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Past President 2012/13


Personal Excellence

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

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?

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!!

Gifts – Do you know what yours are?

Gifts! – Do you know what yours are?

As Mentors  we often have to assist our mentees identify their “Gifts”  as I find that too many people actually do not know and have not identified their Natural / God Given “Gifts” – also known as “Talents”.

I find it rather amazing that people will spend all their lives doing things other than where their natural talents/gifts are and wonder why they are unhappy or not as successful as others who do.

Every one of us is born with some or other natural Gift and ability to do something so well that we more often than not don’t even have to spend time learning the skill – it’s just there. For some it may be the ability to Sing like a lark, play a Musical Instrument, Paint, be a natural Sportsman or Athlete. For others it may be a gifted Voice for Speaking and Training or it may be the gift of being able to Sew, Knit, Bake, Mathematics, Listening or Story Telling etc.

Whatever it is — I have yet to find a person that has no gift or natural talent at all. – We are all blessed with at least One Special Gift/Talent!!!

When I do my Achieving Personal Excellence Workshops and or one–on –one Mentoring I spend quite a bit of time working with the people to identify these gifts and talents. Once done it is much easier to assist them in finding their values and purpose and hey once we have found these 3 elements then setting Life and Work Goals and creating action plans becomes a much easier exercise.

The one thing I have found is that very few (less than 10%) of the people I have worked with are actually working with their Gift /Talent. Once identified almost every one of them would want to and recognises that if they did more of that then they would be happier.

We all know that 75% of our Awake Time (i.e.12 of the 16 hours we are awake) is spent working every day and if we are unhappy doing what we are doing then we become very miserable people. However for those of us who work and use our Gifts and Talents all day long work is more like a hobby and generally we are far happier people. What can be greater than having a hobby and getting paid for it at the same time – it almost sounds illegal to me ;-).

I am a Professional Speaker, Motivator, Trainer and Mentor. I have been involved with Mentoring for the past 27 years and has implemented Mentoring Programmes, been a Mentee and a Mentor to at least 5 mentees at any one time for the past 20 years. I can be contacted on 011-679-3145 or 082-493-9093 or [email protected] – 24 X 7 X 365. His web site

Are you a Professional ?

Are you a Professional? Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, Coach, Mentor, Entertainer

I receive at least 3 enquiries a week from people wanting to know what it takes to be a Professional Speaker.

They are either aspiring speakers wanting to get into the business or they are people already speaking with some skill (e.g. well seasoned Toastmasters -DTM AC-g or company trainers) and wanting to make the transition and or they are people who are being paid (i.e. professionals) and want to up their game.

To make it easier for you to establish where you are or what you need to play in this space I have developed the questionnaire below.  Please read the questions below and then mark your answers to each. These questions take into account the qualifying Criteria of most Professional Speakers Associations around the world and should help you focus on where you stand right now and what it would take you to get to your goal.
The Questions:

No Question/Criteria Answer
Yes /No/A..
1 Do you get paid (currency) for speaking to audiences you address?
2 Are you (A) Paid Directly as a Speakers Fee or (B) Paid as part of your Job as Trainer etc in a company?
This is the first and most basic test – if you are not being paid for speaking then you are not a Professional Speaker/Trainer.
3 How many PAID Speaking Engagements do you do a year? A = 0 to 10; B = 11 to 20; C = 21 to 30; D = 31 to 50; E = 50+
4 What is the Average Size of the Audiences you speak to? A = 0 to 10; B = 11 to 20; C = 21 to 30; D =31 to 50; E = 50 to 500; F = 500+
5 What proportion of your INCOME is derived from your speaking business? A=10%; B = 25%; C = 50%; D = 75%; E = 100%
6 What proportion of your TIME is taken up in your speaking business?  A = 10%; B = 25%; C = 50%; D = 75%; E = 100%
7 Do you operate as a: A =S ole Proprietor; B = CC or Pty LTD; C = Partnership; D = Employed by a Co.
8 Do you classify yourself as a: A = Keynoter; B = Trainer; C = Coach/Mentor; D =Facilitator E = Consultant
9 What describes you better as a Speaker: (click here for definitions) A = Celebrity Speaker; B = Circumstantial Speaker; C =Expert Speaker; D = Industry Speaker; E = Entertainer; F = Motivator/Inspirer
Questions 3 to 9 indicate the type of speaking business you have – be it part time , full time , small-medium-large etc.
10 Do you have a Standard Speaking Contract
11 Do you have a Client Assignment Briefing Check List/questionnaire?
12 Do you have Standard documents for room layout and venue requirements?
13 Do you have your own written Speaker Introductions for clients/MC’s
14 Do you have your own Web Site that promotes your Speaking Business?
 15 Do you have a Business Card for your Speaking Business?
16 Do you have Promotional Material (One Sheets) for your Speaking Business?
17 Do you issue professional Quotes/Invoices to your clients for engagements?
18 Do you have a Financial Advisor/Bookkeeper that does your books?
19 Do you maintain a separate Banking account for your speaking business?
20 Do you have the Technical Infrastructure for your speaking business?
21 Do you have the Administrative Infrastructure to support your business?
22 Do you have the Marketing Infrastructure to support your business?
23 Do you have a Blog relating to your speaking business?
24 Do you have a You Tube Channel promoting your speaking business
25 Do you have a Slide Share Channel promoting your speaking business
26 Do you have a Book / CD / DVD published?
27 Do you have a 12 month Personal and Professional Development plan?
28 Do you have Articles Published?
29 Do you have/use Speaker Assessment Forms when you present your gigs?
30 Do you have at least 5 Client Written References?
Questions 10 to 30  indicate how well organised you are as a professional speaker
31 Do you attend at least 0ne Speakers Related Conference annually?
32 Do you have a Personal Mentor / mentors for your speaking business?
33 Do you mentor any developing professional speakers?
34 Do you belong to any Professional Bodies/Organisations?
35 Do you have a high regard and actively practice ethics in your speaking business – this would include respecting copyright, others intellectual property, honesty in your client dealings, fairness to all, etc.
Questions 31 to 35  indicate how serious you are about upgrading you skills and craft as a professional peaker

