Leadership Insights, Mentorship and a Little of What I am Up to... Look for new Blog Entries Every Monday

Unlocked: Finding your Mojo

Featured, Leadership Insights Mar 09, 2015 No Comments

MojoHow do you find your passion?

I was doing a podcast this week with Mike Zaremba (one of the two brothers that founded ‘Floathouse’ a Vancouver based company that offers a unique sensory experience via Deprivation Tanks that allow customers an environment to do deep meditation, rest, recover and manifest creativity) for Vancouver Real.

Mike asked me a great question. “How do we find our passion?”

The answer is easy and it is hard.

Easy because I believe that deep in your heart, you know what excites you. You know that if you were doing what truly excites you, Monday morning would not be the worst day of the week. Lunch would not be the most exciting part of the day. And, Friday would not be “Thank God it’s Friday” to you.

If you are not doing what truly excites you though, this is the hard part… Finding the courage to chase your passion and not your pension. Chasing your joy and not money. Chasing our passion frees us. Chasing money enslaves us. And, it has always been my experience that when I am chasing my passion, I never have to worry about money.

Tips for finding the courage to break free from the enslavement so that you can chase your passion…

  1. Quit. Quit fast. Staying in a situation where you are not chasing your passion may pay the bills however I guarantee that it does not bring you joy. Without Joy, others area of your life – success, relationships, love, happiness all suffer.
  2. Follow your heart. Steve Jobs once said that if this was your last day on earth, would you exchange what you are doing right now for that day?
  3. Do not place limits upon yourself. Dream big dreams and let the journey begin because chasing your passion is about the journey not the destination.

Here’s a great YouTube video to help you get your Mojo going!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mLn99CQubI

Robert Murray is a Passionate Transformational Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Strategy Yoda and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

Unlocked: Motivation

Featured, Leadership Insights Feb 23, 2015 No Comments

MotivationMotivation.  How does one get it?  Where does it come from?  Do some people just naturally have it and others don’t?

All questions that I have heard.

The answer though, like most everything in life, is very simple.  Motivation comes from within.  You already have it inside.  
And, as a leader, it is impossible to motivate someone else unless you are motivated.

Motivation comes from love.  A deep, burning love for who you are and what you love to do in your life.  If you love to cook, you will be motivated to cook for anyone that is hungry.  If you love to dance, you will be motivated to dance like no one is watching. Chasing your passion comes with a deep motivation that cannot be matched.  It is like the burning desire to take a breath when you are trapped under water – All you want to do is breathe – You cannot focus on anything else except breathing.  

When you are doing what you love, you have greater expectations for yourself.  You are less worried about failure and making mistakes and victories taste all the more sweeter.

If you love to lead with vision, purpose and from a place of service, everyone around you will sense it and will be motivated to follow you.  That is how you inspire and motivate others.

Unlocked: Fail Faster for Greater Success

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Feb 04, 2015 No Comments

No one can tell you that you are not good enough, not smart enough, not whatever enough without your permission. Nor can anyone tell you that you will fail at something without your permission.

Instead, become the person you believe in. Keep telling yourself you are worthy, smart, strong, and capable.

There is no shortage of people will tell you, “You can’t….” Don’t be one of them. Develop the “I can!” mantra. When you do, you will discover that things happen. Opportunities unfold in front of you. You will start achieving beyond your wildest expectations.

Let’s look at all the people who didn’t listen to the long line of people telling them they couldn’t, weren’t good enough, it’s too hard, etc…

Thomas Edison developed over 10,000 failed prototypes for the lightbulb—or as he put it, “I discovered 10,000 ways that a lightbulb would not work.”

Arguably the world’s greatest basketball player, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school basketball team.

Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by film schools he applied to.

Beethoven’s music teacher once told him he was “hopeless.”

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper job because he lacked “ideas.”

Bestselling author John Grisham was rejected by twelve publishing houses and sixteen agents.

Oprah Winfrey was replaced as the anchorwoman after only eight months in her first big television job.

Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harland “Colonel” Sanders was told “No” over 1,000 times when he was searching for someone to partner with for his now famous fried chicken recipe.

The list goes on and on.

When you are chasing a dream and pushing to be in the group of those who make things happen in our world, you will experience setbacks, disappointments, and failure. A long line of people will be saying, “I told you so.” There will be people you will lose in your life; friends, maybe even family members, will not talk to you anymore. These are probably the same people who were fighting hard to hold you back.

