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   Thoughtscape: Thoughts and Tips from Mike Clayton


Issue 17

  New Year
12 Things to do Differently in 2012
    News and views



Dear %1

At this time of year, it is customary to look forward and think about what you want to change.  Many people will advise you to think about your goals for the year and to set yourself objectives for what you want to achieve.  It's good advice. 

I want to focus on something a little different: what can give you a better, happier, more successful life in 2012?  Here are twelve changes you can make.  When you do things differently, you will get different results.  Have a go.

1. The Felicity Factor
There is a mass of research that shows happy people to be healthier, less prone to illness, live longer and have...  happier lives. So be happy and cheerful.  Practice smiling more, make opportunities for laughter and see the bright side of life.

As an added bonus, people warm to you when you are happy, meaning they are more likely to believe you, to do you favours, and to offer you help.

2. Be Generous 
Generosity nearly always repays the giver and, as a policy, it is hard to beat for return on investment.  Start with being generous with the credit you offer to to the people around you, for the things that go well.  You may know you had the greater hand in the success, but credit your team's contribution first.

3. Follow your Passion
Tick, tick, tick...  Another year gone.  Make this the year you decide to take a determined step in the direction of your true passion.  Being stuck in a cul-de-sac, doing a job you hate, or working with people whose values turn your dials to danger is just a waste of your life.  There are plenty of alternatives and some of them can bring you joy instead.

4. Say "NO" more Often
Not a gratuitous or petulant "no" but a strategic "NO" to things that serve neither you nor the people or institutions you care for.  This is an important one and you'll be hearing more from me on this in the second half of this year.

5. Delegate Outcomes rather than tasks
Getting more done this year means delegating more - to colleagues, family members and paid assistants.  For maximum benefit, trust them more: delegate by specifying what you want them to achieve, rather than telling them what to do and how to do it.

6. Make more Time for Relaxing 
For many of you, this will be a tough year.  I hope you have recharged your batteries in the last couple of weeks.  Now keep them in peak condition by making time to relax and trickle charge them back to peak capacity.

7. Read more Widely
Much research into wisdom (and you'll hear more from me on this topic in 2012 too) shows that depth and breadth of knowledge and experience are equally important.  Identify two or three genres that you've not read in the last few years and include them in your 2012 reading list: history, physics, sociology, art, music, psychology, craft, biography, romance, management, literary criticism, linguistics, cookery, medicine, philosophy, politics, sport...

As a bonus tip, reading intelligent fiction has been shown to increase levels of empathy, leading to better relationships and greater ability to influence.

8. Remember Names 
Nothing says "I value you" less than forgetting a name.  Yet so many people do claim to be "bad at names" that it is almost our default position.  Be different.  Remembering names is not too tricky (more tips next newsletter) and it starts with wanting to.

9. Listen more Carefully
How often to you mentally switch off or turn to your own inner dialogue when someone is speaking?  When you really listen, people really notice it.  It will transform your relationships, prevent costly misunderstandings, increase your sales success and win more compliance from partners and subordinates.

10. Improve your Diet
As a lapsed/reformed vegetarian, I was fascinated this autumn by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's discovery of veg.  Avoid fads and think about quality - a high veg diet, with good quality meat once or twice a week is good for your health, your stress levels and your happiness.  If you're a meat lover, then think about the pleasure of anticipating that special meal.

11. Be Optimistic
There is a lot we could be fearful of in the news and the economy, but fear will not help you tackle the troubles that may come.  Rational optimism is not a blind "glass half-full" faith, but a determination to seek opportunities in each situation, and a confidence in your abilities based on around assessment of your resources, and a plan to increase them.  Pessimists may be right more often, but optimists do prosper more and live longer.  Being wrong occasionally seems a small price to pay.

12. Be Grateful
If things go wrong, it's easy to dwell on "if only..."  When someone has more than you, it's easy to feel deprived.  But you will be happier and when you focus on what you do have.  Be grateful for the people in your life, the successes you've achieved, the pleasures you can take, and for all that you have. 

To start to feel really good, almost immediately, go somewhere quiet for 20 minutes, with a pen and paper, and make a list of everything - big or small - that you can be grateful for.


