Category: Communication

Strong opinions, loosely held – and moderately stated

“Strong opinions, loosely held” is a concept I agree with – but it needs an addition … Strong opinions, loosely held – and moderately stated. The danger with having strong opinions is that we are inclined to also state them strongly, which closes the door to conversation and debate. At their most extreme, ‘strong opinions’ feel threatening and intimidating to the people around us. While we might believe our opinions are ‘loosely held’, it doesn’t

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Fixing v Healing Our Relationships

I’ve recently had a few conversations with people where various relationship challenges have come up. [To be clear, I’m talking about relationships in the widest sense of the word. This isn’t only about intimate relationships – it’s also about the relationships we have with friends, colleagues, and the wider world.] Because these were people I care about, I found myself wanting to somehow ‘fix’ the situation: to offer them a solution that would magically make

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Are BrewDog ‘beerwashing’?

This week, BrewDog launched their ‘anti-sponsor‘ marketing campaign, which aims to highlight the human rights abuses in the 2022 FIFA World Cup host nation, Qatar. On the surface, this seems like an admirable stance from a purpose-driven company … but there has been huge pushback. Why? To begin, it’s worth being clear on some of the recent history:June 2021 :: ‘Punks With Purpose‘ published an open letter to BrewDog, highlighting what they called “toxic workplace

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The Golden Rule [and invoicing]

I’ve changed the payment terms on my invoices. They now say:“Please pay this invoice in the way you like to be paid.” It has no legal standing. Instead, it is based entirely on trust. The more time I spend working in leadership, the more clear it becomes that trust is the foundation that all relationships are built on. And leadership centres around relationships. This is hardly groundbreaking stuff. It’s not new [is anything?]. We already

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Learning and Unlearning

Not long ago, a client called me out on a casually sexist remark I made, the gist of which was ‘yoga is for girls’. It was an odd thing to say, because it’s not what I think. Firstly, having practiced on and off since 2005, I certainly don’t believe ‘yoga is for girls’. Neither do I consider myself sexist – and yet my words undoubtedly were. It would be easy to dismiss this off-hand –

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The Value of Reassurance

Remote working … we’re all familiar with it now, and it’s not going away. There are good things about it, and not-so-good. One of the challenges can be the feedback we get – or don’t get. Sometimes feedback is specific. We do a thing, and the people around us speak directly to that thing – where it’s good, and where it can be improved. [Essential]. Then there’s the other feedback we get – the more

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When It’s On You – Say So

Autumn 2001, a friend and I are promoting a pantomime. I’ve never done this before, so am learning as I go from my significantly more experienced friend. He has the great idea of running a competition for tickets in collaboration with the local radio station. “I’m going on the breakfast show to do an interview – why don’t you tag along?” he says. We turn up, meet the DJ and sit in front of those

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Overpromising and Underdelivering

PART 1 :: My First Business I started my first business when I was 9. I built a go-kart, and painted it red, black and white. In the back of my geography exercise book, I roughed out a business plan. 2p a ride down the hill opposite Mum and Dad’s house. I reckoned I could easily do 50 rides a day … 9-year-old me was going to be rich! I told my friends about it

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It’s Never Black and White

In 1999, I took part in a cycling trip across Cuba. 26 year old me was 100% certain of himself – convinced he knew everything, and that anyone who saw things differently simply needed to be ‘educated’ with the ‘facts’ [as I saw them], and that if those ‘facts’ didn’t change your mind, then you must be an idiot. [Yeah – 26 year old me was a dick.] Anyway – on the bike tour, about

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Silence is Dangerous

Studies across the world have repeatedly shown that in around 85% of businesses, people are aware that there are problems but are afraid to raise them. In her book and TED talks, Margaret Heffernan calls this ‘Willful Blindness’ – the point where we have chosen to ignore something because that seems like the easier path. Why don’t we speak up? What is it that we are afraid of? Most often, we are worried about the

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Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …