Effective Execution

January 9th, 2013 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Action - (2 Comments)

Effective Execution“Success comes from transforming thoughts, ideas and opportunities into action”. John Kapeleris

Despite the emphasis on taking massive action and getting things done as the cornerstone of success, we continue to make new year’s resolutions that dissipate within a few weeks of starting the new year. Individuals and corporations find it difficult to effectively execute personal and strategic initiatives. Although we have clear goals and objectives, detailed plans and the commitment to achieve the results we want, we continue to struggle with effective implementation. Therefore, what can we do to implement effective execution in our personal and business lives?

Gilbert, Buchel and Davidson in their book “Smarter Execution: Seven Steps to Getting Results” identify seven steps to achieving effective execution:

  1. Focus first – Focus can provide clarity and at the same time magnification of the tasks we want to achieve. If we focus on the high value tasks that will make the difference in our work and personal lives, then we can easily execute our plans.
  2. Pick the best possible team (resources) – You need to have the right skills and capabilities for effective execution. If you are assembling a team of people ensure that you have the correct alignment of skills with the tasks required. If the skill set is not available internally then it should be outsourced.
  3. Set the course – You need to set a clear direction of where we want to go and develop clear execution steps that remove confusion.
  4. Play to win – The team and its members need to possess a winning spirit. Strong personal motives can drive projects and tasks to successful completion.
  5. Think it through – You need to think through the foreseeable future steps and have in place alternative courses of action. Mental rehearsal provides a clear pathway but at the same time can anticipate potential impediments that can be overcome in advance. It is important to think through the resources required, reviewing the key success factors and being prepared for any risks for the upcoming execution steps.
  6. Get all aboard – Every team member must be committed to the vision and direction of the project. Communication will be an important factor to ensure the team is informed of the progress against the agreed vision and direction. Any deviation should be evaluated, agreed and communicated to the team.
  7. Follow through – One of the critical steps in achieving effective execution is the follow through. The lack of follow through could certainly guarantee failure.

Wishing you a happy, prosperous and successful New Year 2013!

Dr John Kapeleris

 

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The Power of Knowledge

September 25th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Knowledge - (2 Comments)

“Knowledge is only potential power” Napoleon Hill

One of the keys to success is attaining the knowledge that can be applied in a given situation or in our daily lives, and to convert that knowledge into value for ourselves or the organisation in which we work. Knowledge is attained through a number of avenues, including formal education and schooling, through parents and mentors, on-the-job training, and through self-education and personal experience.

The unfortunate situation is that our schooling system, although it provides general knowledge for many topics, it fails to provide specialized knowledge for developing life skills. Specialised knowledge for developing life skills usually comes from our parents and mentors, on-the-job training and through self-education and personal experience. More importantly educational institutes do not specifically teach people how to organise and use the knowledge after it is acquired. Knowledge becomes power when it is organised and intelligently directed through practical plans of action and to a definite end. In other words, practically applying the knowledge to develop skills in a particular activity, business or profession.

To successfully run a business or undertake a specific profession you need to acquire specialized knowledge. The first step is to determine the sort of specialized knowledge you require, and the purpose for which it is needed. To a large extent your major purpose in life and the goals toward which you are working, will help determine what knowledge you need. Once you have achieved the first step, the next step will involve identifying dependable sources of specialized knowledge, including the following:

  • Formal education and training e.g. universities and colleges
  • On-the-job training
  • Using a mentor and/or mastermind group
  • Self-education courses e.g. seminars, books, DVDs/CDs, online courses

I have found that self-education courses through books, DVDs/CDs and online courses have provided me with the best specialised knowledge to develop life skills and specialized business skills. Reading books at least one hour per day in a specific topic can provide a significant source of specialized knowledge. Furthermore, I try to listen to CDs in the car when I drive to work or visit clients taking advantage of the time available. As Zig Ziglar states, “Turn your car into an automobile university of success“.

Once the specialized knowledge is attained, the final step is to put the knowledge into use through plans of action. The translation of knowledge into practical application will achieve successful outcomes (John Kapeleris). Many people make the mistake of continually sourcing and accessing knowledge but they do not apply the knowledge to their definite purpose, business or profession. It is important to develop practical action plans that have a defined objective, and to work towards the objective on a daily basis.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Mind Management

August 14th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Mind - (2 Comments)

“It is not always easy for a man to trace the inward path by which he reaches his own conclusions; so much of the working of the mind is subconscious” Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary (1905-1916)

Our past thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions establish certain patterns that we often repeat time after time because they seem quite natural. If these patterns are grounded in negative attitudes, fears, anxieties and doubts, then we are held back by these invisible chains that we have built for ourselves. They have the effect of limiting our beliefs, behaviours and actions, even though we don’t realise they are there. Conversely, patterns that lead us to positive attitudes, to enjoy life’s challenges and to believe in our own abilities, encourage beliefs, behaviours and actions that propel us to winning and successful outcomes in the future. For example, the self-disciplined individual focusses on the 20% of the high value activities that yield 80% of the desired outcomes.

A self-doubting person who focuses on negative thoughts and emotions will retreat in life and be influenced by external factors and people. To overcome negative thoughts you need to look fearlessly at your own emotions and face up to negative thoughts. You can then establish new and better systems of thought that will become habitual after you practice them each day for at least 20 days.

Following are some simple action steps you can take today to overcome negative thoughts and emotions:

  1. Take responsibility for your own life – You are the master of your own destiny. Take control of your own life and become proactive in designing your future.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people – There too many people around who are always negative (Black Hat thinkers). Take a moment to observe their lives, which are full of doom and gloom, and they always blame someone or something else for their situation. Seek out people who are positive, passionate, optimistic and successful. Take note that you generally become the average of the four to five people you associate with the most.
  3. Challenge your negative thoughts – Confront your negative thoughts by taking a piece of blank paper, writing down your negative thoughts, asking why you have those thoughts, and if you don’t have a valid answer tear up the sheet of paper and physically throw the negative thoughts in the bin. The physical action of capturing the negative thoughts on paper and then disposing of those thoughts can be very relieving.
  4. Change your thoughts from negative to positive – It is easy to think of everything in a positive tone. For example, instead of thinking to yourself, “Today I will make sure I do not feel negative”, turn the tone into a positive thought, “Today I will be positive and optimistic and take control of my life”.
  5. Use positive affirmations to change your state of being and your mindset – You can create a list of positive affirmations that you read daily or you can read positive quotes on your computer, mobile phone or from a list you post on the wall.
  6. Daily gratitude – Be thankful for what you have received and what you have achieved in life. List five things that you are grateful in life and read them every day when you wake up in the morning. It’s amazing what effect this activity can have on your life.
  7. Positive visualisation – Every evening before you go to sleep or early in the morning when you wake up, breathe deeply, relax your body, remove all thoughts from your mind (achieving a meditative state), and then concentrate hard on visualising your desired positive state. Picture yourself achieving the outcomes you desire in your work or personal life.

Make it a positive focus!

Dr John Kapeleris

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You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” — Gandhi

We are fast approaching Christmas and this is always a sign that we have once again reached the end of another calendar year. I always find the end of the year to be a time of reflection and review. It is also a time to evaluate the progress of your life purpose, goals and objectives that were set at the start of the year or the longer term goals set in previous years. Your life purpose, goals and objectives should be part of your Personal Development Plan.

The end of the year also offers a fresh start for activities that we had intended to do but never got around to doing them. Although I had previously stated that any day can be the start of the rest of your life, the end of the year can be a special time because it can provide closure to outstanding action items that may no longer be relevant, but also removing limiting beliefs by leaving them behind in the current year. The dawning of a new year provides the incentive to start a fresh action list and the motivation to get things done.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calendar year is reached. It is not just about making New Year’s resolutions at the dawn of the New Year, it is about making a committed effort to set written goals and objectives for the coming year and for the medium to longer term timeframe. Numerous studies have shown only three percent of the population set goals and only about one percent actually write them down.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and/or to set new goals and objectives for 2012. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2011. These could include work achievements, financial objectives, family highlights, personal development, educational achievements or personal success outcomes. Achievements should also be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure mental reinforcement and capitalizing on the motivation that this can provide to your subconscious mind. I try to reward myself when I achieve a particular goal or objective. For example, I will buy a gift for myself that reminds me of the success that I have achieved, or I will organise a special holiday trip for myself and my family. In early December of 2011 I took the family to Hawaii for 17 days to celebrate a very successful 2011. In previous years I bought myself a Tag Heuer watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed in the year.

