Catalyse - a personal brand (plogo!)

New Personal Brand This is part of my new logo - its a personal one, its 'me' - we call it a 'plogo'.

Its been a interesting journey discovering, and enjoying, the fact that I AM a brand. I took courage to start this exercise by reading Seth Godin's book Linchpin. Here he takes the concept of a product needing to be a 'Purple Cow' (you may need to read this book if you haven't as its essential) to get onto our radar even for a moment - if its not remarkable then we don't notice it and 'click' we are gone! - and starts to define the future of people at work into also becoming 'remarkable' and 'Linchpins'- stand outs, truly themselves, wonderfully relevant and skilful. In fact you just can't do without them in your business!

But to do this you actually need to know who you are! You need a personal brand and that means a name that is uniquely expressive of your essence, and outputs such as a graphic design, professional story (CV) and even perhaps your music and your art. (I don't have my music yet but I do have a couple of artists working on my art - very exciting)

This has a strong business dimension in that it defines you in your work, makes you stand out from the crowd and clarifies your value to clients.

So my plogo is Catalyse. I have always found unique possibilities, and created significant value in business, by bringing things together that others have missed. I do this now for new brands and people. With Executives I help them find themselves, their core, and move past the ingrained barriers that stop them becoming even more successful. For new products I link my aggressive, pioneering spirit with finding the essence needed to make a 'blue ocean' - I catalyse.

If you would like to know about Personal Branding it would be a pleasure to tell you more - +64 21 556 458

How to be a Leader - deal with drama triangles, the anxiety of others and even Org's that sabotage themselves

I love these book summaries that are done in carton form. This ones all about being a true leader, being clear about yourself and not being drawn into others anxiety and issues - in the wrong way. I find it useful. It also says to me that we need to know ourselves well to be the Differentiated Leadership that Friedman suggests. Personal branding of ourselves must be one way to be clear and there is a direct ROI for those around us and our business.  

Why Institutions should listen to the 'one'

A good talk on why the 80/20 rule leads companies to miss placing their resources on the 'one' that will make the difference in favour of what appears to be the sensible investment to the bulk of the respondents.He also shows that what we think is the 'average' and thus the right place to put investment, is mistaken in a world of long tails. And why as the way we communicate changes, it favours the 'one' having a chaotic (although initially quantum) effect on the system.

More Energy - less time?

A colleague of mine has this quote on her email signature - 'it takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan' (Eleanor Roosevelt) Its mildly irritating isn't it! We know we should, and we don't. We know that a well planned day saves energy and yet every day we run like hamsters on the wheel, and often end up unsatisfied as a result.

So I've nicked some tips for better days, with time saved, and more energy from Tom Cox's website on CEO leadership tips. His sources quote these tips include tops athletes, and even bankers, showing that not only can you save burnout, but you're going to do a better job. More sales, better meetings and in the case of the bankers- more revenue (is that good?).

Planning means focus. In coaching terms 'focus' means you clear you head and direct yourself in your planned direction. Guess what? Our brains like this. We function better and we literally save energy. And in Tom's five steps the other thing I like is the chance for 'happiness'. Don't scoff! There is tons of research to show that happiness is vital to our lives and performance, so it makes sense to include it in our days to get into the 'flow' (try The Happiness Hypothesis by J.Haidt for a superbly argued treatment).

So Tom's tips are:

Five Steps to Energy Management

1. Create a list of the things that give you energy — anything from playing with the kids to taking a walk. These are things that we are tempted to STOP doing when we feel overwhelmed — they feel like luxuries. Keep this list visible at your desk. Make sure you are doing these every day. 2. Stop working marathon hours, and start working in “sprints.” If you’re creating a workday of back-to-back meetings, eating lunch at your desk, and having no breaks, you’re destroying your productivity. 3. After every 90-120 minute “sprint” of work, stop and do an activity from the list of energy-creating activities, to relax and recover. Like a weight lifter who does intense work and then allows time for regeneration, you can literally build your energy reserves by pushing hard and then stopping to regenerate. 4. Take this pattern of sprint, relax, sprint, relax — and turn it into an unbreakable, sacred ritual. The more you create rituals of behaviors that are good for you, the easier it is for you to do those behaviors without having to summon your will or exercise self-control. It’ll actually be easier to be virtuous than to break the ritual. 5. Do not multitask during your sprint — stay focused on one activity that demands attention. While the brain can time-split effectively across one low-focus activity (i.e. ironing shirts) while monitoring a stream of low-density information (i.e. watching a baseball game), you literally cannot focus on two demanding tasks at one time. A teacher can help a child with her reading, while scanning the classroom for trouble. However, once the trouble breaks out, that becomes the focus. (Imagine having a crucial talk with your Significant Other about the future of your relationship… and simultaneously, one of you is also working on the company’s annual budget. One or both of those tasks is going to suffer.)

