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What Really Matters! For moving from good to outstanding performance for Senior and Developing Leaders

Volume 4, Number 2, 2012 By

Gary Ryan

What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012 – is a compilation of selected articles from The OTM Academy from May 1st 2012 until August 31st 2012. By Gary Ryan Published by What Really Matters Publishing c/- Organisations That Matter Level 8, 350 Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria 3166 AUSTRALIA Phone +61 3 8676 0637 E-mail: Copyright © 2012 Gary Ryan, Organisations That Matter® All effort was made to render this ebook free from error and omission. However, the author, publisher, editor, their employees or agents shall not accept responsibility for injury, loss or damage to any person or body or organisation acting or refraining from such action as a result of material in this book, whether or not such injury, loss or damage is in any way due to any negligent act or omission, breach of duty, or default on the part of the author, publisher, editor or their employees or agents.

A note about ebooks Ebooks provide a special function that traditional books cannot provide. The links in this ebook are ‘live’, so if you read the ebook while online, you can immediately access the reference material.



What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Who should read this ebook? This ebook is for senior and developing leaders who share the view the high performance is achieved through enabling people to utilise the full talents. This ebook represents articles from the second third of 2012 from the OTM Academy. Specifically, young professionals, new formal leaders and experienced leaders who wish to improve their leadership skills will benefit most from the contents of this ebook. To join the OTM Academy please follow this link.

Thank You! Thank you to all our members of the OTM Academy. We hope that you will receive great value from this collection of articles compiled from the second third of 2012. Please respect our copyright. This means that if you have received this ebook you are free to share it, providing you do not change it in any way. Keep learning! Gary Ryan

Table of contents Lack of 'Truth to Power' at the core of Hastie Group collapse! By Gary Ryan!

Sustainability is a reason and a result! By Ian Berry!

Communicate effectively through multiple channels! By Gary Ryan!

Virgin Australia - A brand damaging event! Gary Ryan!

Change management is an oxymoron! By Ian Berry!

A Genuinely Great Service Experience!! By Gary Ryan!

Three Steps For Bringing Organisational Values To Life! By Gary Ryan!

Would you like to be free of people problems in your business?! By Ian Berry!

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5 5

6 6

8 8

15 15

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22 22

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As a manager, how do you show respect to your team members?! 25 By Gary Ryan!

Five Steps For Connecting Strategy To Action! By Gary Ryan!

Closing your leadership gap! By Ian Berry!

Company Values Need To Be talked About! By Gary Ryan!


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Stop trying to manage people! By Ian Berry!

Jolly Highlights Lack of Truth To Power Within The AFL! By Gary Ryan!

Geelong's Behaviour Shows Integrity Despite Criticism! By Gary Ryan!

We choose our thoughts and our emotions! By Ian Berry!

You're not listening to me!! By Gary Ryan!

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Do you Leverage the Power of Questions for Personal Success?! 44 By Gary Ryan!

What does 'Realistic' mean?! By Gary Ryan!

Are you making the most of both of your lives?! By Ian Berry!

Great Service The Fijian Way! By Gary Ryan!

Incomplete Quadriplegic to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro !


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By Gary Ryan!


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This product is for both Young Professionals and/or their employers!


About Gary Ryan!


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Lack of 'Truth to Power' at the core of Hastie Group collapse By Gary Ryan "It was a culture of 'no bad news' within this company that was at fault". Hastie Group CEO Bill Wild is quoted as saying in The Age . Truth to Power is reflected in the regularity with which people lower in an organisation's hierarchy provide honest opinions and/or data to more senior people in the hierarchy. When it is low, danger looms. It can even cause the loss of at least 2,300 jobs which is the current scenario at the Hastie Group. Just yesterday when I was working with a management team I asked them their view on whether or not it is easy for people to provide Truth to Power. "No" was their collective response. "Is that a potential problem for you?" I asked. A resounding "Yes" was the reply.

If you consider a multi layered organisation, imagine if Truth to Power is low at the 'lower' levels of the organisation. Imagine if it is also low at the middle levels of the organisation. Then imagine if it is low at the more senior levels of the organisation. If you were the 'head' of such an organisation, how much truth would you be hearing? Very little! And that is dangerous - it could even sit at the heart of an organisational collapse. Candor lies at the core of Truth to Power. This means that at all levels of an organisation people are encouraged to say when they believe is going on, understanding that there perspective is only part of the picture. But 3

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an important part none the less. Truth to Power is diminished when the 'messenger is shot'. When 'bad things' happen to people who provide an honest opinion or highlight 'scary' data in an organisation, other people learn very quickly 'not to put their head up'. This means that managers and leaders have to learn how to handle hearing things they don't like to hear, especially when the 'truth' might relate to an issue that the manager believed had been resolved some time ago. Managers also have to have the courage to speak with their colleagues when they see evidence that they are damaging Truth to Power through their lack of engagement with their direct reports. Saying, "Bob's always been like that, he never listens to his people" is not satisfactory. In fact it highlights managers accepting the unacceptable behaviour of their colleagues and the simple truth is that such behaviour can place everyones jobs at risk, including the managers themselves. Truth to Power does not mean it is 'open slather' for employees to say what they like just for the sake of saying it. Part of truth to power includes the messenger taking responsibility for what they are saying, so their view is genuine and not an effort to 'have a go' because they can. How healthy is Truth to Power in your organisation? Please feel free to comment on this article.

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Sustainability is a reason and a result By Ian Berry I was honoured to present the keynote address at the Association for Sustainability in Business Conference on the Gold Coast last week. Although I don’t use slides in such presentations below is link to the slideshare provided that shares the substance behind the stories shared. My key points: Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business. Sustainability is both a reason and a result. We have crystal clear choices as illustrated below.

What choices are you making? Sustainability - a reason and a result

Please feel free to comment on this article.


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Communicate effectively through multiple channels By Gary Ryan The use of email is still a main driver for miscommunication within the workplace. People simply rely too much on it for their communication, or rather they rely too much on it as the main channel for workplace communication.

Given that up to 90% of the written word is interpreted by the recipient of the message, email is a risky channel of communication especially when the author of the message suspects that it has a high chance of being interpreted negatively. Yet people continue to press 'send'. And again and again and again. And they wonder why their workplace relationships suffer. And they wonder why performance suffers when negative energy is wasted on unnecessary miscommunication. Communicating any message by a single channel is risky business. And even riskier when the message has a high probability of being misinterpreted. Unless you are deliberately intending for someone to read a negative message from your email, then it is best to use multiple communication channels to send your message. A communication channel is a means through which a message is sent. It could be verbal, a text message, an email, a video, a presentation, an audio recording, a website, a blog - the list of possible channels is virtually limitless.

When you have a potentially difficult issue to convey speak to the person or people to whom you wish to convey your message first. This can be in person or at least over the phone. It is after you have conveyed your message via a verbal format that you should then follow up with an email, simply highlighting the key aspects of your verbal conversation. This simple technique of using multiple channels to convey your message will 6

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significantly decrease the chances that the recipient of your message will misinterpret your intentions. Business relationships won't suffer and performance won't be reduced. A little care and forethought goes a long way. What is your experience of using multiple channels to more effectively communicate your messages in the workplace?


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Virgin Australia - A brand damaging event Gary Ryan I fly a lot so that I can fulfill my client commitments. For the past year I have flown consistently with Virgin Australia and to be fair their overall service delivery has been very good. Most importantly my flights have been for the best part on time and I have felt safe on every flight. Except for one of my flights late last week. A return flight from Brisbane to Melbourne. The first 100 minutes of the flight had been effectively uneventful, which is what you actually want on a flight. I was sitting in a window seat in row 7, with another passenger in the aisle so we had a spare seat between us. After the Captain had announced that we had commenced our decent and the Seatbelt sign had been switched on, a crew member approached the gentleman in the aisle seat in my row and asked him if he could move so that another passenger could be moved up toward the front of the plane from the rear of the plane. He stated that he didn't want to move and would it be okay for the passenger to seat in the spare seat between the two of us. The crew member agreed and headed toward the back of the place.

