructed that the meeting room door be left open so that all the supporters who had entered the rooms could hear what he was about to say.

Alves reported that this is what Barassi instructed his players to do.

"If you do the two things that I am about to tell you, and then you turn up to training in the morning, we will win the premiership. Number one, turn up to the club function tonight. Number two, go home at 10pm. Do these two things and we will win the premiership."

Alves reported that immediately upon Barassi finishing his short speech, the sense of confusion evaporated.

Barassi was able to get everyone, players, officials and supporters to focus on some simple actions. Doing this enabled everyone to have clarity about what they needed to do. In many ways the simplicity of the actions enabled everyone to say to themselves, "Yeah, I can do those two things."

Barassi's actions highlight that keeping things simple and helping people to focus on what is doable are magnificent leadership traits in the face of confusion and uncertainty.

For those of you who don't know, Barassi's North Melbourne went on to win the Grand Final Replay the following week.

I wonder how St Kilda and Collingwood are coping with their current situation? Will similar leadership to Barassi's example be present?

What are your examples of leadership that enabled people to focus on simple actions that helped them to cut through complexity and confusion?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Secrets of Young Achievers Exposed - Two Free Chapters from Best Selling Author Dale Beaumont

Secrets of Young Achievers Exposed is a book featuring 12 of Australia's brightest young talent. This free ebook includes two chapters of the book and features Amy Wilkins creator of Active Kidz and Hugh Evans, founder of the Oaktree Foundation.

Learn about the success secrets of these two inspiring young Australians.

Download your free copy of this ebook here.

Dale Beaumont, one of Australia's most successful author's is one of my mentors (even though I'm ten years older than him!). Dale provided direction and guidance in helping me to publish my first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

Please enjoy this free gift that Dale has allowed me to pass on to you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why low risk projects are a smart leadership tool

As a People Leader/Manager do you have more ideas than you can implement? Are you frustrated by not achieving as much as you would like?

My experience shows that one of the Top Ten motivators for employees is 'opportunities for improvement'. Imagine if you joined these twofactors together; your frustration with not getting as much done as you know needs to get done, with your team members desire for opportunities for improvement.

Below is a four step process for creating low risk successes from this situation.

Step 1
List all your ideas/actions for things that you believe need to be done.

Step 2
'Chunk' these ideas/actions into groups - these groups of ideas/actions form the basis of possible projects.

Step 3

Using the attached matrix, identify whether or not your projects are:
  1. High Risk - Hard Implementation
  2. Low Risk - Hard Implementation
  3. High Risk - Easy Implementation
  4. Low Risk - Easy Implementation

High Risk means that if the project fails there will be a significant and negative impact on the organisation.

Low Risk means that if the project fails there will be no major negative impact on the organisation.

Hard Implementation means that the resources required to implement the project involve both a lot of people and a lot of money/assets to successfully complete the project.

Easy Implementation means that existing resources with minimal budgetary impact can be used to successfully complete the project.

Step 4
Low Risk - Easy Implementation projects are your gold. These are the projects that you can easily provide to your team members. Should the project be a success then the organisations benefits (because it gets something useful that otherwise may not have existed), the staff member benefits (because they have implemented something that didn't previously exist) and you benefit because a number of the ideas/actions that you had on your original list will now have been implemented.

The beauty of creating low risk projects is that they generate opportunities for people to shine. If you have never tried a system like this before, try it out and please let us know how you go.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What are you excited about?

This week my ten year old son headed off for his week long Year 5/6 school camp. His week will be filled with hiking, canoeing, ropes courses, flying foxes, storytelling, drama and all sorts of fun activities to thrill a ten year olds soul.

For weeks all he could talk about was his upcoming camp. he was packed (mostly) days before he was due to leave. He couldn't get to school early enough on the day the camp was to begin. His excitement was tangible; you could feel it.

