How to Beat Fake News

Beating the Fake News Problem – in your world

Fake News – it’s printed so it’s true!

The world is awash with poor or simply fake information and because we see it on website, or in a newspaper or social media many, if not all of us will believe it.

Do we know how dangerous that can be? If you have ever used someone’s advice and run with it only to find out much later, too late sometimes, that it was just not true, then you will know!

Today, Fake News is just another form of Behavioural Waste™ that can be funny and innocent but in business, it’s likely to be damaging and destructive.

Behavioural Waste TM


Here are 5 questions that come from a link recently sent to our CEO and they look like great advice – or what we at Mind Fit would say is common sense…

  1. Where is this NEWS coming from?

What do the advisers have in terms of credentials and background? What’s their perspective, their bias, their connection? The more you know about the source, the better you can evaluate the advice.

  1. Does this person have an ulterior motive?

There’s an old phrase in Latin: Cui bono? Translation: For whose good? It doesn’t mean to treat potential advisers mistrustfully or with suspicion, but to think through their likely motives to make sure they’re aligned with your own.

  1. Does this person have experience?

No matter how much a person may know in theory, there’s a depth of understanding that comes from first-hand experience that nothing else can bring. Broad experience brings a wide perspective, and experience that’s close to your own brings familiarity with the issues at hand.

  1. Does this person listen?

We all know a few people who like to hear themselves pontificate with advice that tends to be long-winded and not always appropriate to the situation at hand. Is the adviser taking the time to hear and understand your specific situation?

  1. Does the person sound like a cliché?

Sometimes people give you advice and it starts to sound like a bunch of clichés: Time will tell … Haste makes waste … Don’t put all your eggs into one basket … Clichés have their place–that’s why they’re called clichés, after all — but they can be a red flag for shallow thinking and a lack of perceptiveness.

To read more on spotting the FAKE NEWS here’s an article from Lolly Daskal click this


Common Sense


Unfortunately, common sense is not common practice!

But to Mind Fit people common sense is their common practice.

If you’d like to know more then we’d love to show you, your team and your leaders.

Of course, as ever you have a choice, so what’s yours?

Are You Hiring into Your Culture?

Are you hiring into your Culture?

Hiring Talented People

Research shows that organisations are focused on talent more now than ever before. Getting the right person for the job is paramount. However, in what is believed to be a reducing talent pool, it is therefore getting harder.

Unlike 5 years ago when there was no consistent message when we asked people with the word Talent or Talent Management in their title, we have at least a description that many will agree with in today’s market.

Define Talented People?

Many organisations will define Talented People along the lines we at Mind Fit do which is being professionally qualified to do the job and

  1. Able to be strategic and operational
  2. Adaptive to change
  3. Able to inspire and motivate

Is that what you would say?

Item 1 is usually only achieved by experience and whilst I would have hired that kind of person when I was in senior roles in the Oil & Gas industry, it was rare to find one let alone a few that would be available to compete for a job.

Items 2 and 3 are underpinned by attitude and again these are rare qualities. Many believe only lots of relevant experience will develop them.

With 87% of UK employees disengaged (Gallup Engagement Statistics) to find someone with 1, 2, 3 and be engaged would seem to make a recruiter’s job even harder to find the best person.

Is the Best the Right Choice?

When we have asked this question we get into a deep discussion about driving the organisation forward with the best people. 

But a simple thought is needed first that many recruiting processes assume.

The best person will just fit in with the culture. 

And of course, that’s a normal and rational assumption to make. But if you ask leavers why they leave the old saying is reinforced

People leave managers not organisations

We forget that it’s people that create the culture of the organisation.

So before you enter the recruitment process there seems to be a simple question that we need to ask.

What culture do we have?

And I’m sure you’ll say, we know what culture we have? That’s great if you do, but if those leaving reinforce “people leave managers not businesses” perhaps you should check what’s happening in your organisation.

Checking your culture

It’s a lot simpler than you think! You can ask your own people, do a 360, or as one HR director said ” it’s on the website… but we’re not as open-minded to change as it states…” . Just by asking questions you’ll find out a lot about your own organisation!


Blackboard Disengaging and Engaging Culture

What happens when you have a dysfuntional, disengaged culture is seen above. and of course, there is a cost! The cost is poor performance and lack of productivity and that has a value to the Balance Sheet too!

Some questions to consider for your organisation:

We can easily forget that it is people that create the culture of the organisation.

Whether it’s defining your culture, or looking at your hiring process to get talented people you always have a choice::

  • do what you currently do
  • review what you do based on new information
  • do something else

So what’s your Choice?

Do You Know the Power of Storytelling?

Saving Mr Banks – the power of storytelling

“Saving Mr Banks” is the charming tale of how Walt Disney persuaded PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins to bring the magical nanny to life on the big screen. There is a moment about three-quarters of the way through the movie where Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks says”…. it’s all about saving the children…” to which PL Travers, played by Emma Thompson said in a way only British leading ladies could say “Oh, you think it’s about the children…” and the message of the story which is clear to her, but obviously hidden to most, suddenly becomes clear to the watching audience.

Why use storytelling when speaking in a business setting?

The power of storytelling is well documented as it’s a great way to engage the audience. After all, it’s used throughout our early years before and during primary education, but seems to fade off in secondary education which may explain why we have academically well-educated students, but lacking experience and common sense.

In the business world, Steve Jobs was one of the pioneers in the use of verbal storytelling supported by simple images and one line concepts. TED Talks have carried that practice forward and their world-class speakers are expected to speak in simple narratives, using stories and powerful imagery to convey their message.

Death by PowerpointYet with a business backdrop, most companies still rely on offering leadership and management change ideas by supplying data, numbers, statistics, analytics, and so on. The inevitable suffering of “Death by PowerPoint” in presentations still seems to rule the day.

Why don’t we change?

The answer is simple. Because today’s leaders don’t know any better and that’s the way they’ve been taught and so that’s the way they like to deliver messages.

While storytelling is not the only way to engage people with your ideas, it’s certainly a critical part of the recipe and when carefully employed and well executed the impact is considerable.

.People will remember a story!

Stories powerfully connect us to our listeners. When we share our own real-life stories or the stories of others (Example or Proof stories) our audiences feel that they get to know us as authentic people – people who have lives outside the corporate setting, people who have struggled with problems and who have figured out how to overcome them. Doesn’t this just underpin what we all want – authentic and honest leadership?


Not such an ugly duckling

One Hans Christian Anderson equivalent in the business setting is Geoffrey Berwind, a professional “Storytelling Consultant and Trainer”. He has created storytelling projects for historic sites and provides consulting services for leaders, entrepreneurs, speakers, and companies worldwide. His clients include Historic Philadelphia,, Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex, UNUM Global IT Leaders, along with thousands of experts in many fields who want to make a deeper impact on their audiences, customers, management teams, and influential stakeholders.


Storytelling – just one part of Natural Learning

Some of the best leaders will know of the value of natural learning because without it they wouldn’t be the best.

We have all heard phrases such as ‘learning the hard way’, ‘coming from the school of hard knocks’, or studying at the ‘University of Life’. All these sayings usually refer to a level of ‘street-wise’ knowledge where the individual has learned how to survive through experience, watching others and listening to stories and fables. This often takes the form of an ingrained ‘how-to’ knowledge and can lead to great successes. One very visible champion of this sort of learning is Lord Alan Sugar, who has worked his way up through the system using a combination of instinct and experience, as well as considerable factual knowledge. Interestingly this type of ‘natural’ learning is hard if not impossible to pass on to others. It is highly subjective and lies deep within the individual. It is the kind of learning that we use to become ‘mind fit’ – or ‘mind unfit’.

What is Natural Learning?

Implicit or as we call it Natural Learning is unconscious and automatic. It is action based and goes into long-term memory. Simple examples are walking, tying a shoelace, riding a bike or driving a car. All could be painful when starting, but in time through actions, awareness and focused practice we improve.

How does this Naturally Learning happen?

It happens in a variety of ways like:

  • Physical experiences
  • Mind experiences
  • Copying
  • Stories
  • Maps
  • Feedback

Compare this approach to the familiar academic ‘book-based’ approach to learning which in many ways is far easier to quantify and it has been adopted by every education system around the globe. Discussing theories and looking at diagrams is reassuring and a wall full of certificates certainly lends an air of legitimacy to the proceedings. This form of learning is called explicit or educated learning. This form of knowledge can be passed down from generation to generation. Some of the greatest thinkers in history can open our minds to new ideas and lead to a shared learning experience which is edifying and exciting for all involved. But in many instances we are just adding to the “knowing-doing gap”, creating highly knowledgeable and educated leaders that are still ineffective and inefficient.

Natural Learning – the good the bad and the ugly

Not all we learn naturally will be good as it’s as easy to form good habits as it is to form bad habits. We may all think we’re good drivers, but if you were really honest you’d find something you could be better at when behind the wheel – such as indicating, using two hands on the steering wheel, proper hands-free mobile phone kit! Maybe you are thinking of other improvements?

In business wouldn’t it be ideal if we can eliminate all the bad habits of leaders, managers and in fact all employees? Collectively  these bad habits Mind Fit calls “Behavioural WasteTM

All forms of behaviour that divert energy, talent and resources away from the personal or organisational purpose.


One of the problems in larger organisations occurs when people have long ‘to do’ lists and can be easily over-whelmed. The problem only starts there, as when you merge all the long lists together and then separating out each project, it becomes abundantly clear that priorities assigned by people are different, so projects will take longer. And then tomorrow it all changes as the next top priority pops-up from more fire-fighting operations created in a different department. And so it will continue until the next meeting… I’m sure you have lots of examples you could share.

Here are a few more examples of Behavioural WasteTM :

  • Unnecessary meetings occur through habit
  • Underperformance not challenged
  • People stuck in their beliefs
  • People say things like – ‘it’s not my fault’ or ‘we didn’t know that’
  • Disengaged people: people give up, go through the motions
  • Conflicts not addressed
  • Businesses fail to adapt to change
  • Rigid and habitual processes and systems become dated
  • Poor leadership
  • Cynical attitudes
  • Over-controlling behaviours – maybe even bullying

Any Behavioural WasteTM means your business is underperforming and if you deal with it now, not only will you improve business performance but it will be a better and happier place to work. People will be engaged, looking to improve and be more effective and efficient in what they are doing.


Storytelling – the message others hear

While we will never really know the true story of how “Mary Poppins” came to the screen, we do know that first film wasn’t called “Saving Mr Banks”. Although it was only a movie, until the line “Oh, you think it’s about the children..” Walt Disney was in the land of Behavioural WasteTM, stuck in his own belief and pulling all his team in the same direction – which as the movie sjows was the completely wrong direction.

Imagine what the ending might have been if it was all about the children? Would the family Banks all have been flying a kite at the end?

The art of a good storyteller is to impart the true meaning. And make it real for the listener.

