Bonsai or Forest? What’s your Leadership Style?

Being a Stealth leader can be like be a gardener.

You prepare the soil ready for your seed. The ground is weeded, turned over, fertilised, the seed planted and watered. You nurture this little seed with the vision of it becoming a mighty tree. It might be a fruit tree or a massive elm tree. Whatever it is you see and dream about the potential of what you have planted.

As the tree starts to sprout and take shape you then have options. What kind of tree are you going to allow this tree to grow into.

Are you going to take to it with the pruning shears, are you going to control and tame it take shape just exactly your way? Or are you going to let it grow and develop to become what it is this tree wants to become?

A good question. The type of leadership that a business has will shape the future of the business, just like a gardener shaping the tree. If you prune and shape the tree continuously, taking control at every turn, controlling exactly what happens every day, what are you going to get? A Bonsai. So, if you’d been hoping for a big shady tree or an abundance of fruit, this isn’t going to do it, is it? The tree’s growth and development has been severely limited. It will never be any bigger than this tiny version of itself. It doesn’t matter if it was the biggest tree ever in existence, if it’s growth has been limited like this, it might just be 30cm high.

Maybe you want your tree to grow, but still want to control the way it grows, so it does it “my way.” I want my tree to be this shape and fill this space. Then you might take to it with Espalier and grow a flat tree against a wall. Yes, your business is growing and bearing fruit, but it is always going to be a flat tree against a wall -limited.

Suddenly you have a vision of what the tree could become and start at it with the pruning shears, chopping away at this branch and that branch, clearing off the new growth, so that it will look all pretty in the garden, with Topiary. How many businesses do this. There it is, new growth, new possibilities coming along and chop, no, doesn’t fit the image, or the idea of the leader. Healthy branches maybe closed down, because simply, no we want to focus in this direction.

Or, we can grow our tree and allow it to grow and develop the way it is meant to. Allowing new growth to come forth, reaching up to the sky or out to the furthest limits. It produces new seeds, new opportunities. Branches sprout forth where you don’t expect them to. You watch it and ensure that it has all that it needs to continue growing and be healthy. Sometimes you might need to prune a little, to clear off dead branches or ensure that it doesn’t have an insect infestation, but most of all, you nourish it, feed it, water it and give it the space it needs to grow.

Businesses like this are the ones that are forging ahead, who dominate the scenery. They are innovative, they are in the forefront of the consumers mind. They are the businesses that are out there changing the landscape of what it means to be a business in the 21st century – a business with social conscious, that creates not just a business, but an ecosystem.

When you let a tree truly flourish, grow and reach out to be all that it can, it isn’t just a tree. It really can become an ecosystem. As it grows, it sprouts more and more seeds. If you continue to nurture the environment, you start to notice seedlings appear all around. Here you have the potential, of not a tree, it has the potential to become a whole forest.

So, the question is; do you want your business to be a bonsai or a forest?

Andrea Putting is a Business Soul Mentor, Thought Leader and Speaker. Her new book Awakening the Soul of Business with Stealth Leadership takes you on a journey to becoming an authentic leader who develops their team and business opportunities to empower the Ultimate Impact. Come with her on a journey  to becoming an authentic leader who develops their team and business opportunities to empower the Ultimate Impact. Pre-orders of the new book are now available at along with bonuses that will have your inspiring your team and unleashing your ULTIMATE IMPACT on the world.

The Power of Quiet Influence

There are times in our lives that cause us to sit and reflect. I’ve had one of those just recently with the passing of Ted, a quietly spoken and humble man. I started to ponder what influence he and his wife Dawn have had on my life and the power of influence.

Sitting in the back pews at church, as a child and teenager, we learnt many things; how to make paper planes, play noughts and crosses, battleships, squares, hang man and we mastered the sign language alphabet. But somewhere along the line I took in a lot more. Church wasn’t just about bible stories in my congregation, it was about living the message and making it relevant. I look back and think how the messages I learnt were before their time. I had the influence of people like my father and Ted with their forward thinking.

