End of an Era

Hi Readers

We have been sporadically updating this blog as a resource for our participants, however we have found that with so many in-boxes being inundated with updates from blogs and the 100′s of things we subscribe to without realizing that we are often lost in all the information and many people either don’t get the messages (because its from a blog and they filter it out) or they say it ended up in their junk boxes or it was just something else they had to check.

We are suspending the blog posts for 2014 and contacting you via an email specific to the content of the training in which you participated- stay tuned the first installment it should hit your inbox in March.

Feel free to contact me directly with comments and suggestions

Best regards

Noemi (noemi@gustavkaser.com.au)

3 Things that motivate people

 A contact of mine recently found this blog on line with and interesting article about motivation.

In the management training, we focus on finding out what motivates your individual team members. Perhaps there are a few hints in this article.

I hope you enjoy it – Noemi


Three Things that Actually Motivate Employees

by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The most motivated and productive people I’ve seen recently work in an older company on the American East Coast deploying innovative technology products to transform a traditional industry. To a person, they look astonished when I ask whether their dedication comes from anticipation of the money they could make in the event of an IPO.

Newcomers and veterans alike say they are working harder than ever before. Their products are early stage, which means daily frustrations as they run through successive iterations. Getting them to market demands more than corporate systems can handle, so they must beg for IT upgrades, recruit and budget themselves, and even take on sales responsibilities to explain innovations to customers — which adds to the workload. So much pressure, yet they don’t seem to care about the money?

One person says that he can’t let himself think about an IPO. It’s too remote; it distracts from doing the work, and the work is the important thing. Another says she is most excited about the opportunity to change how the industry operates and have a big impact on improving lives. The chorus of voices is consistent: “We take the work in directions we choose.” “We’re working on the most advanced technology.” “Our products change lives.” Moreover, they have the joy of self-expression. One sales manager, a former actor, recited Shakespeare at a customer meeting and won over skeptical executives.

For these professionals, a future IPO is outweighed by today’s OPI — the opportunity for positive impact.

OPIs exert a strong appeal wherever I find them. In a different company in a middle American city, I talked with a couple meeting with a caterer to finalize details of their wedding — which was going to take place in the office lobby. Imagine that — people who feel so connected to their workplace that they want to get married there.

Both companies embrace a digital future still being invented. Yet leaders have turned change from exhausting to exhilarating by asking employees to open their imaginations. Although some professionals see transformation as a threat, most find chances for creative expression, especially as the companies evolve from siloed departments to flexible collaboration. Employees are encouraged to work on the best and latest concepts. Emphasis has shifted from output to impact – from how many products are sold to how much the products enrich people’s lives in the broader society.

There are no promises that these jobs will last forever. Loyalty comes from the daily work itself, a sense of community accepting of individuality, and constant reminders that what employees do matters.

I summarize these keys to strong work motivation in three Ms — mastery, membership, and meaning. Money is a distant fourth. Money can even be an irritant if compensation is not adequate or fair, and compensation runs out of steam quickly as a source of sustained performance. Instead, people happy in their work are often found in mission-driven organizations where people feel they have positive impact on social needs. As my HBS colleague Michael Norton shows in his book Happy Money, giving to others boosts happiness.

Unfortunately, happiness at work is rare. Numerous polls show low levels of work engagement in U.S. companies, with perhaps half of employees disengaged and disaffected. That’s an appalling finding. I think the problem is that human resource policy too often centers around compensation and benefits and not around the nature of the work itself. In contrast, the high-performance teams in sports and business I studied for my book Confidence focus on the work and its impact. They work harder, longer, and yet with more energy than low-performance teams. They make a difference day by day, making progress through small wins — a key to motivation that another HBS colleague, Teresa Amabile, studies in The Progress Principle.

To tap the three Ms, leaders at all levels can rethink how they define their strategy, jobs, and culture. They can:

Mastery: Help people develop deep skills. Stretch goals show faith that people can shape the future rather than being victimized by it, and find pride in constant learning. Even in the most seemingly routine areas, when people are given difficult problems to tackle, with appropriate and tools and support, they can do things faster, smarter, and better.

Membership: Create community by honoring individuality.  Community solidarity comes from allowing the whole person to surface, which means going beyond superficial conformity to know what else people care about. Encourage employees to bring outside interests to work. Given them frequent opportunities to meet people across the organization to help them get to know one another more deeply.

