Top Tips on Leadership – PART 2


6 photo collage titles etc 2 large for ActiveC
What makes a successful leader and how do you continue to be successful when the inevitable challenges come along? 
Gary asked a number of Senior Executives from different sectors of the Insurance market for their top tips and advice. 


3) How do you handle the daily challenges of running a business?

Andy Fairchild Get up early and use the first couple of hours every day to get stuff done and clear your mind.

Andrew BennettThrough solid fact based decision making and always understanding the numbers, risks and mitigations of any important move.

Greg GladwellInvest time in planning, bags of energy, tenacity and resilience, a great PA, be confident working with uncertainty and decision making, find 2-3 trusted confidants, listen to frontline staff and clients.

Steve Groves Humour – the variety of the job is great but sometimes you need to see the funny side or you’d go mad/explode!

Karen Beales  Work closely with your colleagues, listen to what they are saying but build a great culture – you want people who want to work with / for you and the rest will flow much easier!

Mike Srokowski Be aware of the main objective – try to stay focussed on achieving it and do my best to avoid succumbing to distractions.

4) Which business leader do you admire and why?  

Andy Fairchild Jobs because he trusted his customer-led instinct and not market research.

Andrew BennettJon Dye at Allianz, always with his people, always asking the difficult questions in a supportive manner.dye jobes sugar

Greg Gladwell Any entrepreneur who has taken a start-up past £1m turnover and sustained it.

Steve Groves I don’t admire business leaders as a rule, I admire charity workers, healthcare

professionals and people giving up their lives to help others.

Karen Beales No single person, different people for different reasons. There are some great people managers but also some entrepreneurial innovative individuals who inspire us.

Mike Srokowski – Sir Alan Sugar. Living proof that by understanding market drivers and applying a common sense approach, you can succeed in business. 



Change Begins with Choice

tree rooted

If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.

Any day we wish, we can discipline ourselves to make important changes in our lives.
Any day we wish, we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge.
Any day we wish, we can start a new activity.
Any day we wish, we can start the process of life change.
We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.

We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain as we are. We can choose rest over labour, entertainment over education, delusion over truth and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make. But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause.

As Shakespeare uniquely observed, “The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves.” We created our current circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions.

They need the truth They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth. We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead us down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how our life works out. And then we must make the very choices that will bring life, happiness and joy into our daily lives.

And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life: If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life—and it all begins with your very own power of choice.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

6 Ways to Act on Your Ambition

completing success

Success isn’t in the having. Success is in the doing

1. If you’re faced with a mental roadblock, put it down on paper.
Remember, creativity is the first requirement for self-enterprise. When you put a problem on paper, you take the emotion out of it. With the emotion gone, you can look at the roadblock objectively. You can figure out what you did right. You can figure out what you did wrong. You can figure out how to change it.

Pick a problem out of your head and pull out a piece of paper. And then draw a line down the middle. On the left-hand side, jot down the problem. On the other side, you put the solutions. And I have three questions you must ask yourself to find the solutions:

What can I do?
What could I read? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel… do your homework and find the solution.
Who could I ask? Approach them and say, “I’ve researched this material and I’m still short. Can you help me?”

2. Develop the ability to brainstorm.
We hear this term all the time. But what is brainstorming? It’s letting your brain go. It’s being free from all inhibitions and objections and negatives—just putting an idea into your brain and letting it take off, not planning a train of thought, but thinking freely.

Effective brainstorming can only happen if you’re free from your ego. You can’t be worried about saying something stupid, or silly, or totally off the wall. Because your silly thought may trigger someone else’s brain to take it one step further. Brainstorming in a group is an experience of collective thought, an experience of developing one idea, or several ideas, through a variety of thought processes.

It can’t be effective unless everyone involved is comfortable with each other. If you don’t feel comfortable within the group, you may withhold the very thought that provides the solution to the problem.

3. Imagine outlandish solutions.
This is really an extension of No. 2. Get your brain out of the rut by considering ideas without considering their practicality.

If you allow yourself to think without confinement, you might come up with a solution that seems totally inappropriate. But it also allows you to open up the process, which will eventually lead to appropriate solutions.

4. Doodle. That’s right: Doodle.
The thing you got in trouble for in middle school is actually quite stimulating to the brain. Because the way you think while doodling is quite different from the way you think while creating a flow chart or writing a formula.

Your doodles might end up looking like some symbol that will trigger your brain to think of an alternative solution. Doodling wakes up a different part of your brain. Try creating your flow chart to success. It doesn’t matter if it ends up being accurate or not. What matters is that it’s stimulating the creative thought process.

