Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Exceptional Customer Service - Alive and Well

Just before Christmas Annie and I decided we would buy a second treadmill as part of our training for the London Marathon in April.

I ordered the treadmill online from a company called FitHire Ltd based in Hampshire. I had a phone call from Mark at FitHire within minutes to confirm that my order had been received and processed and the treadmill would be delivered within two days.

Less than 24 hours later the treadmill was delivered – outstanding service.

After a couple of days the treadmill developed a problem. On the advice of Mark at Fit Hire I rang the manufacturer, a company called Beny Sports based in Yorkshire to report the problem.

of Beny Sports told me to try a coupe of adjustments to see if the problem could be cured. I tried and it did not improve. Sophie told me they would replace the treadmill within two days.

Less than 24 hours later the replacement treadmill was delivered – and it was an upgraded model – outstanding service again.

Please take a bow Fit Hire and Beny Sports

Please take a bow Mark and Sophie.

As someone who is often critical of poor customer service it is fantastic to know Exceptional Customer Service is alive and well – and as always it’s all about people.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Christmas to all Simplicity readers

Thanks for all your brilliant support in the last
year and please do enjoy a peaceful Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Manchester United on top of the world!

Its official - Manchester United are the best football team in the world!

Liga de Quito 0 - Man United 1

To me of course United have been the best team in the world since I was 11 years old but this finally makes it real!

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Work the System"

I was pleasantly surprised when Sam Carpenter’s publicist wrote from Oregon and asked me to review Sam’s book “Work the System”. She sent me a free copy and I have now read it.

Sam tells the story of how he turned his business around when he reached the edge of disaster in both a business and personal sense. He was working 100 hours a week and even sleeping in his office. He was worried about how he was going to pay the next employees salaries due. He had run his business for 15 years at this point.

He describes how this crisis made him take what he calls an "outside and slightly elevated" view of how things really were in his company.

He recognised from this vantage point that he needed to pay serious attention to all the systems in his company that relied too much on him personally. He explains how he took apart all the systems and put them back together again providing documented evidence of all systems.

He writes about the underpinning role played in this Work the System process by three key elements of documentation; the one page Strategic Objective, A collection of written General Operating Principles and the Working Procedures.

From "whacking the moles" and "fire fighting" Sam was able to see his business become, over time, a smooth operation not needing as much of his personal input - other than as leader.

Eight years after his "outside and slightly elevated" epiphany he now works 2 hours per week as his business continues to make significant bottom line profit. There is high employee retention and high levels of employee involvement and job satisfaction.

I love the honesty and personal confessions as Sam writes about his own mistakes and how he went about putting them right.

Sam says that the reader will ‘get it’ as you make progress through the book. Fairly early on I recognised what Sam was saying and by the end of the book I had put into practice his “outside and slightly elevated” concept to a life long problem I’ve had – that is how to make sure I finish books that I start to read!

I think Sam's wisdom and personal experience is well worth reading about if you own a business, if you are, like me, self employed or if you work for someone else.

What Sam tells me in this book is to be obsessional about your systems – dismantle them; rebuild them; and tweak them and change them involving all the employees in that process. You must also reward people well for being signed up to the systems thinking.

I thoroughly recommend this book. I’ve never really considered myself a ‘systems type’ of manager but while reading Sam’s book I now believe I am one!

Thank you Sam and good luck with your book – it is full of references to the need to keep things simple and that’s another major reason I will be regularly dipping into “Work the System” which now stands boldly among my favourite books in my office.
You can see more about Sam’s book and his other work by clicking here

Sir Alex - a man not to be riled!

The ongoing saga of whether Cristiano Ronaldo stays at Manchester United or is sold to Real Madrid is becoming a bit tiresome.

As a Man United fan - man and boy - I desperately hope that our brilliant winger stays at United. Yesterday one of the top people at Real Madrid suggested that a deal has been struck taking Cristiano to the Spanish giants at the end of the current season.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary United manager, and one of my all-time heroes pulled no punches when asked by the media for his views.
You can hear the 64 second interview with the great man by clicking here.

The line I like best is:
"Do you think I would go into a contract with that mob. Absolutely no chance. I wouldn't sell them a virus"

Priceless - thank you Sir Alex.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

‘Make it up as you go along’ works

“Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans” – John Lennon

6.30 pm, January 10th 1977 and the wind was gale force. The rain was torrential. I was the manager 'on-call' for my local hospital – a 140 bed unit mainly for older people and some younger people recovering from surgery.

