Before we throw away ‘adding value‘ as another cliche. Is this not a decision we make with every business interaction?

We can decide to make things better or we can decide to leave them as they are.

We can of course also decide to destroy, erode or take away some of the existing value.  

Perhaps contribute is a better term than adding value.

And easy for me to decide in every interaction whether I can contribute something to what is already there, or not.

Easy for me to decide in every interaction whether I can contribute something to what is already there, or not.

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I remember learning from Pat Coombe, my daughters play school teacher about balloons. 

Draw a picture of a balloon on coloured paper for every significant person in your life. Cut it out and stick it on the wall above your desk.

Now ask yourself the question. Every time I speak with these people, am I inflating or deflating the balloon. 

The funny thing I’ve noticed is that my balloon inflates or deflates in line with those around me.

My balloon inflates or deflates as those around me do









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Walking out the door

Ideas are easy. 

Everyone has thought of the new way to shake up an industry or take advantage of some new technology. 

Ideas are cheap.

Very little input capital nor expenses.

Ideas are hard to protect..

Ask the Winklevoss twins who first thought up Facebook.

Value starts accumulating when you walk out the door and start making things happen. 

The real skill requirement for today’s world is getting things done. Thinking about getting things done is vastly overrated.  

Ideas are cheap. They only start accumulating value when you walk out the door

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Executive coaching

Executive coaching is a rare opportunity for executives to have a candid conversation about any aspect of their business and life with a trusted confidant who can help them to see things objectively.

Often executives are at the mercy of their own and others’ biased view, reducing the chance of good strategic decision making.

As elite athletes have long known, a trusted and talented coach can significantly up the game.

“Once used to bolster troubled staffers, coaching now is part of the standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, J.P. Morgan, Chase, and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted adviser to help reach their goals.”

Executive coaching provides a rare opportunity for business people to get a clearer view of their business challenges









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The strategic thinking of Lance Armstrong and Ivan Fernandez Anaya

There are some lessons in leadership and strategic thinking from the major sporting news events these past days.

In startling contrast is Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah (2.22 video) and Ivan Fernandez Anaya’s incredible gesture (1:26 video) to Kenyan Abel Mutai in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. Mutai, who had stopped short of the line believing he had finished was helped over the line by Anaya who coming second had caught up with him.

Said Anaya afterwards, “I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” 

The contrast illustrates the difference between long and short term strategic thinking. 

Armstrong won many battles and lost the war, his career and now a large chunk of his life.

Anaya just lost a single battle but moved his and sports’ campaign forward on a number of others.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya helps Abel Mutai across the line











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Unlimited power to ask questions

“We have unlimited power to ask questions.”

“Say that again,” I said.

“We might get shot down for making a statement against the status quo but we have unlimited power to ask questions”, the executive repeated. 

This is an incredible insight. No matter how difficult the environment or how dictatorial your bosses may be, questions have the power to change thinking and that is where change starts. 

We have unlimited power to ask questions









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Critics don’t count

I think I can safely say that most of us enjoy compliments and feel hurt by critics. We love to feel that what we put out into the world is valued.

The quote below from Teddy Roosevelt is probably the most profound on how to ignore critics. I remember my friend Chris de Bruin quoting it many years ago when he decided to do Ironman Korea. It really resonated – so much so that I decided to do the Ironman in 2008 (success) and 2009 (DNF). I’ll be back to do it in 2017 when I turn 50. 

When I’m feeling cautious to take a risk and put my work out into the world, I re-read this quote and it all seems better.  

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt 
Citizenship in a Republic, Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris
April 23, 1910

Theodore Rooselvelt speaking at the Sorbonne Paris in April 1920













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Making something outa nothing

I tweeted a quote I saw earlier today from Theodore Levitt the American economist. He said, “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing them.”

It made me think of Outa Lappies,  the ingenious artist who lived outside Prince Albert for many years before dying in July 2011. I remember Outa (his real name Jan Schoeman) telling me that he liked to make something outa nothing. His art would consist of unusual and original creations made from pieces of glass and tins that he collected from peoples waste. What most people regarded as having no value, he would create into something of value. You can read more about Outa in the Karoo Places article.

Then this story of the Landfill Harmonic came across my desk and I was touched by the resourcefulness of the children living on a landfill in Paraguay who make music using instruments built from the trash.

Perhaps facing less choice makes it easier to walk out the door and innovative.  

Outa Lappies from near Prince Albert













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Globalisation 3.0

  • Globalisation 1.0 : From 1492 to 1800 countries globalised
  • Globalisation 2.0 : From 1800 to 2000 companies globalised
  • Globalisation 3.0 : Starting in 2000 individuals are now going global

Individuals globalising means you and me collaborating and competing globally with the new tools available to us. 

Sourced and adapted from: Tom Friedman / The World Is Flat

Indviduals from countries around the world collaborating and competing

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