Category Archives for "Personal effectiveness"

Why delegation isn’t working, and what to do about it

After my last article on why productivity won’t solve your problems, a reader emailed me with a suggestion:

“Excellent post. How about extending it to cover a third option – not loss or delay, but hand-over to another network. Internet peering and all that.”

To put it differently:

“How about delegating or outsourcing work as a way of dealing with the overwhelm of managing infinity?”

Delegation vs. Infinity.  Infinity wins. But….

Everyone knows delegation is a good idea, but hard and frustrating to put into practice.  So often we feel it would be better and quicker to do the darn thing ourselves!   So we find it hard to decide to delegate, and find it harder to put it into practice.

But even more than that, we find delegation never actually frees us up in the way that we’d hoped.

You delegate something but your day is as hectic as ever.

What happened there? Continue reading


Productivity doesn’t solve your problem

This week as I was discussing productivity with some Rocket Results students it struck me that the reason why productivity feels so important, and is so difficult, is that we are all operating in a totally new productivity environment.

We are managing infinity.

As you know, only a few years ago things were very different:

  • People had to be physically present to make requests or place demands upon us. Failing that, they had to spend the energy to compose and post a memo or letter and wait for a reply; or they had to phone us, which involved spending both money (calls weren’t cheap) and time (playing phone tag to catch us).
  • Our immediate access to information was limited to the books and the people around us.  Visiting a library was a deliberate step.

And now, of course, everything is infinite: Continue reading

The Forgotten Secret of High Performance

How can you up-level your results? The secret might not be what you think.

You may have read books on high-performance, taken courses on strategy, downloaded productivity apps, bought multiple courses and information products - and still didn't see the personal effectiveness and business growth you’d hoped for.

You may have had meetings and off-sites, set plans and strategies or agreed new initiatives, and yet realise months later that you are still operating pretty much business-as-usual.

Understanding why this happens is going to be essential if you want to make faster progress in the future than you have up until now.

Continue reading

Feeling stuck? Try the ‘Spice Girl’ strategy

This week I was speaking to a close friend about her work situation. There were some tough things going on. Her manager is controlling-yet-distracted, her colleagues are fearfully hoarding information and being uncollaborative; her career in her current firm seems buffeted by forces somewhat beyond her control.

She asked for my advice on what to do. I offered some possibilities, yet each time I raised an idea my friend explained a whole set of other difficulties and complicating factors.

It felt like the conversation was like a puppy with a ball of wool - going in circles and getting progressively more knotted and complicated.

Time to ask the question to slice through all of that.

Continue reading

The secret lever for achieving your ambitions

This post is part of a series on personal effectiveness and impact. You might like to review the previous articles:

 The most important lever

In this post we are going to discuss the most important lever you have in attaining your dreams and goals without overwhelm and burn-out. But it’s a topic that gets a lot of bad press. For example:

Just yesterday (I kid you not) I was handed a piece of paper.

“It’s the new strategy. What do you think?”

What did I think? Well, let me just say this. If I’d had a long blonde wig and my electric guitar I would have jumped on the desk and treated my friend to an impromptu rendition of that Bon Jovi classic, slightly modified:

“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame;

Darlin’ you give strategy a bad name!” Continue reading


3 signs you’ve set terrible goals

This post is part of a series on personal effectiveness and impact. You might like to review the previous articles:

“Goal” isn’t a dirty word (is it)?

Security isn’t a dirty word, Blackadder. Now, Crevice is a dirty word. But not Security…

~ General Melchett, Black Adder Goes Forth!

You may remember I talk about 3 main areas of personal effectiveness: Purpose, Plans and Productivity. Of course, the foundation of everything is purpose… because unless we know what are trying to accomplish, we’ll have a hard time accomplishing it!

This moves us on to idea of goal-setting. Now people have mixed feelings here. On one hand, goal-setting is undisputedly used by high-peforming individuals and teams in to get results in sport, business and other areas of life.

However for many of us, goal-setting has almost become a dirty word. We’ve probably set and failed at goals too many times before, and understandably don’t want to Continue reading


How to have a bigger impact: surprising tips from 60 top experts

Effectiveness is more than productivity.  Whereas productivity is 'doing things right', effectiveness also includes 'doing the right things' and can be seen as a chain that links your daily activities to your deepest needs, desires and hopes for the future.

So if you want to live a purposeful, accomplished life, tuning up your personal effectiveness is one of the wisest investments you can make.

So for this important topic, I reached out to 60 very accomplished experts in a number of fields, including CEOs, leadership experts, productivity gurus and ministry leaders.  I asked them the following question:

What is the most surprising tip you’d give somebody looking to grow their personal impact & effectiveness?

I hope you'll agree that the result is one of the best collections personal effectiveness tips.  This is real practical wisdom for achieving great things in your work and life.

Download now, digest later...

RECOMMENDATION: This is a long post, so I suggest you grab the free PDF version which also includes a one-page summary that you can refer to regularly keep you on track!

Continue reading

8 essential steps to make big things happen

If you want to make a big impact you need a personal effectiveness system that is way better than the average.

Have you noticed how some people achieve so much more than others, despite starting in very similar places?

I'm thinking of Claire and Caroline (editor: names changed!), two people who tried to start similar projects here in Paris.  Caroline's project grew rapidly, whereas Claire's never really got off the ground.  Caroline was able to step back and delegate after a while, whereas Claire is still trying to do all the heavy lifting herself.

I'm thinking of Steven and Carl (again, names changed), two consultants in my firm who joined at the same time with very similar education and experience, and yet who had very different career paths.  One plateau'd early on, the other rose rapidly through the ranks.

The difference?  I noticed it was in the different ways these people went about organising their work, the different goals they set, and the different ways they structured their time.

So... if you want to make an impact and get big things accomplished, you need to keep growing in the art of personal effectiveness. It's an essential journey for all of us.

And as it's the goal of Purposeful People to help you live a life of impact and purpose, I'm very excited about this special series on personal effectiveness.

Too much talk about productivity focuses on tools and tactics, with the result is we try different approaches but nothing seems to stick. So in this series I am going to take a different approach and start with proven principles that, once internalised, can allow you to build a personal effectiveness system that is truly optimised for you.

Introducing the Effectiveness Engine

In my 20 years of consulting work, I have identified a chain that effectively links our deepest values and aspirations to our day-by-day and minute-by-minute work. I call it the Effectiveness Engine and it is present, explicitly or implicitly, in all high performers.

Continue reading

There’s an effectiveness hater inside you. Which one?

I’m very excited to begin a new series of articles that will help you transform your personal effectiveness and rethink your approach to productivity.

However, there is a problem. Unless we deal with the hidden “effectiveness hater” inside us, we’ll never get our feet off the brakes and growth will be impossible.

In this article, I reveal the 4 major “effectiveness haters” and ask you a simple question: Which of these internal voices speak loudest to you, and are you ready to ignore those voices in pursuit of greater impact? Continue reading

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