Business lessons from kids movies

As a father for over 17 years and a movie buff, I’ve watched a lot of kids movies. While I’ll never get back the 85 minutes I lost to the Island of Sodor with Thomas and the Magic Railroad, over the years there has been many a movie, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, beyond being just a good movie to watch with the kids.

While the development of CGI and the massive investment of the big movie studios (notably Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks) has provided has some visually stunning movies, additionally the stories and depth of character have also developed significantly with truly engaging journeys, emotional connections and life lessons.

I’ve read plenty of lists in the past few years of the best movies for business, leaders and entrepreneurial lessons. These are generally filled with same movies – The God Father, Glen Garry Glen Ross, Remember the Titans, Risky Business, Boiler Room, jOBS etc., albeit, never with any kids movies. Below are my (current) top 5 kids movies which happen to also contain some great business lessons. If you don’t have kids do yourself a favour and watch these movies anyway, because they are amazing films in any genre. ** Beware of spoilers ahead **

Meet the Robinsons – “Keep Moving Forward”, Disney 2005.

A movie that truly embraces spirit of innovation and is built around the premise of celebrating our failures, embracing the lessons and to keep moving forward! It is underpinned by the famous Walt Disney quote of…

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”.

Robots – “See a need, fill a need”, 20th Century Fox 2005

With the implementation of new robots in Robot City, the “out mode” Robots can’t find replacement parts or be maintained, they are heading for the scrap heap. Rodney Copperbottom (voiced perfectly by Ewan McGregor) steps up as the entrepreneurial robot who sees a customer need in the market place and uses his talents to fill that need. This movie is all about building a movement, followership and following your dreams. As Bigweld in the movie says “You can shine no matter what you’re made of.” Also Robin Williams is in fine form playing one of his funniest characters.

The Lego movie – Question Everything – Belief in yourself, Warner Bros. 2014

Yes, this is a movie about having a positive mindset and EVERYTHING BEING AWESOME, but there are also more lessons in one of the films of 2014. Too often in business people are searching for perfection. This can play out through over-controlling leadership and over-regulation with too many policies and procedures. This leads to employees feeling less empowered, disengaged and drives a compliance culture at best. Review and streamline your policies to support ownership, increase accountability, innovation, and creativity. Empower employees to make decisions and drive change. This is about a creating a culture of the pursuit of excellence not perfection.

Monsters University – “It’s my job to make great students greater, not make mediocre students less mediocre”, Pixar 2013

As Pixar is one of favourite movie studios, which have consistently produced high quality, ground-breaking films (except for maybe Cars 2), it was hard to pick just one film. However as a Strengths Coach, a TMP accredited facilitator and someone who passionately believes in the uniqueness each brings to a team, I couldn’t go past Monsters University. This movie celebrates the importance of identifying the unique strengths and contributions each member brings to a team and not trying to make a well rounded team, by making all members well rounded. A highly effective team knows the differences of each member and draws on them for the team’s success. Difference is good and is imperative for success.

Big Hero 6, Disney 2014

The Oscar winning best-animated film for 2015 is joy to watch on so many levels. A movie, full of humour, fun characters and one of the best handling of loss and grief I’ve seen in a film. While there were some similar team and innovation themes to other movies in this list, additional lessons Big Hero 6 provided were don’t forsake others in pursuit of your passion and dreams, forgiveness is important for your own journey and when times are tough, focus on what you do best.

The opportunity to learn and grow is around us everyday, the power is in adopting an attitude of life long learning and being open to all the lessons life provides you. Please add, any additional movies in the comments.

How clearing your contacts can boost your energy

Where do you take your smartphone?

Like most people, you probably take it to work, in the car, whilst working out, on holidays, to sporting events, to dinner, whilst hanging out with friends, in the lounge room, the bedroom and probably the bathroom.

So how many people do you take with you to all these places? I mean, how many contacts do you have in your smartphone? From an energetic point of view, you are carrying all these people with you – in your pocket, handbag, and backpack – wherever you go.

In your contacts you probably have friends – old and new; family – close and not so close; work colleagues – from the must haves to the ‘I somehow have their details’; acquaintances – people you’ve met at a party or through a friend, who you thought you would catch up with one day but haven’t; and flings – you know the ones.

The thing to ponder is, with smartphones being part of our everyday lives and taking them wherever we go, we are also carrying these people around with us.

There has been lots of research and reality TV shows about de-cluttering your life and the benefits for your emotional, mental & physical health through living with less. Benefits such as feeling more empowered, less stressed, more focused, happier and more satisfied.

