How To Beat The Travel Blues!

Three planes in three days – it’s turning into a week.  I can assure you I do not feel as glamorous as George Clooney or Vera Farmiga right now.

But despite the seven litres of water I’ve consumed over a “coffee” date with a girlfriend today… I’m in fairly good knick.  That’s thanks to 3 simple habits I’ve developed that mean I can walk off the plane with my head held high rather than feeling twice my age in achy bones and a raspy voice that’s only good for singing Betty Davis Eyes.

So this week we’re switching tack.  This week I’m sharing with you my secrets for staying pepp’d after plane rides.

And there’s a worksheet at the bottom of the page for you – below where I usually post the video transcript and relevant links.  You’ll want to take a look at that one for some exercises to keep you on your game on the long haul.

If you’re travelling this week, take care of yourself.  Heck, take care of yourself even if you’re not travelling.


Video transcript and relevant links

This week I’m switching tack a little bit.  I am 2 days into 3 days of everyday being on a plane and it’s driving me slightly mental.

It’s not something I do so much at the moment, but I have, in the past flown a lot for work and I’m sure many of you out there can empathize with getting on and off planes and living in and out of hotel rooms.

Today I thought what I would do is actually share some of my strategies for coping with all of that.  I find it just wrecks my body getting on and off planes and sitting down all the time.

So on a slightly different note, I thought today what I would do is share with you some of the stretches that I use, and the techniques that I use to keep my body feeling good when I’m going through all of this travel.

There’s a couple of things that I always do before I fly and the days following.  The first up is make sure I’m really hydrated so lots and lots and lots of water. You’ve heard it before, everyone will keep telling you this.  Keep drinking.

So making sure I’m really hydrated before I get on the plane.  I also really like to up my dose of fruit and veggies right before a flight and afterwards.  My favourite way to do this is like a really massive fruit smoothie where I can just chow-down on a whole bunch of fruit in one go.

Not only for the Vitamin C, but all of those micronutrients in your berries, in your sweet fruits… I find again, it’s another great way to get a lot of water and fibre into your body which is really helpful to try and counter some of the effects of flying.

And I actually like to start “pre-loading” – I’ll do that before I fly and I’ll do it the day that I fly and the day after as well, so I’m getting a double-dose of fruit.

Stretching’s the third thing.  So for me, I have an old lower back injury.  I get lower back pain if I don’t look after my body and flying just seems to be one of those things that really sets it off.

It’s being crammed in a small space, it’s not being able to move freely, it absolutely ruins me if I’m not careful.  So I have been known to actually stretch at the airport before getting on a flight. And I will take the quirky looks because I know that it’s going to mean that I feel so much better when I get off the plane at the other end.

But if you’ve already got on the plane and you’re off the other end, what I thought I’d do is down the bottom and where I usually post the transcript, I’ll post some links through and some pictures of the stretches that I use to help keep my body feeling really good.

For me it’s about keeping that lower back safe, so rather than compressing down into, and all of that downward force that happens when I’m sitting for a long period of time, I need to just stretch back out again and give myself some space after a long flight.

The other place that I feel it is in my hamstrings – they tighten up incredibly.  (They also do it when you’re sitting at the desk everyday). So hamstrings is another big area for me.

And hips.  The outside of my hips will often tighten up and that’s one that I actually don’t feel, so it can be hard to ascertain what’s going on.  But once my hips tighten up, it actually throws out everything else that’s going on in my core and sort of that hip, pelvic region, and that can mean that I end up just hanging off my lower back again and it’s a real pain point for me.

So, I’ve got a few stretches for each!

First up, lower back, I’m going to show you a seated stretch.  Super simple: Sitting cross-legged, reaching up and over and making sure that you’re giving yourself some space as you stretch out to either side.  That one’s really lovely. So we’ll just do a really simple seated stretch.

The other stretch that I’m going to give you is one that will also help for your hips (and sciatica!).  It’s called “butterfly pose” in yoga.  And it’s a stretch, again, seated on the floor, picture your feet sort of cross-legged and then laying back down onto a cushion or a bolster so that your back’s supported.  

And actually I like to hold this pose for as long as I can, so I’ll often do 10-20 minutes lying on my back, in butterfly pose.  It’s a great way to stretch out that back really really gently, give yourself some space, and it also allows you to open the hips.  You want to make sure that you’re really well supported under your knees when you do that stretch – but I’ll pop all of that in the notes.

The other stretch that I like to do for my hips is one called “gomukasana”.  Which will probably kill most of you, it kills me every time I do it. It’s another seated stretch where you actually sort of cross your legs over in front and then fold forward.  It gets right into the outer hip. That’s pretty full on. There’s another way you can do it, and I’m going to give you a couple of twists to do.

So.  Lying on your back and folding the knees over to one side, and then over the other.  Just really gentle. Whether it’s wind-shield-wipering your legs back and forth, so that you’ve got a little bit of movement, or actually allowing the knees to fall to one side and to hold that pose for a little bit longer.  That’s another good way to get into some of the same areas that that gomukasana stretch will do, but it’s not quite as intense.

So I’ve got a couple of twists where you can be laying down on your back, and just folding the knees side to side, we’ll pop those in there for you.

One word of caution, if you’re… so for me I actually really like twisting, that’s one of the things that’s one of the things that helps to loosen up my back.  But if you are sitting and twisting, as I know a lot of us in our chairs will often do “this”. You just need to be really careful because if you are not actively lifting as you twist, what happens is that you’re actually putting all of that weight into your spine and then crunching through – that can actually make your back pain worse, rather than better.  

