Sunday, 18 October 2009

New Book – New Blog

bookfrontcover As our Portfolio Careers book has finally made it to the shelves – well e-retailers anyway, we decided our readers needed a little more. The wonderful digital magician James has done us proud ( they say that in Yorkshire ) and produced a blog where we can give more stuff away. Indeed the detailed contents and intro chapter are yours for nothing. So please hop on over to

Friday, 2 October 2009

October 15th

We are both getting quite excited as the publication day of our book on portfolio careers gets closer. We are also in the process of revamping our blog to accompany the book so please stay tuned. You can order prepublication copies from the Amazon and Waterstones websites at discounted prices.

Sunday, 8 July 2007


A rule of thumb for presentations I am using a lot at the mo:

10 slides  MAX

20 minutes MAX

30 point font MIN


Try it - it works !

Shamelessly borrowed from Guy Kawasaki

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Philosophy for 7 year-olds

These bright, young pupils have been asked to consider "whether it is possible to step in the same river twice?".


One  says: "You could step in the river one day and then go home. Then the next day you could come back to the same river - as long as you know the way - and do it again."

In a flash of inspiration, one of the boys who has been waggling his hand impatiently says : "If you step in the river on Saturday and then you went to step in the river on the next day - where you stepped on Saturday would be gone because the river keeps on moving."  

Einstein says, once a mind has been stretched over a new idea - it cannot be stretched back

One of the teachers says  "Philosophy teaches you how to think things through, solve problems and deal with moral dilemmas."

The head teacher adds: "Our children are going into such a changing world. We can't predict what they're going to need in terms of knowledge, but one thing we can give them is confidence and a sense of how to learn. Philosophy gives them those skills."

CONFIDENCE and a willingness to QUESTION  - key skills in an ever changing world. I think it's a great idea ....I wonder if they take challenging 4 year olds.....?

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Speaking as a Performance

Doug Lawrence has been a singer, music director and speech coach - singing in places such as Carnegie Hall. He suggests singing and speaking have a lot in common. The main goal is to engage your audience and make them listen to you, so everything a singer does, a speaker ought to do too.

Not totally convinced on all points but this is what he says. Take the best - leave the rest.

  1. Circulate with your audience.

  2. Command attention.

  3. Snarl.

  4. Bite your tongue.

  5. Always perform a sound check before you speak.

  6. Use your eyes all the time.

  7. Move away from center to make your point.

  8. Get quiet.

  9. “Underline” certain words with a pause or repetition.

  10. Take a risk and be vulnerable.

  11. Tee it higher.

  12. Know when it’s time to go.

  13. Use Q and A as an “encore.”

  14. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

La Vie en Rose

From the slums of Paris to the limelight of New York, Edith Piaf’s life was a battle to sing and survive, live and love. Raised in poverty, Edith’s magical voice and her passionate romances and friendships with the greatest names of the period - Yves Montand, Jean Cocteau, Charles Aznavour, Marlene Dietrich, Marcel Cerdan and others - made her a star all around the world. But in her audacious attempt to tame her tragic destiny, the Little Sparrow - her nickname - flew so high she could not fail to burn her wings.

 That's the official blurb. Just go and see one of the most incredible female performances for decades. If you want to see what passion looks like - look no further.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Is Paris burning?

This is worth a look - a News Anchor who doesn't agree with the running order and rips up the Paris Hilton story. I would have loved to do the same. Go girl !

Thanks to Jeff Jarvis.

Monday, 25 June 2007

EUDAIMONIA - "creating happiness by doing what you’re best at for the good of others".

“Life is for living. Go find what you’re good at and do more of it for the good of us all ….” Nicki and I concluded after attending a St Nicholas’s Hospice fund raising leadership seminar in Suffolk.

Charles Handy and Richard Olivier took us beyond the breach .....

So what was the over-riding theme that came across? Envisioning the future? Building the team? Finding the strategy? Communicating the strategy? Knowing your customers? No. The over-riding theme was: “Life is for living. Go find what you’re good at and do more of it for the sake of us all, please”. Or, as Aristotle put it way back when, “eudaimonia”.

We’d heard about “eudaimonia” – thanks to our colleague David Criddle whose holding company for his various businesses and investments shares that name. But many people hadn't.

So how was this theme communicated? Powerfully and by stealth.

When Charles Handy took to the stage, we knew what to expect and we were not disappointed. Charles used his new book The New Philanthropists, co-authored with his wife Elizabeth (Charles and Elizabeth pictured above)  whose incredible photographs lead the narrative, to express his perception of the essence of great leadership. So what is that essence and who are these New Philanthropists?

