Monthly Archives: January 2011


That was easy!

A colleague of mine has a large red button on her desk.  The idea is that you hit it every time you complete a task or take a difficult decision.  The reward for doing so is an electronic voice saying “that was easy!”  Now I can see the benefit of such a tool on difficult days like today when I struggled to get my adrenaline pumping; a small reward for a completed task might have been just enough.

However (and there are always “howevers” in my blogs, just in case you hadn’t noticed already) there are times that I get so wound up that I think that if I had such a button on my desk, it would get hit so hard that the pain in my hand would coincide with its complete and utter destruction.  I guess there might be some therapeutic benefit in the ironic delight I would have by shouting “now that was easy!” while on the way to casualty.

I have been over doing it recently, forcing myself into impossible deadlines by not saying ‘no’ enough. Time after time I allow myself to get sucked into fun sounding projects that I believe I can somehow squeeze in-between my other commitments.  The result is that I find myself working almost seven days a week. Consequently, my sense of fun in life, all but almost disappeared.  However this weekend I was privileged to spend some time with some really inspiring entrepreneurs and also, for once, it was not raining so I managed to find an hour to take a trip on my motorcycle (in sub zero temperatures) that punched not only some fresh air into my lungs but also some fresh thinking into my brain.

Consequently I have decided to say ‘no’ more often to new demands that encroach on my private time.  To say ‘no’ to unnecessary complexity in my business career, to say ‘no’ to anything that is not helping me focus on the things that matter:  My home life, my core business, my colleagues and clients.

Now that was easy!

Have a good week,


2016-11-17T08:25:00+00:002 Comments

I am not abnormal it seems…

This week I am going to touch on a subject that goes to the very heart of who we are and our vulnerabilities.

After a few conversations, with people I trust, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I am normal after all!   The whole topic I am about to share was triggered by a person I heard talking on the radio.  She had just brought out a new book on self confidence and personal esteem.  Her advice was to jump out of bed every morning saying to yourself (out loud) “I am great! I can do anything!”  Now this technique is not new and for many leaders that do not suffer from a lack of confidence, this is probably the last piece of advice they need.  

However, I am not the world’s best sleeper.  If I get six hours in any one night I am happy.  And although I fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow, I often wake up in the very early hours with the kind of thoughts and memories going around my brain, that quite frankly, I would rather forget.  Things like the time I forgot my lines in a school play or very embarrassing personal moments, memories of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time or…, I think you’ve got the picture?  And so it is that some mornings I lie in my bed restlessly, somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness until I fall asleep again.

I am sure a neuroscientist or even a psychiatrist might be able to tell me what the evolutionary advantage is for the human brain to remind its owner of the very moments in his or her life that they truly would prefer to forget forever.  

Luckily for me, I mostly do manage to get back to sleep, and when I do, I always wake up in a positive mood and ready to face the day.  But if the negative thoughts would ever come at the time for me to rise, then believe me, I would need to jump up shouting “I am great, I can do anything!” (Luckily, until now, I have not felt the need to do so).

Have a good week,


2016-11-17T08:25:00+00:001 Comment

What part of the word ‘No’ is a problem for you?

While “yes we can” maybe among the three most motivational words of the English language, “No we can’t” need not be seen as the most de-motivational.  The strength of leadership is not just measured by the ability to pull a team into action but also the ability to maintain control and discipline.

“A no is a no”:  “no, it’s not safe”, “no, we are not ready”, “no is what we all agreed”, “no we are not doing it today”, “no is my final answer”.   If a leader is unable to enforce a group decision, or even worse a direct command, then you can fairly conclude that he or she is not leading but merely involved with the process.

Over the years I have worked time and again with businesses and other institutions that have an inherent culture of polite anarchy.  Where group decisions are frequently broken at will.  In these organizations, even the very best leaders find it difficult to truly lead.  At home too, teenage children should be seen as the ultimate challenge for leadership training, especially in an environment where the other parent has a strongly opposing position over a particular way of approach.

In my opinion, for many of us, it is time to focus more on improving our leadership skills in the area of discipline, rather than taking another course on team motivation.  After all, if we decided some time ago that our business is not in the cheese business, and when we find our R&D team (yet again) working on a new recipe, then it is time to take a serious grip.

Have a good week


2011-01-18T00:42:07+00:002 Comments

How would you describe yourself?

Someone asked me today to describe them using only three words. He obviously needed it for something important (perhaps a job application or end of year assessment)?  In fact, after he gave me a hint, it turned out to be much easier than I thought. 

But then I got to thinking “what three words would I choose to describe myself?”  After a few seconds I gave up, kidding myself into believing that it is not important how I describe myself but rather how others might describe me.  And even then I realized that was not important either!

2016-11-17T08:25:01+00:001 Comment