Welcome to the belivernomics blog


I will try my best to update this webpage with  thought provoking and interesting content, as often as I can.  Please feel free to leave comments as  there is much that can be learnt from the sharing of ideas.

By pa360, Dec 26 2015 02:40PM

Like it or not, what we believe is key to what we achieve. Look at it this way, to be successful you must first believe that you can achieve success in the first place. People who believe that they can be successful, organise themselves towards their chosen objective and pursue it until they achieve success. Meanwhile, those who doubt, choose not to organise their effort towards an objective and therefore succeed in achieving nothing. Isn't it sobering to think that doubt is indeed its own belief system, albeit one that traps people in mediocrity and limits their access to opportunity?

So how do you re-model and recharge your belief system? Well here are my six steps to turn belief into opportunity.

1. aim for something that you don’t have – if you have nothing to aim for you have nothing to believe for and if you have nothing to believe for you have nothing to reach for. Whether you have a big vision or a smaller personal target, having something to aim for means that your belief can provide a bridge to get you from where you are to where-ever you want to be.

2. start with reasons why you should, not the reasons why you shouldn’t – if you are going to change your belief system your pre-disposition must be geared towards the reasons why you ‘should’ do things as opposed to the reasons why you ‘should not’. A can do attitude opens up your thought pathways to fresh ideas, new possibilities and innovative solutions that take you closer to your success. By contrast, a can’t do attitude crowds out solutions and makes it easier for you to do nothing.

3. be comfortable with being outside your comfort-zone – everyone knows their comfort zone. It is a place where we feel least threat, least risk and are most assured. However, it is also the place where we are least likely to be tested and least likely to experience dynamic growth and progression. As a rule of thumb, anything that doesn’t require investment will invariably deliver a nil return.

4. beware the path of least resistance – someone once said that ‘you should never second guess your first instinct’, well I beg to differ. Remember, when we face challenges or crises our first instinct is often to travel the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, the path of least resistance often delays and defers until tomorrow what we ought to do today. Things that are easy may be attractive, but ultimately they offer little reward. By contrast, real recognition and a true sense of accomplishment is to be found, when we do the awkward and difficult thing.

5. be inspired by yourself and others – there is nothing more inspiring than the experience of getting something done or seeing others do it. When you have experience of succeeding it inspires you to go again and to reach further and higher than before. Likewise, the achievements of others can blaze a trail and open up opportunities that you might not have thought possible. Yes it is possible that you may believe and still fail, but for sure if you do nothing you will achieve nothing.

6. do not make or accept excuses – few things are more self destructive than the excuse. Those who make excuses only serve to disempower themselves and justify their mediocrity. People who get in the habit of making excuses quickly become complacent and those that believe their excuses end up in a state of denial. By all means assess evidence, appraise options and reflect soberly, but never make excuses.

Belief is an incredibly powerful tool that, once harnessed, can have a transformational impact on our lives and on the lives of those around us. However, in order for this to happen, we need to make sure that our belief system is working for us and not against us.

By pa360, Aug 16 2015 11:56AM

In the market-place of opportunity, you need to stand out to compete and you need to compete effectively to succeed. For start-ups, the key to sustainable success is the ability to turn all things to do with ‘size’ to your advantage. By doing so you effectively re-define the market-place in a way that makes ‘scale’ work in your favour irrespective of what larger competitors are doing. So how do you do that? Well here are eight top tips for successful start-ups.

1. Just because you can’t compare doesn’t mean you can’t compete – successful competition is not necessarily about doing the same things better than others, it is about disrupting the market-place with a unique and distinctive offering. Study your market, don’t just look at what others are doing, look at what they are not doing. These gaps could provide the next big growth opportunity.

2. Better to get your strategy right than to get it written – a clear and coherent strategy is the price of admission for success. If you do not know where you are trying to get to, you will not know how to get there or know when you arrive. A strategy that is written to please your bank manager is neither use nor ornament. Invest the time needed to get it right and then use the strategy as a road map to get from where you are to where you need to be.

3. Being small and agile has distinct advantages – one of the greatest advantages of small enterprises is their ability to respond quickly to changing demands and the emergence of new opportunities. Use this distinctive trait to best effect by networking with like-minded others to build economies of scale when you need to grow and to spread risk when you need to diversify. The ability to assemble and disassemble as necessary will enhance your operational effectiveness and your strategic capabilities.

