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The Leader Within: Stuff Leaders Never Say

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Apr 07, 2014 No Comments

TheLeaderWithin - FinalThe best leaders on the planet are renowned for being great communicators.  They have, despite all their differences (Like race, gender, religion, education, jobs, etc.), become skilled at getting messages across to other people.  Messages about vision, purpose, strategy, direction, projects are  all clearly and compellingly explained so team members can easily follow.

Interestingly though, you will never hear leaders say certain things.  Here is my list of “Stuff you will never hear leaders say…”

  1. “Try” – The word ‘Try’ is just a convenient excuse for not getting things done.  If mediocre managers are not successful at getting something completed, they can always say; “Well, at least I tired.”  In there any wonder why they are mediocre?
  2. “Hope” – Hope is not a management tool.  Using the word ‘Hope’ in our daily leadership language really means; “there isn’t a plan and I am not completely confident I think this will work.”  People usually follow a manager that relies on ‘hope’ out of curiosity or fear.
  3. “It’s not my fault” – the worst thing a leader can do is not step up to taking 100% responsibility for something that wrongly happened or did not happen.  Not taking responsibility means; “that I cannot be relied upon or trusted.”
  4. “Because, that is the way we have always done it” – When I hear a manager say this, they are really telling me; “that their mind is completely closed to new ideas and ways of thinking.  They do not believe that there is potentially a better way.”
  5. “That’s not fair” – three year olds and teenagers say this – not leaders.  Life is full of up’s and down’s.  Great leaders groove with the ambiguity that life throws at us.  And when life throws us a surprise, great leaders figure out a solution.  They don’t wallow in self-pity – blaming everything and everybody for their situation.

The new brand logo at the top is in preparation for my upcoming book entitled “The Leader Within” and our multi-city workshop tour on developing leadership skills for this new, chaotic business world we are in.  The new brand… The Leader Within is all about developing the power you have within to get better results through nurturing the power of your left and right brain together for a more effective Practical Intelligence.   Stay tuned for more details about the new book and workshops coming your way.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: Home is not the place to go to when you are tired of being nice to people!

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Mar 31, 2014 No Comments

RocksLife as a leader at any level in an organization is hard.  You are faced with unimaginable stress, pressure to perform and unrelenting change in order to stay ahead against competition.

A leader’s life is full of taking the “High Road” in every situation.  Even during those times when you feel like just walking away from it all, you have to  take the high road.  Always.   No matter what.

This can be a real pain in the butt sometimes.  And, it just adds to the stress of being a leader.

And… You cannot take this stress home with you!  As I talk in about in my book, “It’s Already Inside,”  home is not the place to go to when you are tired of being nice to people.

What are you to do then?  Find a way to decompress every day from the pressure of being a leader.  Drinking, cigarettes, drugs and binge eating junk food are NOT THE ANSWERS.  Decompressing from a crazy day in healthy ways before you are with your loved ones at home, comes in all sorts of forms.  For example, you can:

  • Go for a walk.  Take your dog with you.  You will both benefit!
  • Listen to your favourite music on the commute back home
  • Take a Yoga class
  • Go to the gym
  • Sit quietly at your desk and work on your plan for the next day.  NO EMAIL while you are doing this
  • You can quite simply remind yourself about what a great life you have being able to choose freely where you are going to go, do and experience as there many parts of the world where every aspect of people’s lives are suppressed.  Write a daily “Gratitude” list of 3 things each day that you are grateful for.
  • Change the way you look at stress.  Instead of asking yourself, “Why is this happening TO me?” ask yourself, “Why is this happening FOR me?”

The stress of life as a leader is not going to go away.  It is a fact of our lives.  Since 2008, the world has got flatter, faster and more competitive.  Customers want more.  Employees want more.  Shareholders want more too.

Find your way to decompress so that you are a better leader for your organization and a better partner for someone you love.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: Leadership Mistakes – Sweating the Small Stuff

Featured, Leadership Insights Mar 24, 2014 No Comments

Small StuffAs a leader, are you working “in the business” or “on the business?”

