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.


Do you know the hidden assets in your business?

Hidden Assets

As a leader, I am sure you know what your Assets and Liabilities are. You know, the component parts of your Balance Sheet that you leverage to create the Revenues and then Profits on your Income Statement.

Sure, you know what those are. However, what about your hidden assets, do you know what they are?

Typically what I find is that the honest answer is most often “what do you mean by hidden assets?”. So, what do I mean by hidden assets? (more…)

Drawing one voice out of two separate strings

Violin Drawing one voice out of two separate strings

Today’s post comes from one of my usual wide-ranging conversations with my brilliant friend Bruce Peters. Our general theme was, as it often is, about how to support organisations and leaders to play to their strengths in a way that is, in Bruce’s words, “Beyond Teal” or in mine, about #OpenLeadership. As my home page puts it:

“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.”

Today, an inspiring poem that inspires and gives food for thought on how any leader, any organisation, can inspire and draw the most from every person within it. (more…)

Leading from Purpose – your golden opportunity

purpose passion potential

“There is a natural pull for executives, even CEOs, to be managers rather than leaders. They can become so focused on profit that they cannot generate profit because they cannot release the human commitment that lies dormant in the organization. The workforce does not flourish or exceed expectations. 

This blindness is your opportunity. If you dedicate yourself to learning how to imbue an organization with purpose, your chances of succeeding at every level go up.  You will be able to do what many CEOs cannot do.”

~ Robert E. Quinn, from his post “A Golden Opportunity(more…)

Learnings from listening

Stephen Burt listening

Last week I attended a talk at The RSA in London by Stephen Burt on the power of listening. Stephen is a highly experienced leadership coach, so operating in a similar space to me.

I, therefore, invested the time to come to this talk not to expect to learn new core skills, but to learn by deep listening to here the music that Debussy called “the space between the notes”, as I wrote about in “Listening, your superpower“.

As a starting point, I loved the graphic above from Stephen, himself a passionate musician. My favourite slide from his talk.

I did indeed pick up a few powerful observations and learnings. Not all were new to me, but all crystallised and embedded further from listening.

Today I share three key thoughts. (more…)

Counterintuitive business growth tips

counter intuitive business growth tips

Today, a post that is a little different and comes from my past experience building and investing in businesses.

It is to give two counterintuitive tips for planning to grow a business. These relate specifically to Restaurants but are also applicable at some level to investing in any business or business leader.

I am often inspired by conversations, and this reminder came from a conversation last week with a friend who is a new restaurant/bar/venue owner and his own new MD, who is an experienced F&B operator.

The first gave the rational answers to the following questions, the second, from his experience, knew that the counterintuitive ones were the ones that would create successful investment and operational success.


Who can you introduce?


Hi. My name is Tom. I’m 53, white, male, tall, straight, middle class, university educated, professionally qualified and a native English speaker from the developed world.

Every single one of those reasons gives me socio-economic privilege, put them together and the relative privilege I have by accident of birth alone is quite staggering.

I also have both conscious and unconscious biases. By the nature of the terms, I can look to take action from aware of my conscious biases, but addressing unconscious bias is more difficult.

Today an idea around a way any of us can look to address unconscious bias in support of others who don’t look like us. (more…)

Being a Vulnerable Visionary


“I think the best entrepreneurs are Vulnerable Visionaries. Its a combination of being vulnerable and having confidence.” ~ Chip Conley

I have referenced Chip Conley in my daily posts multiple times, with his concept of “Vulnerable Visionary” one learning I repeatedly share.

Today’s post dives into Chip’s thoughts on what it means to be a Vulnerable Visionary and why it is so important.

I then go on to coin my own Emotional Equation (Chip’s idea too!) on being a Vulnerable Visionary.

Finally, I’ll link this all into how my belief in this concept informed the development and articulation of the types of leaders I wish to attract to work with me and who I love to work with to make a difference!

I hope all of this has value to you in considering your own leadership as well as those who have taught and inspired you.


Lust for…Responsibility?


A wonderful quote from one of my favourite books, “Dune”, the 1965 science fiction masterpiece by Frank Herbert focussed around clans and corporations fighting for power, where power means control of a powerful (interesting that choice of descriptor!) drug that is essential for navigating trade routes, called “Spice”.

As Lord Acton famously noted:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, “Language, Truth and Trust“, last week I attended a massively thought-provoking talk on language and leadership. At the Q&A afterwards, a gentleman sitting next to me quietly added his wisdom to the conversation.

“power is the ability to make things happen, responsibility is driven by attempting to answer the question: In whose interest is the power being used?”

He then went on to ask us to consider the impact of a shift in language from leadership being focussed around the word responsibility rather than the current association with the word power. in closing his brief contribution, he noted:

“have you ever heard anyone talk about lust for responsibility?” (more…)

Language, Truth and Trust


One of the things I love about London is the ease of attending talks and workshops and learning from amazing intellects. Last week was one such occasion where I went to a talk by Dr Christophe Fricker and his colleague Cory Massaro on Language and Leadership.

I then had the lovely opportunity to have lunch with these two gentlemen, a conversation which flowed and ranged widely, very inspiring. I hope to talk more to them and then post something about their talk soon.

For now, a few thoughts that came to me from that, starting with a thought from Cory:

“you know a word by the company it keeps” (more…)

“WorkAnywhere”. Going beyond “Remote”

Gaping Void Remote

A wonderful depiction by Gaping Void of the core messages of  the book “Remote” 

I strongly believe in remote working. However, today let me take it a level further. For now let’s call it “WorkAnywhere”, as the idea of remote working still implies a paradigm where there is a central point of focus for a business, an office or “head office”.

We don’t need that paradigm anymore, it does not serve our thinking and so our practices. Technology has shrunk the world and enabled many of us to be able to work almost anywhere, anytime and with even more effectiveness than if we had to travel to an office or even place our focus around such a place. That said, I also believe that it is a “both/and” conversation, that often we miss the huge value of creating and building meaningful relationships by being “offline”, by being face to face with people.

So, to me, there are wonderful lessons in the book “Remote” that I will touch on later, yet my core message is that many of us can consciously operate a “WorkAnywhere” model, going beyond the idea that we can work remotely from a central office or HQ.

For us to WorkAnywhere, we then leverage both the power of remote working with online tools as well as recognising the power of actually being in the same room as people and so investing in that time (and travel to do so) as a core element of WorkAnywhere life.

Today, then, I’ll tell my own quarter-century long story of how I have evolved to my own WorkAnywhere model.

In that, I’ll share some of what I have learned along the way to support that work model, including some thoughts on the book “Remote” and the lessons from the huge success Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have had in building and running their remote business (that itself offers remote tools for collaboration).


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.