I had just sat down for my evening meal at home when the phone rang. It was Ken - one of the porters at the hospital just ringing me to tell me, for information, there was a problem with the drains in the car park. It seems the manhole covers were lifting through water pressure and Ken understood the tidal river that ran through the town had flooded as the high winds coincided with unusually high spring tides. I asked if there was anything I could do but Ken told me things were ok and all seemed calm despite rumours of chaos in the town.

No sooner had I put the phone down when a neighbour came round in a panic to tell me the river had indeed flooded and the town was under water in places. Emergency vehicle sirens could soon be heard all over the town and I felt it may be a good idea for me to go in and check things were in fact ok at the hospital. I was concerned because the hospital was only about 200 yards ‘as the crow flies’ from the river so if there was a problem it is likely that the hospital may be affected.

As I reached the hospital car park in my car I was amazed at the sight that met me. The entire car park and the drive leading to the hospital was flooded to a depth of at least two feet and I had to leave my car and try to walk to the main entrance to establish quite what was going on. Why hadn’t I had a follow up call from Ken?

The scene was total chaos and I decided to walk to the main entrance in the clothes I was wearing. As I passed one of the new buildings in the grounds on my way to the main entrance I was by now up to my waist in freezing water and couldn’t help noticing the new furniture floating in our pride and joy building – the new Day Hospital that had been opened just a month or so previously.

When I finally got into the hospital Ken greeted me with the news that all power had been lost including telephones and as this was of course before the days of mobile phones the hospital was completely isolated and yet in the middle of the town!

So there I was at age 24 – still ‘green around the ears,’ still learning my trade and suddenly faced with a major incident.

It was now 9 pm and the only people at work on the premises were the night nursing staff the porter and me. This was a total of about 10 people. There were well over 100 patients whose welfare was of course our greatest concern.

I wandered around the hospital to speak to the people on the six wards to make sure things were ok. Obviously the one ward on the ground floor was our biggest concern and that ward had about six inches of dirty water covering the floor.

We decided to use one office as our base and those who could be spared came to the office for a quick meeting to plan what we could do for the rest of the night.

The truth is we were making this up as we went along. Yes there were polices and procedures that had been written in

the warmth of a comfortable office, probably in the middle of summer. Here we were in the middle of winter in a violent storm with no power and over 100 vulnerable patients. And we could not communicate with the outside world.

We developed some plans on the hoof and gradually three or four more people battled their way to the hospital main entrance as the depth of the water in the drive continued to rise. Eventually we managed to set up a primitive form of communication. The local Sea Scouts organisers came up to the hospital entrance in a boat! They delivered a loud haler which meant we could communicate with people wanting to offer help as word got around the town that the hospital was in effect cut off. We were overwhelmed with offers of help and we had to make priorities about what we needed.

After a few hours the telephones were re-connected but we had no power until the following day. The ten of us kept in touch by constant walking round the hospital bringing folks up to date with any news we could find out.

As daylight broke the water finally began to subside and at last the hospital became reachable. In the meantime we had moved the most vulnerable and ill patients from the ground floor to higher levels to escape possible infection from the dirty water. All the patients were given extra blankets – remember we had no heating!

During the following day we evacuated 120 or so patients to various hospitals all over the region and it was just incredible to find myself at my tender years to be in charge- by default - of such a major incident. Amazing learning.

The miracle is that no patients lost their lives overnight although sadly a couple of patients died a day or two later in the hospital we managed to evacuate them to. It was felt by the nurses that the trauma of the event itself contributed to the patients’ demise.

I have many vivid memories of that night. The overwhelming learning is about how, at times of great adversity, ‘unconnected’ people can work together as a wonderful team and ‘deliver’ effectively even though there is no precedent, no plan and no experience of dealing with such a major incident. A wonderful experience and I was so proud to be a member of that team.

Leadership Lesson

‘Make it up as you go along’ works as a strategy sometimes. Policies help and act as a guide but sometimes you just have to get on and ‘do it.’

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tom's Nine for 2009!

My good friend Tom Asacker – realist and visionary - has published his 9 predictions for 2009 – it’s brilliant – you can read the full article by clicking here

My favourite two:

No 2 Many things will change, but many people will not

No 6 The passionate will not only survive, they will thrive

Thanks Tom for your continued inspiration.

