Blog posts

    The Remarkable Thing about This Very Unremarkable Man

    On Wednesday, 4th April 1883, an unremarkable 59 year old man, overwhelmed by a Measles Virus, died in Adderley Road, Birmingham. At his bedside was his eldest son who had walked over from nearby Alum Rock Road, and stayed with him as his Father’s life ebbed away.

    The dead man (pictured right), born in 1823, lived his early life in the Leicestershire village of Croft. From the age of 15, he’d worked as an agricultural labourer. His employer could, without any notice, lower his wages or turn him out of his home if he became too sick to work.

    The Real Time Management Secret

    Brain Clock

    It’s the one course we trainers never want to be late for: Time Management. It skewers your credibility from the outset if you are! But, over the years, I’ve sometimes had my doubts about the whole notion of ‘time management’.

    Let me explain why. Ask delegates to list the behaviours that beset the poor time manager and they’ll usually come up with an inventory of ‘what-not-to-do’ that would grace any time management textbook. Again, ask the same group to list the positive time management behaviours and they know all the answers.

    Why This Sentence Might Make Me Want to Kill You

    Matt Lucas

    OK, I own up. It irritates me every time I read it. Of course I understand the point the clever little sentence I’m about to tell you is trying to express, but it has the same effect as:

    a) People in their cars who indicate to turn right AFTER they’ve stopped to turn right

    b) People who say ‘pacific’ when the word they mean is ‘specific’

    c) Middle-aged men who whistle tunelessly

    What’s the sentence? It’s: ‘There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback’.

    One Reason Why Many Good Managers Do Not Delegate

    A Police Officer once told me that if you could just get a young child to stop at the pavement when crossing, then road traffic accidents involving children would plummet. Apparently, for whatever reason, when a child wants to be on the opposite pavement all other factors – including oncoming traffic – will even enter their consciousness. So they run out and…

    I always recall that conversation when thinking about the main reason I believe many fine managers do not delegate.

    A Christmas Tale For A Change

    Christmas Baubles

    A man was snoozing one Christmas Eve when he thought he heard, from deep inside his heavy slumber, someone padding past his chair.

    He awoke, and was startled to see a rotund figure with a foaming white beard staring back down at him.

    “Are you awake? Haven’t got long. Busy night!”

    The man pulled the back of his hand across his eyes. “I… I think so, but…”

    “No time for questions!” Father Christmas snapped back. “Come over here and look at this snooker table.”

    “Snooker table? I don’t have a snooker table.”

    Three Companies Weakening the Spirit of Business Integrity

    Integrity Picture

    Here’s a quick question to kick off this week’s blog.

    The following statements are taken from the websites of three different companies. Can you guess which companies they are?

    1.    ‘X believes that conducting business ethically and striving to do the right thing are vital to the success of the company.’

    2.    “We spend money on things that really matter and believe that frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention.”

    3.    “Our business practices are beyond reproach.”

    Don’t just do Something. Sit There!

    His name was Gavin and it was the closest I’ve ever come to being physically assaulted at work.

    Some years ago, I was involved with an interview panel looking to appoint a manager from a group of Team Leaders.

    Someone had tipped off Gavin that the job was his. And, as’ Gavin’ and ‘modesty’ were not two words you’d ever find in the same sentence when thinking about him, this misled applicant viewed the process as a foregone conclusion.

    Unfortunately, the interview panel chose another applicant; I was asked to feed back the bad news.

    When Winning Goals Become Own Goals

    Own Goal

    Never argue with a referee.

    As a schoolboy footballer, spindly legs emerging from shorts always one size too large for me, I soon learned that they have an irritating habit of never changing their mind.

    “Come on, Ref!” was one of the most common implorings I remember, usually with my right arm held aloft beseeching the official to whistle the obvious offside. But, inevitably, the official remained unmoved and I quickly began to realise a life lesson: don’t waste time with battles you ain’t going to win.

    Why Visions Don’t Set the World on Fire

    Joan of Arc Image

    I really don’t like visions. Not the Joan of Arc types, you understand. No, I’m talking about company visions. Management Gurus have been peddling them for years and made a heap of money getting companies to think them up.

    But I’m not so sure.

    Many years ago when I was first a trainer at Avis, one of my tasks was to teach the newly inducted employees the vision statement for the company. Every month, as the Induction course came around, I had to look up the vision statement and remind myself of what it was.

    What Doctor Who Taught Me about Failure

    I’m not a fan of Doctor Who but Laura, my 21 year-old daughter, is and that’s why I found myself traipsing around after her today at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.

    Of course, any interest I had lay in the early reincarnations of the characters I knew as a child. And I now know that ‘reincarnation’ is the right word. I never realised, until Laura explained it to me, that each Doctor Who regenerates when he is mortally wounded or old. After the transformation they emerge with a new personality.

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