Flower power – diverse workplaces are more profitable long term

In nearly 15 years of working as an executive coach in London, Scotland and around the UK, it’s clearer than ever to me that when employees are accepted equally for their usual and unusual traits, you’ll get a healthier, more productive and successful work culture.

In 1800 the world population was just under 1 billion (stay with me on this!). It took over 120 years for that number of people to double to 2 billion in the 1920s. And in the subsequent 100 years, the earth’s population has more than tripled. Presently our fragile planet is supporting nearly 7.3 billion souls. So … what do these statistics have to do with workplace productivity?

With an increase in population comes and increase in diversity – intercultural & interfaith relationships; nuclear, extended and blended families; longer life spans where people to do more, see more, think more, consume more and change more; greater access to travel, education and information, all of which are mind and idea expanding.

As quickly as the population grows, alongside grows the demand for the essentials required for each person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs to be met. Change is happening faster than ever because as a species we require solutions to feed, clothe, house, educate, inform, support, entertain and inspire an ever-expanding marketplace.

Why do companies need to embrace the diversity of it’s employees? It comes back to increased population because demand for, well everything, is increasing which in turn drives global change and change, which in turn requires quickly-evolving new ideas and solutions.

It is no longer possible as a company director to fix on a ‘right way to be within this company’ and to expect thereafter to have employees be routine and formulaic in the delivery of a brand’s product or service; nor would it be reasonable to expect to be in business in 10 years time with this being the leading mindset.

Healthy, forward-focussed companies have a process where the creative and intellectual differences within their workforce are harnessed and encouraged. It’s a tough process to manage initially – especially for leaders who are wedded to full control – however the pay-backs for getting this culture right are priceless.

Some practical ways to encouraging diversity and difference include:

  • Having highly-astute, people-orientated leaders present at board level educating on diversity and inclusion from the top down on an ongoing basis
  • Creating a bi-annual CPD requirement specifically for senior directors to be updated on re-framing a team’s differences (and similarities) as being an asset
  • Designing a process where new ideas from all tiers of a company, on products, services and processes can be aired and put to the senior team for consideration and action
  • Encouraging personalisation of a work space (within reason)
  • Educating all team members on advanced communication – non-judgemental, inquisitive, respectful, possibility-orientated language
  • Encouraging hires that as a manager you know will stir things up a little (requires a leader to commit to ongoing development and constant reviewing of assumptions themselves)
  • Stay aware where assumptions may be being made around the big 7: gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and culture; and also stay aware of subtle assumptions around: body shape, dress sense, tattoos, where a person was educated, accent, car-type, capability and desire to progress.

It takes effort and awareness to spot your own assumptions. As an executive coach in the UK, this is one of the varied number of conversations I have with C-levels and senior directors in many business sectors. Remember, what our planet and its people now require to thrive is such a fast-changing formula, never be ashamed to raise your hand to say ‘here’s where my experience and knowledge remains priceless; and here’s where I could do with a new perspective’.

Leadership Success: clarity, passion, teamwork

The great thing about coaching leadership success is that it naturally has a positive ripple effect throughout the rest of the company. Directors get clear, they speak with expectation and inspiration to their managers and in turn those managers create a culture of unlimited possibilities within their teams –  a win for productivity, for the organisation and for its customers.

So what does it take for a business leader to motivate a team to operate at peak potential? Clarity, enthusiasm and motivation all contribute – that takes body, mind and heart know-how. The ‘x-factor’ for limitless results is always the same …  add soul to the equation. Here’s some of what I know about that:

Energy organises around what is most articulate in your system. When your predominant resonance is one of expectation, you attract excitement, when it’s one of progress you attract action, one of confusion you attract mixed messages, one of conflict you attract aggression, one of expansion you attract opportunities.

It’s important to equip yourself with a colourful vocabulary around the subject you’re passionate about. Practice speaking out how great it’s going to be to achieve that promotion, build that team, launch that new product line, expand into that region or sell that millionth unit.  Everything is achieved with less effort when your predominant vibration is one of already having achieved the result you’re dreaming of.

As a leader:

  • Everything you do influences others: your words, your attitude, your humour, your discipline.
  • Be clear (and if you’re not, get a coach and get clear) – because directors and managers will model your message. There’s got to be a sense that a team know how their contribution fits into the big picture, and how that’s valued overall by the organisation. Clarity will cut through timelines like nothing else in business.
  • Get to know the human capital available to you.  You may have  an Einstein on your payroll; she may know how to deliver a process or a product that’s unlike anything anyone’s see before. If that’s the case you really want to have access to that genius.

