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 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

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.