It is still about Discipline!

It is still about the discipline!

There is no doubt it is still about the discipline this blog has been substantially written since 16th December - then the distractions!! too many to name - all excuses!

Really it is a milestone Blog:

1. The First Blog written and loaded Internationally!
I am currently in Munich on way to see family in Austria; Now 12 days later in Salzburg!

and 2. This is my second Blog with a title! All the best advice seems to be that this is the way to go! My last Blog is titled -Its the disciplne stupid! and this one!!

 The discipine of Mastering Social media - the discipline of actually writing each week - two very different pieces of work! Clients and friends have challenged me over many years to write - views opinions - stories about my work - it is hard to conceive My Journey into Social media is now the vehicle.

Nilofer Merchant on her Web Site - Essays -How to Tackle the Next Thing 16th December has written a wonderful piece on Tackling the next thing with a number of Lessons which are outlined below:
Lesson: Hear the tug at the heart 
Lesson: There's no denying the costs of working on the next thing
Lesson: Decide really decide what to give up to make space for the new thing
Lesson: Find others to go on the journey with you
Lesson: Recognise it as an adventure
Lesson: Trust in your ability to grow
Lesson: Do the hard part of the hard part 

While it is presumptious of me to parallel my social media journey with her steps - there is something in what she has written which inspires my current pursuit.

Every journey is different and as I recently tweeted -" Isn't pilgrimage a wonderful word - we are all on one - it is incumbent on us to live and love every day of it!'

Underlying everything she has said is a concept which is implicit - DISCIPLINE - the last Lesson - Do the hard part of the hard part - there are so many sayings that we all know because we heard them from parents. teachers, coaches and maybe even our friends!
  • Nothing was ever achieved without hard work
  • Everything comes to those who wait
  • The Journey of a Thousand miles was started with a single step
  • Going the extra mile 
  • That which is achieved easily will be lost the same way (easy come easy go)
  • To climb Mt Everest one must go to first base -first
  • No one ever started at top - the work is the work and it must be done
Jim Collins in his most recent work Great by Choice outlined the Journey and named it "the 20 mile march".
For those of you who have run a half marathon - 13 miles -and I have run a few - you know that about mid way it gets tough and at two thirds!!.....! it is about Mind over Matter! It is a tough gig!
Maybe Mastering Social media is a marathon!!

And for me actually marshalling my thinking to write - is an Everest! what a challenge!

The reality for us all is that Discipline is a platform off which the human spirit can soar!!

From a "poorly disciplined spirit" I wish you well on the journey!

Ben Kehoe 28th December 2013

Notes: May 2014 bring you all many blessings and "much more discipline"! 

It's the Discipline Stupid!


Saturday 13th december - three weeks since I blogged! My intention is to Blog at least weekly! So it is now three weeks!. The discipline is the struggle! There has been many things to do and Blogging has been the one easiest to defer.

Just committing is the challenge!

Its like many other areas of life - the dieting industry thrives (as does the fitness industry!) because human beings are so ill disciplined.
The religious systems worked it out thousands of years ago - daily,weekly monthly annual rituals - so what was the purpose? To find God!

When you think about it - successful people have many qualities and PURPOSE, PASSION and PERSISTENCE are among them. 

Whether its excelling at sport ,the arts or business these 3P's are a major part of success.

In the PERSISTENCE domain it is discipline which is the key - and a way of establishing a discipline is to create a (habit) system e.g. writing at same place same time every day week month etc. Exercising at the same time each day etc.

Self discipline is the platform - people who are successful at anything have an extraordinary sense of self discipline! It probably means they have "good systems" in place to help them!

In the many entrepreneurial businesses I have worked with  there is a school of thought as the business grows that "entrepreneurialism" is being curtailed because "the new order" (management) has introduced too many systems - it is now too bureaucratic!! This often occurs as the second generation of employees needs more structure to grow the business.

No surprise really - which person wants their freedom curtailed - even if it is good for the whole! 