So I always like to lay on my back if I’m doing a twist, because that way, I’m not putting that compression into my spine, I’ve got the ability to stretch and lengthen and can sort of wriggle your way through and get a bit more length in there as you need to.

The last two stretches that I’ve got for you are for your hammies.  So runners stretch, which you can do at any point in the day, I actually find this one gets into my lower back as well if I get it just right, so that’s great.

And the final stretch for your hammies that I’ve got is a little exercise that yogis will be familiar with called “legs up the wall”.  Again, this is one of those poses that you can hold for 10, 20, 30 minutes even. It’s pretty simple. It’s laying on your back, with your butt up against a wall and stick your feet up in the air, so that your heels are laying back on the wall as well.  So you’re at a 90 degree angle.  

And to be honest, as long as you can do in that pose is excellent for you.  It’s great for returning blood flow, and the circulation – for those of you that swell up on planes as I do periodically – and it’ll also help to get into just lengthening through those legs and through those hamstrings.  Again you’ve got the pressure off your back, you’ve got that space that you can move and wriggle and lengthen.

So!  I’m gonna drop some photos and some pictures and some imagery and some notes down below.  I might even do that in a little word document if it ends up becoming a tome. But, I hope you enjoy.  

I hope for those of you that are flying this week that you are taking care of yourselves when you do it.  Keep hydrated, keep the fruits up, make sure that you’re stretching at either end, just to get out all of those gnarly kinks after sitting down for so long.

Have a wonderful week!

Download your beat-the-travel-blues safety card here


The One Transformation Tool to Rule them ALL

There’s a Rosetta Stone for building a responsive organisation, and that’s a deep, intimate understanding of your customers – their hopes and fears, their challenges, and what lights them up inside.

All too often we rely on reports or surveys or some other abstracted method of trying to make sense of what’s really important.  The reality is, if you’re not at the coal-face, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity.

In this video, I’ll share with you an activity that will get you out there, listening and learning, and growing your knowledge of what your customers expect of you and your company.

It’s a stepping stone towards a purpose that’s bigger than ourselves and a real life, practical tool that I use everyday in client transformations.  This technique has proven over and over again ​​​​that there is no substitute for hearing it for ourselves rather than being locked away in an office.

And you’ve got some homework… so get cracking!

Video transcript and relevant links

Hey everyone!

Today what I thought I would do is give you a little activity.  We’ve had some pretty heavy stuff over the last couple of weeks and a lot of philosophising and I can tend to get too caught up in that!  

So I have an activity today that’s gonna be super super fun.  It’s the one tool, if I could give you one thing that was going to change your life this tool would be it!  

You will need a journal or a notebook, and a pen.  And what I’m going to do it send you out your frontline to start to understand customer demand.  So have any of you seen Undercover Boss?  Great TV show kinda like that.  We’re gonna send you out to the place where your customers interact with your team.

Call centres are a great spot to do this, frontline desk service where you’ve got customers walking up to say reception desk – anywhere that you can get to the real interaction between customers and your company, that first touchpoint.

Once you get out there to the frontline, what we’re gonna do is you’re going to listen in on what customers are asking for.  So it’s a really really simple technique but I think what you’ll find is the power that comes from this deeper understanding of getting out there at the coalface is huge.  

So what I want you to do, is whilst you’re  and shoot so whatever you to do is whilst you’re… set yourself up,  get yourself into a place where you can sit and observe, and then whilst you’re settled you want to listen for what customers are asking for when they come into contact with your team member.

Let’s say you’re in a call centre, you’ve got a headset on you’re listening to the calls as they come through.  I want you to write down VERBATIM, in the customers words what they asked for, first up. So that initial interaction the call through to the call centre, the first thing that comes out of their mouth… write that down!

And it needs to be verbatim.  You only get one chance at a clean data set.  So I don’t want to see what you think you heard or your interpretation of what they asked for.  Write down verbatim, in the customers’ words what they asked for.  

And then follow up the rest of the call, keep an ear out for the things that really matter to your customers – so what’s actually important to them about what they want, when they might want it, and how they want it delivered.  Keep that sort of running tally. And I want you to sit and try and do at least 50 demands.

This might take you a few days and that’s ok.  But! Once you start to build a data set and you start to listen to a whole bunch of these demands, you’ll start to notice the patterns that emerge.

And once you start to see the patterns you’re gonna get some really deep insight into what’s important for your customers, what they expect of you and your company and how you can better serve them.

Super simple tool, incredibly powerful.  

Off the back end of this tool we build massive organisational transformation and process change, and it’s incredible once you start to get that focus on what’s really important.

The other bonus, is that you now have customer words that you can start to bring into all of your presentations with your colleagues and other executives that maybe haven’t got that close to the work, and the power of being able to use customer language and the words of your customer is incredible.

So.  Go out and have fun with it.  Love to hear comments below and the insights that you get as a result of getting close to your customers!

Want to know more?  Here’s some great places to get started:

Check out more about systems thinking and the Vanguard Method here: – this team taught me everything I know

And John Seddon’s Book “Freedom From Command and Control” is an excellent read


Today, I’m wrestling with community

It’s been a tough week here in Queenstown.  We’re wrestling with frustration, confusion and our love for living in this place.

This week’s events got me thinking about what it is to move beyond a network to true community – it’s messy, we don’t always seem to make progress and everyone’s got a different opinion on what’s right.

