The Bullog – October 2019

Greetings Bullogers!

Only one in five people believe that the system is working for them. That’s according to the latest 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer which for many years has tracked the decline in trust across business, government and most of our other public institutions.

Business has a pretty dismal trust score of 56% within the general population. Small wonder.  In the past month alone there have been several big stories about breaches of trust: A fund manager forced to resign for breaking investment rules, another investment scandal in the sacking of Neil Woodford, once the darling of the stock market.  Not to mention the Libor rigging scandal being back in our minds when it was closed down having only managed to get a small handful of convictions for what seemed to be an endemic activity.

But it’s the little things too.  For example,  I use Easyjet quite a lot and find myself increasingly frustrated by their behavior.  Besides the punctuality of flights seeming to have nose-dived in recent months, it’s the misinformation I find particularly irritating. “Last Call” will often show up on the screens when the plane you’re meant to be flying on hasn’t event disembarked.  Or “Flight Boarding” when all they’re doing is putting you into the pre-boarding sheep pen.  Oh and while I’m on a roll, confiscating your cabin baggage despite it being fully-compliant with their size restrictions – all because they’ve run out of space in luggage racks due to aggressive rent seeking charges on checked in luggage.   OK, breathe…..that feels better now it’s off my jest.

Of course I’m being slightly tongue in cheek.  But if business is to win back our trust and its reputation, then it needs to be far more honest with customers and help us believe that it has a purpose beyond just making money from us in the short term.

Accelerating change in business – by slowing down……..

In the September Bullog, I mentioned an upcoming webinar we were about to have with some of the cast of “Avengers” – the network of leadership coaches and performers that are supporting the Business Decelerator.  Well we’ve now had not one but two webinars and for those who missed them, you can watch the replay on YouTube.

Webinar 1: How can we disconnect to reconnect?

With The Maestro (David Pearl), The Artist (Alexander Inchbald) and The Jesters (Viki Lazar and John Zimmer)

Webinar 2:  How can good mental health and wellbeing drive innovation in business?

With The Guru (Peter Koenig), the Horse Whisperer (Delphine Dépy Carron) and the Artist (Alexander Inchbald)

They were both fascinating and fun discussions and I hope these webinars give you a flavour for the calibre of our trainers and the types of things we’ll cover on the retreat.  You may also be interested in reading this recent article I wrote for Business Fights Poverty, “Might Slowing Down Be the Best Way to Accelerate Change in Business?”   which has a bit more on the business rationale. We have a really fabulous mix of people coming – the group will be mixture from across sectors, ages, genders, continents and will even include a few people from the local community too. A great recipe for innovation, creativity and indeed wellbeing.

It’s only two weeks away now, but there are still a few places left for anyone who wants to be a guinea pig for their company.  In the next Bullog I’ll be talking about how it went and sharing pictures.  Stay tuned.

Generally speaking

As regular Bullogers know, I’m grateful to anyone who has taken the time to read my book, “The Intrapreneur: Confessions of a corporate insurgent”    .  Those who have may recall the anecdote (Chapter 12: A Moment in the Sun) about being introduced to General Colin Powell when I did the warm up act for his Keynote at the Accenture Managing Director Training in Chicago several times.  There was a hilarious subsequent encounter at a conference in Washington DC a couple of years later (For those who haven’t read the book, then you’ll just have to stay in suspense about what happened).

Why do I bring this up?  Well, I did always wonder if General Powell would ever hear about this name-dropping mention in the book and understand what the encounter felt like from my side.  An email earlier this month shines some light on that. A friend and former Accenture colleague now working in tech-giant Salesforce had passed on a copy of the book to one of the Senior Directors who I’m delighted to say both read and seemed to enjoy it.  Unbeknown to me, the General serves on the Board of Salesforce and at the last Board meeting, the Director told him about the mention he’d been given and he evidently seemed quite amused about it. 

During a trip to London last week, I met up with my friend at Saleforce Tower and brought a signed copy of the book complete with a personal message which will hopefully find its way to General Powell via internal mail.  Hope that it gets to him, who knows, but will let you know of any follow ups.

The Business of Changing the World

Speaking of books, I admit to giving a few of my friends a hard time for not reading my book in the 18 months that’s passed since it came out.  Why should they after all?  More to the point, I’m just as guilty of not reading books that have been given to me from friends – double standards.

Case in point, I met up with my old pal Raj Kumar, CEO of Devex, for lunch in Glasgow. Raj was in the UK on business and was killing some time in the Scotland for a few days between two events and had headed off to the Scottish Borders to do a bit of Salmon fishing, his favorite sport.  Raj has had his own book come out with the great title, “The Business of Changing the World” and, despite having bought a few copies in the pre-launch, I was ashamed to say that I’d not managed to find the time to read it. It was highly embarrassing, especially given he’d written a lovely review in Devex.  Should I fess up or just blag it over lunch and tell him it was a truly wonderful read? 

I chose the former, mortified as I was to admit it, but thankfully Raj is far more understanding than I’ve been to others.  He said he wasn’t bothered at all but was keen that I would get round to reading it some time.  They say honesty is the best policy and how true that turned out to be on this occasion.  About a week later during my annual pilgrimage to southern Crete with my mum (Wee Marj) and sister Loobs, I at last found the time time to read Raj’s book.  It was a really enjoyable read and as I lay on the golden Cretian sand with just a few pages to go, a smile gradually came over my face.  I realised why Raj was keen for me to read it.  He’d given a lovely mention to the work of Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP) and my own prediction that one day soon we’ll have a business leader winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  I chuckled at how lucky a decision it had been not to blag it over lunch – I’d have been caught out if he’d asked what I thought of the mention he’d given me/ADP!

However, that’s not the reason I’d strongly encourage you to read the book – it’s actually hugely relevant to anyone who’s at all interested in the international development sector and the disruption its undergone in recent years and will likely face in the future.  Raj has his finger on the pulse and yes, we’re aligned in our thinking on most of the trends. I wrote a fuller review is on Amazon here , where you can also get your copy.

….and (still) on the personal front

Sticking to the personal stuff, I also had my annual trip to Majorca to play golf with my pals for a few days.  Creature of habit I’d have to admit, but it was great to catch up with old friends who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like during the year.

One of the reasons for being in Scotland was a 30-year Reunion of the University of Strathclyde Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering graduation class of 1989.  Not many of you knew that’s what I studied for 4 years as it’s a far cry from what I’m doing now, or indeed ever did.  I never designed a ship in my life!  Besides catching up with old friends, it was great to see that some of our old Professors were still there and still teaching.

That’s more than enough for now folks. If you enjoy this monthly ramble then do feel free to suggest others sign up here.  Until next month,


* The Bullog  = Bulloch + BlogMake sense?  Not bulldog, nor is it bulls**t although I’ll let you be the judge of that! It’s a brief synopsis on recent articles, events and opinions from my world and the things that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.