It is a major debate in the transition of all small businesses - CHAOS v CONTROL. (remember Get Smart!) How much of either if these is appropriate?

it really depends on where you are in the system - Freedom -Not freedom - where is the decision!!!

The real questions are: what actually needs to be controlled and in what way. What disciplines need to be inplace to encourage growth and business development? 

When a business or any social system reaches a certain size and there is a need to replicate, scale (and record) it is important to have a system. It is a platform (a support)- just as the discipline for your diet or Fitness is important - it may not feel like it but self discipline rather than self gratification (or random action) builds character -and business discipline is what builds a good robust business!

In the context of this discussion how do I get it?

I recently read a article where Naomi Simpson@NaomiSimpson from Red Balloon said she had Blogged 770 times - I was impressed! It crossed my mind -that's a serious target!

At one Blog a week thats over 14 years Blogging! Maybe  I will have to Blog twice a week?

Then Vala Afshar@ValaAfshar tweeted he had blogged over 70 times I think for Huffington Post this year-not only that he Tweets prolifically.

There is no shortage of people who have the will to Blog and Tweet - so the question remains for me - can I build the discipline - will I still be Blogging at 770 Blogs?
Now there a challenge?

Ben Kehoe 13th December 2013

Social Media -Week 8


The journey of discovery into social media I am finding quite seductive – and I can only assume it is the learning! I have observed that there is an inbuilt "reward system" when I start something new. There is much frustration – but the "buzz" I get when I master something is always worth it. Moving through the early learning phases can be incredibly frustrating – the feeling of awkwardness – the sense of incompetence – the need to do things multiple times – making mistakes – even the sense of embarrassment (humiliation) at not doing it well is a "turnoff" – but nothing beats the sense of achievement when I get it right – no matter how small.
Thirty five years ago I had the very great privilege of spending 5 days with Malcolm Knowles –who wrote one of the very first books on how adults learn – The Adult Learner – a Neglected Species. He told many stories. One story was about some research they were doing on how adults learn – remember this was probably in the 1950's or 1960's. A key question asked in the survey of adults was – what did you learn in the last 12 months?
The response was astounding. Most adults surveyed said they learnt nothing! It was a devastating result! So as good researchers do - they questioned the result – they went back and did further research! Over a period of time it became clear they had asked the wrong question!!
What they needed to ask was? –

What new projects have you undertaken in the last 12 months?

They had uncovered an assumption that learning was restricted to attending "class" – albeit back then school or college for many. There was little association with learning in a "lived experience." Or dare I say from life!!

Some months or years later they redid the survey asking about new projects undertaken – and surprise – they uncovered a whole range of data about how adults learn. As it turned out adults learn at their own pace in a "self directed" process based on an understanding of their own needs. And many engaged in new projects as a way of doing it! Not really a surprise but at the time it illuminated the thinking.

It makes you wonder doesn't it?
More recently when I received my TED news letter – I noticed a talk given about A SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD and took the time to watch it – and was blown away. Effectively it was saying that children learn in the same way – certainly with respect to technology!
This ten-minute video simply demonstrates how children in India who lacked opportunity have the capacity to learn in spite of their environment. What they needed was an opportunity along with encouragement and recognition, It is very powerful and just maybe our thinking about a whole range of educational and work issues is undergoing a profound shift as we speak.

Certainly my learning journey over the years has been punctuated by "new projects" and specific learning events – most of them chosen by me – to address issues I have had at the time. It is interesting to reflect on the major "learning moments" in my life – and there have been many – and discover the pattern.

This recent journey into social media is both fun and rewarding. While I am not yet masterful – I discovered this in a tweet this week written by Bill Fischer –Selfish Tweeting – it was actually retweeted by Estelle Mayer @competia.

It said a number of things that made a lot of sense to me!!

"The five main learning's I have from Twitter are:
1. Twitter is more about learning than about sending.... Listening-in on interesting conversations is absolutely fine, and you may never have to send a single tweet to profit from it!
2. This is about links not lunches – I'm not a social tweeter. Don't tell me who you had lunch with, or are spending the day with. Tell me what you learned!
3. Twitter is not about wasting time, but using it more effectively – understanding your learning sources and behavior and then being disciplined about how you actually go about learning.
4. Twitter offers you the opportunity to hang out in new conversational neighborhoods in the hunt for good ideas. Remember smart variance: meet different people and share ideas around topics of common interest could give you an edge in your professional life.

