Friday, July 29, 2005

A short break

I am going to be travelling for a few days but I will be back online with Simplicity Blog from next Saturday 6 August.

I may be able to keep a check on the Blog for any comments but wil be unable to post new subjects. Feel free to comment about anything you want!

I know how hard it will be for all of you to cope without Simplicity Blog for a week ..... just joking :-)

I recommend you visit the following Blogs for your daily Blogging 'fix' - they are all brilliant sites:

See you all next Saturday!!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Blogs - more power to them I say!

Tom Peters – without a doubt the most influential figure in the world of management and business in the last 20 years has given a wonderful testimonial and reference to the value of Blogging on his own Tom Peters Blog

Tom regularly makes his own personal views known on the Blog and when he speaks the world of business and management tends to listen.

He reckons Blogs are the way forward in business and I agree with him.

Someone asked me a while ago what Blogs do for revenue of the business.
I think the answer is Blogs do nothing for revenue in themselves!

I think the relationships that I make through communicating with people from all parts of the planet may not result in any revenue generation but one thing it does is widen my thinking and puts me in touch with many wonderful people from different cultures to my own. That had got to be good learning. Without Blogs I certainly would not have exchanged such rich discussions over the last year or so that have enriched my learning.

I do not think Blogs are an overnight fad that will disappear. I believe they will go from strength to strength.

The world of management and business is changing just in case you hadn’t noticed and we just have to keep up with the pace of change.

Blogs are a superb way of making and expanding networks. Blogs in themselves are not a revenue earner – they are simply a way of making contacts. The generation of revenue still relies on nothing more complicated than hard work and always doing your homework. ‘Twas ever thus and Blogs do not take away the need to work hard.

It is rather like Microsoft PowerPoint – the technology to produce a slick and jazzy presentation does not mean that people will listen. Despite the best cutting edge technology the presenter has to have the ability to keep the audience awake!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

100 and going strong

I love Simplicity

In my 35 year career in the National Health Service I read numerous documents that explained how life expectancy is getting longer in the UK.

Usually the documents I read were complex, academic pieces of work that were cumbersome and full of complicated words. Not exactly reader friendly to the average person.

Yesterday it was explained very simply and vividly by Harry Cayton from the Department of Health during a healthcare conference we were working at.

Harry is a high flier but I love his simplistic approach and the language he uses. If you get a chance to see one of his speeches – don’t miss the opportunity

Harry said:

In 1952 Queen Elizabeth sent 102 telegrams to people in the United Kingdom who had reached to milestone of 100 years of age.

In 2002 – fifty years later - the Queen sent over 1000 telegrams to those reaching their century.

Here’s to the next 47 years of my life with Annie I say – we both hope to get telegrams.

I guess they won’t be sent by Queen Elizabeth … but then again …who knows?

Monday, July 25, 2005

My favourite quote so far this year!!

"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric." Bertrand Russell

I just love that!!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Enjoy the ride or fall asleep

If you work in an office I don’t think you have to have a degree in sociology to realise something is “going on”. We are going through something that is challenging basic beliefs and values in the office setting.

I think about the world of office work twenty years from now. I am not into science fiction but what I am writing “feels” a bit like that.

The youngsters of today ….. And by that I mean six and seven year olds ……have keyboards as extensions to their fingers. It is amazing to try and predict the world of office based work for them. When I think back 20 years in my career it is simply unrecognisable from today.

The days of rationality and having lots of time to debate issues have gone. Of course many people want things to move at the more leisurely pace they have become accustomed to in their career. The snag is the demands are different. We used to work in a situation where the customer did not drive the process. The customer responded to the foibles of the organisation. The customer today is calling the shots and is, in fact, in charge. And, by the way, the customer wants it now

Our children are being brought up surrounded by massive leaps of technological advance that do feel like science fiction …they are going to arrive on the work scene ten years from now with a totally different view of the world to mine; They are going to be more inquisitive They are going to bring new skills to the workplaceThey are going to challenge the way things have been done in the past

They are going to develop a new language that some of us “veterans” will find hard to speak never mind understand. Yes of course they are also going to make mistakes … but the mistakes they will be making will be “new mistakes” not repeating the old mistakes that I made and my father made.

