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26 Feb 2011

The Law of Unexpected Consequences

Ever considered what our individual and collective inaction means?

Life is a paradox - its complex and yet simple, humans search for meaning outside of themselves, when the truth lies within. Stop reading the religious text its utter bollox and quiet frankly ignorant, the ills that are put on women outrageous, the bigoted views on aids, contraceptive all rubbish......please look beyond the words of men from the past and look into yourselves.

.....and as we start to look within to consider our meaning and purpose, let us consider the decisions we make through abdication of responsibility, through inaction, ignorance, laziness and an attitude of 'oh yes that, but sorry I need to go and pick up the kids, scratch my backside, watch Eastenders etc' - our inaction says as much about us as our action......So consider through inaction we are currently paid up members of the following:

  1. Poverty, it's ok for our neighbours and fellow human beings to live a life of destitution, squallier and hardship; I was lucky to not be born into this relative safety, phew aren't I lucky, so why should I care and anyway I have to pay my mortgage, car loan, retail therapy blah blah let me walk on by and pretend I didn't see where is my blindfold.....
  2. Corrupt organisations that abuse society and then mock us, by failing to pay their fair share and by not taking responsibility for theirs and their peoples actions (you have to love the world of Enron - its still here)
  3. Politicians with a short term perspective and who love nothing more than playing the system, well the rules stated this.....yes morally I know it was wrong, but hey its not my fault that the rules allowed me to abuse the British tax payer - oh pleaseeeeeeeeee
  4. Narrow education, kids still leaving school with an inability to read, who then go into college and university to study 'stuff' that will not serve them or society in the longer term - please lets modernise the education culture. The next 10 yrs doesnt look great for the under 25s yes and lets find a way to support them.....................The Latin of education is to draw forth from within, so please let's start doing that rather than spoon feeding kids stuff that doesn't matter - in fact get rid of schools, they can learn more from watching social media and seeing the freedom and democratisation of the world......
  5. Organised, corrupt, evil, religious and social demonetisation or at least abuse, rape, censorship and violence against woman, they are our mothers, sisters.......why......STOP IT?
  6. The fallacy of hierarchy and the acceptance that others are superior or more worthy
  7. Greed, love of money, retail therapy and the need for external validation - it's no longer about proping up your pathetic little ego by keeping up with the Jones's oh no have you seen what they have got over deep as a puddle - get over your consumer mindset, buy now pay later.......great!
  8. Abuse and destruction ecological, deforestation, pollution, water contamination and natural resources being depleted by the end of the century
  9. Animal kingdom being destroyed because of our foolish belief that we are superior to nature, rather than being a part of the system
  10. Ultimately the devastation of our planet and home with the resultant extinction of ours and other species

We cant take on all of these things individually, but if we begin to wake up and smell the coffee, knowing that it comes from a sustainable and meaningful source, we may have a chance. As a species we need to get out off our chairs, stop eating food that is causing lethargy, diabetes and obesity, switch off the mundane world of soap opera, open our windows and eyes and start to look at the world more consciously.......if we could all find it within ourselves to take one thing that is important to us and make it better then at least we are beginning to make a positive contribution.......

So the next time you go to sit down and unwind from a job that you loath, to switch on a mundane soap opera that just repeats the same old crap every 4 weeks......why not stop to think about what is really important to you and then make a deliberate choice to go and do something about it.

Be deliberate, find something that matters to you and take some action.......have fun whilst doing it......rant over all the best D

23 Feb 2011

A New Breed of Leaders and Entrepreneurs Needs to Emerge

Capitalism with a Purpose, Business with a Heart, Organisations as a Force for Good, Emotionally Aware Cultures that Celebrate Talent, Strength, Diversity, Awareness & Responsibility:

Purposeful Leadership/Entrepreneurship – A New Conscious Breed Needs to Emerge

Capitalism with its free and mixed market economy has been a predominant model of value exchange in the developed and increasingly developing world (notable exception China) at least for the past couple of hundred years and even longer if truth be told. Within the model the emphasis often focuses on what is known as the profit motive where organisations and individuals exchange goods and services in order to make money.

