Speaker Blogs Archives – MFL Global

How often do you check your emails?

Research has shown that we check our emails between 70 and 350 times a day, which really doesn’t leave a lot of time for the deep work – the work that creates impact, value and self-worth. As tempting as the email refresh button may be, it’s time to resist, to rethink how and when we process our emails and to get back in control, by becoming an Inbox Zero Hero. To get you a step closer, here are 4 of Graham Allcott‘s favourite email tips for you!  Don’t know Graham?  He’s the Productivity Ninja!


How often do you check your emails? 11. Set Up an Email Processing Schedule

Do you feel the urge to respond to an email as soon as it lands in your inbox? Every Inbox Zero Hero knows that you get the email you deserve – the quicker you respond, the more you get! That’s why, instead of immediately replying to emails, we think you should set up a processing schedule, which will limit you to responding to emails 2-3 times a day.



How often do you check your emails? 22. Set Up Email Rules  

Besides limiting yourself to how often you check your emails on a daily basis, you can also set up email rules within your inbox, which saves you the task of manually moving emails into specific folders. You could, for example, set up a ‘priority inbox’ in your Gmail, or a ‘do not disturb, except for favourites’ rule on your smartphone.



How often do you check your emails? 33. Start Your Day Without Emails 

It’s almost a reflex to arrive at work, start up the computer and immediately dive into your inbox. Instead of letting the content of your inbox dictate what you’ll be working on in the morning – start your day by writing your to do list or tackling your biggest task first (eating the frog).



How often do you check your emails? 44. Get Your Inbox to Zero

Maybe you’ve been working a deadline or relaxing on holiday and your inbox feels a little out of control again? Get back on track in your own time by heading over to The Productivity Ninja Academy. As a Black Belt member, you’ll have access to all our eCourses, including ‘Getting Your Gmail Inbox to Zero’,  ‘Getting Your Inbox BACK to Zero’ and look out for our Outlook tutorial coming soon!

To get more handy tips, listen to Graham’s podcast here

Brexit, trade tensions, investment restrictions and overvalued markets with Parag Khanna

With the publication of The Future is Asian nears in February 2019 and concerns mount about Brexit, trade tensions, investment restrictions and overvalued markets, Parag Khanna shares some major points that will be especially relevant for all clients in the financial domain such as investment banks, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance/reinsurance companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, private wealth managers, ratings agencies and payments companies.

As much as Brexit should be reversed, if implemented by March 2019, the UK will need a much more robust strategy around services trade agreements. As I demonstrated in Connectography, the value-added from services far exceeds that from goods and the UK is the second-largest services exporter in the world. On numerous occasions over the past decade I’ve advised the UK Foreign Office and more recently a number of senior officials on how to maximise the benefits from its new Prosperity Fund aimed at driving growth and economic partnership with emerging markets, especially in Asia. In The Future is Asian, I also document the inbound Asian investment into the UK from China and other Asian economies and what the UK must do to continue to be the leading European destination for Asian investors.


Even as the Eurozone struggles to find consensus on controversial issues such as migration, pragmatism has prevailed in the core question of Eurozone integrity. As I have been categorically stating for a decade, there will be no Grexit, nor will the new Italian government pursue the radical path of exiting the Eurozone for which it has no competence. The German and French governments continue to work with the ECB (whose next leader is to be chosen soon) to develop a mechanism for fiscal coordination and a fair mutualisation of Eurozone debt. I expect the political will to coalesce over the course of the coming year — and it will be equally essential for managing the deleveraging of major Eurozone area banks. Importantly, the Eurozone’s overall economic recovery is solid as evidenced by healthy growth, demand for business loans, and prioritising new trade agreements with Asian countries such as Japan and India. The Future is Asian contains a comprehensive chapter on how Asia can aid Europe’s economic future titled “Why Europe Loves Asia — but not yet Asians.”

US Economy

Presidents more often inherit economic trends than drive them. The Trump administration initially benefited from the confluence of a stronger labor market driving consumption growth, healthy corporate balance sheets boosting business investment, and tax cuts serving as a fiscal stimulus. As interest rates stabilise, however, the business cycle may struggle to maintain its momentum without further support from the credit cycle. This is because of weak aggregate demand owing to declining median incomes (the US is the only advanced economy whose median income declined since the financial crisis) and high inequality. Congressional gridlock over infrastructure and entitlement reforms — combined with the midterm elections and extreme political polarisation — set the course for the budget deficit to reach $1 trillion by 2020. The combination of rising interest rates and debt is eroding America’s sovereign credit, while a strong dollar and reciprocal trade tariffs are hurting US exports. We cannot expect equity markets to continue their strong run unless the private sector further expands investment in new infrastructure, industries, jobs and skills.  

