Monday, October 28, 2019

The Power of Three

Today is a black day for New Zealand.

The All Blacks were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup by England.  In the Semi-Final – the worst outcome for any player – so near, yet so far.

I watched the game with three friends and was emotionally in pieces.  I have dual citizenship UK and NZ – both national anthems and countries are important to me.  But in Rugby terms I am an All Blacks fan through and through.  I love their values, their Purpose, their history, their style and the way they approach the Game They Play in Heaven.  I am simultaneously an admirer of England and I respect their power, their attitude and many of their legendary players and coaches.

Today we once again learned the life – and business lesson of The Power of Three.  Humanity has been clinging to The Power of Three since time began – all religions, stories, narratives are driven by The Power of Three mnemonic.  And today was no different.

Starting just before kick-off, The All Blacks settled in for the Haka, England responded by coming together in a V for Victory formation which dwarfed the Haka.  The English faces were fully engaged.  And The Power of Three began.


This was England’s order of the day.

Focus on the mission.  To overcome the AB’s, to dominate every phase, and to surprise and overwhelm.
The Commitment to give everything, every second, every minute, every challenge.
The Discipline to keep going without breaking laws, without second-guessing themselves, without over-reaching.


One country grieves.
One country celebrates.
The Beat Goes On.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Foodie Friday – Wine Dinner in The Peloponnese

A great dinner at Amanzoe, Porto Heli – where Executive Chef Dimitris Melemenis partnered with one of Greece’s most prominent winemakers, Stellios Boutaris, to present a superb evening’s degustation and wine-pairing.

The food was magnificent – Red Mullet Carpaccio with Greek Caviar, Scallops with White and Green Asparagus, Chestnut Risotto and local Lamb topped by pan-seared Buffalo Tenderloins.  Mouth-watering.

The fun part were the wines of Mr Boutaris’ Ktima Kir-Yianni vineyard – 100 year old Family winery upgraded constantly via innovation and investment into Greece’s many grape varieties.

Keep your eye out for their interesting blended, unique dessert wine – Golden Eagle, and a very tidy Red – Diaporos.

Ktima Kir-Yianni is worth a look.

Degustation Menu with Wine Pairing

“Akakies Sparkling” Rose Ktima Kir Yianni
Red Grape with Goat Cheese Cream & Pistachio from Aegina
Ravioli filled with “Arseniko” Cheese from Naxos, Greek Bottarga and Citrus
Traditional “Liopitaki” with “Manaki” Olives & Herbs from our Garden

“L’ esprit du Lac” Ktima Kir Yianni
Red Mullet Carpaccio with Greek Ossetra Caviar
Lime | Raspberry | Rose Pepper

“Droumo” Ktima Kir Yianni
Scallops with White and Green Asparagus
Colorful Bell Peppers Coulis | Rosemary-Basil Olive Oil

“Palpo” Ktima Kir Yianni
Chestnut Risotto with Smoked Black Pig Pancetta from “Olympus” Mountain
Porcini Mushrooms | Chestnut Froth | Thyme Powder

Mandarin Sorbet with Mint and Lemon Balm

“Ramnista” Ktima Kir Yianni
Loin of Lamb from Ermioni in a Roll
Vine Leaf | “Manouri” Cheese/ Dill | Red Grapes | “Ramnista” Wine Jus

“Diaporos” Ktima Kir Yianni
Pan-seared Tenderloin of Buffalo from “Kerkini” Lake
Chicken Liver Parfait | “Kousafi” Compote | Soufflé Potatoes
“Diaporos” Wine Sauce with Honey, Star Anise, Allspice & Pomegranate

“Chrysogerakas” Ktima Kir Yianni
Traditional Homemade “Loukoumades”
Cinnamon Ice Cream

Coffee or Tea with Greek Mignardises


Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Celebration of Friendship (Part IV)

Good friend and rugby comrade-in-arms Bob Latham of the great state of Texas just finished Robin’s 64 Spurs as the typhoon hit his Tokyo hotel room.  He reminded me of Robin’s poem Friends:

         Friends are chosen

         Some choose you

         But not too many

         True friends are few!


Here’s the rest of the poem.


         Some you made

         When you were small

         Some more recent

         Crossed paths called


         Friends are special

         Bonds so blessed

         How you connected

         Gods need not guess


         Friends are steady

         They are true blue

         No hesitation

         They see you through


         Some may call

         Just in case

         Somehow they sense

         You’re in troubled space


         Friends make time

         Give heart and soul

         No quid pro quo

         Need they hold


         Some don’t call

         Still you’re in sync

         You pick things up

         You link the strength


         Friends challenge

         What you do

         They expect

         Your best from you


         Friends are forgiving

         Always there

         When you’re an a-hole

         They’re still there


         Friends need attention

         Friends need your care

         Their hopes and fears

         Are yours to share


         As a friend

         You too must be

         All and more

         Yours are to you.  


