Dream Big! (and believe)



Richie McCaw wrote out his dream to become an All Black by 2004 when he was still a teenager. He set out his goals, from national age group sides all the way through to the Test arena, and then signed the document, “G.A.D”. (Great All Black)

He achieved his dream 3 years ahead of his plan!

Henry Ford famously said…“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.”

Don’t underestimate the power of having the right mindset. If you don’t believe you can, you won’t, but if you believe you can…you just might!

  • set your goal high (and believe it!)
  • identify the steps to success
  • practice your chosen skill/art/sport…whatever…relentlessly!
  • think positively not negatively

What is your goal?  Do you believe it?

Achieving Success – Its down to you!

How can you achieve success and happiness in your work and life generally?

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get”     W.P. Kinsella


Success is how you define it, its personal to you. It’s not necessarily about fame and fortune! It might be for some, but for most people it is about making progress, being recognised and achieving personal goals. However you define your success there are three common traits displayed by ‘successful/happy’ people:


  • Ownership – they never blame anyone for anything that happens to them. They always take responsibility for what happens in their lives – they feel in control. If an outcome doesn’t go the way they wanted they ask themselves – ‘what could I have done differently?’ (…and what will I do differently next time!)
  • Focus – they always have a direction of travel. There is always a focus on achieving a goal or set of goals. They don’t tend to wander aimlessly through life.
  • Positivity – their glass is always half-full. They believe that everything will turn out OK in the end and have an optimistic outlook on life.

Top tips for developing these traits:

  1. Reflect on things – what happened? What could you do differently to achieve a different outcome?
  2. Try new approaches – test yourself and see what happens!
  3. Adopt an attitude of ‘self-ownership and accountability’ – when things go wrong don’t blame anyone else but yourself!
  4. Set goals and keep an eye of your progress – review regularly
  5. Focus on the key activities to achieve your goals and make sure you spend the right amount of time doing them
  6. Think positively – try some positive affirmations when you wake up and when you go to bed
  7. Exercise and eat healthily (it makes a difference!)
  8. Reward yourself when you achieve a goal – if no one else will maybe you should pat yourself on the back!


Collaborate to compete!

“Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit”

Collaborative leadership is an essential skill that all managers and leaders must master – especially as businesses today (public, private and third sector) are becoming more and more complex. In her blog, Carol Kinsey Gorman explains why collaborative leadership is vital in today’s world.

…leaders need to rely more than ever on the intelligence and resourcefulness of their staff. Collaboration is not a “nice to have” organizational philosophy. It is an essential ingredient for organizational survival and success….. Carol Kinsey Goman Read her full blog here

You can develop your collaborative skills by adopting some of these activities in your day-to-day work:

  • Management By Walking About – some of the most effective managers use this to great benefit. Read more at my blog Walk, Listen, Change!
  • Be open in your communication style – engage, encourage and listen
  • Encourage your people to challenge you – you should be comfortable with the decisions you are making and be able to discuss with your teams
  • Share your knowledge – ‘Knowledge is power – but only when it is shared!’
  • Be clear about your goals and objectives – and consult on how to achieve them
  • Become a facilitator to get the best out of your people

Are you a collaborative leader? How do you achieve effective collaboration with your teams?

Commitment to Leadership!


‘Commitment‘ a simple definition: Making a commitment involves dedicating yourself to something!

A blog by Charles Specht puts it like this for leaders:

“The Definition of Leadership is planted in the Soil of commitment” 

Mentally tough, resilient leaders will show strong commitment in terms of:

  • Their focus on goals, objectives and critical tasks
  • Supporting their teams – through effective development and performance management

Organisations need committed leaders as their people will not respond well to those who are not committed. If you want to develop your own leadership commitment try some of these tips:

  1. Communicate your intentions – start by communicating with yourself! Set your own vision/goals/aims/objectives (whatever you want to call them) and set them out in a clear understandable way. It’s not a bad idea to communicate to your team as well – do it in a positive way and not just by email!
  2. Plan – set some key milestones that need to be achieved if you are to reach your goals – these will form the basis of your plan and give you a measuring stick to keep you on track
  3. Seek feedback – consult widely at the start, during the process and at the end – this will help keep the agenda uppermost in your mind and in the minds of your team. Remember to ‘listen’ and alter course as necessary
  4. Conscious Awareness – self-discipline depends upon conscious awareness as to both what you are doing and what you are not doing. Think about it. If you aren’t aware your behaviour is undisciplined, how will you know to act otherwise? Practice self-reflection each week – look back at particular issues and challenges and try and review them objectively and from the perspective of others
  5. Courage – you will need to be brave! Making this work will probably mean you have to come out of your comfort zone at times. If it was easy everyone would do it!
  6. Internal Coaching – self-talk can also be extremely beneficial when used effectively. When you find yourself being tested, talk to yourself, encourage yourself and reassure yourself. After all, it is self-talk that has the ability to remind you of your goals, call up courage, reinforce your commitment and keep you conscious of the task at hand.