I have been writing lately about common mistakes that leaders make.  This week I want to talk about a common mistake that I see leaders make at all levels – Getting involved in every little detail of an organization, department, project or program.  In other words, getting so into the details that you are not leading.  You are actually working in the business.  You have your finger on the pulse of absolutely everything that is going on and most likely, not actually getting anything done and getting in the way of those that are supposed to be doing what you are interfering with.

As leaders, our job is to set direction that will enable our people to deliver on a vision that aligns with the purpose and values.  Working “on the business” allows us to do exactly that.  Keeping yourself out of the weeds of the details enables you to see the big picture and position for corrective action or to take advantage of an opportunity.

When you are working “in the business,” you will discover that you are working ridiculously long hours with a group of people that are not engaged or empowered.  Stress and pressure will be crazy.  By Friday each week, you will be exhausted and your “to-do” list will be untouched.  Your energy will on empty.  Sales will be off target.  Customers will be unsatisfied.  Costs will start to get out-of-control.  Productivity will be low.  To counteract all these negative trends, you may find yourself working even harder and getting more involved in the small stuff.

You will find yourself telling your loved ones that; “This crazy period at work is just temporary.  It will get better.”  Guess what though?  It won’t get better until you stop sweating the small stuff and start working on the business.

Let your team do their jobs.  You need to stand back and lead.  Your job is to make sure the vision is clear, the team know their roles and responsibilities, the strategies (or baby steps towards success) are dear and you are keeping an “Air Traffic Controllers” eye on the progress.  Than, focus on catching people doing things right!

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: Making Time for Your Team

Featured, Leadership Insights Mar 17, 2014 No Comments

MBWA 2My title above may be confusing in that you “cannot make time.”  You have all the time you are going to get.  You have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else on the planet gets.  You do though, get to choose how you spend your time.

Common Mistake number two that I see over and over again amongst the leaders that occupy the 97% circle of mediocrity, is Not Spending Enough Time with Their Team.

I know, I know, your day is busy.  Crazy busy in fact!  You have pressures from your boss to get this and that done (Remember last week’s rant about Left-Brain activity?).  You may ask; “Ok Bob, exactly how am I supposed to get all my work done, make a dent in my email and attend all those meetings as well as spend more time with my team?”

My answer is always the same… “The best leaders in the world find time.”  And, they are not all the leaders that have multiple Personal Assistants.  They are quite simply the people that get how important it is.

My favourite thing to do as a leader is walk around and spend time with my team.  It is amazing what you can do by connecting one-on-one with your team.  You get to know them better.  What strengths they have.  What challenges they are facing.  What stupid processes that are driving them nuts.  Ideas they have for saving time, money and serving customers better.  How deeply they understand your strategies.  The list goes on forever!

And… I have had teams that numbered in the thousands of people.  I still make sure that I make time to connect with each and everyone of them.

What does your team get from you being with them?  A feeling that you care and want to help.  Engagement.  Communication. Energy. Belief. Focus.  It gives their jobs more meaning.  It makes them appreciated and respected.

What do you get from being with your team? Trust. Respect. Integrity.  Understanding. Results.

It is a win-win-win all around!

How are you going to make this part of your everyday practice?  Simple!  Schedule it into your calendar like you would a meeting.  And… DO NOT miss this appointment!  Ever!  It will become a habit.  You will become better and better at connecting with your team.  You will be on your way to the 3% circle of great leaders!

It’s Already Inside: Listen to Your Inner Voice

Featured, Leadership Insights Mar 10, 2014 No Comments

EinsteinThe biggest regret I hear from business leaders is often that they “didn’t listen to their intuition.”

In the very ‘Left-Brained” world of business, we often spend countless hours analyzing data, spreadsheets, reports, financials, market research, studies, surveys, Zzzzzzzzz!  With all the data we have coming at us, it is super easy to slip into paralysis followed by a coma (Which we wake up from around 5:00 each afternoon).

Traditional businesses (the ones that occupy the 97% circle of mediocrity) lull us leaders into a Zombie like state by overloading us with heavy demands for rational, logical approaches to doing business.

