Browse Category: Good Books

Recommended reading for people who want to succeed

Something you won’t want to miss

Well January is almost gone, so it’s almost too late to say Happy New Year but I still hope 2009 will be a good year for you.

Here at KMG Consulting and the Leadership Skill Center we’ve been working hard on a whole range of resources and special projects to help you be a better leader and manager – and generally enjoy life a little more! We’re really excited by everything that’s coming this year and think you will be too…

The first one is all done and ready for release. Watch your email early next week for a special announcement with more details.

You won’t want to miss it.

For today I want to wish all my fellow Aussies a Happy Australia Day on January 26th…

The weather is hot and so is the special gift I’ve got lined up for you to celebrate.

This is something else you won’t want to miss. Check it out at

Your membership is at no cost, with our compliments. That’s right.
It’s F R E E !

Don’t delay. Grab your goodies now at: so you can relax and have a little fun in your life.

That’s all for today, but remember to watch for that great new product I’m releasing very soon…

Kind regards


PS. That gift again is at

Doing the Important Stuff

As the year seems to be slipping away I thought it was time to look at the fourth area of leadership focus: Getting Things Done. I hope you enjoy this article on ‘Doing the Important Stuff’.

And remember, the Leadership Coaching Club is coming soon. If you are at all interested in joining after it is open to the public, make sure you register at now, so you will be eligible for the very special offers when it is first launched. It will be worth your while!

Kind regards, Kerrie

PS. It’s my birthday later this month so if you read right to the end of this issue of Leading Well, YOU will get a present! 🙂


Doing the Important Stuff

In “First Things First”, the follow-up to Steven Covey’s best-selling self-improvement and motivation book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, he illustrates a highly effective system of time management that can benefit any leader or manager. Covey’s Quadrant method of time management has been adopted throughout the business world: in team building, project management, business meetings, leadership training and seminars to ensure you focus on doing the important stuff.

What Covey has named his Quadrants system is based on the theory that most of us are driven by a consuming sense of urgency. He instructs us to divide all our priorities into the following four quadrants:

Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent – Items in this category are integral to your success and require your immediate attention. They include: situations such as crises, emergencies, appointments, projects that have deadlines, and other pressing problems.

Quadrant 2: Important but Not Urgent – Items in this category are integral to your success but don’t require your immediate attention right now. They include: leadership activities like planning and preparing, preventing future problems, coaching and mentoring staff, building and developing relationships with others, considering new possibilities and opportunities, and balancing activities such as spending time with loved ones, or having fun and creative pursuits.

Quadrant 3: Not Important but Urgent – Items in this category are not integral to your life, but they do demand your immediate attention. They include things that appear pressing on the surface (such as answering an insistent ringing phone or email), but probably don’t have any drastic consequences or repercussions for your success, or that may be able to be done by others or in a different way (someone could take a phone message for example).

Quadrant 4: Not Important and Not Urgent – Items in this category are not integral to your success and don’t need to happen at any particular time (or sometimes at all, for that matter), yet doing them can consume your time and energy. They include: routines, distractions and diversions, time-wasters, and other things you can generally do well without, although sometimes they include things we just like doing that aren’t necessary or important.

What Covey says next about these Quadrants may surprise you.

He warns that the common tendency is for people to get wrapped up in Quadrant 1 & 3 tasks because of their sense of urgency. This typically happens at the expense of the much more important Quadrant 2, which contains many life-enriching and important tasks.

The focus on tasks in Quadrants 1 and 3 is bolstered by the influence of other people’s demands and forces outside yourself, including the impetus of time. Accomplishing urgent tasks in Quadrants 1 & 3 gives us a comforting sense of progress. At least we have achieved something (even if it wasn’t particularly important).

Tasks in Quadrant 4 are what we do to anesthetize ourselves to the stressful effects of an imbalanced concentration of our energy on urgent matters. We often hide in Quadrant 4 tasks, and use them to procrastinate about doing something else, like the more important (and sometimes more difficult) Quadrant 2 tasks.