Meaning: Repeat and reinforce a larger purpose. Emphasize the positive impact of the work they do. Clarity about how your products or services can improve the world provides guideposts for employees’ priorities and decisions. As part of the daily conversation, mission and purpose can make even mundane tasks a means to a larger end.

Highly-engaged people who contribute more of themselves can produce Shakespeare recitations that win customers, weddings in office lobbies that build community, or the ultimate prize: innovations that change the world.

Hopefully it provides you with some food for thought!!!

What are People Most Interest In?

  1. Themselves
  2. Themselves
  3. Themselves

What does this mean for our ability to influence?

How often in sales meetings do we rattle on about the list of features and benefits of our product or service?  Usually it is what WE perceive the benefits are to our customers and not what THEY perceive the benefits are. At GKA we talk about acknowledging the positive comments, repeating the comments and asking for more information or in other words getting the customer to expand on their positive comments. We call this elongate the positive darts.

But not only are people interested in what their perceived benefits are, what they are most interested in themselves.

In 2008, Professor Jesse Chandler published a paper titled “In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donation” highlighting an important factor that appeared to influence the likelihood of a people donating to a fund raising appeal set up to help hurricane victims. People were more likely to donate if their first initial matched the name given to the hurricane.*

So when you are next presenting or trying to influence, remember to make it ALL about the other person. Let Them Be The Hero. Tailor your conversation around your customer and make it personal. Use their name, their company’s name, their products and services name.

*(Judgement and Decision Makin) Volume 3 No.5 June 2008 pp 404-410.

… Too little time

Many participants mention that they don’t have enough time. That they have  too little time for family,  important strategic work, the day to day tasks … the list goes on.

Here are a few time management tips to assist those interested in gaining back some time (well we realise you can’t gain time – but at least make the most of the time you do have).



If you think it is time for a refresher around time management, have another look at text 4 – Planning which you received during your training.

If all else fails, or you are not sure about some of the tips above, why not touch base with us and see whether we can be of any assistance in helping you gain enough time for the important things.

All the best for a future of having enough time…

Would you like to become a better leader?

Adapted from blog by George Ambler


Photo by DafneCholet

By definition a leader is an innovator. Leaders are pioneers, seeking to break new ground, to make old things new, to put things together in a new and creative way. A leader seeks new things with an eye on the future. The challenge in bring about new things is that you cannot rely on tried and true methods for creating a new future.

Experimentation helps leaders learn what works and what doesn’t. This helps leaders to learn and grow, adjust their approach and to try again. In this situation, leaders don’t worry about failing, rather they use their errors to learn. Without experimentation leaders fail to grow and visions do not come into reality.

Do you remember the exercise – Imagine a something better? What changes do you plan on making for the remainder of 2013?

“You can’t learn by reading up on it, you’ve got to do it. The only real laboratory is the laboratory of leadership itself.” – Warren Bennis, “On Becoming a Leader”

Leadership entails risk and a continual experimentation, learning, reflection and adjustment. A great way to get into the habit of leading and learning through experimentation is to adopt the practice of 30 day experiments.

What will you be practicing for the next 30 Days?

30 day experiments are a way of taking a great leadership idea or practice and setting aside 30 days to focus on making the practice a part of your life or organisation. How often have you read a book and found a great leadership idea or technique that you thought would make a real difference on your life. But, despite you best intentions you have not taken any action to make the change. The following story from the post “Read any good books lately? So what?”, illustrates the difficultly many people experience in applying leadership principles and practices in their lives.

“One of the best-selling business books of all time is Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A colleague of mine recently told me about attending a workshop at which the presenter asked, “How many people here have read 7 Habits? Stand up if you’ve read the book.”

More than half of the 100 people in attendance stood.

Then the presenter said, “If you can remember three of the seven habits, stay standing. If you can’t name at least three habits, sit down.”

More than half of those standing sat down.

Then he said “If you can recite all seven habits, stay standing.”

Only three people remained standing.

Finally, he said, “If you are living all seven habits in your life, remain standing.”

The remaining three people sat down.

That event further illustrates the sad truth that we can read good books, but reading is not enough. If we want to incorporate what we read we need to seriously study the content.”