Here’s the problem…  Humans (You know customers and employees) make all their decisions emotionally.  Very little logic plays into most choices we make.  Just ask someone why they married the partner they chose?  They won’t be able to give you logical data on the question (Try it).

To be more successful, we need to start listening to the emotional side of our brains.  The “Right-Brain.”  Some people describe it as listening to our “Gut.”  Others describe it as that little voice in our heads.  There is no science to it.  It is just a “feeling” that we get.  Our emotional or right-brain is tapped into every piece of data our senses are capable of gathering.  It sees all, hears all and puts multiple scenarios together in a heart beat.  It has been doing that for hundreds of thousands of years – originally to keep us safe from threats and take advantage of opportunities.

Get better at listening to that Inner Voice.  Finds ways to tap into it. One of the best ways I have found is digitally disconnecting and being incredibly quiet all by myself.  Find your way.  You will be amazed at the clarity that comes from your intuition.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

 

It’s Already Inside: Ultimate Motivation

Featured, Leadership Insights Mar 03, 2014 No Comments

FreedomWhen it comes to motivation, it can be hard being a leader.  I mean really hard.

As a leader you are expected to be the one that is always up.  Always positive.  Ready for any challenge.  Able to leap over ambiguity in a single bound!  Leading your team through change without any issues what so ever.  And always viewed by senior management as “the one” to watch for succession into more senior roles.

It can be overwhelming!  And… there are some days when, as unrealistic and impossible as it is,  you just feel like telling everyone; “to take a “Happy Pill” and do their jobs without bothering me!”

How are you supposed to cope?  To be that one that has it all together?

Well, it is a lot easier than you may think!  And it comes back to your personal values.

Have you ever noticed that when you are doing something that aligns with your top values, you cannot wait to get to it?  For me, my number one value is ‘Freedom.’  When I am faced with an opportunity to be and feel free, I am beyond motivated – I am a stark raving ‘Energizer Bunny!’  For example, when I have a week in front of me where I have a huge variety in things to do, I LOVE getting out of bed in the morning and doing it.  To me, variety means freedom.

Another top value for me is ‘Optimal Health.’  When I schedule for myself a 05:30 run in the morning, I LOVE getting out of bed (even if it is dark, cold and wet outside) because I don’t think of it as something that is hard or I “too tired” to do.  I look at it as an opportunity to improve my health.

Conversely, one of my lowest rated values is wasted time in pointless meetings.  I HATE going to meetings where I know that it is going to be a huge waste of time.  I often find that on days when I have a full schedule of worthless meetings, I have a hard time getting out of bed.

So here is the thing for you…

  1. Make a list of your Top 5 Values in your life.  They might be love of friends and family, integrity, financial stability, etc.  They are YOUR values so there is no right or wrong.
  2. Next, make a list of your lowest valued values in your life.  Again, there is no right nor wrong.  It is very important to know what you value most and… what you value least.
  3. Now, look for opportunities that align with your highest values.  Daily tasks, roles and even companies.  When you are doing things that align with your highest values, you will be naturally and perpetually motivated and energized to do and be your best.  You will be WAY more successful and be viewed as someone worth promoting.  Your team will be more engaged and supportive of you as well.
  4. Finally, look for opportunities to rid yourself of doing things that do not align with your values.  When you are doing tasks that do not align with your top values, you will discover that you have NO ENERGY or motivation to do the task.  As a leader, if you are continuously performing tasks that do not align with your values, you will discover you are stressed, lack energy, you will also perform way below your potential.  You will viewed as having “Low Potential” by senior managers.

Vales based leadership is critical and it starts with you.  Your personal values need to be honoured.  You will be happier, more energized, less stressed and way more motivated.  Most importantly, you will discover your life has more meaning (And we are all chasing that) when you are living in alignment with your top values.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: Values Revolution

Featured, Leadership Insights Feb 24, 2014 No Comments

Values 2Does your organization have the company “Values” written down?  Are they posted?  Probably on the Boardroom Wall or in the Reception area?

They probably say things like “Integrity, Respect, Communication, Excellence, Customer,” etc.  Right?

