Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Everybody’s Talking (II)


Last week I heard from quite a few folks who wanted to hear more about Listening.


Here’s a small, 10 point quiz to have fun with – and a quick note.


  1. Do you frequently get distracted when listening to someone talk?
  2. Do you often pretend you’re paying attention when you’re not?
  3. Do you focus on what’s being said, rather than the big picture or the feelings behind the words?
  4. Do you find yourself planning what you will say next when your partner is still talking?
  5. Do you interrupt others / finish their sentences?
  6. Do you easily get bored by the topic or the speaker?
  7. Do you actively endeavour to understand what others are really trying to say?
  8. Do you seek to understand how they are feeling?
  9. Do you encourage the speaker to share their thoughts and feelings fully?
  10. Do you ensure the speaker knows that you understand their perspective.


Hearing is an accidental and automatic brain response to sound, that requires no effort.  When people say “I hear you” – it doesn’t always mean that they are listening to you.


Listening actively is Purposeful and Focused.  It requires self-motivation and effort.  It means paying attention with eyes, ears, brain and body.  It means paying attention not only to the What (the story), but the How (language, tone, body).


Never stop listening.



Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Man Who Should Have Been President (II)

Almost one year ago to the day (November 1, 2020) I posted a tribute to one of my heroes, former US Secretary of State – Colin Powell.


Colin passed earlier this week at age 84 from Covid related complications – he suffered from Parkinson’s and Cancer of the blood.


Here’s what I wrote a year ago.  I loved my time with him.  I admired him, respected him, looked up to him and liked him.


The world is a vastly poorer place without him.



The man who should have been President

KR Connect, November 1, 2020


Last week I wrote about a speech I made to the World Business Forum in Milan in October 2007.  It was the first of three times that I met Colin Powell and I was fortunate enough to spend time with him one-on-one reminiscing about his experiences and views.


The first ever African-American Secretary of State, a Four-Star General, a Bronze-Star and a brilliant, pragmatic leader.  He would have been a superb President – but his wife Alma felt it would be too much of a burden for the family to bear.


(Although at 83 years young he’s still in the prime age bracket for Presidential candidates today!!!)


Here are some of the things he told me.


 Colin Powell’s Rules of Leadership.

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think.  It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that, when your position fails, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done!
  5. Be careful what you choose, you may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices.  You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm.  Be kind.
  11. Have a vision.  Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
  14. All work is honourable.  Always do your best because someone is watching.
  15. If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.
  16. Dig up all the information you can, and then go with your instinct.
  17. Never believe the first thing you hear.


Hail to the Chief.



Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Livin’ the Dream


Today’s my Birthday (and I’m lucky enough to be spending it with three of our grandchildren – Kendall, Cameron and Andrew – happy days!).


I’ve been reflecting on my life and how much I’ve been enjoying it.  Make Happy Choices is my Focus – and has been for quite a while.


On my 30th Birthday I remember having dinner with some friends in Geneva (during my Procter & Gamble days) and discussing a book I was reading – Passages by Gail Sheehy – where she spelled out a roadmap for Adult Life – something I thought I was about to enter for the first time.


Gail passed away last year – and her book was recognised by the Library of Congress as one of the 10 most influential books of all time.  (I still refer to the 1976 edition I have in my NZ library.)


This morning I thought about the passions that I embraced during my Passages and was surprised to see how much they had influenced/formed me – and how important most of them were to me still.



  • Sport – rugby, football, cricket and tennis (Man City and the All Blacks).
  • Music – still my lifeblood – the storytellers, the 60’s, Folk and Country.
  • Girls – a key interest growing up (accentuated by going to a boys only grammar school), now a spectator sport only!
  • History – an on-going interest – Who, When, Why ...
  • Religion – As a teenager I studied many of the world’s religions and was struck not by differences, but by how much they had in common.  What’s so wrong about Peace, Love and Understanding?
  • English Literature – Thank you Peter Sampson who opened my eyes to drama, poetry, and contemporary fiction.
  • Making Money – I hated being poor.  It’s not a driver any more, and I realise (for me) money is only important when you don’t have any.



  • Marketing – I stumbled into my lifelong Marketing career in 1968 and have loved the whole, constantly evolving, game/art/science ever since.  Thank you Procter & Gamble who gave me my Marketing education and principles.
  • Travel – I’ve hated lockdowns/isolation.  I love the world – Morocco, Italy, The Caribbean, the American West, New Zealand, the North of England – and anywhere there’s an Aman!



