The Cruel Charade of the Personal Development Industry & Why it’s Bad for the Environment

Wouldn’t it be great if hard work really did enable you to achieve your goals?

In order for it to be a possible you would need to be motivated and have the resources. If that is the case, a good performance coach could help you achieve those goals.

If I’m coaching a business owner, they will usually achieve their success because they’ve got the resources and they’re motivated. But there can be a downside.

Somebody can achieve goals and realise it wasn’t worth the effort and neither is it worth keeping up the charade of ‘being seen’ as successful.

French chef Sébastien Bras, having achieved three Michelin stars, realised it wasn’t worth the effort to maintain them and so handed them back. The Michelin stars were not aligned with his motivation or values. They were not ecological.

The personal development industry probably started as far back as the Axial period which occurred around 500-300 BCE. This is when humanity experienced a cognitive shift from a narrative style and acceptance of what happened as being beyond our control, to one which was more reflective and analytical.

It also helped us focus on longer-term meaningful goals as opposed to short-term materialism. This was enabled by the invention of symbols and writing which we used as memory tools but also helped us reframe our own lives.

It was now possible to understand the effects we and others have on the systems around us. Which, given the situation within the world presently is obviously not being utilised effectively by the winners of this paradigm.

As the agrarian revolution became established, we see that warfare increased as the already powerful people grasped for more land and power. This was the beginning of capitalism.

A good performance coach would have been useful then because not only do wealthy landowners have the resources to achieve all the goals they desire, they’re also highly motivated being infected with greed and self-importance. So, a performance coach appearing as a Machiavellian bureaucrat could help them identify strategies and opportunities to increase their wealth.

However, at what cost?

As chef Sébastien insightfully realised, the goal is not WISE.

Worthwhile – Is the goal worth the effort in terms of resources and impact on your health and wellbeing?

Inspiring – Is it a long-term goal which will be a positive benefit to the world?

Stretching – Will the goal stretch me personally making me a better person?

Ecological– is it ecological? What do other people and the planet think about it?

We have to think more in terms of ecology. The universe and nature do not move in straight lines powered by simplistic philosophies, which is where the pseudo-scientific world of personal and professional development world abound.

For example, if you were to examine any business from an ecological perspective and ask

“Is your business profitable?”

Then you would, if you were to add back into the equation all the external costs such as pollution and waste which occurs, realise most businesses are not.

We work in a world which is unfair and unequal. The rich don’t play by any rules that the rest of us abide by. They have armies of accountants and lobbyists to keep it unfair.

Being told you’re not winning because you’re not motivated enough, not in possession of the right skill set or got the right coach, is only half the story. That philosophy plays right into the hands of the winners to keep them winning.

The system isn’t able to operate on everybody being successful in a way which suits the status-quo.

Only some people are in the right place and time to be competitive enough to be successful entrepreneurs. Not everybody can or wants to be a tech-digital superstar.

The world of capitalism is based on compete and control, so is only designed to suit some winners. If you’re being coached on chasing somebody else’s version of success then you might want to think again.

Setting goals that are not ecological are usually bad for you, your connections and the environment. We will not transform the world overnight, but by becoming more eco-system literate, we can shift our thinking to when compassion, collaboration and meaning mattered more than material success.

As a rebel, maverick, coach or leader, you can learn to become better at setting more ecological goals. You might not achieve success based on other people’s version of success, but you might be able to see more of reality and perhaps gain insights on how you can make a positive impact in the world.

If you’d like an introduction to Eco-Coaching join me here: https://tinyurl.com/EcoCoaching

The winners of this paradigm are not going to save the world.

They’ve no interest in doing so. they’re okay.

There’s little point trying to persuade them either, but what is crucial, is to not be duped into thinking, that they’re going to save the planet’s biosphere OR create social justice.

They just want to appease you long enough until they reach retirement age.