I use a visual journal with white pages to document my goals and objectives for the new calendar year. Once I complete this activity I then develop Action Plans for the major goals and objectives. Throughout the year I periodically review my goals and revise any action plans that are not progressing as expected. You should also prepare a vision board which consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision, goals and objectives. The vision board helps to stimulate your reticular activating system in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious.

Like most people I also identify a few missed opportunities or disappointments for the year. This allows me to learn from the experience so that I can strengthen my future plans moving forward. Go ahead and document the missed opportunities and disappointments. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to capitalise on the missed opportunities or overcame the disappointments?”, and document potential changes and actions for the future. Don’t spend too much time regretting the missed opportunities. The rest of your life starts now, therefore focus on your future goals and plans for 2012. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2011. Particularly goals that were over ambitious, which is common amongst high achievers.

I had also previously posted a number of blog entries that can provide further detailed information on developing your goals and objectives (see below). Furthermore, I have included a Personal Development Plan Template that may also be used as a guide.

What are your key goals, objectives and action plans for 2012?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for the New Year in 2012!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Improving Your Memory

June 7th, 2011 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Mind - (1 Comments)

Have you ever been in a situation where you have forgotten the name of a client after you just met them for the first time or returned from the supermarket and forgotten the one item you really needed? Memory lapses are very common and can be very frustrating. The issue is not with storage of the information but rather with retrieval – the information is already in your mind.

Memory is defined as the mental activities that acquire, process, store and recall information. Memory involves three major processes: encoding, storage and retrieval. There are three types of memory: short-term memory (STM), long-term memory (LTM) and sensory memory. Sensory memory is very short-lived, usually lasting up to 4 seconds, and consists of information that first enters your brain via your senses, such as sight, sound and smell. A small proportion of this input passes to your short-term memory for recall. STM is the information that we are actively thinking at a given point in time and usually lasts about 30-40 seconds which is enough time to memorize a telephone number or someone’s name. STM acts as a filter for the input the brain receives from the external world, only passing certain information onto LTM for storage.

Many people find it difficult to remember abstract facts or information. Improving memory involves making the information less abstract in your mind. One way of doing this is to categorize material in a more distinctive way or link the information mentally to a personal experience. For example, we can always remember what we were doing during the morning of September 11, 2001. A more familiar and common way of remembering is practice and repetition, which is commonly used by students but also actors. To memorize their lines, actors tend to read and then re-read the material quickly over a period of four days, approximately five to ten times a day. By the time they have read the material twenty times the lines are stored within their LTM.

When you arrive at a supermarket without a shopping list do you try to recall the name of the items or do you recall the image of the item? Memory recall can be either verbal or visual, therefore memory improvement techniques are grouped into these two categories.

To improve your verbal memory try the following techniques:

  1. Rhymes – It is easy to recall information when placed into a poem or rhyme e.g. “Thirty days hath September, April, June and November…” etc
  2. Acronyms – Devise your own using initials of words that you need to remember. e.g. ROY G BIV is used to remember the colours of the rainbow and their order.
  3. Acrostics – Similar to acronyms but consist of words that allow you to remember other words e.g. “My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas” is used to remember the planets in our solar system and their order.
  4. Stories – Making up a story which contains all the key elements that you need to remember is a great way to remember a list of words, activities or presentation notes.

