Jonathan Mills

stretching people, stretching organisations, stretching nations



There are no ‘one size fits all’ approaches to organisational transformation

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things” (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1532) Transformation attempts… Continue Reading →

You just don’t know what impact you may have – don’t give up

The history of Coca-Cola began in 1886 when the curiosity of an Atlanta pharmacist, Dr John S Pemberton, led him to create a distinctive tasting soft drink that could be sold at soda fountains. He created a flavoured syrup, took… Continue Reading →

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire

I had to do some grocery shopping today and couldn’t help noticing the following words on the till receipt: “Do it with passion or not at all!” I fortunately love my job and put passion into what I do, but… Continue Reading →

Coaching to improve the skillsets of employees

Acclaimed athletes and international sports teams have many of them – coaches for different aspects of the game or discipline. This group of professional advisors often includes physiotherapists and masseurs, sports psychologists, nutritionists, fitness specialists and even doctors, quite apart… Continue Reading →

“Celebrating diversity” and “tolerance” are completely different concepts

“Be with those who celebrate you, not with those who tolerate you” (Keith McEvoy) We are different in many ways, but one thing that we have in common as people is that we all have a variety of likes or… Continue Reading →

Closing the performance gap with effective performance conversations

Behind the problems that routinely plague teams and organisations are individuals who either can’t or won’t deal with failed promises – some have just not performed well, missed deadlines or behaved badly; others have broken rules or have been involved… Continue Reading →

Being optimistic in the face of adversity

An optimist was once defined as a fellow who believes that a housefly is looking for a way to get out! Well, that’s maybe ‘silly’ optimism. Expressing some humour, James Branch Cabell (The Silver Stallion) said: “The optimist proclaims that… Continue Reading →

Achieving breakthrough outcomes in a changing environment

Over the past couple of decades, the acceleration of technology and other marketplace drivers have radically changed the very nature of change. Whereas change was once a contained transactional event (and far easier to control), it is now more fluid,… Continue Reading →

Being flexible for the purpose of growing your career

It is often said that flexibility and adaptability are the hallmarks of a good employee, but what exactly does that mean and why are these skills so important? Risk and instability have always been present in any growing business, but… Continue Reading →

Leaders showing up at work with a transformative disposition

Mary came to work on that cold winter’s morning in Johannesburg, South Africa, making use of the public transportation system as normal, but seemingly now with a spring in her step. Arriving with a broad grin and a warm greeting,… Continue Reading →

Climbing to new heights and maintaining your altitude

According to an old legend, vizier Sissa Ben Dahir presented an Indian King Sharim with a beautiful, hand-made chessboard. The king asked what he would like in return for his gift and the courtier surprised the king by asking for… Continue Reading →

Shake a leg!

It is easy to blame circumstances for a lack of success or at least give really plausible reasons for things not working out as planned. It is true sometimes that we feel like pawns, without any power, being manoeuvred strategically… Continue Reading →

Applying total quality management principles to your personhood

“The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who begin on themselves”. George Bernard Shaw Total Quality Management (TQM) is a philosophy introduced to corporations by W Edwards Deming in the 1950’s. The principles have resulted in many… Continue Reading →

Tapping into your own potential

“I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I … I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”. Robert Frost So many… Continue Reading →

Creating constructive teamwork

Much has been documented with respect to team success or failure. High-performance teams, upon evaluation of performance characteristics, seem to have that “special something” that drives their achievements. Their reputation grows and every success seems to inspire further greatness. They… Continue Reading →

Leading by example

Ancient French legend tells the story of a monastery in France that was known throughout Europe for the exceptional leadership of a man known only as Brother Leo. Several monks went on a pilgrimage to meet this extraordinary man to… Continue Reading →

Firing on all cylinders

Organisational health – the status of operating efficiently and effectively with a “happy team” of positive and focused employees – not only provides a seedbed for new ideas, innovation and creativity, but also establishes the necessary foundation for the development… Continue Reading →

Owning your own career development

Companies are simply not taking responsibility for career development amongst employees anymore. Sure, there are exceptions when companies fast-track certain individuals to fulfil the responsibilities of specific posts that are important to the business, but on the whole, career development… Continue Reading →

Facilitating change-readiness through story completion

Change is an essential dynamic in the growth process of healthy organisations. Without necessary change, companies would get out of touch and stagnate, their client base could dwindle and worse, they might become irrelevant within the market. Sam Keen and… Continue Reading →

Pursuing excellence in your chosen profession

I love coffee – Arabica coffee beans, which comprise about 75% of the total world production, are the most famous, sometimes called “super-coffee” and grown in Central and South America. The coffee is grown at high altitudes in volcanic soil… Continue Reading →

Institutionalising creativity and innovation in the workplace

For many decades, 3M’s executives have focused on a constant flow of terrific new products. In order to achieve this, in 1956, the company instituted a catalytic mechanism that is now widely known: design engineers and scientists are urged to… Continue Reading →

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