Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Simplicity Blog - The End

After five and a half years I’ve decided to suspend my precious Simplicity Blog. Right now and for the foreseeable future I’m simply too busy to dedicate the time that Simplicity Blog deserves.

I’ve always taken great pride in writing (hopefully) interesting and regular postings and I just can’t stand the thought of staggering along with rare postings every few weeks. That just doesn't fit the image of Simplicity Blog because I’ve always loved our dynamic discussions. I think it has provided interest and - dare I suggest - even entertainment for readers.

It has been an absolute pleasure for me to write a total of 1071 posts to my Simplicity Blog since January 2005 and from links I’ve made through comments I now have long standing friendships with many people from all over the world.

Always keep it simple my friends -
Bye for now!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

UK is the best place to die

I've just come across a fascinating article called "The Quality of Death: Ranking End-of-Life Care Across the World"

Dying is something not many of us really want to think about but it is surely reassuring to know the UK has come out on top when ranking 40 countries on the quality of death. It seems the UK is the ‘best’ place to die. Dying is one of those subjects that feels a bit taboo - even to write about but I suppose we all need to lobby for 'service excellence' in the delivery of care for people who are coming to the end of their lives.

I spent three years of my healthcare career based in a hospice. I found the front line folks who work directly with the patient and their family in end of life care to be totally inspirational.

Click here to read the report

Friday, July 09, 2010

Doctors and Leadership

Fascinating stuff about doctors in leadership positions currently in the news. Here are some random ‘Trevor’ thoughts.

In my experience the best combination for the leadership of any healthcare organisation has two key elements.

FIRSTLY a doctor who is committed and interested in the leadership and management functions (but most important is still in touch with clinical practice - i.e. still meets patients!)

SECONDLY that doctor is supported by a manager who takes care of the detail.

In various leadership positions during my healthcare career I loved working alongside a doctor. Doctors in leadership positions, supported by good management make things happen.


Doctors carry far more influence than managers with their medical colleagues.

In an unhealthy manager-doctor relationship there will be a gulf between the manager and the doctor. Often, I’m sad to say, because of ego ‘competition’ about who is the leader.

The best managers recognise the doctor is the politically important figure and the manager role is a supportive one.

When I worked alongside a doctor who was leader, whenever I had a controversial thing to do I would always ‘use’ the doctor to help me get the message over to other medical staff.

Here is some revolutionary thinking for you – guess what?

Doctors take more notice of Doctors.

Some managers try to ‘take on’ doctors as if it is some sort of battle and the manager invariably loses that war.

I always took the view that my role as the manager was to facilitate change; implement plans and strategies; in summary make things happen. The doctor took the leadership/visionary role.

Despite what some managers like to believe, the REALITY is that doctors wield the most power, politically in healthcare.

When I worked in a management role with a doctor interested in the leadership management thing I cherished him/her and kept him/her happy by getting on with the detailed stuff of management while supporting the doc to make key leadership decisions.

Doctors are no different than the rest of us; they have exactly the same issues. If managers just get alongside them; take some time to get to know them; and work with them, there are so many win-win situations. I’ve seen managers fall on their sword because they didn’t understand this simplicity.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

My FINAL word on England's World Cup Disaster


I look at the way Germany has developed a young team by blooding youngsters and I’m convinced it’s the only way we can go.

We can learn so much from the fantastic German professionalism. When do we ever hear of player indiscipline and scandals regarding German players like the stuff we constantly read about England players? – Never is my best guess!


It seems to me our players are more interested in the glamour side of football and the spin offs rather than getting their heads down and playing for the team.

There is no ‘hunger’ in our England players it seems to me.

Sir Alex Ferguson always talks about the need for Manchester United players to have hunger. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are perfect examples. They have all played at the very top level for Ferguson at United for almost 20 years now and they are still ‘hungry’ despite being in their mid-30’s.

We hear Harry Redknapp on radio yesterday telling us that too many young players today are not prepared to put in the effort to keep ‘up there’ after they get some recognition.

So I come back to my suggestion that we get rid of all the dead wood in the England team – those senior players like Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Barry, Crouch, Carragher, Heskey and Ashley Cole all have to go - NOW. They are not going to be around in 2018 when we need a top class ‘TOGETHER’ team if we are going to seriously challenge for the World Cup - especially if the tournament is held in this country.

We should keep Wayne Rooney – make him Captain - and also keep Joe Cole who is clearly a committed player. Build the team around those two experienced players and pack the team with keen hungry young players building for 2018.

We can learn an awful lot from the German approach about where we go from here. The evidence is clear – Germany thrashed England and they thrashed Argentina with a bunch of young players who are hungry. They have grown up together and they play for each other – they play with a smile on their faces – clearly they enjoy it.

Sadly the entire England team do not look hungry or happy – they look over fed and lacking in the dedication the Germans exude!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

English Football - No Leaders!

So England crash out of the World Cup pathetically yet again.

The German team were made to look really good and they fully deserved their success. My feeling is this German team are nowhere near good enough to win the World Cup. The truth is we were second rate and despite my eternal optimism and my rose tinted view of English football I have to seriously ask what is wrong with our beautiful game.

We won the World Cup in 1966 and since then we have not looked remotely good enough to win either the World Cup or the European Championship in the 44 subsequent years.

We have some good players and in Fabio Capello we have one of the best managers in the world.

I have come to the conclusion that leadership is lacking. That is leadership on the field and in the Football Association. There is no vision, no purpose and no strategy.

When we look back at 1966 we had a leader in the late Alf Ramsey a manager who had a vision; we also had an inspirational leader on the field in the immortal form of the late Bobby Moore.

Where are the leaders in 2010?

If we are lucky enough to be awarded the World Cup for 2018 I suggest we develop a vision NOW for that tournament. And to develop that vision we need a leader. I have no idea where that leader is going to come from but if we do not have some leadership we might as well get used to at least another 44 years of winning absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tom Mabe

Do you, like me, get fed up with those persistent and annoying tele-sales callers?

Here’s a hilarious way of getting rid of them. I love it ….. I wish I could be so creative.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Professor George Giarchi - A Special Man

On a trip down to Devon for a few days break, Annie and I met up yesterday with my academic supervisor Professor George Giarchi in Plymouth.