4. Customers don’t want to know who did it first, they want to know who does it best – if you are going to build on the successes of others don’t imitate - innovate. In 1984 the first commercially available handheld mobile phone was unveiled by Motorola. Today, Motorola controls less than 6 per cent of the global smart-phone market, well below that of its two main competitors. Modern consumers are not interested in history or tradition; they are interested in personalisation, convenience and choice.

5. Value is better than volume – establish a reputation for designing products and delivering services that people value. The time taken to ensure that you do not just get the right product, but that you get your product right is an investment in success. Products built on value breed confidence and confidence builds trust. When customers trust you they will follow you and they will bring others. Remember, it is better to do a few things well than to do many things badly

6. Slow growth is better than no growth – incremental growth and consolidation is much better than rapid and unsustainable expansion. By all means have high ambitions, but these must be underpinned by realistic targets. As part of your growth journey you need to know what success looks like in the short, medium and longer term.

7. In the market place for ideas, speed of thought levels the playing field – good ideas are not the preserve of blue chip multi-nationals or those with the biggest market share. A good idea can come from anywhere, anyone and at anytime. Keep your mind fertile, be open to new opportunities and constantly assess & reassess consumer and market behaviour.

8. Be fluent in the language of data – the data mine as the new ‘Klondike’ of product innovation and business growth. With a better understanding of data you can close the gap in performance between yourself and your competitors, better manage risk and expand into new markets. The importance of understanding data is crucial to sustainable success.

In summary, the most valuable asset available to a start-up is the ability to dominate economies where size gives you an advantage or where size makes no difference. Tactically, this will enable your start-up to compete and win on its own terms.

By pa360, Feb 28 2015 08:03AM

We have all heard the word 'transformation'. To transform something is to make it unrecognisable compared to whatever it was before. Think of a business, on the brink of going bust at the beginning of the financial year, recovering to become the market leader by the end of the financial year. That's transformation! For some organisations the key to their structural transformation relies on a similar seismic change in circumstance. But whilst transformation implies something dramatic and life changing, the key to transformation does not always have to be so dramatic. Set out below are six keys to make organisational transformation happen.

1. Realisation

I am sure, like me, you have walked into a dark room to look for something and instead of fumbling around in the darkness, your immediate impulse has been to switch on the light. That very act of turning on the light will have a transformational effect on your surroundings. Suddenly you will be able to see clearly and your spatial awareness will be immeasurably increased. As a consequence, you will be more confident and better able to find whatever you are looking for and avoid tripping over things. Strange isn't it that an effect so transformational as illuminating a dark room, can be brought about by an act so simple as switching on a light. The key learning tip for organisations is that to get to a point of realisation, you need to unclutter your thinking. Informed speculation and reasoned logic can often provide enough 'light' to enable you know what is important, see what you need to prioritise and understand what you need to do next.

2. Beliefs

The act of belief always follows realisation and has exactly the same transformational effect on the way in which an organisation functions. Much like flicking a switch, belief is an act of faith that illuminates the organisational thinking space and enables it to see possibilities and opportunities that may have been hidden beforehand. Belief asks the question, without which the answer will always be no. I often remind myself of the great deeds of celebrated achievers in sports, business, technology, politics and science and without exception it would have been impossible for them to achieve their goals without first believing that such things were even possible. The key learning tip here is that belief doesn't just help an organisation to have a positive leaning state of mind, it also shapes its decision-making posture.

3. Behaviours and routines

Depending on an organisation's circumstances, making transformation happen may require a significant change to behaviours, habits and routines. These changes may be necessary to overcome significant obstacles that impede progress and competitiveness. However, its is important to re-emphasise that the process of transformation doesn't just end with change, it starts with change as well. At the beginning, a change in perception, creates a change in attitude, a change in attitude informs changed behaviours and changed behaviours can deliver a change in outcomes. The key learning point here is that: as much as transformation describes an outcome, it also defines a process and that process requires activity. Realising that transformation can happen and believing that it will happen will by themselves not make it happen. You need to act.

