Tag: Wisdom

Being a Vulnerable Visionary


“I think the best entrepreneurs are Vulnerable Visionaries. Its a combination of being vulnerable and having confidence.” ~ Chip Conley

I have referenced Chip Conley in my daily posts multiple times, with his concept of “Vulnerable Visionary” one learning I repeatedly share.

Today’s post dives into Chip’s thoughts on what it means to be a Vulnerable Visionary and why it is so important.

I then go on to coin my own Emotional Equation (Chip’s idea too!) on being a Vulnerable Visionary.

Finally, I’ll link this all into how my belief in this concept informed the development and articulation of the types of leaders I wish to attract to work with me and who I love to work with to make a difference!

I hope all of this has value to you in considering your own leadership as well as those who have taught and inspired you.


Lust for…Responsibility?


A wonderful quote from one of my favourite books, “Dune”, the 1965 science fiction masterpiece by Frank Herbert focussed around clans and corporations fighting for power, where power means control of a powerful (interesting that choice of descriptor!) drug that is essential for navigating trade routes, called “Spice”.

As Lord Acton famously noted:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, “Language, Truth and Trust“, last week I attended a massively thought-provoking talk on language and leadership. At the Q&A afterwards, a gentleman sitting next to me quietly added his wisdom to the conversation.

“power is the ability to make things happen, responsibility is driven by attempting to answer the question: In whose interest is the power being used?”

He then went on to ask us to consider the impact of a shift in language from leadership being focussed around the word responsibility rather than the current association with the word power. in closing his brief contribution, he noted:

“have you ever heard anyone talk about lust for responsibility?” (more…)

Language, Truth and Trust


One of the things I love about London is the ease of attending talks and workshops and learning from amazing intellects. Last week was one such occasion where I went to a talk by Dr Christophe Fricker and his colleague Cory Massaro on Language and Leadership.

I then had the lovely opportunity to have lunch with these two gentlemen, a conversation which flowed and ranged widely, very inspiring. I hope to talk more to them and then post something about their talk soon.

For now, a few thoughts that came to me from that, starting with a thought from Cory:

“you know a word by the company it keeps” (more…)

Patient capital – is not long term enough


“I don’t like the term patient capital, that is not long term enough”

This line was spoken last night at dinner by legendary Scots investor Sir Angus Grossart.

He then noted that he is a long term investor and that he feels he thinks longer term than Warren Buffett.

I joked about this with him, wondering what quantum realm of time thinking he uses as such a relative youth (he is 82) to Warren Buffett (88) and Charlie Munger (95), when Buffett famously says: “Our favourite holding period is forever”, so I’m intrigued as to quite how long term Sir Angus is in his thinking! (more…)

Life is about the people you meet


A personal blog today and also one where I wish to share from what I took from a day of shock news.

I write this shortly after receiving the unexpected news that someone very close to me had passed away.

I got the news at 9am as I was about to start a day of five meetings in person and on video around the world.

I was initially frozen and in shock. I then burst into tears as I stepped onto a commuter train. A moment later I remembered a lyric from a song that goes: “life carries on in the people you meet” and I decided to carry on with my day. The dear person who had just died was all about living life in each moment, so to honour them I chose to do the same. (more…)

Why (and how) capitalism needs to be reformed

why capitalism needs to be reformed

Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Capital has a personal net worth reported to be over $18bn, sourced from his hugely lucrative hedge fund business.

When he wrote a 7,500-word opinion piece this month called “Why (and how) capitalism needs to be reformed”, this created a stir for sure. I don’t agree with all of his points, but I find it powerful that someone who has made billions from capitalism will now speak so clearly about how the entire system needs reform.

With approaching 600 daily articles on this site, themes keep repeating, plus there is always an element of curation of ideas, sometimes simply sharing something I’ve read from others with minimal added opinions of my own.

Two points only from me today before sharing Ray Dalio’s article:

  1. Inequality and the need to reform capitalism are repeated themes for me on this site. Curating some of my own articles on this, start with “Purpose, People, Planet. The new triple bottom line.“, “Income inequality – history is a teacher“, “CEO Pay and Ugly Leadership“, “Beautiful Leadership – Purpose and the Corporation“.
  2. Narrative is key to making your point. As I was taught long ago: “never make a point without telling a story”. Ray Dalio makes his key points in the first four paragraphs of his article, as not everyone will read 7,500 words. He also begins right away with a story. For more, read “There I stood on the burning deck“.

Oh, and Ray Dalio also created the wonderful “How the Economic Machine works”. If you’d like to get a distilled understanding of Economics, watch this 31 minute video. (more…)

Don’t tell and yell. Ask

alex ferguson yelling

Sir Alex Ferguson in customary pose, yelling at his players

Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest football coaches, was famous for “giving his players the hairdryer treatment”, ie yelling at them.

