Innovation Is Not An Option

Model T Ford, Edison Quote, Modern Ford

“The only thing constant is change” is something that is proving truer by the day!

Advancements on every front is creating a ripple effect of change that is permeating every industry, society, group and person. Change is not always good - nor is it always bad. Change is what change is - CHANGE.

Resisting change is a futile exercise that will leave you exhausted and defeated - much better to work with this and be innovative. Some thoughts around this:

Challenge yourself as a matter of course: “What would my competition have to do to steal my best clients?”; “What disruption does this industry need?” (Think AirBnB & Uber) What is the biggest ‘bug-bear/irritation’ in the industry and how can you remove it?

Highlight key points in customer feedback - look for common themes and explore ways of doing more of elements that delight. Reduce/eliminate the factors that irritate. Customer feedback is key because these people are already paying for the service/product.

Adopt a continuous improvement culture where new ideas are welcomed and it is safe to make mistakes. Innovation is largely exploring what does not work, on the journey to discovering what does work.  

Notice the trends. Make it a point to stop at least quarterly and discuss trends:- PESTEL is useful here- Political Economic Social Technological Environmental and Legal. Many changes and opportunities for innovation are identified in the ground-swell of new trend - smart phones, fashion, online reviews, hover vehicles, etc

Goals can help keep some focus and ensure follow through. It is important to remember that it is people who are innovative, not organisations - set clear parameters. These act not as restrictions to innovation and change, but more as rules in a game - to give structure, sense and guidelines.

Execute - Kill the bad ideas and follow through on the good ones! An ability to focus and select 1-2 winning ideas that you can ‘own’ and take to market is much better than a dozen great ideas that take so long to come to fruition that others beat you to it. Apple uses this highly focused approach to win and excel in a few fields rather than develop hundreds of good products.

What do you need to do to ensure your business stays relevant and current? Innovation is a culture and an attitude - it enables highly responsive teams to lead the field, be early adapters and maximise the opportunities by being first to market.

Here’s to your success!

Perspective Pays Dividends

#131 Perspective Pays Dividends.PNG

Attention to detail, big picture, small actions.  How many times have you seen words spoken, and been awed at how they’ve empowered?  Or similarly how they’ve caused havoc and hurt? Are your staff trained to manage words, tone, intention?  Do they see people in and around your business premises as a delight to encounter, or a nuisance who get in the way of their tasks?

I pulled into the carpark to drop my daughter to her dance lesson, thinking how grateful I was there was somewhere to park.  The shop to which the parking area belonged would be a good place to browse while I waited for the lesson to be over and see if I could find some new cushions for the chairs we had bought from them earlier this year.  My girl ran ahead, and I parked carefully between two other vehicles, seeing a man leaning over the railing of the shop behind. I got out of the car, and headed first to make sure our offspring was in safe space. I had not even locked the car when the man’s voice drew my attention. “Are you here for dance lessons? Can you park somewhere else? Can you ask the other parents to park somewhere else too.  It’s quite rude using our carpark.”

#131 Carpark.jpg

His words were not wrong.  People can be so cheeky, and get away with as much as you let them.  It was the tone, and the mostly empty carpark that drew my negative attention. Feeling like a naughty child, I shifted my car to the empty park on the street outside the shop, and pondered my response.  I’m not buying my cushions in that shop.  I’m not buying anything in that shop ever again!   Childish?  Maybe, and I have the good fortune to be surrounded with positive people on a daily basis, so it was a fairly shortlived response, as I considered that the shop owners pay rates for and have ownership of the carpark and they can do whatever they like with who parks there or not.  

What struck me next was the short-term perspective of what difference this business ambassador could have made to my day, and in attracting me - and other customers - to use his facility, rather than turning me away. What other words that could have been used?  Would you like to have a look around the store while your daughter is dancing?  Were you planning to come in today?  I looked bad, but I had good intentions, and there was no effort to explore them.  

Then I looked at the opportunities that this business had to market to a whole people group. On the blank ugly wall, could they have advertising of the latest huge mirrors, which dancing girls would just love to have in their bedroom for practice?  Were they marketing to the needs of potential customers whose children might need furniture for their bedroom? Had they considered a people group who would be a ready audience to their marketing messages week in and week out by allowing their use of the carpark?  Even a notice tacked on the wall politely inviting dance parents to use the street carparks rather than the customers, would have been kind.

When Mike and I got married, we decided we would take our ten children on honeymoon to Samoa with us.  After several attempts to get a travel agent to help us with finding something which would work for the large group and multiple needs, we found a wonderful travel firm in Christchurch.  Nothing was too difficult for them. Their effort created a family memory and a bonding place which is a foundation everyone still remembers fondly and speak of years later. It was a challenging situation for the travel people to manage - but they made us feel valued all the way.


