Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt

Son in law Mark Rolland (ex Saatchi & Saatchi, now Facebook) reminded me of this wonderful quote.  From a time when World Leaders actually led!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
         Theodore Roosevelt

Lest We Forget!


Friday, February 22, 2019

Gen Z

Gen Z’ers are coming of age – and they’re different.  Fluent digitally, socially aware and more cautious online.  I just read a very insightful article from Sarah Cantillon, Managing Partner of Movement Digital on Gen Z – a group expected to account for 40% of all consumers in 2020.

Sarah makes many insightful points, including:

Gen Z’ers:
·       Are liberally minded, socially and technologically driven, Purpose driven, advertising savvy and want ads they can enjoy and share.
·       Have chosen You Tube as their long form platform.
·       Use Instagram for inspiration.
·       Are most ‘authentic’ on Snapchat.
·       Want to be seen as creative and entrepreneurial.
·       Want to be involved in the Brand conversation.

All exciting news for Brands that truly care and know how to listen, and how to create involving experiences – not just ads.


Monday, February 18, 2019

The Case for Optimism (Part IV)

One of Britain’s favourite poems …

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Picking Your Captain

Clive Woodward won the 2003 Rugby World Cup with England – a team full of world class players.  Brian Ashton was the Attack Coach – a brilliant, out-of-the-box rugby thinker.

There were leaders throughout the team – and potential captains everywhere.

Woodward has a six-point check-list for picking a captain – all of which are relevant in business.
1)   He must be an automatic selection in the team.  (First pick the team; then pick the captain from that group.)
2)   He must have the respect of his team and the opposition.
3)   Ideally, he captains on a regular basis for his club.
4)   He can be trusted implicitly to deliver the right messages when the coach is not around.
5)   He must be able to think correctly under pressure (TCUP) and make the big calls.
6)   He must work well with the referee.

Sound advice.

Does your team’s / business captain fit the bill?


Monday, February 11, 2019

The Case for Optimism (Part III)


Seven facts from Hans Rosling’s book ‘Factfulness’.

1)   Fewer people live in poverty now than any other time in history.
·       Over the past 20 years the proportion of people in the world living in extreme poverty has been cut in half.
·       The majority of the world’s population live in the middle of the income scale.

2)   Life expectancy is the highest it’s ever been:
·       Most people have improved their lives dramatically.
·       Life expectancy is up to 72 yrs old globally and 77 in the Americas.

3)   Worldwide child mortality rates have dropped significantly.
·       In 2015 only 4.5% of children globally died before age 5.  In 1950, that number was 22%.

4)   Overpopulation is not going to be a problem anytime soon.
·       Fertility rates are down from 5.5 children per woman in 1950 to 2.49 today.

5)   Global economies have been growing, driving up income levels.
·       GDP in developed nations has been growing by roughly 2% a year for the past 150 years – income levels double every 36 years.
·       And countries such as China and India are growing even faster.

6)   Worldwide, fewer people live under authoritarian governments.
·       55.8% of the world lives in a democracy – compared to 31.4% in 1950.  Just 22.23% of the world lives in an autocracy, the vast majority in China.

7)   This is a time of relative peace, with fewer international conflicts.
·       Less than 1% of the world is dying from war/terrorism.

So, despite Trump, despite Brexit, despite the constant moaning/whinging – things are getting better.

Keep Going!


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Learning from The Premier League (Part III)

Primum Non Nocere

Manchester United just fired their manager (José Mourinho) and replaced him with an interim.  The third failure in a row after Sir Alex Ferguson retired six years ago (the longest serving manager in their history).

Leadership succession in business is one of the trickiest things to deal with.  Mourinho never looked like a good fit for Manchester United – his basic philosophy seemed at odds with the Club’s history/culture.  Matthew Syed writing in The Times believes the failure was due to Mourinho being an iatrogenic influence on the Club.

A what?

Iatrogenic was coined by the Ancient Greeks to describe a doctor whose actions inadvertently harmed the patient, eg bloodletting – it means “caused by the healer”.

Iatrogenics are everywhere – well-intentioned politicians who intervene in something they know nothing about, misguided City planners inadvertently destroying the Flaneur’s urban habitat and new CEO’s changing a Company’s (sometimes apparently dated) core Purpose and Values.

Mr Syed believes Mourinho’s interventions were classic iatrogenic influences:
-       Tactical (Parking the Bus),
-       Compositional (Expensive, ill-judged new signings),
-       Methodological (obsession with error/risk/learning elimination),
-       Psychological (motivating through fear, not inspiration).

The interim manager has seen / will see an immediate lift, simply by removing these interventions.

Food for thought as we all think about succession planning in our businesses.


    First Do No Harm

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Step Change: How to Become a Creative Leader

Did you know that CEOs believe creativity is one of the most crucial skills leaders should have? Leaders who possess this skill are comfortable leaving structured systems in favour of innovation. Creativity brings organisations to life. It allows leaders to see beyond what's obvious, hence making them great problem solvers. 

Here's the fifth and final post in the series we did with Step Change

Visit the Step Change Blog for more additional insights on creativity and strategic thinking.