Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hard work never killed anyone ... or did it?

A discussion on Tom Peters Blog got me thinking about the merits of working hard and the impact that has on our health.

We all have different levels of motivation for work.

From my self-analysis I know:

• I have a very high work ethic.
• I work very hard.
• I love work.
• I’ve always put in far more hours than I’ve been paid.
• I’ve always given plenty of my time free.
• If I have a poor boss I work for ‘me’ rather than for him/her.

Question to self - Do I have a sensible work/life balance?

I believe I have a reasonable balance but others may say I spend too much time working and not enough time relaxing. I would counter that I get a great buzz from work which is a positive stress for me.

I know there are times when I don't even realise I have become dull and tired. For instance Annie and I have not had a holiday for 3 years and I’m pretty sure if we were to go away for a week I would very quickly realise how much I need a break.

So what do we do about this?

I think we have to create our own coping mechanisms. We must listen to our bodies. The body has a very effective habit of getting it absolutely right when it hints that we should slow down. If we don’t listen to the whisper of our body we may the victim of a very loud shout.

Self healthcare is always the most effective healthcare because we have to justify our unhealthy actions to the person in the mirror and that can be painful.

I don’t think it is a straightforward one size fits all answer to the question “Is hard work a good or bad thing?”

My own philosophy – learned through my late beloved Dad is that we get nothing for nothing. That what he always told me and it’s stuck. I hope I am wise enough to listen to my body's whisper before it needs to shout at me.

One thing I do know is that being self employed for the last four and a half years and previously working for 35 years in large organisations feels very different. I've always worked hard but it feels like I work much harder now and my job satisfaction is far higher than it has ever been.

I guess I am in the camp that says hard work is good for me. I hope I am wise enough to know when I am working too hard.

How’s your ‘work hard’ versus ‘health’ balance looking particularly in these challenging recessionary times?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friend of Simplicity - Marilyn Jess

Today my guest for the Simplicity interview is Marilyn Jess who I came across through my Simplicity Blog about three years ago. Marilyn always offers great comments and we have a healthcare career in common.

Marilyn is a very well qualified speaker and offers professional guidance to those who are nervous about the art of public speaking.

I'm sure you will enjoy reading about Marilyn's work and career - please let her have your comments.

Trevor - Where are you based in the US Marilyn and can you tell us a bit about your career to date?

Marilyn - I live in southwestern Vermont, near Albany, NY. I'm actually between my second and third careers. I went back to college, after dropping out early, and got a Masters in Nutritional Sciences in 1987. I'm a Registered Dietitian, and most recently a Licensed Wellcoach®. Last year I launched a new business as a speaker and speaking coach called “Speaking Of...,” giving workshops on improving communication skills. Because I have spent 20+ years in health care, my niche audience is health care professionals. I work online as a wellness coach, too.

Trevor - How did you first get into Toastmasters?

Marilyn - My husband Jim and I moved back to New England from California in 1997 to be near family. When I landed in the small town we moved to I knew no one here. I'd heard of Toastmasters, and since I spoke in my job I was curious about it. After attending three meetings as I guest, I was so impressed that I joined. That was 1998-I'm still in that club.

Trevor - What are the main benefits of joining Toastmasters?

Marilyn - You can take your speaking talent—and we all come to Toastmasters with talent on some level- and improve it as far as you want to go. The program is over 80 years old, and encompasses all aspects of how to speak successfully. You gain confidence and competence by preparing and giving many types of speeches. Another big benefit is the Toastmasters leadership track. You learn leadership by doing it—I can't think of a better way. Your listening skills become finely tuned, and that's a benefit that's priceless today. Most important, you express yourself better, in any situation.

Trevor - Can you give a few tips to those people who are nervous about public speaking?

Marilyn - To turn your signature phrase 'Preparation is the Key.' Learn as much as you can about your audience. That's an area many speakers don't do well enough. Outline your speech. Rehearse. Have a killer opening and close that you know cold. Tape yourself, time yourself. Drink LOTS of water beforehand. To perfect these skills — join a club www.toastmasters.org

Trevor - I feel Mr Obama is a superb speaker. Do you agree and what are his special qualities?

