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Past President 2012/13


Keeping Promises – What is 100%?

Keeping Promises – what is 100%
By; Adolph Kaestner

I was chatting to a friend and colleague about finding the right people to do a job and how difficult this has become.

The number of times people “commit / agree” to do something and then just don’t deliver without even a warning or a call for help, seems to be acceptable.

Regrettably it’s a sign of the times where people want to receive maximum reward for minimal effort and where commitment to do what needs to be done rather than what suits them to do is the order of the day.

Non-delivery is a South African norm and basic fulfilling of duties is regarded as extraordinary achievement that should be rewarded and applauded.

In my training on Performance Management I do a Session on – “What is 100%”. The comments I get from delegates ranges from very good to outstanding and the expectation is an increase, a bonus and even a promotion.

I remind them that 100% is doing what you were contracted or committed to do.
My definitions of 100% is:-

“Doing EVERYTHING that is listed in your JD/KPI’s —within the TIME specified—-within the BUDGET agreed –with a NEGLIGABLE ERROR rate and with a MINIMUM of direct SUPERVISION”

And the reward for delivering 100% is simply:  Thanks and You Can Keep your JOB

If you want more than that you have to deliver more –

My Performance Rating scale is as follows.

  1. Excellent                120% ++  – This is the Bonus and Promotion zone
  2. Very Good              106% to 119%
  3. Good                     (96) 100% (105)
  4. Satisfactory            86% to 95%
  5. Unsatisfactory         76% to 85%
  6. Poor                      Under 75%  – This is the Exit Strategies zone

Where there is a WILL there is a way

Where there is a Will there is a Way
By Adolph P Kaestner
12 November 2015

In my primary Keynote Speech (I Can Is NOT Enough) I discuss the 3 stages of what it takes to achieve something – anything.

The First is to believe that I Can, the second is to have the intention to do so –I Will and the 3rd stage is to Say I Do and actually get out there and do it.

Listening to the news again this morning about the Fire in the Kya Sands squatter camp and the Water Crisis as a result of reservoirs running dry I reflect  on how a country like China has achieved more in 30 years than most countries have achieved in 300 years.

I just returned from a visit to China last Sunday and when people ask me how was the trip I can only answer with one word – Surprising.

You see I thought that I was going to visit and tour a country with over 6,500 of cultural history, typical Chinese houses, labourers tilling the fields and rice paddies etc. To my surprise what we saw was a series of ultra clean, modern cities like, New York, Sydney and ant ultra-modern large city in the west.

Was I disappointed? – Yes – because I wanted to go and experience a culture that has fascinated and interested me all my life – so going from one ultra-modern concrete jungle to the next was not what I had signed up for

But here’s the point – I was absolutely dumbfounded to find a country that has in 30 years built in excess of 50 million homes (some say a few 100 million) for its people to ensure all squatter camps are a thing of the past that has stepped up to ensure that the cities are clean – R5, 000 fine for littering – R 10, 000 for smoking in a non-smoking area.IMG_20151027_105526

Here at home we have done nothing of the sort – we have not used massive amounts of available money to build houses, electricity, water, health, safety, and jobs. Instead the people who promised to do so and who we voted in to do so have done nothing but fill their coffers, built their palaces and ignored, even shunned, the people who they are supposed to serve.

China after their revolution made a few decisions – We CAN do this, We WILL do this and they have gone out and DONE it. They work a minimum of 12 hours a day and some have more than one job – they are fit active and live to over a 100 years as a matter of course.

We know that they are busy colonising Africa and only yesterday I heard that SA is now going to be teaching Mandarin in our schools – are we going to give up our freedom to yet another colonial empire – I’m afraid we are already past the point of no return on this one

Mismanagement, incompetency and greed has robbed South Africa of the opportunity to be a real 1st world powerhouse – what a shame.

Come on South Africans lets not give up our land … let’s get leaders that will adopt the WE CAN — WE WILL and WE DO attitude and build the nation we all fought and prayed for in 1994.

