Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Professor Charles Handy.
Sorry but I could not find
a picture of Mrs Elizabeth

The New Alchemists

I’ve have just finished reading ‘The New Alchemists’ by Charles and Elizabeth Handy

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Professor Handy speak in Birmingham. I was impressed by his knowledge and experience as well as his relaxed style and delivery. His use of metaphor is wonderful. I was not surprised therefore to find this book very readable.

It describes the attributes of 29 Alchemists – innovative people that Mr and Mrs Handy interviewed.

The book reminds us that it is not always easy to understand and accommodate people who ‘rock the corporate boat.’

This book emhasised something I have always believed - that in order to survive and develop our businesses and organisations we must find ways of not only accepting and celebrating people who are ‘different’ - but as Professor Handy himself says we must ‘grow more alchemists.’

All the people interviewed have been successful in areas where they were in control and I have no doubt all of them would be desperately unhappy to work in an environment where their innovative ways are not welcome. They would leave very quickly methinks.

The book is written in engaging language and the photographs that were taken by Elizabeth Handy are wonderful. Mr and Mrs Handy obviously make an excellent team.

I highly recommended this book.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Simplicity thought for the day

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. - Confucius

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Football fans pay tribute to George Best

At Old Trafford, Manchester, the football home of George Best, all sorts of tributes have been left on the pavement.

Friday, November 25, 2005


George Best died at 12.55 pm today Friday 25 November 2005

A sad day for millions of football fans throughout the world and most of all for his family.

The joy he brought to millions will never be forgotten.

We should celebrate his life ...and now ... his peace with God.

A sad day

It is 9.35 am Friday here in England

Today is very sad for me as my greatest football hero George Best is about to die - the doctors have said it is only hours now.

George is fighting but there is no hope according to his doctors.

It is wonderful that God will welcome 'home' another of his sons in George Best ...
but on earth all true football fans will have a tear in their eye and sadness in their heart today.

George's early and tragic demise has been brought about by many years of drinking so perhaps the greatest irony is that George Best is slipping away on the first day of extended drinking hours in England.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Never Assume

I have often made the mistake of assuming. Life has taught me my assumptions are often flawed. I hope I am getting better as I get older.

This was brought into my mind at Church last Sunday when the Minister was asking us not to be judgmental about people who are less fortunate than us – for example homeless people and those sleeping rough. In fact the Minister used a wonderful expression;

‘Whether a man sleeps on a pavement or in a palace they are both sons of God and equal in his eyes.’

Assumptions and judgments were best brought home to me many years ago when a friend told me this true story.

A man in his early thirties was on a train journey with two young children of about 5 and 6 years of age who were running around. They were out of control; they were loud; and generally making a nuisance of themselves, much to the annoyance of the other passengers. There was a tense atmosphere but no one said anything until one man got so angry that he felt he just had to say something to the man who seemd to be oblivious to what was going on and 'miles away' mentally. He told the man he was not a responsible parent; he told him that he should control the children; they were very annoying and making the journey a misery for everyone. It was very inconsiderate not to control them.

The man looked at the person and apologised with tears in his eyes saying "Yes you are quite right I am so sorry – it is just that we are traveling back home from the funeral of my wife – their mother, and I guess they are finding it all very difficult at the moment.”

Ouch!!! - Like all of us - the person who complained wished a hole would appear so that he could just fall in!

Never assume – it will make an ASS out of U and ME

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Simplicity - a definition

The following quote was given to me yesterday by my good friend Roger (Rocky) Noe from Kentucky, USA. You can read more about Rocky here

"Simplicity is the sign of true greatness and meekness is the sign of true strength."

I am not sure where he found that or if it was his original but thank you anyway Rocky much appreciated

This prompted me to search for other definitions of Simplicity - here are my top 3:

  • Clarity of expression
  • Absence of affectation or pretense
  • Austerity in embellishment

Any other offers?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Please say a prayer for George

George Best is my greatest football hero. George has not lived a pure life and I hope God will answer the millions of prayers for George and give him yet another chance as he fights his greatest battle.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Simplicity question of the week

We had an interesting
What do you
think I am doing here on
Saturday night?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Is change easier to accept when you let the past die?

Of course it is wonderful to remember things in our past that bring back a warm inner glow.

For those things we would rather forget, I am attracted to this quotation that came through my inbox this week.

‘All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one other life before we can enter into another’ - Anatole France (1881)

So often in both my life and my management career the people who seem able to adapt best to change are those who do not feel a need to hold on to the past and ‘how things used to be around here.’

These people seem prepared to allow the ‘old situation to die and allow the ‘new situation ‘to be reborn. I am not talking about whether a change is a good change or not but the concept of how to deal with and accept inevitable change.

On balance, my feeling is that it is best to allow the old situation to die.

What do you think?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Felix Gerena

The Life Cycle of the Creative Soul

My friend Felix Gerena is an Innovation Consultant in the Basque Country.

Felix has been successful in getting his Manifesto - Life Cycle of the Creative Soul published. You can read the Manifesto at

Felix also has a Blog called Brand Soul and this is always worth a visit

Felix is a very intelligent man with great knowledge of management, leadership, and branding among other things.

I feel lucky to exchange regular ideas and writings with Felix.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

'Boys with Toys' and all that .....

You have to understand I am a man of a certain age where all this technology is still something of a novelty. The expression ‘Boys with Toys’ comes to mind :-)

It seems every day I am amazed by the potential of modern communication methods through technology - even if the language of the geeks leaves me cold and confused.

