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The Mindfulness Circle

Mindfulness CircleConceptually understanding the Cycle of Self is key to maximizing our potential.  It explains our “why”. Why we believe what we believe, why we think what we think, and why we do what we do.  We can leverage Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle to help illustrate the “why”, “how” and “what” of mindfulness.  Simply put, Sinek’s Golden Circle is based on the principle that great leaders take an inside out approach.  Starting with the “why”, then the “how”, before getting to the “what”. More commonly leaders focus on the “what”, which does not motivate or inspire us to act.  The “what” informs people with rational, logical information but it is the “why” that ignites purpose, emotion and instincts that motivate us to act.

By applying the same inside out approach to ourselves we can mindfully design our life experiences.  Starting with our “self”, then tuning into our “awareness”, before trying to “change” ourselves.  Most of us set goals to change or add habits without understanding why our habits exist.  Few of us examine what false beliefs we have that are keeping us stuck.  Trying to change ourselves without understanding our motivations assumes we are rational and logical, but the fact of the matter is we are not.  We are human first.  That is why most New Years resolutions fail, along with all the other attempts we make to start or stop our habits.

My last post examined “self”.  But how do we move beyond conceptually understanding the significant of self?  We do this through “awareness”.  Awareness is tricky business.  It has cyclical complexities similar to the Self Cycle.  It takes discipline to become and remain aware and it takes kindness to ourselves to own ourselves with empathy and without judgement.  And we need to accept ourselves as we are, unconditionally, with the discipline to pay attention to when we act on our false beliefs.  And when we do, we must be kind to ourselves.  Meditation, yoga, golf, walking; essentially any activity that brings us closer to nature and our spirit will help us mindfully navigate through awareness.

Then as we become aware of the parts of self that do not serve us, the parts that get in the way of what we want, we can begin to explore how to create meaningful change in our life.  Our “self” + “awareness” will inspire our intent.  And our intent will take lots of practice.  Quite frankly we will fail (many times) before we succeed.  Which is why we need to reward ourselves each every time we succeed.  This will reinforce the value of our new habit(s). We must keep reminding ourselves or our intent, with discipline, kindness and acceptance, trusting our beliefs and thoughts will design the experiences we desire.

This journey will feel a lot like taming a wild horse.  We need to have patience with the parts of ourselves that like to run free, fast and wild.  But we will also need focus and concentration to  have the discipline to resist distractions that are not aligned with our beliefs and intentions.  This is a life long journey, not a destination.

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More quests needed – Celebrating 45 years since the moon Landing

More quests needed – Celebrating 45 years since the moon Landing

Exactly 45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon achieving one of humankind’s greatest quests. With his words “One small leap for man, one giant leap for mankind” Armstrong captured the essence of a quest – endeavours taken by an individual or group of individuals to enhance and further the lives of others.

The world is in need of a many bold new quests. We need to recapture the spirit and adventure. If individuals and organisations do not step up the 21st century has the potential to be our last. By 2030 an individual using a bio-pathogen will have the capability to end it all. There are deep pressing issues that need organisational and leadership refocus.

Regulators in the US have imposed fines of over $35 billion this year and there is more fines to come. $7 billion of this was a fine imposed on Citigroup for knowingly selling toxic mortgage-backed securities. Bad business does not pay. Quests do. Geoff Immelt, the CEO of GE is on a quest to improve the world by 1%. IBM is on a quest to create a smarter planet. ITER, a global organisation with the backing of 35 countries, is on a quest to create an energy source that uses an element in seawater called deuterium to power our planet for the next 100,000 years. Deuterium has a natural abundance in the Earth’s oceans, one cubic kilometre of the ocean is vested with more potential fusion energy—hot or cold—than that of all known oil reserves in the world.  The process will produce zero pollutants and not contribute to global warming.

ITER’s funding is $14 billion, politicians argue this cost is too high. What is their quest? The US approved funding of Lockheed Martin’s new F35 fighter jet is $400 billion. Fighter jet versus the quest to power the planet – with an abundant, eco-friendly energy, why is there even a debate?

The dream to go to the moon is one of our greatest quests, it inspired a nation to achieve the unthinkable within a decade. The challenges facing our world are graver than the cold war that inspired the space race. It is also full of countless opportunities – Never before have we stood at such a golden era of change, unprecedented change. The world needs leaders who refocus their mindset (and key stakeholders) on what matters most for communities and society. Embrace a new era of exploring the uncharted – Leaders have been told: “the world is flat!” and “there be dragons here” Be brave sail over the edge. Discover a new world of riches.

