15th September 2017

Yikes, it’s nearly the weekend, hold on tight we’re headed into Autumn.

1. Quote I’m pondering this week “Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves and spend without fear of bankruptcy” – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh. I still actively write in my gratitude journal everyday (https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal) and my life is far from perfect (who’s is?) though I make sure to be grateful for the smallest things, they can add up to a wonderful life.

2. Wow, cryptocurrency is starting to go mainstream. Interestingly, many people under 35 are viewing crypto currency as their retirement fund, seeing traditional markets as corrupt and failing us, great article here https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/style/what-is-cryptocurrency.html?mcubz=3

3. A couple of years ago I read the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris. It literally changed me within the course of a week and I’ve never looked back. Recently I started listening to his podcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/10-happier-with-dan-harris/id1087147821?mt=2 He has some great guests and I highly recommend it if living life to the full interests you.

4. A few years ago I decided to stop reading magazines, watching the news and filling my life with content decided by corporations. I broke that rule for the last year with just one publication. I’ve been receiving Inc magazine each month, I think it’s worth it. I used to get HBR though it’s a year or 2 behind the times as represents large corporations. Inc is all about startups and its subjects are at the tip of the spear. It’s dirt cheap to subscribe in the USA (just Google it) for those in the UK interested have a look here:

5. Book I’m reading The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni – it’s all about the importance of organisational health, it trumps everything and I agree. It’s a great book. For those that don’t fancy another book in their life you can listen to this 20 minute synopsis that’s pretty good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8JxBfhKyJM


8th September 2017

It’s 5 share Friday again! I’m not sure why it’s 5 when I’ve read the science behind humans only remembering 3 things, but hey, 2 extra for the price of 3 isn’t bad.
1. Quote I’m pondering this week “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” Earl Nightingale
2. A friend inspired me to look at Intermittent fasting as it’s coming to light that this helps with ageing. I’ve been researching Art De Vany in light of this as he covers whole life (including fasting)
http://www.cbass.com/TheNewEvolutionDiet.htm I’m skipping various meals during the week and already feeling better for it.
3. Wondering which country to move to later in life? I am, this is helping and it’s also an insightful look at how to use the data https://www.inc.com/quora/these-surprising-countries-will-be-amazing-places-to-live-in-30-years.html
4. Book I’m reading: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World it’s pretty amazing and full of data analysis for those who like that sort of thing (the type of analysis that’s high level).
5. A friend shared this link with me: https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-10-23/world-actually-safer-ever-and-heres-data-prove it’s got lots of data, check it out, it’s interesting stuff.

1st September 2017

It’s here! It’s Friday! It’s time to read about random stuff that will delete the important stuff from your brain.
1. Watch this TED talk to see examples of data rigging and how reports can summarise incorrect outcomes from data. Ben has an awesome book called Bad Science, highly recommended reading!
2. Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist history returned with season 2! No one rewires my brain like this guy, he is an incredible writer and thinker. If you don’t do podcasting, I still urge you to take the 35-40 minutes each week to listen to MG’s episodes, you won’t regret it – Think different, learn how with MG.
3. Take supplements? Want to live healthier and longer? I read this book when it was released a few years back and have been experimenting with several aspects since. One of the largest changes I’ve made is reducing my supplements to just a pro biotic a few times a week. The Vitamin industry is $25 billion. Dr. Agus profiles several studies on vitamins that actually have more of a negative affect instead of a positive effect. The data shows that we should NOT take vitamins. This is a great read if you don’t want to look at the book: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/06/science-medicine-diet-david-agus-longevity-data-health-policy-disease-cure-end-of-illness
4. Heard of Jo Robinson? I hadn’t until a few months back, I got her book and have changed how I buy and store my fresh food. Check it out and get more nutrients from your diet and dump those supplements. http://www.eatwild.com/jo.html
5. Seen these slippers advertised everywhere? Me too! I finally bought a pair and holy sh#t they are the best slipper in the world. If you love your feet you’ll be willing to spend the money, they are lovely.

A philosophy for effective leadership

On my continuous journey to being an effective leader I’ve made many mistakes and continually learn from them and the people I meet along the way. I’ve worked with amazing people as well as what Steve Jobs called ‘bozos’. In my current role at Microsoft I’ve given plenty of focus on preventing a ‘bozo explosion’ within my team, Guy Kawasaki wrote a good blog post on this https://guykawasaki.com/how_to_prevent_/ 

Keeping and only hiring the best people is key to success, make sure the people who surround you are better than you and people you can learn from. If you have one mediocre person, that person attracts other mediocre people and before you know it you have a bozo explosion, a depressingly common occurrence in large teams and organizations…This is top of my list in being an effective leader.

1st. Hire and retain amazing and talented people

While on a sabbatical in the late nineties, I read Stephen R Coveys Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He emphasizes that you manage ‘things’ and ‘lead’ people. This has resonated with me ever since and is key to my own personal leadership philosophy.

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

Stephen R. Covey

He has a great article posted here and I recommend reading it: https://leadershipforlife.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/hi/ this thinking is 2nd on my list in being an effective leader

2nd. Leadership is not management

This segues nicely into clarity and vision, often understated and undervalued in teams and organizations. As a leader I’ve realized first-hand how important working with my team to set the direction is. In order to succeed, clarity of this direction has been super important, not just for the team to understand but for the wider org and senior leaders also.

Don’t underestimate the waste and damage that comes from not having a clear vision and direction for your team, I’ve experienced this first hand. Don’t have direction and vision that’s clear from your leadership? Don’t let that stop you from creating your own, just make sure it aligns with what you believe your organization is trying to achieve.

3rd. Clarity of vision and direction is essential

Lastly, have relationships with the people around you. Understand what it’s like to be them and live their lives, put yourself in their shoes. When someone lets you down (we all let others down), don’t assume it’s intentional. When someone lets me down I assume something has gone wrong and they are / have done their best to correct it. In the past I’ve assumed the worst, that people have not turned up to meetings in order to waste my time, taken credit for my work to further themselves or bad mouthed me behind my back to rally others against me for their own gain.

Nowadays I simply assume a person has come up against a road block and so I ask what I can do to help as it must have been serious for them to let me down. This defuses the situation if they were being malicious and if they weren’t I get to learn what it was and help if I can.

4th. Grow and embrace your emotional intelligence (EQ) (watch these TED talks)

I work at the above every day, not just at work but where I can at home with family and friends too. I fail often, picking myself up and moving forward. I no longer beat myself up when I fail – I pause, think about the situation and apologize if I’ve done wrong, then I move on with emphasis on acting differently next time (using the above principles).

Embracing leadership could solve many of your problems (ones you aren’t yet aware of) and you don’t need to have the authority given to you to act like a leader, just take it and people will follow.