The Chinese Economy

China has managed to defy predictions of a hard landing and will likely continue to use its many policy levers to maintain robust economic performance. Corporate (primarily SOE) and municipal debt represent the lion’s share of its ballooning debt — the former is being addressed by restructuring via the SASAC and the latter by policy reforms and raising taxes. In both cases, the PBOC still has more than $3 trillion in reserves to absorb write-downs and fund recapitalisation. At the same time, China is responding to trade tariffs and investment restrictions by opening key sectors from industry to finance to greater foreign investment, which continues to attract Western corporates and investors — even at the risk of accelerating the “Made in China 2025” initiative and other efforts to move China up the value chain that I documented in depth in Connectography. Indeed, China continues its rapid shift towards a services focused economy with ever less export dependence. At the same time, weakening the yuan while increasing the range of partners with which trade is denominated in RMB cushions its economy and others weary of a strong dollar. In The Future is Asian I make the case that China should not be understood as entirely distinct from the fast-growing, young and entrepreneurial Asian neighbors to which it is increasingly directing its trade and investment priorities. This provides yet another reason to be relatively optimistic about China’s economic future with the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party around the corner in 2021.

Global Trade

There is no question that globalisation is in fact thriving, but it no longer requires Anglo-American leadership, as I argued in this widely circulated article for Politico. Instead, globalisation 2.0 will be led by Asia, with China opening many doors for the region’s economies to deepen their internal integration and Europe looking both to further open China while expanding its presence in Asia’s other fast-growing and more open economies. Together, Europe and Asia’s two-way trade across Eurasia far exceeds either’s trade with America — and the gap will accelerate on the back of Belt & Road infrastructure and free trade agreements. As I explain in The Future is Asian, the greater Indian Ocean region now accounts for most global trade growth and is the new epicenter of world trade. Western firms will have to redouble their efforts to compete directly in these high-growth markets if they want to maintain market share against the increasingly confident Chinese, Indian and other Asian companies.

Asian Markets

Asia no longer belongs in the inaccurate catch-all category of “emerging markets” with countries such as Argentina. Asian markets are weathering both the trade wars and strong dollar well owing to their strong reserves, flexible exchange rates and manageable US dollar debt exposure. Even as Asia’s corporates need to finance significant US dollar bonds, overall sovereign and corporate credit ratings remain solid and local currency bonds provide a very strong cushion. Furthermore, Asian equities are relatively undervalued and provide attractive opportunities for the many Western institutional investors looking to raise their Asian exposure to generate higher yields. The Future is Asian contains a plethora of new charts and graphics attesting to Asia’s strong demographics, growth rates, trade integration, economic reforms and other indicators that I will be actively presenting.

Financial institutions should be equally interested in my geopolitical analysis of themes ranging from the confrontation with Iran, the course of diplomacy with North Korea, and the consequences of China’s Belt & Road Initiative for Russia, Central Asia, Pakistan, India and ASEAN. These topics are covered in significant depth in The Future is Asian. See also my recent CNN column arguing that Asia is already building its own foundations for the next world order. 

For more information on Parag Khanna, click here

The Pepsi Challenge and who won the Cola war by Phil Hesketh

In the decades-long battle of the colas, Coke continues to outsell Pepsi. Not because it costs less or tastes nicer, but because, we the consumer, just think that it’s better. Let me explain.Philip Hesketh

Back in the early 1980s, a series of taste tests found that most people actually preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coke. Provided, that is, they were blindfolded during the challenge and couldn’t see which one they were drinking.  However, run the challenge without the blindfolds and the results were almost always reversed. Coca Cola – or Coke as it is universally known – proved itself time again to be the real thing. But why?

Well, years later, Reed Montague and his team at the Neuro-imaging Lab in Houston, came up with an answer. His researchers discovered that the ventral putamen – one of the brain’s reward centres – behaved differently when people used only taste information than when they also had brand identification.

So, brainwashed by years of advertising telling you that Coke is better, when you see a can and take a swig your ventral putamen thinks bingo.

(My words, not Montague’s.)

Technically speaking, this area is hijacked and the neuron connections go straight to your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which is the area concerned with opinions. So your brain is telling you that you love the taste even though your taste buds may be screaming for you to gag.

So the first thing you should know about your preference for Coke or Pepsi is that you don’t really know what you are doing; so deep is the belief about certain brands in your brain. Which explains why it’s such a hard job to get people to change their mind about brands regardless of how good the product might be. You might well have that frustration yourself..

But the second thing you should know about Coke is who really won the cola war. Well not the customer for a start. If you go to any bar and ask for Coca-Cola you will often get the reply ‘Will Pepsi be OK?’ That’s because bars that sell Pepsi don’t sell Coke, and vice versa.

Maybe, these establishments would gain a marketing advantage if they were able to offer both. Because we all know what happens when you offer the customer a choice. That’s right, their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex gets all excited and they come back for more.

Incidentally, if you were Coca Cola and knew that people liked your brand but preferred the taste of Pepsi, what would you do to strengthen your market position? Of course, you would bring out New Coke  which tasted more like Pepsi. This is exactly what they did with disastrous consequences. Which just goes to show, you can’t fool all the people all the time.

