Are You Letting Fear Lead You?

I was watching the Last Dance documentary on the incredible basketball player Michael Jordan. It was very clear how much of a leader he was. One of the quotes that I remember was from when he was asked by a reporter about missing the last shot of a previous game and if he was nervous about being in that situation again.  It was fascinating to watch as Michael Jordan just looked at the reporter and smiled and said ‘why would I be afraid of not making a shot that I have not taken yet?’

I know with the current COVID19 lockdown in Victoria and NSW being nervous about the potential second wave this has created some anxiety and fear.  I was working with a group of leaders yesterday about getting their people active and trying to innovate new ways of doing things.  There was a great discussion around the fear of making a mistake and having the new ideas fail.  Then one of the leaders said; ‘Why would we stop ourselves from trying something that we have not done before just out of fear of it possibly not working?’  

I shared the Michael Jordan quote with them and it immediately changed the energy in the room.  Rather than focusing on what could go wrong or how it may not work, they let go of the fear and started talking about how it could work and what they would need to put in place to help it succeed.

So are you letting fear stop you creating ideas of trying something new?  Are you stuck in operating from a pre-COVID19 mindset and not willing to explore new ways of operating?  

I think that sometimes life has a way of throwing things at us that stretch us and often force us to grow to the next level by doing things that we would not naturally (or easily!) do.

If you need some inspiration to help you overcome this fear and start stretching yourself and your people, I highly recommend that you register for the Leadership Bytes Online Event.   It takes place on the 10th of September from 10am-3pm AEST.  You will listen to Big Wave Surfer Mark Mathews about overcoming fear as well as 15 other incredible leadership and business speakers who will help stretch your mindset and provide you with inspiration.

If you would like to find out more please go to the Leadership Bytes Website. Also if you would like me to explain how this or a number of other Programs (including a Virtual Fitness Week that will rock your team culture), please let me know by clicking here.   

Do You Want a Leadership Byte?

If you are like me you enjoy a bit of a special deal. You know something that rewards you for doing something early and allows you to share the benefit with your team.

Many of you would know about my relationship as a Board member of Hands Across the Water. Due to COVID19 we have had to adapt the Future of Leadership Conference to a number of online learning options.  

Leadership Bytes is an incredible online event that will bring together 15 of the most inspirational leaders and speakers across the country. This is a great opportunity to listen to: 

  • Big Wave Surfer Mark Mathews talking about The New Wave of Opportunities
  • AFL CFO Travis Auld sharing Leadership Insights
  • Adventurer Justin Jones sharing about An Expedition into Resilience 
  • Online Expert Yasmin London sharing strategies to Optimising Online Wellbeing
  • TV Presenter Mike Walsh sharing New Rules for a new World

The focus will be on What’s Working, What’s Not & What the Future Holds for Leaders. It will include a number of interactive events including a fun filled ‘talk show’ style format, Q&A as well as a ‘Have You Been Listening?’ segment. This is definitely something that you will not want to miss.

I know that many leaders are looking for ways to inspire and motivate their people without having to take them out of the office for a full day. This online event allows your people to get the hit of inspiration they need and can be used to help refocus and re-energise your people. This is especially important as we tiptoe around the possibility of future lock downs due to COVID19.

Leadership Bytes takes place on the 10th of September from 10am-3pm AEST. Also today is the last day to get the early bird special.

If you would like to find out more please go to the Leadership Bytes Website. Also if you would like me to explain how this or a number of other Programs (including a Virtual Fitness Week that will rock your team culture), please let me know

Are You Building Your Future Leaders?

“How can I improve my future leaders when our business and operations have been knocked around in COVID19? I know that I need to do something, but finding the time and the method to do it is challenging right now.” 

This question came from a conversation I had with a Senior Leader this week. She knew that she had to do something to keep the next generation of leaders developing, but she was concerned. Many had been working more hours to fill in for some of the casual staff that had been released during the height of the pandemic. Their workload was up and a few were starting to show signs of fatigue.

What many of us need to do is to start changing the way that we develop our future leaders – and ourselves. We need to fight the urge to push this need back. So what can you do?

One option is to find a way to provide them with touch-points that inspire and motivate them as well as provide them with a number of strategies that they can use to improve their leadership. It needs to allow them easy accessibility and not stop them from their current workload (nothing worse than attending a 2 day workshop and having to return to 500 emails!)

