Exponentials Downunder

Growing You & Your Business

Category: Business Metaphor (page 2 of 3)

People living into their future!

Light rail 2I was visiting new clients out West in Penrith and came across these six light rail carriages reclining in a back block area with other heavy machinery and big bits and pieces.

light rail 3

Here’s someone  who is thinking about the future and putting their money where their thoughts are.

Business people amaze me with their ingenuity, innovation and imagination…eyes on the future, acting in the now.

If you have any amazing pictures of people doing amazing stuff squirreled away for the future, send it in and we’ll post it up here.


Realising what’s important

It’s been a big tough six months for me, an emotional and business roller coaster that’s taught me lots about disappointment, success and what it takes to succeed.Bill Campbell 5

Reflecting upon Bill Campbell’s passing last week (a great oak tree has fallen in the business coaching forest),  I can see the essence of the lessons that this brilliant coach shared with his clients and mentees:

  • Teamwork,
  • Structure,
  • Integrity,Bill Campbell 3
  • Accountability,
  • Passion,
  • Hard work,
  • Empathy,
  • Love,
  • …and Communication

Thanks for that Bill.

Not only that, in the work he did with the pioneering founders of Bill Campbell 2technology driven entrepreneurial companies, where there were no text book case studies or proven methodologies to guide people from.

Nobody had the magic formula.

You just had to take a risk, try something out, test and measure it, adjust and innovate, test and measure, adjust and innovate.

People like Bill encouraged their clients to make as many mistakes as possible and quickly learn from them, adjusting their strategies and actions, moving constantly forward.

Old school measures your success on the way you comply with the old ways of doing things and following the road map.

New school is all about throwing your hat over the wall and working hard to find a pathway to make it happen.  There is no road map.

There’s been some good lessons from all of this for me.

In the wild west of the coaching forest, it’s full of cowboys and loose cannons shooting fairy dust.  A giant and great oak tree has fallen in this forest.  It’s legacy shows us all the way to play a great hand in our work.

I aspire to walk in Bill’s footsteps and stretch myself to fill his shoes in my part of the coaching forest.

Portrait 3

Phew! That’s big! Do you want to work with someone like this? Email me if you do.

Bill Campbell Laid to Rest

Bill Campbell, legendary coach, his work lives on even though he was laid to rest yesterday.

Not only was he the coach of Silicon Valley, coaching great leaders like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Larry Page, he was also Bill Campbell 4a operating football coach.

Famous for his straight talking as well as his colourful language, Bill is the gold standard for business coaches to aspire to.

A great listener and a person who instantly instilled trust, communicating to the person he was with that his only interest was them. His mentee Ben Horowitz says: “In Silicon Valley, five thousand people think Bill is their best friend. Whenever I struggled with life, Bill was the person that I called. I didn’t call him because he would have the answer to some impossible question. I called him because he would understand what I was feeling 100%.”

Because leaders and founders trusted Campbell—his empathy, experience, and discretion—they sought his counsel.

Because he was their biggest fan, they adored him.

Even when Steve Jobs declared war on Google, after it launched a competitor to the iPhone, Campbell continued to separately advise both Apple and Google.

Campbell had executive experience and technical skills that went far beyond being a sharp questioner and an empathetic listener.

Bill is the unseen hero, who has supported leaders to do great things and seize their destiny and success.

Rest in peace Bill.


Business is really a tough game.

In 2009, I surveyed my clients with a questionnaire.

I was completely surprised by the result.

Out of the 46 who replied, all of them answered one of the questions the same way.

The question was:

“What were you doing before you decided to get a business coach?”

They all answered the same:

“I was standing at the edge of the cliff.”

…and three of them added:

“I was getting ready to jump off.”

On reflection, my surprise came from how quickly my clients had turned themselves around from such a dark and tortured place.  All I remembered about my clients was their courage, focus and the amazing results that they created out of that.

I’d forgotten the state they came in with.

Business can be brutal.

The stress that gets created by the  pressure of mortgages, financial obligations and family responsibilities can really stop you thinking clearly.

In 2009, I knew I’d helped stop at least three people from suicide.