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The Self Cycle

July 16, 2014 dawna Change, Leadership, Strategy No Comments

self cycleI like taking notice of the patterns of my thoughts.  It’s not coincidence that my thoughts draw me towards experiences that reflect my thoughts.  Which also means that what I think about , both consciously and subconsciously, shape my experiences.  So why then would I ever entertain thoughts of fear and insecurity knowing that I would be manifesting experiences to reflect my worries? To answer this we need to first explore what shapes our thoughts.  Our thoughts are a  reflection of our beliefs and each and every one of us have numerous false beliefs that can sabotage our mindset.  Our false beliefs usually reveal themselves through our biases and irrational choices.   And our beliefs are mostly shaped by our life stories which in turn develop from the beliefs we form from our previous experiences… which are formed by our thoughts, which are formed by our beliefs.  The cyclical nature of this is what forms our patterns of thought. It’s a challenging cycle to deconstruct and change.  If we focus on awareness of our beliefs and ensuring they are aligned with truth and our core values then we can begin to re-architect our thoughts, including our thoughts about our past experiences.

Patterns of thoughts are reaffirming which then strengthens their hold on us.  This reoccurrence becomes our comfort zone, even if it is a negative pattern, the familiarity of it feels comfortable.  This is the nature of being human.  The challenge is to both embrace being human and to develop the self awareness to grow beyond the limitations of our patterns.  A big part of this is becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable by challenging and mindfully choosing our beliefs.  I would like to propose that there is nothing more important than developing our self awareness.  The fact of the matter is that the only thing in the way of what we want in life is ourselves.

The affects of this are pervasive.  The most challenging pattern I see with every company and leader I work with is the lack of recognition that the biggest thing in their way is themselves.  Companies are made up of humans and it is our collective beliefs, thoughts and experiences that shape our ability to prosper.  Smart leaders recognize this and invest in self awareness for themselves and their associates.  There is no more powerful competitive advantage than self awareness.  I dream of a world where kids are explicitly taught about self awareness both at home and at school.  A world where companies explicitly invest in developing the self awareness of their leaders and associates.  And my dream is more attainable that you might think.  You do not need to be a leader to be a part of making this happen, you just need to begin to invest in your own self awareness and encourage others to do the same, it really is that simple.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” Gandhi

 

 

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Peugeot unveils a new car that runs on air.

Peugeot unveils a new car that runs on air.

We are living during a era of great technological innovation. At TomorrowToday we love technology that has the ability to disrupt not only products but entire industries, even countries. Peugeot Citroën  appears to be doing just that . The car manufacturer has unveiled a new hybrid drivetrain that uses compressed air instead of electricity to provide a secondary source of propulsion. They call this innovation Hybrid Air and it’s a technology they claim will be available in their compact models (Citroën C3 or a Peugeot 208) by 2016 for a price of £16,000. The company claims that the car using a hybrid system emits as little as 69g/km of CO2 i.e. 2.9l / 100km. Peugeot aims to reduce this to 2l/100km by 2020 

 An innovative full-hybrid gasoline solution. An important step towards the 2l/100 km car by 2020 

The car travels on compressed air propelling it to speeds of 43mph where after the petrol or diesel system kicks in. 60-80% of journeys can therefore be completed, in an urban city environment, using just air!

A car that runs on compressed air has the potential to not only disrupt the motor industry, but the massive oil industry too. This is great news for environmentalist, but not for those who invest in the future of fossil fuel. Understanding the impact of this disruption needs to be a boardroom topic for energy companies. TomorrowToday is partnering with London Business School and our facilitators are working on a leadership programme for Kuwait Petroleum Company. We’ve learnt that 80% of the Kuwaiti economy is depedent on the oil industry. What happens when an abundant, cheap and pollution free source of propulsion replaces or reduces significantly the demand for their liquid gold? It’s a question we will put to them at the next session with KPC senior leaders in Spetember. The answers should be interesting.

 

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Cut away view of the hybrid air compression propulsion system

 

Ray Massey became the first UK journalist to test drive the new car in Paris. Here is an excerpt on his driving experience:

Driving feels a little different to a conventional automatic car. It’s nimble. A visual display on the dashboard screen tells you when you are in zero pollution or petrol mode. It chugs happily along in town running only on air. It certainly didn’t run out of puff and giving the accelerator a quick burst — vital on Parisian roads to keep you out of trouble — meant the combined force of the 82bhp petrol engine and the 40bhp air motor kicked in together to put wind in its sails.

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Ray Massey test driving Hybrid Air

You can read his full review of the car at the Daily Mail

 

 

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The Future of theft…okay bye bye now.

The Future of theft…okay bye bye now.

