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The Metrics Of Belonging


The things we measure most are the most tangible—sales, clicks, votes, bums on seats. They can be seen and touched, counted and compared.

The metrics of belonging are felt and harder to quantify. But it is those intangibles—often only evidenced or experienced over time, that are the backbone of strong relationships, communities and brands.

We have become impatient to see results now. We don’t have time to cultivate belonging.

So, we’re left to question. If it can’t be seen, touched or measured, did it matter? And if the answer is ‘yes’, how do we account for it?

That’s a question every one of us must answer.

Image by Garry Knight

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Valuing Your Expertise And Effort


My dad had many manual jobs during his working life, but the one he loved most was being a painter and decorator. It was the only job he did, where he could stand back and find joy in his creative output at the end of the day. Painting was something he could say he was good at. His reputation preceded him.

His customers loved the end result—the pristine room, a freshly glossed front door. What they didn’t always see was the process that made the finished product great—the hours of preparing, sanding and undercoating the wood. The final coat was only as good as the effort that went into the layers of paint beneath it.

And so it goes for us and our work too.

Your clients aren’t just buying the result—they are investing in the value of your expertise and effort. You must remember to tell that story.

*Do you need help to reflect on the next right step for building your business or career? Then our group mentorship experience at the Right Company might be for you. We’re accepting applications for a handful of new members this week.

Image by Fernando Butcher

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The Power Of Reflective Practice


My mother can practically bake a killer apple tart in her sleep. It’s a skill she’s learned over decades of trial and error. We hone any skill by doing. We get better by practising and observing, then reflecting and iterating.

The doctor perfects her bedside manner by reflecting on how a consultation went.

The salesperson gets better at closing deals by assessing what did or didn’t work on his last sales call.

The speaker improves by noticing how the audience reacts and thinking about how she could get more engagement during her next talk.

Practice alone won’t make us perfect. Progress happens when we make time for thinking as well as doing.

Image by Jessica Fiess Hill

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In Praise Of Incrementalism

One of my favourite TV programs, when I was young, was Columbo—which followed the sometimes scruffy, seemingly absentminded, always polite, homicide detective, who solved murder cases in Los Angeles.

What struck me about Columbo was the stepwise way he made progress towards solving the case. He wasn’t necessarily looking for the big breakthrough, he was searching for the next smallest clue that would lead him to his goal.

It’s easy to seduced by the illusion of the big breakthrough. But what we see in all walks of life, not just in detective stories, is that it’s the commitment to patient, gradual progress that gets us to where we want to go.

Incrementalism is underrated.

*Do you need help to make stepwise progress in your business or career? Then our group mentorship experience at the Right Company might be for you. We’re accepting applications for a handful of new members this week.

Image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko

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Giving Attention Vs. Getting Attention


The more people have to attend to, the harder it is to get their attention.
Attention is a precious resource. And as with any resource, scarcity creates value.
Our culture has taught us that those who can capture the most attention win—never more so than in the digital age. So, we devote a considerable amount of time and effort working out how to mine other people’s attention—often adding to the noise.

What if instead of showing up to get attention, we showed up to give it, without expectation? Imagine the resources we could build if we spent the majority of our time attending to how we could help instead of trying to be seen.

Image by Daniel Funes Fuentes

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Empathy Creates Value

A restaurant host has one job to do—meet and greet diners and show them to their table.

It sounds easy enough, but the difference between a good host and a great host is underrated because where people are seated directly impacts their experience. Seating arrangements can influence how long diners spend at a venue, how much they spend, and whether they come back.

One Saturday, at a cafe near where I live, a woman arrives alone with a Moleskine notebook under her arm. She wants coffee and a small table in a quiet corner.

The young couple with two small children need a spot where they can spread out and relax over pancakes without feeling like they’re disturbing other diners.

Even though the cafe is empty, the host seats both parties at the same big communal table in the middle of the dining room. They smile politely and look disappointed, but don’t ask to be moved. Sadly neither group gets the experience they want that day. The young parents snap at their kids in an attempt to keep them quiet. The woman with the notebook puts it away within minutes, finishes her coffee and leaves.

In his quest for efficiency, the host forgot that the purpose of the cafe isn’t just to serve food and drinks—it’s also to have the empathy to discern how to treat different customers differently.

We create value and deliver joy when we make the people we serve feel like they matter. What better goal can we have for the work we have the privilege to do?

Image by Petr Sevcovic

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Powering The Future


The tagline on the side of the red Australia Post van reads; ‘Powering online shopping.’

It stops me in my tracks. I think about the people who led this business twenty or even ten years ago. They would have had a hard time envisioning this as their new business strategy, never mind the world’s new reality.

While parcel revenues and online transactions are increasing, letter volumes keep dropping, which puts pressure on once thriving local post offices. Few people would have foreseen this two decades ago.

Like us, the leaders of this business must plan for the future without depending on it, by it’s getting closest to the people they want to serve.

Image by Ruby

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Reclaiming Old Marketing

The fastest way to shut down a conversation is to tell someone you’re ‘in marketing’.
Why is that?

Over the past six decades, the perception of marketing has changed dramatically. Marketing has gone from being a helpful conversation to being perceived as sleight of hand tactics that trick people into making decisions they later regret. That’s not the kind of marketing I grew up around. And it’s not the kind of marketing I want to practice or see in the world.

The kind of marketing I witnessed growing up was the helpful conversations my mother had with Buckley’s butchers about the best cuts of meat to buy for the meal she wanted to cook, within her budget. Their marketing worked even when the supermarket chains arrived because the Buckley’s had earned people’s trust over years of helpful conversations.

The promise of ‘new marketing’ was that we could reach more people, faster and cheaper. What wasn’t as clearly understood was what might be lost by going for those quick wins.

It turns out that the tools and tactics of new marketing aren’t a shortcut. The tried, trusted and true methods of old marketing help us to maintain our integrity and get to where we want to go.

Image by Denise Jans

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The One Thing


A novel is written one word, one sentence at a time. A marathon completed in strides, not miles. Every day we stand on the shoulders of the effort we made the one before.

We don’t make progress, we choose it.

What’s the one thing you could do today that would make a difference to your work?

What’s the one you could stop doing today that would have an impact on your progress?

What’s the one thing you need to learn to get you closer to your goal?

What’s the one thing you need to unlearn to change your perspective about what’s possible?

What one thing are you willing to do today in service of tomorrow?

Image by CJ Dayrit

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Listening To Lead


The promise of the digital age was the ability to more cheaply and rapidly raise awareness of our value, our message, or our cause. Digital media levelled the playing field and gave all of us the chance to spread our ideas.

In some cases, the desire to quickly spread ideas has led to the misbelief that to control the message, we must manipulate the story. But when we prioritise being heard, we stop listening to the people we serve. We quickly lose ground when we put self-interest before service.

The opportunity to harness the tools available to all of us to hear, not only to be heard is open to all of us. We get to choose how we take advantage of it.

Image by Dries Augustyns

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