Bob, Bill and the global village

In case you missed it:

Evening Standard 27 June 2012.

“We are living in the most interdependent time in history. The evidence is all around us. Wealth and talent now cross borders that are more like nets than walls but so do less positive forces. The financial crisis that started in the United States and swept the globe proved just how deeply our social and economic fates are intertwined – we can’t escape each other any more.
The good news is that we have more power than ever to build a world of shared values and shared opportunities- and nowhere is this clearer than in Africa.” President Bill Clinton (the one that cleared the deficit!)

“Of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, most are African. The IMF predicts the continent’s economy will expand by more than five percent this year……That’s just the start. Africa is young-half the population is under 16. Within a few years, it will have the worlds youngest, most energetic workforce. And they will be living increasingly in Africa’s great cities. It already has more cities of more than one million than China and India.”
Don’t they know it’s Christmas? Thanks, Sir Bob – it looks like it’s coming!

Tim Kevan

Author, Entrepreneur, Barrister, Knowledge Revolution exemplary speaking at the prize-giving speech at Sedbergh School in Cumbria.

“What I’d like to do in this speech is to give a little bit about my own background and then to throw in three keys lessons which I think are all reinforced by the great breadth of education that Sedbergh very clearly continues to give. In doing so I’m consoled by the fact that I have absolutely no recollection of who gave the prize-giving speech when I was at school nor of a single thing that they said. So I don’t know whether those facts left my head immediately after the ceremony or if it took many years of my brain crumbling around me but at least I can comfort myself by the idea that a few years from now this will have been completely wiped from your memories! With all that in mind, I’d like to make three points.

1. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS
The first point might sound a bit cheesey but it really is a big one and that’s to follow your dreams. Look at what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about and see if you can work in something that encompasses those interests. Now for people who have a fascination with something like medicine or say treating animals, working out what you’d like to do might be quite easy. Which reminds me of a Harry Enfield or Fast Show sketch in which a young boy is seen taking furniture out of a dolls house before looking up at his horrified parents and saying something along the lines of “When I grow up I want to be a bailiff.” But for most of us, I don’t think it’s always so clear cut and it’s then very easy to stray from what really excites you.
For my part I left Sedbergh and then Cambridge and went off to be a London barrister for over ten years. Now don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the job and in particular the freedom of being part of the self-employed Bar. But the more time went on the more I missed the sea and the hills and I found that every time I took a long weekend down near where I was brought up in the West Country, be it surfing or otherwise, I was really wanting to stay there rather than return to the city. The problem is that when you’re in a position like that you can often seem trapped. For me, it was a somewhat gilded cage to be sure, with a great job, a flat in Soho and a second home near the sea but even so I still wanted to be settled permanently by the sea.
Thankfully around that time, two things happened. The first was that I got a book deal to write a novel with Harry Potter’s publisher Bloomsbury. I’d always dreamt of writing a novel but what I really wanted to write was a best-selling John Grisham type thriller. But when I sat down and started to write what instead popped out was neither best-selling nor a thriller but instead a comedy which was ironic given that in the sense of humour stakes I’m definitely well below average and as I’m sure my wife Louise and my friends down the pub would agree, you can sometimes even painfully almost hear the penny dropping as you see how slowly it sometimes takes for me to get a particular joke. Even more strange was that the voice that popped out was that of a young barrister some fifteen or more years younger than me who was not only funny but also naughty to the point of being corrupt (again, complete fiction – honestly!) But I loved writing it and stuck it online as a blog and within two months The Times had offered to take it on as one of their blogs and Bloomsbury had agreed to publish it as a novel.
The other big thing that happened was that I helped set up a business with two friends training lawyers with online seminars or webinars and that seemed to be doing really well right from the off. So with both these things in place I decided to take a break from the Bar which has in fact turned out to be rather longer than originally anticipated. It’s now over four years since I stopped practising and since that time I’ve had the second novel in the series come out and we also sold the webinar business to the multi-national company Thomson Reuters – again, completely out of the blue. But above all it’s meant that I can settle back into a completely country way of life, surfing, walking my dog on the beach, growing vegetables, making elderflower wine and most importantly of all getting married to Louise who’s with me today.
The point of this isn’t an ‘Aren’t I great, isn’t life easy’ smugness personified kind of thing. It definitely isn’t since what I’ve done in giving up the Bar is something which most people might consider to be an act of complete madness or at the very least folly (even taking account of the sale of our business). But it is to say that if you recognise what it is you want to do and point the rudder in that direction, then there’s a lot more chance of that happening than if you stay with the status quo. Life is short and you never know what’s around the corner. So look into your heart and see what it is you really enjoy. If you love the countryside as I do then find something there. If it’s writing then be a writer. And of course if it’s taking belongings from people’s houses then be a bailiff. But whatever it is, keep on searching until you find what makes you happy and then go for it with all your heart. In her wedding speech recently Louise said something about my being very much someone who marches to the beat of his own drum and whilst I admit that I’m probably independent to the point of being eccentric, I’d also take that as one of the greatest compliments you can be given.