Moments later she returned with a female passenger appearing to be in her early 30s. It became immediately clear that at the very minimum this women was extremely intoxicated and possibly under the influence of other substances as she literally fell into the seat bumping hard into my left side. She then proceeded to repeatedly swear at the top of her voice using swear words that start with the letters 'f' and 'c' in most sentences that she spoke. She was rude and obnoxious to both myself and the other gentleman and the other passengers in the rows around us.


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She refused to put her seatbelt on and tried to make a phone call but was unable to punch out the number on her phone and gave up. My peaceful trip had well and truly been interrupted. It was quite an unusual experience as the woman's behavior was unpredictable and dangerous from my perspective. It really felt as if she had been placed between the two of us by the crew and she had then effectively become our problem to deal with. Only once did a crew member check on her and he continued down the aisle after she gave him a 'verbal spray'. On more than one occasion when were were deep in our decent she attempted to stand up which is clearly dangerous behavior. Throughout this ordeal I kept telling myself to remain calm and not to do anything that could provoke further dangerous behavior. I also kept thinking that it would only be 25-30 minutes before we would be at the gate and she would be arrested and she would have to deal with the law for her unacceptable behavior. After landing we had a long taxi back to the terminal. She got up out of her seat, climbed over the gentleman in the aisle seat and stood up. The crew called to her to sit back down, an instruction that she partially followed by choosing to sit in the lap of the gentleman in the aisle seat. He didn't look as if he was happy about what was happening. Again I thought to myself, "Well at least she will be arrested and have to explain her actions." Upon stopping at the gate and the seat belt sign went off she rushed toward the front of the plane. As we stood to collect our own bags from the overhead lockers the agreement from the passengers around me was that, "At least she will be arrested.". To our complete shock and disappointment this did not happen. Instead she was allowed to alight the plane just like the rest of us. We simply couldn't believe our eyes! I can only imagine what it must have been like for the passengers who had to sit next to her for 100 minutes. 9

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From my perspective safety is the No.1 service issue for plane travel. This woman for whatever reason had chosen to put hers and the safety of other passengers, including myself at risk and there was no consequence for that behavior. Frustrated by Virgin Australia's inaction I called their frequent flyer program to register my concern. I was informed that if I wanted my feedback to be actioned then I needed to go online and type in my feedback. I asked the staff member handling my call if he could see all of my details on the screen in front of him. He informed that he could. Despite having validated my membership number I was again told that my feedback would only be registered if I went online and typed it in. I was again frustrated, "Why would I go online to type in my feedback when I am already telling you and you have my details in front of you?". It seemed that Virgin Australia was making it hard for me to have my issue properly heard. Due to the safety nature of this issue I did go online to report my experience. Have a guess how long the automatic reply informed me that it would take for someone to contact me regarding my issue? I quote, "...we aim to contact all guests within 21 days where possible." 21 days! Surely Richard Branson would be shocked to hear such a period. I really was astonished. It seemed that Virgin Ausytalia really did fail us both at the gate and beyond. The key service issues for me were that the Virgin Australia staff on board the plane did not provide any assistance to myself nor the genetleman in the aisle seat with regarding to managing this woman's behaviour. Whether we liked it or not she had become 'our problem'. With regard to the lack of consequences for her behaviour I am concerned about Virgin Australia's saftey procedures with regard to passenger behaviour. Was 'turning the plane around' more important than passenger saftey? Thirdly, it is extremely frustrating when you verbally contact an organisation to 10

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provide feedback about their organisation, (feedback that could help it improve) and you are requested to 'go online and type in your feedback'. Great service organisations make providing feedback easy. Why couldn't the call centre staff member record my feedback and offer to have it followed up? Why couldn't my call even be recorded (which is something that I requested). Finally, a response time of 21 days simply provides the message that Virgin Australia really isn't serious with regard to hearing feedback from it's customers. In the year 2012 does anyone actually think a response time of 21 days is acceptable? Service organisations are tested when things go wrong. How they recover is what really sets service organisations apart from each other. I'll keep you informed with regard to what eventually happens. First Update Virgin have contacted me and have apologised for my experience, highlighting that passenger safety is their number one priority. Thankfully they have contacted me well within the 21 days their automated system suggested, however they haven't yet fully answered my question regarding why the woman wasn't arrested/escorted off the plane. Hopefully we'll find out the answer to that question soon enough. Second Update Virgin Australia have contacted me again. I have been informed (quote), "I am able to confirm that authority is granted to the air crew during a flight to make an arrest on board. The arrest or restraint of a passenger is a serious outcome and must only be used as a very last resort. Issues that could result in such actions include, but are not limited to: tampering with an aircraft, aircraft component or item of equipment, committing an act that threatens the safety of the aircraft or passengers on board, suspected or known possession of unauthorised weapons or threatening violence to the extent of possible damage or is a hazard to the aircraft. On this occasion, the cabin crew had not deemed this issue appropriate to take 11

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this action and call the Federal Police and Virgin Australia fully supports their decision."(unquote) I struggle to see how the woman's behaviour did not align with, "...committing an act that threatens the safety of the aircraft or passengers on board." but apparently it didn't. At this point in time this woman's behaviour was within the limits of what is considered tolerable by Virgin Australia which astounds me. I have requested that a telephone conversation take place as I am concerned that I am not being properly understood by the written communications that are currently taking place. So we'll continue to see how this issue unfolds. Third Update Last Friday evening (25th May) I responded to the person from Virgin Australia who had been emailing me and requested that we have a chat on the phone to discuss my issue. By late yesterday afternoon I had not had a reply so I forwarded the email that I had sent on Friday evening to this person, just in case they hadn't received it. To my surprise I received an automated response thanking me for my feedback and informing me again, that someone would respond to me within 21 days. It seems that the person responsible for managing my case, or the Virgin Australia system itself had decided that my issue was resolved, even though it isn't resolved from my perspective. My request to speak with someone is based on my thinking that I don't believe my feedback nor my issue is being properly understood. Therefore I believe I should use a different communication channel to convey my message. You may recall that I initially spoke with Virgin Australia over the phone, but was then referred to their online system, which I have since used. So now it is time to talk again. At least from my perspective. So we'll see what happens next. Fourth Update 12

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I have spoken with a Virgin Australia team member. She was genuinely apologetic for my in flight experience. I have been informed that my concerns have been forwarded to flight crew management. I have no reason to believe that they haven't been. I was also informed that I should have never been requested to enter my story online as the velocity team member with whom I first spoke should have referred my experience to Guest Relations who would have then followed up with me. I also suggested that while these events are hopefully very rare, if an unruly passenger is on a plane then the airline should be pro-active in contacting the passengers who had to sit immediately next to the unruly passenger to check on their experience. I still disagree with the decision not to have the authorities speak with this woman upon landing. I still can't see how her behaviour was not of a serious enough nature for that action to be taken and I certainly would not want that woman doing the same behaviour on another flight. I do believe that I have now been heard and it is now in the airline's hands with regard to how they use this feedback to improve their service. I was offered a credit for my experience which I did accept however it is yet to be received. Fifth Update A couple of interesting updates. When I was informed that I was to be provided a credit I was told that I would be sent an email that would include the details of how to use that credit. It is now 6 days since that telephone conversation and I have not received the email. It seems that with every step of this process something happens to reduce the customer experience. As I have said, it is how organisations manage 'service at the edges' that really sets them apart. In addition an interesting article was posted in The Age based on a similar (but it must be noted there are aspects of the story that are 'different') of how QANTAS 13

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handled a similar situation. You can read that article here: drunk-granny-force...

