>Inspiring Your Authentic Week

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Inspiring Your Authentic Week


Decide, and decide now

Posted: 10 May 2010 12:44 AM PDT

What a weird situation, everything is different and yet everything is the same.

Economic chaos as nations go to financial war with the markets over the control of money management.

Political chaos as the post war order, in the UK and, possibly, Germany is seismically shifted.

Religious chaos as our self appointed moral guides admit they lack moral guidance of their own.

Environmental chaos as seismic activity sees the ground, literally, shifting beneath our feet and even the skies and bees become unpredictable.

What is clear is that major change is occurring. The old norms and attitudes that have defined our lives are over.

Where this ends up is for us to decide, at least to some extent.

It is already clear that the banking system has to become more socially responsible. We are now seeing that the whole principle of debt finance for countries is an immensely risky strategy, and that too will need to change.

In the UK the election has thrown up a result where 36% of the votes has given the Conservative party 47% of the representation, and 23% of the votes has given the the Liberal Democrats 9% of the representation. It has also shown that some votes are more valuable than others http://www.voterpower.org.uk/

We have seen Catholic clergy resign over child abuse admissions and perhaps more importantly we have not seen any corresponding police activity. The leaders of the Catholic church have not come out unequivocally in support of our children, nor have the leaders of the Muslim faith come out, unequivocally in support of peace.

We can influence the agenda with our choices and our voices.

For our personal finances there are already more ethical options (Triodos, Zopa, LETS and in some places local currencies). Choosing an explicitly ethical bank that delivers social value makes a difference.

There is a strong link between representative democracies and the growth of sovereign debt. A bit like a shopaholic with a credit card, voters find it difficult to vote for spending less than the country earns or for the controls to maintain a sustainable level of debt. Switzerland, with a more direct form of democracy, is one of very few countries to maintain sustainable levels of debt.

Following the UK election there is an opportunity for significant political and electoral reform. NOW is the time to make your voice heard.

As well as just and responsible economic and political leadership we also need just and responsible spiritual leadership. It is not enough just to satisfy the head and the stomach, we also need to satisfy the spirit and the soul.

We need our religious leaders to take their spiritual role more seriously than that of protecting their institutions. Again, NOW is the time to insist that our spiritual needs are met.

Are you ready to step up and lead?

Are you ready to train the next generation of leaders?

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If you would are interested in helping to solve these kinds of challenge, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that. The next round of training starts in June.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Don’t get mad, make a difference

Posted: 04 May 2010 12:13 AM PDT

One of the key questions in my “Life Purpose” exercise, which I have used to help over 3000 people articulate their life purpose is “what makes you angry.’

Some people find this question challenging, especially those that have done a lot of inner work and appreciate the Zen aspects of life. But this is not anger like “road rage” or shouting at colleagues, it is more of a moral anger, a sense of right and wrong – and this is an important distinction.

There once was a piece of graffiti in Clerkenwell, London that read “if you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.”

There are many things to be angry about. Anger provides the energy for change and this can be a very positive force.

Without this anger we might tolerate the intolerable: Child labour, homelessness, war, exploitation and environmental damage are things that we need to be angry about.

Some of us will naturally focus more on one outrage than another, and those who focus enough may become activists, determined to stop further damage. Some of those activists may move beyond stopping the outrage and towards finding a solution or a better alternative.

While we bury our anger we may be tolerating the intolerable.

In the course of the 2010 UK elections there has been a lot of talk and “anger” about the MP’s expenses scandal. This scandal has cost the UK population, maybe half a million pounds over the last few years. People are justifiably angry about this, but I wonder if it is not being used to divert attention from a far greater outrage…

There has been some talk about the massive debt, black hole, maybe £160 Billion, maybe more, just in the UK, and the measures that will have to be taken to pay it back.

Surely this represents the greatest financial theft of all time!

Why is there not more outrage?

Millions of citizens around the world will be paying for this theft for the rest of their lives, and quite possibly their children will be paying for it is as well.

Let’s be clear small number of bankers have pocketed (and continue to do so) hundreds of billions of Dollars, Euros AND Pounds. The rest of us will be paying for this through higher taxes and poorer services for the rest of our lives.

This is the consequence of the culture of ego, where individuals are encouraged to think that it is OK for their ambitions to be satisfied by the exploitation of others and the environment.

We need to replace this culture with a culture of authenticity in banks, in business and in politics, where ambition is satisfied through service and the contribution of value to all.

