Curate it for me.

Standard

In a world where we are overwhelmed for choice, we seek opportunities to simplify our life experience by drawing on those of others. We follow trends set by celebrities, cool kids at school and close friends because they take the hard work out of deciding for ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with this! Applying any lens to simplify the decision making process is necessary.
If I fast forward to the future I see a very real and tangible role for people who can do this for others, life experience curators. We have stylists and bloggers reviewing everything from fashion, books to sex toys and baby furniture, these people already exist, providing insights, suggestions and alternatives in bite size chunks for us to easily digest! I just see it going a little further than that… Specialised curators provided with experiences and products by suppliers… subscribers and followers then recommended the most suitable for them (based on their individual preference profile as shaped by their satisfaction ratings from previous experiences and products). Yes, of course technology is an enabler, big data providing customer analytics and insights that will predict consumer behaviour (like amazons: people who bought X also like Y) – these insights are hugely successful and helpful but the niches will always exist and flourish as people crave and seek out a more intimate and tailored personalised experience.

Who would you choose as your lifestyle curator?

How babies think

Standard

20130315-150615.jpg

Babies are brilliantly intelligent learners (who already know more than you think!) and grown ups are deeply devoted to helping them learn. That’s a little synthesis of what you will learn when you read this book. Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl come together to explore and neatly package up insights into the brains of babies and how little ones learn and think.

Baby 0.0 – a high tech sophisticated computer ready to experiment, test and learn linguistics, culture, etiquette, love, human behaviour. Every second learning about things, language and people but with more preliminary code than blank slate…

You must read this if you’re expecting, it will make your role as Parent and Carer feel even more mind blowingly important as you help nurture your little scientist as they work stuff out and solve everyday problems

Tackles some fun philosophical questions too – like is their innate knowledge in their DNA or passed on in their soul from past lives…? Love it.

Social Talent Management

Standard

With a background in recruitment; RPO and resource management, over the past 10 years I have designed and implemented successful end to end attraction, selection, retention and redeployment processes. So it probably comes as no surprise that I have spent a little time daydreaming, thinking about or imagining what the future workforce might look like.

In the past year or so, The future of the job market is becoming clear to me. The impacts of social media and online are exciting and yet I believe candidates and employers are not prepared for the advances that technology will enable in the short future. I remember signing up to LinkedIn over 6 years ago, it was fairly easy and straightforward yet 6 years on, people are still warming to this professional social networking tool that allows you to connect with people you have worked with or met in your travels.

They better warm up fast… The future of the job market leverages all the existing tools out there, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+) and Recruitment CRMs (Jobscience, Taleo, PageUp, Cornerstone) with a final twist which I hope to see soon: gamification of skills and aptitude benchmarking… Yeah it’s pretty obvious that employers will soon layer your resume with your online profiles, klout score and other digital input to create a comprehensive view of an individual, to then analyse suitability for roles. It’s obvious that your social network will become part of your value proposition, particularly for sales roles! This is exciting as the data becomes more rich, the tools can start to provide proactive insight into role suitability of particular candidates.

What is less obvious is that there is an amazing opportunity that exists between the existing tools and online profiles to gather tremendous insight into the global population in terms of their aptitude, skills and proficiency. This is where we will start to gather real data and insight into skills, proficiency, personality and aptitude… This will start to change the way we hire and mobilize our people.

In a few short years, job titles, job descriptions and the workforce as we know it will be forced to grow up as we reap productivity benefits from new technology and new ways of thinking. With rapid changes in work demands comes the need for a new understanding of who people are, what they are good at and what they could be good at.

Imagine logging into a social networking site that allows you to test your apple development skills against the worlds best, or your typing speed, your excel abilities, your personality type compared to other people in the same field. LinkedIn has recently launched the endorse Skills & Expertise function for crowd validated skills and experience, but this isn’t very scientific, it is still reliant on reputation and provides no benchmarking against other professionals with the same skills or expertise. While the thought of having your proficiency levels on show for all to see sounds a little disarming right now, so did the thought of a public resume to many people just 6 years ago!