When was the last time your de-cluttered your contacts in your phone? I know I regularly need to review the number of apps, photos and music so I have more space, yet there was something more liberating and cathartic about de-cluttering my contacts. It wasn’t through a necessity in creating more MB of space, as they don’t really take up a lot of room, but it was more from an energetic and inspirational level.

Now, I’m not suggesting removing the contact details of people that you NEED to have, like an ex-partner (whom you have kids with), your manager, family members or certain key customers. This process is more about removing those people from your phone that you carry around with you day in / day out that don’t provide any value to your life, yet you just haven’t let go.

Maybe there’s an old girlfriend / boyfriend, an ex-colleague who you don’t talk to, an acquaintance who you met at a party or you thought you’d catch up with one day and it’s now been 5 years, or perhaps an old school friend who you never keep in contact with. Then there are those contacts that you have no idea who they are – don’t you love the way some contact details get imported into your phone!

So a simple process to go through is…

  • Do I definitely NEED this person’s contact details? If yes, then keep them.
  • If not, does this person inspire or tire me?

I think you know the answer; if this person doesn’t feel you with inspiration, positivity, friendship, support and love then it’s time to de-clutter and remove their details!

You will be amazed at how wonderful and light it can feel to remove their details. To free yourself from any old negative associations or memories and know that you are no longer carrying them around with you as you go through life.

Give it a go and see how you feel.

And remember, if you really really really need to get in contact with them again, there is always a way.

What do successful naturopaths do?

What is your client really thinking?



Let’s explore how to understand our clients, because fundamentally why are you in business?

Take a moment to ask yourself this question and see what you come up with? You may have come up with a myriad of reasons from to make a difference, to follow my passion, because I’m good at what I do, cause I like this stuff, cause I want to make money!

In essence though, you won’t achieve any of this if people aren’t buying your goods or services.

Let me put it another way, you are I business to meet someone’s need.

So how do you understand that need? How do you get in their heads, to understand what they want, need, desire? Do you know what satisfaction looks like for your clients? Do you know what quality means for your clients?

Is it difficult to know what your clients want?

Imagine knowing exactly what your ideal client wants from you! It might sound costly, energy rich and time consuming, however it doesn’t have to be. You just need to ask.

Why? Because our brains are hard wired to answer questions.

When we are asked a question our brains will look for the answer. What’s 2 plus 2? Did you just picture a 4 in your head or thought of 4? You might of even said it out loud! Did answers pop into your head each time I asked a question over the past couple of paragraphs? You might of stopped & though about it and then had trouble concentrating on reading the next section, cause you’re still trying to answer the question.

If you’ve got kids, you know how time consuming and energy sucking it can be when they ask lots of questions. That’s because our brains are looking for the answers, which takes a fair amount of energy. That’s why we say stop asking so many questions! (BTW on average a 3 year old asks about 400 questions a days!)

So if we are hard wired to answer questions and we want to ask our clients to know what they want, what questions should we ask? Quantitative questions? Qualitative questions? To understand what they want, want they like, how we can meet their needs, want they want improved, what sort of questions should we ask them?

There is an old saying, there are no bad answers only bad questions. The aim is to ask quality questions that provide insightful data that supports improving & growing your business. Data which identifies the good things that are working well (so you keep doing them!) and where you need to improve to meet & exceed client expectations.

So what’s a good quality question?

An old work colleague of mine would play the question game. It was all about improving the quality of our questions. For example I would ask do you think it’s going to rain today? He would say yes. Because it’s going to rain somewhere today on earth. I would ask do you think it’s going to rain today here where we are delivering this training program and he would say no doesn’t look like it.

So if you going to get inside your clients heads and understand their needs, you need good quality open questions that collect the data you need.

Do we provide good service? Isn’t anywhere near as effective as…
What do you like most about visiting our clinic?
Is the information we provide post clinic visit helpful?
What’s your biggest health challenge you need help with?
How could we improve our booking system?

How do you ask these questions? Surveys – paper based or online, quick discussions by you or your receptionist, or a feedback form.

The best thing you can do is start asking, see what works and improve it. Approach your top loyal clients you have strong relationships with and start the conversation.

The golden rule of asking for feedback is to be prepared for constructive feedback along with the positive. Remember it’s all good useful data to help improve your business.