Great leaders know the power of good stories, and all have a simple meaning. But they also know storytelling is only part of your armoury. A great leader uses the combined power of all the elements of Natural Learning.

Want to know more about being a great leader and using Natural Learning to do it?

As ever, you have a choice.

What’s yours?


Do You Let Technology Rule Your Life?

Are we giving technology permission to disengage us and block communication, collaboration … growth?

Everybody knows…

Ask anyone in business, education or life in general and they’ll agree with you that the brain is incredibly powerful. Most will agree that we only use it about 10% of its capability probably because they heard or read it somewhere. But has technology helped or hindered us in using the untapped 90%?

As we ‘know’ technology has catapulted our computing capability where a smartphone is standard issue and occupies a special place in handbags, purses and pockets. There’s even a special stand on the desktop and some have their own personalised cover with inbuilt tracking if you misplace it. It’s like an appendage, a limpit to which we have a physical and mental attraction. When it beeps, we reach for it as some form of (un)controlled automatic reaction… “someone needs me!”

Has “Technology” the Tool, become the Master?

The following video was sent to me with comments about how great this was and what it would do to make the scenes from “Minority Report” become a reality. And yes, if you watch this 10 min TED talk you’ll get that belief – even if you’ve no idea what the movie “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise was demonstrating.

The video, however, started with a message that maybe many miss and says a lot about where many people are today…

You might think that it was a very clever subliminal advertising promo for a new product. And you might be right. But that’s just a distraction for this purpose.

What else did you see? Behavioural Waste?

Did you see what I saw in the first 2 minutes – a message about awareness and giving our permission for a computer (smartphone) to become our master rather than a tool extending our capabilities? Do you observe behaviour that Meron suggests in restaurants – with others or yourself? How we easily give ourselves permission to be distracted even in a personal conversation where the other person perceives (their reality) disinterest…   (at this point my toes are curling up as I’m answering my own questions in my mind …and once again I unconditionally apologise to my wife …)

“… he forces his eyeballs back up to mine and said, ‘keep going, I’m with you’… the moment was dead.”

For me this short introduction captured the very real problem we have today of being engaged and disengaged. We do it mostly automatically without noticing – it’s our habit, we always do it that way. Of course when you start to think deeper lots of other messages come to light. What does it do for you?

Communication is a collaborative discussion

It also says to me that communication can easily be engaging or disengaging – no surprise there! The guy on another table sharing and laughing with his colleagues using the same device, a smart phone, about Instagram pictures. His colleagues were engaged in a collaborative moment. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that too.

Some questions may be…

  • Do you agree with Meron Gribetz that tools should extend our senses rather than going against them?
  • Is what you do, or what your organisation does blocking the collaborative brain power?
  • How do you see that manifest itself?


If you ask the simple but tough questions and answer them honestly you’re on the right road to developing your can-do attitude and winning mindset. Of course, technology, business systems/processes and other people could block or distract you. But it’s how you handle those ‘blockages and distractions’ that will make all the difference to your future.

Despite the complicated nature of some business, and with my oil industry experience I’ve seen a lot of complexity, you can always break it down into bite-sized chunks, so I still believe

business is simple, people make it complicated

To gauge where you are and see what type of attitude you, your team or organisation has – Can-Do, Can’t-Do or Won’t Do –  here’s a link to the Mind Fit Footprint that will give an insight into how much Behavioural Waste™ exists 

Want to take this further?

As ever you have a choice – what’s yours?

Read about Behavioural Waste™ ?  Improve your Communication skills?

How we can all achieve Peak Performance

Thoughts by Graham Williams on ‘Peak’ – by Ericsson and Pool

‘Peak – how all of us can achieve extraordinary things’  by Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool

Peak performance has always fascinated me, not that I am a peak performer. However, having been fortunate to work alongside those that were, from the world of sport and adventure, some of whom were Olympians, a racing driver and polar explorer, it has always intrigued me to discover what is special about them.

I first came across research papers by Anders Ericsson many years ago whilst doing my own research into the effect of beliefs and attitudes on our behaviour, and how it affects our performance at work. Ericsson has spent over 30 years interviewing and analysing high-flying professionals from different fields. He has been looking at the difference between the exceptional and the ordinary performers and the reason that some people achieve amazing things whilst most of us operate in a world where we peak at a level of ‘it’s good enough’.

all the right or wrong notes

That ‘good enough’ attitude means that not only will we never achieve our potential in anything we do but many of us will never leave the starting blocks. We end up functioning at work, in other activities and sometimes in life. Consider driving a car. If we believed that we could be good or even great as a driver, and continued to improve through focused practice; the driving standard on our roads would be much higher. Most of us give up focusing on improving our driving shortly after passing our driving test. We just try to drive faster, not better.

It is easier to give up and make the excuse that certain people are natural, are gifted or have a special talent so why bother to try.

Leaders are made not born – do you believe there is a talent or leadership gene?

Peak was published in 2016 and Ericsson and Pool brings Ericsson’s work up to date with many examples. The book explores the power of practice, that of deliberate practice, and of harnessing adaptability. It explores the gold standard and the road to the extraordinary. It also looks at ‘natural talent’ that appears to be a current flavour within many organisations. Why wouldn’t organisations look for natural talent if the majority of staff were just functioning.

Ericsson has stated that when we see an expert exhibit superior performance their behaviour looks so effortless and natural that we have been tempted to attribute it to special talents. Many of us assume that this is an innate talent that a few people have and use to become the best of the best, whilst the rest of us watch.


