Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leadership - It's more complex than ever! Audio Version

Ensure that you implement Leadership That Matters®

Gary Ryan from Organisations That Matter challenges you to identify your approach to leadership.
Please subscribe to the What Really Matters For Professional Development Podcast here.


This recording is an episode from the What Really Matters For Professional Development Podcast by Gary Ryan.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Explaining the OTM Service Strategy® Audio Version

Gary Ryan from Organisations That Matter provides an overview of the six key elements that underpin the OTM Service Strategy®.

Please visit http://orgsthatmatter.com/service-excellence.html for more information or subscribe to the What Really Matters For Professional Development Podcast here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be Grateful - A Strategy For Creating Success

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and while it is not something we formally celebrate in Australia, my twin brother and his family live in the USA so I have become more and more familiar with the concept over time.

If you are concerned about having a career that is unfulfilled or that the skills that you have will never be fully leveraged for success (amongst a whole list of concerns and worries about your future), then according to research from the University of California by Dr Robert Emmons, practicing being grateful for what you already have can both increase your happiness and increase your success.

Yes, that is correct. Being thankful for what you have increases your happiness and increases your success, which means that you increase your capacity to have more of what you want in your life.
Too often we focus only on what we want. This can increase our dissatisfaction with our present that reduces our happiness in the present.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that too many people spend too much of their time wanting what they don't have which causes unimaginable suffering. Think about it. You buy a new car. For a short period of time you are feeling satisfied and grateful for your new car. Then you see someone else with the same model car as yourself, but it has some extra options that you don't have on your car. "I wish I had those options." you think to yourself. Suddenly your new car isn't quite as good as your thought. So you start to suffer again.

Suffering obviously reduces happiness.

In this context is wanting what you don't have bad for you? I don't believe so. After all I facilitate the OTM Plan for Personal Success® Program which is all about identifying what you want and what you are going to do to create that future. But the program isn't just about that.

It is also about recognising what you currently have in your life for which you are grateful and identifying what you need to do to keep what you are grateful for present in your life.
As an example I am now in my 17th year of marriage with my beautiful wife Michelle. I really do love her more than the day we married. I am extremely grateful to have her as my life partner and the mother of our five children. I practice making sure that I never forgot that I am grateful for who she is and what she does. I do this because I want Michelle to be in my life both now and in the future.
Many people forget this fact. There are many elements of our lives that have contributed to our current success that will also need to be present in our future if we want to continue our success and happiness.

This means that you must plan to take conscious actions to keep the very things that make you happy now continually present in your life.

One way to do that is to create a Grateful List. Simply create a list of the things for which you are truly grateful, place that list where you can see it everyday and then look at it every day. Once every 90 days update your list.

This simple, yet effective strategy can raise your consciousness of what makes you happy in the present, while also contributing to your future success and happiness.

For all of you around the world celebrating Thanksgiving, stay safe and have a wonderful time celebrating the things in your lives for which you are grateful.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Passion Matters If You Want Success

If you want to achieve anything worthwhile in life then there is a simple secret that successful people know.

The first principle for achieving success is passion and I absolutely believe that you have to have it in your life if you want to have access to the energy that is required to create success. 


Passion provides our energy, our drive for taking action, especially when those actions are hard and/or challenging. In simple terms we derive energy from our passions.
Try this quick exercise.

Stop and close your eyes for a moment think about your passion. It could be one or more of many things such as:
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Singing
  • Physical exercise
  • Playing sport
  • Water based activities
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Reading
  • Gaming
  • Studying
  • Learning
  • Cooking
 This list doesn’t have an end! It could go on and on and on.

Once you have identified your passions focus on one of them and think about it, remember yourself doing, see yourself doing it. Notice what happens to your body when you start imagining yourself doing your passion.

When I ask participants in my programs to do this exercise you should see what I see! While their eyes are closed as they are imagining themselves doing their passion, whatever it is, people smile! It is as if they can't help it. Smiles simply appear on their faces!

It just happened to you too, didn't it.

If you require evidence that passions drive your energy then here it is! Just notice the smile on your face. 

However a sad fact is that as many of us get older, we stop experiencing our passions. Just when our lives get busier and more serious, just when we need more energy to create the success we desire, we stop living and experiencing our passions. If you think about it, isn’t that just plain crazy?

Our passions ‘leave’ our lives or they simply fade away from being present in our lives. Yet we need our passions in our lives in order to give us the energy to get through some of the less passionate things that we have to do. No matter how successful we become there will always be things that we have to do to create our success that aren't the most fun in the world to do.

As you consider your passion or passions, are they present in your life now? When did you last experience your passion? When is the next time you plan to experience your passion?

