Master or disaster

What are you a master at vs what are you disaster at.

Are you strategising and spending critical time trying to do the things you are a disaster at?

For a number of people, self-employed entrepreneurs and various managers, you’ll find that they would often take the DIY approach to their tasks and not hire in expertise (Masters) Who are fully equipped and able to do the job at hand.

In my early years of business I realised that there was typically three approaches to getting the job done.

For a number of people, especially self-employed entrepreneurs and team managers, you’ll find that they would often take the DIY approach to their tasks. This way they are guaranteeing control and completion of the task.
This method seems to be cost-effective, especially that you are doing all the jobs yourself and for most startup companies the requirement of the budding entrepreneur is to work hard and long hours and often there is never enough money to hire in extra hands much less experts.

That said, with this approach it is very difficult to set boundaries, especially with regards to the time spent on any particular task, compensating for slippage, suffering poor work-life balance.
Another downfall with the DIY approach (when I was starting up) was that there was only ever one of me and I could have done with at least seven more Mike Kelly’s, I had spread myself too thin multitasking and doing the mundane rather than the important and so priority tasks and difficult were often not completed.

With DIY approach you can only do the task the way you know how to do it, so I realised that the DIY way was really effective at the tasks I had mastered but not beneficial for the tasks I was a disaster at.


The second option was to mentor, train, and develop or even find apprentices to do the jobs that I did.
I often referred to this as homegrown talent. The challenges with this approach were endless, in that, to homegrow talent takes a long time and there was never any guarantee of allegiance or the fact that they are going to grasp the job concept or even be talented enough to perform the task the way you would like them to.
The second biggest risk was that I was duplicating the stuff I done the way I done it. Now that was great for the things that I had mastered, but it was not productive in any way shape or form from for me or my business to duplicate the things I was a disaster at.
This was very restrictive with regards to innovation and compromised the simplicity of possibly doing tasks a better way or a different way and allowing other brilliant minds to bring their initiative to the table.
Whilst I was training and developing staff to duplicate my system, I was not available to do any other tasks, see customers, build my business, so there was other indirect costs associated with duplication.. I couldn’t charge anyone else for my services whilst I was duplicating talent.


The third way to get a job done is to commission, contract or employee masters.
Malcolm Gladwell clearly explains that an expert is someone who has excellently done at least 10,000 hours within their professional industry, on stage, on the sports field etc.

Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple said it does not make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

Hiring in experts or masters at the Job task is more expensive per hour or per day but should get the job done quicker. It is a false economy to get people who are willing disasters to perform the task or to try and acquire the knowledge on how to do the task. I found this usually takes longer, requires more people and you still may end up with an inferior accomplishment.

It might sound blasé but you should consider hiring the best for the task and not consider the rest.

Finally my advice would be to give up being a Jack of all trades. Spend more time and focus on the things you’re a master at, they will bring you life satisfaction, improve your sense of wellbeing and purpose and people will respect and regard your mastery.

E Squared

I wanted to introduce to you a concept that I have used over the years in running my business. I introduced it into my staff training manuals, to all new project workers, and it is something that I encourage leaders and managers to deploy as part of their ethos within their organisations and groups.

I called the E squared model and it is a system that I use when approaching a new important task that requires my time and The best of me.

There are four E’s that I would like you to consider hence the name E squared.

1. The first E is efficiency

Is the approach that you are taking to this new important task efficient or are you complicating a simple process? I’ve often use the terms ski downhill or the path of least resistance, is your approach causing you tension or frustration, are you over analysing a simple process are you busy being busy are you focusing on the problem and not the solution? being efficient means you are not burning too much fuel to get to your destination.

2. The second E that I would like to introduce is effectiveness.

Is what you’re doing effective? are you going to achieve the desired outcome? If not is it a waste of your time doing the task just to prove the inevitability of it being a failed task. Let me give you an example, I’ve often heard people say ‘I know it’s going to fail but I’ll do it anyway because that’s what’s asked of me – sometimes that approach is simply because of an instruction has come from the higher Echelons in the organisation and the recipient feels as if the bosses are not connected with the task or the staff, So the recipients mission is to prove a point.