My father’s greatest value was “the worth of all persons.”  It wasn’t just a message for him to preach from the pulpit, but one he lived and breathed every day. Where ever he went, whoever he met, they were someone that he could make time for. They were important and he showed them that. If he had to sit in the gutter to speak with someone in need, he wouldn’t think twice about it.

From Ted, I learnt all about being a “greenie” long before anyone ever used that term. Earth Stewardship was important. He had countless flipcharts (technology of the 60’s and 70’s) that he would use to teach us about the environment and how we can care for it. He taught us about social justice. Most importantly again, he was someone who lived this message day in and day out. Renewable energy was something I knew all about long before I had ever heard it on the media. The words of his sermons weren’t so important as the message was being lived and breathed through his life.

As I pondered this influence I started to see that my children had grown up with limited contact with Ted, but enormous influence. The influence in my life around the things that were important to him, had become simply a way of life for me. These were then always a way of life for my children who have now carried them into their own lives and spheres of influence. To them, this is just the way you do it. This is the way you live; caring for people and the environment.

At some time in our life we all take an interest in genealogy. Who am I? Where am I from? How has this influence who I am today? We go back generations digging into the history records to find glimpse that will give us sense of belonging? As I started to contemplate all the people who had influenced my life in some way, I thought about the “genealogy of influence.”  How many people have I come in to contact with who have influenced who I am today?

As I start to lose myself in the recollections I realise that for most of these people, it is not the words they have said, but the way they have lived their lives. Ralph Waldo Emerson said. “Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.” Thier actions speak so loudly that they have lived an example to all those around. Their words become an echo of the truth they have lived.

So many people have helped to create the person I am today. I am the sum of all these people. The genealogy of influence thought continues as I think of the people who have been the biggest influence on those who have been the biggest influence on my life. I begin to see myself like the very centre of an hourglass. All that influence of people throughout time, pouring into me, filtering through the narrowest point as I discern what is important to me and how it is that I live my life.

I wonder about what influence I have had on people’s lives and hope that it has been a positive one. Who is it that is taking in not just the words I say, but the way I live my life? We all have the opportunity, every day to have some positive impact on others’ lives. Just taking a moment to say a kind word, smile or simply being true to yourself, can, as I’ve discovered, make an enormous difference in the way someone else lives their lives.

This contemplation started with the influence of Ted and recognising that just one man can, simply by the way he lived his life, have an enormous impact not just on the people that he encountered but with generations to come. By quietly living his life he has had a powerful influence. His legacy will live on. What legacy will you leave?

Spiritual Practice of Business 1.3

The Corporate Shift

There is a shift happening in the corporate world. There are a number of businesses that are now starting to look at the health and well-being of their employees and making sure that their needs, as a person, are meet. Not just in their work life, but in their home and family lives. Taking the wholistic approach and making this part of the culture of their business.

From here, they then start to take care of the community and the environment. One does not work without the other.

As a result, this changes the whole outlook of everyone in the business. The employees are happier and healthier. They are happy to come along to work and find their own sense of fulfilment. They work at a better rate, they achieve more. They are interested in the success of the business. With everyone working towards the same goal more success is achieved.

The consumers see the difference. They are looking for businesses that follow their own set of values. They want to buy from and support a company that treats people fairly and is has sustainable practices in place. This is important to more and more people all the time. If you are in the fore front of this movement, then you gain the support of the community.

None of this can be faked. An unscrupulous entrepreneur could look at this and try to make it seem that they are caring and compassionate employers and spend a lot of money on promoting themselves as having integrity, etc, but it will all fall apart. This must come from the purest source. It must come from the heart and a genuine desire to make the world a better place.