I’d helped the other 43 turn, with these three and do whatever it took to make their businesses profitable and their lives live-able.

In fact, all of my clients fell back in love with their businesses and their lives.

So, if you know of someone in business who is standing at the edge of their cliff,  who is not able to think their way through their business problems, who are stressed out and overwhelmed, you should either let them know…or let me know.

You might just be the person who turns them around.

Portrait 3

You know, no-one can think properly when they are stressed-out and overwhelmed. email me to get some relief and clarity, moving forward.


There’s one simple reason why a few people do this really well.

They have distinguished the different areas of their lives.

It’s simple.


You identify and name the different areas of your business life.

You identify and name the different areas of your personal life.

You identify and name the different areas of your community life.

You identify and name the different areas of your education life.

You identify and name the different areas of your spiritual life.

You identify and name the different areas of your recreation


Then it’s easy

Once you name something, then you can organise it in your mind, in your schedule and in your life.

If it’s not named, as far as your mind is conc

erned, it doesn’t exist.

Naming things has a great power in your life.

Hocus Focus

is the magic that happens when you can put yourself wholly and without distraction into an area of your life.

Naming the areas of your life is the first step for you to be able to perform this magic trick of productivity.

Hocus focus - amazing what happens when you find some clarity! email me.

Hocus focus – amazing what happens when you find some clarity! email me.

The Power of a regularly revised Personal Vision

I started the year 2016 with a written vision of my quarterly goals achieved.

I recorded it on my phone and listened to it from anything from 4 to ten times a day.Listening to my phone

It’s been a remarkable and very focusing experience.

There’s lots of literature about the power of the subconscious to help you manifest your achievement of your goals.  This is not what I’m writing about.

You see, it’s been the simple things.

TimetravelThe remembering what’s important to me, unique from everyone else’s competing agendas.  I know what’s important to me, more than ever.

Being able to navigate through my emotional states as well as the occasional attacks of self doubt.

Being able to see what’s needed in my projects: the infrastructure, the detail that I would never had seen  if I hadn’t been regularly visiting the future of me achieving my goals.  There’s been several examples of this.

Being able to experience the meaning of my life and my work.  The vision gets me to see this clearly and helps me experience it in my everyday work.

It’s working for meand it could work for you.

All you need to do is to write your quarterly (or whatever) goals, in present tense (as if you are already experiencing the achievement of your goals), with vivid emotional language attached to each achievement.

Then record it to your cell phone and see what happens for you when you listen to it 2-8 times a day.

Let me know how you go.

Hocus focus - amazing what happens when you find some clarity! email me.

Hocus focus – amazing what happens when you find some clarity! email me.


What’s special about me

Hocus focus - amazing what happens when you find some clarity! email me.

My son and my wife make me special.

My son, who has Downe’s Syndrome is why I’m special.

He’s given me my emotional roller coaster, with incredible highs and gut wrenching lows.

He’s had me to protect him against judgments and stares that don’t understand his special gifts

He’s taught me that patience begins at the limits of my patience.

He taught me more about compassion, moving forward, and around getting past obstacles than anyone else I’ve known.

He’s given me greater faith, brought me closer to my God and made me a special man.

My wife,  Rose, strong, beautiful Maori woman, makes me special.

She makes me laugh in my body, my mind and my spirit.

Her culture feeds me spirit, love, society and tribe

Her spirit opened doors I never would have never explored.

Her family has nurtured me and given me responsibility of care.

What else makes me special?

I was the son of a soldier whose wounds ran deep,  a prisoner of war for four years.

From my early years, my mum would take my sister to sit in my grandmother’s room and talk woman’s business. My job was to sit at the table and listen to my father’s war stories – it wasn’t an easy job.

I realised when I was four years old, that he hadn’t told me one of his recurring stories for quite some time.

I was convinced  my listening  helped him rid himself of that story.

From then on, I listened carefully, deliberately & actively to his stories.

I was trying to heal more of his wounds.

He did stop telling a lot of those stories, and I developed a special skill I use every day now.

You see, I learned to listen with intention

… and that’s what’s special about me.

Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone

The Real Story about Your Business

This is not a business coaching story.