Marilyn - Yes, I agree he is an effective speaker because he has a clear message. He knows history and uses that in his speaking. I have heard he writes his speeches, or major parts of them, as Lincoln did—that's a strength. I feel he could be even more effective if he worked on removing filler words from his speaking.

Trevor - Have you visited the UK and if not do you have plans to come to this side of the pond?

Marilyn - Sadly, I have not visited the UK—always wanted to. No current plans, and I want to see Scotland, England and Ireland!

Trevor - Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Marilyn - Check out my blog: http://marilyn-speakingof.blogspot.com/

I'm on LinkedIn and Facebook too!

Trevor - That's great Marilyn - good luck in all that you do!

London Marathon Countdown - 4 weeks to go.

Well we did it.

An 18 mile run this afternoon (Sunday) for Annie and me in our training programme for the London Marathon on Sunday 26th April - Just 4 weeks today!

It was very hard work but we got there.

Annie was brilliant - particularly as she has had a heavy cold all week. I struggled in the last 2 miles but got there in the end.

I now have to focus on the thought that we have to do this distance and then another 8 miles for the marathon.

Focus is everything - I'll need plenty of it over the next 4 weeks.

Next weekend our programme tells us we have to do 20 miles and that is the maximum distance we do before the big day when we have to do 26 miles of course!

The thought of 20 miles is painful just typing it!

Nothing that a good hot bath can't sort out ... speaking of which I am about to have my second hot bath since getting back from our 18 mile run this afternoon. We said on the way round that we must be mad to be doing this on a Sunday afternoon - surely there are better ways of spending the afternoon!

For our most recent marathon training update go to Annie's Blog at this link


Friday, March 27, 2009

Have a Great Dream

Regular visitors to Simplicity Blog will know I write a regular column for TrainingZone.co.uk

My latest article “Have a Great Dream” is published today and you can read the article and comment at this link;


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trust Me, I'm a Doctor

I’ve spent the best part of yet another week in the company of around 90 front line healthcare employees running 5 workshops including some on the development of electronic patient records.

I use a family analogy to illustrate to delegates the changing world we live in.

My Mum, God bless her, is 80 next month and regularly goes to the doctor. If the doctor told Mum to take a cold shower every day she might be tempted to do it (slight exaggeration of effect – sorry Mum) because she has been brought up to believe that the doctor is one step removed from God himself. There is terrific respect for the doctor.

My daughter is 28 and has two sons. Is she goes to the doctor about herself or the two boys she will challenge the doctor in a friendly but assertive way asking why this medication, why that treatment etc, It’s not that she does not trust the doctor, its just that she has more information than my Mum, thanks largely to information technology.

I am somewhere in the middle at aged 56. I want desperately to trust everything the doctor says because that’s how I was brought up by my parents and that was always the culture. And then part of me is like my daughter in that I know I have the right to challenge the doctor and not be made to feel or look like a fool.

We are living through interesting times where there is probably a generational shift among patients about their perception of the role and status of the doctor.

Fascinating times and with the growth of information technology and information access I can see a day when my grandchildren will want to know even more about their health. Despite coming from the generation I do I am excited about that.

Doctors are terrific people – I have worked with literally thousands in my career but they are not beyond reproach.

In the words of the great song by Bob Dylan - "The times they are a changing"

Fascinating ….. I'd love to hear what you think about this one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Simplicity and Potential

I am indebted to my good friend Rocky Noe from Kentucky, US for this wonderful short piece about the famous US author Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) whose “Walden, or Life in the Woods” is regarded as a classic American book exploring natural simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for just social and cultural conditions.

I know that many people see the world through a complexity lens. I prefer a Simplicity lens and I am delighted to have discovered Mr Thoreau’s thoughts in this piece which is about potential.

Here we go ….

Is it true that I must limit myself? Is it true that I have a definite “ceiling of potential”? Are some people’s ceilings built higher than others’?

There are indeed, mental ceilings built above people, limiting them; limiting their potential, limiting their resources, and eventually generating their finalities.

