Thursday, April 29, 2010

A FREE new book

"Leadership from a glass Half Full" is a brilliant and .... most important ... a very short book now available free by download from my friend Terry Starbucker over the pond in the US.

The book is short but less is definitely more on this occasion.

Terry is a prolific blogger and has now published his first book. I hope it’s the first of many – he is man of my own heart and we share a common view on many principles of management and leadership.

Click here to download Terry’s little gem

Monday, April 26, 2010

Political history next Thursday?

It's fascinating how the recent leadership debates on TV have seen Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg emerge as far and away the most credible of the three leaders. He is streets ahead of both David Cameron and Gordon Brown. As far as I’m concerned Gordon Brown is clear in second place because he at least is talking about policies more than personalities.

The spin doctors of both the Labour and Conservative parties together with many TV political pundits keep suggesting the Liberal Democrats very high ratings in opinion polls will not materialise in real votes and therefore seats on 6th May.

I’m not so sure.

Against a backcloth of the recent shambolic expenses scandals the great British Public is keen to see change and let our disgraced MP’s know exactly how we feel.

In a nutshell we don’t trust most of you – you have a lot more work to do yet to regain even the slightest credibility.

The Liberal Democrat Party may well surprise us all and make history next Thursday.

Friday, April 23, 2010

BRILLIANT NEWS - Sir Alex is going nowhere!

68 years young Sir Alex said today: "I have no intention of retiring. As I have said time and time again, the only thing that determines my staying here is my health and unfortunately for you lot (the media), I'm bloody rudely healthy! So you'll be left to suffer me for many more years. You'll be gone before I'm gone, don't you worry!"

You can read the full BBC news report by clicking here

Brian Clough once famously said ‘When I die God will have to give up his favourite armchair.” When Sir Alex dies (will he ever die though?) Cloughie will definitely need to get out of that chair.
My theological theory is Sir Alex will become God’s assistant manager.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Plans are only stakes in the ground

Are you a meticulous planner or a John Lennon “Life is what happens while we're busy making other plans" kind of manager. I must admit I lean toward Lennon's view of things. Having said that I always have a plan or an overall vision and I believe plans are essential .... as long as they don't become straight jackets. I’ve seen many managers plan themselves to obscurity and then wonder why no one takes any notice of them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Have you met your Icons?

I consider myself lucky to meet or correspond with four people who are ‘Icons’ in my life.

Firstly Sir Alex Ferguson who kindly endorsed my first book after reading my manuscript before the book was published in late 2004. Sir Alex wrote to me personally twice about my manuscript. When I left the NHS after 35 years he sent me a signed photograph wishing me every success in my new career. I am a lifelong Manchester United fan and so you can imagine how brilliant it was to receive these things from Sir Alex – a real gentleman. And nothing like the image that is sometimes portrayed in the media – I speak as I find.

Secondly Tony Benn the retired Labour Party MP who spent over 50 years as a serving Member of Parliament and now 85 years young. Tony read my book and rang me at home to give me some feedback which was totally unexpected and frankly unbelievable to me. I have admired Tony as a conviction politician all my adult life and to actually have a long telephone conversation with him on a Sunday evening remains one of the greatest highlights of my life. The fascinating thing about that call was how Tony wanted to know about me rather than talk about himself. His humility is amazing. I’ve subsequently met Tony on two occasions and occasionally we exchange emails. Good men are few – Tony is a good man.

Thirdly Tom Peters. Tom has been my management Icon since I first read “In Search of Excellence” in the early 1980’s and from then it was an ambition to meet Tom. Imagine my absolute delight when I fulfilled that ambition by meeting Tom in 2006 when he was delivering an all day Masterclass to over 500 business leaders. Even in that pressurised day Tom kindly found time not only to meet me at lunchtime but also invited me to his after seminar reception when I got say hello again. Those meetings only touch the edge of the generosity of Tom – he invited me to a previous event in Birmingham that he was unable to attend. Tom gave me and my wife Annie complimentary tickets to that 2 day event in Birmingham event and indeed a complimentary ticket to the London event. Tom's image may be loud, brash and outspoken and yet as far as I’m concerned he is a quiet spoken, generous, humble and kind man who has gone out of his way to help me on my journey.

Fourthly Seth Godin. Seth was in England delivering a keynote address last year when an email from me hit his inbox about doing an interview for my Simplicity Blog. Seth replied immediately saying he would do it. I sent him 8 questions - he replied and the whole thing was wrapped up and published on the Blog in about an hour! It was like a real time conversation. Seth was absolutely brilliant in responding. Again it was his humility and lack of pretentiousness that impressed me more than anything – apart perhaps from his speed of response!!!

These men have impressed me in numerous ways but the one thing that comes across more than anything is their HUMILITY. ‘Role model’ is perhaps an overused term but from my own dealings with them the qualities of these four lead me to believe there is plenty of role model behaviour around them.

What personal ‘Icons’ have you met and did it meet your expectations?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is this you as a leader?

I'm very grateful to my friend Sarah Fraser for a link to this article - I love it - hope you enjoy reading it.

Three Tips for Becoming an Energizer - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Some people become leaders no matter what their chosen path because their positive energy is so uplifting. Even in tough times, they always find a way. They seem to live life on their own terms even when having to comply with someone else's requirements. When they walk into a room, they make it come alive. When they send a message, it feels good to receive it. Their energy makes them magnets attracting other people.

