Shopping Trolley - Oxytocin waiting?
Shopping Trolley

Have you been given an unexpected gift lately?

Have you been given an unexpected gift lately?

I was recently shopping at our local supermarket and after packing our groceries into the car, I was returning the trolley to the trolly bay when I saw another customer doing the same thing. However, she was doing more than putting her trolley back, she was collecting the other random trolleys that had been left haphazardly around the car park and returning them to the trolley bay too.

I was really impressed and said something along the lines of “Gee, you’re doing a great job, well done.  There should be more people like you”.  As I returned to our car, I was surprised when the lady called me back, saying, “Thank you for appreciating what I’m doing. As a thank you, here, please take this Lotto ticket that I’ve just bought, it may bring you some good luck”. And despite my protestations, she insisted I take the ticket.

To say I was ‘blown away’ by her kindness would be an understatement. In fact, for once in my life I was totally speechless. So much so, that I didn’t even get her name or contact details in case the ticket won something.

So, what’s happening when you receive a surprise gift, and for that matter how does it affect the giver?

Loneliness. Are you feeling lonely?
Loneliness. Are you feeling lonely?

Are you lonely at work?

I read an article recently about a Netherlands supermarket chain, Jumbo, that have introduced a slow lane, or in Dutch, a Kletskassa. The idea is to provide greater social interaction for those customers who may be feeling a little lonely, where customers are given time to chat with the cashier.

Loneliness is an overwhelming emotion, and it often consumes the lives of many elderly people worldwide. In a measure to help them out of their loneliness, Jumbo have introduced these special checkout lanes where the elderly can stop and chat with the cashier.

Jumbo started their Kletskassa’s in one store and due to their popularity with both staff and customers, have now installed a Kletskassa in most of their stores.

This got me thinking about remote working.  Whilst it’s great for some people and some organisations to have work from home, do certain people feel the isolation (and perhaps loneliness) of not meeting with their colleagues, clients and others, face-to-face?

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Do you have what it takes to become a leader?

I recently wrote on the difference between management and leadership and today have posted an article, "How can you tell if you have what it takes to become a leader?". Someone who has demonstrated his ability to lead is Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of the Ukraine, a former actor and comedian who is serving his first term in public office and is rising to meet this moment in history. 

But what does it take? 

Don't: How using the right words will change your life

I'm thrilled to let you know that my book, 'Don't: How using the right words will change your life' was recently announced as a finalist in the prestigious US INDIE Book Awards in the category, 'Non-Fiction - Relationships'.

Thanks to everyone who have read and reviewed the book, and I trust it's given you some great insights on the impact words we use in everyday conversations can impact our own and others behaviour. The result? A more positive you and far more engaging and positive relationships.

If you like to know more info, please contact Bob Selden.

Have a great day!



Lessons on Leadership
Lessons on Leadership

Lessons on Leadership

I was asked to give a presentation to a group of business owners last week on 'Lessons on Leadership".  The challenge was that the presentation was to be exactly 10 minutes. 

"Wow! That's a bit of a challenge", I thought, "there's been so much written on leadership, how can I cover anything meaningful in 10 minutes?" Having recently been watching the TV show 'Master Chef Australia', I had the brilliant idea of giving them a 'recipe' for leadership.

The session went extremely well and I finished in 10 minutes and one second (they had a timer). Apart from getting the timing almost spot on, the group seemed really engaged and had quite a few questions in the Q&A.  One that I didn't have time to cover, was the difference between leadership and management, so I've been invited back again for that topic.  However, if you'd like a sneak preview of my answer, plus the 'Lessons on Leadership' recipe, have a read of my latest article.

Appreciation - get and give more
Appreciation - get and give more

Have you been "thanked" recently?

One thing that's concerned me for quite a while, is the lack of appreciation, a simple "Thank You" for something you've done or given. For example, when buying your coffee recently, did the server say, "That'll be $4.50"? What's happened to the 'Please" as in, "That'll be $4.50 please"? (I can only remember it happening once in the last few months, so now I'm about to start taking score).  And then when you've paid, did the server say, "Thanks", or "Thank You"?

In broad terms, this seems like a lack of civility. In the bigger scheme of things, my observations over the last decade or more, is that we've moved from a relationship based society (where people interacted and developed relationships - sometimes momentary, at others long lasting), to a transaction based society where everything depends on an exchange of monetary value. This has become more so with the advent and rapid increase, of on-line shopping - there's no need for the pleasantries of 'please' and 'thank you', merely the exchange of one's money over the internet for a product or service. Perhaps this is one reason for such a lack of civility when it comes to face-to-face encounters - maybe we've forgotten how, and more importantly why these pleasantries are so essential.