This model, like any has its pros and cons, its fans and its challengers. What’s clear is that the distribution of wealth often ends up with the limited few, who have the combination of will to own, power, networks, esprit d'entrepreneurialism and control the organisations and resources that ultimately create value and profit.

Like any political, economic and social system it’s an imperfect model and with our increasingly global economy I believe that we need a new form of capitalism, one that does not place all of the emphasis on profit at all cost; be that to employees, suppliers, society or the planet.

Wealth will still be distributed to the owners, entrepreneurs, shareholders, governments, employees and leaders of an organisation and I can’t foresee this changing in the near future.

However, I do believe that we need a new form of capitalist model that has a deeper sense of meaning, purpose and commitment to a sustainable earth and a world where we are consciously seeking to defeat poverty that impacts upon societies the world over.

Capitalism that has a heart and social spirit needs a new form of leadership philosophy and leaders. I call this new and emerging form of leadership and the individuals who role model conscious global capitalism/citizenship - purposeful leadership and entrepreneurship.

These purposeful entrepreneurs and leaders continue to seek contribute to society through their profits and employment, they innovate to create new forms of value in the marketplace, whilst building sustainable and profitable organisations.

Increasingly what I believe will be different and an emerging trend is that these same leaders, entrepreneurs and their organisations do so with a broader perspective on what it means to add value and profit.

I believe that we are growing a new breed of emotionally aware leaders who understand the privileged position they hold, they are looking to find increasingly novel ways to make a positive social, economic, environmental and emotional commitment and difference in the world.

The world and society is crying out for a more conscious, emotionally aware and increasingly purposeful set of leaders, entrepreneurs and organisations to step forward on the global platform to role model how we can make a profit with a purpose and heart.

Society in the 21st century still has major issues: poverty is still prevalent in all developed and developing economies, the planets finite resources and fossil fuels will be reduced to nothing by the close of this century, access to arable land and adequate water is increasingly an issue for some communities, the polar cap continues to deplete and obesity, diabetes and other self-induced human epidemics are on the rise. These data points are especially true in some of the fastest growing economies (India, China) and not to mention the increased notice of stress related work issues.

Businesses, leaders and entrepreneurs with a purpose understands that they need to positively seek to influence and impact on these negative cycles. They need to provide consumers with access to more sustainable solutions, they need to attract talent who want to work with conscious purposeful organisations.

But deeper than these surface level observations about behaviours is that these leaders and entrepreneurs (both emerging and established typically highly successful and economically liberated) need to go on a deeply personal journey to raise their awareness, unearth their meaning and purpose and decide to take responsibility to make a meaningful contribution. Ultimately this becomes about personal and organisational legacy and brand story.

Ultimately for these avant-garde, leading edge pioneers and purposeful leaders the decisions they make now, the behaviour they role model and the new form of leadership they employ will influence a new form of conscious, purposeful, social, political, environmental and emotional fair capitalism.

An emerging book idea

I’m researching and writing a book on this subject and so if you know anyone who is challenging conventional organisational and business wisdom. Doing something unique, different, inspiring and that is making a fundamental difference to the world and its people whether on a small of major scale I would love to hear from them.

I intend to begin sharing stories of individuals, communities and organisations that I believe are aligned with this emerging philosophy, so as to support, collaborate and showcase their talents, aiding them in gaining further recognition, support and to build a collaborative network of socially conscious and purposeful leaders and entrepreneurs.

Any thoughts, ideas and connections welcome. I’m learning as I go along……best


The images here are from my trip to Tanzania with the great football giveaway in Nov 2010, 9 of us delivered 2500 to 100 schools and my trip to India in Feb 2011

20 Feb 2011

Making a Difference is about Love

Making a Difference isn’t about Money, it’s about Love

Making A Difference (M.A.D) is a choice, it’s about personal awareness and having a sense of responsibility to our fellow human beings and the earth we call home.

