The Bullog – March 2020

Greetings Bullogers!

Il est arrivé !   It’s arrived.  Nope, I’m not talking about Beaujolais Nouveau wine (although that was the slogan the French producers used as they raced to get the wine into shops in the 3rd week of November each year).  Neither am I talking about Coronavirus, although inevitably we’ll come to that.  I just didn’t want to lead on it.

Instead, I’m talking about the launch of the audio version of my book, The Intrapreneur: Confessions of a corporate insurgent which I know you’ve all been desperately waiting for.   Who did the recording you might ask?  Well me of course.  I wasn’t going to pay good money to have some actor impersonate my Scottish accent and so I did it myself instead, with some great help from James and Matt at Usound. It was time consuming but actually a lot of fun, although there’s a big difference between reading a book for yourself and speaking into a microphone clearly and without fumbling words.  It’s exclusively available on Amazon/Audible/iTunes and once my “friend” Mr Bezos has taken his substantial cut, what’s left will be ploughed into the Craigberoch Business Decelerator as part of my broader efforts to promote the intrapreneurship movement.   Many of you will be regular audiobook listeners.  However, for those who are new to Audible, I will get an extra bounty payment from generous Jeff if you sign up to Audible and make my book the first one you buy.  So, go on, if nothing else you can use my dulcet Scottish tones to help you get to sleep at night.  For this bounty payment to work, it’s important to use the following links:

Audible UK site

Audible US site

Audible French site

Audible German site

Huge thanks in advance for any purchases and as ever, a very short review on Amazon is like gold dust – but only if you enjoy it!

The C Word

Well at least I didn’t start with it – unlike every newspaper, TV news or just about anything you watch, read or listen to these days.  The C Word, aka Covid 19. 

As I write, the World Health Organization has just deemed this a Pandemic and it’s clear that it’s going to have a massive impact on our lives economically, politically and socially.  However, it has made me reflect on how our attitude to risk – real or perceived – is heavily influenced by the cultural context of the country where we live as well as our own personal biases of course.   You’re deemed crazy if you cycle around London without wearing a helmet.  Yet in Amsterdam, arguably the cycling capital of Europe, you’ll struggle to find anyone wearing one.   When I pass through airports, I’m intrigued to watch people pay 20 bucks (ish) to have their suitcases wrapped in multiple layers of cellophane while others like me, don’t even have a padlock on their check-in baggage.  What do these people know that I don’t?

When passing through London less than two weeks ago, I noticed only a handful of people wearing a facemask – the ultra-cautious or perhaps just the early adopters.  Soon we may all be wearing them everywhere.   It’s a fairly well known fact amongst neuroscientists, that the current economic system and modern day marketing departments play to and seek to profit from our human fears:  for the airport cellophane wrappers, it will be in their interest to play up the fears around corrupt baggage handlers, but equally, Apple will seek to trigger my “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) response for not having the very latest iPhone with all must have features.  But you could safely say that just about any advert is trying to convince you that your life is not complete without their particular widget.

Attitudes and responses to the Coronavirus outbreak vary quite considerably from country to country. In Switzerland where I live, they just cancelled the Geneva Motor Show and all public events over 1000 people.   Whereas Germany seems to be a little more relaxed, for now at least.   I met a client yesterday whose company policy forbade him from shaking my hand as part of a series of measures including a global travel ban.  Looking on the bright side however, if business travelers are forced to stop all non-essential air travel for a couple of months and spend more time with their families, working from home, then it could have a very positive impact on climate change.  Moreover, the forced “deceleration” might be great for family life and relationships and an opportunity for business execs to reflect on just how vital all that time on the road really was to their jobs.  Let’s see.

Time to slow down?

OK I admit – it wasn’t a very subtle link to the latest update on the Business Decelerator.  I’m having some great conversations with a number of corporates (and a few non-corporates) about developing a strategic relationship that would give their employees privileged access to the facilities of Craigberoch when it’s up and running.  If this audacious little project is to succeed and achieve its full potential, we’ll need to have a lot of support and so please do contact me if you’d like your own organization to be involved in these discussions.  Our target is 10 founding partners.

As this goes to press, we’re also still planning on going ahead with the next Decelerator Lab over the long weekend of 2nd-5th April (see attached flyer) although we’re monitoring the situation with the spread of the C-word very carefully.  Please do sign up here to register your interest without needing to give firm commitment and benefit from the 25% discount being offered until the 9th March at 8pm UK time.  Do please spread the word for this and future events.

Hacking the MBA

I’ve talked in the past about the fact that Business Schools are one of my primary targets for the main themes of my book.  Namely, how we rethink the purpose of business, inspire and empower intrapreneurs to drive the change in corporates and the fact that the fact that the best way to drive the change might start with slowing down.

During February I gave a talk to a weekend class of the Cass Business School Executive MBA programme at a conference centre just outside of London.   I also gave the opening Keynote at the annual Scottish Business Schools conference in Glasgow which this year was hosted at Strathclyde University, where I did my own MBA about 100 years ago.  It felt like a real homecoming, especially since quite a few of the staff are still working there after all these years.  I opened by saying how happy I was to be back, but given they’d chosen Valentine’s Day for their conference, Arianna was a little less happy about my attendance! Check out this video for a quick snippet of the talk

Best of the rest

It was a fairly busy month all in all and I’m currently involved in one or two strategic consulting projects with clients who are exploring corporate purpose and in one case, a major intrapreneurship programme which is encouraging. I don’t intend to focus a lot of my time on consulting but when I do, these are the kind of topics that excite me.

The beauty of not being confined to an office is that I’m able to spend more time in nature in the mountains where the view from the virtual office is much nicer.

….and on the personal front

It’s not been the best ski season so far from a snow perspective, but there have been some fresh dumps of powder over the past few days which I’ve tried to take some advantage of.  These snowfalls are often followed by a thaw and heavy rain which washes away much of the snow from the lower slopes. I fear this oscillating freeze/thaw/freeze pattern is going to be the shape of things to come as I’m told that the effects of climate change at altitude are far more significant than at sea level.  The Alps may get relatively little snow as soon as 2030 to 2040 which will have a profound effect on the economy of these regions.  Some friends in the Morzine valley have been working at the community level to create more awareness and catalyze action through an impressive initiative called Montagne Vert

Conversely, the Gospel Choir workshop I attended in Geneva last weekend was less impacted by climate change. The regular Bullogers amongst you will know that I’ve attended a couple of these workshops in the past year as part of my “get out your comfort zone” phase of life and in an attempt to expose myself to the creative influences of art, music and improv.  I’ve discovered that I really love singing and am told that it can release lots of “happy hormones” in those who try it (although I’m pretty sure less so for my poor listeners)!

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,

Gib

* 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.  If it’s not for you then feel free to unsubscribe

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