Tag Archives | skills

Inspiring Peak Performance, Every Time!

It’s 15 years ago this week that PK and I held the hands of Steve Lyons as he passed away in Kuala Lumpur from cancer. I recall the most powerful and inspiring habit Steve had. It defined him. And stays with me today. Do you do this? If not- start now!

You don’t remember what someone said, or what they did, but you always remember the way they made you feel. And Steve Lyons was an absolutely master at making you feel incredible. Steve made you feel everything and anything was possible- was within your grasp. He lifted your spirits, ambition, drive. He made your heart beat faster. All who were touched by Steve know exactly what I mean.

Here’s what Steve would do that was so inspiring. So simple. So powerful. Steve, quite simply:

The New Black In Career Management

Heed this critical lesson from a young truffle farmer from the Luberon, Provence, if you are to safe-guard your career. Ignore it at your peril. Embrace it and thrive.

Johann was energized: “I quit banking to run my 90 year old grandfather’s farm. I am his sole heir, and needed to get involved. It was pretty run down. Some olive trees, and vines. I realized my only route to survival was to diversify- to add new revenue streams and offerings that could cater to a wider range of customer, and provide protection from seasonal factors beyond our control.

“I’ve planted more olives, have a ‘sponsor an olive tree’ program under way, have started farming truffles, have created a ‘truffle hunting’ tourist activity, we have bees for honey, offer wine crushing experiences, charge a fee for tourists to pick grapes and olives, and will also start fishing tours of the lake and river. It’s the only way we keep up with change, and leverage what this place has to offer.”

I listened in awe. Johann’s approach was so wise. And it struck me that it is exactly what anyone in business today needs to be doing if their careers are to thrive.

Why “Follow Your Passions” Is Dangerous Advice

I learnt something this week which will stop me from ever encouraging anyone to ‘follow their passions.’ Oh- I’ve said it many times. But never again. It’s just too dangerous advice. Here’s why.

I know of several young adults finishing school who are deciding career paths, and university course choices. My advice to them: ‘Follow your passions.’ It’s the new age approach, right? Then I actually thought about it. It’s deeply flawed counsel. How on earth does a 17 year old have any clue what their passions are? I’m 54 and am only just getting some clarity on what these might be for me.

Sir Ken Robinson talks about ‘working in your element’: doing what you love and what you’re good at. It’s within that concept that the best advice to any younger talent lies. It’s not about passion. It’s about the other bit. Here it is:

Want An Awesome Career? Buy A Pair Of Ataturk’s Binoculars

I just read a biography of great Turkish leader Ataturk, instrumental in the defeat of Australian forces at Gallipoli in World War 1. And it was at the most decisive moment of that battle that I learnt a lesson from Ataturk that is vital if we want robust, opportunity filled careers. Weird, but true. Here it is.

Ataturk was a mid-level commander at the time. He arrived at Gallipoli soon after Australian forces had landed, were streaming up this key hill, and with Turkish troops fleeing in panic. Within moments the Australians would have triumphed and history’s course changed forever. Ataturk ordered his men to stop, fix bayonets and drop to the ground. The approaching Australians saw this and, anticipating a Turkish charge, also dropped to the ground, and waited. In the ensuing lull, reserve Turkish troops arrived- many with big machine guns- , and the battle turned to a massive Australian defeat.

So where’s the lesson for our careers? Here’s the key sentence that provides the compass point:

How To Ensure You Have A Vibrant Future – One Simple Approach

I have been working on what I might want to do next in my career when it’s time to take that step. I thought I had an excellent plan developed, until I heard something this week that showed how wrong I was. It’s a vitally important lesson for careers and businesses. Here it is.

I was having breakfast with CEO Mike in Newcastle recently. We went through my scores against my five ‘Job Satisfaction’ criteria – which self-rates whether the role you are in is the right role for you. Check it out.

My scores that Newcastle morning were low. I was feeling flat about my role. It happens! CEO Mike and I then discussed a plan on how I could raise my ‘satisfaction’ scores against the five criteria. I am working on those actions now, and my scores are rising! The chat made me think hard, though, about what I would do next (hopefully within STW) when this role runs its course, which inevitably it will. I thought about my skills, and crafted an action plan to leverage them.