As a result, for me, it's quite clear: ----"Ask not for whom I tweet. I tweet for me!"

Enjoy the learning!

Ben Kehoe. 23th November 2013

Social Media -Week 7

Social Media – Week 7

Blogging each week is a challenge – having recently been away and not being technologically advanced the prospect of publishing a blog while overseas was beyond me!
I have not yet worked out how the work my iPad in the same way as my laptop!!

Blogging weekly! Maybe I will just number the Blogs!! There three big issues to ponder?

And what to write – it comes back to why am I doing it – an authentic purpose.

In Blog 1 I said I was doing it because I can – and nothing has changed – but now I am even more excited! The learning is seductive –it is a new world for me - a more concrete reason to engage with this medium is the exploration of a marketing (public communication) platform of the future.

How does business incorporate this "new" form and create serious value?

The target market for a Blog like this is not specifically my existing clients – or my peers!

It is very clearly – Younger Business leaders of Small and Medium Size Enterprise –Entrepreneurs – Start-Ups - it is this market that is creating the future of Australian business.

While the issues, which confront their businesses, are similar – their responses to a radically changing business environment may well differ from the previous generation.

Many of this new generation have a business degree as a starting point -if not, the education about business is much more prolific than 20/30 years ago.
Business channels (and shows)
Web Sites and whole range of social media
Business Associations and networks
Professional Development Networks for Business leaders

All this has emerged in the last 20/30 years – some in the last 10 years so at the level of information and education there has been a sunami.

In my early career the reading/ education material was both academic and theoretical.Now there is more substantive research and a plethora of "stories" about business and from CEO's.

In my early awareness a very popular book was In Search of Excellence – Peters and Waterman – this book appeared to move business from the Academic realm to the accessible popular realm. Now every airport book store has dozens - Good to Great by Jim Collins - Great by Choice by the same author are just two.

While the context is very different now the issues remain similar:

• Establishing clear directions
• Managing High Growth – or the reverse –Managing in an unfavorable business environment
• Building capability and systems
• Succession issues – Family or private Business
• Corporate Governance
• Establishing Priorities – Personal and Business
• Creating productive work organizations
• Team work
• Managing responses to the Changing Business Environment
• And Productivity and Profitability

These are just a few of the issues that Business leaders must get their heads around.

It strikes me after 40 years the one challenge confronting every business leader – from Prime Minister – to Chairman and CEO of BHP Billiton – to Family Business – to Entrepreneurial start up is:

How to move a group of people from Point A to Point B with modicum of coherence, and have them experience dignity, meaning and security – while doing it profitably?

When I started in consulting one of the very first projects I undertook has to do with analyzing performance data for Regions of a public sector organization – and it has evolved from there – forty years ago the project was related to establishing Performance Indicators – back then they were call Performance Statistics.

The challenge to create the future is for us all the most exciting challenge – to live every day with hope and optimism is a great gift. Even when the time is tough – to know there is a cycle

In my early working life I actually documented a personal mission for my work, which still is:

Changing the way Australia does business using leading edge educational and social technology.

It is as important today as it was then – and my commitment to it is the same.

While I may not have changed the way Australia does business – I have changed in ways I could never have imagined and certainly there has been serious learning.

It is a fact along the way some Industries have been deregulated; some businesses have become very successful. Many business leaders I have worked with have been gracious enough to say I made a contribution.

So the challenge is to take the learning and work out how to extend the model to the next generation of Business leaders:

There are few options:

1. Continue as I have been operating –

If you always do what you always have done –you will always get what you have always got!

Over the years I have used this quote to challenge multitudes of businesses to change the way they work – and dare I say – change the nature of their business.
Now the time has come to PREACH ONLY WHAT I PRACTICE!!