This natural talent, which we all possess, can be applied across all areas not only in sport, for example in chess, music, research, accountancy, doctors, London taxi drivers and teachers… and more. Ericsson explains that people who are exceptional are in fact no different to anyone else except they put in an inordinate amount of practice. He has suggested that to be an expert each performer commits at least 10,000 hours over 10 years. He explains that just practising is pointless, as many people who practice golf regularly will have discovered, as they never really improve, even with advice from a golf coach. The practice must be deliberate and the focus on something specific at that moment in time.

There is the famous line from the golfer Jack Nicklaus who said to a reporter

“The more I practice the luckier I get…”

So does natural talent really exist according to Ericsson? The answer is NO.

However, having longer legs will be an advantage if you play basketball as will having a small body mass if you are a gymnast, but in general, those people who are exceptional performers have put the hours in to train and they continue to make tiny improvements as they go along. What they all have developed is determination, mental toughness, persistence and dedication and most of that is directed at challenging themselves.

Michelle Griffiths Robinson, Mind Fit Coach and former UK Olympic Triple Jumper said,

“As an elite athlete every day you have to be the best, give your best and travel down a road of uncertainty. Competitions happen weekly but training happens daily and it’s the mind that acts as the biggest competitor as it’s always with you and, without question, is always going to challenge you.”

Juggling childHer quote clearly shows that to be a peak performer you have to be very committed and the right mindset is the key.

So the question is :

How committed are you to improve and how quickly do you give up?

Of course, most of us need only operate at being good to enjoy ourselves.

A recent article in “The Week” (6 May 2017) explores the urban climbers and freerunners who continue to attempt ever-more dangerous stunts; some for the glory while others seek happiness. They glide, they flow up and across buildings; it all seems effortless as they perform such amazing moves that do not seem possible, leaving the majority of us breathless. What they do not show is the time spent in the gym; time spent getting fitter and stronger, sometimes injured and hundreds of practice jumps while working on a single technique.

And this goes for any top performing sportsperson and as we see regularly on the behind the scenes insights into Formula 1, the driver has a team of 600+ that are all focused on the performance of the car, and hopefully if the driver is on top from, they might win.

People With Talent Stand Out

So talent is really about those few people who are willing to put the effort in and therefore they stand out. They all have a Can-Do attitude, a clear reason for putting that effort in, and in organisations they are willing to act and add value.

The danger for organisations that do focus on talent is that they leave the majority of staff feeling undervalued and therefore disengaged. This is the dark side of talent management. Ignoring the majority who all have the potential is flawed thinking.

What organisations should do is find out why people are not willing to put in the effort to be at least good performers and the answers may not be welcomed. And the reasons are common and have been identified for years. Poor leadership and a lack of support are common. Not tackling bullies, or jobs that are locked into routine systems and processes so that they become boring are common reasons for disengagement.

According to Gallup with disengagement at 87% across the world, something different needs to be done.

What needs to change in your organisation so that you become good? A business peak performer?

Does anyone in the organisation go to work to fail?

If employees knew how talented they were what would be the result?

Is The Biggest, Unchecked Business Disease – Behavioural Waste™?

The biggest, unchecked Business Disease – Behavioural Waste™

Organisations believe in leadership development as there are $billions invested in leadership development every year, made on the assumption that “better leaders get better results”. Some, more focused (maybe informed) investors focus their leadership programmes on engagement, assuming better leaders create more engaged employees and teams and that then leads to higher productivity, better results.

If leadership development programmes are an investment, what’s the ROI?

Why make assumptions when the facts are there, if you care to look?

Well one thing is true and has been unequivocally proven that changing and improving attitudes and behaviours will improve performance (1). So it’s great to know that all those $billions spent on leadership are based on having the right belief. It can work! And that is also true in every part of life and can simply be seen in athletes and sports people, where focused training, changing behaviours by doing something marginally different will increase performance. You only have to look at the stories behind Olympic and Paralympic athletes, broadcast on most TV networks, to see where they started and how they progressed. The whole idea behind terms like ‘marginal gains’ is nothing new but has been exposed to a much wider audience thanks to TV, the Press and social media.

But who notices those improvements in sports people can be replicated in business, or other areas of one’s life? What if you saw the Head Coach as the COO, driving the business forward?

Interestingly, books like “Winning” by Sir Clive Woodward demonstrate the processes that Sir John Whitmore (of coaching fame) and his team were practising in businesses way back in the 1970s and 1980s.

In sport, it’s also well known that talent isn’t enough and Woodward’s TCUP (Think Correctly Under Pressure) made the difference between winning and losing. The bottom line is that attitude and behaviour makes the real “sustainable” difference to performance.

If you changed your mindset and believed everyone were talented in your organisation, how would that change your thinking?  

Now if that’s got you thinking differently, and prepared to take the first step, the burning question is…

Where do we start?  Behavioural Waste

There’s lots of great advice from evidenced and relevant research that says mostly the same as Sutton and Rao (2014) in their book “Scaling up excellence: Getting to more without settling for less”, highlighted in the Harvard Business Review in 2014. They point out the intuitive good sense that before leaders attempt to adopt good practices, it is necessary to remove the bad; and that this can be done by

“… identifying and reducing destructive and negative attitudes and behaviours that block the adoption of necessary change.”

In other words, the importance of removing embedded avoiding and blocking behaviours before introducing innovative practices. The authors’ research found that negative interactions with bosses and co-workers have five times more impact than positive ones to the extent that bad behaviours usually swamp the good, undermining the “scalability” or wider adoption of new excellent practices.  A key insight from this kind of thinking is the power of encouraging leaders and employees that they are “doing the right thing” when they start to focus not just upon their own needs and wants, but upon the people affected by their actions.