2. TAKE RISKS
This brings me onto my second point which is to encourage you to take risks. You might say this is a little ironic coming from a lawyer, particularly with the forest of health and safety legislation which seems to have grown up in the last few years and all the more so when I once represented a pupil against a school over a rugby accident. But I say it very clearly and without reservation: take more risks. Now, I know that this isn’t something that Sedbergh School actively or recklesslessly (as lawyers might say) encourages you to do but on the other hand what Sedbergh does do is encourage you to take responsibility and instils a real sense of self-belief and independence. Above all, I think this comes from spending time day in day out exposed to the elements be it struggling across Baugh Fell in the freezing cold or playing rugby in the pouring rain. So let me say it again: take risks. Which I guess makes it kind of appropriate that the cufflinks that I’m wearing today have some stone that was brought down from the top of Mount Everest – or just off the very icy top – by a good friend Rob Casserley who’s just recently summited Everest for the eighth time and is someone who’s climbed very closely with Kenton Cool who was this year summiting Everest for the tenth time and in particular taking with him an Olympic gold medal awarded to Old Sedberghian Arthur Wakefield in 1924 for being part of a pioneering Everest expedition. So, find your own personal Everest and don’t forget to take risks. Most of the great inventions or advances in medicine, exploration or even the arts are achieved by taking risk. And don’t fear failure. You’ll always find that there are plenty of people who will advise you not to change and to stick to the safe status quo but they can never speak for your own heart. Remember that people can be threatened by someone who challenges the status quo, who’s perhaps a bit of a free spirit. Because if you move on from what those people themselves are doing to something else they can potentially take that as a criticism of their own lives – even though that’s the last thing you’d want to do. So choose the advice you take with great care indeed and once you’ve decided on doing something then just go for it. Remember, other than perhaps head of history at Sedbergh School, there are very few jobs for life and if you decide to hang around in something that isn’t making you happy then you could well find that things change around you and before you know it you’re left high and dry.

3. HAVE FAITH
Which brings me onto my final point which is to have faith. I don’t say that in any way wanting to sound preachy although I do agree with the sentiment of Lord Bingham who apparently wrote some poetry along the lines of it being hard to be in such beautiful countryside as around here and say that there’s not a God. I also quite liked the motto of my old college in Cambridge which was ‘ garde ta foy’ which is apparently OldFrench for ‘Keep your faith’ but which can also be mis-translated as ‘Watch your liver’ which, certainly from my own experience of college, was much more appropriate. But my bigger point here is for you to have faith that when you jump off the cliff, having followed your dream and decided to take a risk, the landing will be a soft one. That everything will be okay. Because most of the time it is, and even sometimes when things go wrong, you often look back later on and can see some good things which might have come out of it.
Also, remember that very few things are set in stone and that life can have many different chapters. It’s a cliché, I know, about doors closing and others opening, but I’ve found it to be true and it’s only when you’ve really committed yourself to something and given up other, perhaps safer, things that you really start to see those new opportunities. It’s definitely true in surfing when you only really start understanding how to catch a wave when you’re prepared to drop down its face and have faith that it’ll turn out okay – and hey, even if it doesn’t you just wipe-out, come back up to the surface, turn around and paddle out the back out once more.

