May 23, 2011

I recently introduced The Sunshine Foundation to Dr. Marshall Goldsmith’s Feedforward scale. This tool helps any person or organization get from where they are to where they want to be.  For The Sunshine Foundation their bold goal is to give ‘A dream a day’ to kids with severe physical challenges and life threatening illnesses.

The Feedfoward scale works like this: after every interaction, project or event, a point person asks “On a scale of one to five, how did I (or we) do? What could we do better next time?” At first people will give very general responses. Sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner, they will say something insightful, surprising or even a bit ‘hot’.  To ensure your Feedforward fosters growth instead of groans here are three tips.

1. Resist the temptation to defend. Instead, make sure you fully understand the speaker’s perspective. Mr. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Author Stephen Covey calls this principle “Seek first to understand.”

2. Reflect: People want to feel heard so paraphrase their comment. I use relationship guru Harville Hendrix’s three questions. “So what you are saying is….Have I got that right?… Is there more?”

3. Appreciate: People yearn to be valued. You can say, “Thank you, that’s helpful” or “Thank you, I appreciate your commitment. Or, “Thank you, I value your honesty.”  The ‘thank you,’ just like your mom taught you, is mandatory.The words that follow are all yours.

Remember, your role is to listen without defence. You can dialogue about how to make improvements for next time. Just don’t re-hash the past. Feedback doesn’t help because we can’t change the past.  Focus on Feedforward because it fosters continuous improvement, which is what great organizations and brave people do consistently.

PS – You can also use Feedforward with your honey. Each Sunday you can ask your sweet pea, “On a scale of 1 to 5 how was I as a wife/partner/ goddess  (choose your own title 😉 ) this week? What could I do better next time?”

The World Needs More Canada

May 19, 2011

Walking with a new friend in the Komoka woods, our anthem’s phrase ‘with glowing hearts’ swelled my soul. We greeted Trilliums, frogs on a log with neon green chins and birds that twittered without texting. I felt a Celine Dion, heart thumping, big love for this land.

And.. for our people. I love that you can marry who you love. I love that you won’t be thrown in prison (an immigrant detention centre) if you are seek refuge here. If you have the guts to flee a dictator and answer 773 questions on an immigration form with a flea size font, you have my blessing.

While there are ‘nice’ people everywhere, I love the way Canadians ‘play well with others’. I can talk to strangers and delight in delighting them without anyone thinking ‘she’s nuts’.  They simply think, that lady is nice and kinda funny. Sort of like a skinnier John Candy in a skirt.

Canadians are the nicest people in the world. Now researchers agree. — Canada ranked first, U.S. fourth on the list of the world’s friendliest countries. For a second year in a row, Canada has been ranked the friendliest country in the world, according to a survey conducted by HSBC. Expatriates in over 100 countries were asked to rate their host country in various categories. Forbes then looked at the results of four categories to determine which places were the friendliest: ability to befriend locals, success in learning the local language, capacity for integrating into the community and ease of fitting into the new culture.  Here’s the list:

1. Canada 2. Bermuda    3. South Africa

4. U.S.    5. Australia    6. Spain    7. France

8. U.K.    9. Malaysia     10. Germany

This May 24 weekend, it is your civic duty to have a great time with your old and new friends. Your nation and the world is counting on you.

Peak Performance

May 17, 2011

Sunshine Foundation Board President Patrick de Meester has coffee and team in hand.

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the peak of Mount Everest first. Their success was the culmination of 20 years of failed attempts and hundreds of people asking, “What could we do better next time?”

Last weekend, I spoke at The Sunshine Foundation’s Summit. Volunteers, staff, sponsors, advisors and board members gathered to take their organization to new heights. The foundation makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses and severe physical challenges. Their bold goal is ‘A dream a day.’ If you don’t want to hug them right now, run to a RCMP officer. Someone stole your Canadian heart.

In the opening keynote Making The Summit, Good Ropes & Great Partnerships, I suggested that if you want to reach the peak, you need to scale the dream. After every interaction, call or project ask: “On a scale of 1 to 5, how did I do? What could I do better next time.” For Hillary it was the cultivation of a legacy. His foundation continues to provide health care, education and environmental initiatives in Nepal. For The Sunshine Foundation it will be ‘A dream a day.’