Living the lessons you teach

Living the lessons you teach

The past 8 months have been ones where I have NOT been walking my talk.

What an admission to make for a motivational/inspirational keynote speaker you may say but hey we are not always perfect and things do go wrong even if we put on the “It’s all OK” face.

A fellow Mentor sent me this quotation by Phillip Adams this morning:-

The Future is not some place we are going to – but one we are creating
The Paths to it are made – not found and
The Activity for making them changes both the maker and the destination

Just after receiving this my sister shared a link to a You Tube clip tribute for Paul McCartney.

Last Saturday I achieved one more goal on my Dream Board when I was awarded the Stef du Plessis Founders Award (SdPFA) by the PSASA. This is the greatest honour bestowed on a member for outstanding commitment and contributions to the association.

These three items reminded me of the personal belief you have to have in your dreams and the tenacity and resilience one has to muster to make the future that we want – happen.

It isn’t going to happen if you don’t make it happen!

So next week I am going into “the bush” and there I want to take stock and review my dream board, remove some items achieved and add new ones and set new Actions to achieve the dreams I have and the future I want to live.

It’s always good to take stock, review and refocus and then get moving in the direction you want as otherwise you will die before you have lived your dream – and that would be a sad waste of time.

Why don’t you join me and review your dream board as well and let me know how it went?

What Speakers and Event Organisers should Do

One of my Professional Speaking colleagues just had a disaster at a conference he was speaking at . The reason was the Event organisers has employed a sound / data company to run the technical stuff . My Colleague did what all professional speakers do and checked with the engineers that all was working , sound checks etc – BUT when he went up to speak the engineers had forgotten the settings, plugged in the incorrect laptop etc etc. The result a disastrous start to a presentation and total aggravation for the paying audience.

Conference and Events Planners/Organisers miss the basic step of briefing the Speakers/ Presentersand Technical staff

They ASSUME (we all know what happens when one assumes anything) that the speakers will know what’s  happening and will hit the mark.

They also fail to ensure that the technical support team – Sound and Data projection – are actually competent and “experts” .

Often they are not but are used to save money on the cheapest quote basis. The result is that Murphy sets up his tent and reigns supreme

I provide a service of assisting both Speakers and Event Organisers with Mentoring and checking and honing of presentations and check lists and even hands on assistance  to ensure that Stage Setup, Audience Seating, equipment etc is correctly set up to ensure a professionally run conference with spot on presentations.


Regrettably most people are not willing to admit they need help and are not willing to pay for these services.

A few are – and just last week I assisted a presenter (business owner) with her presentation at an industry conference and the result was remarkable.

Her speaking slot 15 minutes at 4 pm – her original number of slides 24 all text based–  The final revised presentation was 5 slides (only one with text) and she got great feedback from audience afterwards– so a few more lives were saved from death by PowerPoint.

I have several check lists and briefing sheets  – similar to the Speakers and Presenters Technical Briefing Sheet in the resource section of my web site – Available here.

So yes there is a need for non-professional speakers and event organisers to not forget these basics.

I am very happy for Speakers/Presenters of the Conference Organisers call me so that I can assist them in ensuring they have a wow and not as deadly conference

Tips for Speakers

Tips for Speakers

Some things you will need

1.   A Digital recorder

a.     to record every speech you ever give

b.    to listen to speeches as you are preparing them

c.    to evaluate the speeches after you have given them

d.    to hear what your audience is herring

e.    to measure impact

f.     to post on your web site / YouTube channel.

g.    to make notes as ideas come to mind

h.    to get voice references and evaluations

2.   A Video Camera

a.     to video every speech you ever give

b.    to  see to speeches as you are preparing them

c.    to evaluate the speeches after you have given them

d.    to see what your audience is herring

e.    to measure impact

f.     to post on your web site / YouTube channel.

