Tag: Wisdom

Forget the “Golden Rule”, adopt the “Platinum Rule”


The Golden Rule states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

The Golden Rule is cited so often it seems like a wonderful and positive aspiration.

However, the first time someone tells you about the Platinum Rule and suggest you “upgrade” your standards to Platinum, typically you’ll have a thought that often happens when you hear a piece of true wisdom and that is: “that seems so obvious”.

So now you’ve heard it, let’s talk a bit about it so you can look to where you might apply it, as well as where you may already have done so, or perhaps where you might see a real change if you use it in your next interaction with that person. (more…)

None of us is bulletproof – advice for founders


I had lunch recently with an investor who expressed frustration about founders of startups and scale-ups.

They are not a fund partner, nor VC or from the Private Equity world. No, they actually built a business of value and lived it for the whole journey through to an ultimate sale and cash out for a significant sum, thus giving them space and funds to invest in other businesses. Cards on the table, I prefer such investors as they’ve been through it personally, rolled the sleeves up. Experience brings empathy at a level that is irreplaceable. This gives them a powerful edge in mentoring founders, who often are sorely lacking sounding boards on the roller coaster ride.

So, why was this investor so frustrated when I met them? Could it have been that they wanted to vent along the lines of my own common frustration with founders focussed on raising round after round of funding without actually building a business that generates revenues? Not that day, though certainly something I may write about another time!

No, they were frustrated with founders pretending they are bulletproof. (more…)

Recapturing the power of intuition


“Our world seems like a heap of fragments and it is hard to see how they cohere. Wisdom has been replaced by knowledge and knowledge has been replaced by information. Pieces of data. Chunks of data.”

Iain McGilchrist, author of “The Divided Mind”,

speaking in the documentary”Innssaei – The Power of Intuition”

In our modern world, we have largely forgotten the power of intuition.

On this site, I often muse on ideas and themes that may appear tangential at best to the theme of leadership. However, the term I use here is #OpenLeadership, and that is about being open in many ways. including to listening to “the sea within”, as the tagline to the documentary Innsaei puts it.

Let me talk to you today, then, about the power of intuition, and also a few thoughts on how to recapture it for yourself. (more…)

Your playing small does not serve the world


This week has been rich with 1:1 meetings in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London with amazing people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

These meetings, and one in particular, reminded me of three things:

  1. We have far more in common than we allow ourselves to recognise
  2. Profound Beauty can create a shift
  3. Repetition, repetition, repetition

Let me explain, and I hope you can take your own leadership learnings from my experience. (more…)

Beautiful Leadership – Shining Eyes

ben zander ted

You can see from the front pages of this site that I look to work with visionary leaders to see beyond their vision, to “work with them to bring out their unique gifts.”

Benjamin Zander is a legendary classical music conductor, he sees his role as “to awaken possibility in other people” and he knows he is being successful in this when he sees their eyes shining. To him, “success is not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.

Read on for Ben Zander’s amazing TED talk and no how I see that link to my focus on Beautiful Leadership. (more…)

Profitable, difficult or important

children important work

Is being a parent Profitable? No. Is being a parent Difficult? Sometimes, sure. Is being a parent Important? Absolutely. To me, it is the most important and valuable work I’ve ever or will ever do.

As I write this post the last of my three sons has headed out of London, ending a summer where I got to spend so much time with them all. Two of them are already “fully-fledged”, the third trying out his wings, so who knows when I will have so much time with them again. My reflection on that, then is on how important time spend with our children is.

Why, though, today’s title and thoughts around “Profitable, difficult or important” though?

Well, this came from a post this week from the man who, nearly a year ago, inspired me to commit to posting daily. First was the commitment to make it a habit, then the habit became embedded, now I simply write. I am a writer.

Writing is something I do not because it is profitable, nor do I find it difficult. I do, however, find it to be important, both for me as a human to share what I learn and also from reflections from others on the difference it has made for them. If I can touch one person with what I write, it is important to me.

So, the post title here comes from the man himself, Seth Godin, and today I give you his post this week: (more…)

Don’t be more than one hilltop ahead


What can Don Quixote teach us about leadership?

