Monthly Archives: October 2011

Great & Noble Versus Small

Here’s your shot of weekly inspiration:

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
–  Hellen Keller, the famous deaf-blind American author and educator.

We all like to do the ‘sexy’ stuff.  And to be working on stuff that is big and exciting.

But sometimes we forget that to enable the big stuff we have to work a lot on the small things and very often they’re not ‘exciting’.

I was watching a documentary recently about U2 and I was really surprised to see how much they practice before playing a gig.  And their process for creating new music wasn’t as ‘easy’ as I’d thought it would be.It came across as if they really worked hard at everything they did.  (And quite boring!)

I like the above quote because it reminds us to strive for excellence in whatever we’re doing right now – especially the small stuff

That will set us up for the very best next moment and when put together will add up to excellence.

There is no ‘silver bullet’.  It’s small tasks done with excellence day after day.
No harm to remind ourselves and those working with us (especially if they get distracted going after the great things at the expense of the small)

Food for thought.

Have a great week,



Why We Grow Old Before Our Time

Hi there,

No-one really gets into business for fun, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun in business. And life, just like business, can be very heavy if we let it.

Here’s a reminder of the value of playing and fun…

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

–  George Bernard Shaw.

Ironically, all of the research shows that the more we adopt a playful attitude to our work and lives, the more creative, adaptable and better performing we are.

Certainly, the best ‘over 80s’ people I know are those that have a real playfulness about them – a sparkle in their eye – and ironically they always seem to enjoy better health than their peers.

I remember speaking with a very wealthy entrepreneur who admitted he never had any fun.   Not even in his personal life.  What’s the point in that?

Adopting a playful attitude isn”t always that easy to do, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth reminding ourselves.

Have a great week,


Steve Jobs’ Sounding Board

Hi there,

I’m sure you’ve been reading a lot about Steve Jobs over the past few days.  I guess it’s an indication of the impact he’s had on the way our world operates.

By all accounts he wasn’t perfect and like us all, he had his strengths and weaknesses but in the context of what these weekly emails are about (inspiration) he certainly scored high.

I’m reading a book called ‘The Steve Jobs Way’ by Jay Elliott at the moment. Jay was Senior Vice President of Apple, responsible for all corporate operations, including HR, Facilities, Real Estate, IT, Education and Pacific Rim Sales. While he worked at Apple, sales grew from $150 Million to more than $3Billion. By many, he was regarded as one of the few sounding boards to Steve Jobs.

Here’s one exerpt from the book:
“Steve has a power of vision that is almost frightening. When he believes in something, the power of that vision can literally sweep aside any objections, problems or whatever. They just cease to exist.”

He went on to say that his vision came from his passion. Passion for great products.  Products that would change the world.

He also writes that he (Jobs) genuinely recognised that great products come from teams that are passionate and had a very keen eye for getting and keeping the right talent on the ‘Apple bus’.

Re you…

How clear are you on your vision?  And your team?

What could you do to bring more clarity or passion to it?

Write those actions down and start taking the first steps.

All the best,


Steve Jobs

Hi there,

I was sitting in a cafe at one point today with my mobile office – my iphone and macbook, and a passerby commented that it’s amazing that so many people can work remotely and on the move, and still be hugely productive.

A big part of the reason for that is Steve Jobs.  If ever you doubted that one person could have a huge impact on the world, he should quell that.  What’s amazing is that his most creative and impactful time have come in the last 8 years (iPod, iPhone, iPad etc.) – when he had cancer.   How could that not inspire anyone?

Here’s something to remember Steve by – Steve Jobs Video
(Thanks to John for sending in)


Productivity – 2 Key Areas

I’m always amazed at the impact of 2 things on productivity.

The first, is the power of ‘shut-out’ concentration.  The ability to focus on the task at hand 100% – be it making a call, being in a meeting or anything you are doing in that moment.  It’s shocking how difficult people find it to be 100% focused.

The second, is the art of ‘Rock Management’.  No, not looking after rock stars… but being able to identify the few things that make the biggest difference.  You have probably heard me rattle on about the story of the ‘Rocks In The Jar’, and how it’s a fantastic metaphor for doing well at your role in business and also you general life.

Most people in my experience get distracted with the ‘gravel’ and ‘sand’ and so the rocks get ignored until it’s too late.  (I’ve attached the complete ‘Rocks In The Jar’ story here for you as a pdf)

So here’s this week’s inspirational quote:

“The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything if you want to succeed in business– or almost anywhere else for that matter.”

-Lee Iacocca

In line with the above….

What are the 3 top things you need to focus on this week to make the biggest difference in your business? (Things that will give the biggest return for your time)

— Write them down – Put them somewhere where you look at every day and make it your business to ensure they are done this week.  See the difference.

–Pick one thing for your personal life.

Do this every week, and watch everything change.

Have a great week,