Are you socially intelligent about social media?

Are you socially intelligent about social media?

With my executive coaching clients I often develop aspects of their Emotional Intelligence (which some call social intelligence) to help improve their communication and relationship skills: self-awareness, so that when situations arise you are aware of your own feeling and emotions; self management, which allows you to pause in your reaction, assess the situation, consider your desired outcome and choose an appropriate response; social awareness, to detect and understand the reaction that your communication or […]

Listen with your eyes

pay attention listen with your eyes beautiful woman

In his book “Have a Little Faith”, Mitch Albom includes the following story: “A little girl came home from school with a drawing she’d made in class.  She danced into the kitchen where her mother was preparing dinner. ‘Mom, guess what?’ she squeaked, waving the drawing. Her mother never looked up. ‘What?’ she said, tending to the pots. ‘Guess what?’ the child repeated, waving the drawing. ‘What?’ the mother said, tending to the plates. ‘Mom, […]

Do you make excellent mistakes?


Daniel Pink’s book “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” is probably the most nonconformist book on career development I’ve come across.  Although it looks from the outside to be a normal paperback book, it’s actually in the form of a manga comic book and tells the story of Johnny Bunko, some magic chopsticks and Johnny’s quest to find a way out of his dead-end job.   Johnny ends up learning six important lessons about obtaining a satisfying and successful […]

Which side of the bed did you get up on?

smashing alarm clock with hammer

Has anyone ever asked you this question?  This query is normally aimed at people who are behaving particularly grouchy on the day in question.  It can also sometimes be used by people trying to explaining away their own bad day – “I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and everything that could go wrong has.”  Now of course, which physical side of the bed you get out of isn’t actually going to […]

When the going gets tough

Earlier this week I ‘appeared’ on the “Just Do It!” show presented by Ali Crook on MarlowFM, a community radio station here in the UK. Ali’s show provides ideas for listeners to live life to the full and I’d be invited on to talk about some of the major challenges I’ve faced in my own life. During the conversation we got onto discussing what happens when you’re trying to achieve that great goal you’ve set, but your motivation levels drop and the progress slows down or comes to a halt. What do you do then? There is a plethora of personal development books out there giving a whole host of methods for achieving your goals, so knowing which methods work and which don’t can be difficult. Thankfully in recent years there has been a lot of psychological research into this area, much of which Professor Richard Wiseman summarises in his book “59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot”. In one of his own studies, involving over 5,000 participants, Wiseman looked at what techniques people used for achieving goals and which generally worked and which didn’t. For example, visualisation in terms of fantasising about how your life will be when you’ve achieved that goal, something widely promoted in self-help books, was seen not to work when used in isolation; and indeed some studies have shown it to be detrimental. However, whilst I’d certainly agree that visualisation alone doesn’t work – achieving goals requires action - I think it’s a useful step to help formulate the goal and to get the unconscious mind to look for the opportunities you need to achieve your goal. So here are six things that the research says you should be doing: • Make a step by step plan. Large goals are good for generating excitement and motivation; however having one big step is usually too big to appear achievable. Plan out some intermediate, stepping-stone goals. Make the steps as small as you personally need them to be to make them achievable. This is something I’ve covered in a previous blog “Taking one step at a time”. • Consider the obstacles. This instinctively seems the wrong thing to do; however the reality is things will get in the way of you achieving your goal. You need to be optimistic in achieving the goal, but at the same time realistic about some of the problems that will occur. As setbacks inevitably occur, instead of just giving up on the whole goal, you simply see it as part of the journey and get on with the task of overcoming them. • Tell other people about your goals. Keeping things to yourself helps ease the fear of failure and makes it too easy to avoid changing your life and drift back into bad habits. So make yourself accountable to others. • Think about the good things that will happen. This is the benefits and rewards you will reap when you achieve your goal. Conversely, the research shows that thinking about the bad things that will occur if you fail is generally not useful. • Reward yourself for progress. This one is missed out by many people. They seem to think they’re only allowed a reward when they achieve the final goal. Not the case. Reward each step; however it does need to be appropriate of course - if you’re trying to lose weight, rewarding yourself with a big restaurant meal is not going to help. • Record progress in a journal or chart. This makes progress to your goal seem more concrete. Expressing progress in writing helps remind you of the positive progress you’re making. Finally, when you find your motivation flagging and procrastination sets in, remember motivation by itself doesn’t achieve a goal, taking action does. If necessary create smaller steps and take even smaller actions. It’s been found that if people can simply work on an activity for a few minutes, they often feel an urge to see it through to completion. Persistence is key; remember ... “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill Mike Jones specialises in helping people to achieve their goals and improve performance. If you would like help to improve your and your team’s performance call him now on +44 (0)1908 509088 or email

Earlier this week I ‘appeared’ on the “Just Do It!” show presented by Ali Crook on MarlowFM, a community radio station here in the UK.  Ali’s show provides ideas for listeners to live life to the full and I’d be invited on to talk about some of the major challenges I’ve faced in my own life.  During the conversation we got onto discussing what happens when you’re trying to achieve that great goal you’ve set, but your motivation levels […]

How are you today?

businessman stretches out hand

A seemingly innocuous question you may think.  One we ask each other all the time, simply as part of a greeting.  But what is your response when people ask you?  Imagine in your head now, we’ve just met face-to-face, perhaps shook hands and I say “How are you today?”  What do you say? I’ve been noting people’s responses to this question recently and in my very un-scientific poll the vast majority of people respond with […]

Leaning down the hill

Downhill skier leaning down steep slope

Back when I was a coder, writing software for a big systems house, one of my assignments took me to Switzerland for a year.  I’d originally learnt to ski by going on the odd school skiing trip; however living in Switzerland gave me lots of opportunity to improve. However my progress soon plateaued when I got to the black runs. Standing there on a steep slope looking down, my natural tendency was to lean back […]

Are you feeling lucky?

Business woman throwing dice

Would you consider yourself lucky?  Would you like to be luckier than you feel you are?  Then read on. In his book, “The Luck Factor”, Richard Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, looks at the experimental evidence for some people being luckier than others and concludes that people make their own luck.  In one of his own experiments he gave participants a newspaper and asked them to count […]

How quickly do you judge?

Judges Gavel

One of my past roles was head of a group of business consultants in a software business selling multi-million pound specialist software to the energy sector.  Building the team from scratch was not an easy task. Finding good consultants with the appropriate knowledge, experience and skills was challenging.  Our consultants were quite often amongst the first people to go into new companies, supporting the sales people.  They had to be seen as credible, knowledgeable, articulate, […]

You had more sweets – It’s not fair

Smarties in a sweet jar

I was aged five for the majority of 1966.  Many things happened in 1966: England beat Germany in the World Cup Final, Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali) defeated Henry Cooper in two title fights and Harold Wilson with the Labour party won the British General Election.  However none of that was significant to me as a five year old.  The following year when I was six, my enduring memory of 1966 was that I’d given […]