To improve your visual memory you need to picture images in your mind and develop a visual vocabulary:

  1. Mental images – Forming an image in your mind that captures the vital information is a very powerful way of remembering. For example, if I wanted to remember the following list of nine items: apple, briefcase, keys, umbrella, window, newspaper, tree, pen, car, I would form the following image in my mind – ” I am in a room with a desk and on the desk is an open briefcase with a newspaper next to it. I need to place the apple, pen and keys into the briefcase. Next to the desk I see an umbrella that I need to take with me. From the window in the room I can see a car outside parked next to a tree“.
  2. Grouping – Visual grouping involves associating a random list of items with unrelated objects. For example, if you were going hiking in the mountains, you would remember to take the following items because you would associate them with your trip: an umbrella could be associated with a tree; your hiking boots could be associated with rocks, a hat could be associated with a large flower; and food items could be associated with pine cones or other forest berries.
  3. Visual references – The use of visual landmarks to guide someone to a destination is very common e.g. buildings, intersections, bridges, schools, shopping centres, sports fields, statues, gardens, unique structures or places of business. An extension of this approach is to use visual references as anchors for remembering things. Also called “Method of Loci” this technique was used by ancient orators to remember speeches by associating paragraphs with the mental picture of the different rooms of a familiar building. As the orators visualized a “mental walk” through a building they would recite the paragraphs of their speeches that were associated with each room of the building.

Memory joggers can also assist you to remember specific items:

  • Keep a small notebook with you at all times and write notes to yourself. You can also use your electronic notes function on your phone or 3M Post-It notes.
  • Write lists of items that you need to remember e.g. shopping list, list of travel essentials, holiday destinations list, To-Do list
  • If you need to take something with you in the morning leave it by the door or in your car.
  • If you keep losing essential items such as your keys, decide on a specific location where you will always place the keys.
  • For medication or vitamins taken daily, place the items with something that you will use daily such as your toothbrush or drinking glass.
  • When you put something away or file a particular item, record the item and its location on a log, running list or simple database

What approach do you use to remember important items?

Dr John Kapeleris

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Today’s business environment requires business owners, managers and leaders to deliver more with less time and resources. The impact of the recent global economic changes has further influenced the business environment resulting in diminished resources – fewer people, smaller budgets and significantly less time available to complete tasks and achieve the desired results and outcomes.

One solution to this problem is the power of Speed Thinking. Speed Thinking developed by Dr Ken Hudson and described in detail in his book Speed Thinking: How to Thrive in a Time-poor World is a process that consciously and deliberately accelerates the pace at which an individual or group thinks, creates, solves and acts.

The concept for Speed Thinking emerged when Dr Ken Hudson observed that when managers were challenged by limiting their available time they often produced the desired results and subsequently felt more energised and satisfied. By giving people less time this can unlock their creative abilities to achieve more and still achieve a high quality outcome. It also removes the opportunity for people to over-analyze the situation or task and avoid “paralysis through analysis”.

The concept of Speed Thinking is aligned with the thoughts of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking which challenges the long-held belief that doing something quickly compromises quality. By relying on your creative abilities and intuition you can improve the efficiency of your thinking, avoid procrastination and get more things done quickly by creating more time for yourself.

Dr Ken Hudson outlines a number of ways to use Speed Thinking in his book, however, one of the processes that he describes is SpeedLinks which involves the following steps:

  1. Using the template SpeedLinks Paper Version write down the issue or challenge you wish to resolve.
  2. Create nine initial thoughts or ideas in the inner nine bubbles in two minutes or less (the Start step). The objective is to write down your ideas as fast as you can without filtering or review.
  3. Select a few of the thoughts or ideas that seem the most promising or just intuitively feel interesting (the Evaluate step).
  4. Now try to develop nine ways to make your selected ideas even stronger by expanding and building the ideas into concepts. The objective of this step is to develop or build the ideas as fast as you can (the Build step).
  5. The last step is to take each of the selected and developed concepts and write nine ways to bring these to life (the Action step). For example, you may want to talk to a customer, develop a rapid prototype for demonstration, deliver a presentation to  agroup, develop a short business plan, or write a  list of tasks or activities. Actions should be specific and tangible.

In a very small amount of time you will have developed a range of possibilities, built new concepts and developed action plans ready for implementation.

Dr John Kapeleris

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In our current busy world being able to concentrate and focus is extremely important for work and everyday life. Focus can provide clarity and at the same time magnification of the tasks we want to achieve. If we focus on the high value tasks that will make the difference in our work and personal lives, then we can easily become successful. Focus has made many individuals and organizations achieve success beyond the achievements of their their nearest rivals who may be more diversified. e.g. compare Intel with Motorola – Intel is focused on silicon chips while Motorola is involved in a number of different products.

