Possibility Thinking

Attila Ovari RelaxedWell it has been a week since I walked out the door for the last time at Communities@Work. The original plan was to spend the week with my children that were on school holidays, then the following week (next week) catch up on some army work and then take a few weeks to work out what my next adventure will be.

Like all good plans, it has not gone exactly as planned and it is all good. Yes, I have spend most of the week with my children that are on school holidays. Where the plan has changed is that I have started the catching up on army work and future plans have started to become clearer already. Within days of leaving Communities@Work my mind has started down a path of discovery and possibility.

Though my thought bubbles are still a work in progress, what I do know is that being in business for myself is what I am meant to be doing. I am still working through the what and how. I have already started talking with potential clients and partners. I have even done a small consultanting job this week. It is exciting times ahead as I develop the plan for the future.

What I have found interesting has been how different it has been to have the space to think. By not being limited in anyway and just allowing the mind to think I have thought about so many exciting things to do for the future. And this has not just been a broad brain dump. My mind has also been structuring these thoughts into actionable parts.

I encourage you all to take the time and allow your mind to think about possibilities. It has led me to new inspirations and helped me find ways that I can get there. The power of the mind is amazing….. I just need to once in awhile allow my mind the freedom to wander in order to release my mind’s power.

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An Expensive Pair of Socks

Bikes in ThredboOver a decade ago I was managing the Paddy Pallin store in Jindabyne. Paddy Pallin is an outdoor adventure store which sells clothing, outdoor gear and also hires skis. Jindabyne is a small town in Australia just prior to two of NSW’s biggest ski fields. Winter is a busy time for the store, as the ski session brings in a lot of business.

When I started at Paddy Pallin I was offered by to come to Sydney to see to see the manufacturing and warehouses for some of the different lines that the store sold. So I went to Sydney to talk with head office and see some of the manufacturing and warehousing. While travelling through the warehouse I was shown different products and educated about what was available.

I do not remember much of the discussions had that day, however there is one thing that I have not forgotten. It was a pair of expensive socks. It was a silk wool blend. At the time I thought they were overpriced, but was told that they are worth it. In the end the supplier gave me a pair for personal use.

Why would you give away your product for free? Well as it turned out it was a great marketing investment. From the first time I wore them I loved them. they were comfortable and warm… Warm is important in winter when you live in the snowy mountains as I did at the time.

Also in winter I would have people, after a day at the snow, come into the shop and ask me for warm socks…. They would say “my feet are frozen, can you help?” Without a doubt I would reply “Yes, I have a solution, but it is not cheap.” If at that point they said “I don’t care, my feet are frozen” I knew I had a sale. When they looked at the price they would ask me if they really worked…. I would just lift up the bottom of my pants and show them I was wearing them. Instantly a sale.

So in reality the free pair of socks was a great marketing investment for the supplier. I sold all the socks they could provide me. I had very happy customers and it was win win all around. So next time you are looking to sell or promote something (including an idea), who can you partner with to get the reach you need to be successful?


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Leadership by Principles

his week I had a good discussion with Louis who is a Police Officer in the USA who also does some Leadership and Adaptive Systems Consulting. It was interesting to talk with him about certain concepts used within policing and the military. We discussed how these concepts used by the police and military in planning and decision making can be applied in the private sector.

The conversation started out talking about the OODA loop, which is an adaptive decision making process that come about during the Korean War. However the conversation turned to range of topics including the way leadership, planning, decision making and risk management occurs in the police force and the military.

One of my takeaways from the conversation was that there are different operating environments, some are controlled and linear. The controlled linear environment is one where the outcomes are predictable and the processes are step by step. An example for this would be a financial process within an organisation, where it is easy to document the way money is received, banked and accounted for. It is a very predictable process and can be outlined in a step by step fashion.

However there is an environment that is not so controlled and there are so many outcomes that it would be hard to predict what is going to happen. In this sort of environment it would be very difficult to provide detailed business processes to outline what to do and the “if this then that” for each possible outcome. For example there are plenty of possible outcomes to your dealings with a customer and you would not want to completely treat them as a robot in a step by step fashion.

So if it is impossible to provide detailed business processes for every possible outcome what do you do to lead and make decisions? I would propose that you manage by principles, rather than by detailed business processes. As a leader with a Vision, Mission and Values you can ensure that the selected course of action is in accordance with your principles.

In this way the customer is served in by a staff member in a way that this consistent with your organisation’s vision, mission and values. There may be a broad business process covering the dealings with the customer,however these business processes allows room for the staff member to meet the needs of a customer in a way consistent with the organisation’s principles.



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Need some Calm in your Life?

CalmHave you tried guided meditation? Or do you think it is all a bit airy fairy?

I must admit that I thought that that meditation was a bit airy fairy. However I keep hearing how good it was for the mind, body and soul. So, even though I was skeptical and not really sure what guided meditation was going to do for me, I gave it a go. Like most things that are good for me, I am a convert from skeptic to evangelist.

