Monthly Archives: September 2010

//September

Taking you to somewhere else

This week The Bayard Partnership organized a concert in Antwerp for their piano prodigy Aveline Gram. Taking place in a small chapel the event created a certain coziness not often found in a classical music concert.  In our world of largely recorded and synthesized music it is easy to forget the impact that listening to a person playing a real piano can have.

It is not for nothing that the piano is classified as a percussion instrument, especially when you take into account the amount of physical energy required to make it fill even a small auditorium with sound.

On the fourth of November my second book will be published (Inspirational Leadership, The Five Essential Elements). And in its preface, the industrial leader Patrick Thomas (Chairman & CEO of Bayer Material Science) writes “the role of a leader is to take you somewhere other than where you are headed”.  In a similar way you can say the same thing of a concert pianist.  You enter the concert hall with a head full of expectations and distractions, and yet as the concert progresses, you find yourself being guided to some other place:  A world of emotions and passions; of memories and dreams, of intellectual thought and calculation.

As physical exercise is good for the body, listening to a live classical recital is good for the brain and soul.  No matter if it is ‘not your thing’, you should at least try it once.  Perhaps going to the dentist isn’t your thing either, but in my world, it is just as important to undertake activities that one may not have wished for at the outset but have the likelihood of taking you somewhere else other than where you are headed.

Have a good week,

Harley

PS if you are interested to find out more about my new book ‘Inspirational Leadership’ then visit its website and if you can make it to Brussels on the fourth of November, 2010  then take part in the competition to win free tickets for the launch event. In addition there are 10 signed copies of the book to be won.

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Red Tape, is there enough of it?

The enemy of entrepreneurship is often seen as ‘Red Tape’ (administrative and bureaucratic procedures). And there have been many times in my career where I blamed it for holding back ideas or plans.  However, ironically, the opposite is apparently true.

Think about it:  In countries with very little red tape, corruption abounds.  Deals can be set up one day and be simply ignored the next.  Securing one’s revenue and distribution chains is a nightmare.  Historically, the countries with the highest sophistication in administrative procedures are the ones that survive political and economic changes the best.

Whether we like it or not, red tape is good for us.  It is the collection of procedures that ensures stability and gives confidence to outsiders. However, there is a balance and most of us can think of numerous examples of restrictive red tape, but even many of these on closer inspection, make sense (maybe not for us but for the people they protect).

The question to consider when complaining about Red Tape is that if you take any bit of it away – with what, if anything, should it be replaced?

As global companies work ever harder to standardize their procedures across the globe, to achieve visibility and red tape efficiency, perhaps someone should consider an SAP system for governments and countries?  Imagine it: One way of applying for a license to trade, or for completing a VAT tax declaration?  

However, when I look at what is happening in the small country in which I live, I am simply amazed at how good humans are at creating procedures and rules to protect their own personal, narrow, interests. Whether it is good for their society as a whole – that is another matter!

Here in Belgium the politicians are busy trying to set up separate social security systems for the three different regions.  When you consider that Belgium has a total population smaller than that of Paris, it’s simply amazing that it can survive at all as an independent!  At the end of the day it is the Red Tape that is holding it together during the politically difficult times it is currently going through.   

Where would we be without it?

Have a good week

Harley


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Kind regards,

Harley Lovegrove
harley@harleylovegrove.com

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