As a result, when we travel, we use them.  And seven of our ten children are now adults, and any time they need travel, we recommend they use Steve.  Two of them have already used them in going on overseas trips, we used them again when bringing out family from UK. The Christchurch based business wouldn’t have made much profit on that initial transaction with us, but the loyalty and repeat business which they get is multiplied. We refer them constantly and speak highly of them at every given opportunity.

What is your business doing that is spreading the flavour of your team to the public around you?  What spills out of your team when a bit of pressure comes on? How can the actions you take be tweaked or honed to make a positive difference to all the people your staff encounter, and to create a lasting impression which makes people travel further, spend more and come back time and time again to you?  Take the big picture into perspective as you’re dealing with the day to day tasks, and you will reap the benefits.

Here’s to your success!

Do You Have Self Mastery?

#124 Self Mastery IMG1.JPG

Lead yourself first, then look to lead others.  - Mike Clark

If you were an animal what would you be? Why did you choose that? What animal would you pick for the people you work the closest with? Thinking about that, how would the harmony be in the menagerie that would then be created? As humans we are all so different in many ways. Shaped by our families, upbringing, culture, beliefs, experiences, birth order and so much more. There are countless leadership articles on how to be a better leader, the 8 key traits, the 7 fundamentals, the 12 laws, etc. Working with so many leaders across a huge range of businesses I have found that the most effective leaders have one key factor in common - they have mastered themselves. So what does self mastery actually look like?

  • Settled in who they are. Accept themselves and work to their strengths and surround themselves with people who can counter their weaknesses.
  • Empathetic in nature. Their self awareness allows them to put themselves in others' situations and see things from a different perspective.
  • Like themselves. This is different from arrogance and pride. It is self acceptance that is at peace with oneself. “The man in the mirror” is their friend.
  • Freedom from other people's opinions or judgments. While input from others is welcomed, it does not dictate how they view themselves.
  • Mindset that is growth orientated. Challenges are accepted and seen as opportunities to grow and improve.
  • Action orientated. Self mastery increases willpower enabling leaders to achieve more because they master their emotions rather than being dictated to by them.
  • Set habits that help them. We are the sum of our routines and rituals and with this knowledge great leaders develop habits that serve them well.
  • Take time for what is important in their life. This includes taking time to discover what is important. Clarity allows focus. We make time for what we value.
  • Encouraging in the way they speak to and about themselves. The realisation of the power of words means leaders effectively encourage themselves and the people they work and rub shoulders with. 
  • Respect is an essential element. Respect for oneself which is reflected every aspect of how they conduct themselves, overflowing to those around them.
  • Yearning to live in the present moment, while living to be all that they can be. Leaders decide who they want to be, live this way every moment of every day and that is who they become.

Lead yourself to the life you truly want and as you do so you will be amazed to see you have followers. Step out, and become a master of yourself.

Here's to your success!

#124 Self Master IMG2.JPG

Growth Occurs Outside Your Comfort Zone

#123 Article Header.JPG

Get uncomfortable.  Sensibly and with guidance, but get there. - Mike Clark

Do you have a desire to improve yourself? Do you want a better reality than the one you currently have? Do you feel you could be more, have more, do more?

#123 image.JPG

“Personal growth” is one of today’s fastest growing industries, coming a close second behind health. Personal growth occurs in many ways and can be applied to every facet of your life. Skills are developed by doing, repetition, practise. I see skill enhancement as the honing of what you already have. A way to improve inside your current circle of comfort and ability. Today I wanted to explore what happens outside of your comfort zone.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is uncomfortable (funny thing that!). The further the stretch, the greater the the corresponding levels of caution, fear and anxiety. Often people look at others who push themselves and think it must be so easy for them. Countless interviews reveal that they “felt the fear and did it anyway.” Caution and fear at the unknown is your brain's way of keeping you alive.

When we are clear around why we want to go out of our comfort zone, it emboldens purpose. The art of visualization is a powerful tool at this step. Take time to ‘see’ the new reality and how it will make a positive difference. It is at this point where a positive, growth mindset enables action. Seeing any ‘failure’ as a learning experience. Watching kids learning to walk or ride a bicycle is an inspiring illustration of this.

#123 IMG1.JPG

Self talk is incredibly powerful. The way you talk to yourself and about yourself will either limit or liberate you. If you make a mistake or have a failed attempt and proceed to beat yourself up verbally - “Trust me to stuff this up. I never get things right. I’m so dumb”, then progress will be hard and painful. Seeing mistakes as learning opportunities changes the whole internal conversation, “That did not work. What can I learn from that? How can I do that differently or better next time?” is an far more empowering and liberating approach. The “Little Train that could” is a children's story that is a superb illustration of this. As it pulled the supplies up the hill, the mantra it speaks to itself is, “I think I can, I think I can” and as progress is made, “I’m sure I can, I’m sure I can.” Then, “I know I can, I know I can”. With this approach the end result is the excited proclamation, “I did, I did!”

One of the greatest benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone is the extraordinary ability of the human mind to correlate experiences. When we have done something we know is extraordinary for us, maybe run a marathon, or deliver a talk to a large audience we enlarge our self image. This then enables us to look at tasks that previously lay outside our comfort zone and say, “If I can do that, then I can do this.”

Growth in ability, leads to an enlargement of self image which leads to greater challenges being considered and surmounted. It is a self-fulfilling, positively trending upward cycle - growth! What could you stretch yourself to achieve today?

Here's to your success!

What Tools Do You Use?

#120 What Tools Do You Use Header..JPG

Everything must be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.  -Albert Einstein

Today finds me back hunting for time. If life is a game then time must be the gold coins you pick you with great delight and glee. They are hidden in the most peculiar places and today I thought I would share some treasures I could not do without and some I have recently found.

Google Doc and their new File Share format is amazing! We completely shifted over to this and have seen a marked difference in collaboration and finding files. A new survey by SearchYourCloud revealed “workers took up to 8 searches to find the right document and information.” “According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day— 9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.” Source: Time Searching for Information. Google sheets is a new tool we are exploring to reduce the time we spend capturing data - if we succeed on all fronts we will use less reams of paper and save 10’s of hours of data capturing.

I am grateful to Nigel Macintyre from Advance Flooring for suggesting the following social media tools that will deliver you more time in your week but maintain or even enhance your effectiveness.

Klout This is what gives you the KPI/score on how all your platforms are performing and more importantly which ones are getting used and which aren’t by your audience. A high profile person like Sonny Bill Williams or Taylor Swift can expect to have a score very close to 100, out of 100.


A very good company rarely gets past 50 but you can at least see how you are going. You link all your profiles to it. IFTTT(IF this then that) – essentially a tool you set up like a recipe that if you do something on one profile it automatically does something on others – this way you can concentrate on posting well on the ones that matter(as proven by Klout) and don’t waste time and energy on the others but it is still actually happening.

Buffer - This buffers/drip feeds your media out over whatever period of time you set which saves getting a surge of views etc when you do the posting and then nothing until next time: just spreads it out which is more appealing to followers. Task switching is a thief that is scaringly efficient at stealing time. Computers, internet and social media only make it easier to fall victim. According to, as of 2017 the daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year.

#120 Buffer.png
#120 More Sales.JPG

Reading Jill Konrath’s excellent book “More Sales Less Time”, two time-tracking apps that she has suggested for tracking digital behaviour are: RescueTime for your computer and for your phone or tablet using Moment or BreakFree. At the end of each day the programme tells you how much time you have spent on various applications as well as different websites. If you are prone to self sabotaging distractions, Freedom app will “block all online time-sucks for whatever timeframe you designate”.

Know the Course - Stay the Course

#118 Know the Course, STAY the Course Header.JPG

Success is made up more of the continual movement forward than one-off actions - Mike Clark

For the month of April we chose the topic of “overcoming.” We set the topic at the beginning of the year and it has been an interesting topic to delve into. For me the topic resonated around the resolutions I have set towards achieving our goals especially in the area of being more consistent and focused.

It has not been without challenges as I suffer from “the next shiny thing” syndrome and overcoming being distracted by the exciting, new, interesting has been too easy. The key difference this year is that I am quicker to self correct. I resolved to ‘stay the course’ this year. When I see I am off track with our annual goals I go back to what I know is important.

My 4 keys for to help you STAY the course:

Set what you want. This is crucially important. It needs to be done properly. Yes it is hard doing this. It is much easier to set some goals to sound right and move on. Don’t do this. Setting what you want requires clarity in what success looks like, why you want it and what life will look like when you achieve this. In setting your goal, ensure you set the strategic goals and the daily KPI’s. The better these are set, the sooner you will know when you are off track.

#118 Stay Image.JPG

Team clarity on the goal is key. When the team knows what they are aiming for and why, then there is an exponential amount of unified effort - synergy in motion! We all know we are far more likely to do something when we know someone is going to check on us. Leverage this tendency by regular reporting and transparent progress against KPI’s.

Action gets results. Planning has its place but it is only as good as the action it creates! Have good reporting that shows how close you are to achieving your goal. Great feedback is quick and precise and allows you to adjust your actions as necessary.

Yield of your efforts is important. ROI is one of the most important measurements in business. Ensure you are getting the return you want. Financial return is only one measure. Faith, family, friends, contribution, learning, health and wellbeing are all important make a complete life that is worth living. Your goals and actions must align and be underpinned by your values and your greater life purpose.

#118 Stay Image2.JPG

When you know who you want to be, you can set out each day and be that person and that is who you will become. Know what matters. Focus clearly on that. Start and STAY the course!