The key through it all is to develop the mindset that you believe in yourself and your dreams. Be secure in the knowledge that nothing worth accomplishing (nothing I have discovered so far that is) is easy. It requires a vision so clear and compelling you can taste it. It requires focus—laser beam focus. And it takes hard work—lots of it.

Every once in awhile, though, you will have setbacks and disappointments. I like to look at those as learning opportunities. They will happen—it is part of the journey to success. The key during these times is to remember that failure is an event, not a person.

Get back up, dust yourself off, learn, grow, and keep telling yourself you can. Believe that you can!

Unlocked: Keeping it simple

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Jan 28, 2015 No Comments

“Life, business and leadership should be a simple thing however, it is often complicated by idiots.” That was my opening line at the TEDxBCIT talk I did on the weekend.

Everyday, our lives are becoming more complicated. Crazier. And at times, all consuming. It’s time for us to slow down and… smell the coffee so to speak. The energy we should be devoting to our families and to our own brilliance is being sucked out of us by the chaos in the world around us.

The insanity can stop with you simply saying enough. Saying “Yes” to what really matters and, saying “No” to everything that is not going to get you to your goals and takes unnecessary time away from the people you love and the things that you really love to do.

Ask yourself; “What does good look like for me right now?” Focus only on that.

The top athletes in the world focus on their greatness. The best footballers focus on being the best footballers. They do not try to be the best tennis players too.

Living by the mantra of keeping it simple – focused and deliberate – will actually bring you greater success, more love, more passion, more energy and greater satisfaction.

Let the idiots in your circle keep things complicated without involving you.

Unlocked: The Ultimate Christmas Gift

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Dec 10, 2014 No Comments

Thank-you-sign1Well, most places on the planet are into full-on Christmas commercialization chaos!  It seems to me that it started super early this year too.  Not long after Labour Day stores were starting to sneak out their Christmas Displays, TV networks were running cheesy Holiday films in early November and… I actually heard a Christmas Carol being played the last week in October!

No wonder people get stressed out this time of year!

Thinking of the perfect gift?

The best one I ever got and have subsequently learned to give is… Gratitude.

Here’s the thing.  You are who you are and where you are because of your hard work, intentions and most importantly, because of the people you have had in your life.  Parents, teachers, coaches, professors, bosses (good and bad), friends, relatives, siblings, neighbours. the police officer that gave you a break, doctors, nurses – the list goes on and on!

Use this time of year – a time of reflection – to let people know how much you care by simply saying thank you for all their support and help through your life.

Your assignment…  Like Santa Claus, make a list.  A list of the 10 people in your life that you credit for helping you achieve your success.  Make it real by adding a picture beside their name.  Then reach out to the people on your list and thank them.  Tell them how much their support meant to you.  Tell them how much you love them.  Do it via FaceBook, Twitter, email, phone call, a card in the post, text message, a coffee get-together or a banner towed behind an airplane.

This is an amazing gift because it gives twice.  Once to the person you are thanking.  They will be touched in ways hard to imagine.  The second is for you.  Your heart will fill with warmth.  You will have an amazing energy renewal.  You will be thought of as someone that respects and appreciates other.  And… this will come back to you many times over.

Try it.  It is the greatest gift ever.

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.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

Unlocked: Why are you doing what you don’t want to do?

Featured, Leadership Insights Nov 25, 2014 No Comments

OrigamiI speak a lot about values, purpose and doing fulfilling work with passion to live your life with greatness.  Wow!  What a mouthful.  It might be better to simply say; “Do what YOU want to do.”

Are Monday mornings really hard to get out of bed for?  Are Friday afternoons the best part of the week?  Is lunch the most exciting part of the day?

If you answered “Yes” to one of those questions above, you need to seriously look at what you are doing.  If you answered “Yes” to all of the above, you need to quit what you are doing immediately!  You are most likely chasing your pension and the life changing benefit you are bringing with you every day is the ability to ‘fog a mirror.’

Chasing your passion is all about doing work that you can’t wait to get out of bed to do.  It means that you dream of doing it again the next day.