The Best of 2011's
Management Pocketblogs

Each week I write a blog on a management-related topic of my choice, for Management Pocketbooks, who publish, among many other fine pocketbooks:

The Management Models Pocketbook


The Handling Resistance Pocketbook

Take a look back at:
my selection of the best blogs from 2011

or take a look at my first blog for 2012:
"Tuckman Plus, Part 2: Transforming"


Two Seminars you may like

7 Ways to get More from your People

It won't work because...
Handling Resistance to Change

These are two of the 16 seminars I am currently offering.  Here is the full list:

  • Three hour MBA

  • Seven Ways to get More from Your People

  • Seven Ways to get More from Yourself

  • Brilliant Influence:
    Ten Secrets of Persuasion

  • Brilliant Project Leader

  • Brilliant Time Management

  • Faster, Better, Cheaper

  • How to Read People

  • It ain't the Stress that does the Damage

  • It won't work because...
    Handling Resistance to Change

  • More than just Survival:
    Thriving in Times of Change

  • Practical Decision Making

  • Practical Problem Solving

  • Practical Project Management

  • Risk Happens!
    Control Risk and Avoid Failure
    in Organisational Projects

  • The Seven Rules of Project Management

Learn more on my website.




Looking Back in Gratitude
My Highlights of 2011

2011 was the year I started to feel like a real author.  Three more of my books were published last year:

Brilliant Project Leader

Risk Happens!
Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects

Brilliant Stress Management
... which has already sold into Spanish (S American), Polish and Chinese editions.

All of my books are available from Amazon


Naomi Campbell
Notoriously stressed super model Naomi Campbell was quoted in Harpers Bazaar as "reading an amazing book called Brilliant Stress Management by Mike Clayton." Read all about it here.


The Three-hour MBA

Of all of my seminars,
The Three-hour MBA has been the big success in 2011.  I created it for the Bite Size open programme, and rolled it out in the autumn.  I immediately had a lot of interest for in-house bookings and closed my first contract just before Christmas.

The Three-hour MBA, has been a great success as an open event, with some cracking feedback.  I am taking bookings for in-house seminars. 

“Packed in a significant portion of powerful management advice into such a short time frame. Many of the tools were familiar but linked in this way gave them added value to me.”
Chris Self, Millwood House Consultants Ltd

Extended Interviews

You can hear three interviews I did in 2011, covering lots of advice from my books:

So much to do but so little time,
on Photo Night Live

Influencing Know-How,
on Professional Banking Academy

How to be a Brilliant Project Leader,
on Guerrilla Project Management

Finally, if you'll allow me a moment of introspection, this email newsletter started in January 2011, with 506 subscribers.  This edition goes out to well over 1,000.  If you missed any and want to read the tips, they are all archived on my website, here.

Thank you all, very much.


Looking Forward with Optimism
Highlights for 2012


I am still in the process of finalising open seminar dates, and will publish them as soon as possible.  Drop me an email if you want me to mail you directly, as soon as I know the dates for certain. 

There is a calendar on my website, where I will also post all of the dates. As last year, I'll be scheduling dates for:

The Three-hour MBA  
along with
Brilliant Time Management

Practical Project Management
along with
Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects


The Apprentice

I am eagerly looking forward to 2012's series of The Apprentice and Young Apprentice.  Watching them to learn and to find lessons to blog about changed and enriched the viewing experience, and the blogs won many viewers for my website, peaking at over 800 in one day, towards the end of the summer's series of The Apprentice. 

Both shows gave us some good laughs, instructive lessons and showed us some incredible people.  Good luck in 2012 to Melody Hossaini, Tom Pellereau, Helen Milligan, Susan Ma, Jim Eastwood, Harry Hitchens, Zara Brownless, James McCullagh and Haya al Dlam (who are my pick of this year's talent) and all the other contestants.


Two new books for 2012

I am working on two new books for publication in 2012.  Each is quite  a new departure for me.

The first, due to be published by Marshall Cavendish in June, will, I think, be something rather special.  I certainly don't think there is any "equivalent" book on the market today.

The second will be published around September by Pearson.  This is a step into a new area and a new style of writing for me, and I started work on it this week.



My focus this year ...
... continues to be on writing, responding to press enquiries, and seminar and speaking engagements.  If you know a conference organiser who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do send them to my website: www.mikeclayton.co.uk.  If you need a speaker now, just contact me using the links below, or the contact form on my website.  You can download my speaker pack here.

Best regards


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Many thanks

    Please contact me ...
... mike@mikeclayton.co.uk
... Tel: 08444 141349
... www.mikeclayton.co.uk
... on Twitter @mikeclayton01

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© Mike Clayton, 2011