Eliminate or Reduce Behavioural Waste™ (BW) – the business disease

We could list all the negative behaviours and disruptive activities that could be in existence in your business. The 10 Fatal Leadership Flaws  –  Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman (2009) – are all in that list.

But it’s easier to define them in what they are collectively –

Behavioural Waste TMBehavioural Waste™ – all forms of behaviour that divert energy, talent and resources away
from the personal or organisational purpose

Rao and Sutton and others have merely pointed out that (1) above also works in a business setting. Change (negative) behaviours and results improve, and you can now innovate, value-add and grow. Now the question is

“ How much Behavioural Waste™ have we and what do we do to get rid of it?”

Well the key is you don’t have to get rid of it and eliminate it. Reducing it so it doesn’t prolong and impact the business performance is good enough. Pareto’s 80-20 rule still exists here!

Organisations will have 3 forms of BW that can be quickly identified : Personal, Cultural and Systemic.

Each of these BW are business diseases and with the right diagnosis coupled with the right remedy, you can permanently get rid of them. A leader that operates their own agenda for personal gain, “do as I say not as I do”, or constantly uses management (MBA/MA) speak for effect are not the engaging, inspiring examples for your employees.

Next Steps?

Being a leader puts us all in a position of making decisions, but only those decisions that are ours to make. As you are still reading then there are now 4 choices:

  1. Free chapter of Recycling Behavioural Waste download – the business disease
  2. Assess your own organisation’s BW
  3. Do something else
  4. Do nothing – keep doing what you’re doing and hope your medicine works

As ever the choice is always yours.

So what’s your choice? If you choose any of the above we’d like to have your feedback on what influenced your decision.

Where do Reality-Driven Leaders start?

Where do Reality-Driven Leaders start?

We’re often asked this question and what may be surprising is that no matter the size of the organisation the answer is the same – start with reality. Why? Because we instinctively know that’s the right place, yet we all make assumptions and hence we get it wrong, or feel lucky if we get it right. However, let’s take instinct and gut feel out of the equation and hopefully your common sense should become obvious from reading the following.

There are 5 roles that Reality-Driven Leaders perform :

  • Investigator
    • Challenges beliefs and identifies the reality
  • Innovator
    • Generates new ideas to tackle Behavioural Waste™ and identifies opportunities for Growth Behaviours
  • Navigator
    • Provides clear routes through the complexity that organisations operate in
  • Stabiliser
    • Generates robust systems and processes that remain adaptable to meet change
  • Explorer
    • Explores potential scenarios that build organisational agility to meet constant and complex change

and each of these roles are needed in any organisation so you get the best result. But problems will always arise if you make assumptions and these create or expand the perception-reality gap.


A common story – established department , new boss 

In the late 1980’s Graham Williams, architect of the Mind Fit Process® and co-author of Reality-Driven Leaders in a Complex World was put in charge of public order training in a UK police force. Never having been involved in public order, or been trained, it was completely new to him.

Most leaders on accepting a new assignment would accept the status quo, assuming everything was fixed and get on with doing the same job as the predecessor. A few might quickly assess the situation, perhaps make a few small but effective changes and then settle in with doing the job.

However, a Reality-Driven Leader would get on with doing the job so effecting a seamless transition but look at the big picture and start asking questions and then making changes that improves results.

Graham was staggered by what he found, the evidence, yet what he discovered is his new world is still relevant to how organisations attempt to meet the challenges that they face today.

This is Graham’s story…


Graham’s Journey of Discovery – the investigator

The evidence:

Police forces had been tackling various levels of public disorder for many decades across the country including the Brixton riots of 1981 and Tottenham Broadwater Farm riots in London of 1985. To provide protection to officers the police had adopted a protective shield similar to that used and designed by the military for use the narrow streets of Hong Kong. The shield measured 5ft 6inches high and was made of flexible Polycarbonate. However the wider UK streets meant the shield had to be used very differently tactically than the design required.

The new tactics required the forming of a 5 x man shield unit consisting of three holding shields that were held together and overlapped, and two officers behind holding their front three colleagues in place.

The shields and the tactics were extremely cumbersome and tiring and were not user friendly. Furthermore, they were not very easy to use in different situations despite variations of the tactics being adopted.

Reality on the ground showed that public order problems varied across the country and that the tactics developed were obviously far too rigid for that reality.

In short, it was clear that an off-the-shelf product forced behaviours that were marginally effective but far too rigid for the reality of the situations faced by front line personnel.

Blackboard square pegs in round holes

As a new manager, Graham inherited a process and it is often the case it was a result of forcing and squeezing the problem into the available solution because it’s an expedient way forward. But is that the right thing to do?

Eisntein perhaps said it well enough

Einstein 1 hour to change the world

 A new beginning

Graham realised that the police had simply started at the wrong place. They identified a solution to protect their offices – the long shield. They created tactics based on the 5 x man shield unit and then looked for the problem. This was clearly the wrong way round but, as you may also know is the all too common approach.

So, he started at a very different point and began to ask questions. Protecting officers was naturally one requirement, but that was only part of the problem and not the real problem. The real problem was managing public order – which ironically was in the title of his  department – Public Order Training.

Start with – What is the Problem?

So his start point was to explore the varied types of public disorder problems across the country. Then (as an innovator and navigator) he created flexible tactics that could be used in different scenarios. He then developed a shield which would also provide adequate protection. It was shorter than the original long one, had a gulley down each side that allowed good linking if needed, it was lighter and more robust and enabled officers to run with it for some distance.

