2 - How to train your skill to focus on the essentials by Pecha Kucha – Example: Learning from role models and masters

October 27, 2017

On my way back from our company retreat in Vienna I want to share some thoughts and inspirations on focus and clarity. We spent some days with our team for strategy workshops and smart knowledge exchange while spending a great and stimulating time. In this context we made a Pecha Kucha session in an Austrian winery with simple rules:


-         Pick an inspiring topic from your personal or professional context

-         Select ten pictures reflecting your topic and your main messages

-         Prepare to speak only 20 seconds per chart and 3:20 minutes in total.


I designed a little speech on role models and learning from masters with the core message that the masters who we select to gather insights and inspirations significantly impact our head, heart and hands, so we better pick them wisely and consciously congruent with our overall mission and goals in private life and business context.


Pecha Kucha was an ideal approach to train to focus on essentials and keep things smart and simple. While practicing my speech in the car for several times I never matched the 3:20 minute time box. Well, fortunately in the evening session with the team it worked out, but only due to improvisation and quick adjustments in the process. My key lessons while reflecting some of my true and some ironically picked role models and putting my thoughts together in very focused Pecha Kucha manner were the following:


- Focus on essentials. Dive deep and digest better only the very vital few lesssons from your “masters” and actually apply and train those lessons really in your life, instead of massing loads of unused knowledge. Knowing is not enough, we really must apply.


- Start with the WHY when you study and adapt a master lesson or role model as well as when you design your own messages in speeches or projects for your peers, your team, your students or people who you mentor. Start from your vision to your actions.


- Dare to jump into the “cold water” to get ready to swim and get results before you are perfectly prepared. Yes, sure, prepare and reflect, but better in Pareto style with focus on the 20% most important and most impactful factors (80/20), and not just striving for perfection in advance and never getting started at all. Get ready. Aim. Shoot. Adjust.


- Beside following “who dares, wins” and just jumping in the water, let yourself be surprised how easy it is to adjust in the process of delivery if you have your target and message in mind and heart. For example when I noticed that I would not get finished in one of the 20 second time boxes in the Pecha Kucha speech, I primed myself on the total picture, finished my sentence and moved forward to the next slide, instead of getting lost by over-delivering and stealing time from my next step towards the goal.


To conclude:


With Pecha Kucha it was easily possible to provide ten quick bites on smart insights from inspiring sources and people within a tough time frame of only 3:20 minutes by simply focusing on the core message, preparing for an imperfect but goal-oriented speech and adjusting while the whole process in flexible ways with big pic in mind.


The role models which I presented inspired me indirectly in this sense, too, as they all keep their issues simple and smart in their individual ways with a specific style of focus, tools and habits of impact. Here we go with an overview for those who wanna know:


Tim Ferriss as a master of learning and smart business inspired me on deconstructing my topics to their essentials to study them deeply, selecting the vital few core impact variables for any context, then sequencing them in a clever manner which fits the application fields to get started with learning and inhaling by constant application, smart and flexible adjustments and regular repetition in different contexts with growing stake.


From Jack Welch as master of leadership I adapted the principle of the 4E and 1P in the sense of keeping and fostering your personal positive energy (E), striving to energize your peers, your teams and others with your vision, ideas and energy, daring to decide on the edge (E) and aiming at smart execution (E). And no matter what you do in your life, do it with authentic passion (P) and full engagement, or don’t do it at all.


Bruce Lee as master of martial arts and inspiring personality who trained his body, mind and soul in smart balance and with growing potential inspired me on striving “to be like water” and learning from the best. He studied the best in his areas of interest and profession, combined his insights from them in his own ways while staying himself and designing his personal journey of excellence, and in situations of impact and challenge he let go of thoughts and feelings and followed his intuition leading him to best results.


Vishen Lakhiami is a smart CEO in my opinion who does a great job in designing and constantly transforming a culture of happiness and excellence in his company “Mindvalley”. He gave me some lessons in the main levers of a great place to work if you want to create an environment for your people where they can flourish, grow and serve your customers best. In short it is all about the mix of happiness, significance, abundance, meaning and growth of people, systems and the company in its whole.


Elon Musk is a master in entrepreneurship and in getting things done who lives the approach of doing the right things right in very diverse business contexts being the living proof that you can be successful in any area if you focus in clear and confident manner, use the right mix of people, processes and ideas, and keep going on your track of action until you reach your strategic and operational goals congruent with the vision.


Jordan Belfort as master of sales and persuasion inspired me on negotiation excellence on the one hand and his straight line approach gave me valuable insights on individual interactions and also business deal making. It is all about opening, looping and closing in a straight forward way while having a business and emotional case in mind, building trust in you, your company and your product, and using communication levers like tonality, rapport and value oriented goals, tools and habits to foster a win-win-close.


While reflecting about role models and inspirational resources which influenced me on my journey there also came up two other guys from my early days :-): Mr. Bond on the one hand as example for working smart while playing smart and following a gentleman approach, at least most of the time; Mac Gyver as hero of my childhood who always had the right tool ready to do right things right, and if he had no tool at hand, he used the resources he had to build a (sometimes imperfect) tool which gave him a chance for impact and results in his mission; excellent example for improvisation and quick action.


Beside those masters from my past and business context, I think it is also smart to see the best in your teams and in your partner, and to see them as “role models” and best examples, too. Everybody has issues where others can learn from her or him in best manner. What I learn right now from my partner is to have no excuses to getting things done, there is always a way to get your side projects done beside your regular business and day job, and it is worth to strive for realizing your projects of passion, like writing a book, growing a small business, reaching a next level in a sport or other inspiring goals.


Feel free to send me your personal role models and “masters” from whom you learned or got inspired, ideally with one or two sentences on the core lessons, so that we can also participate… :-)


Cheers from the bus from Vienna to Munich and a great weekend!




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