George is 81 years old and working as a lecturer at Plymouth University. He was telling me his is still a mere youngster when we consider the surgeon in the US who apparently still performs cardiac surgery at 94 years of age.

George tells me he thinks he will have to retire in July 2011 when he will be 82. George is not looking forward to it it. ‘What will I do?’ he said.

He went on to explain how he will be speaking in three different Cities in widespread parts of Britain over the next two weeks; as well as fulfilling his teaching commitments; and his research responsibilities; and writing chapters of various books. This is a typical working schedule for the great man.

George is simply inspirational.

There are many people in my life who have inspired me. George has to be close to the top of the list.

God bless you George – you are a very special man

Come on England!!

Cometh the hour Comneth the man!!

Tomorrow is the day we need a real performance from England.

For the last 10 days I’ve felt totally frustrated and yet still optimistic.

It seems to me the England team always puts us fans through hell in every major tournament but up to this point we’ve never gone out of a tournament with a whimper. The English fighting spirit must come through tomorrow when we need it most.

I’m fed up with back biting from the media about all sorts of reasons why England will not progress. As far as I’m concerned we all need to get behind the team tomorrow. If we can get through to the last 16 we have a real chance in the knock out phase of the competition.

We have waited four long years for the World Cup to come around – let’s not waste this opportunity to restore the pride in our national football team.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Don Henley - Never Look Back!



Listening today to my favourite album of the immortal Don Henley, these lyrics from his classic “Boys of Summer” struck me.

“A voice inside my head said don't look back - you can never look back”

It’s been so true in my career and indeed my life.

Good memories are priceless and wonderful - we must cherish them … BUT sometimes I think looking back can be a negative thing because we may be hankering for something good that will not happen again – it’s gone - finished – history.

We have to learn from our experiences and then look at today and the future as far as I’m concerned.

I’d always rather be saying ‘what might be’ than ‘what might have been’

“Never look back” – co-incidentally Don Henley’s words are also appropriate today for Fabio Capello.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Keep the Faith

So England drew 1-1 with the US. No problem – I say keep the faith. England manager Fabio Capello is the right man for the job. My prediction is England will reach the semi final …. At least.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Nicky Gumbel on Kindness

Some profound words of wisdom below from Nicky Gumbel (pictured) on kindness – I find the words very powerful. Somehow or other words like ‘kindness’ seem a bit taboo in the hard, rational and (still sadly) 'macho' world of management.

My own feeling has always been that if we focused a bit more on words like kindness and a bit less on words like profit then there are win-win-win situations to be had. But then I’ve always been considered a ‘soft’ manager – a title I like because actually – soft is hard.

Anyway, here are Nicky’s words – please enjoy:

For over ten years now, Californian Radio DJ Brent Farris has been sending his listeners in Santa Rosa out to do ‘random acts of kindness’. They include tipping the person at the McDonald’s drive-through window with a hundred-dollar bill and paying for parking tickets for strangers. These random acts of kindness are selfless acts performed by people wishing to assist or cheer one another up. As people tap into their own generous human spirit and share kindness with one another, they discover for themselves the power of kindness to effect positive change both in their lives and in the lives of people around them. When kindness is expressed, healthy relationships are created, community connections are nourished, and people are inspired to pass kindness on.

Steve Sjogren wrote a book called "Conspiracy of Kindness." He started a church in Cincinnati, Ohio, that has grown rapidly to an average attendance of 7,500 in just fifteen years. Their motto is ‘Small things done with great love are changing the world.’ They have discovered the power and impact of ‘showing God’s love in practical ways.’

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Leadership is simple

Random Saturday evening thought....

Why do some people want to try and turn leadership into some objective, academic, rational science that can be taught in the classroom of a business school by people who have never been leaders?

Leadership is simple - do people want to follow you or not? Nothing more nothing less

Please discuss...... feel free to disagree ..

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Creativity and Schizophrenia


Fascinating article today at BBC News about the relationship between creativity and schizophrenia.

I worked for ten years as a manager in mental health services. I often found in discussions with those who didn't work in the area, that pre-conceptions and stigma associated with mental health were a massive barrier to understanding the subject .
I would LOVE to think the stigma is less nowadays .... I’m not sure.

Though I haven’t worked in mental health for more than 15 years I remain in touch with many people involved in mental health services and the word stigma still regularly crops up in conversation.

The saddest and most frustrating part of that stigma is that WE ALL walk a very thin dividing line between a state of 'mental health' and 'mental ill-health.'

I suffered serious acute clinical depression about 10 years ago to the extent I needed the sanctuary of hospital treatment.
Through a mixture of; the support of others; developing self-coping mechanisms; most importantly for the last six years the love and support of Annie and God I’ve never returned to that dark place. No pills were needed after the acute phase. By the way I'm not 'anti pills' - they work very well for some and that's great.

Take it from me acute clinical depression is a very scary place to be.

The results of this research don’t surprise me
Some of the most creative people I’ve met suffer dramatic mood swings.

It is refreshing to note the number of high profile people throughout history in all walks of lfe who have experienced mental health problems. The list includes Winston Churchill, Vincent Van Gogh, Florence Nightingale, Agatha Christie, Charles Darwin, John Nash and modern day icons Stephen Fry, John Cleese and Robbie Williams. A pretty impressive list I’d say and I’m sure there are many others.

Chartered psychologist Gary Fitzgibbon says an ability to "suspend disbelief" is one way of looking at creativity. "When you suspend disbelief you are prepared to believe anything and this opens up the scope for seeing more possibilities. Creativity is certainly about not being constrained by rules or accepting the restrictions that society places on us. Of course the more people break the rules; the more likely they are to be perceived as 'mentally ill'."

Today I hope you will join me in celebrating those people who are ‘labelled’ with a mental illness tag. It’s an unfair tag because it projects a negative view. Anyone grappling this day with mental health challenges has my understanding, my support, my respect and my love.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"I made a difference for that one"

One of the most frustrating things I hear is when a big organisation says things like;

“We are big so we can’t be as personal as the small company down the road. We just can’t get down into that detail. We have to think big numbers. We are dealing with thousands – not dozens of people. We have to make assumptions. We have to look at trends and aim to please the most we can. We cannot be as individual”

What a load of rubbish!

Caring for your customers is about the individual person in the organisation not about ‘the organisation.’ Every customer is important and you make a difference to every customer. A friend pointed me in the direction of this lovely story that says it all.