I wonder how many youngsters (20 and under) of 2005 will retire having been on the payroll of just one organisation. The days have gone too when one’s effectiveness is judged by how long you stayed on the payroll. I suspect that the career of the future will be largely determined by the needs and wishes of the individual in the white collar world, rather than the opportunities presented to them by large organisations.

In summary, my feeling is we should “get on the bus” (Tom Peters) and be prepared for a bumpy ride for the next few years …. But learn to enjoy the bumpy ride – the smooth ride is an option only for those who wish to remain asleep.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Good to be home

I had a very interesting day yesterday and was delighted to get home.

I had to go to central London on business and at 12.50 pm I took the tube from Marylebone Station heading to Warren Street Station.

I got as far as Baker Street where the train stopped.

An announcement was made that there was a security alert and all passengers should get off. I got a taxi to my destination which was just 100 yards from Warren Street Station where a bomb had been discovered but thankfully did not explode properly.

It became clear very quickly that we were in the middle of another bombing outrage in London with four attempted bombings on tubes and buses – two weeks after the previous horror bombings.

In many ways it was quite surreal.

Everyone seemed to be on their mobile phones ringing families no doubt and at some points the network was too busy to cope.

My business meeting went on as outside the building there were non stop sounds of sirens and the police presence was awesome – I have never seen so many in one place.

My overriding impression was the wonderful way that people seemed to just get on with life as all this pandemonium was going on around them.

There was definitely a nervous atmosphere as I walked up the street after my meeting to catch my train back home.

Whilst everyone was busily getting on with their lives one had the feeling there was an underlying feeling of anxiety, but there was certainly no panic.

Sometimes life is really spooky – let's just thank God the four devices did not explode properly.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Overcoming negative thoughts

I receive outstanding stuff from this Web Site

I hope you wil take a look at the site

The following piece came though to me the other day from 'Unstoppable' and I thought how remarkably simple and yet how effective this can be in a variety of settings both work and personal. I like it.

Use the STOP acronym.

The moment you catch yourself repeating the same negative thoughts over and over in your mind, use the STOP acronym.

Research shows that people who receive positive distractions for just eight minutes show a remarkable change in their moods and in breaking the cycle of repetitive thought.

S-Say the word STOP to interrupt your internal destructive thoughts. Tell yourself firmly to "STOP" over thinking.

T-TAKE a deep breath. Then, take a break: Go for a walk or a hike, read a great book, listen to your favorite music. Do something to take your attention away from over thinking and, if possible, to change the environment.

O-Focus on the OUTCOME of your 30-Day Goal. Affirm why you are committed to your goal.

P-PRAISE and acknowledge yourself for the progress you are making. Remember, you're looking for progress, not perfection!

It would have been a great little plan when I gave up smoking 18 months ago! .... although I guess we all sort of do this in our own way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Getting to know you

At Church last Sunday there was an interesting piece about names.

Helen, the Vicar, said many people go to church for years and see the same faces in the congregation every week and yet do not always know the names of those people.

We were invited to introduce ourselves to someone we did not know and tell that person our name.

At work in large organisations many people see the same faces every day and maybe do not know names, so perhaps we should introduce this idea in our everyday work in big organisations.

Most managers should surely know the names of the staff who work for them at the very minimum.

If you do not know someone's name why not ask them? It might just lead you to getting to know that person a little better and what makes them tick.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Errrr ...Sorry? ....What was that?

I love Simplicity.

I just read an advert for a job in the National Health Service.

Here is an extract from the advertisement:

'..... Having been a HISS Pilot site, we now operate in a new PFI hospital with a modern network, HISS and PACS and a wide range of supporting IT systems. Committed to NPfIT, we look forward to being among the early implementers of CRS ....'

Ten points to anyone who can explain that to me in English?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The price of loyalty

As the new football season approaches I am disturbed to see my club Manchester United in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The latest crazy news from Old Trafford is that Rio Ferdinand is apparently holding out on a new deal until he is offered £120,000 per week!!!

He has been offered £100.000 per week and he is allegedly saying he wants more.