So, follow your dreams, take risks and have faith. And above all remember that in a few years you won’t remember a word of what I’ve just said!”

Well said Tim – enjoy the rest of the Jubilee celebrations – God Save the Queen!

The Nelson Touch

“Traditionally a sea battle would be fought with the two opposing fleets drawing themselves up to form two lines of battle. This tactic did not favour what was perceived to be the faster, more accurate gunnery of the Royal Navy and would often bring about indecisive results, usually with the enemy escaping. Nelson’s idea was to quickly bring about a melee in which, due to superior gunnery, the British would have a distinct advantage.”

” Creating trust amongst his officers was crucial to Nelson. It allowed him to rely on simple strategies rather than complicated battle plans, certain in the knowledge that his subordinates would support one another in achieving the overall objective and be confident enough to use their own initiative when required.”
Wikipedia

‘Do you remember that in classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, “How well he spoke” but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, “Let us march.”?’
Adlai Stevenson and The World: The Life of Adlai E. Stevenson (1977) by John Bartlow Martin, p. 549:

“Bloodless bean-counters rule over us – Where are the leaders?” Charles Moore The Daily Telegraph 12/5/12.

‘Managerialists..are a group who consider themselves separate from the organisations they join’.They are not interested in the content of the work their organisation performs. They are a caste of people who think they know how to manage. They have studied the “24 hour MBA”. There is a clear benefit from their management, for them: they arrange their own very high salaries and bonuses. Then they can leave quickly with something that looks good on the CV. The benefit to the company is less clear’

‘But it struck me that the qualities of a tribal chief are now shockingly rare in big modern organisations. The point about a tribe is that it unites its members by ties that are very hard to break. Tribalism, for sure, can be a bad thing, but a tribe understands matters of life and death ….the chief of the tribe is not a manager: he is a leader’

Understanding the above combines ancient beliefs tried and tested but adding up to date ‘headware updates’ equips you for leadership in the Internet age – the Knowledge Revolution.

Shareholders are Revolting! The worms that turned…….

The recent rash of shareholder revolts in companies such as Barclays, easyJet, Trinity Mirror, Credit Suisse, and Citigroup is just the start, ‘but more looks like the start of a trend’.

‘So while the bosses made millions, the people they are supposedly working for made nothing’
”Eventually shareholders are going to become fed up with a stock market that rewards the people who manage companies but not the people who own them.’
Matthew Lynn www.moneyweek.com 4th May 2012.

Oh, the revolution again….Pensioners who have saved all their lives are seeing minimal returns, when they expected comfortable twilight years. Then they discover what charges were taken from their returns. Governments seeking to clear their deficits by allowing inflation rates of 3%+ while deposit holders receive a pitiful 1% are seeing anger and frustration in recent polls. As for Greek, Spanish and other European countries – well, they are revolting. The US elections will be upon us soon, and the tax hikes will become Obama’s nightmare.

The talk around the board table will be all about ‘doing something’. The rise of the revolt led by Internet ‘noise’, will see a growing number of corporate charm offensives using a means new and unknown to many – the Internet. They dip their toe into ‘web water’ with misgivings at best and a naive innocence at worst that spells danger. If you, as a director, can put your hand on your heart and say, we know where we are, why we are doing it, where we are going to, and – most important, – that all of us are committed together to our shareholders (and our staff who are also in many case shareholders) then a properly portrayed web presence and message can be vital, virile and effective. If there is the slightest doubt or lack of integrity, you will not just be found wanting, but double the risk of being found out with consequences posted for all to see. Who’s for the ‘muppet award’?

Frightening, but full of potential to get it right. If you know how, great, – you will be a world leader, if not its risky. Talk to the experts – talk to us!


Doing Business in the Digital Age: John Redwood joins IOD London seminar as guest speaker

We hope you can join us on 17 April 2012 from 10 till 4 at the Institute of Directors in London. Guest speaker is John Redwood, author of johnredwood.com, a hard hitting website providing contemporary comment on the credit crunch, the future of the Euro and much else, who will be speaking about “Doing Business in the Digital Age”.