Life is extremely short, in the fullness of time our lives are little more than a particle or speck of dust. When we begin to see life in this way we have a choice to make about where we focus our time, commitment, resources and energy.

We may choose to focus on our own self-indulgence, the needs of our immediate family, local community, society more broadly or taking a more holistic and global approach to our view of our role in the world.

In many ways I believe that the challenge for us as humans is to become increasingly aware and see ourselves as global citizens of our precious world.

We have, in my humble opinion a responsibility to our world (earth) and to consider how we can proactively and positively nurture it, rather than seeing it simply as a vehicle that can endlessly provide resources for our consumptive behaviours, eventually it will struggle to feed a population rapidly moving to 10Billion (2050).

In the short term, yes we will be able to take what we want and yet to do so is at the cost of future generations. On many levels we have a responsibility to future generations, our children’s children! That responsibility surely must be to nurture, farm consciously and protect the earth, ensuring that we hand it over to future generations in as good a shape as we found it, if not better!

Human beings as a species never cease to amaze me, the creativity, adaptability and ability to be resourceful and to innovate from the sources that mother earth provides is simply amazing. So rather than waiting for fossil fuels to become extinct, water to run out, desserts to take over arable land and people becoming increasingly impoverished, let’s start championing individual and organisations that are who are finding ways to minimise our consumptive tendencies.

Let’s champion those communities who are finding new, innovative and sustainable ways to build new products and services.

These groups of individuals, consumers and organisations are starting to be more purposeful in their approach and in so doing are becoming part of the solution and less of the problem.

In the western and developed economies of the world, we and our children are often blessed with good education, resources, networks, technology and access to choice. With this choice as a consumer will increasingly be a responsibility to ensure that what we purchase products from sustainably minded organisations.

But more than this, I fundamentally believe that we have a responsibility to show love, kindness and support both to our fellow human beings, who are often struggling in less developed economies and also the planet earth we call home.

We need to personally, collectively and organisationally pledge to hand over the baton of the earth to future generations in a better, stronger and more sustainable way than we are today!

Measuring Value in the Coaching Relationship

Article Strategic HR Review: Metrics.
20 February 2011

Aticle and Magazine available here:

Measuring Value in the Coaching Relationship
The world of coaching continues to gain apace, with growing momentum and credibility in the eyes of corporate purchasers of talent, L&D and Leadership solutions. We have seen in the past 10 years the steady increase of coaching as a critical people, talent and leadership intervention.

But the corporate landscape isn’t the entire picture: increasingly the tentacles of coaching are moving beyond just the corporate landscape and out into society and the world at large. As we do so this challenges the overemphasis on financial metrics as the most important form of success measure.

In society, do we place the same level of significance and financial value on the coaching when we are working with under-privileged young people who are looking to find their first job, a more meaningful existence or simply some sense of personal confidence in their future? Of course the answer is no, why would we be interested in measuring such an arbitrary set of measures when a real life is at stake? So this begs the question, do we need to rethink what it truly means not just to value an employee and their personal values, but also the values of the organisation.

Responsibility and Values in Organisations
There is no doubt that the recent financial, political, ongoing ecological disaster(s) and human crises are merely a sign of more to come. We need to be able to start looking at our world from a fresh perspective, and one that doesn’t place all value on short-term shareholder and financial metrics (although these are important as a form of value exchange).

Due in part to a combination of our human psychology, a need for external validation and our past industrial age, many of our organisations are still left with a predominance of financial measures that are growth-focused, logical and masculine in their emphasis.

In my opinion there is a shift that needs to happen and fast. We need organisations that measure their global and social impact in a more balanced and rounded way, and this will mean increasingly more human/humane feelings, values and feminine measures must emerge to balance out the masculine energy.

