Musts and wants

Some years ago I was invited to join in a think-tank, organised by the Cabinet Office, to generate ideas on what the government could do to motivate more people to embrace lifelong learning.  It seems that far too many people treat learning and development as an optional extra.  This despite all the messages about learning being the core capability; the only skill that can never become obsolete; the gateway to employability and fulfilment; the only way to sustain a competitive [...]

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A manager who sampled 360 degree feedback

Ben was a middle manager in the purchasing department of a company that manufactured tyres for the motor industry.  He worked in a large, draughty Victorian building that, despite refurbishment, still showed its age. The purchasing office was tucked away in one wing of the building along with other administrative functions.  The bulk of the site, however, was given over to tyre manufacture – a dirty process. The manufacturing areas looked as if they belonged to another epoch.  There were [...]

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A manager who insisted on precise definitions

Nick was a human relations manager in a large telecommunications business.  He had many years’ experience of HR, having worked in a diverse range of industries from car manufacture to food processing to computers. Nick a man of average build who looked remarkably like 1960s prime minister Harold Wilson without the pipe.  He was fond of pontificating and could produce an instant opinion on, well, anything!  Over the years, Nick had formed strong views about many issues, particularly about the [...]

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He who hesitates

Some years ago I ran a workshop in a hotel in rural Germany.  All the participants on the workshop lived locally and went home each evening leaving me to my own devises.  The hotel had a health spa with an exercise room full of treadmills and those bicycles that don’t go anywhere, a swimming pool, steam room and sauna. On the first evening, after a walk round the village – which appeared to be deserted – I decided to have [...]

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We shot the brigadier

  I’m old enough to have done National Service.  At the age of 20 I was a 2/Lt in the Royal Artillery on active service in Malaya.  When we went up-country I was sometimes in charge of four 25 Pounder Field Guns and 24 men, six per gun.  We used to drive in convoy, towing the four guns, from Singapore, over the Johor-Singapore Causeway into the Malayan Peninsular.  Our destination was a preordained map reference somewhere in the Malayan jungle [...]

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Recent Anecdotes

So far as other people are concerned, you are your behaviour