Magnificent Leadership

It was Pink Floyd who wrote,

We don’t need no education
We dont need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.


I have witnessed my four amazing children as they were educated in a variety of schools, including little Anglican Schools where they were told what to learn, do and say, as well as Reggio Emilia and Steiner Schools, where there were no uniforms, no hierarchy and the teachers (on a first name basis with students) were great facilitators of learning, life skills and helping children to find their own voices.

These experiences through my children’s own eyes have inspired this post. So, here’s what to avoid doing if you want to be a magnificent leader, facilitator and teacher.

(i)  Provide too much information at the start so your team members do not have anything to discover for themselves.

(ii)  Talk way way more than listen.

(iii)  Offer your team your solution instead of encouraging them to formulate a set of possible solutions that excite and ignite them.

(iv)  Stop your team frequently and tell them what you think every 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t wait for the best moment for learning

(v)  Encourage your team to be creative and then restrict them unnecessarily with a lots of rules and guidelines. 

I am sure you are a great leader already. What would it take to be magnificent?
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Sharing Strategy Secrets

1. DIAGNOSIS: When it comes to strategy, the first secret is to think market spaces rather than market places. Define where you want to compete based on an accurate meaningful Diagnosis. In depression filled, uncertain, faster and volatile times, better not to think about market places and industries (e.g. mobile phone industry, retail industry or fishing industry), but rather consider market spaces and arenas where consumers are found (e.g. home and office based mobile technology arenas, on-line shopping platforms or fresh food shopping/dining emporiums).


2. POLICY: Plan to win. The second secret is to set a Guiding Policy that articulates how you intend to win. Your guiding policy should address specifically the trade-offs you are making to create a series of unique competitive advantages. Today’s sources of advantage are transient and setting strategy once and then forgetting about it is a recipe for failure. Check that your Guiding Policy embraces the future opportunities in chosen arenas and reinforces a culture of experimentation, iteration and learning.

3. ACTION: Manage risks. Create a Rapid Action Plan that supports you in moving from one source of competitive advantage to the next. In taking action, risks must be considered, however speed is critical to maintaining a series of transient advantages. The third secret is that accelerated and roughly right actions are superior to no action.

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Beijing Air 北京取代燃煤发电


In Beijing, pollution is now double that of China’s mandated limit and the Government decided this month to close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants in early 2016.  Smoke producing coal-fired plants will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with three times the generation capacity of the coal-fired plants.

明年    清除空气在北京


Current smoking laws will be replaced in June with stricter rules, which will be forced upon smokers in public places throughout Beijing, including bars, offices, sporting venues and outdoor areas around hospitals and schools.  Smokers in Beijing will suffer fines from 200 to 10,000 yuan ($320 – $1,600) and cigarette advertising and tobacco-company event sponsorships will finally be banned.

Smoking is symptom of clinical depression in over 90% of cases. With a massive one in every three Beijing residents being smokers, the market for quit programs, products and psychological professionals treating the underlying depression could be enormous for those ready to blaze new trails in Beijing.

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Death of Fear 

Death of Fear

False evidence appearing real forms the foundation of our personality. Fear is also our natural intelligence at work, at the level of survival.

However, once our survival needs around safety, shelter, food and sex are realised, our remaining fears are no longer rational, healthy or helpful. By facing our fears it allows us to eliminate them. There are a couple of exceptions and they are the fear of falling and the fear sudden noises.

Mark Twain and Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”  Consider for a moment… What is your greatest fear…? Fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear of intimacy? Fear of rejection? Of being wrong? Unloveable? Death? Humiliation? Take some time to find out your greatest fear and then do something that forces you to face it, express it, bring it to the light and then transcend it. Remember, everything you want is on the other side of fear.

My beautiful partner Emily often invites me to answer the question “What’s in the way of that?”, when I am feeling held back in creating the life we deserve. ‘Em’ reminds me from time to time that there are only two emotions: love and fear and that “only love is real.”

All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.

What do you want most?  What’s in the way of that?

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Get Noticed

There is an Irish Pub saying, ‘if you want an audience, start a fight’. In the world of business, publicly taking a stance that not everyone agrees with, if done constructively, can be a handy way to get people talking about your business and your product. Being controversial often leads new people to research your business and products, which allows them to move you from their unaware set into their consideration set.


If you need more exposure and want to get noticed, take a stand publicly on something controversial you are passionate about and watch the audience build. Don’t do it too often, unless you are planning to run for political office. Gates and Jobs were masters at the periodic game of controversy, which produced plenty of media hype and attention for both Apple and Microsoft.


Even pacifists are fighters. Look a Gandhi. He forced the British to leave India. What in this world would you fight for ?

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Speed Eclipses Intellect

Intellectual Property (IP) is often a waste of valuable time and resources. The choice to get your IP locked in before developing your product or service makes no sense, when reducing your ‘time to market’ is the other alternative, especially in industries with rapid technology changes. Sometimes it’s best to clip on your skis and get going.


The best products and services available to humanity are the result of people copying already great ideas and improving on them and taking them to market sooner. Xerox PARC developed the GUI (Graphical User Interface) that Steve Jobs copied and improved on to give the world the Mac. Left to it’s own devices, Xerox could have taken decades to commercialise its GUI and Jobs would never have been able to improve on it if the GUI had been locked out by a restrictive IP.

We routinely work with businesses to help them see clearly which items are critical path items and which are not. Do you have a great idea you’d like to take to market fast but aren’t sure how to proceed? Then contact us. We can help.

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Building Confidence

The foundation stone of teamwork is TRUST.  The absence of trust between your team members sets the team up for a cascade of problems. Trust is not automatic. For most of us there is a real a sense that trust must be earned.

Often we bestow trust on those who demonstrate working knowledge or competence. Over the years, you have probably heard the saying, “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!” Today, there is evidence and research to support this.


Dunning and Kruger researched the relationship between confidence and experience.  They showed why incompetent people have trouble recognizing their own incompetence (think Homer Simpson!) and why quite competent people often feel lack confidence (think Lisa Simpson!).


Knowing that such a curve exists can be helpful when you, one of your people or even your father is suffering from a bout of self-grandiosity or low confidence.

Are leaders typically more confident and less competent than their staff?  Why?

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