I am reminded of this from time to time.  I sometimes fall into the trap too.  It usually happens when I take on an project that I should not be doing.  I know this when I discover moments during the execution of the project when I feel like:

  • Surfing the internet to mindless, current news sites like CNN
  • Eating my lunch at 9:00 in the morning
  • Doing origami art out of the recycled paper
  • Making a post-it-note mural on the office window
  • Sending a “SOS” signal in morse code using the flashlight on my smartphone to the office in the tower across the way
  • Poking my eye out with a dull pencil.

The point is, as a leader, you ALWAYS need to be doing work that is in total alignment with your values, your purpose, your passion and that fulfills your greatness that you have to offer the world around you.  If we are not doing that, we will completely lack energy, enthusiasm, passion, meaning and… will be generally miserable.

I know a ton of executives and leaders that have walked away from great titles and good companies because the role was not ‘them’ and it was slowly killing them.  They are the lucky ones.  And… they have all gone onto to more fulfilling roles, more money and happiness (And happiness is contagious and spreads to every aspect of your life).

Are doing what you want to do?

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.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

 

Unlocked: Why am I here?

Featured, Leadership Insights Nov 15, 2014 No Comments

The Leader Within - Why am I here

Since the beginning of time when our ancestors were sitting around, feverishly rubbing two sticks together to start a fire, they were no doubt, grunting; “Why am I here?”   It is a great question!

It is a question I hear everywhere I go.  More and more people are questioning their purpose and their very reason for being ‘here.’  Like wise, as leaders, we are not immune to thinking, questioning and challenging ourselves about “are we making a difference?”

The real answer to those questions though is not as complicated as our minds will lead us to believe.  We believe the answer lies in being true to our passions.

For example, you have may noticed times in your life when you were totally ‘on top of the world.’  Those times when you were your absolute happiest, most energized and felt like you were living a dream.  I guarantee that those were times that you were living in total alignment with your highest values and in turn, living your purpose – Living your own personal meaning of “Why am I here?”

For myself, my purpose can be distilled down to; ‘Helping people and businesses uncover their remarkable potential.’  I know for myself, as a leader, when I am doing that, I am full of non-stop energy, passion and enthusiasm for everything in my world.

Take a moment and think about those times in your life when you were unstoppable.  Piece together as much of the scenes as you can.   You will soon find the answers to your purpose and your highest values.   Remember, it is not complicated nor should it be.  The reason why you are here is to live your highest values.

Those times when you are not happy, not energized, lunch is the oat exciting part of the day and you cannot wait until Friday, you will discover you are living someone else’s purpose.

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.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

Unlocked: Strategy versus Execution

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

Vancouver 2010 - 3Rarely is the problem bad strategy.  It is usually crappy execution.

When we look at a business that is not all that it could because the culture is toxic or customer are churning away, the root cause is rarely a poorly thought out strategy.  It is almost always, no execution.  And that is a leadership issue.

We work with lots of organizations all over the world helping them develop strategy.  We often walk away with the feeling of “Wow!” that is a very simple strategy that is going to take the business to greatness.  Usually one of two throngs happen…

One is that the leadership team congratulates each each other and goes back to their day jobs.  They don’t share the vision, purpose or strategy with the entire organization – making sure that everyone from top to bottom completely understands their individual role in the execution of the plan.  There is no identified way of keeping score so that everyone knows how they are doing. There is no ongoing (never-ending actually) communication.  And finally, there is no governance to ensure that every aspect of the project (It is a project) is aligned and tasks are completed one-by-one.  Execution does not happen and then some rocket scientist will stand up and say that the team failed to ‘understand’ the strategy.

The other is an organization that understands that strategy needs to be simple – no more than 3 strategic objectives.  Strategy comes from the military.  Most military organizations are brilliant at executing on a plan because their plan is simple.  Military leaders that failed (Napoleon and Hitler) because they had complicated plans and were operating on too many fronts.  Resources get spread too thin and people don’t understand why they doing what they are doing.

A best in class example that we are working with is a major manufacturing company in Canada.  Led by a CEO that understands strategy and its need to be simple, they have invested in making sure that every single person in their entire cross-country organization understands the strategy and their role.  We are seeing magical things happen in the business with their team moving forward and creating amazing value for customers all over the world in a commodity market.

There is rarely bad strategy.  Most often it is leaders that want to prove how smart they are by creating too many complicated strategies and then failing to execute.