 Police public order

The logical order to solving public disorder problems was obvious. First, identify what is the actual problem; second, what tactics are needed and finally, what protection was required.

Results measurement was also important (the stabiliser) and that fed back into the effetiveness of tactics and any fine tuning that may need to be made.

Today, some 30 years later, the smaller shield and tactics are still employed to this date, yet despite the improved results, there  are a few  police forces that use the larger shield.


The Business World

Today Graham’s journey above maybe what some organisations would  consider as a Complete Lean Solution, or a Business Process Review and of course it works. But the evidence says it has rarely be done successfully.

Research from a variety of sources says

“80% of Lean or Change programmes fail”

and as recently quoted by MicKinsey and the Harvard Business Review

“Over 70% of Leadership Development Programmes are unsuccessful”

Any good change manager or facilitator will know that the right starting place is where you’ll win, everytime.

While organisations will look at wholesale change programmes once in a generation, many will be investing in Leadership or Management Development with the expectation that such training will improve their management team and it follows that results will improve. So does this actually happen?


Where do organisations start developing people?

Providers, who are in the market offering various training interventions designed to meet organisational needs, tackle problems and improve results are still starting at the wrong place.Blackboard square pegs in round holes

In 2017 a majority of providers are still offering knowledge or systems solutions to organisations, which for example range from lean management, psychometrics, leadership training, value development and culture change, together with various tactics on how to apply them.

They then assume that the organisation will fit their (off-the-shelf) solution and tactics into the problems that the organisation faces. It is typical of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and that means adjusting everything else to make it work.

Meaning and Evidence

To give you some meaning to what we are saying a search on the web will reveal the obvious. If you look up leadership training it quickly identifies a list of providers who offer very similar products, albeit marketed very differently. For example they may list the objectives of their training that include:

  • Understanding the difference between leadership and management
  • How to identify strengths in people
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • How to motivate people
  • Making key decisions
  • How to empower people
  • Dealing with conflict


The list explored would give a range of knowledge to ‘wannabe’ leaders much of it based around theories and concepts that may be interesting but many are now outdated and may even be obsolete.

Here’s one example – a well used piece of information which has been rolled out by trainers for decades is the percentages relating to effective communication. Participants are given 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% of words to what achieves good communication. It is simply not true. Neither is the myth relating to changing a habit only taking 21 days. We suggest you check them out. Do your own reality check and google it – you’ll be surprised at what you might find as to the research done on either!

However, this approach by providers is entirely the wrong way round. Giving people knowledge or systems as a start point, some of which is or may be flawed, does not produce good or even develop good or great leaders. Organisations around the world are inundated with leaders who operate from a dictatorial platform that disempowers and disengages employees and results in poor or barely adequate performance.

Global engagement levels are stubbornly fixed at 13% despite the $billions invested in developing soft skills – regular Gallup research.

Even if on paper these are what you want, great development programmes with inspirational trainers just don’t work!

These providers, which are the majority, let the client down as their proposed solutions rarely delivers as promised. The CIPD recently said

“Success is no better than random chance…”

They are solutions from a different time and from different problems which happened to work for the provider or their organisation in the past.

“Knowledge is Power”

may have been the mantra and drive of last century, but in today’s complex world what is lacking is the right application of any knowledge gained.

If today all that was needed was “knowledge is power”, everyone that goes on an expensive sales course will therefore be great salespeople… wouldn’t they?


Providers appear to perpetuate their solutions through their professional bodies which makes them ever more enthusiastic. Clever marketing also rebadges these old and outdated approaches so what you get is the “Emporer’s new clothes”.

Check the web again, Google it for the reality. Here are some findings:

  • Lean management – 80% lean initiatives are abandoned within 3 years. Only 2% get the results they desired.
  • Leadership – 67% organisations think leadership training is a priority yet 93% of programmes fail.
  • Engagement – staff engagement is seen as essential for organisation yet for years Gallup survey has consistently reported 87% of employees as being disengaged across the world.
  • Value-based management – in the 21st century having values statement is a fact in business life. Living them is a different matter. Most fail because the culture is not addressed, the leadership is poor and people are disengaged.
  • 10 Fatal Leadership Flaws –  Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman (2009) – and they are prevalent and stubbornly resilient even today.

The start point is not a poor quality solution that we try to make fit but identifying the problem first.


Reality-Driven Leaders

Today, we advocate the new role of Reality-Driven Leaders. These people operate from a position of their own reality from which the right solution for your organistion can be identified. This enables improved or new solutions to be found and the methods to deliver them.

Such leaders need to be pragmatic, flexible and relevant in all they do. They need to have the right attitude to challenge the status quo.

These leaders must remain flexible as the world in which organisations operate is always changing – having internal and external agility is critical to they way they work. The role must be cyclical so that it does not become bogged down in rigid systems and processes that often overcontrol but are built on changing realities.

If reality is at the core of what you do it really is simple.


Off-the-shelf solutions do not work or rarely do. Start by asking:

  1. What is the issue (reality), and
  2. What are the problems we need to solve in order to resolve it?
  3. What are our options, and which ones will work (choices)?
  4. How do we implement our choices (tactics)

Do you want Reality-Driven Leaders?

As ever you have a choice. What’s yours?



Are you trying to prove Einstein wrong?

Have you noticed how the one or two line sayings from real thought leaders are always simple and yet have far deeper meanings once you start to think about them.

So when Einstein said,

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

what are we thinking when we read it? Or do we just nod in a knowing sort of way and really don’t think at all?

