It's just business

Its just business.  

No, you are just being an asshole.  


I got sad the other day. I was in a business meeting (well I was in a virtual business meeting through the powers of Skype) and someone said the killer phrase “well that’s business isn’t it?”.  

And then came the sadness.  

This phrase was being used to describe behaviour that was less than human. Behaviour that had become tolerated in this business setting and regarded as ‘the norm’.  

I became quiet.  

This tends to freak some people out (OK most people who know me) as I am not known as the quiet one (although those who really know me know I do have very quiet moments).  

I tuned into the sadness and swam in it for a little while. I had heard this phrase many times and I knew it to be the ‘catch all’ phrase (excuse) for passing over some indiscretion, unpalatable behaviour or a mere annoyance.  And in hearing the phrase I had probably nodded, rolled my eyes and said “yeah, its just business”.  

Except this time I recognised my sadness and then I heard myself say “No, that’s them being an asshole”.  

Now everyone else was quiet.  

I proceeded to say that this excuse of business was not acceptable to me and that the behaviour demonstrated was not that of a nice human being.  

Everyone else was still quiet.  

And in that recognition of the quiet I was about to say “I am sorry, that’s just how I feel” and then someone else said, 

“You are right. Its not right that we are accepting this, we shall have the conversation. Its not OK” 

And then I realised I wasn’t really breathing and I whispered, “thankyou”.  

The rest of the meeting was freer and more honest and we had conversations that really mattered.  

I realised in that moment there are too many things unsaid that build up and fester and chip away at your soul that we can choose to find a way that says – nope, not happening here matey bubbles. That is not OK.  




I am known for them.  
I dish them out as a therapeutic strategy for clients.  


You know the time, you are sitting in a meeting when someone says something downright rude or acts in an inhumane way. Think Wedgie 


When someone delivers the worst customer experience you have every experienced. Think Wedgie. 


There are times when an OEW is required. This is saved for really annoying people, terrible humans – the worst kind.  

It can only be administered in the most extreme of circumstances and only those who are able to administer it. It requires strength and focus.  

An Over Ear Wedgie is the big daddy – the one that conquers all.  


Now, please hear me. I am not – at all – suggesting that you go around wedgying people in meetings (although if you do send me a picture/video/invite) I am merely suggesting a visualisation technique. Often when faced with a contender for buzzword bingo (you know the ones that are thinking outside the box, squaring the circle and creating strawmenin a meeting I create an internal visualisation of giving said person a wedgie. Instant relief. It creates a level of tolerance that was previously hidden. It allows you to smile in the face of buzzword crap and wade through and see the nouns and verbs – like a conversation!  


No need to thank me. Wedgies – they help. A tonic for any executive.  



Leader Clones

How to clone a leader  


A cloning machine for leaders? How very exciting.  

A cloning machine for great leaders? Much better.  


This came to me in a recent coaching conversation with a senior Director in asking about what he could consider in his leadership after moving into a new position. We talked about his personality type and that of his peers and how he had navigated through the organisation so far.  

In the conversation we distilled it to a few elements.. 


Listen. Take time out to listen. One of the biggest gifts we can give to others is the willingness and commitment to listen. We all still have our internal dialogue which can gets in the way however holding the intent to listen to the other is incredibly powerful. My favourite ted talk at the moment is by William Ury who talks about having a listening movement. Watch it here. 


Kindness. Jim McNeish from Neish talks about this in our Leadership Styled interview in that the best people he had ever worked with were kind.  

Jim says, “kindness has wisdom in it”.  
Thinking back to those people that have really impacted me are those that are inherently kind- they careAnd you can never have a completely bad day if you have a little kindness in it.  



“Student says:  I am discouraged. What should I do? 

Master says, “Encourage others”. 


What’s it for? What are you leading for was a question I ask and this is a super question to find out someone else’s commitment – what is at their core. Those kind leaders take time out to find out what you stand for and tap into this when enrolling you in the future of a project, a role or a position.  


Who is at your table? Wisdom comes from many different places and spaces and it is important as a leader to have the right people at your table. Who do you plug into when you need support? When you need direction, who is on your speed dial? When a shout of energy/ a boost/a kick up the ass who do you call for a meet up? There are certain energies, archetypes that we tap into that a good leader ensures they have locked in.  