Sixth and Final Update Virgin Australia, despite their systemic 'hiccups' described in this post has just shown that they really are 'Fair Dinkum' about the issue that I have raised with them. I have just been contacted by a senior member of Virgin Australia's Office of the CEO, John Borghetti. I was informed that John himself had requested that I be contacted. Virgin Australia have guaranteed that they will further investigate the event and refer the outcome to cabin crew training. I was also provided an opportunity to explain my experience as it related to the systemic hiccups that I experienced when trying to provide my feedback to Virgin Australia. I believe that I was heard and that Virgin Australia will be genuinely using my feedback to help to improve their systems and for that I am appreciative. Learn about the OTM Service Strategy here. Please feel free to comment on this article.


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Change management is an oxymoron By Ian Berry Change management in my view, like strategic planning, is an oxymoron. Change initiatives are highly successful when leadership (both as something we do for other people as well as for ourselves) and management, are thought about and acted on in partnership rather than as the one discipline. People everywhere confuse strategy and planning, two completely different disciplines. Think about the two together at your peril. Strategy is about how and planning about execution, who will do what and when. The consequences of confusing the two, or thinking about the two at the same time, are usually that great strategies never see the light of day, they get buried in massive documents that just gather dust, or worse, great strategies never get executed. Confuse change and management or think about the two at the same time and likely that you will suffer a similar fate, what you want to change, won’t. Successful change is about primarily about leadership. Leadership as John Maxwell has observed is “about influence, nothing more, nothing less.” I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind each of us is) to everything they do Leadership falters and usually badly, without management. I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind each of us is) to everything they do Change like people can’t be managed. What we can do is manage the systems and processes that will help us to bring about the change/s we are leading. In all of my work with clients on change initiatives I follow the famous 8 steps of leading change put forward by John Kotter in his 1996 book Leading Change. I reread this classic book on a plane recently more than a decade after first reading it. Kotter's work has lost none of its power and I still think it is a must read book for anyone leading change particularly as there is a lot of talk about change management when in my view clearly, successful change is much more about leadership that it is about management. It is about both however, together in harmony.


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How well are you succeeding in the change/s you are leading? Please consider carefully my 13 reasons why most change initiatives fail: #1. The people charged with making the change happen don’t really believe in it and therefore their work is half-hearted at best #2. The change program is designed to take too long and the status quo wins #3. The expectations are unrealistic #4. People are not genuinely appreciated when they do well #5. People are not held to account when they fail to perform as they agreed they would #6. Measurements of progress are poor or non-existent #7. Desired change is actually problem solving which usually means a return to the status quo rather than real innovation #8. Intentions, emotions, and thinking doesn’t change and therefore any behaviour change that may happen doesn’t last #9. There isn’t a real shared-view about why the change is crucial/essential #10. There isn’t a real shared-view on how the change will happen and who will do what, and when #11. Leaders don’t understand all change is personal first, relationships second, and organisations third 16

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#12. Leaders don’t personally change #13. Broken relationships remain broken Great leadership in partnership with great management removes all of these reasons for failure. Crucially the first step on any journey to success is about great leadership and it is great leadership that sustains change. Great management supports great leadership. Great management is very little help to poor leadership. The people I meet generally fit into one of five categories as illustrated below. And a further general rule is that the people in the two categories on the left often don’t know that this is how their employees perceive them!

How do the people you work with perceive your attitude to change? Change is hard say some. I believe change is simple when we observe and adapt the principles of thriving on the challenges of change that we can see and experience every single second of every single day in the change happening to us and all around us. To be successful does require work and often hard work but change itself is not hard. Consider the foal as she struggles to stand for the first time almost immediately following her birth. Consider more the leadership of her mother inspiring her offspring to take the natural first step into life. "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." 17

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John Lennon "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Charles Darwin Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Please feel free to ask questions and/or to make a comment on this article.


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A Genuinely Great Service Experience! By Gary Ryan If you travel a lot for business or pleasure you may be able to relate to that annoying feeling that you have forgotten something important, only to have it dawn on you as your plane is about to land at your destination that you have forgotten your phone charger (again!!!). As your brain scans quickly for solutions you scamper off the plane only to discover that the airport is effectively in shut down. It is, after all after 8.30pm and you are in Australia. So the opportunity to purchase a charger isn't going to present itself to you at the airport. Catching a taxi to your destination you ask the driver if, by any chance does he have the same phone charger that you require? "Sorry, I don't have that type of phone", is the reply. "Damn!", you think yo yourself. "I'm up here for two full days and my phone won't last that long. It'll be lucky to see the morning. Oh well, maybe I'll get lucky at the local corner store." If you're wondering why I haven't suggested that you check if reception has a spare charger I need to explain that the particular hotel in which you are staying doesn't have a reception service after 7:30pm, so you have accessed the key to your room via a secure key lock. You look at your clock and notice that it is nearly 9pm. What are the chances that the local convenience store will still be open? "Hmmm, I might be able to make it it if I'm fast", you think to yourself. So you quickly race down the stairs and walk to the corner store that you discovered on your last visit. It's still open, but they are bringing all the signs inside in preparation for closing. You pick up a few things for breakfast in the morning and search around for a phone charger, all the while thinking that it is a 'long shot'. You get to the the counter and say, "I'm not expecting your answer to be yes, but it can't hurt to ask. Do you sell iPhone chargers?" "No we don't." comes the reply. "But I can lend you mine if you like?" "Are you serious" I said, I mean you say (yes if you hadn't guessed this whole story is about a real experience that I have just had!).


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"Yes I am serious. You are obviously away on business and I guess you would really need your phone. I have two phone chargers so you can borrow this one." What a wonderful gesture. I had never before met Andrew from Tuppy's Riverside Convenience Store, (85 Deakin Street, Kangaroo Point Queensland Australia, just down beside the Storey Bridge) yet he was willing to help me out, for no other reason than he could. What was also wonderful about his gesture is that it was made both genuinely and purely. He made the offer with no expectations of me doing anything in return (except of course to return his charger.).

Great service experiences are characterised by little things. In that moment when Andrew heard my question, his response was to a fellow human being in need. Wow that made me feel good. I explained to him that I write a lot and asked if it was okay for me to write about this experience and he gave me his permission. So if you are ever in Brisbane, check out Tuppy's Riverside Convenience Store, I'll certainly be going back - and that's a promise! By the way the 'tagline' on its simple brochure says, "More than a convenience store!". Well, unlike many taglines out there, I can say that my experience of this one is that it is an accurate expression of the experience that you will have a Tuppy's Riverside Convenience Store. Thank you Andrew for providing a simple, yet genuinely great service experience for me. I genuinely appreciate it. What are your genuine service experiences?

How do you bring genuine service experiences into the work that you do?

And finally, how do you bring your 'tagline' to life, just like Andrew did? Visit here for information on how you can bring the OTM Service Strategy to life inside your organisation. Once you have read the article please feel free to post a comment. 20

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What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Three Steps For Bringing Organisational Values To Life By Gary Ryan I recently published an article titled "Company Values Need to Be Talked About" and I was asked to provide a follow up to that article. So here it is! Organisational values are too often left to gather dust on office walls. If you are a leader and your organisation has values, how regularly do you bring those values alive in conversations with your team members? The usual response is, "Not very often." Yet when we ask leaders if they believe in their organisation's values they reply with a resounding, "Yes!". So what is the problem? Why is it that so many leaders struggle to host conversations with their team members about their organisation's values? The answer often lies in two issues. Firstly leaders simply forget to take responsibility for keeping their organisational values alive by talking about them with their team members. Such behaviour is simply not on their radar. Secondly, many leaders aren't taught how to tell effective stories. It is assumed that leaders know how to tell stories. In part this is true. People DO know how to tell stories. However, telling effective stories is different. Telling effective stories requires some structure. Thankfully most storytelling structures are quite simple. Here's one that most of you will remember from your childhood. The structure was effective then, and it is still effective now. Step 1 - Start the story. This usually involves setting the scene and context of the story. For stories regarding the organisations values you would explain a situation and set the scene that you are going to explain how the organisation’s values can be used in real situations. Step 2 - Explain the middle section of the story This usually involves the details about what happened and who did what. It is where the rationale behind how the values were used would be explained. Step 3 - Finish the story This section provide the "So what!" part of the story. What was the result? In this case, what was the impact of using the organisation's values to guide decision making and actions. 22