Tom Cox's blog is at

Try it- you can only gain.

The Symmetry of life

I was shown this video today - beautiful use of music and pictures. Life is too short to worship at our own 'personal drama' shrine. Its time to get present, get in tune with what is happening around us and become aware of the opportunities. Try this video out as a means to 'stop' and watch. Listen to the music, tune in and breath. One of the great abilities of strong decision makers is to be 'present' and work from the power of being in the flow.

Symmetry from Everynone on Vimeo.

Blow away by this Film and music


Got to tell you about this 'find' - a deep and wonderful Italian film (Tilda Swinton learnt Italian for it) matched by the superb music of John Adams.

If you try it, give yourself a couple of hours when you can watch and get involved with this power struggle of hierarchal family life.Full of sub texts and filmed beautifully. The last 5 mins literally made me hold my breath, and the images linger for days.

Posted via email from Simon's posterous

Creativity is Lonely

I'd like to 'plug' Hugh Macleod and his web site 'the gaping void'. So I've clipped this image from his website today.He worked for years (10,000 hours +) doing cartons on the back of business cards. The cartons reflect his life and calling to be a creative. His books are refreshing (with pictures!) and very honest. Sign up for his web mail and get a free carton every day BECAUSE - we all need to start to be more creative, the world has changed and the way you did it and how you did it has gone. If you don't know that yet then you will work harder, try to be faster and you might look at this in another 12 months.

Whats holding you back?


I just read a story. Its about a top executive who excels at everything she does. 
Her latest success was to learn to fly and so she invites my friend to go on a flight.

He arrives to see her starting to do all the preflight checks on the aircraft. 
Its on the tarmac and has a couple of ropes holding the wings down, in its park position.
They get inside, she goes down the check list, lights flash, total efficiency reigns, the tower is called, flight plan lodged, and the engines started. 
She revving up, and they are ready to go.

He's thinking 'what about the ropes?' - silly him, there must be a special release, a safety feature he doesn't know about - she must have it sorted, she is so successful.... and they continue gaining power, she looks intently forward, but they are going no where!

What about the ropes?

This modern parable is funny but pretty near the mark. What is holding you back? 
Many of us have more than we need to make a difference- Probably years of training and education - mobility, health and ways to communicate that cross the globe in seconds. But we constantly achieve little thats remarkable (even though we want too)
We can blame the boss, the organisation, the fiancees or the weather but how about looking at ourselves and our thinking?

I'd suggest two areas to examine ourselves on:

Firstly - just doing it IS doing it. We can spend hours planning, processing, trying to make perfect and thinkings about it all in meetings. 
Often with the result that someone else does it before us. We have to DO IT. 
So start writing, start making phone calls, make connections, start delegating etc.
A colleague of mine has a great saying: Bad plans carried out violently many times yield good results. Do something (Chuck Blakeman)

Secondly - you might need to go beyond yourself! Often in coaching I notice the extremes clients go to, to avoid having to think differently. Its painful as you see them justify their position. Their mode of thinking and pour cold water on a suggestion of working by synthesis or abstracts or (Oh! my goodness) feelings. Often the more successful they are, the worse they are in changing. And yet anything new will be in places they haven't been. These areas are likely to lead to the greatest value. Create the most change and value.

So we have a choice - find the ropes and cut them to create new life, or carry on revving up the engines but actually standing still.


Simon O'Shaughnessy

Posted via email from Simon's posterous