The Starfish Story

One day a young was walking along the beach when he noticed an old man picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the old man, he asked, “What are you doing?”


The old man replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. The sun is shining. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

The young man said,
“Don’t you realize there are hundreds of miles of beach and thousands of starfish? - You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the old man bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.

Then, smiling at the young man, he said...

“I made a difference for that one.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do you REALLY trust your employees?

I read one time that Google (the company) allows full time employees 20% of their week (1 day) to do what they like.

I love that concept – it works on an assumption that workers are adults and trusted. Google clearly believes employees will bring new ideas and enthusiasm to the organisation if they are allowed free time to think creatively. Seems to work pretty well for Google.

Most organisations still don’t recruit for attitude and train for skills. We still look at qualifications and experience as the be all and end all and then say – “We’ll work on their attitude once we’ve got them on board”

Speaking from my experience the challenge is this; how do we get hard-nosed, objective, rational managers who are primarily interested in bottom line stuff to buy into such liberated cultures?

In my own 35 years experience in the National Health Service if I suggested anyone on the payroll should be allowed to spend even 30 minutes a week doing what the hell they like that would probably result in me being referred to the mental health service.

Sad to say we still prefer to chain people (metaphorically) to their desks in far too many organisations and get them to fill in forms for permission to go to the little boys/girls room.

OK, OK …. Slight (ever so slight) exaggeration.

We still operate on the basis ‘If we know where they are, we know they are working’ – that has always been factually incorrect and is a crazy rationale in my opinion. Actually if you manage with that belief the only thing you know for certain is where someone is. I’m sorry but you just DON’T KNOW what OUTCOMES they are CAPABLE of producing simply because you know where they are – that make no sense whatsoever – there is just no positive correlation.

Summary: The best measurement of effectiveness is OUTCOME not hours worked – Simplicity isn’t it?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Customer service is about YOU not your title!

I recently asked folks on one of my customer service workshops to tell us some exceptional examples of customer service. Not ‘good’ not ‘great’ but exceptional. I got the usual stories of Hotels, Restaurants and Holidays but one delegate came up with a classic that I just love for so many reasons.

It seems she was at home alone minding her own business and just at the time the dustcart arrived for the fortnightly bin collection she froze solid through fear when she saw “a massive spider” in her kitchen. Being absolutely petrified of spiders her natural reaction was to scream loudly.

One of the binmen burst in through the kitchen door pretty well convinced someone was being murdered. When he saw the problem … Wait for it …. Nope he didn’t laugh. He calmly removed the offending spider. She was so relieved and she said he will always be her ‘customer service hero’.

Moral of the story – It matters not one iota what your job title says – exceptional customer service is simply about you as a person.


Will you go the extra mile for a customer today?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Best Business Speaker?

Who are the best business speakers you've heard and why?

My votes go to Professor Charles Handy, Tom Peters and Professor Gary Hamel.


I've been lucky enough to see all three perform live - they are inspiring in different ways.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Defeat is the best thing ever for Labour!!

From the shambles of yesterday I conclude there has NEVER been a brighter future for the Labour Party.

Having suffered an embarrassing and devastating defeat at the General Election I see the next year or two as a time of great opportunity for Labour. The other two parties, Tories and Liberal Democrats have teamed up to form a government and that’s fantastic news for Labour.

If I were a cynical type I might even suggest it was a deliberate policy of the Labour Party NOT to get into bed with the Liberal Democrats.

Think of the advantages Labour now has:

• Labour can take the moral high ground as the cuts begin to bite in public services. I can hear them now saying; “We would not have done that”

• Labour can now elect a new young inspiring leader following the (very dignified) departure of Gordon Brown yesterday.

• Labour can now re-group and rebuild the Labour Party creating a new refreshing, young, vibrant and positive identity – ala Tony Blair in his early days

• As the inevitable hard times hit us all in the next few months Labour can be the voice of those affected most. When NHS cuts result in hospital ward closures and nurse recruitment cut backs it will be Labour who will be opposing all such policies and saying “We told you so”


We’ve had 13 years of Labour Government and despite what the right wing media wants us to believe the NHS has never had as much investment as in the last 13 years. Critics have very short memories. The NHS has never been so effective in its 62 years existence.

Two examples:

• In 1997 it was VERY common – in fact normal - to wait for 2 years for surgery. Today, people are guaranteed hospital treatment within 18 weeks of referral from GP – usually much quicker.

• For suspected Cancer all patients have a guarantee of an appointment within two weeks with a Consultant wherever you live.

So ……

As disappointed as I am to see a Tory Government – this time supported by a bunch of wobbly, indecisive Liberal Democrats - I see this as a wonderful opportunity for the Labour Party to rise from the ashes and become even stronger in time for the next Election.

I simply cannot see this alleged ‘coalition’ working for long – probably 18 months max. There are so many fundamental differences in the core policies of Tories and Liberals.

Despite the current rose tinted view of the Tory and Liberal media it is simply a fact that politicians from different and usually opposing parties do not agree on things when the chips are really down.

Because I live in a democracy of course I wish the collation well but I predict we will be returning to the polls within 18 months.

Liberals and Tories are on their honeymoon today but rest assured the knives are being sharpened and when the honeymoon is over next week the fun will start with Labour watching for every broken manifesto promise of the Liberals and Tories.

When you have lots of men with lots of power and huge egos all in the same room it’s a recipe for disaster. Talking of men, have you noticed by the way the distinct lack of women at the top in BOTH the Liberal and Tory Parties during the last week? I cannot recall a single female MP from either party being interviewed on prime time news on radio or TV. More men just means more of the same old arguments and power struggles.

I love politics …..

Friday, May 07, 2010

Ian Sanders Marketing Manifesto

My friend Ian Sanders from Essex is a high-profile entrepreneur who is always at the cutting edge of new ideas. Ian has just published his latest little gem.

What I love most of all about the way Ian works is his focus on simplicity. Ian’s New Marketing Manifesto is a breath of fresh air – it’s a one page PDF full of Ian’s Top Ten Tips to help give product or businesses an edge in the market. It’s spin-free and full of proven ideas that can make a real difference.

You can read/download/print the Manifesto by clicking here

These ten tips are at the heart of what Ian does for businesses – if you know anyone who may benefit from working with Ian please pass it on.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Note to all MP's - WE are your employer

So here we are at the General Election.