g.    to video references

3.    Note Pad and Pen – always on you, next to all telephones in the house, on your bedside table.

a.    To record ideas

b.    To record speech tiles

c.    To record stories

d.    To record smart ideas

e.    To remember things

f.     To make notes

4.   Generic Evaluation Sheets / templates

a.    For Speeches

b.    For Presentations

c.    For audience members

d.    For mentors

5.   CD Shuttle in your car / MP3 Player for public transport

a.    To Listen to other speeches

b.    To listen to your own speeches

c.    To listen to educational CD’s on art of speechmaking

d.    To listen to subject experts on subjects you speak or want to speak on

Voice Tips

1.   Protecting your voice

a.    Never Shout

b.    Never scream

c.    Try not to clear your throat by rasping it – use hot water (see below)

d.    Always use a microphone if it is available – always (learn to use it properly)

e.    Never take Coffee, Tea, Milk Drinks just before (1 hour) you speak

f.     Same goes for alcohol

g.    Always sip a cup of boiling water (no lemon) just before you get up to speak

h.    Do Voice exercises for 10 minutes Max 1 hour before you speak

i.      If “you have lost your voice” shut up – don’t try and speak – Shut up – write but don’t speak – get sleep – lots of it it’s the only way to give the vocal chords time to recover

Speech Writing Tips

1.   Topic Analysis

a.    Ask yourself – Why this topic and why You as the presenter

b.    What level of expertise do you have in this subject

c.    What level of expertise does the audience have

d.    Don’t just be the Speaker – Be the Expert Who Speaks on this topic.

2.   Audience Analysis

a.    They are the reason you are speaking – It’s all about them NOT YOU

b.    Who are they

c.    Why are they there

d.    What are their needs

e.    What do they know

f.     What do they need to know

g.    Can you fill the gap

h.    Age, Sex , Race, Ethnic Groupings,

i.      Hierarchy split, academics, CEO level, Management, Staff, blue collar, ??

j.     Language demographics

k.    Taboos in this audience

3.   Writing the speech

a.    Start with the end – the purpose – the message – the call to action

b.    Then develop the Start – the attention grabber – the thing that breaks their concentration and gets them focussed on you

c.    The build the 5 points of the body

4.   Stories ( the goldmine of great speakers)

a.    Collect stories an anything that may be of interest

b.    Write them down

c.    Categorise them

d.    Practice them

e.    DONT steal other people stories – use your own there are at least 1,000 things that have happened in your life that make a good story – open your imagination

f.     Learn how to tell  stories

Stage / Venue Managing

a)    Get there early

b)   Pace the stage cracks and squeaky spots

c)    Check out the lighting and dark spots on stage

d)    Know where you want to be at what part of your speech

e)    Check the stairs up the stage – handrails are often loose

f)     Get all lecterns , tables and props in places you need them or remove them

g)    Check all cables and plugs for laptops and data projectors

h)    Test all equipment

i)     Test Microphones

j)     Practice with Microphone

k)    Get to know sound engineer /they also often look after blights


Preparation Tips

a)    Be Yourself

b)   Don’t try and copy others styles – be yourself create your own comfortable self.,

c)    Write out speech

d)    Read it to yourself 3 times in your hear

e)    Then 3 times out loud

f)     Then “standing”  3 times out loud

g)    Now record it and listen top it

h)    Revise and rewrite

i)     Repeat the above

j)     Now video yourself

k)    Watch the video

l)     Laugh at yourself

m)  Rework sections and practice

n)    Redo whole speech again to video

o)   Watch it again

p)   OK now you are ready to present it to people

Finding and Practising Impromptu speeches

a)    In your Car / Bus / Taxi on way to and from work

b)   Check out all billboards and adverts

c)    Choose a billboard or Product or just one word from them

d)    Do a 2 minute impromptu speech

e)    Preferably out loud

f)     Record on your digital recorder

g)    Listen to it

h)    Do it again – only this time better

i)     Do at least 3 to 5 every day

j)     Enjoy and have fun

CHANGE – We hate it – But we need it !

“Change is not merely necessary to life It is life!”
Alvin Toffler

Every year all good businesses Micro, Small, Medium and Large look at what has happened in the past year/years and tries to predict what they want to achieve in the coming year/years. –Well at least I trust they all do otherwise they could be heading down a slippery slope to being an ex-business very fast.