A smart way to do this is to sign up for the Future of Leadership Membership. This is a great way to provide your up and coming leaders with monthly and quarterly learning inspiration to help support and stretch them. What the Hands Group has done is taking their highly successful Leadership Conference and adapted it into an ongoing format that goes above and beyond a single day. It includes Monthly Webinars, Masterclasses as well as Leadership Bytes Virtual Conference that package 5-6 leading speakers to share their wisdom in a quick half day power-charged event. The Learning Hub also provides access to top leadership experts including: Dan Gregory, Dr Adam Fraser, Samantha Gash, Alison Hill and many more!

I believe that blended learning is the new future and many of us have already received some incredible insights learning online. I also know a number of leaders who have also signed up to the Future of Leadership Membership Program to enable themselves to get that additional motivation that is so helpful during these challenging times. What are you doing to stay sharp?

If you would like to find out more please go to the Future of Leadership Website. Also if you would like me to explain how this could be customised to your for your people and your up and coming leaders by adapting it into a Leadership Lunch Program or how you could create a Leadership Learning Week, please let me know by clicking here.   

Are You Leading with Purpose?

It feels like every day we hear about increases in COVID19 cases in both the US and the Australian state of Victoria. This has led to feelings of a second wave of the pandemic that has many people afraid.

There is fear around the economic impact and how it may slow down business activity as people hunker down. There is also fear around what will happen when the current Australian government JobKeeper ends.

The problem with fear is that it can become all encompassing and stop leaders from leading with purpose. When we get afraid, we hesitate and our energy changes. Rather than being positive and forward thinking there is the temptation to slow down and pull back to reassess.  

To re-evaluate is an important thing for leaders to take the time to do. It allows us to reassess the current situation and adjust our activity and approach. I spoke to a leader recently that was in panic due to the Melbourne lockdown. Unfortunately, he was stuck in a pattern of doubt. In speaking with him he constantly referred to the ‘What if’ scenario and constantly analysed financial projections to just about everything. He was justifying why he had stopped actively leading his people to analyse possible projections. In reality, it was because he was not sure what to do.    

Leading with purpose is about how you hold yourself and how you lead and impact the people around you. If you are ‘on path’ you will acknowledge the fear, however you will not let it consume your thoughts or stop you from looking for creative ways to find solutions.  

Leaders with purpose create a steady presence of optimism to their people that allow them to stay active and also make things happen. They take the time to encourage their people to think differently, to explore ideas that have not been done before and put more faith in their people’s abilities to overcome huge challenges.

So are you leading with purpose? Are you staying positive and leading your people in a way that they admire and respect? Are you leading in a way that they believe in your vision of the way forward and are committing to overcome challenges that may not have existed in the past but are part of the COVID19 world?

This is one of the main reasons I have launched my new Leadership Academy which includes a 90 day or 6 month mentoring and online program. Manly leaders and business owners are looking for strategies that will support and challenge them to lead during this time of uncertainty. If you would like to find out more, please click here and we will reach out to you with more information. Also if you need a kind word to help you get back on your path, please reach out.

Remember, Stay True to Your Path

Creating Shared Experiences in the COVID World

I was talking to a business owner about how disjointed and challenging it has been for his workforce to come back together in the new COVID world. He’s still facing challenges as one third of his staff are working virtually and it’s been a bit more difficult to get everyone connected (especially with offices in different cities).

This is something that many leaders are now facing. During the lockdown staff had to work virtually and get creative. Most staff got very active as they had more time to focus on work (not to mention all the Zoom meetings that everyone had!) Now there is a bit of fatigue and many leaders are looking for a way to reconnect their people with something different.

I was fortunate to be involved in the Hands Group virtual ‘Ride to Provide’ over the month of June. It was an incredible event that allowed over 250 people across 9 countries to participate. Many of them jumped on an exercise bike or walked whilst listening to a series of interviews with a range of incredible business leaders and inspirational people. Although the main focus was to raise money for charity (over $290k was raised!) it was very apparent that the benefit went far beyond.  

Are you looking for something to help connect your people in a unique way? Something that gives them a shared experience and can unify them as a cohesive team? Then you should consider a Team Virtual Experience. It allows you to engage all of your staff in a fun way that will help provide a connection, share leadership insights as well as get them to participate in staying fit.

Imagine a Team Event that provides a common focus that pulls people together, without taking a lot of time out of the business or spending a large budget. This can occur via 45 minute sessions every morning for 1, 2 or 4 weeks and provide a range of speakers (both internal and external) that share insights whilst your people participate in some form of exercise, be it riding on an exercise bike or walking. The Hands Group has successfully run this event and can also help you to get the benefits for your people. You can also link it into a charity project as well if you wish to help provide an extra dimension and create a deeper sense of community.

