Category Archives: Book Notes

Book Notes: Get to the Point!

Get to the Point!: Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter by Joel Schwartzberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What is the point? Can your point fit into this phrase to form a complete sentence? “I believe that _______________.” For it to be compelling it needs to pass…

The “So What” Test roots out points that pass the “I Believe That” test but may be too shallow to serve as the foundation of a meaningful presentation. You can tell if your point is too shallow or a truism by asking two questions: “Is there a reasonable counterpoint?” and “Can I spend more than a minute defending this point?”

Ask “Why?” to avoid badjectives which make your point vague e.g. “is important”, why is it important? join the two to form a point.

Two ways to Enhance your point

  • Have a single, if there are two points pick your strongest.
  • What’s the greatest impact your idea will effect? If your idea can save lives, protect the peace, or make tons of money, why not use those magic words to sell your point?

Sell your point, don’t share it.You are here to sell your ideas.

A sharer will often say:
“Today, I want to talk a little about X.”
Compare that to the seller:
“Today, I’m going to explain why doing X will lead to Y.”

Making the leap from sharing to selling doesn’t require another college degree, just sharp awareness of your strongest point and its highest value proposition.

Sell with:
I propose . . .
I recommend . . .
I suggest . . .

Knowing what your audience wants from you. e.g. Information, Insight, News or updates, Inspiration, Appreciation, Empathy, Explanation or Comfort.

“power periods” end sentences with a . not (what sounds like) a ?

Present strongly. Remove anything which can get in the way and speak loudly. Pause to help points as you can speak quicker than the audience can understand. End with your point and give it some space.

Five enemies of your point:

  • and – keep your point short and succinct
  • Nonsense words – umm, ah, so
  • All apologies – never apologize or even say “excuse me.”
  • Speed – speak slowly, with greater volume, and with simpler language
  • ignore your inner saboteur –
    • Know your point. Anyone who doesn’t know his or her point should be nervous.
    • Know that the moment is not about you, or even your speech; it’s about your point. All you have to do is deliver it.
    • Practice out loud (not in your head or by mumbling). The key training is having your mouth and your brain collaborate on the conception and conveyance of a point. That can only happen if you’re actually using your mouth.

Tips for presenting

  • Don’t write a speech, it locks you in too tightly.
  • Don’t treat your point like a climax or spoiler
  • Notes should be just your main point and detail you might forget, nothing more
  • Practice out loud
  • Did you tell a story? one that proves, clarifies, or illustrates your point. Explain how the point is relevant to the story
  • Does each slide contribute to the point?
  • Am I prepared to explain the relevance of each slide?
  • Remove or shorten complete sentences
  • Five-and-five – a slide should have no more than five bulleted lines and no more than five words per line.
  • Are your slides readable from the back of the room?
  • Are my slides supporting me or am I supporting my slides? Good presenters don’t let their tech toys make points on their behalf. They stand in the centre of the speaking area, fully in the light, conveying points supported by the slides behind them.

Tips for EMail

  • Put your point in the Subject line
  • Use more bullet points
  • Paragraphs should be no more than three sentence
  • Are the facts correct?
  • Is it grammatically correct?
  • Did I end with a suggestion, a recommendation, or a proposal?

Executive comms

  • Don’t bury your point
  • Keep it tight
  • Did I end with aspiration?
  • Did I remember to say thanks?

Tips for Meetings

  • Know your point.
  • Prepare in advance.
  • Be loud.
  • Use pauses for precision.
  • Say “I recommend” and “I propose.”
  • Mind your word economy.
  • Remember your #1 job: deliver your point.

Tips for Performance reviews

  • Did I start with a general overview?
  • Did I clearly communicate my employee’s challenges and offer examples?
  • Did I offer recommendations for improvement?

Tips for Conference Panel

  • Did I prepare my points in advance?
  • Do I know who I answer to?
  • Do I know everyone’s names?
  • Do I have supporting data in my head?
  • Am I ready to jump in?
  • Did I bring a strategic story?
  • Am I conveying my points or rebutting theirs? As I mentioned earlier, if the conversation takes a wrong turn, don’t follow it down that rabbit hole.
  • Am I showing the audience respect?
  • Am I speaking in complete sentences?
  • Am I responding or reacting? A response is a point formulated to fill a knowledge gap with targeted insight: “Here’s what I believe.” A reaction is a more spontaneous reply, sometimes emotionally driven and defensive: “No, that’s not true at all!”
  • Am I aware of myself? Remember, the audience is always watching you (and cameras may be as well), so for as long as you’re in that seat, look interested, nod at others’ good points, and don’t do anything that would embarrass your mother if she were in the audience. Speak up. Sit up straight. Don’t talk when others are talking. Don’t touch your face.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Book Notes: 5 Conversations

5 Conversations – How to Transform Trust, Engagement and Performance at Work by Nick Cowley & Nigel Purse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book kicks off by highlighting that leadership is a relationship – trust, stewardship, concern, understanding and humanity you display towards people and the safe environment you create for them to flourish and grow in.

The book proposes the following definition of engagement:

  • Organisational citizenship – being proud to belong to their organisation and being advocates of its products and services to other potential employees and customers
  • Discretionary effort – to be willing to go the extra mile or put in those additional hours when needed
  • Intention to stay – coupled with a belief that they have room to grow and fulfil their potential and career aspirations within the organisation

What drives high engagement:

  • A strong narrative – where has the organisation come from and where is it going. A clear purpose and vision that individuals are clear where they fit in and contribute to.
  • Engaged managers who
    • Focus their people and give them scope to innovate and contribute
    • Treat their people as individuals – and build individual relationships
    • Coach and stretch their people
  • Employees are heard – information and ideas don’t just flow downwards from the top but travel upwards too. Employees views are actively sought out and are listened to.
  • Organisational integrity – the values on the wall reflect day-to-day behaviours at all levels and in all context both formal and informal.

Relationships are key to humans, we have evolved in a social way:

  • Leaders need to avoid (consciously or unconsciously) demonstrating behaviour that people will perceive as a threat, risk or danger. Humans sense these and kick into a closed, defensive and suspicious state.
  • Leaders need to build positive conditions to appeal to the rewards systems of peoples brains through authentic, honest, two-way conversations and through instilling a trusting environment.
  • Building relationships is key, people are good at detecting insincerity. You need to genuinely understand and relate to the other person. This is not about being soft, but is about honestly seeking a meaningful, high quality relationship.

