You may be familiar with some of his previous bestselling books, such as The ‘New’ Rules of Engagement, but today he is here to talk about his upcoming book, Momentum: How to Build it, Keep it or Get it Back.
So without further ado, allow me to introduce our next guest, Michael McQueen.
Hi Michael, thanks so much for stopping by our blog. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a speaker, trend forecaster and business strategist - well, that’s the formal title anyway. I love working with clients helping them make sense of what the future is going to look like and how to prepare for it. My time is spent between speaking at conferences, researching and writing books, and consulting.
Your upcoming book, Momentum: How to Build it, Keep it or Get it Back is due for release next month. Could you explain the basic concept of the book for our readers?
The basic idea is to demystify the whole idea of momentum in business. For many of us, momentum is something like a vague sensation - similar to inspiration - we know when we’ve got it but don’t know where it came from or how to hold on to it. The book is focussed on quantifying momentum (i.e. how much have you actually currently got) and helping readers build momentum that lasts in their businesses or lives more broadly.
What urged you to write about this topic? As it’s a pretty unique idea!
In my work and research with clients, it has become ever clearer that the factor that separates good from exceptional businesses (and individuals) is not strategy or innovation but the ability to drive momentum. When I set out to read what I could on the subject in order to help clients, I realised how little good research or info there is on the topic, so I decided to embark on a research project to write the book I was looking for myself.
How did your career background and past experiences help you to write this book?
I’ve spent over a decade now tracking some of the key trends shaping society and then helping organisations navigate these changes. This has given me the opportunity to get an in-depth look at what really creates the success that extraordinary businesses and leaders enjoy. It is many of those experiences that have shaped the content and case studies in this new book.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment or what’s next for you?
A passion project for me right now is a memoir-writing tool I have been working on called histography.com. It is designed for kids to give to their parents and is an app that guides the user through a year-long process of writing their life story in response to a series of interview-style questions emailed each week.
At the end of the year, the users' stories and uploaded photos get automatically curated into a hardcover giftbook - essentially, your life story in print for future generations. We’ve had a great response since the launch but are looking to drive the very thing I focus on in my new book… momentum. It’s an exciting journey applying the principles I’ve seen work with so many clients to one of my own businesses too.
What is the first piece of advice you would give to someone who is stuck in a rut, struggling to build momentum?
Get started doing something. Anything. The hardest thing to do can be to get off and go, so don’t try and attempt the gruelling or the complex - start with simple and fun tasks on your list.
A good idea is to start with a list of ‘almost done tasks’ that you could knock on the head quickly. These will give you an early sense of accomplishment that becomes generative - remember, success breeds success.
Has your career ever suffered in some way due to a lack of momentum, or have you always been as efficient as you are now?
For sure. The danger zone for me has always been when I lose sight of my purpose and visions and get stuck in the rut of simply being productive. Purposeless productivity is soul destroying.
What is the secret to maintaining a steady momentum on a project, even if you feel like it’s going nowhere?
Remember that you’re making progress. You are not where you want to be but you aren’t where you started. Public victories are always preceded by hundreds of private ones. Momentum is won or lost in the mundane moments of life and not the momentous ones.
Do you think momentum and time management effect one another?
I genuinely do. One of the tools in my new book is a tool called The Productivity Blueprint and it focusses on how to leverage your effort by using every, and I mean every block of time in your day with intentionality. High-capacity and high-output people are not smarter or even harder working than the average person, they are just more intentional about how they use their time.
What happens if you build too much momentum, and things start snowballing at a greater speed than you can handle – how do you regain control?
Good question. Excess speed and enormous success is a good problem to have but it is still a problem. If you find that everything you’re touching is turning to gold, be a bit selective - your capacity is not limitless and if you try to grow too much or too quickly, you’re likely to be in for a big fall. HP co-founder David Packard said it best: “most businesses don’t die from starvation, but from indigestion."
Out of all the helpful advice you provide in your book, what are your top 3 tips to help people work smarter?
Don't wait to start till you feel like it. Motion precedes emotion, get moving and allow the feelings to catch up
There is a subtle but significant difference between being in a groove vs being in a rut. Be careful of simply finding ever more efficient ways to do ineffective things
Stationary objects face no headwinds - if you’re advancing and taking new ground, don’t be surprised to encounter hardship and resistance. In fact, celebrate them.
Michael's book, Momentum: How to Build it, Keep it or Get it Back is released on 11th August 2016 and is now available on Amazon. If you'd like to connect with Michael, make sure say hello on Twitter at @Michael_McQueen.