Execution takes vision, focus and a simple disciplined approach.  Do you have 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.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

B2B and B2C is dead. It is now H2H

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Oct 27, 2014 No Comments

Heart2HeartB2B and B2C is dead. It is now H2H or, Heart-to-Heart.

I speak a lot about how the world has changed. It is now flatter, faster, more connected and so outrageously competitive that businesses and leaders are struggling with how to lead and thrive in the chaos.

Traditionally, most organizations develop plans and build structure to ‘attack’ the market with B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) marketing communications and sales teams. Wrong! In today’s environment, B2B and B2C approaches will usually result a very one-way, company driven strategy that fails to understand and truly connect emotionally with their customer. And… that is the key, emotionally connecting with people and forming ‘value connections’ that outlast a competitor’s lower price.

Now, winning leaders and organizations are figuring out how to emotionally connect with their stakeholders (I define stakeholders as anyone that your business touches – including employees) in what I call H2H.

I have to admit here that I was taught something very new this week by a client from AstraZeneca. I used to refer to H2H as ‘Human-to-Human.’ When I asked the group Heather and I were leading about: “what does ‘H2H’ mean?” The reply I got from Svetlana Shtankova,a very enlightened HR Director from their Ukrainian operation was; “Heart-to-Heart.” Wow! What an amazing twist on H2H!

It makes so much sense! The essence of leadership today in this flattened, crazy, chaotic world is touching emotions. What better way to touch emotions than touching hearts?

Last week, I was blessed to be on the stage at the #Enlightening3.0 conference in Bucharest launching my new book (Unlocked; Finding the key to practical leadership) and I was talking about the need to switch our approaches to be H2H. During the question period, I was asked to give an example of H2H. I wanted to reply that we (The person asking the question and myself) were having an H2H interaction right there in front of over 300 people as in my mind, it was just me and him having a conversation. However, the essence of H2H is just being ourselves and connecting sincerely with our hearts and the hearts of other people.

How? It is easier than you think. However, connecting Heart-to-Heart means parking your agenda and seeking to understand what is important to the heart you are connecting with. Making the other person feel special, appreciated and respected by working to truly understand what their challenges and needs are. Once that H2H feeling is created, you will then receive in return something incredibly special. Trust.

Once another ‘heart’ gives you their ‘trust,’ you will have a lasting bond with that heart that will outlive the cheap price of competitors.

It is now about H2H. B2B and B2C is dead. If you do not find a way to embrace Heart-to-Heart, you will lose employee engagement, customer loyalty and… you will only have cheap price as your competitive advantage. You choose.

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.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

Unlocked: Practical Leadership. Get it or be Left Behind

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Oct 06, 2014 No Comments

Bob - ShoesPractical Leadership.  What is it?  Why do we need to pay attention to it?  How is it going to change the way we lead?

A whole bunch of factors are lining up to form the perfect storm for leadership in the business world right now.  The financial “situation” that started in 2008.  The continued flattening of the world caused by better access to communications, the Internet and transportation.  Highly educated emerging economies.  The vastly different expectations of the Millennial Generation in the workforce from that of the retiring Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y.  And… the extreme shortage of skilled labour.

Results?  Leadership is not anymore logical and based on mainly data and key performance indicators.

Leadership now is based more on making emotional connections with customers AND employees.  Leaders now need to focus on developing a deeper understanding of consistent value delivery to a changing demand from all stakeholders.  As leaders, we used to only think in terms of delivering value to customers or clients.  Now that that ever changing demand on value delivery needs to extend to employees and partners as well.

This change is going to be extremely hard on most organizations that spend an inordinate amount of time running their business based on the financial demands of the Board and market analysts.  Becoming ‘emotionally connected’ to employees, let alone customers, is a truly foreign concept.  Thinking in terms of differing employee needs and wants usually extends to the mentality that “Employee needs and wants are taken care of every two-weeks in the form of a pay-cheque.”

To compete against a world that is now flatter, faster and more connected, leaders will need their teams to be more creative that ever before, deliver more value and build deeper customer connections.  And to do this with a new generation of employees that do not respond to traditional reward and recognition systems, requires leaders to throw away the old model.  Leaders now have to be completely comfortable with flex-time, working from home, time-off in leu of pay, access to technology, different ways of problem solving, lack of loyalty, social media and just about anything else that was not even thought about 5 years ago.  Never have leading by values been more important.  Never has the culture of your organization been more attractive to potential employees and customers.

