Image: Red River College - CA

Image: Red River College - CA

Two three letter words is what I offer today.

Yes & You.

Saying “yes” to the challenges offered to you, saying “yes” to the opportunities to stretch you and saying “yes” when you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable is what you do to build your leadership.

I know if I had said “No” when I had said “Yes”, I wouldn’t have the leadership capability, wisdom and confidence which I had today.

In a world which is way too busy and the new ‘yes’, is a confident ‘no’, people are missing valuable experiences in life.

For women in particular, it’s saying “yes” to that leadership position in the company even though you believe you only have NINETY PERCENT  of the requirements!

Leadership isn’t about you. Whilst it’s important to focus on your leadership communication, ensuring you understand the accountability and responsibility of being a leader; leadership is about others.

As a leader, your practice of leadership is serving others. You have the goal of bringing people along with you, enabling and engaging people to feel that they belong and add value to the workplace.

You should be saying “Yes Louise”, you’re right!

Rediscover the skill of DISSENT

Are you punishing the dissenter in the room? Professor Charlan Nemeth challenges us to think about how we make decisions and how we encourage decision making in the workplace. No! is a book which will polarise the workplace community as we operating in a world which wants to get along and makes decisions by consensus methods.

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Your essential leadership manual for 2018 - Leadership Results guides you to take your organisation to one known for showing leadership and comprising of high performing teams.

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What do you collect?

I’ve met collectors of shoes, cars, houses and recipes! I simply or crazily collect questions.

Great questions can: transform a superficial conversation into an extraordinary relationship; unlock the real you … someone whom you thought you really knew and questions can elevate your happiness (think: Will you marry me?)

I glean questions at every opportunity. I record them, highlight them in a book, send myself recorded messages when I hear questions and their answers – quite alarming when I think of it!

So, it was very exciting to be handed a book which was filled with questions. That’s a Great Question, written or should I say, collated by Greg Bustin, provides on a platter, hundreds of tried and tested provacative questions, categorized into themed chapters – handy if you’re coaching others or as I found myself, using it as a self-help coaching book. Don’t be fooled thinking it’s a one hour read!

This book is your ideal, end of year practical exercise to prepare for 2017. As Greg suggests, take yourself away from your normal space; go hiking, block out a day to work through this book. Surprisingly, I am still reading this book today (Sunday) as I have found myself continually stopping in search on the answers.

In my business this week, we completed a mini-skills session with a client – exploring a couple of models to coach staff. I am always amazed how people come to realise how powerful a conversation becomes by using great questions to dig and discover.

Greg says that using questions effectively is like a dance. I agree. It’s not a checklist. It’s a conversation which you can exercise your lead but it’s about two people committed to working together. Whilst it might not look like Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers on the dancefloor, it should feel like a performance (of achievement).

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers - Courtesy of DHC Treasures

I couldn’t decide on a favourite question to share; so I’ve selected a few from a few of the thoughtfully categorised sections of the book. Use these on yourself and be surprised how time consuming it can be truthfully respond.


If our company did not exist, what would the world be missing?What gives me a sense of certainty?


What’s one principle I wished everyone practised?

Goal Setting

If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?


What am I kidding myself about?

How do I respond when I place my trust in someone and they let me down?


If a stranger walked in and asked any employee about our vision, mission and strategy, what would they hear?


Do I behave differently in the office than at home? If so, in what ways? If so, what causes my behaviour to differ from place to place?

Time Management

If I tracked my time in 30 minute increments for a month, what would I find? Is this how I should spend my time?

Talent + Teamwork

Who are five people I spend most of my time with? Are they helping me or holding me back?

What am I doing to help make this job the best job my people have ever had?

Customer + Prospects

What memorable experience are we creating with our customers?

Making Things Happen

Do we measure the things that are important to us?

Are we having fun? Am I having fun?


Whose job am I doing today? (I do like this question.)

Blue Sky

What would I do if I didn’t work?

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein


The book provides tips to help you coach others effectively, how to structure your questions, which words to never use and rules to abide by to establish a trusting relationship where private information is shared.

My greatest tip for you is to use the book on yourself first. Leadership works well when there is authentic self-awareness. Let this book be your gift to others by getting yourself ready for an awesome 2017. Alternatively, gift yourself a Coach for 2017 and get in contact with me to discover your best self.


I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!



How do people describe your leadership? Has anyone mentioned that you have a ‘leadership edge’?