Work on tasks that are important and produce the desired effect.

3. The third E is enduring

Do you have the wherewithal to get the task done? Is what you’re doing built to last for the duration required to achieve the outcome? Are you willing able to undergo difficult or even stressful times in order to see the fulfilment of the task?

Many people start a task or project well, they choose the best time of the day to work on the tasks, they choose the best people to work with and the planing, time management and the desire to accomplish the task is well above par. Somehow along the way most people loose their focus, get distracted have priority issues and eventually loose steam. Although they started well they end badly.
Commitment to the accomplishment of a difficult task requires endurance.

To endure at a task requires you to have a mindset that is full of belief in the success of the task, completely disciplined and focused.

4. The fourth E is excellence.

The best selling author Brian Tracy says “Set excellent performance as your standard and try to achieve it every day“.

When approaching a difficult task you need to have the right attitude. Approaching critical tasks with a lacklustre approach psychologically makes the task more difficult and you will notice a huge reduction in your energy levels. The fact is that, the time when you approach important or even urgent tasks with the wrong attitude they usually get seriously delayed or they actually never start.

Excellence is not a skill but it is an attitude to how are you approach the task ahead.

With excellence at your forefront you are able to endure difficult tasks, especially the ones that people who are negative seek to avoid or quit. Your name is associated to your tasks and although you may not get to public recognition for all the things you do, if you do it with the spirit of excellence your personal self esteem grows and you will be in a better position to accomplish the next task especially if it is a difficult one.

I’m sure you could think of many other E’s that you could add to this list – feel free to do so, but if you use these four as a framework you will gather enough momentum and a mindset to approach any project with the desired outcome of accomplishment.


What stops you from doing the things you need to do?

In this article I would like to explore the concept of internal and external barriers that affect you as a leader in your organisation.

Whilst some obstacles are good for you and they develop your fortitude and resolve to win, some obstacles carry a stark negative energy and are designed to defeat you or hold you up for as long as possible They can affect you at any given time and hopefully you will develop a pathway to recognising them sooner and gain some tools on how to move them, get through them or at least get around them.


Internal obstacles are very difficult to manage, the contention of whether the obstacle is in your mind because it is self imposed due to poor interpretation of an event, or is it a reasonable assessment of an event and therefore requires careful negotiating, or is it a culmination of thoughts around your life episodes that has started to self refer to you about how you see yourself in the world in the eyes of others.

Whilst that is cogent, the truth is that you don’t often take the time to pay any form of attention to the things that you say about yourself to yourself. In other words how you observe and project yourself in this world in your own eyes. In fact, sometimes the obstacle does not actually exist in the outer world, but is something you have created in your inner world and then it becomes a reality to you.

The challenge is that internal obstacles are internal obstacles. Unless you audibly describe or act out your thoughts around the internal obstacles, then those around you will not be aware of the obstacle exist and will continue to treat and experience you based on what you portray. This level of behaviour can cause anxieties, double mindedness, poor judgement and decision-making, poor self esteem and psychological self harm which leads to poor mental health.

Let me give you an example:

Some internal obstacles can be around how you think you look, too thin, too fat, too tall, too short, too light, too dark.

Sometimes an internal observation from your perspective of your culture can be an inhibitor, you can be over concerned as how you are perceived because of your religion or your status in life. Being too rich or too poor, having a low level of educational attainment, or being highly educated, living in a council estate or having the palatial mansion in the greenbelt.

Each obstacle that arises needs to have two for reflective assessment and it is the thing that is said to yourself after the analysis that really does matter.


External ones seem to be more obvious, but they do come in all sizes, shapes and forms, but often come from people. People put obstacles in our way through envy, fear and anxiety for their promotion and your downfall or simply because of a need to be understood.

I’ve noticed this type of obstacle deployment behaviour is prevalent in the boardroom where there is a jostling for power, but I’ve also noticed it in the workplace, it happens in the accountancy firm, the law office, the design studio, the building site, the school, the sales team, the HR team and it often happens amongst senior managers where there is a lot of competition and one wants to outshine their peer to their bosses.