Force for Good in Our World

Organisations will increasingly need to become a force for good in our world. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will stop being a nice brand exercise and instead will become part of an organisation’s DNA reinforced by its culture, leadership/management behaviours, the measures it uses to see the value that it brings and ultimately in the behaviour of its people, and us more broadly as consumers of its products and services.

This isn’t a utopian vision, and we still need to maintain a focus on the numbers in order to ensure that we create value and a sustainable organisation that is able to support its multiple stakeholders’ needs. I fundamentally believe that we need to move beyond a short term emphasis on hiking up shareholder value at the long term cost of people, resources and ultimately our home (earth).

It’s a practical and pragmatic response, as currently we are consuming more resources than this earth is able to withstand, our human population continues to expand at unprecedented rates, CSR is no longer sufficient, and we need to reach out to ensure as individuals we are taking Individual Personal Responsibility (InPR) to make a sustainable, lasting and positive impact in our world.

A good place to begin may be something like strategy for sustainability a great initiative that has been started by Adam Werbach of Saatchi.

So how does Coaching play its role?
For me coaching is a profession that is focused on supporting individuals, communities, organisational and political leaders in going deeper to unearth their meaning and purpose, to explore who they really are and what it means for them to be on this earth. This level of deep personal enquiry is much needed in our world, especially in a corporate setting.

As a coaching community we have access to the gifts of closely listening, holding the space for deep enquiry, supporting an individual or group to consider their meaning, purpose, values and the value that they bring to their customers/clients, shareholders, stakeholders, community and society as a whole. It’s time that, as a community, we challenge ourselves to be bolder and to see our influence, impact and reach beyond simply short-term financial goals and instead begin to broaden our measures out.

How to measure value and success of coaching?
Measure how engaged the individual person is before the start of the coaching, during and at the end of the coaching. Employee Value Proposition solutions are coming to support organisation and individuals to understand their likelihood of leaving and how engaged they are.

Measure how often a person uses their talents, gifts and strengths on a daily basis to complete their role. All of Gallup and Marcus Buckingham’s work highlights that people who do this are more productive. Coaching can enable people to do this.

Measure how engaged an individual is as a leader or manager, and go deeper to explore how engaged team members are. All of the research highlights that typically, people tend to leave bad managers rather than bad brands.

Conduct live 360s with the leader/manager’s boss, peers and direct reports to build up a picture of what is working, what is not, what could be better and what people say about them when they aren’t in the room.

Use Emotional Intelligence (EQi, ECi) related tools to measure a manager’s and leader’s emotional literacy at the start of the coaching, at the end and then go back in another 6 months or a year’s time to see what impact it’s continuing to have to ensure stability.

Check the individual’s physical health, stress levels, weight and dietary control to ensure that they aren’t part of the increasingly stressed and under-performing management and leadership population, where poor diet leads to poor decisions. We need to get better at regulating our food and exercise intake. The statistics speak for themselves. You only have to watch Jamie Oliver on TED Talks to hear how we are moving into an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease due to poor diet and exercise, and working excessively long hours. This is unsustainable and must be addressed.

Measure how clear the person is before they start the coaching on their personal legacy, meaning, purpose, life vision and values. In my experience there is no greater transformative experience than for a person to really connect with their deepest needs, wants and values.

If organisations want a deep shift in performance it’s not through working with a human being on a superficial behaviourist level by using external levers. It is by tapping into who they truly are and drawing from within and helping people to get clear on their intrinsic values, drivers and motivation.

About the Author

Darren Robson is on the Global Board of the Association for Coaching, and is Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships. He is also the Global Social Innovation lead, championing coaching-led socially responsible initiatives that are making a positive, lasting impact in the world. He is the former Director of Innovation for Penna’s Board and Executive Coaching practice.
For further information visit and

Darren Robson
Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships
Global Social Innovation Lead
Association for Coaching
tel: +44 (0) 7769 299223

About the Association for Coaching

Established in 2002, The Association for Coaching ® (AC) is an independent, not-for-profit body with the goal to advance the profession of coaching worldwide. This includes promoting best practice and raising the awareness, standards and ethics of coaching, with members made up of professional coaches, trainers/providers of coaching, and organisations building coaching cultures.