If you would like to find out more, please reach out and let me know. As a Hands Board member, I can help you understand the benefits and how you could use it to create an incredible shared experience for your people. I think with the uncertainty of COVID19 leaders need to create meaningful ways that enable people to connect and feel supported. 

Leading Out of Lockdown

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Depending on what part of the world you are living in you may be experiencing the end of the lockdown period and the reduction in COVID19 restrictions.

If you are like us, our kids are back at school and we now are not tripping over each other whilst working virtually from different parts of the house!  

I had a very good discussion with a Senior Leader about how they were going to lead their people out of lockdown.  It was great to hear that he had mapped a plan on what he was going to say and do as he transitioned himself and his team from working at home to starting to commute back to the office.

This got me thinking about how many leaders have not thought about how they are going to lead out of lockdown.  The last thing you want to do is try to appear that everything is back to normal!  Many organisations have split their staff into different groups and others cannot have all their staff working in the same office at the same time due to the requirements to maintain social distancing.

So what is your plan to lead your people out of lockdown? Here are a couple of ideas to consider:  

Take the Time to Meet with Others Face to Face.  We have had a lot of time looking at people over Zoom, MS Teams and GotoMeeting, but now is when many staff will want to see and talk to their leaders in person.  Take the time to check in with your staff individually (and face to face) to see how they are going with the transition.  I spoke to one person earlier this week and they were really struggling with the move back to the city and just needed someone to listen to them as they readjusted.

Provide Updates on the Way Forward.  For many businesses and staff there is still a large cloud of uncertainty about what the future may bring.  In Australia the JobKeeper program has saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, however when it ends this will create some anxiety for many people.  As a leader, share your vision of the way forward and how you will keep staff informed as your organisation starts to gain more momentum.

Skill Up Staff in Strategies to Get More Done in Less Time. For some organisations that have had to reduce headcount, the remaining staff have had to continue with tasks that were potentially being done by someone else before COVID19.  As we transition out of lockdown it is important to provide strategies and skills to help your staff get more things done in less time.  Look for ways to do this in virtual online sessions or in small face to face sessions.  

Later this month I will be launching my new Leadership Academy which includes a 30 day or 12 month online program that will enable leaders to access a number of courses and modules that include videos, downloadable resources and activity checklists that you can use to help navigate and stay effective as a leader. Many of the concepts are based on my recent book Leadership Hacks: Clever strategies to boost your impact and results. 

If you would like to find out more, please click here and we will reach out to you with more information.

Depending on what part of the world you are living in you may be experiencing the end of the lockdown period and the reduction in COVID19 restrictions.

If you are like us, our kids are back at school and we now are not tripping over each other whilst working virtually from different parts of the house!  

I had a very good discussion with a Senior Leader about how they were going to lead their people out of lockdown.  It was great to hear that he had mapped a plan on what he was going to say and do as he transitioned himself and his team from working at home to starting to commute back to the office.

This got me thinking about how many leaders have not thought about how they are going to lead out of lockdown.  The last thing you want to do is try to appear that everything is back to normal!  Many organisations have split their staff into different groups and others cannot have all their staff working in the same office at the same time due to the requirements to maintain social distancing.

So what is your plan to lead your people out of lockdown? Here are a couple of ideas to consider:  

Take the Time to Meet with Others Face to Face.  We have had a lot of time looking at people over Zoom, MS Teams and GotoMeeting, but now is when many staff will want to see and talk to their leaders in person.  Take the time to check in with your staff individually (and face to face) to see how they are going with the transition.  I spoke to one person earlier this week and they were really struggling with the move back to the city and just needed someone to listen to them as they readjusted.

Provide Updates on the Way Forward.  For many businesses and staff there is still a large cloud of uncertainty about what the future may bring.  In Australia the JobKeeper program has saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, however when it ends this will create some anxiety for many people.  As a leader, share your vision of the way forward and how you will keep staff informed as your organisation starts to gain more momentum.

Skill Up Staff in Strategies to Get More Done in Less Time. For some organisations that have had to reduce headcount, the remaining staff have had to continue with tasks that were potentially being done by someone else before COVID19.  As we transition out of lockdown it is important to provide strategies and skills to help your staff get more things done in less time.  Look for ways to do this in virtual online sessions or in small face to face sessions.  

Later this month I will be launching my new Leadership Academy which includes a 30 day or 12 month online program that will enable leaders to access a number of courses and modules that include videos, downloadable resources and activity checklists that you can use to help navigate and stay effective as a leader. Many of the concepts are based on my recent book Leadership Hacks: Clever strategies to boost your impact and results. 

