Dealing With Success And Loss

Crying-girl

One thing is clear in life: there will times of success and there will be times of loss. When I think of the economy, I think of market bubbles and their collapse. When I think of my personal life, I think of times of being “in the zone” and times when I feel I have lost something or someone dear to me. So how to get one’s head around all of this? Continue reading “Dealing With Success And Loss”

The Alex Ferguson Way

Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has just come out with a book called “Leading” which he co-authored with Sir Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital. I was lucky enough to see them interviewed  by the Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, at the Southbank centre in London. The talk was fascinating, and the book is well worth reading.

Indeed, even as a Liverpool fan , I have to admire Alex Ferguson’s track record as manager of Manchester United: he won 17 league titles, 14 domestic cups and 2 Champions leagues. Admittedly, he didn’t reach Liverpool manager Bob Paisley’s 3 Champions leagues, but no-one is perfect. To get some sense of what made him tick is intriguing. Continue reading “The Alex Ferguson Way”

Three Quick Tests To Know Yourself

NAMA_Femme_au_miroir

Knowing ourselves appears to the foundation to success – that includes our darker side as well the lighter side. . At the same time, being able to read and understand others is key to work well in groups. So here’s three free online tests that I have used and found useful to better understand myself: Continue reading “Three Quick Tests To Know Yourself”

Confucius On Management

Confucius_Tang_Dynasty

It’s easy to get caught up with the latest management fads, but hard to know which ones will endure. Indeed, Nassim Taleb writes about how time is the ultimate test for the fragility of ideas. So with China in the news, what better ideas to look at than Confucius’, who lived over 2,500 years ago. His sayings are in the “Analects”, which are said to have been recorded by his disciples. What I’ve found is that Confucius was very good at understanding how to get the best out of hierarchical structures, which today would equate just as easily to corporations as governments. So I’ve picked out the best bits for business and modified the language to sound more contemporary: Continue reading “Confucius On Management”

Don’t Iterate, Be Bold

Whereismyflyingcar

“We were promised flying cars and we got 140 characters” says Peter Thiel. He co-founded PayPal with Elon Musk, Palantir* and was the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel is perhaps one of most original thinkers to come out of Silicon Valley. In his book “Zero to One”, he outlines his take on the world. Continue reading “Don’t Iterate, Be Bold”

Revolutionise Corporate Performance

Moreno_Sociogram_2nd_Grade

I recently stumbled across a fascinating talk by the excellent Margaret Heffernan called “Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work”. She cited a study that showed that top-performing teams were those where each person spoke for an equal amount of time and were good at reading each other’s social cues. What did not matter was the individual intelligence of each team member. It was the quality of interactions, not the quality of the individuals that mattered. This turns the focus of companies on hiring and retaining stars on its head.  Continue reading “Revolutionise Corporate Performance”

The Sweet Smell of Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is hailed as the new Steve Jobs. He has been immortalised in the movies thanks to the character Tony Stark/Iron Man being modelled on him. He created the first private company, SpaceX, to  launch a satellite in space and the first to dock with the international space station. Oh, and his Tesla electric car company is the first major American car company to be established since Chrysler in 1925. So what makes him tick? I recently read Ashlee Vance’s biography of him, and 3 things stood out: Continue reading “The Sweet Smell of Musk”

Weniger Aber Besser. Less But Better.

Braun_SK_2_Radio

The above utterance of Dieter Rams best sums up his approach. He was the Chief Design Officer at Braun, the German consumer products group, from 1961 until 1995. His aesthetic and influence can be seen today in Apple products. As for his philosophy he outlined ten for good design, these included: Continue reading “Weniger Aber Besser. Less But Better.”

The Transformational Power of Trauma

Tissot_Joseph_and_His_Brethren_Welcomed_by_Pharaoh

This notion that it is only through trauma that we can truly change is not an outlandish idea. Indeed, it is the common understanding throughout cultures and throughout time. Take the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, that Christians Jews, Muslims and theatre musical lovers are well versed in. Joseph/Yosef/Yusuf,  was the favoured son of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. His brothers were terribly jealous of him, though. They threw him a well and allowed him to be taken as a slave by some passing travellers, whilst telling their father he had been killed. Continue reading “The Transformational Power of Trauma”