Let’s be angry about the banks, let’s be angry about the politicians who colluded in their excess, but let’s turn that anger towards a positive alternative. Let’s reinvent business, lets’ reinvent banking and let’s reinvent politics in the authentic mould.

We can do this, we just need to harness our anger and direct it towards a positive alternative. Part of the positive alternative will be a new generation of authentic leaders.

Are you ready to step up and lead?

Are you ready to train the next generation of leaders?

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If you would are interested in helping to solve these kinds of challenge, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that. The next round of training starts in June.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Clegg, Cameron, Brown – Authentic?

Posted: 26 Apr 2010 12:12 AM PDT

I know I have been banging on about this for some time, but WOW! The authentic “movement” is becoming more and more evident in the mainstream world.

In the last week I have seen a news presenter (John Snow), a UK prime ministerial candidate (Nick Clegg) and Malcolm McLaren all talk about personal authenticity.

When asked about their strategy for the TV Leaders Debate, all of the party leaders, explain that they plan to just be themselves. Though, you do wonder to what extent that is stage managed advice and how much they really know what it means.

What motivates them is not that important, the point is that politicians and their stage managers have realised that, following on from decades of ego politics, authenticity is the only way. And even if we think we are faking authenticity, we have actually started asking the right questions.

So, who is the most authentic?

I am never comfortable answering this question, either in relation to businesses or individuals, it feels far to judgmental. First let’s clarify the question.

Personal authenticity is about knowing who you are and being it without fear or compromise in all situations. So, a fully authentic leadership candidate would be just as comfortable being themselves in a leadership debate as when relaxing.

In terms of knowing who you are, the baseline is to know your purpose and your values. Your purpose defines the overall direction of your life, your values define the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable to you in the pursuit of your purpose.

Then you also need to know your vision – if you were to create an image of the path to your purpose, what would it look like? What would be some of the key events and achievements?

For the prime ministerial candidates, we might hope that their purpose is something like to heal and nurture the nation. We might hope that they have values around: fairness, integrity, compassion, courage and empowerment. In terms of vision, they will need to have included authentic leadership of the nation. Leadership that brings together, empowers, heals and enriches the people and the nation while keeping it’s people safe and sustainable.

In the Authenticis Authentic Leadership course, we go considerably deeper with self knowledge, as you might expect. We use a combination of two insightful personality profiling tools. The Pathfinder Profiler (based on the Enneagram) and Firo-B.

The Pathfinder Profiler helps us to understand our character, our underlying motivations, preferences and attitudes.

Firo-B helps us to understand our relationships, what we need from them and what we offer to them them in terms of closeness, leadership and openness.

Understanding these things about ourselves (and others) enables us to be far more conscious of and honest about our strengths, weaknesses, fears and risks. It also helps us understand our relationships with others and why we behave the way that we do.

And this is important. It is important because it empowers us to really play to our strengths, to be open about our weaknesses and collaborate with those whose strengths compliment our weaknesses. It also enables us to be aware of and open about aspects of our character that others may find challenging.

So – my analysis of the leaders?

My reading (from what we see in the media is:

Brown appears to have a sense of purpose and values that are mostly (but not entirely) inherited, in other words they are not totally his own. He is also appears not sufficiently self aware to be fully comfortable with is emotions and feelings.

Cameron appears to be aware of his purpose, values and personality, but somehow feels disconnected from them. He seems to believe his purpose is best served by adjusting his appearance for his audience.

Clegg has a well founded sense of self, developed in childhood and never lost. There is an innocence about him relative to the ego’s around him, which, although attractive, might make him vulnerable.

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If you would are interested in helping to solve these kinds of challenge, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that. The next round of training starts in June.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Leading a big life

Posted: 18 Apr 2010 11:37 PM PDT

Why are we here?

Are we here to get by, to simply mind our business, to feather our nests, to look after our own, to reproduce. Or are we here to do something amazing, to contribute to life, our communities, to put a dent in the universe – as Steve Jobs would have it.

It is not necessarily talking about doing something massive that influences the lives of millions or even thousands, but I am talking about doing something with passion and meaning for you. It is about making a difference, it is about making each one of our lives matter.

Many of us get caught up with the idea of “being realistic”, and allow that concept to guide our choices. Please allow me to rant on this, just for a few paragraphs.

The problem with the idea of “being realistic” is that no one, NO ONE, has any idea what is, or is not realistic, until they try, and try at least a couple of different ways.

Think of any big achievement you or anyone else has ever had. In virtually every case it started with someone believing in something and pursuing it. It starts with belief, not proof. Not rational explanation, not evidence, but belief.