If you would like to find out more, please click here and we will reach out to you with more information.

Leadership in the face of uncertainty

The current protests and riots that are happening in the US have captured headlines around the world. Although I have lived in Australia for 25 years, growing up in America provided me with first hand insight to observe the good and the bad.  

The tragic death of George Floyd whilst being arrested by police and captured on video has created an outpouring of anger, grief and frustration. This event has opened up the fractures that have been lingering in the background across society and created a moment in history that could have been used as a catalyst to change and start moving forward in a united way.

Unfortunately, when there is a void of leadership, chaos and emotion often create a larger divide, which helps explain what is occurring right now across America.

I also see this too often in business. A crisis occurs that puts all the focus and attention internally and externally onto the business. It creates a moment for the leader to step up and shift the fear and uncertainty to hope and clarity. I also observed this with COVID19. Some leaders will retreat into their office and start slashing budgets, projects and people. Whilst others share the challenge with their staff and ask for their ideas, as well as listen to the fears and uncertainty that they have.

One great example of this is what Hands Across the Water did. Being in the charity space, Hands typically raises over 70% of their money by organising charity bike rides in Thailand by providing experiences for donors to get on the ground and see firsthand the people and projects that they are helping. With COVID19 the charity sector saw donations stop and without international travel this source of funding disappeared. Hands Leadership worked tirelessly to explore the alternatives to see what could be done. Staff were included in discussions and budgets were looked at. As the founder of Hands, Peter Baines also started looking beyond the negative outlook and started looking at how to move forward. Rather than reacting in fear, the plan was to push towards what could be possible.

The Ride to Provide Virtual Challenge was conceived 4 weeks ago and allows people to pledge to raise $500 over the month of June and commit to riding 800km in their lounge room, or walking, running or any other way to help the Thai children and their communities. Although I admit I am biased being involved with Hands, the results have been great. There are over 200 people signed up around the world and they are all working together to do something to help. I would not be surprised if the event raises over $150,000.    

This is a great example of what leaders can do in times of chaos and fear. If you would like to find out and experience it firsthand. Please join me on the Virtual Challenge or if you can spare a few bucks click here.

In these days of uncertainty we need leaders that are moving forward and uniting people rather than staying distant and blaming.

Join a Virtual Shared Experience

Many leaders are looking for a way to get their people to connect with one another in a meaningful way.  This has been more challenging for some with people in isolation and businesses just starting to open up.

We know that when people have a shared experience they create a deeper bond or connection.  I have seen this on conferences with clients that were incredible and above and beyond the typical conference talk fest.  Way back when I was an adventure guide, I witnessed this kind of experience, when family members or close friends would stretch themselves outside their comfort zone with a new experience.  Afterwards they would have this unique smile that they would remember of the time they spent together.

If you can create a shared experience that goes above and beyond what you normally do, this will create an amazing touchpoint. Dale Beaumont runs an incredible business helping SMEs, called Business Blueprint. For the past 5 years he’s taken participants on a Business Blueprint ride in Thailand for a shared experience.  They raise money for the Thai children in the homes to help others in need and meet the staff and kids that they are helping.  It has become an incredible shared experience for them, with many coming back year after year.

So what are you doing to create shared experiences with your staff that goes above and beyond a typical staff team dinner? (Which is hard to do with COVID19!)  One shared experience that you could sign up for as a team is the Hands Across the Water Ride to Provide Virtual Challenge.    With the economic uncertainty from the COVID19 pandemic the charity sector has been hit very, very hard, Hands needs a little help.  In fact, Hands is facing its largest battle ever to find funds to keep feeding the 300+ kids and staff at 7 homes across Thailand.  

You could create a team of staff and participate in this virtual challenge.  During the month of June you could get staff active outside or inside on an exercise bike with a goal of riding, walking or other forms of exercise.  Some people will go for the virtual 800km ride challenge whilst others will set their own goal for walking, running, doing push ups or anything else that gets them moving.

A shared experience also means more if it is not just about you.  So having a fundraising element adds another dimension and can help motivate those of us that need a bit of extra!   Raising $16.60 per day during the month of June toward a target of $500 is very achievable.  In fact many people that have signed up have been surprised how easy it was on their Facebook Fundraiser to reach their target and the ride hasn’t even started yet!)

Please join me on the Virtual Challenge or if you can spare a few bucks click here.

