Tag: Smashing Paradigms

To have fewer conflicts, disagree more

Disagree to have fewer conflicts

To have fewer conflicts, disagree more. Yes, really.

So many organisations talk about “Conflict Resolution” around issues and relationships in the workplace. The thing is, conflict is such a strong word, with synonyms such as “war”, “battle”, “struggle”, “clash”, “combat”. Even the words sound exhausting and difficult.

A recent piece I read on methods of Conflict Resolution brought me back to this definition of a team that thrives and gets results:

“a group of disagreeable people aligned around a common intention”

Travis Carson of Market Force

Market Force has a wonderful model called the Breakdown recovery model (see image) that I wrote about in depth in: “Teams of disagreeable people“.

At the heart of this, if we call each disagreement a breakdown, each one is an opportunity for a breakthrough. The counter-intuitive key to this is that “successful teams have frequent breakdowns”, hence a team is a group of people willing to disagree and then learn and move forward, hence “disagreeable people”.

If we look at disagreeing and breakdowns as issues rather than opportunities, our human tendency will be to avoid addressing them. Do that enough and what you end up with is, you got it, conflicts. Far easier to address a breakdown right away than wait until it escalates into a conflict that then has to be resolved.

What if you were honest with your customers?


Have you ever gone into a supermarket/grocery store simply to buy milk or bread and found you had to walk right to the back of the store for what are core staples customers always need? This is traditional merchandising, designed to get you to walk through the store to buy what they really want you to buy, all designed to maximise to metrics such as “£/$ per square foot/metre”.

In short, you go in to buy one thing, but they want you to end up buying more. If you do, they have “won, they have increased their profit from you, irrespective of what you actually needed and wanted to buy.

In the UK there is even a discount pharmacy chain called Superdrug which is deliberately designed so that there is no apparent order to where things are in the store, so you can never find what you want. They want you to ask for help, perhaps so the assistant can then upsell you to, again, buy more.

So, using traditional profit maximising as a goal, sales strategies and tactics are really based on “winning” the “battle” for “share of wallet”, it is about hidden ways to part you with your money. You are simply someone to extract money from, a purely transactional relationship. No wonder trust in brands and corporations is often low!

What if, instead, we chose to operate from a space of doing good and we could, as a business, do well by doing good?

IF we weren’t trying to maximise profit through merchandising and psychological tricks to make people spend more than they want, then perhaps we could be honest in what we are really offering them and so build real relationships between people and brands and organisations?

In Psychology, all relationships are either transactional or transformational. Imagine a world where businesses aimed to build transformational relationships and what might then be possible!

Come with me on a thought experiment…


Flip your thinking – how long will you live?

Flip your thinking script

Today sharing a story I first heard from Chip Conley sitting on the terrace at the Modern Elder Academy in Baja, days after meeting his amazing Dad.

How long will you live? What type of life will you live? Society has deeply embedded structures and beliefs in so many areas, age is one of them.

Read this piece by Chip both with a view to age and ageing, and also to ask yourself: “where else might I flip my thinking?”


Watch how radically taxes on the wealthy have fallen

FAIR is a core value for me. I also believe in Business as a force for good, hence the model I developed of the new triple bottom line, putting Purpose, People and Planet as the core drivers, whilst also focussing on making a Profit so as to Scale the Impact for all society, not only shareholders.

Last week David Leonhardt of the NY Times wrote an article simply called “The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You“, which had in it a truly powerful infographic that tells the story of how far away from FAIR capitalism has moved.

To me a key marker in time was when, at the start of the 1980s, Reagan and Thatcher slavishly followed Milton Friedman, who simplistically told us to focus on self-interest and enriching shareholders while ignoring social impact (see my post: “Purpose and the Corporation“).

Again, I do believe in business as a force for good, and at the same time if the moving infographic below doesn’t convince you that we need radical change to our existing systems, paradigms and beliefs, perhaps recognise that we will see more and more extreme and polarised politics as things become more and more unfair.

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.


Do you shut down your office when it gets too hot?

London trains hot weather

overheated trains in nearly 40c temperatures in London are no fun

Today in London the freakish short heatwave will result in temperatures over 35c, and tomorrow (Thursday 25th) it is forecast to reach nearly 40c. That is 104f in “old money” for my American friends!

That is hot, but in addition over 90% of people who work in London get there by public transport, and for literally millions of them that means going into the London Underground, where temperatures are even higher still!

Oh, and very few London offices have air conditioning, so when they do get to work their is no respite.

