Thought for the Week – N is for “No”!

I hope you had a great weekend.

You will know by now that my weekly blog is all about the A to Z’s of Success of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders and we look at one letter each week. I have also been emailing it to you each week.

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “M is for Move with the Cheese”.

This week is all about “N is for No”!

N is for saying “No” when we need to!

Many business owners and leaders really struggle with this because, of course we want to be able to say “yes” and at the same time know we can’t say yes to everything

It all boils down to …

  1. WHEN to say “No”, and
  2. HOW to say ‘No” in such a way that we feel good about!

1.When to say “No”

Firstly, whether it’s a colleague asking you to do something for them, or a client, of course we have to decide whether the request is within our area of focus and / or responsibility.

The key here is to be crystal clear about what it is you provide and decide whether you want to take this on or not. All too often the waters get muddied because we want to be flexible and helpful – right?

The thing is though; if we are not clear, then how can we expect the other person to be clear about what we do and don’t do?

And then once we do something outside of our area of focus, we will hear;

“Well, you did it for me last time”! Sound familiar?

Then yes, we have set a precedent, then becomes even trickier to say “No”!

When it comes to clients, we have to be clear about …

  • what it is we do,
  • what problems we solve and
  • be specific about what we can and can’t help them with.

Another thing to consider is …

There is no free lunch!

And this works both ways for the person asking and for the person being asked.

Most of us learn early in life that we can’t get something for nothing. It’s a lesson we sometimes forget and have to re-learn (more than once).

Choices are necessary, if not always pleasant. There’s only so much time and money and talent available at one time and spending an hour on one thing means that we know we can’t spend this hour on something else.

And a pound spent on one thing is a pound no longer available for something else and we have to make choices all the time.

Harvard Professor Michael Porter describes the essence of strategy as; 

“deciding what not to do.” He says; 

“Leaders who aren’t able to make tough choices doom their organizations to mediocrity when they do too many things in an adequate way and nothing with excellence as the desirable standard”

The hardest thing for a new company to do is say “No” to a customer. But if you chase every shiny penny you see coming, you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up somewhere you didn’t want to be!

Businesses evolve, but they can’t be everything to everybody. Recognising when trade-offs have to be made, and having the mental discipline to make hard choices often separates the winners from the losers.

To help with saying “No”, here is a list of things to ask yourself before saying “Yes” …

  • How do I feel about this request?
  • Do I really want this or doing it to please someone else?
  • What is the benefit to me in saying “yes”?
  • What is the cost of saying “no”?
  • If I do this, will I enjoy it?
  • Do I have to answer right now or can I delay my decision?
  • Do I need more information before I make my decision?
  • Would I prefer an alternative? If so, what?

Then we come to …

2.HOW to say “No” 

This is all about how we communicate, in what situation we find ourselves in, whether the person making the request is a client, a colleague, a supplier or your boss, if you have one, etc.

So, HOW we say no has to match the dynamics here of course.

This is something I go into in more depth in my new Group Coaching Programme starting soon called “The Communication Code –

If you would like to know more, you can find out here:

Also, if you haven’t already booked your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me, you can book it HERE and we can meet via Zoom or Skype.

There is absolutely NO OBLIGATION. So it really is a no-brainer.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.

Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”

Thought for the Week – “M is for Move with the Cheese”!

You are probably familiar with the book: “Who Moved My Cheese?”, which has been around for around 20 years now. However, its message had stood the test of time because people get as much out of it now as they did – perhaps even more so.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, you will probably wonder what this is all about and how it relates to you as a business owner and / or leader?

“Who Moved My Cheese?” (by Dr Spenser Johnson) is a simple parable that reveals profound truths about us human beings. It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy.

Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life – whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money or a possession, health, peace of mind, or whatever.


The 4 characters in the book are: –

2 mice …

SNIFF – who sniffs out change early.

SCURRY – who scurries into action.

2 ‘little people’ …

HEM – who denies and resists change as he fears it will lead to something worse.

HAW – who learns to adapt in time when he sees changing can lead to something better.

The mice; Sniff and Scurry, possess simple brains and good instinct and they search for a hard nibbling cheese that they light – as mice often do.

Hem and Haw use their complex brains filled with many beliefs and emotions to search for a very different kind of cheese with a capital ‘C’ which they believe will make them feel happy and successful.

They all had this in common and every day, they would put on their jogging suits and running shoes, leave their homes and race to the maze looking for their favourite cheese!

Remembering that “Cheese” is a metaphor for what you want to have in life – whether it’s a good job, a loving relationship, money, a possession, health, peace of mind, or whatever.

And it makes us think about how we actually adapt to change and how our teams adapt (if we have them) and how to help them to adapt and embrace change.

Change is happening everywhere and we will do better when we can adjust to it quickly!

Here’s an example …

It was suggested to a company, who was selling their encyclopaedia as a set of more than 20 books, that they should put their whole encyclopaedia on a single computer disc and sell it for a fraction of the cost. This would be easier to update, it would cost much less to manufacture and so many more people could have access it. However, they all resisted.

Why did they resist?

Because they believed then that the backbone of their business was their large sales force who called on people door-to-door. Their sales force depended on the large commissions they earned from the high price of their product and had been doing this successfully for a long time and thought it would go on forever.

But they didn’t notice that they needed to change what had once been working and that was their only means of income and so they hung on to it.

When one of their competitors did change, their sales plummeted and of course, other technological changes have been happening ever since and continue to evolve.

When people never change, they will pray pay a price for it eventually. Sometimes they feel entitled to their ‘cheese’ and feel like victims when it’s taken away and they blame others. And they get so much more stressed than the people who move on and adapt.

The question is what do we need to let go off and what do we need to move on to?

Our basic values may not change – at the same time, we know that we would be much better off to move with the cheese a lot sooner.

Sometimes business owners are managing when they need to be leading.

And in leading, their job is to paint a picture of a vision they all want to pursue so they can all enjoy changing and succeeding.

And all the Sniffs, the Scurry’s, Hems and Haws need to be treated differently …

The Sniffs could sniff out that changes in the marketplace can help to update the corporate Vision and be encouraged to identify how the changes could result in new products and services that their customers would want.

The Scurries might like to get things done so they are encouraged to take actions based on the new corporate Vision. They probably need to be monitored, so they don’t scoot off in the wrong direction though and be rewarded for actions that brought the company new ‘cheese’. They will enjoy working in a company that values action and results.

Hems are unfortunately often the anchors that slow you down as they are either too comfortable or too afraid to change. Some of the Hems only change when they see the sensible vision that shows them how changing would work to their advantage.

They want to work in a place that is safe and any change needs to make sense to them and increase their sense of security. When they realise that the real danger is in not changing, some of them will change and do well. And the Vision can help you to turn many of your Hems into Haws.

If it comes down to it the Hems who do not want to change and still resist, you may just have to let them go – because if you don’t, there is a real danger that things will not change and your business would be in trouble. Of course, nobody wants to have to do that and we hope that we can help them to adapt to change.

Even Hems can sometimes see the advantage of changing, such as the advantage of keeping their jobs or even getting a good pay rise. The powerful part is when they can recognise their fear and go on to paint a picture in their mind of enjoying the new cheese. It will make change less fearful and more enjoyable and eventually they get a better deal.

Haws – in reality, Haws are initially hesitant and then they are open minded enough to learn something new, act differently and adapt in time to help you to succeed. They expect change and actively look for it, and because they understand human nature, they can help you to paint a realistic vision of new ‘cheese’ that makes good sense to pretty much everybody.