I'm not as pessimistic as some about the future in Britain. I remain optimistic about my country despite right wing media doom spreaders. Armageddon is not round the corner in Britain.

I’m not complacent but equally I’m not panicking either.

The recession has hit me pretty hard. But then I look at many parts of the world and realise I’m still a multi-billionaire compared with millions of people in the world who may not even eat today.

I think we need to get real sometimes.

Politicians are servants of the people not the other way round. So if the population of Britain vote in such a way that there is no overall majorly for one party then the message from us is work together.

I don’t want to hear pathetic dogma like ‘Party principles don’t allow me to work this party or the other.’ That applies to all of them by the way!

Democracy means WE are in charge not the politicians and democracy also means Britain must be governed with a ‘people focus’ not a ‘party/dogma focus’

I will be voting Labour and of course I accept the overall majority will win the day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A FREE new book

"Leadership from a glass Half Full" is a brilliant and .... most important ... a very short book now available free by download from my friend Terry Starbucker over the pond in the US.

The book is short but less is definitely more on this occasion.

Terry is a prolific blogger and has now published his first book. I hope it’s the first of many – he is man of my own heart and we share a common view on many principles of management and leadership.

Click here to download Terry’s little gem

Monday, April 26, 2010

Political history next Thursday?

It's fascinating how the recent leadership debates on TV have seen Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg emerge as far and away the most credible of the three leaders. He is streets ahead of both David Cameron and Gordon Brown. As far as I’m concerned Gordon Brown is clear in second place because he at least is talking about policies more than personalities.

The spin doctors of both the Labour and Conservative parties together with many TV political pundits keep suggesting the Liberal Democrats very high ratings in opinion polls will not materialise in real votes and therefore seats on 6th May.

I’m not so sure.

Against a backcloth of the recent shambolic expenses scandals the great British Public is keen to see change and let our disgraced MP’s know exactly how we feel.

In a nutshell we don’t trust most of you – you have a lot more work to do yet to regain even the slightest credibility.

The Liberal Democrat Party may well surprise us all and make history next Thursday.

Friday, April 23, 2010

BRILLIANT NEWS - Sir Alex is going nowhere!

video

68 years young Sir Alex said today: "I have no intention of retiring. As I have said time and time again, the only thing that determines my staying here is my health and unfortunately for you lot (the media), I'm bloody rudely healthy! So you'll be left to suffer me for many more years. You'll be gone before I'm gone, don't you worry!"

You can read the full BBC news report by clicking here

Brian Clough once famously said ‘When I die God will have to give up his favourite armchair.” When Sir Alex dies (will he ever die though?) Cloughie will definitely need to get out of that chair.
My theological theory is Sir Alex will become God’s assistant manager.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Plans are only stakes in the ground

Are you a meticulous planner or a John Lennon “Life is what happens while we're busy making other plans" kind of manager. I must admit I lean toward Lennon's view of things. Having said that I always have a plan or an overall vision and I believe plans are essential .... as long as they don't become straight jackets. I’ve seen many managers plan themselves to obscurity and then wonder why no one takes any notice of them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Have you met your Icons?

I consider myself lucky to meet or correspond with four people who are ‘Icons’ in my life.

Firstly Sir Alex Ferguson who kindly endorsed my first book after reading my manuscript before the book was published in late 2004. Sir Alex wrote to me personally twice about my manuscript. When I left the NHS after 35 years he sent me a signed photograph wishing me every success in my new career. I am a lifelong Manchester United fan and so you can imagine how brilliant it was to receive these things from Sir Alex – a real gentleman. And nothing like the image that is sometimes portrayed in the media – I speak as I find.

Secondly Tony Benn the retired Labour Party MP who spent over 50 years as a serving Member of Parliament and now 85 years young. Tony read my book and rang me at home to give me some feedback which was totally unexpected and frankly unbelievable to me. I have admired Tony as a conviction politician all my adult life and to actually have a long telephone conversation with him on a Sunday evening remains one of the greatest highlights of my life. The fascinating thing about that call was how Tony wanted to know about me rather than talk about himself. His humility is amazing. I’ve subsequently met Tony on two occasions and occasionally we exchange emails. Good men are few – Tony is a good man.

Thirdly Tom Peters. Tom has been my management Icon since I first read “In Search of Excellence” in the early 1980’s and from then it was an ambition to meet Tom. Imagine my absolute delight when I fulfilled that ambition by meeting Tom in 2006 when he was delivering an all day Masterclass to over 500 business leaders. Even in that pressurised day Tom kindly found time not only to meet me at lunchtime but also invited me to his after seminar reception when I got say hello again. Those meetings only touch the edge of the generosity of Tom – he invited me to a previous event in Birmingham that he was unable to attend. Tom gave me and my wife Annie complimentary tickets to that 2 day event in Birmingham event and indeed a complimentary ticket to the London event. Tom's image may be loud, brash and outspoken and yet as far as I’m concerned he is a quiet spoken, generous, humble and kind man who has gone out of his way to help me on my journey.


Fourthly Seth Godin. Seth was in England delivering a keynote address last year when an email from me hit his inbox about doing an interview for my Simplicity Blog. Seth replied immediately saying he would do it. I sent him 8 questions - he replied and the whole thing was wrapped up and published on the Blog in about an hour! It was like a real time conversation. Seth was absolutely brilliant in responding. Again it was his humility and lack of pretentiousness that impressed me more than anything – apart perhaps from his speed of response!!!

These men have impressed me in numerous ways but the one thing that comes across more than anything is their HUMILITY. ‘Role model’ is perhaps an overused term but from my own dealings with them the qualities of these four lead me to believe there is plenty of role model behaviour around them.

What personal ‘Icons’ have you met and did it meet your expectations?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is this you as a leader?

I'm very grateful to my friend Sarah Fraser for a link to this article - I love it - hope you enjoy reading it.

Three Tips for Becoming an Energizer - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Some people become leaders no matter what their chosen path because their positive energy is so uplifting. Even in tough times, they always find a way. They seem to live life on their own terms even when having to comply with someone else's requirements. When they walk into a room, they make it come alive. When they send a message, it feels good to receive it. Their energy makes them magnets attracting other people.