What does this ‘edge’ indicate about you and your leadership? Are you different from other leaders, are you at the forefront of leadership activity or are we yet to understand what the edge of leadership really looks like?

This week’s book, Your Leadership Edge (YLE), is an elegantly styled hardcover – inviting you to open its pristine white and green pages to immerse yourself while you explore the powerful and provocative ideas and be fuelled with leadership curiosity.

I was already high on leadership when I purchased the book as I had spent a couple of hours in the company of its author, Ed O’Malley, at a Mentors function at Leadership Victoria. In his opening remarks, he captured our attention by simply saying, “Leadership rarely happens … it happens in little moments”.

Author, Founder, Ed O'Malley, Kansas Leadership Center USA

Author, Founder, Ed O'Malley, Kansas Leadership Center USA

Leadership rarely happens is a BIG statement to make, especially if you believe you’re a darn good leader. But hold on, let me support this with YLE’s first principle:

Leadership is an activity, not a position. BOOM!

My immediate thought took me to the many aspiring leaders, who with no direct reports and a desire to lead would get this simple yet sonic statement. Being a team leader or an anointed CEO presents you with authority, however it doesn’t equate to your capability to exercise leadership to mobilise groups around what matters most.

Ed redefines leadership, encapsulating ten years of work at the Kansas Leadership Center (USA) to produce a book which shares his ideas with his goal to assist anyone who has the desire to exercise leadership and put themselves at the edge of their competence.

But wait, there’s more. To help ‘me’ recall what I’ve read and listened to, I have this neat pocket tool which identifies the five leadership principles, four leadership competencies and a long list of stimulating questions to engage conversation. Within each of the 24 behavioural chapters, an additional book is referenced for further reading and whilst neither of these two books are mentioned, I found that huge wafts of their intent were reinforced: Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence and Robert Kean & Lisa Laskow Lahey’s Immunity to Change.

Imagine having your Leadership Development Mentor living in your handbag or pocket. A voice pipes up asking you questions, sharing wisdom and stories, pushing you to the edge to experiment and practise what’s been said and shared. That Mentor lives in the pages of YLE. Here’s what you’d hear:

Adaptive challenges distinguish themselves from technical problems by simply saying there is no answer in your current repertoire. Which then introduces the notion of redefining leadership to recognise where the technical problem ends and the adaptive challenge begins. The responses you hear to “what concerns you most?” may identify an adaptive challenge in your business.

Being a good cook, I was drawn to Leadership requires attention to heat– using a metaphor of the difference between a thermometer and thermostat – the later allows you to not only tell the temperature but will move the temperature that you need to be at. Too much heat and people panic. Watching for clues about the temperature will allow you to intervene skillfully for ‘a leadership moment’ and make some progress.

Engage unusual voices – it’s the books only rule and paramount that it cannot be violated when facing an adaptive challenge. These voices don’t belong to your go-to-crew rather it’s those you seldom engage and you know ‘they’ will have influence to produce your change. Whilst it may be outside your comfort zone, it’s probably risky and you’ll have a plethora of other excuses however this rule can’t be broken.

Speak to loss – I learnt this a couple of years ago and it’s exquisitely explained – most of us don’t understand the distinction between change and loss. Change isn’t scary, it’s the loss that goes with it. People get passionate about issues that affect them and their values come into play. Leaders are generally responsible for bringing the loss and try to avoid the conversation. All the more reason to create the space for people to share what they are thinking, an opportunity to build trust and even share an example or story of your own loss, authenticating that it’s OK to feel loss.

And my favourite Give the work back - in our quest to raise the problem and solution we miss the opportunity to probe deeply enough to identify the smart risks that will lead to real progress. Giving the work back is about getting people involved, right at the beginning of diagnoses, not delegation of task. I was attracted to this behaviour as it’s one of the most difficult. When people turn to you for answers instead of taking risks or working with others that should be a sign to give the work back.

Whilst some ideas are articulated differently to what we already know, some new ideas are worth experimenting. Your investment in this read or even exploring the work which the KLC advocates is highly recommended if your edge is in the distance.

I would welcome your challenge to this claim of leadership rarely happening … however of all my observations over the many years in business, volunteer community work and in our current transparent world, I can recall very few moments of true leadership, and now using this behavioural guideline, the list diminishes.

Now, consider your leadership edge – scan your eyes over these four leadership competencies and determine if you are exercising these leadership behaviours. If yes, you’re at the edge. Onward!

Let’s connect to work on these behaviours and get you to the edge of your competence.

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learnings and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!