Human to human – conversation. We all want to connect and leaders who take time out to have conversations that really matter make a dent! 2 of my favourite quotes are:  


“ A problem only exists in the absence of the right conversation” 

Werner Ernhard  


“The single biggest problem that exists in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” 

George Bernard Shaw 


Yes yes and yes! I am known to say the first one approximately 500 times a day. It is JUST the thing – if everyone got this then woop!  


I think those are the ingredients I would pop into the cloning machine (that and a good dress sense and a massive sense of humour).

I got the feeling

I got the feeling 


I was working late in the office, tunes on, shoes off, candles on.  

I had been working all day designing a leadership experience for a lovely client – I had entered my usual pattern of chaos- coloured pens, google vortexes (my way of research) and post it notes of many colours.  

If you were to picture the scenario it is very much like a snow globe. I throw lots of things up into the air and then watch them fall – some fall into place, some wonder why they have even been thrown up into the air at all!  


And then I got the feeling 

I was writing in my design journal and it all started to fall into place –all those little snowflakes and I got excited. I became the observer of myself for a while and expanded into the feeling. I could see the pen flying on the paper, I could feel my brain ticking, flowing and – to extend the metaphor – building the snowman.  


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – a social theorist and positive psychologist talks about –‘flow’ I talk about his book and work in trainings and this feeling prompted me to tune back in.  


In an interview he conducted in the 1970s with a composer the words were:  


…you are in an ecstatic point that you feel as though you almost don’t exist. I have experienced this time and again. My hand seems devoid of myself and I have nothing to do with what is happening. I just sit there watching a state of awe and wonderment. (the music) just flows out itself. 


Isn’t that beautiful? 


Another transcript from his work was from a famous poet saying:  


“its like opening a door that’s floating in the middle of nowhere and all you have to do is go and turn the handle and open it and let yourself sink into it. You cant particular force yourself through it. You just have to float. If there’s any gravitational pull its from the outside world trying to keep you back from the door”  


I love that.  

Mihaley described ecstasy/flow as the feeling when existence is temporarily suspended. Finding that place is finding what moves your spirit. I have a full awareness and understanding of that feeling and I guess before I knew it but now I knew it in my bones – in my body.  


In that moment in my office I vowed to do more to get that feeling – to really feel what contributes to a life worth living. 

My word for the year

Word to the…  

My word for the year.  

I have been asking everyone what their word for the year is (perhaps spurned on by Eat Pray Love) and I have loved the myriad of looks that I have received when people think on it- concern, pain, uncertainty and shock.  

Some people are yet to answer as its too hard!  

We have had words such as:  

Focused (this has popped up a few times), Consolidation, Risk, Brave, Pleasure, Positive efficiency, love, Joy, Boom (love it!) and laughter.  

My word is simplicity.   

Well – to be honest – I have 2 words – ease and simplicity. Our friend Jim came up with “simpleasity” as a mash up so – adopted!  

Why these word(s)?  

My focus is to do things that are easy, they flow, they – you know, just work. I want to ensure I work with people that have conversations that flow, that are easy, that – you know, just work.  

I recognise that times can be difficult in business and there can be resistance and hard conversations and I am not denying this. I feel that if I hold the intent of simpleasity then my mind is activated towards this and will seek it out. I have been using the intention as a question for me too – is it simple? Does it create ease? Does it feel easy? Simple?  

Yes? Then – do it.  

As I write this I feel recognition of slowing down of being still – staying still enough for long enough as the Minister of Inspiration, Richard Wilkins would say.  

And at times when I get all caught up in “Why are things not simple?”  I recognise that simple isn’t easy.  
It was Leonardo Da Vinci that said ‘simplicity was the ultimate sophistication’ – he was right…  

What’s your word?  


“Good manners and kindness are always in fashion” 

Is it my age?  

Have I pole vaulted across a line in time where I am tutting and shaking at my head at ‘the youngsters’ 

If it is, I have bought into it and my varifocals are picking up on everything manners related.  

I talk a lot about the customer experience with clients and the more I do and see the more I think – some of this is manners people?  
Acknowledging someone when they say hello?  


Holding the door for someone who is impersonating a Sherpa with all the bags they are carrying (me).  


Assisting someone when they come into your place of work?  


I do have this strange mindset that I want to kill people with kindness – you know when you have a mission within you to make someone smile? I do it with taxi drivers all the time- I am sure they see me coming now – if they are rude to me I tip them.  The ruder they are – the higher my tip.  

There is something wrong with me.  

 I am going to start a manners movement and see what happens…  

Please? Thankyou?