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.

Enjoy…

The power of streaks

cal ripken

On September 20, 1998, Cal Ripken walked into the office of his boss, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and told him he wanted to be out of the line up for that evening’s game. That night he chose, himself, to end “the streak”. At that point, he had played in 2,632 consecutive games for the Orioles over more than 16 years in a sport with 162 games in the regular season alone.

Nearly two years ago Seth Godin wrote a blog about his habit of daily blogging that inspired me to do the same. I have now published a daily blog more than 650 days in a row.

This week Seth wrote another post, which I share today. I agree with him. Each morning I don’t think “will I write?”, it is simply “what will I write about today?”.

Thanks again Seth, and also thanks to Cal Ripken, it was a pleasure to witness you in your prime and to have seen you leave on your own terms.

Over to you, Seth: (more…)

Pausing to do the important rather than the urgent

pause

As I wrote about a while ago in: “Why don’t we do the important things?“, we humans have a tendency to focus on doing Urgent rather than Important things.

This year I planned out to have a quiet month of August so that I would have time and space to focus on important work, the type of deep focus work that I need to immerse myself in without being distracted by seemingly urgent things.

I planned to hit the “pause” button on much of the urgency around me to allow space to focus on the important but often overlooked in the “urgency of now”.

Ok, so far so good, but I also procrastinate sometimes (If you do too, I recommend “The War of Art” by Pressfield, a short and powerful read for creatives who procrastinate!).

As regards my daily posting, then, right now I am feeling that my this part of my work is  “urgent” but not quite that “important”, they are also acting as a form of procrastination, where I stop myself from getting into focussed work early in the day and write instead.

Yesterday was a terrific example, as I wrote a really long post that took a few hours to pull together, hence I didn’t get into my important focussed work.

So, for the next week or more, whilst I will continue to post daily, I will discipline myself to keep the daily posts short and sweet.  A little like this one 😉

Why I am optimistic about democracy, despite “The Great Hack”

prophet.jpg(mediaclass-full-width.c3083fedae46a95f1139ff9d5833b1b6b8e20a69)

If you have not already watched “The Great Hack” on Netflix, I recommend you do so. Now.

Many of us are all too familiar with the scandal of how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook user data to influence (fix?) both the 2016 Brexit vote and then the US Presidential Election. The documentary, though, shows us the players almost in real-time as the scandal unfolds, making the story feel all the more powerful.

It puts to us the question as to whether or not we can ever have free and fair elections ever again?

Facebook, Google, Amazon etc are always watching and listening to everything we say and do and seem to be focussed far more on revenue and profits than any form of responsibility to society given their dominant positions. A clear example is Alexa, who listens to every word you say (not just when you ask her a question), with all of that going into the data storage at Facebook.

The fears expressed in The Great Hack are valid. However, given literally thousands of years of democracy in different forms, I am more optimistic than some about the future of not only free and fair elections but of the world evolving out of the current cycle of autocracy and inequality towards something more positive for people and planet. (more…)

Power gives you the responsibility to empower someone else.

toni morrison Empower Quote

Toni Morrison died yesterday aged 88.

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives,” 

Toni Morrison

Rest in peace, Queen, you have left such a measure of your life in your work.

As this is also a daily blog to inspired and empower leaders to be their highest and best selves, let me also anchor to:

“If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else”

Toni Morrison

The epitome of servant leadership. Beautiful.

Invest now in growth and improvement

Aldous Huxley Quote improvement

We live in uncertain times.

For business leaders in the UK in particular, we have a Prime Minister who seems committed to driving us off a cliff edge of “no deal” Brexit come October 31st, a scenario that is fraught with challenge and uncertainty.

At such times, it is easy to become disheartened (and I am not immune to that), so the word of Huxley resonate with me today.

In times of uncertainty around us in the broader economy, we can remain grounded by continuing to find certainty in improving ourselves.

(more…)

Are you willing to “open the box”?

open the box

Japanese puzzle boxes require three steps to fully open them

In coaching, I have learned that there are three “boxes”, three levels of Context where one can help a client around their leadership and their business.

For simplicity, let’s call them:

  • Box 1: Business Content
  • Box 2: Business Context
  • Box 3: Personal Context

A coach can support a client in Box 1 and Box 2 and help them achieve great results.

However, one’s personal context drives everything we do, so if you are willing to “open the box”, in my experience truly massive shifts can occur for the individual, their business, those they lead.

Interested in more? Read on.

(more…)

How do you find out what others want? Ask

what when where how why ask questions

Yesterday I wrote: “Tell people what you want“. Today, a reflection that the way to find out what others want is simply to ask them.

The thing is, asking them what they want is only the start. Asking is an art, as is listening.

Ask, listen, ask, listen, then perhaps you might find out what people really want.

Asking and listening is what I do. If you’d like to find out what others want, or if you’d like me to ask and listen to find out what you want, I’d love to talk to you.

For now, a few relevant past posts:

You are what you measure – so what do you measure?

TED Nicola Sturgeon what do you measure

“..the objective of economic policy should be collective well-being: how happy and healthy a population is, not just how wealthy a population is.” 

~ Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, TED Summit, Edinburgh, July 2019

As UK government and politics, in general, continue to flail along with no clear sense of direction or what success would look like, earlier this week, on the day that the new Prime Minister chose to visit Scotland, a TED Talk that was given last week by the First Minister of Scotland was released. What a stark contrast in leadership it offered and in what two countries (the UK overall and Scotland separately) seek to measure.

Long-time readers will note that in amongst the shorter and often more eclectic daily posts I intersperse longer and deeper reads, often around Economics and, more specifically the future of both Economics and Capitalism in service of the broader society.

So, today share the video and transcript of Ms Sturgeon’s powerful talk, then connect that to some earlier posts and thoughts of my own on what we measure.

(more…)

Business Strategy Coaching – a simple secret

strategy coaching

What if I could give you a secret to elevating your business strategy that takes less time, costs less, whilst at the same time engaging and energising your top people?

The secret starts with believing that the answers to elevating your strategy already sit within your business. More specifically, within the knowledge and experience of your own people.

Once you come from that belief, how to unlock the optimum and highest value strategy?

Simple. Hire a business strategy coach rather than a consultant.

(more…)

Less is more

less is more

Today is a consciously quiet day for me, with absolutely nothing planned, a day out to rest in the middle of a busy period.

So, a reminder today that sometimes less is more.

I’ll model that by making this one of my shortest daily posts ever.

What could you do less of this Sunday morning?

Learning energises

learning energises

I love to learn, yet not every time I attend a talk or workshop or training to I feel I learned something new.

Thinking about this, if training is receiving information, learning is absorbing and embedding it in a way that you can contextualise the information and then apply it in your work and life.

Recently I wrote: “Without Context, Data is simply Noise“, capturing some distilled learnings from Fergus Connolly. As the title of that post captured, we need context for data to become information that is useful to us and so elevate to the higher levels of knowledge and then wisdom.

Yesterday I went to the RSA and attended a workshop by Zoe Arden on “from Storytelling to Storydoing”. Thanks to that workshop I reflected and so wrote today’s post to share.

(more…)

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