But that’s also the point – where I can choose to present a face to my network that’s cleansed, prep’d and well groomed​​​​… community is about all the raw bits and the vulnerability and the not-so-goods that you can’t hide.

In this week’s video I’m trying to tease out this process, and what’s gonna get us through.​​

Video transcript and relevant links

Hey! So this week I wanted to talk about the difference between community and network.  This is about my fifth time trying to record this video today and for some reason it’s become really really hard.

It’s feeling inauthentic it’s feeling like we’re just scratching a surface.  What triggered me to want to record this video this week, is that here in Queenstown we’re in the middle of our summer tourism period, we’re also in the middle of fire season and we’ve had a really really tough week.

We’ve had a number of car accidents on the road, some of which have been fatal, and the whole community is just reeling.  This group of people who live here are just devastated by what’s going on. They’re incredibly frustrated at the lack.. The unnecessary nature of what’s happening.  It’s stirred up a lot of stuff that is not nice, and pointing the finger, and all those things and part of why I wanted to talk about this topic today is that we’re right in the middle of this really messy aspect of the community.

So when I was in Melbourne and part of the project management communities over there, I used to attend regular networking events, we’d have chances to meet up and learn and share with other people who did a similar job to us, you know, you’re always meeting people through your job, and it was very much a network.

It was something that at the end of the day you’d go home and you’d put it to one side and and you get off the rest of your life.  These people, beautiful, wonderful as they were, and you know we shared connections about passion for what we’re doing… and yet, it wasn’t… it didn’t have the same depth as some of the connections that I’ve found here, in a small town, volunteering as a member of the local fire brigade.

So as a member of the fire brigade we will get called out to accidents, same as an ambulance officer.  There’s about 10-15 in our local brigade. And these are people, some of whom I see very very rarely, we maybe pass on the street, in a small town.  Others of whom are good friends and colleagues and we see a lot of each other and all of whom are very very diverse. Very different people, different communication styles, different upbringings, different backgrounds, different values.

I think what’s really struck me, is seeing some of the things you do, and going through some of the things that you do, this team becomes like family.  They are there for you 24/7. You have a connection that goes beyond simply the face that you choose to present to the world, and gets into the messy, gritty, “this is me under pressure”, “this is me at my worst”, “this is me when I’m breaking down”  AND “this is me, when I’m on form, performing at my best, nailing it”.

I guess it’s been really interesting to contrast and compare the two.  Because I think in business a lot of the time we focus on building the network.  Because it’s safe, because we can do it a way where we show up and present a face to the world – and that gives us a little bit of safety too.

But the benefit of aspiring towards community, as something that is greater than simply a network, it’s a leap of faith.  It requires you to get down and dirty and messy.

We have a local Facebook group here in Queenstown, which has been bombarded with photos and commentary and some of it has been pretty horrific over the last couple of weeks.

To see today, a slight change in some of the way that the comments are coming through, people being vulnerable and saying “I’m really struggling with this”.  And “I’m trying to do something that I think is good, but it’s coming off as bad” – that messy toing and froing, and that grey matter, and that not knowing what’s right, it’s not black and white anymore.

All of that messiness, all of that raw vulnerability is something that you have to traverse if you’re to get from simply a network, to true community.

And I think the other thing that’s really struck me within the brigade, is watching this very diverse group of people come together and part of… probably one of the biggest factors in why we have such a strong sense of community in that group – is that we are all so driven by a purpose.

All of us show up for different reasons, but we all share this belief around service to community.  We’re here because we want to create a better world for our neighbours, our friends, our colleagues, people we meet on the street, people visiting here, and that core purpose is something that binds us together as a group and helps get us through the really messy stuff.

So I’m going to continue wrestling with this today and I guess I’m really keen to hear your comments back as well.  Where do you see the show up in your environment? Work environment, home environment?

And let’s start to tease out some of the subtlety around this.  Because the benefit of getting to that place where you’ve got a group of people that are truly knitted together and have shared the best of times and the worst of times… the benefit that comes from that, and the deeper sense of security as a group.. It’s just incredible to witness and to be a part of.

I’m Danelle Jones, tribe Leadership Retreats, thank you so much for your time.  I’d love to hear your comments in the comments section below.


Quit the tokenism, build congruence

How do you feel about a company that has a wellbeing program yet perpetuates a culture of over-work?

Most of us find this type of tokenism leaves us hollow, cynical, disappointed.​​  And worse, these gestures without the depth of change to back them up keep us distracted from the real cause of the toxicity in our corporate environments.

But what’s the alternative?  Have you seen it done well?

Well that’s what this week’s video is all about – and we have a cameo!

Video transcript and relevant links

Hey everyone!  Today we’re out in the paddock because I wanted to introduce you to this ol’ fella.  

This is Chief, we’ve been friends for a long, long time now and the reason I wanted to introduce you to him was because I got a question this week from Alex about… her question was, how do you feel about companies that have a wellbeing program in place, maybe there’s a yoga and mindfulness program and yet there is still this expectation, whether formalised or not – sometimes it’s just one of those informal things – that the culture expects that you’re there working 10 plus hours a day and pushing yourself and pushing yourself and that conversation about resilience being “how can you do more”.

That’s pretty much my feelings too.  So, horses are masters of non-verbal communication and to quote one of my good friends Andrew Froggatt, horses don’t care if you’re the CEO or the Janitor, they’re going to treat you the same way.  