Article written by Philip Hesketh.  Philip is one of the country’s leading experts on sales motivation, Philip Hesketh both commands the attention of an audience and captures its imagination. He has a potent mix of thought-provoking, well-researched, persuasive techniques and his own highly entertaining, unique brand of humour. The result? Audiences are enthralled as well as informed from the first minute to last. Smiling throughout and often laughing out loud. But more importantly, they leave the event inspired and better informed on how buying, selling, persuading and influencing actually work. His talks are always tailored to a client’s particular organisation or industry.

To listen to Phil’s podcast

I am a fraud. There I said it….

I am asked often to speak about resilience, and I do. However, the word doesn’t sit happily with me in the work place.

Having had the pleasure of working with some of the best sports people on the planet, I believe it’s more about commitment then resilience.

Darren Hardy sums this up quite nicely when he says:

“Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.

Now the difference between success and being on the edge of it is an individual’s attitude towards the importance of that commitment.

Successful athletes, entrepreneurs, and leaders understand that to achieve their goals; they have to sacrifice and invest their talent and emotion into long-term gains. They learn to lose before they learn to win.

Resilience to me is about endeavour. Trudging through things no matter how difficult they are. Bouncing back even though fate has dealt you a cruel blow – and by definition, to be resilient you have to expect and experience another. We must be resilient, merely states it’s going to be tough and hard work to see this through.

I am a fraud....there I've said it 1

I like the optimism and ownership offered by the word commitment. We must be committed rather than we must be resilient implies something different. How repeating small, sometimes seemingly insignificant actions no matter what the environment can determine our success. How we can get to where we want by understanding the necessity of consistent positive action.

Imagine you wanted to lose weight. Would you diet for one day, train for 10 hours and then expect to see results?

I don’t need to teach you to suck eggs, especially if your cholesterol is already high. You know the recipe for getting in shape. It only has two ingredients. Eat well. Exercise to burn more than you consume. Simple. The problem lies in the executionThe part most of us fail.

I am a fraud....there I've said it 2

As an aside, I have sat in front of four very good sports people, who have asked for psychological tips and gimmicks to help achieve goals. Each have come back a week later and said they tried it and it doesn’t work – do I have anything else? It’s the equivalent of training in the gym for half an hour, going back home, looking in the mirror and saying “The gym’s rubbish – it doesn’t work”. None, achieved number 1 in the world status – although two were capable.

The body, mind, and achievement of goals which are meaningful and worthwhile – takes commitment.

It doesn’t take a lot. However, it does cost us something. We need to be prepared to encounter failure, blockers, and a variety of inhibitors and continue regardless. We need to understand that the price of success is always paid in full and in advance. Failure can be part payment towards success, if we have the commitment for that to be true.

We need to understand the premise that short-term sacrifice and loss can lend itself to long-term success, but it’s commitment which provides that perspective.

Now, there is a saying ‘cobblers children have the worst worn shoes’. So therefore, I will continue with my fraudulent behaviour – Now I’ve spent time writing this, I can’t be bothered to go to the gym now, so will watch the footie instead.

I am a fraud....there I've said it 3
Article written by Jamil Qureshi. Jamil is one of today’s foremost practitioners of performance enhancing psychology and is an expert in high performing teams. As the co-founder of change agencies, We Do Things Differently, Loudhouse and JQED, Jamil has enjoyed working with a rich diversity of the most talented business and sports people and teams globally. He’s ranked among the most influential figures in British sport and has worked successfully with three English Premiership football clubs and the Ashes winning England Cricket team. He is a legendary figure in golf becoming the first-ever official psychologist with the European Ryder Cup team as well as working with 22 golfers inside the World’s Top 50.  Jamil was voted in the top 100 most powerful men in golf 2008 by his international peers.

Learn to think like the smartest business leaders in the world

When we read stories of some of the world’s top achievers or hear from the world’s best innovators, it can feel as if they see the world differently to the rest of us. It’s no surprise to discover that most of them have actually worked deliberately to cultivate this as an ability.

Over the years, the team at TomorrowToday have engaged with some really great and smart leaders, and have also worked with some of the world’s leading leadership experts who have done formal and extensive studies of the world’s best leaders.

We believe that there are 5 important ways that the best leaders THINK that is different from the rest of us. We should all learn these and do them ourselves:

1. Think in Frameworks

The difference between great and ordinary thinkers is that for ordinary thinkers the process of using models is unconscious and reactive. For great thinkers it is conscious, deliberate and proactive. Great thinkers think about their thinking.

The world’s top achievers collect the most effective mental models from across all disciplines. They test these models out and internalise them so they always have them available, and they apply them in their daily lives.

Great thinkers, good leaders and top achievers work hard to find, evaluate and assimilate as many different frameworks or mental models as possible. We all know a few already, I am sure: the 80/20 principle (for prioritisation), introverts vs extroverts (to explain personality and where people get their energy from), the scientific method of controlled experiments (so we don’t rely on dodgy evidence), crowdsourcing (an updated version of brainstorming, to find ways to hear more opinions) and social proof (the new way people seek to verify their decision making), etc.