Whether it is a sporting, creative, political, commercial, scientific, cultural or any other achievement, it starts with someone or some group believing. And very often it is the scale of our belief that defines the scale of the eventual outcome. The bigger the vision, the bigger the belief, the bigger (potentially) the outcome.

Of course it is not just about belief – there is also commitment, energy, strategy, collaboration, support, hard work and all of those other things, but, few of those other elements will even start without the initial belief.

So – paint your picture, define your big vision, hold onto your passion and you ultimate potential, persuade, cajole and inspire. Whether it is bringing up your children to be confident, empowered and amazing, making your workplace more inspiring, supporting a friend or community, achieving a sporting or creative goal or doing something bigger.

Start by believing in your vision. Then work out what needs to be done to make it a reality. Then do what needs to be done. If one strategy isn’t working, that does not mean the vision is “unrealistic” it just means that you need a different strategy.

I dream of a world populated by unrealistic, unlimited people, all doing amazing things for themselves and for each other. A population uninhibited by untested notions of what is realistic.

I have been honoured to have been invited to contribute to just such a project (actually two, but more on the second one later). It is a web site aimed at inspiring all of us to live our big life, a vivid life, if you like, and that is why it is called Vividlife.

It was started by someone who most “normal” people would regard as an unrealistic dreamer and perhaps he was, until he found another “believer”. Then they found some more, and now they have 80,000 visitors a week to their US site and have just launched in Europe.

This team kindly asked me to contribute with articles and an interview, which we did last week and you can hear it on their website now.

Yes – it takes a bit more effort. Yes – we have to challenge ourselves and our self limiting beliefs. Yes we have to out manouvre the roadblocks and ignore or persuade the “realistic” with their well meaning caution. But in the end if life is worth living it is worth living BIG.

Please pass this message on, email it, facebook it and tweet it, we need everyone to live their lives as if they only get to do it once.

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If you would are interested in helping to solve these kinds of challenge, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that. The next round of training starts in June.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

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With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Lets get it right

Posted: 11 Apr 2010 11:56 PM PDT

The funny thing is that most of us already know what “right” looks like. We might not always be prepared to pursue it, but we know what it looks like.

The core elements of “right” are:

– Sustainability
– Treat others as you would have them treat you
– Evolution

Sustainability means that every system or product we create is inherently capable of being sustained without degrading other systems (such as the biosphere).

The Golden Rule – of treating others as we would have them treat us, means that all human relations and interactions are based in mutual respect and compassion. This includes taking responsibility for our own mess.

Evolution means that there is a constant drive to improvement, seeking better, safer, more valuable ways of doing things.

That’s it – not so complicated really.

If we could check everything we do, invest in or invent against these three criteria society would be become peaceful, safe and sustainable.

The cynical will argue that human nature makes us aggressive, abusive, greedy and vindictive. I am not sure that this is true. On the whole dysfunctional behaviour seems to have more to do with insecurity than human nature.

In spite of the evidence of the media, by far the majority of people live and want to live peaceful, caring and compassionate lives.

If we want to create a sustainable, compassionate and progressive society we need to be those things ourselves. And rather than confronting, criticising and condemning anyone who fails to live up to “our” standards, we need to build their self confidence, so that they no longer feel the need to aggress.

If we can meet aggression, wherever we find it, not with aggression, but with a determination not to accept it or be deflected by it. If we can look for the cause of the aggressors insecurity and heal it, we can change the paradigm.

This is another example of authentic leadership – and can be applied in all directions in all situations.

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If you would are interested in helping to solve these kinds of challenge, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that. The next round of training starts in June.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Crisis, change and leadership

Posted: 06 Apr 2010 12:03 AM PDT

Not so long ago corporations were the bad guys for many. A string of disasters and cover-ups from Bhopal to Enron via child labour and crashing cars, saw terrible press, protests and tumbling share prices.

On the whole corporate leaders have learned from these experiences. They have learned to treat people with far more respect and care. They have learned that it is both risky and counter productive to cover-up. They have learned that it is far better to deal with the issues and move on.

Twenty years ago, it seemed to many that the largest corporations were omnipotent and uncaring. Today that has changed very significantly. The internet enabling victims to tell their story, films like The Corporation, SuperSize Me and Bowling for Columbine and scandals in the mainstream media, have all contributed to the “Corporate Social Responsibility” industry and convinced most corporate leaders that responsibility is the best course.

Today situations like “McLibel”, where McDonalds pursued two penniless protestors through the courts for years, seem almost unthinkable.

Learning flows through society, with different groups learning the same lessons at different times, depending on their particular situation.