The sad fact is that rarely do we find a physical barrier, obstruction, or a sabotage is a simply a mistake, but is usually designed and plotted carefully. Find a way round, through, over or across.

As a leader in your organisation you have to look for the particular reason why someone may have put an obstacle in your own pathway. Don’t be too quick to jump to any conclusions, the reason may not be the one you initially understood it to be. Be cognisant of the fact that human beings are subtle and often act unconsciously, the power of putting yourself in someone else’s mind, whilst acknowledging that even our own behaviour (conscious and unconscious) can be provoking, may help you to unravel the reasons.

Without blame consider how things could have have been different, what could you have done, said or requested that would have produced a different outcome and have prevented the obstacles being placed in your way. Talk about obstacles with others, sense check but don’t be too swayed by others naysaying or jumping to agreement.

Develop the capacity to trust your instincts, but keep on testing by asking others questions like, “I wonder if this idea seems strange or even stupid to you and that your first reaction would be to try and kill it dead?”. The other person then experiences you as having the ability to imagine what might be in their mind and this creates a shift in the relationship between you, it is in these shifts that a positive dialogue can occur and change can happen.

What was the last obstacle that stopped you in your tracks?

Do you think you need help with you with your internal obstacle?

Science of change - Part 1

Whenever Im doing a group coaching session or training session on transformations, I often ask to see a show of hands as to who would like a change, usually at least 7/10 people respond with a categoric yes. If I ask the group to individually write down what change they require their listings is quite diverse and range from changing their unreliable car for a new car, to a change in their behaviour or even a change in their environment.

The fact is that that not many people who actually want to experience the change they desire accomplish it. The reason for this is that there are two types of change the first one is what Is called a technical change. The technical change is where you have the skill, capacity and the knowledge required to change the thing you want to change. For a lot of people this type of change is relatively easy and is quite subjective and is not necessarily noted as a major accomplishment and provides a low level of reward.

The second type of change is what we call adaptive. Adaptive changes when something seems to be quite pressing or urgent and is outside of the realm of your own ability to get the task done.

With adaptive change you actually don’t know the outcome, yet you realise that the current situation requires a necessary change. Adaptive change may require something that you currently feel you don’t have, to be acquired first in order to get the task done, for example, it could be a spiritual matter, it could be a pressing financial matter, or it could be a matter that requires a number of people to collectively make a decision in order for the change to take place.

We know change is hard, why? Habits and anxiety.

Treat change as a project, enlist allies, be fair, share credit and plan for backsliding, just seek to understand it. Give yourself time. celebrate success, who needs to know, make sure they do.

Stuck at to

As mentioned in my previous post I’ve talked about those people who require a change but actually never achieve the change they want in their lives. In this article I want to discuss with you what happens when you have started the process of change by setting the goals, putting your action plan in place and your seem to be well on their way in transitioning.

After gathering much contemplative information about the journey including the who where why when and how The journey begins and you seem well under way to achieving your goal.

Unfortunately For many people they get stuck in the middle of the transition at a place called ‘To’. E.g. good to great, this to that. The ‘To’ place is what I will call a cocoon for the purpose of this exercise.

A very lonely place where you are neither this nor that, here or there, that place of darkness uncertainty and the complete absence of actuality and presence, almost nothingness. ‘To’ is a crucible place of testing, a place where you are no longer a caterpillar who in all is glory had 100 legs furry skin and was easily identified by most children, who forces it self into a cocoon with the hope and dream of one day becoming a butterfly.

The thing I’ve realised about the ‘To’ place is that although there appears to be a sense of nothingness, it is the stage where the amazing transformation takes place. It’s where you will receive good instructions and sometimes a very clear on how to become. The challenge is when we focus on our ‘To’ place it is very difficult to have clarity to listen to the instructions.

Recognising that there is nothing wrong with the ‘To’ place will help you go through the process and not get stuck at ‘To’.

Been stuck at two and focusing on your cocoon actually damages your well-being. It is important to recognise the change by not resisting the change.

Change happens and the process is really important to the success of change