What should you do?

Aim to add one new mental model to your toolkit each week for a month. Choose one, study it and then practice applying it.

2. Be curious, read widely and seek out differences of opinion

Not every leader is good at this, but most of the truly great leaders we’ve met are. These days, great leaders ask great questions. It used to be that the task of the leader was to have the answers to questions, but in a world that’s changing as much as ours is right now, this is no longer a defining feature of a top achiever.

Instead, we need people who are good at asking the right questions. We need to develop the habit of asking probing, insightful questions that cause others to pause and think. We need to ask ourselves questions that invite reflection, interrogation and fan the flames of genuine curiosity.

What should you do?

Start each week with a key question that will guide your week, and ask that question at least three times per day each day. My favourite question is “Why do we do it THIS way?”. You could also try: “How is this growing me?”, “What’s the bigger picture?”, “Is there a better way?” or any number of other provocative questions.

Take time out each week to decide to investigate something you don’t understand or don’t know enough about. Actively develop your curiosity and allocate time in your diary to allow your curiosity to guide your reading and interactions with others.

3. Know the limits of your abilities, and build a team around you to ensure there are no weak areas

Strengths-based development has been the revolution of the past two decades, and it works. Focus on your strengths: identify them, build on them, develop them. And then compensate for your weaknesses by building a good team around you.

What should you do?

If you haven’t done so yet, read Markus Buckingham’s “Now Discover Your Strengths” or “Strengthsfinder 2.0” by Tom Rath. Identify your strengths and the strengths of your closest colleagues and team members.

Discuss these profiles with each other, and know where one person will be strong, and others weak. A team is not just “there for each other” – a good team knows which team members do what tasks best. Work on this together.

4. Hold paradoxes in tension

The world’s top achievers don’t see the world in black and white – they are very good at seeing the shades of grey in between. They are able to recognise that there are many different ways of looking at every issue, and don’t need everything to fit into neat little boxes. They are even prepared to hold competing and conflicting ideas in their heads (at least for a time), while they wait for new information and clarity to emerge.

What should you do?

This is a hugely difficult skill to learn. It involves not just mental ability, but also the development of EQ and social intelligence. And, most of all, it requires the taming of the ego.

We can recommend one activity to you: take a topic that you are fairly knowledgeable or opinionated about and seek out someone who holds a different view to yours; then, take the time to ask them explanatory questions (as opposed to interrogative or gotcha questions) that will enable them to explain their view to you.

Do not attempt to change their view, attempt only to understand it. Then, armed with this knowledge, find someone who shares the same viewpoint as you, and try to change their mind by arguing the opposite of what you actually believe.

5. Be very clear about what levers need to be pulled

The best leaders and top achievers that we know are laser-focused, and they do this by clearing out the things that don’t really make a difference – they clear them out their minds and out of the schedules. They get rid of clutter and focus the majority of their time, attention and resources on just a few things that will make all the difference in the future.

Knowing what those things are is part of the key to being a great leader, and we haven’t found any magic formula for working out what is really important. But it does seem that this is a question great leaders ask themselves: “is what I am about to do really going to make a difference”? If the answer is “no” then they invariably don’t do it.

Of course, it’s the luxury of being in leadership that you can delegate tasks to others, but this ability to do the most important work first, and to know what the most important work actually is, is what separates the great leaders and achievers from the merely good ones.

What should you do?

Don’t just have a “to do” list. Also keep a “not to do” list. These are activities, issues or even relationships that you’re in the process of removing from your life.

Be more conscious of all your activities, interactions and relationships in the next two weeks. After each one, do a quick assessment of whether they are (a) important, (b) maintenance jobs that just have to be done, or (c) not important at all. See what you can do to get rid of at least one item from the third category each month for the rest of this year

‘Creativity and Intuition’ is just one of the 8 skills that our team have identified as the essential skills required for success in the future of work. Together with the Future of Work Academy that offers individuals and teams access to continuous learning & development via our online lessons and courses for all 8 of these skills, our team has also just finalised a keynote presentation (that can also be run as a half day or full day workshop) that addresses these 8 skills.

This is a great starting point for any organisation wanting to help prepare their people and teams for the future of work! It’s practical, challenging and provides great insights gained from years of research and working with clients around the world.

Article written by TomorrowToday – Graeme Codrington and Dean van Leeuwen

If you are interested in the keynote presentation or online lessons and courses, do get in touch

Car Share would have been right up Einstein’s street

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”   – Albert Einstein

I’m with Al on that. And I’m pretty sure he’d have been on board with me and Paul Coleman when we came up with the idea for Car Share. Two people? In a car? We only see them on the way to work and then home again? An absurd idea for a sitcom. Yes it was ridiculous. But we knew there was hope for it. There’s so much fun you can have with a couple of well-constructed characters, constrained together in a confined space like a car. So much recognisable reality to draw upon. But it was only absurd because it hadn’t been done before; because it broke conventions of how a sitcom should work, and because we had no idea what we were doing. But as Albert also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” And we had that in abundance. We imagined up a couple of characters based on people we both knew and on male and female truisms. I imagined Kayleigh’s mum had been a big Marillion fan in the 80s and named her daughter after their biggest hit. We imagined how Kayleigh could wind John up in his car, and we imagined how John would slowly but surely fall for his new car share buddy. But we never imagined Peter Kay would love the scripts so much he’d want to get on board.

