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.


Coming to Cayman!

Grand Cayman
Iconic image of Grand Cayman (c) Courtney Platt

This week I’m doing some “KYC” administration for my business in the Cayman Islands. Contrary to some simplistic media coverage around the world, such compliance is vigorously legislated, regulated and enforced, so there sometimes is quite a lot of it to do.

Given that I am a Caymanian based in London, with clients in countries all over the globe, sometimes it feels like the regulated areas of business in Cayman and the UK have not really caught up with how small our digitally connected world truly is, but innovation and technology do often lead ahead, so I will take the occasional hassle of making KYC work for a globally facing business as being balanced by the many huge benefits of being able to work remotely with clients all over the world!

Anyway, along those lines, I am in Cayman next week, week of September 23rd, seeing family, clients, and friend. I also note that, over time, my email list now has on it quite a number of people in Cayman who I’ve never met, hence won’t know from my personal emails that I’m “in town” next week.

The diary is pretty full, but if you’d like to meet for coffee, let’s see if we can fit that in! If we can’t, do book a video call for when I get back to London, then we can, if there is a fit, always talk remotely and then meet up on my next regular visit home to George Town!

How do you measure Purpose?

net purpose impact
“Doing good and doing well go hand in hand”

After over 700 daily posts, I repeat themes here. I believe in business as a force for good, so one repeated theme is around the need for reform of capitalism to better serve all stakeholders, not simply shareholders.

Whilst this concept is gaining traction, gaps between “old paradigm” and new thinking on this are becoming obvious, which I see as a great opportunity to identify and bridge gaps in many specific areas.

One of these areas is around CEOs, as my work tends to be with CEOs and their Leadership teams. I love to give real examples of where CEOs are thinking beyond old paradigms of simply short term maximisation of shareholder return etc. One example is: “Time for the Anti-CEO Playbook“, featuring the CEO of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya.

Now, today’s title is around another area that must be bridged, on measuring the Purpose of a Brand or Corporation such that, bridging to conventional measures such as shareholder return, one can see and track with statistically accurately both a) that “Doing Good and Doing Well” are closely correlated, and b) track the progress of a brand or corporation over time.

I was excited to see this now out there, so today sharing an article and recommendation of who to talk to in order to do this for you and your brand or corporation.


One in a million squirrel

one in a million squirrel at sunset

Recently it felt like summer was over in London, with grey, wet and colder weather. However, as Friday rolled around at the end of a long week, the weather warmed up and the sun came out.

I look to practice what I preach around managing energy across the week, so for me, one element of this is that I tend not to book meetings or calls on Friday afternoons, taking that time to “tidy up” and then prepare for the following week.

However, yesterday I felt a) I’d had a really active and productive two weeks to that point, b) the weather was something to seize the day for, so I finished work mid-afternoon and went for a long walk.

After that long walk, a seat outside a favourite pub with an amazing view. As the sunset approached, two squirrels were chasing each other around a tree. One went out of sight, the other allowed themselves to be captured in this photo.

One comment on it was “that is a one in a million photo!”, hence the blog title, “one in a million squirrel”

So glad I took that time to manage my energy at the end of the week.

How was your Friday afternoon?

Lack of diversity is a major business risk

Lack of diversity is a major business risk

Lack of diversity is a major business risk.

Do I have your attention?

To truly connect people to an idea such that they will take action, it is necessary to frame it in a way that impacts something that matters to them and their business.

Risk is a keyword for business leaders, yet in amongst all the areas they assess around risk, I find that very few actually consider the risk to their business of lack of diversity.

Have you truly recognised that unless diversity is at the absolute core of your business you are putting the business at significant risk?


Repeat after me. Repeat your message

repeat after me

“If you feel sure you have over-communicated your message to your people to the point where they are bored of hearing it from you…. you are probably about halfway there.”

I’ve shared words to this effect with coaching clients and other leaders more than virtually any other piece of advice over the years.


What I learned from a master practitioner

Yoda master Feldenkrais practitioner
Yoda, a quintessential Master

Over a year ago I injured my Achilles badly. No specific event, I simply was walking a lot that summer and it became injured and wouldn’t heal.

Months later, frustrated and limping around London, a friend referred me to a practitioner of Feldenkrais, “an educational method focusing on learning and movement“. He made a powerful referral by firmly telling me to go to the practitioner and that if I did not find it way beyond expectations, he would pay for the session for me.

Armed with that recommendation, I went to my first session ten months ago and was blown away! I have then gone periodically since then at a frequency recommended by the practitioner.

Last week was my sixth session in these ten months and they have been absolutely transformational in ways far beyond healing my acute injury.

Today, I will share my learning from my most recent session in the context of what it means to be supported by a practitioner at this level of mastery.


Tell me what you want

pigeon text messaging what you want
Pigeon: ‘Ever heard of Text Messaging?’

This is the 696th day in a row of posts on this site and, whilst I have a whole load of themes bubbling away for future long (and short) reads, I’d really like to hear from you. I wrote a piece a while ago called “Tell People What You Want“. Today I am asking you to tell me what you want.

What leadership challenges and opportunities are at the top of your mind?