Coaching leadership success is all about placing the success of a leader’s results squarely in the realms of their own responsibility. The more you invest in yourself the more limitless the possibilities you create for yourself and for those around you – personally and professionally!

Wow, December Already … Now What?

If I were to knock on your office door tomorrow and say this:  ’Knowing that you’re guaranteed to succeed, what is your plan – personal & professional – for 2012?

  • Would you know your answer?
  • Would you smile with excitement and be able to rattle off the details?
  • And are the people who’re going to support you in those changes already briefed and onside?

If the answer to those 3 points is ‘yes’, then congratulations, you can save yourself 2 minutes by skipping the rest of this blog and going back to your joyous state of clarity & attracting the dream!

For those who aren’t clear about what you’d like to see manifest before December 2012, that’s ok, welcome to the tribe!

Forward planning doesn’t have to be a laborious, drawn out kind of process, however, if you want a significantly improved version of this year though, trust me the 30 minutes you invest in this little exercise will be the most precious time you’ve spent … ever. Here’s the strategy:

  • Book a 30 minute meeting with yourself within the next 7 days and write it into your diary (because if it’s in there and you treat yourself with the respect you treat other people, you’ll stick to it!)
  • Go somewhere quiet whether it’s in the office or in the house, or out to a favorite hide away in a library or a coffee shop (and put your I’m-serious-don’t-bother-me face on so that people know to keep their distance)
  • Ask What Do I Want? …. and with your blank paper and pen at the ready, let this simplest and most powerful question in the world sink beyond your intellect and into your heart & soul … just wait … then
  • Write your thoughts down, and if it helps use these 8 headings: Career; Finances; Relationship; Friends & Family; Health; Recreation; Personal Growth; Service to Others (if you’re not that structured, just let all the ideas in your mind find their own words and form on the page)
  • Hold the mindset of ‘I’m guaranteed to succeed’ – and write from that place of trusting (because for sure your sub-conscious has a field day during these tasks with ‘but … well you can’t because … what will people say … how are you qualified … who’s going to listen … it’s never been done’). Be courageous with the intentions of your future.

When you’re finished the excercise – that’s round 1 done. Congratulations!

Round 2 happens over the next 5 days, when once a day for 10 minutes you re-read your vision and check in with yourself how that feels. Picture yourself living the reality that you’ve created for yourself and remind yourself ‘I’m guaranteed to succeed!’.

The trick with all of this mindset mastery is to keep away from the ‘how’. It’s counter-intuitive I know, but when we learn the skill of holding intentions without limiting the outcomes by leading with our intellect, that’s when we tap into ‘success with soul’, infinite possibility and extraordinary & speedy results.

Round 3 happens by paying attention to how the thoughts you think and the actions you take over the rest of this month are subtly reframed and purposeful. Regularly read and meditate on your 2012 plan throughout December and on through the beginning of the new year. Relax about how it’s going to play out.

It IS going to play out.

Born for Something Bigger

How much do you think you compromise on a day-to-day basis? Do you do it in work, in your relationships, in the stories you tell yourself about the choices you do and don’t have? Where did you learn those notions, those stories you tell yourself are ‘the one right way’? And is it easier to justify the justifying because you’re surrounded by people who are doing the exact same thing?

If any of this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone!. I’ve had some extraordinary conversations this week with successful directors in choice corporate positions. Some of the cultural assumptions I’m hearing include:

  • I don’t have a choice really, that’s where the company’s headed, everyone’s in the same boat
  • Although I dread work sometimes, I’m lucky really … loads of people I know would love to have this job
  • I couldn’t set up on my own – it would take years to match this salary and my family are depending on me
  • If I stepped up to a more senior role I’d be more accountable and that means more hours
  • Noone has conversations about ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ here – it’s just not done – I’d be laughed at

Without transparent conversation everyone thinks they’re the only one who’s not living the dream, the only one who’s compromising and the only one who’s frustrated that today is SO predictably similar to yesterday and, god forbid, tomorrow too! The truth is that most of your colleagues are aspiring to evolve, to have real conversations about real things and to start to live as authentically in their place of work as they do outside.