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These three steps effectively catalyse Conversations That Matter®. An example Start When I was on the executive team of a medium sized business some legislation was passed that affected $14million of our revenue. In 12 months time it would be gone. This revenue directly paid the salaries of over 200 people. Middle Having already performed some scenario planning on this outcome, the executive team met to confirm what would be done for the staff to ensure that the values of integrity, teamwork, service and community were upheld throughout a difficult period. A decision was made to use the organisation’s training and development budget to up skill the staff in resume writing, interview skills and outplacement programs to ensure that as many staff as possible could find new jobs. End All staff who wished to access the support were provided with the training and outplacement support that they required. While it was a difficult period for everyone involved staff consistently reported that while they wished that the situation had not occurred, they were delighted with the support that the organisation had provided them throughout their transition. The vast majority of staff found new jobs and opportunities that fitted with their career aspirations. A significant benefit of storytelling is that it helps people to makes sense of situations. After you have told a story it is worth asking people if the story has triggered any similar examples that also might show the organisation’s values in use. When listening to their stories listen for the start, middle and end. Not everyone tells stories correctly so they might miss out some important parts of the story. If you are listening you can help them out. For example, if someone shares a story but leaves out the end, ask, "What happened? What difference did your actions make?". You'll be amazed at the difference asking such questions can make to the quality of your team members storytelling. Using this technique can create highly engaged and flowing workplace conversations. Without even knowing it your team members will start to deepen their understanding of what your organisation's values really mean in action. So, set aside 15 minutes once a month in your team meetings and see if you can bring your organisation’s values alive through storytelling. Follow the simple start, middle and end structure and you'll be surprised just how effective it can be. Please leave a comment or let me know how you go using the three steps for organisational storytelling.

Please feel free to comment on this article.


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Would you like to be free of people problems in your business? By Ian Berry Are you a business owner or leader employing 10 to 200 people? Would you like to be free of people problems in your business? There are massive rewards from doing so, namely: 1.Increased top and bottom lines 2. Freedom to do more of what you want 3. Improved well-being and the many associated consequences Enhancing Their Gifts™ is a low investment/high return system that you implement in your own way. Subscribe here to the complimentary 9 lessons online course and learn how the system can be the game-changer in your business. Be the difference you want to see in the world. Ian I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

As a manager, how do you show respect to your team members? By Gary Ryan Recently a participant in a leadership development program for managers asked, "I've discovered that 'respect' is a core value of mine. What are some practical ways that I can ensure that this value is present in the way that I behave as a manager?". The following is the list of suggestions that emerged from the conversation that was conducted with this participant and another four people at their table. It is important to note that the following behaviours can be conducted irrespective of the culture that exists within the organisation. Take the time to get to know each member of your team individually. This means that you would know the names of their partner, their children (if they have any). You would remember their hobbies and passions and genuinely inquire about how they are going with those pursuits. If you had a poor memory you would create a structure to ensure that you could remember these things. An example of such a structure is creating notes for each of the members in your team. You would have a clear understanding of the career path that each of your team members is travelling and raise their awareness of any opportunities that would enhance their development in that direction. You would let people do their jobs and trust them with appropriate authority for their roles. As much as possible you would stay out of their way but you would be explicit with them about why you would do that. When bad information about your company was required to be shared with your team, you would share it. You would not ‘sugar coat’ the news. You would provide performance feedback to your team members and make it as easy as possible for them to provide you with feedback. You would not ‘sugar coat’ feedback. You would be proactive about ensuring that the remuneration of your team members was ‘fair’ in the context of your organisation and industry. This means that if you discovered that someone’s package was not ‘fair’, you would do whatever your system would allow you to do to rectify that situation. You would recognise and reward your team members for their contributions. You would be proactive with letting your team members know about opportunities that might take them out of your team if your view was that the opportunity aligned with their career aspirations as you understood them. This list of examples is just a start. Once again it is important to note that these behaviours can be adopted irrespective of the overall culture within the organisation. 25

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What are your examples of how, as a formal leader you have practiced the value of ‘respect’ in your role? How have you catalysed Conversations That Matter® within your team?

Please feel free to comment on this article.

OTM Plan for Personal ® Program Experience a facilitated program that enables you to identify the future that you want to create. Discover how your desired future can include having discovered the answers to the many questions that you have, and developing a clear and focused plan to answer those questions. "Excellent content delivered in an excellent way. It was an enjoyable course that delivered well targeted content. As a person that has trouble putting plans into action it has been very helpful. Thanks very much Gary!" Tom Sherburn, National Australia Bank

One of those actions was for the Executive Team to develop Individual Plans for Personal Success, and to share and relate those plans to the desired future for our division within our organisation. Developing an OTM Plan for Personal Success® was an inspiring experience with Andrew and Gary guiding myself and the rest of the Executive Team through the process. Sharing our plans with each other catalysed conversations that were powerful and enabled us to develop a deeper understanding of each other. Prior to the program I had felt that we already had a deep understanding of each other, completing the OTM Plan for Personal Success® program enabled our relationships to go to another level. Geraldine Storton, Vice President, Global Program Management Hospira, USA


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Five Steps For Connecting Strategy To Action By Gary Ryan For many years I have been facilitating leadership development programs for graduate students who have a minimum of five years work experience. The focus of the program is to enhance the capacity of the participants (even if only in a small way) to successfully perform in a mid to senior leadership role. The participants in the programs come from a broad range of cultural and work experience back-grounds, which is one of the many reasons that I enjoy facilitating the program. As part of the program I ask the participants to generate questions, that if answered would help them to better perform their role as a mid to senior leader. A recent question that I was asked was, "What is the most important thing that you have to do as a manager to keep your team focused on organisational objectives?". There are many factors that relate to answering this question. In this blog I will provide one approach that a leader can use to enhance the capacity of the team that they lead to stay focused on (and achieve) organisational objectives and goals. Step 1. Does your team know the organisational objectives to which it is contributing? This may seem like a silly question but my experience has taught me that it isn't. Too many managers aren't able to clearly and quickly articulate the organisational objectives to which the performance of their team is contributing. If you are in this situation then it is your responsibility to find out. The answer can usually be found in the organisation's Strategic Plan or Annual Plan. These documents will exist but all too often their implementation seems remote from a mid-management perspective because a gap often exists between planning and operational activities. Step 2. Once you have identified the objectives outlined in your Strategic Plan, the next challenge for you is to communicate how that plan relates directly to your team members. A simple and effective tool, irrespective of the level of the people who report to you, is to use the One Page Strategy Map invented by Kaplan and Norton. An example of such a map can be found here. Many organisations use the Balanced Scorecard methodology for their Strategic Planning and even if a different methodology is used, the high level strategies can often be focused and presented on a single page.


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Step 3. Literally sit down with each member of the team that you lead and, with a highlighter in hand, highlight each aspect of the Strategy Map to which their work directly relates. On many levels the act of highlighting different aspects of the content on the Strategy Map is far less important than the conversation that you will be having with each member of the team as you go through this process. These conversations will create a clear and specific level of understanding about what each person does and how that contributes to the achievement of organisational objectives.

