Monday, June 29, 2020

Got To Try And Stay Positive



Here’s a positive blog from Spencer – half of the dynamic husband and wife team that created a Lovemark in the UK Lake District – Herdy.  I’m privileged to be part of the Herdy gang (flock) and have been impressed with the team’s Survive / Revive / Thrive strategies and execution.

Here – in Spencer’s words – are some points for EWE to consider.

Recently interviewed by a local radio station, I was asked about the lead-up to the reopening of our retail operation in the Lake District. Nine questions, most of which focused on the effects of the last twelve weeks and the on-going worry and paranoia for local business and community. In thick black marker pen I wrote each of the questions as headlines on nine sheets of A4 and laid them out in a long line on our board room table then stared at them for a while. Thoughts ran amok in my head. Things that I’ve read and heard recently. Things like local stakeholders communicating messages such as ‘Together We Stay Apart’. The fact that most people appear, at least, to be watching what the other man does before they make their move. The fact that little or no compassion is recognised and responded to quickly enough about those who’ve just had four walls to stare at, denied air to breath and space to see. I decided to try and flip the negatives into positives.

Covid-19 has affected everyone everywhere - and everything we all do. Naturally we’re all worried. None of us are complacent and we all have to be careful. The stark reality of what our business is facing was measured at the beginning of lockdown. We chose to act fast. Diane and I implemented a survival strategy (with Uncle Kevin’s guidance and beady eye). It wasn’t nice, it wasn’t easy and it included some tough decisions but it worked and we’re ok. Something else happened for Herdy in lockdown. A chance often pushed aside by typical day-in-the-life business. A chance to have a speed date with ourselves and re-understand who we actually are again. To take our thoughts, ideas and operation down the gym. We’re fitter, leaner, sharper. We’ve acted faster. We’ve discovered new audiences and they’ve discovered us.  We’ve reached out to new communities and groups (we’ve made heroes out of some of them). New opportunity has been cracked open out of all this madness. A retained, small, tight-knit (and slightly knackered) creative and communications team have been pumping out positivity across all our digital channels non-stop for the last three months and we’ve received it back in spades. It’s been amazing.

So now we’re in Revival mode. We’ve decided to move early. Be open as soon as we can be. Our shop windows have big Herdy’s saying ‘Welcome Back’ in big speech bubbles. It’s all a bit of a balancing act right now. We’ll have to measure everything week-on-week rather than the usual quarter-on-quarter. There’s stress on the team - doing more with less. The energy and drive we need to keep going isn’t coming from government or assuming things will eventually come round. It’s coming from the support, love and kindness of our fans and followers, old and new and we thank them for that.

Stay on guard. Persevere. Be Persistent. But most of all do things in your business that will fuel positivity.

Spence

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Hero’s Journey



Unfiltered’s Master of all Trades and all round good guy, James Rangihika was briefing Jake Millar and I last week on some big meetings Jake has scheduled this week and he referenced The Hero’s Journey.

I hadn’t seen it before – it’s basically every Disney movie – we’re all fascinated by the fall, rise, fall and rise again of the hero.

Thank you James.

 KR

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Times Like These



Times like these
Make me wanna get down on my knees
Pray to heaven someone help us, please
Find our way again
Times like this
When it looks as dark as it can get
I just wanna give it up and quit I remember when

We were marchin' on Washington
Singin' we shall overcome
Had a dream and the dream lives on
But we still got miles to go
In times like these
I look behind us and I can't believe
How far we traveled and the web we weave
Through times like these

Days like this
I can't help but wonder what we missed
Thought we finally had it made now it's
Getting tough again
One fine day
A change 'll come
No matter what they say
We might shed a tear along the way
When we're rememberin'

Gun trucks in the Belfast streets
And the war they swore would never cease
The day they said we would never see
When they set Mandela free
Times like these
Can't see the forest for the trees
Heard it said that love is all you need
In times like these

Times like these
Make me wanna get down on my knees
Pray to heaven someone help us, please
Through times like these

Steve Earle

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Rough and Rowdy Red-Letter Day



Bob Dylan’s first album of original songs in a decade – the 79 year old singer/songwriter (and Nobel Prize winner) reflecting on where he’s been and how much time he has left.

Blues, History, Hymns, Farewells – and The Black Rider.

Today’s social uprising reminds me of the 60’s when His Bobness roared into our psyches.  The Philosopher Pirate – the Perpetual Outlaw.

Keepin’ on, Keepin’ on.

KR

Friday, June 19, 2020

50 Years of Elite Coaching – in a Nutshell



When I was a teenager at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, I was a mad keen cricketer, athlete and rugby player.  Three years ahead of me, in the 1st XV and 1st XI was a nuggety young leader, Brian Ashton, who went on to become a terrific teacher, an international rugby player, a world-changing rugby coach and one of my closest friends.  (As well as being the co-founder and the only other member of our two member elite LRGS Black Sheep Club – three criteria for membership being; expulsion from School, top achievement / world class success in adult life and a place on the School’s Distinguished Alumni Honours Board.)

