The critical importance of a lasting change process

September 9, 2016

We often define change that we’d like to see, even implement change in a positive way. But how many times do things waver or even completely disintegrate so that 2 years, 2 months, even 2 weeks later, the initial enthusiasm and adherence of the new way has evaporated and things are back the way there were before.

In this video, taken from the Foundations of Success Workshop, I share one of LMI’s foundational concepts – the critical importance of securing lasting change through spaced repetition.


Fortnightly half-hour leadership & management webinar / workshops

June 22, 2016


Leadership and Management are big subjects. Important subjects.

Learning essential skills in these areas can be complex and take years to master. There are, however, some simple concepts & really practical ideas which underpin great leadership and management and which everyone who is seeking to lead and manage well can benefit from. That’s what this is all about.

Every fortnight I will be hosting a 30 minute live webinar / workshop focusing on just one leadership & management keyword. This way you’ll know what to expect by way of subject matter and can come ready with your questions, thoughts and ideas to share.

The first half will be presentation. The second half discussion and action. 15 minutes of each and then back to work. 

This means you won’t be in ‘sit back and listen’ mode for any more than 15 minutes. The goal is your engagement, participation, learning and action. Every session will include one activity or template that you can take away and use straightaway.

The focus is on the practical ideas and actions relating to these subjects that will help people currently in leadership and management roles do their job better.

Here is the latest list of live dates, with the leadership and management keywords we’ll be exploring:

Thursday 30th June – Vision

Wednesday 13th July – Alignment

Thursday 28th July – Engagement

We use Skype for Business to host these live meetings which you can access via PC, Mac and on just about every kind of mobile device. You will receive the meeting link in your registration confirmation email.

REGISTER HERE – join as many or as few sessions as you like.

Suggestions for subject keywords that you’d like covered welcomed.

The Alignment Triangle

December 10, 2014

Following on from the last post about the need for the large Tube map and the single line plan, here’s my ‘Alignment Triangle’ diagram which illustrates an effective process for keeping today’s activity aligned with the’Big Picture’ aims of the organisation. Every company knows they should be doing this, but I’ve come across very few that are systematically implementing this on a continual basis. That’s why a simple model to follow can really help.

Alignment Triangle

The Big Picture – start with defining the Mission, Purpose, Vision and Values (this is no twenty minute exercise – take time to do this well).

Create a Master Goals List – this is the place to record every significant goal that will help move your organisation towards the defined and agreed Big Picture.

Monthly Goals & Priorities – a refined and repeatable format to clarify the goals and priorities for Dec 2014 or Jan 2015 is essential. The Master Goals List will have far too much on it to be able to focus effectively. We suggest a 2 – 3 hour monthly planning process to set each month up so everyone knows exactly what they are shooting for in that 30 day period.

Daily Organising – it’s only when the above steps are done really well that organising your daily activity can be super-effective. Again, a repeatable format for planning your day in line with the monthly goals is essential for optimising performance.

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.


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!

Impossible not to be inspired!

April 7, 2014

Yesterday I completed my first ever proper running event – the Regency 10k in Leamington Spa. I wasn’t going particularly fast or , achieving anything especially impressive compared to the accomplishments of many others in so many different fields of life, but it was something i’d set a goal to do so it felt great to go out and do it. Just for the record, I came 636th!


What really took me by surprise was the impact that the cheering, shouting and encouraging words from the crowds watching and also the stewards and marshals stationed around the course had on me. It was genuinely very profound and made me want to run faster and push myself to get round in the very best time I could. It was like my own mini London 2012 experience!

I can also recall so many other situations where I’ve been going into new situations in both a personal and professional context and there alongside me was someone significant cheering me on, expressing confidence in my ability to succeed and giving me that undeniable boost that comes when someone else shows belief in what you can do.

In discussions around good leadership and management we talk often about the value of praise, encouragement and reward, but I’m not sure we really appreciate just how much of an impact we can have on those around us. As I discovered in a small way yesterday, it’s impossible not to be inspired when others cheers you along, congratulate you on your progress and urge you to dig in and keep going.

Find someone to cheer on today and see what happens!


“Meaningless” and “Unrealistic” Targets

April 4, 2014

One of the news headlines that caught my attention today as I’ve been listening to Radio Five Live on my travels, has been the report that highlights “a culture of fear” within the Met Police, describing many of the targets that were used to manage performance as “meaningless” and “unrealistic.”

My intention is not to judge this particular story, but rather to highlight the fact that I have regularly come across situations where organisations, as well as individual leaders and managers, have been using targets and measures for their own and others’ performance that have been exactly the same i.e. meaningless and unrealistic!

This is not an unusual scenario.

It would be well worth a chunk of your quality thinking time to evaluate whether the things you are measuring and the targets you are setting are the best they could possibly be when it comes to stimulating the activity that is most important for people to be doing.

Why is this so crucial?

Well, the old adage goes, “People do what they like doing and what they are measured on.”

For example, if the managers in your business are only measured (and rewarded) on bottom line results of their project or department and yet you really want them to be investing more in the coaching and development of their team members to increase long-term capacity of the team, there’s a high degree of probability it’s proving frustrating….because the results they are being judged on are different to the ones they are being told are the highest priority. We have an alignment issue.

So, the key questions are:

1) What results do you want?

2) What are the best measurements to encourage and reinforce the behaviour that will drive those results?

Have a great weekend!

It’s all built on trust

March 11, 2014

Personal Leadership demands that trust be present and that’s not always easy. Trust can easily be broken or undermined when things don’t go as we’d hoped they would or the person / people we trusted in don’t act as we’d expected.

This gets right to the heart of the leadership challenge – do I trust my people enough to let them take responsibility for the success and performance of our team / company / organisation?

Many leaders find this really hard and as a consequence are working all hours and handling all the big decisions themselves….and it’s slowing killing them!

The solution then when it comes to developing a culture of personal leadership is setting a course by which trust is gradually given, and earned, in ever-increasing measure. In my experience, most people prove far more trustworthy and capable than was expected. Of course there will be negative experiences and those who let you down, but that risk is definitely worth taking in return for the fantastic rewards of an empowered, creative team of leaders who are daily solving problems, creating solutions, developing new ideas and growing the capacity of the whole organisation through their own personal leadership.