If you are a leader remember to look for ways to create a shared experience to help deepen the bond between your people.  They will thank you for it!

Are You Up for a Virtual Challenge?

Many of us have been social distancing (or in isolation) for around 6 week, it’s been a large block of time that has changed the way we interact and connect with others.

So what are you doing to keep up your connection with others while you are social distancing? I have been talking to a number of leaders who have had many of their staff on split shifts or working from home. One of the big challenges for many people is how to balance their workload with home interruptions from others. On top of this many people have become very physically inactive. Who ever knew that sitting in front of a laptop and going from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting can be exhausting!

So what can you do to get active and connect with others? How can you get over this virtual challenge? I am glad that you asked. My wife has been running Zoom exercise classes for her elderly parents (who are still keeping to isolation due to their age). This has allowed her to spend more time with them and connect and get fit at the same time – a pretty good combination.

One challenge can be in finding something that you can do from home that allows you to get some exercise without running in the rain and cold weather (or getting back to the gym whenever they eventually open!) Another is having an activity that you can do with others to help both of you be accountable and have a shared experience that connects you as well.

As many of you know I am a Board member for Hands Across the Water. With the Australian bushfires earlier in the year and the current COVID19 pandemic the charity sector has been hit very, very hard. In fact, Hands is facing its largest battle ever to find funds to keep feeding the 300+ kids and staff that we have at our 7 homes across Thailand. The team has come up with a fun experience that will allow us to get fit, connect with others and help the kids that desperately need our help. It’s called the Ride to Provide Virtual Challenge.

During the month of June you can get active outside or inside on an exercise bike with a goal of riding 800km, which is about 45-60minutes of riding each day. You can also participate in the daily virtual rides via Zoom Webinar which allows you to connect and share your experience with others.  

So if you are looking for something unique to get in shape and to give back to others this is it. It would be great if you would join me and sign up to participate in the Ride to Provide Virtual Challenge. Or if you are already staying physically fit through other means you can help sponsor me so we can both continue the support that Hands needs. I need to raise at least $16.60 per day for every day in June to reach my target of $500.  

Please join me on the Virtual Challenge or if you can spare a few bucks click here.

If we as leaders role model what we are doing to keep active and fit as well as connect and make a difference to others, we are on the right track!

Are You Spreading Fear or Hope?

If you’re following the news headlines it looks like things are absolutely terrible. Unemployment is starting to reach unprecedented highs, economic losses in stock exchanges and many people are lost about what to do next.

Sound familiar? So the question I want to ask is are you spreading fear or hope? I had a conversation with a client yesterday who had fallen into a panic loop. With the loss of income in business, learning how to work from home (with the entire family doing the same!) and trying to get used to this new routine, she was overwhelmed by fear.  

It is very easy to let fear take over. The news headlines are dominated by the negative headlines, job losses, drops in sales, uncertainty. This makes it easy for us to get caught up in this fear as well (I am always amazed how fast fear can spread). The challenge when fear takes over is that we find it hard to look for alternatives or other opportunities. Fear can also make us an unpleasant person to be around because of the negative filter that we put on everything.

We can choose to focus on the positives and look for the subtle benefits of our new situation. Imagine what it would be like if we started focusing on the positive side of this new normal. Here are a couple of things that you may notice:  

More quality time with your immediate family. I have been truly enjoying the time at home with my wife and kids. We have been able to do things that we’d normally not be able to. Playing basketball between school and meetings during the day, playing board games, making lunch (and eating together as a family) and our extended family Zoom baking competitions have provided wonderful new experiences. When things get back to normal I will miss them.

More Time to Think & Create. With the normal fast pace of life we often get stuck on mental autopilot. We go through the motions rushing from one place to the next and don’t have time to think. Now we do! We have time to think and create and dream about how we can do things in new ways. There are plenty of online courses that you can take to learn a new skill and from home (and skip if you don’t like it!)

More Time to Support Others. My neighbour next door bought their house 5 months ago. We have seen each other a few times but we had never really talked. About a month ago he knocked on the door and said he was just checking in as a friendly neighbour and asked if we needed anything. Wow, what a nice thing to do, in fact we now do the same thing every couple weeks. I think we all have good intentions of doing the same thing and supporting others, but sometimes we get too busy and we don’t take the time. Good news is now we can.

Later this month I will be launching my new Leadership Academy which is a 12 month online program that will enable leaders to access a number of courses and modules that include videos, downloadable resources and activity checklists that you can use to help navigate and stay effective as a leader. If you would like to find out more, please click here and we will reach out to you with more information.