4. Disciplined risk-taking

Much as it may sound a bit like an oxymoron risk-taking can be disciplined and has to be to deliver the best effects and most meaningful outcomes. The essence of risk-taking is recognising that learning and discovery sometimes comes at a cost. The point about discipline is to ensure that such costs are acceptable in the context of broader organisational objectives. It is also predicated on the clear understanding that organisational, like individuals, cannot learn or discover things until they test things and they won't meaningfully test things until they are willing to risk things. Remember, in the introduction to this blog, we highlighted the fact that transformation represents a seismic and unrecognisable shift from what was to what is. Seismic shifts are rarely the products of over-cautious thinking and effort. By contrast, undisciplined risk-taking amounts to recklessness and it is difficult to learn anything that is useful from that.

5. Realism

Does this seem obvious? Well it should do, but is none-the-less worth stressing. There are absolutely no shortcut to transformation. On the contrary, it takes time and to experience it, organisation's need to be realistic about their expectations. Short-cut processes often produce short-lived results. This is because so-called 'over-night transformations' seldom have the roots and anchoring to make them sustainable. The key learning point here is that realism often means being ready to do the hard miles, make the sacrifices and be willing to accept arithmetical progress in the short-term to see geometric progression in the longer-term. It also means accepting the 'pain' that comes with realism. Yes, realism can be painful! It may not make you friends, but it will make you better.

6. Abandon the nostalgia

Probably the biggest barrier to transformation is the penchant for nostalgia. The sentimental or sometimes almost romantic attachment that organisation's have to the very things that hold them back. Attempting to combine a love of nostalgia into a desire to for something new is a bit like moving away from an old neighbourhood, where you fell into bad company only to invite the same bad company to visit you in the new neighbourhood in the hope that things will be different. In such a situation, transformation cannot happen and it won't work. The key learning point here is that the only thing worse than unconsciously deceiving yourself, is when you unwittingly deceive others.

In conclusion, at a very basic level, organisational transformation is not complicated, but it does require a clear-eyed focus, determined effort and hard work. Ultimately therefore, whether you're ready to work for it, is entirely dependent on whether you think it's worth it.

By pa360, Feb 23 2015 05:44AM

Isn't it amazing how differently we behave when we are doing something that we enjoy? Our energy levels are much higher, our enthusiasm is greater and we are often prepared to go over and above what is required. Whenever people demonstrate that sort of behaviour (without direction, instruction or offer of reward) it is commonly known as goodwill. A simple one word definition of goodwill is 'willingness' or 'free-will'. Willingness and free-will are what we do of our own choosing, not because we need to but because we want to.

People who extend goodwill are not looking for a reward, rather their motivation is one of selflessness, a sense of duty or a desire to help others. A good example of this sort of activity is volunteering, where people give of their time to help others. Another example is the professionalism shown by the person who chooses to stay behind after work, without compensation, to complete a task or meet a deadline. Although goodwill does not anticipate a reward, that does not mean that it goes unnoticed. Acts of goodwill are often recognised and celebrated because they are a testament to the good character and endearing traits that we so admire in others. So how do you create a goodwill economy in your organisation? Well set out below are seven key actions that will help you to build it.

1. Understand and define your organisation's social values

As surprising as it may seem, every organisation exhibits some variation of 'social values' - even organisations that have a profit-making and commercial motive. Those values are likely to be implicit in policy or more likely, the cumulative effects of employee behaviours. For example, an organisation that uses deadlines and targets as a pre-requisite for determining which employees are selected for promotion, will find that competitiveness, between employees, is one of its key 'social values'. Employees in such an organisation are less likely to want to share their skills and knowledge and will see no inherent value in empowering other employees (their likely would-be competitors). By contrast, an organisation where employees choose to collaborate is likely to value the sharing of skills and knowledge as well as the empowerment of others. In such an organisation,

2. Define the social motivators and triggers for social action

In view of the fact that goodwill is a social commodity, it is important to be mindful that people have different triggers and thresholds for engaging in social behaviours. Therefore to define the triggers and thresholds, you need to take steps to understand the behavioural motivators at all levels of the organisational hierarchy. These insights then need to be aligned to the benefits of goodwill in a way that will make sense to those whose behaviour you are seeking to influence. This is particularly important if the intention is to ensure that acts of goodwill are sustainable in the longer-terms, rather than spasmodic.