Friday, December 12, 2008

iLearning Global

When it comes to leadership and management in business I have to admit to being a bit of a learning 'junkie.'

I crave information about these subjects; I love to read (even though I never do enough reading); whenever I get the chance I love to see top business speakers; and occasionally I attend training workshops that spark my interest.

Given my thirst for knowledge I was excited to come across iLearning Global – a whole new concept in learning in the new virtual world.

iLearning Global
is an online facility that transmits through your own PC some of the worlds top management experts and leading authors 24/7. The content is updated almost daily. iLearning Global uses high definition video streaming that only 6 other companies in the world have available including Disney so the picture quality is second to none.

This development shows the way in top quality, leading edge training taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our new virtual world.

I’ve already signed up to iLearning Global and I would love to hear what you think about the concept. I’m happy to exchange thoughts by e mail with anyone interested -

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Socially Responsible Capitalism

Trying to reconcile two seemingly polarised views is the essence of politics for me nowadays

Since I was a kid I have had an emotional connection to the British Labour Party. I’ve always described my politics as socialism and I’ve recently got engaged in some fascinating discussion on Tom Peters Blog about capitalism versus socialism.

My earliest recollections of politics entering my thinking was in my early teens and my late beloved Dad coming home from his work after his shift on the front line in the massive Perkins Diesel engine factory in Peterborough (in those days it employed in excess of 10,000 people). He would complain about how management were not interested in the front line workers. Dad was a staunch Union man and fought hard for the workers he supervised as a fairly senior engine inspector. He had many battles with what he called ‘out of touch management stuck in their offices.’

It was these formative years that I suppose led me to believe the Labour Party was the one for me. As a result I've always voted for either a Labour Candidate (or a Liberal Democrat as a tactical vote just so that a Conservative is not elected)

I will not change my basic allegiance to socialism but I have discovered Socially Responsible Capitalism as a concept for the first time and I am going to do some more reading on this concept.

The thing that aways worries me about a purely capitalist dogma is this rose tinted illusion we are supposed to believe that business will allow 'trickle down' of wealth taking some of the profits ‘down’ to those who are at the bottom of the pile. O yeah, who are you trying to kid is my response.

I just cannot see this as ‘real world thinking’ without some form of government regulation which is alien to capitalists.

As a consequence I've never voted for a Conservative because that party is passionately capitalist.

Mark JF one of our regular commenters posted this comment a few weeks ago:

"A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head." David Lloyd George.

In spite of Lloyd George’s assertion that I ‘don’t have a head’ I remain socially minded and nothing will change my view about that – but at the same time I want to see the spread of genuine socially responsible capitalism.

Maybe what I am saying for the first time in my voting life is that I will look at which candidate in my constituency stands for socially responsible capitalism and he/she will get my vote. The test for me will come if that person in a Conservative I guess.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Leadership Lessons

I'm grateful for my friend in the US Steve Felix publishing on his own Blog a reminder of Leadership Lessons from my book “I Wanna Tell You A Story”

1. Never, ever assume.

2. Be humble, you are still learning: you can learn from anyone. You are a role model-think about how you want to be remembered.

3. Make it up as you go along works as a strategy sometimes. Policies help and act as a guide but sometimes you just have to get on and ‘do it.’

4. Actually you don’t know all the answers; you can always learn; beware especially of those old well-established systems that everyone is comfortable with-don’t protect them blindly.

5. The best way to gain power is to let go of power; Your front line staff knows all the answers. You cannot possibly know the dynamics and relationships as well as your staff. Learn to let go.

6. Know what it is that you do; and more importantly, know how you can prove it.

7. You are as powerful or as weak as you believe you are; Strive for change and improvements…No one should be punished for trying too hard.

8. Walking the talk means getting your hands dirty; You never lose the responsibility of making sure the job gets done. Your credibility is linked to how dirty you are prepared to see your hands become.

9. Never underestimate how powerful you are perceived to be as a manager; You hold the key to the joy or grief of many people and you probably do not realize it. Respect that power and use it to make the job of your staff easier.

10. Cherish the basics; When you begin your leadership journey as a junior member of staff, cherish the experience you gain in doing the basics well. Your ‘old’ bosses may appear pedantic-but you will remember that detail when you are a leader and just how important detail can be.

11. Take responsibility personally as a leader; Small thing to you may be a big thing to someone else.

12. You don’t need to shout; People know when they have made a mistake.

13. Rules are made to be stretched; and sometimes broken.

14. Decisiveness is both listening and doing; Decisiveness is about listening respectfully and then setting a clear direction.

