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We lived in Seattle for 3 years and one of the many things we loved about our stay was the exposure to Native American culture and arts in our extensive travels around Washington State and South Western Canada. In line with my recent post on Buffer and their culture, here is another code to live by….

A Native American Code of Ethics
From Shaman Cloud & the FireBear


  1. Rise with the Sun to pray. Pray alone and pray often. The Great Creator Spirit will listen when you speak. Find the peace that comes from being alone.
  2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their paths. Ignorance, conceit, jealousy, anger and greed stem from lost souls. Pray that they find guidance.
  3. Search for yourself by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
  4. Always give your best to others; your company gets the best bed, blanket and food. Treat them with respect and honour.
  5. Do not take anything that is not yours. If something was not earned or given it is not yours.
  6. Respect all of the things that are placed upon this Earth. People, animals, plants and rocks are all children of the Great Creator Spirit. Honour their place in the chain of life. We are all interconnected.
  7. Honour other people’s thoughts wishes and words. Give each person your attention and allow them expression. When you give an idea away, you no longer own it. If someone uses your idea, you take no credit. If someone doesn’t use your idea you take no offense. Your ideas are no longer yours as soon as you give them away.
  8. Practice Optimism. If you put negative energy into the Universe, it will multiply and return to you. All people make mistakes. Mistakes can be forgiven. Bad thoughts cause illness of body, mind and spirit.
  9. Nature is not for us, it is part of our sacred family. Live in balance with all of nature. Tread softly on Mother Earth.
  10. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life’s lessons. When they are grown, give them space to be themselves.
  11. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of one’s will within the Universe.
  12. Keep yourself balanced. Consider that your mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and volitional selves must work on harmony at all times.
  13. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react to life. Accept the consequences of your own actions.
  14. Always respect the privacy and personal space of others. Never touch the personal property of others, especially sacred items.
  15. Be true to yourself. You can not nurture and help others until you can nurture and help yourself. Live your truth.
  16. Respect the religious beliefs of others. Never force your beliefs on anyone else.
  17. Share your good fortune with others. Tithe and participate in charity.Always give back to others, that they too may have a good life.
  18. Always walk your thoughts before you make important decisions. Find your place of inner peace and operate from there. Walk in peace that others may do the same.


My favourite definition of culture is:

“What people do when no one is watching them.” This is true no matter what the situation or environment, be it a Project team, a company, a sporting team or even your own family and I believe it is about how much you care about each of your “team/family” members which determines a lot of that behaviour.

I found this excellent deck from Buffer which incorporates a really succinct and direct message to the people of that organisation and those that choose to do business with them.

The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger
The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn’t–and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Dan Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is quite a good book, what I gained most of all from reading it was the recalibration of what I should be fearful of and what I shouldn’t be (What it says on the tin).

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Winners V losers

Winners are grinners picture

My recent Gallop strengths finder profile has competition at the top of  my list of strengths, I haven’t always seen myself as competitive but I have come to realise it is certainly something that drives me to do things better, be that better than I have before or better than someone else.

Daryl Conner has written a classic book on change management and I was reviewing it today and found this excellent explanation of the difference between winning and losing in projects or change initiatives.

Connor says that winners are those resilient individuals or organisations that manage change at a speed that allows them to effectively implement the human and technical aspects of transition on time and within budget. Losers are those individuals or organisations that bring change projects in significantly late or over budget or who settle for changes less substantative than those needed to remain competitive.

Winners are able to achieve the full benefits of their change efforts, losers are victims of their own change. One key difference, the tenacity winners demonstrate. Losers initiate changes because they read it on the internet and it sounded like a good idea at the time and don’t have the drive behind them to finish the job.

There is only one circumstance that drives someone to make and sustain the effort to make major changes…..they can no longer afford the status quo. Winners understand that the price of not changing is far greater than the cost of making the change and help their teams understand this.

Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration
Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic! Since reading this book I compare anything tough (in my mind) to do, I just think how bloody tough these blokes were and suck it up. I haven’t read about Shackleton and Scott yet but this is a really great story, there were many stories in here that made me stop in my tracks and say “No way! How did they/he go on?”

All of the men in this story are hero’s, I could not imagine any group of people (maybe a rare individual) from this time surviving this ordeal, we really have become a bunch of soft powder puffs and we have to find ways to harden the heck up.

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Prince2 + Agile = Success

This is a great way of looking at how two seemingly different methods can work together as they both have strengths why not combine them.

Strengths Based Leadership

Strengths Based LeadershipI like to listen to books while driving, (I find it is a great use of the time otherwise wasted listening to advertising on radio stations or depressing news) and I recently listened to Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath which promted me to go through the Leadership version of the famous Gallup organisations Strengths Finder program. I have had the privilege of  undertaking the program while working at Microsoft and also undergoing a live session with one of the original developers of the program Marcus Buckingham, this happened some time ago and I was keen to do it again to see if I had managed to change my strengths over the last 10 years.

If you haven’t been through the program let me briefly explain; It consists of 178 questions where you have 20 seconds to rate yourself  between two phrases either neutral or strongly agreeing with one or the other and it does some automagic in the background to come up with your top 5 strengths. There are 34 in all


To my surprise they had changed quite significantly.

  1. Competition
  2. Learner
  3. Achiever
  4. Positivity
  5. Arranger

Gallup found that it serves a team well to have a representation of strengths in each of the four domains of leadership strength: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. Instead of one dominant leader who tries to do everything or individuals who all have similar strengths, contributions from all four domains lead to a strong and cohesive team. This doesn’t mean that each person on a team must have strengths exclusively in a single category. In most cases, each team member will possess some strength in multiple domains.

According to our latest research, the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder themes naturally cluster into these four domains of leadership strength. My strengths cover the full spectrum with at least one fitting into each category.


Influencing Relationship Building Strategic thinking


Competition Positivity Learner

What does this mean?

I have always had the ability to contribute to a team in some way and no surprise have been very good at executing which fits very well with my chosen career of Project Management. The real advantage to knowing your strengths is knowing how to use them and how they fit in with others in your team.

One thing I will definitely push in all my future teams is to go through this program, it gives a great understanding of how to maximise a teams collective strengths.