3. Model the goodwill behaviours

A willingness to do what needs to be done, rather than to wait to be told what to do, can say a lot about an individual. For one thing it is an important measure of 'attitude', because someone who can be relied upon to act on their own initiative demonstrates conscientiousness, awareness and a capacity for self motivation. These characteristics help to establish a person's credibility; but it doesn't end there because with credibility comes confidence, with confidence comes trust and with trust comes influence. Once established, influence is evidence of a strong brand and a strong brand gives you greater spending power in the market-place of opportunity. Goodwill is therefore a dynamic economy all of its own, with the capacity to create meaningful opportunities for those who practice it.

4. Affirm and acknowledge what you value

Any economy needs stimulation. Affirmation and acknowledgement are the means to stimulate the goodwill economy. Let's be clear, affirmation and acknowledgement are not the same thing as 'recognition', which is passive. To affirm or acknowledge is to be 'active'. When a person's behaviour is affirmed or acknowledged, then they feel enthused, encouraged and inspired. They want to do more of the same and are likely to want to inspire others to do the same. Too often, the energy for change dissipates because active steps are not taken to capture and cultivate it. As a consequence, those who would choose to do the right thing begin to question whether the effort is worth their while.

5. Communicate why it is important and why anyone should care

If you want to create a goodwill economy then communication is an absolutely critical part of that. The point about effective communication is two-fold; in the first instance to be impactful, the message needs to be managed and targeted in a way that is personalised. The reason why this is important is that people have different motivators and as such, each individual needs to be able to 'recognise themselves' in the values and benefits that goodwill is able to deliver. In the crudest possible terms, you need to clearly explain how goodwill is going to benefit them if you want them to care about it. The second point to note about communication is that it needs to be consistent. Nothing disrupts and impedes the effectiveness of messaging more than a lack of consistency and fluency.

6. Create irresistible momentum

Irresistible momentum is the intangible urge that moves individuals and groups of people to draw a particular conclusion or to decide upon a particular course of action over another. Irresistible momentum creates the 'tipping point' for change. In other words, if enough people choose to do something, it becomes the acceptable and desirable course of action and over time, the social norm. Of course momentum can be resisted, particularly when alternatives or options are presented that are of equal or greater worth or value. Creating irresistible momentum is therefore predicated on the necessity to frame 'desirability' around the act of goodwill and the benefits that can be derived from it.

7. Wire goodwill into you organisational business system

An organisation's business system is the process, procedures and frameworks through which it achieves its goals and objectives. Any organisation that is genuinely committed to creating a goodwill economy should therefore reflect its aspirations and ambitions in the policies, strategies and plans which structure its operations. In simple terms, that which is codified sets the expectation and that which sets the expectation becomes everybody's business.

In conclusion, creating a goodwill economy is a much more purposeful act than anchoring social principles into an organisation's habits, behaviours and ways of working. Goodwill actually produces tangible benefits in terms of increased productivity and profitability as well. It can also be used as a framework to develop leadership competency and management capability.

By pa360, Feb 5 2015 05:31PM

An economy is a fascinating construct. These engines of growth, opportunity and wealth creation are comprised of numerous interdependent and interconnected moving parts. All of these parts must operate in unison, in order for the economy to deliver at peak output. One factor that is crucial to stimulating and sustaining economic performance is optimism. At a fundamental level, optimism is a combination of positivity, hopefulness and expectation. But even more than that, a state of optimism provides a dynamic thought-space for decision-making and action.

When there is optimism, consumers are more confident. Confident consumers spend money and with money being spent, employers can recruit more staff. With more staff in employment, more tax is generated for the exchequer and with more tax being generated, governments can borrow less. If governments borrow less, then deficits can be reduced or eliminated and surpluses can be generated. Yes, optimism is a virtuous cycle, with the momentum to stir an entire economy into action and deliver growth and prosperity along the way. With the scene now set, the sub headings below describe seven powerful ways to activate optimism.

1. Create a stimulus for action

As it is for the macro-economy, so it is for our own personal economy. Optimism and the confidence that flows from it, are a stimulus for action. Things happen when people are optimistic; they are forward leaning and do things that they might otherwise not have considered. They anticipate change, are open to new ideas, take risks and seize opportunities. That’s not all, our optimism can also inspire, embolden and galvanise those around us. This capacity to influence the thought patterns, attitudes and behaviour of others, empowers us to build a critical mass for transformational change.