And so a lot of people, when they first come into contact with horses, it can be pretty terrifying probably.  They’re big animals right? Chiefy here is probably 4-500 kilos worth of muscle and they’re unpredictable! So understandably, people are really nervous.

And if you’ve been fortunate enough to come on one of my retreats then you may have met this old fella.  One of the pieces that I love to do is teach people that first contact with horses as part of understanding your non-verbal communication.

Because the trick with horses is, they’re not worried if you’re scared.  What they’re worried about is when you don’t own your fear.

So all of this non-verbal communication that’s going on when you work with an animal like this, it is also a lot about how you show up and how you own your feelings and how you take ownership for what’s going on… within all of this.

And so then to get back to Alex’s question, you know, I struggle with companies who are putting in place well-being programs and yet at the same time perpetuating a culture of non-healthfulness.  Perpetuating a culture where there is an expectation to keep moving and keep working and… driving essentially a system that is not healthy.

To me workplaces should be healthy.  They should be healing places.

For those of you who’ve read Simon Sinek’s new book – and if you haven’t check it out, The Infinite Game – he talks about for as long as we keep perpetuating this idea that we can heal over things with a yoga session or a mindfulness course or a once a week well-being catch up.  For as long as we perpetuate the idea that we can do those things to solve the problems and the toxicity that we’re seeing in our corporate environments today… For as long as we continue to kid ourselves, then it just takes us longer to get to those things that are actually going to make a difference.

And for me, much as Simon says, it’s about the leadership change that needs to happen.  So it’s not about visibly seeing a couple of token gestures towards “we care about health”.  It’s about how YOU show up as an individual and as a leader and how much congruency you have demonstrating the behaviour yourself and opening up space to actually have a healthful environment for your employees, and that’s more than simply yoga and mindfulness.

That’s about building a culture and building an organisation that is responsive and adaptive and allows all of people’s unique talents to come in to play.

So, Chief and I are going to  go for a walk. It’s about 30 plus degrees today here in Queenstown, we’ve had a week of it.  I reckon we’re going to go for a swim, but if you’ve got any questions or comments I would love to hear from you so drop me a link below, thanks!


Are you simply on the take?

When we’re in the middle of making change, it can be easy to slip into this notion that the old ways are “bad” and the air of arrogance around being “better” starts to creep in.

But the old ways came about for good reason.  There was a valid problem at the core of why we work the way we do today.  If you don’t understand that then how can you be sure that your new way of working is any better than simply patching over something else?

This week’s video is all about how we make change, without throwing it all out, but instead maintaining respect for the old as we grow into the new…

Video transcript and relevant links

Hey so today I’m right in the middle of the launch of one of my new products which is going to be coming out, which I’m calling Transformation Templates.

I’m super excited about it so I’m about to share all of the templates that I use, whenever I go into a business transformation.  All of the tools, all of the spreadsheets, the way I collect information, we’re putting that all into one tool set and putting it into a spot where you’ll all have access to it!  So, really really exciting and I wanted to just pick up on something that one of the templates specifically addresses.

There’s this tendency when we get into change programs to say, right, I’ve been put in place here to make a change and it’s about getting from where I am today to something that significantly different to what we’re doing.  Often we come up against resistance, and you know people like the familiar, we talk about people not wanting to change you know getting through all that motivation stuff. Sometimes it can be quite easy to get caught up in our own journey, and our own story and so we start pushing through these changes and we can get to the point where we actually start to say no to a lot of things.  

It becomes what I would describe as disrespectful of the current way of working or the current operations because we can see through it, we can see a better path.  So why would you continue doing what you’re doing if you could see this Utopia in the future? And so it can be easy to slip into that space of I guess, playing down what we’ve got that’s existing.

And I wanted to pick up on that and highlight that in any change program, we must come at this from a place of respect for the old.

These ways of working came about, because we were trying to solve a problem.  Somebody probably put them in for a really good reason. That strange process, where we double-triple-quadruple check something was probably put in place for a good reason at some point.  

So when we then go to start unpicking and undoing this and we start impacting the lives of colleagues and our team members, it’s really important that we come to it from a place of respect.  So understanding that, these things may have been put in place for a very very good reason, but actually we’re going to move to something that’s going to be a whole heap better.

One of the tools I use over and over again is this idea of a “give and take planner”.  So whilst we’re taking away something we’re changing the current way of working, what’s the give back?

This became really apparent to me with an executive coming onto a floor of 200 engineers that were in the middle of a large agile program.  So this team built software, they’d moved from wanting to build big projects that lasted 3-4 years and we’d flipped it to fortnightly ways of working and trying to get software out the door much more quickly and this idea of feedback loops and responsiveness and in that process we had dropped a lot of the traditional project management tools including schedules.

And so this executive arrived on the floor, and we walked him around  and I remember him saying to me “But how the hell do I know what’s going on when I don’t have a schedule? How do I.. how do I get..  This is all great. I see people collaborating, I see a lot of energy, fantastic. But I’ve got no idea where we’re at?”.  

It was this moment for me where I realised that just because we didn’t produce a gantt chart anymore – and we as a team had got to this place of “gantt charts are bad, we don’t do them” –  that didn’t take away from the fact that somebody still needed to understand where we were up to. Help me understand progress. Am I heading in the right direction? Is it meaningful? When are we going to be done?

These questions didn’t go away and it was a real joy to be able to take this person to one of our big visual workboards, where we had a whole bunch of post-it notes and coloured cards and things up on the wall displaying I guess like a dashboard, a physical dashboard of where the team was at.  And I talked him through the tool we were using instead of a gantt chart, which was called a burnup chart.