At the moment, it is the turn of banks, politicians and the Catholic Church to learn the lessons of care and responsibility.

If they are able to learn the lessons and reinvent themselves as responsible contributors to society they might flourish again. If not people will create or find more relevant alternatives.

Certainly we need a new breed of political leadership focussed around service to society rather than to the individual politician’s ego.

We need a new breed of financial services which seeks to promote prosperity for customers as well as itself.

We need spiritual leaders who are humble in their service, rather than defenders of an institution.

As always, those who prosper are ahead of the curve. They take uncomfortable decisions early. They take responsibility, clean up the mess, transform and reboot.

Deliberate and conscious change requires at least some individuals to step forward and lead. To take a risk, to stand up for what they believe in, to go against the tide of their peers. This is Authentic Leadership.

The choice seems to be between leadership or crisis. With strong leadership the crisis can be avoided or mitigated, because the strong leaders will speak the uncomfortable truth and take uncomfortable decisions before it becomes a crisis.

Without strong leadership the crisis is necessary, and so warning signs are ignored and the crisis plays out. If the leadership then emerges there is the opportunity for renewal.

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If you would are interested in helping to solve these kinds of challenge, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that. The next round of training starts in June.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

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With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

A bit of both

Posted: 26 Mar 2010 03:49 AM PDT

It is, of course, impossible to focus on two things at once. Focus implies a single point – not two.

Perhaps this is why it has been so tempting for businesses to focus on profit at the expense of so much else, and for public sector organisations to focus on, often, over simplistic targets.

At the other end of the scale you have idealists who would prefer that we focus on higher matters.

The reality is that to focus on either at the expense of the other is limiting.

If we focus on stuff at the expense of meaning we will be unfulfilled. If we focus on meaning at the expense of stuff we will be unsustained.

In my understanding, whether personal or organisational, our “mission” is the stuff that sustains us. This is about putting food on the table, living in a comfortable way, having the freedom to access enough of life’s pleasures and enough to avoid financial stress.

“Purpose” is about meaning, it is our spiritual “why?” It is what motivates, inspires, engages and excites us.

The plain fact is that to sustain anything, satisfactorily over time, we need both.

As we have so clearly seen, over and over again, when we focus on mission alone, the lack of spiritual fulfilment makes it very difficult to include the concept of “enough”. We end up spinning wildly out of control as we desperately seek fulfilment in a place where it does not exist.

On the other hand spiritual seekers who neglect their physical needs can end up bitter and cynical, or dependent on those who have taken the other road.

So, if we cannot focus on both and we cannot focus on either, what can we do?

It is difficult to make “purpose” a consequence of “mission” – although there is the option of making purpose subsequent to mission. Make your fortune and then spend it on your purpose – Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, for example.

However we can design our business or income so that our mission is a consequence of our purpose.

The advantage of doing it this way around is that all of the inspiration, motivation, dedication and energy of pursuing our purpose can contribute to our mission as well.

A good friend of mine is discovering that his purpose is to redesign our societies financial systems in a fairer and more sustainable way. The energy, focus and dedication he has to this purpose is awesome. I would not bet against him delivering on this purpose and achieving a very comfortable “mission” along the way.

The future is:
Temporal and spiritual
Mission and Purpose
Left brain and right.

My purpose is “to heal the world through authenticity”

I believe that my contribution to this is to bring more authenticity into businesses and other organisations. To do this I leading the creation of a new kind of “wiki” business consultancy called Authenticis

Authenticis helps organisations deliver more successfully on their mission through delivering on their inspiring and authentic purpose. We do this through training Authentic Leaders and supporting Authentic Transformation for businesses from mission focus to purpose led.

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If your purpose is similar to mine, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that.

“If not now, then when? If not you, then who?”

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

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nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

The demise of the egoholic

Posted: 19 Mar 2010 07:17 AM PDT

We all know them, we have seen them at school, in work and we see them playing politics on TV and in the news.

The egoholic needs to control people and often to demean and belittle them, in order to validate themselves.

Whatever authority they have relies on their title, their uniform or intimidation.

When I was younger this kind of “authority” was normal, thankfully in modern organisations these characters are increasingly rare.

What drives people to behave this way is their own insecurity. Insecurity or lack of self confidence can lead to dramatically different behaviours. At one end of the spectrum insecurity can lead people to be reticent and hold back, at the other end to be arrogant and intimidating.

Businesses and organisations increasingly realise that they do not get the best out of people through fear. We will never go the extra mile or be at our most creative for those we are afraid of. Instead there is a simmering resentment and a desire for change.

