Monthly Archives: October 2015

Mindfulness and leadership


Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Psychology Today

At first glance, the concept of mindfulness in leadership may seem like a paradox.  But actually, if you reflect for a moment, mindfulness should really be at the core of effective leadership, and at the core of instigating massive change in the way organisations run.

Within the business environment, leadership is often seen in a dark suit, behind a boardroom door, with a sullen expression. However, if we return to the true cornerstones of leadership – inspiration, motivation and growth – mindfulness is an intricate part.

Imagine working in an environment where the corporate culture is mindful; where an organisation is a place where the company’s leaders live in the moment and encourage you to do the same.

The concept of mindfulness in leadership has taken business schools by storm, and current curricula boast subjects like yoga, meditation and serving others. Mindfulness practices are on the rise in workplaces, and it’s easy to see why. Simply, staff are happier, leaders are more grounded, and the responsibilities performed are conducted with a greater sense of intention and intelligent prioritisation.

Finally, the World Leadership Summit boasts lecturers from Harvard, neuroscientists and business leaders, and each is promoting the same message:

Leading from the inside out is the most significant evolution in leadership!

how can coaching help you?

Do yourself a favour – get a business coach


Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Do you not know what to do next?

Would you love a sounding board?

Or do you need some guidance?

You need a coach!

So many people wait until their situation feels so heavy, so desperate, that they then frantically search for a solution – anything that looks like it may help. Often, that solution presents itself in a HUGE package, such as signing up for an MBA, which takes more of your time, more of your money, and assumes applicability to your business.

The availability, simplicity and profound impact of a business coach can be totally transformational. So, how do you know if you need a coach?

As yourself the following questions:

  • Am I objectively doing what’s best for my business?
  • Do I challenge myself to think creatively?
  • Am I doing the best I can with the resources that I have?
  • Where is my business going? Realistically.
  • Is there anyone, with business knowledge, who I can discuss my business with, who has the best interests of my business at heart?
  • Are my business thought processes proactive and ingenious?

If you answered no to any of the above questions, then do yourself a favour … get a coach!

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Getting it done: making your to-do list work for you


Creating a to-do list has long been known as an effective tool for getting things done. There are several reasons for this. One is that when you put things into a physical list, you release yourself from the stress of trying to remember all the things you need to do. Another is that when you document the things you need to do, your subconscious mind starts to work through them. And finally, drafting a to-do list creates a system through which you enable yourself to achieve your goals.

So how do you make your to-do list work for you?

  • Take note of your personality type. Do you prefer to work to tight deadlines? Do you do your best work when you have all the details available, or is improvisation your strength? Construct your to-do list accordingly.
  • In how many areas of your life do you have responsibilities to complete? Create sections in your to-do list, so that you compartmentalise your life and then work on one thing at a time.
  • Urgent/important must get done first. We don’t subscribe to the erroneous belief that says do the little things on your to-do list first, so that you can cross them off. Although there is some logic to this, and crossing off items on a to-do list does generate pleasant feelings of accomplishment, always do the most urgent and important tasks first so that you work in an intelligent manner.
  • Know your own personal preferences. Do you prefer to work in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Do you work in long stretches, or do you need a break every 45 minutes? Structure your tasks accordingly.
  • Set time limits. Resolve that no task will remain on your to-do list for x amount of time. This means that you have deadlines, which you actively work toward.
  • Make your to-do list work for you. It is your tool and only you can make it effective. Draw pictures, diagrams, prioritise with numbers, letters or symbols. The principle is if you accomplish one big thing on your list every day, you are moving yourself forward in a deliberate manner.
  • Evaluate and re-evaluate. Remember that the to-do list is only as effective as you are. If it doesn’t work for you, change your approach so that it does!


“Rename your ‘to-do’ list your ‘opportunities’ list. Each day is a treasure chest filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list.”

Steve Maraboli

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Mind over mattress: why waking up earlier matters

Wake up

Have you ever been so inspired by what you do that you jump out of bed early in the morning, filled with energy and ready to start working on your passion? For many of us this is unfortunately something we only see in the movies!