I took him through and taught him how to read these particular tools and explained the trend line and where “finished” happened and those sorts of things.  By the end of it he was really comfortable that he could come back into that space and get the answers he was looking for.

But that example really crystallized for me.  Here’s someone who has a problem to solve, they’ve asked this team to go away and carry out some work, and then in  the process of changing our work method… all of a sudden he’s lost all of those tools that he was expecting to be able to understand whether to or not he was making meaningful progress.

And so turning around to him and saying “well that’s not the way we do things anymore” was actually the same behaviour we were trying to get away from.

So instead, having respect for the old, we understand that just because we don’t use that tool anymore, doesn’t take away from the fact that you still have a problem, or an insight that you’re looking for, and actually, here’s the give-back.

Here’s the way that you get that information in the new way of working.  Here’s how you understand what you’re looking for, and potentially in a much better way than the previous tool.  We hope. That’s why we’re changing right?

So I’ll leave that one with you.  I’m going to go back to some video recording and getting these templates up online, but I hope you have a wonderful day and we’ll see you again next week.


The top 3 reasons that change programs fail

None of us get it all right all the time.  But there’s three critical reasons I’ve noticed that change programs fail.  That’s what I’m talking about in this week’s video – and a couple of those reasons might surprise you!

So if you’re curious about building a learning organisation…. View on!​​

Video transcript and relevant links

Hey Danelle Jones here from tribe Leadership Retreats and today I wanted to talk to you about the three reasons that change programs fail.

First off, the beginning and the end.  Change programs, transformation… it’s not a project.  And I’ll have all the project manager jump up in a minute and say but we need to know where we’re starting from and where we’re getting too so that we can manage ourselves through the process.  Not so much in transformation.

What we’re aiming for in transformation is not to start at point A and end up at point B, and then once we reach B decide that we’re done and that’s it and it’s over, we’re transformed.  That’s not what it’s about. Transformation is this ongoing process about building a learning culture in an organisation, and it’s about continuing to push yourself into that space of change and reinvention and yeah it can be pretty uncomfortable.  So just when you think you’re getting settled, that’s when you know it’s time to keep moving and to do the next piece.

So that’s the first reason change programs fail, because we start out thinking we’ve got to get to a point and then we’ll be done.  That’s not the case at all.

Second reason they fail is because we often set these programs, these pieces of work up to solve a problem that we see.

Maybe we see that the business isn’t as agile as you would like, we are unable to respond to market conditions and so we set up this just project to say “right” we’re going to improve business agility.  But the real trick is, are you solving the problems that your stakeholders see? And so the reason that large change programs fail is because all too often we are talking about problems that we see. We’re not solving the problems that they see.  

Now remember anyone who’s going to judge your competence will judge your competence based on your ability to solve the problems that THEY see.  We get this again and again and again in IT right, so we’ll get a large piece of IT work that’s going on and the IT team will be down in the weeds of this particular technology that we’re going to use because Google is using it and therefore if we’re using it that means that we’re a more competent IT team.  

But the reality is that often the business unit that has asked for a particular piece of work to be done, they’re not interested at all in what technology you’re using. They’re interested in whether or not you solve their problem.

So the second reason big change programs fail, is because we solve the problem we see, not the problem THEY see.

The third reason big change programs fail? This one’s a doozey.  It’s because we make it a program.

When you make it a program, when you make it a big thing, then people have something to push back against.  And they’ll push back on it and they’ll reject it, because it’s a big thing. And when we make big programs it also encourages this personality cult around leaders.  It encourages this hero mentality of somebody who’s able to lead from point A to point B and to deliver an outcome.  

The piece that you’re missing, which is absolutely critical,  is that when we’re in that mode of big personality, solve a particular problem, get to point B, delivery… you miss the thinking change that goes along the way.  And so the minute that person leaves the organisation the whole thing falls behind them, because it was always dependent on that person.

And so if we make change programs a thing…  They’re always bound to fail, because we’re putting somebody in a situation where they have to deliver, the minute that person who is super super passionate about it walks out the door… everybody goes back the way they used to do things.  You’re not focused on the right change, which is the change in thinking that’s required across everybody in the organisation to move to that culture of continuous improvement, continuous learning and ongoing change.

So that’s it.  That’s the top 3 reasons why big change programs fail.  Love to hear your comments. Let me know if you’ve fallen into one of those traps before.  Maybe you’re in the middle of one of those traps now and I’d love to hear how you think you’re going to get yourself out of it.

Have a wonderful day and we’ll see you next week!


What you should know about habits vs goals

It’s that time of the year again when we hear lots of conversation about goal-setting and new year’s resolutions.

But what if goals were actually hindering, rather than helping our progress?

Well that’s what this week’s video is all about!

(And trying something new)​​​​

Video transcript and relevant links

Hey so this morning we’re in Queenstown for a workshop with one of my dear friends Amanda Hanna, she’s also an alumni of tribe Leadership Retreats.  And today she’s going to be taking us through some goal setting for the new year, which will be interesting.

I haven’t set goals for the last… 5 years probably, if not longer.  And the reason I haven’t done that is because I came across an article a while ago, that talked about the difference between goals and habits.  

So whilst I don’t set goals, I’ve been very very conscious to work on forming habits, whether daily, weekly, monthly.  

So this article I read was actually, the example was this author was visiting the gym most days.  And he said he used to go to the gym and work through lifting 100lbs – I don’t lift weights, clearly, do you thing! – but he said he had these goals that he used to work towards, that he used to try and achieve and he was finding that he had injuries, he had all sorts of stuff going on.  