According to the website Stolen Bike Statistics over 500,000 bikes were stolen in the UK over the past five years. This figure is also understated. According to John Moss who compiled these stat  “It is largely accepted that only 1 in 5 bike thefts are reported to the police, therefore the bike thefts figures can be considered 5 times higher than reported.” 

These numbers are about to plummet. Designers at Jawbone and Boeing have developed a solar powered bicycle lock, called Skylock, that works via Bluetooth connectivity to your phone – and the phones of friends you select. One hour of sunshine provides a weeks power and should your bike be noticably jarred Skylock will emmediately send you an alert to your smartphone. The lock uses military grade material giving you enough time to get to your bike before it’s nicked. And, as if that’s not enough should you get doored by a carelss driver or loose it on a rain-slicked road, Skylock will notify friends and family so they can come to your aid. The best thing of all is the price, at around £90 for a lock it compares very favourably with traditional high-end locks!

Two things for the future.

  1. Skylock is benefting from the fast growing shareconmy. Bikes are one of our most under-utilised assets, by allowing friends easy and secure access to your bike you can park it and let approved people share your ride. Skylock allows for instant ride sharing
  2. By linking your bike lock to the Internet of Things, bike theft fast become a thing of the past. We are entering a world were our assets will tell us when dubious people are tinkering with them. They will be able to alert authorities. In the future products like Skylock will make theft a pointless pastime!

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 11.22.13

 

 

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Sharing Your Secrets: What Elon Musk’s latest move at Tesla means for you

Sharing Your Secrets: What Elon Musk’s latest move at Tesla means for you

I’ll admit it: I have a huge man-crush on Elon Musk. I like everything this guy does. From his passion for space exploration and madcap vision of a one way trip to Mars, to his recent announcements about building both flying and submerisble cars, Elon is the very eptimony of a swashbuckling hero for the modern age. He’s also a South African – land of my birth too. Yet, in between the media hyped pronouncements there is some serious thought going on about the future shape of the world. Every industry he touches he also changes.

Yesterday, Elon’s electric sports car company, Tesla, announced that it will release all its patents to the world for free. Now anyone can build an electric car like they have.

There is some sanity behind this madness. In order for Tesla to grow now it really does need an entire electric car around it. Elon has seen that instead of protecting the slice of the pie he currently has (which is quite big), it’s going to be better for him to build a bigger pie. I think he’s spot on. Too many businesses spend too much time and effort protecting their piece of a pie, rather than building the pie. Lesson #1 right there.

But the bigger lesson, and the more important issue for everyone else is that Elon and Tesla understand that we’re increasingly living in a world where information is no longer power and everyone will know everything anyway. Many industries are currently built on what I call “knowledge arbitrage”: you and your company know things that other people (very often including your customers) don’t. By 2020, this will not be true. Good examples include investment banking, financial planners, pharmaceuticals and law firms.

What would your industry look like if everyone knew everything that everybody else did? What would your business model look like if it could not be based on having a corner on a set of information no-one else has? How would you add value to your clients if they already know everything you know? You may not need the answer to these questions this year, but you will need them by 2020. So you might as well start now.

Elon Musk is already one step ahead of you.

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Smaller difference and different reasons for buying

Smaller difference and different reasons for buying

One of TomorrowToday’s best associates is Markus Kramer. Until recently, Markus was Global Head of Branding at Aston Martin and before that worked for other luxury brands, including Harley Davidson. He is a true world expert on luxury brands, and the lessons all industries can learn from how luxury brands operate. You can see Markus’ profile here.

One of the sessions Markus delivers is on these lessons from luxury branding. It’s a powerful insight into how any brand can use some of these techniques. In his daily blog today, Seth Godin wrote eloquently on why this is becoming more and more important in a world where differentiation is becoming harder and harder.

All good and thought provoking stuff. If you’d like Markus to come and speak to your team about this, please contact us for more information.

Small differences, looming large

As we get more technologically advanced, more civilized and more refined, differences get smaller.

The Nikon SLR was in a different universe than the Instamatic. Just about anyone could instantly see the differences between pictures taken with these cameras. Taking pictures for online use with the Sony RX1 and the 80% less Canon pocket camera–not so much.

The rough peasant wine available on your table at a local restaurant was a totally different experience than a vintage Burgundy. Thirty years after that vacation, it’s pretty tough (in a blind tasting) to tell the difference between a bottle that costs ten dollars at the local store and one that costs $200…

The speed difference between a Mac IIfx and a Commodore 64 was no contest. One was for professionals, one was a game for kids. Today, there’s no dramatic functional difference for most users between the speed of the cheap Android tablet and the Mac Pro.