The new approach is to be encouraging, to focus on people’s strengths, their interests, their values and their passions. It is supportive, coaching, nurturing even, allowing team members to make the most of their talents in service to the organisation.

When people feel aligned with their work and supported in their efforts, they give more, they try harder and they achieve greater results. We know this is true of ourselves – so why would it be different for others?

To deliver this level of support organisations need an advanced form of leadership. Leadership that is based on an inner confidence: Leadership that can admit fears and weakness, rather than covering them up. Leadership that can trust others to do be responsible, rather than seeking to control them. Leadership that can empower people to take decisions based on their values and experience rather than interfering.

This is the essence of Authentic Leadership and the organisations they lead enjoy the benefits of authenticity.

The results of egoholic leadership are all around us and are blighting our lives and worse for many. At the very least we are paying more tax to fund the excesses of egoholic bankers and to pay for the conflicts caused by egoholic politicians.

It is time to say good-bye to the egoholic. Your drive and determination was valuable in it’s day, it lead us to a far deeper and greater sense of personal responsibility. Now it is time to move on.

The organisations that flourish today are the ones that are authentic. They generate profits (or achieve their objectives) through the pursuit of a profound and positive purpose. Their authentic leaders inspire and energise the organisation to achieve great things for themselves, their organisation, their community and society as a whole.

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite.

This week on 24 March I am doing a Teleseminar with my friend Nick Williams of Inspired Entrepreneur. We will be discussing the profound benefits of authenticity in business and leadership. We will be exploring examples and looking at how all of us can benefit from our authenticity. Click here for more details.

From the 28-30 April 2010 I offer Authentic Leadership by Bike in Mallorca – more info

17-19 May 2010 with Judy Fraser, we offer Spiritual SatNav – A Tour Guide For Life Today also inMallorca, – more info

If you would like to start a supported journey towards your authentic leadership lets have a chat about what would work best for you.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

In alignment with this new direction I also have new contact details:

Mobile +34 646391384
Skype: neilcrofts
e-mail: neil@neilcrofts.com

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Be the leader others choose to follow

Posted: 15 Mar 2010 12:38 AM PDT

For a long time I believed in the power of the masses, that somehow enough people would wake up and realise what was going on and decide to change things.

Ultimately, of course, this is still the only way that change actually happens, but there is a critical step in between. That critical step is leadership.

For any shift to take place a smaller group of people have to be prepared to step up and step forward, to be the change. To set the example and show the way forwards.

When times are tough, and in the absence of more positive alternatives, people can be drawn to extremes. Now, more than ever we need those with balance, with humility and with a love for all life to step up and lead.

The leadership we need is:

Thinking long term – and still able to deliver the short term wins that keep people on side.

Holistic big picture, non partisan, universal – and still able to be embraced by disparate groups.

Able to fully engage all based on their own inner drive and passion – and focus them on the common goal.

Confident enough to admit their own weaknesses and inspire the right team to compliment them to cover all of the bases.

Strong enough and focussed enough to withstand the pressure – vulnerable enough to show fallibility so others feel needed.

Courageous enough to stand up for what they believe in no matter what the tide of opinion.

Inspiring enough to truly lead. Engaging enough to connect with and energise a body of people.

We urgently need this shift in both business and in the public sector, to rebuild the economy, restore the ecosystem and create the possibility of peace.

There are examples of this leadership and those examples prove, beyond question, that this leadership, authentic leadership, delivers greater success, bigger profits, faster growth and greater financial and environmental sustainability.

Today, we are launching Authentic Leadership, on the web site you can see shining examples of this kind of leadership and the success that it can enable.

Authentic Leadership
is a service of Authenticis. A network of truly exceptional consultants all committed to bringing the power and benefits of authenticity to all kinds of organisation.

Through Authentic Leadership our purpose is to train and coach a growing band of outstanding leaders who will guide businesses and governments to sustainable and multidimensional success. Success that delivers for the poor as well as the rich, success that delivers for the planet as well as the pocket, success that secures our future and our children’s future.

We want you to join us in this mission, either as an authentic leader or as a consultant training authentic leaders and contributing to making the change we so urgently need.

Can you be the leader that others will choose to follow?
We are looking forward to working with you.

On 17 March in Bristol I will be speaking on “Authentic Leadership: the path to sustainable business” with Juliet Davenport from Good Energy and Alastair Sawday from Special Places to Stay. Let me know if you would like more details.

