We All Represent Diversity – Are You Making The Most of Yours?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

‘’Employees who are able to bring their whole selves to work are 42% less likely to say they intend to leave their job within a year.’’  HBR 2017

The world of business is awash with a drive for Diversity & Inclusion.  Whoop Whoop we cheer!  For over a decade we have been encouraging society and people at work to be themselves.  We are all so different – although often forget this as we conform to workplace persona and mould ourselves to fit.

This new age gives all of us permission to get out there in all of our glory (clothes on please!).  Look at what these companies are saying about Diversity & Inclusion;

PWC:   “Creating value through diversity. Be yourself”.
Accenture: “We put inclusion and diversity at the very heart of the way we work, think, and run our business because we believe that only if you bring your true self to work will Accenture benefit from the best you can be”.
Ikea:  ”Everyone plays a part in making IKEA a great place to work, which means that you can be yourself and contribute…’’
Johnson & Johnson:  ”Be yourself, change the world. … Diversity & Inclusion at Johnson & Johnson is not just a commitment — it is the reality of how we live and work…’’

Being yourself at work is true diversity and brings inclusion as you disarm those around you.  I love this excerpt from a Finextra series of articles Imaging Workplace 2020 (from 2014),  ‘’Imagine a world one step further, with metaphorical mirrors held up for people to understand better how they land in certain situations, and to learn from that. A world where it is normal to talk about the impact people have on you, where it’s OK to call something out and discuss alternative means of delivering the same message. And where the person being challenged has space to respond, reflect and effectively challenge back. This sort of world embodies true diversity, equality and inclusion. It fosters potential for creativity, innovation, engagement and commitment – key ingredients for business success as well as attracting and retaining talent and staying ahead of the competition.’’
HBR article in Jan ‘18
There is even research this year that self-awareness can help leaders more than an MBA can.  So your business may have the policies, the awareness training but are you really encouraging people to be themselves, how do you do this and as individuals do you know who you are – after all if you are going to be yourself – you have to know who that is!

Some tips to find out and really nail your diversity at work;

  • You are not your profile (pigeon holing), label you’ve been given (job role) or category (division or skill).  You can’t be categorised so don’t hang on to this stuff.
  • You are also not your religion, gender, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
  • All of us have the real us inside.  When you ask people who they are they say – my name, my role, my history, my perspectives – this is all in your head.  Who you really are is in your heart and you’ll feel the same in essence as you do now, when you are in your 90’s!

So who are you?
Here are some questions to get you thinking, or talk to us about iAM or joining one of our free Experience days.

  • Who is the inner you that you show to your friends and family, what is this person like?  Are you this person to work – especially when things get tricky?
  • Be conscious of dampening the natural you and conforming in meetings. Do you change when you enter the building at work?  What would you be like if you didn’t?
  • If someone really knew the real you, what is it they would know about you? Have you shared this with your work colleagues?
  • When you are ‘in flow’ at work and loving it, how would you describe the energy that’s making it feel so great?
  • When you think about your perfect day, what does it tell you about who you are at heart?

Are you being this person, bringing the whole you, everywhere?

The only unique, clean values tool, giving powerful personal insight like never before.
The real me at the heart of my success.
The first Diversity and Inclusion product.

Click here for more details

”Is “Murder by Machine Learning” the New “Death by PowerPoint”?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

This headline in Harvard Business Review caught my eye this week. The article discusses the unintended consequences of so called ‘smart’ AI and Software in business. 

The fact that we can end up being slaves to the algorithm, or software that we are collectively unaware of.  Think of the reported risk of inherent bias in recruitment software, the pigeon holing profiling tools.  Worryingly the article hints that the value of the human touch can be deliberately discounted by data-driven decisions. We see that constantly as business aims for speed, ease and saving money.
This article chimes with other debates in the news around technology.  Chamath Palihapitiya, the former Facebook executive, now expresses regret for his part in building tools that destroy ‘the social fabric of how society works’.

Similarly the debate about how computers within driverless cars would make ‘moral’ split second decisions if faced with an emergency e.g. hit a wall or hit a child?



I am often asked when discussing iAM, ‘how does the algorithm work’, even several times in one sitting.  In business award interviews and meetings with fellow business people and investors I frequently get asked, “Why don’t you change iAM to be totally online to reduce the cost and make you a load of money?”.  This really really annoys me!  It is precisely because iAM doesn’t rely on an algorithm, but includes powerful human expertise, that it is such a powerful tool at accurately identifying heart based values, our unique selves.  Changing lives, leadership and business. We’ve seen the lavish stands at exhibitions, illustrating that on line learning is a good money spinner, but I’d rather make a difference than simply make money.

