Monday, 13 July 2015


I was at a big celebratory dinner last week when the band started up. They were rather old; think of  the Kinks plus a few years in age minus a chunk of musicality and plus a load more noise. Is it just me that finds conversation virtually impossible in completion with “you really got me”?

Andy was quite a senior banker from Singapore, ex-Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers (when they were still cock of the walk) … he was interesting about ethics

You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’ now

About the thrill of a deal when you outwitted the competition

You got me so I can’t sleep at night

About why he loved his current job for its collegiate spirit and  strong values (CEO’s a woman - excellent)

Oh yeah you really got me now

Finally about how the really classy performers improved themselves and their minds when they had those moments of downtime which nowadays occur more rarely but nonetheless do occur. (There was a lot of lip reading happening on my part but I think this was his point and it’s a good one.)

In Hiroshima at the Mazda plant where just in time is rigorously applied there are occasional hiccoughs in production (earthquakes, hurricanes etc.) What happens then?  “We take the opportunity to repaint the factory and tidy the place up.

Yet driven by the HR mentality of focusing on skillsets and competences we find ourselves as I once did at an appointments panel scouring CVs. The rest of the panel noticed I always went straight to the interests and pastimes section. They were mystified by what they regarded as eccentricity.

We want a worker not a player” one said.

In fact a player, a team player - someone who has interests beyond Six Sigma and spread sheets, is exactly what I want.

All the best people I know holiday with hunger and have a life full of curiosity about art, opera, books and, most of all, other people. They avoid being too busy to cope by being busy at not being busy. Sometimes it’s when you relax, wander through a garden or along a beach that insights imprisoned in the mausoleum of work are released.

Way back in time the corporate equivalent of Morecambe and Wise were possibly Robinson and Allen of Granada. The latter was an obsessed workaholic and the former a somewhat louche, allegedly lazy Irishman who charmed on his stroll through life. But what a duo and what a great example of Mr Nose-to-the-Grindstone and Mr Smell-them-lovely-Roses these two were.

Just relax more and build up a series of other interests. Work is just not enough but it also gets done better by people with refreshed minds.

I discovered something a few years ago. Quite simply I do my best work when asleep. So I plan on snoozing my way to wealth if that’s OK with you.

Right now.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A Man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. Goethe