So where do you start with something as significant as playing a bigger game? It’s a step-at-a-time kind of process, but start today and you’ll be telling some entirely different stories in a short month’s time. Here are some suggestions:

  • Once a day, say something genuine (a compliment, an observation, a personal thought) that stretches you out of your comfort zone: ‘I liked the way you spoke to that client. You’re very sincere. I find it challenging to shift my mind away from corporate targets and relate so openly.’
  • Ask at least 1 question (beyond ‘how are you, fine?’!!) of each person you speak with in a day that’s not work-related
  • Genuinely listen to what’s being said and ask yourself (and others) – ‘how could we add more meaning to this’
  • Talk to your customers, readers, viewers, listeners and ask them how what’s good could be better
  • Commit to personal & professional mastery and do one thing each day that makes your life richer

Ultimately a company is as successful as those who are leading it, holding the vision, and connecting the purpose of their culture, product & service to the relevance of their customers lives. When you step out of the intellect and engage with ‘meaning’ you let go the effort of up-stream and start to move with the current.

When you say ‘I messed up’,it’s real & people can relate. When you say ‘I don’t know, can we figure it out together’ there’s shared purpose. When you speak out that ‘Let’s hold an intention that in 6 months time we’ll all be working less, earning more and in our freed up time be doing more sport, playing more music and hanging out more with our partners … let’s make that happen’, you’re tapping into an energy that has the power to engage massive creativity & solutions.

Playing BIG is an arena where justifications are replace by opportunities. Only YOU know your heart (and if you’re not 100% clear, then 2 hours in a quiet room with a blank piece of paper and this question ‘What do I really want’ – work, romance, finances, health, recreation, family & friends, personal growth, service to others – will get you significantly closer to your answer). Only YOU know how this part of your career fits with your biggest purpose.

Playing BIG is not rocket science. You DO have to separate yourself from the ‘nay sayers’. You DO have to develop a process of conscious observation of your own limited thinking. You DO have to be bold, say yes … and leap.

The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it’s conformity!

The CEO and Business Leaders’ Solutions to Simplify

When conducting seminars and workshops for leaders of medium and large companies, occasionally I’ll meet a“revealer.” These are the people who will speak out about their success process without being nervous of disclosing techniques.

It’s a positive trait, and one where I can take the opportunity to further explore a leader’s strategies: “How did you do it?”, “What were your biggest challenges”, “what kept you motivated”.

For some it was the right timing, for others they brought the right team around them, and for others still they acted ‘consciously’ as much as possible, constantly refining their vision and leadership until the point of breakthrough. Without exception though every successful leader I speak to hasdeveloped methods of belief and persistence and they’ve invested time… A LOT of time.

Some talk about the early days when 16 to 20 hour days were required just to meet their objectives for the month! We’ve all touched on a bit of that madness, but sustaining this sort of time commitment is a catalyst for a breakdown. So …

How do we create sustainable success? How do we accomplish growth over short and long periodswith the least effort possible? How do we use our unique talents in the most effective way to lead and to inspire increase?

The secret … simplify!

Here’s what the “revealers”, and the more reserved leaders, say about cultivating simplicity:

  • Develop deep intuition:
    Don’t be guided by your impulses or by a range of opinions from others who aren’t fully invested in the vision or the outcome. Relax, sit down, and ask yourself, “how does this process / decision contribute to the big picture”, “what other choices and resources do I have available”, “Is this the most efficient& effective way to proceed?”
  • Delegate efficiently:
    Micro-managing is limiting. You can pioneer a new process … but then source someone who’s gifted in that area to do subsequent repetitions – a designer, administrator, presenter, team-builder or technical genius. They needn’t be in-house. Train them, empower them and trust them to do what they do best. And you? You move forward and do what you do best.
  • Embrace technology:
    Banking, accounting, communicating, sharing, updating, planning, storing, processing — there are some awesome technologies out there (and more cost effective and innovative than in-house teams sometimes)that aren’t taken advantage of by the biggest companies. Embracing technology may take some investment but when it streamlines your business and reduces your long-term costs – you’ll be glad you were smart and brave ‘back then’ to make the shift.
  • Honour deadlines:
    Put a limit on how much time you spend on marketing, financing, recruiting, innovating, delivering and conducting meetings. The goal here is to keep to a flow of innovation, development, launching, feedback and refinement. The ‘pressure’ of a deadline can expose extraordinary creativity. And I’ve seen inspired leaders ‘un-develop’ their perfectionist tendencies and create rapid growth using the mantra ‘good is good enough’.
  • Collaborate:
    The best strategic partnerships will shortcut the amount of time you spend looking for new customers, suppliers, vendors, networks and systems. The future of successful business is becoming less about secrecy and competition and shifting more towards rich customer relationship, service, sharing, collaborating, empathetic joint ventures and transparentshared knowledge.