It’s a business owner driving growth story.

I understand there are some people who would like the words: “Business Coach-driven” come out of our client’s mouths.

Honestly, I don’t care.

We are using coaching to leverage business owner’s best thinking to drive innovation and to win at the point of sale, which is fundamental to every business.  Full stop.


Clutter, Stress, Overwhelm and the Law of Diminishing Returns

1.  Clutter

There are many forms of clutter.  Your desk may be cluttered, your office may be cluttered, your sales offering may be cluttered with irrelevant products, your job description might be full of tasks you could be delegating, your staff might be cluttered with non-performers and low level players, your clients might be cluttered with low level customers, who are difficult to deal with and slow to pay, your head may be cluttered with negative thoughts or a lack of clarity, your business plan might be cluttered with too much detail.

When your environment is cluttered, it’s hard to think clearly.  The opposite of clutter is clarity. Zen.  Where there is nothing there, that doesn’t need to be there.

If you want an experience of Zen, go visit a fire station or an Apple Store.  There is an absence of clutter.  It’s refreshing.

2.  Stress

Stress often is birthed  by clutter.  Stress happens when you want to work hard and fast and all the clutter hangs onto your legs, slowing you down.

Stress is not good for business owners.  Not only does it affect your work, your staff, your family and your cat when you are stressed, it also affects your thinking.

The flight-or-fight-response drains the blood from your brain and channels it to your legs, so you can run faster and to your arms so you can hit harder.  When you are stressed, you simply don’t have enough blood in your brain to think resourcefully.  You are generally reacting to circumstances instead of pro-actively re-forming situations.

Your business needs as much smarts as it can get.  Especially from you!

3.  Overwhelm

Overwhelm is the toxic child of a marriage between clutter and stress.

Business owners who have clutter and stress in their businesses, often attempt to eat elephants – well maybe not real elephants, but they often try to bite of more than they can consume.

It’s firstly a symptom of desperation, secondly, a sign of mis-judgement and thirdly a thesis in a lack of planning.

It all gets too much, the stress shuts down your thinking completely as you drown in the clutter and abdicate your ability to do anything constructive.  It’s not pretty.

Of course, your stress and overwhelm levels will be toxic, if you have neglected to have regular breaks and holidays.  Most business owners pass up on holidays and avoid breaks so they can get stuck into more work.

Unfortunately, this leads you to a state called :

4. “The Law of Diminishing Returns”

When we react to change by working “Faster, Longer & Harder”, then we start heading toward the state of mind, body, physics and economics known as “The Law of Diminishing Returns”

Simply put: “The faster, longer and harder you work strategy gets you to a stage where you work faster, longer and harder, but you achieve less and less results.”

Does that look familiar to you?

Alice in Wonderland met someone like that called the Red Queen, who was running all the time to achieve the same result as she used to achieve with normal effort.

You can only keep this up for so long.


Google’s Lessons in Building Great Teams

Notes this lengthy NY Times piece “In 2012, the company (Google) embarked on an initiative – code named Project Aristotle – to study hundreds of Google’s teams and figure out why some stumbled while others soared.

More specifically:

What interested the researchers most, however, was that teams that did well on one assignment usually did well on all the others. Conversely, teams that failed at one thing seemed to fail at everything. The researchers eventually concluded that what distinguished the ”good” teams from the dysfunctional groups was how teammates treated one another. The right norms, in other words, could raise a group’s collective intelligence, whereas the wrong norms could hobble a team, even if, individually, all the members were exceptionally bright.

So what are the right ways to act (norms?)?

Google discovered two specific attributes of teams that highly correlated to success or failure:

  1. Conversational turn-taking: ”As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well, but if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.”
  2. Average social sensitivity: “a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues.”

Together, these two factors provide what is called psychological safety – team members feel safe taking risks in expressing ideas and feelings.

How you create these factors is the bulk of the rest of the article.

If you only read one lengthy article this week – this is the one!!

You’ll pick up many fabulous jewels that will make teams more productive and effective.

Set your direction. Identify where you are at. Start your engines! email me.

Leaders are readers. Disrupters put their learning into action. email me.

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