The paradox is that by spending more time deliberately doing Quadrant 2 tasks, we can avoid many of the crises that fall into the important and urgent tasks of Quadrant 1 and delegate many of the Quadrant 3 and 4 tasks that still need to be done. This frees our time up to focus even more on the leadership tasks in Quadrant 2.

Quadrant 2 is where our true and lasting happiness and our most productive effectiveness resides.

The sorts of tasks that fall into Quadrant 2 are often the ones that we are most likely to procrastinate about or just feel we don’t have time for. But they can be the most important in the longer-term to get your creative juices flowing and achieve significant success.

In addition to the possibilities listed above, Quadrant 2 tasks also include: reading and expanding your mind, developing new skills and abilities, getting physical exercise, engaging in recreation and leisurely activities, devising and implementing systems, preventative activities, and envisioning and shaping your future.

Giving more attention to Quadrant 2 activities will make us more readily able to tackle Quadrant 1 and 3 tasks with ease and efficiency.

Where are you spending your time? Stop for a moment and think about whether you have got the balance right (a Quadrant 2 task) or whether you are letting urgency rule your life.

See QUOTES on ‘Doing the Important Stuff’ below.


If you ever procrastinate when you should be focussed on ‘Doing the Important Stuff’ you need to read ‘101 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination’. In this 60 page guide you’ll learn all the tricks, methods, and strategies for beating your procrastination habit.

Order now and receive these FREE bonuses:

* Time Management and
* The 3 Most Powerful Ways to Get Yourself to Achieve ANYTHING Despite Pressure, Deadlines and Procrastination

PLUS: – to celebrate my birthday enter this Secret Code: BIRTHDAY-SPECIAL
in Step 2 when you order to save $9 off the cost of this product. Normally ‘101 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination’ is only $17 but for the next few days you can use this Secret Code to pay only $8! (plus GST if you are based in Australia)

That’s more than 50% off the full purchase price and a fantastic bargain! For less than you might pay for lunch you could be well on your way to kicking the procrastination habit and reaping the success you deserve.

More details at:

But ignore the price on that page because you are getting a special price. When you get to Step 2 of the order process just enter your Secret Code: BIRTHDAY-SPECIAL and the price will be automatically reduced especially for you.

This Secret Code is only valid up until my birthday on November 25th, after which the regular price will apply. So don’t procrastinate! Order now and start reaping the rewards today.



“I’ve been on a calendar, but never on time.”

Marilyn Monroe

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we know what to do with it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson



First Things First
by Steven Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey

Failure and Leadership


Helping your leadership grow
from Kerrie Mullins-Gunst

* * * * *

In this issue of Leading Well I would like to share with you an article by one of my favorite leadership authors, John C. Maxwell, about failure and how it impacts on our leadership.

Interested? Read on…

But before you do, have you had a look at how you can celebrate with me as I move into my new office? See here for details.

Kind regards, Kerrie

* * * * *

Failing Forward

What are you afraid of as a leader? On the top of many people’s list is failure. Is it on your list too?

J.M. Barrie said, “We are all failures–at least, all the best of us are.”

In my 30-plus years of leadership experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most valuable but underestimated abilities that leaders can posses is the ability to do what I call “failing forward.” It’s more than having a good attitude about your mistakes, and it’s a step beyond simply taking risks. Failing forward is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.

You see, everybody makes mistakes. But the real difference between average people and achieving people is their PERCEPTION OF and RESPONSE TO failure. Nothing else has the same kind of impact on people’s ability to accomplish their dreams.

What do you dream of accomplishing? Unfortunately, no matter how gifted or knowledgeable you are, you will make mistakes along the way to your dream. Failure is the price you must pay on the road to success. That’s just how it works. But the good news is that the better you are at failing forward, the sooner you can accomplish your dreams.

Before you put away your list of resolutions for this year, look at the following misconceptions about failure. Take an honest inventory to determine if your perception of failure is what it should be. If you share any of these misconceptions, add to your list the resolution to change the way you think about failure.


You’ve probably heard the saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” That was written by Alexander Pope more than 250 years ago. And he was only paraphrasing a saying that was common 2,000 years ago, during the time of the Romans. Things today are the same as they were then: People make mistakes.