2. Make the changes required to work in this new market place

Young men and women who want to make their mark on the business world now dominate this market place and they need support, guidance, and challenge.
It my view they are more educated and open to the notion of lifelong learning and Social media is certainly a "window' on learning opportunities for business.
Ben Kehoe 12 November 2013

Social Media -Week 6

Social Media – Week 6

What a challenge – My Social media story this week! – Web Site goes down! Blogs seem to link together in a way that makes them unreadable – can't load a Blog – my coach is away! – this is not how it is meant to be!!
Five Blogs in and still going – progress is slow!
Tweeting and Retweeting – is easy! – but not understanding the working of the technology is a challenge – limited by incompetence –how I hate it!!
This last week I had a couple of colleagues tell me they had read my Blog!! So what! – there is no doubt this is a marathon!

The reaction of friends is interesting when I tell them – some are benignly interested – some don't care - some think I am wasting my time! the next step – based on previous feedback I probable need to up date my web site which is now two years old – or more!
Action: Update website by Christmas

Tweeting is interesting – I am not sure just what it is supposed to achieve – creating the following is an interesting challenge.
In different tweets I have articulated a number of Tweet purposes – all relevant to me – but the whole tweeting thing is curious – all these "smart" people tweeting! Positioning themselves for their businesses – their lives!
There is no doubt in my mind that the whole social media thing – is changing the way we learn – I have discovered information – and ideas I may never have uncovered if I had not been doing this!

And the purpose of this Blog is?

Still searching for an authentic purpose but I have articulated earlier that I will meander through a number of topics – and one which has always challenged me is the "clash" between work and family. While I could never claim I achieved a balance – I never stopped working at it.
It is interesting what influenced me over the years –certainly my parents and their commitment – but I remember reading a story in my very early working (married life), which I have included below:

An Olympic Story
Bob Richards "What man can be!"
The International Olympic Committee
Had accepted canoe racing for the first time.
Bill Havens of Arlington, Va., was a member
Of the Washington, D.C. Canoe Club,
And his four-man team was going to Paris.
But as time drew nearer,
It became clear that Bill's wife
Would have her baby while he was away.
In those days there was no commercial flying
Back and forth across the oceans! Bill hesitated.
His wife implored him to go!
But the more he thought, the more he felt
His first responsibility was to be near her.
He withdrew.
The canoe team went to Paris without him,
And news of their win arrived
A week before Bill's son Frank was born.
Bill Havens never mentioned his disappointment
Over missing out on the Olympics,
And the years passed. Then came July 1952
A cable arrived from Helsinki Finland
Where the Olympics were on:
"Congratulations Pop!" the cable read
"I won. I am bringing home the gold medal
You lost while waiting for me to be born."
That baby, Frank who had been responsible for Bill's turning down the Olympics of 1924
Had won the main event in the singles canoeing.
You – Prayer for Beginners and those who have forgotten how!
Mark Link SJ Argus Communications 1976

At the time this story had a profound impact on me and it came back to "haunt me" at different times.
I am not sure I was ever so courageous but I am still married to Sally after 37 years and our children and grandchildren are still an important priority in our lives
Ben Kehoe, October 28, 2013

Social Media -Week 5

Social Media –My Story
Week 5

This whole experience is fascinating – 5th Blog and going strong – this company called Hub Spot produces a great Blog every week with a wealth of articles – data – and I am just discovering how powerful "infographics" are!!
Really it is a data story in pictures"!
This article is just one example:
What the heck is blogging? A Sneak Peek into Marketing's newest pastime (Infographic)

This is again a small example of the data available on this article

90%Consumers find customer content useful

60% Consumers feel a company's positivity after reading the site

82% Consumers enjoy reading relevant content from brands

70% Consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads.

From the same article I now understand there are at least three reasons for Blogging – you know I knew that!! I discussed it earlier!

1. Sharing expertise

2. Gaining professional Recognition

3. Attracting new clients

Having now contextualized some of my thinking – the challenge remains – how to position this Blog so anyone reads it – and then what??