From the 28-30 April 2010 I offer Authentic Leadership by Bike in Mallorca – more info

17-19 May 2010 with Judy Fraser, we offer Spiritual SatNav – A Tour Guide For Life Today also inMallorca, – more info

If you would like to start a supported journey towards your authentic leadership lets have a chat about what would work best for you.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

In alignment with this new direction I also have new contact details:

Mobile +34 646391384
Skype: neilcrofts
e-mail: neil@neilcrofts.com

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Critical Distress Factors

Posted: 08 Mar 2010 12:37 AM PST

The idea of these Monday morning e-mails is, very specifically, to encourage us to pause, before we start our week and to think about what we are going to with our time and our energy over the next five days. Will we solve more problems than we create, will we add or subtract value and so on.

The ideal would be that somehow we could all be solving problems and adding value for ourselves, our organisation and our society at the same time.

I am extremely optimistic on the whole, but these days I am worried. Our society is behaving like a wild and unruly teenager. I guess that is just the stage of evolution we are at. Of course there are bright spots, examples of brilliance, tasters of what could be. But the bright spots are surrounded by a dark and forbidding sea.

Fundamentalism whether in business, politics, religion or anything else is, by definition unbalanced. It is also unhealthy for the individuals, for their organisations and for society as a whole.

Many of the problems we face have been created by extremism. Extreme consumption, extreme banking, extreme politics and extreme religion.

The obvious solution is to extremism is balance, but instead the voices that are getting the upper hand seem to be more extreme, not more balanced. The far political right, for example, seems to be gaining influence as people hunt for answers to their discomfort.

It is of course far easier to lead in the extremes than in the centre. The rhetoric of the extremes can seem bold, exciting and satisfying, at least in the short term. The story of the centre, by contrast, can seem tame, soft and unsatisfying.

With the smallest knowledge of history it is starkly obvious that more extreme leadership leads to more extreme problems. We desperately need to follow a balanced, uniting middle path, NOT a divisive, separating extreme path.

To make this a reality we need great leaders, leading with balance. If you believe in balance, harmony, peace, sustainability it is time for you to step up and lead. To lead balanced businesses, balanced religions, balanced organisations and balanced public services.

Balance is not weak and it does not need to be gentle, it can be strong and it can be powerful. We need great authentic leaders in every organisation at every level.

Are you ready to step up and lead?

Are you ready to stand up and be counted?

If you want to understand the power that is possible to access from the centre join me on the journey of authentic leadership.

On 17 March in Bristol I will be speaking on “Authentic Leadership: the path to sustainable business” with Juliet Davenport from Good Energy and Alastair Sawday from Special Places to Stay. Let me know if you would like more details.

From the 28-30 April 2010 I offer Authentic Leadership by Bike in Mallorca – more info

17-19 May 2010 with Judy Fraser, we offer Spiritual SatNav – A Tour Guide For Life Today also inMallorca, – more info

If you would like to start a supported journey towards your authentic leadership lets have a chat about what would work best for you.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

In alignment with this new direction I also have new contact details:

Mobile +34 646391384
Skype: neilcrofts
e-mail: neil@neilcrofts.com

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Stop!

Posted: 28 Feb 2010 10:52 PM PST

Modern life seem is relentlessly busy. Busy at work, busy at, play, busy at home. Even when we are not busy we keep ourselves, and our minds, occupied with busyness – like TV. We seldom ever stop.

Why are we so busy?

Is it because there is so much to do, or is there another reason?

I was involved in a workshop a few weeks ago. I was timing a team while they completed a complicated exercise, seeking the best time.

The team did the exercise three times, twice fast, then on the third one they made a mistake and took much longer. Before they started the fourth round they paused for 10 seconds, then blazed through faster than ever – more than 10 seconds faster. Even including the 10 second pause, they were faster than any of the other teams.

A machine has an optimum speed. You set it at that speed and leave it. We are not machines. We don’t work like machines.

Even in something as seemingly straightforward as a cycling time trial it is not about identifying an optimum level of effort and staying there.

The level of effort is constantly adjusted to the conditions and the most important adjustment is to look for recovery opportunities that offer the greatest rest for the least loss of speed.

Effectiveness in life demands recovery too. If we just keep blasting along, demanding the same performance hour after, hour and day after day our performance diminishes. Like the woodcutter who had so many trees to cut that he didn’t make time to sharpen his axe.

Just like in the cycling analogy we need multiple layers of recovery alongside our effort to maximise effectiveness.

We need regular breaks during the day, we need regular breaks during the month and we need regular breaks during the year.

