Tuesday, 25 May 2010


The papers this weekend were full of the story of our new government’s energetic approach to setting an agenda and the speed at which things seemed to be happening.
This was in contrast to New Labour in 1997 who were said to have “landed reviewing”.

In marketing and in management one of the most important (if not the most important things) is to create that momentum which gives you steerage way and sweeps along those working with you in a wave of excitement and adrenalin.

But the best story of momentum is of Robert Karlsson the Swedish golfer who convinced he’d missed the cut at Wentworth at the BMW Tournament, on Friday, stormed off the course and flew back to Nice en route to his Monaco home which as he approached he was texted to tell him he’d made the cut after all.
So began the tortuous return, via Nice, a commercial flight to Orly in Paris, a private plane from Le Bourget airport to the north of the French capital and a taxi from Heathrow, until finally, at 6.45am, Karlsson made it back to the Wentworth clubhouse. Along the way he managed to pick up three hours of sleep, a £9,500 bill for the private plane journey and a working knowledge of Parisian suburbs.

But the 40-year-old then shot a course record 62 and consumed nine birdies and nine pars gobbling up every putt he looked at.

It isn’t usually calmness and systematic preparation that makes for success – it’s an empty head which makes you ready for anything not prepared for everything – there’s a big difference between the two.

Life’s an adventure – treat it as such and you might surprise yourself in the amount of momentum you can create.

And one other piece of advice.

Don’t jump to conclusions too readily unless you enjoy private planes.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


I was reading Tom Peters the other day. Tom, the management guru and author, wrote a book called “Thriving on Chaos” in 1989. He thinks chaos is good. Most people think it’s pretty punishing.

In 1989 we thought the world was pretty hairy with events like these:

The fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska.

The student protest on Tiananmen Square, Beijing with up to 7000 killed.

Earthquakes in America and Australia.

Pan Am filing for chapter 11.

The Soviet Union withdrawing from Afghanistan after 10 years of fighting.

Yet compared to what the world has seen since 2007 these were extremely nasty storms not the destructive hurricanes we’ve been recently experienced.

The uncertainty of recent times is epic. We have twice looked over the brink of global economic meltdown.

And this one is really nasty. Euro Flu is worse than Banker Flu.  And, as I write this, we have no one in charge in the UK.

So whoever is PM later this week pay heed to these two lessons from America.
One, what Reagan said on becoming President, inheriting an economic mess and being given a briefing on it.
“They gave it me. I read it. I don’t like it. You aren’t going to like it either.”

And, two, John Gardner a US Government official (sounds like a good one) at the end of the 1990s:

“The first task of a leader is to keep hope alive.”

Lessons: speak English, tell it how it is and tell us how we are going to get out of it.

Monday, 3 May 2010


This was what a thirteen year old said to her father as he took her through a presentation on the economy.

She was taking no prisoners and he was suitably abashed.

Thirteen year olds are accomplished users of PowerPoint and well versed in presenting. If you’ve been listening to young voters taking about the three leaders on TV over the past week you’ll realise the sophistication they have and to which they are accustomed.

They, most of all, get what poor reviled PowerPoint is all about.

It is nothing to do with bullet points - it’s everything to do with storyboards.

There is simply no better way to plan a presentation with logic, drama and clarity.

It’s something they understand and are happy with because they understand and live with the medium of film – the ultimate format in presentation.

The older generation, on the other hand, either clunk their way through a sequence of bullet point lists or revert to the suicide of “winging it”.

The next time I hear about a presenter relying on inspiration on the day is the next time I show you a soldier in the battle of corporate life going out not wearing body armour.

Ask your children (or a friend’s children) to tell you honestly how your presentation looks and listen to what they say.

After all they live in the presentation age and they know what “good” is.