Today I saw this post from a leader in the UK I respect and am frequently inspired by, and it had me recall a leadership parable I have often found of value with clients, so will share it now. Who would have thought Don Quixote could teach us about leadership? (more…)

Premium means Premium


**Guest posts welcome at any time, I love to collaborate and to share learnings!**

Today a guest post from friend and past colleague, Alan Wick.  Alan is a great coach, passionate about empowering entrepreneurs. He listens and talks softly, and at the same time everything he says is direct, powerful and on the money.

I loved his post this week on LinkedIn, and he has kindly allowed me to share it today.

This succinct article makes a clear point to me around leadership. As I wrote about earlier, “how you do anything is how you do everything“, in this case, how Bowers & Wilkins responded to Alan’s customer need surely is reflected in everything they do.

As Alan wrote, then…..

Premium means Premium (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…)

Ed Percival – my greatest mentor in life


Ed Percival.

Yoda, Obi-Wan, #BeMoreYou, Shaman, Discordian Pope.

Last week Chip Conley posed a question to our Modern Elder group of:

“What are the best qualities of a mentor and who’s been your best mentor in life so far?”

The second part of that question is easy for me. I have had quite a number of amazing mentors and immensely grateful to all of them. That I can put one of them above all others says so much about how amazing he was, and again regular readers will know I speak of the late, great Ed Percival.

Today I reflect on what mentoring means for becoming and being a Modern Elder, and more, to reflect on those best qualities that made Ed Percival my greatest mentor. (more…)

Elite Lessons – Making failure possible


In order to make failure possible, you first have to try, to commit, to go where it may scare or even terrify you, to be vulnerable, to say “this might not work” and do it anyway.

Very recently I was disappointed to witness this first hand in someone. They were presented with a real opportunity, yet my sense is that it felt too scary to them to try, so instead, they creating a rationale for them to choose to back away and shut down. Rather than risk failure, they chose not to commit, to make the effort, to try.

By making the choice not to try, as Cate Campbell notes (see letter below) that person “let the fear of failure destroy the possibility of success”. We all have our own journey to go on, our own choices to make, and reflecting on that experience, today I’ll riff on this with lessons from two leaders. (more…)

Ichi-Go Ichi-E : No ordinary moments


Quite a view, isn’t it?

In my life, I’ve travelled to around 70 countries, but still, my favourite city is Edinburgh.

This week I was up there from London for an overnight business visit with a friend and collaborator and stayed the night before the meeting with him and his lovely family. They took me along with them when they were invited to view the wondrous Edinburgh Festival Fireworks that evening from the vantage point of a penthouse apartment.

As we stood there, my friend and I shared a moment of silence where we simply reflected on the beauty of the moment. I am reasonably well travelled, but he has quite literally travelled around the world multiple times and, by his count, visited over 130 countries. He too, in that moment, recognised how special the view was, the city of Edinburgh is. Nothing needed to be spoken. It was one of those moments of presence and wonder.

It was one of those moments that the Japanese call Ichi-Go Ichi-E

ichigo ichie

That evening watching the fireworks brought me back to my very first post on this site, “Life is Wild and Precious, Be Present“, I wrote there first about the Mary Oliver poem that finishes with the line: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”, then went on to talk about that Japanese phrase, saying:

“Ichigo Ichie is the “appreciation of the ephemeral character of any encounters with people, things or events in life”, or, as my friend Morgan DaCosta puts it “no ordinary moments !”.”

So, as we watched the fireworks, I allowed myself to stop thinking about our work meeting the next day. In fact I stopped thinking entirely. I simply was present. It was a moment, an evening of magic and wonder.

I often say “Management is about DOing, Leadership is about BEing”. Leadership itself starts with self-leadership, so that night was a powerful reminder to me of the power of presence, of simply BEING.

Elite Lessons – Consistency over Innovation

ride as much eddie merckx

This photo of and quote from the great Eddy Merckx hangs in a frame behind the spinning instructor’s bike at Revolutions in the Cayman Islands.

As I sit writing on a wet Sunday morning nursing a sore Achilles tendon, I’m missing my regular Sunday morning ride and would love to have got out on the bike, even on a wet day. After all, cyclists say “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing!”.

I’m also reminded of this Merckx quote, and, quite sometime after I left Cayman for London, today I will reflect on the lessons I learned from spinning at Revolutions and from that thought from Merckx and distil this to one thought on the value (in the right circumstances) of consistency over innovation.