Lastly if your unsure we are hard wired to answer questions, next time you go home to your partner or catch up with friends try answering questions with questions and not answering them. Or play the quality questions game, just make sure they know too!!!

Big business strategies that skyrocket small business

Get moving at work and boost your productivity

Get Moving at Work!!

How often are you moving during the day? It can be quite difficult if you have an office based business or a specific office based day where you’re working in front of the computer, seeing clients, in meetings or in a training course.

Over the past few years there has been plenty of research that identifies the negative health effects from a sedentary lifestyle. Martha Grogan, Cardiologist with the Mayo Clinic, reported “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.

Earlier this year an article by Lisa Fields on WebMD, explored the impact of “sitting disease”, which is a catchy phrase for a sedentary lifestyle that might be putting your health at risk. The article reported that there is a growing body of research that shows long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Additionally, Australian researchers reported that each hour spent watching TV is linked to an 18% increase in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, perhaps because that time is spent sitting down.


Consider how much you sit in a day, travelling to & from your business while working and when you get home. We now also depend on email, mobile phone apps, online banking and shopping to accomplish tasks that in the past would have required us to get up and run errands.

So how can you get moving more every day?

As David Dunstan, PhD (who heads the physical activity laboratory in the metabolism and obesity division) from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne says, think beyond a lunchtime workout. “Getting 1 hour of exercise in the middle of the day is better than not doing anything, but that still leaves 7 hours of sitting during the workday“. It’s the little bits of exercise that your blend into your day that research has shown that can benefit your physical and mental health greatly. Here are some tips to get you moving during the day…


  1. Get NEAT, NEAT stands for Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis, and includes stretching, turning, and bending. It’s recommended that you aim for 10 minutes of NEAT each hour. Exercise physiologist Fabio Comana, an instructor in San Diego State University’s School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, agrees with this approach to activity. “Get moving more often with small goals,” he says. “Stretch out your entire body, all the muscles that are cramped. If you do it five or six times a day, you’ll start to notice a difference.
  2. Stand-up meetings – besides not sitting, you will find the meetings are more productive, more effective and focussed. Next time, take the chairs out of the meeting room and see what happens!
  3. Instead of having a sit down meeting with your team, clients or suppliers have a walking meeting. Take a little note pad with you to jot down any notes if you need to and get talking also about the benefits of moving.
  4. Walk more to work, if you can, park your car farther away from your building, or get off the train a stop earlier, even if it’s only an extra block, remember every little bit counts.
  5. Use stairs not elevators; if possible, this is a great way to get your body moving.
  6. Take a longer route to the restroom or the kitchen for those extra steps.
  7. Look to create a stand-up desk, so you can alternate between sitting and standing when computing. A 2011 study published by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention shows that when workers are equipped with sit-stand workstations, prolonged sitting is reduced and mood states improved.
  8. Whenever you answer the phone, make a rule that you stand up!
  9. If that person you’re sending that email to is nearby, forget the email and walk over and have a chat with them.
  10. When you get home and feel like sitting down and watching the TV to relax, do some stretches while you watch or get up and move about when the ads are on.
  11. Get a moving buddy, so you can hold each other accountable to keep moving during the day!


Lastly, check out this website for more information and resources to help getting you and your team moving during the team. Your body will appreciate the preventative strategies to invest in your health now down the track. Imagine trying to run your business if your health has deteriorated severely.

Get people to know you with branding

Branding is the term used for the ‘Look and Feel’ of your business.

The branding in your business is an extension of YOU.

Think about the major brands you love, not the product or service… the actual brand.

My standouts include Apple, Virgin Airlines and Philosophy.

Now Apple is not necessarily a better computer than Microsoft or IBM, but the ‘feeling’ when you go in the store, the feeling you get when you open the box and how you feel when you tell other people about it, the feeling when you hear Steve Jobs’ speeches. That is all branding.

My first flight on Virgin America was like getting into a nightclub in the sky. The new safety brief video is a musical extravaganza. This is all branding, and Richard Branson as the leader at the helm also matches this branding. Always seen with busty blondes and out of the ordinary launches.

So what do you want to portray to your potential customers? What do you stand for? Is it Nature, Science, Art, Politics, Energy… is it clinical, feminine, professional, inspirational, safe, nurturing, elite…

A fantastic question my graphic designer asked me when we were designing a ‘look and feel’ for my naturopathic business was ….

What type of car would you or your business be, if you were a car?

Great to nail down some descriptive words to get you thinking….

So what type of car would you be?

Leave a message on our Facebook page to let us know