Good on ya' both.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Let’s hear it for Windermere!

I spend my time in the UK in Grasmere, one of the prettiest villages in the UK, in the heart of the Lake District.


A favourite activity is cruising on nearby Lake Windermere.  I recently gave a speech on board to a group from the Institute of Directors.  And this week the pre-eminent operator, Windermere Lake Cruises, was named by the UK’s Annual Visitor Attraction Survey as the 5th most popular paid for visitor attraction in the UK – 1.6 million passenger journeys on the fleet’s 16 vessels.


Well done boys.  (We beat Stonehenge and London Zoo!!!)



Friday, October 11, 2019

Foodie Friday: Don’t blame the dog, Chris.

Caught up with old friends Chris and Gwenan Dee in Manchester (Chris now runs Harrods’ iconic Food Hall – the best in the world – oh, and their 20 in-store restaurants with 150 chefs – plus electronics, toys, soft furnishings …) and we went upstairs to Pep Guardiola’s Tast restaurant.  Catalan food at its best.  Chef Paco Pérez led an adventure into Catalonia – everything is unexpected, surprising, fun and delicious.

Out of your comfort zone and into a world of wonder (just like watching Pep’s Manchester City).  Chef Pérez has seven restaurants and five Michelin Stars – the first two floors of Tast are fun, family and friends, music, joy and upbeat.  On the third floor is a bespoke room – Enxaneta – a culinary journey across Catalonia.  A journey of the senses.  The 15 course Tres de Quinze with unusual/creative wine pairings is so good – our menu follows.

Chris and Gwenan had to leave at course 12 – not for culinary reasons – the alarm had gone off in their home, the police were en route, the neighbours hadn’t got the keys (they were in Chris’ pocket!!) – their dog had set off the sensor; the alarm wouldn’t stop!  Chris blamed the dog, we blamed Chris – and Tast only charged us for three menus not four.  So gracious, so kind – so unusual in today’s world.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Childhood Dream Reignited - Honneur et Fidélité

When I was 30 I read a book by Simon Murray (see above).  I loved it.  It reignited a childhood fantasy.

As a kid I had fantasies about running away and enlisting in the Legion.  I loved the mythology, the kepi, the mystery, the camaraderie, the values, the romance.  I often played the brave (but outnumbered) legionnaire on York Road’s ‘The Tip’ as a nine-year-old surrounded by the screaming dervishes.

Anyway the book gave the legend some more oxygen as a 30-year-old, and now 39 years later the dream has been re-reignited.

Yesterday I visited the headquarters of the Legion and the home of the 1st Battalion in Aubagne, 25 minutes from Marseilles.  We toured the parade ground and the brilliant Museum – partially funded by Simon Murray, who became a brilliant Hong Kong based businessman with Jardine Matheson, Hutchison Whampoa (where he founded Orange), Deutsche Bank and Glencore.

What an idea.  What a history.  What an adventure.

Today the Legion is 9,000 strong – with over 150 nationalities represented – and it’s still tough.

The Code of Honour
1)        Legionnaire, you are a volunteer serving France with honour and fidelity.
2)        Each legionnaire is your brother in arms whatever his nationality, his race or his religion might be. You will demonstrate this by the strict solidarity which links members of the same family.
3)        Respect for traditions, devotion to your leaders, discipline and comradeship are your strengths; courage and loyalty are your virtues.
4)        Proud of your status as Legionnaire, you display this in your always impeccable uniform, your always dignified but modest behaviour, and your clean living quarters.
5)        An elite soldier, you train rigorously, you will maintain your weapon as your most precious possession, and you take constant care of your physical form.
6)        The mission is sacred, you carry it out until the end and, if necessary in the field, at the risk of your life.
7)        In combat, you act without passion and without hate, you respect defeated enemies, and you never abandon your dead, your wounded, nor surrender your arms.

Legio Patria Nostra

Honneur et Fidélité


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Making Happy Choices

The last three years have been amongst the happiest of my entire career.  After almost 50 years of (mainly enjoyable) working with big companies like Mary Quant, Gillette, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Lion Nathan and Saatchi & Saatchi – the last three years have been a revelation.  Working full time on my own business – no Board, no shareholders, no investors – just a tiny group of colleagues and a handful of carefully chosen clients to delight – and most importantly, saying no to 70% of requests / assignments.  Making Happy Choices.

My Personal Purpose is focused on just that.

Making Happy Choices.

Working with people I love, on businesses I like, in places I want to be.

Driven by Ideas, Creativity and a passionate belief in Leadership – making things happen by creating a peak performing culture – what a wonderful life.

So – thank you Fremantle, Sogrape, AIA, Salvatore Ferragamo, Transmed, My Food Bag, Unfiltered NZ, Booths, Herdy, Wigan Athletic and Oxford University.

Here’s to Radical Optimism.  To Making Things Happen.  And Living Life Slow.