Tag Archives: leadership

What Sir Alex Ferguson could learn from David Ogilvy

Who am I to add to the extraordinary volume of news articles about the sacking of David Moyes as manager of the Manchester United football team? On the Telegraph website alone there have been over 60 articles on this subject in the four days 22-24 April.

David Moyes predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, is universally acknowledged to have been a master of his craft.

However, as someone who is not ‘a football man’, my abiding image of Sir Alex Ferguson is of him, after a game, gobbing a huge wad of chewing gum onto the revered Old Trafford turf before strutting into a post-match interview to complain about the ref. Couth? Not. Read more on What Sir Alex Ferguson could learn from David Ogilvy…

National debt: who do we owe?

What is it about the national debt that I am not getting?

Please forgive me for not being an economist but, when you owe loads of money, you can’t keep up with the repayments and you plunge deeper and deeper into the doo-doo, there comes a time when you go to your creditors and say:

‘Hey guys, hard as I try, I can’t pay you this money and, if we go on like this, I ain’t never going to repay it. Let’s work it out.’

Please forgive me for not being an economist but, back in the day, some Third World countries did this and, rightly, the banks who held the debt recognised the reality of the situation and wrote the money off. It was called ‘unpayable debt‘.

So who owns our national debt today? And at what point is it ‘unpayable’? Read more on National debt: who do we owe?…

What makes you special?

Last night, I watched a TV programme called Safari Vet School with my teenage daughter. The show features a group of young vets helping to protect endangered animal species in a South African game reserve.

Whatever panics and dangers they faced, the local Head Vet, Dr Will Fowlds, exuded an extraordinary air of calm professionalism. At the end of the two weeks, he took them for a moment’s quiet reflection overlooking miles of unspoilt, distant African landscape.

This view has been here all my life. And it was here, one day, that I realised something very important and I hope you have learnt too: it is very difficult to interact with people around you or achieve your full potential until you understand who you are and what your weaknesses are; what you are good at and what you are special at.Read more on What makes you special?…

A tribute to my father

My Dad died ten years ago today. As the eldest of his four sons, it fell upon me to give the eulogy at his funeral – the hardest job I have ever done.

You are unlikely to have direct interest in my father as a person but there are two facets of his character, and his life, that you might care to consider.

How many of today’s leaders would have volunteered to rebate all income earned outside their salaried job back to their employers, to the extent that by the time of his retirement my father’s employers were ‘earning’ more from him than they were paying to him?

If you have anti-colonial feelings, please consider the possibility that a great many British ‘expats’ were good people who made a positive contribution to the people and communities they lived with and in. I am proud to say my Dad was one of them. I hope you agree: Read more on A tribute to my father…

The Queen – Never complain. Never explain.

First published 12 March as a guest on US ‘Switch and Shift - Future of Leadership‘ series:

As you may know, this year, to honour Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, the rest of the world has generously invited us to host the Olympic Games in London. On behalf of my Queen and I, I would like to thank you all.

Diamond Jubilee? If you did not know, that is sixty years on the throne. Or, as she may see it, sixty years of hard work. By any definition, that is a long career.

For the whole of this time, The Queen has lived by her mother’s well-worn mantra: ‘Never complain. Never explain.’ Read more on The Queen – Never complain. Never explain….

A creative insight into the Euro crisis

We are surrounded by news of the Eurozone. But what positive solutions have we offered by way of Big Society neighbourly help? Or have we just covered our own backsides?

I am proud that our country punches above its weight in creative talent. In technology, music, drama, film, television, comedy and, yes, advertising, Great Britain is a creative force.

Have we mobilised this talent? Can we help by finding a creative solution to this crisis? In this spirit, I would like to offer some ‘upstream’ creative thinking of my own. Read more on A creative insight into the Euro crisis…

Leadership: Be Driven. Be Smart. Be Human.

I have been thinking about ‘Leadership’ as a topic for this post. What a nightmare.

The thought occurred with wry amusement that the ‘Leadership for a Better Britain’ theme at the Conservative Party Conference was followed, within days, by the biggest back-bench rebellion Cameron has faced as Prime Minister.

Then I started researching Leadership as a topic.

How naïve was that?

Leadership is all over the place, especially online. Read more on Leadership: Be Driven. Be Smart. Be Human….

A rugby lesson for English rioters

Next week, Martin Johnson, the manager of the England rugby team, has to cut his current squad of 40 players down to the final 30 who will travel to New Zealand for the forthcoming World Cup.

A few years ago, I attended a lunch at which Sir Clive Woodward was guest speaker. He was the England manager for the World Cups of 1999 and 2003 and was faced with the same decision then as Johnson faces next week.

Sir Clive spoke very eloquently on the subject of leadership, teamwork and human behaviour. Read more on A rugby lesson for English rioters…

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