Brian is a world changing rugby coach – having created great teams in England, Ireland and Italy and having coached at the highest level as Head Coach of England, Ireland and Bath.

He has extended his range over the past decade to include advising several Premier League Football clubs and coaches (including my beloved Man City) and coaching the best young rugby talent in New Zealand and Australia with IRANZ.

He celebrated his 50th year as a coach last week by distilling all his wisdom in a two-page manifesto called The Simplicity of Coaching.

And he’s been kind enough to let me share it here with you.  It’s a book, a Netflix series, a peak performance programme, a life’s work, all in a dozen or so killer sentences.

THE SIMPLICITY OF COACHING
Mindset: ABC – Ambition, Belief, Courage.
Action Set: CIA – Clarity, Intensity, Accuracy.
Remove these three R words: Regimented, Repetitive, Restrictive.
Promote these five P words: Positive, Proactive, Purposeful, Passionate, Pace.
Activate through five E words: Experiment, Excite, Enable, Empower, Execute.
Promote self-sufficiency through: R.O.L.F. – Responsibility, Ownership, Leadership, Freedom.
Within a 10 F words framework: Framework, Fundamentals, Family, Freedom, Flexibility, Fearless, Futuristic, Fast, Furious, Fun.
Delivered via C.O.P.S. sessions: Confrontational, Opportunistic, Pioneering, Sensational.
Essential in a VUCA World: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous.
We need SUPERVUCA resources: Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy, Amazing.
All underpinned with individual and collective purposes which have: Dream, Spirit, Focus, Beliefs, Character, GIC.
Fired by: Clarity, Simplicity, Aspiration, Inspiration, Timelines.

Keep Going Brian.

KR

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Future of Work



A few months back Trudy and I bumped into an upbeat couple of Americans in a Caribbean hideaway on Antigua.  And since then we’ve kept in Zoom touch before we can reconnect in person.  Alan’s been a source of inspiration given his lifelong passion for leadership, coaching and challenging thinking – aided and abetted by good-wife Lesley.

I asked him for some top of mind (arbitrary!) thoughts on the Future of Work.  Here they are:
1)        Clothing optional except during Zoom Meetings
2)        Privacy is toast.
3)        People will need to figure out how to make sales and new contacts by building relationships virtually.
4)        No one set of facts will be accepted by the majority of people for a long time.  Fox has permanently changed the character of News to something akin to propaganda.  Organisations will need to endorse a trusted source.
5)        For the next 12 to 24 months, or until a proven vaccine, many people will be afraid to travel or leave their safe spaces so that many types of travel, retail and restaurant sales will remain depressed.
6)        A V shaped recovery will not happen because many folks will be seriously in debt or even bankrupt.  Major trouble still looms for the public sector, universities, real estate and all travel related and restaurant industries.  As a result, employment will creep up due to additional lay-offs in those sectors, not jump up.  This will be in most socio-economic classes, not just among the poor.
7)        Downtown restaurants survive through catering services to offices.  Lessened catering and social distancing will put them in dire straits.
8)        Real Estate: 
a.      Offices will use existing space for now because of social distancing but the lease cost per person will nearly double.  Long term, fewer square feet will be needed as more people work remotely and new solutions are found to decrease square footage needed per person.
b.      Retail will use existing space for now, setting up one-way aisles and social distancing for payment.  Retail rents must go down immediately as sales will go down and even then many tenants will not survive (small businesses and chains).
9)    Gains in delivery services will continue for now but decrease once people go back to work as no-one will be home to safely accept packages unless customers use remote camera/locking/unlocking devices.
10)  IT will need to find ways to monitor off-site computer use without being intrusive.  Confidentiality must be protected.
11)  Also depressing back to work efforts will be the dangers involved in commuting by public transportation including not only subways and buses but also Lift and Uber.  The uptick in bicycle riding will not last because of weather related issues.
12)  Vacations are anyone’s guess; perhaps the safest will be single dwellings close to major metro areas.  That said, people are itching to get out of their homes and feel a sense of normalcy.  The question will be how satisfying these vacations will be.
13)     AirBNB and other nightly rental services will tank, especially in large cities. Key to their resurgence will be resumption of foreign tourism.
       In many areas, that will also cause rental rates for apartments to drop as they will no longer be converted to hotel rooms. 
14)  Fewer people will retire due to economic uncertainty and drops in portfolios.  As that moves through the workforce, a whole group of young people will be unable to find steady jobs in their area of interest.
15)  Students will continue to suffer.  Teachers, many of whom are older, are concerned about returning to work.  Parents are afraid of introducing the virus to their families through their children socialising.  Many students will defer going to colleges and universities and this will disadvantage the following year's classes as fewer spaces will be available.  If smart, colleges and universities will find a way to at least bring seniors back to campus.  They normally are in classes with fewer students and these classes can be relocated to the larger classrooms.  All can be offered single rooms on campus.  Sports will remain a big question mark.  Athletes must be housed on or near campuses to be effective.  Schedules will need to be changed to avoid excessive travel.

