Saturday, 19 April 2008

Do you follow or fight desire lines?

I've become fascinated by 'desire lines'. These are the paths that people create by walking where they choose, rather than where the planners intended.

When confronted by desire lines, you have too choices. Adapt to meet the demand or enforce a change of behaviour. In other words, make a path where people walk or use barbed wire to deter them. Which of these would you do?

Businesses are always encountering 'virtual desire lines'. These are those annoying instances where the customers don't behave as you expect. The successful entrepreneur recognises sees these as opportunities and responds accordingly. The fool takes it as a snub, erects 'barbed wire' and loses customers.

Once you start to think about desire lines you see them everywhere. What's more you will probably feel liberated enough to create some of your own!

Good luck

Monday, 14 April 2008

Why do we worry about the wrong things?

This is a picture of George Derbyshire. He's a super bloke who runs the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies. He also has a rather impressive beard. George and I both attended a conference last week and I could not help but compare his established facial growth with my own, rather newer version. In any competition, George would beat me hands down.

But only after accepting that I had grown a rather inferior version, did it strike me that on top, I have a full head of hair and George has gone bald. In other words, if you compare our whole heads and not just our faces, I've got more hair than he has.

This set me thinking. Why did I beat myself up about my less dense beard when actually I'm better off overall? What other examples are there in life where I and perhaps you, compare just one facet of ourselves that we're sensitive about and ignore the fact that in other respects, we're actually better off?

My conclusion is this: when you start comparing your performance with that of those around you, step back and take a wider view. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that when you stop focusing on detail, you find that you're actually better off than you first thought!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Atlas Shrugged - more than a good read!

I was introduced to 'Atlas Shrugged' by a millionaire who told me it's the only book he ever read twice. I now know why!

The book is a compelling read and the parallels with today's focus on political correctness and positive discrimination tells me that we're in great danger in the UK today of living out the book with all of it's dire consequences. Only yesterday I heard a senior NHS manager apologise for appointing a man rather than a women to an all male Board. 'The man was the best candidate,' she said, 'but if both had been equal, we'd have appointed the woman.'

We also have the National Union of Teachers calling for the nationalisation of Britain's private schools because it's not fair that the kids there stand a better chance.

I lead an anti-stigma project and also provide 'business support' to UK charities seeking to develop social enterprise. I know the paradox of equality, that is: the more you seek to include and be fair, the more you actually highlight the differences and exclude.

Atlas Shrugged ends with the lights going out in New York. Let's not let that happen in London!

There is now a website to explore; take a look!