15. Make up your own mind; Don’t always believe what you hear about your bosses. Make your mind up based on how they treat you.

16. Always be ready to change your plans; Never make assumptions about other people’s motivation and when you make plans be prepared to change them.

As always let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Four People Who Have Inspired Me

I've probably been influenced in my career by hundreds of people. I've narrowed it down to four people who have influenced me more than most - these four are outstanding.

Firstly my very first boss when I was 16 years of age and going into the big world of employment for the first time. Mr Spittlehouse (what a great name) was the boss of the local hospital and he taught me the importance of the basics. I would probably see him now as a bit obsessional about detail but I also realise how important that was for me in my formative years at work. Sadly Mr Spittlehouse died a few years ago but his impact on my career still resonates.

Secondly Dr Chakraborti who was the Doctor in charge of the learning disability service I worked in about 30 years ago. He was a real fighter for his clients i.e. people with a learning disability and their families. I was so proud to work with Dr Chakraborti. It was he who gave me a motto about learning disability services that I've tried to follow in all my work since - "Spend time with people with learning disability and always keep an open mind" - It works for me

Thirdly Dr Phil Shute who was my own Family Doctor (General Practitioner) and a colleague in my NHS career in Devon. Phil and I were the joint drivers of an amazing 3 year project in the mid 1990's aimed at improving services for people who lived in a very deprived part of Devon. He was an inspiration in so many ways. His clarity of thought, his total dedication and his passion for the patient was something I've not experienced before or since.

Fourthy Professor George Giarchi about whom I have written before on this Blog. George is truly amazing. He is now approaching 80 years of age and still works for the University of Plymouth as Professor of Social Care. He remains my 'life supervisor.' George was my academic supervisor in 1996-98 when I did my MA Management (Health Care). I got to know George well and his knowledge, humility and integrity are second to none in my entire career.

I would love to hear about a few of the folks who may have influenced you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Now THAT is Customer Care - Amen!

I was running a Customer Care workshop today and came across a gem of a story about customer care which I am re-producing here with the kind permission of Jill, the participant who told the story when I asked for examples of good attitudes in customer care.

It seems Jill and her wheelchair bound husband went on holiday to Crete and when they booked the holiday they requested a ground floor bedroom. When they arrived at the hotel they discovered, to their horror, their room was actually on the top floor and the hotel had no lift.

The manager - who spoke little English - apologised
profusely and immediately transferred Jill and her husband to a ground floor room and they were thrilled.

They slept soundly that night after their initial anxiety and when they woke in the morning they discovered that a CONCRETE RAMP had been BUILT outside their room overnight to enable easier access to the garden area for the wheelchair.

They had not heard a sound as they slept and they were simply gobsmacked to see what had happened.

Now that is what I call customer service. It restores my faith in what I have always said on the Blog - despite some opposition - that customer care excellence is something that some people just 'get' and some people just 'don't get.'

This manager really understands customer care and I would love to work in an organisation that he runs

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fifty years of Fergie in football

Saturday 15th November – as well as being the birthday of my oldest son, Simon also marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson in football (soccer for my friends from over the pond)

I am not going to write much on this posting but I do ask you to read the BBC Report at this link for the full blow-by-blow coverage of the career of this great icon since his debut as a professional footballer in Scotland as a 16 year old in 1958.

Since Sir Alex became Manager at my beloved Manchester United in 1986 he has led the team to these triumphs:

10 Premier League Championships
5 FA Cup final wins
2 League Cup wins
2 European Champions League wins

There simply is no greater manager alive today in British football and I would argue there has never been a more successful manager in football.

The bad news for the rest of football is that Sir Alex at 66 years of age shows no signs of losing his appetite for winning.

Thank you Sir Alex. I hope even your greatest enemies will admit you deserve your success and celebrate this day of glory in your honour

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The 'men' who did this - an insult to my gender.

Computer generated graphics of Baby P's injuries

I have to say part of me didn't want to post this dreadful story but after giving it some thought I decided we need to publicly confront this sort of thing head on. I hope no readers of Simplicity Blog are upset by the graphic picture above or the content of this posting. Let me go on ...

I was reflecting a lot yesterday about the irony of life.