There are always things we are great at and that the market wants and we should Continue doing these things. Then there are new demands for our products and services which we should Start doing if we want to keep our existing and attract new clients. Then there are the things we do badly and that clients either want of don’t and these we should either Stop doing or Change what we are doing.

It really is not rocket science but there is always the mistake most businesses make and that is they presume they know what the clients/markets want and need. The really successful businesses do not assume they know — they ASK the Client/Customer and then only do they apply the strategies and plan to provide what is wanted. And the Great companies of course deliver more than what is wanted or expected.

The Key to survival and prosperity is Change.

Albert Einstein defined insanity/madness as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.  And this put another way is – you must change to make it happen and to achieve the results you want.

But just the word Change makes people feel that their world is crumbling. Some run away, some become inert and some go into deep states of depression. The successful ones learn how to cope with change and if they are business owners they learn how to implement change without causing the reactions mentioned above for their teams. – This is not just a hit and miss process – it is a skill one needs to learn BEFORE implementing the changes not after as then it is too late.

So what then are the keys to and effective change intervention:-

  •  Understand the real need for the change – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the situation.
  •  Get the right people together to lead the change in the company.
  • Create a “Dream-board” of the desired end result
  • Share and communicate the “Dream-board” with all until the accept and buy into it
  • Allow them to “Go For It” – remove red tape and obstacles – Give power with responsibility and accountability.
  • Celebrate Milestone Successes as they happen – “What gets recognised gets repeated” Adolph Kaestner
  • Implement all the changes that worked and keep on promoting their usage – create a vibe of energy and excellence.
  • Make them a Habit and a Home Grown Tool for success so that the process continues.

If you are not sure that you can do this on your own get someone to help.  Failure is not an option and does more harm and breaks the trust for future change interventions. The people affected also need to be shown how to cope with the change which in itself is a skill that needs to be known to all and especially the change agents.


But above all do not be afraid of implementing change. Winston Churchill shared these sage words with us  “There is nothing wrong in change — if it is in the right direction. To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have to change often”.

Enjoy changing, adopting new projects and processes and the success they bring with them.

Hope – Your Friend or Your Foe?

Hope – Your Friend or Your Foe?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
This is a quote by Albert Einstein – sounds great doesn’t it – pretty much the same as you hear from most preachers “ Where there is Hope there is Life!!” and  “Faith, Hope and Charity

They all sound great, makes one feel good and make one believe that things will be better tomorrow …… doesn’t it ? But is HOPE worth anything or just a pure waste of time, effort and energy?

I know of several people who started their businesses:-

  • Hoping that their dreams would come true
  • Hoping that their product or services will always be in demand
  • Hoping they will make their sales targets
  • Hoping that their suppliers will deliver on time
  • Hoping that that they get that tender deal
  • Hoping that …………..

One just has to look at the Lines at the Lotto Tills on Wednesdays and Saturdays and see how many people are “HOPING their ticket will win the Lotto”

I believe that HOPE and HOPING for things is in fact one of the reasons why people seldom achieve their dreams, seldom succeed at their endeavors, seldom realise their full potential and continue to live their lives in HOPE for something smarter and better ——– BUT more often than not end up dying – having hoped their lives away!

HOPE is, in my opinion, a great friend of the people that don’t want to get off their “A’s” and do something about their futures and their lives. HOPE in itself is a futile waste of energy and only lulls one into a false state of security and belief that somehow, somewhere there will come a Fairy Godmother or Fairy Godfather and just make things happen – IF WE HOPE ENOUGH!

The truth of the matter is that if we do not get going then nothing will get done and we will meet people that walk around and tell us they are HOPING that this and that will happen so that they can live the lives they dream of.

The only route to success and achievement is through ACTION and IMPLEMENTATION. If one reads the lives of any of the successful icons Like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and the like –we always hear them say that No amount of Conceptualising (dreaming), No amount of Strategising and Planning and Organising and Delegating and Marketing on their own will lead to success – The Key to all of the above turning into something is Action, Implementation  and Performance.   …………..Certainly NOT HOPING!