Once you awaken that creative part of you, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that were always there, ones you never saw before. It’s all a matter of how you look at life and opportunities.

5. Access the information highway.
You need to start networking with people whom you’d otherwise never meet.

6. Commit yourself to learning.
Feed your mind. Sharpen your interest in two major subjects: life and people. Learn how you can better interact with others. Learn more on how to get the most from life. Learn all that you can so you can become all that you can become.

Learning is the beginning of a life worth living.
Learning is the beginning of wealth.
Learning is the beginning of happiness.
Learning is the beginning of health.
Learning and searching is where the process of creating your own personal miracle begins.
Learning is the beginning of self-enterprise.

Keep learning!

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

10 Thoughts of a Wise Man


  • “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” 
  • “Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.”
  • “When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.”
  • “All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.”
  • “The greatest thing a man can do in this world, is to make the most possible out of the stuff that has been given him. This is success, and there is no other.”
  • “Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”
  • “The universe is one great kindergarten. Everything that exists has brought with it its own peculiar lesson. The mountain teaches stability and grandeur; the ocean immensity and change. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon our soul.”
  • “We cannot rise higher than our thought of ourselves.”
  • “Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.”
  • “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.”
Dr. Orison Swett Marden (1848–1924) was an American inspirational author who wrote about achieving success in life and founded SUCCESS magazine in 1897. His writings discuss common-sense principles and virtues that make for a well-rounded, successful life. 

Final 15 New Rules of Work

rules 3

Here is the last of the list, we hope that you continue to quietly consider implementing them as well as discussing them at your next team meeting:   
1. Remember that a job is only just a job if all you see it as is a job. 

2. Don’t do your best work for the applause it generates but for the personal pride it delivers. 

3. The only standard worth reaching for is BIW (Best In World). 

4. In the new world of business, everyone works in Human Resources. 

5. In the new world of business, everyone’s part of the Leadership Team. 

6. Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well. 

7. You become your excuses. 

8. You’ll get your game-changing ideas away from the office versus in the middle of work. Make time for solitude. Creativity needs the space to present itself. 

9. It could take you 30 years to build a great reputation and 30 seconds of bad judgment to lose it. 

10. The client is always watching. 

11. The way you do one thing defines the way you’ll do everything. Every act matters. 

12. People want to be inspired to pursue a vision. It’s your job to give it to them. 

13. The purpose of work is to help people. The other rewards are inevitable by-products of this singular focus. 

14. Remember that the things that get scheduled are the things that get done. 

15. Keep promises and be impeccable with your word. People buy more than just your products and services. They invest in your credibility. 

           Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

Another 15 New Rules of Work

Rules 2

With the hope that you continue to quietly consider implementing them as well as discussing them at your next team meeting:

1. Good enough just isn’t good enough.

2. Brilliant things happen when you go the extra mile for every single customer.

3. An addiction to distraction is the death of creative production. Enough said.

4. If you’re not failing regularly, you’re definitely not making much progress.

5. Lift your teammates up versus tear your teammates down. Anyone can be a critic. What takes guts is to see the best in people.

6. Remember that a critic is a dreamer gone scared.

7. Leadership’s no longer about position. Now, it’s about passion. And having an impact through the genius-level work that you do.

8. The bigger the dream, the more important the team.

9. If you’re not thinking for yourself, you’re following – not leading.

10. Work hard. But build an exceptional family life. What’s the point of reaching the mountaintop but getting there alone?

11. The job of the leader is to develop more leaders.

12. The antidote to deep change is daily learning. Investing in your professional and personal development is the smartest investment you can make. Period.

13. Smile. It makes a difference.

14. Say “please” and “thank you”. It makes a difference.

15. Shift from doing mindless toil to doing valuable work.

               To be continued:

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

15 New Rules of Work


15 New Rules of Work – With the hope that you quietly consider implementing them as well as discussing them at your next team meeting:

1. You are not just paid to work. You are paid to be uncomfortable – and to pursue projects that scare you.

2. Take care of your relationships and the money will take care of itself.

3. Lead you first. You can’t help others reach for their highest potential until you’re in the process of reaching for yours.

4. To double your income, triple your rate of learning.

5. While victims condemn change, leaders grow inspired by change.

6. Small daily improvements over time create stunning results.

7. Surround yourself with people courageous enough to speak truthfully about what’s best for your organization and the customers you serve.

8. Don’t fall in love with your press releases.

9. Every moment in front of a customer is a moment of truth (to either show you live by the values you profess – or you don’t).