Please answer each question Yes/No/ or choose a letter that best describes your speaking business.


By answering these questions you will be able to
determine for yourself whether:-

  1. You are a Professional or not   and
  2. Where you are on the professional speaking ladder.

PS:– these are merely items that indicate that you have the necessary items in place to be a professional speaker – the real test is your speech content and your speaking and platform skill that makes people book
you repeatedly and refer you to others – without this all the above is a bit meaningless.

If you would like to discuss any of these items or the Speaking Profession in general please contact me directly and let’s
see how I can help you achieve your dreams.

Professionalism and Standards – How do you stack up?

Professionalism and Standards – How do you stack up?

Two very interesting concepts that most people in business believe they deliver but which most customers/clients complain about.
So why is there a disconnect between the Provider and the Receiver?

Let’s look at the two concepts:
Professionalism, in its simplest form, merely means that a person is being paid for a service. The mere act of accepting money makes one a professional as opposed to an amateur/volunteer.

Two definitions of this term give us some interesting insights (1) -Professionalism is knowing how to do it, when to do it, and doing it. – Frank Tyger and (2) Professionalism: It’s NOT the job you DO, It’s HOW you DO the job.- Author Unknown.
Other Criteria to be considered a Professional include:-
• Expert and Specialised Knowledge in a specific field.
• High ethics– confidential relationships.
• Very high quality of work/service.
• Specialist education and skills
• Autonomy and Independence
• Applying theory to practice and solving problems
• Enthusiasm, commitment and loyalty
• Ongoing Life Long Learning
• Setting an example others follow
• And many more ….

So where do we fit in and how do we regard and measure ourselves as professionals?

Truth be told I guess we believe and espouse to be true professionals and we state that on out web sites, marketing material and even say it when we sell ourselves and our services to our client’s and prospective clients.
But the true test of professionalism is not what we think but rather it’s all about what our Clients and the world at large thinks and says. So how do you measure your professionalism? Do you ask for specific feedback from your clients as to how they felt you deal with the issues at hand with specific reference to your professionalism? And if found lacking what do you offer your clients in compensation for lower than expected delivery?

Let’s now look at Standards

Standards may be defined as the level of expected results demanded by our clients. It is not about what we believe is good enough its what our clients (colleagues/industry) believe we should be delivering.

The following quotations gives an inkling of what is expected:- (1)The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life. John W. Gardner and (2) You must regulate your life by the standards you admire when you are at your best. John M. Thomas

Some minimum standards considered to be no-brainers:-
• On Time and In Budget every time
• No hidden costs and agendas
• Value for money
• Pay it Forward if it’s out of your skill set/domain
• If you don’t know – say so
• Don’t renege on promises / your word
• Unquestionable Honesty
• And many more ….

So how do you stack up?
• Do you have your own check list against which you evaluate yourself and your business transactions and interventions?
• Do you ask your clients for feedback on how you are doing in their eyys after each intervention?
• Do you test your professionalism and standards against the norms in your industry
• Do you offer a 100% of fee refund if your clients complain that you delivery was not up to standard

Professionalism and the Highest Standards are a clients right and we need to ensure that we are continually looking to provide them with what they are paying for and then some.