30 day experiments can help us apply leadership practices in our lives (or any other habits – a new hobby, sport or skill)

  1. Identify: Identify one leadership practice which you feel will make a significant improvement in your leadership.
  2. Decide: Turn the practice into an experiment for 30 days. For the next 30 days look at ways of apply it in your life. The goal is to learn how to effectively apply the practice and to then test the results.
  3. Adjust, Learn and Embed: If you find the results are positive make a decision to incorporate this new leadership practice into your life. If the results are poor, learn from the experience. Then repeat, move on to the next 30 day experiment.

The development of effective leadership is a life-long process built on strategy, execution, reflection and learning.

Identify 2-3 leadership practices that will make a difference?
Which 1-2 practices do you think can be implemented by using a 30 day experiment?

When will you start your 30 day experiment?



We influence always

For those of you reading our blog from Australia, I am sure it has not passed your attention that we are heading to the polling booths this coming weekend. Regardless of which way you will vote, I imagine we have all been influenced either positively or negatively by the current leaders of the major parties as they have embarked on their campaigns.

As we influence always, we wanted to remind you about the laws of Iceberg theory and wish you lots of success in putting them into practice in your daily life.



Think of an iceberg! Only about 1/7th rises above the surface of the water. The remaining 6/7ths are under water and not visible to the human eye. A human being is comparable to an iceberg. Only a very small part shows: the conscious. By far the greater part, however, remains hidden: the subconscious.

What happens inside this iceberg? Wherever we turn, we receive positive and negative impressions: “A beautiful tree!”,“A flashy car!” “Unpleasant smell of gas!” “A pretty girl!”, “Nice music!”

Positive and negative impulses flow constantly through that part of the iceberg which is above water. Most of them only pass through quickly. Sometimes, however, one will stick and sink down into the invisible part of the iceberg. It seems that no two human beings are alike in this respect. One individual will register more positive impressions, the other more negative ones.

This is the reason why different people form a quite different opinion of one and the same thing, why they react in different ways. To me, Mrs. Smith is very likeable, but to my friend she is anything but. When I am with Mrs. Smith, I keep collecting positive points; whereas my friend, in the same situation, will gather nothing but negative impressions.

Whether we collect plus or minus points has nothing to do with our conscious will. The switch operates completely automatically. The pessimist cannot help seeing only the negative sides of something. One will say a bottle is half-empty while the other considers it half-full. Someone will find the red of a desk top bright and stimulating while the other will say it is gaudy. For one, the black cat is a dear little kitten, whereas for the other it means bad luck.

How can this knowledge help us?

From this we can deduce some laws, which we should definitely know if we want to influence and guide others:

First law:

Everything has two sides, a bright and a dark one. Everything has positive and negative aspects.

Second law:

The first impression decides whether plus or minus points are collected!

Third law:

The subconscious works like an adding machine

If some of the above sounds vaguely familiar but doesn’t seem fresh in your mind it might be time to dust of the binders (or have a look at the memory stick) and peruse text 6.

Text Source – Gustav Kaser (2007), Text 6 – Iceberg – GEKA-Management Verlags AG, Glarus
Picture source – stocktouch.com

The Phone – Video Link

Increasing Influence on the phone / Video conference

With the increased pressure on organisations to decrease costs, tele-conferencing, phone hook ups and video conferencing is a way which people can connect without the travel expenses.

Of course one has to decide whether a face to face meeting is necessary (this decision is up to you), if you decide on the phone or video conference rather than face to face, here are a few tips !!

1. Make sure you wait before you speak – because you can’t see or feel the other person, it is very easy to cut someone off before they have actually finished talking, or to finish their sentence for them.

  • Pause at the end of your sentences
  • Look for the pause in your discussion partners sentence
  • Make it easy for the others to know when you are finished by potentially asking them a question about what you have been talking about. For example “what do you think about that idea?”

2. Most people are too fast on the phone and also on video conferencing  - get the pace right !!

  • Slow it down
  • Have a plan
  • Prepare your conversation and the key points you wish to cover

3. Video conferencing

  • Remember to get familiar with the software prior to making that IMPORTANT call
  • Make sure you are connected, can hear and that your microphone and video camera are working (whether built in or available in the conference room)
  • Remember the BODY language aspects from our presentation control – Be mindful of your stance, hands, fidgeting and general body position
  • Keep it open
  • Remember the importance of eye contact ( I know that it is only virtual) but there is nothing worse than seeing the person you are talking to reading their emails whilst they are supposedly listening)

4. Enthusiasm and engagement can be heard on the phone – one can hear if the other person is interested so – get your influence right !!