Today a repost of a wonderful interview this week by Kieran Shannon of the Irish Examiner of Wayne Goldsmith.

I have been focussed for many years on the overlaps between coaching sports and coaching individuals and business. I am privileged to count as a dear friend one of the swimming worlds all-time great coaches, Ian Armiger (who shared this article me too).

I’ve learned as much or more from top sports coaches about human behaviour as any business or leadership thinker, speaker, consultant or coach.

So many nuggets in this powerful article, but one that  truly stands out from me and is so, so relevant to all forms of coaching, mentoring, management, leadership:

“As a coach, start connecting with the players, even if they’re as young as six. Don’t tell and yell — ask.” ~ Wayne Goldsmith

He then goes on to explain that most coaches spend 70% of their time commentating and otherwise being unconstructive, only 30% being of true value. Oh, and that a calm coach is far more valuable than one who yells.

As for Sir Alex Ferguson, as I wrote about in: “Ferguson and Cantona – Vulnerability and Strength“, there was much more to Sir Alex than the “hairdryer”.

Enjoy the article and I hope you take at least two or three things from it you can apply yourself in your life, work, family. If you are a sports coach, perhaps you too can learn specifics from Wayne Goldsmith too.

Oh, and as to family, the final part of the article talks about swim parents not allowing their children to take self-responsibility for what they need and need to do. How often do we do that as leaders and managers too? Allow your people, your kids, your community to step up rather than you jump in to fix things. You may be powerfully amazed at what happens.

So, enjoy the article, the bold type parts are my contributions to highlight certain sections. I give you just one here:

“Creativity comes from difference. Being able to see different connections. Constantly rejecting what is and looking at what could be.”

I hope you find more for yourself too.


Writing I Love – Love the questions themselves

rilke love the questions

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

A few days ago I wrote: “Sometimes the question is more important than the answer” with a take for business leaders and individuals on allowing time on the question rather than racing to make a decision or to make decision after decision in what may be the wrong direction.

I am often inspired by beauty, whether in nature, human behaviour, art, music. Often it is beautiful writing that inspires me, so today I share a quote around sitting with questions from Rilke, author of a favourite book that I highly recommend: “Letters to a Young Poet”.


Price is what you pay. Value is what you get


“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”

A favourite quote of mine from one of the world’s great investors, Warren Buffett, a wise elder who I’ve constantly learned from for well over two decades.

Today I’d like you to consider two things. One is the price you pay and the value you get as a customer. However, the second may take some deeper thought. What is the price you charge and the value you provide to your customers?

In the last few days I’ve had two experiences.

One was a poor experience with a car rental that has me thinking about my own choices as a customer around the price I pay and the value I get.

The other is that I’ve been contacted to support someone at a critical point in selling their business. When looking at what to charge them for that support, am reminded of a parable. (more…)

I’m sorry. What I did was wrong…


We’ve all experienced and given a “non-apology” apology.

You know what that feels like to hear and to give. Incomplete or worse. The least apologetic “non-apology” will both try to justify what was said or done with excuses, then say something like “I’m sorry if you were offended”.

No matter how triggered we are, there is never an excuse to say something in reaction to it that offends. It is rare for me to do so, but recently it happened. I said something in reaction to a statement that triggered me. The result of me reacting was that the target of my words was deeply hurt by what I said.

Suffice to say I felt terrible.

I didn’t apologise in the moment as things had become so heated. Instead, I came back the next day to give my apology, ensuring I gave a true apology and not a non-apology.

So, how can we give a true apology? (more…)

Profit for Impact

TM Profit for Impact Graphic v3_B

In January I wrote: “Purpose, People, Planet. The new triple bottom line.

That article puts forward that it is time for a new triple bottom line, one that creates:

“a “Righteous Flywheel”, where the unerring focus on Purpose+People+Planet as drivers allows the corporation to make Profits, which mean it can then focus more on Purpose+People+Planet and so make more Profit, and so on in a “virtuous circle”.”

It also links to three further articles, each with a case study of a company of scale that has lived this and proven that it creates the righteous flywheel.

At the time of writing, I noted that I’d love to create a graphic to represent this. Well, with the creative skills of Martha Rowe (who has done all the graphic and web design for me for some time), now we have one here. Thank you Martha!

Put as a formula:

Purpose + People + Planet = Profit

However, the formula looks like an endgame of profit, whereas the flywheel graphic highlights that it is a cycle.

I’d love to talk to you about this, and to get more examples of companies operating in this way!

It’s not what you look at that matters

what do you see first

What do you see first in the picture above?

In looking at it, did you notice yourself slowing down and focussing closely on the image?

In my most recent three daily posts, I have focussed on a theme of reducing and simplifying.

When we do this, we are able to bring more focus to what we are observing, the person we are listening to.

When we give ourselves space to do that, as one of my favourite philosophers said:

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

~ Henry David Thoreau


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