Haws like to work in an organisation that gives people that confidence and the tools to change. They will help you to keep your sense of humour as you go after your new ‘cheese’.

When you can see a new ‘cheese’ / Vision that you really like and want to go after, imagine yourself enjoying it – it lightens everything up. When you see how it can improve things, you / your team get more interested in making the change happen.

Sometimes we have to let go of old cheese that is of no value. And the old cheese can just be an old behaviour that we really need to let go off and then move on to a better way of thinking and acting.

Repeating the same behaviour will just get you the same results.

When people are afraid of change they resist it. Instead of waiting for things to change for the better, we have to change the way we are being.

Once we realise all this, change really can lead us to a new and better place. Even though we may be afraid it won’t at the time, we will see the benefits eventually.

So, involve people in the change. In short;

“A change imposed is a change opposed”

But when the ‘cheese’ story is shared, it literally changes everything because it helps people to change the way they look at change. It helps everyone laugh, or at least smile, at their old fears and want to move on.

You don’t want to let your business fail, to start letting people go or closing your business. You want to help everybody to see things differently and eventually cope better.

Remember; there is new cheese out there just waiting to be found!

So, instead of worrying about the cheese being moved, get out there and look for the new cheese! it saves a lot of time and stress.

Before long people who have been resisting change see the advantage of changing and even help to bring it about.

The reason people want to stay the same is because they believe that change will be bad for them.

And even for those who don’t really feel that way, they too often agree in order to fit in. And that is the sort of Peer Pressure that fights change in any organisation.

Once people are aware of the 4 characters, the peer pressure changes because nobody wants to look like Hem!

So, move with the cheese – and enjoy it!

You can download a copy of the book HERE if you would like it – it’s a tiny book on a huge topic and takes just one hour to read!

If you haven’t already, I invite you to book your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me HERE and we can meet via Zoom or Skype.


Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”


Thought for the Week – “L is for Learning”

I hope you had a great weekend!

I have been emailing you weekly with the A to Z’s of Success of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders and looking at one letter each week and last week’s Thought for the Week was “K is for Knowledge” – I hope you found it of value.

So, this week is all about “L for LEARNING” and of course with the work I have been doing for the past 30 years, I am seen to be an expert in this area.
I wonder what Confucius would have to say about ‘Learning’?

Well, it goes without saying that the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders are proactive learners.

We all experience our own “Learning Curve” in different ways and we prefer to learn through different modes.
Personally, I learn best through experiencing things and I also have a strong visual preference and if I see something written down or in a diagram, I recall it easily.

My clients vary in the way they learn and it is important for me to recognise their individual styles and preferences so that we can make real progress in our work together.

Many of you will know about “NLP” – Neuro Linguistic Programming – for those who are unfamiliar …NLP is the practice of understanding how people organise their thinking, feeling, language and behaviour to produce the results they do.

NLP provides people with a methodology to model outstanding performances achieved by geniuses and leaders in their field. NLP is also used for personal development and for success in business.

A key element of NLP is that we form our unique internal mental maps of the world as a product of the way we filter and perceive information absorbed through our five senses from the world around us.

You can read more about NLP here vis the NLP Academy in the UK:

A couple of years ago, I refreshed my teaching skills and so much is included now for teachers around different learning styles, inclusion, diversity etc. and for those of you who are parents, you will know how much learning has evolved since your own school days!

There are currently seven learning styles: –

  • Visual (spatial) Learner – prefers learning by observing things.
  • Aural (auditory) Learner – normally learns best through verbal presentations like lectures and speeches.
  • Verbal (linguistic) Learner – prefers using words, both in speech and writing
  • Physical (kinesthetic) Learner – getting hands-on is a must for these learners who love to tinker and learn best when they can do rather than see or hear.
  • Logical (mathematical) Learner – if there is logic, reasoning and numbers involved, these learners are sure to excel.
  • Social (interpersonal) Learner – enjoys learning in groups and collaborating with others.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal) Learner – prefers to use self-study and work alone.

So, for those of you who dislike slides in presentations, e.g., “Death by Power Point”, you are probably not so much a visual learner.

And if you don’t see the point of music or audio, that’s there for the aural learners.

By the way, the reason I don’t usually send images in emails is because they can get blocked by email servers.

What is your preferred learning style?

And if you employ people, what are their learning styles?

If you are struggling to communicate in certain areas with your team, I invite you to give this some thought and how you can give directions or present in a different way that will be better received and understood.

How do you know how people learn? This is a huge subject in itself!

However, there are clues such as the words they use. For instance;

  • I see what you mean” could indicate they are a visual learner.
  • I feel I need that” could indicate they are more of a physical / kinesthetic learner.
  • I hear what you’re saying!” – perhaps they are more of an aural learner.

You get the gist!

Here’s a great quote from Benjamin Franklin …

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Here’s another …

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
– Albert Einstein –

And Confucius says …

“He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”


Personally, Mondays are my day to “Sharpen my saw”! For those of you who have read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, you will get this. I read, I watch webinars, and I love to participate and experience things in groups.

I have learned so much from the mistakes I have made along the way too and for me, there is REAL learning in acknowledging our mistakes and how much we have learned from them.

… and I am sure that Confucius would have something to say about that too!

If you haven’t already, I invite you to book your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me HERE and we can meet via Zoom or Skype.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.

Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”

Thought for the Week – K is for KNOWLEDGE

Good morning!

I hope you had a great weekend and all is going well.

As you know, I have been going through the A to Z of Success and looking at one letter each week!

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “J is for Judgement” and I hope you got some more nuggets from it!

I have been giving a lot of thought again to this week’s because it’s another interesting one for us business owners and leaders!

This week is all about “K for KNOWLEDGE” – what does ‘knowledge mean to you?

How often do hear; “Knowledge is Power”?

For me, knowledge is much richer than just soaking up information and knowing about things …

Prior to Covid, I was exploring how to take my business online, as well as face-to-face, and I really started getting into the science of it – because that is what I have found it to be – a science!

Then Covid hit us and I thought; “OK, I am going to up the ante now and get this done”

And I realised that having an online business is a totally different world to a physical one – as I am sure many of you have found too!

When we network locally or in our industry, people have got to know us to varying degrees and they have a sense of what we stand for.

They already know whether they know, like and trust you.

However, online, people don’t know anything about us and because there is just so much noise online and people just don’t have much time to research you … unless you tickle their curiosity and they are inspired to find out more about you!

So, I realised that this is a whole new world – and it takes time to build that up!

And we have to personalise what we do far more in our communication and marketing messaging.

All of the ‘gurus’ out there who have already succeeded tell us that we should do this and do that – some things they say are consistent and others are not.

So, we are left to work it out for ourselves aren’t we!

I invested in a course that I believed would help me and I learned a lot.

What was missing for me though was that piece around how I actually apply what I learned to my own business and, more importantly for me; how did this align with my personal values, life goals and what I stand for?

How many of you can relate to that?

So, I took some time out and reflected on all of this new-found knowledge and how that fits in with what I stand for.

And that is the key here – what we STAND for in our business and our role.

You will know from my strap line “Business With Heart” that I stand for doing business in a way that connects with like-minded people, supports communities and the entre chain up and down an organisation.

This is KEY to the wellbeing of everyone throughout that chain and ultimately the business itself.

So, my point is this …

  • Having knowledge is a positive thing – it is very much in our HEAD though.
  • How about that inner knowing that comes from our HEART?
  • And how do we connect the two and communicate that in what we do?
  • Why would we do that?