So what he did was he changed that up and he went towards habits.  And so what that looked like for him was that instead of having a goal of lifting a particular weight, or getting to a particular level, the focus on the habit meant that as long as he was in the gym everyday doing something, that was ok.

And he said he noticed this huge shift in his psyche.  So he went from pushing himself when he felt ill or past it, and over-stressing his body and overdoing it, to actually being more ok to let go and not push it so hard today, because he knew he was going to come straight back tomorrow.

And so for him it was a way of relaxing into… “this is a long game” rather than “this is a short-term thing that I need to fix”.

I found that fascinating. I’ve applied it in my life for the last, as I said, 5 or 6 years so Amanda might have her work cut out for her today but we’ll see!

It’s also one of those things that it’s really great to work with what you’ve got it right and every now again we’ve got to come back around and say ok so we used to do that thing and we didn’t do it for a while and maybe we give it a go again.

Or, we try that and it doesn’t work and we go back to the way that we were.  But I’m here to stretch myself today and to go back to something that I haven’t done for a long long time and I’m curious to hear from you: 

Goals or habits? 

Which are you working with today?  Which are your TEAMS working with today?

Leave us a comment below I’d love to hear from you.



Beyond Self Development?

Hey so here’s the thing. We spend all this time working on SELF-development – but how often does it result in same thing different perspective?

What would it look like to actually meet people where THEY’RE at rather than where we’re at? And what would that look like at scale? Well that’s what had me thinking this week!

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Video transcript and relevant links

So, something that I’ve been thinking about recently is this boom we’re having self-development, personal-development in bettering ourselves whether it be through diet or more exercise or improving our emotional intelligence or building resilience.  And I for one think it’s GREAT that this industry is booming, that people are taking a real interest in bettering themselves as human beings. Fantastic! The world needs so much more of that.

But it also occurs to me that there’s a big gap potentially, that we’re not looking at yet, and there’s a huge opportunity here.  That is if you have all these individuals that are doing the work on themselves and working out how to be better human beings, what does that look like when we come together, when we organise and when we gather together in groups?

Because what I see happening very very often is that people go through the transformative experience.  They’ve worked on their communication style, they’ve gone through this program and out the other side of it they’re saying “I’m a better person as a result” but I’m not seeing a tangible shift in the behaviour and how they interact with others.   

What I’m seeing is that there is still this expectation that you as an individual will speak to me as I need to be spoken to and will work with me in a way that I’m still comfortable with – rather than necessarily meeting others where they’re at.

I think that’s the big gap.  So all very well to go and work on ourselves but really that transformation should be about how do we then work together in groups.  And that’s more about how I meet somebody at the level that THEY’RE at, rather than them necessarily coming to me in a way that I’m comfortable or I’m familiar with, or in a way that is in line with all of this new knowledge that I’ve found.

So it’s something that continues to fascinate me.  I came across a little meme that somebody had sent me just last week and they talked about self-care, self-soothing, and structural care – and the difference between those three things.

So you know self-soothing is very much the Netflix and chocolate which I’m sure all of us are familiar with to some degree.  Self-care is doing those things that are really important to us as individuals, like our finances, but maybe it’s not the most fun that week.  And then this concept of structural care, and does it look like to build structures, to build society in a way where people can live and interact as fulfilled human beings. And I think THAT’S the gap that we’ve really got to go after now.  

We have a huge wealth of people that are prepared to help us as individuals, let’s take that next step and say “OK, so what does it look like to organise ourselves scale?” 

Maybe we can start to stem the tide of people who are leaving organisations feeling disenchanted and starting their own thing to get some degree of freedom and control back in their lives.  And actually if you were building a way for people to interact that meant that they could get purpose and they could get fulfilment in a large organisation, then, that would have a real effect.

Because on some level I believe that ultimately human beings are going to have to organise ourselves on a scale that’s greater than 2, 5, 20, even a couple of hundred people.  It’s not going away and so let’s go after that gap around how we’re interacting as more fulfilled, more capable human beings as a whole, rather than focusing on the individual improvement.

I think that’s where the real opportunity lies.

I’m Danelle, from tribe Leadership Retreats, drop us a line below, leave a comment – I’d love to hear your feedback and hear your thoughts.



Curves, curves CURVES!

Ok so here comes part two of our series on value, and how to get more of it in the hands of your customers more quickly.

Today I’ll show you two different curves, why they’re different, and how you can use one simple visual aid to track your progress and encourage the right conversations.

Make sure you leave a comment to let me know how you’re going to use this in your own organisation.

Video Transcript and Relevant Links

Hey everyone, Danelle Jones here

Curves.  Curves, curves curves! Today we’re going to be talking about curves!  Super excited. So last week we did a whole conversation about the difference between value and benefits and then this week I promised that I was going to share some work around curves.

So, before we get started, if you haven’t watched the video from last week, it could be super handy to go back and just get your thinking straight around that one, and then come back and do this video as well.  The last video is only about 3 minutes long, it won’t take you very long at all.

What I wanted to share today is a concept that I have found really really useful, over and over and over again.  It’s this idea of graphing out your cost versus the value that you are delivering for a project. And so using a really simple visual tool, to help you understand whether you’re heading in the right direction, or whether you might want to take a different tact.  So I have lots of little post-it notes and cards to share, I’m going to be drawing as we go, so let’s get into it!