Just plain energy is a neglected dimension of leadership. It is a form of power available to anyone in any circumstances. While inspiration is a long-term proposition, energy is necessary on a daily basis, just to keep going.
Three things characterize the people who are energizers.

1. A relentless focus on the bright side. Energizers find the positive and run with it. A state government official in a state that doesn't like government overcomes that handicap through her strong positive presence. She dispenses compliments along with support for the community served by her agency, making it seem that she works for them rather than for the government. She greets everyone with the joy generally reserved for a close relative returning from war. I can see skeptics' eyebrows starting to rise, but judging from her success, people love meeting with her or getting her exclamation-filled emails. She is invited to everything.

The payoffs from stressing the bright side can be considerable. In my new book, SuperCorp, I tell the story about how Maurice Levy, CEO of the global marketing company Publicis Groupe, tilted the balance in his company's favor when his firm was one of several suitors for Internet pioneer Digitas. At one point in a long courtship, Digitas hit problems, and the stock collapsed. One of Publicis's major competitors sent Digitas's head an email saying, "Now you are at a price which is affordable, so we should start speaking." Levy sent an email the same day saying, "It's so unfair that you are hurt this way because the parameters remain very good." Levy's positive energy won the prized acquisition.

2. Redefining negatives as positives. Energizers are can-do people. They do not like to stay in negative territory, even when there are things that are genuinely depressing. For example, it might seem a stretch for anyone to call unemployment as "a good time for reflection and redirection while between jobs," but some energizers genuinely stress the minor positive notes in a gloomy symphony. A marketing manager laid off by a company hit hard by the recession saw potential in people he met at a career counseling center and convinced them that they could start a service business together. He became the energizing force for shifting their definition of the situation from negative to an opportunity.

"Positive thinking" and "counting blessings" can sound like naïve cliches. But energizers are not fools. They can be shrewd analysts who know their flaws and listen carefully to critics so that they can keep improving. Studies show that optimists are more likely to listen to negative information than pessimists, because they think they can do something about it. To keep moving through storms, energizers cultivate thick skins that shed negativity like a waterproof raincoat sheds drops of water. They are sometimes discouraged, but never victims.

An entrepreneur who has built numerous businesses and incubated others had a strong personal mission to raise national standards in his industry. He began that quest by meeting individually with the heads of major industry organizations, all of whom told him that he would fail. He nodded politely, asked for a small commitment to one action anyway, just as a test, he said, and went on to the next meeting. Eight or nine meetings later, he was well along on a path everyone had tried to discourage him from taking.

3. Fast response time. Energizers don't dawdle. Energizers don't tell you all the reasons something can't be done. They just get to it. They might take time to deliberate, but they keep the action moving. They are very responsive to emails or phone calls, even if the fast response is that they can't respond yet. This helps them get more done. Because they are so responsive, others go to them for information or connections. In the process, energizers get more information and a bigger personal network, which are the assets necessary for success.

The nice thing about this form of energy is that it is potentially abundant, renewable, and free. The only requirements for energizers are that they stay active, positive, responsive, and on mission.

Are you an energizer? - Any tips you'd like to share?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Simplicity Blog in Top 150!!

Delighted to hear that Simplicity Blog has been included in the top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs.

Click here for details of the whole list.

Simplicity Blog is in the company of some very high profile folks on the list of 150 including two of my great heroes Tom Peters and Seth Godin.

It’s brilliant to be included and I would like to put the credit where it belongs to YOU the readers and commenters on Simplicity Blog.

Since it was created in January 2005 Simplicity Blog has always been a conversation and not an ego trip for Trevor. My take is that any Blog is only as good as the folks who create the conversation and it’s very much a two way street ….. So take a bow Simplicity readers and commenters – thank you so much!!!

Keep is simple - always.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

No such thing as a 'throw away' comment

In the course of a recent workshop I was delivering for 15 receptionists in healthcare I had a very interesting exchange with one of the delegates.

I was commenting about the revolution we’ve seen in IT and how I’m still fascinated by the whole concept of it all. I made what I thought was just a throw away comment along these lines;


"Even to someone of my advanced years’ (I’m 57 now) this stuff is exciting."

Never believe you've made ‘a throw away comment.’

After the workshop had finished I was approached by one of the delegates who said that she hoped I would never say anything about my ‘advanced years’ in future as she was now 70 years of age - still working enthusiastically - and seeing no reason to slow down. She has not even begun to consider the word ‘retirement.’

She was absolutely right and it was a great learning point for me.


I've often published on here and in other places that I want to be the player-manager of the first ever five-a-side football team for people of 100 years of age .... So I defintely see myself as young!

My academic and life supervisor Professor George Giarchi is still working as a lecturer at the Business School in University of Plymouth at the young age of 80 years. George is still as passionate as when I first knew him 25 years ago.

You are definitely only as old as your mindset tells you!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Enjoy the Easter break

Happy Easter everyone

It’s been really hectic for the last few weeks – seems like I’m living on trains. Yet again I have to report they have been very reliable and punctual.

Came across this wonderful Martin Luther king quote recently that I wanted to share with you:

“Cowardice asks the question 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.” Martin Luther King

What a wonderful wordsmith MLK was and how sad that he died so young.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What good old days?

I’ve got a new laptop.

Justifying the old ‘boys with toys’ saying it has been fascinating to get used to this new chapter in my technological education.

I’ve used a desktop PC for years but even after using this little gem for less than a week I’m asking myself why I would ever want another desktop computer?


I can take my new little friend with me wherever I go on business. It’s not heavy – it’s not big and it feels oddly re-assuring to know I’m carrying my office with me!

I also have a dongle – that sounds rude – and this little tool that I plug into a USB socket enables me to connect to the internet in most places I find myself on business. I am from a generation that was used to the manual typewriter. When I started out on my career typing was almost entirely a female role and most managers had a secretary 'to do that sort of stuff.' Now all managers - regardless of gender - have their own desktop or laptop computer. When I stop and reflect there has been phenomenal progress in the office setting and personally I welcome it all. I cannot imagine anyone would really want to go back to ‘the good old days’ of carbon paper and tippex?

The younger folks reading this Blog entry are no doubt scratching their heads and thinking - What the hell is this guy on about?

Technology is opening up new frontiers for us all. We had our third simplicity international chat yesterday and it was brilliant. Anyone wanting to join us for the next chat on May 2nd please let me know. All you need is a Skype address and you can join us for a free of charge chat across various time zones and continents – a conference call where learning and developing simplicity is the prime agenda item.