In October of 2001, the leaders of Enron in Texas were indicted for Fraud after it was exposed that they used shady accounting practices to hide billions of dollars in debt from failed deals and projects.  Many went to jail.  The massive consulting firm Arthur Andersen went out of business as a result of their involvement.  In total, investors lost over $40Billion.  In Enron’s Boardroom were the framed company values of “Integrity, Communication, Respect, Excellence.”

Values are more than words on the wall.  In fact, the best organizations in the world bring them to life.  They revere behaviours and actions by team members that are living the values.  The values are written in statements that people get so it is easy to live them.  Simply putting the word “Integrity” on the wall means different things to different people.  Conversely, as an example,  writing “Integrity” in the form of “You always do the right thing for our team, our customers and our shareholders,” people get that and can live them by example.  Instead of “Communication,” I have seen it written as, “We listen to each other instead of jumping to conclusions before understanding.”

If you want to jump into the minority 3% of leaders that are being disruptive and making a huge difference in the world, I urge you to join the Values Revolution.  Bring your values to life by stating them in a way that people understand them.  Next, make your values part of your everyday communications.  Finally, and most important, always ensure that you yourself are living the values (Walk-the-talk).  As a leader, the level of trust and respect adorned on you by your team is directly proportionate to your behaviour (so are your long-term results).

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: Leading the new H2H Revolution

Featured, Leadership Insights Feb 10, 2014 No Comments

H2HThe disruptive business revolution is here.  The world is flat and getting flatter by the day.

I couldn’t be happier.  I am all about being disruptive when it comes to being different than everyone else and creating a product or service experience that is radically different than the competition.  Leading businesses get that and they are reaping the rewards of it.

Disruption comes in all forms.  Disruptive organizations are re-thinking value to customers by pushing the boundaries of innovation, efficiency, quality or customer connections.  They are re-inventing distribution channels by providing an experience online, as an example, that is superior to traditional business to consumer in-store buying.

The revolutionaries are shifting thinking and execution.  Strategies are now swinging to create cultures and organizations that don’t think in terms of “Business-to-Business” or “Consumer to Consumer” anymore.  Winning businesses and star leaders are thinking in terms of “Human-to-Human.”  People are buying from people not companies.

Being disruptive and revolutionary is all about creating every aspect of your culture and business to serve people in ways that they want to be served.  When they want it.  How they want it.  And where too.

Today’s leader needs to understand that customers are being bombarded with information and choices.  You need to deeply understand that every person on the planet is showered with 5,000 messages per day.  That is one new piece of information every 17 seconds (Or 11.5 seconds for the hours that we are awake during the day).  When we are inundated with that much data, we tune out all the superfluous noise resulting in most messages not even being registered.  Yet, most organizations still think that they need to “Spray and Pray” that their messages are being received.  What a waste.

When we are able to unlock the code of what is important to potential and existing customers, we are able to design winning messages, products, services, delivery options, etc. and… emotional connections are formed.  In other words, when we as leaders start to think in terms of Human-to-Human (H2H), we will see an explosion in success and long-term customer loyalty.

As a leader, we need to understand that B2B is dead.  B2C is dead.  Traditional thinking is dead.  Complicated strategies will never ever work (And I don’t think they ever did).  Top down commend and control management is totally last century.

Here’s the tough message that some of you won’t like…  Business Schools with leading MBA programs, don’t get it.  They don’t teach for the H2H world we are now in.  You are going to have to figure this new way of doing business by yourself.  And, you need to figure it out real fast or you will be left behind.  Practical Intelligence – the kind of revolutionary thinking that drives disruptive, revolutionary thinking – should be part of every business school’s curriculum.  H2H is here.  Embrace it.  Lead it.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: What are You Thinking About?

Featured, Leadership Insights Feb 03, 2014 No Comments

BrainYour planning has been perfect for where you are right now.   Even if you have never done any planning in your whole life, your plan was perfect for where you are and what you have.

Planning is a question that has been thrown at me a lot this past week.  A number of people that I have crossed paths with have asked me the same questions.  They are asking things like; “How do I put a plan together for my life?”  and; “Do I think that things happen or opportunities appear when I have a plan or is it just luck?”