In thinking about this, I've just re-published an article of mine I wrote a number of years ago on the value and benefits of appreciation, "Are you dead on the job?".  Have a read and see what you think - I'd be very interested in your comments. You may also like to check out my other article on developing a culture of recognition.



5 managerial skills for becoming a great boss
5 managerial skills for becoming a great boss

The missing ingredient for becoming a Great Boss

When writing my recent article, "5 Managerial Skills for becoming a great boss", I was reminded of a great learning experience I had some years ago. I had just been appointed as Senior Manager Policy and Planning for a large regional bank in Australia. The role required our team to work with other departments to ensure their policies were practical, worked well, and were in line with the bank's values. Additionally, we were tasked with researching and recommending new policies that would improve the bank's efficiency, particularly in regard to its people management. 

It's this latter task, that at first really challenged me. Whenever I would recommend a new policy at the regular senior team meeting, one of my colleagues would put a counter argument. Over the first few months, our discussions became almost personal and I dreaded recommending anything new.

I ruminated on this for a while and then hit upon a solution.

Transitioning to Leadership with Bob Selden

Transitioning into Leadership - Bob Selden with Jon Rennie

I have the pleasure of chatting with Jon Rennie, host of Deep Leadership podcast about leadership - what is it and how can one learn to be a leader?

“Leadership is a People Business”, is the philosophy of this leadership podcast from Jon Rennie. It’s real-world, actionable advice from Jon as well as his expert guests. As a former Cold War Submarine Officer who spent 20+ years leading businesses in Corporate America before starting his own manufacturing business, he knows that leadership matters!​

One of my reasons for being involved with this particular podcast, is that . . .

Positive Performance Management
Positive Performance Management

Is there a better way to manage performance?

I’ve railed long and hard throughout my career about the ineffectiveness of performance reviews. Managers have said to me, “But, Bob – We need performance reviews to make sure everyone is meeting their objectives”. I see nothing constructive about an annual pay and performance review. It's a mainstream practice that has confounded me for years.

The alleged primary purpose of performance reviews, is to enlighten staff about what they should be doing better or differently. Unfortunately, they’re often used and seen negatively – sometimes by both managers and their people.

Some years ago, a good friend, the late Shaun Saunders, wrote a great piece that I believe sums up what many see as the problems of traditional performance reviews.

Bob Selden - China book launch
Bob Selden - Management vs Leadership

It’s taken 14 years!

After 14 years, my latest book is about to launch. “Gee”, you might say, “that’s a long gestation period”. And of course you’d be right! Why so long? Well, a couple of reasons . . .

The idea of a book on leadership first came to me when I was asked to give a presentation to the marketing students at the Beijing Institute of Technology. The year was 2008, and I’d been invited to Beijing by the publisher of the Chinese edition of my first book, What To Do When You Become The Boss: How new managers become successful managers.

As an aside, it was a bit scary, presenting to a couple of hundred students of whom I was told, only about twenty percent spoke English. Of course I had an interpreter. However, if you’ve ever presented to an audience the majority of whom do not speak your language, you’ll know that one of the challenges is pausing after every few sentences for the local interpretation – it does kind of interrupt the flow.

Three generations in one room - Family Business Central
Three Generations In One Room

Three Generations in One Room

I often reflect at how amazingly blessed I am to work with incredible families who are working to build a solid legacy for both the business and their family. Families come in all shapes and sizes; we often get two generations in a room discussing succession planning. However, every so often we get three generations in one room to discuss their family business – and this is a very special event.

The main reason we get the family together is around developing and writing a family charter. We meet with the senior generation first as there are often things they need to decide before we bring in the wider family. Once those decisions are made, we get the whole family in. This could include kids as young as 15-years-old, who handle themselves with amazing maturity. 

What’s in a word?

What’s in a word?

Negative advertising elicits an unintended emotional response.

My wife and I recently moved to Palmerston North on the North Island of New Zealand. It’s a beautiful place, but has one downside – an inferiority complex.

Palmerston North doesn’t seem to have a great reputation in the eyes of the rest of the country, and I couldn’t see why.  “Being from Palmy” (as it’s colloquially known) was not something to be proud of apparently. Mostly when I heard the word “Palmy”, particularly from outsiders, it was either spoken in a negative tone or followed by a critical remark about the place.

Our local Council, in its wisdom, decided . . .


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