Well, here is an example …

  • How much do you KNOW about what your customers actually want and /or need?
  • How do your KNOW that and what do you base this knowledge on?
  • Some of you will have asked them either directly or through Market Research.
  • Some of you may base this knowledge on buying behaviours and or trends.
  • Some of you may not have thought about this very much and take a more scattergun approach hoping that something will stick and people will contact you – and of course some will.

How well are any of these strategies working for you?

If you get 5% success, what would make that 20%, 50% or even higher?

Things are changing so much in our World as we all know only too well.

Now, people buy through EXPERIENCE and how they FEEL about things.

So, what happens if we try to communicate with them though head-thinking, logic and showing them how much we believe we know about them?

There is a disconnect there because we have to connect with their hearts!

So, yes, having knowledge is great …

And then; how do you communicate heart to heart with potential and existing clients?

I found an interesting article on Forbes that talks about Knowing What Your Customers Want and they are talking about marketing and brands …

“The brands that win the hearts, minds and wallets of their customers don’t do it with traditional marketing messages that make people think only about the brand. Instead, the brands that win make customers think about themselves”.

This powerful concept comes from Brent Adamson, vice president and “chief storyteller” at Gartner. Adamson.

His point is that if you want to build a relationship with your customers, one that goes beyond just simple one-at-a-time transactions, your marketing messages need to target the customer instead of the brand. How do you do that?”

Brent Adamson suggests marketing messages that are focused on the customer and so many are all about the company, their knowledge, experience etc.

Of course, you want to sell what you do and succeed at it!

So, here are a few ways to start communicating heart to heart …

Personalise your messages like you are talking to that individual, e.g., you can mention their favourite purchases and preferences etc.

The sales part of emails, letters, social media posts etc. can be secondary to a message that is truly customer-focussed, i.e., what are their biggest challenges? What are they struggling with etc?

It needs to be helpful to your customer, or potential customers, like they feel like you really get them and are speaking to them personally.

These are your ideal customers because they will resonate with what you stand for.

Make all of your communications valuable and helpful.

Ensure this all continues on your after-sales experience by thinking of ways you can continue to offer support as needed.

For instance, sending them a “Happy Birthday” message, perhaps with a birthday coupon isn’t enough. Because your database automates this and people are so switched on now and they realise this.

Whereas, personalised, helpful messages that validate their choice to do business with you because you genuinely care more than just getting them to spend money with you.

Connecting with people in this way – this “care” – connects heart-to-heart and people like doing business with a company that cares about them.

Gartner, the Research Company, have valued this is terms of spend …

“64% of customers will spend more versus only 14% if there is a low brand connection. It pays to be helpful. It pays to care”.


I would love to hear what you think about this! Just drop me a line if you wish.

If you would like my help with this then I invite you to book your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me HERE.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.


Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”

Thought For the Week – J is for JUDGEMENT

I hope you had a great weekend and you are keeping well.

As you know, I have been going through the A to Z of Success and looking at one letter each week.

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “I is for Inspiration” and I hope you found some inspiration from it! And I have been giving a lot of thought again to this week’s because it’s another interesting one for us business owners and leaders!

This week’s thought for the week is all about “J for JUDGEMENT” and to give you a heads-up, this is a BIG subject so I suggest you set aside around 15-20 minutes to read this week’s Thought for the Week.

The word ‘judgement’ means different things to different people doesn’t it”. Things like …

  • How we are judged by others?
  • How do we judge other people?
  • How we view things, make decisions etc? ….

What does it mean to you?

And how is this affecting you in these times of uncertainty?

To me, ‘judgement’ means how we perceive things, how we decipher that information, how we frame it and the conclusions we reach, how we reach decisions and how we take action.

It can also mean that we may make a different judgement depending on our mood that day because we may perceive things differently from one day to the next!

Working as a Transformation Coach with Business Owners and Leaders, I keep a complete open mind on where people are at on their journey, without judging one way or another – and that is absolutely key!

I learned how important this is when I first had a coach myself, as many successful business owners and leaders do. I just appreciate so much that there is at least one safe space in my world where I can talk about anything and it is accepted! And how often do we feel that way in life!

How liberating to be able to talk openly and honestly and for it to be simply accepted without judgement! I certainly do.

So, let’s look at ‘Judgement” in the context as a Business Owner and / or Leader …

From Harvard Business review … 

Judgment—the ability to combine personal qualities with relevant knowledge and experience to form opinions and make decisions—is “the core of exemplary leadership” according to Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis (the authors of Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls). 

It is what enables a sound choice in the absence of clear-cut, relevant data or an obvious path. To some degree we are all capable of forming views and interpreting evidence. What we need, of course, is good judgment.

A lot of ink has been spilled in the effort to understand what good judgment actually is.

Some experts define it as an acquired instinct or “gut feeling” that somehow combines deep experience with analytic skills at an unconscious level to produce an insight or recognise a pattern that others overlook.

At a high level, this definition makes intuitive sense; but it is hard to move from understanding what judgment is to knowing how to acquire or even to recognise it!

Looking at what people just like you are doing in their industries, here are some insights …

CEOs in a range of companies, from some of the world’s largest right down to start-ups and leaders in various professions as well; senior partners at law and accountancy firms, generals, doctors, scientists, priests, and diplomats …

When asked to share their observations of their own and other people’s exercise of judgment, these great insights help us to identify the skills and behaviours that collectively create the conditions for fresh ideas and enable decision makers to discern patterns that others miss.

And of course, leadership and psychology come into play here too.

In this study, leaders with good judgment tend to be …

  • Good listeners and readers—able to hear what other people actually mean, and thus able to see patterns that others do not.
  • They have a breadth of experiences and relationships that enable them to recognise parallels or analogies that others miss—and if they don’t know something, they’ll know someone who does and lean on that person’s judgment.
  • They can recognise their own emotions and biases and take them out of the equation. They’re adept at expanding the array of choices under consideration.
  • Finally, they remain grounded in the real world and in making a choice, they also consider its implementation.

Practices that leaders can adopt, skills they can cultivate, and relationships they can build will inform the judgments they make.

Six Basic Components of Good Judgment;

  1. Learning,
  2. Trust,
  3. Experience,
  4. Detachment,
  5. Options,And 
  6. Delivery

1.Learning; Listen Attentively, Read Critically

Good judgment requires that you turn knowledge into understanding. This sounds obvious, but as ever, the devil is in the detail—in this case your approach to learning. Many leaders rush to bad judgments because they unconsciously filter the information they receive or insufficiently question what they hear or read.

The truth, unfortunately, is that few of us really absorb the information we receive. We filter out what we don’t expect or want to hear, and this tendency doesn’t necessarily improve with age. (Research shows, for example, that children notice things that adults don’t.) As a result, leaders simply miss a great deal of the information that’s available – a weakness to which top performers are especially vulnerable because over-confidence so often comes with success.

Exceptions do exist, of course.

Leaders with good judgment tend to be good listeners and readers. 

Many or the World’s greatest Entrepreneurs and Leaders are good listeners and adept at eliciting information that people might not otherwise volunteer. They ask questions that draw out interesting responses that help that person better understand themselves.

For example; if deciding whether to accept a directorship, they would ask questions such as;

“Where would you place this company on a spectrum of white to grey?” “At first this sounds like a classic piece of ‘management-ness’ that is clever but meaningless. And yet it is sufficiently open-ended to draw out replies on a wide range of subjects and sufficiently pointed to produce a meaningful response.

