Monday, November 30, 2015

Twitter Gets Emotional

A tempest in a teapot has been brewing over at Twitter since the online social networking service replaced its ★ with a ♥. But what at first seems a simple switch in symbols—from indicating the “favoriting” of tweets to “liking” them—might actually point to an identity crisis for the 140-character company.

As reported by Katherine Rosman in The New York Times, Twitter’s core function tweak has enraged tweeters, who see it as a boneheaded move and responded with hastags like #hatetheheart, #bringbackthestar, and #heartgate. “Twitter was made for retweeting and FAVORITING tweets. NOT liking them. This isn’t Instagram or Facebook,” chirped one tweeter. “I DO NOT GO ON TWITTER TO BE REMINDED THAT I AM CAPABLE OF HAVING FEELINGS,” all-capped National Review reporter and Fox News contributor Katherine Timpf. “I understand why they did this,” said Zack Smith, who runs the website GamingRebellion. “Their growth has been flat and they’re trying to be like Facebook. But the heart makes me feel dirty.”

Why so emotional? I’ve been following the brouhaha closely, because nearly a dozen years ago I dropped a love bomb into the boardroom with Lovemarks, reinventing brands not around what people say or do but how they feel. The problem with the new Twitter symbol is it’s off-brand. Smith noted in the article that he feels “genuinely weirded out” seeing a heart next to someone’s avatar when they like one of his tweets, writing: “OK@twitter, if you wanted to make me feel like I’m using a dating app you have succeeded. As Rosman writes, Twitter is “a place of professional connection and conversation. Though I obviously love absolutely everything my boss tweets, for example, I don’t want to send him hearts.

Even though some users have voiced their concerns over the choice of a heart as a symbol, people seem to embrace the change. In just one week since the heart symbol was released, ‘likes’ increased by 6% and total numbers of users have increased by 9% according to Twitter’s head of product, Kevin Weil.

Meanwhile, a new app is getting the balance right between Like and Love. Russian supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova recently launched Elbi, a micro-charity app aimed at millennials that hopes to “add meaning” to their online existence. Super-Nova’s app makes it possible to make micro donations of £1 or $1 to charitable organizations all over the world, including Save the Children, Walkabout Foundation, and dozens of others.

As explained in Russia Beyond the Headlines“Drawings posted by Elbi can be tagged by pressing the Love button, similar to the Like button on social networks. Unlike the latter, which has more to do with massaging users’ vanity, the Love button on Elbi generates micro donations. The better the created content—whether a photograph, a drawing or a get-well message—the more Loves it gets in the form of more money raised for charity.”

Favoriting is not the same as liking, and liking is many steps removed from feeling love. (As American author Jonathan Franzen reminds us, “liking is for cowards.”) Twitter recognizes it needs to move into a more emotional space to stay competitive, but love is nothing to be toyed with.

But it seems that Twitter has a solution for that, too. Some tweets require a different response than a heart – nobody wants to heart comments about disasters. That is why the platform is already working on introducing different ways to react to Tweets. These could include hands clapping or a thumbs down symbol.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Good TV

Television has evolved into a rather sophisticated creature. Not only can you watch what you want, when you want, as much as you want, but there’s a veritable feast of programming at your fingertips. In the past, you might have commented on a particular program that was ‘good TV’ but these days television has kicked things up a notch. TV has moved from, as Jim Collins would say, from good to great.

The news for those who have the time and inclination is that watching high-quality television dramas (such as ‘Mad Men’ and ‘The West Wing’) can increase your emotional intelligence. Well, according to a new study, and depending how you look at it.

Melissa Dahl presents the findings, with a grain of salt, on New York magazine. Study participants were asked to watch either a television drama or a non-fiction program before taking a test to measure their emotional intelligence, which involved judging the emotions displayed in images of human eyes. The empathy scores of people who watched the television drama were higher than those who watched the non-fiction program (who happened to score higher than people who didn’t watch anything at all).

As Dahl points out, these findings mirror the results of a similar study in relation to reading that claimed that reading can increase empathy. The explanation provided by one study was that people who were ‘emotionally transported’ by something they were reading (putting themselves in someone else’s shoes) became more empathetic, while non-transported readers became less empathetic.