Watching him got me thinking. Short term goals are incredibly motivating. Having something to look forward to generates the energy to sustain many of the more mundane activities of life. For example I have recently launched my first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals! and welcomed my fifth child to our family, another son. Both experiences involved a long build up and great joy was experienced when both our son and my book arrived.

Life is not just about achieving short term goals for the sake of achieving them. Rather, the short term goals should be in the context of a bigger picture. For example, my book is part of my career, business and finance strategies. Clearly my son was about completing my family.

In this context, what are you excited about? How do your short term goals relate to your bigger picture?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ben Cousins' documentary highlights the importance of balance

Irrespective what you think about the content of the Ben Cousins documentary, a powerful message that the program highlighted related to the importance of balance as it relates to success.

Our society often applauds people for 'making it'; whether that be as an elite sportsperson, a rock star, a movie star or in achieving a senior position in an organisation.

Success is defined purely by career success. Yet as Ben's documentary highlighted, career success doesn't necessarily mean that all other aspects of life are in balance.

As the attached illustration highlights, balance consists of a number of elements:

* health & fitness
* career
* education
* establishing a clear plan for personal success
* having the financial capacity to live the life that you desire
* establishing and maintaining relationships for enduring success

If any one of these key elements for success are not addressed, the individual is at risk of becoming stuck; much like the person in the background of the attached illustration. The outward appearance of being successful can be undermined by not having had a truly balanced approach to life.

Balance, in this context does not mean that all the key elements for success are equal. Rather, it means that an appropriate amount of focus is being applied to each key element for overall balance in the context of the life stage that the individual is experiencing. For example, university students will have a much larger focus on their education elements than other people, while graduate employees will have a much larger focus on their career activities than other people when they commence their first job. Likewise elite sports people will also have a much larger emphasis on their career element than the average person.

Where people lose balance is that they tend to completely neglect some of the key elements for success. So, while their career element is being addressed, poor health habits, such as taking drugs as highlighted by Ben's documentary, can undermine their life balance and ultimately, negatively affect their career. For some people it is a complete focus on their career that causes them to neglect the key relationships in their life, resulting in relationships breaking down.

If you are interested in finding out how to create a Plan for Personal Success that includes a personalised approach to Life Balance, please email Gary at .

Gary Ryan has assisted over 500 people in creating a Plan For Personal Success. Gary's clients have included elites sports people and coaches including Troy Simmonds (Richmond Tigers), Kane Johnson (Richmond Tigers) and Darren Harris (Carlton Blues).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Understanding employability skills

In this webinar recording Gary Ryan explains the research that underpins employability skills, what each employability skill actually means, and how to capture your own stories for each of the skills.
Duration 45 minutes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Service excellence guides resource allocation

Organisations that are clear about meeting and exceeding the expectations of their customers are also clear about where resources should be allocated. Maybe your organisation has discovered that it has a serious Service Delivery Gap. Where would you allocate resources if you discovered such a gap?

Clearly there is more than one answer to this question and the actions that may be taken and the resulting allocation of resources will be guided by the organisations overall business strategy and the level of importance of closing the Service Delivery Gap in the short term. In this example there may not be a long term future for the organisation if it does not address the short term Service Delivery Gap. In this context, a service focus enables short term decisions to be made in the context of achieving the organisation’s long term desired future.

Quote from a research participant
We’re a small operation. Just three of us operate the store. We know everyone who works on the larger site; it’s like we are one community. Rather than spend our money on marketing pamphlets etc we hired a student to work in the store with us. We targeted one who was well connected within the community. It’s amazing how much business she has brought in. It’s the smartest money we have ever spent and all our jobs are just that little bit more secure!

What are your experiences regarding organisational resource allocations?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Understanding expectations - it is where great service starts

This is the starting point for great service. If you don’t understand the expectations of your customers, then everything that you do is likely to contribute to failing to meet them. Customers will have expectations whether you understand them or not.

They usually consist of outcome factors and process factors and have a zone of tolerance for them to be acceptable. The outcome factors relate to the reliability of the service/product and determine whether the service/product meets the customers’ expectations. The process factors relate to the customers experience and will determine if the customers’ expectations have been exceeded or not.