But of course, for those that care, the difference matters more than ever. For those that care, the premium available to be paid for a better camera, wine or computer is actually far greater than it ever was before.

As the differences get smaller, the purely functional reasons for premium goods fade away, and instead they are purchased for the reason we’ve always purchased luxury goods: because of how they make us feel, not because of what they actually do. The fur coat is not warmer than the down jacket, it’s merely harder to acquire.

Source: Seth Godin

See Markus’ speaker page at: Markus Kramer.

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Consiglieres, astronauts and rocket science!

May 27, 2014 Dil Sidhu Strategy No Comments
Consiglieres, astronauts and rocket science!

Consiglieres, astronauts and rocket science!

Imagine a scenario where you are purchasing a house. It’s in a great neighbourhood with superb schools, with all the entertainment and service amenities close to hand. As you can imagine it’s in much demand and other interested parties are also expressing a desire for it. The owner of the house suggests the following process to determine who will get to call this property their new home. The steps are as follows:

1. Each interested buyer will submit a sealed ‘bid’ with their best price along with the answers to many questions set by the seller. The questions are about you, your family, your finances, successes and your lifestyle

2. No one is allowed to contact the owner or anyone else living in the property at any time

3. You’re not allowed to visit the property but must rely on the pictures available online and details sent to you by the owner

4. Potential bidders must provide details about themselves and anyone that may ever visit them at the new house including financial and personal information

5. Each bidder will pay a fee to enable them to submit a bid and this is not refundable whether your bid wins or not

6. The seller can decide not to sell the house at any time they like without any explanation

How many of us would decide to bid for the house under these circumstances?

Consider the same scenario but this time we’ll call it a Request for Proposal.

… Continue Reading

The greatest challenge facing the future of business, requires your attention now.

The greatest challenge facing the future of business, requires your attention now.

Peter Menzel, is an award winning photographer, takes photographs of people posing next to their possessions taken out of their home and piled high on the pavements. The pictures paint a vividly clear picture – we live in a Material World, also the name of his book. You do not need to look at the pictures for long before it becomes clear that around the world, the industrial system has been immensely successful. Our parent’s parents bought into the system, our parents bought into the system and so have we because it has given or promised to give us a lot of cheap stuff. But here is the catch; whilst capitalism has served us enormously well – it has helped reduce property, improved standards of living around the globe, there are a number of perversions and the system  come at an enormous cost: unsustainable levels of public and private debt, excessive consumerism, and, way, too many people who are left behind. As Paul Poleman explains in a recent Mckinsey article: “Any system that prevents large numbers of people from fully participating or excludes them altogether will ultimately be rejected. And that’s what you see happening. People are asking, “What are we doing here?”

The facts of the situation are alarming:

  • we currently use is 1.5 times the world’s resource capacity.
  • Over a billion people still go to bed hungry.
  • The richest 85 people have the same wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion.

None of this is sustainable. If the post industrial capitalist system does not change itself it will be changed through the power of protest. Just because we are living in the 21st Century does not mean that the power of protest will not result in another “French Revolution.” As digitisation and the Internet give consumers enormous abilities to connect and aggregate their voices,  we will see the impact of power being dispersed and the pressure in the system will rise while wealth remains concentrated. Further development and population growth will put a lot more pressure on our planet and more and more people will ask why so few do so well when so many suffer. We are sitting on a powder keg of disruption like no other ever seen in the history of our planet.

Addressing the perversions of capitalism needs to become a strategic priority for all companies. Virginia Rometty, the Chairman of IBM cucintley puts it in her message to shareholders “How will we engage with an emerging global culture, defined not by age or geography, but by people determined to change the practices of business and society?”

I believe this is the single biggest threat facing the world of business today. By 2035, a single person, through a bio-pathegen will have the ability to end it all. But that should not be the motivating principle to find a solution. Capitalism on the whole is a very good system, but it can be made better and in doing so business can make a lot of money and society can prosper. So, I’m on a quest, to change the future of capitalism. It’s a big quest, and ideological one but it is a quest worth fighting for. Let me make this clear, I am a capitalist, it is a system I believe in, but…and this is a big BUT, capitalism needs to change if it is to be the relevant economic system propelling economic growth and prosperity into the future. I fear for society if it does not. But there is good news on the horizon because increasingly a number of hard nose business leaders and successful businesses are positioning themselves for the changes that will redefine capitalism as we know it. We are entering an exciting time and whilst there will be naysayers and people who want to protect the current status-quo I’m optimistic that business leaders will find solutions. Want proof? Here’s a starter-for-ten. Unilever chief executive Paul Polman explains why capitalism must evolve, his company’s efforts to change, and how business leaders are critical to solving intractable problems.