  • Use a deeper voice – it can increase credibility
  • Remember – pace not faster than your discussion partner
  • Smile on the phone
  • Think of your intonation and personal involvement

5. What are people interested in – in the first instance ? Themselves – so talk about them, their business and what’s important for them.

  • Remember your discussion partner is thinking about “ why should I listen to this?” so make it relevant, punchy and about THEM !!


Body Language – What do the legs mean?

To cross or not to cross?Peoples legs traditionally from the perspective of survival served a few main functions, to let us run  away from danger and of course to give us the means to be the hunter/gatherer to collect our food.

So it is not surprising when we are under pressure, particularly in presentations and big meetings that they (like our hands) take on a mind of their own. Is it our Neanderthal taking over?

Legs can indicate a persons intention – so next time you are in a meeting, presentation or at a networking function, take note of what the other persons body language is telling you.

Are they showing commitment to staying put or are they giving every indication that they want to leave the conversation?

Open or uncrossed leg position can show the intent of a open attitude to the conversation and also indicate a dominant attitude -  I am in control, comfortable, prepared and ready for action.

Closed or crossed leg positions can signal a closed attitude and a level of uncertainty.

Look carefully in the next meeting with a customer, co-worker, supplier, manager or general discussion partner – if they have their feet pointed at the nearest exit you really need to get them involved – and FAST!! Subconsciously they are considering their exit strategy – so Throw pebbles, induce and action and remember ‘who demonstrates proves’ – get them moving along with your body language!!

If you want to check whether your discussion partner is engaged, being honest about their level of interest and on the same page – have a good look at their feet!!

Happy observing !!

Developing a shared vision?

 I came across Georges blog and thought there were some interesting thoughts on Imagining  better future and developing a long term company vision – enjoy !!

How much time are you investing in developing a shared vision?

by George Ambler


Photo by katerha

The January 2009 edition of the Harvard Business Review has a piece titled “To Lead, Create a Shared Vision” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner discussing the importance of a shared vision for effective leadership.

“Being forward-looking—envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future—is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders from nonleaders.”

It seems that organisations with a true sense of purpose, vision and passion are few and far between, the article goes on to point out that:

“… researchers who study executives’ work activities estimate that only 3% of the typical business leader’s time is spent envisioning and enlisting.”

The process of creating a shared vision requires significantly more effort that 3% of an executive or senior managers time! A shared vision is not something that can be achieved with only a 3% investment of executive time.

When it comes to vision there is no miracle moment, rather it’s a daily journey. A journey that requires constant investment in modelling the right behaviours – daily, in communication – daily and the management of people’s expectations – daily.

  • Are you investing time in developing a shared vision?
  • What percentage of your time are you investing in developing a shared vision?
  • How much time are you spending in enlisting others?

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Ok now I have a few of you whistling to the Monty Python theme “Life of Brian”, I would like ask a few questions. How easy is it to always look on the bright side of life? Are we constantly bombarded by negatives in the press, media and those around us? Do we always look of the bright side of ourselves?

I decided a few months ago, when I read the paper in the morning, to only read the positive articles. The result was two fold. Firstly, it didn’t long to read all the positive articles say 2-5 mins (which freed up so much time in the morning) and secondly and more importantly in put me in a much more positive frame of mind. Instead of discussing a negative article with colleagues we were much upbeat about something positive going on. It was contagious.

When we think about ourselves, is it true we are usually critical? I shouldn’t have done that, I should be doing this, that was stupid, gosh I put on a little weight, I need another hair cut and so on.

In our training we talk about, what do I like about the other person. Remember 10 things I like about you. We shouldn’t forget about ourselves. Try listing 10 thing you like about yourself.

Interestingly, I recently read about an experiment conducted by Dove which was essentially about how we view ourselves compared to how other view us.

A former forensic artist for the San Jose police department met a series of women and asked each to describe the way they look. He had no way of seeing them behind a curtain. He prompted them to detail everything: hair length, facial structure, their most prominent features. He then sketched each participant from their self-description.

Each woman was asked before the study to get to know one of the other participants. The forensic artist then prompted each woman to describe the other’s face.

At the end of the video, the artist reveals two sketches — one from the participant itself, one from their partner. The differences are remarkable.


I like the last comment, “We spend a lot of time in analysing and fixing the things that aren’t quite right instead of spending more time appreciating the things we do like (about ourselves)”

So!!!!  “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”- whistle,      whistle,                         whistle whistle whistle.