Don’t buy into the notion that mistakes can somehow be avoided. They can’t be. Accept that you will err because you’re human, but don’t let that keep you from pursuing your dreams.

= = = // = = =

Speaking of dreams – thank you to everyone who has sent us all those good wishes for our move into the new office and house. We value your kind words. If you haven’t already joined in the celebrations with us see for details of how you can join the party too. But move quickly, there isn’t much time left!

= = = // = = =


Think about your school days. If you or someone you knew received an F on a test, the tendency was to think that you failed at that moment. However, that’s not the case. The F shows that the test taker neglected the process leading up to the test and the result was a poor score. The truth is that you don’t receive F’s for failing a test, but for failing to prepare for a test.

Failure is just like success – it’s a day-to-day process, not someplace you arrive one day. Failure is not a one time event, it’s how you deal with life along the way. Yes, you will make mistakes, but you can’t conclude that you’re a failure until you breathe your last breath. Until then, you’re still in the process, and there is still time to turn things around for the better.


When you forget a meeting, miss a deadline, damage a relationship, or make a poor choice concerning your children, what determines whether that action was a failure? Is it the size of the problem it creates, the amount of money your company loses, or how much criticism you have to endure? No. The truth is that only you are the only person who can label what you do a failure. Failure is subjective. Your perception of and response to your mistakes determine whether they are failures.

According to Tulane University business professor Lisa Amos, entrepreneurs fail in an average of 3.8 business ventures before they finally make it. They aren’t deterred by mistakes or adversity because they don’t see setbacks as failures. They recognize that three steps forward and two steps back still equals one step forward. Determine to see your mistakes as merely temporary lapses, and start using them as stepping stones to success.


Most people try to avoid failure like the plague. They’re afraid of it. But it takes adversity to create success. NBA coach Rick Pitino says, “Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching I’ve learned from making mistakes.”

If you desire to be a high achiever you can’t see mistakes as the enemy. Musicologist Eloise Ristad emphasizes that, “when we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.” She’s right. Begin to perceive mistakes as opportunities rather than opponents.


There’s an old saying in Texas that goes: “It doesn’t matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow.” In other words, mistakes are not irreversible. The problems come when you see only the “spilled milk” and not the bigger picture.

Tom Peters wisely acknowledged, “If silly things were not done, intelligent things would never happen.” When you make a mistake, keep things in perspective. Understand that on the heels of every mistake is a valuable lesson and another opportunity to improve.

Washington Irving once noted, “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.” If you tend to focus on the extremes of mistakes and fixate on particular events in your life, make a resolution to gain a new perspective on failure. See errors and negative experiences as a regular part of life and determine to learn and grow from them. If you can do that well, you may find that your dreams are much closer than you think.

This article by John C. Maxwell was provided by — The Online Network for Christians in Business. Your source for news, articles, and commentary from a biblical perspective.



“We seem to gain wisdom more readily through our failures than through our successes. We always think of failure as the antithesis of success, but it isn’t. Success often lies just the other side of failure.”

Leo F. Buscaglia (1924-1998)



You may like to look at these Books Worth Reading by John C Maxwell –

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know

Developing the Leader Within You

Inner Path of Leadership

I’ve just finished reading a book that I’ve been meaning to read for ages:

Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership

Synchronicity – The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski is a very powerful, personal and inspiring story about one person’s journey to leading change and helping others to shape the future through their individual and institutional lives.

Jaworski believes that by focusing as much on ‘being’ as on ‘doing’ we can create an environment in which what he calls predictable miracles will occur in our lives, in our leadership or organizational roles and in society as a whole.

Well worth reading.

Setting direction

Crisp: Organizational Vision, Values, and Mission: Building the Organization of Tomorrow (A Fifty-Minute Series Book)

Are you having trouble clarifying your vision and values?

This quick read workbook offers you a simple step-by-step process to work through. You can even do it yourself, if you don’t have a strategic planning facilitator to help you.

One of the Five Key Areas of Leadership Focusâ„¢, Setting Direction and Planning For Action, often sounds easier than it is. But if you don’t get this one right your leadership will be continually tested.

