What does a leader do on the weekend?

You work very hard during the week and you definitely deserve a bit of break for the weekend. And yes, you do need to take a break and make sure you recharge your batteries.

However, many of you know the story of the lumberjack busy cutting the tree with a blunt saw, and the person walking by can not stand it and ask him “ Why don’t you sharpen the saw?”… “ I am too busy sawing…” comes as an answer.

If you have not read the book of Stephen Covey, the 7 Habits… Please take the time to do so this weekend. So when you take your weekend into account, you have to make sure that you do a bit of sharpening. It is essentially goes into four categories:

  • Body – Exercise, Eat Well, Relax
  • Mind – Learn, Write, Educate
  • Heart – Relationships
  • Soul – Meditate, Journal, Pray

One bit you have to remember is to keep the balance of all this, you can not do a 200% job on Body and only 10% on heart. Imagine if these four categories would represent a quarter in a wheel, and that wheel would be carrying your life. With that imbalance, your life would fee a pretty bumpy ride. Also you have to maintain the balance of how much time you put into all this. It may sound crazy, but if you exercise 2 hours every day, than over 10 years you spend almost 1 year exercising. Well my point is, keep the balance as it may add that 1 year to your life expectancy, but you have not really gained much in the process…

Take this weekend, journal, read, write and go socialize a bit, sharpen your saw, so you are even more productive than the week before!

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!



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The Friday Game Changer – Reflection Time

We have gone through the week, it feels great that it is Friday…. But does it?
Friday is just another day and you can decide how you live it. You can be happy about that the week has ended, think of going out have a beer or a glass of wine and do not think about work… lock it out and forget about it for a few days…. The chances are that you will feel terrified or sad when Monday comes.

There is another way…. And as usual it takes not much, just 30 minutes or so, and you will feel great, and will even be excited on Monday. This is not smoking weed…. It is reflections time.

Simple thing you can capture any of the following, and I guarantee you, you will feel happy, you will feel fulfilled, and will feel excited on Monday to continue. This is the list I use for my reflection time…. But feel free to alter as you see fit, it is more important to do it, rather than how you do it.

  1. What was working well from my plan for the week
    Yes you should have a plan of outcomes for a week and you have to reflect on that, what was working well… so you can have this cleared up
  2. What was working not so well
    What did I learn from it… What is worth to remember.
  3. Who has accomplished something that I should recognize
    Capture some moments, individuals…. Even if they do not work for you or with you, who are worth to recognize… Maybe you can even post on Social Media about the lady in the Post Office who was super helpful and cheerful
  4. What was the best moment of the week…
    Here focus on something that I was grateful for to have… One thing I will remember for whatever reason…. It will help you to lift your spirit

Please make sure you capture these in writing…. As words fly away and what is written stays there forever.

So you decide…. Head to the pub and forget or 30 minutes more and remember.

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!



How to Build a One Page Summary of Anything

We are communicating every day, whether you want it or not…

When you type an email, you write a report, make a presentation, verbally or non verbally you are communicating!

Today we will be focusing on how to make your written communication even better than now.

You have to be considerate of 2 things: the audience and you.

Let’s Start With You… Your work is the reflection of yourself. Anything you do is the external manifestation of your qualities and capabilities. The fact is that some are written, therefore remains makes it more important. In verbal settings, your performance is not retained elsewhere than the memories of the participants, but the written ones, you will never know where they might surface later on, so you better focus and do the best you can.

The Audience… It’s not you, so when you write the message has to be constructed for them, tailored and carefully crafted. Also, you have to show your respect for being concise and well targeted. You cannot waste their time or your time, with an improperly compiled message which does not achieve its intended purpose.

Great…. Now we are all scared to write an email…. Not at all the case. As anything in business (or life) to create a great one-page summary you’ll need to follow three steps:

Step 1 – Create the Ultimate Message

This is the most important part: what you want to achieve with the message? Inform, take action…. These are the major categories. So basically you write the last part of the communication first, make sure that it is crystal clear, what the message is. If we are talking email, this is a last sentence before the ending part…. What do I want the audience to do or remember…? One thing no more.

If you talk in PowerPoint terms this is the sentence on the bottom of the slide, preferably one line text with roughly font size 20…. If it does not fit to one line try to reconsider unless you are using super long words for whatever reason like “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”, which is a lung disease as I was told…. Try to avoid these unless you are a scientist and you are talking to a group of other scientists, but even with them they will not have to remember that word, they would have to remember the thing about it or the thing what they have to do.