So the graph I’m going to draw for you today is super super simple.  It’s a graph of value on the vertical axis over time. So this idea that, over a period of time in a project we’re looking to deliver anything up to 100% of the value that we thought we’d get when we started on the project.

This works super well for IT projects but it will also work well for your other infrastructure type projects, it’ll work for a lot of what you do.  But certainly in an IT project (sorry I’m going to try and get this on the right side) over time, we’re looking to spend money and so cumulatively we tend to spend in a straight line.  

What that means is that, because, if you’re in knowledge work if you’re in any of those industries that are building knowledge or knowledge products – software delivery, those sorts of things – this works almost every time because the large part of your cost base is human capital.  You might have some hardware to drop in here there and everywhere, but you can do that in stages and so ideally what we’re looking for is this straight line cost profile.  

Now it doesn’t have to be that way, but for the sake of this example we’re going to use a  straight line cost profile in each of the graphs.

So we’ve got our cost profile, that’s what we’re looking to spend on the project over time.  Now, what does the value profile look like? Well, assuming that we have done our due diligence and we’re going to deliver something that is actually of value to our customers, in a traditional project, the value often looks like a bit of a ski jump, in terms of what you’re actually delivering into production that’s having an impact for people.  

Over on this side, we start with a design process, we might do some requirements gathering, we go through a build process, we start to get into testing and at that point we think we might have something that potentially works and so we start to, I guess de-risk and have some confidence that what we’re going to deliver is of some use to us.  And then all of the value, comes right at the very end – if you’re lucky. Sometimes that time needs to stretch out a little bit longer. But all that value is delivered in one big chunk right at the end.  

Now this is a very traditional project delivery type cycle, what we wanna do is shift that up, so we want to be talking about delivering faster at less cost.  We want to deliver more value, more often.  

So what we want to be doing is that same cost profile, that same straight line cost profile, but we want to build something that looks a bit more like: an S curve.  So that instead of getting all that value right at the end, what we want to do is we’re going to chunk the work down into smaller pieces, that can be delivered independently delivered and every time we drop one of those into production we’ve got some value being delivered.  

And so this S curve, actually, is broken down into a whole bunch of pieces of work, that each deliver value, that each deliver something that we can use, that we can test, that we can get feedback from, that we can start to understand whether we’re heading in the right direction.

Pretty simple concept, as you can see, there’s a crossover point so once we start working this way, once we start breaking our work down into smaller chunks, and realigning so that we’re delivering value more early, we reach the crossover point in that cost/benefit graph much much earlier on.  

So we might find that we get to 50% of the spend and we’ve delivered somewhere more like 60 or 70% of the value.  Maybe we get to 70% of the spend and we’ve got 85, 90% of the value and we’re looking at spending the last 20% of our cash, to get that tiny sliver right at the top.

What this does, when we break work down into small chunks is it gives us pivot points.  So that the point that we’ve delivered more value than it has cost us, we might choose that that’s enough.  And so we can park that project, go and start to work on something else and not have to worry that we’ve half delivered or that we’re not getting value out of it because we’re tracking this the whole time, we’ve delivered something that is of value into production, it’s actually working for us, we don’t have to wait right to the very end to get it.  

So, if you start to look at tracking these types of graphs for your projects, then we get a couple of options right? (it’s going to get me every time) So, if you see a graph that looks like this.  What are you going to do? Well if it was my project, I’d be looking at that going “for every dollar that we put in, we’re getting about half a one out, like, that to me doesn’t look right, something’s wrong here.”  Do we want to keep spending the money? Maybe we want to spend for a bit longer and see if that value curve starts to kick up, it looks like it might be. Or maybe we just want to cut it now and go you know what, too hard, let’s stop.

If, on the other hand, we see a value curve, that starts to look like this, well, for every dollar I put in, I’m getting more than a dollar’s worth of value out the other end?  I’m going to chuck every cent I’ve got at that, because clearly it’s working. That blue line is sky-rocketing, and so I’m going to make a bet that we can put a fair bit more chunk of cash towards that and if we can keep delivering value out of it? Great.  And remember at each point that we look at this graph, because we’ve broken our work down into small chunks, we’ve got something that’s actually working in production.

So this is not design, this is not a model, this is not us projecting out our cost savings, this is because we’ve delivered something that’s actually working for customers.  We’ve got a skeleton product that’s out there, and people are pre-sold off a landing page, we’ve got a piece of software that’s doing the bare minimum, it’s done, it’s been able to ping a server or potentially play a message down a phone line.  We’ve actually got working software, or we’ve actually got a working product, we’ve actually got some tangible measure that we can demonstrate that we are going to deliver value to customers, or that we are in fact delivering value to customers.  And the sky’s the limit, we’ve got another place to go, we’ve got more improvements to make that are going to make it a better experience.

So, in summary!  We wanna take, our traditional graph, whereby we do a whole bunch of analysis paralysis, we gather requirements, we do a big design, we try and get all of the answers before we start and then deliver all the value, right at the end after we’ve had that huge, huge carriage of financial risk in the project, the whole way through and hope we get something out the other side…


We can shift to, breaking work down into small chunks, bringing value earlier in the piece, to deliver more value more often.  And this has a huge benefit in terms of feeling like you’re really building some momentum. And it means that at any point, you could choose to stop that project, repoint those funds elsewhere, go and use them for something else that’s more valuable.

In some cases, we might get 80% of the way through that project and go “you know what, that’s enough”.  In other cases – for example we might have a compliance project – we know we need to get to 100%, and even though it’s going to cost us the last 20% of the cash, well, we’re just going to have to do it.  

