Posts

I normally write articles that address leadership, group dynamics, projects, resilience and communication. This article is unapologetically different. It is written for those people that feel as if they are losing their way and are inundated with life.

I am writing this because in recent time I have seen an incredible influx of people seeking help and assistance, in the form of individual coaching. This normally manifests with someone reaching out behind the scenes and asking for a chat or exploring the idea of private/customised executive-style coaching. It seems like there is a large number of people that need help and guidance.

In most cases, action on their behalf has been triggered by a LinkedIn post, podcast, or article. In these instances, the content piece has drawn to the surface a need for action. These people have culminated in their frustrations and are now at a point of doing something to fix it.

To quote Austin Powers, they have lost their ‘mojo.’

This often takes the form of:

  • A lack of personal goals and direction
  • An inability to maintain the relationships that matter
  • Frustration in determining what one’s priorities consist of
  • A subtle but consistent straying from one’s values
  • Resilience refocusing
  • Seeking a third party and objective source of truth in which to cross-reference their ideas

What rings true for all of these areas is that the individual has exhausted the depths of their self-rationalisation and analysis and now need a source of objectivity in order to provide the necessary circuit breaker in order to get out of their own head and start dealing in reality. In almost all instances the person has been operating with a suite of assumptions and beliefs that are not serving them (or the people around them) well. Simply put, whatever the person has been doing up until now has not worked – something has to give.

In the spirit of full transparency and supporting as many people as possible here are some recommendations that might serve someone who needs to hear it right now:

LIFE IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU

Gandhi once said,

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

I hate to be one to say it, but life is not all about you.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that:

  • Frowns upon criticism (of any kind)
  • Encourages a victim mentality
  • Discourages objectivity or the thirst for the actual truth (not the watered-down politically correct version)
  • Promotes a scarcity mentality
  • Reinforces the ‘blame game’ approach instead of accountability and responsibility

The net worth equates to droves of people who are disaffected. They are without direction because all their energy is invested solely into themselves as if in a closed-off economy. In the Army, we had a term to explain things that lacked relevance or purpose… ‘a self-licking ice cream.’ It serves nothing but itself.

If you want to start finding purpose, find someone or something else to serve and commit to it!

If you want to distract yourself from your own annoying internal ramblings, invest that precious time towards solving someone else’s problem. Who knows, they might return the favour one day. In that case, they may even bring with them a level of objectivity that might pressure test or enhance your efforts?

LIFE IS FULL OF CHOICES

Everything you do has an element of choice in it.

“Life is the sum of all your choices.”
Albert Camus

Each situation will have different choices that will result in different outcomes. In some cases, our choices might include a physical action (i.e. take a new job or not, stay in a team or not, go left or right).

In other cases, we might not have control over the action, but we always retain the right to reframe how we perceive it.

Viktor Frankl was an incredible man. An Austrian neurologist and Psychiatrist who lived through the tortures of Nazi Concentration camps. He explained,

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl had the perfect opportunity to be a victim and chose a distinctly different path.

The moment we feel we are without choices is the moment we become truly powerless.

Remember, you have with you always, the very tool you need in order to prevent this. Let’s be honest, this can be a truly scary proposition. It means that you are where you are because of your previous choices and moving forward is even more terrifying because it comes with unwavering responsibility. There is no-one else to blame.

As Jonathan Clark often says, “at some point the blame game stops and the accountability starts.”

BE WILLING TO GIVE SOMETHING UP TO GET WHAT YOU WANT

If you want significant changes to occur in your life you need to be willing to invest in a new outcome. You have to be willing to invest:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Energy
  • Vulnerability

This investment also takes commitment and dedication. If you don’t prioritise developing yourself, don’t expect other people to do it either.

“The price of excellence is discipline. The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.”
William Arthur Ward

Do not be lazy when it comes time to do the hard work.

You might have to prioritise your efforts, which might include turning some things off.

You might have to:

  • Do some physically or emotionally difficult things
  • Remove some toxic people from your lives or let them remove themselves
  • Learn some new skills
  • Invest your money into personally developing yourself
  • Let some unresourceful people down
  • Commit to late nights and early mornings
  • Be honest and vulnerable with others so that they might help you out of your rut.

But in any case, it is on you…

You are behind the driving wheel. Where will you take the vehicle?

What are you willing to give up in order to get what you want?

MOVING FORWARD

I have only touched the surface of the complexities associated with each of our lives.

The three areas I have mentioned need to be customised to every person’s circumstances, but I can say with confidence that this is a very good starting point to get someone moving in the right direction.

Other areas that often require significant attention include (but are not limited to): dropping resentment, prioritisation, learning how to build rapport with others, communicating with empathy, leadership skills and tools, and the list goes on.

If you feel like you are losing your ‘mojo’, or your stride seek help and close the gap with reality.

You have more power than you choose to think.

