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.


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 those who connect you

“You can only join the dots looking backwards” ~ Steve Jobs

This past weekend I was in San Francisco spending time with friends before heading to the Modern Elder Academy in Mexico for a week.

My lovely hosts arranged a relaxed get together on the Saturday night and I was able to invite a friend from Scotland who now lives in the area.

This friend has been responsible for some very powerful connections for me that have, quite literally changed the course of my life.

Today sharing part of that story to encourage you to take time to thank those in your life who connect you to possibilities. (more…)

Even Seth Godin gets stuck in paradigms


Friends and regular readers know that I am a HUGE fan of Seth. He has inspired me many times, including to write daily (now at around 500 posts on this site and only getting more and more committed to it!).

I also still get his daily posts, one of a very few I kept subscribing too after simplifying my online life a while ago.

Today a short post that explains once again the power of awareness through knowing when we are stuck in a paradigm, gently poking fun at a recent daily blog from Seth. (more…)

Maslow’s Hierarchy and Beauty

maslow colour pyramid

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a powerful tool for understanding what drives us. I’ve used it often including this post on “At risk versus taking risks“.

My friend and business hero, Chip Conley, is a leading expert on Maslow through his work in taking Maslow’s hierarchy into business through his book Peak and subsequent synthesis of ideas. For more on Chip, visit “Humble Leadership and Trust

Today, sharing an unexpected link between two people I’ve got to know in the last year or so and admire greatly around their wisdom and take on business and leadership, Chip and Alan Moore. (more…)

Beautiful Moment – Guiding Light


Sometimes life can feel too much. Speed, complexity, demands, deadlines, all can mount up and create a feeling of overwhelm in any of us.

At such times, rather than trying to think our way out of it, to analyse to a solution, perhaps pause, get out, take a walk, be present.

Today a moment of beauty and a story about what happened for some people who took a walk on the South Bank of London a few months ago in September 2018. (more…)

Cascading Leadership – a new way for transformative change

cascade de rouget

The “Cascade du Rouget” in Dream Valley.

Last summer, on the way down from an amazing overnight traverse hiking three mountain passes with my three sons and my friend, the amazing guide Arno de Jong, we came to this waterfall.

The term cascade in this form typically refers to a series of waterfalls falling in stages. More generally, the term cascade means:

“a process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is successively passed on.”

Today I am sharing a method I have developed over time for achieving truly transformative change in an organisation. I call it “Cascading Leadership”.  (more…)

Purpose, People, Planet. The new triple bottom line.

true north purpose

The phrase triple bottom line was coined in 1994, those three drivers being people, profit, planet. However, I believe it is now time for new thinking around the drivers of a corporation and removing profit as a source driver. Bold, yes, but please read on.

At the time of writing, there are approaching 500 daily posts on this site, all, directly or eclectically, around the themes of #OpenLeadership, #BeautifulLeadership. These concepts around leadership are invitations, provocations, to lead bravely and differently.

Kate Raworth, in her book Doughnut Economics, suggests ‘seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist’ and has just launched a competition asking ‘What’s the 8th Way to Think Like a 21st Century Economist?’

Today I submit my entry, that 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, and I will give some proven examples of corporations that successfully have done this, all lifted from articles already written on this site. (more…)

Top down and bottom up

top down bottom up

Yesterday I wrote “The fish rots from the head“, highlighting the importance of addressing cultural issues in an organisation first at the top leadership level, as otherwise if it starts from grassroots it will simply not work, as people will watch the leaders and how they behave and not give their full engagement and buy-in.

Today a short follow up to that, simply that in the question of whether to lead change bottom up or top down, my answer is “both and” as opposed to “either or”. (more…)

The fish rots from the head

the fish rots from the head

I am often asked by client leadership what to do first when there is a sense that the culture and behaviours of the organisation need to be focussed upon. In fact, I am often brought in by open and brave leaders who are humble enough to turn the focus upon themselves and truly look to see what is needed, and culture is often the gap they see.

Often the organisation has taken their attention off their culture and focussed almost exclusively on financial and other strategic goals, with the result that “culture gaps” are appearing throughout. I therefore often respond to their question on what to do first with the line:

The fish rots from the head

This is deliberately emotive and pointed, with the point being that culture must be addressed at the top of the organisation first.

People observe their leaders, so no matter how much money is invested by HR and LnD in people, if the leadership are not, well, leading in their behaviours, all of that money invested is wasted. Change must come from the top as well as from all levels within. (more…)

Be the type of person you want to meet

be the type of person you wish to meet

My writing is around leadership and is often focussed on how business leaders can “be more”. Perhaps some may find this post title a little “woo woo” for them, but hey, to model the title, those aren’t the audience I’m seeking.

The people I want to meet, to reach, to support, they understand that beyond their skills, tools, experience, who they are and how they show up are key to who they will meet.

Take this up a level and the same is true for any business or organisation. How anybody in that organisation behaves, how they “show up”, can at any time have a major impact on what other businesses will want to connect and do business with them.

As often happens, I’m spurred to write once again about this by several recent meetings and calls that reminded me of the truth, not only of “be the type of person you want to meet”, but also that the type of person you are being will dictate the type of person you do meet.

Today then, I’ll muse a bit and then simply link back to various posts I’ve made on this theme from the archives. (more…)

Beautiful Leadership – Purpose and Herb Kelleher

Herb Kelleher

Yesterday I wrote: “Purpose and the Corporation” and wrote:

“I ask businesses I work with to consider a different type of triple bottom line:

  • Purpose
  • People
  • Planet

Yes, I always ask them to focus on the Profit they will make, yet Profit, to me, is the outcome of a corporation, a business focussing first and always on their Purpose, their People and our Planet.”

On January 3rd this year we lost Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines. Ever since flying with them in the early 90s, I have studied this airline and how Herb led it.

A true example of putting Purpose first, then the People of the airline. As to Planet, well, as I wrote about in “Being More“: the word more “takes away specific targets or goals, it simply creates space to be, to do more. More is an invitation. An invitation creates space for opportunities.

I studied and learned so much about leadership from Herb Kelleher, today I’ll muse on this to share some of what I learned. (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.