Two more quick tips for setting direction:

  • Read this article for more tips on Effective Strategic Planning.
  • Remember you don’t have to do it on your own. Call us on 61-3-9859 3924 for details of how we can help you by facilitating your direction setting process.

The four things all leaders know

After a long life spent observing and studying leaders and managers, Peter Drucker decided there was no one leadership style, personality or character that marked an exceptional leader.

He observed that amongst the most effective and successful leaders he worked with or knew, some were shy and others were gregarious, some were excruciatingly vain and others were self-effacing to a fault, some were warm and friendly while others were aloof and stern disciplinarians, some rarely ventured out of their office and others were ultra-gregarious, some were quick and impulsive and others took forever to reach a decision, some were ostentatious and others were austere, some he knew were good listeners while others listened only to their own inner voice.

If there is no one personality, style or character required to be an exceptional leader, what is it that marks someone as a good leader? Peter Drucker believed that all the effective leaders he had ever observed or worked with all KNEW four things. As he said in the forward to the book, The Leader of the Future

1. The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. Some people are thinkers. Some are prophets. Both roles are important and badly needed. But without followers there can be no leaders.
2. An effective leader is not someone who is loved or admired. He or she is someone whose followers do the right things. Popularity is not leadership. Results are.
3. Leaders are highly visible. They therefore set examples.
4. Leadership is not rank, privileges, titles or money. It is responsibility.

So how do you measure up? Do you accept the responsibility of your position as a leader? Are you setting the right example? Are your people generating maximum results? Do your people resist or follow your lead?

How well do you know, and do, these four key things? Please let us know what works for you.

More on what leaders know in the Quick Tips below:


‘Knowledge is the action of the soul.’
Ben Jonson (1573-1637)


* Drucker was also a believer in action. He hoped to inspire every leader to ask ‘What in my organization could I do that would truly make a difference?’ and ‘How can I truly set an example?’ And then he hope you would do it! I hope you do too.
* Peter Drucker also firmly believed that while there are some ‘born leaders’, they are too few to rely upon, and for most of us, leadership not only CAN be learned, it MUST be learned!
* If you want to learn more about how to fulfill your leadership potential, have a look at our brand new online Leadership Coaching Club starting in mid September. It is the outcome of months of work translating our highly regarded live leadership programs such as Mentor Magic’ into a format that is available to leaders around the globe, thanks to support from the Victorian Government’s Telematics Foundation. Sign up now and reserve your place at a special discounted rate. We guarantee you will be glad if you do.



The Manager’s Mission: How to take all the complexity out of management and replace it with simple success

Join me as I interview the author of Success with Simplicity, David Brewster, for a free live teleseminar next week. You’ll discover:
* Why management doesn’t have to be so complex and how to make managing people look (and feel) easy, even when it isn’t
* The secret to dramatically improving your performance as a leader and manager and feeling better about what you do by understanding the role of reality and the control continuum
* How to apply the three critical dimensions of the Manager’s Mission so you can relax and start managing ‘in the zone’ from tomorrow
* The top 3 mistakes 99% of people make and how you can avoid them.
You can get more details, and register here right now

There are only a limited number of phone lines available for the teleseminar so don’t delay your registration.

If you are not sure what a teleseminar is, it is simply a seminar by phone. All you have to do is dial in to a special phone number that you receive when you register. And you can join us from where-ever you are located, whether you are in Bourke Street or the bush, on Fifth Avenue or an island in Fiji, all you need is a phone. For more details about teleseminars read our Frequently Asked Questions.



FREE MARKETING PLAN WORKBOOK – Have a look at this: One of the best resources on the web for marketing your services is Action Plan Marketing. Check out the website and download your free Marketing Plan Workbook and the first chapter of the InfoGuru Marketing Manual.
ADD AUDIO TO YOUR WEBSITE FREE – At the moment Sonic Memo Lite is free. The catch? You have to agree to join a mailing list (but you can always unsubscribe) and you will be offered a one-time opportunity to upgrade to the Pro version (but you don’t have to accept the offer). My suggestion is, if you do your own website, grab it while you can. You may even decide to buy the full version, which is what I use. Unlike other web audio systems that you have to pay for every month, this is good value at full price as it’s a pay once and use for ever deal anyway. If you want it for free visit.