Interestingly your passion doesn’t have to be 'present' all the time for you to benefit from the energy it provides. As an example many people have travelling as one of their passions. For many of us such a passion is ‘serviced’ when we have annual leave holidays from our work. So what people with this passion will do is book in and pay for their travelling experiences a long time in advance. As a result they have the positive energy benefits of looking forward to experiencing their passion.

If you don’t have a passion and can’t remember ever having one, you have a wonderful opportunity to include this in your Vision. For example. as part of your personal vision you could write, “In 12 months’ time I will be living and regularly experiencing at least one passion in my life.”

Remember, when planning for success it’s okay to write things down into the Vision section of your plan even when you have no idea about how they are going to be brought into reality. In fact, this is usually true for most things that you write down in the vision section of your plan and why writing them down is so powerful.

In wrapping up, what's your passion or passions? How are you leveraging the energy that they generate?

Gary Ryan facilitates the OTM Plan for Personal Success® program. Click here to find out more about how you can create a plan for your personal success.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knowing What You Really Want Takes The Stress Out of Your Future

Imagine living your life where your concerns, fears and worries about your career, wealth, health and relationships were 80% less than they are today. Does this sound like a fantasy? It's not.

Over 5,500 people have discovered the power of creating a written plan for personal success. A consistent challenge that people face when creating their first plan for personal success is defining the future that they desire. many people describe 'strategies' instead of describing what they really want.

A common example relates to fitness and health. People will often say things like, “I want to lose 10 kilograms, this is the fitness and health future that I desire.”

Losing 10 kilograms is a strategic goal and while losing 10 kilograms is an outcome, it isn’t the 'end game'. What the person really wants is the lifestyle that comes with being 10 kilograms lighter. That person wants to be more attractive, more able to move and have fun. That person wants more energy. That's what they really want. 

Defining what people really want is something that a lot of people find difficult to do. Understanding why you want to be 10 kilograms lighter and why that is important to you are the keys to understanding what it is you really desire.

Focusing on the types of activities that you want to be able to do and visualising yourself doing them is far more powerful than focusing on a number, such as losing 10 kilograms. Dewitt Jones, acclaimed National Geographic photographer and an expert on the power of vision explains that the big visions in life shouldn’t be too focused, too tight. Rather, they should be both clear enough, yet loose enough to leave open a thousand possibilities to bring them into reality.

In terms of a whole of life perspective focusing on losing 10 kilograms is too tight a vision.

Focusing on being able to play with your children or grandchildren, being able to participate in a hiking holiday, or dancing with your friends are loose visions that have a multitude of opportunities to bring them into reality.

Losing weight may be a strategy that is required to enable you to keep the possibilities alive for you to bring your vision into reality. It is at this point that focusing not only on losing weight but on creating a new lifestyle where you can maintain the weight loss becomes critical. At this level of personal planning you become more focused on your goals and you take specific actions to achieve them. Actions may include engaging a personal trainer and training four times per week. These are what Dewitt calls ‘tactical visions’ and are more detailed and specific. They identify exactly what you need to do to bring your vision into reality

How do you know if the future you are focusing on is what you want or is a strategy to achieve what you want?

The easiest way to approach this question is to reflect on the content of your vision once it has been created. You will discover that you have a mixture of statements that reflect both what you want and the strategies regarding your approach to achieve them.

For each statement in your vision statement ask yourself, “Why do I want this? What will this really look like once I have it? What will I be doing when I have this?” and keep asking this question for each answer that you arrive at, possibly up to five times in a row (this is known as the Five Whys Technique).

In a financial context people often suggest they they want to be rich or to have ‘x’ amount of dollars as part of their vision. Once again having money is a strategy that enables you to do want you want to be able to do. Asking yourself, “Why do I want this money? What will I be doing with it?” can help to uncover what you really want and makes it so clear that taking the necessary steps to create the wealth you desire (legally, of course!) becomes more and more doable.

Why is it that people initially struggle with this challenge?
Having assisted more than 5,500 people establish their initial OTM Plan for Personal Success®
the facts are that less than 0.1% (that is less than ten) of those people had previously created a detailed or strategic plan plan for themselves. The reality for the vast majority of people is that creating a personal plan is something that they haven’t done before.

Like most things we do for the first time we are usually not very good at it the first time. This can be frustrating for adults because we like to think that we can quickly achieve an expert standard when we perform a new task, even though our experience has taught us that this isn’t really how we learn.

Learning to use iterative cycles when creating your plan for personal success enables you to more quickly establish a personal plan that both clearly articulates what you want and what you are going to do to achieve your vision. This means that you develop the skill to continually ask yourself, “Why do I want what I have just written? Why is that important to me?”