The beauty of being in this spiritual place in your life is that it transforms everything. This is where the true longing of your soul finds its fulfilment. When you are focusing on financial gains and the physicality of life, the sense of fulfilment doesn’t come. You are always looking for something more and something more. You gain it and then that emptiness is there again, so you look at the next gain, what’s next.

Coming from a spiritual place fulfills this emptiness. You are able to connect in with your true purpose of being here. From here, you are able to project this into your business and find a “soul purpose” for your business. You are now striving for something that is beyond your basic needs, you are creating a legacy.


Spiritual Practice of Business 1.2

What does Spirituality in Business even mean?

Generally speaking there is a big focus on our material needs. The advice goes, “Deal with these first, then once you have yourself set up you can be more altruistic in what you are doing.” You need to support yourself, your family, pay the bills etc.. It is about survival mode. Food, water, housing, clothing, now your basic needs are met.

Now what? Well I have to make sure my emotional needs are met. Let’s focus on these for a while. Oh no, lost focus on the basic needs, have bills to pay. Back to square one.

Eventually, we might get around to spending some time on Spiritual needs, but right now I just don’t have time. I’m too busy taking care of business and family. That is how it goes. The end result is that we are constantly focused on our basic needs.

If we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy, we see that the basic needs in life take the most of our time. The philosophy behind this model is that is that we need to take care of the lowest and biggest level first. When we have that taken can of we are the able to move into the next level and so on.


So from this, is Spirituality the very last thing we are able to deal with? We have to have everything else in place first. What a long journey to get to Spirituality and a fulfilling life. It’s as if it is a reward for all of our hard work.

However Maslow realised. ”  A healthy man is primarily motivated by his needs to develop and actualise his fullest potentials and capacities.” So, what if we turned things around at looked at this from the top rather than the bottom? Rather than looking at our world from the basic physical needs of our life, we looked at them from the top. We looked at everything through a Spiritual filter.

We very much live in the physical world. We have bodies, we feel with our bodies, we touch, we move, we feed our bodies to keep alive. We are focused on this physicality of life.

Yet, we are in fact spiritual beings in this physical body. We are experiencing the physicality of life on earth. We are playing a physical game, which we are totally absorbed in. We are so in-depth in this game that many aren’t even aware of the reality of it. Well done.

When we allow ourselves to stop and re-connect in with our spirituality the whole world changes. What we see is very different from before. There is no separation between God and us. There is no separation between us and others. We connect in with the oneness and accept ourselves as an individual expression of God. There is recognition that we to have the power to create our world as we want it to be. We are no longer victims. It is time to connect in with our own true self and purpose of being here.

I hear the sceptics in the room. They want me to get back down to basics. Telling me “but you have to take care of these needs first.” “Get your head out of the clouds.” Well, I’m not saying we don’t take care of our basics needs and throw out everything, walk across the desert with no provisions and expect God to take care of all our needs. Neither am I saying that is not possible. Where I am coming from is, however, about putting it all the hands of God, the Divine, the universe, or whatever terminology suits you.

I’m talking about instead of considering our Spiritual life as the last coat off the peg: it is now the first think we think of. How do I, as a spiritual being address my basic needs, my emotional needs, and the needs of others? How do I, build my business from the place of spirit, putting my and others spiritual needs first? Yet still meet all my other needs and the needs of my employees and customers.

It’s an interesting question……to be continued

Spiritual Practice of Business 1.1

Spirituality and business never seemed to mix. It appeared that there was no room in the corporate world for one to be connected to their own spirit and certainly not bring it into the office. The clash was too wide, the chiasm too deep. In the spiritual realm we focus on being compassionate and caring for others. The business world was “dog eat dog”. Everyone was out for themselves. It was all about making the most money, winning the power games and being in control. There wasn’t time or energy to put into being “spiritual”. “Let’s be practical”.

Fortunately the tide has been changing and more and more people are welcoming in spirituality into business.

