Thursday, June 02, 2011


I'm fascinated by how much pleasure and entertainment there is in other people's faux pas, ignorance and generally messed up love-lives - as exemplified by the latest rash of reality shows. The Germans call it Schadenfreude and I do catch myself indulging on occasion...

Is it that it makes ordinary folks like you and me feel superior?

My hunch is that the only reason we can relate to this car-crash tv is that it reflects our own lives to some extent. That when we witness some particularly crass behaviour, it chimes with a little memory of our own conduct.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've always thought there was a lot of tosh written about stress - how it harms, debilitates...even kills. Now I don't question that for a moment, but what I don't subscribe to is that it's unconditionally bad for you.

Think of stress as the gap between what you have and what you want.

So without stress you wouldn't even get out of bed.

What I see as harmful is stress being out of balance - too much or too little. And that varies from person to person. So what is good for you might kill me - or vice versa.

Ok, so what? Well having established that we all need some stress and that it's personal... it follows that we need to take responsibility for our stress lives and to find the right balance... and not blame others for it.

Virtually everyone that I've ever worked with, that is buckling under stress, has not taken responsibility for theirs and instead takes responsibility for other people's stress. Me included!

It really is that simple.


I've just been stirring the pot in a strategy forum. I'm saddened by the reliance on structured processes and the almost total blindspot regarding the need to integrate un-structured, non-linear, complex, chaotic, but oh-so human thinking and feeling into the mix.
It's an active suppression of anything that refuses to fit the analytic, scientific model. I guess that it's also an attempt to slavishly adhere to the metaphor of the organisation as a machine.
If only it worked...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Stephen Hawking has an impressive brain. He regards it as a computer. Now there is room for doubt here, but he seems to imply that he - i.e. his sense of identity, existence, consciousness, whatever - derives from his brain; that he is his brain.

Now I don't know what happens when we die - I'll find out one day and I'm in no hurry. However I'm just not convinced that my sense of existence is caused by a blob of grey matter. I'm not sure quite what I am...but I cannot believe that I am just a squidgy computer.

I can rationalise this position by saying that truth, beauty and love do not compute - but it seems to go deeper than that.

What do you feel?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Edward Hunter - the first evictee of this year's Apprentice - has "roll with the punches" as his guiding principle. I liked this at first - I liked the idea of a rebel accountant that wings it, on the fly, rather than planning everything to the nth degree and expiring from analysis paralysis.

But then it rapidly became clear that he had a suicidal streak - that in spite of repeated warnings of impending 'punches' (too many oranges for example) he would just carry on walking straight into them. Almost as if he hated accountancy and what it stood for so badly that he would sacrifice himself in his attempt to devalue his own profession.

His suicide mission was as successful as his task was a failure. So from one point of view he won the day.

This was a powerful reminder of the need to integrate all our faculties and abilities - so....
as one of my 'gurus' once put it: plan, plan, plan...then throw the plan away and respond to what's in front of you.

Or - decide which punches you can avoid altogether before you start rolling with them!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Half listening to the Easyjet safety announcement for the umpteenth time on the London-Edinburgh flight, the penny dropped: How often do we try - metaphorically speaking of course - to put other people's oxygen masks on before our own? How often are we gung-ho about solving someone else's problem before we've put our own house in order? Is it actually easier to look at your issue than mine? I think it probably is...until I run out of oxygen!