10. Copying what your competition is doing just leads to being second best.

11. Become obsessed with the user experience such that every touchpoint of doing business with you leaves people speechless. No, breathless.

12. If you’re in business, you’re in show business. The moment you get to work, you’re on stage. Give us the performance of your life.

13. Be a Master of Your Craft. And practice + practice + practice.

14. Read magazines you don’t usually read. Talk to people who you don’t usually speak to. Go to places you don’t commonly visit. Disrupt your thinking so it stays fresh + hungry + brilliant.

15. Remember that what makes a great business – in part – are the seemingly insignificant details. Obsess over them.

Reproduced with kind permission of Robin Shrma

How to bounce back from failure


Remind yourself that you’re bound to get better.

Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s the next opportunity that matters, not the previous one. The previous one matters only in that you must learn from your mistakes. But the next one gives you the opportunity to show that you have learned from your mistakes. You can do it better next time. You just have to practice. Keep trying until. If you figured out what went wrong last time, then you know how to make it right next time. Don’t beat yourself up for messing up. Pat yourself on the back for figuring it out.

You need to encourage yourself. You need to pump yourself up. Why? Because you can’t wait and hope that someone else will come along and cheer you up, make you feel better, tell you that you’ll do better next time. You have to rely on yourself. You have to have faith in yourself and your ability to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You have to have the inner belief that everything you’re doing you’re doing for a positive outcome in the future. You have to encourage yourself with future successes.

When you miss an opportunity, are unprepared for an opportunity or suffer a setback while realizing your goals, you need to encourage yourself by immediately getting back in line. If you fall off track, get right back on. If you fall away from your disciplines, get right back to them. If you fall out of habit, get back into it. Something goes wrong, do what you can to make it right. It might be hard. It might be scary. Keep your resolve alive, active and well. Cheer yourself on to victory. You can do it.

Sometimes defeat is the best beginning. Why? If you’re at the bottom, there’s only one way to go. Up. But more importantly, if you’re flat on your back, mentally and financially, you’ll usually become sufficiently disgusted to reach way deep down inside yourself and pull out miracles and talents and abilities and desire and determination. When you’re flat broke or flat miserable, you’ll eventually become so disgusted that you’ll pull out the basic essentials required to make everything better.

Reproduced with kind permission of Jim Rohn

The Value of Dying Daily

live like last day

I don’t want to be the richest person in the graveyard. To me, a life well-lived is mostly about being surrounded by people I love, staying healthy and happy (and no one’s happy all the time except in the movies) and having an impact on the world around us. So how can you stay focused on the things that are most important to you? Die daily.

I wrote about this in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari but the point of wisdom is simply this: connecting to the fact that life is short and no one knows when it will end is a great personal practice to stay engaged on your priorities. Waking up each morning and asking yourself “how would I show up today if this day was my last” is not some cheesy motivational exercise. It’s a profound way to bring some urgency and commitment into your days.

Most of us let life act on us – we are asleep at the wheel of our own lives. And the days slip into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years. Before we know it, we are laying on our deathbeds wondering where all the time went.

Die daily. Give yourself to life. Take some risks. Open your heart a little wider. Speak your truth. Show your respect for the gift of life that’s been given to you. Shine brightly today. And then, wake up tomorrow and reach even higher. At the end, people will remember you as one of the great ones.

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

Do Your Part

make a list

Big question for you: “what are you doing to help build a new and better world?” Don’t blame the politicians. Don’t blame those around you. Don’t blame your parents or your background. Doing so is playing the victim and this world has far too many people playing the victim when they could be shining and making a profound difference. Mother Teresa said it so much better than I ever could: “if each of us would only sweep their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.” Nice.

Blaming others is excusing yourself. Telling yourself that you – as an army of one – cannot have an impact is giving away your power. A couple of college kids got their hands on empty school buses and drove them into New Orleans when everybody else said the city was unapproachable. A little man in a loincloth named Mohandas Gandhi freed an entire nation. A college student named Richard Branson took some initiative to start a record label on a shoestring that has since morphed into the Virgin empire. You are no different from them. We are all flesh and bones – cut from the same cloth.

In a recent issue of Vanity Fair, Jennifer Aniston said that she gives herself one day to play victim after a challenging event. After that day of feeling sorry for herself and powerless, she wakes up and takes ownership over the way her life looks. And if she doesn’t like a piece of it she sets about to change it. That’s personal leadership.

What don’t you like about your life or the organization you work for or the country you live in? Make a list. Write it down. Shout it out. And then do something to improve things. Anything. Start small or go big. Just do something. Today. Now. The world will be better for it.

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma