The Bullog – June 2022

Greetings Bullogers!
 
Take Sugar with a pinch of salt
 
Do you consider yourself a lazy git?  
 
If you’ve ever taken the odd Friday afternoon off then you’re at risk of being branded one by Lord Sugar.   The star of the UK version of The Apprentice is not renowned for his tact and used the term as a collective description for PwC employees who were told they could take Friday afternoons off over the summer.
 
“The lazy gits make me sick,” he wrote, referring to PwC’s new policy. “Call me old fashioned but all this work from home BS is a total joke.”
 
(N.B. A “git” for those of you who are not native English speakers is not a particularly flattering term as you can read from the Urban dictionary definition)
 
Yes, you are indeed old-fashioned Lord Sugar, as is your TV show in my opinion. Not surprisingly PwC’s Leadership hit back and accused Lord Sugar of being out of touch. 
 
It was in the May Bullog only last month that I was talking about the culture war that is emerging around remote working and this red threat is unapologetically continuing through this month’s Bullog too.
 
It would have been easy to write off Lord Sugar’s view as that of a business dinosaur and argue that there was a strong consensus amongst modern, progressive companies that productivity is not correlated to the amount of time you spend sitting at your desk in an office.  Indeed, I’d suggest that if there is a correlation then it’s probably an inverse relationship – meaning that I suspect people are becoming less productive the more time they spend in the office.  
 
Then, much to my disdain, Elon Musk appears to have kicked off the same debate on the other side of the Atlantic.  Whatever your views on Mr Musk, I doubt you would describe him as a dinosaur and he is arguably one of the most successful and creative entrepreneurs of our time.   A leaked memo informed Telsa employees that they should get used to being back in the office or “pretend to work elsewhere”.
 
Musk’s work ethic is infamous and he is known to regularly pull 100+ hour work weeks and on occasion sleep on the Tesla factory floor.  His views are in sharp contrast with the leadership of Twitter, when only back in March, Jack Dorsey told his staff they could work from home indefinitely.  If Musk’s takeover is successful, there is likely to be a rude awakening in store.  Here’s my prediction: Musk will invoke a backlash amongst employee activists who will effectively go on strike or collectively prevent such a policy from being implemented.
 
Predications are of course unreliable, but I think that Julia Hobsbawm, author of book The Nowhere Office, hits the nail on the head when it comes to the debate in the UK.
 
“I would say that Alan Sugar and indeed Jacob Rees-Mogg, given his recent comments, are the least likely to solve that problem, which is: how do you get people working productively post-pandemic, in very new ways.” She explains.
 
Spot on Julia. Productively and, I would add, creatively.  Which is nice segue to my next topic.
 

Walking the talk on re-inventing the workplace

Next week on the Isle of Bute, Craigberoch will be hosting a very unique and inspiring event which we are calling Festina Lente which is modelled on our Co-being Residences, this is co-working with a difference incorporating rich experiences from our four pillars of Deceleration – ‘Nature, Artistry, Inner Development and Community’.

Our Core Team plan to walk the talk by adopting this decelerated approach as we develop a new 10 year business plan for Craigberoch. We recognise that it takes collaboration between people from all industries, sectors and walks of life to create the change that is needed in the world and want to design the future of our organisation in this spirit.

We’re providing accommodation in either a comfortable cottage or hotel, great food, drinks and an inspiring setting at a deep discount to normal prices (and even free of charge for some people whose skills we really need). In return, we’re seeking some input and expertise to our Business Planning process.

We’ve designed a program that balances core working hours (collaboratively in groups or individually accommodating personal commitments), with optional activities that will engage, inspire and tap into the intelligence of the group’s minds and bodies.

An inspiring evening events program will feature Scottish culture, natural history, locally inspired gourmet food, a ceilidh and an outdoor bonfire evening near the sacred ruins of Craigberoch and its iconic neolithic standing stone.

We have a couple of rooms still available, so contact me directly if you want to be part of this experiment in co-creation.

Best of the rest……

Davos was postponed from its normal late January date to being the third week in May. I didn’t manage to get there however was asked to help facilitate a workshop in the next door Valley which was around intrapreneurship within the food fortification space. It was a great event and really inspiring to see how companies are trying to tap into the innovation potential of their employees.

Highlight of the trip to London was the 10 year anniversary of The END Fund. As some of you may know, I served on The END Fund Board for the first seven years of the organisation’s life and continue to have vicarious pleasure when I hear of the great achievements they are making in the fight to eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases or NTDs as they’re known. Kudos to the CEO Ellen Agler and her team for all that they are doing.

On the personal front…….

I enjoyed catching up with a good friend and former colleague from my Andersen Consulting days, Shashank Tripathi, who was passing through Geneva. Shashank now works for PwC, but is far from being a “lazy git”. Indeed, outside of work he’s doing some amazing things with his organisation Jagitri Jatra foundation that takes thousands of India’s youth on an 8000km 15 day train journey of self-discovery throughout India. It was great to catch up and talk about old times and hear about his great work.

I stopped off in Zurich on my way to the intrapreneurship workshop and had the chance to go for lunch with Peter Koenig and his partner Barbara Kunz. They’re both part of the Craigberoch Cast and it was on Peter’s Masterclass that the idea for the business decelerator came about. I owe them both a lot more than lunch!

OK, 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 + Blog

Make 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 below.