What we have gained in technology in recent years is undoubtedly amazing, it has revolutionised the way we work, and used wisely and well, it really helps us.   However are we in danger of being so enthralled at “smart software” and the cost savings, that we underestimate the power of being human?  Could the over emphasis of technology in learning & development de-humanise the workplace?  How often to you consider your latest pigeon holed personality or algorithm – our research says not often!  Similarly how many of us live at work through email vs. a conversation.  Gallup’s most recent ‘state of the Global workplace report’ emphasises the priority and need for the development of ‘human capital’ to enable global economic growth.   ”The benefits of maximising human capital are clear from the macroeconomic level down to the lives of each citizen or employee.’’  Businesses have a role to   ”…..make the most of their human capital by creating workplace cultures that maximise performance development and allow individuals to make the best use of their time and talents.’’  What we would call ‘Humanising the Workplace’!

A business is not just its clever technology but also a group of human beings – all with a soft center – who want to be the best of themselves and therefore do what they do best.




How human is your workplace?
Here are some hints and tips to help you to remain balanced in our human world;

  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way.  Not an entity separate from those who are part of it.
  • Ask yourself if you are maximising your human power and the power of those who work with or for you?  Intuition, reading between the lines, problem solving, creating, imagining, listening…
  • Be yourself, not who you think you should be.  Work to drop self-consciousness and be you.  Accept the uniqueness in others.  See the real them.
  • Inclusion means exactly that.  Consciously bring together the individual strengths of those around you to combine your talents and create work that’s magical – breakthrough even.
  • Question the price of tech vs. human.  Are you counting the long term cost – and not just the financials?  What could you miss or regret with the tech?  What does the tech bring that the human can’t?

Controversial I know, but in today’s open equality agenda, the dangers of a purely tech approach may be felt at work by all of us.

Living Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work in 2018

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

It would be fantastic if 2018 was the year that there was a major shift upwards in the statistics for equality, diversity and inclusion at work.

We can all do something to bring about change.

According to research it takes just seconds to judge people on their appearance. We all make quick judgements and thin-slice all of the data we take in (with non-verbal taking up a big percentage) and filter it through our values and belief system.  Familiar and similar ‘fits’ more quickly.  However this filtering, that we all do unconsciously, has a huge role in how we view and interact with those different to ourselves.  The implications are enormous to our own growth, the growth of those around us, especially if we are a manager of people, how we recruit (often in our own image) and business growth – ”racially diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%” (Forbes).
Equality and diversity is under the spotlight for 2018. In the UK April, is the deadline for qualifying companies to make public their gender pay gap data.  Although, as reported in HR Magazine, 1/10 firms may not make the deadline, a survey of managers within middle-market businesses found that ”’78% said that the reporting obligations would help reduce the size of the gender pay gap.”  
And it’s not just pay that needs addressing, last year Fortune reported that the number of female CEO’s of the Fortune 500 companies had fallen to 4.2%.  It has been reported in the past by the New York Times that ”Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John…’’.  We often see similar statistics for racial diversity in the workplace too.
Forbes has previously reported a SHRM report that 41% of managers are “too busy” to implement diversity initiatives, BUT we can all make this change by collectively being more conscious of our own judgements and bias about others.

Make 2018 the year of being fully open minded and

really living diversity, equality, and inclusion.



We can all choose to include people, encourage contribution, be kind and make others feel special;

  • Assume positive intent of others – all of us are good at heart.
  • Value others and value kindness at work.
  • Be conscious of your thoughts when interacting with others, silence your judgement and listen.
  • Encourage ideas, debate and questions to allow full contribution and creativity.
  • When with others switch off your inner critic (we all have one) and switch on your insightful awareness and openness.
  • Ask questions, to really get to know others.
  • Ask yourself what you sense about another person when you interact with them rather than what you think about them.
  • Don’t get drawn into office gossip and conversations that are at the expense of others – be positive about others.

Bring the best you to work every day and positively encourage others to do the same.

Put You at the heart of your success.
Talk to us about iAM – discovering you and your team’s heart based values.  iAM crosses cultures and is loved by users as giving powerful self- awareness, rated at 90% impact.

The Price of Just Being in it For The Money!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

Only 21% of employees are driven by their career!!
A recent finding, reported in HR Magazine this week, of a survey of 2000 employees.

