Eight stops to Swiss Cottage

December 8, 2014

The scene was one I’m sure you’re familiar with. Hundreds of people swarming off the train having just arrived at a London Mainline station and rushing on to their familiar short hop on the tube, or outside to jump in a taxi, or perhaps preferring to walk across the City whilst taking in some snapshots of architectural genius…breathtaking creations that are so often missed in the hurly-burly of another ordinary, busy, so-much-to-get-done day in Metropolis.

For me this particular Tuesday it was a little bit different. I’m not incredibly familiar with Central London but I can find my way around OK on my usual routes. Today I was heading somewhere I’d never been before. As I came out onto the main station concourse, I flipped out my phone and opened the Tube Map app to sort out where I needed to be going.

No direct line. Damn. Need to engage brain.

IMG_2080

I stared at the tiny map for an age and was getting nowhere. Way too many options, massive indecision leading to temporary mental paralysis!

Plan B – head down the steps and find one of those large spaghetti maps just before you go through the barriers. That’s better. Make the map larger and it’s much easier to get perspective. Select my line – the first one at least. Choose a destination. Find the platform, board the train and then watch, eagle-eyed, as we pass each station on the way to where i get off.

Time to re-calibrate. Next line. Where am I now? Where do I get off?The big picture map is great but when it comes to making specific progress I need to simplify it right down to a one-line process where I can easily mark my progress.

I’m heading for Swiss Cottage. I’m at London Bridge. That’s eight stops away. In the middle of a million people and ten million thoughts, I need a really simple way of knowing where I am, where I’m going and how many stops to get there.

IMG_2079That’s why I love it when I get to the platform and see one of these maps (eyes right)! Us human beings function much better in the middle of a busy day with the second kind of map rather than the first. Sure we need the big picture and the strategic plan about how it all connects together. All of that should be put together away from the front line where our thinking is clearer and our focus undiluted. Stepping out into the hubbub of the day I need a simple, crystal-clear one page plan that plots my route from A to B and tells me exactly which line I’m on (I don’t want choices now) and how many stops to Swiss Cottage!

Translating all of this into the reality of our lives, our businesses, and all the stuff we have to get done, the obvious lesson is that we need both kind of maps. So many individual leaders and management teams I’ve worked with have struggled to create the proper ‘big map’ or, having done that well, have then failed to translate that on a daily and weekly basis into the single line map that plots the fastest and most effective path from where we are now to the next identified milestone.

One of the most valuable habits to develop in this respect is the ‘Ten Magic Minutes’ – ten minutes spent planning before setting off on the journey of any day to establish what must be done, in what order, in which time slots and exactly what ‘finished’ looks like, or in other words, translating the ‘big map’ into today’s single line. The same thing when you get there – ‘Ten Magic Minutes’ to review, note the escalator repairs at Green Park for the next six weeks and alter the route for next time!  Obvious really, but it’s amazing what comes into focus during an ordinary Tuesday on the London Underground!


What’s your Olympic Gold?

October 8, 2013
nick and chris

Meeting an absolute legend!

The weekend before last I attended the National Entrepreneurs Convention at the ICC in Birmingham and had one of those genuinely awe-inspiring “don’t-come-round-very-often” experiences.

Sir Chris Hoy, the most decorated British Olympian in history, was the guest speaker and I was transfixed! This guy has made me shout, jump, sweat, scream and even well up a little (I’m not too proud to confess!) on more than one occasion as I’ve watched the Olympics and cheered him on to victory as if it was actually me winning that gold!

Sir Chris shared the story of when he was 15 and his coach asked the club he was part of to go away and think about what the big goal was for each of them. Chris wasn’t even the best in that group of fellow young cyclists at the time, but he was the only one who came back and said he wanted to win Olympic Gold. The rest, as they say….

It challenged me, and I thought I’d share that same challenge with you, to identify the single most important goal in my life – the equivalent of my Olympic Gold. A goal that is so motivating, so important and stirs my passion like nothing else. A goal that generates for me absolute clarity about what I should be doing and what I shouldn’t be doing, enabling me to answer with sincere honesty the question, “Is my current behaviour congruent with my goal?”