In South Africa in particular we have a rather sick “hand out” and “you owe me” and “minimalistic” mentality. Everybody just seems to want things handed to them on a plate and they believe they need to do the absolute minimum to get whatever they want. The less and the faster they can get it without doing the time and sweating the hard stuff the better.

So today I want to leave you with the message that whilst HOPE is good for the soul and helps to make one feel good and gives us that warm fuzzy feeling – if you want to achieve your dreams, be successful, have a thriving business, be a leader and a person others will look up to and be satisfied by the life you will lead, then you need to do a lot less HOPING and a lot more ACTION and IMPLEMENTATION in the right direction.

I submit to you that the word HOPE should be replaced by the word HELP

  • Help yourself learn something new every day
  • Help yourself understand your business better
  • Help your staff to be excellent at what they do
  • Help your customers by providing solutions to their real needs
  • Help your business to deliver – always and on-time and in-budget
  • Help others achieve their goals and you will achieve yours
  • Help …………

Have a year of excellence  by Helping Not Hoping!!

Teams or many I’s working together?

It is very interesting to hear many trainers, managers and team “leaders” quoting the old adage of “there is no I in TEAM”.

I personally do not believe in this maxim or philosophy as the teams I have been involved in or observed are in fact a whole bunch of I’s that work as individuals but towards a common goal or purpose.

To assume that the members of a group wanting to achieve something must suddenly lose their own individual identity and become like the others (a mass cloning session) is a major fault in most teams that cannot seem to get it together and achieve or exceed the results expected.

Each Individual making up the team has his or her own unique set of skills to bring to the final result. They should be encouraged to display their own individual talents, knowledge and skill to the betterment of the task at hand and not try and become some amorphous mass that must fit into the mould of the rest.

My experience has been that where members are allowed to excel at their own skills and make individual contributions towards the end result one gets better results than when everybody tries to do the “collective”  “do it together “ bit.

The role of the team manager (note I do not use the term leader) is to identify these individual skills and manage them in such a way that they all make the maximum contribution the desired end result and at the same time allow the individual to excel and make his or her mark in the process.

The concept of the “collective” or team always having to be the same, act the same, talk the same, decide collectively how to do things and at what pace etc has more that often led to the team NOT achieving the goals, as the stars are curtailed from shining and then the benefit of their skills and energy and innovation etc is lost.

Managing a group of high achievers and allowing them to explore their own talents etc is not an easy task but it allows for great results rather getting everybody to tow the same line and achieving a mediocre result. As Managers  we need to ensure that we get our members to exhibit their maximum potential for their own good as well as the good of the team.

PowerPoint Made Easy

PowerPoint Made Easy 

I guess more has been written and commented on the use of Power Point Presentations in the last 5 years than almost any other Presentation Tool introduced over the same period. 

The Reason – Simple – Microsoft Built a Tool to make Presentations simpler for us all and also added almost every Gizmo and feature they and their clients could think of. – The Problem – People try to use all/most of the Gizmos without paying attention to the value of the tool as an aid to enhancing the message and not the message itself. So what am I recommending?

The primary questions you have to ask yourself are:-

1. What is the purpose of my Talk/Presentation?

2. Who Is The Audience?

3. What is the Call to Action/Message?

4. What is the session all about – Speech (motivation – inspiration – entertainment), Training Session, Sales Proposal, Information Dissemination Presentation, Brainstorm and Workshop?

5. Will a Data Presentation be appropriate to get the message across and get the right call to action in the end?

6. Where will this happen – Venue and facilities for a Data Presentation?

OK – so you have decided that the best way to enhance the message is with a PowerPoint presentation. –

So what format should it take so that you don’t bore the audience to death?

Here are some Keep It Simple Guidelines based on the Types of Presentations.

• Key Rules

• Appropriate Pictures say more that words ever will!