What is this all about?  In the same report only 11% of respondents over 40 said they were passionate about their job and 72% of us only go to work to pay the bills.
Are we all just mindlessly going through our working days and life – and therefore missing out on really living and enjoying it?
How many times at work do you find the day went quickly in a blur and at the end of it, wondering what you have actually accomplished?  Busy doing lots of things, but not feeling like you’ve actually achieved what you needed to?
An article earlier this year in the Harvard Business Review shared that ‘…. mindlessly performing tasks ….is a recipe for inefficiency, disengagement, and even poor health.’  The article goes on to talk about how finding ‘a clear sense of purpose’ in day to day tasks can have massive benefits to efficiency, productivity and even health.  In a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’
Research has also shown a connection between a sense of purpose in our personal lives, and good health such as reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and even increased longevity.


What stops us being our most productive,
connected selves? 



Letting ourselves be distracted, allowing ourselves to be dragged into meetings we may not need to be at, being on autopilot, spending too much time bouncing emails – bouncing the work around without it actually moving forward, robotically ticking off tasks and not being truly engaged.

Having a purpose stops us being as distracted- but it does more than that, it galvanises our energy, it unlocks our courageousness.
Questions for you;
Do you know what your purpose is in your working life?
How would you score yourself, out of 10, against it at this moment in time?

Hints & Tips on Finding Your Working Purpose

  • Create your purpose, what fuels you, is it changing the world or enjoying something?
  • Identify and list your mission purpose, e.g. being a force for good, changing the world, tangible success, money, helping others, beating the competition?
  • Identify your mainstream purpose e.g. financial security, enjoyment through activity, learning, feeling useful.
  • Choose your main primary purposes and begin to integrate them into your daily consciousness.  Use them when you are creating your daily goals and reflecting on what a difference you have made.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader?
  • Are you making enough effort to make a difference?
  • Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too.
  • Choose not to coast.

Unlock your courageousness instead.

Shocking Customer Service and Your Leadership Style!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

$1.6 trillion. This is the estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service. 
(Accenture 2017)     

Having had two weeks of travel to Australia and around the UK, I have had plenty of chances to experience ‘customer service’. And some of it has been shocking!
As I went from flight to flight, taxi and restaurant, I observed a clear pattern. Those who delivered great customer service did so based on one core approach, which those who lacked in service clearly ignored.
They didn’t make it about themselves.
Instead, they put their ideas, thoughts, moans, attitudes and needs aside and focused totally on the other person, and making them happy. The result – specialness.
Making people feel special disarms them and opens up realness!  Our walls seem to come down and the real us shines through.
People often say to me that they feel really connected to me, that I stand out, what is this?
It’s simple. 
When I meet you, whether for a meeting, a 1:1, a workshop or in day to day life. I put myself to one side and focus totally on you.
At work, this approach builds strong relationships by making people feel happy.
When the focus is on others rather than yourself, you do a number of things naturally:

  1. You ask the questions.
    So the other person feels valued and can talk about themselves and where they work. You are appreciating them and their presence.
  2. You become genuine.
    Your sincerity shows that you care. Your gates open and so their guards come down, and you show that you’re interested. This connects you both. You step into the moment together. 

Perfecting customer experience, according to research by McKinsey, can grow business revenue by 5 – 10% and cost 15 – 20% less, over a span of 3 years.
It’s also good for us!  Psychology Today quotes research from a US study  (The Neurobiology of Giving Versus Receiving Support: The Role of Stress-Related and Social Reward-Related Neural Activity) in which fMRI neuroimaging tests were used to explore how specific brain areas were affected by giving versus receiving social support.  The research found that giving ultimately had greater brain benefits than receiving – that our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness. 
In this moment, when it is all about them, specialness through these two points is experienced.

Our tips to make it about others at work and in life: 

  • Practice giving people your full attention and remain focused in their conversation and not yours.
  • Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way – all wanting to do their best.   
  • As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
  • Choose to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.
  • Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart.
  • Consider: what is my personal impact on others? What am I radiating to others?
    Create a personal mantra for your way of being, and then express it to make others feel special.
 Helpfulness and focussing on others shows others that you like them, driving acceptance, motivation and engagement – and ultimately not only a happier workplace but also a more productive one. 

Your Performance Appraisal – Love or Dread?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

What if, tomorrow all competency frameworks, all appraisal processes, all talent grids and profiles went up in smoke?
Would people stop doing their jobs?

We don’t think so. The appraisal is dead. This is also the view of many commentators today. What real value do they add? How do they help people to be the best of themselves when all we are really doing is placing restrictions on them by comparing them to others, putting them in boxes, scoring them like they’re in a gymnastics or dancing competition?

How many people in employment look forward to their appraisal or talent review? 

In recent months many high-profile organisations have been reported as having abandoned their annual appraisal processes. According to The Harvard Business Review, by some estimates, more than one-third of U.S. companies are doing just that, including Microsoft, Adobe, and IBM and GE systems.