If you’re stuck in a goldfish bowl swimming around in a system of inequality, hierarchy, capitalism, tax avoidance, corprotocracy, corrupt politicians, then how is swimming in a different direction going to help?

You’ve got to look at the systems and challenge the system by building new pathways to a brave new world.

You’ve got to get out of the Goldfish bowl and swim in the uncharted oceans of possibility.

Not easy I know!

#leadership #teamwork #community #systemsthinking #paradigmshifting

Better Business Summit

When change agents don’t speak out because they’re scared the system will reject them, then there are no pioneers, rebels or mavericks… Just managers and enablers of the status-quo.

Fortunately 👩🏻‍💻Hannah Cox FRSA FRGS kicked off the The Better Business Network Summit which brought together courageous collaborators on a mission to transform the paradigm we’re living in.

It was a privilege being asked to be on a panel on Day 2 and then be co-leading the Freshwalks around the hills of Edale.

The Great Outdoors is an excellent arena for meeting, talking, being inspired, getting into ‘flow’ states and building resilience. it’s important to challenge ourselves often.

The stoics call it voluntary challenge, an essential activity for change agents, because they face mighty challenges. Challenging the status-quo is not for the feint hearted. it was an honour to spend a day out in the hills with this plucky community:)

#network #community #business
#change
#leadership
#mavericks
#rebels
#changeagents
#bethechange

Adventure Based Learning Experiences (ABLE)

ABLE is effective in helping organisations solve their most pressing people development challenges. ABLE enables a myriad of opportunities to effectively learn leadership, and team performance skills, which are impactful and memorable.

As they’re uniquely designed to fit an organisations needs, they not only provide a shared learning experience, they will highlight and change behaviours and attitudes quickly as well as build cohesion amongst a team.

Real change happens when leaders and teams work differently in some way.

Whilst the world, after several systemic shocks, is unquestionably more challenging the potential to harness commitment, collaboration and coherent decision-making under pressure, is profound.

The ability to adapt is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It has been elevated to an ‘essential to survive and thrive’ in the near and medium future.

Agile, Confident and Enterprising teams are at the heart of organisational life and their effectiveness strongly influences the success of the enterprise overall. Times are both challenging and for those with the correct mindset… exhilarating!

Secret Agent Missions & Training days will test and build each participants’ skills at strategising, prioritising, collaborating, communicating, thinking on their feet and; not over-thinking as they race against the clock to solve a mystery or rescue their kidnapped boss.

Give me a nudge if you’re intrigued.

#leadership #team #superteam #smallteamsmakethedreamwork #leaders #training #development #peopleandculture #adventure

Adam Smith, the grandfather of capitalism said:

“Concern for our own happiness (self interest) recommends to us the virtue of prudence (self-command), concern for that of other people, the virtues of justice and beneficence –- of which the one restrains us from hurting, the other prompts … (us) to promote that happiness.”

He didn’t intend for some people to become extremely wealthy at the expense of everyone else and everything else including nature.

Much like the stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius, Smith believed in the virtue of moderation because it threatens our social structure and the capacity for effective decision-making when you confuse wealth and power with wisdom.

Unfortunately, economists seem to have taken what benefits elites and ignored the warnings for excess.

How will business leaders operate in a future world which can no longer accept simplistic and short term thinking, decision-making and hierarchy?

#power #happiness #leadership #ecologycheck #decisionmaking #decisionmakingskills #complexity #future #business #superteamconcept

Too Many TAPs, Not Enough STOP’s, We Need More LEGO

When I wrote my Book: ‘From Mercenaries to Missionaries’ I wanted to give entrepreneurs, executives and managers tools around leadership and teamwork that are sublimely simple and easy to implement. Too much of the leadership lexicon has fallen into the realms of academia. Nothing wrong with academic study, but academia is often the activity of proving what’s already known. Academia didn’t invent mindfulness but we have people who can explain the neuroscience of mindfulness but don’t practice mindfulness, teaching mindfulness.