And having trained hundreds of people in the art and science of creativity over the years, I know why the best ideas do at first seem absurd. Here are three reasons why…

    1. The best ideas don’t quite fit with how we currently see the world. New ideas, innovative ideas, original ideas, when we first have them or hear them, should make us stop and wonder if they make any sense. If it immediately seems altogether sensible then the chances are it’s too similar to something we’ve already got.
    2. No idea is born fully formed. So at first, the best ideas begin life as a challenging thought that has to jolt us out of our safe thinking; a seed of a thought that could grow very quickly into something wonderful, or more likely a germ of an idea that seems too absurd to contemplate, so it nestles into the fertile soil of our subconscious and when you’re least expecting it – when you’re walking the dog, or in the shower, or dropping off to sleep – when your busy conscious mind shuts up long enough for your subconscious to get a word in edgeways…. “Oi! Remember me… “ that little seed of a thought will have blossomed into a big, flowering idea that, now you’ve had time to sleep on it, doesn’t seem so daft after all.
    3. The best ideas make us laugh. Because we laugh at the truth (“Oh my God, my mate is just like Kayleigh/ Alan Partridge / David Brent / Kurtan Mucklowe”) and we laugh at surprise (“Bloody hell, I didn’t see that coming!”). And truth and surprise are the two main ingredients of great, absurd ideas. That’s why, when I train teams in how to run better ideas sessions, I’ll make sure they’re on the lookout for the laughs. If you start laughing while you’re bouncing ideas around it’s because someone has said something with an insightful truth at the heart of it, and they’ve said something that surprised you. In short, they’ve said something that seems absurd. So it’s probably an idea there’s real hope for.

So yes I’d like to think that Einstein would have approved of our absurd little idea. But just because an idea seems ridiculous at first doesn’t always mean it’ll turn into a belter.  Sex Lives Of The Potato Men sounds absurd…

Article written by Tim Reid.  For more information on Tim click here

Adam Greenfield’s latest book: Radical Technologies

Adam Greenfield is an expert in smart cities, urban design and emergent technologies. In his latest book, Radical Technologies, Greenfield discusses the new technologies changing our lives at rapid speed: blockchain beyond Bitcoin, machine learning, AI, the internet of things, 3D printing, autonomous drones and driverless cars.

The leading technology and urban thinker draws on his experience as former head of user-interface design at Nokia and his current position as Senior Urban Fellow at LSE Cities and instructor in Urban Design at the Bartlett, UCL.

A field manual to the technologies that are transforming our lives.

The evangelists of technology promise innovations—from smartphones and 3D printing to bitcoin, AI and machine learning—to transfigure our lives. But at what cost?

In this urgent and revelatory excavation of our Information Age, Adam Greenfield forces us to reconsider our relationship with the networked objects, services and spaces that define us.

We already depend on the smartphone to navigate every aspect of our existence. We’re told that innovations—from augmented-reality interfaces and virtual assistants to autonomous delivery drones and self-driving cars—will make life easier, more convenient and more productive. 3D printing promises unprecedented control over the form and distribution of matter, while the blockchain stands to revolutionise everything from the recording and exchange of value to the way we organise the mundane realities of the day to day. And, all the while, fiendishly complex algorithms are operating quietly in the background, reshaping the economy, transforming the fundamental terms of our politics and even redefining what it means to be human.

Having successfully colonised everyday life, these radical technologies are now conditioning the choices available to us in the years to come. How do they work? What challenges do they present to us, as individuals and societies? Who benefits from their adoption? In answering these questions, Greenfield’s timely guide clarifies the scale and nature of the crisis we now confront—and offers ways to reclaim our stake in the future.

“Adam Greenfield goes digging into the layers that constitute what we experience as smooth tech surface. He unsettles and repositions much of that smoothness. Radical Technologies is brilliant and scary.” Saskia Sassen, Columbia University, author of Expulsions

“We exist within an ever-thickening web of technologies whose workings are increasingly opaque to us. In this illuminating and sometimes deeply disturbing book, Adam Greenfield explores how these systems work, how they synergize with each other, and the resultant effects on our societies, our politics, and our psyches. This is an essential book.” Brian Eno

Key Steps to Ensure Your Business Meets its Performance and Profitability Potential

The financial services sector is dedicated to benchmarking organisational performance, and this information is critical to us as  individuals, be it for our own careers or as investors. Seemingly small annual differences can have a significant impact on the performance of our investments and pensions in the long term.