Copyright Gary Ryan 2012 Step 4. At the conclusion of your conversation ask your team member if they have identified any work that they are doing that doesn't seem to fit anywhere on the map. The answer to this question will not automatically mean that they are doing something that they shouldn't be doing, but it certainly should indicate that further inquiry into this work should be considered. Step 5. Ultimately any work performed by the members of the team that you lead should be able to be explained in the context of how it contributes to the strategies outlined in the Strategy Map. Any other activities may be a waste of time and may indicate a loss of focus from the real work that should be performed. If possible, conduct a whole team conversation to enable each team member to clearly and concisely articulate their contribution (and 28

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collectively your team’s contribution) to the achievement of organisational objectives. If you follow the five steps above and regularly talk about the progress that your team is making toward the achievement of the objectives outlined on your organisation's One Page Strategy Map you will have an enhanced capacity to help your team members maintain focus on the work that they should be doing. What is your experience with using Strategy Maps or similar tools to enhance the focus of your team? Or, if this post has encouraged you to try this approach for the first time, please let me know how you go.

Please feel free to add a comment to this article.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Closing your leadership gap By Ian Berry

At least once a week I observe what I call The Leadership Gap. Business owners and entrepreneurs suffer big time from this gap and so do leaders in multinational corporations. No one is immune. The consequences for your business are dire - lower than possible morale and productivity, employee turnover and therefore unnecessary employment costs, lower than essential levels of service and therefore you lose customers/clients as well as failing to gain new ones. The list of dire consequences is a long one so I won’t add anymore. Ultimately failure to close your leadership gap can mean the end of your career and/or your business. The Leadership Gap occurs when the Leader is so far out in front of their people that they turn around one day and find no one is with them. And as they old saying goes you discover that “you’re not leading, just out taking a walk.” Closing your leadership gap *There must be authenticity and transparency, in about where your business is really at. BS is organisations everywhere. Remove the BS or you Take the BS Detector Pulse Check here. You staggered by what it shows and tells you.

a word, truth, bringing down might be next! just might be

*The story you are telling about where your organisation is going must be compelling and contain no BS. *The strategy that you have in place, the compass, the how you intend to get where your going, must be owned by your employees, the primary executors of your strategy. If your strategy is hidden in a thick document in a drawer somewhere you are in deep trouble. And if a stakeholder asks your employees what your strategy is and they can’t answer truthfully and enthusiastically you are also in deep trouble. 30

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Ownership of your strategy by your employees is impossible without a performance leadership and management system. Such a system means: *recruiting of people aligned with your values and how you live them *people are properly inducted and engaged to bring their best to their work consistently *leaders having informal and formal and candid conversations about performance that appreciates people, inspires them, and leads to personal accountability *employees having informal and formal and candid conversations about performance with each other and other stakeholders that appreciates people, inspires them, and leads to personal accountability *wisdom is retained when people move on *succession planning works in practice *overall the special gifts or talents of individuals are being enhanced on a daily basis Do you have such a system? Usually when I ask people what kind of performance leadership and management system is in place I hear about annual appraisals and how they don’t work. I am no longer surprised by this. Appraisals went out with the ark. The main reason they are walking dead is that most people don’t have the expertise to replace them with a viable and vibrant system as referred to above. I have such expertise. If you are suffering from a leadership gap or don’t have a proper performance leadership and management system in place then it’s time we had chat. 31

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I can help you put such a system in place, fully customized for you. And I guarantee you performance improvement and at least a 10 times return on your small investment within 90 days. Get that from your bank! Be the difference you want to see in the world. Please feel free to comment on this article.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Company Values Need To Be talked About By Gary Ryan Too often organisational values end up being meaningless from an operational perspective. In no way do they relate to the the day to day operation of the organisation. This is because they are not explicitly used to help staff make decisions. If you are responsible for a team when was the last time you conducted a conversation with your team regarding how they have used the organisation's values to help them make a decision? It isn't hard to do. Simply ask the question. Go on, do it. I promise it won't hurt. The outcome of these conversations is that the values start to have a clearer meaning. Staff begin to understand what they really look and feel like in practice, which is where they really matter. Meaningful organisational values will help staff to make effective decisions for the organisation. Who wouldn't want that outcome. How do you keep your organisation's values alive? Please feel free to comment on this article.


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Stop trying to manage people By Ian Berry “I hate managing people” was my client’s opening comment, before we had greeted one another in our usual friendly manner. “Great. Time to stop trying.” was my reply. My client gave me an out of character blank look. “People cannot be managed.” I said. Another blank look. I meet so many people negatively stressed by their perceived inability to solve so called people problems. After many years of observing and interacting with people I am led to the following conclusions: *The problem with people is that we create our own problems *People can only solve their own problems *We can lead people, but not manage them (Leadership is the art of inspiring people to bring everything they are to everything they do. Management is the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything they are to everything they do) *Leadership is therefore fundamentally about people and influence. Management is therefore fundamentally about systems and processes *People bringing everything they are to everything they do rarely have problems they can’t solve *On the surface less than desired performance occurs through lack of skill, will, circumstances beyond our control, or a combination of all three *The underlying reason however for unsatisfactory performance is lack of self assurance *When we are self assured we have the will and can learn the skill. *Self assured people never bother about circumstances beyond their control Having said all of the above, my client says “So my real role is to be self assured and to inspire others to be the same.” “Exactly.” I said “So what are the characteristics of self assurance?” my client asks The following are my thoughts that I shared with my client:


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Self assured people: *Demonstrate confidence that rarely spills over into arrogance *Are committed to life-long learning, even to changing wisdom that was previously precious *Live their values *Make decisions that are often unpopular and follow these decisions through *Readily turn information into insight *Share insight but rarely information *Articulate insight with clarity and passion so much so that others are inspired *Fulfill responsibilities *Deliver on promises *Accept responsibility for their own feelings, thoughts and actions *Respond to what happens rarely reacting *Never blame or shame others *Never take critique offered by others personally *Offer critique to others without attachment to what others may do about it *Demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement by actually continuously improving My client and I spent a lot of time in keen conversation about the above drawing the following conclusions: *We are authentic when we say what we mean and mean what we say *We must genuinely love ourselves (warts and all) as the one-of-a-kind being that each of us is *We must accept that our primary quest is to be the best one-of-a-kind being we can be *When workplace culture is one where everyone is on such a quest our workplaces will be the remarkable places they should be *Such workplaces are free of people problems Stop trying to manage people. Call it a strategy if you will. Instead be self-assured and co-create an environment where others can be self-assured. Warning: Never ever confuse a person with a problem. Be the difference you want to see in the world Ian 35

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PS The Enhancing Their Gifts™ system is the culmination of my life's work to make it simple for business owners and leaders who employ 20 people or more to ensure that the majority of your people are performing at their best on a consistent basis. All the details are here. Please subscribe to my complimentary Enhancing Their Gifts™ short online course by putting your details in the boxes here. You will receive a welcome message and be able to download the PDF version of my Changing What's Normal book. Just 9 lessons every 3 weeks direct to your inbox. Take action in your own way and voila performance improvement. Be the difference you want to see in the world. Ian I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives through enhancing people's gifts. Please feel free to comment on this article.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Jolly Highlights Lack of Truth To Power Within The AFL By Gary Ryan Darren Jolly, Collingwood's number one ruckman has highlighted the lack of Truth to Power in the AFL in his most recent article Paying The Price For Simply Being Honest. Jolly highlights that people need to be responsible for what they say, but the current restrictions on players and coaches means that they are briefed prior to interviews to ensure that they don't say anything that could upset the AFL. This form of censurship doesn't mean that opinions contrary to those of the AFL don't exist. Clearly they do. Political correctness is not necessarily healthy for an organisation either. The recent collapse of the Hastie Group is evidence of that. Why can't healthy debate be encouraged? What is the benefit of driving contrary opinions underground? In fact I'd argue that reducing healthy debate is more unhealthy for the AFL that the sanitised drivvle that most players and coaches share publicly because they 'can't' say what they really think. It's time to support Darren Jolly and encourage the debate about being able to debate within the AFL to be started.


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Geelong's Behaviour Shows Integrity Despite Criticism By Gary Ryan The recent criticism of the Geelong Football Club in the AFL for visiting Port Adelaide player Travis Boak is an example of the rampant hypocrisy prevalent in our community and business world.