Quote from a research participant
Once you realise that the starting point is understanding expectations, everything else becomes a whole lot easier. All you have to do is ask people what they want, and then do your best to deliver that to them.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Beyond a One Page Plan For Personal Success

Have you completed a One Page Plan for Personal Success? If so, follow the steps below to take your plan to the next level.

When completing your Plan for Personal Success it is critical that you take each of the main strategies in your Prime Chart and create a Support Chart for them. Support Chart timeframes tend to be less than your prime Chart timeframe. So, if your prime Chart is for ten years, your Support Chart may be for three to five years.

Support Charts follow the same structure as your Prime Chart.

Step 1
Complete the Title for your chart. This is the name that you have given the strategy in your Prime Chart. Next identify which one of the Six Vital Strategy areas the strategy directly supports, and write that in brackets next to the name of the strategy. This helps to ensure that when you review all your strategies, you can quickly determine if you have at least one strategy for each of the Six Vital Strategies.

Step 2
Complete your Desired Outcome specific to this strategy. Be clear and as specific as possible. As you did for your Prime Chart Vision, keep asking yourself why you want what you are writing. This helps to uncover your real reason for wanting to achieve this Desired Outcome and usually helps to clarify exactly what it is that you are aiming to achieve.

Step 3
Complete your Starting Point/Current Reality section of your chart. Provide as much information as possible that specifically relates to the Desired Outcome that you are striving to achieve. What is positive about your present reality, and what is currently a challenge.

Step 4
Determine your actions that will move you from your Starting Point to your Desired Outcome. Upon brain-storming actions, review your list and identify which actions will provide the greatest leverage. These become the most critical actions to complete because all the actions will tend to fall into place.

Complete this process for each of your Prime Chart strategies and you will take your Plan for Personal Success to the next level.

If you would like to know more about creating a Plan For Personal Success, or would like to be individually coached through this process, please contact .

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Leadership Insights Series Marcus Pitt CEO SOHO Group

Gary Ryan interviews Marcus Pitt, President Director (CEO) of the SOHO Group. Marcus shares some of his insights that have enabled him to accelerate his career to the position of CEO of a US$1Billion company by 38 years of age.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How 'Leadership moments' can develop your capacity to lead

Recently in the article How 'aware' are you? I explained that awareness is a characteristic of Servant Leadership. Another benefit of being 'aware' is that it opens up the opportunities for you to develop your capacity to lead.

It is my view that too many people see leadership as only being in the realm of formal roles. In that context, many people don't see themselves as leaders nor their own capacity to lead because they have never held a 'formal' leadership role. Of course this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and people who have this view of the world and themselves rarely become formal leaders.

I would also argue that these people also miss opportunities to 'lead' when 'leadership moments' arise. Proimarily because they just don't see them.

What are, 'Leadership moments'?

To me, a leadership moment is any time that a set of circumstances arise that are quietly asking, or sometimes screaming for someone to take action. Just today at my eldest son's Under 10s football match a barbeque had been prepared by two of the parents at the conclusion of the game. Quickly a line formed as the children, their parents and family members queued for some food. One of the 'cooks' was called away due to an urgent issue. Suddenly there was only one person trying to cook and serve food. The 'Leadership moment', while only 'visible' to some appeared. What do you think that 'Leadership moment' was? Not everyone noticed. Would have you? Even if you did notice the opportunity, what would have done?

Stepping out of the queue and helping to cook the barbeque, or at least asking if this action would be helpful, was what this moment was asking to be done.

'Leadership moments' call for someone to take action. Strangely, this can also mean that you consciously choose not to take action (see How doing nothing can be an example of leadership).

Other examples of 'Leadership moments' include:
You may be at work with a colleague who has a presentation and they are expressing their concerns about the presentation to you. They express that they don't think they are 'up to it' and you would do a far better job than them. Either you can be 'caught' in their negative self-talk or you can remind them of the good job that they have done in the past and support them through their presentation, and then remind them at the end that they had not only survived but done a great job. In this example it might be easier to do the presentation for them, but would that really help them in their development?