Life is good – keep it simple.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The unique and wonderful world of Joe Walsh

Thanks to John O'Leary my good friend across the pond for reminding me again of this hilarious interview with the absolute legend that is Joe Walsh one of my heroes in The Eagles. If you feel the need to brighten up your day do have a listen - its less than 3 minutes.



Friday, March 19, 2010

Leaders 2010 - their competencies?

I’ve always been fascinated by the subject of leadership. Indeed Leadership was the subject of my dissertation called "Leadership in Practice" when I studied for my MA Management (Healthcare) at the University of Plymouth from 1996-98. In those 12-14 years what terrific and exciting progress we have seen in technology and yet I suggest the leadership qualities we look for haven’t changed dramatically.

I think these 7 Competencies of a Leader I discussed in my dissertation apply as much today as they ever did.

  • Setting Direction
  • Setting an Example
  • Effective Communication
  • Creating Alignment
  • Bringing the best out of people
  • Leaders as change agent
  • Decision and actions in crisis or uncertainty
What’s your take on the competencies of our leaders in 2010?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Simplicity Matters Website

In the last couple of days I've built a new website called "Simplicity Matters - click here" that outlines some of the work we do.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More wisdom from JK

Our great Simplicity friend J Kannan recently sent me his latest words of wisdom for publication on my Blog. I'm always delighted - indeed honoured - to publish his words. Thank you JK.

“Simplicity is Life".... J Kannan

Life is need based never want based. Desires have no ends. Simplicity is a way of life and human culture and heritage highly stresses on simple living and high thinking, and this is the way of life: Legs down to earth and eyes looking beyond the sky..........to achieve "Simplicity" in life........

Simplify your needs

Amplify your work

Certify your conduct

Glorify your future

Nullify your greed

Justify your expenses

Magnify your mind

&

Rectify your mistak
es.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Second "Simplicity International" Chat

Our second Simplicity International chat today was brilliant.

Six of us linked up via Skype for a FREE OF CHARGE conversation for 75 minutes across various time zones and continents. I’m still young enough or old enough to be excited by the possibilities, potential and REALITIES of the new technology.

We decided we have lots in common and we agreed we will develop a tangible outcome through our conversations that are now going to happen once a month.

This is about like minded people talking to each other and helping each other and I’m proud to be a part of this venture

Life is good – thank you my Simplicity friends.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Note to all Managers - Give your front liners a good listening to

I’ve delivered 89 training workshops over the last 18 months to around 2000 staff working in Primary Healthcare across the UK. All are front line employees and all meet patients every day. Some of these employees meet as many as 300 patients in a day’s work of 7 hours. These folks know what they are talking about when it comes to healthcare delivery and they certainly know a thing or two about customers.

I love working in the training environment with front line employees who meet the customer. Of all the variety of things I now do in my work it is my favourite occupation.

Let me be absolutely clear - I am not on some sort of ‘let's knock managers’ evangelical rant here.

I was one and I’m proud to have been one. I gained an MA in Management (Healthcare) which was bloody hard work for God sake so I am not into the business of biting the hand that fed me for 35 years!

  • I was a healthcare manager for more than 30 years
  • I trained and developed professionally as a manager
  • I was damned proud to be a healthcare manager
And yet despite all that management experience I reckon I knew probably half as much as these folks do about REAL customer care.

However close we THINK we might be as managers to the customer there is nothing to beat actually meeting the customer face to face. That physical interaction cannot be reproduced in the heads of managers locked away in their warm and comfortable offices, far away from the action on the front line. “Away from the blood, the muck and the bullets” as my late beloved Dad used to say.

I learn in every workshop I run from every individual I meet that the experts in customer care are the people providing the service at the sharp end – not the managers.

We can articulate intelligently as much as we like about customer care; we can turn it into some academic science as much as we like; we can write books about it; we can regurgitate quotes about customer care from alleged ‘experts’ or ‘gurus’ but as managers there is nothing better we can do - if we really want to understand our customers - than to listen to the stories and the experiences of our people who actually meet the customers – sometimes 300 per day.

Well actually there is ONE better thing we can do … and that is to set aside EVERY DAY some time in our ‘busyness’ to actually meet and listen to customers directly.

Managers have crucial facilitating/coaching roles for our front liners and the most effective managers of course recognise that and just get on with making the front liners job easier rather than more difficult.

My point is that managers are at their best when they are listening and making the job easier for the folks who interact with our customers. Why don’t managers give their employees ‘a good listening to’ more often?

The frightening thing is this stuff is so simple!


Monday, March 01, 2010

Back and rarin' to go ....

We have moved house and we’re finally beginning to settle into the new place. It’s great to be back online properly.

British Telecom (BT) delivered their promise early and we were re-connected to the internet on Thursday – a great case of ‘under promise over deliver’ if you ask me. Whether or not it’s a marketing ploy doesn’t matter – it was a good service so thanks BT. Since Thursday I’ve been catching up on emails and generally getting my work sorted whilst settling into our new environment.

The move itself was a stressful few days – they tell me moving house is one of the most stressful things we do in our lives. This is our third house move in four years and I would endorse that view. It was however a positive stress in that it was another adventure in our lives.

It feels like things are getting back to something like normal and I’m raring to go with Simplicity Blog. I’m looking forward to our second international Simplicity chat this coming Sunday 7th March.

Thanks as always for you’re your continued support to my Blog and it’s great to be back.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

See you in a week's time!

Moving house so unable to Blog this week.

My Internet provider tells me we cannot be re-connected in our new house until Monday 1st March.

I will try to keep up with e-mails through my phone but will be at best a very skeleton service.

Have a great week all my Simplicity friends and thanks again for your brilliant support to this Blog - the pleasure is all mine!

See you in 7 days!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Fair cop Guvnor - I'm just a big softie



All change on the domestic front this weekend.

Annie and I are downsizing from our 4 bedroom house to a very nice 3 bedroom flat and we are staying in our lovely Warwickshire village. This has come about for a few reasons not least the recession which has finally begun to affect business.

We’ve decided to hold on to our asset by letting our house and renting something cheaper. This, I gather, is a route many people are taking as the recession bites.