The word spirituality brings up a lot of different contentions for people, so it has still be the “hush, hush” word. We have worked around it through it, looked over it and pulled it through the back door. Now it is time to bring it out into the open. It is time to accept ourselves as truly spiritual beings having a human experience.  The more we live in this place, the more it becomes a part of our everyday experience and as such, it needs to be incorporated into everything in our lives. And that includes business.

So what does it really mean to be spiritual? What are spiritual practices and how do we incorporate them into our daily life and into our businesses? These are the questions that have led me to writing this series of blogs.

For me, these are questions I have wanted to explore on a deeper level. Coming out of the Spiritual closet for many of us has been a big challenge and change. I am ready to say to the world, this is who I am and stand up for myself as the spiritual being and stand up for the right of others to do the same. Saying that, I must be clear, that the way I see spirituality and the way you see it and how someone else sees it are all going to be very different on many levels. I think that is a good thing. I want everyone to be free to express their spirituality in the way that fits into their own personal life and beliefs.

Coming out of the spiritual closet was for me a 2-sided affair, maybe even 3. First of all, just being here and saying to the world, my business is about bringing spiritual practices to business is a major step. Like I said, we have been zig-zagging around the “word” spirituality. If we want to be taken seriously in the business world, we don’t mention the “S” word. We have spoken about business ethics, personal development in the corporate world, but to actually put those 2 words, Spirituality and business, together has been the “no-no”. Many people who do have a spiritual basis and have successful businesses are still, to some extent, hiding in the closet about it. “It is what I do personally and not to be shared with the world.” They want to be taken as a serious business person, not someone who is “woo-woo.”

I used to keep my 2 worlds very separate. On one hand I was starting a business working with “Spiritual women”. I wanted to work with women who were doing spiritual healing, intuitive work, psychics, tarot readers, crystal healers, etc. Those outside of mainstream healing, the alternative community. However on the other side of the fence, I am also an ordained lay minister of a Christian church.

My 2 worlds collide.

However I’m sure many in my church world had a fair idea of my other interest and connections, but not so the other way. Telling my church community of the “work” I do and the interest I have was the most difficult. I have had conversations with people over the years that have extreme difficulty with anything outside the box of their thinking. Yet, generally speaking my position and beliefs are accepted. Fortunately that is the church I belong to. It is accepting of us all having different beliefs and understandings of God and spirituality.  There is celebration in the diversity of thinking. There is also a sprinkling amongst the membership of those who are moving in the same direction.

Coming out in my other world, telling my “spiritual” friends and colleagues that I am a Priest, was more of a freak out. It was something unsuspected that they did not see. It wasn’t that I was particularly hiding it, but I never felt like there was any need to bring it up. Now I felt like just being completely and totally who I am. This is who I am. Some crazy mixed up combination of my parent’s Christianity and my daughter’s paganism. Why not?

That was not enough for me; I wanted to bring it into the business world. I wanted my world’s to fit together. To me this is the only way to live. Fully awake to who I am and able to share that with the world.

The Power of the Unified Vision – Unleash Your Teams Maximum Impact

“This is what we are going to do,” announced the boss. “Can you tell us more? Why are we doing this?” asked the team. “Because I’m the boss and I say so.” Hmm, that didn’t go down too well. No one could get excited; no one could see the greater purpose or vision. And well, it was all carried out half-heartedly and the results were, of course, less than inspiring.

As a leader, it is easy to thrust our ideas on our team and insist that our idea is the best one and this is what we will do. However, does this get your team onside? Does this get the best result? Usually not. So how do we turn around the grumbling team members to be excited, involved and giving it their all? When we do, then we can create our MAXIMUM IMPACT on the world.

In my experience, the greatest, most powerful ideas come when people come together and explore their many ideas together. When they let go of their personal agendas they can work together at a deeper level and form ideas that they never knew were possible. This can take us to a level that really transcends just brainstorming. It gives us a glimpse of where the future is urging as to go. We start to see what our collective highest future potential is.
When we can tap into this together, we have a team that is inspired to make this happen. The energy of the future is drawing everyone forward. This is the power of the unified vision.