You might be in the foyer of your office building and you see someone who looks lost. What do you do?

You are out with your friends and you can see that one of them is drinking too much and is getting a bit rowdy. What do you do?

I am not suggesting that you should take action on every 'Leadership moment' that presents itself to you. That might in fact be selfish (others need to be able to take opportunities to develop too). I am saying that if you consciously raise your awareness of the 'Leadership moments' that are around you, and then you consciously decide to take action or consciously decide not to take action, both can be examples of developing your leadership.

After all, participants in the leadership programs that I facilitate often nominate helping, guiding, taking action. foresight etc. as characteristics of leadership.

What are your examples of 'Leadership moments'? How have they helped you to develop?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Book Release - Go Further Together

Go Further Together - 31 lessons from the road and the workplace

Go Further Together by Andrew O'Brien, Sue O'Brien and illustrated by Jock MacNeish is a collection of lessons based on stories from Andrew and Sue running more than 50 marathons together and Andrew and Jock working with organisations.

Each lesson is accompanied by a conversation starting picture from Jock and either an insight from Andrew and Sue (lessons from the road) or a comment from people working in organisations (lessons from the workplace).

About The Authors
Andrew and Sue O’Brien are passionate about healthy relationships and creating desired futures. They combine this with a love of running together and a dedication to inspiring others to be active through their speeches, presentations, books, workshops, blog and websites and

In 2008 Andrew and Sue ran 8 Marathons in 8 Countries in 8 weeks and became know as the “Couple on the Run.” Partnerunning combines Andrew’s “Desired Futures” framework and extensive CEO experience with Sue’s expertise in fitness and exercise.

Sue O’Brien is a tour de force. She is a recognised expert in the fitness industry with 25 years experience teaching, coaching and helping individuals meet their goals. Her achievements include having completed over 50 marathons and having represented Australia at the World triathlon championships.

Sue is the author of “Couple on the Run” and “Lessons from Running Relationships” and is already working on her next project “Partnerunning : How to go further together.”

A strong campaigner for the benefits of health and fitness for success in life, Sue is currently researching women’s health and teenage fitness. Topics that are of particular importance in her personal life, as a mother of two.

Andrew O’Brien is passionate about assisting people create “Desired Futures” and since experiencing a period without personal vision during his 20’s he has devoted himself to becoming an expert in developing personal and organisational vision so as to create desired futures for individuals and organisations. A gifted and sought after facilitator, together with Gary Ryan, Andrew founded the Organisations That Matter Group which oversees an increasing range of successful business activities. Andrew lives with Sue by the bay in Melbourne, Australia and spends as much time as possible in the warmth of South East Queensland and Arizona. After more than 20 years working as a CEO in the services, retail, food, fitness, sports, facility management and higher education services industries Andrew now devotes his time to working with individuals and organisations to create “Desired Futures".

A former winner of a Customer Service Institute of Australia CEO of the year award Andrew has a bunch of masters degrees in business and management and a doctorate on shared vision which was the initial catalyst for the "Desired Futures" series of books.

Andrew is a Thought Leaders Mentor and works with CEOs and executive leaders to develop corporate thinking for commercial advantage.

Jock Macneish was born in Trinidad and went to school in Scotland. He studied Architecture in London and in Melbourne and has worked in many parts of the world, including two years in Papua New Guinea. His work covers Architecture, Acoustic Consultancy, Illustrations and Cartooning. Jock now runs a company that creates images designed to carry ideas. He calls them "Strategic Images".

He lives in the hills near Melbourne where, if he heard a hooter, he’d assume there was a bushfire rather than the start of a marathon.

Book Details
Total length: 106 pages

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Price $25 (Australian) plus postage and handling
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Postage: $5 within Australia, $9 everywhere else

Order the book via our secure server here.