Maybe we need another stimulus? Perhaps one that’s engaging our like for humour and one that engages our comical brain like this?

“Insanity : doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Maybe a picture helps…Einstein definition of Madness or Insanity

Or make it even simpler… To get better results, don’t you need to change something?

To some it will sound obvious, and you might say common sense that to improve on what you’re doing you need to change something. But how often are we brave enough to really change?

The next picture seems to be one that is more likely when we look at the business world.


But it’s not really funny is it?

When Boards, Directors and Management are under pressure to perform, improve the ROI, grow the business, maintain market share or just survive the global economic mess is it any surprise change is something that is resisted?

How about asking the question…

Do you think Einstein was wrong?

Whether Einstein said the “Insanity” quote or not I’ve always smiled when I’ve quoted it because if you do the same thing in the same way all the time, then prior to the global recession you would have expect to get the same results. But what about now? That’s not the case today for so many businesses, is it?

You may ask where’s the evidence for that? Take a short look at the high street changes in the UK – Jessops, BHS. What about the Steel Industry decline? No matter where we look there’s lots of evidence and your sector has its own issues I’m sure.

So to improve you have to do something different seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you say yes…what’s next?

Enter the first hurdle that many fear – what do we change? The questions then come thick and fast. It could be worse if we change the wrong thing? What would the shareholders say if we make it worse…? And all sorts of doom and gloom questions start to unfold.

But to improve, change you must!

Where to start? That’s the $1 million question.

Why not start simply?

The first question is where are we now? What do we do that gets these results? And the simple answer to that is probably we don’t really know. But what we do know is that we do some things good and some not so good.

So it should be a simple task to find out what we’re doing well and just do more of it. Wouldn’t we be doing that already?

Undoubtedly somewhere in the discussion will be about the resources. That should quickly result in a discussion about the quality of the leadership, the employees who deliver the results. That may then lead to skills and training and that’s the time we forget about Einstein.

But if you thought Einstein was right you’d look at things differently this time – wouldn’t you? Why differently this time?

Because all the evidence says

don’t do what the vast majority of change programmes do and give leaders and employees more knowledge training. You will just create a bigger “Knowing-Doing Gap”… and fail.

Adding to the Knowing-Doing Gap will be what we call Behavioural Waste ( Behavioral Waste )

Evidence of that is where?

As recent as 2013, Pfeffer & Sutton, reiterated the known enigma and continued existence of the “Knowing-Doing training gap”.

In 2014 published results in the Harvard Business Review from Sutton, R. I., & Rao, H. (2014). “Scaling up excellence: Getting to more without settling for less.” concluded  

It is necessary to remove destructive and negative attitudes and behaviours first...”


The choice then is yours

Do this… no change








Or listen to the evidence and dare to believe there’s something better.

If you dare to believe there could be something better, then you could look at this

Recycling Behavioural Waste Cover








On the following link

As ever you have a choice. What’s yours?


What’s the cost of Behavioural Waste (or if you prefer Behavioral Waste ) ?

There’s at least 1hr per day per employee in every organisation – how much is that?

Is Behavioural Waste the missing link to Lean Programmes Succeeding?

Why do Lean Programmes fail?

Research suggests that over 70% of all lean programmes fail. If you’d like to see some research about what might be the why then this link is useful

Yet during my years in the oil&gas, construction and retail industries I’ve implemented many successful lean programmes. Not all were perfect, but all were successful and some were done in record time. Some teams were forced together, mostly multi-disciplined by need, many given what seemed an enormous task again driven by the demanding nature of the business.

We also had no real concept of the origins of lean programmes in Toyota and our approach was focused on our business – it was simply known as a Business Process Review, BPR.

So why did we have success?

The simple answer is people made it happen. It’s all too often that Lean Programmes know that people count, but do nothing or not enough to make the people effect have the right or the best impact. The focus is all on the process and assumptions are made that people want the change, or are prepared to change but they are are assuming something that may actually not be there.

The issue as we now know is what we term Behavioural Waste™, and organisations have so much of it that before you enter a change programme, you need to change attitudes and behaviours first. If you eliminate or significantly reduce Behavioural Waste™ , any improvement is possible and innovation, creativity, engaged employees, inspired leaders become everyday norms not exceptions.



Recyling Behavioural Waste™

The great thing about our behaviours is that if we want to change them we can – we have a choice. The hardest part is to define or assess what we actually do and then simply by raising our awareness we can then decide to do something different to improve.

You can therefore recycle the bad stuff and improve. To show you what’s possible this new book is for you.

Recycling Behavioural Waste Cover

Key Messages from this book:

1. There’s no point in trying to grow your business if you are currently busy doing the wrong things. You won’t have time to adopt new approaches. Begin by reducing wasteful behaviour to create the space to grow purposeful behaviour.
2. People like doing lean, fixed systems or efficiency exercises because it focuses attention onto processes, which are seen as impersonal, and thus avoids the issue of having to change your behaviour. Behavioural Waste™ is the largest hidden cost that businesses fail to account for.
3. When people talk about culture, they don’t realise that they may have already chosen to fail because talking about the culture of an organisation doesn’t help solve the problem of what in particular, needs to change. The real cultural issue is everyone’s contribution to the accumulated Behavioural Waste™ that is collectively strangling your purpose. If you have  purpose that is meaningful, you can empower people to say “no” to futile, wasteful working,
and to innovate usefully.
4. Behavioural Waste™ is parasitic. The old Parkinson’s Law quotation that work expands to fill the time available for its completion is only partially true. In reality it is unchecked Behavioural Waste™ that expands to cripple meaningful purpose.
5. When people understand their own Behavioural Waste™, as well as the consequences of that Behavioural Waste™ on other people’s behaviour, and begin to control and reduce it then new capacity for growth begins to appear and people have time to consciously think and to innovate.