Moreover; we sometimes experience academics developing philosophies from observed behaviour then presenting it as logic. Milton Freidman did this with shareholder greed. Just because it happens doesn’t make it right because an intellectual said it. On a couple of occasions recently, I have found myself talking to some learned people, or rather they were telling me I was wrong, when what I already knew from experience, was true.

TAP’s – Tools To Accumulate Power.

Ever since the agrarian revolution, competitive people have used technology to hoover resources from a wide area and funnel those resources into a place where they can control the supply. Like our water supply, drawn from a wide area and funnelled into a tap. In a household the water is shared freely, but not in business.

When you develop control of a resource in a capitalist system, you are not going to share the resources equally, you’re going to exploit the situation. Hence why trickledown economics has never worked. It was just another BS explanation which is used to perpetuate greed. Old world examples include the Oil Industry and Banks. They’ve been hoovering up local resources whilst holding the world to ransom and passing the costs of pollution and debt slavery onto society for a century.

The latest example is the ‘platform economy’. This is just another TAP and code for the ‘monopoly economy’. Recent platform examples include: Amazon- hoovering up the local economy, Facebook – hoovering up our attention, Google- Hoovering up information and ad revenue. Most tech ideas have the potential to make our lives and the world a better place. But the challenge comes when people don’t understand why in our present culture they soon become weapons of subjugation.

Platforms combine network effect and first-mover advantage to gain enough users which then makes them immune to competition. With monopoly comes monopoly behaviours and as other large organisations identify the benefits of using the platform effect, you can guarantee that there’ll be more bad behaviour on the horizon.

We need to understand that given an opportunity people will revert to an earlier evolutionary psychological state which is dominance hierarchy. Basically, our inner-monkey will not let go of the ‘Apple’ once they’ve a firm grasp, even if it is detrimental in the long term. Once a person or small group have achieved dominance, they begin to believe their own nonsense and develop a sense of entitlement. They delete, distort, generalise and convolute whatever information is available to argue their point, even to the point of calling in divine powers to back their case. Kings, Queens and Presidents have been at this for centuries, aided and abetted by Bureaucrats. No matter how much media exposure reveals them to be ordinary and somewhat quirky people who managed to gain an advantage, they still sit in castles and big white houses. Tech moguls are the new royalty.

Research of contemporary hunter-gatherer communities revealed them to be rather egalitarian. They were able to live in a less stressful social existance because they employ STOPs- Strategies To Overcome Power. If a hunter returned with a prize, the rest of the community would, in a good-naturedly way, mock him because they wouldn’t want the hunter to become too big for his boots. They understood arrogance, entitlement and hierarchy was not good for their communties well-being.

STOPs range from satire to assassination, rock throwing to revolution. It’s a way to redress the balance when hierarchical leaders exploit their position too much. Unfortunately, there is little appetite for making the world a fairer place, everyone in tech wants to become the next Larry Page or Jeff Bezos. As these tech giants rise in power, their ability to externalise costs onto society and the environment increases. If Facebook and Amazon had to pay for the damage they’ve inflicted on democracy, the environment and the public’s mental health, to name a few dmaging examples, they’d be bankrupt pretty quickly. They operate under a façade of delusion just as the tobacco industry did.

What we really need is more LEGO – Local Economic Generating Opportunities. TAPs focus power into small areas, we call them cities and of course if you are not part of the tech digital world, there shortly be very little for you to do unless you find opportunities to generate local economic opportunities. Brexit and the pandemic have revealed how reliant we are on extended distribution lines which are fragile and polluting.

What if we followed the doughnut, circular economic and employee ownership philosophies?

I believe these aforementioned ideas are just a return to a more natural evolutionary advantage we’ve forgotten in the pursuit of the capitalistic delusion. If tech people focussed on building local resilience with platforms then it wouldn’t have to be doom and gloom, they could probably be a force for good. Then tech entrepreneurs could shift from being Mercenaries to Inspirational Leaders on a Mission to make the world a better place.