It will probably start as an employer database that HR and Resource Managers have access to, to better understand the skills and capability of their workforce for increased workforce mobility and agility, however I think in a short few years we will see public social skills benchmarking sites start to become a normal part of the recruitment, selection and redeployment/resource allocation processes.

Role agnostic teams are starting to pop up in design and consulting firms, the success of these teams is underpinned by a deep and comprehensive understanding of each of the individual’s involved… Their qualifications, their personality types, their strengths, their motivators.
The future of our workforce is changing and the way we understand, profile, benchmark, identify and engage with talent is changing too.

What is your business doing to stay competitive in this space?

What inspires you?

Standard

For the past 13 years, (that seems like such a long time really) I have drawn inspiration from the following quote:


To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

But only today did I take the time to find out who actually wrote these inspirational words…

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. (Wikipedia)

I’m glad I did take the time to look this up because I learnt two things… The first being; old Ralphy boy had alot of other inspirational things to say, so I’m looking forward to diving into some of his other works! The second…I had never heard of the Transcendentalist movement, but I like it and think there should be more thought provoking and evoking movements in this day and age!

Introducing NLP in 30 secs: The benefits of a curious mindset.

Standard

Ok you’re not actually going to learn NLP in 30 seconds but I have chewed a whole practitioner course up and will regurgitate the best bits in upcoming blog posts… Starting with the benefits of keeping a curious mindset.

Firstly, NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. It’s all about understanding how individuals label and store information in their brains as maps and models. There are lots of great tools and frameworks in NLP so you can change your own behaviour or understand the models/maps of the world people have built for themselves.

For personal application… It’s a toolkit to help you focus on how to improve your situations instead of just dwelling on stuff… How to choose peace in the midst of chaos.
For coaching and helping others there are tools to understand and empower them achieve their goals…

Ok some quick content for you…
Experience happens because our senses are activated…
We then create labels to store an internal representation of what that experience meant to us (a memory/map/model if you like). Different labels = different internal representations… What this means is…Everyone is creating their own reality.

We create our reality by labelling it & ordering it in a way that makes sense to us. We identify patterns & label based on previous experiences… We create our own maps of the world based on our own database of experiences.

What this also means is that there is no right or wrong, the way someone orders information in their mind, is as unique as the fingerprints on their fingers…

There is however better or worse.

Some people create models of the world that do not help them achieve their goals. The internal representations of certain experiences cause fear, pain, thoughts, emotions and behaviours that contradict and in turn constrict the persons reality.

The best internal representations educate us but do not tie us down. Keeping a library of experiences is important for survival, like when caveman 1 sees caveman 2 eat delicious looking red berries & die a painful death… It’s worth him keeping that info on hand next time he is hungry and said delicious looking berries are hanging ripe within his grasps.

The best internal representations are created through curiosity. Taking in the experience and consciously taking a moment to appreciate the sensory experience before automatically labelling, storing in your memory database and building on your existing maps.

Your brain likes feeling clever and in familiar territory which is why we auto label so frequently… “Ahhhh, I’ve seen this before… I know what this is!”… But what happens when you throw out the maps for a moment and allow yourself to simply experience and take in the territory…?

There are clear benefits to making a conscious effort to maintain a curious mindset:
- When you don’t have a map, you can identify new tracks, quicker ways, adventures!
- When there are no preconceived endings so you are able to explore & journey without driving an outcome
- When you don’t have a plan, you can take more risks!
- When you experience and observe you allow test & learn to become part of your life!

Don’t get me wrong, drawing on past experiences (maps) is important so you can learn & grow (and avoid those poisonous berries)… But adopting a curious mindset opens you up to the possibility that you will never know everything there is to know…

You create your own reality, so as the master of your own reality and driver if your life experience you are capable of manifesting the life that you desire.

Stay tuned for more bite size NLP insights :)

What Hypnosis & Santa have in common.

Standard

I recently became a qualified hypnotherapist. Bit random I know, I tend to enjoy learning and this was no exception. I’m fortunately very open minded to a lot of things so was surprised that around 30% of the course was spent educating us on how to overcome skeptics and cynics! It hadn’t even occurred to me that hypnosis could be lumped into the same category as Santa Claus and fairies… Something that many people quite simply don’t believe in!

