Archive for the ‘Personal Improvement’ Category

Phone Dependency

Monday, November 12th, 2018

If you are feeling compelled to “sit” on your phone while in the middle of family time, at dinner, at the theatre or the sports event, you ARE the problem. Not your boss, not your client, no you. 

When Everyone is a PR

Monday, November 5th, 2018

Productive Content

I walked into a countryside pub recently and I saw a guy attempting to play darts, missing the entirety of the dartboard frequently, endangering bystanders and very irregularly hitting the required number. My first thought was “give yourself a break, get a new hobby”.  It reminded me of countless number of people daily posting their musings on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or issuing press releases, articles, and self-authored content. Aimless content disappearing into the ether of self-congratulatory irrelevance. Time really is precious.

If you want to “play”, be very sure who your target audience is (specific traits), aim where they demonstrably hang out and engage with others (publishing forums), and be clear what response you want to elicit (provocation, engagement, seen as a peer or thought leader). I am not suggesting you keep score of every piece of your content’s impact (futile activity), what I am suggesting is you ask yourself is this time well-spent given my immediate priorities? Be honest.

Escaping The Bubble

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Escaping The Bubble     

Are you aware of the “bubble” that you live in and the consequences of staying exclusively in it? (beliefs, attitudes, behaviours)

If you are aware, what “checks and balances” do you have in place to help you appreciate the lives that others lead and the views that they hold that don’t conform to your own? (diverse experiences, travel, sources of advice, learning)

If you are not, what are you going to do tomorrow to help yourself? (speak to peers, identify sources and opportunities for diverse learning and development).

Some of the most successful people I meet (executives, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, creative types) make demands of others or hold views that defy common sense. My observation is that they have long insisted on hanging out with a crowd, who are a mirror-image of themselves (clubs, parties, events). They refuse to put themselves in other’s shoes and when they do, they end up with “warped reality” (global perspective).   

Legacy Trumps Opinions

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Everyone has an opinion about something today (Trump, Brexit, societal changes) and when given a large platform (social or public media), the barrage of people “shouting” about something, is at times deafening, and largely wasted. In death, as I was reminded at a close friend’s funeral yesterday, the only score that counts is what you have positively contributed to the lives of the people around you and beyond (“legacy”).  

Keeping Company

Monday, June 18th, 2018

If you don’t think you “belong” in particular company, you are probably right. Do something about it now (become an increasing person of interest) or forget about it. Bemoaning to others, achieves nothing but create angst.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Natural Conversation

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

 

 

I think of getting to know people in a business social setting (a hosted event or forum), akin to peeling an onion. The enjoyment is asking small considered questions in an arc that encourage others to reveal themselves, listening attentively, and the depth and breadth of my intellectual curiosity that is stirred by their responses. It sounds simple but how many times have you been seated next to someone, who enjoys and excels at that pursuit? There is a name for them, great conversationalists. It is not something that is taught in school or learned staring into a backlit phone screen. It is best learned watching others, who excel in a natural, not staged, conversation and building your own intellectual firepower (reading, watching, experiencing). Individuals, who are comfortable in themselves to the extent that they don’t feel an abject need to impose their thinking on others (agenda hunters, as I think of them) or to consider diametrically opposed viewpoints.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

We Have All The Time In The World

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

 

Louis Armstrong made a wonderful record and a great refrain, do you have “time enough for life to unfold?” All of us do in reality unless we are suffering a severe illness or injury, yet a great many smart people structure it disastrously or use it woefully. Just today, the Harvard-educated US hospitality executive, whose calendar works in 15 minute increments, lo and behold by 7:30am shows up 25 minutes late, full of apologies and we achieve close to zero. The European fintech entrepreneur, who insists on taking “urgent” calls when we meet, describes himself “crazy busy” and turns a focused 45 minute capital raising conversation into a rambling 90 minute dialogue of half finished ideas and no clear, next steps. Even my public-funded doctor’s surgery doesn’t schedule back-to-back appointments and the doctors have regularly scheduled times for returning calls. There is a reason why the “cares of the world are rarely behind us”, YOU and your lousy system!