So what are the benefits? Well, I am the sort of person that has my mind travelling at a million miles an hour. It never stops. This impacts on concentration and sleep. My mind is always busy and active. This has in the past led to waking up in the morning more tired than going to bed. It also has meant it is sometimes hard to focus on the discussion in front of me as my mind is taking me on another adventure at the same time.

Though I am not using guided meditation daily, I am using it on a regular basis. I tried the Headspace App and it did not really gel for me and I tired the Calm App and it really lived up to it’s name. I find that after completing a guided meditation even for 2 or 5 minutes my head is clear, my mind is sharp and my body is relaxed.

Recently I have been involved with some meetings that were not the most pleasant to be in. Before these meetings I used the Calm App for a quick two minute guided meditation and before you know it, I was relaxed walking into the meeting and very sharp in the way my mind responded to issues raised in the meeting.

Another concern I had was whether I was able to sit still for 2, 5 or 10 minutes to do a guided mediation. Those that know me, know that sitting still is not something I do well. However there is something about a guided meditation that has me relaxed and able to sit there for the required time. In fact the guided meditation is over before I realise it most of the time.

Well, all I can say in summary is try guided meditation, give it a go. Find the way that works best for you. I know there is a lot more for me to discover about guided meditation and my journey has only just begun.


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Are you Brave?

b9f8e911ab8a10fed1b90bce5fb6c496Recently, with the life changes I have made some people have said I am brave. They have gone on to say that would be too fearful to make the decision I have made… They ask me if I am scared or have fear? It seems to some people to be brave is to be fearless, however I do not believe this to be the case. Brave is defined as “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage”.

To me to be brave means to be scared, fearful and yet still move forward in the direction that you are meant to. If we are fearless, then we are going to do some pretty dumb things. Being fearful keeps us alive, but it should not hold us back. It is our internal risk management radar evaluating the actions we are about to take.

To this end we need to look at the opportunities ahead, mitigate the risks and move forward in the right direction. The direction towards our dreams. Yes, you will be scared and yes you will be fearful and yes there are risks. And yes at times we will fail, however the feeling of doing something will outweigh the regret of not trying.

  • Have you experienced fear in something?
  • Have you been scared to do something?
  • How you done it anyway?

If you answered “Yes” to the questions above then you are brave. It does not matter whether it was a success or failure. The act of doing something you were scared or fearful of means you are brave. And being brave once, means that you can be brave again….. What is the next thing that you are going to be brave with?


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The Power of Setting Goals

3606f54ae2e72390c193bba91e2c61f7I recently left an organisation that I was doing a couple of projects for. As I left I reflected on the goals I had set for myself. How did this role fit into the bigger plan for my life and also where I was in terms of other parts of my life. It struck me how though the exit was not the exact time I had planned it was in fact in accordance with the goals I had set myself.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love leadership roles where I get to develop those that work with me. I love to combine leadership with operational type areas where external stakeholders and clients are impacted in positive ways. This combination gets me excited and enthused.

In terms of my life I have been in this type of role in my Army Reserve job. I have been blessed in this area to have been in sub-unit command for the last five years. The last financial year in particular it was awesome to be selected to be in this role for a major set of Exercises. However this role is coming to an end and I am off to new adventures in my Army Reserve career.

So in terms of the big picture the scene is set for my life to move, in my civilian job, from a back office role. However I need to think about how I want to do this… Do I want to start my own business and build the organisation and culture? Or do I want to take on a senior leadership role in an existing organisation? Decisions to be made. Over the weekend talking with my wife, it seems that my own business may be the best way forward.

However to do this requires resources. One needs to have the funds to support themselves, their families and their business as they build up a client base. To this end there is funds required to achieve this. However, I had set savings goals earlier in the year to ensure that I would have the funds to start my own business if that was my decision.

So in summary I had set a number of goals for myself before I was to move on from my role, in which I just left from:

  • Pay off all debts except the house
  • Develop a solid savings target
  • Finish projects in the role
  • Finish up my current Army Role

So how did I go. Debts paid off in the last financial year. Savings hit the target two weeks prior to finishing up. Projects are just about complete and I have only three months left in my current Army role and I am about to start preparing things for handover.

The key thing is that I had not even realised that I had achieved the goals I had set. I had just developed the habits to move in that direction and as decisions had to be made I following the path that headed in the direction of my goals. This is the power of goals.



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Is it Right or Wrong?

a1fbfd113fa9ebd97b0a744a5f77ad99Last night I watched the movie Sicario at the local movie theatre. I enjoyed the movie and was expecting a movie with a bit more action. That said it did get me thinking about what is right and wrong? One of the lead actors, a female FBI agent struggled with the methods that were used by an interagency task force to fight a Mexican Drug cartel.

When it comes to morals and ethics everyone has a different view of where the line is drawn between right and wrong.  This can be based on background, experience, training and culture. In the USA the FBI agent at the start of the movie came across a gruesome discovery in a raid. Also the raid lead to the death of two law engagement officers.