Using friendly competition to boost performance in your business…

Competition is seen as a natural part of life and work. There is always a creation stage when an idea must compete for its place in the world. You have to compete for a new job. The entrepreneurial stage in business is when the start-up must prove it’s worth and activity is primarily about winning customers without which the product or service will not survive.

But not everybody enjoys competition whilst some people thrive on it. Leaders have to be careful that when they frame competition that it doesn’t create anxiety and negative impacts on people’s wellbeing.

Competition increases psychological and physiological activation and exercised correctly leads to creativity and supportive behaviours. Done incorrectly, competition leads to cheating and sabotage as we’ve witnessed by banks leading to long term pain for the organisation, employees and clients.

Competition needs to lead to happiness not humiliation if you want to get positive outcomes.

Here are some key points to consider.

Compete originates from the Latin Competere meaning to strive together to achieve a common purpose. Chances are that competition was a key driver of human progress along with the peak performance flow states that competition can engender. It is important to remember that humans collaborated their way to the top of the evolutionary tree, probably in friendly competition.

Constraints

Introduce constraints and be clear about boundaries and ethical values that you are all agreed to upholding. Research has shown that saying the Lord’s Prayer before a competition decreased the cheating that took place by a group of students in a test when the answers were easily obtainable.

Open to Feedback

As a leader encourage the right behaviours and attitude by modelling them such as being open to feedback. Also, introduce the concept of ‘After Action Reviews’ so that the focus is on improving the behaviours and processes not just achieving the results. Keep it non-threatening and friendly.

Mutual accountability

Measure team results more than individual results so that the team members are mutually accountable to each other not a manager. Peer pressure is more effective than dominant pressure. We feel more compelled to help our own people more than a person who is not ‘one of us’.

Purpose vs Material

Make competition success about improvement and personal growth, don’t design rewards purely based on money or status. If you introduce monetary and status rewards then it can lead to jealousy and resentment. Peer-to-peer recognition is useful as we do enjoy basking in the limelight sometimes, even the quieter team members.

Excellence

Regularly emphasise that the aim of competition is to encourage the pursuit of team excellence. If an individual achieves great results, that process should be modelled and shared with the other team members.

Team Building

Brain storming sessions, quizzes around work, shared social experiences are all excellent ways to bring people together and build esprit de corps.

Egalitarian

In military special forces units, hierarchy is shunned and people are recognised for their indivdual expertise. They’re not encouraged to be clones but have individual skills. If you promote egalitarianism and appreciation of individual strengths in your organisation, then it will encourage creative teamwork but harnessing that creativity is a skill.

Collective intelligence from a diverse group is just as effective as having a lone genius- and there aren’t many lone geniuses around- so work on boosting team engagement.

With everything that has happened this year and how that will impact us all going forward, when would now be a good time to make facilitating effective meetings, decision-making and learning to use collaboration tools for effective communication and coaching, a core competency in your business?

Interested in learning more? Mission Power meeting Facilitation Online Course

The 4 Responses to Big Shifts

About every decade or so there are shifts. Big impacts land which affect personal and business domains. For some people its good news and for others not so.

I personally think this is part of a universal life cycle which encourages evolution. I also think that big changes are happening more often due to advances in technology and because of environmental and ecological challenges which are reaching critical threshold points.
I would suggest that the current situation – in the middle of a pandemic – is only a small wave within bigger ones to come , unless we dramatically transform our intentions, modus-operandi and social systems.
I’ve observed these responses in clients and often a mix of all four and this is how I explain it.
We have four basic operating systems, thinking, doing, feeling and sensing/communicating. Individually we have preferences for some over the others. But we are able to use all four with self awareness and training and need a blend. This is our evolutionary advantage to work as collaborative groups.
Our basic intelligences become archetypes. In paleolithic times it was probably Hunter/Gatherer- Shaman/Scout. Nowadays in business leadership we call them Entrepreneurs/Coaches- Managers/Founders. But again, we can utilise all these operating systems if we’re situationally and self-aware enough to realise what operating system is required and when.
So when we experience change, it’s a good idea as a leader to understand the paradigm you’re in and where the next paradigm will take you and what you need to do to thrive.
Before COVID we all operated within particular societal and personal paradigms. Now we’re not. We’re having to respond to what’s happening. Here are the four responses that we’ll see.