Well, firstly, I do not believe in luck.

I believe that we make our own luck by knowing exactly what we want.  I believe that what we think about, what we plan for and what we prepare for, start a number of universal forces in motion to deliver for us.

I believe that when we have a plan and we think about that plan regularly, our brain’s Reticular Activating system goes to work and opens our conscious minds to the opportunities that have always been right in front of us.

Example… Right now, close your eyes and think about the colour ‘Red.’  It does not matter what shade of red.  Just think about it.  When you open your eyes, I guarantee that you will see the colour red all around you.  Did the colours magically appear while you had your eyes closed? No.  They were always there and now that you are thinking about it, you see the colour.

This is the same thing that will happen when you put a dream to paper in the form of a plan.  The plan could be for a vacation, a wedding, a party or your life.  The plan could be for this year or for the next five year.  It does not matter.  What does matter though is that once you are thinking about a goal or a series of goals and you commit that thinking to paper so it starts to become an organized plan, your unconscious brain will find all th opportunities and situations you need to make it happen.

As a person, you can sit back and watch things happen and then conveniently blame the world for the crappy luck you have or you can make things happen by dreaming, thinking, planning and making it happen.  It’s your choice.  If you choose the latter, then all starts with what you are thinking about.

It’s Already Inside: Don’t Panic

Featured, Leadership Insights Jan 27, 2014 No Comments

Keep CalmLeadership advice from 1939.

It was in 1939, when the British Government created an advertising poster that simply said; “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  It was intended to raise the morale of the British population that was under threat of mass air attacks in the pending outbreak of war against Nazi Germany.

The Keep Calm and Carry On campaign had limited distribution at the time and was rediscovered in the year 2000 where since then, it has taken on a new life of it’s own on hundreds of merchandising products.  This is not a history lesson about the newly rejuvenated British wartime phrase.  It is though, a brilliant lead into one of the hardest leadership skills there is to learn and develop.

Staying calm under pressure.  Not panicking when something goes wrong.  Having the mental fortitude to listen, assess, develop strategy and act when all around you are running around screaming that “the Sky is Falling!”

When I work with new leaders all the way up to CEO’s, one of the biggest skills we spend a lot of our time on, is developing the key Practical Intelligence skill of ‘Keeping Your Head When Everyone Around You is Losing Theirs.’  Staying calm under pressure or during chaos is extremely tough.  It has to be the hardest mental and emotional challenge that leaders are faced with.

During your career as a leader, you will be faced with hundreds of situations that will require you to lead an individual, team or organization through a tough scenario.  When we humans are faced with a new challenge, a threat or even a simple change, we instantly default back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – that is, firstly thinking only of our Physiological needs (Breathing, Food Water).  After that, we move to our Safety needs (Body, Employment, Resources, Mortality, Family, Health Property).  It is the same all over the world.  Most often, none of these needs are threatened however, our DNA programming drives us to that basic level of thinking.  This is when people need leaders that have purpose and a plan.

It is also why history is full of dictators and autocrats that have taken advantage of people in times of chaos.

It is during the uncertain times of crisis, chaos or change that people need direction.  A vision.  They need to know that they will get through the situation and their lives will get back to normal (whatever that is???).  They need a leader that “Keeps Calm and Carries On” as the Brit’s said back in 1939.

As a leader, start practicing today.  When anything comes your way that is different in any way, follow this simple model…

  1. Tell yourself; “Do not panic.  I’ve got this.”
  2. Let your team know that we will get through this. (Confidence in leadership is a huge in calming and galvanizing people)
  3. Assess.  Gather information. Listen.
  4. Ask yourself; “What Does Good Look Like?”
  5. Plan
  6. Communicate
  7. Execute.

Everyday as a leader you will be faced with a new challenge.  That is the way it is. The leader that calmly leads under pressure will win.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: Disconnecting for Greater Clarity

Featured, Leadership Insights Jan 20, 2014 No Comments

Float

Last week I put out the concept of ‘TED thinking’ to elevate your game to a higher level.  I wanted to continue on the the thinking theme this week.