Rollo Clifford, an internet entrepreneur and expert in change, has a lifetime’s experience in guiding companies, charities and groups through challenging times.  With his seminar “Take Advantage of Your Future” he shows participants how to use their best assets – their experience and their brains. The seminar empowers participants to overcome perceived or real obstacles, thus putting them in a better position to improve performance in the current economic climate.

“According to the Bank of England’s governor the path to economic recovery is slow and uncertain. You need your brain to be finely tuned to all opportunities and threats over the next few years”, explained Rollo Clifford. “My seminar is guaranteed to make you think – thus improving your business chances.”

“We are delighted that John Redwood has agreed to join us as a guest speaker over lunch”, added Rollo.  “John has been involved in turning around many companies in difficulties and is therefore in an excellent position to advise on how to do business in the digital age.”

“Rollo is right to mentor, warn and advise companies on the very different conditions we now face in business”, commented John Redwood.  “The rise of many new competitors in the emerging economies, the interaction of customers and commentators through Facebook and Twitter, the ever present threat or advantage of You Tube sensations, have made business more electric, more dangerous and potentially more rewarding.”

Join us if you would like to take advantage of your future!

You can book by going to the booking page on this website, by calling Elke on 07881504863 or by sending an email to events@cultureline.co.uk

Feel free to share this page on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. All you need to do is click on “Reply” and then on the share button below the post.  Thank you!

Take Advantage of Your Future – next seminar in London 8 March 2012

We hope you can join us on 8 March 2012 from 10 till 4 at the Institute of Directors in London. Guest speaker is John Redwood, author of johnredwood.com, a hard hitting website providing contemporary comment on the credit crunch, the future of the Euro and much else, who will be speaking about “Doing Business in the Digital Age”.

Rollo Clifford, an internet entrepreneur and expert in change, has a lifetime’s experience in guiding companies, charities and groups through challenging times.  With his seminar “Take Advantage of Your Future” he shows participants how to use their best assets – their experience and their brains. The seminar empowers participants to overcome perceived or real obstacles, thus putting them in a better position to improve performance in the current economic climate.

“According to the Bank of England’s governor the path to economic recovery is slow and uncertain. You need your brain to be finely tuned to all opportunities and threats over the next few years”, explained Rollo Clifford. “My seminar is guaranteed to make you think – thus improving your business chances.”

“We are delighted that John Redwood has agreed to join us as a guest speaker over lunch”, added Rollo.  “John has been involved in turning around many companies in difficulties and is therefore in an excellent position to advise on how to do business in the digital age.”

“Rollo is right to mentor, warn and advise companies on the very different conditions we now face in business”, commented John Redwood.  “The rise of many new competitors in the emerging economies, the interaction of customers and commentators through Facebook and Twitter, the ever present threat or advantage of You Tube sensations, have made business more electric, more dangerous and potentially more rewarding.”

Join us if you like to take advantage of your future!

You can book by going to the booking page on this website, by calling Elke on 07881504863 or by sending an email to events@cultureline.co.uk

Feel free to share this page on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. All you need to do is click on “Leave a response” and then on the share button below the post.  Thank you!

See you in London

London 116 Pall Mall photoWe hope you can join us on 8 March 2012 from 10 till 4 at the Institute of Directors in London. Guest speaker is John Redwood, author of johnredwood.com, a hard hitting website providing contemporary comment on the credit crunch, the future of the Euro and much else, who will be speaking about “Doing Business in the Digital Age”.

Rollo Clifford, an internet entrepreneur and expert in change, has a lifetime’s experience in guiding companies, charities and groups through challenging times.  With his seminar “Take Advantage of Your Future” he shows participants how to use their best assets – their experience and their brains. The seminar empowers participants to overcome perceived or real obstacles, thus putting them in a better position to improve performance in the current economic climate.

“According to the Bank of England’s governor the path to economic recovery is slow and uncertain. You need your brain to be finely tuned to all opportunities and threats over the next few years”, explained Rollo Clifford. “My seminar is guaranteed to make you think – thus improving your business chances.”