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

A Bad Day

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Most people’s so-called “bad day” is very rarely bad. With extremely rare exception, no one has been shot at, no one has been injured nor have they died. Let’s keep a sense of perspective and positive self-talk about own lives, our family, our business, our clients and our investors. Yes, it may be frustrating, the key investor, customer or prospect rejected an offer we made, the Board aren’t supportive of our great idea or our ability to move with haste has been hindered by others’ procrastination. These things happen. They are mere speed bumps. They are not catastrophic unless you allow them to control your mindset.

© James Berkeley 2017.

Uncommon Leverage

Friday, March 17th, 2017

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On a small number of occasions, I am in a position to, and I have the volition to introduce one of my clients (corporate executive or a HNW private investor) to another member of my global professional communities. My litmus test is a belief that there is a high potential of a mutually-rewarding relationship, formal or informal. My motivation is reciprocal value. The two-way goodwill and value generated between the client and member of my global processional community and both parties with me.

Sometimes there is an immediate reward (a referral, an offer of help or a polite thank you) and on other occasions, a longer-term reward (consideration paid for the value created, more referrals and other non-financial benefits).  I’d say less than 5% of my global communities (circa 2,500 people) ask for my help, unprompted. Of those perhaps only 30% reciprocate with a non-financial reward (referral, reciprocal help, thank you). Less than 20% provide unsolicited feedback on the accuracy of my suggestion and the results that unfolded after the introduction. Only 10% ask for further help unprompted (introductions to others). Yet here is some examples of the reciprocal value created amongst members of my communities with my help in the past 12 months:

  • CEO of a mid-sized European hospitality company introduced to seller of hotel chain, valued at £162M
  • US restaurant franchising business introduced to 6 potential strategic franchising partners in the EMEA region
  • Assertive US buyer of  high growth insurance businesses, introduced to 4 potential sellers, 2 advanced negotiations
  • Asian Family Office introduced to 14 target businesses and 4 direct/co-investors in US and Europe
  • Global insurance executive introduced to 3 new career roles and 4 potential NED roles
  • Publisher of leading financial publication introduced to 3 sponsors and 7 contributors
  • Leading European private equity event host introduced to 3 speakers, and event promoted to 350 potential attendees
  • Real estate advisory firm introduced to 6 sellers of off-market assets totalling $1.9bn
  • Family Office direct investor introduced to 11 potential co-investors
  • 14 high growth entrepreneurs introduced to 33 investors, 4 providers of serviced office space, 22 bankers, 11 lawyers, 14 accountants, 4 graphic designers, 2 web designers and 22 other advisers.

My point here is there are “high potential” people in all our contact databases, who can, and in the right circumstances, have the volition to provide you tremendous reciprocal value. What is there to fear? We know them personally or professionally, we may have spoken this week or perhaps 3 years ago. They have helped others, and you have helped others. They have risen to where they are because they had the volition to ask for help, why should you be any any different? They are not providing reciprocal value to you because

  • In 90% of occasions, you haven’t asked them or in the right way.
  • You lack the discipline and organisation to create leverage.
  • You lack the skills (what language to use) to create leverage
  • You have an attitude problem (“I am too busy”)
  • You seek comfort in pseudo “connectivity” (burgeoning connections or followers on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram) and forego nurturing real relationships (reciprocal value).
  • You don’t hold yourself accountable or accept accountability from others.

All of us have a need to grow our career, our job, our client work, our investor base, our learning and development, our lives, our personal interests and so on. For a great many that is “stop-start”. The problem is nurturing a sufficiently large group of high potential people and gaining their agreement to help (“powerful leverage”) is rarely something that can be accomplished by a shake of the reins. It needs constant nurturing daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.

Ask yourself a simple question, “Who are the 6 people in my contact database, who can have the greatest impact on me getting to where I want to be in 12 months time?” Then, “How do I best elicit their support? (give to get). “What do I need to do more of, stop doing, do in a different way or start afresh, today?” Schedule that in you diary this week. Take action.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Judging People

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

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An Asian investor says to me last week, in response to a rare suggestion that he might want to meet a particular individual, “I have so many people asking to meet me when they are in town, I have to decline most offers. Can you send me a few details.” This just after he has taken 15 minutes to frame, who ideally he would like to meet. We have reached a point where we don’t trust our own judgement and those we invest time soliciting advice from. We are constantly second-guessing ourselves in the belief that a better alternative or use of our time will arise. By all means, be judicious with unsolicited requests to meet but stop procrastinating, start having more faith in your own judgement and those around you. You’ll surprise yourself how much faster you will move towards your goals.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.