Just One Step From Stupid!

crisis failure success Apr 12, 2018

It had been a good day, one of those busy but satisfying ones. I was volunteering last week at a student convention in Somerset, hundreds of teenagers and their heroic teachers come together for competition, friendship, sugar overloads and no sleep; what more could they ask for?

For most of my time there I was floor manager for the theatre where the students were performing one act plays, monologues, famous speeches and more. My job was to get the performers in the right place at the right time, control the audience and chivvy the judges. Towards the end of a very busy day the judges told me how much they enjoyed having me overseeing the event; I was complimented on how smoothly things ran, how effectively I managed the audience and how much easier their job was with me there.

After the last performance I had an hour to spare, so I headed back to my room for a shower. I have to say, I was feeling pretty good, grateful for the day and pleased about how my skills transferred into a...

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When You Are Wrong, Own It!

leadership Mar 21, 2018

None of us like being wrong, let me rephrase that - I hate being wrong, but guess what? I will get it really upside down sometimes. I think my wife believes I have a special gifting in this area, for getting things wrong I mean. If you lead a team, there will be occasions when your team will fail and you will need to step up, at other times all the fault will lay at your feet.

One of the most annoying human foibles is pretending it wasn't our responsibility or trying to deflect the blame, this is wrong on several counts:

  • Everyone knows, so stop pretending
  • It is disrespectful to anyone who was hurt through our actions
  • People lose respect for us
  • People won't trust us in the future
  • If we pretend the problem isn't ours it won't get fixed.

In the news this week we read of how The Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has been cross examined over allegations of sexual abuse by clergy. Did he personally carry out any of these terrible things, absolutely not, but he has the big desk and...

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There are Lots of Cones

It was one of those strange moments where your brain connects two seemingly unrelated things that reveals or confirms an insight; my latest was whilst driving with my wife to visit her parents this last weekend. We were trundling along with the Saturday traffic through the Cambridgeshire countryside when just over the brow of a hill a set of temporary traffic lights appeared, which could have been less than ideal if the traffic had been moving faster.

As we sat there waiting for the lights to change I noticed the bright orange cones and plastic fencing, but then realised that something was not quite right. All the bright colours indicated work, but a closer inspection revealed that there were no people, no equipment, no piles of aggregate and no holes in the road. It was as if someone just had time to set the lights up before knocking off and abandoning everything for a start on Monday morning, leaving us motorists the pleasure of queueing patiently all weekend.

As we drove off...

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The Time of Your Life

I have fond memories as six year old of those hot summer days when the school dinner breaks seemed to last for hours, and of playing simple games with the innocence that only a child can enjoy (it was the 1960's, think Call The Midwife); with the girls in their summer dresses and us boys in our grey flannel shorts (a left over from WW2) a perennial favourite was,'What's The Time Mr Wolf'. A ridiculously simple game at which we all did our best to avoid the wolf's hungry jaws; the person playing wolf would name a time when asked and the other children would dare themselves to get closer and closer, until that is, the answer was, dinner time! At which point the group would scatter with squeals and taunts of, "you can't catch" me as the wolf did his or her best to apprehend a victim.

The secret to What's The Time Mr Wolf, is to guess when the wolf would call dinner; in real life the consequences for not knowing the time can be considerably worse than a sticky hand on your...

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I Was Nearly Arrested

When we look at the challenges in politics or business around the world, we can see the opposing teams trying to face each other down and out do each one another. I don't know about you, but sometimes I look at them and think both sides are wrong, or perhaps I have to take a neutral position as I am unsure about the facts.

The thing is, a lot of the time neutral isn't so neutral after all. Did Switzerland really not care who won WW2? Are we so deflated as human beings that we cannot make an informed judgement on the important things in life? The reality is that when we say we don't agree with either side, we have by definition set up another argument, we are actually offering an alternative position. 

To bring this closer to home, are we taking up neutral positions that are undermining our growth and the successful outcomes we say we want? I hear people say things like, "he's into all that personal development stuff and networking, which is good, but it's not for me." Or, "she...

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