This is the same player that was suspended from football for nine months due to failure to take part in a drug test. The club stood by him when many people in the game felt he had over stepped the mark and darkened the proud name of Manchester United.

The Manager Sir Alex Ferguson stood by Rio publicly and this is the repayment less than one year later.

It got me thinking about the price of loyalty and whether in fact there is loyalty any more.

Or is it simply that everyone is out to get as much as they can for themselves and to hell with everything else like ethics and a sense of duty to repay loyalty and faith shown in you.

As always since 1963 I will be an ardent fan of Manchester United for the coming season and I hope Rio Ferdinand will think very seriously about where his true loyalty should be.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Reflections on Openness

I have always been proud of Britain - my country.

It was lovely to have visitors with us for a few days - which, by the way - explains why there have been no Simplicity Blog postings for the last few days.

Alisan and David and their two lovely young children were visiting from Australia on a whirlwind trip to the UK.

David who is South African was full of praise for England and said how much he would like to live here. Alisan is British.

Given the outrage in London last week and given the fact there are many critics of Britain it was wonderful and refreshing to hear that Britain is still held in such high esteem by someone so many miles away from his home.

One thing the bombings will never do is quell the British spirit and our sense of fair play.

Annie and I were talking about the freedoms we enjoy in our western democracy and how - with that openness and freedom of speech - come challenges created by diversity in our population.

In spite of the tragedy last week I would still rather have that diversity in my country - despite the evil delivered by the bombers against my fellow Britains and people from other countries.

Maybe one cost of openness is the abuse of trust? - I would be really interesed to hear comments about this.

Monday, July 11, 2005

An interesting end to a tragic week

Annie and I were at a garden party on a beautiful Saturday evening on the outskirts of Birmingham. It was a lovely way to relax after a tragic week in Britain .... we thought!

At about 9 pm we heard about the bomb scare that resulted in the evacuation of 20,000 people from the heart of Birmingham. We were about five miles away.

It made our hearts skip a beat and you have to fear for the world when our freedom - hard fought for - is threatened by evil. I am so proud of my fellow Britains who have held their heads high this week in the face of evil.

The families and friends of the 49 confirmed dead - more likely to be closer to 80 do not deserve to be suffering the anguish they are now feeling.

The best thing to come from this tragic week has been to witness typical British strength and long may it remain. I am also pleased with the wonderful repsonse from our dear friend and allies all over the free world.

Together and with God's help we will triumph over evil.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Cynics like to sit by the fire

Definitely my final word on Sir Bob Geldof and his efforts to raise awareness about world poverty comes from this quote.

‘I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.’

Eleanor Roosevelt

Whatever the cynics might say - and they do have plenty to say - Sir Bob is one who is clearly not prepared to spend his life sitting comfortably in the warm next to the fire.

I am not qualified to say what his motives are for doing something and frankly I don’t care if he has made a personal fortune from this – good luck to him - he deserves it.

Isn’t it better to see someone try to do something rather than to spend your life criticizing people’s motives or at worst running them down for simply trying to do something that just might make a difference?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Isn't life strange?

Twenty four hours ago I posted the 'wonderful news' about London's successful bid for the Olympic Games in 2012.

Less than a day later I am watching on television, the horror unfolding of the London Bombings and I realise how life is so unpredictable and so fragile.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone must be with those affected by these apalling events.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


How fantastic that the Olympic Games are coming to London in 2012

Well done to everyone involved

A Day In The Office

Excuse self indulgence (again!) This is a photo of Annie and me at the Café Rouge, Birmingham City Centre, on my birthday. It beats work eh?

What could be better than spending the day with the person who makes every day like a birthday? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The patient is always right.

I often use the following in team building events for healthcare professionals and it usually prompts plenty of discussion.

It would be interesting to hear your views.

Dr Baum's Abbreviated Policy Manual
Rule No. 1: The patient is always right.
Rule No. 2: If you think the patient is wrong, re-read rule No. 1.

All other policies are null and void.