The funny thing is that people who have the habit of waking up early and getting those couple of extra hours in the day, not only get more done, but also seem to have more energy and a retain a sense of calm in their day.

From Benjamin Franklin and Ernest Hemingway to Richard Branson, an overwhelming number of super successful people publicise their daily ritual of rising with or before the sun. In April 2013 The Guardian published an article stating that the majority of successful business leaders wake up and jump out of bed before 5am.

Imagine what you could achieve if you had an extra hour in your day, every day? That would give you seven extra hours a week, which is almost a full working day! You’d get 365 extra productive hours a year, which equates to an extra month in which you could learn a new language, finish that assignment, or write the report that you never seem to get to.

It’s not only a matter of mind over mattress, but also a matter of putting aside the mind’s chatter (“you’re tired”, “you need more sleep”), and igniting excitement about the formation of new, highly beneficial habits.

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Tactful talking – managing confrontation in the workplace


We’ve all had to have awkward or difficult conversations with someone at work. Many of us spend enormous amounts of time considering how the other person will respond, and forget to concentrate on how we can put our message across in the most effective way.

The ‘sandwich method’ (say something positive, give the negative feedback, and then end on a positive note) is only successful if you have genuine positive pointers to share. Most intelligent employees are aware of the tactic, and pick up quickly that you are using a ‘method’ rather than being authentic.

So, how do you have those difficult conversations?

Here are 10 easy steps that should make the next confrontation easier to manage:

  1. Address the issue, not the person. The less personal, and the more objective you are, the more effective your feedback will be.
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. You cannot simply tell someone that his or her standard of work is not good enough. You need to have concrete examples that prove the errors obviously.
  3. Have a clear outcome in mind. Know why you are having the discussion, and what you really want to achieve from the talk, as well as what may result from the conversation.
  4. Make notes. When you have a difficult conversation, you cannot freeze, or forget, what you want to say. Once you have created the opportunity to converse, you need to communicate professionally. Make notes of what you want to say, and in what order, so that your discussion follows a logical sequence.
  5. Listen actively. There is always another perspective. Give the employee the opportunity to speak, and not just for the sake of letting them speak. Actually listen to what they are saying.
  6. Diagnose the problem. There can only be so many reasons for non-performance. Make sure that you have considered both internal factors, such as motivation, ability and skills, as well as external factors, such as resources, training and opportunities. It’s only when all factors are taken into consideration that an issue can truly be resolved.
  7. Be constructive. Engage in the discussion as a problem solving exercise, rather than as a disciplinary event. If you are open and genuine, the employee should pick up on that and participate, rather than defend.

  8. Define measurable milestones. Together with the employee, clearly define how and when future performance will be measured, so that goals are clear and assessable.
  9. Create a partnership. You and the employee are in this together. You need to work effectively as a team to resolve the issue. Ensure that you have provided, and continue to deliver, the support, resources and clear understanding of the outcomes, so that the employee is not limited from performing in any way.
  10. Reward success. Even if effective performance is part of the employee’s job description, you have engaged in a process, and there must be positive reinforcement to commend the effort and results, and embed future positive behaviour.

how can coaching help you?

Work-life balance and optimising support

What's work-lifebalance?

We’ve heard it said before: “No-one lies on their deathbed and wishes that they’d spent more time at the office.” The irony is that this is often said to those who desperately need to hear it, but although most of us would agree with the sentiment, there is frequently something stronger that drives us and pulls us into working long hours, whether ambition, a sense of responsibility towards our clients and our business, or an overwhelming to-do list.

The key to achieving a sense of work-life balance is to integrate the meaningful components of your life in such a way that each part of your life can flourish.

We’re not saying that the some parts of people’s lives don’t function independently, but rather that if your family supports and understands your work, they feel more involved, you feel less alone, and you are able to achieve a sense of belonging with your own people. In a way it’s about having your own cheerleading squad who support and sustain you – to include your loved ones in your work life makes absolute sense.

We believe David Rockefeller summed it up perfectly in a sentence:

“I am convinced that material things can contribute a lot to making one’s life pleasant, but, basically, if you do not have very good friends and relatives who matter to you, life will be really empty and sad, and material things cease to be important.”


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