2. Make investments

Find a constructive and enriching activity that stimulates you and invest as much time in it as you can. The idea here is not to engage in some form of escapism; rather it is to occupy yourself with something practical and meaningful that will help inject positive emotional stimulation and balance to your everyday routine. For some people this might involve going for daily runs, working out at the gym, reading, volunteering, attending an adult education class or something else. The point being made is that sensible investments are more likely to generate healthy returns. Therefore, the careful investment of time, effort and energy in activities that are stimulating will give you a reason to see progress, experience success and express optimism.

3. Reduce your deficits

In the context of activating optimism, ‘deficits’ aren’t just the unresolved issues that you may be facing, they are also a ‘metaphor’ for the posture, stance and bearing that you adopt when you are addressing those issues. As such, ‘deficits’ are not just challenges, obstacles and barriers; they are also the negative thoughts and perspectives that dominate your thinking space, occupy your time and control your conversations. Let’s be clear, this is not to say that there is anything wrong with addressing negative issues. On the contrary, the point being made here is that even negative issues can be addressed from a positive perspective. Taking action to ‘reduce your deficits’ is therefore geared towards giving you back control of your situation. The more control that you exert, the more positive you will feel and the less inclined you will be to allow potential solutions to be crowded out by negative thoughts.

4. Create demand

Want is always the trigger for demand. The more we want, the more we demand and when our demands are met, the more we expect and the cycle continues. In the context of activating optimism, the same principle applies. This is because when we ‘want’ we are expressing a ‘desire’ for something that we do not yet possess as well as the hope that our ‘want’ will be satisfied. Likewise, when we ‘demand’, it is predicated on the assumption and ‘anticipation’ that our ‘demand’ will be met. ‘Desire’ and ‘anticipation’ are absolutely critical elements of optimism. No-one expresses optimism without having a ‘desire’ or feels optimistic without ‘anticipation’. Therefore, the routine and rhythm of ‘want’ and ‘demand’ are motivators in our daily lives.

5. Change your ‘interest rate’

The everyday definition of ‘interest’ is applied here; specifically the extent to which your choices and preferences determine what you spend your time on, what you read, what you listen to, who you spend your time with and what you ultimately believe. If the aggregate of your interests feed negativity into your thought-space, then do not be surprised if your outlook on life turns out to be pessimistic. In fact, it would be shocking if it were otherwise. By contrast, if you want to have a more solution-focused and optimistic outlook on life, then change your interests. Read things that will be more enlightening, listen to people with alternative points of view and widen your circle of learning. These steps alone will provide you with the tools to challenge and contest whatever the ‘conventional’ wisdom is regarding your situation of circumstance.

6. Monitor your growth patterns

In simple terms, growth is a metric of improvement and progress. The key thing about growth is that, because it is measurable, it provides tangible evidence of progress being made and therefore a reason to be positive about your situation or circumstance. However, before you can celebrate growth, you have to identify and monitor it. Circling back to #2 in this blog (‘make investments’) as you engage in stimulating pursuits, you should actively seek to monitor the impact that those pursuits are having in your life. If you start working out in a gym, you may for example start losing weight or if you are volunteering, you might make new friends. Likewise if you are attending an adult education class, you are likely to learn new things and pass exams. Growth enhances our confidence, it makes us feel good about ourselves and when we feel good, we are also likely to feel both positive and optimistic.

To conclude therefore, in stark contrast to pessimism which is inert, unconfident and risk averse; optimism is positive, empowering and enabling. For the avoidance of doubt, optimism is to economic growth what pessimism is to economic decline. That said, optimism, like excellence or mediocrity, is a personal choice. To be optimistic is to make a conscious decision to focus on what we can do rather than what we cannot do. It is to identify with aspiration over anxiety and to draw inspiration from the rubble of our failures. An optimist is not a fantasist nor a pragmatist; rather, he or she is a realist, a shaper and an influencer — able to see the opportunity in every difficulty. The mere fact that people can survive and overcome the most adverse of conditions, suggests that circumstances do not dictate optimism — people do.

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