On Remembrance Day, 48 hours ago I was moved to tears through simply watching on TV the dignity of three men of 112, 110 and 108 as they proudly and emotionally presented their wreaths at the Cenotaph in London to remember their fallen comrades in World War One.

On that same day I am sad to say news broke here in the UK that a 17 month old baby boy known as Baby P for legal reasons had been killed by his mother, her boyfriend and another male as a result of systematic, brutal physical abuse over many months.

Here are some extracts from the BBC News Report:

*Baby P, died after suffering 50 injuries including a broken back, eight fractured ribs and extensive bruising.

*Jason Owen, 36, from Bromley, and a 32-year-old man were convicted of "causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable person".

*The boy's mother had already pleaded guilty to the same charge, and all three will be sentenced on 15 December.

*He had been on the register of at-risk children in Haringey, and before his death was visited 60 times in eight months by social workers, police and health professionals.

Click here if you wish to read more from the BBC Report

Two of these three people are described as ‘men’ which as far as I’m concerned is an insult to my gender.

So ... going back to my beginning about irony, what a contrast we have between five men:

3 genuine, heroic, brave, dignified gentlemen.

2 cowards.

Sometimes life is so hard to understand. I think of myself as a very tolerant person with experience of working for 10 years in mental health services and so I understand these people are actually sick. They have to be sick to do such things to an innocent, helpless young child.

Despite my considerable experience of mental health services, my natural forgiving nature and my Christian belief, I am stretched to find any words of compassion whatsoever toward these two human beings who are only ‘men’ biologically – these are not real men.

I pray they will reflect a lot about what they have done whilst they are in prison (they will be sentenced in December) which hopefully will be for a very long time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Henry Allingham

Harry Patch

Today is a very special day to take some quiet time and remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of Britain and indeed all who have died in wars regardless of their nationality. We particularly remember the 90
th Anniversary of the ending of the First World War.

Thee two pictures above say it all really

You can read more at this BBC News Link

112 year old Veteran Henry Allingham represents the Royal Air Force and 110 year old Harry Patch read the Act of Remembrance

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I watched the TV coverage of the US Presidential Election on Tuesday night through to 3 am Wednesday morning. I love to watch our UK General Election too - these are wonderful occasions because they represent the 'school report' by the people on our politicians for the four or five years they have been leading our country.

I believe, for many reasons, the victory of Mr Obama is momentous in historical terms and does represent more than a wind of change. The world needs hope right now and looking around I ask myself where is that hope to come from among our current leaders?

I was impressed with his statesmanship upon accepting the victory and also the gracious way in which Mr McCain accepted defeat. Both men emerge with much credit.

We all know that the work is only just beginning for Mr Obama but the word that will not go away in my head is 'hope' and in my opinion this man offers the world that at the very least.

I wish Mr Obama well .... and to all US Citizens, I think you have made the right choice.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Running for Carers

Annie and I are now committed to running the 26 miles (and a bit) London Marathon in April 2009 and our training regime has started in earnest.

We are aiming to raise £3000 for Carers UK – a campaigning organisation for unpaid family carers who look after people with an illness or disability.

A SECURE website has now been set up where anyone can sponsor us.

If you feel able to help us you will be helping more than 6 million carers in the UK.

Click here to sponsor our marathon run and please do leave us an encouraging message – we need it!

Can I also ask if you will pass on this to anyone you think maybe interested?

Thank you.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Exceptional Customer Service

People often criticise the UK National Health Service (NHS) and if we believe (I don’t) what we read in right wing national newspapers, like the Daily Mail, the NHS is failing millions of us.

We seem to conveniently forget we have a universal health service in Britain available to all and free at the point of delivery regardless of our wealth status.

In the last year or so since we moved to our new village we have had a few occasions to make appointments for one or other members of our family to see a Doctor. Every time we have had a superb service without fail. Every time when medication is prescribed it is dispensed on site and we have walked away from the surgery with the medication. For a repeat prescription where the normal procedure is for patients to give 48 hours notice, we have twice asked whether a repeat prescription can be made up that day. No problem on both occasions, the surgery gladly obliged by leaving the medication at the shop opposite the surgery for collection the same afternoon.

This morning our daughter Lucy was feeling unwell and at 8.40 am I rang the surgery to see if she could be seen fairly quickly though it was not an emergency. The receptionist asked us to be there at 9.20 am to see the doctor.