This brings “Shades of Grey” into a whole new spectrum!

Information overload, particularly with written material, is another problem. It’s not surprising that CEOs with huge demands on their time and attention struggle to get through the volume of emails and briefing papers they receive.

You may get up to a million words to read ahead of a big meeting! Being confronted with such a deluge, it’s tempting to skim and to remember only the material that confirms our beliefs.

That’s why smart leaders demand quality rather than quantity in what gets to them. Three hundred pages for the next big meeting? It’s six pages maximum for agenda items at Amazon and the Bank of England!

Overload is not the only challenge when it comes to reading. A more subtle risk is taking the written word at face value.

When we are with people and listen to them speak, we look (consciously or unconsciously) for nonverbal clues about the quality of what we’re hearing.

While reading, we lack that context and can face this “Wall of Words”. And in an era when the term “fake news” is common, decision makers need to pay extra attention to the quality of the information they see and hear, especially material filtered by colleagues or obtained through search engines and social media exchanges.

Are you really as careful in assessing and filtering as you should be, knowing how variable the quality is?

If you believe that you never unconsciously screen out information, consider whether you choose a newspaper that agrees with what you already think?

People with good judgment are sceptical of information that doesn’t make sense.

To improve:

Active listening, including picking up on what’s not said and interpreting body language, is a valuable skill to be honed, and plenty of advice exists.

  • Beware of your own filters and of defensiveness or aggression that may discourage alternative arguments.
  • If you get bored and impatient when listening, ask questions and check conclusions.
  • If you’re overwhelmed by written briefing material, focus on the parts that discuss questions and issues rather than those that summarise the presentations you’ll hear at the meeting. (Far too many board packs are stuffed with advance copies of presentations.)
  • Look for gaps or discrepancies in what’s being said or written.
  • Think carefully about where the underlying data is coming from and the likely interests of the people supplying it.
  • If you can, get input and data from people on more than one side of an argument—especially people you don’t usually agree with.
  • Finally, make sure the yardsticks and proxies for data you rely on are sound; look for discrepancies in the metrics and try to understand them.

2.Trust: Seek Diversity, Not Validation

Leadership shouldn’t be a solitary endeavour. Leaders can draw on the skills and experiences of others as well as their own when they approach a decision. Who these advisers are and how much trust the leader places in them are critical to the quality of that leader’s judgment.

Unfortunately, many CEOs and entrepreneurs bring people on board who simply echo and validate them.

The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her book Team of Rivals, noted that Abraham Lincoln assembled a cabinet of experts he respected but who didn’t always agree with one another.

McKinsey has long included the obligation (not a suggestion) to dissent as a central part of the way it does business. Amazon’s Leadership Principles specify that leaders should “seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.”

To improve:

Cultivate sources of trusted advice: people who will tell you what you need to know, rather than what you want to hear.

  • When you are recruiting people on whose advice you will rely, don’t take outcomes as a proxy for their good judgment. Don’t be put off by assessments that a candidate is “different.” Someone who disagrees with you could provide the challenge you need.
  • Make judgment an explicit factor in appraisals and promotion decisions.
  • Look for what is not being said: Do people fail to mention any “real” difficulties or setbacks or failures in their careers to date?

3.Experience: Make It Relevant but Not Narrow

Beyond the data and evidence pertinent to a decision, leaders bring their experience to bear when making judgment calls.

Experience gives context and helps us identify potential solutions and anticipate challenges. If they have previously encountered something like a current challenge, leaders can scope out areas on which to focus their energy and resources.

Example; Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Dubai’s Emaar Properties and one of the Middle East’s most successful entrepreneurs – his first major property crisis in Singapore in 1991, had taught him about the vulnerability that comes with being highly geared in a downturn. And in real estate, only those who learn the lessons of over-gearing in their first crash survive in the long term.

Alabbar has since navigated Dubai’s often dramatic economic cycles and today owns a portfolio that includes the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls.

But – and it’s a big but – if the experience is narrowly based, familiarity can be dangerous.

For instance, if your company is planning to enter the Indian market, you might not trust the judgment of a person whose only product launches have been in the UK. You would probably be less worried about someone who had also launched new products in, say, China and South Africa, because such a person would be less likely to ignore important signals.

In addition, leaders with deep experience in a particular domain may fall into a rut, making judgments out of habit, complacency, or overconfidence.

It usually takes an external crisis to expose this failure and the 2008 financial crisis was the moment of truth for many apparently unassailable titans.

The equivalent today are those leaders who have underestimated the speed with which environmental issues would move centre stage and require a tangible response and those who have not succeeded in pivoting and adapting their businesses in the pandemic.

To improve:

  • First, assess how well you draw on your own experience to make decisions. Start by going through your important judgment calls to identify what went well and what went badly, including whether you drew on the right experience and whether the analogies you made were appropriate.

Record both the wrong and the right. This is tough, and it’s tempting to rewrite history, which is why it can be helpful to share your conclusions with a coach or colleagues, who might take a different view of the same experience. Try also to recruit a smart friend who can be a neutral critic.

Leaders with deep experience in a particular domain may fall into a rut. 

  • Second, especially if you’re a young leader, work to expand your experience. Try to get postings abroad or in key corporate functions such as finance, sales, and manufacturing.

Get yourself on an acquisition team for a major deal. And as a CEO, a crucial support you can give high-potential managers is more-varied exposure, so get involved in career planning. That will not just do the young managers a favour; it will help the company and very possibly you, because it will broaden the experience into which you can tap.

4. Detachment: Identify, and Then Challenge, Biases

As you process information and draw on the diversity of your own and other people’s knowledge, it’s critical that you understand and address your own biases. Although passion about objectives and values is a wonderful leadership quality that can inspire followers to greater efforts, it can also affect how you process information, learn from experience, and select advisers.

The ability to detach, both intellectually and emotionally, is therefore a vital component of good judgment. But it’s a difficult skill to master.

As research in behavioural economics, psychology, and decision sciences has shown in recent years, cognitive biases such as anchoring, confirmation, and risk aversion or excessive risk appetite are pervasive influences in the choices people make.

To improve:

  • Understand, clarify, and accept different viewpoints.
  • Encourage people to engage in role-playing and simulations, which forces them to consider agendas other than their own and can provide a safe space for dissent. If employees are encouraged to play the role of a competitor, for example, they can experiment with an idea that they might be reluctant to suggest to the boss.
  • Leadership development programmes are a great forum in which to challenge assumptions by exposing people to colleagues from different cultures and geographies, who come to the discussion with different views.
  • Finally, people with good judgment make sure they have processes in place that keep them aware of biases.

Major decisions now require that biases be on the table before a discussion and, when necessary, that a devil’s advocate participate. Acknowledge that mistakes will occur—and doubt the judgment of anyone who assumes they won’t.

5. Options: Question the Solution Set Offered

In making a decision, an entrepreneur or leader is often expected to choose between at least two options, formulated and presented by their advocates. But smart leaders don’t accept that those choices are all there is.

During the 2008–2009 financial crisis, President Obama pressed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to explain why he wasn’t considering nationalising the banks. Geithner recalls, “We had one of those really tough conversations. Are you confident this is going to work? Can you reassure me? Why are you confident? What are our choices? I told him that my judgment at the time was that we had no option but to play out the thing we’d set in motion.”

Obama was doing what all good leaders should do when told “We have no other option” or “We have two options and one is really bad” or “We have three options but only one is acceptable.”

