Saturday, March 16, 2019

Taking action in NZ



Great tweet by Mike Cannon-Brooks on NZ response to banning semi-automatic guns - the kiwi govt knows how to transition “thoughts and prayers” to “action and deeds” 


This is your home and you should have been safe here

From my friend Mark Gustowski





A day of heavy hearts for innocent people lost. Hard to fathom that today’s society is filled with so much hatred which has become the new norm. 

Hate speech is not free speech, if you hear it, pull it up, if you see it, call it out. 

Be good to each other, be good to those around you and try to do 1 good deed a day. The world will thank you for it. 

#OneWorld #OnePeople

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A great hack for effective networking


The following is adapted from Robin’s new book, The Thought Leader Formula.




Networking is a crucial aspect of being a thought leader. Robin shares with us a great hack to get connected and build relationships at events.

(Ivan’s note:- I met Robin when she was a volunteer at the prestigious “Innovation 4 Jobs (I4J) forum with Vint Serf and David Nordfors. As the organiser, Robin connected and built relationships with every member and guest at the forum. )

Whether you’re just starting out and don’t have networking opportunities yet, or are already a networking star, a great trick you can use is to volunteer for events in line with your subject area.

The easiest way to get a volunteer position is to find contact info on the event website, and just email the people running the event. Offer your services for free and tell them why you think their event is worth your volunteer time. Focus on why you think their event is great and how you can help them achieve their goals. If you can get a direct introduction from one of your contacts to someone on the event team, even better.

Another way to get in the volunteering door is to first attend an event as a paying attendee and make it a point to interact with everyone on the event team. Now you’ll have those relationships in place and can volunteer for their next event.

One bonus when volunteering for an event is, you never have those awkward times during an event when you aren’t interacting with anyone and aren’t sure who to approach to interact with next. Everyone has those periods of time at an event when they are alone, between conversations, and suddenly feeling anxious because they are alone. That’s normal, and few escape that feeling. When you are on the event team, even as a volunteer, you always have something to do or someone to interact with.

The best positions are working the registration table or being the speaker manager / stage manager. If you only have a little time to volunteer, ask to work the registration table, as you can show up at the event less than an hour before it begins, and your job is usually done by about an hour into the event, assuming the number of late stragglers taper off by then.

You will be the first person many, if not all, attendees will see and meet. In fact, for events of 250 or less, this is the only person that gets to meet everyone!

If you were to attend as a regular attendee, you only have time to meet a handful of people. An additional major benefit is that you can also take a photo of the attendee list to follow up with everyone on LinkedIn when you get home.

Another great position that will require more of your time is the speaker manager position. As a volunteer (versus an employee, who would have a greater number of tasks and responsibility), you would help coordinate the speakers before the event with the basics, like logistics or getting their slides for the AV team.

Because you are interacting with the speakers both before and during the event, you can build a relationship with them, and they will likely remember how helpful you were as a volunteer for the event. These speakers are great potential mentors, role models, colleagues, partners, co-panelists — essentially, your fellow thought leader “peeps.”

Of course, you may be at a level of your career where it would seem odd for you to volunteer for check-in or speaker manager. For instance, if you’re part of the C-Suite of a mature company, there are other ways to achieve similar results.

If you are building thought leadership that benefits your current company, send someone from your business development or marketing department to volunteer. They can network with the company’s specific goals in mind.

Another effective and strategic way to volunteer, no matter what stage of your career you are in currently, is by joining the advisory board or a committee of alumni groups, nonprofits, or local community groups that are relevant to your subject matter. You can network by being together with others in these groups. If you focus on groups that also run events, you will have a better shot at being a speaker for those events.

For more advice on getting started with networking as a thought leader, you can find The Thought Leader Formula on Amazon.

Robin Farmanfarmaian is a professional speaker, entrepreneur, and angel investor, driving high-level business development for cutting-edge medical and biotech companies poised to impact 100M patients. With over 100 speaking engagements in twelve countries, she educates audiences on technology, the future of healthcare, patient empowerment, building thought leadership, and more. Keeping within the empowerment theme, Robin also works with entrepreneurs and executives who want to become thought leaders in order to accelerate their career and business goals. Her first book, “The Patient as CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer,” is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Stop asking “how are you” if you are looking to have a meaningful conversation




Stop asking 'how are you?' Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do when making small talk says  Gary Burnison in a CNBC interview (CNBC.com) 


By asking inane questions like “how are you” or “what do you do” is a lost opportunity and meaningless exchange with zero connection.


