Monday, 12 December 2011

Euro zone

I think David Cameron was right not to sign us up to the new euro treaty. The new treaty is there to sort out the euro-crisis due to the debt in the euro countries and the single currency. UK is not part of the single currency and therefore is not part of the problem yet they want us to sign up to the solution which involves giving up more powers to Europe and giving them lots of money.
They wanted 200bn euros from us to help fix a problem that wasn't of our making. Also the new financial transaction tax hits the UK the most as 75% of these types of transactions are done through UK banks.
The Europeans are upset we haven't join! I am guessing they need our money and the tax generated through our banks.
I think to sign us up to the treaty would have been undemocratic as we were never part of the issues or the single currency.
Long term however, do we isolate our selves. Strategy in the Art or War talks a lot about having strategic alliances. The other European countries may cut us out the loop. The may insist on doing their financial transactions through other banks inside the euro zone.
If not part of Europe do we need to find other alliances instead!!!
Only history well tell if this is the right decision. I think it doesn't have to be a NO long term, but it needs to be debated with the UK public before jumping in without any thought. A referendum is needed on the long term relationship with Europe.

Friday, 2 December 2011

learning from work

I posted some months ago about using the same methods and techniques I use in work to be successful to help run my personal life and projects.
I created another tab on the spreadsheet next to the work actions for personal stuff and started listing the things I wanted to accomplish.
I also create a value against them and way of showing how they linked together.
Very quickly it produced big dividends as I followed up an idea on advertising a holiday rental property. This idea worked and has help me to gain more bookings than before. I don't think I would have done it without the actions list as I would have normally forgotten about the idea and lost the opportunity. I know log every idea and follow it through. Some of the ideas have come to nothing very quickly, but at least I know its not worth pursing. Some ideas are for the future, i.e. things to do in the next few years rather than weeks. Some ideas have just made life easier and more organised. A few have made money, or mostly saved me money. I created a financial plan and strategy, something I would do at work, but not at home. This is getting me organised and gives me hope and confidence in the future. I have found ways of saving money by learning to do my self assessment tax, tracking my financial outgoings and spotted areas to cut back.
Not all the actions are money related. One is on weight loss and health related. I have measured my weight daily and logged my exercise and calories intake daily. From this I have found areas I have gone wrong in and found times when I have got it right and now able to replicate it. It has proved me with a wealth of background data that upon analysis has shown what I need to do in order to keep getting fitter and lose weight. This is just a tracker, something I would put together on a team's or individual performance in work put never done it against myself. It is a very powerful tool.
I found my biggest improvements and gains from the personal action sheet were from projects I had already spent time on before, but never quite completed. It has given me the focus to finish these off and realise the assets I had already built up, but had yet to release to its full potential. The advertising action I mentioned earlier was one of these types. All the other hard work completed and this action made it finally successful.
The other part was tracking where the action lead to. What I found was some actions lead to other action, which lead to other actions. That is no surprise I hear you say, but the actions that came out of other actions weren't often the ones I expected. Sometimes I found something new on the way and created a new action/ project instead or found it combined well with another project and combined them together.
Overall working very well. So why do so many people organise their work life, but not their own life?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Is NLP a load of rubbish re-visited

I posted this original on the 31st December 2007. It has been by far the most visited page on my blog.
In fact top of the google search for this subject!!!

Nearly 4 years on I thought I would re-read it and see if 4 years of experience had changed my mind.

I still agree with what I first wrote down and have many experiences to back this up.
I work in a large multinational company as manager. I have tried using NLP on my Directors to get them to change their minds on subjects.
This had little effect as they didn't or couldn't change their minds as it would have been seen to be weak or go against their strategy. What I have noticed is the higher up into management you go the more stubborn they become and less effective NLP is on them.

Also discovered that people can become desensitized to NLP. My daughter for example no longer falls for the double bind and presuppotion of "Shoes on first or toilet first before we go out". She replies with "Neither I am not going out".

I have used NLP to good effect in interviews. However, I tried to write a NLP CV and Cover letter and it didn't work as well as it relied too much on NLP and not enough on selling myself properly. I bought a NLP CV and interviews book in the end that helped get the balance right.