It is not just about allowing our body to recover, it is also about allowing our minds to recover. But – it is not just about changing from one busyness to another busyness (like watching TV), although that is better than nothing. It is about giving our mind a break, a little like “defragmenting” a computer drive.

All of the data of our lives, everything we experience and everything we think gushes into our mind and needs to be sorted and stored. One interesting (if not very scientific) estimate suggests it would take 14901 terabytes or 3.2 million 4.7 gigabyte DVDs, just to map the connections in our brains, let alone the content!

We need to create space to assimilate this information and to give our minds time to absorb it all. Sleep, of course, is the primary mode of recovery for the mind and body and it is literally vital to get enough.

However if we really want to ‘sharpen our axe” we need more, meditation offers a more focussed form of “defragmenting” our minds and can provide the kind of daily pause that helps us focus and be more effective for less effort.

Consciously releasing tensions and clarifying our direction also make a huge difference. It can be easy to go fast – but what is the benefit if you are going in the wrong direction?

And this is the point. Perhaps the main reason we keep ourselves so busy is not about effectiveness at all, but about avoiding facing the question about the direction we are heading in. If we have invested heavily in the wrong direction – it may seem easier to keep busy and ignore the question.

Since the beginning of this year I have been testing my own direction. My conclusion is that although close (as most of us are) it has not been exactly correct.

My testing has come through an enormously challenging start to the year, characterised by disconnection. I have been disconnected from home by being away as well as being disconnected through both mobile and internet disconnections – we have been without internet at home (where I work) for six weeks now! I am now aligning myself better and connection is improving.

My new direction is to focus much more closely on authentic leadership and deeper spiritual development and I have been developing new events and ideas around that, some of which I am announcing today.

On 17 March in Bristol I will be speaking on “Authentic Leadership: the path to sustainable business” with Juliet Davenport from Good Energy and Alastair Sawday from Special Places to Stay. Let me know if you would like more details.

From the 28-30 April 2010 I offer Authentic Leadership by Bike in Mallorca – more info

17-19 May 2010 with Judy Fraser, we offer Spiritual SatNav – A Tour Guide For Life Today also inMallorca, – more info

If you would like to create that space to check your direction and defrag your mind, lets have a chat about what would work best for you.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

In alignment with this new direction I also have new contact details:

Mobile +34 646391384
Skype: neilcrofts
e-mail: neil@neilcrofts.com

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

What do you mean?

Posted: 21 Feb 2010 11:32 PM PST

Meaning is subjective, especially the meaning of your life. What we are here for is highly individual. However in the process of helping over 3000 people to articulate their “Life’s Purpose” there are some common themes.

Meaning and purpose are vitally important to people, without it we loose direction, we drift. Most of us will have experienced periods of drifting and we know the sense of emptiness it engenders.

Conversely, most of us have experienced periods of great purpose – whether it was a project or a role lasting a day or a decade. We also know how invigorating and energising it is.

Our life’s purpose provides a sense of direction for our life as a whole, overarching other more focused purpose periods. Our life purpose evolves with us. It is, in a sense, the sum of who we are, our DNA plus our experience. The more cumulative experience we have the less one event is likely to change our purpose.

When we are young our purpose is dynamic shifting to reflect new experiences and learning. As we get older and accumulate more experiences it takes a bigger event to change our purpose. But one really big experience can still completely change our purpose.

Our life purpose is not a vision. It is not a destination, it is a direction. It shows us which way to face, in which direction to look for our vision. Our vision is a more tangible goal we can create a strategy to achieve in the direction of our purpose.

A life lived “on purpose” is filled with meaning. The challenges and lessons we face become tolerable, even valuable, because they help us move towards our purpose. When we have a clear purpose and vision it is far easier to care for ourselves and for those around us. It is far easier to overcome challenges, because they can be seen in the context of the purpose. It is far harder to be distracted by less healthy pursuits.

Over the course of helping many people to articulate their purpose I have noticed some themes. One is that, so far at least, no one has had a “negative” purpose and no one has had a purpose that was only to do with money.

In fact there are three clear themes that everyones life purpose falls into. Community. Environment. Art.

Community – is about the community of people, anything that supports or enhances the human community.

Environment – is about the community of life, anything that supports or enhances the community of life, not just humans.

Art – is about the communication of spirit. those whose purpose is to inspire and connect to a higher level.

All of these purposes are about evolutionary progress, about helping us move onwards. The question is – towards what?

From the evidence I see, my belief is that we have the potential to move to another level, a level of peace and sustainability and this is what we are evolving towards.