The key questions you will need to consider when determining your level of focus are:

  1. Am I focused on my strengths?
  2. Am I focused on high value activities to achieve my goals and objectives?
  3. Do I need to shift my focus?

Al Reis has been a strong advocate of “Focus”. He has stated that success is achieved in business and personal life when you narrow the focus. Al Reis also described a number of characteristics related to focus, including:

  1. Focus is simple, memorable, powerful and revolutionary
  2. Focus needs enemies, is the future, is internal and helps organizations and nations
  3. Focus is selective, easy to find, long-term, but isn’t forever

If you want to improve the concentration and focus of your mind, then you need to work out and exercise your brain.  The correct brain exercises will improve the way your brain works, and develop better focus and concentration. Brain exercises are excellent tools for people of any age who would like to strengthen their mind! Following are some simple and effective brain exercises that can help you develop and improve your brain concentration:

  1. Crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Crossword and Sudoku puzzles can help improve your concentration and at the same time are a lot of fun.  Crossword puzzles are great for strengthening your long-term memory, while Sudoku is great for improving logic based problem-solving. Taking only 15 minutes daily to work on crossword or Sudoku puzzles can benefit you. You can purchase a crossword or Sudoku puzzle book, check your daily newspaper, or search online to find free  puzzles.
  2. Eat foods that help your brain. Your brain will stay healthy and function effectively if nourished with nutritious foods. Proteins are great for the brain, and may be found in cheeses, meats, fish, and milk. Complex carbohydrates are important as well, and these come from fruits, vegetables, and grains. The brain also needs some fat, derived from healthy oils like olive oil or fish oils. Eat foods that include Omega-3s, such as trout, salmon, and tuna. Some nuts contain these fats as well and are healthy food for the brain. Other specific foods associated with improved brain function include, cacao beans (chocolate), green tea, Greek-style yogurt, blueberries, flak seeds and broccoli. Of course you will also need plenty of water – about two litres per day.
  3. Exercise regularly. Exercise not only improves your health and fitness, it also provides important oxygen and glucose to the brain through increased blood circulation. Walking briskly is one of the easiest and effective exercise routines to assist in brain function.
  4. Changing your daily routine. Changing your daily routine takes you outside your comfort zone, which challenges your brain. This influences and and improves your problem solving abilities. One way of achieving this is taking a different route to work or changing your morning exercise routine.
  5. Start a new hobby. Trying a new hobby is another way to expand your interests and use your brain to learn something new. Being busy and learning new things expand the way the brain thinks and gets you out of a rut. Join a local club or take a class at a hobby store or community college. Challenging yourself and improving brain function is something that any person can do.
  6. Brain training games and puzzles. Mental exercise for the brain can be achieved through brain training games and puzzles. Brain activities and puzzles can enhance the logical, analytical, creative, spatial, memory and problem solving abilities of the brain.

Make just one change today to stimulate your brain. You won’t notice any drastic changes overnight, but with time and practice, eventually you’ll find that you can solve problems more easily, improve your memory and enjoy improved concentration and focus.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Try the following Brain Puzzles and add your answers as comments:

  1. A man and woman are walking together. At this very moment their right feet are striking the ground. For every 3 steps taken by the woman the man takes 2 steps. How many steps must each take before their left feet strike the ground together?
  2. A horse trader brings a string of horses to a horse fair. As admission charge, he gives up one of his horses. At the fair he sells one half of those remaining and on the way out he is charged one horse as a trading fee.
    He proceeds to a second fair where similar conditions prevail. There he pays one horse to get in , sells half his horses he still has on hand and pays a single horse as a trading fee.
    Not content he proceeds to a third fair. Here again he pays one horse to get in , sells half of his horses remaining and is charged a single horse as a trading fee. He then has one horse left which he rides home with the proceeds.
    How many horses did he start with?
  3. A bag contains one marble, known to be either black or white. A white marble is dropped into the bag and shaken, and a marble is drawn out, which proves to be white. What is now the chance of drawing a white marble?
  4. A man pointed to a one person in a family portrait and stated, “Brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son”. Who did he point to?
  5. A hunter travelling by train to the forest carries with him his gun, which is 2.3 metres long. Unfortunately, the baggage regulations of the train company do not allow any object more than 2 metres long. How does the hunter get around the rule?