NLP in the written work and NLP in speech are different things. A lot of NLP was created around objection handling and therapy, this works well in a conversation as the interaction provides the spark. However in the written word doesn't work so well, best then to concentrate on the positives only using embedded commands, presuppositions, sensory language in order to convey your message.

NLP I think is a helpful guide and useful addition to your communication skil, but it isn't and shouldn't be the only way you communicate.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wealth management

Saw a program on the tv last night about wealth creation and wealth management. very interesting I think I will definitely be reading "rich dad, poor dad", have know asked for it for Christmas. Basically the premise being you re-invest your money into assets that then generate you additional income. You save in the early years re-investing again and again for the pay back to come later on with passive incoming. The examples they showed were mostly people who have done this through the property market through rentals. Pre -recession this was probably easier, get a mortgage buy a small property rent it out and use the rental to pay off the mortgage. Creating a property that becomes more owned by you as time goes on, plus hope for market value increase as well in order to sell off at some point and re-invest again. Harder in today's market to get buy-to-let mortgages, however rental rates have increased and more people need to rent due to increasing housing market, which is probably inflated due to people investing in property. May still be a way forward if you can afford it to start off with.

I suppose passive income doesn't have to be just property. Shares create dividends, interest on savings accounts, isa &  google adsense. Some effort involved in setting up google ads and something for them to appear like youtube or your own websites. They can generate income after the event. Isa and savings the same less risk, but also less incoming coming back. Shares more risky again, but better return in terms of dividends and possible share price increases. If an author or musician your previous works out on the market may continue to earn you income in the years to come as well. They could be seen as an asset in this sense. Has made me think about my income and what I do with it.

I have have been dabbling in other areas of passive income as well. Zopa a crowd sourcing money lending site. You can lend your money out and get a high rate of interest than savings with a bank etc. There is a risk involved and fees to pay hence why I am testing it out.

Also crowd cube a crowd source dragons den/investment angel web site. You get give funding to start up companies and get shares. Obviously a longer term investment and much risker again, but interesting to read the pitches and a chance to get in at the ground level of a new company. Again I am testing it out with to get an understanding.

Also little things you can do like cash back credit cards is a form of passive income. Reward points another way of earning a very small but passive income for very little effort.

Years ago I worked out if I never went out, no holidays, saved all my money and stayed in the same property, I could slowly amass a large amount of money that I generate interest from in savings accounts or re-invest. Instead I choose to have holidays, bought a motorbike, moved house twice (have made money on these, but it only on paper as won't downgrade) had two children (very costly). I haven't put aside lots of money to re-invest. However I could start now as have some world experience and knowledge and ideas on how this could be done. Building up a fund for Uni education I suppose long term, for my children or preparing for retirement as I don't trust pension funds.(in my mine they are encouraged so greedy bankers can use your money to gamble on the stock market). I am going to write out a financial strategy and stick to it for the next few years to see what I can generate.

Friday, 25 November 2011

More trouble at the RFU

England Attack coach Brian Smith has resigned. Feedback from some of the players was he had no ideas. He asked them for their opinions and wrote them up on a board.

Well a I would have though a good coach would canvas his players and get them involved in the decision making.
get them to take ownership of the way they play.
Get an understanding of what it is like on the front lines in the modern game against these teams.

Some England players said it lack imagination and was lackluster. However, I believe England was the top try scoring nation in the 6 nations over the last two years. Won the 6 nations last year. Not that bad then!!

Feedback is important and should be accepted for what it is and that is a opinion of that person based on their perspective. Its not right or wrong.
It should be accepted and those involved develop from it to communicate better or improve their skills. It could have been an explanation as to why he ask for peoples ideas would have helped those giving the bad feedback.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

RFU Leaked report. Who benefits??

You have to wonder who benefits from a leaked report.
The players!! No its bad news for them.
The coaches! no!
The RFU management, yes. The leaked report firmly blames the players and coaches for the lack of success.
The leak really helps Rob Andrew out as many people been asking what he does! Why isn't he to blame.
What did Rob Andrew ever achieve as the Newcastle manager. Not a lot!!

Players will always negotiate about pay. We haven't heard both sides of the story and unlikely to now.
Yes I am sure some players are at fault but this leak doesn't help.
Will the players want to take part in a review again and give honest feedback. NO not if the RFU management use it shift the blame.