Years ago I was hypnotised by a behavioural therapist to enhance my ability to meditate (I was having trouble quietening my mind which was disturbing my sleep). I got fantastic results and have slept like a champion since. Perhaps the results spoke for themselves but it never occurred to me that some people wouldn’t ‘believe in’ hypnosis as a practice.

I think that stage shows and tv dramas haven’t exactly helped the cause, showing people dancing around like chickens or waving a watch in front of people to send them into a trance. The reality is far less Hollywood and perhaps a little boring in comparison! The way I like to describe my hypnosis experiences is that they are like enhanced meditation, a period of mind clarity where you can create space to reorganise thoughts and perhaps remap thought patterns and change behaviours. Self hypnosis takes some practice but can enhance your ability to meditate, relax and of course set goals to improve your life.

Hypnosis — or hypnotherapy — uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance. The person’s attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. In this naturally occurring state, a person may focus his or her attention — with the help of a trained therapist — on specific thoughts or tasks.(hypnotherapy)

So the purpose of my mini blog here is to open your mind to the possibility that Santa, fairies and hypnosis do actually exist :) although I don’t have any information to convince you about Santa or fairies, you can click here for some more great information about the benefits of hypnosis.

The Personal MBA…Noice.

Standard

I picked up ‘The Personal MBA’ by Josh Kaufman at the Sydney International airport departure bookshop. I wanted something to pass the time on the plane but couldn’t bear the thought of picking up another poorly written fiction and getting bored 45 pages in (like I did with 50 shades of boringness).

This book didn’t disappoint! For anyone who has contemplated doing an MBA recently but wondered whether you could be bothered or get the ROI you desire, Josh will instantly hook you with his seeds of doubt and discouragement. Why study an MBA when he has summarised the best stuff you need to know in a short and easy to reference book?

I jumped online to check out his website & blog and found this little gem: 99 best business books
Well worth checking out!

Josh shares my philosophy of why eat the whole cake when you can eat 15 mini cupcakes that are different flavours instead?? Except he has already bought the cupcakes and deciphered the recipes then put it all together in a neat & easy to digest book for you to consume!

Definitely not for anyone who’s spent $30K+++ on an MBA, but definitely worth a read if you’re keen to expand your commercial acumen without the time, money or inclination to complete an MBA! :)

Is it normal to feel anxious before your wedding?

Standard

I got asked by someone the other day: “Is it normal to feel anxious before your wedding?”…my instant reaction was to say “Der… Of course it is” but I was feeling rather philosophical that day…So I asked them back:
“Is it normal to feel anxious before a job interview or a Doctors appointment or even a flight overseas”?
They said “absolutely!” and it got me thinking…

It seems fair to say that it is completely normal to feel slightly worried, nervous or anxious about anything new or unknown where you’re putting yourself ‘out there’ in life!

That goes for opening up your heart….sharing secrets and of course one of the true moments of truth in your life… your wedding day!!! It can often feel like you are about to lose control when you’re not the only one who is steering! (have you ever heard of the vulnerability hangover?). So it is fairly common to feel nervous about any moments that involve another person sharing the driving seat.

Anxiety and nerves often pop up when you are placing more emphasis on the ‘what if’s’ of the future, worrying about what might go wrong rather than enjoying the moment and the experience. Worrying that you won’t get the job, that there is something wrong with your health, worrying about plane crashes… and of course before your wedding worrying about marriage failure ending in divorce!

A quick google search will show you that about half marriages end in divorce… Google will also reassure you that life expectancy has continued to go up because of amazing medical advances and that plane crashes are going down due to technological advances…

The beauty of researching something you are concerned about is that you can usually find enough evidence to alleviate your heightened concerns and nervousness and appeal to your logical mind!

Like job hunting forums, where you read that someone else had been to 3 interviews too and were grateful they were unsuccessful as the 4th interview where they were successful was their dream job!!! Or medical research journals showing that your chances of having bladder cancer are 3.84%… Or your chance of dying in a plane crash are 1:50,0000 (for more check out the odds of dying….) When you see these odds I don’t know about you, but a 50% divorce rate is still worth worrying about!!!

Why is the divorce rate going up while all our other concerns are being statistically sated due to research & development?