But hold on a minute – does that just mean that reading fiction makes you more empathetic, or if people with empathy simply read more? And in the case of television – isn’t it obvious that we might feel a little more connected, and therefore empathetic, as a result of siding with or against characters in a good-quality drama, than we might feel if we were watching the National Geographic channel? “Do what you will with this new research,” says Dahl. I will.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Game of Consequences

Norman Ellis turned my life around when I was 15 years old.

We stayed friends until he died of dementia last year.

His daughter Gill Belchetz has written a wonderful book – her first.  “A Game of Consequences’ - Every action has a consequence.

The stories range from Leeds to Lahore, from Mombasa to Paris and yet, somehow, are interlinked.

The proceeds from this great book will go to charities leading the fight against dementia.

Buy the book, give copies to your friends and family.  Help make a difference to the 850,000 dementia sufferers in the UK and elsewhere.

‘A Game of Consequences' is available on Amazon.

Thank you for helping.


Image source: Adrian Forrest

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jonah Lomu (1975-2015)

New Zealand and the sports world is mourning the death at age 40 of rugby superstar Jonah Lomu, from complications associated with the kidney disease he had long been afflicted with. Jonah was a great man, on the field and in life. I was at the Rugby World Cup semi-final in South Africa in 1995 for the All Blacks’ game against England. Jonah touched the ball seven times in the game and scored four tries, including arguably the most famous try in rugby history when Jonah ran over Mike Catt on the way to the try line. It’s said that this was the moment that prompted Rupert Murdoch to buy the television rights for southern hemisphere rugby. (See all of Jonah’s 15 World Rugby Cup tries here).

Jonah was a frequent visitor to my Auckland home, and a friend to my daughter Bex. I’ll never forget one get-together we had in San Francisco in 1998. In August last year I wrote a tribute to Robin Williams who had just died, recounting a memorable photo shoot with the actor and the rugby player. The postscript to this story happened that night at the end-of-event party for the State of the World Conference in the penthouse of the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. The room was stacked with political leaders, US Senators, Nobel Prize winners, captains of industry, change agents…and the person they all wanted to meet was Jonah. He stood in a corner of this famous hotel suite, the last person in the room to elevate their own importance, and received people with the grace and humility that characterized his life.

It has been written that Jonah was the most famous New Zealander, perhaps more so than Ed Hillary, or aviator Jean Batten who was the most famous woman in the world at her time of epic flights over lonely oceans. It’s a sort of academic exercise, a fame counter, but it does in one way serve to place Jonah Lomu in a pantheon of supernovas who have inspired our purpose. If New Zealand’s purpose is to “win the world from the edge,” then Jonah Lomu is on the team, forever wearing the #11 jersey.

Vale, Jonah Lomu.

Photo credit: Kevin Stent, Sunday Star Times, 1998

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Heart Informs the Brain

The heart and brain are our two most vital organs. We need them to function physically, but also mentally and emotionally. While scientists have developed a good understanding of how the two organs communicate with each other, there is now emerging research on how this interaction affects our consciousness.

Arjun Walia summarizes some of the fascinating research recently undertaken by the HeartMath Institute. We often think of the brain as the command center, responsible for how our whole body functions, but scientists now know that the heart in fact sends more signals to the brain than the brain does to the heart. The heart therefore affects how we think and function emotionally; conscious awareness comes from the brain and heart working together.

Perhaps this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. From everyday experience we know that when we are calm and the heart beats steadily, we are more able to think clearly. When we are in a stressful situation or panicking, our heart tends to race and our clarity of thought is hindered making it more difficult to think, remember or learn. So different emotional states send different signals to the brain and affect our cognitive functions.

But what isn’t well understood is where these emotional states come from in the first place. Research in this area poses really interesting questions about consciousness and how it interplays with the material world. Is consciousness a product of the brain or a receiver of it?

