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, all centred around the ideas of #OpenLeadership. Enjoy…
Today a story about the corporate purpose and values of a company that I have got to know first-hand and that continues to hugely impress me with the way they live their values and own who they are, (more…)
The photo above is of the beautiful concourse at Kings Cross Railway Station, opened in 2012 as an exquisite redevelopment and enhancement of a railway station originally opened in 1851. I visit this station relatively frequently to both journey to Scotland and to meet those coming to London to visit.
Now, despite the stunning and functional modernity of the building, up until this week it still showed a shining (probably not the right word!) example of six of the most dangerous words in business:
“we’ve always done it this way”
We are all sometimes guilty of this kind of thinking, but if we don’t challenge our assumptions, procedures, methods, decisions (and allow others to challenge us too!), we very much run the risk of our thinking become out of date.
In the case of Network Rail, operators of Kings Cross station, I’d say the example I am about to share was not just a little out of date, but even last century would have been out of date. (more…)
“..brings to mind to me a quote from 1770 from the Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke:
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
A powerful phrase that has been adjusted and repeated for many years as :
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
So, today I share with you a recent article from a dear friend of mine, the brilliant, passionate and purpose-driven economist, Marla Dukaharan.
In this, Marla calmly and clearly calls out empirically obvious racist and white supremacist actions against offshore (defining that as “not large countries” though the majority are islands distant to the major economic powers) jurisdictions. For this, I applaud her for taking a stand, for saying something. (more…)
Last week Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void published this image with a blog that simply said:
When looking for a career, consider this: What is going to make you happy long-term isn’t the salary, isn’t the perks, isn’t the social status. What is going to make you happy is the ability to be constantly learning something.
Arts, sciences, commerce, public service, it doesn’t matter- the more you’re learning, the more interesting your career becomes, end of story.
So when entering a profession, it behooves you to ask, is this something I can continually learn from, forever?
Today a few thoughts on learning, growth and what drives us as well as those we may lead. (more…)
Finally, I also love elegant writing, and sometimes the shorter, the better. I also love the adage, “never make a point without telling a story”. So, this week I was also supporting one of my sons in reviewing his Masters’ dissertation. He is quite close to the minimum number of words allowed and asked if I felt this was acceptable, to which I said: “as long as you express yourself clearly, the shorter the better”.
That same son features in this post, that includes some of my favourite single lines, called “the longest writing. can be one line“. That post included this line that ends the poem I used for the very first daily post on this site:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
Poetry can indeed, and most beautifully, move us from Complexity to Simplicity.
Steve Jobs famously used the phrase “it just works” all the time (see this video montage).
Over ten years ago I was converted from “PC” to “Mac” after my “power user” Compaq laptops kept wearing out. The same dealer in Cayman sold both Compaq and Apple and recommended a MacBook Pro. He said: “it just works”. He was right, and I’ve been an Apple user ever since.
Now, I could write today about how I feel Apple has lost this focus on their products since Steve Jobs passed, but today I am going to focus on the power of the phrase:
The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.
~ Amos Tversky
Michael Lewis, author of such books as Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, The Big Short and more, wrote “The Undoing Project” about the friendship of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahnemann, two academics of massive influence to the field of Behavioural Economics.
In his book David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell talked of the Tversky Intelligence Test, a joke among academics about the intelligence of Tversky. The test?: “The faster you realized Tversky was smarter than you, the smarter you were”.
So, with all of that intelligence, I love this quote, one of a series of thoughts noted by Michael Lewis in his book that Tversky kept to hand as reminders to himself.
“Reflective thinking turns experience into insight”
As a Sounding Board to Leaders, what I do for clients isn’t rocket science.
I take time with people.
After listening, I reflect back to them what I heard them say, sometimes with my own insights from my own relatable experiences and knowledge.
Then? I listen some more, and so on.
Basically, time with me helps my clients turn their own experience into insights.
In the last week or two, I’ve spent time with clients on calls and in-person meetings where they have all been so busy that the time they spent with me is really the only time they take in their diary to reflect.
The only time they take to reflect is the (typically) few hours a month they spend with me on various calls and meetings.
This all reminds me of learnings from one of the greatest investors of all time and the phrase “busy is the new stupid”. (more…)
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…)