These structures are not physical formations. It would take a man many days to build such a powerful, sturdy structure in physicality.

Ceilings of potential, on the other hand, are created in one’s mind simply by personal decisions. When we choose to harbour limiting beliefs we build our own personal ceilings. Therefore, we are only limited by ourselves.

Henry David Thoreau, was a self-willed writer in the Transcendentalism Era who firmly believed in the limitlessness of human potential. He once prompted, “Advance confidently toward your dreams, and you’ll meet success.” Don’t limit yourself. Others can’t limit you. It may seem as though they can at times, but in truth, each person is his own individual obstacle to surpass.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions,” Thoreau explained, “perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” Thoreau is referring to his commonly-drilled objective of persistence symbolized by “drummers” that one hears, which provoke self-inspiration and motivation, toward a given action or circumstance. What motivation will you follow? What limitations will you put on yourself?

There is no doubt that life itself puts limitations on us. We are given certain natural potential limits. I can’t be the seven-foot tall giant that I would love to be. I just wasn’t born with the genetics of being tall, but I choose to make up for that with what is available to me. I was born with the ability to develop a superior work ethic. I can choose to make that work ethic superior to just about anyone else you will ever meet. I can choose to work harder and be willing to last longer than anyone else to get what I want. That is how I can choose to break through my natural barriers or “potential ceiling.”

Play to your strengths. Persist right now and don’t think too deeply into things in life.” Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” is how Thoreau relates this concept. Figure out what you can do, and do not settle for what you can’t do.

Understanding your potential and your ability to persist is much more useful than dwelling on and mulling over your limitations.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Values or Profits?

I am certainly not an economist but I often ponder in my more thoughtful moments whether we have our priorities right about profits versus people. I was alerted to the following report by the Reverend Nicky Gumbel the well known leader of the world famous Alpha Course, and currently the vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in London.

Annie and I have been fortunate enough to meet Nicky briefly on a few occasions when we've visited HTB. If you get the chance to listen to Nicky - regardless of your religious beliefs - I am sure you will find him a brilliant and inspiring speaker.

‘The Good Childhood Inquiry’
was published last month by an independent panel commissioned by the Children's Society. The extract below says it all about values and maybe tells us a lot about why we have ended up with the greed that has contributed to the world financial crisis we now face.

“The aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults is now the greatest threat to British children. According to the panel, "excessive individualism" is to blame for many of the problems children face and needs to be replaced by a value system where people seek satisfaction more from helping others rather than pursuing private advantage.”

I agree 100% with that conclusion.

My question; what values are we – as role models - teaching our kids?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friend of Simplicity – Dan Ward

Today I am delighted to introduce my friend Dan Ward who has a passion for simplicity so we have much in common. Dan is also a prolific writer and has written books about simplicity among other topics.

I hope you enjoy the interview and bombard Dan with questions and comments

Trevor - Hi Dan – can you tell us a little about yourself and where you are based in the US?

Dan - I'm a Major in the US Air Force, which is equivalent to a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force. I'm currently studying systems engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton Ohio and after I graduate in a few weeks I'll be working at the Pentagon.

Trevor - You and I have a few things in common, not least the search of simplicity. What made you interested in simplicity in the first place?

Dan - I got there indirectly. As an engineer, I'm interested in pragmatic questions like "What works?" and "Why does it work?" As I tried to answer those questions in several different contexts (both organizational and technical), I eventually discovered that simplicity works.
I also discovered that simplicity isn't easy to do, and sometimes it's not even easy to understand. That's when I began developing what I now call The Simplicity Cycle.

Trevor - Tell us about 'Simplicity cycle' and how you are developing that concept?

Dan - The Simplicity Cycle is a fun little visual exploration of the relationship between complexity, goodness and time. I first wrote about the idea for a Defense Department magazine, then turned it into a manifesto at ChangeThis.com. Eventually, it became a book in its own right (you can download it for free at Lulu.com), and it is currently one of the main principles in my research project.
The book examines the value of complexity over time. In my daily work, I use the Simplicity Cycle diagram to understand, assess and communicate the value of a design or design change, trying to figure out if the change makes things better or worse. The main idea is that making something more complex does not always make it better, but obviously there's a bit more to the story than that. I've also had the opportunity to share it at a few colleges, and it's been incorporated into at least one design curriculum (that I know of). If anyone wants a copy of my lecture slides, I'd be glad to pass them along. Just drop me a note.