The book proposes there are five key conversations:

  1. Establishing a trusting relationship
  2. Agreeing mutual expectations
  3. Showing genuine appreciation
  4. Challenging unhelpful behaviour
  5. Building for the future

Smart leaders today engage with employees in a way that resembles ordinary person-to-person conversation more than it does a series of commands from on high.

Leadership Is a conversation, Groysberg and Slind, Harvard Business Review

Sample questions

Establishing a trusting relationship

  • What’s really important to you at work?
  • What do you feel most strongly about?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you think is your greatest limitation?
  • What do you really want to be known for?
  • What is it that you really stand for?
  • What’s important to you in building relationships with someone?
  • What matters most to you when trusting others?
  • When do you tend to feel most badly let down by colleagues?
  • What sorts of things destroy a relationship for you?
  • To what extent do you tend to open up to others at work?
  • How easily do you trust others?
  • What one thing could I tell you that would help you trust me?
  • Tell me about a good day at work?
  • What gives you most satisfaction at work?
  • What energises you?
  • Tell me what a bad day at work looks like?
  • What causes you to lose sleep at night?
  • Which emotions do you experience most often?
  • What one question could I ask you that would enable me to really understand you?
  • What one thing can you tell me that might be helpful for me to know about you that I don’t already know?
  • Do you have any unrealised ambitions?
  • What do you most value about working here?
  • What one thing would you change about working here and why?
  • What would you like to be most remembered for?

Agreeing mutual expectations

  • Let me give you an overview of what I’m trying to achieve over the next period, and especially why this matters for me…
  • Can you talk me through the same thing from your point of view? What are you trying to achieve and why is it important to you?
  • Can we explore how we can support each other in achieving our goals? e.g resources, influencing, coaching etc? What would be most useful?
  • How do you think you can best support me?
  • How might we get in each other’s way? Is there anything we should be aware of to avoid this?
  • Can we summarise the expectations we have of each other and how we can hold each other to account for delivering on these expectations?

Showing genuine appreciation

  • Understand and appreciate
    • What’s going really well for you at the moment? What’s been your biggest success in the last few weeks? What’s been your biggest achievement recently? What’s been your biggest challenge?
    • What was the situation? What were the key challenges you faces?
    • What did you say and do that led to success?
    • How did you feel as this was happening/
    • What strengths, talents and skills of yours contributed most to this outcome?
    • What’s the learning you take from this experience?
    • How are you feeling right now?
    • Thank you! I really appreciate your contribution you are making and the skills and commitment you bring to our team
  • Explore
    • What other opportunities are there for you to use these strengths, talents and skills?
    • How else can we play to your strengths?
    • How do you want to develop these skills further?
  • Consolidate
    • What’s the key insight you have gained from the discussion?
    • What learning points should we both take away?
    • What are the action points that we both commit to follow up on?

Challenging unhelpful behaviour

  • Observations – what you saw
  • Feelings – how this made you feel
  • Needs – what are your needs? e.g. support and protect, respect, harmony, reassurance, support
  • Request – the clear request of what you want

Building for the future

  • Purpose/Meaning – understand their need to make a difference
  • Autonomy/Freedom – understanding their needs for freedom e.g. job content, hours
  • Mastery/Learning – what and how do they want to grow
  • Innovation/Exploring – opportunities for creative, discovery, innovation and exploration
  • Collaboration/Inclusivity – how important is this for them to work or lead a team
  • Achievement/Recognition – the need to win, succeed or achieve
  • Work-Life Balance/Wellbeing – what do they want this balance to be or change
  • Advancement/Promotion – the desire to climb the corporate ladder
  • Financial Reward/Security – peoples drive for financial security and benefits
  • Status/Power – understanding their drive for power and satisfaction to exert influence over teams, functions or organisations

Book Notes: Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?

Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It) by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Research finds that there are lots of bad leaders and these leaders have huge impact on the teams which they lead. As such improving leaders has a huge impact on the business. The book also highlights that people who tend to be self-centered, feel entitled and narcissists tend to emerge as leaders taking control of resources and power.

Confidence Disguised as Competence – people naturally feel that people who are more confident are more competent however there is no link between how good you think you are doing at a job and your actual ability. Being overly confident can have huge consequences – such as making a bad decision then pushing it too much.


  • An unrealistic sense of grandiosity and superiority, manifested in the form of vanity, self-admiration and delusion of talent.
  • Narcissists’ have high confidence but fragile so crave validation and recognition from others.
  • They have less interest in others and as such lack genuine consideration for people other than themselves.
  • High levels of entitlement – when you think you are better than others you perceive unfairness where there is none.
  • They are perceived to have high levels of creativity, but in reality there is no difference to others they are just better at selling their ideas.
  • They are worried about how they look – masters of imanage memagement coming across as attractive and confident.
  • Assuring people that their own personal brand is bigger than the firms is a classic narcissistic statement.
  • Narcissistic tendencies are more likely to get in your way than to help. They have a particularly bad long-term effect on other people.


  • A lack of moral inhibition, which at an extreme is manifested in the form of strong antisocial tendencies and an intense desire to break the rules, even just for the sake of it.
  • When psychopaths break the rules they feel no guilt or remorse.
  • People with psychopathic tendencies are prone to making reckless behavioral choices. This reduced concern for danger will put them and others at risk.
  • A lack of empathy – they don’t care what others think or feel, despite being able to understand those feelings.
  • Psychopathy offers few advantages to effective leadership – most psychopaths are incompetent as leaders. This poor overall performance is largely because of their lack of diligence, disdain for deadlines and processes, their failing to assume responsibilities resulting in them being rated poorly by both their bosses and subordinates. An inability to build and motivate team members, an unwillingness to accept blame and responsibility, a lack of follow through and impulsive unpredictability.


  • Unlike Narcissism and Psychopathy which are personality traits – Charisma is in the eye of the viewer.
  • People naturally like charismatic people, so this clouds how people perceive how a leader is actually performing and are evaluated more favorably.
  • Charismatic leaders excel at giving people hope – charisma is great for selling a vision.
  • However charisma has no strong link to performance but can easily, and incorrectly, end up being used as a proxy measure for leadership. This would then lead to us ignoring other leadership signals such as competence, integrity and self-awareness.
  • Humble leadership tends to cascade down turning leaders into genuine role models. They display more modesty, admit mistakes, share credit with others, and are more receptive to others’ ideas and feedback.