I have just registered with an organisation
that provides me with feedback about visits to Simplicity Blog. I find all this really exciting – and yes I know I should get a life!

For instance among the last 100 visitors to Simplicity are people from the following 17 countries:

United Kingdom, France, Spain, India, America, Belgium, Pakistan, Australia, Japan, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary and Argentina.

I can get all sorts of information from my provider including visits per hour, per day, per week, per month, per year and predictions for the same periods based on current usage. I even get a world map graphic with dots showing the location of the last 100 visitors!

I understand that Simplicity Blog has an average of 55 visitors per day and the average length of visit is 1.25 minutes

I guess the information is only really of interest to me as the owner of Simplicity Blog but my point is how fantastic that I can have easy and free access to this information.

We have to ask ourselves about privacy and ‘big brother’ I guess, but to me it is just wonderful - I see all this as an opportunity rather than a threat..

Information such as this is useful for me to know and can help me change the Blog content if I see a change in the trends of visits.

Oh well … just thought I would share that …. The numbers people may be interested. I am not a numbers person actually but it does fascinate me.

Do you think I should get out more?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Latest Simplicity Mantra

I have often said there is no such thing as an overnight success. I believe success comes from years of hard work.

So I have been thinking ....and my latest Simplicity mantra is;
  • Have faith in your own ability;
  • Have humility;
  • Have hope;
  • Never boast;
  • Allow time;
  • Never give up;
  • Always do your homework.

Do these things and you can honestly say you did your best.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sweet Dreams are made of this?

We had a great time at my daughters wedding and for a while we had the pleasure of looking after Sebastian my grandson. Annie took this snap :-)

Friday, November 11, 2005

We must always remember them

As we passed Westminster
Cathedral hundreds of forces
men gathering for a service.
Some things make us proud
to be British and very humble.

Four Old British Monuments

Big Ben
Houses of Parliament
The London Eye

Happy Days

We have been really busy for the last couple of weeks and I have been a bit slow at posting new Simplicity thoughts.

Yesterday Annie and I were in London running another Trust Me I’m a Patient workshop at a major health care conference at the Queen Elizabeth Second Conference Centre in Westminster (see pictures above) and that also meant a lot of preparation.

As a result Simplicity Blog has not had the regular care and attention in the last ten days that I normally like to give it!!

Next week I hope to be back to something resembling normality - whatever 'normality' means anymore.

To add to the pace of things my daughter Nadine is getting married tomorrow to Laurie, her partner in love and life so Annie and I are traveling to Devon this afternoon for another significant event.

I hope to publish some wedding photos on Simplicity Blog next week.

After the birth to Nadine of my first grandson Sebastian in April her wedding is yet another reminder that Nadine is only ‘my little girl’ in my head!!!!!

Have a great weekend and always keep it simple.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

World Class Thinking to the Power of Four

On Thursday and Friday last week I was fortunate to be one of 900 delegates at a very high profile business conference in the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

The two day event was called "World Class Thinking to the Power of Four" and the four speakers due to attend were Charles Handy, Gary Hamel, Michael Porter and Tom Peters.

Sadly Tom Peters had a health scare and was not allowed to attend by his doctor. Tom was told that he should not take the flight from America to England.
Happily he is now well.

The conference was excellent and Tom's replacement Jonas Riddersdrale from Sweden was an excellent substitute.

Events such as this always give me food for thought - an opportunity to listen to the' great and the good' and learn about how close, or far off my own thinking is! It was well worth going and I came away with lots of thoughts and ideas that I hope will influence my thinking .

My quick feedback summary of the event follows – not everyone who was there will agree me what the hell – that sounds like life!

Prfessor Gary Hamel – excellent and entertaining talk. Very slick, well argued and delivered at a good pace with plenty of specific examples about change and the pace of things.

Professor Michael Porter – obviously excellent technically but I have to say not my favourite topic – I am not a strategy man – I am more of a 'get on with it pragmatist.' He is very knowledgeable and many will have found his session inspiring – I nearly fell asleep I’m afraid.

Charles Handy – excellent presentation – a pragmatist – told some lovely stories and kept things simple. Very relaxed and experienced speaker. I loved the fact he didn’t use any PowerPoint slides – he even used the ‘old’ system of writing on his overheads – not exactly exciting or passionate but very solid and a highly credible Guru in my view.

Jonas Riddersdrale –Entertaining and different – he used some of Tom Peters material – there were some one liners I recognised from TP presentations. He also had some original stuff from Sweden and other parts of Europe. He was well received by the audience and as a stand in I though he was very good.

Amen to that

I have written many times in the last few months that I do not believe there is such a person as an 'overnight sucess.' In my opinion success comes through persistence, focus, hard work,sweat and tears,always doing your homeowrk and it may take many years.

I was therefore delighted to receive in my Inbox the daily quote from Cynthia Kersey of 'Unstoppable' .

Thank you Cynthia - I like it!

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire" - Reggie Leach

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Detective Marketing

Detective Marketing - read it in half a day

I read a short and interesting book on the train yesterday. The book is called Detective Marketing: Creative Common Sense in Business by Stefan Engeseth

You can read more about the book and obtain the book at this Amazon link

Stefan and I have some things in common, not least the need for simplicity and common sense in all that we do at work. We share a passion for cutting out unnecessary and pretentious jargon that is merely designed to make it complicated for the average person to understand what you do!

I recommend Stefan’s book and its greatest strength in my opinion is that you can read it in half a day. It offers creative but really practical ideas about how to market what you do.

Stefan's Blog is at this link