The science out there is complicated and relates to quantum mechanics. But essentially, how we think about the world around us affects the way we see and interact with it. This can also create a collective consciousness which is stubbornly difficult to challenge even when many individuals may have a different view of the world. Given the idea of consciousness is rather abstract (and even spiritual) it seems a little strange to see it analyzed scientifically as a state of matter. But understanding how we interact with the world around us will help us to better comprehend one another and perhaps develop a more empathetic, emotionally aware society.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015


Rocking Rod is back. Last year’s Time was the hors d’oeuvre. This month’s Another Country is the main course. 15 original songs… rock, tender ballads, reggae, blues, upbeat and nostalgic at the same time…Batman, Superman, Spiderman is for Cameron and grandsons/young sons everywhere.

Youngest son turned me on to HBO’s The Jinx. An amazing documentary series about Robert Durst. A classic. Compulsive viewing.


The Lion in Winter

“I did it at one time…you can’t do something forever. I did it once, and I can do other things now. But I can’t do that.”

Bob Dylan said that (see Wednesday’s blog).

A poignant but positive take on growing older.

Yesterday was fun.

Tomorrow will be too.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dylan In Flow

I speak and write often about flow, the state people and organizations are in when they’re focusing passionate energy, together, every day, on purpose-driven activities. The architect of flow is Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a top researcher in positive psychology. In his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csikszentmihalyi writes: “. . . the best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. . . The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we can make happen.”

Most people have experienced “being in the Zone,” or having a “hot hand”, or being on a winning streak. That’s flow. You feel unbeatable. In control of your actions. Extraordinarily talented and certain. As Csikszentnihalyi describes it, flow is mastering your own destiny—the feeling we have when we are fully alive.

This week on CD, vinyl, and MP3 we can hear what flow sounds like. I’m talking about Columbia Records’ release of Bob Dylan’s “The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12,” which comes in three formats to fit every Dylan fanatic. There’s a two-CD highlights set; a 6-CD set deluxe edition, which includes all 16 studio takes of “Like A Rolling Stone”; and a 5,000-pressed, limited edition, 379-track Collector’s Edition that features every single note Dylan recorded in the studio in 1965/66. (Diehard Dylanists only need apply for the last one, investment of $599.99 needed).

“The Cutting Edge” covers the singer-songwriter’s “most intense period of wild inspiration and creativity,” writes New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick. During that fifteen-month period from the beginning of 1965 through the summer of 1966, “when the songs came two and three a day, as if from heaven, and he seemed as filled with wonder as the rest of us,” Dylan graced us with three records—“Bringing It All Back Home,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” and “Blonde On Blonde”—that redefined popular music.

I’m a firm believer that great business organizations trying lots of ideas, constantly, and that failing fast, learning fast, and fixing fast is a key recipe for success. That’s what we see the singer-songwriter doing during this explosive period. Dylan was famous for working fast in the studio and recording “live” (that is, with few if any pre-recorded overdubs). What one is witness to on the bootleg collection of unreleased tracks, outtakes, rehearsals, and alternate versions of canonized songs is a great artist figuring things out. “He’s inventing all the time in the studio, improvising lyrics, dropping lyrics, making up bogus titles,” Remnick writes. “You hear him discarding his Okie folk voice and working out the right timbre of his rock-and-roll voice.” You hear “Like A Rolling Stone” arranged as a waltz; “Visions of Johanna” played like a hard rock number.

Listening to this historic archive, you feel Dylan’s genius, his intuitiveness, his leadership abilities as bandleader, and his impatience to fulfill popular music’s deeper ambitions. You learn, reading the album’s liner notes, that in a single astonishing day—January 15, 1965—Dylan recorded the final versions of “Maggie’s Farm,” “On the Road Again,” “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” “Gates of Eden,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” (Hold close that example of just another average day at the office the next time you have an uninspired, lackluster day at work.)

“Those early songs were almost magically written,” Dylan told 60 Minutes’ Ed Bradley decades later. “Try to sit down and write something like that. There’s a magic to that, and it’s not Siegfried and Roy kind of magic, you know? It’s a different kind of a penetrating magic. And, you know, I did it. I did it at one time. . . You can’t do something forever. I did it once, and I can do other things now. But I can’t do that.”

