Posts Tagged: human behaviour

Tuition fees: evidence of an unkind system

It was revealed last week that, following the introduction of tuition fees, there has been a 40% drop in university admissions.

What a surprise.

You don’t have to be the world’s most sophisticated marketing or behavioural expert to know that if you start charging money for something you used to provide for free, you are going to lose a large percentage of your ‘customers’.

After the anger of my last post, you may be expecting a tirade against another flawed UK Government initiative.

But no. Read more on Tuition fees: evidence of an unkind system…

Benefit cuts: a call to mobilise the disabled

So now we are here in another New Year and, in the UK, the savagery of social welfare cuts continues to slice through our society.

We have had:

06 January: ‘Soldiers, nurses and teachers hit by benefit curbs’ 

07 January: ‘Benefit cuts will see more children taken into care’

09 January: ‘Pensioners could face universal benefit cuts after election’ 

13 January: ‘Benefit cuts threaten women’s refuge services’ 

14 January: ‘Benefit cuts: reforms will leave disabled people ghettoised and excluded’

Happy New Year from the British Government! Read more on Benefit cuts: a call to mobilise the disabled…

Kindness? That takes effort.

This post on kindness was going to be my Christmas message until the massacre in Newtown forced me, and many others, to rage against the inhumanity of the US gun laws.

Mind you, even at Sandy Hook, there was evidence of extraordinary human behaviour: ‘What we forget, too often, is the kindness and resilience of this nation.’ And, way beyond kindness, who will forget the heroic bravery of Victoria Soto and her colleagues?

On 18 November, the TV producer John Lloyd was on Desert Island Discs. He is behind such programmes as Spitting Image, Not The Nine o’Clock News, QI and, yippee, Blackadder. In a surprisingly introspective interview, this cultured and educated man said:

‘Intelligence is something you’re given. Kindness? That takes effort.’ Read more on Kindness? That takes effort….

When people expect you to behave as they would

Once, I was Managing Director of a London advertising agency. After a couple of years, I felt I had done a good job. I had secured all the important clients, recruited a new generation of staff and, in the face of severe financial difficulties which I had inherited, I had helped sell the company to a new owner and, thereby, secure its future.

But the time had come to move on. I was keen to make a different career move. Once the sale was completed, and I had made sure the clients and the staff were happy and in place, I resigned.

A couple of days later, I was sitting in my office when the door smashed open and in charged two very large hit men. They shouted at me not to move, grabbed my arms, pinned them behind my back and slammed me up against a wall.

Read more on When people expect you to behave as they would…

Property values divide the nation

Last week Labour leader Ed Miliband spent over an hour telling us two things: that he wants us to be ‘one nation’ and that he went to comprehensive school.

I quite like the ‘one nation’ thing building, as it does, on our Olympic success and burying, as it should, Labour’s bigoted tribal heritage.

But isn’t there a contradiction in Miliband’s exposition of ‘one nation’ and, in the same speech, his need to remind us of his comprehensive schooling? If we are to be ‘one nation’ why drive an educational wedge between us?

And haven’t these people read what I told them last week?!  Read more on Property values divide the nation…

Housing: how zero VAT on building trade would stimulate UK economy

‘Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does’. So said Felix Dennis in his book ‘How To Get Rich’. He’s worth over £500 million, so I think we can believe him.

As it happens, last week, I got really excited about one of my big ideas: Read more on Housing: how zero VAT on building trade would stimulate UK economy…

When your greatest strength is your greatest weakness

I saw my doctor yesterday. Sensitive, intelligent, considerate, thoughtful and understanding, he is as kind a man as any I have met.

But I have a problem with him.

So kind, sensitive, intelligent, considerate, thoughtful and understanding is he that he always runs over time. While he attends to the patient he is tending, the patients in the waiting room wait and wait and wait. This can be most annoying.

In this way, what pleases me most about my brilliant doctor is what annoys me most. Read more on When your greatest strength is your greatest weakness…

Whistleblowers – Brave Heroes or Social Outcasts?

The word ‘whistleblower’ has re-entered my life. I hate this word with a passion.

In the school playground, whistleblowing is called ‘sneaking’. As a sneak, you are the person who has reported the misbehaviour of your schoolmates to the teachers. You cannot be trusted. You have behaved in a furtive, underhand way. You are left isolated, alone and friendless (every child’s worst nightmare). You are contemptible.

In the criminal world, you are a ‘snitch’ or ‘grass’ (derived from ‘snake in the grass’).  You have reported the criminal activities of others to the police. You are an informant. And you are in grave danger. In retaliation, you risk being kneecapped, ‘tarred and feathered’ or killed. You are worse than contemptible. You could be dead.

But, in the wider world between the school playground and the criminal underground, isn’t ‘whistleblowing’ a good thing? Read more on Whistleblowers – Brave Heroes or Social Outcasts?…

Someone really special

So, in my last post, we were talking about my old teacher’s conviction that everyone is special at something. It brought to mind a story a friend of mine told me about his brother.

I met Tom Wilson through cricket. He is friendly, sociable and gregarious. Good player too. The story he told me was about his brother, Robert, about whom his family were extremely concerned.

Robert didn’t like cricket (which is certainly a concern). In fact, he didn’t like any sport at all. He didn’t like reading. He didn’t like music. He didn’t like art. He didn’t like pubs. Robert didn’t like anything. He just sat in his room all day looking at the ceiling. It was a struggle for the family to coax him downstairs to eat or watch TV. Read more on Someone really special…

When, even if you are right, you are wrong

This is the last of my trilogy on what can happen if your boss gets in the way of your good work – and the consequences of his or her exacting revenge at the threat you have become.

The last line of my last post advised that if you have to leave, do so ‘with dignity’.

You may have gathered that I speak from personal experience. In the world of work, what follows is the one lesson I would pass on to my kids. For those young people who, I gather, read this blog early in your careers, eager to succeed and keen to learn – this one is for you. Read more on When, even if you are right, you are wrong…