Step 2 – Create Your Entry

This is your opening sentence in your communication, almost as summarized as the message that leads the audience into the chain of thoughts from where they are into the comprehension of the final message.

If the piece of work is an email, that it is a situational summary, if it is part of a longer presentation, you have to lead from the previous section into the page you are on. Imagine this as the “opening statement” of a lawyer in court, it has a powerful message on its own and gets the jury focused.

Step 3- Build the Logical Chain to Your Final Message from the Entry point

You have to support your information with facts, data, emotions and whatever to make the Final Message stick in the audiences head. They will not have to remember these, they have to remember the final message. But these have to be powerful enough to make them remember or make them do whatever they have to do. Again the courtroom analogy, this is all the pieces of evidence and witnesses the lawyer presents to support the case and influence the judge or the jury to make their final call.

Bonus Track – If Any of you Remember from the DVDs we Used to Use….

If this is an email, the subject is a message on its own. You are fighting with the massive overflow of emails, so you have to be very good at formalizing the subject line for people to open your email at all. What I found interesting on this in the corporate world is that if you use similar tactics that the marketing people use on the emails when they try to convince you to buy something then it becomes much more effective. Again, remind yourself that if it is important to you, than you want to make sure that it gets opened and read to the end, better be short than…

Enjoy the Journey and Deliver Results!



Best Ever Question for Leaders

We all get very busy every day, focusing on problems to be solved, people to talk to and tasks to be completed. In 90% of the time, we live like machines, reacting to inputs we receive or slaves of the moment.

Our mind, however, is destined to achieve so much more. You must have read studies on how much of the brain capacity we use and sure there are some myths around that. However, we can all agree there is much more in the reserves in there, should we decide to use it?

For that the best ever question is: “Why?” … This can be a stimulating question to ask in any situation. Breaks you away from the moment and the complexity of situations, and focuses you on a forward-looking state. It feels like a switch to the brain…. “Time to work!”.

This is an excellent tool to formalize strategies, create motivation, solve complex problems and a lot of others.

I am posting this on a Wednesday, so if you have gone through your manic Monday, when everyone seems to have downloaded all the great ideas they had over the weekend, every person who wanted to follow up on something had sent the emails to you. And the Tuesday, when you took care of all what came about on Monday…. It is time to set aside a bit of time and work on the “Why?” a bit. I find it most efficient to set aside time to work on a project, strategy anything important on Wednesday. I even had some jobs, when I took some part of Wednesday off and did not go to the office I was working on things where thinking was required. It is not to be confused with planning time when you have answered the question already, but take time aside and ask the “whys”…

So let’s walk through an example of how would this work:

You are a leader and your team needs to do a better job on whatever your team is doing. You take your Wednesday morning off, switch your email, set an out of office, turn the mobile off, or forward to someone else’s number. Get yourself a table at you favourite coffee place…. The background is all set, your mind is free, you are in a familiar but not an office environment, so your brain is being reminded that something unusual and great will be taking place.

Why are we not doing a good job? And list out the things that come to your mind in the next minute… Do not spend too much time, your brain will be more or less coming up with the important stuff in the first 30 seconds, the minute is only required for your hand to catch up with the writing

Then, ask the question Why again on the items on the list. This way you will build a logical chain. After you finished the thinking I would encourage you to come up with a document, preferably one page to summarize your thinking. This will be required to explain what you have come up with to the key members of your team and continue the thinking together. The document has to be clear enough to be printed and put in front of anyone and without you saying a word the other person should understand the message.

Once you have the one-pager, you can reward yourself with another coffee, cake or whatever you like, pack your things and go back to work. Although Wednesday is the lowest point of the week, you have just built a piece of strategy and could proudly be the leader you deserve to be.

If you wish to post your ideas in comments, we are happy to help you with any questions you might have!

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!



My Best Italian Business Coach

Business can be overwhelming…

Every day new challenges…

Hundreds of emails…

People stopping you disturbing the flow what you have very well planned for…

How on earth can you be productive in this environment…?