Flow can happen in all kinds of environments: in homes and offices; stages and screens; fields and arenas; a Woodstock, NY basement or Tin Pan Alley and Nashville recording studios. This newest bootleg is a glorious testament to Dylan’s hottest ever musical streak and America’s greatest and most abundant living artist working at peak flow.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

True Traveller

I’m a traveller starting at an early age by running away from home as an 8 year old and getting 50 miles away too - not bad in those days… And now I’m on the road constantly.

I read a quote recently – unattributed – that describes a true traveller.  “He who has seen one cathedral 10 times has seen something; he who has seen 10 cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent an hour in each of 100 cathedrals has seen nothing at all”.

It also struck me that, if you’ve got money, one of the best ways to spend it is on things that will save you time; the most valuable thing of all.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

Pat Fallon 1945-2015

Pat Fallon died last Friday, he was a legendary and beloved adman from the Midwest, and his influence was felt throughout America, the UK and other parts of the world. Fearless, tough, direct, difficult, funny, the ad world needed Pat Fallon’s storming of the ramparts of Madison Avenue and the Miracle Mile, from Minneapolis of all places. In 1981 he and four partners disrupted the cozy equilibrium of the advertising world by founding an agency “for clients who would rather outsmart the competition than outspend them.”

Within two years they were Ad Age’s agency of the year, winning large national accounts with the promise of “courage and integrity.” A Fortune magazine profile in 1997 described “a rogue band of contentious, kick-ass ad guys in Minneapolis” led by a “ferocious, extraordinary man who has Madison Avenue buzzing. He is single-minded. Strategic. Hands-on. Iconoclastic. Fallon is building a cutting-edge agency a thousand miles from Madison Avenue.”

The trajectory was meteoric along with some spectacular blow-ups, but the vicissitudes of the ad business only left him with the determination to keep standing rock solid. The Fallon family became part of the Publicis Groupe in 2000 and its roots became intertwined with Saatchi & Saatchi, especially in London where the Saatchi-Fallon connection is inseparable. Part mainstream agency, part creative outlier, Fallon has a legacy that will burn strongly into the future. The advertising world is populated with creatives, planners and suits for whom the grit, guts and genius of Pat Fallon was a defining moment in their careers.

Vale Pat Fallon.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just One Minute

This year I was honoured to join the Filminute festival jury for its 10th anniversary edition, eight years on since I first judged the festival in 2007.

Filminute is the international one-minute film festival that challenges creatives of all disciplines and persuasions to develop the best one-minute films.

As jurors, we were asked to evaluate the one-minute films with the same discipline and criteria by which we might evaluate a full-length feature film, animation or documentary. Keeping in mind, of course, that the best films resonate and affect audiences beyond and irrespective of when the closing credits appear.

The challenge for those who entered was to achieve this in 60 seconds. No more, no less. As someone who appreciates a well-polished elevator pitch, the highlight for me was the knock-out content. For those who don’t believe it’s possible to pack a punch in just 60 seconds, I suggest you check out the Best Filminute winner, ‘A minute of silence.’

The short length of these films also means they’re extremely accessible. A lot can happen in one minute, and I’m not just talking about a plot. In one minute, you can engage, inspire, trigger a thought, spark an emotion.

Check out the Filminute 2015 shortlist here. My winners were:
  1. 1-0 (Iran): I love a good football story wherever in the world it comes from, especially when it’s about a young boy in love with the game.
  2. Wojtek (Poland): Inspirational story about make-do materials in the service of human delight.
  3. A Minute of Silence (France): Bergmanesque family psychodrama, performed in sign language, led by two wonderful child actors. Packs a wallop!
  4. Nanny (Martinique): Beautifully acted and filmed folkloric tale, packs an almost unbearable level of intensity into its brief running time.
  5. Force (UK): Great use of location and special effects with a superb payoff. Whiteman and Gomez should be directing Marvel comic movies.
  6. The Whale (Germany): Not seeing but looking. Beautifully illustrated and animated. A fable for contemporary times.
  7. The Lunch (Chile): The ultimate in mock death scenes. Choking on arugula!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Taxi Stand Tune

Pick one megacity in the world where Uber might hesitate to invest in, and it would be Tokyo, and not just because of any regulatory hurdles. Kenji Hall reports from Tokyo in a Monocle video about the elite Nihon Kotsu fleet. We’re talking elegant, old-school charm in the form of a very professional black cab business. Sleek, streamlined and there to serve you in every way you’d want a taxicab service to.