If you need a friendly starting point for your journey, send me a message and I will see what I can do to personally support you. Failing that, reach out to someone in my team. They are ‘good people, helping good people.’

Until then safe travels.

I recently saw an amazing post by Ian Mathews which prompted me to write this article.

No alt text provided for this image

Before becoming a Management Consultant, I was an Infantry Army Officer within the Australian Army.

My early years within the Army were founded in an education into military strategy and tactics. Many veterans would have experienced this for themselves. I can say with absolute confidence, that the lessons I learnt during this time have significantly shaped the way I perceive the world, most notably those interactions between organisations in highly competitive markets. This is not to say that organisations cannot co-exist, cooperate, or operate with an abundance mindset, but it is to recognise the fact that the actions of one organisation can directly impact the operational effectiveness of another. And, if we agree that the interactions between organisations, coupled with unique approaches to market ultimately decide our own team’s fate, then I feel it is something worth learning about.

During my first four years in the Army, a number of fundamental lessons were taught regarding the different types of warfare and strategic approaches. These lessons were further investigated throughout my career and were regularly cross-referenced against our operational efforts at the time.

History has shown that the differences in strategic approach inevitably decide the outcomes of almost every major military and international effort. My observations accrued from working inside the commercial and corporate world as a relative outsider have shown me that there is a reluctance to change strategy or consider different approaches often at the long-term detriment of the organisation. Furthermore, there is often a lack of willingness to learn new more simplistic methods of operation or approach. Conversely, those organisations that are willing to consider different perspectives and approaches often leave their competitors in their wake as they seemingly glide their way to success. The most damning situation of all is the vast number of organisations that aren’t operating with any strategy at all…

For the companies that are doing well, the reason they seem to glide so effortlessly towards their goals is because they are able to answer one fundamental question:

“How can we best use our precious resources in order to achieve the strategic outcomes we seek?”

With this said, I want to take the opportunity to introduce a number of different military methodologies and in turn demonstrate their utility in a corporate and commercial context.

ATTRITION WARFARE

“Attrition warfare is a military strategy consisting of belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and material. The war will usually be won by the side with greater resources (Military-SF, 2007). The word attrition comes from the Latin root ‘atterere’, meaning to rub against, similar to the “grinding down” of the opponent’s forces in attrition warfare (Merriam Webster Dictionary).”

World War 1 and many sections of World War 2 were prime examples of attrition warfare. During these campaigns, an enemy would simply try and saturate an enemy force by bringing as much force to bear on them as possible until their systems and team’s collapse. Attrition warfare unequivocally favours the larger force and requires less imagination and agility in order to conduct. The resource cost is immense but if conducted in the right context (with the right force offset) can result in decisive victory, whereby an opposing force can be completely incapacitated in one location and in one event. There is a catch though, when a decisive victory is not achieved it results in prolonged wars that can extend for years with organisation’s ‘digging in’ and are incredibly difficult to dislodge.

No alt text provided for this image
No alt text provided for this image

In the commercial and corporate context attrition takes the form of monopolised businesses that are so massive and occupy so much of the market, there is no practical way for smaller organisations to try and compete with them by using direct or overt methods. Examples would include (but are not limited to):

  • Certain types of paid advertising
  • Sponsorship of events
  • Undertaking certain types of legal action
  • Poaching high-end staff by way of salary incentives

Attrition as a practical commercial strategy is almost solely limited to those incredibly large organisations with huge resources on hand. The very same organisations that advertise during the Super Bowl as an example.

MANOEUVRE WARFARE

Manoeuvre Warfare refers to a strategy aimed at unbalancing, unhinging, or outmanoeuvring an enemy. It was developed in response to emerging middle-sized conventional armies that were adamant in avoiding the huge losses associated with attrition warfare. It pays particular attention to identifying and defining the root purpose of a campaign and finding different ways to achieve the same aim. It is commonly referred to as targeting an enemy’s ‘Centre of Gravity’, which is loosely defined as that ‘thing’ that gives them the will or the ability to fight.

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.globalsecurity.org%2Fmilitary%2Flibrary%2Fpolicy%2Farmy%2Ffm%2F3-90%2Ffig3-15.gif&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.globalsecurity.org%2Fmilitary%2Flibrary%2Fpolicy%2Farmy%2Ffm%2F3-90%2Fch3.htm&tbnid=il1keRMAQEy8aM&vet=10CMYBEDMoxAFqFwoTCKjUjpqQlewCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAC..i&docid=9wuHS7ELD_rPsM&w=479&h=292&q=manoeuvre%20warfare&ved=0CMYBEDMoxAFqFwoTCKjUjpqQlewCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAC

History has seen different militaries use Manoeuvre Warfare in different ways. Some armies have made use of:

  •  Physical Dislocation. Geared at removing the key assets or logistics that enable them to operate.
  •  Temporal Dislocation. Being faster to move than the enemy, particularly in achieving important terrain, milestones, or assets ahead of time.
  •  Moral Dislocation. Attacking the enemy’s will to win, or fight. This often includes a significant effort to get into the minds of the key decision-makers and shape their decisions.

