Friday, September 26, 2008

The British Economy Pantomime 2008

I thought with Christmas approaching it’s topical that I exclusively preview on Simplicity Blog ‘The British Economy Pantomime 2008.’

(As a life long Labour Party supporter, and as someone who likes Gordon Brown as a person, this hurts me more than it hurts you but sometimes we have to say it as it really is!)


Our leading panto man is Prime Minister Gordon Brown who was Chancellor of the Exchequer for 10 of the last 11 years. He is telling us that the problems we face in Britain are actually nothing to do with him - or indeed Britain - but they are due in fact to some evil force known as ‘problems in the world economy.’ It’s obviously all to do with those other nasty people known in panto land as – ‘baddies’ – Boo!!! Hiss!!!

The nice Gordon tells us that, actually, everyone else in the world is to blame and not us folks in Britain so that is very re-assuring. And of course it’s definitely not the fault of Gordon himself who is, needless to say, squeaky clean and absolutely blameless. (Reminder to audience: Gordon was in charge of the British economy from 1997 until 2007)

QUESTION TO AUDIENCE: - How come when things were (apparently) going well from 1997-2007 Gordon was happy to take the credit and now when things are going South in a big way it is the fault of those awful baddies ‘the world economy.’ Irony upon irony our nice Gordon - having had complete control of the bank account for 10 years has now been promoted to be in charge of the whole country of ‘Crazyland' - previously known as Britain - as Prime Minister!

ANSWER IN UNISON FROM AUDIENCE: - Politics stinks! ….. Oh yes it does!!

EPILOGUE: - They really couldn’t make this stuff up. It’s like appointing Richard Nixon as Chief Executive of ‘The Truth Commission.’

I really don’t have a downer on Gordon Brown. Actually he is a very experienced politician. There is probably no-one better to choose from in an era of dullness - the like of which I have never known in my adult life as far as politics is concerned. All politicians in Britain - regardless of gender or age - suffer the very contagious disease of 'sameness' - they look the same, talk the same, wear the same type of clothes and frankly I cannot think of one of our 450 plus democratically elected Members of Parliament in Britain that inspires hope. Where are the likes of Tony Benn?


Quoting the words of the front page headline of ‘The Sun’ - Britain’s most popular daily newspaper (more accurately described as a ‘Comic’) of many years ago …

‘Would the last person leaving Britain please turn out the lights’

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Business Ethics & Practice

I am indebted once more to my friend J. Kannan for sharing his wisdom.

He wrote the piece below in March 2006 and given both the world financial crisis and - more locally - my recent posting about ethics and morality in business I wanted to share this with you. JK is clearly ahead of the game!

Business Ethics & Practice

“Management is doing things right.
Leadership is doing right things”
- Peter F Drucker

Many a business people talk on the subject and have clear cut concept and views on the subject, but when they were to put these good ethics and practice into reality, they just forget about the positive effects and good results of the business ethics and its good practice and dump the whole thing into waste bin- an alarming situation needs to be alerted and averted.

I have never heard and seen of Man eating money but heard and seen of Money eating Man and I am quite confident that many of you will agree with me. Man needs a palatable breakfast, a square meal for lunch and a digestible supper at night followed by an undisturbed slumber, so that next day begins with vibrant motion and excellent notion. To make things work beyond the required and expected standard, he succumbs to the situation of” Money eating Man”. This is due to bad cause and its resultant effects invited by man by not adhering to good business ethics, conducive and congenial business practice. It is better to have ethical savings of money rather than unethical amassing of wealth and spending sleepless nights.

An ideal business ethics and practice will comprise of straight forward business deal, across the table direct negotiation, transparent monitory gives and takes, honouring of commitments made, with integrity and loyalty, proper and honest disclosure of financial statements, tax planning inter-alia with savings plan and last but not least prompt payment of taxes due to government followed by charity to recognized institutions towards creating education and employment opportunities to the innumerable young lads waiting in urge, and do away with your surplus money towards good causes and thereby legally and ethically gain tax benefits.

Hardly a day goes without the news in print/visual media that business people are caught by the enforcement and other appropriate authorities for breaking & violating the Acts and norms to amass money in unethical manner and following bad practice and in turn end up in acute problems and even land up at times in spending more than what they have made good by following unethical business practice. Please bear in mind- Ill gotten money will vanish leaving a scar in the heart & mind through out the life’s existence which ultimately brings ill reputation & bad name not only to self but to the entire family.

The root cause of each and every problem the man faces today is due to unethical conduct and bad practice being adopted and the only solution to this is to reverse the trend & follow ethical conduct and good business practice at all times without any compromise whatsoever.

