Monthly Archives: November 2010

//November

Do you want to know a secret?

I shouldn’t be telling you this but a colleague of mine told me the other day that he had heard something very interesting indeed.  He told me that it was a secret and that I shouldn’t tell anyone.  The problem is, I find what he told me so amazing, I simply need to get it off my chest and tell someone.  So who better than my regular blog readers?  So as long as you promise not to tell anyone where you heard it, I’ll let you in on a little secret about a client of mine.

With all the press attention about the latest round of Wikileaks I thought it a good place to examine trustworthiness.   I have met hundreds of trustworthy people in my time but very few that can be trusted with a secret.  What I mean is; in every sense of the word you can trust them: trust them to look after your children, trust them to step in when you are in dire need, trust them to deposit a large amount of cash, trust them to be on time at the airport, trust them to come up with a good solution.  However I have literally only known a handful of people in the whole world that I would implicitly trust with a secret.  Mostly because, even if they want to keep the secret, there are too many people like me about that are very good at creating environments where people feel like opening up and sharing secret information, even when it is not asked for.

Now there are secrets and secrets:  There’s the kind of secret that is deeply personal and would cause you embarrassment or upset someone close to you that you love dearly.  And then there are business secrets that if divulged could cause financial damage to the revealing party.  In any case, choosing someone to share your secret with is a very tricky thing.

Firstly there’s your motive to consider, then there’s the impact on the receiver: is it in their benefit or not?  “I saw your partner in town last week, looking in the window of a jewelers store, arm in arm with someone else”.  But then there’s the biggest challenge of all; understanding why it is that most people cannot keep secrets.  For the simple truth is, most of us can’t.  However, I can so I am not going to tell you what my colleague told me about my client, even though it is very interesting indeed, you’ll just have to wait until it hits the press or figure it out for yourself, sorry!”

Have a good week,

Harley

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Where does that anger come from? I blame it on Neutrinos!

I can feel it in the air. There’s a tension that’s been building, sometime soon someone’s going to snap.  If it’s not going to be me then it’s probably going to be you?

I don’t know if you agree but sometimes it seems like that there is anger ‘in the air’, that like the drop in air pressure before a storm, we can sense that something dark is brewing?

Back in 1930 a scientist called Wolfgang Pauli  observed that during the process of atomic decay that some of the energy went missing.  And although he knew that this was impossible, he put it down to the existence of particles breaking away that were so small that they could not be detected.  Like all great moments in physics the story is so wonderful that it deserves much more attention than is right for me to give here. But basically he came up with the theory that there were tiny particles everywhere that were so small they could literally pass through anything.  At this moment there are literally millions of them passing through each and everyone of us.

And this discovery reminded me of anger.  The theory could be that because the pressure of anger we build up each day, due to the frustrations that we encounter around us, is more than that we release, we should in theory burst!  So perhaps our anger, like Neutrinos is released into the air, undetectable but present? If this is true, we should build Neutrino (anger) free places, where we can go to calm down and relax and safely release some of that tension by breathing in some calming Neutrino free air!

At the moment, this is supposed to take place around the coffee machine, but in the company where I am currently working, each coffee area has a large plasma screen TV showing 24 hour world news, mostly depicting images of natural disasters, criminality and acts of injustice – no wonder everyone is so tense!  But I wonder what channel I could switch the TV over to, to receive the desired calming effect.  After all, I thought TV was supposed to be about relaxation – how wrong I must be?

Have a good week,

Harley

PS: More on the wonderful world of Neutrinos can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10364160

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Eureka! I have discovered the secret of a happy and fulfilling life

After years of soul searching, painful breakdowns in relationships and wondering exactly what the perfect balance is for achieving both one's career and life goals, I can honestly say that this week I discovered it!  And the answer, like all revelations, is incredibly straight forward.