Trevor - Why do some managers make things so complicated?

Dan - I think a lot of people mistake complexity for sophistication. Also, making things more complicated can unfortunately produce a sense of accomplishment, because complexity looks like work.

Trevor - I know you are a prolific writer – how many books have you now written and what is your latest writing project?

Dan - Let's see, I've done a series of four novels for children, one collection of short fiction for adults titled The Desert, the aforementioned Simplicity Cycle, and one book titled The Radical Elements of Radical Success. You can check them all out at www.lulu.com/RoguePress, and I think you can read all of them online for free.

As for the future, I'm always working on multiple writing projects. Right now I'm mostly focused on my thesis and a couple technical articles, but I've also got plans for a new fairy tale novel titled The Helper In The Sun and a cooking book titled Cooking With Ingredients. If all goes well, they'll both be available by Christmas time. I'll keep you posted.

Trevor - Any plans to visit the UK?

Dan - I would love to! I was there as a kid and had a wonderful time, although the lack of acrobats, elephants and clowns in Piccadilly Circus confused me. I visited again several years ago and must confess I never quite got the hang of driving on the other side of the road. In fact, I almost sparked an international incident when I tried to navigate an exit ramp on the M1, so the next time I come visit, maybe someone else should drive me around.

Trevor - Finally Dan what can business learn from the military when it comes to leadership?

Dan - Gosh, that's a tough question. I spend a lot of time trying to learn from business, and don't often think of the reverse. Also, as an engineering officer, I don't really have what most people think of as "military leadership" experience. My career so far has been one big experiment in what Dr. Joseph Nye calls soft power, where I try to influence people who don't work for me and/or who outrank me.
In fact, I think there is a widespread misconception about military leadership - despite what Hollywood tells us, it's not all about barking orders and forcing people to do stuff. So maybe the leadership lesson business can learn from the military is that even the military doesn't rely on a coercive style of "leadership" (which isn't really leadership at all). Soft power principles like communication, listening and cooperation are very effective and highly under-appreciated.

As General Eisenhower said, "You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership."

Trevor - Thanks Dan - great to hear from you and good luck in all that you do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thanks Tom - There is hope!!

I was delighted to receive an email from my good friend Tom Asacker giving me this link to a wonderful article in the Boston Globe


Paul Levy is my kind of Chief Executive.

This article shows vividly how we can value front line workers in more ways than words. We can all do something practical and positive to show how much we care for people doing the work at the front line.

I believe what we need most of all is the type of leadership shown here by Paul Levy.

Thanks again Tom

Sunday, March 15, 2009

London Marathon Countdown .... 6 weeks to go

Along with 10,000 others Annie and I completed the Silverstone half marathon today (13.1 miles) as the latest instalment in our training programme for the London Marathon on April 26th.

It was just fabulous to be a part of this event. To be one of 10,000 is inspirational. It is amazing how the adrenalin and the crowd push you along.
So … 6 weeks to go and still ‘on track’ as it were.

Life is good

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friend of Simplicity - Terry Starbucker

Today's Friend of Simplicity is Terry Starbucker who I first met 'virtually' about three years ago through various Blogging connections. Terry is always upbeat and optimistic - hence his 'half full' mantra featured later.

Please visit Terry's Blog and other links - his work is always worth reading.

Trevor - Tell us where you are based in the US and a little about your career

Terry - I’m currently living in Stamford, Connecticut. I’ve moved around quite a bit in my lifetime – I grew up in Wisconsin, went to college in Texas, and worked in California and Virginia before moving to Connecticut. I’ve been in the financial and service industries for nearly 27 years, starting as a CPA and then moving over to Operations Management (back in 1987). I’m now a SVP - Operations of a service industry based in the Rocky Mountain west, and I manage over 1,100 employees. I’ve been blessed to be able to learn and practice leadership skills that I am happy to share on my blog, “Ramblings From a Glass Half Full”.