Are you up for the change? Or is your organization still thinking this “crazy period we are in right now will soon pass?”

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.”  Watch for Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” coming out in October 2014.

Unlocked: Leadership can be found in Passion and Authenticity

Featured, Leadership Insights Sep 15, 2014 No Comments

PianoI was blessed enough to be able to take my family last night to see legendary rocker Elton John in Vancouver.  Wow!  What a night of memories.  So cool to see my young adult children experience a legend and enjoy the music!

What’s this got to do with leadership though? Easy.  As Elton on his grand piano and his band were pounding out hit after hit, it was obvious that the 67 year-old rocker was having the time of his life.  The energy was infectious.  In between songs at one point, he spoke to the audience about why he was there.

He quite simply said that he was finally comfortable in his own skin enough to be himself without caring what others thought and that he LOVED being on tour because he got to be with people that loved his music.

Well said Sir Elton.  The essence of leadership and succession life for that matter, is ALWAYS chasing your passion (not your pension) and being yourself while you are doing it.

Passion for what you do is infectious.  Other people can see it and feel it.  Your passion for what you do will produce better results and garner you more recognition.  If you find yourself in a role that you cannot get excited about each and every time you arrive at the office, then you are killing your career and probably yourself too through the stress of it.

Authenticity is easier than you think.  Elton said it perfectly.  “Comfortable in my own skin.”  All through our lives, we are faced with pressure from parents, family, friends, teachers, coaches, employers, etc., to be this or that.  The problem is that for the most part, this ‘helpful’ advice we receive is based on two things…

  1. Other people’s values not yours.  We all have a value set.  Our values make up our guiding principles.  The issue here is that ‘helpful’ advice we often get is based on someonelse’s values not ours.  Do some soul searching on your values.  Write down which ones are the most important to you.  Live them.  By doing so, you will begin to live authentically.
  2. Your weaknesses.  We all have weaknesses or blind spots.  And, we all have a long lineup of people that are more than happy to point them out for us.  I have lots of weaknesses.  “Attention to detail” is one of them.  That is why I make a great strategy developer because I can see the big picture.  However, get down into the tactical details and I am a disaster.  Living authentically means living your strengths as it is your strengths that have got you to where you are today not your weaknesses.  Embrace who you are and nurture your strengths.  You will happier and more aligned with who you really are.

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.”  Watch for Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” coming out in October 2014.

It’s Already Inside: The Problem with Communications

Featured, Leadership Insights Sep 03, 2014 2 Comments

Cover Design - Final - August 2014Most of the problems businesses and organizations face today are relatively easy to fix.  At the top of the list is communication.

And leaders lead the way when it comes to communication issues.

It seems so basic to all of us.  As senders of a message (In whatever form be it verbal, written, email, etc.) what we want to say is amazingly crystal clear in our minds.  And then we get results that are far from our expectations.  Most leaders I see will then point the finger at the receiver of the message as the one to blame when they should be looking in the mirror.

Try this very simple exercise with your team or group of friends to see what most communications in businesses that are struggling are like…

  • Give everyone a single piece of 8.5 x 11 inch paper (A4 size in Europe)
  • Give your team or group the following instructions.  Do not explain more than what is written here.  Do not answer any questions…
    • Fold the paper in half and tear off a top corner
    • Fold it in half again and tear off the top corner
    • Fold it in half again and tear off the left corner
    • Rotate the paper to the right three times and tear off the bottom corner
    • Fold it half again and tear off the middle piece.
  • Ask everyone to open up their papers to reveal the results.  You should see a myriad of wildly different looking snowflake designs however, like snowflakes in winter, not one will look the same.

Why is it that even though everyone received the same directions, not everyone had the same outcome?

What would have changed if you would have allowed the group to ask questions?

In the real world, have you ever had someone deliver something different than what you expected?  How did you deal with it.

There is so much we can do as leaders to improve communications in our company’s, teams, with our customers, vendors and every other stakeholder.  Effective communications lead to better cultures (Happy, engaged employees), better planning and execution, satisfied customers and world class results.  And it starts with you.  As a leader, coach, teacher or parent, if you are not getting what you expect, you are probably the reason.

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.”  Watch for Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” coming out in October 2014.