Category Archives: Higher Performance

Small wins is a powerful way to lift performance. It’s actionable, concrete and effective.

Is disruptive innovation the only game in town?

Is disruptive innovation the only game in town?
I was recently invited to attend a conference on creativity and innovation. I applaud the people behind this conference because we need more not less innovation. But the opening spiel troubled me. I quote from their web site: Innovate or die? Disrupt yourself or pay the price! The challenge of this century is to transform our organisations to adapt flexibly and rapidly to the ever-­changing and volatile environments we face. Giant disruption always heralds huge opportunities. To be sure, ... Read more

The 1 question all future leaders should ask themselves – every day

The 1 question all future leaders should ask themselves – every day
I play golf once a week (also go to the driving range). Nothing surprising about this really. But…………. After every game I go to a cafe and whilst waiting for my scrambled eggs I reflect on my game. I ask myself: What shots could I have played differently today? You see, I still want to improve! When I worked in corporate life I did something similar. At the end of the day when I was travelling home I would ask myself, What could I have done differently today? Perhaps I missed a chance to ... Read more

8 ways to overcome a fear of failure

8 ways to overcome a fear of failure
No-one really wants to fail*. But the fear of failure can be paralysing. Here are 8 practical ways to overcome this fear. 1. Separate the failure from the person Part of the problem with failure is the personal stigma. If you fail, you worry that you will be branded a ‘failure’. Yet this is certainly not the case. Most entrepreneurs, for example, (in the US anyway) view a failed business venture as a badge of honour. Separating failure as an activity from the person might encourage ... Read more

A key innovative behavior – bouncing

A key innovative behavior – bouncing
One of the most important innovative behaviours is what I call ‘bouncing.’ It’s when one person has an idea and they bounce it off another person. The concept of bouncing has a long history in creative collaboration. For example: “We’d sit down and say, ‘OK, what are we going to do?’ and we’d just start off strumming and one or the other of us would kick off some kind of idea and then we’d just develop it and bounce off each other.” – Paul McCartney on his ... Read more

Design Thinking vs Small Wins Process

Design Thinking vs Small Wins Process
Design Thinking is a very powerful process. It has been made famous by the Stanford Design School and organisations such as Ideo. According to some writers the Design Thinking Process consists of 5 steps: – Empathise - Define - Ideate - Prototype and  - Test The small wins process also has 5 steps after a challenge has been defined (i.e. a problem, opportunity, issue etc). – Create - Test - Measure - Learn and  - Share As you can see there are many similarities: – both ... Read more

How can you be an amazing leader – everyday?

How can you be an amazing leader – everyday?
I worked with a leadership group today of a major financial institution. In my workshop I asked the group: How can you be an amazing leader – everyday? The emphasis was on the everyday. Because leadership in an organisation is often more about the everyday type rather than the big dramatic gesture. We did a Blitz and the 9 most common responses were: 1. Smile 2. Be fully present in any meeting. 3. Actively listen 4. Give immediate feedback. 5. Be energetic. 6. Conduct a quick scrum at ... Read more

Why every leader should have an ideas buddy

Why every leader should have an ideas buddy
Leadership can be a lonely role. But to create and innovate I believe every leader should seek and maintain someone who they can bounce ideas off (and you can help them as well). Lets call this person an ideas buddy. A person who they trust and can make your idea better. But also five you some critical feedback as well. I was reminded of this dynamic with a recent interview in the New Yorker with Jonathon Ives (by Ian Parker) when he (Ives) was talking about his relation with Steve Jobs. ... Read more

When to think big – when to think small

When to think big – when to think small
There are time when you need to think big and other times when it is better to think small. These 2 different types of thinking complement one another. This is similar to Daniel Kahneman’s idea of thinking fast and slow. Here are some examples when you might want to think big: – You are feeling in the flow – Feel inspired – When you do your best thinking (I do mine first things and late at night) – In a planning or strategy session – Trying to create a ... Read more

What is the small wins way?

What is the small wins way?
When managers, leaders and business owners ask me about small wins they often start with: Can small wins be applied to …………….(fill in the blank). It could be innovation, leadership, change, productivity, engagement etc. The answer? Yes it can. I believe there is a small wins way. It’s a way of thinking and behaving. It’s a way of creating and innovating. It’s a way of improving, changing and growing. It’s a way of starting and ... Read more

Have you had a few little breakthroughs today?

Have you had a few little breakthroughs today?
I love the idea of little breakthroughs. For too long we have all been seduced by the idea that a breakthrough has to be big, game-changing or disruptive. But perhaps there are also smaller, everyday varieties. I came across the expression little breakthroughs from author, Daniel Coyle who is the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, The Little Book of Talent,Lance Armstrong’s War, and The Secret Race and Hardball: A Season in the Projects. I quote from a recent blog ... Read more