Trevor - I love your mantra – “ramblings from a glass half full” - tell us where that comes from

Terry - On Christmas Day 2005, on a lark I decided to start a blog. As I sat in front of the computer thinking about what to name it, I remembered a time during my career where someone lamented that I always looked at the glass “half-full”. It was really a badge of honor, because I truly am a “realistic optimist”. So I added the “Ramblings” and off I went! I’ve now been blogging for over 3 years, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

Trevor - I know you are well ahead of the curve on technology Terry – at least well ahead of me. What is the next big thing?

Terry - It’s bringing high-speed IP video to the home – including the TV set – and the mobile device, setting the stage for a true “any show, anytime, anywhere” experience. There’s a lot of chatter happening about this on the business pages these days. The big question is when this convergence will happen. My guess is that it will be as the “Millennium” generation (those 18-34 right now) becomes the dominant demographic in about 4-5 years.

Trevor - How do leaders retain the enthusiasm of employees?

Terry - It’s really no big secret Trevor – a leader has to set the example by his or her own passion and enthusiasm. It has to start at the top. That leadership passion then needs to be constantly reinforced by good and frequent communication with peers and teammates, as well as through a healthy corporate transparency and openness to new ideas. It’s also important to make sure every teammate knows how his or her role makes a difference in the success of the business, and they “buy in” to the overall vision and strategy. That’s what I spend a lot of time doing as a leader.

Trevor - Tell me about SOBCon and how can people get involved in that?

Terry - SOBCon (SOB stands for “Successful and Outstanding Bloggers’) has been a labor of love for my partner Liz Strauss and I since 2007. It’s an annual gathering in Chicago, Illinois of fellow Bloggers and businesspeople that is designed to be an intense and high value learning experience on the “ROI of Relationships” – using our online platforms, tools and personal connections to maximize the value of our businesses. I can tell you Trevor that the 2007 and 2008 events were two of the best and fulfilling experiences of my life, and I expect the 2009 version to be just as exceptional. This year SOBCon09 will be held from May 1-3, and more information can be found at our website, http://www.sobevent.com

Trevor - When are you writing the book Terry?

Terry - As soon as I can find the time to write it, Trevor.
I do have a title though – I would be happy to give it its “world premiere” on your website: “The Secret Life of Terry Starbucker”. What do you think?

Trevor – Sounds good to me. Always feel free to use Simplicity Blog to promote your work my friend. Finally Terry, how can people find you

Terry - I blog at http://www.terrystarbucker.com

I’m on Twitter at http://twitter.com/starbucker

And I’d also be happy to hear from you at my e-mail address, terrystarbucker@gmail.com

Thanks Trevor, it was a pleasure!

Trevor – Cheers Terry the pleasure is mine and best of luck with SOBcon09 in May.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Friend of Simplicity - Steve Sherlock

My latest Friend of Simplicity is Steve Sherlock who I first met about 6 years ago through Blogging. Steve has remained a valued friend who I consider to be a few giant steps ahead of me in modern communication technology, including Blogging. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to comments.

Trevor - Thanks for agreeing to contribute to the series Steve. Where are you from in the US and tell us a bit about your career to date

Steve - Trevor, thank you I am honored to be part of this series. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 United States and one of the original 13. I have also lived in New Jersey and briefly in Illinois before moving to live in Franklin, Massachusetts about 40 miles southwest of Boston. After graduating from college, I began working as a substitute teacher and assistant track coach at the high schools in Pawtucket. I was young, single and I did that for six years enjoying every minute of it.

Along the way, I met Dolores. She was a Catholic school teacher making less than I was. We did the math and decided I would get a “real” job. I joined Burroughs Corp which became UNISYS and then switched to Fidelity just over 12 years ago.
I have approached the business world keeping my teacher training in mind. I worked to develop great teams and create an environment were the teams could succeed.