To sign up to the AC Mailing and receive updated information on events and other developments within coaching, click onto “Mailing List” from the website at

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11 Feb 2011

Modelling Successful People - in the Corporate World

CEO and High Performance Insight (Seriously, do you want to be the TOP DOG!?!)

Over the past couple of years and more recently in the past year, I've had the opportunity to interview and work with some real corporate high flyers. Here I share the first level of insight from my experience of working with them and listening to their stories and how they see themselves in the world.

Success is a habit forming behaviour, seeking to be the best that you can be (personal mastery and excellence) is what often drives these type A characters. Commercial and professional success isn't everything to everyone and so take what you like from this initial insight that I share here.

Most of all, love what you do, be passionate about it, find what makes your life flow and what gives you energy, life's too darn short to play around doing stuff that doesn't bring you happiness, stretch, confidence and a strong sense of purpose.

Lifelessordinary for me is about you/us/people living towards their purpose, passions and values, no one else can make it happen for you, people may help, but ultimately the responsibility sits on your shoulders, so enjoy the game of life.

Purpose – what are you looking to achieve in your professional and personal life, create a vision board that sets out what you are looking to do, build this either in your mind or physically so that you can create habit forming behaviours that keep you in your flow and help you to be successful on your personal terms.

Write out the things that you love to do (strengths, talents) and focus on aligning your behaviour to these. The things that you don’t love to do but have to, then build habit forming behaviours and actions that enable you to get these out of the way. Alternatively, where possible find people who have strengths and passions that you do not have and ask for their support, advice or help in getting them out of the way. It never ceases to amaze me that others love to do the things that I will find everything in my power to avoid.

Performance –what areas of your professional life do you need to have a clear focus, identify the critical drivers of your success and keep these measures in mind both in the short, medium and long-term, play the performance system game if you are in an organisation and if not make up your own rules and live by them!

Bottom line success doesn't come to you, you have to go to it! Find role models who can become mentors, get yourself a top executive or entrepreneurial coach who can partner in your present and future success. Find people, networks and resources where you can contribute to them and they can do the same for you. Nike, just do it, get out of your self-imposed comfort zone and limiting beliefs.

Image – (Brand), ask people what your personal and digital image says about you. Ensure that you are consistently voicing the same messages. Look right for the role that you are playing. People make judgements very quickly on your look and then with time your behaviours, ensure that you are associating with the right people to move your life and theirs forwards, look for mutually beneficial relationships and if not understand that sometimes in life people simply want a transaction rather than a relationship.

Network – focus on the 5% of the people who make your life feel happy and then successful. Find the communities of interest that you want to be part of and add to the conversation, most people are observers so choose to be a leader in your space. If you are in an organisation identify the clients, direct reports, peers and leaders that you need to influence. Outside of the company ensure that you are part of the professional or industry groups that are really making a difference and moving the agenda forwards.

Exposure – put your brand out there, being good at marketing yourself and finding others who will do the same is vitally important, word of mouth is still the best form of introduction. Ensure that you have a clear brand message and focus on building your personal voice, ask your coach to ask people what they say about you when they are not in the room.

Sustainability – ensure that you build balance in to your life, ensure that you are looking after your physical health and well-being, you don’t want to fall ill to realise how precious your body is, one of my recent CEOs suddendly found himself having a triple heart bypass! (PQ)

Emotional, make sure that you spend time being around people who give you psychological air and who feed your creative energy. People that you can trust, who have integrity and whose values you align with, understand their agendas, needs, beliefs and vision that drives them and support and be supported (EQ).

Mental, ensure that you are suitably challenged, those who succeed appear to have an inner driver to be always raising the bar that little bit higher, they consciously choose to soar, rather than swim or sink (ocean metaphor forgive me) (IQ).

