Three good ideas and a ‘viral leadership phenomenon’ later ….

Where the hell is Matt?

Matt used to make and play videogames.  After a couple of years he became disillusioned with the demand for nothing more than war and gangster games on X-box and in February 2003 resigned his job in Brisbane.  He used the money he’d saved to go ‘walkabout’ around Asia … until his money ran out. Prior to travelling he made a website so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he was.  A few months into his trip, a travel friend gave Matt the idea of doing a dance and have his friend record it for posting on his website.  Matt had a particular dance … the dance he did as a five-year-old.  And that’s the only dance he can do!

A couple years later, someone stumbled across the video online and passed it to someone else, who passed it to someone else, and so on, i.e. the video went semi-viral.  Someone influential at Stride Gum asked Matt if he’d be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video.  Matt asked if they’d be paying for it.  They said yes.  Matt thought this sounded like another good idea.

In 2006, Matt took a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents. In that time, he danced a great deal.  The second video that resulted from this trip went a little more viral!

In 2007 Matt went back to Stride with another idea.  He realized his bad dancing wasn’t actually all that interesting, and that other people were much better at being bad at it.  He showed them his inbox, which was overflowing with emails from all over the world. He told them he wanted to travel around the world one more time and invite the people who’d written him to come out and dance too. The Stride people thought that sounded like yet another good idea, so they let him do it. And he did. This is when Matt became a leader. In the words of Derek Sivers (‘How to Start a Movement’ – see, “… what he was doing was so easy to follow … ”

The attached video is the result … and this went totally viral on YouTube … so you may have already seen it.  If you have, I think it’s worth another viewing!

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …

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Where are the new jobs going to come from?

Serial entrepreneur and RSA chairman Luke Johnson visits the RSA to share some key tips on the creation of successful, inspiring and ingenious enterprises.

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …

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The most extrordinary English-language songs since the beginning of TIME!


‘Time’ Magazine’s critics have picked the most extraordinary English-language popular recordings since the beginning of TIME magazine in 1923.  The link below goes to 100 (unranked) songs of enduring power and inventiveness.  And you can play them!




Emotional Intelligence – Suggestion for a Self-assessment Exercise

Here’s an exercise I sometimes use in workshops, or as part of a coaching intervention.  I think that,  if completed candidly, it forms a good basis for some self-directed self-development!

Category Positive Behavioural Indicators Negative Behavioural Indicators Self-assessment
Empathy Share similar experiences

Acknowledge and respect feelings

Discuss possible solutions

Being constructive

Agreement of the situation

Dismissive of problems


Ignoring the issue

‘Pull yourself together’ approach

Positivity Flexible




‘Can do’ approach

Willing to do new things


Willing to challenge when appropriate


‘Can’t do, won’t do’



Unaware of limitations

Over assertive

Openness Approachable

Willing to listen



Willing to give people time

Receptive to new ideas

Acceptance of constructive criticism

Consistent and fair

Too direct

Risk of being taken advantage of

Taken for granted

Erosion of authority

Time management issues

Personal Self-Awareness Manage own stress levels

Home/work balance

Recognise own weaknesses and take action

Recognise strengths and use them to the full

Recognise own needs

Realistic assessment of own abilities

Recognise own influence on others

Too concerned with own needs

Unrealistic assessment of own abilities

Too self-focused

Inability to see own influence on others

Social Self-Awareness Being able to respond to others

Using own status appropriately


Sensitive to individuals’/ team workload

Overstepping the mark

Oversensitive to individuals and personal influence on them

Over-friendly and personal

Too status-focused

Confidence Accept challenge


Willingness to speak up

Accept criticism

Challenge appropriately

Too big for boots

Too overpowering

Unrealistic assessment of own abilities

Motivation Maintains focus on tasks

Engages others

‘Can do’ approach

Overcomes obstacles

Achieves targets

Little energy

Sits on fence

‘Can’t do’ approach

Puts up obstacles

Achieves little

Emotional Expression Friendly behaviour

Open to others

Good eye-contact

Appropriate body language

Puts people at ease

Appropriate expression of feelings


Closed to others

Too open to others

Wears heart on sleeve

Bottles up feelings

Temper tantrums



Inappropriate laughter


Putting people on the spot

Social Awareness Dressing appropriately

Encouraging others to have a view

Language matches the occasion

Showing consideration for others

Showing an interest in others

Dressing inappropriately

Hogging centre of attention

Using wrong language for the occasion

Lack of consideration

Bull in a china shop

Being self-absorbed

Not reading body language

Emotional Balance Acknowledging feelings appropriately

Identify appropriate outlet for emotion

Retaining control

Expressing reaction to a situation …

Constructive and positive

Overly controlled

Displaying emotion innapropriately

Assertiveness Create opportunities to put point across

Retain control where appropriate

Ability to assess right time to put point across

Ability to stand ground


Stifling debate

Not contributing on behalf of self or organization

Too assertive – may equal arrogance

Self-Reliance Sees the wider picture

Get on with the job

Being resourceful

Self organization

Manage own time

Exclude others

Don’t accept help when required

Insular – can be perceived as inapproachable

Put self in danger

Pressure Performance Responds well to deadlines

Maintains enthusiasm for the task



Maintains perspective

Thinking on feet

Lack of attention to quality

Inability to think clearly – flustered

Makes mistakes

Blames others

‘Brick wall’

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …

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