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.


Are we in a rush?

incomplete church cayman

Sometimes we want it “now!”, other times we are prepared to be patient in building something, whether an actual structure, a business, a culture, whatever it is we are building.

Now, strong intuition and feelings can have that “NOW!” feeling be strong in us, we then look to rush to action, to take advantage of that feeling.

Imagine an entrepreneur who just KNOWS that there is an opportunity they have to take right away. That can bring powerful energy to drive everyone involved forwards to make that vision a reality.

However, such “in a rush” energy does tend to be a relatively short term energy and not sustainable. It is what is called “Startup” energy in a business, it won’t sustain the business for the long run (see my recent post on toxic culture at Revolut, a FinTech business still driving staff really hard years after startup).

So, we know that to bring something sustainable, we may need to be patient and take our time to build a firm foundation.  As I wrote about yesterday, by conscientiously focussing on the elements of that foundation, we can choose to be “building to last”.

So, are we sometimes in a rush? Yes

Can that bring powerful and positive energy? Yes.

Is it also important to build to last and create sustainable energy? Yes.

How can we do both then? Ah, that is a question!

One early morning this week I drove across Grand Cayman, observing changes fast and slow, which had me consider the answer to that. (more…)

Building to last

The Reef

This week I am back in Cayman and, for the first time in a long time, am staying at The Reef Resort, this the view from my room at sunrise as I awake on my first morning here.

It is an odd feeling to be here, not simply Cayman, where I have spent most of my adult life, but to this resort that I have such a long association with, dating back well over twenty years to when it was only an idea. This has me ponder on:

What do we create in our work and do we truly build to last?


Where Entrepreneurialism comes from

mike driver

“..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.”

The 17th and closing tweet in a thread posted this week by Mike Driver of Convex.

In short, Mike’s Twitter thread is concise, incisive and brilliant. Yes, it concludes that entrepreneurialism can’t be taught (so don’t bother trying to learn how to be an entrepreneur as an adult), but in his thread, he explains where it comes from.

As I put it in when sharing his thread onwards on Twitter:

“deep thinking around source from evidence in practice, allied to comprehensive and wide-ranging reading around relevant topics. Aligns closely to my own findings with many hundreds of entrepreneurs”

Today I’ll share his tweet thread (presented as a short opinion piece in this post for ease of reading, as well as my thinking around why I use Twitter.

Please read it.

Oh, and if you are thinking of embarking on a course of study on being entrepreneurial, don’t 🙂 (more…)

To see ourselves as others see us

DFW this is water quote

picture credit

Today I am reminded of the difficulty of seeing ourselves how others see us and the power of critical thinking both for that and to truly see and understand others.

These are universal challenges for each of us. For those who lead others, the “self-leadership” part is at the core, then the layers and dimensions simply expand, to the people in our organisation, the values, beliefs and cultures consciously and unconsciously present. The opportunities for understanding and exploring are endless as we then look at societal, systemic, structural issues.

For this reason, we often look to understand such issues through philosophy and also art, including writing.

Today I’ll share teachings from this from two great authors, David Foster Wallace and Robert Burns, I hope this supports you in looking at what you can do to see yourselves as others see you, as well as to look to understand and see others more clearly. (more…)

Revolut and the cost of toxic culture

the fish rots from the head

Earlier this year I wrote “The fish rots from the head“, sharing my experience over the years that toxic culture starts from the top, that:

“People observe their leaders, so no matter how much money is invested by HR and LnD in people, if the leadership are not, well, leading in their behaviours, all of that money invested is wasted. Change must come from the top as well as from all levels within.”

Well, folks, let me introduce you to Nickolay Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut, a terrific example and lesson leaders can learn from.

His business has hit the headlines this past week with an exposé from Wired magazine on their hiring practices, but they hit my “rotting fish radar” some time ago by the CEO’s attitude in press interviews. Let’s explore. (more…)

Do you have a pile of books?

Pile of books

Only one part of my current “pile of books” to read

Do you have a “pile of books?”

Mine never seems to get anywhere near “manageable”, as I simply keep buying more and more to read.

This pile is only the ones that are loosely to do with business and leadership, there are also more that are novels, poetry, history and and and… at least twenty books on my coffee table alone.

It is a thing, you know!

I guess I could read some of them before I buy some more, but I typically spend about an hour a day researching and writing for my daily posts, so don’t really seem to read books enough.

I guess I’ll work out a solution, but for now, I am happily sitting with this huge pile of books here.

Perhaps I’ll sign off for today now and read one!

How many blue cars do you see?

xk120 ceg266

When my two oldest sons were very young, one summer we visited great friends in Norway. One day my friend and I took his two sons and mine, all aged between about 3 and 8, for the over two-hour drive from Oslo to their cottage on a lake for an overnight trip.

It was a wonderful trip, but on the way back the boys were bored. My friend asked them to pick a colour. They chose blue. He then asked them to count all the blue cars they saw.

Amazing how many blue cars you see when you are looking for blue cars.

Today a story about the word beautiful as it relates to business and seeing it when you are looking.

Also a thought around the power of having a focus word like Blue, or Beautiful.


Mark Hollis – Learn how to play one note

Mark hollis

“Before you play two notes, learn how to play one note, y’know? And don’t play one note unless you’ve got a reason to play it.” ~ Mark Hollis

Yesterday Mark Hollis died.

He was the leader of Talk Talk. Their music really touched me in different ways, then he stepped away from music and fame completely, at the top of his game. Last night, then, I spent hours listening to that music to mark his passage.

The quote above also says so much about how he evolved and grew as a musician over time, distilling to essence.

Learn how to play one note.


Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards


“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Today a simple thought around living life.

Learn from the past, analyse it, study it all you will so you can learn more about yourself, others, your business, your leadership.

When it comes to the future, however, trust yourself.

Like the kid on the skateboard, he knows what he has learned about riding a board so far, now he has to just go for it!

Today sharing (not for the first time) my favourite speech of all time, as the first of three themes within it is all about this. (more…)

Cascading Leadership – Engage, Align, Enrol

TM Cascading Leadership Graphic v1_F

Recently I wrote : “Cascading Leadership – a new way for transformative change“. That post is a synthesis of many years of learning and practice in supporting transformative change. Please do read the full post, but for today I highlight:

“Which comes first, to Engage or to Align?….the answer is to iterate this repeatedly so that there is no “what to do first”, but a virtuous circle of engage, align, engage, align repetitively, each iteration deepening both elements and building more and more trust in the overall organisation for those within it as they truly feel part of the vision”

From this, I felt to create a “virtuous circle” graphic to distil Cascading Leadership to one simple drawing. Many thanks to the amazing Martha Rowe for creating this from my description of what I wanted. Martha is quite brilliant (she also handles my website aesthetics and more for me), and I highly recommend her!

Oh, and I believe in sharing widely and freely anything I may have that is of value, so note that this graphic (and anything I write) is for you to use, to share onwards freely.

As for applying Cascading Leadership, in addition to my writing, I am retained by a limited number of clients around the world to support them with their leadership and transformative change. Am always happy to talk to you about how I might support you.

To lead or to follow

follow or lead

To lead or to follow?

I recently took a week out at a workshop in Baja, Mexico to focus on my own professional development.

I’ve spent most of my career identifying leaders who would benefit from my support, solidifying that in the work I do now as a sounding board to leaders.

One “Baja Aha” I had was that I need to lead more, rather than focus on supporting leaders.

So, what might my epiphany in Mexico mean? (more…)

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.