What good leaders look like

  • Intellectual capital
    • Domain specific expertise, experience and good judgement
    • Such people can rely on their instincts regarding work problems because experience and expertise have made their intuition more data-driven.
    • This boosts team morale and employee engagement.
    • Companies sometimes over-rely on technical expertise, it does matter but EQ and “soft skills” are also important especially when moving from an individual contributor role to a leadership position. As AI takes on more of the data work technical expertise will likely reduce in its importance.
  • Social capital
    • The network and connections that leaders have – leaders with wider and deeper connections within and outside of their organisation are more effective.
    • “a great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together”
  • Psychological capital
    • How individuals will lead
    • Good characteristics
      • How people act on their best days, constituting of their general learning ability (intelligence) and major personality traits (curiocity, extraversion and emotional stability).
    • Bad characteristics
      • Distancing traits – being highly excitable and moody or having a deeply skeptical, cynical outlook which makes it hard to build trust. Additionally passive-aggressiveness.
      • Seductive qualities – assertive, charismatic leaders gaining followers and influence bosses through their ability to manage up. Narcissism and psychopathy – hindering a leaders ability to build and maintain high-performance teams and contribute to the long term success.
      • Ingratiating traits – these can have positive connotations in followers but rarely do in leaders. Someone who is diligent might be great when a lone worker but can translate into a preoccupation with petty matters or micromanagement. Someone who is dutiful and eager to please those in authority can easily become too submissive.
    • The inside
      • Their values – their internal moral compass, e.g. people valuing tradition will struggle in a disruptive innovator.

Having intellectual, social and psychological capital results in more potential but it is not guaranteed. The context in which they are working is a key to their success, or failure.

  • Dominance – cultures embracing assertive, overconfident and authoritarian leaders.
  • Spontaneity – the level of acceptance of spontaneity and improvisation, how accepting of uncertainty.
  • Individualism – what is values higher the contributions of the individual or the results of the team. In individualism environments more people aspire to be leaders to stand out personally.
  • Status – how the power is regarded between individuals, in status oriented cultures those higher up are always better off.
Aspect of leadershipCommon perceptionEvidence-based view
Defination of leaderPerson in charge or with powerPerson who builds a winning team
Goal of leaderGet to the top, be successfulHelp the team outperform rivals
Leader’s performanceEquals leader’s career successDepends on team’s performance
Subordinates’ rolesHelp the leader succeedUnit in the pursuit of a shared goal
Key leader attributesConfidence and charismaCompetence and integrity
  1. Some characteristics are hard to change – 30% of leadership is determined by genetic factors.
  2. Good coaching works – of course not all coaches will work for you but finding the right one can help especially growing EQ potentially by 25%.
  3. Beware of leaders’ strengths – don’t forget the weaknesses and don’t overdo the strengths as these can turn to arrogance, risk-taking and hubris.
  4. Self-awareness is essential – it is key to know have you come across, what you are doing well and what does not work
  5. It is not easy to go against our nature – leaders tend to become more exaggerated versions of themselves. It is key to counterbalance so leaders go against their nature to go to places they would not have gone.
  6. Coachability is an integral part of potential – the people who take up coaching are the people who need it the least, they are the people who are more self aware and looking to improve. It is the bad leaders who don’t feel they need the coaching who actually do.

Book Notes: Leading Teams

Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances by J. Richard Hackman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No leader can make a team work well, but all leaders can create conditions that increase the likelihood.

Real Teams have – a team task, bounded team, delimited authority to manage their own work processes, and membership stability over a reasonable period of time.

Team task – Where individuals are working independently (e.g. call answers) then this is not a team tasks and these people can not form a team, this instead is a co-acting group.

Bounded team – Actually knowing who all the people are – some groups have transient members which mean it can not form into a team.

Delimited authority – Clearly knowing what the team is permitted or not to do. Without this being made explicit the team with either be too timid or overstepping its bounds.

Stability over time – Teams perform better the longer they are together. The only exception is with design teams where fresh external ideas are useful.

Compelling DirectionEffective team self-management is impossible unless someone in authority sets the direction for the team’s work.

Energises the team members – creates a challenge which enhances motivation

Orients their attention and action – makes the direction clear and aligns performance strategy and purpose

Engages their talents – the direction has consequences and fosters full utilisation of knowledge and skill.

Enabling structure – work designed for the full team. It has been shown that individuals feel tasks foster internal work motivation thus a desire to perform well – their work is meaningful, they feel personally responsible for the outcome and can see the results of their efforts. When applied to teams this is bigger challenges, autonomy to excel and feedback to improve. There is a balance in all of these – too big a challenge, too much autonomy and not learning from feedback.

Norms – the teams should be constantly striving to improve and the behavioral requirements of how to and how not to behave. Taking an active, not reactive, stance to the environment as well as the behavioral boundaries which set out the small things that members must always do and those they must never do. This is because we naturally Reacting to whatever comes our way because it is easier to react to whatever comes our way rather than actively scan our environment. Stopping and reflecting is key to a team being able to be proactive in resolving issues. Secondly we seek harmony and as such we sometimes thoughtlessly do things which we should not and go further than we ought.

Composition of the team – the three common mistakes are assuming…

  • the more the better, so putting too many people on the team – the potential productivity – the process losses = actual productivity which peaks about 4/5 people
  • similar people will get along better so form homogeneous teams
  • everyone knows how to work in a group so ignoring the interpersonal skills of prospective members

Supportive Context – Ensuring things such as reward systems recognise and reinforce good team performance not individual performance. Providing visibility of data so teams are better informed so they can plan and execute their work – usually the really important stuff is secret, providers and users speak different languages, a flood is as bad as a drought and information is power which some organisations try to keep at the top. Education and support so that people have the knowledge to solve their own problems.

Expert Coaching – direct interactions with a team to help members use their collective resources well in accomplishing work, this is usually provided by the team leader. Effort – building team spirit e.g by giving themselves a name, decorating their area etc which can significantly build motivation. Performance strategy – mindless reliance on habitual routines results in suboptimal performance. When a team gets in the habit of regularly doing scanning and planning activities genuine innovative ways of proceeding with the work often emerge. Knowledge and skill – where a team develop pattern of interaction that fosters learning from one another thereby increasing the total pool of knowledge available to a group.

