It’s About Trust, Stupid!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Ever since Bill Clinton used the phrase ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ in his successful 1992 campaign for the US Presidency, it has been almost an article of faith that voters will, at the end of the day, elect leaders on the basis of economic self-interest.

Whether or not that was every completely true, recent events in Australian politics point to a new catch-phrase: ‘It’s about Trust, stupid.’ (more…)

Passion and Flow: How to make the most of your greatest asset – People!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

People potentialI’m running an event in Melbourne on 12 August at 6.30pm. You can find the details here.

But first some background:

Like it or not, we live in revolutionary times. Everywhere I go I find conversations about working in a different way. Some of the regular themes include:

  • unleashing human potential and creativity
  • working collaboratively across silos and organisations
  • building tribes and communities with trust
  • the shift away from patriarchal structures and the rise of feminine values
  • a new environmental awareness
  • putting values at the centre of everything we do
  • being authentically human

(more…)

Keys to High Performing Teams part 8 – Workplace Conflict Resolution

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Businessman yelling.This is the eighth in a series of Ten Keys to High Performing Teams. This article looks at the role that conflict resolution plays in workplace performance.

Conflict, like change, is inevitable. But it does not have to be destructive. Handled well, conflict can be a driver of innovation leading to better outcomes for everyone. The good news is that if you implement the other Keys to High Performing Teams in this series, you are already avoiding some of the drivers which can make conflict damaging and costly.

But because conflict is usually seen as something negative, painful and destructive, many people and organisations try to live in denial, seeking to avoid open conflict at all costs. This is not a good idea! It leads to even more pain over time as the conflict goes underground spreading its toxic fruits without being given a chance for a positive resolution.  (more…)

Keys to high performing teams part 4 – Good relationships

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

This is the fourth article in a series on 10 keys to high performing teams. You can see the original post here.

The links between productivity and workplace relationships are so obvious they hardly need spelling out. You are much more likely to work hard and go the extra mile for people you care about. You are much more likely to let down people you don’t care about.

Not only that, good relationships are the number one reason for people to remain in their current jobs. A recent poll conducted by the Australian Institute of Management found that ‘good relationships with co-workers’ topped the list of reasons to stay. It was ahead of job satisfaction, flexible working arrangements, great work/life balance, feeling valued by the organisation, or job security. Salary came behind all of these other reasons.

And supportive colleagues can also help prevent lost work time due to stress-related illness. A major survey of 24,000 Canadians found that lack of social support at work more than doubles an employee’s risk of depression—the leading cause of disability worldwide.

So how to you get your team from being colleagues to being friends? Here are a few pointers: (more…)

Gandhi and the politics of blame

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Gandhi's room

Gandhi’s room in Mani Bhavan, Mumbai

The birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, October 2, is a good time to reflect on the theme of leadership and how politics can be a great force for good.

I write as a bitterly divided US congress has led to the first Government shut-down in 17 years with both Democrats and Republicans hoping that the public will blame the other side more than it hurts their own.  And here in Australia we have just had an election which both major parties said would be fought on the question of trust. The result is that the public’s trust in politicians is at an all-time low.

Last February I took part in a Dialogue on Democracy in Panchgani, India. It was the second such conference. Participants came from several countries struggling – often painfully – towards greater participation by citizens in how their countries are run.  We heard people from Syria, Egypt, Burma/Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Tibet express how it sometimes seemed that for every step forward there were two steps back. (more…)

Ten keys to getting high performing teams

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

GoalsThis is the first of a series of ten blog posts where I will expand on each of the ten keys to high performing teams that I have identified.  Watch out for future posts over the coming weeks.  But first off, here are the Ten Keys to High Performing Teams: (more…)

Join me for a Candid Conversation

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Join me on 27th August at 9am for a Candid Conversation webinar with Ian Berry on Google Hangouts. We’ll be talking about the relationship between community, good relationships and high performance. You can find more details here.

While you are checking out this page, watch the recording of the last Candid Conversation with Paul Dunn and Paul Lange.

Gandhi and leadership

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Rajmohan Gandhi (left)

Mike with Rajmohan Gandhi (left)

Back in February I travelled to India to participate in an international conference, Dialogue on Democracy, in Panchgani, Maharashtra. I was last there 27 years ago so it was interesting to reconnect with familiar places and faces and also to see how much had changed.  It was also a chance to reconnect with Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson and biographer of Mahatma Gandhi, and I was fortunate to share a 5-hour taxi ride with him back to Mumbai after the conference finished.

A while back I purchased and started reading Rajmohan’s mammoth biography of his grandfather, but it was only after this visit to India that I was inspired to read it properly.  And after reading it, it was several more months before I felt I had digested it enough to write a review.  Well I have now done that. The review is on Amazon.com, but I also include it below. (more…)

Discover the Other, Discover yourself

Monday, July 1st, 2013
Image: 'Dialogue' by Viennese artist Oskar Kokoshka

‘Dialogues’ by Viennese artist Oskar Kokoschka. From his book ‘The Dreaming Youths’

Discovering the Other goes hand in hand with Discovering Yourself. You cannot have one without the other.

On the one hand, you cannot discover your own identity except, as J Krishnamurti puts it, ‘through the mirror of relationships’. All of us have a self-image which is different from the way other people see us. You might think you are smart while other people see you as a fool – or vice-versa. You might think you are good looking, while others see you as ugly (again, or vice-versa). You might think you are fair and honest while others see you as a selfish schemer. Only by listening to the perspectives of others can we correct the distorted picture we have of ourselves. I’m not saying that other people’s perspectives are any less distorted than your own. But by allowing your own self-image to be challenged by others you can gradually come to a deeper understanding of yourself. (more…)

What village do you come from?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Who are you?

Trust is increased when we know who we are dealing with. Telling stories of defining moments can be an effective part of a performance leadership strategy.

I was told by someone recently (in person) that she didn’t like to accept friend requests on social media from people she hadn’t met face to face.

I can understand that. It is a matter of trust. How can you trust someone you don’t know?

But how well do we know someone even when we’ve met them? On my first visit to Solomon Islands I met a tall blond American who had lived there for many years. He recounted going to a village where they had never seen white people before. The chief approached him, looked up at this exotic creature and asked “what village do you come from?”. “New York” came the reply. The chief looked thoughtful. “I’ve heard of that village” he said. (more…)