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What Really Matters Vol 1 No 1 2009


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Gary Ryan and Dr Andrew O'Brien have created this ebook from articles published on The Organisations That Matter Learning Network ( up until June 30th 2009. This …

Gary Ryan and Dr Andrew O'Brien have created this ebook from articles published on The Organisations That Matter Learning Network ( up until June 30th 2009. This is the first of a series of three ebooks for 2009. The focus of the ebook series is upon Personal and Professional Development to help you to accelerate your career.

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  • 1.             Organisations That Matter      What Really Matters!  Volume 1, Number 1, 2009  Gary Ryan & Dr Andrew O’Brien 
  • 2. What Really Matters! Volume 1, Number 1, 2009 – is a compilation of selected articles from The Organisations That Matter Learning Network up until June 30th 2009 By Gary Ryan and Dr Andrew O’Brien Published by Organisations That Matter Pty Ltd Level 8, 350 Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria 3166 AUSTRALIA Phone +61 3 8676 0637 E-mail: Copyright © 2009 Gary Ryan & Dr Andrew O’Brien, 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. Recommended Retail Price (RRP) AUS$55.95 However, this is a FREE eBook. You have our express permission to share it with friends, family, colleagues, clients – and whoever else you think will get value from it. 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.                
  • 3.        Who should read this ebook? This ebook is for people who are interested in personal and professional development, specifically as it relates to achieving career aspirations and enabling the organisations within which we work to be better places for human beings. This ebook represents articles from the first six months of 2009 from The Organisations That Matter Learning Network. Number 2 will be released late in December 2009 with Number 3 coming out early in January 2010. To join our network please follow this link. Thank You! Thank you to all our members of The Organisations That Matter Learning Network. We hope that you will receive great value from this collection of articles compiled in the first half of 2009. Please respect our copyright. This means that if you are a member of The Organisations That Matter Learning Network you have our permission to share this ebook with your friends and to invite them to join our community so that they too can enjoy this book. Best wishes! Gary Ryan and Dr Andrew O’Brien
  • 4.        Table of Contents  Why Practicing Your Employability Skills is Important! By Gary Ryan .................................................... 1  The Power of Personal Vision By Andrew O’Brien .................................................................................. 4  Understanding the Relationship Between Leadership and Values By Gary Ryan .................................. 6  The Art of Skilful Questions By Gary Ryan ............................................................................................ 13  How To Make The Most Out Of University Group‐Work By Gary Ryan ............................................... 15  OTM High Performing Teams Model ................................................................................................ 16  Seven Questions For Effective After Action Reviews – a great way to learn! By Gary Ryan ................ 21  How To Master The Four Quadrants Of Time Management By Gary Ryan .......................................... 22  Urgent and Important Matrix ........................................................................................................... 23  Learning The Power of Focus and Self‐Talk From World Champion Surfer Layne Beachley                     By Gary Ryan ......................................................................................................................................... 27  Gary and Liam catch their first wave! ............................................................................................... 28  Tribes – We Need You to Lead Us – Seth Godin         By Troy Simmonds ............................................. 33  Faking The Figures ‐ how you can tell when someone's been fiddling the books By Jock MacNeish .. 35  One Insight That Drives Service Excellence               By Gary Ryan  ....................................................... 37  . How To Take Responsibility For Your Organisation's Values By Gary Ryan  ......................................... 41  . Why Mentors Are Important By Gary Ryan .......................................................................................... 47  A Life Lesson From Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King By Gary Ryan ...................................... 49  National Volunteer Week ‐ A time to celebrate        By Jim Poussard .................................................. 53  Dee Hock ‐ an example of a Servant Leader              By Gary Ryan ..................................................... 58  How to Conduct An End Of Meeting Reflection            By Gary Ryan ................................................. 61  How What You Think Affects What You See!             By Gary Ryan ...................................................... 66  The Danger of Jumping to Conclusions ‐ and a tool that can help! By Gary Ryan ................................ 72  Twenty Paradoxes of Servant Leadership             By Gary Ryan ......................................................... 80  Book ‐ "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell ‐ some interesting thoughts for discussion By Gary Ryan ..... 82  About Organisations That Matter ......................................................................................................... 85  About Gary Ryan ................................................................................................................................... 86  About Dr Andrew O’Brien ..................................................................................................................... 87  More in this series! ............................................................................................................................... 89  Join us! .............................................................................................................................................. 89  Share! ................................................................................................................................................ 89  Thank You! ........................................................................................................................................ 89 
  • 5. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Why Practicing Your Employability Skills is  Important! By Gary Ryan  Attending workshops is a great way to start to understand what employability skills are (they are also known as Transferable Skills, and within organisations they are often referred to as Key Competencies) and how they are expected to be used in the workplace. While we strive to create interactive workshop experiences through activities and sharing our own stories, and hearing the stories of other students, it is critical that you find opportunities to develop your skills. As Andrew highlights in his blog, "The Power of Personal Vision" we tend to see things when they are part of the future we are trying to create, and we don't see them when we haven't got a clear picture of the future. If you see yourself attaining a great job in an organisation that is worthy of your commitment (or you see yourself starting such an organisation) then it is critical that you find opportunities to practice your employability skills. After a recent workshop a student told me that she wanted to improve her English (part of the communication set of skills), but every time she started a new strategy she would only last a few days and then stop. I asked her what her strategies were. She said, speaking into a recorder and playing it back to myself, and reading as much as I can to increase my vocabulary." These strategies are quite sound, so I asked her what she was doing to increase her conversational English. "I'm using the same strategies 1       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 6. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     because I don't have any English speaking friends, I don't have the opportunity to speak English." I proceeded to ask her how important speaking English was to achieving her personal vision. "I believe that if I can speak English fluently, I will have a much greater chance of achieving a high quality life." (We explored what a high quality life meant to her and she had quite a vivid description which is very helpful). We identified that if she did not become fluent in English, then, according to her own life theory she would be risking not achieving a high quality life. I asked her if she thought that risk was worth it. "No." was her reply. I then asked her a question from 'left field'. "What do you enjoy doing that you would like to get better at?". "Dancing" was her reply. I then asked, "What if you were to go to dancing classes at a place where most of the people spoke English?". "You mean, learn how to dance and speak English at the same time? That sounds like fun!" We then explored if this was a realistic option for her and, as it turned out, she felt that it was an option that she could take action upon. She also identified that it would also result in creating some new friendships with English speaking people, which would in turn provide more opportunities to develop her English speaking skills. 2       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 7. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     This is just one example where the opportunity to improve an employability skill is available if you are willing to look for it. The opportunity was also quite a strategic way to have fun and develop a skill that is critical to this person's future. Imagine this story being told in an interview when asked, "How did you become so fluent in English?". I suspect the interview panel would have an increased chance of remembering this person! Therefore, in the spirit of sharing ways that you have gone about finding opportunities to practice and develop your employability skills, please share your stories so that others may learn from your experiences. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 3       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 8. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     The Power of Personal Vision By Andrew O’Brien  Establishing our own personal vision is one of the most important actions we can take as once we create a "picture" or "memory" of the future we desire we open ourselves to seeing possibilities to help us achieve the future we wish to create. We often experience this phenomenon when we decide to purchase something substantial. As an example for several years I visited the same shopping centre every week and only noticed one store selling iPods. Eventually I decided I wanted to purchase an iPod and in the weeks before I saved the money for my purchase I noticed that there were fourteen stores at the shopping centre selling iPods. When iPods were not part of my desired future I did not notice or see them but once I saw an iPod as part of my future I became aware of many opportunities to purchase an iPod. Have you ever had such an experience? This aspect of personal vision is vital at work, in our education and in all aspects of our life as once we are clear on what we are seeking we prepare our mind to see the opportunities to make it happen. Often we hear people in organisations or at university complain of a lack of opportunities while others in the same situation see many opportunities. It is highly likely that when 4       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 9. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     this happens the person complaining of lack of opportunities has not developed a personal vision while the other person has. As well as opening ourselves to possibilities, once we have determined our starting point or current reality we can use our personal vision to develop and implement strategies and actions to bring our desired future to reality. I will explore these concepts further in future blogs. In the meantime it would be great to hear different perspectives on the value of personal vision and/or the challenges of forming one. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 5       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 10. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Understanding the Relationship Between  Leadership and Values By Gary Ryan  Many great questions were asked at the workshop Leadership for Excellence on Saturday 21st March. One of those questions was, "Why have personal or organisational values?" On a personal level, living a life that is consistent with our personal values is one of the ways to live a happier life than someone who does not live such a consistent life. This is irrespective of material wealth. Life has a habit of creating difficult situations through which we must navigate and the path that we choose to take can be guided by our values. If, however, you don't know what your personal values are, then it is very difficult to choose a path that is aligned with them. Some might suggest that it is easier to not have values. I'm yet to experience a value-less person. By this I mean that everyone has values; their behaviours indicate what they are. The issue is whether or not the person knows what values they are portraying. It is easy to preach a certain range of values, the challenge can be living them. Ultimately a simple metaphor can help with this idea of values. Irrespective of your role in life, at the end of each day when you are home and look at yourself in the mirror, are you proud of the person staring back at you? In 1934 the editor of the New York Post (a monthly magazine at the time) was sent a letter by an 18 year old male. His letter contained a single question, "Why be honest?". The editor thought that 6       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 11. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     it was such a great question that he published it the next month and asked the readers to send in their replies. He promised to publish the best response. The following poem was adjudged the best response. While written in 1934 I think the essence of the poem has significant value to this day. Many of you may not have heard of the word 'pelf'. It means, "money or wealth, esp. when regarded with contempt or acquired by reprehensible means." In other words it is when you acquire wealth no matter the cost to others. Dale Winbrow, the poem's author, was not a poet. He simply penned this poem in response to the 18 year olds question. If you would like to learn more about Dale Wimbrow visit his website. This is my favourite poem and has been since I was introduced to it in 1996. The Guy in the Glass When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf, And the world makes you King for a day, Then go to the mirror and look at yourself, And see what that guy has to say. For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife, Who judgement upon you must pass. The feller whose verdict counts most in your life 7       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 12. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Is the guy staring back from the glass. He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest, For he's with you clear up to the end, And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test If the guy in the glass is your friend. You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum, And think you're a wonderful guy, But the man in the glass says you're only a bum If you can't look him straight in the eye. You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years, And get pats on the back as you pass, But your final reward will be heartaches and tears If you've cheated the guy in the glass. Ultimately living a life in which we behave in a way that is consistent with our values across all our various life roles provides us the best chance to be happy when we look at the person staring back at us in the mirror. It is possible to be lauded as a great person but not be happy. This can be because, at the end of the day when we are alone and looking at ourselves in the mirror we may be aware that we 8       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 13. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     have not been true to our values or ourselves in the way that we have behaved during the day. So what does this have to do with leadership. Michelle Hunt (Dream Makers) suggests that formal leadership roles carry a great weight of responsibility because they involve a serious meddling in other people's lives. When we hold positions of leadership within any organisation whether it be for profit, not for profit or government based, our decisions can have a direct impact on many people's lives. Performing our roles in the context of our personal values becomes critical for both personal happiness and organisational performance. If we are working full time, we spend too much time at work to behave in a way that is not consistent with our values to think that there would not be a negative effect on the rest of our lives. (You can find out more about Michelle Hunt by visiting A business reality, particularly in difficult economic times may involve reducing staff numbers. It is often worth asking before taking such action, "Have we truly exhausted all other options?" Another consideration, "Did we have the foresight to prepare for more difficult times when times were good?". If we still have to make staff redundant, our values, and in this case our organisational values can guide the way we go about performing this process. As our values are an element of our vision, should we decide to ignore our values in the way we would perform such a task we guarantee, in my 9       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 14. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     view, in ensuring that our vision will NOT be achieved. Is that a price that we are willing to pay for the sake (usually) of saving a few dollars and maintaining our dignity (and the dignity of those being made redundant) when such a decision is made? While your experience may be such that not many organisations are true to their values, I suggest that this is NOT an excuse for you to do the same. You are not monkeys, so you do not have to do, "Monkey see, monkey do". Taking action in alignment with organisational vales can take courage. The Herald Sun Sunday Newspaper in Melbourne published front page headlines and alleged photographs of prospective Queensland parliamentarian Pauline Hanson one week before the Queensland State election. To me the values of the paper's editors were obvious. Sell papers at any cost. I wonder whether that is the true value set of the editor? A week later after public outrage about the photographs and evidence that clearly indicated that the photographs were not Pauline Hanson the Newspaper published a public apology (interestingly buried on page 68!). While a noble act, the behaviour of the paper cannot be undone. This is one of the reason's that organisational values are so critical. Without them organisations are at risk of behaving in ways that can taint the brand of the organisation and reduce trust in the organisation by its customers. If your organisation has a set of values and you have a leadership role within that organisation, then it is your duty to be able to explain how you have used the values in your decision making processes. 10       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 15. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     It is through sharing real stories and examples that staff within the organisation develop their understanding of the values in action. In this way the values help create the results that you desire. So, if your organisation is about making money (which, by the way, has nothing inherently wrong with it) it can do so while also having a clear set of organisational values. In the case of the newspaper, imagine if it held the value of integrity. If such a value were alive and well in the way that decisions were made at the paper, then the photographs and the article would have never been published in the first place. The paper would have had systems in place (systems that had been created to support their values) to ensure that the appropriate checks on the story had taken place before it published them. You may be in a situation where your organisation has values but you can't see how they are lived. You may even hold the view that 'those at the top' are hypocrites. Maybe they are. Your challenge is this. If you actually believe in the organisational values, is your behaviour aligned to them? Are you able to explain your decisions in the context of the organisation’s values? Too many people say something like, "Well the leaders don't live by the values, so why should I?" Why would anyone base their own poor behaviour on someone-else's poor behaviour? There is no doubt that living your values can be challenging. Doing so within an organisational context can be even more 11       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 16. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     challenging. But it can be done. The only person who will know how you are performing in the context of living your values is you. So, when you look in the mirror at the end of each day, what does that person have to say to you? Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 12       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 17. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     The Art of Skilful Questions By Gary Ryan  Effective communication often consists of the ability to slow down your mind so that you can listen to what is being communicated to you. Note that I have said, "Communicated to you" rather than, "...said to you." In oral communication, the words we actually say are only a fraction of what we are   communicating. For those of you who have English as your second language you would understand this concept very easily. While developing your competency at speaking English, the words that you use are often only a fraction of what you are trying to convey in your mind (where you use are using your first language to speak to yourself). Our body language tries to compensate for us in that it communicates for us while we speak. The challenge that we have is that our body language and our words aren't always in agreement! It is for this reason that the art of asking good questions is so important. When you are truly listening you are more able to hear what is not being said, and better able to listen to what the body language may be telling you. Good listeners know that anything they believe that they heard, or did not hear but was said "between the lines" is just an assumption...until it is confirmed or otherwise by the person they were listening to. Rather than believing that their assumptions are always accurate, good listeners ask questions. The questions that they ask are designed to help them to develop their understanding. Good listeners, through 13       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 18. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     the use of artful questions, can also help other people to better understand what they are trying to say as well. Wise people and mentors have known this for thousands of years, which is why the good ones are both good listeners and skilful questioners. Read the article by Michael Marquardt, The Power of Great Questions (Harvard Business review). His suggestions for developing the art of becoming a good questioner are exceptional. You may like to contribute to the discussion on this topic as well and share your experiences; both of having been asked great questions and your own experience of using them yourself. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 14       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 19. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     How  To  Make  The  Most  Out  Of  University  Group­ Work By Gary Ryan    One of the most relevant aspects of your university experience is group-work. Unfortunately the majority of students report having poor group-work experiences. This is unfortunate because employers report that group-work is one of the most relevant experiences that students can have in preparing them for the workplace. The main reason for the failure of the majority of student groups is the lack of a framework for providing the basis for creating an effective team. Group-work is teamwork. The team of students will be treated as a single unit where everybody (usually) receives the same grade as everyone else on the team. The OTM High Performing Teams Model and how it can be applied to student group-work to increase the chances that your team will not only be a more enjoyable experience, but a more productive one as well. 15       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 20. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     OTM High Performing Teams Model  OTM High Performing Teams Model Monitor & Purpose & Improve Goals Skills & Performance Composition Strategy & Agreed Tactics Behaviours 1 © Organisations That Matter® 2007 - 2009 Every team needs to clarify why it exists. In the context of student group-work, the purpose of the group-work is to provide team based experiences, as well as having a group of people work toward a common goal. This is often the starting point where student groups go wrong. Firstly, student groups needs to clarify what the assignment is asking them to do. Many student groups do not do this which results in many problems throughout the duration of the project. The following seven steps outline a process for enhancing the chances that your group-work experience will be more enjoyable. 1. Clarify what the assignment is asking you to do. 2. Clarify your goal(s) 16       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 21. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     What is the grade that we are agreeing to achieve? Many students have assumptions about what the other students want to achieve. There is no guarantee that people will be honest, but I encourage you to be honest. 3. Clarify the skills that the team members have and their direct relevance to the project Some members may be better writers than others. Some students may be better presenters than others. Some students may wish to deliberately improve an aspect of their writing or presenting and, even though they may not be the 'best' at this skill, the other team members could 'coach' them to enhance their chances of doing the best that they can. In terms of team 'roles' are there any roles that are missing? Are there any roles that may clash (for example, too many people trying to be the 'leader', or too many people being the 'ideas' person, or too many people being the 'black hat' person)? It is okay for one person to write the group report - providing the other group members contribute to the content by doing their agreed tasks, one written 'voice' is better than four 'voices' that have been 'glued' together at the end to produce a report. Unless specified at the start by your lecturer or tutor, it is also okay to have one person present your group's work if a presentation is required. These issues can be addressed in the next step; clarifying your agreed behaviours. 4. Clarify your agreed behaviours. This includes addressing issues such as: 17       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 22. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     a) Meeting attendance - how many of the group are required to be present before a meeting can start?  b) What is expected in terms of getting to meetings on time and what is the process if a team member knows that they won't be there on time?  c) What is expected when work is allocated to individual team members in terms of them doing what they have said they would do and what should group members if they realise that they won't be able to complete what they agreed to do within the agreed timeframes.  d) When meeting, are mobile phones okay to be answered or should they be turned on to silent and answered during meeting breaks - in other words, what are your face to face meeting protocols regarding the use of mobile phones?  e) The use of other technologies should be agreed upon - some students will set up websites and or use networking sites and create one for the study group - what are the agreed protocols with regard to using such technology and does everyone in the team know how to use it?  5. Strategy and tactics This is where you plan your project and allocate your tasks according to the information gathered in Step 3 above. Check that your plan will give you the best chance of achieving your goals and double check that your plan will result in delivering a project that meets the requirements set out at the start by your lecturer/tutor. 