“We are delighted that John Redwood has agreed to join us as a guest speaker over lunch”, added Rollo.  “John has been involved in turning around many companies in difficulties and is therefore in an excellent position to advise on how to do business in the digital age.”

“Rollo is right to mentor, warn and advise companies on the very different conditions we now face in business”, commented John Redwood.  “The rise of many new competitors in the emerging economies, the interaction of customers and commentators through Facebook and Twitter, the ever present threat or advantage of You Tube sensations, have made business more electric, more dangerous and potentially more rewarding.”

Join us if you like to take advantage of your future!

You can book by going to the booking page on this website, by calling Elke on 07881504863 or by sending an email to events@cultureline.co.uk

John Redwood, MP, is our guest speaker at the IOD

The Rt Hon John Redwood, MP, has just confirmed that he will be our guest speaker at the forthcoming “Take Advantage of Your Future” seminar at the Institute of Directors in London on 8 March 2012!

This is exciting news for us as John has turned around many companies in difficulties over the years, which puts him in a perfect situation to talk about how to do business at a time when we are facing a fundamental economic crisis. The path to recovery is slow and uncertain, according to Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England. It is therefore essential to work out a way that will guide us through and ultimately lead us out of the current situation.

Member of Parliament for Wokingham

Chairman of the Conservative Economic Affairs Committee

John Redwood campaigning against the Lisbon TreatyJohn Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

John was an Oxfordshire County Councillor in the 1970s. In the mid-1980s he was Chief Policy Advisor to Margaret Thatcher. He urged her to begin a great privatisation programme, and then took privatisation around the world as one if its first advocates before being elected to parliament. He was soon made a minister, joining the front bench in 1989 as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Trade and Industry. He supervised the liberalisation of the telecoms industry in the early 1990s and became Minister for Local Government and Inner Cities after the 1992 General Election.

Shortly afterwards, John joined the Cabinet and served as Secretary of State for Wales from 1993 to 1995. In opposition he has acted as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1997-1999), Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1999-2000) and Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation (2004-2005). He stood for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1995 and again in 1997.

John was a fellow of All Souls from 1972 to 1987 and again from 2003 to 2005. He was elected to a Distinguished fellowship of All Souls in 2007. He is currently a Visiting Professor for Middlesex University Business School and has published a number of books including ‘Superpower Struggles‘, on the European Union, China and the United States, ‘Just Say No‘ on why the UK should reject further European integration, and ‘Singing the Blues‘, his personal history of the Conservative Party throughout the last thirty years. His most recent publications are ‘I Want to Make a Difference, But I Don’t Like Politics‘, which examines the reason for the decline in membership of political parties and those voting in local and General Elections, and After the Credit Crunch: No More Boom and Bust, which considers the reasons behind the global recession and why Britain has been hit especially hard.

John is a frequent commentator in the media and is a keen cricketer and water sports enthusiast, and supports a number of different charities.

You can follow John Redwood on his website www.johnredwoodsdiaries.com


Learn to rewrite your ‘software’

Our brains and our conditioning are a combination of DNA from our ancestors and our own leaning and experiences. In some cases this is of benefit, but we also know that we hinder ourselves with current thinking.

Most people are ‘technophobes’ but expect a lot from their technology without understanding that it is a very simple tool – not unlike the stick our ancestors used to clobber sabre tooth tigers or ease out honey. Recent discovery of a tooth in Kent’s cavern in Torbay shows homo sapiens has been here for 48,000 years! This puts our recent experience into perspective. I ‘collapse’ a lap top and explain the similarities with our brains and our own ‘software’ inside. How did you put it in? and how does it govern how you deal with day to day experiences – with yourself, your family and you business?

On top of this we have a unique opportunity for the first time in the history of man to get any knowledge that you want – the internet. I don’t have to remind you that recent experiences in the ‘Arab Spring’ have shown this.

We are all ‘so busy’ that we have lost touch with all this remarkable experience, but are like rabbits in the headlights in what is arguably the most dangerous economic times in the last 100 years.

What to do? Go on my seminar where you rediscover the extraordinary potential that every human has. Learn to look at your current ‘software’ and then how to rewrite it and adjust to your circumstances.