Tell me, then I’ll write about them, either on this daily blog, or perhaps as a choice of theme for the newly launched “Ideas into action” newsletter, each monthly issue of which will focus on one contextual theme for “Big Game” leaders to make an impact, with tools to take those ideas into action.

So, please email, tweet or get on a call with me, I’d love to hear from you. Or, send a carrier pigeon?

Let’s talk

My clients say I “see what others don’t see”. Experience for yourself, book your 30-minute call now.

Coaching Tip: How to avoid giving advice


Coaches do not give advice. What do I mean?

Coaching = Asking, NOT Telling

When a coach is actually in the role of a coach, when they are coaching, they do not give advice. Ever.

However, coaches are also often asked to fill four other roles at times, those of mentor, trainer, facilitator, consultant.

Consulting = Telling, NOT Asking.

When you do give a client your advice, you are not coaching, you are consulting (or somtimes mentoring).

So, if you are in the role of a coach and your client asks you “tell me what do to”, what, in fact, should you do?

Today I am happy to have found an old note from a coaching session I had with my mentor, the late Ed Percival. It represents a coaching tip from a true master I wish to share with you today.


Handling cognitive dissonance like THE Boss

cognitive dissonance bruce springsteen boss quote

Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort felt by a person who holds two or more conflicting ideas, beliefs or values at the same time.

Leadership is about people, so understanding people is clearly key. For self-leadership, then, self-awareness is key.

As humans we seek cognitive consonance, rather than cognitive dissonance, we seek for our attitudes, behaviours, beliefs, opinions, actions to be in harmony, to be consistent.

Understanding where we are out of alignment, dissonant vs consonant, is, therefore, a vital part of our self-awareness.

Someone who clearly gets that is known by his fans as “the Boss”.


That’s a great question!

great question

One of the biggest compliments you can receive if you are listening to someone is when you ask them something and they reply: “that’s a great question!”, well, at least unless it is someone looking to then duck the question! Anyway, if they take the question on board and then consider it, often that is where some magic happens.

This week I listened to a podcast by Tim Ferris with Jerry Colonna, a coach and thinker I’ve followed for a number of years.

Tim has known Jerry for years and has had Jerry ask him one particular question before. He then asked it back to him and, before answering, he broke down the elements of the question to show why it is great.

“How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want”

It is a great question. As a coach, I can see at least three key reasons that make it so great.

I could now save you listening to the podcast and explain it all (both Jerry’s perspectives as well as adding mine).

However, yesterdays post shared a PhD exercise with you around how valuable it would be to give a student a PhD thesis with the abstract and introduction removed and asking them to write those after reading the paper.

So, today I will simply share the question with you and now I ask you to consider for yourself a) do you think it is a great question? and b) if so, what makes it great for you?

If you do that short exercise, I’d then love you to book a call with me and give me your answers, then I’ll happily share mind and bounce around any thoughts and ideas that spin out of that for both of us.

Let’s talk

My clients say I “see what others don’t see”. Experience for yourself, book your 30-minute call now.

Challenging your Critical and Contextual thinking

Critical Thinking Word Art

Education systems are in crisis in many ways, one of them is the devaluing of any type of critical thinking.

This also applies, I have found, to carry through to the world of work. The lack of encouragement of and focus on diversity of thought in businesses and organisations is often glaring.

My role as a Sounding Board is therefore often to challenge the thinking of my clients. In fact, when setting a context for our relationship with new clients, “CHALLENGE” is by far one of the most frequent contexts they choose.

So, today a series of thoughts from me on the tweet above, which I feel is a simple, yet brilliant idea to challenge and so encourage both critical and contextual thinking.


Southwest Airlines and the worst driver’s licence photo

Southwest Airlines turns Lemons Into Lemonade

Why would Southwest Airlines be interested in finding the worst driver’s licence photo?

Well, thanks today to Joe Pine (author of the Experience Economy and who I have written of my reverence for here) for sharing this story on Twitter recently.

In short, a Southwest Airlines flight was delayed several hours and the gate agent decided to have fun, take the time with the passengers and play games, including one to see who had the worst driver’s licence photo.

What does this teach us about leadership and culture?


188 Cognitive Biases

Cognitive Bias Codex

When I saw this brilliant graphic on Cognitive Biases from Design Hacks the other day, all I could think was “Wow! We do truly have so many biases.”

Over the last few days, I’ve written around the exploration of bias and one or two ideas of how we can activate tools to shift this.

Today I am happy to share this graphic, and also what I feel is the most powerful part of what they have done here.


Reverse Thinking – for a Lost Generation

Reverse Thinking

Over the last two days, I have written first a (very) long read about Heuristics (in “You cannot eliminate your biases“, then yesterday a shorter one on a tool to answer difficult questions by imagining the reverse.

As those who read my daily writing often or who know me personally will attest, I am a very positive person with lots of energy, also someone who believes strongly in the power of language (hence my study of and focus on heuristics, behavioural economics and more).

Today, though, I simply share with you a short video that, every time I’ve watched it, is transcendently uplifting as well as a reminder to choose our words carefully.


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