But we’ve got options.  We’ve got flexibility. We’ve got the ability to respond to what’s going on in market around us.  And for my money, that’s a much much better position to be in.

So. Curves.  Have fun!

Now, one last hot tip.  Often when I’m doing this work with companies we’ll start with a really really big project and fixate on chunking it down into 10 or 15 little different pieces.  The super-super-pro tip? You don’t even have to do that. Don’t stress about chunking it down into tiny tiny pieces and the smallest possible. It’s really easy to fixate on that.  If you can take a piece of work, and break it in half, that’s a hundred percent improvement. And if you can take that piece of work, and break it in half again, that’s another, hundred percent improvement.

So don’t stress that you have to go the whole hog straight off.  Start simple, take one piece of work, break it in half, you’ve had a hundred percent improvement in delivering more value, more often.

Have a great rest of your day, we’ll see you next week.


Value. NOW!

Value.  Benefit.  Same same right?  WRONG.

Value is the things our customers want, what matters to them.  Benefits are all the stuff we get for doing a good job (profits, efficiencies) and generally don’t mean squat to a customer.

In this first video in a 2-part series I explain the difference between value and benefits, as well as why it’s important to distinguish clearly.​​

Next week we’ll be back to apply this thinking to reinvent some of our projects in-progress with a super simple productivity hack.



Video transcript and useful links

Hey it’s Danelle and today were talking about value and benefits, and the difference between those two terms 

Now it may sound like just a couple of words and a bit of language stuff but for me it’s one of those critical concepts that we’ve just got to get across if we want to start thinking differently about how we build and run our organizations and what it means to interact and organise ourselves at scale.

So these two words probably get used interchangeably in a lot of the organisations I work with.  We will talk about value to customers, we’ll talk about the benefits that customers are getting. I like to keep those two words very very separate they have very very different meaning whenever I walk into an organisation.

So first up value.  Value is defined, by customers in their words, it’s the things we do to make their lives better, to solve their problems and it’s about what customers want, when they want it, how they want it, what matters to them, what’s important to them.  Value is something that has to come from our customers.

On the other hand, benefits – well those are all of the things we get, all of the stuff we get for doing a good job.  So I’m talking profits I’m talking process efficiencies I’m talking capability Improvement. And those things are generally things that we’re pretty pleased about with ourselves for having achieved but actually customers don’t care squat about benefits, they’re really interested in value.

And just as a side note, if I hear one more executive tell me that our customers value us being a profitable company, so that we can continue to deliver to them… you’re gonna get a slap through the Internet

So what does that look like in practice?  Well, I always make sure that in any program of work or any initiative or any client that I’m working with we set up a really clear distinction between those two words, because that helps us to create a greater focus, in terms of being honest with ourselves about the reasons for why we’re doing work and why we might be prioritising one thing over another.

Think of it this way.  If you were a bank and you wanted to sell more mortgages… if we were to construct a program of work where the outcome was sell more mortgages… clear benefit to the organisation improve sales revenues, yep got it understand why we would want to do that.  If we set the outcome as sell more mortgages you can imagine the types of projects that might fit under that outcome and the types of things that we might try and do to achieve that outcome. It could be things like a digital mortgage broker; improved home loan rate calculators; maybe there’s a sales push out to new home buyers because that’s the new target market; or conversely maybe it’s a push out to some of those people who already have an investment property and are looking to scale up because they’ve got the capital available.  You get a very clear sense of type work that comes through in that program.

Now if you flip your thinking over and say “well what is it that is really a value to customers?”  

Straight-up I don’t know anyone who’s ever actually said to me that they want a mortgage.  I have met a whole bunch of people that have said they wanted to move into a home. So if we were to construct a program where the outcome that we are looking for was to help customers into a home, you can imagine that the type of work, the type of projects that fall out of that would be entirely different.  We might start to look at things like understanding of the neighbourhood is the right fit for a customers; proximity to local schools, public transport. Starting to work out what are those things that are going to help our customers to feel at home and to fit into a home. And yeah as a result they are going to buy a mortgage with us because we’re able to talk to them about things that actually matter,  as opposed to getting into a really cold conversation about the hard sell around interest rates and those sorts of things.

So what we’re looking for in the distinction between those two terms is the shift in thinking that is going to help us to refocus on what’s really important.  When I say that what I mean is, focus on what’s important for our customers.

So, to recap… Value.  Something that is defined by our customers.  It’s what they want, when they want it, it’s how they want it, what matters to them as an end user, as an end customer as an individual.  There ain’t no such thing as internal customers so just put that to one side.

Benefits are those things that we get for doing a great job.  We get profits, we get efficiencies, we get capability development – all of incredible benefit to the organisation.  I’m not saying that money is not important, we must run a sustainable business to ensure that we can keep delivering on our purpose but let’s get really really clear about the distinction between: when we’re working on something that is for our customers, and adding value for our customers.  Versus. When we are working on something that’s going to give benefit to the organisation and then we can be honest about balancing out those priorities.

Next week I thought it would be really cool to talk about curves!  Now that you’ve got this concept of value and benefit, next week I reckon we dive into this idea of value curves and how that happens within regular projects that are run in the traditional sense, or what that looks like when we start to shift it up and to reprioritise, to refocus and I’ll teach you a quick couple of cool techniques that will make sure you’re delivering more value more quickly.

Have an awesome day wherever you are and I will see you next week.