Other options almost always exist, such as …

  • doing nothing,
  • delaying a decision until more information is available, or
  • conducting a time-limited trial or a pilot implementation.

Tim Breedon, formerly the CEO of the UK financial services company Legal & General, described it as; “not being boxed in by the way things are presented.”

In hindsight, many bad judgment calls were inevitable simply because important options—and the risk of unintended consequences—were never even considered. This happens for a variety of reasons, including risk aversion on the part of people supplying potential answers.

That’s why thoroughly exploring the solution set is key to a leader’s exercise of judgment.

It’s not the CEO’s job to come up with all of the options. But he or she can ensure that the management team delivers the full range of possibilities, counteracting fears and biases that cause the team to self-edit. When all the options can be debated, the judgment is more likely to be right.

To improve:

  • Press for clarification on poorly presented information, and challenge your people if you think important facts are missing.
  • Question their weighting of the variables on which their arguments depend.
  • If timing appears to be a key consideration, determine that it’s legitimate.
  • Factor in the risks associated with novel solutions—stress and overconfidence—and look for opportunities to mitigate them through piloting.
  • Use modelling, triangulation, and the opportunities afforded by artificial intelligence.
  • Dig out people’s stakes in the final decision. A tell-tale sign is being oversold on a particular outcome. What are the personal consequences to them (and to you) if their solution works or fails?
  • Consult those you trust. If there isn’t anyone, or enough time, try to imagine what someone you trust would do.
  • Get clear about rules and ethical issues, because they will help you filter your choices.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to consider radical options. Discussing them could make you and others aware of some that are less radical but well worth considering and may encourage other people to speak up.

6. Delivery: Factor in the Feasibility of Execution

You can make all the right strategic choices but still end up losing out if you don’t exercise judgment in how and by whom those choices will be executed.

In 1880 the French diplomat and entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps persuaded investors to support digging a canal in Panama to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Because de Lesseps had just completed the Suez Canal, investors and politicians—failing to understand that building a canal through sand does not qualify you to build one through jungle—did not give his plans the scrutiny they deserved. His approach proved disastrously unsuitable, and it was left to the U.S. government to complete the canal by taking a very different approach.

When reviewing projects, smart leaders think carefully about the risks of implementation and press for clarification from a project’s advocates. This is as important for small decisions as it is for big ones.

A leader with good judgment anticipates risks after a course has been determined and knows by whom those risks are best managed.

That may not be the person who came up with the idea—particularly if the proposer is wedded to a particular vision, as was the case with de Lesseps. More generally, flair, creativity, and imagination aren’t always accompanied by a capability to deliver—which is why small tech firms often struggle to capitalise on their inspiration and are bought out by less-inventive but better-organised giants. 

To improve:

  • In assessing a proposal, make sure that the experience of the people recommending the investment closely matches its context. If they point to their prior work, ask them to explain why that work is relevant to the current situation.
  • Get the advocates to question their assumptions by engaging in “premortem” discussions, in which participants try to surface what might cause a proposal to fail.
  • Consider doing this as part of your project-evaluation process.

To Conclude: 

Leaders need many qualities, but underlying them all is good judgment.

  • Those with ambition but no judgment run out of money.
  • Those with charisma but no judgment can lead their followers in the wrong direction.
  • Those with passion but no judgment can hurl themselves down the wrong paths.
  • Those with drive but no judgment can get up very early to do the wrong things.

Sheer luck and factors beyond your control may determine your eventual success, but good judgment will stack the cards in your favour.

All this aside, what’s really important here is that each and every one of us becomes more aware of HOW we reach judgements and decisions!

How does “uncertainty” come into play here too?

“Judgement” is often described as decision-making under uncertainty that cannot be modelled as a set of formal decision rules and we often call it ‘intuition’, ‘gut instinct’, or understanding.

In a world of uncertainty, we still have to bear the responsibility of owning, controlling, deploying, and redeploying our resources according to our market and what our customers want.

That, I believe, is very much the role of the entrepreneur and the leader whose job is to combine and recombine capital resources in pursuit of profit (and the avoidance of loss).

And, when we exercise good judgment— we earn an economic profit.

However, when our judgments are poor, we suffer an economic loss. And competition among entrepreneurs (and those who provide financial capital to entrepreneurs) tends to steer ownership and control of productive resources toward those with better judgment).

The judgment-based approach plays a distinct role in the current conversation and controversy about the nature of business research.

Taking action is seen as beginning with …

  • our interpretation of current (objective) conditions,
  • our beliefs about possible future states of the world (e.g., a profitable product or venture), and
  • our expectations and confidence in our own ability to bring about that possible future.

We then act (or don’t act), with success or failure.

Question: Do entrepreneurs and leaders take action, or opportunities?

An action-theoretic perspective helps us (and our clients) to remember that action always takes place under conditions of uncertainty (even for mundane activities in established industries!)

Now, there’s quite a bit of food for thought this week!

I hope this has been useful and thank you for reading to the end!

If you would like my help with this then I invite you to book your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me HERE.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.

Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”



Thought for the Week – I is for INSPIRATION!

I hope you had a great Easter and all is well with you.

As you know, I have been going through the A to Z of Success and looking at one letter each week.

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “H is for Heart” and I hope you found that thought-provoking.

This week’s thought for the week is all about “I for INSIRATION” …

There is no one right way to get inspiration. It is deeply personal and derives from what is important to and what drives you.

But no matter where you find it, it is often an integral part of what keeps you going when times get tough.

For me, my inspiration comes from seeing transformation happen.

Most of my inspired action gets generated, not when I’m in front of my laptop or networking, it shows up when I’m working with my clients, out for a walk, gardening or even ironing!

It is the small, quiet whisper that floats through my mind. It is unconditionally, an easier, better, quicker way to get the results I want.

It is also, unconditionally, an out-of-the-box approach that I wouldn’t have considered while strategizing in front of my laptop. Out-of-the-box thinking generates success for an entrepreneur.

So, I researched this topic and these are just a few of the things that inspire some of the World’s most successful business owners …

Being around passionate people. They are always contagious for me and they get my juices going. And they come from all walks of life, not just famous artists or musicians”.

“I am inspired by the fact that every day is a new day. I really think that there is an opportunity in every day, especially when you’re building a business. You never know what is going to come, and I get really excited when I wake up”.

“Get people to think bigger and shoot for these outlandish feats that are good for humanity. Having people thinking about ideas that are audacious is a good thing to spur people on. I’m not shooting to land people on Mars, but it’s good for people in general”.

“I’m really inspired by the possibility of change and how to seize that. I believe those things start with a combination of proving something is possible, telling the right people about it and then pick up the torch and carry on from there. The right way to think about it is planting the seeds of what is possible and enabling a lot of people to go after it”.

“Making change and empowering people. I’m a big believer in the power of one – that one person, one action, can have a ripple effect that can make a difference”.

“The fact that change is possible. If we look back at what’s been achieved in the face of incredible odds, it’s amazing. Compared to that, whatever problems I face seem extremely solvable”.

“When we can travel, you not only encounter so many different cultures and ways of life, but you also meet so many new and interesting people who can teach you completely unexpected life lessons and be the inspiration for your next great idea. I’ve often come back from a trip with a completely fresh perspective on my business, and it helps me ensure we’re always innovating and being creative”.

“Courage is something that drives me and inspires me when I see that in people”.

“Capital isn’t that important in business. Experience isn’t that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” -Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and Pixar-

What inspires you?

We all feel uninspired at times. The good news is that it’s a natural part of the creative process and something everyone struggles with.