Collapse

Some sectors like hospitality are experiencing a collapse. With the best will in the world, the pandemic is going to be here for the rest of 2021. It’s not likely that some industries will ever come back the same, if at all. When that happens all is not lost, there is potential within the people which can be re-directed. Firstly, it needs acceptance of reality and as Buckminster Fuller advised:

Don’t Fight the Existing Reality,

Create a New One Which Makes the Old One Obsolete

It then needs a Founder mentality to create new ideas and bring together people with renewed purpose. People can re-organise, make new connections and create something new. Much like the mythically Phoenix, rising from the ashes they’re often a lot more resilient after experiencing post-traumatic growth.

Consolidate

Some people and industries will find themselves in the enviable position of being able to consolidate their position. This time around, the circumstances have suited the incumbent and they’re able to reap a fine harvest, push ahead of their competitors and even aquire some of them.
For them, they were in the right time at the right place. They’ll probably carry on their modus-operandi by managing the basics well. It would be prudent to remember that whilst they’ve been fortunate this time around, next time, and there will be a next time, the paradigm shift might not be so accomodating and smaller competitors may leapfrog ahead of them. It would be useful to remember:

All Glory is Fleeting

Change

When shifts occur, some people will find themselves not in collapse or consolidate but in a fight for their lives. This is when the manager will make changes and prune the organisation looking to cut costs. The entrepreneur also comes back into their own and motivates the team to tackle the challenges head on. Of course:

Lessons are Repeated

and it will often need more than change to survive in the long term. There maybe a need for some radical transformation and creativity.

Create

Whenever there is a crisis there will also be equal and new opportunities. But it will take a Founders mindset to spot the:

Diamonds in the Dirt & the Gold in the Grit

Then it will take a collaborative and highly engaged team to bring the new ideas, products and services into existance. They will become the foundation for a new paradigm and may even become the next dominant players, utilising all the latest technology and achieving more with less.
We’ll probably find that we’re implementing more than one of the four responses mentioned. This is when leadership skills are important. Leaders must rise above the storm and get clarity on the situation, then leverage the potential of the situation and people.
If you need a sounding board to help you get clarity, get in touch
Martin Murphy – Catalyst

OPERATION BUTTERFLY (TOP SECRET)

When I was teaching leadership to intelligence agents in a far off land, they explained to me that although they loved the concepts they feared they would encounter resistance in the bureaucratic systems they work in.

We’ve all got to become leaders. I wrote a book ‘Mercenaries to Missionaries’ (see link in comments) which is about transforming into inspirational leaders on a mission to make the world a better place.

Leaders are ordinary people achieving the extraordinary, leading themselves & by example others, into a world which is socially just, environmentally sustainable & a fulfilling place to live & work.

People need 3 things to change:

ASPIRATIONAL: Who will I become?
INSPIRATIONAL: How will it benefit others?
MOTIVATIONAL: How will it benefit me?

I explained to the secret agents that they had to become like the imaginel cells in caterpillars. These cells act differently within the caterpillar, making small changes from within until they reach a threshold point & transform the whole system into a Butterfly

They were already secret agents, now they had to become SECRET CHANGE AGENTS; steadily influencing the outer world from the inside

WHAT’S YOUR MISSION?

Message if you want help!

The Trouble With Values

Values can be quite confusing, and more to the point they’re pretty useless unless you know how to action them in your decision making process.