The England team and the RFU is suppose to the pinnacle of English rugby. Where as the premiership clubs are professional organisation the RFU is still run by amateurs. This does make sense. RFU management wouldn't last 5 minutes in a premiership club or any big company.

Time for a change within the very structure of the RFU. I would like the premiership clubs to create a new RFU and England team even if meant a few years of being out in the wilderness. It would long term be better for the game as the RFU is a shambles.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Hay fever strategy

At some point in my earlier thirties I developed hay fever. I suffered from itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and struggled to breath properly.
I treated this with the normal hay fever antihistamine tablets without much effect. Every year I will struggle from June till early August, classic grass hay fever season. The tablets had some affect but didn't completely take away the symptoms. Each year I tried all the different tablets as it seemed the ones that worked the year before didn't work the next year. However, I realised this wasn't the case. Eventually I would try a new tablet by which time I my body had adapted to the grass pollen, which was usually August time. I also realised the tablets where having an effect as when stopped would be even worse.
What I realised was I had to understand what Hay fever was and why I suddenly became affected.
Hay fever is a allergic reaction to the pollen. Your body believes its under attack from the pollen and tries to repel it. Why after 30 years would I suddenly have an issue, I don't fully understand. I believe it is due to the fact I work in an air conditioned office all day from the age of 23 onwards. About 10 years of working in a sterile environment meant my body was no longer use to the grass pollen. What triggered the hay fever was when next doors lawn got very long and seeded, plus I had only recently moved to a move rural location. I had become sensitive to grass pollen from the lack of contact and this sudden influx created the allergic reaction.
Like most hay fever suffers I have tried everything I could get my hands to try and live a normal life. Eventually I found a solution. First it is import to understand the journey and all the failed attempts.

1) Just tablets including Priton 4 times a day - Worked the first 2 years then stopped working. Made me very sleepily and had to counter act with lots of coffee.

2) Chinese herb medicine - tasted disgusting and I developed a chest infection.

3) Other hay fever tablets - occasionally worked had more effect later on in the season

4) Honey or honey bee tablets - had some effect dependent on the amount taken. about 20% effective reduction in symptoms.

5) Hay band - acupuncture band - surprisingly worked quite well. reduce effects by about 20-30% works really quickly. Only down side is in the Sun with short sleeved t-shirt and band around your elbow. People keep asking whats that?

6) Realised the itchy eyes was down to dryness caused by the hay fever and rubbing of the eyes. Put on moisture over my eyes too soak through during the day as and when felt needed. It seems to soak through the skin and keeps the eyes well moisturised and less itchy. Also seems to create barrier against the pollen. I used Vaseline. Works incredible well. I also rubbed a small amount into the inside of my nose to give the same effect.

7) Hayfever Eye drops - works great at giving moisture put in to the eyes and clearing out the pollen. This acts as a quick hit to itchy eyes where as apply moisturiser is a longer term solution.

8) Nasal spray - works well now my hay fever has lessen. When hay fever really bad this just seemed to irate my nose more.
9) Desensitisation kit - Homoeopathic treatment to get you use to the grass pollen taken over 2 years. This has worked brilliantly and has lessen my reaction to hay fever.  I haven't taken this year and the symptoms have come back again.

10) Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine. Vitamin c tablets help a bit.
11) Plenty of water to stay hydrated
In the end no one thing worked it had to a combination of solutions. Some aimed at prevention and others at reducing the symptoms.

12) Change of diet. Although wet this year and pollen lower than normal I still have bad days, or bad morning. I have discovered this is down to diet. Certain foods inflame your system and certain foods are anti-inflammatory.

Foods and drinks to avoid.
Alcohol (red wine is especially bad. I have been told to try organic red wine as it doesn't contain sulphates)

Good foods
Flax seeds

Desensitisation kit has work well for me.
Honey worked okay.
Desensitisation kit was good as it has grass extract, but I looks like I need to take every year.

Reducing symptoms:
What to do.