Across multiple roles I managed to bridge the gap between the technologists and the end users delivering challenging projects on time, within budget, with a happy team, and a satisfied customer.
Dolores and I have been happily married for over 26 years. Dolores is living her dream teaching kindergarten here in Franklin. Our two daughters have grown into young women, both of them we are quite proud of; Allison has finished college and is working as an admissions counselor at Assumption College in Worcester, Carolyn is continuing her studies in business at Northeastern University in Boston.

Trevor - You were one of the first people I met ‘virtually’ through Blogging – how has Blogging changed over the 5 or 6 years we have known each other and what do you think the future looks like for Bloggers?

Steve - I recall our meeting in amongst the comments on Tom Peters blog. Sometime after that we got together to explore synergy with a few other willing bloggers on the Synergy Blog. I think blogging has evolved and will continue to do so. Today, there are so many other social media or Web 2.0 tools available today; Facebook, Ning, Flicker, and Twitter to name just a few. One does not need a blog to be part of this new world. However, I do think that the blog will remain a place for an individual or a company to share their message and create a conversation.

Trevor - Tell me about the annual Blogging ‘get together’ you are involved in over there in the US

Steve - I assume you mean PodCamp Boston. The first one was held in 2006 after a couple of folks went to a BarCamp at MIT. The barcamp uses an unconference format. This core of folks (Chris Brogan and Christopher S Penn amongst others) wanted to use the same concept and focus it on podcasting, video blogging, and other new social media. I had listened to a few podcasts but did not know much about it. So when I heard that PodCamp being held in Boston, and for free, well, I needed to be there. I registered, found out that they were looking for help and I signed up to work at the Welcome/ registration desk. I found it a great way to network and to learn. I then joined the organizing committee for PodCamp Boston 2 and 3 to continue to run the Welcome/registration desk.

Since then, there have been over 50 PodCamps held around the world, including one in the UK (Birmingham in 2007). Check out podcamp.org for the current schedule. There is usually one happening somewhere around the world each month.

Trevor - Are you influenced much by what you read in management books and if so which authors and books do you rate highly?

Steve - I would say a new book could have some influence. I would try to incorporate some thing that I find worthwhile. My beliefs and business practices have developed over time while reading from a good selection of books. Tom Peters occupies a good deal of space on my bookshelf. Several of Seth Godin's are on the shelf. Mark Hurst has been influential in creating awareness around “good experience”. I think Stephen Covey was probably the most influential. I was fortunate to hear him in person at a conference early in the 1990's. His message about “true north” and “trim tabs” I still find applicable today.

Overall, I think Rosa Say's “Managing with Aloha” is probably the best one I have read. She covers much of the same message as the others but she delivers it as a package with Hawaiian values. A simple approach and very well done. I think your Simplicity readers would appreciate it if they haven't already discovered it.

Trevor - I know you are a marathon runner Steve – tell us about how fitness can help motivate us in your work

Steve - I do consider myself a life long runner. I did try one marathon when I was in my twenty's and was not able to finish it. I hit the “wall” so bad. However, it is not something I regret. It was a great learning experience. I am not likely to do another one anytime soon. I prefer to run shorter races. The recovery time is less so I can run more of them.

I appreciate and will support you and Annie in your efforts. I have seen many folks recently who like you have turned to the marathon as a good fund raising effort. I applaud you and Annie for taking the challenge. As I say when I close some of my running podcasts “May the wind be at your back and the roads be kind to you!”
I find being in good health the key to accomplishing so much. Running helps me maintain my good health and provide the stamina to tackle each days' challenges. Running is easily accomplished with minimal expense.

Something that fits right in with Simplicity! Just put your shoes on and go out the door.

Trevor - Any plans to visit the UK?

Steve - I would love to visit the UK. Dolores and I did make it to Ireland many years ago, in the days before blogging. We spent two wonderful weeks doing a tour around the country staying at a bed & breakfast each place we visited.
As you know, we share an interest in football (your football, our soccer). Dolores and I are fortunate to see many of the MLS New England Revolution home games. To get to see one of the Premier League games with perhaps your favorite Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Liverpool would be a great thing to do.