What will you make better?

PS  *Resources to help you:

1. The 1 to 5 concept comes from Dr. Marshall Goldsmith stellar leadership book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

2. To maximize your media coverage and add fireworks to your marketing read Marketing Buzz by Mark Huges.

3. To quickly build team engagement and insights, buy colourful climbing webbing and Dr. Jim Cain and Dr. Tom Smith’s The Book On Raccoon Circles.



Super Charge Your Brilliance

May 10, 2011

Andrew Lewis is a graphic design genius.  If you’ve sipped a latte at Starbuck’s, been touched by 3M or made a deposit with Scotiabank, your gaze has encountered his gift. Summoned to share his art and teach his craft on every continent, I eavesdropped on him in London. I needed to know: How does the man called El Santo (The Saint) in Mexico keep producing jaw dropping design?

The humble master (mastery begets humility) lives in Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island.  Owned by a dachshund muse, he is a proud dad and hubby. Though his soul is soothed by the shush, shush of tidal waves, Lewis’ mental rocket fuel comes from travel (Asia, Europe and Central America).  And…there was a trip to Guadalajara Mexico that changed his life.

Lewis says,”Mexico is one of the biggest cities in the world yet there are areas of beauty and trees. Every half hour things change. You will see the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), the world’s best poster exhibition at the Franz Mayer Museum and a chihuahua (in a bright blue jacket). It’s like being plugged into a wall and getting charged up.”

Lewis bemoaned that  we are “so dead” in Canada and the USA. His description of enthralled Mexican students, who love art so much they pose for group shots in front of cherished artists, made me want to learn Spanish and fly (Aprenda español y la mosca). Lewis says “Design is 90% thinking and 10% design.” This from a man who out thinks to craft images that stand out.  No wonder he feeds his brain wonder.

Do you?

—Thank you to the London Creative Network for bringing Andrew Lewis.

PS The charming Andrew wrote back to this blog ” I locked my ego up in tin box and threw it into the back of my closet years and years ago. It serves no reason and provides no help to anybody. Nice you saw that.”

To that I say.. humility is always good to see.

Win The Name Game – II

May 5, 2011

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

When Bill Shakespeare had Juliet utter those words to Romeo, English teachers said it was because the bard was saying that names were BS. But when the line was spoken in 1594 or 5, the audience roared with laughter. The Rose was a Tavern on the Thames and in the 16th century, the Thames stunk. The Rose’s scent was eau d’outhouse.

Names matter. Here are three more ways to tame your name.

1. Shrink: When it comes to names brands come up short – on purpose. FedEx is Federal Express.  BMW is Bavarian Motor Works. FCUK’s name was born when a fax was sent from Britain using the abbreviation for French Connection United Kingdom. Staff LOL when they saw FCUK and a naughty, break away brand was born.

Don’t Shrink: In the Brand U era, you can name your brand after yourself, for example: Louis Vuitton, Martha Stewart and Ogilvy Mather. Founder brands need to be remarkable or have huge budgets or massive creativity or d: all of the above.  Trouble is one wrong move, like Martha getting jailed, and all brand hell breaks loose. Plus prison gray becomes THE decorating trend. Arrest me now.

2. Create: Professional service firms like ad agencies, dentists and lawyers used to name themselves themselves. Now they brand. The creators of are Brains On Fire, Pain Free Dentistry resides in Brisbane and Payne and Fears LLP do law in California. (They aren’t branded, that’s their real name. Shame they aren’t dentists.)

Don’t Create: Use a descriptor. Top professional speaker Peter Sheahan calls his consulting practice ChangeLabs. Sole Science is an orthotics company I named because the owner Colin Dombrowski is one of the few Pedorthists on the planet to have a PhD.

3. Invent: If you can’t find a name, make one: e.g. Häagen-Daz, Kodak and Eukanuba

If you are having a hard time finding a name, you are normal. (I can put that on a  note. Could come in handy during spousal or teenage flare ups). As marketing genius Colleen Sharen says “Branding is hard because you can’t see the label when you are inside the bottle.”

To help some more, I’ll give you strategies for shifting your perspective and getting ideas.

Next Page »

If it is not your genius it is not your job.
Louise B. Karch