What coaches don’t do – the focus should be on the team’s task not on members social interactions or interpersonal relationships. Harmony is not the aim – interpersonal issues might be because of structural or contextual conditions.

What effective leaders do – they stack the desk in the teams favour, getting the order right. Providing great coaching as poor coaching can reduce the effectiveness of the team. Great leaders create the conditions that promote team effectiveness any way they can. Have emotional maturity and courage,

Book Notes: Resolving Conflicts At Work

Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job by Kenneth Cloke, Joan Goldsmith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chronic conflict are conflicts that nations, societies, organisations, families or individuals have not been fully resolved; need to resolve in order to grow and evolve; are capable of resolution; can only be resolved by abandoning old approaches and taking on new ones; are resistant to resolution because they are frightened, dissatisfied, insecure, uncertain, angry or unwilling to change.

Each conflict has two fundamental truths : the truth of impasse – that people are stuck with a problem they want to resolve but can’t; the truth of resolution – it is possible to become unstuck and move to a higher order of resolution or relationship.

There is a huge difference between communicating superficially to settle a conflict through compromise and communicating deeply to resolve it and transforming the conflict by learning from it.

The strategies for resolving conflict:

  • Understand the culture and Dynamics of conflict. Every conflict is significantly influenced by the culture and dynamics in which it takes place. Understanding these elements will help you discover the hidden meaning of your conflicts, not only for yourself but your opponent and the organisation in which you work. Identifying the culture and dynamics of conflict for individual and organisations can lead to increased awareness, acceptance and resolution of the underlying reasons for the dispute. Typical responses are Counterattack, Defend, Roll over, Gossip, Run away, Refuse to budge, Undermine. In each of these responses it actually boosts the power of the accuser. These solutions tend to “fight or flight” and done boost listening and problem solving but more build a battle between people. The alternative approach of “tend and befriend” – which uses these as opportunities to learn.
    • Discover common interests
    • Bring in a mediator
    • Focus on the problem
    • Focus on the future
    • Invite it in as an opportunity
    • Create introspection
    • Reframe the issue
    • Let it pass through you
  • Listen empathetically and responsibly. Listening with an open mind and an open heart your opponent will encourage them to do the same for you. This will lead you to recognise the real issues in school and that’s to the centre of your complex strategies for resolution and transformation converge.
    • Let go of your own ideas, role and agenda and try to understand what the other person is saying
    • Be curious of what makes them tick
    • Before you speak draw out the other person’s ideas
    • Search behind the words for the other person’s meaning, especially ifhe or she disagrees with you
    • Discover and manage your listener’s unspoken expectations
    • Respond respectfully and non-defensively, acknowledging and addressing the other person
    • Choose an appropriate form of communicating
    • Speak respectfully, empathetically and responsively
    • Demonstrate that you heard the other person’s deeper needs and feelings
    • Anticipate objections and address them before they are raised
    • Clarify and emphasis your agreements
    • Acknowledge differences and restate issues positively
    • State your interests instead of your position
    • Ask for feedback
    • Compliment the other person for listening
  • Search beneath the surface for the hidden meaning. The language we use to describe our disputes, our opportunities and ourselves reveals a set of attributes and underlying assumptions that can block resolution. Beneath the superficial issue in every conflict lie subterranean fears, desires, interests, emotions, histories, expectations and intentions that reveal what is actually wrong, and can become a powerful source of resolution and transformation.
    • Issues
    • Personalities
    • Emotions
    • Interets, Needs and Desires
    • Self-Perceptions and Self-Esteem
    • Hidden Expectations
    • Unresolved Issues from the Past
  • Acknowledge and Reframe emotions. When intense emotions are brought to the surface, communicated openly and directly in a way that your opponent can hear, and are acknowledged, reframed, and integrated, then invisible barriers are suddenly lifted to problem solving, collaboration, resolution and transformation.
  • Separate matters from what gets in the way. The road to resolution and transformation lies less in blaming people skillfully addressing joint problems; less in asserting differences than finding commonalities; less in asserting position than satisfying interests; less in debating who is right than engaging in dialogue over what both sides care about; less in resurrecting the past the redesigning the future
    • Positions from interests
    • People from problems
    • Problems from solutions
    • Commonalities from differences
    • Future from the past
    • Emotions from negotiations
    • Process from content
    • Options from choices
    • Criteria from selection
    • Yourself from others
  • Solve problems paradoxically and creatively. Transformation requires the energy, uncertainty, complexity and duality of enigma, paradox, riddle and contradiction, which form essential part of every conflict. These complex paradoxical elements can lead to expanded creative problem solving techniques that can assist you not simply in reaching agreements, but in building diverse, overlapping, simultaneous options into a solution you are able to agree on.
    • Admit you have a problem, recognise it as a problem and accept it as needing to be solved
    • Collaboratively define and clarify the elements and nature of the problem
    • Jointly investigate, analyze, categorise and prioritise problems.
    • Invent solutions that satisfy everyone’s interests without becoming attached to any particular solution
    • Jointly act, evaluate results, acknowledge efforts and celebrate successes
  • Learn from difficult behaviours. In many workplace conflicts, people are rewarded for engaging in difficult behaviours. These behaviours offer excellent opportunities for you to learn how to improve your skills in responding to them while increasing your capacity for empathy, patient, and perseverance; to discover what makes it difficult for you; to become more grounded and effective in the way you respond.
  • Lead and coach for transformation. Because conflicts are places where we get stuck, leadership and coaching are useful in helping us find a way out. Leadership competencies in conflict resolution can be learnt and developed and “conflict coaching” can aid us in shifting attitudes, developing skills and locating our own unique path to resolution and transformation.
  • Explore resistance and negotiate collaboratively. We begin with the idea that “all resistance reflects an unmet need” and can therefore be interpreted as a request for improved communication, processes and relationships; for greater authenticity; for increased involvement in decision-making; or for a deeper and more collaborative relationship. Exploring resistance can unlock conflicts, allowing us to collaboratively negotiate solutions and, if other approaches fail to mediates the issues that seem too difficult to resolve.
  • Mediate and design systems for prevention. Chronic conflict emanate from systems rather than personalities, and can be addressed organisationally through a “conflict resolution systems design” process. Designing conflict resolution system enables individuals and organisations to prevent or reduce the severity of chronic conflict, to eliminate them at their source, to orient the organisation towards the institutionalisation of resolution practices and dramatically reduce the cost of conflict.

