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

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


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.