My Bali hit n giggle

High expenditure with little result

Last week I spent time in Bali with some of my closest friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. It was a special time that inspired me, lifted me, and provided non-stop laughter. On one of the days, I took off with two of my golf buddies within the group for a hit at Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club. The most stunning par-3 golf course you could imagine.

Having a laugh at the stunning 18th hole of Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, Bali

Having a laugh at the stunning 18th hole of Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, Bali

Now, I could blame the rental clubs, or the heat, or the lack of energy from having ‘a few drinks’ the night before for the terrible way I played. But that would be incorrect. The truth is I hadn’t played or practiced for a long time. I did not warm up to get a feel for my swing. I did not stretch nearly enough (especially for my age!) I did not study any elements of the course. And I did not mentally prepare myself to approach every shot with even a basic method that was repeatable or controlled.

So, even though we had a great time out there, it ended up being a very expensive ‘walk in a park’ with my mates with little to show from a performance point of view. It is a similar experience we see in our daily lives:

·        Lack or Practice – what is one thing you have coming up that you are a bit rusty on? Results will tend to follow your sharpness.

·        Lack of Preparation – often rushing to meetings or presentations? In a client meeting without an agenda? There is a good chance this will end up in wasted time and possibly embarrassment.

·        Lack of Process – Constantly changing your approach to similar situations? This requires a lot of work for lesser results.

These three P’s feed into all of the proficiencies in the Performance Pyramid (see below). Technical and Analytical Proficiencies are a foundation we all need to be able to build rhythm into the way we work. Without these fundamentals we are unable to leverage the Social Proficiencies that then drive performance in ourselves, our teams, and our client relationships. Or in this case, my golf game! 

The Performance Pyramid - Paul Farina

The Performance Pyramid - Paul Farina


Infinite is possible

Liverpool Football Club show us anything is possible

Last week, Liverpool Football Club (LFC) won when they had no right to win. The Full Story here for those that do not follow European Soccer, or Sport in general. LFC had their best players sidelined because of injury, were playing the best team (and player) in the world, and had to score three goals without allowing Barcelona to score one. The assignment was as tough as any seen in the industry.

Jurgen Klopp, the LFC Manager, simply asked his team to go out and “celebrate football”, and to “fail beautifully”. There was no focus on result, but more a focus on enjoying the opportunity and the shared experience. In the ultra-macho world of sport, we are starting to see leaders show the value of openness, vulnerability, and using the concept of love.

Even in Australian Rules Football, we saw last year’s runner-up Coach Nathan Buckley (Collingwood) declare his ‘love’ for his players at three-quarter-time in the Grand Final. They lost, but are stronger and more united than ever since that day. This would have been taboo in years gone by. And, it still may be in boardrooms today.

Click to watch Raw Emotion - The Coach's Grand Final experience

Click to watch Raw Emotion - The Coach's Grand Final experience

These men are showing us that through Social Proficiency they are gaining elite performance. They understand that technical ability and analytic ability are important and need to be worked on every day for improvement. But the social abilities are where the truly transformative results come from.

Klopp described his team as being “f*!king mentality monsters”. From what I understand there are a few ingredients that go into being a mentality monster:

1.       Belief – knowing ‘we can do this’. Usually coming from doing the work and doing this work over a prolonged period of time. There are no short cuts.

2.       Undistracted – is that even a word…? It is now. No matter what the world is throwing at us, we will continue to focus on the few isolated things we need to do now to drive the project forward.

3.       Passionate Care – we need to find meaning. Otherwise it is difficult to push when all seems lost.

4.       Shared Purpose – the elements that tie everyone together in their efforts.

"They are f*!king mentality monsters", Jurgen Klopp in a live interview on Sky Sports

"They are f*!king mentality monsters", Jurgen Klopp in a live interview on Sky Sports

When asked to achieve an insurmountable target or goal, remember Jurgen and his boys. Remember the red men, and how they sent Barcelona packing when every single rational thought told us it was not possible.

It doesn’t just happen in the movies. Infinite is actually possible for all of us.

Play Beyond Targets is a multi-discipline program with four key pillars to help professionals build rhythm into their workflows, their teams, and their organisations. It is with this Rhythm that effectiveness can skyrocket enabling people to achieve well beyond what they thought was possible. Get in touch with me directly to find out more -

When to reflect

Natural breaks offer the opportunity to look back

Yesterday I had the pleasure of working with the Southern Regional Management Team at Lowes Menswear. What a great bunch of people that inspired me with their stories of connection and care they have for their brand and respective teams.

Working with the Southern Regional Management Team for Lowes Menswear

Working with the Southern Regional Management Team for Lowes Menswear

One discussion point that we worked through revolved around reflection. What is it? When to do it? How to do it? And is it beneficial? There were a few highlights in the discussion:

1.       Awareness

Those that have attended one of my talks will know that I love Ernest Hemmingway’s quote “Everything in life happens gradually and then suddenly”. A great way to explain that our small habitual actions accumulate – both in a positive and negative way. Reflection gives us the opportunity to be smashed in the face (normally referred to as realisation) with how far we have come or how far we have slid over the past few months. Awareness is a powerful agent of positive change.