It could be that it’s so easy to get a divorce these days, you can even do a $99 online application! It could be that we are better educated & realise our differences earlier in life… Or it could be that we are evolving into impatient, instant gratification seeking adults who are not ‘at cause’ for our lives.

The Australian Institute of family studies wanted to understand the reasons behind divorce so they could do some analysis to potentially prevent divorce or improve marriages. They found that reasons behind divorce included communication breakdown, ‘drifting apart’, infidelity, abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, financial problems, mental or physical health issues or general dissatisfaction. I was a little surprised to see that communication and drifting apart were major reasons for marriage breakdown. I thought abuse & infidelity would have been major causes!

Studies of long-lasting marriages (Kaslow and Robinson 1996; Levenson et al. 1993; Wallerstein and Blakeslee 1995) identify the following attributes of healthy couples:
- A sense of respect and feeling appreciated;
- Trust and fidelity,
- Good sexual relations,
- Good communication,
- Shared values,
- Cooperation and mutual support and enjoyment of shared time,
- A sense of spirituality, and
- The ability to be flexible when confronted with transitions and changes.

Researchers have also described similar characteristics of strong families (Schlesinger 1998; Curran 1983). According to Stinnett and Defrain (1985), strong families:
- Promote each other’s welfare and happiness;
-Show appreciation for each other,
- Have good communication skills and talk a lot to each other,
- Spend time together,
- Have a sense of spirituality, and
- Use crises as an opportunity to grow.

I was surprised at how simple this all sounds! It isn’t about 100 % compatibility or mind blowing sexual lust or cosmic attraction… It’s about kindness, appreciation and time.

It might be fair to observe that people take advantage of their marriages, giving the best of themselves at work or to others… Which leaves the marriage dry and brittle, so it’s no wonder it breaks!

Imagine nourishing your partner and receiving the same support, love and encouragement back? It’s the type of environment you would want to spend time in. My commitment has been to create an environment in my relationship with my beautiful fiancé that we want to spend time in… A healthy bubble to connect, share, love, recharge. In doing so we both want to spend more time together (one of the potential causes for communication breakdown was not enough time together)…

Like with most fears and concerns in life, it appears you have a choice. You can become a slave to your anxiety and worry about what could go wrong…or you can consciously think about what actions you can take to be a loving; present partner who is willing to work at your relationship through sickness, in health, through financial hardship, addiction, mental illness, poor communication and worries and anxiety…

My advice is simple; Think about what you are going to give rather than worrying about what you might not get!

If your partner is doing the same then your chances of creating that healthy marriage and family bubble sound very high indeed!

* a quick p.s – Some pre wedding nerves are a warning sign (especially if alcohol or drug abuse or any physical or emotional abuse are involved), make sure you are in a happy, healthy & respectful relationship before you walk down the aisle! :) however a few nerves before settling down with someone for the rest of your life are completely normal, remember to talk about them with your partner and family, you’ll be surprised how many people have had concerns, fears and doubts before their big day… I think those that are nervous show that they respect and value the sanctity of marriage, which is a beautiful thing when you stop to think about it.

Oh and I hope you live happily ever after. Xxxx

What makes a great leader?

Standard

I’ve thought a lot about this recently and this is going to be a short blog post.

The best leaders I have met are authentic humans with a clear purpose.

They listen and engage, you know you are with a great leader because you feel their presence. I believe this is because because they have parked their ego…

They are not thinking of the next intelligent or “leadershippy” thing to say, so they are able to pay attention to you and this allows something simple but magical to happen.

By listening and being present, they hear what is really going on.
By paying attention they are able to gather incredible amounts of information and insight that allow them to connect dots and solve real business problems.
By parking their ego they connect with the person and build a loyal following. They do things for other peoples reasons, not their own.

Their purpose allows them to finely tune their priorities. It allows people to understand them because they know what they are about. Their purpose motivates them and inspires others to have a sense of direction & aligned purpose. So Focussed momentum builds as followers align their purposes to these leaders.

Sounds easy right?

So if you want to be a really great leader…Instead of trying so hard at work to be powerful and build relationships, why not try harder to clarify your purpose & be an authentic human? The rest may just fall into place.