Annie took Lucy to meet the doctor and he prescribed antibiotics for tonsillitis. The medication was dispensed on site and Annie was home with Lucy 55 minutes from the time I made the initial phone call at 8.40 am.

Now that’s what I call service!

So what is the point of telling this story?

1 We could not have had a better service if we had paid for it.

2 The NHS at its best is absolutely brilliant.

3 Exceptional Customer Service is what this is.

4 This story – the third of its kind in the year we have been here reminds me that we need to protect and preserve our NHS of which I am very proud

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Leaders - Born or Made?

I'm delighted to say my latest Simplicity Article on this subject is published today on Training Zone Website - Click here to see article

Comments welcome as always either here or on the Training Zone site

Sunday, October 26, 2008

London Marathon 2009 - Running for Carers

Well they do say you need to have a purpose and some targets in management … Here is something for Annie and me to focus on.

We’ve both been successful in securing places in the London Marathon 2009 which is to be held on April 26th

We are thrilled to be running for Carers UK which is a National not-for-profit organisation based in London that promotes the needs of unpaid family carers.

Over the next few months we will be attempting to raise awareness of carers needs and also attempting to raise a total of £3000 for Carers UK between us through sponsorship.

Anyone who has been reading Simplicity Blog for a while will know I have passion for supporting unpaid family carers who provide more care to people with illness or disability than is provided by all the agencies of the UK combined such as the National Health Service and Social Services.

I will use Simplicity Blog to report on progress … 6 months sounds a long time in some ways but awfully close in others. Annie will be reporting more fully on our training regime and progress on her own Blog - details to follow.

The longest distance we’ve run to date is 7 miles so between 26 and 27 miles seems a long way …

Watch this space.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tom Peters backs Barack Obama

I was delighted to discover on U Tube that my management guru Tom Peters is supporting Barack Obama in the forthcoming US Presidential Election.

Tom’s speech is in three parts at these links

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

It is a typically passionate speech from Tom. He tells us this is the first time he given a political speech in his 66 years. That’s sounds a pretty symbolic statement of how strongly he feels the need for US citizens to elect Mr Obama in November.

I am not knowledgeable enough of US politics to say who is the best candidate but I agree with every word in Tom's speech.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Resilience Report

My good friend J Kannan kindly sent me a copy of an interesting report from booz&co suggesting we should not panic and instead maybe take a calmer view about the current financial crisis gripping the world.

If you would like to read the full report click here

As a self confessed non-expert in all this stuff my own take is that it's great to see the advice is not to hit the 'panic' button but to see this as a time of measured reflection, learning and opportunity.

I am an eternal optimist and whilst I can see there are going to be some really traumatic job losses around the world it may be this is the shock that was needed to metaphorically 'stop the world for a while' and give us all time to reflect.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Variety or Familiarity?

One of the things I wanted most when I left my NHS career four years ago was more variety in my work.

This week has been a pretty varied week.

  • Sunday evening drove up to Newcastle to prepare for all day Monday session when I was one of 11 facilitators at an event run by the Department of Health.

  • Monday evening drove back to Birmingham for a meeting at 7.30 pm

  • Tuesday drove to Birmingham to perform a couple of drama sketches with Annie at a national conference on out of hours emergency medical care. This was followed by delivering three consecutive 45 minute workshops on team development to a total of 60 of the delegates attending the conference

  • Wednesday drove up to Liverpool to deliver a workshop to GP front line staff on Exceptional Customer Care

  • Thursday was a day in Leicester working in a healthcare organisation assisting them to develop a new communications and engagement strategy.

That’s well over a thousand miles on the road; 5 completely different ‘jobs’ in five days; for five completely different clients.

Though it is not usually QUITE as varied as this, the above schedule is not an unusual spread of activity in a typical week for me. I simply couldn’t stand working in a job nowadays with a rigid job description that restricts my personal horizons. Anyone can make more of a job that has limited scope on paper, by attitude of mind but I just love the real variety I’ve discovered.

Many people like to have predictability about what they are doing week on week, month on month and year on year. That is perfectly fine - I have no problem with that choice if it suits the person. I personally prefer the element of surprise and ‘difference’ in the range of things I do.

Apart from anything else I believe that by creating lots of options, possibilities and outlets for experience, knowledge and skills I might just have a better chance of finding something when the chips are down than if I stick to the stuff I just feel comfortable with.

Please note I am NOT suggesting this as a prescription for anyone – just that it definitely suits my personality and style. I would love your views on variety versus familiarity.