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.


What’s your “AND”?

mj defensive player of the year

Michael Jordan being presented the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

A few days ago I wrote a piece called “Both, And“, focussing at that time on how we make choices. Today, though, am thinking of this from the angle of “what is your “and”?“.

What do I mean by that? Well, we all can recognise and be seen for a particular skill, ability, strength in our core area of focus, work etc. However, sometimes it is our “and” that really sets us apart, rather than the thing we are most recognised for,

Michael Jordan is widely thought to be the greatest basketball player of all time. When we think of him we think of one of the most dominant offensive players in basketball history.

Did you know, though, that he is one of only four players in history to have won both the MVP award and defensive player of the year award?

In short, Michael Jordan’s skills, passion and drive at the defensive end of the court was very much his “and”.

Let’s give some more examples to help you bring awareness to what is your own “and“. (more…)

Trust and being an ICAS CA

Bruce Cartwright

Bruce Cartwright, Chief Executive, ICAS

Last year I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Bruce Cartwright shortly after he took the reins as Chief Executive of ICAS.

This week, as I find myself writing about what it takes for successful Collaborative Leadership, the theme of Trust comes around again and again.

Also this week, Bruce and ICAS launched the ICAS agenda, with one of their three themes being Trust. (more…)

Golf Trips and Collaborative Leadership

Iceberg principle

Collaborative Leadership:

“the process of engaging collective intelligence to deliver results across organisational boundaries when ordinary mechanisms of control are absent”

Oxford Leadership – Collaborative Leadership White Paper, 2011

The other day a dear friend of mine, a top elite sports coach and voracious learner and networker around leadership and behaviour, sent me this white paper.

Within it are some powerful learnings for leading collaboratively, yet, as so often, I wonder why corporate leaders and their consultants need to speak in such overly complicated ways.

Today let me endeavour to use Oxford Leadership’s version of the iceberg principle (ie the image above, captured from their white paper), to make a few simple points for leaders to anchor upon if they choose to lead collaboratively. (more…)

Allow time before deciding


This week I met with a friend who is dealing with a tricky ethical issue around board governance. They appeared to be wrestling with what decision to make amidst a number of variables lending complexity to the decision.

I listened to them and it appeared clear that they had all the information at their disposal that they could get in order to make the decision, yet it still was difficult for them to decide.

My advice?

Allow some time before making a decision.

Also, I then suggested to them that they focus on other work, other decisions, that they:

Put it down and focus on something else

So, why did I give these two pieces of advice? (more…)

When to fight, when to accept?


I recently learned a powerful lesson from someone close to me who has a disease that they are choosing how to address.

They shared with me that they learned from their doctor that this was not something you “fight”, as to approach it from a “fight” mindset means that you are not giving your body permission and highest capability to heal. Instead, adopting a level of acceptance of “what is” can allow that healing to be strong, thus giving the highest chance for the body to be strong and so allow the medical team to take on the disease to the fullest extent.

Today some thoughts on when to fight and when to accept, whether when one has a disease, or in terms of learnings from martial arts, then around leading at times of crisis. (more…)

Both, And


Again and again, I work with leaders seeking to find the perfect way to address a challenge, take advantage of an opportunity.

All too often leaders feel they have to choose one solution and discard another, what I would call an “Either, Or” choice.

Now, more often than not, when I coach/advise/counsel people, the answer they eventually choose is more of a “Both, And” where they take the best from more than one potential solution to address what is typically a complex problem where no one solution is the right one.

At a philosophical level, I am also an advocate of “Both, And” as it is from a place of abundance and choice and such energy is where ideas, motivation and empowerment come from. “Either, Or” is more from a place of scarcity and control, hence tends not to energise or motivate.

So, consider for yourself next time you are looking to make a decision, can you approach it from a “Both, And” approach or are you locked into “Either, Or” mindset?

Brave Thinking and Big Ambitions


The V&A Museum opened in Dundee in 2018, design by Kengo Kuma

Today am inspired by a conversation this week about brave thinking and big ambitions.

I love to work with brave leaders. One of the four characteristics of people who choose to work with me (see the BeMoreYou page) is that they are brave. At it says on that page:

Be Brave.
Bravery means you’re open to being uncomfortable, to stretching, as that’s where the growth lies. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re playing it too safe.

Bravery is a virtuous circle. When you embrace your full potential (discomfort and all). Your vision becomes clearer and your confidence increases, even in the face of uncertainty.

So, let’s talk today about some examples of Brave Thinking leading to Big Ambition for organisations and businesses. May it inspired your own brave thinking and help you conceive and achieve your big ambitions for yourself, for your organisation. (more…)

Abundance – thanking givers


Some time ago I wrote on this site a piece around Adam Grant’s book “Give and Take”, writing:

“what I do is look for ways to help others. I have interesting conversations with interesting people, explore, flow, and always look to find some way to be of value to them, whether it is by co-creating with them, or perhaps by connecting or introducing them to an idea, person, concept, story or simply a book.”

This week in Edinburgh I met up for coffee with a daughter of a dear friend. Last year my friend had asked me if I knew anybody who might be able to help her get a job after graduating from university. I introduced her to someone and the story moved on from there. Today she thanked me for something that came from that which was quite unexpected, so had me think back on Adam Grant’s concept of Givers, Matcher and Takers, and also to consider again the value of thanking the givers in our lives. (more…)

Change takes bravery and belief

entrepeneur build plane cliff

A few days ago I shared learnings from Mike Driver in : “Where Entrepreneurialism comes from“. Basically Mike said that it can’t be taught:

““..entrepreneurialism can’t be taught and the library full of books attempting to teach it are a waste of time. Short of travelling back in time and putting your childhood self through some sort of trauma you cannot ‘become’ an entrepreneur.”

This week I find myself working with a client leadership team looking to lead transformative behaviour change in their government department.

What they need, at some level, is entrepreneurial thinking, but if Mike is right (and I do agree with him), what can be done to support them around change? (more…)

Inflation and human psychology

boj inflation

Economics is a notoriously unreliable science for predictions. My take on this is that this is due to Economic forecasting being based partly on empirical numbers (which can be quite well predicted), but also on human behaviour, and there is the rub.

As a favourite saying goes, “business is simple, people are complex”, and human behaviour (aka “consumer sentiment”) drives so much of economic activity.

So, today an example of a central bank looking to influence consumer behaviour around inflation. (more…)

What might you find hidden under your nose?

bioluminescence cayman

Last night was my last evening on this trip to Cayman.

I took my boys on a Bioluminescent Bay tour with Cayman Kayaks.

As you can imagine from the photo above, it is an amazing experience to see the light emanating from micro-organisms as you swish your feet, arms etc through the warm Cayman waters.

What also blew my sons and me away, though, was the location of this amazing natural spectacle in Grand Cayman.

Though these night-time tours are quite a new attraction, this natural phenomenon had been right under our noses all the time. (more…)

Phenomenal Women


I write this a day earlier than it will post and today is International Women’s Day

Maya Angelou wrote a poem called Phenomenal Woman. Let us honour the phenomenal women in all of our lives.

Today I will highlight one such phenomenal woman, my dear friend Marla, who in 2017 gave the Sir Arthur Lewis memorial lecture, a big stage for a Caribbean economist.

I share with you here a video created and posted for IWD2019 of her opening to that speech, plus the transcript from that.

I remember when I first heard the speech, it gave me goosebumps, the power of the story was so strong, the way Marla honoured her grandmothers. I hope it so inspires you too.


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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.