12 Principles for Using the Law of Attraction: Part 2

… continued …

6. Law of Connection: nothing happens by chance. Every action has a consequence or a reaction. Everything is energy – light, sound, heat, emotions, thought, even those things that appear static or solid, like rocks, sea, cars, jewels and planets. We are connected through this field of energy to all other beings, to the things we desire and to Source itself. All that we do has a greater consequence in contributing to the ‘everythingness’ of the universe. Like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples are ever expansive. We reap what we sow.

“Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul” Dr Wayne Dyer

7. Law of Rhythm: everything has a flow. Seasons, cycles, stages of development, patterns. Night follows day, tides rise and fall, wake follows sleep, peace follows conflict and wisdom follows challenge. When we begin to live conscious lives the cycles become clearer and it allow us to step back from challenges, pain or learning curves and say ‘it’s part of life in same way as happiness, victories and progress’ – we live trusting that this too will pass.

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each” Henry David Thoreau

8. Law of Allowing: all things manifest from thought to form in their right time. Our holding to these laws, practicing, refining ourselves and committing to lifelong learning is what’s called for here. If we’re thinking the thoughts and taking the action, the rest is about trusting the process. The more we can let go of our limited agenda and allow the universe to do it’s stuff (and allow other people to do theirs too!), the more room it has to maneuver a stunning result.

“Once we plant the seed of intention in the ground of pure potentiality, our soul’s journey unfolds automatically, as naturally as a bulb becomes a tulip or an embryo becomes a child” Deepak Chopra

9. Law of Patience and Reward: true mastery requires patient persistence, expectancy and joy as we focus on the goal. Know that success doesn’t lie at the destination, it exists in every moment of HOW we journey. Developing that mindset includes the art of allowing and that combination is powerful in manifesting the dream you’re heading for.

“He that can have patience, can have what he will” Benjamin Franklin

11. Law of Humility: the purpose of an individual is unique. Whilst there may be similarities to what other people are creating in their time here on earth, your life is not theirs and theirs not yours. Each life mix is as individual as a fingerprint – history, expectations, family, fitness, intellect and spiritual journey. Allow difference. Respect it. Celebrate it. There are many right ways. Be constantly aware to acknowledge and encourage others’ chosen path and keep well away from comparison unless it serves to inspire you.

“It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is” Hermann Hesse


12. Law of Gratitude: an attitude of gratitude aligns purpose, soul and Source in one straight line. Developing gratitude and feeling it deeply on a moment-to-moment basis (which takes practice!!) is like laying a flawless road for a performance car; the potential for speed is immense. Being grateful when living with challenges is when the skill of ‘reframing’ comes into its own. I want to be thinner – ‘I’m grateful that today I lost a pound’; I want to earn more – ‘I’m grateful for my contacts at director level’; I want to find my soul-mate – ‘I’m grateful for my social life and friends’.

“When you are grateful, fear dissolves and abundance appears” Anthony Robbins

Remember … Everything is energy. And thoughts become things.

This is the briefest outline of the Universal Laws of Success. Knowing them and adjusting your life to fully benefit from them aren’t so far apart, however it requires intimate understanding of the principles and disciplined habit changing. Simple … but not easy. You’ve got to want the results and be willing to do the learning and make the adjustments!

What I can tell you is this though. As a Success with Soul Coach, I’ve seen clients embrace these secrets with dramatic effect– not even all of them, just one or two pertinent to their particular circumstance. I’ve had clients double their salary while reducing the number of days at work; shift to a new career & country; get pregnant after years of trying; get fitness goals on track within weeks; renew on-the-edge professional relationships to a place of respect ; and receive unexpected money in the mail. These are exceptional examples in a short time frame, however they demonstrate that the laws do work. In other cases, clients have reported increased happiness and meaning; a greater sense of connection and purpose; more inspiration and motivation; and an overwhelming sense of peace.

Personally, you can’t put a price on that stuff – it’s where miracles begin.

12 Principles for Using the Law of Attraction: Part 1

Here are the first 6 of the 12 universal principles which form the basis of all success generated on the planet.

Being ‘universal’ means that they apply to you whether or not you’re aware of them, much like gravity. However, knowing the principles is the first step to increasing your choices and raising your game in health, wealth, love and happiness, so … read on, you’re in the right place.

1. Law of Thinking: thoughts are catalysts, shifting dreams into form. Using thought every second of every day, each of us is the creator of our own life experiences, our own reality. So if we change our thoughts, we change our world.