 

 

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What’s Your First Impression?

What’s Your First Impression?

Its an old adage: You only get one chance to make a first impression. In the 21st century world, where your company’s reputation is fragile and customers fickle, you need to do everything you can do to create the best possible experience for your customers and potential clients. These customers will often make purchase decisions based on their first impressions of your business. And you may not have considered where that first impression happens.

It struck me recently as I collected yet another rental car for yet another business meeting in another city. I may not be in the market for one of the small, entry-level run-around cars I usually rent, but in a few years, my eldest daughter will be asking for a car. I won’t need to go and do test drives. I have driven nearly every one of the cars I’d consider buying for her, and know exactly which ones are good and which ones are not. And yet, not one car company seems to do any advertising or value add to people like me, who rent their cars from rental car companies. What a wasted opportunity. It’s too late to try and advertise to me later – the first impression was made through a rental experience that they did nothing to enhance.

What first impressions does YOUR company make, that you might not be considering?

There are three first impressions your company may not be taking as seriously as you should:

… Continue Reading

The Leader’s Narrative – Utilising Common Denominators

April 5, 2014 Dil Sidhu Connection Economy, Diversity, Strategy No Comments
The Leader’s Narrative – Utilising Common Denominators

Working at a major global University I often encourage MBA and undergraduate students come to visit me in my office. I purposely seat them so they face 4 large movie posters and more often than not I can see the student’s eyes look at the posters and on many occasions they stop the conversation and ask about the movies I have chosen.

When communicating in a multi-cultural and diverse environment (the University of Manchester has over 40,000 students studying across 20 different institutes and schools of faculty and come from 157 countries and territories) it is important to send and receive messages, through conversation and dialogue, that are relevant, able to connect with the recipient and understood. We often hear about the ‘Leader’s Narrative’ and the power of storytelling and while it is a great approach many leaders, in my experience, feel they don’t have enough ‘interesting and captivating’ stories to call upon.

Finding common denominators for narrative can be a great way to get the point across using the metaphor of a movie as most people, across all cultures and different backgrounds have experienced the power of film. I have seen my colleagues at TomorrowToday using the metaphor of film to great effect when they deliver the ‘Adaptive Leadership in a Dynamic World’ session to senior teams from global corporate organisations.

So, what 4 movies appear on the wall behind my desk you may be thinking and why those 4? Let me take you through my choices:

… Continue Reading

Partnership Working – What Habits Really Work?

March 27, 2014 Dil Sidhu Organisational Development, Strategy No Comments
Partnership Working – What Habits Really Work?

It really does take two to tango!

Strawberries and Cream, Lennon and McCartney, Laurel and Hardy, Batman and Robin, Gin and Tonic, Bonnie and Clyde (okay, that one didn’t end so well!) are cited as great partnerships that complement each other and illustrate that you can be better together than on your own.

In business today you hear a lot about the word ‘partnership’ and it has perhaps been so overused that it has damaged its image and pushed it into cliché status. This is partly because partnership arrangements inevitably end up in a ‘win-lose’ scenario rather than the coveted ‘win-win’. Human nature is such that we want to work with people that we know and who know us. This builds a certain degree of familiarity, trust and understanding about what each brings to a business relationship.

The irony is that organisations are looking more and more towards establishing partnerships and subsequently need to be more cautious about seeking and announcing partnerships. Business activities like; outsourcing, co-development, supplier integration shared-services and even gaining the much coveted but seldom realized ‘trusted advisor’ status all require a thorough understanding of what attributes make for a successful partnership. Defined this means that it is meaningful for both parties this approach also applies equally within the sphere of learning and development.

… Continue Reading

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Primary Blog contributors

The main contributors to this blog are:

Dr Graeme Codrington, co-founder of TomorrowToday, author, speaker and expert on the changing world of work
Dean van Leeuwen, co-founder and CEO of TomorrowToday UK & Europe, speaker, consultant and Chief Intellectual Adventurer
Keith Coats, co-founder of TomorrowToday South Africa, leadership development guru, speaker and author
Professor Nick Barker, director of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program at the East-West Center in Hawaii, leadership development expert
Markus Kramer, marketing director for Aston Martin and brand building expert
Keith Holdt, Visionary Enabler of business growth and change, currently works for LDC as an investment executive.
Dil Sidhu, Chief External Officer, Manchester Business School; Executive education specialist.
Dawna MacLean, expert on fostering meaningful change and creating authentic experiences through transparent and trusted partnerships.

Click here for a full list of contributors


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