With this background the FBI agent was keen to make a positive impact in the war against the drug cartel. However to do this the team she was teamed up with challenged her definition of what was right and wrong. Though the methods were uncomfortable with her she did appreciate that they got results.

There is a saying that “the ends do not justify the means”. This is true, though when considering the means we need to consider our values, the law and the difference understandings between the different stakeholders. Is living by my values going to be able to gel with difference with the key stakeholders? If not this is going to cause personal challenge for you… What should you do in this situation? I do not know, only you can decide in this situation.


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Leadership is about Influence

1cdf27c8f43ec300fbe181bf86937860Many people view people that hold a senior role in an organisation or government as a leader. This is true in a sense and is often referred to as positional leadership. In positional leadership a person is delegated responsibility and authority based on their role in an organisation. Is positional leadership the only sort of leadership?

I do not think so…. I believe that we can all be leaders. We all have strengths, skills, passions, knowledge and experiences that if we shared with the world, the world would be a better place. We can provide leadership in these areas of strengths and expertise and make a difference in the lives of others.

I believe that leadership is more about influence than it is about authority. Yes with positional leadership there is authority attached to roles. This is an important part of leadership in an organisation. But imagine if you led through influence rather than authority. You do not need to hold a senior role to have people look to you for advice, guidance or direction.

You may have experienced times in your life when people come to you for help, advice and leadership even when you do not hold a senior role or position. This is because you have influence. Influence is developed through connection with others, living by a set of values and helping people to achieve their mission.

It is like what Zig Ziglar used to say “You can have everything you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” So we can all develop our influential leadership through connecting and helping others. Even if you are in a senior position and have authority, I encourage you to operate with influential leadership. In my experience you will get the best from people when you treat them like a volunteer, even if they are a paid staff member.

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Last day at Communities@Work

commsatworkAs I wake up this morning it is a beautiful day. The sun is out, the birds are singing and the world seems so perfect. Today is a different day than normal. After just under three years at Communities@Work I will finish up for the last time this afternoon. It is almost surreal to know that I will not be heading to the office on Lake Tuggeranong next week and not because I am on leave, but because I no longer work there.

During my time at Communities@Work I have had four different roles, worked from multiple workstations and completed a number of projects for the organisation. As I reflect back though on my time in the organisation it is not the rollout of EasyEmployer timesheet management system, assisting the merger with another organisation, the multiple fundraisers I coordinated (Go Yellow Day & Community Sleepouts) or the implementation of the Quality Management System that is the highlight.

In the end it is about the people…. There are some really good people in the organisation that care about the outcomes they deliver for their clients and stakeholders. Even the ISO9001:2008 auditors commented about how much the people in the organisation care and want to deliver the best possible service. There is a culture of wanting to do the best and always seeking ways to improve.

Since my departure was announced on Wednesday, I have been really touched by the number of people that have wished me the best. The number of emails, personal farewells, cuppas and lunches has really touched me. As I move on to my next adventure I know that I have made some friends among the staff at Communities@Work. The friends I have made at Communities@Work has certainly been the highlight of my time there.

So what is next…. People have asked what is my next adventure. Well, the first step is to spend next week with my children that are on School Holidays. Then I have a little bit of work with the  Army to catch up on in the following week as I start my handover of my army role. Which just so happens that I am also transiting my army role at the end of the year. In the short term I will do some consulting, coaching and training which is something that I have been doing in my limited spare time.

However, in the longer term I will look at leadership opportunities where I can have a positive impact in the world. This may be in business, politics, another organisation or a combination of these options. Stay tuned for what adventure or adventures lay ahead. One thing you can be sure of is that I will blog about them.


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Three Months of Blogging

AttilaOvari BannerWell it is the first of October and I restarted my daily blogging at the beginning of July…. That makes it three months, over 90 days, that I have published a daily blog post. It has not even felt like a task, it has actually been enjoyable and something that I look forward to each day. That said my blogging may be a little selfish, as it is a little therapeutic for me to do.

I started my blogging adventure a few years ago when I was appointed as the Senior Manager on Social Media working group for the organisation that I worked for at the time. I felt that I needed to learn and experience social media and blogging if this was a role I was to do. This has led to an amazing adventure of blogging and using social media.

However the challenge I have with my blogging is that it initially lack a purpose or a target audience. I just seem to blog about whatever gets into my head at the time. I apologise if you read my blog posts and wonder at times what the hell I am blogging about. However in recent times I have found my focus. This focus has been around my passion for being passionate about life and empowering others through inspiration.

My blogging in recent times has been about living life with passion and how everyday things can be opportunities to explore adventure. In addition there are things in our lives that motivate us and inspire us to be better at what we do. I would like to think that we can focus in these areas and inspire each other to greatness.

I look forward to continuing my blog talking about life’s passion and inspirational thoughts. I hope that you too get a daily uplift from the blog posts. As I move forward into the future and get inspired by whatever life brings my way I will continue to share these inspirations thoughts. And most of all I wish you a life of passion, adventure and inspiration.

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