Good luck!

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Stress is a natural reaction or response, both physical and emotional, to external threats or stimuli whether actual or imagined. A certain level of stress is required by the human body to ensure the nervous system responds to challenges, stays focused and remains alert. It is a way for the body to protect itself against external threats.

Excessive stress, however can be detrimental, and could result in the following health issues or symptoms:

  • increased blood pressure;
  • suppressed immune system;
  • increased risk of heart attack and stroke; and
  • accelerated aging.

Chronic or long-term stress can also impact on your mind by making you more vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

The following strategy will help to manage stress successfully:

  1. Allocate time for yourself. Spend some time each day relaxing or doing something that you really enjoy.
  2. Make time for other people in your life. Invest time with your close relationships by talking to them and listening to what they have to say.
  3. Start the day with a relaxation activity. Spend at least 15 to 30 minutes every morning exercising, thinking, or undertaking a relaxation exercise, such as reading or creative visualization.
  4. Allow enough time for travel. Avoid rushing to meetings and appointments by allowing enough time for travel so that you arrive in plenty of time stress-free.
  5. Get organized. Avoid clutter and chaos by being proactive in organizing your time (through your calendar), your files (as the documents become available) and your information systems (action and delete your emails).
  6. Be assertive and proactive. Be assertive but avoid aggressive behaviour which could result in stress. Say “no” to distractions and time-wasters. Furthermore being proactive by anticipating in advance what needs to be done will avoid stress in the future.
  7. Start a hobby. Find a hobby that is relaxing and non-stressful, such as reading or taking walks in the park.
  8. Avoid stressful situations. Avoid situations which could be stressful for you.
  9. Make lists and plans. You will be able to think more clearly by writing down your list of actions and plans.
  10. Relax before you go to bed. Before going to bed spend some time relaxing through reflection, creative visualization and relaxation activities, or simply reading a book.

Worry is another behaviour that can create excessive stress. Most of the things we worry about do not even come true. This is well illustrated by a quote from William R. Inge, “Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due. Therefore, the best way to avoid or manage worry is to quickly evaluate a situation using a simple checklist by asking the following questions:

  1. What is the worst thing that can happen when confronted with the situation?
  2. How would I deal with the situation?

You will find that virtually any problem or challenge that is confronted can be solved in some way thereby avoiding the need to worry. Taking immediate action to solve the problem or challenge will ensure that the issues do not escalate and become unmanageable.

To your success!

Dr John Kapeleris

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“The purpose of man is in action, not thought.” — Thomas Carlyle

We are fast approaching Christmas and this is always a sign that we have once again reached the end of another calendar year. I always find the end of the year to be a time of reflection and review. It is also a time to evaluate the progress of your life purpose, goals and objectives that were set at the start of the year or the longer term goals set in previous years.

The end of the year also offers a fresh start for activities that we had intended to do but never got around to doing them. Although I had previously stated that any day can be the start of the rest of your life, the end of the year can be a special time because it can provide closure to outstanding action items that may no longer be relevant, but also removing limiting beliefs by leaving them behind in the current year. The dawning of a new year provides the incentive to start a fresh action list and the motivation to get things done.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, however, they quickly discover that the resolutions fade even before the first quarter of the calender year is reached. It is not just about making New Year’s resolutions at the dawn of the New Year, it is about making a committed effort to set written goals and objectives for the coming year and for the medium to longer term timeframe.

I challenge you to make a committed effort, that is, take ACTION, to review your previous goals and objectives, and to set new goals and objectives for 2011. Begin by identifying the major achievements and highlights for 2010. These could include work achievements, financial objectives, family highlights, personal development, educational achievements or personal success outcomes. Achievements should also be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure mental reinforcement and capitalizing on the motivation that this can provide to your subconscious mind. I try to reward myself when I achieve a particular goal or objective. For example, I will buy a gift for myself that reminds me of the success that I have achieved, or I will organise a special holiday trip for myself and my family. Last January I decided to go to Byron Bay and live in a beach house for ten days to celebrate a very successful 2009. In previous years I bought myself a Tag Heuer watch to remind me of a successful multi-million dollar deal I had closed in the year.