18       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 23. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     6. Performance This is where you spend the majority of the group's time. You do the work that you have agreed upon and eventually submit your paper and/or do your presentation. The above five steps can be completed quite quickly - in less than one meeting, in fact. It may seem slow at first, but it will save you a lot of time later in the project. 7. Monitor and improve Throughout the performance of your project (step 6 above) you need to keep monitoring your agreed behaviours and ensuring that each person is doing their agreed part of the assignment. This is critical and the part of the experience where the most relevant skills for the workplace can be developed. Should uncomfortable situations arise, use the agreed behaviours as the focus of the conversation to help identify if any chances need to be made. More on this specific topic will be covered in future blogs. Seem simple? Maybe not. But having a strategy is far better than none at all. Don't be too disappointed if your first attempt at applying this process doesn't work as well as you might expect. Like any skill, perfecting the creation of high performing teams takes time. This is a huge advantage of your university experience because you are provided with extensive opportunities to practice this skill as new study teams are formed with each subject that you do. If you think about it, university might be a far better place to start the journey of perfecting this skill than when you start work? 19       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 24. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 20       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 25. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Seven Questions For Effective After Action Reviews  – a great way to learn! By Gary Ryan  After Action Reviews are terrific tools for learning. They are a set of seven simple questions that you can use after any task or event that you have completed. They are particularly useful for team environments but can also be modified for individual use. The questions are: 1) What was supposed to happen? 2) What actually happened? 3) Was there a difference? 4) If so, why? 5) What have we learned? 6) What would we do differently next time? 7) What learning should we carry forward into our next task? It is possible that your answer to question No.3 may be, "No." This would indicate that you have at least learned that what you planned (your answer to Question No. 1) was very useful. This would probably indicate that you should carry that learning forward into your next task. Please share any experiences that you have using these seven questions and your experience in using them. Some examples of their use may be very helpful for other members of the network. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 21       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 26. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     How To Master The Four Quadrants Of Time  Management By Gary Ryan  It always causes me to have a small laugh to myself when I conduct time management programs and people turn up late! It really doesn't bother me if people are on time or not - they are the ones who will miss out if they are not there. For a lot of people it does highlight an important issue - their lack of capability to manage their time. Many people leave little room for error with regard to their time management - everything is 'cut so fine' that if one thing goes wrong, then they are unlikely to be 'on time'. Many people have often suggested that they need to 'make time'. I know what they mean, but can anyone really 'make time'? The challenge is to use your time wisely so that you don't 'waste time'. The Urgent and Important Matrix has been adapted from the original work of Stephen Covey and is a useful tool for determining the wise use of time. The matrix works as follows: 22       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 27. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Urgent and Important Matrix   1.  2.  Urgent &  Not Urgent &  Important Important 3.  4.  Urgent & Not  Not Urgent &  Important Not Important URGENT and IMPORTANT Tasks (Quadrant 1) These are the tasks that require immediate attention. A presentation, a meeting, a speech, a performance (as in a musical, theatrical or sport performance) the majority of the work that you do in your job, answering exam questions, a critical issue or crises. Time matters in the performance of these tasks. In short, if you don't take effective action 'right now' you fail. NOT URGENT and IMPORTANT Tasks (Quadrant 2) These are things like planning, preparing, reading, clarifying your values and other personal development activities, capturing and preparing your stories for interviews, retreats, health and fitness activities, developing relationships etc. All these things could be completed at another time. In this sense, time is 'not urgent'. As such, many of the tasks in this quadrant are simply left alone and they aren't attempted. 23       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 28. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     What people don't understand is that there is a direct relationship between the quality of the tasks performed in Quadrant 1, and the quality time that you have spent in Quadrant 2. In short, time spent in Quadrant 2 improves your performance in Quadrant 1. It is therefore worth prioritising your time so that some of it, at least, is spent in Quadrant 2. Think about your performance when you have prepared for a presentation as compared to when you have 'winged it'. I have heard some people boast about how well they can 'wing it' and make presentations without preparing. While it may have the appearance of working these people are in for a big letdown - one day. The reality is they don't 'know their stuff' and because of a 'gift' may be able to bamboozle people with their presentations skills. That can be a lot of extra pressure to carry around with you after a while. The majority of us, however, know that if we don't prepare our performance suffers, so we prioritise our time beforehand to ensure that we are prepared. Another example of Quadrant 2 activities is attending personal development workshops, particularly when you are a volunteer. Ideally the lessons that you learn, when applied, will help your performance in Quadrant 1. So where does the time come from to enable you to spend more time in Quadrant 2 activities? The following quadrants provide that answer. 24       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 29. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT Tasks (Quadrant 3) These are things like many emails, some meetings (when you really don't need to be there), text messages, the behaviour of some people when they demand your time 'right now' (you know the person, they ask if they can have five minutes of your time and they always seems to be talking 30 minutes later). Tasks in this quadrant have the appearance of being urgent, which is why they draw your attention. The problem is that you really could deal with them later (or not at all). By focussing on them 'right now' all you are doing is taking your attention away from Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2 tasks. It is Quadrant 3 tasks where effective prioritising can 'free up' a lot of time; time that can be better used in Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2. NOT URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT (Quadrant 4) These are wasteful activities that often relate to addictive type behaviours or are behaviours that are undertaken to deliberately avoid the Quadrant 1 or 2 tasks. Time spent in Quadrant 4 has a DIRECT impact on your performance in Quadrant 1. You have a presentation tomorrow that you have not prepared, yet you spend the whole of the previous night watching the Premier League football on the television. You eventually arrive for your presentation underprepared and very tired. It is no surprise that you performance is poor. Ideally Quadrant 4 activities need to be completely eliminated from your life - all they do is detract from where 25       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 30. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     you performance really matters, and that is your performance in Quadrant 1. This is just one example of many approaches to time management. What are yours? What systems work for you? What questions do you have about time management? What templates do you use that could be useful for other members of our network? As an example I will post an example of the Daily List template that I use - but you'll have to wait until next week's blog. In the meantime, please share your experiences and useful tools. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 26       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 31. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Learning The Power of Focus and Self­Talk From  World Champion Surfer Layne Beachley                     By Gary Ryan My experience with listening to talkback radio is such that I rarely choose to listen to it. However I was flicking through the radio channels while driving to on my way to a meeting recently when I tuned in the start of an interview with Layne Beachley, retired 7 time World Surfing Champion from Australia. Lane is currently having a positive influence with another current Australian female athlete, Samantha Stosur. Samantha has recently entered the Top 30 list of the world's best female tennis players and has had a string of recent victories against higher ranked players. In a recent interview Samantha named Layne Beachley as the person who has helped her most to enable her to make the most of her ability. Which takes me back to the interview with Layne Beachley. Lane said that all she had been doing with Samantha was sharing some of the most significant lessons that she had learned throughout her highly successful surfing career. As I was listening to Layne speak, her words seemed so familiar to me. We have be teaching and practising a version of what she was saying for some time. However I would like to share Layne's version as it is sometimes useful to explain a similar concept from someone-else’s perspective. Layne mentioned that up until the age of 26 she had not won 27       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 32. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     a world championship. When in competition, Layne recognised that she had natural surfing ability, she was a good surfer. But what she wasn't was a natural winner. When she had to compete against the top surfers in the world, Layne would 'self-talk' herself down. She would compare herself against these world Top 10 athletes and think to herself, "Gee, isn't she good. She is much better than me. I'm not as good as her." Henry Ford once said, 'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right either way!".   Gary and Liam catch their first wave!     Layne had been talking herself into defeat even before she caught her first wave in competition. To compensate for her negative self-talk, Lane would then, as she describes it, 'surf the wave' before it came. This meant that when the wave actually did come along to surf, while she was physically riding it, her mind was focussed on the outcome rather than staying 'in the moment'. The result: she would lose. 28       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 33. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Losing did not fit with Layne's personal vision of being a World Champion. One day she recognised that she was her own worst enemy and the only thing that was stopping her from being the best she could be was herself. So decided to do to two things. 1) Layne decided that she would teach herself to speak positively to herself. She knew that she trained hard and she that she did the work required to be a World Champion, so she had to believe that she really could be a World Champion. So Layne changed the focus of her self-talk to become positive,. Rather than saying things like, "Gee I stuffed up that wave", Layne would say to herself something like, "When I'm focussed my skills enable me to surf to the best of my ability. I've done the training!" 2) Layne also recognised that she had to train herself to become excellent at executing her skills 'in the moment'. So, rather than surfing a wave before it came along, or being mentally 'stuck' on a wave that she had already surfed, Layne decided to train herself to be able to focus on her processes and what needed to be done 'in the moment'. Through training in this way (this is an important point - Layne didn't just use training to perfect her surfing skills, she used training to 'perfect her mental approach'). In this way, negative self-talk at training became unacceptable. Being distracted by the wave that was yet to come or the wave that had just been surfed while she was training was also not acceptable - she could do that when she was out of the water 29       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 34. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     and reviewing her session. Instead, she trained herself to execute her processes is the most focussed way possible; by 'staying in the moment' and surfing each wave (which, by the way, is always unique!) the best way that that particular wave was demanding to be surfed. And she did this at training. Samantha Stosur reportedly said that her capacity to play each ball for what it was, rather than worrying about the outcome for each shot, was the skill that she was developing and was the key skill that was making the biggest positive difference to her results. But, like any skill, this had to be trained. Clearly the majority of us are not elite athletes, certainly not World Champions. But we can be the best that we can be at whatever it is that we want to be good at. I know that in my work it is critical that I 'stay in the moment' for my facilitating, in meetings with clients, colleagues and peers, and most importantly when I am with my family. I have my structures in place in terms of my plans etc. but it is still important that I execute those plans and listen to what is being said and don't get 'ahead of myself'. When I do (which I sometimes do) I can miss an opportunity that was calling out for my attention. We advocate that it is critical to have goals and to have plans (processes) that you need to execute to enable your goals to be realised. It is important that you believe that you can 30       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 35. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     achieve the goals that you set for yourself. I had to believe that I actually could complete the first marathon that I ran. I had to believe that I could facilitate the first workshop that I facilitated on my own. I had to believe that the service areas that we operated could become National Award winning teams. I had to believe that if we provided good people with the right support they could take the organisation we were in to become nationally recognised for its service excellence. So goals and self-belief are critical. But, when you are executing your plans, and you are in the process of 'doing them', 'staying in the moment' and getting the best out of that moment while you are executing your plans is the level of focus that can bring everything that you are working towards into reality. The recent Forum topic High Performing Teams - The Oxfam Trailwalker 100kms Event highlights the power of focus, of having goals and plans, but of also 'staying in the moment' while your executing your plans so that you can make the right decisions at the right time for the right reasons. When these things are done, more often than not, the result looks after itself. As a final note, Layne Beachley mentioned that when she started to perfect her focus she failed many, many times. She failed at training, and she failed in competition. But she never lost the faith that, through practice and continuous learning, she could improve her focus and achieve her dream. Over time, as her 'focus' skill developed, Layne's 31       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 36. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     results started to look after themselves and the rest, as they say, is history. Surfers themselves have commented upon Layne Beachley's capacity to handle pressure. It is now clear why she is able to handle pressure. She had trained herself to focus. I'm interested in hearing from you about your experiences regarding self talk, goals, focus and 'staying in the moment' and how you might see such a skill being applied throughout your career? Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 32       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 37. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Tribes  –  We  Need  You  to  Lead  Us  –  Seth  Godin          By Troy Simmonds  Hi all I am just reading an interesting book by Seth Godin and was inspired to post this blog after I read a certain section. Briefly the book is about Leadership within a tribe - a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to shared interests. They way we communicate this shared interest is changing in the world through programmes like ning, book and blogs. I won’t spoil the book for people who want to go and read it but there is a section there very applicable to a network like this. It talks about having the new tools today like blogs and programmes are there for you to lead. These programmes may have only isolated individuals that have formed a group. But not a tribe yet. Just strangers on an online forum. A few people can take the lead, posting topics and starting discussions, leaning in and leading and call on their peers to participate. However, the rest lurk! They just watch! Were they hoping to meet someone interesting or discover something new is the question Seth asks. Not all leadership involves getting in the face of the tribe. It 33       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 38. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     takes just as much effort to successfully get out of the way. A leader who backs off is making a commitment to the power of the tribe, and is alert to the right moment to step back in. However the one path that never works is the most common one: doing nothing at all. Lean in, back off, but don’t do nothing. Anyhow I will continue to read but it inspired me to share it with you. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here.         34       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 39. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Faking The Figures ­ how you can tell when  someone's been fiddling the books By Jock MacNeish  I recently found out about Benford's Law. I wish I had known about it earlier. Back in 1938, Frank Benford, an physicist with GEC, discovered that all large unrestricted groups of numbers have a stable distribution of numbers. Statistics about populations, Stock prices, Sports results, and particularly, business accounts all have nearly identical numerical profiles. This is what he found:- The digit 1 has a 30% chance of appearing. The digit 2 has a 18% chance of appearing. The digit 3 has a 12% chance of appearing. The digit 4 has a 10% chance of appearing. The digit 5 has a 8% chance of appearing. The digit 6 has a 7% chance of appearing. The digit 7 has a 6% chance of appearing. The digit 8 has a 5% chance of appearing. The digit 9 has a 4% chance of appearing. So when people "Fiddle with the numbers" removing, adding or altering invoices and accounts, they disturb the normal pattern of numbers, and you can tell someone has been 35       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 40. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     cheating. This applies to scientific research results, income tax returns and even student examination statistics. Check it out at's_law . Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 36       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 41. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     One Insight That Drives Service Excellence                By Gary Ryan  We deliberately choose the term 'Service Excellence' over the term 'Customer Service'. The reason is both simple and complex. If an organisation has a Customer Service department or division, or if the organisation has a retail or hospitality focus, many staff believe that Customer Service is only relevant to the front line or 'Customer Service' staff. Our view is that such an approach reflects a flawed mental model, such as customer service is 'not my job' it is the job of the frontline staff. If you think that customer service is not part of your job, then there are a set of important behaviours that are likely to be missing from your approach to your work. A few of these behaviours will be highlighted shortly. The term 'Service Excellence' underpins a view that service is everyone’s job, from the CEO or Department Head to the lowest paid employee in the organisation. We are not suggesting that you should necessarily use the term 'Service Excellence', rather that you should deliberately use service excellence as an approach to what you do. For many staff their 'customers' are in fact other staff. Or their customers could be patients, students, parents, key stakeholders, lawyers, directors, Ministers and the list goes on. It doesn't really matter what you call the people that you serve, what is important is how you treat them. If you approach your role from the perspective of Service 37       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 42. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Excellence, then there are a range of behaviours that you are more likely to use in your day to day work. The behaviours would include (but not be limited to) taking the time to find out the expectations of those people you serve, seeing your manager as well as your direct reports (if you have any) as customers, responding to requests quickly even if it is to inform people that you can't help them etc. etc. A significant reason for this is that most of us (if not all of us) spend a large amount of our time as customers, so we are in fact quite expert at understanding what it is like to be in the shoes of a customer. Everytime we go shopping or to a restaurant or even to our local convenience store we are having customer experiences. As such we are constantly enhancing our own personal understanding of what good service feels like, just as we are constantly enhancing our understanding of what poor service feels like. While we might not recognise that we do this, we innately compare our experiences as a customer to our own personal experiences of good and poor service. In this way we are comparing service experiences rather than direct product to product or service to service comparisons. This process of comparison, which is often sub-conscious means that we know when we aren't receiving good service from our colleagues. When a sales clerk says that such and such can't be done "because of the policy" our internal reaction is exactly the same as when a fellow staff member says the same thing to us. If we inquire about the purpose of the policy and we are told, "I don't know, it's just the policy" 38       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 43. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     we become equally frustrated when we are both a retail customer or a staff member within an organisation. I am yet to experience an organisation that is able to provide a sustainably high level of service when the internal service within the organisation is poor. No matter what your organisation does, service excellence must exist right throughout the entire organisation for your organisation to be truly effective at providing service excellence. Otherwise you will be at risk of your service standards oscillating from staff member to staff member within your organisation. I'll explain more about how to manage this in future blogs (it is also the focus of our new book Getting on the Road to Great Service which is due for release later this year). In terms of the simple insight to assist you in your practice of Service Excellence, ask yourself this question, "Would those people I serve consciously choose to use my services if they had a real and genuine choice to work with me?". If your answer is "No", then you know that you have some work to do to improve (by the way it is OK to be honest and recognise that you need to improve) and a good place to start is to ask them what they expect of you. If your answer is "Yes" then I'd encourage you to check your answer with those people you serve. Similarly, if your answer is "I don't know" then once again I'd encourage you to ask the people who you serve about their expectation of you. You never know, their answers might surprise you and it can't hurt to ask the question. I'll explain in future blogs how a manager 39       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 44. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     (or People Leader) can treat the people who report to them as customers in a future blog. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 40       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 45. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     How To Take Responsibility For Your  Organisation's Values By Gary Ryan  These days most organisations have a set of organisational values. Sometimes they are represented in the form of a Code of Conduct or in a statement regarding a set of principles. Usually these values can be discovered on the organisation's website and in various organisational publications. On occasion the values are physically displayed on the walls of the corporate offices. Having a set of existing organisational values can be very different to living a set of organisational values. The difference lies in whether or not the people in the organisation actually use the values in their day to day work. Organisations can significantly enhance the use of their values by creating structures that support their day to day use. Some examples include: 1) using the values as a basis for behavioural questions in an interview process 2) having systems to recognise people for behaving in alignment with the values 3) promoting people for their demonstrated alignment to the organisational values in hand with their technical abilities 4) exiting people from the organisation who demonstrate over time that they do not share the organisation's values Some real life examples include: 41       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 46. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     1) The primary (elementary) school that my children attend have a set of values that exist under a "You can do it!" slogan. These values are used every Monday at the school assembly as part of a recognition program for appropriate behaviour by the children. Often more than 20 students are publicly recognised for something that they did that demonstrated the schools "You can do it!" slogan in practice. An added special touch to the awards which also provides extra meaning is that the student leaders read out the awards which have been written by their teachers and the structure that they follow is as follows, "This award goes to Johnny Brown for persistence. He worked really hard on his writing and kept trying until he got it correct." The award provides a concrete example of what is meant by "Persistence" which enables the students to develop a practical understanding of how their school values work. I'm not sure, but I hope that the school uses these values in their recruitment processes and well as in recognising the work and contribution of the teachers. 2) A financial institution with whom we work has a clear set of organisational values and each value has a very clear set of behaviours that demonstrate how the value should be practiced. As an example, one of their values is, "We will be open and honest". Some of the behaviours that support this value include, "We tell it like it is (no spin); We speak up and we are open to other points of view" etc. etc." The benefit of having explicit behaviours linked to each value is that they 42       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 47. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     significantly enhance the shared understanding of what the value means. Honesty can mean a lot of different things to different people, which is why it is important to clarify what is meant by each value within your organisation. 