So, knowing that temperatures will return to a more palatable 30c or less by Friday, how many employers chose to close their offices today and also tomorrow and either a) tell people to work from home, or b) simply give people two days off.

Very few indeed, yet this makes very little rational sense to me….


Doing the right thing can make you more money

ed sheeran tickets doing the right thing

So last week I had a really good experience in reselling two concert tickets at their face value, an experience that chimed with my ultimate personal core value of FAIR.

Let me tell you that story, then I will explain how that links to the headline of “doing the right thing can make you more money”

It may not seem immediately obvious. After all, I sold tickets at face value, then am saying that doing the right thing can make you more money. Trust me though, all will be explained!


“WorkAnywhere”. Going beyond “Remote”

Gaping Void Remote

A wonderful depiction by Gaping Void of the core messages of  the book “Remote” 

I strongly believe in remote working. However, today let me take it a level further. For now let’s call it “WorkAnywhere”, as the idea of remote working still implies a paradigm where there is a central point of focus for a business, an office or “head office”.

We don’t need that paradigm anymore, it does not serve our thinking and so our practices. Technology has shrunk the world and enabled many of us to be able to work almost anywhere, anytime and with even more effectiveness than if we had to travel to an office or even place our focus around such a place. That said, I also believe that it is a “both/and” conversation, that often we miss the huge value of creating and building meaningful relationships by being “offline”, by being face to face with people.

So, to me, there are wonderful lessons in the book “Remote” that I will touch on later, yet my core message is that many of us can consciously operate a “WorkAnywhere” model, going beyond the idea that we can work remotely from a central office or HQ.

For us to WorkAnywhere, we then leverage both the power of remote working with online tools as well as recognising the power of actually being in the same room as people and so investing in that time (and travel to do so) as a core element of WorkAnywhere life.

Today, then, I’ll tell my own quarter-century long story of how I have evolved to my own WorkAnywhere model.

In that, I’ll share some of what I have learned along the way to support that work model, including some thoughts on the book “Remote” and the lessons from the huge success Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have had in building and running their remote business (that itself offers remote tools for collaboration).


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…)

Smashing Paradigms – Running a two-hour marathon

Berlin Marathon

For the first months of daily writing on this site, I wrote around the theme of “Smashing Paradigms” each Friday, with many written on that theme you can now explore.  I began each one with;

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “we’ve always done it this way”

Today I’m inspired by Eliud Kipchoge, who on September 17, 2018 utterly obliterated the marathon world record, so have come back to the theme of Smashing Paradigms and will share some ideas and thoughts for leaders. (more…)

Seeing gaps and learning from others

This was me posting en route back from Paris to London with my boys. (please forgive the autocorrect typo of lived to loved!)

Boston to New York is 215 miles city centre to city centre. It takes 3hr 46min by train for an average speed of 57mph

LA to San Francisco is 382 miles. There are no regular trains.

Edinburgh to London is 403 miles. It takes 4hr 17min by train for an average speed of 94mph.

Paris to London is 291 miles. It takes 2 hrs 25 minutes by train for an average speed of 120mph.


I can imagine tourists from California to Paris on the Eurostar wondering why there are no trains between the two major cities in their state.

This post is not focussed on answering that question, it simply shows the difference between some of the major countries in the world on a matter as seemingly basic as transportation between major cities.

No, the title of the post is seeing gaps and learning from others. (more…)

How clean are your communications?


image from a SlideShare deck from OneFish TwoFish called

“How to communicate values without telling people to ‘live the values’ “

So, yesterday I wrote: “Be rid of Brilliant Jerks“. I didn’t say “Fire your Brilliant Jerks”.

So, how can you be rid of brilliant jerks without firing them, particularly in this world where hiring and firing can be a minefield laden with so much employee legislation, policies, procedures, protocols?

My answer? Lead your organisation rigorously based on values (ie where values are not just words framed on a wall or on a website!), then brilliant jerks will leave of their own volition, you won’t need to fire them.

In fact, keep reading my daily posts, as I’m going to keep riffing around this as feel like I’m on a role, and coming soon will be a post on “no fire” policies and companies that have successfully put this at their core. (more…)

Kintsukuroi – Leadership Lessons


Continuing a theme from this week’s post “Beautiful words bring dimensions of meaning“, today considering the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi and lessons that leaders can learn from it.

So many entrenched organisational paradigms look to avoid breakdowns, mistakes, even to pretend they didn’t happen.

At a human level, we are the sum total of all of our experiences and the cracks and breaks that we repair are part of our uniqueness in and for the world. (more…)