It appears business is coming round to the view that the traditional annual appraisal system doesn’t work.  Gallup research from 550 organizations and 2.2 million employees found that only 50% of employees knew what was expected of them at work.
According to CEB, a corporate research and advisory firm, only 4% of HR managers think their system of assessing employees is effective at measuring performance — and 83% say their systems need an overhaul.

The reason?  Basically, we hold up our job description as ‘our perfect employee’, then once a year measure people against it, often scoring, basically telling people that they are not good enough. Many appraisal systems fail because we’re all human and giving and getting grades can seem threatening. We all want to fit in, be liked and succeed, so being ‘scored’ can feed our limiting beliefs and make us focus on the negative, feel anxious, defensive and take things personally – focusing on fear and ‘prove myself’, rather than performance.

Does your process allow managers to hide behind it?  So, avoid regular feedback, or having difficult conversations, as we know, most of us don’t like doing this.
Performance reviews often become something to be endured for both the manager and the employee. something to report, rather than being inspiring, useful and productive development or celebration of achievement.

Companies that have seen the light have replaced the annual appraisal with more regular feedback conversations.

Are you being accountable?
How many of us actively seek out feedback – or self-appraise, what did I do well in that situation and what could I have done better?  If we all did it more, it would become part of a normal conversation, rather than a forced, formal and weird one.

Tips for Humanising Feedback

Make it a normal part of your company or team culture, start by self-appraising and talk about this positively.

Focus on listening, don’t worry about what to say next.

Curb your emotional response, this is not about you.

Use questions when giving feedback.  E.g: How do you feel it went?  What would you change?  What could make it more powerful?

Avoid using the word ‘why?’ It carries judgement.

Respond to others’ work with warmth, energy and enthusiasm. Show people you like them.

Be clear in your expectations, let people know what you want, how and by when.

Embrace the energy of growing and developing yourself and others.

Watch your tone, don’t be condescending.  Really care about each other and you will grow as a team.

Feedback is about clarity and sharing.  There’s nothing wrong with sharing what you’d encourage someone to do even better – how else can we learn from each other?  Be ready and open to others’ having an opinion too.

How positive and motivating is your performance review process?  If the answer is low – come and talk to us, we’d love to help.

Would You Eat Off a Clean Nappy?!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

How our brains construct our emotional responses.

A recent study* on spending habits reports that ‘stress buying’ is costing each of us around £1,250,
US $1,630, AUS $2,100, per year.   * Moneysupermarket.com Oct’17

The study shares that stressed, bored or sad people are more likely to make impulse purchases they later regret.  This sounds like many of us looking for a momentary quick hit to make us feel a lot better.
How much of this stress response is negatively impacting us and those around us at work?
Could this money be saved by being better able to understand and then manage our emotions?
A new book by Lisa Feldman Barrett, a psychologist at Northeastern University in Boston, USA, ‘How Emotions Are Made’, challenges the theory, stemming from Darwin, that our emotions are distinctly recognisable, in practise our brains construct our experience of them depending on the circumstances.  In her book, featured in a recent BBC article, Barrett uses the example of serving food, completely out of context at her daughters ‘gross out’ party, including smearing baby food on a clean nappy, many of the children actually gagged when contemplating eating the food.


Peanut butter or poo?!




An extreme example but one that shows we can all misinterpret our feelings with profound consequences: ”a rushing heart beat could be interpreted as fun and excitement on a rollercoaster, or acute anxiety if you are giving the speech at a wedding. Or it might simply signal that you’ve drunk too much coffee, but physiologically, there may not be much of difference.’’  Barratt recommends and suggests ways of being more closely in-tune with our emotions to enable better management of them.

HSE research has found that stress accounts for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.  Work pressure is not going to go away, it is what we all experience every day at work.   How can we help ourselves manage our emotional response to these pressures?


People often think that their response to stress is out of their control, it’s what happens to them: life, work, other people etc, however much of it is in our control.



As Barratt suggests by being more in-tune with our emotional response – we can better recognise what happens to us and then have the choice of how we respond. 
72% of our clients say that CS has changed their life, with 81% saying they have the power to change their workplace – shifting the mind-set of powerlessness. 
We underestimate the power that we hold within us to affect how we feel  – to not feel anxious or stressed.