  • Creativity – Thank you Susan Baird – great Aussie artist – for opening my eyes to believing in my own creativity and to appreciating the role Creativity plays in the world.  And thank you Saatchi & Saatchi people everywhere for showing me that Creativity is truly unreasonably powerful.
  • Design – I’ve loved designing our homes in Carefree Arizona, Tribeca New York, Auckland New Zealand, Grasmere Cumbria, St Tropez, Kingston on Thames, and next year New Jersey.
  • Food – I’ve known some great chefs, some marvellous maître d’s and some super sommeliers.  Food and drink have lit up my life.



  • Leadership and Coaching – I have transitioned from Player – to Player/Manager – to Player/Head Coach and have loved every step of the journey.  Nothing beats inspiring people to be the best they can be.


Livin’ the Dream.  Forever Young.



October 20, 2021

Monday, October 18, 2021

Everybody’s Talking (I)


Seems like no-one’s really listening any more nowadays – but there are four kinds of Listener.


We listen in each of these four styles – but we are predominantly, instinctively and personality-wise one more than the other three.  Which one are you?


1)    People Oriented:

        Interested in the speaker, how they think, who they are.


2)    Action / Task Oriented:

Primarily interested in what the speaker wants to be done.


3)    Content Focused:

The facts, the information, the evidence, the message.


4)    Fast:

Quick, short attention span, “I got it”.



Thursday, October 14, 2021

Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork


In the 60’s / early 70’s, I read everything that Richard Brautigan wrote.  Novels, short stories and (very short) poems.  Last week I sent six old favourites about growing old to Robin in Cordova Bay.  He liked them.  I thought you might.


Nobody knows what the experience is worth

but it’s better than sitting on your hands,

I keep telling myself.


Things slowly curve out of sight

until they are gone. Afterwards

only the curve



Night again

Again night


Fred bought a pair of ice skates.

That was 20 years ago.

He still has them but he doesn’t

skate any more.


The last surprise is when you come

gradually to realise that nothing

surprises you any more


With so short a time to live and think

about stuff, I’ve spent just about

the right amount of time on this




Sunday, October 10, 2021

Live Life, Love Life (IV)


And as a reminder, here are 10 tips from 64 Shots to help all of us make 2022 our best year yet.

  • OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).
  • Build your life around The Four Agreements.
  • Fail Fast, Learn Fast, Fix Fast.
  • Build your team on the Four Pillars (Responsibility, Recognition, Learning, Joy).
  • When given command, take charge and do what’s right.
  • Make things happen.
  • Never stop listening.
  • Inspire everyone you touch to be the best they can be, in pursuit of our Purpose.
  • Create leaders, not followers.
  • Adapt.  Improvise.  Overcome.



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Live Life, Love Life (III)


Inspiring a team remotely has been challenging.  And it will continue to be part of our new lives.  Here are nine things that have been helping me:

  • Check in on how people are feeling, using the two-adjective headline structure.
  • Talk about the tough stuff – honestly and empathetically.
  • Trust your colleagues; encourage collaboration and connectivity.
  • Guide, coach or point – don’t control.
  • Be Present.  Be Strong.  Be Clear.
  • Listen actively – with your eyes, don’t interrupt.  Be curious – ask questions.
  • Focus on things that are achievable.  (Manage the Unavoidable.  Avoid the Unmanageable.)
  • Stay calm and demonstrate hope (optimism grounded in facts).
  • Close with the three HUM’s (Humanity, Humility, Humour).



Sunday, October 3, 2021

Live Life, Love Life (II)


We’ve been at home for 18 months now.  We’ve learned some stuff, hated some stuff and loved some stuff.  We must eliminate/reduce the bad stuff and do more of the good.


Here are nine good things to consider:

  • Don’t look at your phone or your screen until you’ve had coffee, done some exercise and got dressed!
  • Design a functional, personalised, inspirational work space – with a comfy chair and great lighting.
  • Make sure you have great tech and great meeting disciplines (45 minute limit on meetings, 15 minute gap between meetings, five meetings/day maximum).
  • Create work triggers for your brain – start and finish at the same time every day, start the day with a daily to-do list, structure your day to resemble a work day.  Put your schedule up on the fridge.
  • Spell out protocols (expected response time to emails/texts, contactable hours, no-go hours, procedures for emergency contact).
  • Beware the forces of darkness (the fridge, social media, the TV, the sofa and your private phone line).
  • Get outside every day and bring the outside in.
  • Figure out what time you’re at your best and plan to do the important (not the urgent) stuff then.
  • Eat healthy – sit down in a different room – away from your screen, phone and desk.