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.


Can you do what you love?

do what you love

“Do what you love”

The kind of internet meme that can drive working folk mad, their response often being: “I can’t do what I love, I have to do work I have to do to get paid”.

Well, this week I flew overseas to support a client with an annual leadership team meeting. Loved it.

Following that, I’d been asked to stop on my way back for a couple of days and facilitate (pro bono) a similar type of meeting for a national charity that gives hope and a voice to those living with and supporting those with a particular life-limiting disease.

As we finished that meeting after a thirteen hour day, I paused to reflect, recognising that I truly am doing what I love.

So, let’s talk about this. How can you do more of what you love? (more…)

Be Curious


So this week I flew across 7 time zones to a city I’d never visited before. I had the next morning free, so decided to walk around the city, taking this photo on my way.

I chose to adopt a context of CURIOUS, to absorb and learn about this place and what makes a city of one million “tick” in what appears to be a pretty remote location globally.

I then took that attitude of curiosity into every conversation, every interaction over the next two days.

It is amazing how open and warm people can be with you when they sense you are truly open, curious and listening.

What might adopting a conscious focus on being curious bring to you and your leadership?

PS curious about which city this is ?


Time for the Anti-CEO Playbook

anti ceo HamdiUlukaya_2019-embed

With over 600 daily posts, this site organically shows up in search results, so many readers may never see the opening paragraphs of the home page, where I set out my beliefs around the need for change in leadership and the part I wish to play to help:

Command-and-control leadership is losing its grip. A new way of thinking is emerging: leadership that embraces change as constant, encourages individual thought, relies on intuition more than data, fluidity more than hierarchy, trust more than fear, and the common good more than profit.

I act as sounding board, coach and strategic advisor to a select number of executives, founders, and companies around the world. Together we are pioneering new territory: not just in business leadership, but in leadership itself.

So, recently I watched a TED talk given in April 2019 by exactly the type of leader who is leading in the way I outlined above. As he got into talking about his philosophy of the anti-CEO, I nearly jumped out of my seat, with a “Yes!”.

In April 2019, Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani yoghurt, gave a TED talk called “The Anti-CEO Playbook“. Oh, and one of the three “plays” in his Anti-CEO playbook is all about Community.

As I write this I am in the home town of a client, a multi-billion dollar fast growth global professional services business. I’m here to support them with achieving their transformative vision. I’m very picky about who I work with as clients. Why this large corporation then? Simple. The purpose of this particular corporation is:

Creating Communities

It is possible to model Beautiful Leadership. Yes, even if global coporations.

So, let’s look more at Ulukaya’s TED talks and his playbook.


Patagonia – honest messaging and truth

Patagonia chouinard Honest Messaging

Thanks, today to Raconteur for an excellent interview with Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. Three key thoughts from this, which I will link to earlier articles I’ve written on the topics:

  • Be More
    • There is no perfectly sustainable company, but we can always look to be more
  • Be bold
    • If you believe it, say it.
  • Do the right thing
    • “If you can create a company of honest messaging and truth, your customers will look to you for what’s right”

Of all of these, I highlight in particular honest messaging and truth. One should not need to highlight the power of being honest, but boldness allied with honesty is still rare and creates incisive impact.


Why Purposeful Companies Create Value for All They Serve

purposeful companies return on investment

What’s the ROI of Purpose? 6 Steps to Take Toward Better Business: Why Purposeful Companies Create Value for All They Serve #BtheChange via @ConsciousCoMag
— B Corporation (@BCorporation) June 8, 2019

The universe of people committed to helping leaders lead from Purpose is still a relatively small one, so I loved that I came across this tweet from B Corporation, then when I clicked through, it was by Laurie Bennett of Within People, who I came across at the Meaning Conference last year, having known two of the partners in his business for some time.

In my work I typically support leaders 1:1, with this regularly involving extending this to their teams. As with Within People, we both work with leaders around people, culture, stories, engagement and more. In short, love their work!

This week I’m on a roll around Purpose being at the heart of business as a force for good. Two days ago I wrote: “Doing the right thing can make you more money” and yesterday I wrote: “Make Purpose the first P in your triple bottom line“.

In that latter post, I promised that today I’d curate an article by Laurie Bennett, so here it is, chockful of links to real-world examples of businesses that put Purpose first, with Profit not as a driver but an outcome that then allows them to scale their impact.


Make Purpose the first P in your triple bottom line

Many will be familiar with the “three Ps” of the concept of the triple bottom line:

Profit, People, Planet

My career dates back over thirty years, focussed very much on growing businesses, which does mean making profits to enable them to scale.