You need two things: Personal vision and discipline:

  1. Personal vision: you need to know what it is you want to achieve - if you cannot visualize it, then you need to be able to rationalize it. (For example if you choose ‘to be comfortable’ then you can extrapolate that as having enough food, money, free time, friends, companions, hobbies and a fulfilling sex life.)
  2. Discipline: You need to follow a strict disciplined routine.
On weekdays you must:
  • a).Get up early, at least one hour before you need to in order to fulfill your normal daily duties (work etc). Work for at least one hour on an activity that can enhance your career path. (Social media networking, self study, job applications and/or extra work ‘stretch’ activities that can have a direct influence on your promotional or personal advancement prospects).
  • b).Have a light breakfast and go off and do a full days work (in the comfortable frame of mind that due to your early morning effort your career is heading in a good direction).
  • c).Comply with your family responsibilities:
    •  i.).Wherever absolutely possible: arrive home at the allotted time to balance your family needs
    • ii).Have supper with your family, allocate some time alone for just you and your partner (if you have one, otherwise a pet).
  • d). Invest in your inner-self for at least thirty minutes a day by indulging in the expansion of your intellect or creative senses by listening to, or playing music, reading; non fiction, poetry, studying the visual arts, science, history, classic literature etc.)
  • e). Go to sleep not too late, not too over tired, still fresh enough to feel good about yourself and your day.
On weekends: Saturdays:
  • a). Get up in time to meet your family duties.
  • b). Carry out the necessary open administration, logistics and purchasing tasks.
  • c). Invest time with your children and / or partner, friend, pets etc.
  • d). In the evening enjoy a little light recreational activities and / or relax with a little wine, good company / conversation etc.

On weekends: Sundays:

  • a). Arrange to allocate time so that you can stay in bed as long as possible, simply resting and doing nothing
  • b). Later, focus your mind & activities towards the community & broader family issues (for example visiting people that will benefit from or appreciate your company)
  • c). End the day surrounded by your nearest and dearest. Quiet family time, (this is the one time of the week that watching television together can be seen as a positive 'shared' activity).
  • d). Avoid all alcohol after 20:00, to ensure a good nights sleep in preparation for the week ahead.

Holidays: Ensure you have at least four weeks holiday per year where you set out to avoid completely all thoughts of work, career and progress. At least one week should be spent away alone (or with a friend but not an immediate member of your household). The rest of your allocated holidays should be distributed as appropriately as possible, time with the children or pets and time with one's partner.

There it is - simple! Do this and see where you are in five years time... But whatever you do, during the working week, try and avoid as much as possible the mind numbing effects of alcohol and television, they are the thieves of precious time and (in part) an explanation as to why so many end up feeling so dissatisfied.  

Have a good week

Harley

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Who’s the leader of your band?

Think of your all time favourite band.  Now think of your all time favourite song.  I want to ask you a question:  Who is the leader of the band?  Is it the lead singer or is it the lead guitarist or…?  I am guessing that the majority of my readers will not choose the drummer, but I wonder how many will agree with me and choose the bass player? 

For me; as in business, I find that the best leaders are those that are content to lead from behind, only stepping to the front when they really need to. It’s not important for them to show off, front of stage.  They are absolutely fine with simply coming up with the strategy and vision and then letting their team achieve the results and reap the glory.  After all, that’s what a leader needs to do if they want to keep everyone motivated.

To illustrate my point I have come up with my all time favourite backstage leadership, bass driven songs.

  1. Robbie Williams: Let me entertain you
  2. Ian Dury: Hit me with your rhythm stick
  3. Pink Floyd: Money
  4. Bob Marley: Jammin’
  5. Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush: Don't Give Up
  6. Stevie Wonder: Think of me as your soldier
  7. Jeff Beck: Cause we’ve ended as lovers (with Tal Wilkenfield on bass)
  8. Gene Chandler: Get Down
  9. George Michael: Cowboys & Angels
  10. Led Zeppelin: Whole Lotta Love

Now some might say “where is Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the wild side’ or Rory Gallagher’s ‘Messin’ with the kid’?”  But the choice is almost impossible.  The common denominator must be that the bass should drive the song without becoming the solo instrument (so in a way Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ should really be excluded).  The trick is to listen to the song by focusing only on the bass.  If you take time out to listen closely to only my first two choices, I think you will find that they illustrate my point perfectly?

As an alternative approach try taking a really crass song like Queen’s ‘Under pressure’ (sorry Queen fans) and remove the bass line and you are left with absolutely nothing.  On a bass line like that you could literally play anything on top and it would sound great.

So, let me ask you one more question: what are your top ten bass driven tracks? And do you agree that often the real inspirational leaders are playing bass, rather than singing upfront?

Have a good week.

Harley

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