My Writing

My Writing

I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.

I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure.  As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.


Aligning corporate and personal purpose


A few weeks ago I wrote “Purpose, People, Planet – the new triple bottom line“.

That article is a synthesis of learning from many years of building businesses and supporting leaders of businesses and other organisations. In short, I said “we need a new triple bottom line, one that puts Profit as an outcome of focussing on the Source drivers of Purpose, People and Planet”

Today I am reminded of what drives the People of that triple bottom line, so let’s link the two. (more…)

Income inequality – history is a teacher


Look up income inequality and you’ll see chart after chart showing how this has radically increased since the early 1980s.

To me this has to change, it is simply ugly leadership for the richest to earn so much more than others.

For today, let me write about the rabid backlash against the proposal to create a marginal tax rate in the USA of 70% on earnings over $10,000,000, then show you how ludicrous that backlash was made to look by simple references to history. (more…)

You are what you measure – Employee Engagement

you are what you measure

I love this quote from Peter Drucker, one of the few people I’d give the term “guru” to around what he has taught around leadership.

“You are what you measure”

This is also a phrase I love, and I’ve written in various ways around this, including “Time for new metrics for leadership“, which focussed on leadership at corporate vision level as well as values of an individual and how they show up.

Today, though, I focus on the value of Employee Engagement Surveys. (more…)

Doing the right thing when everyone IS watching

integrity cs lewis

A few days ago I had cause to focus on three values very dear to me, fairness, integrity, and bravery.

I’m very familiar with the C.S. Lewis quote above. It is one reason why I love to play golf, it is the only major sport I know of where players call their own penalties, there is nobody watching to see if you play by the rules. Players must be of integrity when nobody is watching.

Today though, I’m considering, from a stance of leadership, what it means to do the right thing when everyone is watching. (more…)

What is prosperity?

how do we measure prosperity

Recently I wrote: “Beautiful Leadership – Purpose and the Corporation” in which I talked about what I called a new triple bottom line of Purpose, People, Planet.

I fundamentally believe the world needs new ways of considering what is prosperity.

For today, I am simply considering the value of time.

Every day I post on this site. Though mostly I write and schedule my posts at least a day or ahead, this morning I am sitting quietly on a Saturday morning writing this post to go out for today’s daily post.

This Saturday I have nothing planned other than a walk to the park, and tomorrow another quiet day.

What is prosperity?

Sometimes prosperity is as simple as the luxury or unstructured time.

Today, then, I choose to write only this short post and give myself the rest of the day to read a book, walk in the park and whatever else may flow.

Enjoy your weekend, and may you have the time you wish for yourself.

What are you risking due to your biases?

david lammy hoodie

What do you see in this picture? Two black men in hoodies, yes?

What is the first impression that makes on you?

Today I’m going to talk about biases around gender and race. Sure, everyone reading this will say, I’m aware of bias and I’m not biased.

Well, sorry, but we all are, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. It is a lifelong journey to be aware of our biases, to acknowledge them, to address them.

So, as it is a lifelong journey, I’ll also give you a motivation beyond altruism and simple human decency to keep committed to the journey. A clue to that motivation is in the title of this post. (more…)

Trust is a choice

choose trust

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”

This is the title I gave to a recent post in which I referenced three leadership examples, including a quote from James Timpson of the family-owned UK firm of the same name:

“The easiest way to create a culture of kindness in an organisation is to trust everyone to do what they think is right…every time a decision needs to be made.”

Today I thank Dom Monkhouse for sharing on LI an HBR article on PWC on flexible working, to which he adds his thoughts:

“A good article showing flexibility can work in a big firm. Trust shouldn’t need to be earned. It should be assumed everyone is trusted from the outset.” (more…)

The Life-Changing Magic of Noticing


“Notice now. And above all, notice the magic in the everyday things you do and things you say. It’ll change your life for the better. Forever.”

While I was at the Modern Elder Academy last week, my friend Justine Clement posted an article reflecting on the rehabilitation from her knee injury last year. The line above is how she closed the article.

I felt to share it today, as “noticing” is a key skill along the lines of the articles I have recently written around such topics as presence, listening, asking the right questions.

In fact, I liked this article so much I shared it with the cohort at the Modern Elder Academy while I was there and it really shifted a major thing for one participant right then.

Enjoy: The Life-Changing Magic of Noticing

To speak with knowledge or listen with wisdom?

rock balancing

A few days ago I wrote “Presence and asking the right questions” and used this same image of rock balancing.

Today the post title is a riff on a phrase Chip Conley uses in his book Wisdom at Work in encouraging us to listen more and talk less:

“Knowledge talks, Wisdom listens”

For me today my thoughts are around finding balance in when to talk and share knowledge, versus when to listen. (more…)

The less I am present, the more I can be present

dissolve self

I love what I do and have found, over time and practice, that I have developed a level of mastery at being a sounding board, with the key to that having little to do with knowledge and experience around leadership and business, it is far more to do with the ability to deeply listen.

As I wrote about yesterday in “Presence and asking the right questions“, I am constantly looking to deepen my practice. As with yoga, it is called practicing yoga. We are never “there”, it is a lifelong practice to grow, to improve.

Today a reflection on a particular exercise we ran at the Modern Elder Academy this week, ultimately leading me to come up with the Koan:

the less I am present, the more I can be present (more…)

Presence and asking the right questions

rock balancing

This week I am at the Modern Elder Academy at a week-long workshop entitled “The Psychology of Presence“.

This is a week I am taking to “deepen my practice” in my work. What do I do? Fundamentally I listen, ask questions, reflect, sometimes (only sometimes) advise, mostly support others in finding their own answers. I call it being a Sounding Board.

Over many years of this work, yes there are many skills and practices one can learn, but at the heart of it all is one word. Presence. When we are truly present then we can truly become attuned (a word that is defined as “to become receptive, aware”) to another person or a group.

So, here I am, focussed on how I can become ever more present.

Now to the photo above. (more…)

Brexit and Resilience


“we risk being deafened by the negativity all around us here in London”

Part of a message I received from a friend in London as I am in Baja at Modern Elder Academy. Later that morning, as I sat on the terrace with the Pacific in the background, I had a call with a friend and client, an entrepreneur and business owner who is facing challenges with their UK business, one that is in a sector that very much depends on consumer confidence and so consumer spending.

Today some thoughts on resilience for businesses and their leaders. (more…)

Look for the spaces between

Level 39

“Look for the spaces between” 

This week I am at the Modern Elder Academy in Baja. On the first day, one of the directors, Christine Sperber, took time to give us a “level set”, positioning the week for us.

One key phrase that resonated for me is that she encouraged us to “look for the spaces between”. Yes, there is a full schedule and curriculum, but they have also very consciously left lots of space for members of the cohort to find space to talk to each other, to share, to learn from the amazing experiences of this curated group of budding Modern Elders. (more…)

Thank you for visiting my website

People are my library, my daily writing a way to discover what’s in it: ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little fun. As your humble librarian, I invite you to subscribe to check out a digest of daily emails emailed twice each week. No late fees, ever.