I guess the starting point is the Web Site and from there my existing Email list – from that point I am at a loss – to extend beyond there and develop a following? – It assumes I have something of relevance to say to Business leaders!

What would that be?
One of my major interests over the years has been the Culture of Australian Business – I have had a lot of time over 35 years to ponder the challenges and dilemmas facing Business leaders.The debate around – Free Trade v Protection defined the country at federation so much so – the Political Parties of the day were described in those terms!
Interesting isn't it – the debate is still alive today –in some forms – The Car Manufacturing Industry; The Foreign Investment in Australian Companies –Graincorp; The idea of Foreign ownership of our agricultural land – are all emotive issues in our current political environment.
As recently as Sat 5th October there is an article in the Australian about SPC Ardmona – an iconic Australian Company (now owned by Coca Cola Amatil) saying unless the Government gives them $25M they may have to shut down the business.
As a Nation this symbiotic relationship between Government and Business is a subtext to the last 115 years.
For some reason a narrative has been developed which says it is the Government who creates jobs!!
In a healthy functioning society surely it is the Business sector which creates jobs - the family manages the social services and the role of Government is to create an environment where all this can be done with minimal intervention.
There certainly is a role for government in key areas and providing  a safety net for the most vulnerable is one of those– but expecting the government to create jobs is not a narrative we need in the second decade of the 21st Century.
Our real focus needs to be creating a vibrant and growing business sector - the Government needs to focus on creating the environment so this can happen.
Ben Kehoe October 22, 2013

Social Media -Week 4

Social Media – My Story
Week 4

I have been exploring Social Media more seriously for a month now – it's hard to believe I am still going but there is a sense of achievement – sending a Twitter – still not many followers – Blogging – placing Blog on LinkedIn and Face book – as they say in the classics– "baby steps"! Really I have know idea what is happening to it all! But the process is almost exciting –checking each site, reading, thinking pondering on my next Blog. Someone asked me how he or she could comment on my Blog – I still need to work that out!!One of the initial stimuli for this journey was a presentation to my CEO Syndicate by a young woman – who started to explain Social media to our group. In her presentation she mentioned a Web Site called Hub Spot – which did a "free" web site evaluation – and provided a report. I did it and my web site rated – below 50%. So I promptly moved on – but it provided some recommendations to increase traffic– one of which was Blogging.So my questions remain:Who is the Market for these Blogs?Who really knows? – But over 35 years I have worked with CEO's and Boards of over a couple of hundred different businesses as they have made profound shifts (or in some cases "attempted to make profound shifts) in their position through – growth strategies – Infrastructure development strategies – capability development strategies –rationalisation strategies – acquisition strategies - in every case the Board and or the CEO/Owner was working towards creating a "better" –sometimes bigger – always more efficient -always more profitable business.In the context of this work there have been a plethora of challenges, issues and problems and there have been a range of models and methodologies I have used to work in the different businesses.As I mentioned in Blog 2 I claim extensive experience in a multiplicity of areas – in all cases I also claim some competence!So the target audience for this Blog is – Business leaders in Australia – specifically in the SME (Small Medium Size Enterprise) area – I am also especially interested in those business leaders who see themselves as Entrepreneurs – It is these leaders who genuinely change the world!To even be more focused – the business leaders who see themselves creating wealth for the community – by creating and / or providing products and services – that meet the needs of clients and customers.In this "searching" journey the challenges have been many and varied and as a way of contextualizing my writings I adapted the following model.

The Australian Business EnvironmentThe Business/ Work Career JourneyThe Family JourneyThe personal JourneyOver the years it has been impossible to separate the layers of learning – so my writings will meander through all of these issues – because those with whom I have worked have struggled to manage their personal lives – their family lives and their businesses in a complex balancing act in a business environment that was at best turbulent and worst chaotic. The many I have worked with and those I currently work with – (and learnt from) have genuinely worked to be the best people they could be while creating "better" businesses– and that is the start of a great journey for us all!
Ben Kehoe October 4, 2013

Entrepeneur Forum


"Ben pioneered Business coaching before it was fashionable"

Managing Partner, Accounting practice