The next time you’re stuck in a rut, here are some things you can do to get inspired …

  • Change your environment – get out of the office or house and go somewhere new. A new environment can spark inspiration by giving you a new way of looking at things.
  • Learn something new – Get outside the boundaries of your own knowledge to learn something new. E.g., a new language, how to paint etc.
  • Jot down ideas when they come – they may bot inspire you in that moment but they may later.
  • Research what others in your field are doing – this can be a great source of inspiration when you are low on ideas. It’s not about copying them;it will spark your own ideas.
  • Listen to a new genre of music – seek out music that’s different and try it out.
  • Try mediating – just sitting quietly in a chair and focus on your breathing. Our busy lives can sometimes leave us so frantic that it can be difficult to get inspired. By taking the time out to meditate, you’ll give your brain a chance to refresh.
  • Give yourself the gift of time – don’t rush yourself and even give yourself a day to do whatever comes to you. You might be surprised at the inspiration that comes to you when you least expect it!
  • Read an inspiring blog post or listen to a podcast – There’s nothing like a few powerful words to spark your inspiration.
  • Go beyond your comfort zone – It’s easy to get stuck in a routine. Try something you’ve never done before that pushes you out of your comfort zone. By breaking the routine of your daily life, you’ll encourage the flow of ideas.
  • Watch an inspiring TED Talk – There are so many inspiring TED talks just waiting to be watched. From science to art, history to technology, whatever your creative thing is, there is a TED talk to inspire you.
  • Start before the Inspiration Strikes – sometimes to get inspired, we just need to start! Take initiative and inspired action!

Here’s a quote to end on …

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

-Madam C.J. Walker, creator of beauty products and the first female self-made millionaire

I hope this has been useful and thank you for reading to the end!

If you would like my help with this then I invite you to book your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me HERE.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.

Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”


Thought for the Week – H is for Heart <3


I hope you had a great weekend and all is well with you.

As you know, I have been going through the A to Z of Success and looking at one letter each week.

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “G is for Goals” and I hope you found it thought-provoking and useful and this week’s thought leads on from that ….

This week is all about “H for Heart”.

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart. – Thomas J. Watson

Just showing up to work is not enough to be successful in your job or your business. There must be an inner drive full of passion, enthusiasm & burning desire within you to go above the norm. Your sense of purpose must be strong as well as your self-motivation.

Is you heart in what you are doing?

Yes, there is some debate it seems around the role of the heart in business. Some say the only way to succeed in business is to follow your heart; others will tell you that is the fastest road to ruin!

Personally, I believe that there is a role for heart in everything we do.

As I spoke about last week, that passion — that fire that burns in our belly that is the reason we get up each day and hit the floor with a zest for succeeding.

Too many people lose that vision of what they set out to accomplish and with it goes the heart, the passion and, most often, their chances for true success.

Maintaining focus on what’s really important is something none of us can ever afford to lose sight of as we set out to fulfil our life’s work. And make no bones about it:  it is life-work for a reason. 

We should always keep top of mind that it is about how our career fits into our life and not how our life fits into our career.

For me, there is no question about the role of heart in business:  it is a critical element required to succeed. Show up without it and you will fail yourself, your employees and your customers.

You have to be crystal-clear about who you are, what you stand for and follow that passion with a relentless tenacity. With heart in your main sail, you will find the momentum and drive to withstand any storm the world of business will send your way.

This is what I stand for and my clients are people who want to do business with heart. If people don’t want that, they will fall away and perhaps unsubscribe and that’s OK. And those who want his or are curious will stick around.

We are in the most challenging of times

We are in this balance between surviving very perilous times and also knowing that we are living in this very exciting time that presents us with a real opportunity for change.

We humans have not been so challenged since at least the Second World War – challenged by Covid and staying safe and in good health and the social and economic impacts of it, challenged by the Climate Crisis, challenged by inequality of opportunity, in race, gender and so much else and challenged by the fear-based strategies used by businesses in these times.

I believe that key to us moving forward is both very straightforward and very difficult – and that is for leaders and entrepreneurs from all walks of life to open their hearts!

With an open heart, it’s pretty hard to ignore the consequences to our company, our people, our families, our country and the World.

Such as people being treated like disposable objects, perpetual inequality and when people are generally self-centred and uncaring. Specifically, in business, I believe that leaders with open hearts would find it impossible to intentionally do any of these things.

It is a very exciting time as we see more and more leaders understanding the importance of opening their hearts and taking a different approach. And it’s not an easy journey. Sometimes we close our hearts to avoid feeing things that are uncomfortable because opening it can feel uncomfortable and means using it to do something differently.

Opening our hearts helps us see that we are all interconnected and need each other to survive and thrive.

Opening our hearts takes humility and vulnerability, the ability to admit we were wrong and don’t know everything.

What is a Heart-Centred Business?

Many people don’t really get what heart-centred business is all about and of course it is a good question. For instance; Heart-centred entrepreneurship isn’t social entrepreneurship. And, although social entrepreneurs do operate heart-centred businesses by definition, heart-centred businesses are not necessarily social enterprises.

A business that falls into the category of social entrepreneurship aims to solve a specific social problem using the not-for-profit business model.

Heart-centred entrepreneurship isn’t philanthropy either.

So, what is it?

A heart-centred business is simply a business driven by the passion and motivation to provide something that impacts the lives of your customers in a positive way.

So, you might well say that surely most businesses are heart-centred businesses then. And of course, we don’t want to only rule our business with our hearts.

We have to balance this with keeping our head!

And for many very successful entrepreneurs and leaders, this is a given for running a successful, modern business. And the key phrase here is ‘successful business’.

We don’t want to be so busy trying to ‘do what we love’, ‘serving others’ and ‘sharing our unique gifts’ so we forget the fundamental principles of running any business! And that is;

To improve the lives of as many people as possible, our business needs to grow and in order to grow our business, we need to make a profit.

Without making a profit, of course we won’t be able to continue doing the work we want to do and serving the people we want to help.

And making money is NOT a dirty word and is needed to succeed in any business.

5 Questions to get to the heart of your business:

Ask these questions to understand the soul of your business and position it with timeless branding.

1.What is your Motto or Mission?

This is your statement of purpose and belief and what you stand for.

You probably already have one …

  • Has it changed?
  • Is it heart-based?
  • Is it serving your clients well as well as you and your company?
  • Is it inspirational and energising to you and / or your team?

For example; Harley Davidson’s “Live to Ride, Ride to Live.” Your motto should be the core of your brand strategy, decisions, behaviours and messages.

2.What is your story behind your business?

Why does this matter?

Stories inspire us. They are the emotional glue that create meaningful experiences between a company and its clients and audience.

Stories speak directly to the human condition, to our hard-wired emotions and instincts and we know that people buy through their emotions.

Ask yourself, what is my / our story? Is it meaningful? Why should anyone care?

Speak heart to heart with your clients and your audience.

3.what is your big shiny goal and greatest vision?

As in last week’s Thought for the Week!

If money, time and energy were no obstacle, what would you do?

While most people think, “Well, time, money and energy are my obstacles,” this type of thinking limits your ability to think big!

By communicating your vision without constraints, you are able to picture what you truly desire and take the necessary steps to move your business towards that vision.

4.What is your plan for growth?

Even if you don’t want to grow your business further, every business follows a path and that path will undoubtedly include various turns, obstacles and re-routes; it’s the nature of business.

There is a difference between having a job you love and having a business model that you love and is scalable.