To conclude this short write-up I would urge all involved in business to follow the principles contained in the quote on the top by THE GREAT Peter F Drucker in deed and action


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Single Working Parents Zone

I am delighted to advertise a brand new Blog today.

My friend Dave Wheeler and his business partner Regina Daniels have started a Blog called Single Working Parents Zone

They explain the purpose of the Blog as follows:

“An information and knowledge gathering space devoted to sharing the challenges and issues while celebrating the success stories of Single Working Parents everywhere. We are on a mission.”

We are "People Advocates. Change Catalysts."

I wish them well with this exciting new venture and I ask anyone who read Simplicity Blog to publicise Single Working Parents Zone Blog if you can.

It would be great if Dave and Regina could see some encouraging comments to help initiate discussions.

This is the full link

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do they really think we are stupid?

Two customer care rants!

Rant Number One This evening I had a phone call from BT and the young lady’s opening remarks were;

“Hello Mr Gay - As you are a loyal customer of BT we want to GIVE you, free of charge, a satellite TV Box worth £200!”

Of course I didn’t believe her for one nanosecond but I played along a while until she said that it was conditional on me signing up for a 12 month contract at £14 per month.

Rant Number Two - Then there are these stupid offers of flying to some destination for £1. When you make enquiries it turns out the ticket to get on the plane is indeed £1 but airport taxes mean you pay well over £100 for the journey!

Conclusion - I can only assume the people who train these sales people must believe that all of us ‘out here’ in the big wide world are so thick that we will believe such crap.

On a serious note I often think to myself these sales people and/or their companies should be prosecuted for lying.

I don't think this is clever, smart, innovative sales management - Frankly I think it stinks.


  • A free TV Box is either free or not free
  • A £1 air ticket is either £1 or it is not £1


1 How can companies be allowed to lie legally?

2 How, morally, can they sleep at night?

3 Where is the ethical behaviour in this?

4 What does this tell us about the leadership in companies that do this sort of thing?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Role Play - Friend or Foe?

In our ‘Trust Me I’m a Patient’ workshops over the last 3 years we have noticed the ‘fear’ that exists among participants about taking part in role play.

We have delivered this workshop 48 times involving close to 1600 people who work in the National Health Service.

The workshop is about changes to local healthcare services and how NHS managers and clinicians might improve the way they involve local patients and the public in those changes. In a nutshell we re-create a real life scenario and get the folks at the workshop to play a small part as a character in a public meeting to discuss the changes.

People often tell us after the workshop is over that they were terrified of the idea of role play. The good news is that most people feel ok afterwards because we make sure no one is put under pressure to take part. Most of the delegates we have spoken to, and certainly from our written evaluation forms completed by participants after each event, are pleased to have taken part and tell us that using drama is a useful training method.

There is no doubt taking part in role play is out of the comfort zone for many people but as long as it is handled with sensitivity I think the benefits are great.

I often say at the beginning of these workshops that to be outside our comfort zone means we are probably learning and my feeling is that the main outcome of any workshop should be …. To learn …. Or is that logic too simple … even for me?

We are just coming to the end of a series of 25 ‘Trust Me I’m a Patient’ workshops for one National Health Service client. We have delivered the 25 workshops over the last five months and we have had overwhelmingly good feedback so it seems role play is one of the many things in life that sounds worse than the reality.

I would love your opinions about the use of role play in training and your experiences of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Simplicity: Learning to love 'new' technology

Delighted to say my latest Simplicity Article is published today on Training

Click here to read the article

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Management Guru - 700 BC

Thank you to my friend J Kannan for your comments on my last posting that reminded me of one of my all time favourite leadership quotes:

Go to the people

Live with them
Learn from them
Love them
Start with what they know
Build with what they have

But with the best leaders
When the work is done
The task accomplished
The people will say
“We have done this ourselves.”

Lao Tsu (700 BC)

Question - How come some 'leaders' still don't 'get it' 2708 years later?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

5 Leadership Words

Feeling in a reflective mood, I thought I would list the most outstanding qualities of the most effective leaders I’ve ever worked with or for.

These were the 5 words that came into my head after not very long thinking about the question:


Strange how words like Hard, Decisive, Ruthless, and Disciplinarian did not come into my head. That probably says more about me than anything else.

Anyway, can you offer 5 words that describe the most effective leaders you have worked for or with?

By the way, I’m not saying I’m right. I’m just saying when I remember the best leaders I’ve known my five words Integrity, Humility, Kindness, Support and Fairness are the ones I personally would use to describe them.

Would love to have your take on this!