Positive and Negative habits accumulate to build powerful outcomes.

Positive and Negative habits accumulate to build powerful outcomes.

2.       Conscious Streaming

Cameron Schwab introduced me to a method call Conscious Streaming (or Stream of Consciousness) which is the technique of journaling our thoughts in real time. Click here for a more in-depth explanation. This is a wonderful way to become aware of your thoughts and make sense of them. A great way to set yourself up to make better decisions, especially when we find ourselves in an emotional state.

3.       Time is your friend

Reflection doesn’t take much time. In fact, sitting down with a paper and pen to write out some thoughts can take as little as a few minutes. When done regularly there seems to be a cumulative effect that builds. James Clear writes beautifully on the power of habits in his book Atomic habits – a great read for those wanting to implement habitual changes in the way they work and generally live.

4.       Do it your way

Writing the old-fashioned way can be a great way to slow our mind down, and neurologically has been proven to have many benefits (Huffington Post). But please don’t restricted yourself to this. Find a style that suits you and run with it!

5.       Anything

What stops many people is that they are not sure what to write. Freeing yourself of restraint is a great place to start. Ultimately, getting your thoughts on interactions with others, certain aspects of work, how we are feeling, and what we are thinking are all relevant. Keeping it simple, honest, and open is all that is required. And when you are done whatever you have written can be thrown in the bin. There is no need to keep it, file it, or share it unless you want to.

With almost four months gone in 2019 and the Easter break upon us this weekend presents a natural break in our working rhythms to stop and reflect on what is working, what is not, what can be tweaked, and what can be eliminated.

I hope you have a lovely break with your nearest and dearest over this Easter Holiday. Have fun and take a moment out to do a little thinking.

Contact Paul to organise a Lunch n Learn Session like the Lowes Team experienced -

The blurred line of emotional control

Where does vulnerability fit into being a Rock for my team?

Growing up in an Italian household there was one guarantee every day – a hearty dinner. Food was critical in our place. No matter who was there, how many were there, or what type of day anyone had, we always knew a good dinner was going to be served up every night. It was reassuring and a privilege you only acknowledge as being special when you are all grown up. My parents worked hard to provide that experience for themselves and our family. But it was mum that cooked every day – the kitchen was her domain. And, no matter how well she was, how busy she was, or the troubles she may have been facing, not once did we go without a good home cooked evening meal.

On reflection this consistency was driven by the heart but executed with amazing resilience. It was an act of service, and therefore an act of leadership that allowed us all to work, study, and play better. A great platform was provided for each of us to progress what we were doing.

Are our team’s any different in the workplace?

If we manage our people inconsistently, or catastrophise at the hint of trouble, then how does this effect our team’s performance? Sam Walker uses the term “The Kill Switch” in his book The Captain Class, one of the references for the Leadership Behaviours Masterclass I run. Walker is referring to a person’s ability to switch off the effect adversity has on them, and therefore enabling them to support team performance. He discusses Dr Richard Davidson’s decades of research on the science behind people’s ability to “Reframe Adversity” to create positive narratives for themselves no matter how bad a situation is.

Dr Richard Davidson's research in    neuroplasticity    has been ground breaking (   )

Dr Richard Davidson's research in neuroplasticity has been ground breaking (

But, how do we remain authentic and display our vulnerability as leaders if we need to numb ourselves from feeling anything bad? Aren’t we meant to express how we feel to our team to create connection? This is the dilemma many find difficult to approach on the topic of Leadership Emotional Control.

Heavy right?

The answer is in where we place our attention and what will be of use to the people in our team.

Robert K Greenleaf founded Servant Leadership back in the 1970’s, with a huge range of research on this leadership concept being done since. It says that the Leader is at the bottom of the pyramid instead of the traditional top; a leader serves their people, not the other way around. An easy idea to understand where the focus is wholly on what their people need to perform. It is an Attention Out way of thinking instead of Attention In.

Servant Leadership has countless studies behind it showing the effects it has on team performance. Source:

Servant Leadership has countless studies behind it showing the effects it has on team performance. Source:

This creates a good base for using mindful language, timing, and content of our vulnerability. An example may be when a major account threatens to pull out or a shipment of product is heavily delayed at sea. Which option below is going to help the team better?

Option 1: I have no idea what to do. I am panicking. I hope one of you can save us here”.


Option 2: “This is a real problem. I can’t say I saw it coming, and it’s going to be tough, but I reckon we can find a way”.

Both are honest, show vulnerability, but the key is that Option 2 reframes the adversity. It gives the team an immediate focus and Growth Mindset (Carol Dweck) to tackle the challenge at hand, rather than wallow in despair.

If you are like me and not good at this naturally, the good news is that we can develop it through practices such as mediation and by simply being aware. Knowing this and practicing it at every opportunity is the key. Knowing the impact our emotional control has on the performance of others and eventual results is powerful. Start practicing today. Seriously. Right now. Go. Please stop reading….