• Contrast  is critical – i.e.

 i. Light Backgrounds with Dark Text

ii. Dark Backgrounds with Light Text

iii. Light backgrounds better in large and light rooms

iv. Dark backgrounds require stronger projectors and darker rooms.

v. Get to know the Colour Wheel and What colours work for what effect in a presentation.

• Speech – ( Motivation – Inspiration – Entertainment )

• Slides to Contain PICTURES (Not Clip Art) and

• Maximum – 5 Words per slide- Less if at all possible

• The Idea is that the picture will enhance the message YOU are Delivering as the Speaker.

• Finding the right picture takes time and thought as it must add value otherwise it’s just a prop / “plok-in” as an afterthought.

• NB- beware copyright issues on pictures you “borrow” from the web – search for Free pictures or pay for them from a stock list.

• Training Session and Information Dissemination Presentations.

• Here the Slides are made up of a 50% mixture of Key Bullet Points and

• Appropriate Pictures that enhance the main point of the slide and

• Interspersed with appropriate Video Clips that also enhance the value of the point – either seriously or humorously.

• Sales Proposals

• These Slides are usually based on presenting the Problem and then the Solution in Side by side boxes.

• Max 5 Bullet Points per Box – Differentiate the Boxes (Problem and Solution) with different background shading.

• Precede the slide with one of a Photo Depicting the problem

• Follow the Solution bullets with a Slide depicting the Solution if at all possible

• Workshops

• A workshop is where there is one or more presenters talking to a group

• The mix is- presenters give Max 50% input via presentations – illustrations etc.

• The Delegates are involved at least 50% of the time with break away or individual work time.

• This is more  facilitation techniques that a presentation but if presentations are used-  then apply the rules for training sessions discussed above.

• Brainstorm Sessions

• If data projector is to be used then best to use it with expert typist and software for Mind Mapping

• Generally use facilitation tools and techniques and not PowerPoint for these sessions.


This is a vast subject to cove – I trust these few pointers will assist you in your next presentation.

Remember always – YOU are the centre of attention and the reason the audience is there – Not the PowerPoint presentation.  

If that was the case then rather just mail the presentation  to the audience and stop wasting everybody’s time if all you are going to do is read what is on the slides to them (also known as “Death By PowerPoint”)

Have fun !!!! and Blow their Socks off with your next presentation !!

1 or 1,000 Which is better?

1 or 1,000

One of the most common debates that take place in any speakers training /developments is around the subject.  “How often should I speak?”

There are pretty well two schools of thought:

  • The First is the –  Go Slow / Take your Time and Work at your own Pace
  • The Second is the – Go for it- at least one or two a month minimum

I am a champion of the second group for the following reasons:-

  • Most people that go to places to learn to speak and gain confidence are Presentation Avoiders and whilst they want to learn will find every excuse in the books (plus some new ones) to avoid having to prepare and present.
  • The longer the breaks between presentations the more one regresses and has to re-learn all the skills and courage you mastered the last time you spoke.
  • Skills are only learnt and mastered through practice
  • Practice and familiarity build confidence
  • Confidence helps master fear
  • Fear mastery helps channelling energy in the right direction
  • Channelled energy aids super speeches & presentations.
  • Learning by doing is essential to good public speaking – just listening is not enough
  • Regular (spaced) repetition is the most powerful way to learn and make a skill a habit
  • Once a habit you can start learning how to streamline speech techniques and make it perfect

I maintain that too be a good and confident speaker/presenter/trainer you need to do at least one speaking assignment a month .

You need to become a Presentation Seeker and not an Avoider and this means engineering events in such a way that you present at least One Formal (Prepared) and at least One Informal (Impromptu) speech a month. Be it in your work and/or social environment.

Remember the true benefit of speech and presentation skills learning and development does not lie in the qualification at the end of the course – This is merely the Learners License that gives you the confidence to get into the speaking and presentation skills that you will need to succeed in business..

Remember – If you do 1,000 speeches – the last 100 are bound to be pretty darn good.

So make sure you always have a speech ready in your pocket that you can present as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

Happy talking and may the Passion to Present and excel engulf and motivate you!