“Do what you love, but always follow the money.” Lewis Schiff – “Business Brilliant”

You must know where you’re going. What is your destination and how will you get there?

5.Why will you succeed?

I love this question because it forces leaders and business owners to take a good, hard look at whether or not they have what it takes to succeed.

  • Do you have the vision?
  • Do you have the discipline it takes to overcome any obstacle?
  • Do you have authenticity or proof that everything you do and say is a true expression of why you exist?
  • Is all of this clearly understood by your audience?

When you can answer yes to these questions, that’s how you know you WILL succeed. You can’t have vision without discipline or authenticity — you must have all three.

From my heart to yours, I hope this has been useful and thank you for reading to the end!

If you would like my help with this then I invite you to book your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me HERE.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.


Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”

Thought for the Week – “G is for Goals”

I hope you had a great weekend and all is well with you.

As you know, I have been going through the A to Z of Success and looking at one letter each week.

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “F for Focus” and I hope you found it thought-provoking and useful.

This week is all about “G for Goal”.

Whilst many of have a goal or goals, have we fine-tuned exactly what it is that we want at the end of it? And this is very exciting!

It wasn’t always like that for me though!

Before I realised that goals have to be exciting, if someone suggested I set a goal or goals, frankly I found it a chore.

Then I realised how much more impact goals have on how we live our lives than pretty much anything else.

Now, I am particularly passionate about this and helping others to really nail down their own exciting goals.

And, as a coach working with Business Owners and Leaders, I see people struggle with their goals all the time.

For instance, let’s say someone wants to make a million pounds in 2022.

What is it that that million pounds will actually give them? A nice big house, a flash car, lifestyle?

Or would it give them peace of mind, a sense of freedom, able to start their own business?

What is your No.1 Life Goal?

Ask yourself this question … What will that actually give you?

Then ask yourself the same question again “… and what will that give you”, and again until you get to the core desire that is REALLY important to you.

Notice your excitement really increase when you hit the nail on the head! You will know when that happens.

Sometimes we think we have a very clear goal. However, we may not be there yet. Just keep asking yourself that same question “And what will that give you?” until you either get that rush of excitement, or you can’t go any further.

Think of it as though you are peeling away the layers of an onion until you reach the core.

What happens to us when we are unclear about our ultimate goal?

  • We are not committed to it.
  • We stray away from it
  • We have a sense of emptiness in our lives
  • We are unclear about our true purpose.

We all need an anchor in our lives, something that gives us that reason to get out of bed in the mornings!

The Japanese actually have a word in their vocabulary for this, which we don’t; “Ikikgai”, which means “your reason for being”.

We know about “Raison d’etre” in France, which has a similar meaning.

So, what is your Ikigai or Raison d’Etre?

Once you have found this ultimate life goal, fine-tune this into just 3 or 4 words so you can easily remember it. If we have a long sentence, it is more difficult to keep this top of mind.

Your life goal could be an image.

It might even be a symbol of some kind.

Whatever it is, it has to have great meaning for you because this is your anchor in all you do and will influence all of the decisions your make in your life.

Because, ideally we want all of our decisions to be in alignment with our life goal.

What happens when we don’t?

We end up on a different life course and perhaps find ourselves feeling trapped.

Once we are crystal clear about our life goal, we then set ourselves what I call; “Mile Stone Goals” and each of these will take us towards our life goal.

Also, our milestone goals give us a sense of achievement that we are moving towards our ultimate life goal. And, again, our milestone goals should ideally be in alignment with this.

And you may well ask;

“What about when life throws us a curved ball that completely throws us off course?”

Because pursuing our goals requires us working out what is most important to us and knowing which ones to let go of, then of course, we have to be able to link our goals to current reality.

“Mental Contrasting” is a powerful tool to link your most desirable goals to present reality.

However, by having that strong and exciting goal firmly in place in our hearts and minds, we can imagine the future.  We can also imagine reality …

Then we can explore reality and what might get in the way of us achieving that goal and take steps factor in preventative measures and contingencies into our milestone goals as far as possible.

The most important thing here though is that to succeed, we must feel so attached to our goals and excited by them that anything else is not an option!

I hope this has been useful and thank you for reading to the end!

If you would like my help with this then I invite you to book your FREE CLARITY SESSION with me HERE.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.

Korinne <3

Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”

Thought for the Week – F is for FOCUS

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “E for Environment” and I hope you found some value in that because my aim for these posts is to offer you value.

So, this week is all about “F for Focus” and this something many of us can struggle with, for instance if we get into overwhelm.

Focus is something pretty much all of us wish we had more of. At the same time, most of us struggle with this on a daily basis. Whether we’re trying to concentrate on a task at work, block out the distractions of the modern world, or even just stay committed to our long-term goals.

Attention has become a wild, seemingly untameable beast!

But research has shown that people who can focus for sustained periods of time regularly perform better on all sorts of cognitive challenges.

Whereas constantly giving in to distraction leads to decreases in creativity and poor decision making.

The problem isn’t just that we’re distracted. It is also that few people really practice how to focus.

“Focus is a muscle, and you can build it. Too many people labour under the idea that they’re just not focused, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you drop this mistaken belief, you can take a much more realistic approach to building focus.”

– Elie Venezski, Author of “Hack Your Brain” –

F is also for FLOW and staying focussed empowers is to stay in flow and build momentum.F can also be for FORESEEING OBSTACLES and if we are focussed, we will be able to see these coming up.

Next week will be about GOALS and if we want to achieve our goals successfully, of course we need to work out which of our wishes are realistic and which ones we need to let go of, at least for now.

Another quote for you …

“Mental contrasting is a powerful tool to link desirable goals to present reality. By imagining the future and then imagining obstacles of reality, one recognises that measures need to be taken to overcome the obstacles (status quo) to achieve the desired future”

– Oettingen, 2012 –

How to apply it …

So, how do you go about rebuilding your attention and learning how to focus? It starts with understanding the power of focus and then building the right work habits, environment, and mindsets to promote it.

Well, for most people, deciding how to learn how to focus comes from a number of motivations such as: –

  1. Us wanting to be more productive and feel good about what we’ve accomplished at the end of the day.
  2. Working towards learning a new skill, building a better product, or overtaking the competition
  3. Trying to protect ourselves from the giddying amount of distractions in the modern workplace.
Whatever your reasoning, it’s probably safe to say that you realise that people who can focus get more done in less time.In that way, Focus is the Ultimate “Productivity Hack.”

We all have the same 24 hours!

“What matters more than the length of time you put into a thing is actually the intensity of focus. Because if you have an intensity of focus you can actually reduce the amount of time spent doing it to get the same or better results.”

– Srinivas Rao –

Srini points to Steven Kotler’s book, The Rise of Superman. In it, Kotler found that top executives are 500% more productive when they’re in a state of flow, or deep focus, compared to when they aren’t.Even if you’re not in a state of flow, focus helps us to get more out of the day.

Staying focussed and sticking to one’s plan is hard work.

Dealing with temptation; the power of believing that you CAN stay focussed. This strategy produces automatic behaviour. That is, we don’t have to make a deliberate effort in confronting tempting situations.

There is nothing more motivating that the power of small wins. I call them “Milestone Wins” towards reaching our Goals.
As the saying goes; “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

If we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, we may find the challenges and chores of everyday life too much and then it is difficult to stay focussed. In this situation, if we take one small step and take a short walk outside, be in nature for a few moments, our challenges can suddenly seem less burdensome. (Last week I spoke about Environment and these steps also help with this)

Here are the 5 Essential Elements of FOCUS: –

1. Be Master of Your Technology.

While there’s no escaping the fact that smartphones, email, IM, news, Netflix, and 24/7 access to the knowledge of the world have destroyed our attention spans, remember that technology is there to serve you, not the other way round.