Book Notes: The Power of Moments

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book presents the importance moments have – these range from how much you enjoyed your holiday to how parents think about schools which impacts their children in schools. The book presents four ways moments can be thought about and by enhancing them can improve the experience.

  • Elevation – how do we make something stick out from the other things going on
  • Insight – how do we gain knowledge
  • Pride – these are moments of achievement, moments of courage
  • Connection – to gain a greater connection with others

A great moment does not have to have all of these components but it is a good way to think about moments through different lenses. The book highlights the issue of people focussing on fixing the potholes but highlights that quite a few of these will be overlooked when people look back so improving the best moment might be a better return on time. Additionally the book highlights that it would be easy to cut costs e.g. not bringing the whole company together etc but this devalues the potential for the moment. Finally there are more moments than you’d expect – such as transitions or milestones, even getting an MRI scan is a moment for the patient and this can go from a traumatic experience to an enjoyable one.


  • Boost the sensory appeal – change the environment such as going to different locations, or changing the way people dress etc.
  • Raise the stakes – such as a competition where one side wins which will provoke greater involvement
  • Break the script – defy the normal way of doing things both for the way you do things normally but also what people expect to happen. Novelty is memorable.
  • Take care that they are not delayed or watered down – it’s easy to reduce a great moment idea to something much less memorable.


  • Deliver realisation and transformation
  • “trip over the truth” – people need to discover things themselves but by guiding people they can pick up the pieces themselves to trip over the truth this involves gaining a clear insight, in a short time discovered by the audience itself.
  • Risk – Sometimes we need to expose ourselves to failure to gain the insight. When it’s others gaining the insight we need to give them space to fail and not jump in quickly.
  • Mentors can stretch us further – high standards + assurance + direction + support
  • Stretching – it’s not about success, it’s about learning


  • Recognise others – we underinvest in recognising others
  • Create more meaningful milestones – refrance a large milestone into multiple smaller ones so we can feel we are progressing. We can surface milestones which might not have otherwise been noticed.
  • Practice courage to push ourselves – though practice our reactions are already “preloaded” so by rehearsing what we want to do we are more likely to do it. Courage is contagious to and from others.
  • Recognition is personal – a generic program does not cut it


  • Creating a synchronised moment –
  • Inviting shared struggles – where people choose to take part this can be powerful e.g. endurance team sports etc
  • Connecting with meaning – where people get to the root of why their work is important and acknowledging the impact it has. Having a strong purpose trumps strong passion but together they are powerful.
  • Deep connections – active listening can greatly boost the depth of a connection with mutual understanding, validation and caring which when combined with openness leads to intimacy with turn taking e.g. using 36 Questions.

Book Notes: Trillion Dollar Coach

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a look back at some of the advice which senior leaders in silicon valley received from Bill Campbell who was their coach.

  • Corral any “team of rivals” into a community and get them aligned in marching towards a common goal and thus success.
  • The best coach for any team is the manager who leads that tea. Being a good coach is essential to being a good manager and leader. Coaching is no longer a specialty; you cannot be a good manager without being a good coach.
  • Your Title Makes You a Manager. Your People Make You a Leader

How do you bring people around and help them flourish in your environment? It’s not by being a dictator. It’s not by telling them what the hell to do. It’s making sure that they feel valued by being in the room with you. Listen. Pay attention. This is what great managers do.

  • Delivery is important – you have to have good processes, make sure people are accountable, you know how to hire great people, how to evaluate them and give them feedback and pay them well.

People are the foundation of any companies success. The primary job of each manager is to help people be more effective in their job and to grow and develop. We have great people who want to do well, are capable of doing great things, and come to work fired up to do them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies that energy. Managers create this environment through support, respect and trust.

Support means giving people the tools, information, training and coaching they need to succeed. It means continuous effort to develop people’s skills. Great managers help people excel and grow.

Respect means understanding people’s unique career goals and being sensitive to their life choices. It means helping people achieve these career goals in a way that’s consistent with the needs of the company.

Trust means freeing people to do their job and to make decisions. It means knowing people want to do well and believing that they will.