Each of these different methods may be run simultaneously, and all of them have emphasis placed on surprise and making faster decisions than their competitors.

In the commercial and corporate context, we see manoeuvre characteristics in those organisations that are adept in prioritisation and channelling their efforts towards those outcomes that will have a disproportionate impact in support of their strategy. These organisations know their strengths and weaknesses and magnify their results exponentially by focusing their precious resources towards 2 or 3 outcomes. Manoeuvre in this sense allows organisations to start capturing market share from bigger competitors, and the market share they capture will be more tailored towards where they can have the highest impact.

GUERRILLA WARFARE

“Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which small groups of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility, to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military (Wiki).”

The concept of Guerrilla style tactics was heavily publicised in the works of Sun Tzu who suggested that a much smaller force could win against a much larger competitor if it made absolute use of all its available resources and was able to move faster before they could respond properly.

https://vietnamwarexposition.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/impact-of-guerrilla-warfare/

Guerrilla warfare is based on an idea that smaller teams can create significant issues for their enemies providing they stay under the ‘detection threshold’. They almost always have significantly sparse resources and they rely heavily on the use of supporters, partners, and sympathisers. Their support networks are often incredibly loyal and ideologically linked with their fighting purpose.

In the corporate or commercial context, it means that smaller more agile organisations can achieve huge proportionate impacts providing they are willing to remain agile, dynamic and are able to incentivise people behind their cause. It also means that smaller boutique agencies can provide highly tailored services to organisations who are not keen on paying premium prices.

In many ways, this has been one of the founding success features of The Eighth Mile Consulting as we endeavour to support areas of the market that are not detected by the larger players in the industry. This in turn with our support from partner organisations has meant that we can seize opportunities quickly, provide valuable services and maintain our loyal support network (providing we continue to give value regularly). With this as context our organisational values and ethos make sense:

  • Service – Client tailored service delivery
  • Initiative – Find a need, fill a need
  • Integrity – We do what we promise
  • Accountability – Actively seek responsibility

CONCLUSION

I have not even scratched the surface on the intricacies associated with each of these strategies or the myriad of other strategies available, but I am sure we can agree that there is a utility in their application within a corporate and commercial context.

Now it might seem counter-intuitive to suggest that these strategies do not always have to be adopted in an overtly aggressive manner against others. The more astute readers will recognise that in the corporate and commercial context that these strategies often speak more to how we operate our own teams and strategies and are less geared towards destroying your competitors. I firmly believe in the concept of an abundance mindset, but I also acknowledge that the actions of one organisation can have far-reaching implications on our own. So, this being said I would suggest that understanding of these strategies:

  • Helps us prioritise our efforts towards the effect we are seeking to achieve.
  • Reduces our scope of operations towards those things that will provide the most significant impact and effect.
  • Encourages us to recognise our strengths and weaknesses, and therefore assist us in finding our relevance.
  • Promote early adoption of detecting those routes that will provide the paths of least resistance.
  • Incentivise us to think outside the box instead of always reinventing the wheel.

‘The enemy’ in the corporate or commercial context might not be your competitors, but it might be your environment and its ever-changing conditions.

If we look at it from this angle, we open the door to huge opportunities to reinvent our brands, define our team’s purpose, and provide an enduring legacy.

For those interested in developing unique business strategies please feel free to reach out and discuss with me or my team. 

For other articles and daily posts please follow David Neal and  Jonathan Clark.

 

Samantha Pickering and Peter Keith from The Eighth Mile Consulting discuss the science behind resilience.

 

There is a difference between positive stress and toxic stress. Long exposure to stress can have significant impacts on our health, but there is good news, we are in control of how we perceive our world. Problem-solving and coping skills are examples of positive stress that we can exercise for our benefit.

There are five areas within our control that can influence our ability to be resilient, which we explain further in this short presentation:

  1. Social Connections
  2. Attitude
  3. Values
  4. Emotional Acceptance
  5. Sense of Humor 

In this video, we also decode the four main chemicals that affect our behaviours and moods. Looking further into how the language we choose to use directs our bodies as to how to respond to a situation. This helps provide an understanding as to how we can make simple changes to create a positive impact in our own lives. Peter Keith coaches on shifting the subconscious speech patterns that are limiting our own experience.

Building our own ability to be resilient is often a precursor to leading our teams through times of uncertainty and managing ambiguity with decisiveness and clarity. The Eight Mile Consulting has developed an online leadership course, specifically for those ambitious leaders seeking to develop themselves professionally, to become greater leaders for their team.

For more helpful videos to help you grow your people and your organisation subscribe to our YouTube channel.