Well, you, and the rest of the population of Tokyo, all 13 million of them. Not only is Nihon Kotsu a taxicab company that seems to do a heck of a good job when it comes to giving top-notch service on a personal level, it plays a vital role in making sure the city’s day-to-day business runs smoothly.

Every day, seven times a day, 365 days a year, Nihon Kotsu drivers clock-in, take a breathalyzer test, pick up their licenses and stand in line for their pep-talk, before all 452 vehicles are ushered out of the garage. Thanks to them, and the rest of the city’s 48,101 taxicabs (owned by 476 companies and more than 16,700 self-employed drivers), 730,000 people get around Tokyo each day, according to the Tokyo Taxi Association.

But as soon of each of these drivers hits the road they’re on their own, contending with the crowded city’s ebbs and flows. “They have to pace themselves and learn how to ‘read the flow’,” says Hall, explaining the logic of morning shifts (rush hour, hospital and hotel clientele, lunchtime surge), mid-afternoon slowdowns (time for lunch, a nap, or lounging in their cars on the waterfront), and the evening rush (steady until past-midnight, when the trains stop running and the bars close).

The predictability of it almost feels like hearing a familiar tune, with different parts (the beat, rhythm and melody) working in unison to make something quite significant happen. In Tokyo’s case, that something is that within one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world (the Greater Tokyo Area is estimated to have more people than Canada).

Nihon Kotsu is a standout in Tokyo’s crowded taxicab market. But beyond Nihon Kotsu’s good looks and surface charm, it has a lot to teach us about how to mobilize and organize not only an industry and a large workforce, but people within a city. One way it does this is through technology, with on-board computers and hi-tech dispatch system alerts. Another way is through its attention to detail – nothing, from car cleanliness to customer interactions, is left to chance.

I’m interested in how things happen seamlessly at scale and speed, repeatedly, day after day. I wrote last month about Mumbai’s dabbawalas who keep office workers well-fed each day with home-cooked lunches. They should send their folk to meet with Tokyo’s Nihon Kotsu to swap notes.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Never, Never Give In

In 1941 Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the students of Harrow School.

“…never give in, never give in, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

This sentiment has been described as one of Churchill’s best. It epitomizes an attitude that many aspire to, with some stand-outs on the world stage who have found success in business or in life, through sheer hard work, grit and determination. Here’s a good list from The Huffington Post, including:
  • Vincent van Gogh – he may have only sold one painting in his lifetime, yet he painted over 900 works of art. He’s now considered one of the greatest artists of our time.
  • Thomas Edison – the lightbulb didn’t happen like a lightbulb moment; he made numerous attempts before succeeding in creating the lightbulb. “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work,” he said.
  • Albert Einstein – as a young boy, his teachers thought he was lazy and wrote him off as a dreamer, “…conjuring up abstract questions people couldn't understand.” He kept on doing his thing and went on to develop the theory of relativity.
  • Bill Gates – his first company failed, but that didn’t stop him; it helped him develop Microsoft years later.
There’s one thing these people all have in common: they never gave up. They’ve all experienced failure, which didn’t set them back, but helped inform their success and fuelled their drive to succeed. It’s this resilient attitude that demonstrates personal character. Some people aspire to developing it, while others just have it. You know who they are, and if you had the choice, you want them on your team. Because not only will they do whatever it takes to achieve a result, they’ll inspire others to do the same.

Image attribute/source: Winston Churchill /

Monday, November 9, 2015

The World On Our Fingertips

Joseph Carini is a carpet design who has just launched a ‘Thumbprint’ collection, which consists of organic rugs digitally designed using clients’ fingerprints. Besides the personalization aspect, it is the connection of purity of the materials used with digital technology that make these creations so fascinating.

The patterns on our fingertips are so unique that the odds of finding two fingerprints that are exactly the same are 1 in 64 billion. Many say that winning the lottery is more likely than that. Even identical twins have different fingerprints.