A unified vision of how the team can have its Maximum Impact belongs to everyone. It comes with a sense of “We can’t not do this.” It burns within us and propels into mission to succeed. Here we do more than make a difference in the world, we make a difference in the lives of our team, because they now feel they are a part of something worthwhile. We make a difference in our own lives, as we find that deep sense of fulfilment that we all long for. We make a difference in the lives of our clientele, as this is a business they can believe in. Now we are truly engage to make our Maximum Impact on the World.

Now it is time for you to make a choice, come together with your team to discover the power of the unified vision that unleashes your maximum impact on the world, or just be another business. To find out more about the power of the unified vision, connect with me now.

Harnessing the Power of “Everyone Wants to Make a Difference”

We all want to make a difference. We want to feel that our lives have somehow been worthwhile and that something we have done will be meaningful to someone. It seems to be inbuilt within us. It is an essential part of our being that gives us fulfilment and a sense of purpose in life.

Dr Stephen Post, founder of the Institute of Research into Unlimited Love and author of “Why Good things happen to Good people” found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved.

If this is such a powerful drive in everyone lives how can we take this energy and transfer it into our business? 75% of employees in Australia are disengaged and disinterested in the workplace. 7 out of 10 businesses aren’t reaching their highest potential. So it makes sense to me, that if we can harness this natural driving force that each and every one has into our business, then we are going to make a far greater impact on the world. We will maximise performance and profit, as employees start to feel that they are doing something truly worthwhile and their work does make a difference.

It is proven that businesses that do have a higher purpose and a social mission are well outperforming those who don’t. If we can bring our teams together with a unified vision of how we can maximise our impact we become a force to be reckoned with.

This is the business that people want to work for, the one that inspires their team, inspires a sense fulfilment, inspires greater performance and inspires the world.

Is this your vision for the future?

Now it is time for you to make a choice, come together with your team to discover the power of the unified vision that unleashes your maximum impact on the world, or just be another business. To find out more about the power of the unified vision, connect with me now.

The Cockatoo Who Didn’t Know He Could Fly.

Fella is my 43 year old Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. He’s a real character and has such an attitude. He has been in my family since I was a child and he was just a chick who had fallen out of his nest in a wind storm. We had to feed him a special baby mixture and his feathers weren’t yet developed for flying.

I let him out to wander around the back yard and do cockatoo stuff. He pulls out the weeds (and other things), prunes the plants (whether they need it or not) and well, chases the cat and our toes and causes a little havoc in the garden.  He is able to do this because he doesn’t know he can fly!

When he was young he started to discover his wings and sometimes would take off. He would find himself up a tree or on the neighbours roof and would start calling out to us to come and save him. There he would sit, afraid, until I climbed up and got him. Of course we were always concerned that he would take off and it would be the last we’d see of him. As he’d been with us since a chick, he didn’t know how to be a wild cockatoo. He didn’t even realise he was one. I think he thought he was a cat.

Fella’s fear took over. He didn’t fly very much and never learnt how to fly down. Over the years he has flown less and less to the point, he seems to have forgotten that he can. He’ll climb up on something, maybe 30cm from the ground and when he wants to get down, he’ll circle around trying to find a way. Sometimes he looks like he’s preparing to take flight, but no. He gives up and starts to screech at me needing the help to get down to the safety of the ground.

It seems to me that we can all be a bit like the cockatoo who didn’t know he could fly. We have all these amazing strengths and gifts that are a natural part of who we are. Sometimes we go out and test the water with them, but fear overcomes us. We get stuck up a tree and don’t want to do it again. We become happy to stay on the ground and maybe go back and hide in our safe little house. Overtime we forget about the wondrous gifts that we have. We forget that we can fly.