“What we think, we become” Buddha

2. Law of Abundance: There is infinite supply for each of us to create our dreams – materials, people, resources, power, energy, knowledge, passion and wealth. More for someone else doesn’t mean less for you. Body, mind, heart and soul will thrive in this life when we embrace the true meaning of abundance. If you can think it, you can create it.

“When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you” Lao Tzu

3. Law of Expansion: Change is a constant and through it the universe intends for growth. Each of us has a unique purpose in the short time we exist in this physical form. You can choose to engage with personal progress or at any time to sit it out – neither is better than the other. Expansion happens you in an infinite number of ways; deep thinking, experiencing, mediating, praising, sharing, collaborating, acknowledging, intending, reading, writing, coaching, mentoring … forever.

“All change is not growth; as all movement is not forward” Ellen Glasgow

4. Law of Attraction: thoughts, feelings, words and actions produce energies which vibrate out from us, then in turn, attract like energies towards us. What we focus on we attract. By paying attention to what is inspiring, positive and affirming, we attract back those same energies in various forms.

“ … Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if something is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things” Philippians 4:8

5. Law of Responsibility: to experience success, take 100% responsibility for everything in your life, positive or challenging. Give up blaming and complaining. Think. Work out what has to change, then change it. Only when you make decisions from a place of 100% responsibility can you take charge of the future you’re designing for yourself.

“I am the master of my soul: I am the captain of my ship” William Ernest Henley

6. Law of Action: life requires our participation. To manifest on earth we must translate our thoughts into action. Even the smallest action towards our goal counts – a conversation had, a compliment given, a form completed, a piece of research filed, a cup of coffee well made, a gathering of like minds, a ticket booked, an article written, and email sent – all inspired action whether to further our career, health, relationships or knowledge is increased by the universe under the law of expansion.

“The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” Confusious

… Laws 7-12 will follow shortly on my next blog …

The ‘Way-Showers’ to Attract Abundance

How often have to heard successful business leaders say that their prosperity was attracted to them as opposed to having to work hard for it? Hardly ever right?

Whilst space along the extra mile is still pretty plentiful, things are changing and business leaders are becoming more conscious in developing themselves to the full. Shared wisdom is valuable when it comes from leaders who have put their theories to the test and prospered. Let’s look at some:

  • “I try to learn from the past, and I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s were the fun is.” Donald Trump: multi-billionaire property tycoon
  • “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” Mark Victor Hansen: millionaire author, speaker, coach
  • “I believe in myself. I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love.” Richard Branson: world-renowned entrepreneur & visionary
  • “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” Oprah Winfrey: media-mogul, presenter, author, entrepreneur

So fun, action taking, self belief, successful thinking, personal responsibility and persistence. These are all brilliant abundance attracting tools. PLUS one essential extra ingredient … clarity!!! To begin to develop our full potential, you’ve got to be clear what you’re trying to move towards and why.

“You have sole ownership of your vision. And the Universe will give you what you want within your vision. What happens with most people is that they muddy their vision with ‘reality’. Their vision becomes full of not only what they want but what everybody else thinks about what they want, too. Your work is to clarify and purify your vision so that the vibration that you are offering can then be answered.” Abraham Hicks

The difference between chasing abundance and attracting it is the difference between referencing the outside world and trusting your internal universe. Developing soul, meaning, fulfillment and awareness is the domain of our future leaders. They’re rising up already in business, music, sport, science, media and health.

Let’s give an expert the final word on this topic:

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” Dr Wayne Dyer: philosopher, author, speaker, businessman

Attracting abundance – the power lies in simplicity.

Everything is Energy

I’ve been reading this amazing book – The Wave, by Susan Casey. I’m gripped! It’s research into understanding ocean waves, from regular moon pulling currents, to random, ship-splitting, gargantuan rogue waves. And about how surfers use and interact with the ocean, especially now there’s a $500,000.00 price tag out there from Billabong (world’s no. 1 surf brand) for the first person (or nutter!) to surf a 100ft wave.

What’s really drawing me about the book is the detail of the culture of the world’s surfing elite. The passion involved, the commitment, the risks, the relationships, the trust and the victory when a new and mighty wave is conquered; and overriding all of this a soul-centred respect for a power greater than ourselves.

I see parallels of this tribe mirrored in all walks of life – business, sport, science, faith, family, nature. A confirmation that passion drives us, wipe-outs happen, persistence brings success, and connection to your purpose adds something ‘other-worldly’ to your journey of success.

Everything is energy!