Initially we plan to rent for a couple of years at least until the housing market picks up at which point we may consider selling our property. Alternatively we may decide to rent long term and allow our house to increase in value as a long term investment for our dotage!!

So this is another ‘coping with change’ episode in our ever changing lives. This will be the third house move in four years. Who said life is dull?

We have a lot to be thankful for in our lives and there are far more positives than negatives.

One thing we are really struggling to come to terms with is that we had to say goodbye on Tuesday to our two wonderful dogs Rusty and Bertie – pictured above - because we are not allowed dogs in the flat.

We’ve had these two little gems with us for two years since they were puppies and we are staggered, in fact completely overwhelmed by the massive impact losing them has had on us both.

Annie and I are permanently holding back the tears (most of the time that is). Whoever said 'real men don't cry' was completely wrong!


It is incredible how these two little chaps have had such a profound effect on us. We under-estimated the loss we are suffering. We know it will get better but right now I have to say it hurts like hell.

To anyone who says I’m exaggerating I would say you are perfectly entitled to that view. From where I’m sitting believe me there is no exaggeration. We humans can learn so much from dogs about the real meaning of unconditional love and loyalty. These qualities are just automatic for our canine friends.

I’ve no doubt we miss them more than they are missing us.

The great news is that Rusty and Bertie are with a lovely family of four whom we know well and the love they are receiving is great.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our friend JK's new website launched today!

It is my pleasure and delight to bring to your attention the launch today of a new website for our great Simplicity friend J.Kannan from Chennai, India.

This is the link: http://www.jaykayram.com


From the website you can link to JK’s Blog which is entitled “Business Ethics and Practice.”

I can think of no-one better at promoting Business Ethics than JK!

This is the full link to the Blog http://jaykayram.blogspot.com


HAPPY READING!

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Smokefree England?

I was delighted earlier this week to attend a ‘SMOKEFREE Solihull’ event along with about 100 other health and social care professionals along with representatives from various charitable organisations. I hope to remain involved in this brilliant project.

The event was organised to promote a Government Paper published on 1st February entitled:

“A Smokefree Future – A comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy for England”

SMOKEFREE Solihull
is a joint agency project aimed at raising awareness of the health dangers of smoking and encouraging people who smoke to quit. The progress is encouraging with Solihull much further ahead in such projects when compared with many parts of the UK.


Speaking personally, I smoked from age 16 until I finally quit about 7 years ago. Like most of my peers I gave up a few times but I always succumbed to the habit and returned to smoking time and time again. After almost 7 years I hope I have finally kicked the habit for good.

I have empathy for those who smoke and want to give up the habit. I also have great understanding and sympathy for those who just cannot quit. It is bloody hard work.


This question was asked from the audience to the health experts running the event;


“I know someone who smoked all their life and died at 87 years of age. How do you explain that?”

One of the Department of Health Team gave this brilliant answer;

"If everyone in this room was blindfolded and asked to cross the busiest motorway in England then some people would get to the other side."


My own view is that no one can surely argue against the ‘smoking kills’ argument – it does – end of story. I say let's just accept the overwhelming evidence.


Smoking will probably never be made illegal in the UK but things have moved on quickly over the last few years and we now have a smoking ban in pubs for instance – something I never thought would happen in my lifetime.


We surely owe it to our children and grandchildren to aim for a smoke free England.


(More about Smokefree initiatives can be seen here)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Why don't they resign?

I’m not perfect – far from it. I have my faults and I’ve made many mistakes in my life.

So having got that off my chest I’m not pretending for even one nanosecond that the world should be seen through rose tinted spectacles as a place where everyone will always be perfect.

BUT ……

Something has change during my adulthood. When I was a youngster and started to get interested in politics and the like I distinctly remember politicians in particular would resign as a matter of principle when they were caught out. Either in some question of their personal integrity or if they considered they had brought shame on the respected public position they held.

Nowadays – indeed for the last few years – high profile people who have been caught out, just ‘stay there’ trying to ‘stick it out’ presumably hoping the furore will die down so they can carry on in their position as if nothing has happened.

I am either just old fashioned or maybe I’m turning into a ‘Victor Meldrew’ grumpy old man. I am still hoping to see some high profile person just come in front of the TV camera without some highly paid PR or Communications Guru beside them and just honestly admit they made a massive mistake that gives them no alternative but to stand down because their personal integrity has been seriously damaged.

This is not restricted to politics – it applies in the world of big business and sport.

So thank you Mr Capello for showing real leadership in your decision to sack John Terry.

Clearly Mr Terry could see nothing wrong in his off the field activities and how they completely undermined his exalted position as England Football Captain.

In some ways I’m disappointed (but then again not surprised) that Mr Terry had to stick around until he was sacked and I am absolutely sure Mr Capello has made a 100% correct decision.

Now …..If only we had more leaders like Mr Capello in politics and business!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Simple question to ANYONE!!

Why do we manufacture cars that can reach 140 MPH in a country (UK) where the legal speed limit is 70 mph? - Just askin' !!!

Maybe I'm missing something obvious - please tell me if so.

Also please explain the logic to the Martian who lands on our planet with zero knowledge of our legal system.


PS - Yes I have an axe to grind - Last night (Tuesday) I got 'flashed' driving at 37 MPH in a 30 MPH zone at 10.45 pm on a totally deserted road - another fine on the way no doubt.

Such is life.

Monday, January 25, 2010

7 Practical Simplicity tips

I am often challenged with words to the effect:

"It's ok Trevor you going on about all this simplicity stuff but how the hell can we make anything more simple when we are so busy getting on with the job? Just give us some practical ideas"

My Response?


As a manager it is your job to make things simpler.

Here are 7 things you can introduce immediately to make things simpler in your job and your organisation.


1 When you have written your next report ask two people who are paid significantly less than you to tell you honestly if they understood it fully


2 At your team meeting every week or every month depending on the frequency of meetings, ask someone to do a five minute presentation called (without using PowerPoint) “My big simplicity idea for our team is …..”


3 Invite a customer to read three emails or letters you have sent in the previous week and ask them to give you feedback about the language you used


4 Invite two 16 year old students who are friends to attend your team meeting and ask them to give the team members honest feedback at the end of the meeting about the language used


5 Find a report about absolutely anything two sides of A4 long. Send the report to a colleague and ask him/her to return it to you reduced to one side of A4. Judge for yourself whether one side is adequate to get the message over


6 Ask one of your team members to write a story on one side of A4 called “A complicated problem in this department/team explained for an audience of secondary school students (11-16 year olds). Send the story to a local schoolteacher and ask for feedback from the students at his/her school


7 Send a report you have written to 2 Cleaners and 2 junior Clerical staff.

Ask the four of them to rate your report on a scale of 0 to 10.