Our current expectations of what organisations should be delivering are less than they should be. Today, most organisations, large or small, are performing significantly under their potential. Financial experts, CEOs, and executive teams fail to see this, and consequently fail to address it. It does not help that poor performance has become somewhat common and hence acceptable.

Nonetheless, this problem can be solved at minimal cost, using knowledge that organisations already have at their disposal. Poor performance is primarily driven by the ineffective implementation of tasks and strategies. The number of initiatives or actions that are fully and successfully implemented in most organisations is only about 20–30%.Put simply, organisations have to do three things to reach their potential:

1. Ensure that everyone can do the job by putting in place the right skills and knowledge

2. Ensure that everyone wants to do the job and gives their best using their skills and knowledge

3. Focus these skills and knowledge on what delivers success for the organisation

Ensure that Everyone Can Do the Job

Consistently, evidence shows a that majority of employees do not have the full suite of required skills or knowledge to do their job. For example, time-management capabilities are often lacking. With leaders, this is even worse. I consistently find that less than 30% of leaders have been taught how to delegate effectively, something they must do every day. Unless this fundamental skill is in place, organisations can’t possibly reach their full potential.

Encourage People to Give Their Best

Having skills and knowledge is not enough to maximise performance: people must be inspired and motivated by their leaders to give their best. Employees must care about producing the best outcome — what I call ‘care’ leadership. We all know from our own experiences what encourages us to give our best effort on a day-to-day basis. But strangely, under the pressure to ‘get the job done’, leaders often fail to give their people meaningful inspiration and motivation, hence the avoidable under-performance.

Evidence suggests that less than 20% of staff in most organisations are giving their best performance. Roughly 70% ‘just do the job’, giving minimal effort, while 10% actually negatively impact on colleagues. The 70% who just do the job could potentially give the organisation 30% more ‘discretionary’ effort if they wanted to. If that 70% performed even only 15% better, organisational performance would totally transform, and quickly.

Key Steps to Ensure Your Business Meets its Performance and Profitability Potential

Today, most organisations,large or small,

are performing significantly under their potential

Making this transformation is surprisingly easy. I have proactively asked leaders around the world what made them give super performance for the best boss they ever had; the answers are consistent globally, irrespective of culture, sector, or level in an organisation. They were simple day-to-day actions, such as “[my boss] ‘asked me for my ideas’, ‘listened to me’, ‘developed me’, ‘let me get on with the job’, ‘treated me fairly and with respect’, ‘showed they cared about me’, ‘supported me’, and ‘trusted me’”. If you personally reflect on the best boss you’ve ever had — what they did and how much they inspired you — you will understand exactly how this works.

All these actions cost the organisation nothing, and can be immediately and frequently implemented. The two impactful steps discussed so far unleash the power of human neuroscience to produce positive responses that cause people to genuinely care about the outcome, the team, and the organisation. The uplift in performance is significant: fair and accurate feedback can increase employee effort by up to 39%, and telling people how what they do fits into the bigger picture by 35%. In fact, if line mangers just show they care about people, this would likely increase effort by 26%.

If this effort is made by all leaders across an organisation, they could increase the chance of outperforming competitors by nearly 70%, increase revenues by up to 40%, halve days lost through sickness, increase earnings per share by up to 2.6 times, reduce the risk of loss of talent by 87%, and help in managing reputational risk. In one construction company I worked with and implemented the above actions in, those happy to recommend the company to friends or family as a great place to work more than doubled, from 40% to 83%, in just two years.

Essentially, it is about inspiring people to want to do the job, not just telling them to do it: employees’ decision to give high performance is 57% rational and 43% emotional. A case for simply doing the job sans emotional inspiration has half the potential for success. Further, line managers account for 80% of the emotional element and over 50% of the rational element, meaning all line managers have to be good at sparking inspiration in order to get the best from everyone, not just those managers at the top.

Focus on What Delivers Success

Evidence suggests that failure to align operational activity accurately to strategic objectives could mean that 20% of operational activity is wasted. The solution is simple: regular team meetings and cascading of objectives ensure that everyone understands the ‘big picture’ and how they can align best to it; these are cost-effective but highly impactful techniques.

If the above three key areas were focused on, potential improvements would not only impact your bottom line by 10–20%, but also improve customer service, implementation, innovation, brand building, cost efficiency, and even risk management. These measures boost all critical performance drivers in a sustainable way, and all of them are so simple. In fact, people already know how to implement them. They also cost nothing to implement and can be practiced as early as tomorrow.

With this in mind, there is, in fact, no excuse for organisations not to reach their potential and quickly add 10% or more to their bottom line.

By Chris Roebuck, Visiting Professor of Transformational Leadership, Cass Business School, UK

The three most successful sales expressions

There are three sales expressions that have consistently been shown to work in almost any situation. They’re practical, easy to use and based on years of study.

Philip Hesketh 5People don’t want to be persuaded. They don’t want to be ‘forced’ to do something, so the first of the three expressions is simply this: ‘You are free to choose’.