It’s the People
  • It’s the people – the top priority of any manager is the well-being and success of her people
  • Start with trip reports – to build rapport and better relationships among team members, start team meetings with trip reports or other type of more personal, non-bussiness topic.
  • 5 words on a whiteboard – have a structure for 1:1s and take the time to prepare for them as they are the best way to help people be more effective and to grow
    • Performance on job requirements
    • Relationships with peer groups
    • Management/Leadership
    • Innovation (best practices)
  • The throne behind the round table – the manager’s job is to run a decision-making process that ensures all perspectives get heard and considered, and, if necessary, to break ties and make decisions.
  • Lead based on first principles – define the “first principles” for the situation, the immutable truths that are the foundations for the company or product and help guide the decision from those principles.
  • Manage the aberrant genius – aberrant geniuses (high performance but difficult team members) should be tolerated and even protected, as long as their behaviour isn’t unethical or abusive and their value outweighs the toll their behavior takes on management, colleagues and teams.
  • Money’s not about money – compensating people well demonstrates love and respect and ties them strongly to the goals of the company
  • Innovation is where the crazy people have stature – the purpose of a company is to bring a product vision to life. All the other components are in service to the product.
  • Heads held high – if you have to let people go, be generous, treat them well and celebrate their accomplishments.
  • Bill on boards – it’s the CEO’s job to manager boards, not the other way around
  • Only coach the coachable – the traits that make a person coachable include honesty and humility, the willingness to persevere and work hard, and a constant openness to learning.
  • Practice free-form listening – listen to people with your full and undivided attention (don’t think ahead to what you’re going to say next) and ask questions to get to the real issue.
  • No gap between statements and facts – be relentlessly honest and candid, couple negative feedback with caring, give feedback as soon as possible, and if the feedback is negative, deliver it privately.
  • Don’t’ stick it in their ear – don’t tell people what to do; offer stories and help guide them to the best decisions for them.
  • Be the evangelist for courage -believe in people more than they believe in themselves, and push them to be more courageous.
  • Full identity front and center – people are most effective when they can be completely themselves and bring their full identity to work.
  • Work the team, then the problem – when faced with problem or opportunity, the first step is to ensure the right team is in place and working on it.
  • Pick the right players – the top characteristics to look for are smarts and hearts: the ability to learn fast, a willingness to work hard, integrity, grit , empathy and a team-first attitude.
  • Pair people – peer relationships are critical and often overlooked, so seek opportunities to pair people up on projects or decisions.
  • Peer feedback survey:
    • Core attributes – For the past 12 months, to what extent do you agree/disagree that each person:
      • Displayed extraordinary in-role performance.
      • Exemplified world-class leadership
      • Achieved outcomes that were in the best interest for both the company as a whole and his/her organisation.
      • Expanded the boundaries of what is possible for the company through innovation and/or application of best practices.
      • Collaborated effectively with peers (e.g. worked well together, resolved barriers/issues with others) and championed the same in his/her team.
      • Contributed effectively during senior team meetings (e.g was prepared, participated actively, listened well, was open and respectful to others, disagreed constructively)
    • Product leadership – For the past 12 months to what extent do you agree/disagree that each person demonstrated exemplary leadership in the following areas:
      • Product Vision
      • Product Quality
      • Product Execution
    • Open-text questions
      • What differentiated each SVP and makes him/her effective today?
      • What advice would you give each SVP to be more effective and/or have greater impact?
  • Get to the table – winning depends on having the best team, and the best teams have more women.
  • Solve the biggest problem – identify the biggest problem, the “elephant in the room”, bring it front an center and tackle it first.
  • Don’t let the bitch sessions last – air all the negative issues, but don’t dwell on them. Move on as fast as possible.
  • Winning right – strive to win, but always win right, with commitment, teamwork and integrity.
  • Leaders lead – when things are going bad, teams are looking for even more loyalty, commitment, and decisiveness from their leaders.
  • Fill the gaps between people – listen, observe, and fill the communication and understanding gaps between people.
  • Permission to be empathetic – leading teams becomes a lot more joyful, and the teams more effective, when you know and care about the people.
  • The lovely reset – to care about people you have to care about people: ask about their lives outside of work, understand their families and when things get rough show up.
  • The percussive clap – cheer demonstrably for people and their successes.
  • Always build communities – build communities inside and outside of work. A place is much stronger when people are connected.
  • Help people – be generous with your time, connections and other resources.
  • Love the founders – old a special reverence for – and protect – the people with the most vision and passion for the company.
  • The elevator chat – loving colleagues in the workplace may be challenging, so practice it until it becomes more natural.

The book ends with a forward looking page for advice given to Eric when he was stepping down from CEO of Google on how to stay engaged in later life: Be creative, don’t be a portfolio of interests, fine people with vitality, apply your gifts, don’t waste time worrying about the future.

Book Notes: The Coach’s Casebook

The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering the Twelve Traits That Trap Us by Geoff Watts and Kim Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book presents 12 different traits which they find are common along with 38 different techniques of which different techniques might work well for different people with the different traits. The book also provides some hints to become a better coach. I’m just going to summarise the traits here along with key questions and useful models presented in the book.

Impostor Syndrome

Common characteristics:

  • Having an inability to internalise your accomplishments
  • Feeling that other people have an over-inflated view of you
  • Attributing any success you have to luck or just being in the right place at the right time
  • Being fearful of being “found out”
  • Feeling like a fraud
  • Believing that the very fact that you got the job/do the work means that it can’t be that difficult. Your ability to do something negates the value of it
  • Looking more at what you can’t do, rather than valuing what you can do

How would you describe yourself if you were being as kind and generous to yourself as you are to your friends?

You are never as good or as bad as you think you are

People Pleasing

People-pleasing is associated with a passive behaviour style, the opposite being aggressive. The middle is an assertive style.

Put other people’s feelings and needs above their own
Get pushed around or taken advantage of
Are indecisive
Have a knee-jerk “yes” response to requests
Apologise excessively
Feel guilty for other people’s feelings
Put their needs and feelings before others’
Use emotional blackmail such as sulking, silence or threats to get their own way
Persist until they get what they want
Shout, intimidate and get violent

How would somebody who you really respect and admire deal with the same situation?

Going to Excess

Often when someone is doing things to excess they have a feeling of emotional emptiness inside them that they are trying to fill with other things. These emptiness can come from any aspect in the Wheel of Human Givens.

Wheel of Human Givens

Fierce Independence

People with a strong, fierce independent trait rarely work for long in conventional corporate environments.

How might other people (with a different personality from you) approach your situation?


Energy Investment Model

While we may have a lot less control over the world than we would like, we actually have a lot more control over ourselves and our responses than we appreciate.

Our minds regularly delete things that don’t conform to our view and can distort events to make them fit.

Try keeping a journal of good things which happen. Consciously challenging your response to things. Share these challenges with friends and family so they can support the change.

Change can be brought about at a behavioural level or a belief level – a behavioural level change will likely not last long.

When did you decide to see the world this way?

Driven by Fear

Storytelling may be a defence or a smokescreen to avoid the “real” conversation that is needed. At other times it may be a sign of entrenched or “stuck” thinking.

Motivation is either “towards” what they want or “away from” what they don’t want.#

How much would you say you enjoy the destination compared to the journey?

Ostrich Syndrome

SARA Model

When someone receives some feedback which they don’t want to accept they can get stuck in rejecting the feedback. If this is regarding how they are as a person then one technique is the Johari Window approach where you choose six words from the list which you feel describe yourself and you get others to select six words as well – words you put and others respond go into the open box, things you put but others didn’t in the hidden and things other see but you did not in the blind spots.

Johari Window

What would be the worst piece of feedback that anyone could give you? Why would that be so bad?

Who do you want to be? How close are you to who you want to be? How can you find out more about yourself?


Work and home life have an interdependence so getting a holistic picture can be useful.

Wheel Of Life

What does Perfect meant to you?

What would be the impact of reducing by 10% the standard you set yourself?

How could making mistakes be less painful?