Dr Baum is Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, and the author of Marketing Your Clinical Practice: Ethically, Effectively, and Economically. Correspondence: Neil H. Baum, MD, 3525 Prytania St, Suite 614, New Orleans, LA 70115. Web site:

Monday, July 04, 2005

Short and to the Point

Regardless of your belief about the rights and wrongs of the campaign led by Bob Geldof about world poverty the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London on Saturday was an outstanding success

Annie saw a TV interview by Jonathan Ross with Sir Bob before the event started and he made the following short but very powerful remarks.

Like him or loathe him (and for the record I like him a lot) Sir Bob never pulls his punches and always uses his words wisely.

He said;

"When you go to bed after the concert ask yourself; What it is we've seen; What it is we've remembered; What it is we've done it for?"

Says it all doesn't it?

Thank you Sir Bob for at least trying to make a difference while moaning cynics stand on the sidelines doing absolutely nothing personally and then having the nerve to complain that Live 8 will make no difference.

Just another day in paradise?

Annie & I attended a service at church yesterday (Sunday) morning.

Firstly the organist didn't turn up, then there was a problem with projecting hymn words using PowerPoint. Maybe we should read words the old-fashioned way from a thing called a hymn book!

A singer from the music group fainted and had to lie in the 'recovery position' during a song, still minus an organist.

Rev. Helen Cameron stepped over the unfortunate faintee and everyone carried on regardless.

We were was half-expecting Charles Hawtrey, Jim Dale and Kenneth Williams to turn up ("Carry On Regardless" - the film, get it?)

There was then a misunderstanding with half of the congregation standing and half sitting during a hymn

A stand-in organist had been found at this stage. PowerPoint had been restored but then people clambered to close the blinds because it was too bright to read the words.

A women in front of us had a coughing fit and had to leave, muttering something about the high pollution levels in the air. We think the 20 Benson & Hedges spotted in her handbag might have been partly responsible.

Helen told everyone to sit half-way through a hymn that she thought had ended. Again, half sat and half remained standing for the rest of the hymn.

After the service when a sense of normality returned, Helen said that if a bear had entered stage left, she wouldn't have batted an eyelid.

The moral of the story is that in the face of adversity, it pays to have a sense of humour.

Well done Helen - it was a marvellous service!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Thinking of Africa Today

It seems appropriate today when the 'Live 8 concert' is taking place in Hyde Park, London, that we share with you this fantastic picture that Annie found. Left-click on this image for enlarged picture.

It was the last photo taken by the crew aboard the Columbia during its last mission. The picture is of Europe and Africa when the sun is setting. Half of the picture is in night. The bright dots you see are the cities' lights.

The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert.

Note that the lights are already on in Holland, Paris, and Barcelona, and that it's still daylight in Dublin, London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Lisbon and Madrid.

The sun is still shining on the Strait of Gibraltar. The Mediterranean Sea is already in darkness. In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the Azores Islands; below them to the right are the Madeira Islands; a bit below are the Canary Islands; and further South, close to the farthest western point of Africa, are the Cape Verde islands.

Note that the Sahara is huge and can be seen both during daytime and night time. To the left, on top, is Greenland, totally frozen.

This makes Annie and I feel in awe of our planet. What do you think?

Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005

Thank You

Yesterday was special.

Annie - unknown to me had e-mailed various contacts and friends all over the world with the news it was my birthday and I was bombarded with lovely e-mails from all corners of the globe - fabulous stuff :-)

Thanks to all of you who took time to send the e-mails - I really appreaciate that

And of course .. my greatest thanks and deep love to Annie ... who made yesterday even more special than every other special day we have together!

Perception really is ALL we have - end of story

I have come to believe that perception is actually all that we have to work with.

Excusing those who are colour blind ....If I see grass as red then it is red in my perception and as many times as you tell me it is green makes no difference – to me it is red – end of story.

Nowadays I am less comfortable with words like right and wrong and more comfortable with words like difference.

It is simply not good enough any more to tell people there is only one way to look at anything. I think it is good to have an open mind about possibillities.

If you want a neat little example of this take a look at the piece below - you may have seen it before but it always makes me smile and realise there is always more than one way to see things.

Have a great weekend

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihsis bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

amzanig huh?