Can you believe it – Q1 19 is done and dusted! I will spare you the “how are you tracking relative to your goals and targets” discussion (and everything else that goes along with it) and rather just ask you this:

What is still on your to do list that was there in Q4 18? What did you promise yourself (or someone else) that you would get to in the new year – because you just wanted to get to the end of 2018 and go on holiday? What are the things you told yourself you would be in a much better frame of mind to be able to tackle with fresh vigour and enthusiasm after a good break?

There is no doubt in my mind that most of us keep up to date with the latest trends in leadership and workplace culture and that we recognise the value and importance of creating a workplace culture where our people are engaged and motivated. You may even have read numerous studies on how happier, healthier team members are more productive and the impact that has on the bottom line – hell, you may even have had a conversation with someone like me and acknowledged that there was some work needed to be done on exactly these topics “in the new year”! But what have you actually done?

Could it be that you’re simply spending all of your time, energy and attention working “in your business” as opposed to “on your business”?

Let me explain

It’s one thing to recognise the value and importance of issues such as leadership development, corporate culture and other (seemingly) soft and non-business critical factors, but it’s something entirely different to act on them. “Life” happens and operational day to day things almost always take precedent over the less tangible and apparently less urgent – I call it “buying into the idea, but not being able to do what it takes to get there”.

Think about it another way; most gyms make more money from people who are members and don’t use the facilities than they do from those who actually use the facilities. I would put a hefty wager on attendance numbers in January being far higher than any other month of the year! Those memberships were bought by people who recognised the value (along with the best intentions and new year’s resolutions) but can’t find the time, the energy or the inclination to actually do something about it.

FACT: Your focus is most likely on running your business as opposed to transforming your business. You’re looking for somebody to give you the answers, not ask you more questions, you want results and outcomes.

But first you need to help yourself…

Nobody knows and understands your business better than you do, you already have the answers – all you need to do is START!

There are four things you need to get off the start line – I call them the PURR Principles


As Simon Sinek puts it, “people buy “why” you do what you do, they don’t buy “what” you do”. In other words, you (and everybody else around you) need to be absolutely clear about your purpose and why you are trying to achieve it. A good dose of honesty is needed here – stating a purpose for the sake of good PR or a good marketing message (or because it’s the right thing to do) lacks sincerity and will call your integrity into question at some stage. Your purpose is not about what your organisation is or will become, it’s not geared to your customer and it’s not geared to the company either. An easy test is that it shouldn’t include the words “you”, “us” or “we”.

Stop wasting your and other people’s time by trying to convince everybody out there that you’re trying to be something that you’re not. Purpose is no place for grey areas and others will see straight through it eventually.

Here’s a quick checklist for you to measure your purpose against:

  • Is it simple, clear and easy to understand?
  • Is it strong bold and challenging?
  • Will it change the world for the better?
  • Is it unique?
  • Is it well communicated an understood throughout your organisation?
  • Does it seem almost impossible, yet worthwhile trying to achieve?


Whilst you may not be familiar with the Parkinson’s Law, you will know the principle. Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion. There is always something that needs to be done and the one thing can often appear as important or urgent as the next thing. This explains why PURPOSE and URGENCY have to be linked.

PURPOSE without URGENCY means very little of any value actually gets done – we may have this wonderful culture, everybody is happy and we sit around the fire and sing “kumbaya”, but we don’t make any money!

URGENCY without PURPOSE results in the classic “headless chicken syndrome” extreme busyness, but not much productivity – and again, you don’t make any money!

Overcoming the URGENCY challenge is relatively simple but, if you’re in need of a little help then you can trust an army general to come to the rescue with some pragmatic advice – the Eisenhower Matrix.

Eisenhower’s matrix dictates that:

  • If it’s: Urgent & Important – do it now
  • If it’s: Not Urgent but Important – plan and schedule to do it
  • If it’s: Urgent & not Important – delegate it
  • If it’s: Not Urgent & not Important – don’t do it

All you have to do is be honest with yourself and others about what is Urgent and Important or neither! URGENCY is no place for grey areas and poor prioritization will bite you later.


RELATIONSHIPS make the world go round and we all have multiple relationships that exist on many different levels. Relationships are the links in our personal lives and in the entire business eco-system –  poor management of key RELATIONSHIPS, will either kill PURPOSE or URGENCY – and sometimes both.

Ask somebody what it takes for a relationship to work and most will tell you, “trust”, “communication” and similar sorts of things – none incorrect, but they overlook the one fundamental thing – “fair exchange”. No doubt about it; people only stay in a relationship while they are getting something valuable out of it. Don’t mistake that for selfishness or something similar though; we all know that relationships are a two-way street so it requires work from all parties to ensure that they are delivering “fair exchange” all of the time.

As a rule, apply the “Pareto Principle” to your relationships – 20% of your relationships, will deliver 80% real value and exchange –  focus on those, build them and nurture them, again there is no room for any grey areas when it comes to who you choose to give your attention to.


Just like the drums give a rock band rhythm and beat, execution and delivery are about the ability to get things done in an organisation. The organisation’s RHYTHM is a simple three beat process that requires the policies, procedures, systems on the business side and talent, engagement, motivation and energy on the people side to combine perfectly in order for it to:

  • START the process based on whichever “inputs” come through
  • DO what needs to be done to those “inputs” (manufacturing, processing, etc)
  • PRODUCE something of value (in other words, conforming to requirements) and get it into the hands of whoever is paying for it

On their own, and in isolation, chances are good that there is nothing wrong with any of the above aspects of your business – so RHYTHM is really about efficiency and harmony when they all come together!

Where does the RHYTHM get lost? Unfortunately, running an organisation can sometimes be like captaining a leaky ship – all ships inherently leak, just like trying to balance all of the factors above is inherently what running a business is all about. Trying to avoid it is futile, managing it efficiently will deliver the results. RHYTHM – either you have it, or you don’t. it’s about GSD (Getting Shit Done). There are no grey areas

Erica Jong once said that “Advice is what you ask for, when you already know the answer, but you wish you didn’t”. Some truth in that for sure, but perhaps it’s actually about asking yourself a slightly different set of questions:

  • Are you willing to accept that you need help?
  • Are you willing to actually have that help?

YES? Well then what are you waiting for? Just get the help you want and START!




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