What Could a Lab Rat Teach you About Leadership?

Self fulfilling prophecy

In the 1960’s a couple of scientists (Rosenthal and Frode) were busy trying to breed clever rodents.  To see if they had succeeded they ran some experiments with two strains of rats and a series of mazes: The first strain was “maze bright”, with parents and grand parents who were good at navigating mazes The […]

Do You Have to Control Everything?

Command and Control

If there is one thing that upsets me… Really upsets me it is being controlled.  Being told where I have to be, when I have to be there, what I need to do, which meeting I need to go to… I hate being controlled. Of course it cuts both ways.  If I am hell-bent on […]

Snakes, Rats and Your H.R. Policies

unintended consequences

Have you heard of the Cobra effect? In Victorian times, at the height of the British Empire, the governors of Colonial India were very worried about the number of cobras in Delhi — no self-respecting bureaucrat has a liking of venomous snakes. The governors came up with a plan.  They offered a reward for every […]

How to be a Amazing Manager

Remarkable manager

I am going to teach you how to be an amazing manager.  These are the secrets that will make you the world’s best boss and put you on the career path to greatness — would I lie? The amazing manager’s 5 point plan: What you need to do is… Get out of your office Talk […]

The Wrong Answer


Are your staff stupid? Have you ever asked them to do something so obvious that it simply wasn’t possible to misunderstand?  A nice, easy job.  Something they couldn’t fluff — if they only thought about it for two minutes — yet they still messed it up. Do they ever come back with completely the wrong […]

What are You Working On?

Pride in the job

What are you working on right now? What is occupying your time? Is it revolutionary? Will it set you head and shoulders above your competition? Is it new, innovative, exciting and exhilarating? Is it brilliant? Does it matter? What are you working on that makes you proud? Something or nothing? If the answer is nothing… Why […]

Who Taught You How to Manage?

management education

I’ve been to business school After 2 years of studying and a plethora of exams I was awarded an M.B.A.  I learnt about: Operations Marketing Finance Employment Law Book after book after book.  Some of it was fascinating, some of it was tedious but I got the letters after my name and it got me […]

Are You a Fairy Princess?

fairy princess

Remember my daughter? She is five, all blonde curly hair, giggles and she thinks she is a fairy princess. This weekend she went to a birthday party.  A five-year-old girl’s birthday party. It was a fancy dress party with a fairy princess theme — this is called knowing your audience. The local church hall was […]

Bonus Time


It is the best part of the year. You have been performance managed and appraised.  Your year-end rating has been cross calibrated / validated / ranked and stacked.  You have emerged from the annual death match unscathed. Your rating has been moderated to allow for business results.  Senior managers have assessed “the curve” to check it […]


listening skills

In his book To Sell is Human Dan Pink puts forward a simple idea.  Whatever your walk of life you sell things: My wife sells doing the dishes to me I am selling ideas to you You sell projects to sponsors Every day we try to coax, cajole and convince people to do something for us. […]