Geelong has the right, as does any employer, to seek and recruit anyone it deems talented enough to help it be the most successful organisation that it can be. Travis Boak, as an employee or prospective employee also has the right, bounded by explicit rules within the AFL to discuss his future employment prospects with any organisation that may be worthy of his commitment. Geelong was explicit about what it was doing. Boak's contract situation means that in 2013 he will either be playing with Port Adelaide or he will be playing somewhere else. If you can, consider his position from an employee's perspective. He is talented and he has a current rival organisation wanting to speak with him about moving across to them. There is nothing wrong with talking with that organisation. In fact doing so could re-enforce the very reasons why he might choose to stay with Port Adelaide. People are very naive if they believe that rival clubs haven't spoken with soon-tobe out of contract players during a season in the past. I'll cite Gary Ablett and Tom Scully as two examples and you "...would have to be dreaming" (a quote from the Australian move The Castle) to believe that Travis Cloke's management hasn't been speaking with other clubs throughout this season. How could a decision about where he is going to play next year occur if they haven't? Geelong should be commended for their integrity in being open and honest about what they were doing. Yet they got criticised for it. Some people have suggested that they were arrogant and under-handed. How could they be under handed when they were open and honest about what they were doing? 38

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'Political correctness' doesn't necessarily help integrity. Would people honestly prefer that Geelong drove to Adelaide in the cover of night, spoke with Travis Boak and then publicly denied what they did? Seriously, think about the values that such a view is projecting... Dishonesty. Is that what we really want? I don't think so. It is time that more people stood up to protect honest behaviour. No doubt Port Adelaide does not want to lose Travis Boak. If it is an organisation that is worthy of his commitment, then he will stay. At least Port Adelaide knows what it is up against with Geelong being open about what it has been doing. But what about other clubs who may have spoken with Boak but have not been honest about what they have been doing (for the record I don't know if any other clubs have spoken with him)? How is that good for Port Adelaide? The challenge with honesty is that sometimes we might not like the honesty we are hearing. That doesn't mean the honesty is wrong. It means that it triggers a fear in us, in this case the fear for some people that Travis Boak will move to another club. For others the fear that is triggered is the mere thought that, "This could happen to one of the stars in my club!". Folks it's happening anyway and we should be encouraging this type of behaviour to be above ground and not below ground. Below ground behaviour doesn't support integrity, yet it is the criticism of organisations like Geelong that drives such behaviour underground because it is considered 'politically incorrect'. I, for one support Geelong with it's actions and for it's integrity in this situation. Gary Ryan is a long time member of the Western Bulldogs and Richmond AFL clubs.


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We choose our thoughts and our emotions By Ian Berry

I read a great insight in the Virgin Airlines Voyeur magazine on a flight yesterday from performance psychologist Dr. Phil Jauncey: “There is a big misconception in sport and the corporate arena in which people think you need to get your mind right to perform, but that’s not true. Mental toughness isn’t the ability to get your mind right before an event, it’s being able to execute when your mind is saying you can’t.” In the article Jauncey is also quoted as saying that there are four reasons we fail under pressure: “we don’t know what to do we don’t know how to do it we don’t have the ability to do it we choose not to do it” I agree with all of these. We choose not to do it was the one that got me really thinking yesterday.  In my reflections I contrasted Jauncey’s insights with some great thinking in the book resilience which I referred to in a blog here. “For most of us, emotions are things that happen to us.” Zolli and Healy say in their book.  They go on to say “Researchers who study mindfulness and attention often conceive of our emotions differently. In their view, emotions are not things that happen to us.”  My take from reading the book is that we choose our emotions just as we choose our thoughts. What are you choosing to feel and think today? If you don’t know what to do or how to do something you can learn. We also need to be candid with ourselves if we simply do not 40

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have the ability to learn how to do something. What we choose is what really matters. What are you choosing to feel and think today? And could you change what’s normal in your life and make better choices for your well-being and growth? Be the difference you want to see in the world. Ian I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

You're not listening to me! By Gary Ryan One of the greatest frustrations that you can experience in the workplace is the feeling that you aren't being listened to or understood. Many of us will respond to this situation by getting louder and possibly even angry. The interesting fact is that when we feel that we aren't being listened to or understood, most likely whoever we are speaking with feels exactly the same way! Think about a time when someone indicated to you that they felt you weren't listening. Chances are that you felt exactly the same way. "What do you mean I'm not listening! You haven't listened to a single word that I have said!" There a five steps that you can follow to help you in such circumstances. 1. Recognise what is happening To be able to do anything about this situation, first you have to recognise what is happening. The first sign will often be your own frustration or emotional response to not being 'heard'. 2. Stop and listen The first step above is your signal to stop and listen. Nothing more, nothing less. Focus on trying to understand what they are saying. This is your challenge - to develop an understanding. You don't have to agree with them, just understand them.When the person finishes speaking move on to the next step. Remember. Just listen. 3. Say "Thank you" This step can be very hard, but it is very powerful. When emotions are running high it can be difficult to control what you say, especially if the person you are speaking with has just given you a verbal barrage. No matter what is said to you, start with, "Thank you." Feedback is like a gift, and just like some gifts that we receive are not about us 42

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(like the play station I gave my wife for her 30th birthday many years ago!) the important issue with gifts is that we know to say, "Thank you" when we receive them. This tip is very powerful when it comes to knowing what words we are going to use first when it is our turn to respond in a heated conversation. 4. Ask, "Is there anything more that you would like to tell me?" This question highlights that you are focused on them and not yourself. It is an indicator that you are really trying to listen to them, which is exactly what you are trying to do. It is also very powerful when people just want to be heard. 5. In as short a number of words as possible, check your understanding with them Once they have finished speaking in step 4 above, succinctly tell them what you understand their perspective to be. Do not include your perspective or try to defend your perspective. Your job is to let them know that you really do understand where they are coming from. Upon telling them your understanding of their perspective, ask them to correct any misunderstandings that you may have presented. These five steps are very powerful and address the core issue of being heard. Once people feel heard, the emotion element lowers and you can move into the more productive problem solving mode. What is your experience of trying to put these five steps into action?


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Do you Leverage the Power of Questions for Personal Success? By Gary Ryan Less than 2% of the people I work with have a written plan for personal success. A main cause for this number being so low is that people often say, "Gary, how can I wrote down what I don't know? I don't know exactly what I want for my future. And that scares me because it seems that I am supposed to know what I want!". I have now worked with over 5,500 people and helped them to create one version or another of their OTM Plan for Personal Success速. I have never had a single person who was not able to write down something that related to the future they wanted. The evidence is overwhelming. Even when people say that they don't know what they want for their future, they are able to write down future focused descriptions of at least some aspects of their life. You don't need to know everything. In fact, knowing the direction that you want your future to go in is just as powerful, if not more powerful than having a single clear objective. Identifying the questions that we would like to have answered in our future provides direction for our personal success. When we know the questions that we would like answered, we then have the power to create a plan to explore those questions so that we can discover our own answers. A common statement that people say to me is, "I'm not sure if this is the career that I want to have." When creating a personal plan for success this statement can easily be turned into the desire to have answered a powerful question. In simple terms, when a person is saying this type of statement, they are really saying something like; "In three years time I want to have discovered the career that I want to invest the majority of my working life in." or something to that affect. What a wonderful vision! Obviously this person's starting point would be that they aren't sure about their career. In addition they may have a job and qualifications and even some 44

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experience. They can then establish a plan that will enable them to explore career options over the next three year period. Are they likely to experience dead ends? Yes of course they will. In the context of exploration, are dead ends bad? No they aren't. Humans are amazing explorers. In fact we have created this amazing world through our ability to explore. So I encourage you to explore the questions that if you could have them answered would provide amazing focus for the future that you are trying to create. The process of answering our own questions is a powerful secret to personal success. What questions are you exploring? Gary Ryan helps people clarify what success means to them and then how to create it. If you're concerned that because you don't know what your future should be that you will therefore end up a failure, then contact Gary at now.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