It’s no longer acceptable to just give the client a good experience – to stay in business and get referrals and grow our businesses we need to be delivering WOW experiences.
If we expect them to give us business referrals we need to be better than they expect us to be.

It’s a great habit to review your own Performance on a quarterly basis at least – so take 2 minutes now and set aside an hour in your diaries to do so every 3 months and you and your business will be better for it and your clients will truly believe you are the best thing that has happened to them this year.

Have fun and be better than the best you think you can be!

Setting Goals or Taking Poison – Which is Easier???

Most of the people I work with think that Setting Goals is about as bad a public Speaking or Taking Poison.

They hate the concept because it reminds them of Targets and KPA’s and Work and Performance Assessments and most importantly Failure.  This is a common issue and they would rather not set the goal than set it and fail and go through yet another negative – I can’t do it etc type self fulfilling prophesy. So they rather stay away and just ignore that they need to set some kind of goal and plan to get what they want and ultimately remain miserable because they can never achieve their dreams and get the things they want. And so the song continues over and over again.

The first stumbling block to remove, I find, is to re-educate them on the fact that mistakes and failures are not negative at all. They are the only means by which we can in fact gain experience in life and improve. Experience is after all the lessons learnt from making mistakes and failing at something and learning how not to do it wrong again. Once they start accepting that to fail is OK then one can get into the process of identifying where they are , what they want and where they want to go and developing the action plans that go with that new belief.

The Second stumbling block with goals is to overcome is the mindset that they are there to regiment ones life and take the fun out of living. A lot of people believe that goals are meaningless as once you achieve one there is no reward other that the Achievement High. What then follows is yet another goal and then another and so the roller coaster continues.

The way to overcome this is to look at goals as the Desires rather than just good old SMART Goals. Desires are either Positive things we want that we don’t have already and that will give Pleasure and / or Negative ones that will remove Pain. Once we understand the Pain and Pleasure elements to the goals we set ourselves we start making progress to achieving those two states of enjoyment. The next trick is to take the stress out of what goals mean to you. – Goals need not always be BIG they can be small things you want to complete or achieve – like how to cook pasta. Beware of goals that others set for you  – they should be things you want to and agree to achieve.

So what should ones goals be?

In my Go APE (Achieve Personal Excellence) workshop we follow the following guidelines:-

FirstlyThe Pleasure – things you like and enjoy – like your natural talents, interests and skills. Things that interest you and not necessarily others – remember they are yours to achieve and enjoy.

SecondlyThe Pain – things that you don’t like or want – like being overweight or having a bad relationship. This can then set up the goal to get rid of the pains.

ThirdlyThe 12 Elements of your Life – Consider how you would score your life currently in the 12 key elements of your life – give each a score out of 10 where 1 is not worth living and 10 is ecstasy. Draw a PLP Map (Personal Life Plan Map and review it every 6 months). The 12 areas of your life to consider are (in no particular order). Your Mental Attitude; Your Physical being; Your Spiritual Life; Your Finances;  Your Blood Family; Your Social Life; Your Community Life; Your Career; Your Talents; Your Fun Life; Your Love Life and Your Education;

Fourthly Work Goals –  Also known as Targets, KPA’s, KRA’s  etc. These are necessary for the fulfilment of your work ambitions and also assist you in creating your Personal Development Plans w.r.t work based skills etc.

FifthlyYour Eulogy – Sit down and write you own eulogy  that you would LIKE to be read out at your own funeral one day – Write down all the Nice things you would want people to say you achieved in your life even if they are only Ideas or Dreams right now. These can then focus your mind on some of the goals you need to set yourself now so that someone can actually say them one day.

Remember your purpose on this earth is to enjoy yourself and the journey – and the achievement of goals makes the journey a truly enjoyable ride. Without goals we tend to wonder around from pillar to post and eventually we die and leave no or little legacy.

Enjoy the process and the ride – it’s a wonderful experience.

 Adolph P Kaestner

Personal Excellence is the Key

Most people I deal with all seem to either Wish or Hope that something will happen that will make them successful in life.

What a waste of time !!- there can be no greater waste of time and energy than wishing and hoping!

The Key to success and achievement has to be the Development of Personal Excellence so that you are the most efficient and productive person you can be in your chosen field of work and endeavour.

And to be Personally Excellent one has to take action to get there – you cannot buy it, inherit it and it wont come through some wild intervention by others – it takes Personal Commitment and Action.

That is what I am all about and I have dedicated myself to assisting those who truly want to excel to get there and to be the leaders and not the followers in their lives.

I look forward to working with you all to achieve the same