Thank you Mr Berson (Author of: “Leadership Conversations: Challenging High-Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders”).

KR

Friday, June 12, 2020

Work’s Going Forward (not back!) to Work – Weekend Musings



Read a great article by Janice Turner in The Times on Saturday – some key out-takes from her, and some random thoughts of mine – over to you to consider.

·       60% of office workers would like to work more from home.
·       I’ve been working from my various home offices in the US, UK and New Zealand for four years now and have never been happier.
·       Facebook and Twitter have told staff they can continue to work from home from now on.
·       Who misses the endless commutes, the Summer days spent indoors, the lack of any decent food all day, the special, constricting ‘business’ attire, and being surrounded by a bunch of near strangers?
·       And as for all those pseudo-trendy, new-age tech company offices with their free snacks, soft-drinks, sleep pods and on-site concierge services – all designed to make you spend even more time there every day – beanbags, table-tennis and pool tables – included.  Who cares?
·       Company HQ’s will disappear – into the Cloud and back to smaller local offices – in lifestyle, local spots, surrounded by people like you, by Family and by Friends.
·       Real prestige/status will not be a corner office; it will be your own screen in your own home office with universal on-line access / high speed internet.
·       It’s the realisation that big problems, big ideas, and big revelations come when you’re happy, cycling, gardening, exercising your five senses, focusing on magic moments – instead of in corporate meetings, over-rated brainstorming sessions surrounded by interruptions/distractions and other peoples’ annoying behaviours.
·       Offices began as centralised paper palaces full of files / records / information / data / ledgers.  Nonsense in our digital world.
·       For us older folk, this is Utopia.  We don’t need supervision, team building and interference.  We will Revive and Thrive at home, free at last – free to transform, innovate, think and create.
·       Younger people are keen to return to office life – they don’t have gardens / home offices, and Zooming from the bedroom / kitchen as your flatmate fights for the space is far from ideal.  And they need guidance, mentoring, social interaction.  They yearn for fun, swapping ideas, going out for drinks after work, and networking.
So maybe it’s a hybrid – 3/2 or 2/3 days in the office/home?
·       It’s important to carry what we’ve learned from remote working to the new ‘abnormal’ or the new ‘not-so’ normal that awaits.
·       Whatever happens, we must not ‘go back to work’.  We must go forward to work.

KR

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A special invite for fans of John Prine



My five favourite male singer/songwriters are The Boss, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, John Prine and Robert Earl Keen.

John was taken from of us by Covid19 a few weeks back.  He had the biggest heart and the funniest most generous spirit I’ve ever known. Take a couple of hours out and watch/listen to this tribute which premiered yesterday on YouTube.


KR

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

50 Years of Elite Coaching – in a Nutshell



When I was a teenager at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, I was a mad keen cricketer, athlete and rugby player.  Three years ahead of me, in the 1st XV and 1st XI was a nuggety young leader, Brian Ashton, who went on to become a terrific teacher, an international rugby player, a world-changing rugby coach and one of my closest friends.  (As well as being the co-founder and the only other member of our two member elite LRGS Black Sheep Club – three criteria for membership being; expulsion from School, top achievement / world class success in adult life and a place on the School’s Distinguished Alumni Honours Board.)

Brian is a world changing rugby coach – having created great teams in England, Ireland and Italy and having coached at the highest level as Head Coach of England, Ireland and Bath.

He has extended his range over the past decade to include advising several Premier League Football clubs and coaches (including my beloved Man City) and coaching the best young rugby talent in New Zealand and Australia with IRANZ.

He celebrated his 50th year as a coach last week by distilling all his wisdom in a two-page manifesto called The Simplicity of Coaching.

And he’s been kind enough to let me share it here with you.  It’s a book, a Netflix series, a peak performance programme, a life’s work, all in a dozen or so killer sentences.

THE SIMPLICITY OF COACHING
Mindset: ABC – Ambition, Belief, Courage.
Action Set: CIA – Clarity, Intensity, Accuracy.
Remove these three R words: Regimented, Repetitive, Restrictive.
Promote these five P words: Positive, Proactive, Purposeful, Passionate, Pace.
Activate through five E words: Experiment, Excite, Enable, Empower, Execute.
Promote self-sufficiency through: R.O.L.F. – Responsibility, Ownership, Leadership, Freedom.
Within a 10 F words framework: Framework, Fundamentals, Family, Freedom, Flexibility, Fearless, Futuristic, Fast, Furious, Fun.
Delivered via C.O.P.S. sessions: Confrontational, Opportunistic, Pioneering, Sensational.
Essential in a VUCA World: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous.
We need SUPERVUCA resources: Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy, Amazing.
All underpinned with individual and collective purposes which have: Dream, Spirit, Focus, Beliefs, Character, GIC.
Fired by: Clarity, Simplicity, Aspiration, Inspiration, Timelines.

Keep Going Brian.

KR