Causes for procrastination include:

  • The task appearing overwhelming
  • Not possessing the knowledge or skills to complete the task
  • Lack of time-management skills
  • Inability to prioritise

These can come about because of:

  • Fear of failure – We instinctively seek to protect ourselves from failure, often without realising we are doing so or acknowledging the consequences. This allows a lack of time to be used as the reason for failure but because you could not do it.
  • Perfectionism – Those who exhibit perfectionism often have unrealistically high standards and expectations for themselves so breaking things down into smaller achievable steps is key.
  • Lack of assertiveness – Which results in over committing to to many things.
  • Lack of autonomy – Could be delaying a task to exert some form of autonomy and control over a situation.

Ways to overcome it:

  • Write down all the reasons for delaying the task. Then create a convincing argument against each one.
  • Break the task into small, manageable “chunks”
  • Tell other people you are going to be doing in order to introduce an element of accountability and peer pressure.
  • Schedule a realistic time slot each day to get a little bit done. Plan a small reward after completing each time slot.
  • If the task seems overwhelming, remind yourself of all your past achievements so you know you are capable of succeeding.
Do you have low frustration tolerance?
Do you believe that life should be easy and comfortable?
Do you find being bored intolerable?
Do you find yourself saying “I can’t live without that” or “I just can’t bare this”?
Are you bored easily?
Do you choose short-term pleasures over important duties?
Do you often feel lethargic?
Do you have episodes of feeling “hard done by”?
Do you have a history of starting lots of things but not finishing them?

Performance Anxiety

If we stretch too much too soon then we can go too far.

How will this moment seem to you when you look back in 10 year time?

If your stress is 10/10 what would it take to lower it to 9/10?

Searching for Fulfilment

Explore your values – identify the five values which are core to you from a longer list. Using the selected values over a week record at the end of each day for each value 🙂 to :-(. Use this to identify days which you were more fulfilled than others, try to use this as a pointer to be able to get more fulfilling days.

How in control of life do you fee?

Statements – strong agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree
Our society is run by a few people with a lot of power and there is not much the ordinary person can do about it.
Success hinges on being in the right place at the right time.
There will always be conflict in the world, however hard people work to stop it
There is no point in voting, it won’t change anything.
Everything which happens in life is predestined.
Its a waste of time trying to change people, they will always stay the same.
Whether I work hard or not it won’t make any difference to how others assess my performance.
Leaders are born not made
Luck and chance play a key role in life.
Most of what happens in life is controlled by forces that we do not understand and can’t control.

Coping with loss

A loss can come in many forms (e.g. loosing a job) and when it happens people have to go through a number of stages for them to come out the other side. For coaching its important to listen and support them through the stages and to not rush things.

Book Notes: Dare to Lead

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brene Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What, if anything, about the way people are leading today needs to change in order for leaders to be successful in a complex, rapidly changing environment where we’re faced with seemingly intractable challenges and an insatiable demand for innovation? We need brave leaders and courageous culture

There are ten behaviours and cultural issues which get in the way of organisations:

  • We avoid tough conversations, including giving honest, productive feedback.
  • We manage problematic behaviour rather than acknowledging and addressing fear and feelings during change.
  • Diminish trust caused by a lack of connection and empathy.
  • Not enough people are taking smart risks or creating and sharing bold ideas to meet challenging demands and the insatiable need for innovation.
  • We get stuck and defined by setbacks, disappointments and failures so we waste time and energy reassuring people who question their value and contribution.
  • Too much shame and blame, not enough accountability and learning.
  • Opting out of vital conversations about diversity and inclusion because they fear looking, saying or being wrong.
  • When things go wrong we rush into ineffective or unsustainable solutions rather than staying with problem identification and solving.
  • Values are vage instead of actual behaviours which are taught, measured and evaluated.
  • Perfectionism and fear are keeping people from learning and growing.

The Rumble is a discussion, conversation or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to stick with the messy middle of problem identification and solving to take breaks and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our parts, and to listen with the same passion we want to be heard.

The 6 myths of vulnerability –
Vulnerability is weakness – there can be no act of courage without vulnerability,
I don’t do vulnerability – life is fundamentally uncertain with risks and emotional exposure,
I can go it alone – humans are hardwired for connection as a social species,
Engineer the uncertainty and discomfort out of vulnerability – this is not something which you can fix out there it’s something you have to develop inside yourself,
Trust comes before vulnerability – in reality one can’t grow without the other,
Vulnerability is disclosure – this is not about oversharing its about leaning into conversations.

Ask your team”What does support from me look like?”

Armored LeadershipDaring Leadership
Driving perfectionism and fostering fear of failureModeling and encouraging healthy striving, empathy and self-compassion
Working from scarcity and squandering opportunities for joy and recognitionPracticing gratitude and celebrating milestones and victories
NumbingSetting boundaries and finding real comfort
Propagating the false dichotomy of victim or viking, crush or be crushedPracticing integration – strong back, soft front, wild heart
Being a knower and being rightBeing a learner and getting it right
Hiding behind cynicismModeling clarity, kindness and hope
Using criticism as self-protectionMaking contributions and taking risks
Using power overUsing power with, power to, and power within
Hustling for our worthKnowing our value
Leading for compliance and controlCultivating commitment and shared purpose
Weaponising fear and uncertaintyAcknowledging, naming and normalising collective fear and uncertainty
Rewarding exhaustion as a status symbol and attaching productivity to self-worthModeling and supporting rest, play and recovery
Tolerating discrimination, echo chambers and a “fitting in” cultureCultivating a culture of belonging, inclusivity and diverse perspectives
Collecting gold starsGiving fold stars
Zigzagging and avoidingStraight talking and taking action
Leading from hurtLeading from heart

Shame 1-2-3s:

  1. We all have it. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience.
  2. We’re all afraid to talk about shame. Just the word is uncomfortable.
  3. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives.

Guilt = I did something bad. Shame = I am bad.

If shame is obvious then you have a big problem but it can exist in organisations but in a much less obvious way such as: perfectionism, favoritism, gossiping, back-channeling, comparison, self-worth tied to productivity, harassment, discrimination, power over, bullying, blaming, teasing, cover-ups….

Empathy skills:

  1. To see the world as others see it, or perspective taking
  2. To be non-judgemental
  3. To understand another person’s feelings
  4. To communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings
  5. Mindfulness

Book Notes: How NASA Builds Teams

How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers, and Project Teams by Charles J. Pellerin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I personally find the order of the book a bit confusing so I have re-ordered it here into a logical structure which works better for me.