The default settings on your devices and in your apps are designed to take your attention away. And you need to change them right away. Get rid of notifications and keep your tech out of sight whenever you don’t actively need it.

2. Create a Focus-friendly environment.

Again, I cannot stress enough how important our environment is because our working environment plays a massive role in our ability to focus. And yet, many of us don’t pay attention to it.

Start by clearing out as much clutter as possible (a team of neuroscientists found that clutter competes for your attention and decreases performance while increasing stress).

Avoid noise if you can by using headphones or listening to music that energises you to be more productive. Some offices have an “interruption stoplight” to signal when people are focussing and not to be interrupted at that moment.

3. No more ‘Multi-tasking’ and Less Task-Switching.

If you haven’t heard by now, multitasking is a myth!

When we try to do 2 things at the same time, we are actually switching back and forth between those tasks. And it can take us up to 11 minutes each time to refocus and get back into our flow.

Even worse, the more we multitask, the more our brain looks for more things to do at once. Single tasking, on the other hand, rebuilds your focus, lowers stress, and can even make you more creative.

4. Have clear Expectations around Communication

One of the biggest internal factors that chips away our ability to focus is our expectations around communication.

Research has shown that 84% of people keep their email open all day long, with 70% of emails opened within 6 seconds of receipt.

Even when we’re not receiving emails, the findings showed that the average knowledge-worker checks their email every 6 minutes.

To rebuild focus, we need to have open conversations around communication.

  • When do people expect a response?
  • Can you set times where you’ll check throughout the day so everyone is on the same page and not waiting around for you?
 You can’t be focused if you’re assuming your attention can be pulled away at any moment.
5. Have more breaks away from your computer
Looking at Facebook or checking your email isn’t a real break. Taking real breaks means leaving your computer and phone behind, standing up, maybe even going outside or walking around your workspace.A real break completely takes your mind away from what you’re doing, giving it the ability to reset before you hit the desk again.

The research shows that the kind of unfocused, free-form thinking we do during breaks helps our brains to recharge.

If you find it difficult to fit in real breaks, try scheduling ten-minute meetings with yourself throughout the day.

I hope this has been useful and thank you for reading to the end!

If you have found even just one golden nugget from this Thought for the Week, then job done!

As always, if you haven’t already, I invite you to book your free clarity session with me HERE.

Have a great week!

With very best wishes for your success.

Thought for the Week – E is for Environment

I hope you had a great weekend and are keeping well.

Last week’s Thought for the Week was “D for Determination” and if you are Business Owner or a Business Leader, you will have thought about this a lot!

So, this week is about “E is for Environment” and this something many of us don’t consider.

Think of it this way. When you have a really important deadline, where are you more likely to be productive? In your office, a meeting room, or a quiet room at your local library, or sitting on your sofa with the TV on?

The answer is going to depend on how you work best—in silence or with background noise.

Where we are affects the way we behave, but of course, it is all dependent on our personality and preferences.

If you want to use this secret of success, put yourself in environments that are likely to create the behaviours that work best for you.

For example, if you want to improve your physical stamina, a gym is probably better than your bedroom. If you want to improve your spirituality, a yoga/meditation studio may be a good choice.

Some follow the principles of Feng Shui – others will not be into that kind of thing at all.

Create your own success formula through the environment you create for yourself …

And this is not just about how aesthetically pleasing your office is (we will look at this later) …

Have you ever started on a big goal or path and been really motivated, but somewhere along the line you fell off track?

I have been there, believe me! It is only through learning from these moments that we master them and propel ourselves forward.

One big mistake many business owners and leaders make that leads to falling off track is not having a good system to measure their progress, and celebrate their success along the way.

I used to do this a lot with my health regime … I’d spend hours and hours each week making the effort to get to the gym and work out. But I wasn’t really feeling all that good about it!

Every time I stepped on the scales I’d dread seeing the result. My progress was up and down, and I didn’t understand why. The fact was, I was leaving too many variables on the table and didn’t appreciate the importance of tracking and coming up with a regime that would actually work for me.

I was not tracking my business either as well as I could have and let’s face it, sometimes we “can’t see the wood for the trees”, when we are in it, right?

After working with a coach, I realised that I needed to pay closer attention to my systems and I started tracking each one carefully and quickly noticed when I was less productive.

Essentially, what we measure, we manage.

How to apply it …

As a business leader, you will have KPI’s and these give goals to aim for.

As a business owner, you will have a business plan.

Many of you are already successful and doing great.

Whatever it is you’re working towards, ask yourself; how can I track and measure my progress even more successfully along the way?

If you are not feeling successful, then what milestones can you put in place? And how will you celebrate your success along the way?

For example, if you want to increase the number of clients you work with, set yourself milestones each month that are realistic and yet still stretch you to go that bit further than you may believe you can.
And then put your strategies and systems in place and diarise your projects and tasks.

Just say that you want to learn an instrument, you might record a video each week of you playing the same song then watch it back to see how you have progressed and you may also track how many hours you practice in a log.

As a business leader, 6 ways to foster a positive work environment are:

  1. Prioritise team onboarding and training.
  2. Create a comfortable work environment for everyone and recognise the importance of having fun as well as working hard.
  3. Let your employees know they matter – have regular check-ins with your people and make it easy for them to be open and honest.
  4. Encourage collaboration and communication.
  5. Develop a strong workplace culture of positivity and growth with a strong “Why” you do what you are doing. For instance; research has shown that millennials are driven less by profits than purpose. It found that those workers were likely to stay in their jobs longer if they were satisfied with a workplace’s sense of purpose. Now that millennials dominate the workplace, connecting employees with purpose has become more crucial than ever.
  6. Facilitate opportunities for learning and development. Leaders need to encourage employees to follow a path of personal and professional development.

And as for our physical environment …

Whether we work from our desk in an office, or from home, I thought I’d share 9 ways to create a happier and more inspiring workspace …

  1. Declutter for a clean workspace. Clutter can be a significant source of stress. Create more space through a good filing system where you can easily find things again and using containers on your desk.
  2. Make comfort a priority. Ensure you have a good seat that supports your back, your desk is the right height for you and your monitor(s) are adjusted properly to prevent strain.
  3. Drink enough water! When we are busy, it’s easy to forget. If it helps, make your water more appealing by infusing it with fruits and herbs and keep it where you can see it.
  4. Think about getting a laptop desk so you can move and change your environment for different tasks if you chose to without having to put your laptop on your lap.
  5. Ensure you have good lighting to brighten your work space. Ideally next to a window if you can. If not, then choose lighting that supports your vitality and wellbeing.
  6. Add seasonal touches to your work space and bring the outdoors in. Use colours to create a cheerful and inspiring ambiance and mix something natural with elements you already have.
  7. Think about having an energising aroma in your work space, such as aromatic oil or a candle.
  8. Create a ‘Snack Nook’ away from your desk and take a break!
  9. Create an inspiring ambience. Last but not least, use your work space to inspire you and bring you joy. As well as photos, this could be your favourite quotes, your plans for the year ahead.

If you have found even just one golden nugget from this Thought for the Week, then great!

As always, if you haven’t already, I invite you to book your free clarity session with me HERE.

Have a great week!

With very best best wishes for your success.


Find out more about “The A to Z’s of Success”