Trevor - Is there anything else you want to tell Simplicity readers about your work or your Blog/Website?

Steve - I write in a number of places. Of most interest to the Simplicity readers, I think my main blog, Steve's 2 Cents would be a good place to start. The tag line there is "revealing the good experience from the harmonious digital bits of daily life". I am currently between jobs, polishing up the resume (your CV) and actively working to identify my next opportunity to help deliver value. I have a series of posts where I am recording my “job search notes”. This helps to share what I am going through with others. Collaboration and networking I believe are the two most important skills today.

For the Simplicity runners, they can visit Passionate Runner. This blog focuses on my running and features a podcast with running advice.

For those interested in life long learning, I am part of the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog. Each month we focus our writing on a theme. In March we celebrate our love affair with books. About 35 different books will be reviewed and discussed during the month. I am sure something will appeal to the Simplicity readers.

Links to accompany the interview:
Synergy Blog http://synergyweblog.blogspot.com
PodCamp www.podcamp.org
Rosa Say - Talking Story - http://www.sayleadershipcoaching.com/talkingstory/

Steve's 2 Cents http://steves2cents.blogspot.com/

Passionate Runner http://passionaterunner.blogspot.com/

Trevor - Thanks Steve and good luck

Friday, March 06, 2009

"The Last Resort" - Best Eagles track ever!

Prompted by my Blogging friend Mark JF - a regular commenter here on Simplicity blog - and a regular co-commenter on Tom Peters Blog I want to share the best Eagles track of all time - in the opinion of both Mark and me.

This is Don Henley's brilliant solo "The Last Resort" - 7 minutes of magic to all Eagles fans.

It has been described as Henley's virtuoso performance. "Henley at his irreverent best" as Glen Frey said.

The emotion shown on this video from the great man is almost tangible. He is a well known environmental campaigner and the lyrics are a plea for us all to stop ruining our natural resources of our planet - the land and trees.

The last line is powerful:

"To call some place paradise ... kiss it goodbye"

If no one else enjoys it I know Mark will!

Have a great weekend

London Marathon countdown ... 52 days to go

I still have around 200 copies of my first book 'Simplicity is the Key' to sell.

I've decided to sell them at half price for just £5 a copy plus postage. The book was originally priced at £9.99 per copy.

Two reasons for this: First
I've decided that all proceeds from the sales of remaining books will go to our London Marathon Charity 'Carers UK.' and second I would love to get more copies of the book 'out there.'

We now have less than two months to our London Marathon run on 26
April and we are still short of our fund raising target of £3000.

Please spread the word about the book offer to your friends.

Anyone wishing to buy a book can simply contact me by e mail at this address: trevor.simplicity@gmail.com

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I love my work .... and feel blessed

Every week I consider myself blessed to meet so many great people in my work.

The last four days have been pretty busy with lots of travelling.

Monday – Drove down to Milton Keynes where Annie and I ran our latest “Trust me I’m a Patient” workshop. The 25 participants are all trying hard to improve services for patients in the National Health Service (NHS). We had nurses, doctors, managers and various other professionals among the participants.

Tuesday – Drove up to Sheffield to deliver two workshops on confidentiality and information governance in healthcare. One workshop in the morning, one in the afternoon for a total of 45 front line admin and reception staff, practice managers family doctors, (GPs), practice nurses. All of these folks work in Primary Care.

Wednesday – On the road again as I drove up to Nottingham to spend all day running a workshop for 10 receptionists who work in GP surgeries. This workshop was on customer service in healthcare.

Thursday – Drove to Shrewsbury to deliver a 2 hour talk to around 100 front line healthcare employees including practice managers, admin workers and front line receptionists. This talk was called exceptional customer service in healthcare.

In four days a total of 700 miles driven and about 180 people seen – mainly front line workers. Between them, so much enthusiasm and passion to do a great job for patients.

There are those who seem to enjoy knocking our NHS. I am always impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of the employees I meet – particularly those who are in direct contact with patients on the ‘front line’ of healthcare such as receptionists, nurses and doctors.

So, once more I celebrate our healthcare workers – they deserve our thanks.