When was the last time you came up with a brilliant, out-of-the-box idea while you were sitting at your desk?  If you are like me, the chances that you have had that eureka moment, thunder-bolt of creativity hit you and make you stand up in your cubicle or office and scream “WOW!” are extremely low.

Again, if you are like me, your best “stuff” comes to you while you are out for a walk, washing the dishes, standing in the shower or at 3:00 in the morning.

Why is that?

Well, our analytical conscious minds (some people call it the “Left Brain”) are wired to filter unlimited amounts of input and focus purely on one thought at a time.  Our day jobs have actually re-wired our brains to focus on what we do.  If you are a lawyer for example, your brain from the moment you entered law school through Articling and entrance to the field is re-wired to look for irregularities in contract language, mistakes in law application, etc.  This re-wiring of our brains is brilliant for our ‘day job’ however it is terrible for us when we are not working.  Same for Managers.  For example, as managers we become re-wired to look for productivity improvements, efficiencies and analyzing data.  It is nearly impossible to develop ingeniously different ideas when we are in that kind of a zone.

It is when our brains are quiet that the subconscious mind – which is incredibly powerful and imaginative – is able to get a signal through to our conscious minds.

Try this…  Schedule time in your crazy (uninspired) day to disconnect for an hour.  Instead of going for lunch with the same group of people that you have broke bread with for the last year, go out by yourself for a walk.  DO NOT take any technology with you.  DO NOT go out with an agenda.  Just go and be.  You will (I guarantee it) come back with more clarity, ideas and energy.

Every Tuesday morning I completely disconnect.  No one can find me.  It is the time where all my best thinking is done.  That 2-3 hours away from the chaos of the day makes me WAY more productive.  This past week for example, I actually went into a sensory deprivation tank or “Float Tank” for 90 minutes.  A Float tank is sound proof, completely and totally dark and is filled with 10 times the density of the salt water content in the Dead Sea that is the same temperature as the surface of your skin.  When I was immersed in the tank, my body was completely supported by the density of the water and my senses were totally cut-off from any stimulus.  In the 90 minutes that I was in this ‘other world,’ my sub-conscious or right brain was firing with WOW!  When I emerge from the tank, I was so completely filled with ideas and new ways of looking at things that it has taken me 4 days to get it all mapped out into action (That is where the left brain can take over and get things done!).

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: TED Worthy Thinking

Featured, Leadership Insights Jan 13, 2014 No Comments

ThinkingThank you all so much for the great response to last week’s post on the creating meaningful work for team members!

This week I wanted to talk about thinking.  Actually TED worthy thinking.

It seems that TED has become the new benchmark for creative thinking discussions.  That is, if your idea is worth being invited to TED or even TEDx, then you are on the cutting edge.

It has been a goal of mine for a long time to speak on a TED stage and it will happen however this is not about me getting to a TED stage.  It has everything to do with thinking in TED ways.

Today the world has changed.  It is flatter.  It is faster.  Competition is coming from the most unlikely places.  It is more nontraditional than ever.  With access to the internet and efficient transportation, people from every corner of the globe are lining up to disrupt your corner of the globe.  The person or company that is able to offer a better choice for consumer and business spending will win.  The disruption does not even have to be for like for like services or products.  Cirque du Soleil views competitive threats as anything that competes for consumer’s discretionary spend – That is, anything – a restaurant, the movies, theatre, beach vacation, etc. – as their competitor.  SouthWest Airlines views the family car as their competitor.  The point is think completely (And I mean radically)  outside the box and you will discover your new competition – You will also discover how to win against them.

Next, TED thinking means that in order to develop and deliver products or services to the new, flatter world, you have to think better than anyone else. Nothing is off of the table when it comes to how creative people are getting.  Combine this with labour and production costs for products and services in some parts of the world that cost less than the cost to turn on your lights, and you need to think different in very diverse ways.

To see what a mean, spend an evening in front of your computer watching TED videos.  You will discover people from all over the world (The new, flatter world) with amazing ideas.  Are you capable of thinking TED type thinking?  As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or not, you are right.”

Thinking is the new competitive advantage.  Executing on your thinking will be how you get onto a TED stage.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”