“The secret to great leadership? It’s simple: 1. Know yourself. 2. Know and trust your people. 3. Know what you’re about and make sure your people know what you’re about,” advised Charles warmly, yet with a hint of irony. Irony, not because it isn’t true – it is. Rather because it’s one of those eternal truths that is “easier said than delivered”.

And Charles – what is he about? This is a question he had to ask himself when writing his autobiography. Aristotle had the answer apparently - “eudaimonia”. Translated by many as “happiness”, the true translation of this concept according to Charles is “creating happiness by doing what you’re best at for the good of others.” Makes sense to us.

On hearing the building fill with soulful applause, we turned to each other and asked. “How on Earth do you follow that?” Luckily the next speaker, Richard Olivier, founder of Mythodrama and author of Inspirational leadership, Henry V and the Muse of Fire, knew exactly how.

His passion may also have been ignited thanks to the video St Nicholas’s Hospice showed before setting him loose on us. The overwhelming message we received from this and our various conversations with The Hospice’s staff was:  "HOSPICES ARE ABOUT CARING FOR THE LIVING.”  Living, and how great leaders do work that makes them feel alive, is a theme Richard picked up on later.

Awesome. That’s one word you could use to describe Richard’s performance, Inspiring, magnetic, moving, memorable would be others. Using the plot and some of the Bard’s narrative from Henry V, not only did he take us to the breach once more, he took us beyond.

A former theatre director talking about leadership lessons from Shakespeare’s Henry V. He sent waves of energy, inspiration, charisma and wisdom crashing through the room. He was on fire.

He explained how before opening Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre with Henry V in 1997, he bought in a group of City leaders to do a workshop to analyse which parts were still relevant to leadership today. They concluded “all of it!” He then talked us through the play and its eternal wisdoms.

Picking up on Charles’ theme of “in the service of others” and the difference between inspiration and charisma, he talked about great leaders having the ability to reflect accurately back on their life and to sow the ‘Golden Seed’ Charles had talked about earlier (also known as The Mentor’s Nudge) within others. He talked about being fully alive and connected to your work and how to orient yourself towards the thing that brings you alive and then do it. He showed how Henry V did it and told us how he did it. He talked about vision being about quality not quantity. Mission being measurable but vision being about core inspirational values and he quoted Henry V again to illustrate the difference, tears filling his eyes (and most of the audience’s too).

He concluded that great leadership was about finding your inner sense of purpose and the inner conditions you need to produce inspired work. For him it’s working with wisdom stories and people interested in self-development. He has certainly found his niche.

What about us, what did we get out of it? The gift of humility – here were two masters at work, “spreading the word” and “getting it heard”. They did not simply appeal to the head. They reached out to the heart using words, pictures and performance to captivate us all. As Richard put it “Some people see the light. Some people need to feel the heat”. Our light bulbs were switched on and our internal fires were well and truly stoked. As Mentor Mike Pegg regularly reminds us “it’s not just about the words – it’s about how they’re used to engage the other senses to achieve a goal”.

Consider us well and truly nudged and on fire…

Friday, 22 June 2007

Digigirlz day

WOW! what a day.... 200 teenage (13 - 15 yr old) girls descended upon Microsoft HQ today.

We had a great line up of speakers. We didn't have much time. Everyone spoke for about 5 mins and the girls themselves asked lots of questions about careers and the technology itself. Lots of whooping and hollering just before that when I asked them all to stand up and stay standing if they had, a pc, a mobile, an mp3 player, they were on Facebook, my Space, Bebo or Spaces, they had bought or sold on ebay, had visited second life, had a blog ( yes a few still standing) and had used a wiki. Luckily I didn't have to do the "who knows what RSS stands for?" - but there were 3 girls still standing and that was good enough for me.

The afternoon challenge was for them to create a 2 min ad for either the XBox 360 or the Creative Zen ( Zune not arrived on these shores yet). They were asked to shoot moving pictures and stills, source music and additional visuals and do a final edit on Movie Maker. ( will link to the winning 2 vids in the next few days)

These are the lucky generation of digital natives ( don't like that phrase but seems in common use now). They have never known a world without perpetual connectivity. The photo above is Geek in Disguise Steve Clayton showing the girls just how simple making a movie really is:) Many thanks to all the organisers and especially to Eileen Brown who got me involved.

A high energy - thought provoking (for both teenagers and adults) day. I ended it by asking them to email just one thing they are going to do as a result of the day - again will feedback.

Ahhh - we have so much to learn from the young.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Idea Volcano

 My mate Oli has set up new site called Idea Volcano.

He says it for ideas to be posted that people dont have time to work on - so why not throw them out there and see what happens?

He was interviewed on the Chris Evans radio 2 show today - Chris asked him what was in it for him and did it pull in the women? Oli said he was ok in the women department but that one of the team behind Idea Volcano maybe looking.....any ideas?