0 = I did not understand it at all

10 = I understood it completely


Think about how you can improve your score in your next report. If you score 40 points, congratulations you are the new Simplicity Guru

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Please watch 'The Castle'

Don't know how many of you have seen it but Annie and I watched the movie "The Castle" on DVD yet again this evening. We must have watched this now at least a dozen times and we never tire of it.

It is an Australian film with a powerful social message about the individual against the power of big business and the government.

A close-knit family is under threat of compulsory purchase of their home and the father of the family refuses to accept that big business can just throw him and his family out.

He takes the matter to the highest court in Australia with the aid of a retired Queens Councillor specialising in the Australian Constitution who provides his services free of charge. And they win.

It is a heart warming story with an important message about not selling out our principles and not giving in to big business just because they are big.


Click here to see more about the movie and if you get the chance please do watch it - you will be heartened by the power of the individual against the apparent power of large corporations.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Will we learn?

I’m not sure about you but I'm confused about this recession – when it started – when it reached rock bottom - and if we are or not on the way out of it.

Supposed economic 'experts' tell us different position statements every week as do politicians world wide.


So where do we ordinary folks look for the best opinion?

Well I don't know quite frankly but this week I was talking to someone who is not an economist, not a politician, not some sort of guru - just a pretty ordinary sort of person with no axe to grind and no votes to capture. A bit like you and me.

This person said his view of the future is that through the problems we have experienced there will be learning for the ordinary punter. We are actually smarter than politicians and experts think.

He feels people will much more careful financially in future; that we will not see a ‘boom and bust’ economy again; that house prices will rise only steadily after the recession is over rather than the massive price rises we saw in the late 1980's and the 1990's; that people will try harder to live within their means and not overstretch themselves


So there you have it - an amateur view of how things might look once this recession is over. I think it is as good a summary as any I’ve heard from experts or politicians.

Friday, January 22, 2010

First International Simplicity Conference Call ...

Great news is we now have 8 friends signed up for the first Simplicity International SKYPE Conference Call on Sunday 31 January at 4 pm GMT.

In addition to me we have seven friends of Simplicity from various time zones round the world. It will be a real blast for us all to speak to folks who have been 'virtual friends' for a number of years.

Oh the joys of modern technology - and of course its free in keeping with Simplicity!


If any Simplicity readers from anywhere in the world want to join in all I need from you is your SKYPE name and I will let you know the details.

Please either comment here or if you prefer you can send an email to me at trevor.simplicity@gmail.com

This first call is going to be a 'getting to know you call' and we will see where the concept of a conference call takes us .....

Keep is simple - look forward to more joining in....


Monday, January 18, 2010

My Top 10 Leadership Attributes for a New (and old) Decade

I've always loved studying leadership - the subject fascinates me.

When I studied for my MA Management (Healthcare) from 1996 to 1998 at the University of Plymouth, my Dissertation was called "Leadership in Practice" in which I researched leadership from the perspective of Family Doctors in the UK.

That piece of academic research never quenched my thirst for knowledge about what makes effective leaders tick. I have continued to speculate subjectively outside an academic framework on the most outstanding qualities of the most effective leaders I've met or worked with/for.

My top ten attributes are listed below.

1 They do what they say they will do
2 They make followers feel special
3 They are consistent
4 They work hard
5 They make decisions
6 They accept responsibility
7 They don’t blame others
8 They support risk taking
9 They provide an example
10 They provide direction

What can you add to my list of ten based on the most effective leaders you've worked with/for?


Friday, January 08, 2010

An international Simplicity conference call?

In a recent exchange on another posting the subject of having a Skype conference call for regular Simplicity Blog readers was mooted by Marilyn. I would love to do that one day.

Not sure what we might talk about but the idea interests me - if only to say 'hello.'

There are so many regulars commenters from various parts of the world the first task might be to find a time that suits everyone. Providing everyone has access to Skype we could have a free of charge conference call to come 'voice to voice' if not 'face to face'


I would be happy to try and co-ordinate something if anyone is up for that.

An ‘international chat’ sounds good to me – it may take us somewhere – it may take us nowhere. Either way, as my good friend Brian Ward in Edmonton, Canada would say – it will be a blast anyway!


Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Chuck Berry - a true legend



I'm indebted to MarkJF, my friend and regular commenter on Simplicity for telling me about this Chuck Berry clip from You Tube. What an amazing performer Chuck Berry was/is. I read that he is still touring at 83 years of age - Fantastic - it gives us all hope! Enjoy the video (It's less than 3 minutes) and thanks again Mark. It definitely made me feel better. Actually who could fail to feel better after seeing this Chuck performance an incredible 52 years ago?

From Russia with "LOVE"

Dmitry Linkov - my friend from Moscow, Russia is currently visiting England for the first time. I must admit I got a nice warm feeling when I received this message from Dmitry this afternoon from his London base.

"Trevor! Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you! 'Having a good time' is not the right phrase. "IN LOVE" will be the right one. UK is an absolutely fantastic country with so fantastic people :-)"

Many thanks Dmitry - sometimes England has its critics but I'll settle for your compliment.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Advice from the Psychological University of Life

I’m not a psychologist but I think sometimes how we act is a reflection of how we feel. I’ve been feeling pretty low for a few weeks due to uncertainty about future work commitments given the recession which is finally having an effect on me and my work. The Psychological University of Life has taught me (many times) to talk about such things rather than bottle them up. So the big question for me is; How come, as a real old man of 57, I can’t break a lifetime habit of brushing these worries under the carpet hoping they will resolve themselves, rather talking about them? The joy is that I have a wonderful wife who knows when things are not right with me and who says just the perfect things at the appropriate time to get to the nub of the matter. Thank you my darling Annie – I am indeed blessed.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Apology

Apologies to all who wish to comment on Simplicity Blog that I've had to introduce word verification for comments. This is because I am getting lots of unsolicited and unwanted 'spam' comments. Hopefully this will prevent them. Sorry again for inconvenience.