We also have the potential to fail. Failure can occur at two levels. The level we are familiar with is “go back around and try again”. The level we are less familiar with is the dinosaur level – “time for another species to have a go”.

It falls to our generation to make this choice. Our parents were the first generation of humans to face this choice on a global scale, they chose progress over nuclear enforced regression. Our generation still has the capacity for nuclear regression, but we have added a few more levers of destruction as well.

We need to make the right choices at every level or our society. We need every individual to be able to realise their full potential. We need every individual, organisation and institution to be working for the greater good as well as their own good. We need the level and quality of leadership that will enable it to happen. Are you ready to be one of those leaders?

If you would like to explore your authentic leadership potential I am now offering dedicated authentic leadership one to one coaching and will be offering authentic leadership courses as well. If you want to know more drop me a line.

I am now teaching both my authentic business consulting (including Authentic Leadership) and my authentic business coaching methodologies. With collaborators I am also building an infrastructure to support practitioners to help them develop themselves and their business.

If this sounds like it could be for you – give me a call.

On 17 March in Bristol I will be speaking on “Authentic Leadership: the path to sustainable business” with Juliet Davenport from Good Energy and Alastair Sawday from Special Places to Stay. Let me know if you would like more details.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+44 (0)7775 658534
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

Breakthrough Leadership

Posted: 15 Feb 2010 12:01 AM PST

We live in interesting and challenging times.

What is clear is that, for a number of reasons, the old ways of doing things either no longer work or are rapidly approaching their sell by date.

Reasons include: Banking turmoil and financial uncertainty, environmental damage, the rise of new political forces such as China and India, digital media and the internet, peak oil and energy security.

If you are running a company or a country, how are you going to move beyond coping with these challenges and turn them into opportunities?

Most countries and many companies are in need of a breakthrough in terms of leadership. Not just an improvement but a total upgrade.

It is very clear that leadership based on ego and title no longer connect with people. Even Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s “King of Spin” recently said "The only communication that works now really is where people are being utterly authentic. The public, they hear all this stuff about spin, they know the media spin, the politicians do it and they can see when people are being authentic."

Partly this is because there has been so much deceit, so little honesty that we have become more sensitive to it. Partly this is because blogs, twitter, social networking, e-mail, smart phones and all the other digital kit make everything transparent. Things that might have been hushable 10 years ago now spring out all over the place, immediately.

To lead today you need complete personal integrity and confidence, based on deep self knowledge. You also need to be fully digitally literate and be powerfully positive based on strategic insight and an ability to offer people inspiration and intrinsic motivation. You need to be a great and empathetic communicator with steely determination, capable of both sticking to your agenda AND accommodating the needs of others. Above all you need to be authentic.

Try scoring yourself out of 10 in this self evaluation:

I know and live by my values.

Everything I do delivers on my purpose

I have a clear vision that I pursue

I know what I need to do to deliver on my vision and purpose

I always have a plan which I carry out

I review and adjust my plans and strategy regularly

I am fully digitally literate and confident in the relative merits of a variety of social media

People find me inspiring and want to support my strategies

I gain insight from listening to people, I care about their needs

Win, win, win opportunities are my minimum threshold

I love myself and the results of what I do.

0 – 50: With some focussed personal development you could start thinking of yourself as a potential leader
51 – 90: With some focussed leadership development you could run for President/Prime Minister
91 – 110: Please run for President/Prime Minister etc

We are facing many apparently intractable challenges today both in business and in the public sector: How to maintain the economy in the face of climate change, how to maintain profitability and reduce carbon emissions. How to manage energy security. How to manage finance in a rapidly shifting banking environment. How to deliver for the poor without alienating the rich. And so on

We need leaders with the personal power, strategic subtlety and integrity to inspire, motivate and negotiate these challenges. We need our leaders to create breakthroughs to a more a more peaceful and sustainable level, not just to manage the crisis.

If you would like to explore your authentic leadership potential I am now offering dedicated authentic leadership one to one coaching and will be offering authentic leadership courses as well. If you want to know more drop me a line.

I am now teaching both my authentic business consulting (including Authentic Leadership) and my authentic business coaching methodologies. With collaborators I am also building an infrastructure to support practitioners to help them develop themselves and their business.

If either of these sounds like it could be for you – give me a call.

On 17 March in Bristol I will be speaking on “Authentic Leadership: the path to sustainable business” with Juliet Davenport from Good Energy and Alastair Sawday from Special Places to Stay. Let me know if you would like more details.

The next round of consultant training starts on the 16th of February 2010.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Become a fan on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+44 (0)7775 658534
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

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About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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