Just in case you think you may have stumbled upon a naughty site – hold hard!  These are a couple of twitter feeds I publish – #WILT and #WILY – are What I learnt today and What I learnt yesterday.  Everyday is a school-day, as my friend and colleague Wendy Smith says – and she is right.  Ideas and learning is all around us.

Reflecting on reflection - The Lakes at their best

Reflecting on reflection – The Lakes at their best

1. This morning, we had a bit of flooding around and about.  Mostly people were immensely courteous.  Flashing you of upcoming danger (fallen tress – full across the road water lying there etc) – and t really helped to keep us safe.  Coming back on the Henley to Marlow road – we were traversing a foot deep of water, about 50 metres long – and the safest place to do this is straddling the centre line – right – on top of the brow of the road.  We were all doing that – alternate passing, first east to west then vice versa.  Until we started off and an anagram of Newark (start with W) in a Land Rover came ploughing through at 30 + mph – and we had to all drive out of his way.  I do hope he has an awful Christmas, and can get some special treatment for his very small nether regions.  It is probably only the size of his brain.  It costs nothing to be polite my mum always said (RIP mum).

2. Delegation prevents stress.  We are sharing Christmas food.  Our house for the main bit.  Then instead of falling asleep – onto puddings, cheese and port to our other family guests house.  It feels wonderfully civilised.  Now, could we do that more at work?

3. Enjoy the fact that most of us who are on call 24/7 (lap top, office, mobile and tablet) will have very little e-mail traffic for the next ten days.  Chill.  It is needed.

4. And give thanks for all those who keep the country running – health workers, Salvation Army, those helping the homeless, our religious leaders, the shop workers and even the sportspeople – thanks team – we do appreciate it

Nelson Mandela

I run a lot of Leadership courses.  We often start with a round table discussion on ‘leaders you admire’  Whether you do just leaders (when we get a mixture of politicians, present and past, plus a smattering of media savvy business people), or if you ask for ‘idols – people you admire’ – Nelson Mandela would always be chosen by at least one of the participants.  And often, others would jump in saying ‘I had him too!’

File:Nelson Mandela-2008 (edit).jpg


Everything said last night and this morning could be cited.  One of the BBC’s Africa Service correspondents – Nomsa Maseko – was 10 when  Mandela was released.  Her story of seeing her mother in tears watching the TV, and she not understanding why – ‘are you ill?’ – mum shook her, and said ‘Nomsa, you will remember this day for the rest of your life.  You are now free’.  And seeing pictures of The Nobel Peace prize being presented to President Mandela and ex President FW de Klerk (The last white President – and possibly the bravest white man in South Africa at that time) – how can we not be inspired?

(And listen again to BBC Radio 4 “Today” on the iPlayer – 7.45 Bishop Tom Butler, and 8.55 – a round table including Nomsa – BBC at it’s absolute best)

Words like humility, emotional rapport, love in action, charming – all serve to show a normal person achieving abnormal things.

27 years incarcerated – and the regime trying to break both the prisoners and their supporters – but he emerged both with his mission intact, and with reconciliation in mind.  My wife said ‘it feels like his life was on hold for that time – and he was blessed with more years of very active life to make South Africa better’.  Yes, that’s how it felt.

We cannot all become like him.  But we can emulate some of the ideas and ideals.  Even if it is standing up to a bully at work, whistle blowing, smiling at each other, listening well, having conviction in your aims and having very strong core values – you are being a little bit Mandela.

What a legacy.  What a man.  May he rest in peace.



Positive Repeating?

“Better than best?  Things are going great – don’t rock the boat!  Just keep on…”

We’ve all had these sentiments at some stage – and it can be a dangerous place to be…

You know what to do when things go awry. That’s when you earn your money as a leader? Isn’t that what you are there for?

I agree – professional problem solving is a core management competence, for sure.  But consider this take from one of my clients.

“It’s really pleasing to see that we have done so well.  The only concern is that we cannot seem to identify the factors that have made it such a profitable year. It is important that we identify these factors to make sure that we keep doing the right thing in the future”



(from my colleagues at The Trainers Library )

Anyone else blown away?  It always feels easier to sort things out if we have a problem! But the problem here is very real.  If you don’t know what made ‘it’ successful, then you are basically hoping for the same. Like non SMART objectives, you really are just wishing. “My objective is to improve communication across the organisation this year”. How? What actions will you take? What are you going to do differently?

See what I mean?

If you had a problem, say “we have lost 10% market share to one main competitor in the last 6 months”. What would you do?

  1. Analyse deeper (geography, product splits, customer feedback or whatever)
  2. Check if there are any places where you are achieving against trend
  3. Get appropriate team members together to create the fight back plan

(Ok you may have deeper methods – SWOT, PESTLE and creative problem solving techniques – but these are the general titles and aims?)

Why shouldn’t the ‘repeating good’ be very similar?

  1. Analyse
  2. Check for “against trend” examples
  3. Create plan with the right people using this data

ACC – a new acronym!  I have arrived!

And do you know what’s wrong with all this?  We will still bowl along into a complacent failure because if we don’t know why good has happened, we will smile our way into stagnation – and because it’s going well, we just never think to find out why.