3) A sporting team uses their values for feedback, both for administrators and the players alike. Using the values and their supporting behaviours as the basis for the feedback (the context of the feedback is to help the person receiving the feedback to be the best that they can be to help the organisation achieve the success it desires) people go through a process where they are informed of the behaviours that they should cease, commence and continue. A process such as this brings the values to life as people have to consider their real day to day behaviour in the context of the organisation's values. Our experience is that too often an organisation does have a set of values, but the people within the organisation do not take personal responsibility for them. Instead, the people defer responsibility for the values to 'the organisation' (a 'thing') or to the most senior people in the organisation. Personally I have never understood why someone would defer or deflect responsibility for the values especially when, after reading them, most people seem to say something like, "Oh yes, I can live with these values." I completely understand that it is more difficult when an organisation hasn't created a set of structures to support their values for the people in the organisation to keep them alive, but it still 43       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 48. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     doesn't explain why some people say the following, "Oh, such and such doesn't demonstrate the values, so the values are a load of crap, which is why I don't do them either!". My suggestion is that if you personally agree with your organisation's values, then it is your personal responsibility to do everything that you can to support through your own behaviour. So what might be a personal structure that you could put in place to help you bring your organisation's values to life at a personal level? Many of you may be familiar with an interview preparation technique known as the STAR storytelling technique. The technique is as follows: S - ituation: Explain the overall situation that you were in. T - ask: What was the task that you had to achieve? This usually involves a team who had to complete the task. A - ction: This answers the question, "What did I do?" to help the team achieve the completion of the task. R - esult: This is the outcome. What was achieved? What was the result of your efforts? The same storytelling technique can be used for your organisational values. Take each value and /or the behaviours associated with each value and ask yourself, "What is a genuine STAR story of mine that demonstrates this value in use?". If you had a 'bank' of stories that you had collected over time, imagine your confidence when going into an interview for a promotion. Interestingly, the very reason 44       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 49. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     why you may be going in for the interview is that others may have witnessed your support of the organisation's values over time which may have been a significant contributing factor to you being identified for the promotion! If your organisation is serious about its values, and if you feel aligned to them, why wouldn't you prepare such examples? Imagine when you are being interviewed for an internal promotion. The likelihood is that your possible promotion will be more significantly linked to your overall organisational alignment than your technical skills alone. It is unlikely that you would even be interviewed if your technical skills weren't appropriate for the promotion, which leaves your capacity to demonstrate your organisational alignment as the most significant factor that will enable you to stand out from everyone else who is going for the job. Finally and possibly most importantly, if you agree with your organisation's values and you take personal responsibility for them, you will be increasing your capacity to make the right decisions at the right time for the right reasons in your day to day work, and this can significantly enhance your happiness at work. You will have a high degree of clarity about why you do what you do and while your clarity will continually evolve with your practical understanding of the values in action, the outcomes may include everything from increased happiness at work to job promotions. 45       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 50. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here.   46       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 51. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Why Mentors Are Important By Gary Ryan  Irrespective of our age, having access to wisdom is extra- ordinarily important. Dee Hock, CEO Emeritus of VISA International suggests that the ratio of information to wisdom has plummeted over recent decades. For the majority of human civilisation we organised ourselves into small communities where the 'wise people' were known to everyone and everyone had access to those wise people. In today's Information Age we have vastly more access to information however many of us do not have nearly the same access to wisdom to help us to navigate our way through the information that we have available to us. Mentors can help to improve the information to wisdom ratio. They can be people who have a specific focus (such as career) through to a whole of life focus. While the majority of Mentors will involve a personal relationship, you may also have some Mentors who may not know you from a bar of soap. Depending how you wish to define a Mentor your Mentor may even come from a book. For example, Nelson Mandela's "A Long Walk to Freedom" has constantly provided me with inspiration and opportunities to reflect, especially when I have had difficult times. I've read the book three times from cover to cover, and I expect I will read it many more times throughout my life. One of the most useful aspects of the book, for me, is that Nelson is brutally honest about the various mental models that he had at different stages of his development - and he was prepared to adopt 47       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 52. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     new ones when he discovered that his mental models were no longer useful. I figure that if it is OK for Nelson Mandela to change his mental models from time to time, then it must be OK for me to do it! So, in wrapping up we encourage you to pro-actively seek Mentors, both the face to face variety and maybe even some of the more abstract ones such as Nelson Mandela's book as I have just described. You may like to help other members of this network by sharing any useful insights that your Mentors have helped you to discover. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 48       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 53. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     A Life Lesson From Reverend Dr. Martin Luther  King By Gary Ryan  The video of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a Dream" speech marked a turning point for the civil rights movement in the USA. It is very difficult for many of us to comprehend the debilitating effects of racism on the scale that it was being practised in many places throughout the USA up until and including the 1960s. It is also very difficult for many of us to comprehend the risks that Martin Luther King Jr was taking in speaking up and speaking out about the inequality that existed at the time. Unfortunately he paid the ultimate sacrifice for his courage - he was assassinated at his hotel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th 1968 (if you ever have the opportunity to visit Memphis, please take the time to visit the Civil Rights Museum which was created at the site of the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated - it is quite a moving experience) but his efforts did not go unrewarded. While the USA still has a long way to go for "equality to truly reign free", the fact that the country has matured enough that a man of African parentage could become the President is a wonderful sign, something that I am confident Martin Luther King Jr would have celebrated if he were alive today. The reality for many of us is that we are unlikely to have to lead or face such life threatening changes. We may, however, have to "stand up to be counted" sometimes with the spectre 49       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 54. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     of personal risk hanging over our actions. One of Martin Luther King Jr's many quotes was, "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." Sometimes when we least expect it we may find ourselves thrust into a situation where if we are silent we will protect ourselves and our own patch, while if we were to speak up we may place our 'safety' at some risk. As an example back in 2004 a young graduate employee of one of Australia's large financial institutions was going about his work. Suddenly he discovered some activities that at first appeared unethical, and then after a little more research appeared downright illegal. He didn't go to work that day looking to discover these breaches within the bank, he was just going about the usual aspects of his job. When he recalled the story to me he said, "At first I was the only person who knew what I had found. A thought went through my mind that maybe I could just pretend that I hadn't uncovered the illegal behaviour. This was huge and even though I didn't have any legal training I was pretty sure that some people would be going to jail if I opened my mouth. I also suspected that my actions would lead to significant scrutiny of myself. For a brief period I seriously thought about letting it go. I thought that someone else would eventually find the same things that I had discovered and they could be the one to blow the whistle. 50       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 55. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Even though the person next to me in our open office was not working in the same area as myself, I broadly shared the story without giving away any specific details, just to see what he said. At first he didn't say anything, and as it was the end of the day, he turned off his computer, picked up his bag, grabbed his jacket and walked toward the door. Just before exiting he stopped, turned and said, 'Go home and look into the mirror, then you'll know what to do'. As soon as he had finished saying those words I knew that I had to speak up. I had to be true to myself and do the right thing for the organisation." This young man eventually spent three days in the witness stand as several of the institutions employees had been charged with various (and serious) offences. The defence lawyers tried to discredit him over those three days and made a number of slanderous comments about him (all of which they withdrew - but nonetheless they were all said publicly). Each of the accused were found guilty and went to prison and the institution used the event as a catalyst to overhaul its culture. As a footnote to this story, the institution concerned has probably performed the best out of all of Australia's financial institutions throughout the global economic downturn and I suspect that their change in culture since 2004 has significantly contributed to their stability over recent times. I don't think that the young man who blew the whistle knew that there would eventually be such a positive ripple effect from his actions. Often this is the case when true courage is shown. The event and experience is initially very 51       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 56. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     hard and painful, while the long term outcome is usually very positive and powerful. This story highlights that each of us, one day, may have to 'stand up to be counted'. Maybe a fellow employee has been falsely accused of an error when it was our doing; maybe a senior manager is behaving badly within the workplace and their behaviour is not being addressed. You never know, it could be a whole range of issues. The challenge is, what do you think that you would do? Would you be more like the many who remain silent, or would you stand up to be counted? Have any of you 'stood up' before and if so, what happened? Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 52       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 57. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     National Volunteer Week ­ A time to celebrate         By Jim Poussard  Happy National Volunteer Week! Australia has an amazing capacity to be generous. The recent tragedy of the Victorian bushfires is a case in point. It is well documented that hundreds of millions of dollars in donations have been pouring in to the affected communities. We have also heard of the bravery and commitment of the thousands of volunteer fire-fighters who fought the fires. There are also the individual stories of ‘Joe’ farmer or ‘Jill’ housewife driving across the country with a truck of horse feed or organising a cake stall. No one asked them to do this, no one is paying them and I suspect in most cases, they hope their contribution remains anonymous. They just want to help and it is part of their values that they support others in hard times. It’s built in to their system, a culture, a spirit of giving. So we come to National Volunteer Week (NVW) held in Australia in May each year. So what is it and why is it important to celebrate this week each year? For me personally it has several purposes and meanings: Celebrate First and foremost NVW is a chance to say thank you to those who contribute so much through volunteering. The 53       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 58. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     volunteer sector is massive, contributing a significant amount economically to our society. More importantly it has contributed to make Australia the country it is. By this I don’t mean its politics or systems of laws, but rather its spirit, generosity and sense of unity. An amazing achievement given our ethnic diversity and huge land mass. Inspire Hearing stories of people’s generosity through volunteering is truly inspiring to me. Inspiration is a word that I define as an act that impresses me (and makes an impression), so much so, that it encourages me to consider similar behaviours. Have you ever seen someone do something truly amazing and you said to yourself “I would love to be able to do that.” That’s what I think about people who volunteer in soup kitchens and meals on wheels and mentoring disadvantaged kids, etc. etc. The next critical question I then ask myself is “Can I do that?” Dee Hock, creator of VISA International says you need to spend at least half of your work time managing yourself (before managing your superiors, peers and staff). I took this message on board last year and managed my time so that I could spend 4 hours a month doing Meals on Wheels, which involved delivering meals to the elderly and immobile. I was inspired by others to do this and I really enjoyed the experience. Reflect NVW is also about reflecting on society as a whole and what brings out the best and worst in people. What society do we 54       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 59. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     want to create for ourselves and for the future? Is there a paradox between giving and taking, between being generous and wanting more for ourselves? What’s the balance? What’s our current reality? Do By Celebrating, Inspiring and Reflecting, this week is a great opportunity to stop and consider what we can do to assist. What is our contribution? What are different ways we can contribute? Can we manage ourselves in a way that gives us greater choice and opportunities to assist others? We are all busy and being constantly challenged by the demands of work, study, family, friends and many other things. Sometimes we need to hear the inspiring stories of volunteering to be reminded of what is possible and how we can turn good thoughts into action. Volunteering and Leadership Doing something positive in your community (however you define community) without being asked and without expectation of monetary reward, is the essence of Leadership. To lead, in my view, is to motivate, inspire, role model and support others for positive outcomes. Volunteering ticks every box in this respect. In addition volunteering is a great source of experience – developing skills in communication, building confidence, and showing initiative in addition to any technical skills you learn along the way. This experience is then critical to your portfolio of skills and experiences for your future employer. If 100 55       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 60. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     students graduating from a particular course with similar grades then go out into the job market and apply for the same 10 jobs, what will distinguish the successful 10 candidates from the other 90 graduates? Communication, confidence, initiative! Does that sound familiar? Career-wise, volunteering does make a difference! So let’s take time this National Volunteer Week to celebrate, be inspired and reflect on the value and contribution of volunteers and how we can also benefit from volunteering by being organised, managing ourselves and taking action! Here’s just a few links to volunteer opportunities you may wish to investigate further. You can also look up your local city council / shire council for opportunities…and don’t forget there are always opportunities on campus to get involved and make a difference to your campus community. Australian Volunteers International Australian Red Cross Oxfam Seek Volunteers Brotherhood of St. Lawrence Camp Quality Melbourne City Mission Conservation Volunteers Australia Australian Business Volunteers 56       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 61. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1 For more information on National Volunteer Week, go to: Volunteering Australia    Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 57       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 62. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Dee Hock ­ an example of a Servant Leader               By Gary Ryan  Dee Hock is one of the most influential people of our time, yet few people are aware of his extra-ordinary influence on creating sustainable organisations through an approach known as Servant Leadership. Dee Hock was the founder and CEO Emeritus of VISA International, an organisation that to this day is regarded as the most profitable business on earth. Yet most people know very little about VISA such as where it is head-quartered, what it's history is, who created it, why it was created and who works for it. To many people's surprise when they do commence their research on this amazing organisation they discover that it was founded upon an interesting paradox. First, VISA International is an organisation grounded in solid values, second it is an organisation that has a pragmatic pursuit of profit. How can two seemingly opposite pursuits co-exist? One of the ways that these two opposite pursuits can co- exist is through the concept of Servant Leadership. Robert K Greenleaf first penned this concept in 1970 in an essay titled The Servant as Leader. In many ways the deep concept of Servant Leadership is captured by the test that Robert described in his essay. The test is as follows: 58       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 63. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     "The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?" Many leaders practice the opposite of Servant Leadership. They see the people who report to them as being truly 'sub- ordinate' (the origin of this word means, "Sub - order") and they believe that their direct reports exist to 'serve' the leader. In contrast Servant Leaders consider that the people who report to them are people who should be served. But service in this context is not about 'doing their job for them'. Rather, it is about creating an environment that enables a leader's direct reports to be the best they can be in their service of the organisation. Servant Leadership also extends to serving the people to whom you report, serving your key stakeholders, your customers (or clients) and the broader community. So this means that while the formal leader is serving their direct reports, their direct reports are also serving them. Another interesting paradox! In addition Servant Leadership does not have to be limited to people who are in formal leadership 59       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 64. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     roles. Servant Leadership can be practised by anyone, at any time, in any role. Dee Hock published a book titled The Birth of The Chaordic Age in 1999. In 2005 it was re-published under the title One From Many. The book is exactly the same and both versions are currently available through Amazon and other good book- stores. It is well worth adding this book to your personal library. For many people the concept of Servant Leadership seems natural yet they are not sure how to practice it. Please share your experiences and/or ask questions to enable us all to extend our understanding of Servant Leadership. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 60       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 65. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     How to Conduct An End Of Meeting Reflection             By Gary Ryan  Communication problems are regularly cited in employee surveys as being the Number One problem that reduces employee commitment, contribution and engagement. There are many reasons why communication is the Number One organisational issue. One significant reason is that communication is unbelievably complex. Our perceptions and mental models (see the blog The Importance of Raising Our Awareness of our Mental Models for a definition of mental models) have such a significant influence on what we hear and how we interpret what we hear, that the same message can be interpreted in many ways. It is for this reason that using multiple channels to convey an important message is so critical (see the discussion forum Effective Channels for Communication for a definition of communication channels). Organisational meetings are also often cited as being ineffective and a waste of a lot of people's time. Unfortunately this is often accurate. It is for this reason that the development of three communication skills is essential to raise the quality of meetings. Ideally meetings result in some agreed actions that will take place after the meeting. To increase the quality of the actions, the quality of the communication within the meeting must take place. Three communication skills are essential for this to occur. They are: 61       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 66. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     1) Questioning skills 2) Listening skills 3) Saying what you think and why you think it Many people are highly skilled at the first half of the third skill; saying what they think. However they don't always know why they think what they think. Questioning skills and listening skills are generally very poor, so any opportunity to improve them should be undertaken. A great way to improve all three skills is to conduct an end of meeting reflection. There are several ways to structure these into your meeting schedule. One way is to conduct them for three meetings in a row to assist people to learn the process, and then once every 3 - 4 weeks thereafter (if conducted over a period of time). Over time the reflection conversation can become quite a powerful tool to improve the quality of the meetings and therefore the actions that flow from the meetings. Eventually, as the team begins to master the three communication skills the team may develop the capacity to reflect as required. The purpose of the end of meeting reflection is to reflect on the quality of the questions asked during the meeting, the quality of people's capacity to listen and the quality of people's capacity to say what they think and why they think it. This means that the reflection has a learning focus with the intent to improve the quality of communication within the team. The process also provides an opportunity to identify 62       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 67. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     whether 'space' is made available for all views to be heard. The following process is one of a number of approaches: 1) Explain that an end of meeting reflection will take place. Explain the purpose of the process and identify the time set aside for the process (15 - 30 minutes). 2) Conduct and conclude your normal meeting 3) Commence the reflection by re-enforcing the purpose of the reflection (see above). Assign a person to take responsibility for facilitating the team's time and keeping the team focussed on the reflection. This person should be 'content free' for the conversation (therefore this role should be rotated) 4) The following questions can be used as a guide for identifying key lessons from the meeting process: a) What was the quality of our questioning throughout the meeting? Please provide examples in your answers. b) What was the most powerful question asked throughout the meeting? Why was this question so powerful? c) Who demonstrated the highest capacity to listen throughout the meeting? What did they do that indicated they were listening? d) How did we react when there was silence in the room? What benefit did silence bring to our conversation? e) In what ways did we allow all views to be heard? 63       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 68. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     f) Who seemed to be able to summarise what we were saying in our conversations? What could we learn from that person? g) What behaviours were detrimental to the quality of our communication? How might we minimise the impact of those behaviours in the future? i) Who seemed to be able to best explain why they thought what they thought? What lessons could we take from how they were able to demonstrate that skill? 5) When it is time to close the reflection ask the following questions: h) What lessons have we learned from this reflection? i) What skills will we try to practice in our next meeting? The so-called 'soft-skills' are by far the hardest to practice. It is this reason that I see them as the 'hard' skills. Providing reflection processes end with clear lessons and actions going forward, there will be plenty of evidence to support the value of spending time reflecting. Many teams will also notice considerable improvement in the quality of their meetings. Once again, improved communication in meetings equals improved learning which leads to improved actions. Improved actions lead to more innovation and higher efficiencies and performance. Who doesn't want to improve their performance? So reflection activities are a classic example of an old saying, "slower is faster!". If you use this reflection process or have experienced other reflection processes, please share your experiences so that 64       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 69. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     we can continue to learn from each other. In addition, if you have never used a reflection process and you would like to learn more, please ask the questions that this blog triggers for you. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 65       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 70. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     How What You Think Affects What You See!              By Gary Ryan  Mental models are our theories about how we believe the world works. They affect everything from our personal relationships to the way we behave at work and the future that we believe that we can create for ourselves. Mental models are extremely powerful because they affect the way we behave. Sometimes they can cause us to behave in ways that are incongruent with our personal values, causing considerable internal misalignment. Many of the challenges of working with our mental models is that they are sub-conscious, i.e. we don't even know that we have them. Another significant and related challenge is that we need our mental models to help us to navigate our way through the complex world that we live in. Deep seated, our mental models develop over time and come from our cultures, our family experiences, our religious beliefs, our education and our general life experiences. Like many theories, our mental models are useful in some circumstances and not in others. Just like the theory, "What goes up, must come down" is useful on the planet earth, it isn't useful out in space. In space, what goes up just keeps on going! So the question regarding our mental models is not whether they are right of wrong, it is whether or not they are useful in helping us achieve whatever it is that we are trying to 66       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 71. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     achieve. To illustrate the power of mental models I will use a metaphor. Just like a video camera can record events from a single perspective, our eyes and ears can also act like a video recorder. Our personal video recorder is controlled by our mental models. In other words, our mental models tell our video camera what to see, what to ignore, what to zoom in on and what to zoom out on. Our mental models can even cause our video recorders to use an on-the-spot editing function - we can actually add things in and take things out if what we are seeing doesn't fit with our mental models. An example that I have used many times involves P plate drivers (In Australia probationary car drivers have to display a "P" on the their car so that all other drivers know that they have only recently obtained their driving license). Imagine if a person held a mental model that all P Plate drives were terrible drivers. If we were able to 'download' that person's video footage after they had driven to work, what images of P Plate drivers do you think that we would see (just like you would see on one of the screens in a TV studio)? Having asked this question many times with the people with whom I have worked, their responses are regularly: - talking on their mobile phone while driving - text messaging while driving - tailgating - changing lanes without indicating 67       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 72. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     - speeding etc. Quite literally the person who held such a mental model would not see any good behaviours by the P Platers. Let's now look at a different scene. The person with the mental model that all P Plate drivers are terrible drivers is leaving a sporting event that had a capacity crowd. The car park is full and everyone is trying to leave at the same time. A P Plater happens to 'let this person in' so that they can leave the car park ahead of the P Plater. What video footage do we believe that we would now see if we were able to download it from the person who holds the mental model that all P Platers are terrible drivers? Regular responses that I have received to this question over time include: - The P Plater's car stalled so he/she didn't let me in, I took the initiative and took the space when it was available! - The P Plater was too busy text messaging so I took the space when it became available! - The P Plater had turned around to talk to his/her friends and created a space in front of him/her, so I took it! Notice that these answers do not recognise the fact that the P Plater 'let them in'. If the person did believe that they had been 'let in' instead of having taken the space (as indicated by the responses 68       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 73. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     above), what do we think we might NOT see on the person's video footage of the incident? A very fast response that I usually hear in response to this question is, "The P plate on the person's car." Quite literally the P Plate may disappear from the person's footage because it does not match with their mental model. This is very powerful. We see what we want to see, not necessarily what is actually there. This example demonstrates the power of mental models. They can be so powerful that we literally do not see things even if they are really there. This highlights the capacity for our mental models to be flawed. However, many people do not believe that there mental models could be flawed. Instead they believe that their mental models are not only 100% accurate reflections of reality, but everyone else should also hold this mental model. People have mental models about their own race, other races, their own religion and other religions, etc. etc. mental models, when shared can be used to go to war. In terms of a workplace it is critical that we try to increase our awareness of our mental models. As many of our mental models are sub-conscious it can take some time to uncover what we really believe about a workplace. Some questions to 69       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 74. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     consider to help you to raise your awareness of work-based mental models include: - What is the most important department in your organisation? - When an opportunity is presented to you that involves doing more work or work at a higher level, what is the first question that you ask? - What size office should a senior manager have? - Should specific car parks be available for certain staff members, and if so, who should get them? - Who is responsible for the performance of the team within which you work? - If you are a manager and you are asked a question and you do not know the answer, what is your response? - If you ask your manager a question and they don't know the answer to your question (but you think that they should know the answer given the fact that they are a manager), what would you think about the competence level of the manager? Your answers to the questions above will provide some insight into your own mental models. Once you discover a mental model it is worth asking yourself, "Why do I think that?" five times in a row (This is the Five Whys tool). Eventually your answer to the last 'Why?" question may reveal your sub-conscious mental model. While this can be hard work it is very useful. You may discover that on some issues your mental models are flawed. The problem with 70       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 75. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     flawed mental models is that they can get you to choose information that fits with your mental model. This causes you to quickly jump to conclusions that are, in fact, inaccurate (see the blog The Danger of Jumping to Conclusions). You then may take action based on a flawed mental model. Such action can often make the situation that we are experiencing worse. For example, I once said to a team member when I was a young manager, "Don't bring me problems unless you have solutions to them." Problems stopped coming to me. But they weren't being solved either - the staff just started hiding things from me because I had effectively told them that I didn't want to know about their problems if they didn't already have a solution to them. How silly was that! It wasn't that the problems no longer existed I had just made it even more difficult for the team members to raise them with me. In terms of high performance, both on a personal level and in the context of an organisation, it is better to discover a flawed mental model so that you have the opportunity to adopt a more useful one, than to remain ignorant of why you believe what you believe. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 71       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 76. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     The Danger of Jumping to Conclusions ­ and a tool  that can help! By Gary Ryan  Early one morning I was quietly enjoying my run when I was tested to 'walk my talk' and, initially, I failed! It is funny how the challenge to practice what I preach could present itself while on a run. The course that I chose to run includes a 2km track that runs between two golf courses. As I live in the middle of suburbia the two golf courses create a beautiful green belt and I enjoy running along the track listening to the birds and the occasional 'Ping' as someone tees off in the distance. This winter day, the sky seemed unusually clear and blue, which created a magnificent backdrop for the many gum trees and other natural flora that adorn the courses. The crisp air made my breath visible as it escaped from my lungs as I made my usual trot up the track. I particularly enjoy this section of the run because it is void of vehicles, their fumes and their noise. Recently one of the golf courses had commenced some changes to the layout of their course, and large trucks and heavy vehicles had used the track to access the rear of the golf course. A total of about six vehicles were using the track that was usually closed via the "Road Closed" gates at either end of the track. Previously, while on another run, I had begun to wonder how long it would take before I noticed some members of the golf clubs using the tracks as a vehicle 72       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 77. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     access to the golf courses...a seed was planted in my mind without me really being very conscious of it. You may imagine my disappointment as I noticed a car pause for me when I entered the southern end of the track. At first I wondered what the driver was doing. I quickly remembered the construction works in one of the golf courses and quickly assumed that the vehicle, a four wheel drive may have been driven by a construction worker or supervisor. The vehicle slowly drove by me, its engine noise and wheels crackling on the gravel smashing the usual peace that I find along this track. To my surprise another five vehicles followed this first car. As each one drove by they added a little more dust to the air. As it was a still morning, the dust seemed to 'hang in the air' waiting for my drawn breath to enter my lungs. My emotions rose. In fact, as I was running, I was feeling quite irritated by the presence of the vehicles. So I started to track them carefully with my eye to see which way they would turn up ahead. If they turned left then they were most likely part of the construction team and I had just been unlucky that they had all passed by while I was using the track. If they turned right up ahead, then they were going into the golf course and my original assumption would be confirmed! I had entered from the southern end of the track. The northern end of the track includes a 400 metre sealed road section that is in fact the entrance for one of the golf courses. The northern "Road Closed" gates exist about 50 metres south of the entrance to the golf course, preventing 73       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 78. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     vehicles from heading along the gravel section of the track. The initial part of the track along which I was running includes a slight incline which may have prevented me from seeing where the vehicles went if I didn't increase my pace. So, despite the dust and the incline, I increased my pace. Several other vehicles had, by now, also passed while I was running which added to my frustration and disappointment. Very quickly, my assumption was confirmed, as the initial set of vehicles turned right into the golf course. "The lazy..." I began to think to myself! More vehicles passed and a woman walking her two dogs passed me a frustrated look (at least that is what I believe that I saw) as I went by. "Annoying, isn't it!" I said as I ran by. "Yes, rotten cars!" she replied. The woman confirmed my conclusion! As I approached the northern end of the gravel section of the track I noticed that the "Road Closed" gate was open, so, without missing a step, I quickly closed each side of the gate to prevent vehicles from continuing with this clear indiscretion. "It doesn't take long for people to discover a short cut and use it!" I thought to myself. By now I was on the bitumen end of the track and quite pleased that I had taken some effective action that would help others who were to follow me. I quite like the idea of being a 'bridge builder' and I generally like to do something that might help other people if I can. 74       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 79. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     My conclusions were, however, to be shown to be false as I ran the next few hundred metres. As I drew closer and closer to the start of the bitumen section of the track, I noticed that the entrance was closed. Workmen had dug up the start of the track and were re-building the gutters and track entrance. The road was closed at the northern end of the track! The other end of the rack was the only way that cars could get in and out of the golf course - and I had closed the gate! Turning around I quickly headed back to the gate and re- opened it, chastising myself for having taken action that was based on a false conclusion! This is something that many of us do. Well at least I do! Fortunately there is a useful tool called the Ladder of Inference that we can use to 'slow ourselves down' from jumping to conclusions and /or from taking action that is based on a false conclusion. The attached document includes a version of the Ladder of Inference adapted from Peter Senge's (1994) Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. 75       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 80. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Figure 1 The Ladder of Inference  The ladder of inference – a helpful tool 7 I take actions based on my beliefs 6 I adopt beliefs about the world 5 I draw conclusions 4 I make assumptions based on the meanings I added 3 I add meaning to what I observe 2 I select “Data” from what I observe 1 All observable data we can see (as a video-recorder might capture it) If you look at the document you will notice on Slide 2 that the bottom of the ladder (rung 1) includes observable data as if recorded by a video camera. The second rung (rung 2) of the ladder includes the information that I selected from the available data at the bottom of the ladder. This is an important step because of two important factors. Firstly, I did not personally have access to all the available and possible data because I was only seeing the information that was visible at the southern end of the track. If I had been in a helicopter I could have seen more, but I wasn't! The second reason why I chose the information that I selected was because, deep down, I already held a belief that many humans take short cuts when they can, often without much care of the consequences of those short cuts to other people. 76       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 81. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     After having selected the information that fitted with my already existing (but sub-conscious) beliefs, I added the   meaning (rung 3) that the golf members were taking advantage of the track that was really only open for the trucks and construction vehicles. I then assumed (rung 4) that the golf club members were taking the short cut because they could, and no-one was going to stop them (until I came along, of course!). I drew a conclusion (rung 5) that the golf members will continue to take the short cut while they could and would further disturb people like myself by this behaviour. My already existing (but sub-conscious) belief (rung 6) that people take short cuts when they can was re- enforced so I took action - I closed the gate (rung 7). And, I might say, I was pretty happy with myself until ... I realised that I was WRONG! At that moment I had a choice - continue running and leave the closed gates problem to someone else, or go back and open them. So I went back and opened them. All the way I was chuckling to myself. It was amazing how I had become so focussed, so determined to see what I wanted to see. And sure enough, I saw it! While relatively tame, this short story highlights the dangers of jumping to conclusions and taking actions based on those conclusions without first checking out other possibilities. Yet many of us do. At work, at home, in sporting organisations 77       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 82. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     and in our relationships we can take action based on incorrect conclusions and beliefs. (Which reminds me of a story I was told recently. A person's friend was organising a surprise party for his partner and was liaising with his partner's best friend. The mobile bill came in the mail, his partner opened the bill because both their phones were on the same bill, she noticed the extremely high number of times that her best friend’s number was being called and SMS messaged by her husband and jumped to the conclusion that...well I think that you can guess what she concluded! As the story was told, the man had to confess that he was arranging a surprise party!). Unfortunately each time we jump to a conclusion and take action based on a belief, if that belief remains below our level of consciousness we will continue to jump to similar conclusion in the future when similar circumstances arise. Imagine if I had chosen to continue my run by turning into the golf course and not proceed down the bitumen section of the track. I would not be writing this blog right now and I would still hold the view that I had done the right thing by closing the gates - and I would have been WRONG but I would not have known it. To manage this situation it is important that we try to increase our awareness of our assumptions and what we believe. This helps us to understand why we might select the data that we select in any given situation. We also have to be prepared to slow ourselves down from going 'up the ladder' too quickly. To do this we need to seek more data before we 78       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 83. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     take action. In this case, maybe I should have run to the end of the track to check the possibility that it may have been closed, which would have explained why so many vehicles were using the gravel section. I would have saved myself an extra 800 metres in my run if I had done this in the first place! We also must be prepared to correct our actions, own up to our mistakes and learn from our experiences. I know that I certainly did on that beautiful morning! This concept is often challenging for many people to grasp in one go, so I plan to write several blogs (and maybe some of you who understand this concept will also assist in this process) to help each of us to deepen our understanding of both the dangers of jumping to conclusions too quickly, and how to use the Ladder of Inference to improve our performance. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 79       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 84. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Twenty Paradoxes of Servant Leadership               By Gary Ryan  A paradox is characterised by two seemingly opposite conditions co-existing. The term 'Servant leadership' contains such characteristics. How can a person be both a servant and leader at the same time? This is an amazing paradox and others and I will address the answer to this question over time. Leadership is often characterised by the capacity to work with and within paradoxes. Over time I will share some examples of how this can occur, but firstly I will list a range of paradoxes that relate to servant leadership. Unfortunately I cannot recall the original source for these paradoxes but I have found them to be useful in the context of navigating my way through life. I would like to thank Andrew O'Brien for bringing them to my attention many years ago. Strong enough to be weak Successful enough to fail Busy enough to make time Wise enough to say, "I don't know" Serious enough to laugh Rich enough to be poor Right enough to say, "I'm wrong" Compassionate enough to discipline 80       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 85. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Mature enough to be childlike Important enough to be last Planned enough to be spontaneous Controlled enough to be flexible Free enough to endure captivity Knowledgeable enough to ask questions Loving enough to be angry Great enough to play Assured enough to be rejected Victorious enough to lose Reflective enough to act Leading enough to serve If any of these paradoxes particularly connect with you and/or you are intrigued by how some of them might work, please let me know and I'll be guided by your input in terms of which ones receive some attention. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 81       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 86. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     Book ­ "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell ­ some  interesting thoughts for discussion By Gary Ryan  Malcolm Gladwell, in his most recent book Outliers suggests that real expertise and talent emanates not only from the natural abilities that we are born with, but also from putting these abilities into practice and then learning and developing from the practice that we do. Gladwell suggests that 10,000 hours of practice over the period of a 10 year time frame is what distinguishes the truly successful from the moderately successful. He also suggests that there is often an element of luck associated with a person's opportunity to practice this amount of hours. He cites several studies that suggest that a child's birth-date has more influence than originally thought on enhancing the opportunities that seem to come to the child. In one example he cites the system for the development of ice hockey players in the north of America, and in another he cites the academic development of children throughout elementary school based on their birth-date. In both cases, the person's birth-date seems to correlate with increased opportunities. So how might these thoughts from Gladwell relate to leadership development? A point to consider is the concept that expertise develops with 10,000 hours of practice. This suggests that if you want to develop a high capacity to lead others, then prospective leaders need to consciously practice leading themselves and seeking opportunities to lead others. If you accept the notion that the true capacity to lead others 82       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 87. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     emanates from the capacity to lead yourself, then many opportunities exist to put into practice the skills required to lead ourselves. This means that we have to both take and seek out the leadership moments that may present themselves to us. These can take many forms. They can be saying 'No' to drugs when they are offered by friends. They can be the deliberate choice not to have the extra drink that leads to another 10 drinks that leads to you becoming drunk and (possibly) behaving badly. Leadership moments can also include choosing to coach skateboarding to your friends and other females (as recently shared by a young woman in her 20s who is trying to encourage more young women to skateboard), or it could be the life changing and inspiring effort by David Yohan, a young 23 year old Ethiopian refugee who I recently met who has set up a new charity organisation (PAWES) in Brisbane to help refugee (and domestic) children to use sport to assist them to have a better future. David's family (except for his mother) was murdered in Ethiopia and they came to Australia via Sudan to escape the violence of the streets where they lived for eight years (If you would like to know more about David's story please visit,23739,252198 11-5007191,00.html.). People such as David and the young female skateboard coach are people who are building their hours of leadership practice. No doubt they are making mistakes, but they are 83       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 88. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     learning from them and developing their leadership capabilities moment by moment. In this context 10,000 of leadership practice becomes possible rather than being something that may seem impossible. The major issue is the conscious choice to seek out leadership moments and to consciously practice with the ones that you find. Please share any stories or experiences that may reinforce and explain the concept of leadership moments, and in particular please share any stories about some inspiring people that you know. Please feel free to make a comment on this article by clicking here. 84       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 89. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     About Organisations That Matter  Organisations That Matter specialises in helping organisations matter. To their people within the organisation, to the people the organisation serves and the people within the broader community within which the organisation exists. To achieve this Organisations That Matter serves: Businesses and Community Organisations Universities and Schools Executives Young Professionals  Students Our major services include: Strategic Advice Facilitation What Really Matters Desired Futures Consulting Mentoring Development Programs Learning and Change Reviews Behaviour and Performance Materials Keynote Speeches Conference Packages Theme Weaving Membership  Please email for more information. 85       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 90. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     About Gary Ryan  Gary Ryan is a consultant, author and speaker who helps organisations, organisational leaders, graduate employees, graduate students and undergraduate students to be the very best that they can be. He is passionate about helping organisations to matter to their people; to their stakeholders   and customers; to their community and to their environment. Through helping employers align what they say with what they do, as well as helping current and future employees do likewise, Gary knows that he can help organisations matter! Holding several degrees including a Bachelor of Education in Physical Education (1994), a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (2002) and a Master of Management (2004), Gary is currently completing a Doctor of Business Administration program at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. The more educated that he has become, the greater the gap between theory and practice he has observed. One of the reasons for founding Organisations That Matter with Dr Andrew O’Brien was to close this gap. The intention of this ebook is to do likewise. Married with four children Gary also runs marathons to maintain his health and fitness. Please feel free to contact Gary via email at . 86       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 91. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     About Dr Andrew O’Brien  Andrew is a sought after speaker, author, facilitator, executive adviser and consultant. Drawing on his extensive experience as a Chief Executive Officer and facilitator Andrew is highly regarded for his ability to connect with people from the Board Room to the Front Counter and everywhere in between. Andrew has led start-up and harvesting phases of   organisational life in the commercial and community sectors and has facilitated meetings for corporate, government, education and sporting organisations as well as for industry associations and conferences. Most of Andrew’s career has focused on change management and he specialises in the successful balancing of short, medium and long-term strategic objectives while striving for high performance outcomes. In 2004 Andrew was recognised for his performance by the Customer Service Institute of Australia and was awarded the CEO of the year for the state of Victoria. Andrew’s research focuses on shared vision, personal vision, strategy and effective performance. This has evolved into the Organisations That Matter Desired Futures body of work. Andrew has a keen interest in health and fitness and has combined his Desired Futures approach with Sue O’Brien’s fitness expertise to develop Partnerunning. In 2008 Andrew and Sue completed a world first for a husband and wife team running side by side to complete eight marathons in eight countries in eight weeks. ‘Couple on the Run’ will be released early in 2010 and is the first of a series of books and programs 87       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 92. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     as part of the Partnerunning brand of Organisations That Matter. Please feel free to contact Andrew via email at .     88       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009  
  • 93. What Really Matters 2009 Vol.1, No.1     More in this series!  Please keep your eye out for the other two ebooks in this series. What Really Matters! Volume 1, Number 2, 2009 What Really Matters! Volume 1, Number 3, 2009 Feedback! Thanks you for reading this ebook. We delight in feedback and comments about our books so please feel free to send us your thoughts at . Join us!  If you are not a member of The Organisations That Matter Learning Network, please join us. Share!  Once again you have our permission to share the ebook with friends, colleagues and family, providing you do not change it in any way. If you have found the content useful, why not share it with others! Thank You!  Thank you for taking the time ‘on’ yourself to read this ebook. We are confident that will gain considerable benefit from actioning the strategies outlined in What Really Matters! 89       ©Copyright Organisations That Matter® 2009