A little time, a little thought, a little ink on some paper used answering this question has really helped me a lot. I hope it does you too.


Nick’s Nuggets (getting stuff done) episode 2

November 21, 2012

Book appointments with yourself for getting your most important pieces of work done today.


Success is for everyone!

August 21, 2012

In line with today’s launch of the new Goal Setting Pack, I’ve been running through in my mind all the people I know who I think should buy one (and that’s just about everyone, by the way)!!

I’m also very much aware that whilst for some the idea of goal setting is already an absolute ‘must-do’, for others the very thought of such manufactured, dare-I-say ‘American-ised’ motivational nonsense is just not up their street at all.

So let me say a few words about why goal setting is for everyone.

A number of years ago a friend of mine was getting married in Hamburg, Germany. 5 of us piled into my old Peugeot 205 diesel and set out from London to Folkstone to catch a ferry headed for Ostend in Belgium. From there we drove through Belgium, Holland and Germany to reach our destination about 27 hours later, very tired, squashed but pretty pleased with ourselves for making it on time!

We were going somewhere we’d not been before and so the map (this was pre-SatNav days) was the most important thing we had with us, and we studied it continually throughout the journey to keep us on track.

Its easy to let life carry on, month by month, year by year, staying on the same roads, not growing, or at least not growing anywhere near as much as you potentially could, and therefore not living the adventure or making the most of the opportunities that are there for the taking.

I’m not even thinking at this point about setting huge goals like becoming a millionaire or climbing Everest (though this works just fine with that stuff). Right now I’m much more interested in the really down-to-earth stuff and helping to make life as we live it every day a little bit more like we’d like it to be. If you and I can keep making those small steps, consistently week by week, the cumulative effect is going to be MASSIVE!

Clearly identified, written-down goals are the road map to take us steadily towards the destination that we’d like to get to.

I’m privileged in my work to watch people setting and achieving these kind of ‘small’ goals almost on a daily basis. I get extremely excited when I see a business owner setting a goal to leave the office earlier to eat dinner with his family, or a mum who works and juggles all those demands, yet still sets a goal to invite an elderly neighbour round for dinner once a week.

See what I mean?

In LMI we define success as ‘the progressive realisation of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals’ or to put it more simply, Goal Directed Action.

On this basis, I strongly assert, goal setting is for everyone! Success is for everyone! Maybe you’ll agree.


One month can make all the difference

July 27, 2012

The experts tell us that it takes 28 days to form a new habit.

We already have some great habits and yet, I would hazard a guess, there are plenty of new habits – activities performed consistently, day by day, month by month – that if effectively formed, would make a significant difference to your life and mine.

I am running our latest Success Workshop today, or to give it its less marketable title, Effective Personal Management workshop! I love this course and I think EVERYONE should do it!

Why?

Because its all about identifying your most important goals, in all areas of life, and supplying you with the ideas AND practical tools to help you develop the necessary habits to achieve those goals. Having just conducted yesterday some one month follow-up reviews with participants from last month, it is fresh in my mind the massive impact this can have.

So, as the end of July approaches and we enter ‘holiday month ‘ – whether or not you’re actually away from work or not – what one or two new habits would you like to acquire?

Once identified, you could try following this process:

  • be crystal clear what your goal is i.e. the habit you want to develop
  • define the benefits of developing that new habit
  • identify possible obstacles to sticking with it…and come up with solutions
  • form a means of tracking your adoption of the new habit on a daily basis
  • use the powerful tools of affirmation & visualisation to remind you of the goal

As the common saying goes, its all ‘easy to do, and easy not to do!’ so if you’d like some assistance and an easy process that you can follow, this month and every month, get in touch and book yourself on the next Success Workshop, with the added comfort of knowing that at the one month review, if its not been worth way more than the cost of the course at that stage, we give you all your money back! Sound fair?