Making changes stick

One of the hardest tests of your leadership can be how successful you are in managing change. Recently there has been some discussion at the Leadership Forum about how to create the sense of urgency that helps to embed change in your organizational culture.

I think some of the most practical suggestions for how to do this come from John Kotter. In his book Leading Change, he says that establishing a sense of urgency is the first step in his eight stage change process, and it’s a critical step.

To push up the urgency level, he says that the first task is to remove all sources of complacency, or to minimize their impact. He gives examples such as:

* eliminating signs or symbols of corporate success, excess or largesse (eg. sell the executive jet, move to more humble premises, cut back on lavish events for staff and clients and start counting the paper clips)
* set higher standards both formally in the planning process and informally in day-to-day activities
* review and tighten internal measurement systems
* vastly increase the amount of external performance feedback people receive (eg. ask for real feedback from customers and listen to their complaints)
* reward and encourage honest talk in meetings and genuine problem solving (this usually requires an external facilitator or consultant as it can be very confronting)
* cut out ‘happy’ talk from the top and replace it with ‘this situation is serious’ talk.

To really create a sense of urgency demands bold actions, many of which are risky and even unpleasant. Kotter would say if you are serious you should be doing all these things, and more, to ensure your message that things are serious just can’t be ignored. Many of these actions need to come from high up in the organization.

In general, people like to feel complacent and comfortable and will always resist your attempts to make changing more urgent. As the situation becomes more urgent, conflict will arise and people will become anxious and uncomfortable. You need to be prepared for this when you try to implement changes.

Many organizations find that it is difficult for the old leadership team (which has presumably had a role in creating the current situation) to shake people out of their complacency and create a new sense of urgency.

This is one of the key reasons why you might need to bring in an external consultant to help with a change program. And remember, we’ve helped dozens of leaders implement effective change programs. If you need to make sure the changes you are introducing to your organization are successfully embedded in your culture, call us on 03-985 3924 or email me for details. You can download a brochure about one of our change management programs here.

More on how to successfully implement change in your organization in the Quick Tips below:



‘If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.’
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (Italian Writer, 1896-1957)



You are personally invited to join me for the following seminars at the Office 2006 Exhibition at the Melbourne Exhibition Center:
* The MAGIC of Leadership – How to lead so people will want to follow you on Sunday 21st May
* Everyone Needs a Mentor on Monday 22nd May
* Seven Things You Can Start Doing Right Now to be a Better Leader on Tuesday 23rd May

When you register yourself as a visitor to Office 2006 you will receive a free ticket to these seminars, which would normally cost at least $35 each to attend. Take advantage of the free registration on the website now and save. I hope to see you there.



* To overcome complacency, make sure you are not giving out any mixed messages about how serious the situation you are addressing is. Actions, signs and symbols, processes and procedures all communicate as much as words do, and sometimes even more.
* Watch out for individuals who grasp the urgency of your situation quickly and understand what has to be done. Enlist them as allies in spreading the word to others who may still be resisting your changes.
* If your changes are critical, don’t try to do it all on your own. Bring in experts to guide you and help you avoid the mistakes that could cost you dearly if you make them.

The Leading Well Bottom Line: Don’t assume your change program will just stick automatically. You need to be deliberate and determined in what you are trying to achieve.


* How do YOU make changes stick?

* What are you doing to overcome complacency, create a sense of urgency and make change stick in your organization?

Please share your ideas with us by adding a comment. Just click the comments link at the end of this article.

Success with Simplicity

I’ve just finished reading an intriguing book called Success with Simplicity. It’s a quick and enjoyable read, but packed full of challenges to the way we so often do things as managers and leaders.

The author, David Brewster, styles himself as Australia’s Simplicity Specialist and he certainly manages to cut to the essence of the topics he covers.

Have a look at it if you think everything just keeps getting needlessly complex day after day.