Here's to your success!


#116 Balance.png

Balance - a simple word, holding in it the promise of peace and equilibrium; sought after by cultures, countries, religions, people of every race and creed.

Do you want it? Do you have it?

Mindfulness is a current trend that holds, as one of its appealing attractions, more “balance”. Looking into mindfulness, I was intrigued to discover that it has been around in mainstream society for years under the rather boring (albeit self explanatory) title of “attention training”.

In an increasingly noisy, distracting world the growing cry for more balance is easy to understand. Be it a work-life balance, or family time/personal time; screen time/outdoor time; exercise/food – we know it is good for us but can seem to be a little elusive. A pot of gold at the bottom of the ever moving rainbow, the elixir of life, the philosophers stone! While I do not have any of those, below are what I have found works (when I apply it!).

Have a look at how you actively create balance in your life, and encourage it in your team and family.

#116 journey.JPG

Be present. Be in the moment. Every moment.

Attentiveness is a gift to yourself and other. There is greater depth and joy with increased attention to the present moment.

Live in the present. It is a gift. We are born to live not just exist. Find out what makes you feel alive and do that often.

Appreciate your blessings. It creates an attitude of gratitude. Be aware and grateful for what you do have rather than all that you don’t have. Living in appreciation makes you happier.

Now is the only moment you absolutely have control of. Live in the now. Make the most of now.

Create the life you want, purposely, with vision, persistence, and care.

Every day has its up’s & downs. Learn. Grow. Enjoy the journey!

Be Attentive, Live Appreciating Now Creatively, Entirely

Choose What To Focus On

Travel has a way of bringing the best and worst in people. After the hottest January in NZ history, the month ended with a super moon and February started off with more rain in one day than is expected for the whole month. This great combination caused newsworthy weather and, as happens, caused some flight disruptions.

Read more here

The Best and Worst of Meetings

#105 Meetings.png

The best meetings don’t waste people’s time. They add value to businesses and team members by giving them the opportunity to tackle issues collaboratively, and by involving every member. They are action- based, not appearance-based. In other words,their purpose is to get something done which needs to be done. It may be to create a product or form a strategy, or it may be to foster internal connections and an understanding of each team member’s importance in the business. They value the people and the purpose of the meeting. They have a goal, a structure and an outcome. Whether your meetings are regular or spontaneously as required; contribution, acknowledgement and action focus make the best use of the time your people have chosen (or are required) to invest in turning up.

Read more here


103 Start Article Header.png

The key to success is to start before you are ready ~ Marie Forleo

How do you create a successful business; run a marathon; raise happy, healthy children to adulthood; build a community? There is a common element in the success of these widely differing goals – each one requires a start. From flipping burgers, to running the first mile, to looking into the face of your baby, to settling in the place you live – each one is a start of something bigger – a small step in large journey. Start is a verb – a doing word. As we begin this new year, here are a few suggestions on making a START.

Read more

Most Important Client Visit of the Year

Regular client visits have long been a passion topic of mine. The little e-book “Repeat Sales Calls made easy” was written in response to a questions I often get in sales training around ‘what to say when you are seeing a customer several times in a year.’

If you regularly visit key accounts, which visit would you say was the most important?

I would argue that...

A million dollar question

Compromise can be the dove of peace or a deadly viper - Mike Clark

What would you do for a million dollars? 
Lie? Cheat? Steal?  How about sell company secrets? Murder someone? 
Many people would tell a lie for a million dollars, some waver on the cheating and stealing and many stop at murder. 

What's Important?

What moments take your breath away? When you stop to reflect on life what is front of mind? Who do you think of and worry about in moments of great anxiety? All of these are indicators of what is important. They make up the parts of your life that...

Counter Intuitive Action

“Sometimes it pays to go against your gut instinct” – Mike Clark

What would you do? You are asked to guess which one of 3 boxes has a large prize in it. You guess box 2...

Try, Try, Try Again!

Think. Decide. Start. Do. Learn. Re-Do. - Repeat - Mike Clark

W.E. Hickson is credited with popularizing the proverb: 'Tis a lesson you should heed: Try, try, try again. If at first you don't succeed, Try, try, try again.

Success is messy. It does not flow as one plans or expects...

So You Want to Change?

I am fascinated with change that is effective, and lasting.  I have to be.  Our very livelihood depends on it.

We offer a triple guarantee. If our training does not work - you don’t pay. With an offer like that - It pays to be absorbed in techniques that work.

Customer Care - Creating an Experience

Word of mouth referrals remains one of the highest lead generating marketing tools of the current day. The busier we get, the more we look to friends, family and trusted referrers to help us make quick decisions. We do not have the time or the tolerance for a bad experience. The power of referrals can be seen in one of the most popular customer surveys - the Net Promoter Score (NPS). One question is asked after each interaction...