Just plain energy is a neglected dimension of leadership. It is a form of power available to anyone in any circumstances. While inspiration is a long-term proposition, energy is necessary on a daily basis, just to keep going.
Three things characterize the people who are energizers.

1. A relentless focus on the bright side. Energizers find the positive and run with it. A state government official in a state that doesn't like government overcomes that handicap through her strong positive presence. She dispenses compliments along with support for the community served by her agency, making it seem that she works for them rather than for the government. She greets everyone with the joy generally reserved for a close relative returning from war. I can see skeptics' eyebrows starting to rise, but judging from her success, people love meeting with her or getting her exclamation-filled emails. She is invited to everything.

The payoffs from stressing the bright side can be considerable. In my new book, SuperCorp, I tell the story about how Maurice Levy, CEO of the global marketing company Publicis Groupe, tilted the balance in his company's favor when his firm was one of several suitors for Internet pioneer Digitas. At one point in a long courtship, Digitas hit problems, and the stock collapsed. One of Publicis's major competitors sent Digitas's head an email saying, "Now you are at a price which is affordable, so we should start speaking." Levy sent an email the same day saying, "It's so unfair that you are hurt this way because the parameters remain very good." Levy's positive energy won the prized acquisition.

2. Redefining negatives as positives. Energizers are can-do people. They do not like to stay in negative territory, even when there are things that are genuinely depressing. For example, it might seem a stretch for anyone to call unemployment as "a good time for reflection and redirection while between jobs," but some energizers genuinely stress the minor positive notes in a gloomy symphony. A marketing manager laid off by a company hit hard by the recession saw potential in people he met at a career counseling center and convinced them that they could start a service business together. He became the energizing force for shifting their definition of the situation from negative to an opportunity.

"Positive thinking" and "counting blessings" can sound like naïve cliches. But energizers are not fools. They can be shrewd analysts who know their flaws and listen carefully to critics so that they can keep improving. Studies show that optimists are more likely to listen to negative information than pessimists, because they think they can do something about it. To keep moving through storms, energizers cultivate thick skins that shed negativity like a waterproof raincoat sheds drops of water. They are sometimes discouraged, but never victims.

An entrepreneur who has built numerous businesses and incubated others had a strong personal mission to raise national standards in his industry. He began that quest by meeting individually with the heads of major industry organizations, all of whom told him that he would fail. He nodded politely, asked for a small commitment to one action anyway, just as a test, he said, and went on to the next meeting. Eight or nine meetings later, he was well along on a path everyone had tried to discourage him from taking.

3. Fast response time. Energizers don't dawdle. Energizers don't tell you all the reasons something can't be done. They just get to it. They might take time to deliberate, but they keep the action moving. They are very responsive to emails or phone calls, even if the fast response is that they can't respond yet. This helps them get more done. Because they are so responsive, others go to them for information or connections. In the process, energizers get more information and a bigger personal network, which are the assets necessary for success.

The nice thing about this form of energy is that it is potentially abundant, renewable, and free. The only requirements for energizers are that they stay active, positive, responsive, and on mission.

Are you an energizer? - Any tips you'd like to share?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Simplicity Blog in Top 150!!

Delighted to hear that Simplicity Blog has been included in the top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs.

Click here for details of the whole list.

Simplicity Blog is in the company of some very high profile folks on the list of 150 including two of my great heroes Tom Peters and Seth Godin.

It’s brilliant to be included and I would like to put the credit where it belongs to YOU the readers and commenters on Simplicity Blog.

Since it was created in January 2005 Simplicity Blog has always been a conversation and not an ego trip for Trevor. My take is that any Blog is only as good as the folks who create the conversation and it’s very much a two way street ….. So take a bow Simplicity readers and commenters – thank you so much!!!

Keep is simple - always.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

No such thing as a 'throw away' comment

In the course of a recent workshop I was delivering for 15 receptionists in healthcare I had a very interesting exchange with one of the delegates.

I was commenting about the revolution we’ve seen in IT and how I’m still fascinated by the whole concept of it all. I made what I thought was just a throw away comment along these lines;

"Even to someone of my advanced years’ (I’m 57 now) this stuff is exciting."

Never believe you've made ‘a throw away comment.’

After the workshop had finished I was approached by one of the delegates who said that she hoped I would never say anything about my ‘advanced years’ in future as she was now 70 years of age - still working enthusiastically - and seeing no reason to slow down. She has not even begun to consider the word ‘retirement.’

She was absolutely right and it was a great learning point for me.

I've often published on here and in other places that I want to be the player-manager of the first ever five-a-side football team for people of 100 years of age .... So I defintely see myself as young!

My academic and life supervisor Professor George Giarchi is still working as a lecturer at the Business School in University of Plymouth at the young age of 80 years. George is still as passionate as when I first knew him 25 years ago.

You are definitely only as old as your mindset tells you!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Enjoy the Easter break

Happy Easter everyone

It’s been really hectic for the last few weeks – seems like I’m living on trains. Yet again I have to report they have been very reliable and punctual.

Came across this wonderful Martin Luther king quote recently that I wanted to share with you:

“Cowardice asks the question 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.” Martin Luther King

What a wonderful wordsmith MLK was and how sad that he died so young.