 Easiest steps are:-

The change in diet.
 Drink plenty of water.
 Mositurise eye lids and inside nostrils

Then work out what treatments may work
Pills, sprays, eye drops.
Desensitisation kit
Pollen tablets
If I review this in terms of classic strategy it has all the right points.
1) know your enemy - research and investigate
2) Try to prevent your enemies attacking capabilities. Cut supply lines. limit movement. from allies (Prevention of hay fever)
3) defend against attack. Damage limitation. Treating the symptoms of the attack.
4) The best strategy is always a multi strategy. So many different strategies used to from an over arcing strategy.
It goes to prove that good strategy theory has many applications.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Update on creating actions and following through

An update on my personal actions and creating a value tree.
Seems to be working well so far created a few events of true value through my own actions that have lead to new actions.
An advert I placed has worked and seem to have got a booking. This alone would pay for the advert so any more bookings is a bonus. Just have to work out if I would have got them anyway.
Weight loss/fitness training going well. Have introduced HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training), lost some weight straight away then seem to put some back on. I have been told by a personal trainer this will be due to the body retaining water and glucagon following such a session and will take a few days for it to even out and drop this excess. Apparently this is your body's way of protecting itself following intense physical activity, incase it has to do it again.
Realised that some of my web sites didn't appear on the Bing or yahoo business directory's following a search on another subject. This was an accidental piece of value added from another action, but nevertheless still a valid point, I have added my web sites to both now and this may increase the chances of visitors and business. This was an easy action free of cost just time and it will hopefully bring money in. As Bing is getting more popular it is essential to make sure this search engine is also covered.
Another one of my actions was to create adapted CVs and covering letters per job I applied to in the future. This seem to be real working as had 3 interviews in the last 4 months in the previous 4 months zero interviews. I realised I would go to great lengths to sell business cases and justification in my job to my superiors, but wouldn't do the same when applying for a new job. I would just send a generic CV and cover letter in the hope they could some how pick out the potential and the good bits. As said previously thisnew adpated CV and cover letter has already lead my to a new job. Plus I had an interview last week for an even better job that was closer to home. The interview went well I did very well on the behaviour and competency questions as you image for someone into NLP. I was a bit rusty on the technical side, but tried to employ as much objection handling as possible. We shall see what happens next.
A few of my actions have lead to immediate dead ends. This isn't an issue in some cases they were just one off actions. In others they were investigation that hit a blank or no result which is good as recorded and I now know I can't create any value from these activites.
I shall carry on to see what happens next. I hope to see actions create actiosn creating value and more actions etc.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Some great news for me today. I recently changed jobs at the end of December and took over two teams.
The teams where failing against their SLA and KPI targets. The latest stats through show both teams now in SLA.
1 team was only 10% off and the other about 25% off target before I took them on.
Managed to turn it around by doing the simple things, getting the basics right.
1) Set a clear remit of the team and the boundaries of interactions with other teams.
2) Defined the processes of team
3) Defined the daily tasks to ensure the work got done.
4) Set reports in motion to find root cause of the issues and trend analysis. This showed us where the issues lied in the team and how to address it. Could measure the success and un wrap the layers of problems one at a time to gain constant improvements.
5) Begin to gain trust by following through on the actions and feedback.
Have turned around the teams in 3 months. I have learnt what I could have done better. Next time it will only take 2 months!!!
My lessons are chase the i.t. quicker as a full month before I had any reports which is the foundations of measuring success and finding failure.
Listen more, people had raised issues that I didn't act upon as quickly as I could have, probably lost a couple of weeks.
Integrate quicker with peer managers.
Met team quicker. Unfortunately with it being late December and the snow this one was out of my control.
Overall happy.
Lots of other improvements still in the pipeline I wonder what the next 3 months will bring.

Monday, 11 April 2011


I am back. I haven't posted for a long time, but have decided recently to start again.
What am I up to.
I have always been good at work in keeping alist of actions and ideas and following them up. I have drivena lot of benefit and value be simply following through and actioning these ideas.
However, I never do this in my outside work interests. I have decided to start an extra list around these outside work interests. As part of new lists I am tracking the value it creates and what it leads to. I had this idea of a tree type diagram showing how one idea creates another how the pathways of value are created. I am going to call it the "tree of value" or the "path of value". I will keep the blog update with how it works.