What does 'Realistic' mean? By Gary Ryan Through my work in facilitating the OTM Plan for Personal SuccessŽ Program, which has now been provided to over 5,500 people in various formats, I am constantly asked, "Is this goal that I have written down realistic?". I reply by helping the person to understand that there is really only one person who could possibly know the answer to that question, and that is them. In addition, it may be a question that does not have an initial "Yes it is" or "No it's not" response. Often the only way to find out if something is realistic or not is to go and try to achieve it. Our mindset plays a huge role in self determining what is realistic and our mindset regarding 'reality' is forged at a young age. What's your definition of 'Realistic'? Recently my 10 year old daughter had a wonderful life experience about taking a chance and doing some hard work to discover what 'realistic' meant for her. When the school year began in January this year, Sienna was commencing Year 4. In 2011 as a Year 3 student she had participated in her school aerobics team and had attended the inter school championships in her school's third ranked team. Her primary school's first ranked team, which consisted of girls from Years 5 and 6 ended up becoming National Champions, which was a terrific result for them. My daughter's team were State finalists but that is where their journey ended. Sienna said that she wanted to be in the "First ranked team this year", but believed that it was "Impossible" because she was only in year 4 and hadn't even been in the second ranked team last year. 46

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I said, "If you could have what you really wanted, which team would you like to be in this year?" She replied, "The first ranked team... But it's impossible for me to get in." "When are the trials?", I asked. "Late March." was Sienna's reply. "So, you have about six weeks between now and the trial." I stated. "Yes. But it's still impossible." Sienna re-stated. "Okay, just go with me for a moment please. Let's pretend that it is possible for you to make the first ranked team.What would you need to do to give yourself every chance of making the first ranked team?" "Well, I suppose that I would need to train every day." Sienna suggested. "Okay, what else?" "Maybe I could ask my teachers what they think I should focus on when I'm training so that I'm doing the right things?" "That sounds pretty smart." I affirmed. "Now, you've said that this year you want to be in the first ranked team. You've also come up with a couple a smart things that you could do to give yourself every chance to make that team. What if you go and do the two things that you have suggested. Do you think that you might have some chance of making the team?" I asked. "Well, yes.", was Sienna's response. To her credit Sienna did the practice and she asked her teachers what she should focus on.


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In March she made the team, along with two other Year 4 girls. They went on to win their Regional Final. They then became State Champions and last weekend won a National Silver Medal. So between January to August Sienna went from believing that it was impossible to get into her school's first ranked team, to becoming a National Silver Medalist. What a wonderful lesson to learn! If you are clear about what you want, work out what needs to be done to create what you want, then go out and do it, it is amazing what can then become possible. The lessons in this story are just as applicable to adults as they are to children. What are your examples of creating your own definition of 'realistic'?


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Are you making the most of both of your lives? By Ian Berry It has been said that Mahatma Gandhi observed that if you live well you get to enjoy two lives - the actual living and then the reliving through your memories. Are you enjoying both of your lives? Memories matter. I remember often the joy of many experiences with my best friend who passed last year.  Remembering inspires me to live the best life I can live in the now. Experienced happiness and remembered happiness are two of the great facets of our lives. Are you making the most of both of your lives? Be the difference you want to see in the world. Ian I work with business owners and leaders employing more than 20 people to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Great Service The Fijian Way By Gary Ryan Recently I had the great pleasure to take my family on a vacation to Fiji to celebrate a relatives wedding. We stayed at the Outrigger on the Lagoon which is located near the small town of Sigatoka on Fiji's main island. The resort is on land that is owned by the two local villages and the vast number of staff have been recruited from those villages. From the moment we arrived until the moment we departed the resort we could not have had a more wonderful time. My wife and I, our five children and nearly 60 relatives and friends were not only impressed by the physical standards of the resort, but more importantly the staff who were always smiling and happy to please. Despite talking about 'Fiji time', a reference to taking time to get things done, our experience was that requests of staff were always met by prompt responses and action, something that service and hospitality organisations here in Australia could learn from.

The talented Erami leads a water aerobics class

The culture of teamwork and the desire to create a wonderful experience for guests was self evident for our entire visit. Due to the genuinely friendly nature of the staff you could not help but make 'friends' with them. One of the staff with whom I had the pleasure to speak with at length was Moses Saukalou, one of the hospitality managers with vast experience who managed a large team of staff. When I asked Moses about what drove the staff to be so friendly and willing to work, despite their relative poor pay (by Australian standards) he told me that the answer lay in their culture of respect.


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"Respect is something that we value and it is taught to our children from a very young age. That is why it comes across as being genuine - because it is!". The staff work six days per week and many of them were multi-talented, being able to speak several languages, do public speaking, take water aerobics, weave baskets and hats and serve incredible cocktails as well as singing. And what I have just described is the skills of a single employee! Singing good-bye on our final morning When the staff heard of our imminent departure during our breakfast on the final morning of our visit, they gathered in front of us and sang us a good-bye song. While the staff were singing to us another team member came forward and explained the meaning of the words to us. We were being thanked for visiting their land and they were wishing us a safe journey home. It was very moving and once again was not contrived - it was genuine. We really felt like we were leaving special people. My brother, who was with us with his family mentioned how emotional he found the experience, a comment that was uncommon from him. It was really us who should have been saying thank you, or as they do in Fiji, "Vinaka!". There is a lot that can be learned from the Fijians with regard to how important it is to have respect for other people at the heart of your approach to delivering service excellence. And 'deliver' is exactly what the staff at the Outrigger on the Lagoon in Fiji certainly did! Gary Ryan saves you time by helping you to know what to do to raise service standards in your organisation


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Incomplete Quadriplegic to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro By Gary Ryan Jason Barrie is an inspiration. In May 1999 Jason was seriously injured in a suburban Australian rules football match playing for the Monash Gryphons in the VAFA competition. I was the senior coach at the time and the memory of Jason's injury will never leave me. Neither will the site of him lying on his hospital bed at the Monash Medical centre that evening. He had cut his spinal cord. In October 2012 Jason is planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise $50,000 for Independence Australia, an organisation that helps people who have received spinal injuries cope with and to come to terms with their injuries. Jason wants to pay them back for their support to him throughout the early years of his recovery. Donations can be made here. At this point I believe that it is best to leave the full story in Jason's words, which are published for you below. I urge you to support Jason as he is an inspiration, a role model and a wonderful human being. On the 1st May 1999, my life was turned upside down. In playing a local game of Australian Rules Football, I suffered a Spinal Cord injury in that my C4 / C5 Vertebrae dislocated, with one going one way and the other going the other way, which cut my spinal cord. While Cat Stevens may say the “First Cut is the Deepest” this, thankfully, was not the case with my injury although the Doctors did not know that at the time.   When I was packed off in the Ambulance on that day, I had no idea that I would forever be classed now as C4/C5 Incomplete Quadriplegic. My focus at the time was I won’t be able to work at the local Video store that night…..and how were they going to be able to cope without me ?   I remember my jumper being cut apart in Emergency……..then nothing for a few days………saw my Dad in Intensive Care with me at the Monash, where my first thought was “Did Celtic beat Rangers in the Scottish Premier League, Dad ?” His 52