With this in mind it makes sense that we use our unique thumbprint for identification in other areas than forensics as well. We unlock our phones with fingerprint scanners; undergo biometric procedures at some airports and in many countries our fingerprint is stores on our passport. And we are not the first to do so. People in ancient Babylon already used fingerprints as signatures on clay tablets for business transactions.

In the 1930s the notorious American gangster John Dillinger famously tried to erase his fingerprints with acid to so he wouldn’t reveal his identity in his crimes. It still happens, but today’s forensic technology makes identification possible – even with mutilated fingertips.

The reason why we all have different thumbprints is not entirely known. Scientists have speculated that the patterns on our fingertips would improve our sense of touch and studies at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris have confirmed that hypothesis.

Image source: A rug from Carini Lang's "Thumbprint" line

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Riveted by Mr Robot

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

30 hours from Vienna to Auckland over the weekend. Riveted by Mr Robot, Season One. Rami Malek is sensational. The writing is superb and the imagination extraordinary.

Season Two just starting.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

The 60’s

The decade I grew up in. The decade that changed everything. Have been binging on CNN’s original 10-part series “The Sixties”.  Produced by Tom Hanks. Where it all started for Baby Boomers. Modern History for Millennials.  Irresistible.


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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Charisma and Confidence Take the Cake

When it comes to desirable traits in 20th century prime ministers, charisma and decisiveness “trump leadership that is willing to view the world in various shades of gray,” says Sam Rohrer on Democratic Audit UK.

This is the main finding of a recent study which looked at British prime ministers spanning the 20th century, with a view to understanding whether they have specific psychological traits that affect people’s perceptions of their effectiveness as leaders. Rohrer studied transcripts of parliamentary debates, with three traits coming out on top in terms of perceived effectiveness: self-confidence, decisiveness, and charisma.

People know effective leadership not when they see or hear it, but when they feel it, which is perhaps why confidence and charisma are an important part of the mix. As pointed out by R. Mark Bell of Regent University, charisma is a trait that is ‘felt’ and then attributed to a leader by followers. You could say the same about confidence – great leaders just seem to have it.

People are drawn to leaders who carry these traits through the way they communicate. It’s not just about the dissemination of relevant information, it’s about the way they deliver the message, by drawing on emotions, telling stories and being open, and therefore credible and trustworthy.

Bell refers to Ronald Reagan who is remembered historically as a great communicator, with a style that was perceived as particularly charismatic (one study ranked him in the top three charismatic American presidents in the 20th century). Reagan encouraged understanding and sentiment through using symbolism, metaphors and imagery in his speeches.

Decisiveness is important because leaders are often put in situations where they have to make difficult decisions in times of great haste. Churchill: “The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” The best leaders assess the information they have in front of them, weigh the options and decide on what’s best, confidently.

John F Kennedy showed decisiveness. Despite advice from his advisors to pursue a full military invasion of Cuba following reports of nuclear missiles, Kennedy opted for a naval blockade and negotiations with Soviet leaders. The blockade worked, and the US was able to avoid nuclear war.

Great leaders throughout history reveal many desirable traits, and while much has changed about the world in which we currently live, human nature hasn’t really changed. Shane Snow summed it up nicely in an article on Fast Company: “Think of the best leaders in history – Mandela, Churchill, King, etc. – and you’ll see a pattern: they tell great stories, with boldness, absolutely convinced they are right. They both inspire and grab attention.”

Image attribute/source: Ronald Reagan /

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

William Webb Ellis Trophy postscript

Two items after Saturday’s tour de force.

First, there’s been tons of analysis/discussion/chatter about the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup win… after months of Northern Hemisphere jibes of choking and cheating – all now conveniently forgotten.

But coaching legend Brian Ashton, in The Independent, strips it down to basics – less is more – and says this is what the All Blacks do:
  • Win the ball.
  • Win the space in front of them (i.e., go forward).
  • Win the battle for continuity.
  • Win the fight to set the tempo.
  • Score tries.
Second, a generous gesture from the staff of Ritz Carlton-owned Bulgari Hotel in London where I have been during the finals, a full size rugby ball made of chocolate saying “Congratulations to New Zealand!”

Monday, November 2, 2015

To Be the Greatest Team to Have Played the Game

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