Sometimes growing profits is really hard work, making scaling hard work.

Over time I worked out that it is far easier to scale if you put Purpose at the heart of your business, hence a while ago I came up with a new triple bottom line, of:

Purpose, People, Planet


Doing the right thing can make you more money

ed sheeran tickets doing the right thing

So last week I had a really good experience in reselling two concert tickets at their face value, an experience that chimed with my ultimate personal core value of FAIR.

Let me tell you that story, then I will explain how that links to the headline of “doing the right thing can make you more money”

It may not seem immediately obvious. After all, I sold tickets at face value, then am saying that doing the right thing can make you more money. Trust me though, all will be explained!


Too much is never enough

too much is never enough

So recently I met a highly successful businessperson in their late 40s. As they told their story as an entrepreneur, they had earned amazing wealth by their late 20s, then moved continents and made 10x that much again within a few years, only to find they had reached such a high profile that politics stepped in and they had the feeling of losing it all. This individual is quite brilliant at business and so has gone on since then to once again be highly successful.

However, what do we mean by the word “success”? Is it all about making money and using that money to buy material things? Or, as this person explained, for them they do love to build businesses and so that means they make money, but since their tough experience with their first success, they look at success differently now. (more…)

A mission is only as good as the reasons for taking it on

Misson reason

Today a simple reminder from Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void.

I write daily to share what I learn so as to, in any way I can, support others in #MakingPotentialPossible. That phrase is my WHY and I can clearly connect to my writing practice to it.

What mission are you on and what are your reasons for taking it on?

I’ll always and often repeat this message in different ways, as we often forget it as we get stuck in the HOW and the WHAT.

Always remember to tell people why you want them to do something.

Always be clear on that why, and make sure you yourself are clear and motivated.

As I wrote recently: “Get clear on the WHY and the HOW is easy

Take a walk

Thames View Take a walk

Last week I wrote a post called “It is solved by walking“, itself linking to an earlier and more detailed post about the power of shifting context by walking.

I love to walk, it is so beneficial to the body and the mind. I also love to have coaching and other meetings while walking, with the London climate typically being excellent for that most of the year.

Yesterday I had one of my adult sons in town and we found ourselves walking, then walking some more, then walking some more. All in all, we walked over 20.5km (nearly 13 miles), spread over 11 hours out and about on a mile 18c day in London.

I don’t get to spend that much time with this son, so it was quite wonderful to simply share the experience of walking around so much of central London.

If you’d like to meet up with me anytime in London to have a chat, I’d love it. Offer to meet while we take a walk and I’ll be doubly keen!

Travel and Shifting Context

A one hour flight, thirty-five minutes drive, a converted shipping container on a farm overlooking a view for miles and miles of peace and tranquillity.

I live in the centre of London, an amazing bustling world city of something like 10 million people. Often it seems like most of them hustle through my local railway station, one of the busiest in Europe.

So, last weekend felt really different, spending two nights in this exquisite “tiny house”.

It got me thinking about the power of travel to shift our context, as well as the power of shifting context, of looking at things in different ways. (more…)

When business feels like family

we are family

This weekend I was in the Scottish Borders visiting family. Craving a curry, I found a restaurant with excellent ratings in a nearby market town.

What a discovery! The food was amazing, yet what tipped it off was the service from the staff and the comedic talents of the manager and maître’d. (more…)

New Zealand’s WHY – Well Being

why New Zealand

Yesterday I wrote: “get clear on the WHY and the HOW is easy“.

In that post, I noted: “collectively when we are all clear on our WHY then we can also trust each other on the team to work out HOW to achieve it.”

Today I highlight another radical piece of leadership from Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

As reported in the NY Times recently, the government of New Zealand will now guide their budget on the well-being of their people.

The WHY will change the WHAT and the HOW. (more…)

Get clear on the WHY and the HOW is easy

rock pile exupery

“Les pierres du chantier ne sont en vrac qu’en apparence, s’il est, perdu dans le chantier, un homme, serait-il seul, qui pense cathédrale.”

This is a quote from Antoine Saint-Exupery, author of one of my favourite books, The Little Prince (my post on that book here). I’ve shared the original French here too, as it can be translated in multiple different ways depending on the viewpoint of the reader.

All too often the work we do in life can all too easily feel like a pile of rocks to move, to pile up. We can do it, follow instructions. do as we are told, but hardly stimulating work. (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.