So what are some tactics to help you to be perceived as a charismatic and interesting person?


Here are six tactics to having a meaningful conversation:


1. Use the A.C.T. trick


Starting with small talk is key 

  • A - Be authentic 
  • C - Connect - start with something you have in common 
  • T - Topic that will give a taste of you 


2. Be in the moment and observe your surroundings - do your homework 


Open your eyes before you open your mouth. 


Find something to focus on in your surroundings 


At an exhibition, ask what their favorite painting was.


Ask about someone’s hat, shoes or jewelry that they are wearing - it sometimes makes a statement about the person 


In a person’s office - ask about the piece of art on the wall, a quirky gadget or family picture on their desk,  There's bound to be something that will spark small talk and help lead the conversation into unique follow-up questions.


"Open your eyes before you open your mouth."

-Gary Burnison, CEO, Korn Ferry


Let's say you're talking to the CEO of a large, iconic company who is about to retire, and you noticed a row of empty boxes along the wall of the CEO's office. You might start with the question, 


"How hard is it for you to leave this job?" 


When going to a forum, do your research on the people in the room and find out their passions 


This will lead to a much deeper and more emotionally revealing discussion, and it never would've happened had you not noticed those boxes.



3. Share some news (that actually happened)


At our BBG forums, we go around the room and ask each person to say one interesting thing that recently happened in their lives. 


If you have "news," share it: "my baby had a baby" or "My baby took her first step!" 


If you are meeting someone - share something meaningful that happened to you .


People actually do want to know more about others, especially if they both work at the same company.


As a result of that momentary sharing, you've allowed everyone to feel more personally and genuinely connected with each other.


The key is to be genuine


4. It's not just what you say

No matter what or how much you say, your tone of voice, facial expression and eye contact will broadcast so much more.


In person, look at the other person when you speak, not at the conference table or the wall. 


On the phone, smile — it will make your voice sound warmer. 


It's not just what you say, but how you say it, that will help others connect with you.


5. Listen 

People love to talk about themselves, so be a great listener


Ask leading questions - and LISTEN 


Be present during the conversation.

Focus on the other person 

Show that you care 

Ask leading questions 


  • Listen 2 ears one mouth 
  • In the moment /interesting
  • Small talk - have something interesting to say that’s relevant and engaging 
  • Trust 
  • Empathy - put yourself in the other person’s shoes 
  • Names - remember persons name - make them feel they are important 

6. Make proper introductions 

Introduce people with ease, making them feel important.


Be sure to remember names 


In addition to announcing names, offer a piece of information about each person, or a shared interest, thereby facilitating a conversation. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Wise words from mothers and mentors that inspired Australia’s women of influence


“Be a lady and be independent”- Ruth Bader Ginsberg - USA Supreme Court Judge 


“You get out of this world what you put into it - work hard, maintain a positive attitude and contribute to your community”  - Kim Mckay - CEO Australia Museum 


“Don’t be afraid to put up your hand and give it a go -it’s ok if you get it wrong - as long as you learn” - Gladys Berejklian - Premier NSW 


“Never stop fighting for what you believe in

Know your worth - don’t let others determine it  “ - Jane Palfreyman - publisher Allen and Unwin 


“Be Determined and have a sense of Justice” Deborah Cheetham - Aboriginal Australian Soprano 


“Bring your best game”  - Kym Elphinstone - MD Articulate PR


“Take a cardigan - be practical and safe - don’t worry to much how you look “ - Tanya Pilbersek -  Member for Sydney 


“You can succeed at anything - picture your competition getting out of bed in the morning in their PJs”- Carolyn McNally / secretary Dept of Planning and environment 


“Tackle issues with fortitude and integrity “ - Clover Moore - Lord Mayor Sydney City Council


“Your unique beauty is found in your imperfections - grow in our flaws - and our humanity and our empathy in our vulnerabilities” -Monica Barone - CEO - City Of Sydney 


“Stand up straight” - Louise Herron - CEO of Opera House 


“Follow your passion - don’t worry what others think”- Elizabeth Anne Macgregor Director Of Museum Of Contemporary Art (MCA)