Exhale deeply…

Accept your defeat…

Or Read Further and Start to Use What My Best Italian Business Coach has Taught Me…

Strictly speaking, he was not really a business coach, he was a professor coming up with a theory more than 100 years ago. But its implications come very handy in business on a daily basis.

We are talking about Vilfredo Pareto and his all famous 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of the results are driven by 20% of the factors or elements influencing it.

Ok, but how does it help me to focus?  Very simple! what are the things you do which are directly contributing to the way you measured? make a list of them and put them in descending importance order….  focus on the top 20%, and you will get 80% of the results!

The key to Successful Application of this Principle has Two Main Elements You Need to Keep in Mind!

  1. It applies to almost everything you do…

Numbers, Data, Time, People anything. You have to make sure that you clearly understand what is important for your customer (can be an internal customer or your boss) and figure out how your activities and tasks are connected to it.

Example: You are a maintenance manager at a facility… You are making products, customer deliveries are of main importance to the site… Traditionally you are measured to downtime, MTBF, response time and all sorts. These are all great metrics but I have 2375 machines to take care of…. How am I going to focus….?  Well, you walk up to your friend and ask from what areas they ship-how many products, or what areas make the most expensive products. Put this data in descending sequence and “voila” on the top you have the most important areas for the facility, and focusing or staring with these areas will give you the biggest “customer” satisfaction.

  1. It is not always 80/20

Sometimes you have to bend the rule to make the elephant smaller!

What I mean is that you can choose to start your efforts on let’s say the top 10 things you are dealing with, figure out what can be improved on those and from there the implications… actions can be further expanded to the rest of the items. So you can work with the Top 10 customers and figure out through their examples how to improve the service and then anything that can be applied across the customer base you will roll it out later on.

This means that although you are not addressing the top 80% per say, you will be when you start the rollout later on. This keeps you sain, keeps your efforts simpler…

There are some more pearls of wisdom about this principles so it would be great if you could share your thoughts and experiences and questions in the comments below.


Enjoy the Journey and Deliver the Results!



Best Time Management Question Ever

All of us have 86 400 on our account… Every day… Those are seconds in a day. It is your job to decide how to invest them. So you have to act like an investor, not a gambler. Select not the short term risky gain, but the long-range well-calculated return.

Enjoy the ride and bring the results!


Make This Your Magical Business Monday

How to gain speed and stability in delivering results… Use the Magic Monday

Have you ever asked yourself on Friday afternoon, “Where the hell this week has gone?”. Feeling achieved nothing of importance.

If the answer is no… Close this post right now and write your wisdom how you do it and share it with us.

However, if you did, let me share with you a trick that will change most of your Mondays, and even Fridays to magical ones.

If you ask yourself the question what are the important things I have to work on to make things better in your work or in your life, you know the answer all too well. Give yourself no more than 30 seconds and write down the top 3..5 things coming to your mind.

You would be amazed how good your initial thoughts might be if you give yourself this time limit, also it gives you the power to focus, so you do not list out your entire to-do list.

Beware “urgent” does not equal important! Important is when it will matter on the long run…. For the most part, in most of the businesses bosses are not asking for it every day, they appreciate it when it comes to pay rise, promotions. So, if you want to improve from where you are, you got to make your mark and show that you can make a difference in the important things.

You got your list…? Great! If not… Stop reading right now, and write it down!

OK, so to make your weeks magical, and make sure you make progress on the important stuff, I suggest setting time aside to work on it. Put it in your calendar…. Do not tell me that you have no space! You always have, just ask the question is the thing you have on your calendar more important than the item on your list…. Voila… You can cancel things and decide not to do them, people will not mind if you explain them well.

Here comes the most important part, make it a recurring event. Looking at important stuff only once will lead you nowhere. Just think about losing weight, if you make a new years resolution, go to the gym once… Will that make any difference … No. So make it recurring, will you?

Also to make it more powerful, tell some others about it. Maybe invite your colleagues, your boss, your wife… whatever the nature of the item is. The aim is to talk and plan and do things in that hour that will make the important stuff go forward.

It is magical how much better you going to feel on Friday…. Hurray, I have achieved something this week.

And the good news is, if you stick to this for 90 days or so, so you will be amazed how much progress you have made.

Go ahead, try it out…. Would love to see in the comments things you will work on… Share with me if you want to make a commitment to the world, only the internet will see that

Wish you a magical Monday!

Magical Business Monday