Friday, 25 January 2013


I’ve sat in front of this machine all day and only now feel I’ve got some of the stuff I wanted to do, done.

Things are made worse when laptops are taken away on business trips too.  It’s all to easy to get them out at the airport and in-flight to ‘work’ . But I pack mine in the hold as I know NOTHING gets done.

Watching some folk in the airport and on flights this week, here’s three conversations I think should have happened.


“Ashok, how are things?”

“Not so good boss. I got out the laptop in the lounge and brought up the PowerPoint.  I fiddled around with a few fonts, changed the background colours a few times, watched a YouTube video of a horse in Tescos and then moved slide 4 to slide position 18 and then back again. I moved that vertical bar on the left of the screen from left to right which made the appearance of all the slides go larger and then smaller and settled on how it was in the default setting. The new animation package on Win 8 is great so I made the first set of bullet points slide in like a skidding car and made all the strategy slides transition like breaking glass. I watched another YouTube video of a monkey riding a pig and then took out all the animations, shut down and boarded the plane”

“no different content then?”



“Simon, good to see you – how are the figures after the weekend”

“same as last time boss. All I really did on the business flight was change fonts in each column for 10mins until my meal came and then had the laptop sit on my drinks tray until the battery ran out. I was watching Batman for most of the flight. I paused it a couple of times and added a few formulas.  Most of the time #REF kept popping up in the menu bar so I gave up. With over 450 rows of numbers I figured I could write the words BATMAN LOVES ROBIN in the cells and no-one would notice. In the end I saved it under another name figures_edit_Sun_flight_01_Jan but nothing really has changed”


“Tracey! What news on the comms project?”

“As yes, I got all emails from head office that I had been cc’d on and spent the flight replying to all with either ‘yes’ or ‘fine’ to everything and replying all back. I thought that was a useful and totally productive way of using our IT resources!”

Stop taking your laptops away with you.

It’s wasting your time.

It’s wasting the earth’s energy resources.

And like this blog, only a few people appreciate the effort you made.


Friday, 18 January 2013

snow makes decision making simple

Another few cms of frosted water lands across the UK and Britain stops. We love a good snow drama and no doubt the papers will produce similar headlines to what they did last year.

No it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in the UK that the snow has fallen/is falling. We obsess about the weather here on a daily instance. All conversations start with it and should you want to be a spy for a foreign country, please just strike up a conversation with us about the climate and we’ll suspect nothing.

That all said, the drop in temperature seems to do something to our powers of thinking, analysis, perspective and problem solving. Look no further than the data to draw your own interpretations.

The number of people whose car won’t start and/or get into trouble requiring rescue call out will be in its THOUSANDS.

The number of people who cancel meetings or work from home will be in its THOUSANDS.

Schools will close, shops will shut yet we’ll all have a valid (but irrational reason really) for doing so.

I have a theory that our brains ability to think about the future is high jacked at the mention of snow.  We take the path of least resistance.

We could check the car battery and pull it out of the car and into the house to keep warm and put die-icer in the doors locks to stop them freezing and a blanket on the windscreen to stop the frost. We could email and text everyone at the meeting tomorrow in advance to make sure that we’re all making special effort to get in and manage our travel and physicality so that we arrive on time, in a good mental state, prepared and ready to go; like any other given day. We can also ensure our children have adequate plans to get home without us.

This requires effort, energy and forethought.

Instead we cancel the day and play snowballs.


I think there is a great deal of learning in our snow approach if we lifted the DNA of ‘least resistance’ to other aspects of our lives when it comes to solving problems. Does the ppt. need ANOTHER page, do we need to involve yet ANOTHER stakeholder, do we need to ask yet ANOTHER boss and ‘just run things by him just in case’. The answer is no.

It’ll always be no.

And those who disagree are the ones who aren’t having fun right now in the soft blanket of happiness that’s just landed outside....



Friday, 11 January 2013

There’s an often misquoted saying from Alice in Wonderland that goes “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”.

The actual passage for the literature nerds is:

 Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don’t much care where--" said Alice.

"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"--so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you’re sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough.”



We like this.

We’re spending a good part of the year with our clients aligning and exciting them around their visions for the future. It’s often the case we spend a great deal of time explaining that the vision is made up of many parts.  The mission of the business, the meaning the business has in the world, the reason for its existence, the process on how it’ll achieve its strategy and guidance on people behaviour – all this we think make part of the business vision.

How easy to get lost our clients can become.

So I stick to the simple questions that are often the most profound.

What do you want?

How will you get it?

How will you behave during that process?


Have these answers as your north star and you’ll always know where you’re going.  Good advice I say for the start of the new year...