Tuesday, 22 December 2015

For a creative life...some rudder thoughts

This is a time of year when we all take stock and remember what we have had and often dream about what we will have in the future.  If there is one thing we now is that predicting the future is pretty difficult, so many of us have new years resolutions that are lucky to see the 2nd of January.  I don't go for the resolution thing anymore, rather I think about things more from the bottom up (or perhaps from the inside out - I'm not sure). 

What do I stand for? What do I like? What can I do for others?  What is my why? All important questions.  As a kind of rudder to my life I always return to the "Holstee Manifesto" - it's a beautiful thing and I just love it.  Here is the poster version followed by a video version both of which are near the top of my "inspiring words" list:

Add to this Jack London's personal credo and you have plenty to be getting on with:

Friday, 11 December 2015

Recovery Letters

What a brilliant idea!
The "Recovery Letters" are all written with the intention to try and alleviate some of the pain of depression, to make the loneliness slightly more bearable and above all to give hope that you can recover.

I sat and read through some of the letters and found them really inspiring. Well done to @RecoveryLetters. I very much recommend a look and that we all support mental health initiatives. Thanks to @RichardWiseman for highlighting the site on Twitter.
Reading through these letters made me think of how we could use this communication technique for more trivial business matters.  
Imagine what we could do in the business world?  Here are a few ideas:
  • Coping with LinkedIn and Pulse (CLaP)
  • How to deal with a meeting with HR 
  • Silly strategy 
  • Performance review blues 
  • WooWoo and you
Any other ideas?

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Purposeful Stupidity Field Guide for Organisational Sabotage

I came across this manual for “purposeful stupidity" in the once top-secret "Simple Sabotage Field Manual", by the CIA.  It's a hilarious and terrifying read which suggests that “purposeful stupidity is contrary to human nature” and requires a particular set of skills. The citizen-saboteur “frequently needs pressure, stimulation or assurance, and information and suggestions regarding feasible methods of simple sabotage.  According to the CIA website:

"Many of the sabotage instructions guide ordinary citizens, who may not have agree with their country’s wartime policies towards the US, to destabilize their governments by taking disruptive actions."

The now declassified guide is now available to download.  Wouldn't you just love to know who has been downloading it?  The evil HR director?  Our politicians? Our Trade Unions?

Here are some of the highlights:

Organisations and Conferences

  • Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  • Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.
  • When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committee as large as possible — never less than five.
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  • Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  • Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

  • In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers.
  • Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw.
  • To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions.
  • Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
  • Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.

  • Work slowly.
  • Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can.
  • Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.
  • Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.
Source: http://www.openculture.com/2015/12/simple-sabotage-field-manual.html

Monday, 30 November 2015

Genius Hesitates

I was listening to the radio this morning and to this politician and that politician talking with absolute certainty about their views on whether or not the UK should join in with the bombing of Syria.
As I've said before, I think this is a very difficult call and the only thing I can say with any degree of certainty is that I'm not sure what we should do. I wish for the clarity of a Christopher Hitchens right now but without it I'm struggling to understand the "truth".
Then this morning just after dropping the boys off at school and before I started writing I was sat in my study reading Carlo Rovelli's wonderful little book "Seven Brief Lessons on Physics". In Lesson 2 on "Quanta" he quotes Einstein's paper on photons.  He follows this quotation not with wonder on how brilliant Einsteins thoughts were (that follows later) but with this paragraph...
...I love how he threads together 3 of our greatest thinkers and proclaims "Genius Hesitates"....a lesson from which our politicians and all of us could learn?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Help us bring "I was there!" the musical back to Glasgow in 2016

As many of you will know my friend Andy Muir and I have championed the memory of a classic Glasgow music venue for a decade.  
Our website about the Glasgow Apollo has now achieved over 10 million hits and we have published an award winning book with the brilliant Martin Kielty called "Apollomemories", made a DVD with the amazing Talisman Films called "The Final Countdown" and helped stage a musical (twice) called "I Was There".  
This has been an amazing experience for us and we have met and worked with dozens of stars including  Billy Connelly (8 hours in a bar at 35,000 feet!), Alan (Fluff) Freeman, Tom Russell (Radio Clyde), Tom Morton (Radio Scotland), Whitesnake, SLF and Joan Armatrading.  Additionally, we have won awards for services to music, been added to the national web archive for Scotland and inducted into rock and roll hall of fame.  Most importantly, to us, have been the friendships we have made as a result of this work with the likes of the late great photographer Stewart Campbell (on its own an amazing story), Caroline and Bill McFarlan and the one and only Frank Lynch (the man who discovered Billy Connelly and ran the Apollo in its heyday).
The linchpin of the musical has been a lovely fella called Tommy McGory and his charity Loud 'n' Proud.  Right out of the "School of Rock" mould, Tommy's charity aims to introduce kids to the music industry, this is no X-Factor, high gloss, low talent approach, rather Tommy seeks out real talent and promotes young people who can, with his help, actually sing and play their instruments.  We have been blown away by being involved on the edges of this phenomenal charity and the previous productions of "I Was There", attended by thousands (yes thousands) of people, have been some of the proudest moments of our lives.
Over the course of the past few months we have been chatting to Tommy about putting the show on again and a few weeks ago, much to our collective delight, he decided to take the plunge again and to look for funding to bring this amazing musical back once again.
This time around the hope is that we can support the musical via crowd-funding.  In the first instance, we are looking for £25K, the more money we can raise the bigger the show will be and the more we can help make the dreams of Tommy's young people come true.  
Please, please help us...no amount of money is too small, this is an opportunity for you to seriously help young people, from all sorts of backgrounds, to get a step up in a highly competitive industry.  It will also be a great night out (and give us a chance to meet up and have a beer!).  Tommy has also come up with a number of ideas to attract corporate sponsorship and individual support which are explained over at the crowd-funding site.   Personally, I would seriously appreciate any support from my friends, family and clients; let's have a fun night out in Glasgow in 2016 folks!
If you would like to get involved contributions can be made at the Crowd Funder website.  
If you have any questions about what we could do together at the event please get in touch, I promise we will do whatever we can to help.