That said, having an initial plan is more powerful than not having one. David Ingvar’s ‘Memories of the Future’ research highlights the power of having a written plan. In this context having a plan is far more beneficial than not having one at all. If you create you plan and then become disciplined on reviewing it, say once every six to 12 months and also become disciplined at constantly challenging yourself to reflect on why you want what you want, you will, over time create plans that are even more powerful than your first plan. This is normal and part of the learning process that is associated with creating and living your plan for personal success.

Please visit here for more information on the options available for establishing an OTM Plan for Personal Success® and sign up for my regular newsletter here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Research Shows That Staying Focused Is A Key To Happiness

Trying to understand what makes us happy is a very interesting field of modern research. In the TedX video below, Matt Killingsworth explains the link between mind-wandering and happiness that his research has uncovered.

Using a mobile app he was able to generate 650,000 sets of data responses from people reporting on their level of happiness.

His findings indicated a direct relationship between a wandering-mind and its negative impact upon happiness. He also discovered that our minds wander a lot, so this relationship is difficult to prevent.

The reason is that when people let their minds wander, they tend to think more about negative things than positive or neutral things. As an example, people might start thinking about an argument they had the previous day with their spouse and then start to stress about that conversation, therefore making themself unhappy.

It seems that Matt's research highlights the importance of staying in the moment and being focused on whatever we are doing (which statistically keeps you happier than if you let your mind wander) and/or to be far more mindful about our mind-wandering. In other words, consciously choose to let your mind wander about pleasant things.

The video goes for just over 10 minutes and is worth a viewing.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Learn how structures drive development - an example from karate

One of our close friends had invited our family to watch their 10 year old son Joshua complete his grading for his Black Belt in karate. Having been training in karate since he was six years old this was a 'Big Occasion' for him.

A crowd of over 200 people had assembled in the local karate club's hall to support children from the age of nine through to 14 complete the requirements for their various Black Belt or First Dan assessments. The formworks and kata were performed to perfection to the delight of everyone. This was followed by various fighting stick assessments, jumping and tumbling kicks & strikes, a nun-chuka formwork and finally wood breaking strikes. Considering the ages of the children their performances were very, very impressive!

Finally, six of the boys and girls who were also being assessed for a special leadership award (which is specific to this club) took it in turns to perform a speech about leadership. As each child gave their speech on their own in the middle of the gymnasium floor, no notes in hand, a structure for their speeches became apparent. The structure was:
1) Introduce yourself and your age
2) Identify your favourite karate activity
3) Name a high profile leader of your choice
4) Provide a 'key-point' history of your leader
5) Share a quote created by the leader
6) Explain how the quote relates to your own personal circumstances
7) Thank your parents for their support
8) Thank the audience

While I had been highly impressed by the various karate demonstrations, I was astounded by the performances of these six children. It was clear that they all had different personalities yet each of them was able to stand up in front of a crowd of predominantly adults and provide their speeches. One of the children spoke about Ghandi and provided great detail as he shared an accurate account (including dates) of Ghandi's life. This boy was nine years old!

It was also interesting to watch each of the children stumble at some point in their speeches. When this happened, each of them drew a long slow breath, gathered their thoughts and then continued with their speech. Imagine the pressure that could have been mounting and the ‘self-talk’ that could have been going on in their heads. Yet they remained focussed and completed the task at hand. It seemed to me that the children had been well taught with regard to the structure that they should follow in providing their speeches, including what to do when they lost their train of thought. It really was a delight to watch.

To me the high level of performance that the children were able to achieve was due to a clear structure that they had been provided in preparing for their speeches. No doubt each of the children had also practiced and practiced this structure, much like they had practiced their kata and formworks. Imagine the confidence that these children will have in their lives going forward. Many adults would run away as fast as possible rather than provide a speech in front of 200 hundred people. Yet these children did it and did it well. They will have that experience to draw on for the rest of their lives. As each child finished their speech the applause sounded like it was coming from 1,000 people and not just 200. It really was extraordinary to witness!

This experience once again highlights the power of having structures to support the outcomes that you desire. While the structures that the children used for their speeches may appear simple on the surface, their importance is no less valuable. What similar examples do you have where a clear structure has supported your own or someone else's development? What stories are you willing to share with our community? What key lesson stood out for you from your experience?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Safety and Linear Innovation at Its best!

This is linear innovation at its best! Take the need to provide a safety demonstration, add in the problem that very few people normally watch them, sprinkle in entertainment and viola, you have something worth watching that also provides saftey instructions. Brilliant!