The model has two dimensions – Information which is how you take in information from Intuitor to Sensor and Deciding which is how you take in the information and then make decisions which is from Emotional to Logical .

Sensors : like to know why something works and are not comfortable with ambiguity. They generally shy away from unproven theories and concepts.

Intuitors : are usually quite imaginative and enjoy dreaming about different scenarios, stories, or problems. They tend to live in the grey area and think outside the box. Their abstract minds constantly search for new meanings and are typically reflective.

Rely on my innter knowingRely on my observations
Think more about "what could be"Think more about "what is"
Prefer creativityPrefer common sense
Act on flashes of insightAct on careful analysis
Prefer wrestling with conceptsPrefer wrestling with facts and data
Prefer holistic perspectivesPrefer details
Love big ideasLove established reality

Emotional : the decision is chosen more because it feels right.

Logical : the decision can be proved to be right based on data and an accurate modeling of all the different parameters which may occur.

Harmony is intrinsically valuableHarmony is a means to an end
Prefer to act on "what feels right"Prefer to act on "what's logical"
Consider the people firstConsider the task first
Prefer harmounious relationshipsPrefer being right
Decide through concensusDecide with my own thinking
First, trust my heartFirst, trust my head
Intolerant of conflictOK with conflict

The two dimension result in four quadrants Cultivating (Information Intuitor and Emotional Deciding), Including (Information Sensor and Emotional Deciding), Visioning (Information Intuitor and Logical Deciding) and Directing (Information Sensing and Logical Deciding) .

Cultivating - They appreciate others , share interest in a better world, caring for others. People want to feel appreciated for what they do and to have shared interests. e.g. teacher, guru.

  • Attention - These people naturally attend to people's needs and universal values
  • Mindset - We are here as stewards - for others, family, for spiritual values
  • Behavior - Supporting others in being happy and successful
  • Results - Success without damaging people
  • Dangers - Can be victim, hyper sensitive, emotional, judgemental, unrealistic


  1. Individuals can fully meet the standard by appreciating others Habitually, Authentically, Promptly, Proportionally and Specifically.
  2. Individuals can fully meet the standard by addressing the interests they share with others, especially when conflict inhibits their effectiveness.

Including - They include others, bring integrity to relationships and build teams. To include people by appropriately sharing power, information, and recognition as well as keeping the agreements while renegotiating problematic agreements before they break them. e.g. people person, cheerleader. mediator

  • Attention - These people naturally attend to teamwork and relationships
  • Mindset - We are here to work together
  • Behavior - Facilitating teamwork and collaboration
  • Results - Success through harmony
  • Dangers - Rescuing, self-deprecating, conflict averse, needs approval, withdrawn


  1. Individuals can fully meet the standard by appropriately sharing power, information, and recognition, and avoiding wasteful over-inclusions.
  2. Individuals can fully meet the standard by only entering agreements they can keep, then rigorously keeping these agreements, while renegotiating problematic agreements before they break them.

Visioning - They constantly create and need to be the best/smartest. Reality based optimism about the future achievements and to be 100% committed to that achievement. e.g. genius, intellectual aggressor

  • Attention - These people naturally tend to ideas, concepts and being the best
  • Mindset - Big, novel ideas are the deal
  • Behavior - Generate and then promulgate their ideas (faster than other can respond)
  • Results - Success through excellence and innovation
  • Dangers - Rationalising, capricious, argumentative, critical, bostful, anti-authority


  1. Individuals can fully meet the standard by holding optimistic mind-sets, while fully embracing unpleasant realities, and then advocating appealing and credible future outcomes.
  2. Individuals can fully meet the standard by demonstrating 100% commitment to realizing their essential Outcomes.

Directing - They take organised action and direct others towards the result. Having a blame and complaining free culture and clarity on roles, accountability and authority. e.g. commander, director, executive/CEO

  • Attention - These people naturally attend to task, process and certainty
  • Mindset - Plan the work - work the plan
  • Behavior - Execute with discipline and rigor
  • Results - Success through process and consistency
  • Dangers - Blame, inflexible, judgemental, controlling, closed mindset, insensitive


  1. Individuals can fully meet the standard by avoiding blaming or complaining, and being intolerant of blaming or complaining by others.
  2. Individuals can fully meet the standard by defining and communicating their Roles, Accountability and Authority to the people who need to understand and/or approve them.

The book highlights the importance of playing in all four areas of the model they present and highlight that typically people have a primary corner in which they reside but that this does not result in the best for the person, team or project - so learning where you are strong and weaker is important to help grow in these other areas.

It provides eight questions for people to assess where they are within the model as well as where the team is. This is probably the interesting part as most other models look at just the individual but this proposed to ask the questions about the team to see how people feel about others.

Additionally the book provide some other interesting insights. The first is that the more you invest in people expanding their missing dimensions the more people improve and deliver.

When you are pitching projects think from the other side -where it the matrix are they looking form? How can we both want the same things? What is their perspective?

Another lesson was when you are coming up with a project you might need a Visioning leader however when this moves to an execution phase you might need to have more of a directing leader to keep things on track. You likely have a visioning team if:

  • Grants the most power to exceptionally capable thinkers
  • Argumentative without concern for ruffled feelings
  • Creative excellence over process and certainty
  • Process is driven by technical experts
  • If management or admin are haphazard and disorganised
  • If the members are chaotic and sometimes frustrating

Where as if you have the following you likely have a directing team:

  • Managers at the top of the org chart
  • Organised processes and management style
  • Process and certainty over creativity and excellence
  • Process driven by management
  • Management process are rigorous and documented
  • Behavior is disciplined and tightly organised

Red-story lines - to get things done you need to think in a positive way, this solves a disproportionate number of issues. Feelings such as "Improving my effectiveness is too hard" will result in no change, identifying Red story lines means that you can actively look at these and make them green.

Emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as technical skills and IQ for jobs at all levels.

Emotional Intelligence by Dan Goleman

Bring emotions to the front - identify things which make you and the team glad, sad, mad, scared and loved. Talking about these things creates a positive discussion with a no blame can do culture to fix things.

Turn blame or complaints into requests - either request something or let it go. Doing anything else is just a waste of your own effort and will get you no improvement.