How do you stay committed? All comments welcome

You need courage to have integrity!



“Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty”

Why do you need to have integrity as a leader?

It is claimed that leaders need integrity in order to function effectively. Integrity is seen as a positive attribute. When it is said that person “has integrity” it is a compliment, meaning honesty and strong character. Integrity derives from the Latin root “integer” meaning whole, or complete therefore combination of the two terms: leading completely (Suggs, 2007).

Do you have integrity as a leader? If you want build your own integrity try some of these tips:

  • Reflect on your decisions and ask the question – have I thought about the moral aspect of my decision?
  • Look at your own professionalism – are you on time, do you meet deadlines, do you pass on blame to others. Be self-critical and identify areas you can change!
  • Be honest with your boss – if you can’t do something, say so – find opportunities to develop and improve.
  • Set your own high standards and stick to them. Others don’t always follow positive behaviour – but many more will copy poor behaviour!
  • Be honest with your team – be candid and truthful! Help your team develop through effective objectives and feedback.
  • Don’t get involved in gossip and negative talk at work (or anywhere) – you will come across as negative and untrustworthy.
  • Listen to people and respect their opinions! By all means disagree and discuss, but do it with open ears!

If you believe you have integrity as a leader – how do you measure it? Comments always welcome

‘Mindful’ Leadership – get to know your yourself!

 self aware

According to Wikipedia – Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.
In leadership it is critical to be ‘self-aware’ and to know what your key strengths and weaknesses are. Being able to see, understand and deal effectively with others’ perspectives is key to successful leadership. That capacity, part of self-awareness, is empathy.

The NHS Leadership Academy describes how self-aware leaders can:

  • Recognise and articulate their own values and principles, understanding how these may differ from those of other individuals and groups
  • Identify their own strengths and limitations, the impact of their behaviour on others, and the effect of stress on their own behaviour
  • Identify their own emotions and prejudices and understand how these can affect their judgment and behaviour
  • Obtain, analyse and act on feedback from a variety of sources.

If you want to develop your own self-awareness you could try some of these ideas:

  1. Ask for feedback – from your boss and/or others around you
  2. Use psychometric testing to assess your strengths and weaknesses – there are plenty on the market – generally online
  3. Start using ‘self-reflection’ to look objectively at issues/events from the last week or month. Put yourself in others shoes to see how you feel about your own actions and decisions
  4. Always ask the question – What could I have done differently? Be critical (but constructive) about your own actions and behaviours

If you use any other self-reflective practices please let me have your feedback!

Get confident!

confidence paint

Confidence is a key element in developing mental toughness and resilience. Developing your confidence will help inspire confidence in others. (your audience, peers, bosses, customers and friends) Organisations that develop confident leadership are generally more successful than their competitors.

The good news is that self-confidence really can be learned and built on. And, whether you’re working on your own self-confidence or building the confidence of people around you, it’s well-worth the effort!

The two areas to focus on are:

  • Confidence in your abilities
  • Interpersonal confidence

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Create your goals – be clear what you want to achieve and develop some SMART goals to work towards
  2. Plan! Look at a logical approach to achieving your aims and objectives – have a plan and stick to it
  3. Build on your strengths – write down what you are good at and remind yourself regularly – these strengths should be used to gain any advantage or help you achieve results
  4. Get the right mind-set
    a. Self-talk – Positive affirmations and self-talk can improve your confidence in a short space of time. I find it useful to create some simple affirmations that can be used depending on the situation e.g. before an interview or a presentation
    b. Visualisation – sports people have been using visualisation techniques for some time. A great example is Johnny Wilkinson and how he ‘visualises’ the ball going over the bar for a rugby kick. You can do the same by visualising the outcome that you want!
  5. Research and study – increase your knowledge in areas that may be a little weak. Doing this will give you more confidence, especially when discussing topics/meeting with other colleagues etc.

