Saturday, 27 December 2008

'Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay to be independent'

'So the fact that I'm me and no one else is one of my greatest assets. Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay to be independent' wrote Haruki Murakami in 'What I talk about when I talk about running'.

Murakami is one of my favourite contemporary novelists - he is a great story teller, but in this book, he's talking about himself and two of his great passions, running and writing. They're two of my greatest passions too.

But his comments about the emotional cost of being independent rather than simply following the herd, read on 24th December, really captured for me the immense discomfort I always feel when under huge pressure to conform and celebrate Christmas. I am not a Christian and I do not like following the herd. I would prefer to celebrate personal achievements and events that indulge in the frenzied, mass hysteria that is Christmas today.

Our daughter, working in Ethiopia spent Christmas day at work. On their calendar, the big day happens in two weeks time . . . . which illustrates if nothing else the innacuracy of the day anyway.

This is not a rant about Christmas, more an expression of concern for the expectations it places upon people to conform. Surely in today's politically correct, inclusive, gender neutral society, expecting people to pass on individuality to conform to the collective christmas ideal is wrong.

Or am I just being silly?

Friday, 19 December 2008

Word's getting out . .

I really was a little cynical when The Business Channel on Sky told me that my TV series would attract a million viewers. Today I finally had proof that I'm reaching living rooms I never expected to reach.

Today a Christmas card arrived from my wife's now retired ex boss, he was a head teacher. Now a retired headteacher is not someone I'd expect to have seen me on TV, but from the nice comment in the card, he clearly has!

And yesterday, at a lively 4Networking meeting in Solihull, there where several who'd come along because they'd seen me on the telly. (View a clip here)

I'm now clearing my cupboard of skeletons, ready for the day the tabloids get me in their sights!!!!!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

I wannabe me

Ever since hiring Bella as my new Business Manager I've been challenging myself to BE the person I want to be. This might sound daft, but too many folk distort themselves into what they think those that hire them are expecting.

A recent incident highlighted to me that it really is time to take my own advice and plough my own furrow across the currently frozen business landscape. I always tell people that if the customer's asking you to do things you really don't find comfortable, then it's time to change the street corner you loiter on seeking custom.

I'm planning to say no to anyone who won't buy my alternative style of business advice. I'm going to be me - There, ny first NY resolution!

Monday, 1 December 2008

BT are back in my good books

I forwarded an email from the editor of a newspaper eager to publish details of my battle with the BT call centre, to the BT Press Office with amazing results. All I said as that in the interests of fairness, I wanted them to have the opportunity to comment on the 'soon to be published' story.

Within hours soneone rang me up, sorted out the problem, had my phone reconnected and sent me a little something by way of compensation.

Of course 99.9% of problems encountered by BT customers can be quickly sorted out by their call centre staff. If however your problem falls into the 0.1% that are hard to resolve, there needs to be a system that screens them out and points them towards a 'special problems team' with greater access to the 'system' and greater freedom to get things done.

For anyone with a complex business, millions of customers and a need to control costs I'd recommend setting up a 'special problems' team - it would relly improve public opinion!