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negative response did not assist my situation, but I look back now and realise my naiveté with regards to my injury did assist my situation. I did not remember the Doctor coming and telling me I would never walk again…….   I did not remember crying solid for a day after this news……   I did not realise that I had lost a full week and bit, by the time I finally came to…….   These were things I was told a week, or months later by my Girlfriend at the time, now wife.   I worked at Mercedes Benz Finance at the time with my girlfriend and they were awesome in allowing her time off to be with me on a full time basis for the next month…….my enduring memories from those times in ICU at the Austin Hospital, will be her wiping my mouth because I couldn’t move my arms…….struggling to breathe as I had had a Tracheotomy…..again, finding out later that both my lungs had collapsed and that golden staph had set in, to complicate things further.   On a funnier note, I kept thinking that there was a Chinese Take Away within ICU at the Austin Hospital and wondering how they got that past the State Government……   My move to the general ward for Spinal patients came after two weeks in ICU………I had another 5 weeks in this dedicated ward for Spinal patients at the Austin and was in the ward next door to Robert Rose when the Code Blue was called and he passed away due to complications. Even then, I kept thinking I would be ok and I would get over this sickness…….little did I realise how bad things were and how much it had affected my family. Already, my Grandfather was making plans to build a house for a wheelchair bound Grandson…..that he was moved to tears every time he left my ward……   I started to get some strength and movement in my arms, but everything was ‘gross movement’. Trying to do anything meant using your hands like a lump of wood – if the TV was on a channel, that’s where it stayed……for some time. It was about 4 weeks in when they decided to get me into a wheelchair for the first time…… lasted 3 seconds before I fainted. A common tale…… by day, I 53

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was getting winched over to a wheelchair, and day by day I got better at it and was able to sustain longer periods of time in the wheelchair. Then one day early on, a fellow spinal patient bumped into my foot and I went ‘ouch’. A common response to any able bodied person, but he instantly reacted and said he ‘envied me’……I was a bit slow and didn’t realise why, but later I would understand, if you can’t move your legs, it’s usually because you can’t feel them !!!! This was a good sign, and by the time I left the Austin to go to Royal Talbot, I could slightly move my right leg !!!! Over the coming months, I got movement back – fine movement too, especially on the right side of my body. They then winched me into a machine where they would stand me up to begin the routine of leg muscles getting used to be on two feet again. Even then, the Physios never guaranteed me anything….no promises were made, and in all our planning, it was to a house that would have to be modified for a wheelchair.   My family are pretty religious and my recovery was labelled a miracle and that I had overcome all these obstacles, but reality is, I was the luckiest person, but also the unluckiest!!! The family wanted to tell the Doctors off for their negative response at first, but MRI’s and X-Rays cannot tell them how much damage is done to one’s spinal cord. Knowing what I know now, if I was a Doctor, I would say the same thing. In such a litigious society as ours, could you imagine what would happen if you told a patient he would be ok, only for him to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life ?   My support networks were awesome…..the Footy Club, my Cricket Club, my Grandfathers networks, my work place, the support was incredible and I kept every single card that I received from that time.   I left the Royal Talbot mid-October 1999, with the assistance of crutches…….I used a wheelchair for longer distances, but crutches were great for 10-20 metres. Over the next 6 months, I started back at work two days a week, rehab the other three……I had to have Driving lessons again and by Christmas I had to get a new car that was slightly modified to assist with my strengths and weaknesses. By March, 2000 life was back to normal, albeit a lot slower. Everything took me a lot longer to complete……and there were a lot of falls.   54

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Good friends, Dean Henderson and Stephen Davey, were strong cyclists and around 2004 they introduced me to Cycling. My balance is not good, and while I try to stretch for 30 mins every day to soothe the damaged nerves in my body, I was at first very fearful. Over time though, I began to enjoy it and after a while I really, really enjoyed it. So much so, I spent money on a decent bike and clip on pedals !!! On Beach road no one realised I was disabled, which I cherished……I was just a slow cyclist, however, they didn’t realise that I pretty much cycled with one leg, but if you looked closely at my calves, you would quickly realise that one leg was more favoured. In 2008, I took my bike to France to spend a week cycling 600kms of the Tour De France route prior to the professional cyclists – as a guide, my 2.06 hours to do the 58km Time Trial was done in 1.07 by Cadel Evans on the penultimate day to the end of the tour. I attempted the Round the Bay in a day that year, but only completed the 168 kms from Melbourne to Mornington – it was a 30+ day that day, and I was the last one on the road !!!!!   Finally, I took up swimming in 2010…..yet another sport where people did not recognise my disability, however, now I revel in and are not shamed by it. Only taken me 6-7 years !!!!! I remember the days, I would never put my disabled pass on my car, as I did not want people to know that I was disabled…..amazingly, I’ve had every comment from “Do you have Cerebral Palsy ?” to “What did you do to your leg ?” I’ve learnt now to keep it simple “Just an old footy injury mate….”   In January 2012, I completed my first Lorne pier to pub……in 61 minutes !!!!!! Aim is to improve for next year…… Once again I urge you to support Jason in his efforts to raise $50,000 for Independence Australia. Donations can be made here.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Online Courses Organisations That Matter provides a wide range of Online Courses to assist you in your personal & professional development. Our courses include: Creating a Plan For Personal Success How to Create High Performing Teams Weekly Inspiration 16 Lesson What Really Matters For Young Professionals! eCourse University Student Group Work For Success and much more Please visit here for more information.


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What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

What Really Matters For Young Professionals! Are you taking full advantage of your first years of employment?

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In the USA and the UK Young Professionals are having significant challenges finding employment. For those who are employed, even in Australia achieving promotions are a challenge because of the high competition for these opportunities. This is why continuous practical development is essential for career progression. What Really Matters For Young Professionals! is both a resource for Young Professionals and their employers. The book and Online Course create a space for practical development to occur. In these challenging economic times employers can provide the course to their Young Professionals. Alternatively, Young Professionals can invest in their own development. At less than the cost of three coffees per week over 16 weeks, the investment for becoming a high performer is minimal. If you are an employer and would like to discuss how the book and Online Course can be packaged for your employees, please email .

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What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

About Gary Ryan Gary Ryan is a Founding Director and owner of Organisations That Matter, a boutique management consulting firm that assists individuals, teams and organisations to achieve high performance through aligning people, strategy, systems and processes. Why? When alignment is achieved organisations behave in ways that matter to the people working in them, the people the organisations serve and the broader community. Ultimately alignment matters if the organisation wishes to achieve its financial, social and environmental outcomes. Utilising his diverse skills, experience and training, Gary helps organisations, leaders and team members achieve maximum performance as a professional management consultant and a dynamic facilitator and presenter. Key to Gary’s success is his passion to influence behavioural change that aligns what individuals say with what they actually do. Gary is committed to helping organisations to really matter to their people; to their stakeholders and customers; to their community and to their environment. With over 18 years executive management and facilitation experience, Gary has had broad exposure to the private sector, government bodies, elite sporting and educational environments. In this capacity, Gary has designed and facilitated the NAB Future Leaders Program and the NAB Mentor Program, the Leadership Development Program at AFL club Richmond, whilst performing as Keynote Speaker at the NAB TEDx TALKS and Monash University Postgraduate orientation program since 2008. Gary Ryan is a Certified What Makes People TickŽ Facilitator, a Licensed Wave Assessor and has served as a Senior Assessor for the Customer Service Institute of Australia with considerable expertise in developing service excellence. Gary is also a Licensed 0-10 Relationship ManagementŽ Elite Trainer Facilitator, enabling him to assist organisations optimise performance through improved internal and external relationship management.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012

Gary is the Author of What Really Matters For Young Professionals! How to Master 15 Practices to Accelerate Your Career and has also written a series of e-books, What Really Matters available here. Gary has studied extensively, initially attaining a Bachelor of Education, and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management, holds a Master of Management from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Gary’s areas of specialty cover service excellence development, assessment and facilitation, program design and development, and relationship management development and facilitation. Personally, Gary Ryan is happily married and a proud father of five children. He is dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and is currently in training to run his twelfth marathon. Contact Gary at or join him on LinkedIn.


What Really Matters! Volume 4, Number 2, 2012  

This complimentary ebook is for Senior & Developing Leaders who share our view that organisational success is created through enabling peopl...