I use a visual journal with white pages to document my goals and objectives for the new calendar year. Once I complete this activity I then develop Action Plans for the major goals and objectives. Throughout the year I periodically review my goals and revise any action plans that are not progressing as expected. You should also prepare a vision board which consists of a portfolio of visual material or a collage of images that portray your vision, goals and objectives. The vision board helps to stimulate your reticular activating system in your mind to reaffirm your subconscious.

Like most people I also identify a few missed opportunities or disappointments for the year. This allows me to learn from the experience so that I can strengthen my future plans moving forward. Go ahead and document the missed opportunities and disappointments. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to capitalise on the missed opportunities or overcame the disappointments?”, and document potential changes and actions for the future. Don’t spend too much time regretting the missed opportunities. The rest of your life starts now, therefore focus on your future goals and plans for 2011. Some of these goals could also be carried over from 2010. Particularly goals that were over ambitious, which is common amongst high achievers.

I had also previously posted a number of blog entries that can provide further detailed information on developing your goals and objectives (see below). Furthermore, I have included a Personal Development Plan Template that may also be used as a guide. A decent driveway paint site will get you the driveway paint you want.

What does your personal development plan look like?

Have a merry Christmas and I wish you every success for 2011!

Dr John Kapeleris

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In my previous company Panbio Ltd, one of the key success factors of the company was embedding innovation across the whole organisation and not limited to the R&D Department alone. One of the initiatives that I implemented to drive innovation in the organisation was the establishment of a Creativity Club. The main objective of the creativity club was to stimulate creative thinking in individuals and encourage the use of creative thinking tools to come up with new ideas, and to solve problems in the organisation and for our customers.

The original objectives that we brainstormed at our first creativity club at Panbio are outlined below:

The format and structure of the creativity club included the following:

  1. The creativity club was open to all employees of the organisation. Everyone was invited to deliver presentations, and to share their knowledge and experiences.
  2. The creativity club was held either at lunchtime or before work (lunch and breakfast were provided which was a great attraction for employees).
  3. The agenda of each meeting consisted of the following:
    1. Ice-breaker – each participant would be asked to describe a creative experience or reading since the last meeting (those participants that could not describe a creative experience would be asked to tell a joke – right brain thinking)
    2. Formal presentation – a theme was chosen as a focus of each creativity club including: Introduction to Creative Thinking, Serendipity vs Synchronicity, Idea Management, Creativity Tools, Imagination, Innovation case studies (3M, Dupont, Lotus Corporation, Ideo etc), Creative Problem Solving, Intuition, Chaos Theory, etc
    3. Informal discussion – this session included open discussion about the specific topic presented and the practical application of the learnings from the presentation
    4. Action planning – the creativity club concluded with the recording of action plans that each participant could take back to their department or functional area and implement
  4. The creativity club was modelled on the Dupont OZ Creative Thinking Network and the Parisian Salons (creative communities) of the 1920’s. The creativity club included a number of games and puzzles to stimulate the creative juices of participants. It also provided a fun environment conducive to the sharing of knowledge and ideas that could be further developed or implemented. A database was set up within the Knowledge Management system of the organisation to capture and record the presentations, knowledge, ideas, learnings, discussions and action plans arising from the creativity club.

The creativity club at Panbio also spawned the development of Creative Problem Solving Hit Teams. These teams consisted of cross-functional team members that would work on solving problems both inside and outside the organisation. When an internal functional area or an external customer could not solve a particular problem then a Creative Problem Solving Hit Team was deployed. The cross-functional nature of the team allowed a wider range of skill-sets to be incorporated in the team, providing a diverse perspective when investigating each problem. The team included people directly involved with the problem but also people who had never been exposed to the problem. Team members were also equipped with a variety of creative problem solving tools and resources. These teams became so effective that we started to provide this service beyond our existing clients and domain areas of expertise.

Enjoy!

Dr John Kapeleris

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