“Be confident - don’t self doubt - feel safe 

Just do it - don’t procrastinate” - Ronni Kahn - CEO of Ozharvest


“Be thoughtful , take your time , identify options - the early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese” Jenny Allum - head of SCEGGS


“Do what you love - don’t be forced into doing something that does not fit with what your passion is - know your truth”  - Maud Page - Art Gallery Of NSW


“Be economically independent, be brave , ignore the sceptics, work hard and don’t take no for an answer” - Emma Dunch - CEO Sydney Symphony Orchestra 


“Be confident - don’t self doubt - mentor others”- Edwina Throsby - head of Talks and Ideas - Sydney Opera House 


“Live a life beyond what you thought possible - don’t be bound by others rules - make your own decisions - don’t worry what others think”- Leanne Polkinghorn - president of Real Estate Institute  Of NSW 


“Move with the changes - however disconcerting - change is constant - if the rate of change on the outside is greater than the rate of change on the inside - the end is near” - Megan Davis - vice Chancellor UNSW


My all time favourite 


“Travelled to every continent , learned a new language at the age of 70, Waved to road crews , flirted with bus drivers , asked a bikie about their embroidery on their jacket - was indomitable! “ Briony Scott about her Mum who lived her dream 


It’s the little things that keep you going


  • when long departed staff call you to wish you well in your new venture; 
  • when clients that have been loyal for 22 years tell you that they love your work and makes a referral 
  • when long departed staff members write to thank you for helping them grow their careers; 
  • when former colleagues unexpectedly walk in with flowers to wish you well in your new venture; 
  • when a colleague makes you a warm referral - because the know like and trust you 
  • when new acquaintances drop everything to rush over and fix an IT problem for you 
  • when a stranger you meet randomly introduces you to an amazing opportunity
What are the little things that make a huge impact on your life ?

Google study identifies the top 5 ingredients that make a dream team



Google launched an initiative called Project Aristotle two years ago wanting to know why some teams excelled while others fell behind. 


Why Project Aristotle ? It was he that proved that  

"The whole can be greater than the sum of its parts."


They studied 180 Google teams, conduct 200-plus interviews, and analyze over 250 different team attributes to come up with a clear pattern of characteristics that could be plugged into a dream-team generating algorithm.


Do the best teams mean that you have to have the brightest and the best?


 It makes sense. The best engineer plus an MBA, throw in a PhD, and there you have it. 


The perfect team, right? 


Julia Rozovsky, Google's people analytics manager -  "We were dead wrong."


So what were the perfect mixture of skills, backgrounds, and traits of rockstar teams, 


It wasn’t until Google started considering some intangibles that things began to fall into place.


Group norms was a key 

"As they struggled to figure out what made a team successful, Rozovsky and her colleagues kept coming across research by psychologists and sociologists that focused on what are known as "group norms" - the traditions, behavioral standards, and unwritten rules that govern how teams function when they gather... Norms can be unspoken or openly acknowledged, but their influence is often profound."


With a new lens and some added direction from a research on collective intelligence (abilities that emerge out of collaboration) by a group of psychologists from Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Union College, Project Aristotle's researchers went back to the drawing board to comb their data for unspoken customs. Specifically, any team behaviors that magnified the collective intelligence of the group.


Rozovsky outlined the five key characteristics of dream  teams.


1. Dependability.

Team members get things done on time and meet expectations.


2. Structure and clarity.

High-performing teams have clear goals, and have well-defined roles within the group.


3. Meaning.

The work has personal significance to each member.


4. Impact.

The group believes their work is purposeful and positively impacts the greater good.

Yes, that's four, not five. The last one stood out from the rest:


5. Psychological Safety.

We've all been in meetings and, due to the fear of seeming incompetent, have held back questions or ideas. I get it. It's unnerving to feel like you're in an environment where everything you do or say is under a microscope.

But imagine a different setting. A situation in which everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgment-free questions. A culture where managers provide air cover and create safe zones so employees can let down their guard. That's psychological safety.


Google found that teams with psychologically safe environments had employees who were less likely to leave, more likely to harness the power of diversity, and ultimately, who were more successful.

  • Who would be the 10 people in your dream team? 
  • People that you could trust and feel safe with? 
  • Has your product got clarity?
  • Does it have meaning or a purpose?