Finding that courage again takes a lot of effort. Fella regularly has wild cockatoos come and visit him, so he has seen how they effortlessly just lift themselves off the ground and fly. I some time catch him running around on the grass doing little jumps and lifting his wings as if to say, “is this how they do it?” For Fella to fly, it would take a lot of encouragement and, as the mother birds do, pushing him out of the nest.

So what will it take for us to make the most out of gifts? Someone to support us as we gather up our strength and courage; A whole lot of persistence and determination; And getting out there, spreading our wings and giving it a go, time after time after time until we master our flight.

Are you ready to fly?

Capturing the Volunteer Spirit in Employees

Do you know that 75% of employees are disengaged or disinterested in the workplace?

This got me thinking. How is it that people volunteer and are enthusiastic about what they are doing, even though there is no material reward? While people go along to work, can get paid really well for what they do, yet are disengaged and quite frankly are just going along with the motions.

Honestly, not every volunteer situation comes with idea conditions. Supervisors or team leaders may have no idea on how to lead and motivate people. There can be massive frictions, but people keep going and make sure the job is done as well as they can possibly do it.


Simple really, because they believe in what they are doing, it gives them a sense of purpose and that they are making a difference. So they keep on going, keep on giving their time. It has become important to them; they go out of their way and make it happen.

Wow, wouldn’t you like people to have that motivation in your business.  Now, I hope you would attend to any frictions, but you get the idea here don’t you? When people have a sense of purpose and that they are making a difference, when the tough times come, they will pull together and push through to success.

In fact, research shows that when employees have a sense of purpose their engagement increases. Businesses with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%, increasing performance and profit.

Getting everyone on board with a true sense of purpose is vital for the survival and growth of your business.  When everyone feels they are contributing to something worthwhile and something bigger than themselves, amazing things happen and your business becomes great.


Andrea Putting is a Professional Speaker and Business Soul Coach, she guides business leaders and teams in unlocking how they can have Maximum Impact in the world, giving the workplace a greater sense of purpose leading to maximising performance and profit. Contact her now










My little secret

I want to let you on my secret, my dirty little secret. I am the world’s greatest procrastinator. Yep, that’s right. If there is a way to get out of something, I will find it. If there is a short-cut to take, I will take it. I don’t like to spend too much time doing anything.

One of my strengths is Maximer, so if I’m going to put myself into anything, I want to get the maximum out of it, in the quickest possible time. I guess that is why I am a sprinter, not a marathon runner. I just can’t handle the idea of that long haul. I need it to be short and sharp. Let’s get this done, and get it done quickly as possible. I call myself the laziest runner in the club I belong to. 84 year olds can run further than I can. For me, if the race takes less than a minute, I’m in.

So, as I said, I’m a great procrastinator. However to the world, it may seem that I’m very organised, and I even appear to be good at getting things done and achieving things. Reality is that this is a real struggle for me. I have so many ideas going through my head, all the time; idea after idea after idea. Then it comes done to picking and choosing ones that I can actually feel that I can get the most out of and make happen. For me to be able to invest my time in one of my ideas, it has to be magnificent. It has to really speak to me.

So, how do we find those ideas that really speak to us?

It’s about listening to that greater guidance that comes to us. It‘s about connecting in with our greater Spirit, which is the most important thing to do. It’s about finding that passionate purpose. Feeling that you have a purpose and feeling passionate about it. Those things come when we listen to those greater inspirations. The things that really speak to us in our heart, they aren’t just an idea, but speak to our values, to our ideals and become something that you can’t not do.

For me, the thing that I could not not do is Chocolate and Coffee Day for Religious Harmony. I had no idea of how I was going to start that. If I thought too long and hard about it, I may not have ever done it. I just had to get in there and get it started because it spoke to me so deeply, that it became something I couldn’t procrastinate about. It was too important to me. I had to make it happen.

My secret brings out the secret about achieving something great within you. Find that passionate purpose that says to you, beyond anything else, this is something I must do. And make it happen.