It’s my birthday this week. Yet another rotation around the sun on this amazing planet. I’m older, a little stronger, a little wealthier (thankfully), and a little greyer.

So, like last year, this week I’m going to break pattern and offer you all something a little different. A ‘special edition’ if you will.

Here’s some of my observations from the last year. In no particular order, and around no particular theme.

Take from it what you will. But do let me know which ones have you nodding your head in agreement.

  1. In yet another similarity between sales and change – the mantra of “Solve a problem, or go away” is a great barometer for the vast majority of our workplace conversations.
  2. While often used with empathetic intent, the term ‘change fatigue’ is a way of shifting blame & attention away from your change adoption processes (or lack thereof) to the people impacted.
  3. My sales conversations notably improved when I stopped trying to show off, and started trying to listen, coach and advise. I suspect there’s a lesson in there for most of us.
  4. When I started the Valuable Change Co, my focus was (and remains) on helping leaders put context, value, delivery, culture and adoption cohesively together. As almost everyone focuses on doing delivery better, the name represents the other key elements that are often missed: Valuable (it pays off) & Change (making things sustainably different). I anticipated that it would be the valuable element that would appeal en-masse to my clients. I was wrong – it was the change part.
  5. In fact, unless you’ve read my books – most people straight up ignore the ‘valuable’ part of my business name. Our brains just love to auto-categorise!
  6. I’m very open to the growing idea of the email-free workplace, and have only just realised that I already run my own staff that way. I’m also starting to shift my clients to the same. But email remains too essential when it comes to my sales efforts – so will email just end up where personal landlines did – something that only receives contacts by salespeople?
  7. We shouldn’t overlook what positive and negative emotions in our workplace can show us. Prime example: we humans have a pretty good sense for process waste simply because we find inefficiency so damn annoying! As leaders we can use that to find low hanging fruit without having to do big, long, lean six sigma analyses.
  8. The most consistent intentional habit I’ve picked up over the last few months is getting direct early-morning sunlight. The trick is tying it to my morning coffee habit. (Want to do something regularly – attach it to coffee!)
  9. I’ve been meaning to kick off a podcast for several months now, but there’s always something more important. Perhaps I need to attach it to coffee…
  10. (Small) failure is something you can get used to, and you can make the associated emotions fade as quickly as success seems to. It just takes practice and a little self-worth concrete.
  11. Short form video media is a horrible blight, but it seem we are losing the societal battle against it. Suddenly it feels that even those small moments in our lives need to be filled with some form of ‘entertainment’. (Even though most of it is utter garbage).
  12. On a similar note, the competition for our attention is so high now, that unless you have a really strong existing trust base – you better nail those first 5 words of that email/workshop/meeting title.
  13. It’s said that writing a book makes room in your brain for new ideas. What they don’t mention though, is how MANY new ideas you have just a few weeks/months post publishing! I have 3 entire book outlines written of my office window…
  14. And those book outlines will stay on the window until I’m ready, because I can’t get my head around the idea of a using shadow writer. I’m happy to get support in almost any way – but my books have my name in big bold lettering on the front of them. So, they better damn well have my thoughts, ideas, words and humour on the inside of them.
  15. These recent releases in machine-learning/AI are awesome, but they’re still too clunky. This is limiting them to those that are technically savvy. We’ll see real change when we hit seamless integration. Machine learning in everyone’s home and pocket, found everything from construction sites to lawyers offices to corner cafes. I’m looking forward to placing bets in the next #AI-dotcombubble
  16. To meet both my gym & business commitments, I’ve found myself pausing mid-gym session to take client calls. For some reason this makes me feel like one of those Hollywood archetypical billionaires… All I need to complete the look is a helicopter. And a space ship. ..and a billion dollars. Hmm…
  17. The changing inter-relationship between men and broader society needs to be a less controversial topic.
  18. The New-Years break is always shorter than I think it is.
  19. There’s a lot of talk of 4-day work weeks. But not enough talk about seasonally-based working hours.
  20. While I admittedly don’t know what the regret of a one night stand feels like, I’ve done a few podcasts lately where the hosts didn’t give two shits about me or what I was saying. (I suspect my (now ex) agent had these shows on a ‘placement roster’.) I felt so dirty and used after each convo. I refuse to promote any show that makes me feel that way.
  21. I don’t buy into public holidays. Those events just don’t mean a thing to me. I do, however, take days off for my family’s birthdays and anniversaries.
  22. It doesn’t matter how big the picture of the Disney character is on the band-aid, it’s not staying on my 3yr old for any longer than a few minutes. Sometimes, some improvements just don’t stick.
  23. People like lists of things. But they get tired of them quickly (anyone remember BuzzFeed? – didn’t that thing crash and burn.)
  24. My favourite part of my work is the strong friendships I build with my advisory & collaboration clients. Solving problems together is such a wonderful way to build meaningful relationships.
  25. My mission remains to genuinely help people make an impact. This has meant I’ve turned down business simply because I didn’t believe what they wanted me to do for them would make a meaningful difference. I’m (weirdly) pleased by this. #DeathToBusyWork