Purpose and Meaning find it in your life, understand the things that you love to do and make sure you spend time doing them or being with them, go to places that inspire you, find people who do the same and have your family, they will stick with you long after others have left!(SQ)

The truth is that sometimes you have to work with, influence and be around people that dont energies you, consider ways to change that. If you don't fit the culture or model the behaviours the organisation is looking for and rewarding (cultural norms), make a conscious choice to adapt or move on!! Life's too short and I hear too many people bitching about work, grow up, be an adult and take responsibility for your life in all areas.

All the best D

7 Feb 2011

India and Mumbai Calling

"In a better society, with more understanding people, nobody will change you. Everybody will help you to be yourself — and to be oneself is the richest thing in the world. To be oneself gives you all that you need to feel fulfilled, all that can make your life meaningful, significant. Just being yourself and growing according to your nature will bring the fulfillment of your destiny." Osho [quote inspired by Ushma thnx]

I’m reading up on Mumbai, well it’s about time that I did some investigative research and understand the region and place that I am visiting. I’m reading up on its heritage, culture, landmarks, history, architecture and infrastructure or at least that’s what the book is laying out for me.

What’s interesting to note is that I am looking for a different experience that goes beyond the external sights, I’m heading there in part for the inner journey so often romanticised about and with less personal focus on the history and architecture.Mumbai and India currently represent a personal opportunity to explore the human, humane, cultural, poverty, diversity and emotional architecture that lies beneath the surface. Often for holiday makers this lies unseen, unnoticed and hidden.

I have a sense that India is to become a place for me, somewhere that I’m able to be me, express my creative thoughts and journey, learn, explore, make a difference and grow. I have a childlike innocence, intrigue and interest in the place, a sense of potential naivety…….. I don’t think so, more a case of playing in the natural child space, that place for all of us that enables us to play with ideas, create, if you like the zone within us that allows for purposeful play.

India may well represent my cathedral thinking space – regardless of the outcomes, I know that this journey is set to align with my personal version of a lifelessordinary a journey of a 1000 miles. These next 20 days represent an opportunity for me to venture on my own personal quest, to understand my truth and truly find my authentic voice, whilst living towards my purpose and vision.

Looking forward to the exploration, to see, feel, touch and be touched by the contrast of this beautiful country, see and meet people who survive, thrive and grow in this challenging environment….It is a rapidly developing country that in many ways is on an explosive growth trajectory with all of the growing pains you would expect.

The bottom line is that I am seeking to get under the skin of Mumbai and equally allow its voice, rhythm and experience to permeate, seep into and through me, I want to know, feel and experience it – journeying through the full range of emotions of love for a place and its people to loathing aspects that relate to poverty, deprivation and social injustice.

We should never cease to forget that our liberty, access to education/money/options and personal freedom are fundamental human rights shared by all and yet I have a sense that I will prize them with a deeper sense and see them as even more precious after my Indian adventure.
Some compelling stats, well if you are like me, you may find them interesting:

  • Whilst the Indian economy continues to boom, so to do the predications of increasing numbers of children from low income families dropping out of school to support the families meagre income
  • India has the largest number of diabetes sufferers with predications estimating that the figure will be over 100 Million in the next few years
  • 1996 was when Delhi became Mumbai officially
  • Slum dog millionaire was filmed in Dharavi slum, it is estimated that 60% of Mumbai’s population live in shantytowns and slums
  • Dharavi covers 1.75 km and is home to over 1 million people. Its not all bleak news with many people showing entrepreneurial flair and it’s estimated that the annual turnover
  • Many of the families living here have done so for generations
  • Mumbai has over 5000 Dabba-Wallahs (tiffins) delivering lunch and food all over the city, it estimated that 200,000 are delivered on a daily basis through an intricate colour scheme, many of the people who do this are illiterate – estimates are that a mistake is made once with every 6 million deliveries

    Anyway, food for thought peeps Best wishes D