Here are some tips that can really make a difference:
Keep your power.  Create a filter around you, not to cut people out, but to ensure that any negative mood or energy from others does not affect you.  You decide how you are affected.  
Avoid creating drama. Drama (making a mountain out of a molehill, over-reacting), is the greatest creator of anxiety and stress in our experience. Drama is addictive, very negative and a complete waste of time and energy! 
Stop being a Martyr (going for the sympathy vote). Not only is this a negative energy to hold, it destroys your confidence too and passes that negative energy to others. Stop making it about you and move your focus to the constructive and positive.

Do You Take Responsibility for Your Sour Face?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

In our experience, when asked to score out of 10 (with 10 being high), people generally give their positivity 6 out of 10.  

The vast majority of people that we work with have some degree of negativity. We tend to be unconsciously negative, often in denial of it, and unaware of how much we let the negativity of others affect our mood. 
Last night, I witnessed a whole cabin crew with sour faces, deliver a two hour in-flight service (I won’t mention which airline!).  Their faces looked like death warmed up, pale as a result – even dull looking. They lost out on the opportunity of two hours of happiness.   
None of them seemed to be aware of the impact they were having on each other or their customers.  If just one of them had decided to enjoy those two hours, I know that the rest would have followed suit – and their customers would have had a much more enjoyable and pleasant experience.
What makes it so hard for us to be conscious of generating happiness at work and for others?

1. Most of us forget.
2. We give our power away, take things personally or are resentful.
3. We fall into a rut.
4. We forget that each day, each hour, can be a fresh start in our experience of happiness. 
5. We totally ignore this responsibility. 


Happiness is contagious. 
A Harvard and UCSD study of nearly 5000 people over a 20 year period (by Dr. Nicholas Christakis and Dr. James Fowler), found that when a person becomes happy:

  • Next door neighbours have a 34% increased chance of becoming happy.
  • A friend living within one mile has a 25% increased chance of becoming happy.
  • Siblings have a 14% increased chance of becoming happy.

”We found that happiness can spread like a virus through social networks. In fact, if your friends’ friends’ friend becomes happy, it significantly increases the chance that you’ll be happy.”
Dr James Fowler 

My belief is that every one of us has a responsibility not to negatively impact on others – and this includes their happiness.  In fact we should all feel a responsibility to impact positively on those around us – it will make us happier too!

So, if you need a little lift, generate some joy and happiness and transform the lives of those around you, transform your experience and your workplace. 


Are Power Games Killing Your Relationships?

Business Growth Inspiration

This week my normal pattern of train commute has changed – I’ve been lucky enough to have early starts at my desk and take late morning trains – lovely! 

With later trains I’ve been joined by holiday travellers. Sat amongst this mix, what has shocked me is the dominance and power that one side of a couple can exude, and I’ve seen again and again, an underlying steaming anger.  What’s going on?
What is it about relationships that means we want to have power within them, and what stops us standing up for ourselves when others try to have power over us?

We see this in leadership personas all the time – dominance and submission. 
Not every business fosters this environment but many do. 
And it’s toxic. 
It destroys confidence, courageousness and engagement.  


There are many types of power and many potentially outdated theories around it.  An interesting one however is French and Raven (1959), and later Raven (1974), stating that there are six bases of social power:


Reward Power:  the ability to give rewards when others comply with your wishes.  This may not work from one setting to the next.  For example, an employee might laugh at a boss’s joke, but the boss’s neighbour might not.

Coercive Power:  the opposite of Reward Power.  It’s the ability to deliver punishments.  While coercion can be effective in the short-term, it creates resentment and individuals will try to end the relationship.

Referent Power:  where role models come into play.  Referent Power is when somebody wants to be like you.  They identify with you.  You are their reference model.  They find you attractive in some way and they model your behaviour or thinking. 

Legitimate Power:  power that comes from a position or role.  It’s positional authority.  For example, you “should” or “ought” to listen to your parents, or your boss.  The unique aspect of legitimate power is that it’s not about rational arguments — the power comes from the position or role. 

Expert Power: “knowledge is power”, where expertise or knowledge is the source. This is where credentials, awards, and know-how play a role.  You end up deferring to greater knowledge for the area of expertise, such as a doctor or mechanic.  It’s limited to the area of expertise. 

Informational Power: the most transitory type of power.  Once you give your information away, you lose the power, e.g. you share the secret, the power is gone.  It’s different from other forms of power because it’s grounded in what you know about the content of a specific situation. 

What types of power do you experience? 

  • How good is your self-awareness? 
  • Is there a fragile base to your need or habit of power? 
  • Are you damaging connections or people by using power? 
  • Do you depend on knowledge for power – and if so, what happens when you don’t have the answers?
  • Are you consciously looking at the impact of power within your workplace?  

At Courageous Success we talk about not giving your power away – we all have the ability to control our emotional response.  

So, what power games are you playing?