Sunday, 29 August 2010

Spending a penny and finding a conundrum

You walk into the toilets in a posh restaurant and spot a coin on the floor, close to a toilet. Clearly it fell out of someone's trousers when they pulled them down (or up). The floor is dry and there's no one else around to see what you do.

You can choose to pocket the coin or leave it where it is. We all have our price and for me, faced with this conundrum last night thought long and hard before deciding what to do. In fact I decided that for me to pick up a coin in a toilet it had to be either a one or two pound coin. 50p or below and I'd leave it where it was.

It was a one pound coin and right now it is in my pocket.

What's your price? What's a coin got to be worth for you to pick it up and once in your pocket, what would you do with it?

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The paradox of amibtion

I was 55 at the weekend and inevitably spent time reflecting on my life thus far.

When I was 30 I'd been selling for five years and had already started to climb the career ladder. I thought I was invincible and for me success was easily measured by where my company Sierra sat in the range. At 33 I got a bright red two litre GLS - I'd reached the top of the company list and changed companies to get more.

The new firm indulged me with an identical GLS and a slightly higher salary. I thought I was worth more and lacked the wisdom to understand why the talent so obvious to me wasn't universally recognised by my bosses.

Now I'm 55, I have gained much of the wisdom I then lacked. I probably also have the commercial skills to command the high salary I then saw as my right. The trouble is, that I'm no longer ambitious in a material way. I'm more interested in the positive impact I can have than the money I can earn.

I suspect the world today remains full of young men with more ambition than ability. It's up to us who have long since grown up to help them reconcile what they can do with what that might give them. Then they might mature faster than we did and actually achieve more!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Past, present, future

I visited the excellent Belsey Bridge Conference Centre today. Brilliant people, wonderful setting and facilities and prices that make it the perfect setting for the social enterprise residentials I'd like to run next year.

However I've always known the place by another name - All Hallows School. It's where my kid sister was sent by from the age of seven for reasons I'd rather not discuss. Actually Boarding School was good for her I think but it meant that she and I never really knew each other (I'm 9yrs older). Sadly we've not met or spoken for around 25yrs.

The school was very St Trinians in architecture and I'm sure in many other ways too. Last time I was there was in October 1980 when in a state of shock, I drove my distraught father there to break the news of our mother's sudden death. All that for me is now ancient history, but the conference centre, despite it's high tech gear, new decor and furniture is still essentially the school I last visited on that emotionally turbulent day.

The school library still contains old school books and one room had a display cabinet of old school trophies and cups. Both caused me to gulp, as did the whole visit. In fact I parked on the verge for ten minutes when the place came into view, to stop my heart racing before turning into the drive.

How amazing that after 30 years, a place can have such an effect on me. I now know I have to run a programme there if only to deal with the strong feelings visiting the place has evoked. I cannot wait 30yrs before I return . . no way