If you’d like a free digital copy then email us at with your organisation’s details.

As ever you have a choice.

  • want to Recycle Behavioural Waste?

  • continue to do what you do?

  • do something else?

What’s your choice?

Is Recycling Behavioural Waste your missing link?




Do beliefs matter?

Do beliefs matter? What do you think?

As if it were yesterday I can hear my mother saying

Be careful what you believe, it might just happen!

And sure enough it usually does – but is that surprising?

Take the example of the recent UK referendum on leaving Europe, or more commonly known as #Brexit. The electorate chose, against all expectations to leave the EU. What has followed has been wild rhetoric from politicians, business leaders and those that manage the financial markets. Of course it’s a huge deal that the 5th largest economy in the world is making a momentous move, but the Brexit campaign was about sovereignty and their belief we can do better outside than in. Only time will really tell, but even then we’d have to guess what it would have been like had the UK remained.

However, this momentous result shows that in the absence of ‘real’ evidence, beliefs have driven the argument.

At Mind Fit we’re often asked about our simple equation that makes us all unique. Understanding it is what makes all of us unique:

  • We are what we believe
  • What we believe, together with our experiences, form our attitudes
  • Our attitudes in action form our behaviours

Beliefs form the foundation of who we are. When we know that, and believe it we can start changing – as beliefs can be right and wrong. And if you think it, you are likely to believe it.  

If you think you can or you think you can't you're rightAs a regular reader you will know that at Mind Fit we recommend you look at the evidence, what’s the reality? And we ask the simple but hard questions like

Are we looking at this the best way? How do we know that?

And so here’s a simple, but real example of how it works in the real world as recalled by our Sports Director Tony Westwood.

I am reminded of an episode playing golf with a friend of mine at Goodwood.

It was a lovely day and we were enjoying a relaxing game of golf on the stunning ‘Downs Course’ on the Goodwood estate. With amazing views out across Chichester to Portsmouth, the Solent and beyond to the Isle of Wight, it was just the perfect day for golf.

After we had completed the 14th hole, I noticed a change in demeanour one of my playing partners. Let’s call him Joe. As we walked down the slope to the 15th tee his head was bowed and his shoulders slumped with a stern look on his face.

“What’s up Joe” I called across and his reply went something like this. “I hate this hole. I always make a mess of this hole, I hate it!”. Strong words but you had to be there to feel they way he said it.

The 15th on the Downs Course is a challenging par 4. It plays 376 yards of the yellow markers and has out-of-bounds on the left side and waste high rough to the right of the fairway. Not too long, but the average golfer is hitting his or her tee shot into a fairway that slopes severely upwards in front of them, so their golf ball is not going to run very far once it hits terra firma.

In an effort to hit a ‘big’ tee shot, for most golfers errant shots follow and the pressure is on.

Joe addressed his tee shot nervously and hesitantly swung the club trying to be careful. This first attempt sailed over the out-of-bounds fence into the field. After everyone else had teed off Joe reloaded. His next shot flew at 45 degrees to the right and into the waste high rough. Finally, playing 7 off the tee he scuffed the ball off the front of the tee to the bottom of the hill.

His 8th shot was a better effort and got him to within 100 yards of the green. His 9th was a great effort, just a little strong and it trickled off the back of the green. In playing his chip back on, he struck the ball towards the top and it finished further away from the hole and off the green back down the fairway. After an 11th shot and 3 putts, Joe scored 14 on the 15th hole.

I was holding the flag and after placing it back in the hole I walked towards Joe with a smile on my face and my hand extended ready to shake hands and congratulate Joe. He looked puzzled as I said “Congratulations Joe, you were successful, you did exactly what you believed, are you happy now?” I know Joe well so he would take that in the spirit meant – context is everything.

Initially he said “What?” and then I reminded him of what he had said on the way to the 15th tee and that he was exactly right and that I wanted to congratulate him on that success. He shook my hand and understood that from that moment he needed to change his approach on that hole and that while it might not change immediately, it would in time.

Since the referendum, we have been bombarded with news and opinions about what might happen now that UK has voted to leave the EU. Many have viewed it as a negative step to close our borders and be inward looking. Others, are viewing it as a great opportunity to be outward looking, to invite the world to do business with the UK and be leaders and collaborators in this post financial crisis world.

However, it’s a fragile situation and the most dangerous comments come from politicians and those that watch and trade on the world’s financial markets. You only have to look at the timing of the first post Brexit speech from the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney who stabilised all market volatility with a calm, confident and believable delivery. I recall a tweet at the time from Janan Ganesh, columnist for the FT and political commentator on TV

 It’s like having Morgan Freeman as your central bank governor

We can see from the simple golf course example above, how powerful what we believe is and if it works on the golf course and in sports you can guarantee it works in business and in life too. Why? Because it’s personal and real.

Many of the traders are talking about how volatile the markets will be and that a recession is just around the corner and that there are tough times ahead. If this is what they believe, how is it going to shape their decisions on how they trade?

What might happen if they believed something different?

What might happen if you challenged your beliefs, and believed something different in your world? Your organisation?

As ever you always have a choice. So what’s yours?

To find out what this would mean to your organisation, your sector or you, then email us or use the Mind Fit contact page.