Building confidence takes time and you should keep practicing these and other techniques to build your own over time.

Do you have any other techniques that you use?

Do you even know how you lead?

“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision, or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through the emotions”   Daniel Goleman

Self-awareness and understanding your leadership style are two cornerstones for leadership development. Daniel Goleman developed six leadership styles (listed below) and from his research found that leaders use one of these styles (depending on their preferences and the situation)

  1.  Coercive – The leader who encourages their teams to do what they are told. Decisive leaders who exude confidence and efficiency – “Do what I tell you”
  2. Authoritative –  The leader who inspires others through their mastery of domain and personal charisma, motivating others to follow – “Come with me”
  3. Affilliative –  The leader who places peoples needs first and interests above all else, building dedication and loyalty through the creation of emotional caches – “People come first”
  4. Democratic –  The Democratic leader leads by inclusion, empowering the team to participate strategically and creating a sense of shared purpose and joint responsibility – “What do you think?”
  5. Pace setting–  Pace setting leaders lead by example, setting a bar of excellence, encouraging others to be as professional, expert and hard working as them. Through their example they set a clear standard for commitment and impact – “Do as I do, now”
  6. Coaching –  Coaching leaders focus on the constant renewal and growth of the team. By developing others, they improve performance and develop the long-term capacity of an organisation – “Try this”

As leaders and managers we all will gravitate towards a certain style of leadership. It is important to understand what preference you have and to be able to adopt variations as and when the situation requires.

What stytle of leadership do you prefer? Is it always effective?

Mental Toughness – developing your Leadership MOJO

Mental Toughness is an agenda fast gaining momentum across the sports, education and business worlds. It is defined as:

….a quality which determines, in some part, how effectively individuals perform when exposed to stressors, pressure and challenge….irrespective of the prevailing situation. (Clough & Strycharczyk 2006)

‘Resilience’ is a word often used when discussing Mental Toughness – Resilience can be described as:

‘The ability to recover quickly from change, setback or misfortune’

My simple view is that people with strong mental toughness can (and do) make excellent leaders. The question often asked is whether you can develop stronger mental toughness?…thankfully the answer is yes!

The four key components of mental toughness are:

  • Challenge – an individual’s approach to challenge (or change) and whether they see problems/obstacles or opportunities
  • Control – The extent someone feels they are in control – some feel external factors control everything where others have a strong sense of self-control and influence over external activities
  • Commitment – The extent to which an individual persists with tasks and goals – either with a strong focus on delivery or the other end of the scale, easily distracted and diverted from the end goal.
  • Confidence – Individuals high in confidence have the self-belief to complete successfully tasks that may be considered too difficult by individuals with similar abilities but lower confidence.

Leaders who develop their mental toughness will deliver better results in terms of performance, quality and the bottom line…..maybe more organisations should be focusing more development activity to their leadership Mojo?

As ever – always happy to hear your views.

Collaboration – We are Better Together!

“The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other”   Thomas Stallkamp

Collaboration is a key skill that all leaders (whatever level) should master. Problem solving is difficult at the best of times, but when the manager thinks the most productive way is to lock themselves away to create a solution you have to worry for the organisation!

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”    Henry Ford

Collaboration not only equals a happier workforce, it represents an educated one. This is because it naturally inspires a sense of community within an organisation, meaning that employees feel almost like they are a part of a family. Additionally, collaboration allows employees to learn from each other and the leadership.

Collaboration can help across many areas in business:

  • Project delivery
  • Problem solving
  • Relationship management
  • Managing conflicts
  • Sharing best practice
    And I am sure many more……

Effective collaboration is essential for creating value. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons we create corporations, because organisations are more effective than individuals at allocating resources. Leigh Weiss – Collaboration Embraces Conflict

Although collaboration can be informal it might be useful to follow some structure to ensure you maximise the potential for positive results:

  1. Clarify the purpose – what is the desired outcome?
  2. Involve the right people – possibly through some stakeholder mapping
  3. Develop a clear brief with goals/objectives and who is responsible for what? A workshop approach could be good!
  4. Develop a plan!
  5. Agree your communications structure and how the collaboration will be measures/monitored
  6. Create a positive climate – always seek consensus!
  7. Learn as you go along – it will be helpful for the current collaboration as well as future ones!

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”   Andrew Carnegie

Have you successfully collaborated? If so what did you learn and would you change anything?