Why does it work so well? Because it tags onto the end of your request a phrase that reaffirms people’s freedom to choose.

Their choice.

When my sons were young I would use this technique to stop them from swinging from a dangerous tree, trying to jump over a fast running stream, or just discouraging them to test the temperature of a domestic appliance by holding it against their bare skin. ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you. But it’s up to you’ I would say. Okay, so maybe it didn’t always work but, on the upside, I did get good value out of the Harrogate and District Hospital A&E service.

Chris Carpenter of Western Illinois University carried out research in this area involving some 22,000 people. What he discovered was that by simply adding the phrase ‘But you are free to choose…’ doubled the chances of people saying ‘yes’ to a request. The only phrase that achieved a higher success rate was ‘Or I’ll kill all your family’.

Just kidding.

But that would probably work too.


The word ‘but’ is inherently confrontational BUT, when used with the second most successful expression it works well.

Sales expression number two is: This might not be right for you but…’

It comes from the same basic psychology that we don’t like to be hemmed in and have our choices reduced. That only serves to make us even more closed-minded. The important thing is that the request is made face-to-face, otherwise the power of the technique diminishes.

As with all effective methods of influence rather than persuasion, this whole technique is about ‘helping’ other people come to the decision you want through their own free will. They need to feel like it was their decision. And it means they are less likely to change their mind later. Respecting people’s autonomy has the happy side-effect of also making them more open to your influence.


And the third expression is “When you say..”. Whenever someone makes a statement or gives you an objection the best way to progress the conversation is to use what psychologists call ‘linear questioning’ where you repeat back – in part – what they say so that the other person really feels that you are truly listening to them. And ‘When you say…’ helps you do exactly that.

Article by Phil Hesketh, an expert specialising in Persuasion and Influence

Diversity and inclusion are not optional

“To work in football, you need to know football.”

“We’ve already addressed diversity; we have 30 per cent of women on our Board.”

“We can’t purchase that, we’ve only ever sponsored cricket and polo in the last 50 years so let’s stick to that.”

These are just a handful of the eye-rolling quotes I have heard from C-suite professionals this past year while working in sport sponsorship, illustrating that despite appearances and PR stints, the sports industry continues to dig its heels in, ignoring widespread economic pressure.

This has created an entire industry that is riddled with a lack of diversity in almost every single way, which has far-reaching consequences beyond profitability. Although it’s often said that “Everyone knows that a diverse and inclusive process – in whatever area of sport you are in – leads to improved results” (Alex Coulson, executive director of Sport Industry Group after launching the first Diversity & Inclusion Award at the BT Sports Industry Awards in 2018), I’d strongly argue that most people don’t truly know the benefits because they aren’t experiencing them, because they just are not happening.

If you are internally shaking your head proclaiming that “this article doesn’t have anything to do with me,” then I’d encourage you to look to the two people sitting next to you at work.

If you are internally shaking your head proclaiming that “this article doesn’t have anything to do with me,” then I’d encourage you to look to the two people sitting next to you at work. Then read on.

As someone who spent almost a decade kicking down the door to the sports industry and finally being let in, I feel I have a unique perspective. While it’s now common for me to speak at sports sponsorship events, what is uncommon is to be speaking with another woman on a speaking panel. Rarer still is to see another mixed-race person on the speaking programme. While this is great for loo queues, it continues to boggle me how little has changed in that decade.

Who are we letting in?

My father is an expert in architecture.  I grew up listening to stories of him building things and have been onsite with him my entire childhood. I could tell you a surprising amount about wood. However, my exposure to architecture does not warrant me with any actual experience in architecture. It’s quite the opposite in fact (recently I resorted to watching YouTube videos on gingerbread houses with my goddaughter because mine refused to stand up).

As I am sure you would agree, it would be ludicrous for any architecture firm to hire me just because I used to be exposed to it and hear about it second-hand.  And yet, we consistently see the hiring of former sports players appointed to roles that include Commercial Director and Operations Director, as if somehow playing rugby with the team has given them unique insight into getting bums on seats to watch the game. You only see this hiring process in the sports industry. You don’t come out of the dentist with multiple crowns to then go operate on someone’s mouth.

And yet, the sports industry not only continues to use this process, but vehemently supports it with very little evidence that this selective hiring process is benefiting the organisation. It’s instinctive because it’s protective.  But it also implies that no experience is required for the majority of roles within the sports industry, so it’s no wonder we continue to hire the same type of person.

Diversity is not enough; you have to go deeper

With the onslaught of marketing messages that we receive, creativity is now vital for success. Creativity cuts through the noise and authentically connects to your fans and customers.  Without creativity in today’s challenging marketing landscape, any industry is dead.

As many people are aware, diversity significantly increases creativity by increasing both the exploration and generation of ideas. But the concept doesn’t just stop there. It is deep-level diversity that we need to create. Deep-level diversity (e.g., personality, values and abilities) rather than demographic variables (e.g., gender, age, and race) is the type of diversity which is the most influential in increasing creative output, as discovered by Mariateresa Torchia in a research study at the Reinhard-Mohn-Institute for Management and Corporate Governance in 2015.

By reviewing individual differences, one can access creativity on a more granular level – which is what is needed when working on projects and objectives for the masses (which often sport is). Conversely, creating diversity through demographic variables alone hinders creative output due to the fact that they perpetuate stereotypical and prejudiced characterisations. Therefore, putting ‘more women on Boards’ can actually hurt your aims for true diversity if those women have similar backgrounds to the other 70 per cent of the people on the Board.

Take a chance

Unsurprisingly, to make real change often takes real money, in addition to support and PR. The sad truth is there is a fundamental lack of investment in the areas that could support this ideal. From a brand perspective, no Director will ever get sacked for buying the same sponsorship platform and activating it in the same way as their predecessor. Therefore, we are lacking the investment at the outset to make these kinds of changes in any significant way. Brands purchasing sport sponsorship rights continue to be pressured internally to buy the same thing, and work in the same way – often at the reticence from their agencies. If investment does not change, then the growth of new platforms and new areas of sport remains stagnant.

Even with those platforms outperforming expectations, they often create an imbalance, rather than an influx of cash. This imbalance is prevalent across the sport sector – from the continued and exponential increase in engagement with eSports without the same increase in sponsorship investment to the increase in broadcast rights for women’s sports unmatched by the level and number of brand sponsors with women.

The lack of diversity seen with brands in purchasing sport sponsorship rights does not help the wider diversity and inclusion issue across the industry as it continues to encourage and reward the status quo.

Who is missing out?

Sadly, it’s the fans that truly miss out. Diversity and inclusion in the sports industry should reflect wider society and more specifically the split of the fan base. Diversity and inclusion issues were never brought up as aggressively historically, because this information was not so readily available. You never knew who your team’s fans were outside of your own community, and very rarely knew who sat on the Board. With the influx of information now at our fingertips, the disparity uncovered by sheer volume is difficult to ignore.

Most relevant is the fact that millennials, who will comprise nearly 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025, not only feel diversity and inclusion issues are crucial, they manifest higher levels of engagement and performance in companies they believe are inclusive. Without recognising that diversity and inclusion isn’t just a fad, but a need, the sports industry is at risk of losing its fans – both current and future.

And what then becomes the future of sport without fans?

Article written by Jackie Fast, Founder of Slingshot Sponsorship

The Bystander Effect

by Caspar Craven

I was in Annapolis in Maryland a three weeks ago at the start of my book tour.

It was just after 9am.

I’d just crossed the road and was walking down the street.

I was stopped in my tracks by a large noise.

I spun round and saw a person flying through the air. A car had skidded to a halt.

I was less than 30 metres away.

There were two people standing closer than I was.

I immediately had two conflicting reactions.

One was “there are other people there. They can handle this” And besides I’m catching a bus to New York in less than two hours and I still have a list of things to do.

The other was “my goodness some person is hurt. They need help”.

I reasoned with myself for a split second.

I remembered I’d trained as a ships doctor and had more medical knowledge than most.

Of course I had to go and help. There was no other option. It was quite simply the right thing to do. The only thing to do.

I’d attended Hero Round Table (http://heroroundtable.com) as a speaker last year and I’d recalled Ari Kohen (Professor of Political Science at Nebraska University) talking about the Bystander Effect. Where everyone stands around assuming someone else will handle things. And no one at all does anything. There are many such tragic documented cases.

As I got closer, the windscreen was smashed and the man was lying in the middle of the road. Teeth smashed in, blood running down the side of his neck. Clearly not in a good way.

No one was doing anything.

I knelt a foot or so away from the guys head and asked if he could hear me.

I asked several times before he replied.

I reassured him he’d be ok and asked his name.

He told me.

I looked to the guy standing to my left.

You sir in the red jacket, please can you call 911.

I carried on talking to the guy.

He asked if I could call his Dad.

I got the number and asked the red jacket to call his Dad while I continued to talk to him and re-assure him.

Within a few minutes the paramedics arrived and took over.

Did I do anything medical?


I simply reassured him. I can only imagine he’d be absolutely terrified.

That and making sure that the emergency services were being called.

Why do I share this?

In case you are ever in a situation like this, don’t be a bystander.

You don’t need to be medically trained.

I didn’t use any of my training.

I simply reassured the guy and made sure the emergency services were called.

Don’t be the bystander and assume someone else will do this. Evidence abounds that we assume that others will step in and reality shows that so often someone doesn’t.

Here’s the key takeaway:

In your business, in life, in everything, don’t assume someone else will do something. Being a leader means being the person to step in. 

Become a Presenting Superhero – FREE Masterclass

With Jack Milner, who has over 20 years experience helping organisations and individuals articulate and memorably communicate their ideas, working with the likes of Google, Virgin Media and Commerzbank and as varied as Microsoft, London Business School, the Department for International Development, the NHS, Cisco and MacMillan.

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