Who Moved My Cheese

If you haven’t read the iconic change classic Who Moved My Cheese? written by Dr Spencer Johnson and first published almost 2 decades ago you should consider adding it to your holiday reading list.

The reality is that once the cheese has moved it rarely, if ever, returns as is was. In other words what we consider to be the good old days are just that. Currently there are many around the world promoting the idea that we can go back and all will be well. This a falsehood and it is delusional.

Whether we look back 50, 100, 500, 2,000 or 100,000 years, it is blindingly obvious that “things” always change.

The universe keeps evolving and us little humans need to embrace that if we are to remain part of the deal. The current “backwards is good” promotors are contributing nothing of worth and will soon pass on.

It’s not a brave old world, it’s a Brave New World, get on board!


BIG Data Global POWER

Scientists have recently obtained BIG data using the kirk-electro-magnetic-tron which reveals that the energy levels currently being exhibited by the planets cells and particles are at an all-time high. Whilst the technical explanation of this is beyond me, Dr Horkel Static informs me that this means that the level of “buzziness” is almost off the chart.

Apparently, the energy reading produced by human cells was recorded at 9.42 per head of global population. The previous all-time high of 6.85 was recorded in 1793!

Dr Static went on to explain that the human cell energy measurement is made up of two components: good stuff energy and not so good stuff energy. On a positive note, the good stuff energy represents 63.33% of the total reading.

I asked Dr Static how we might leverage this amazing piece of BIG data and he said, “simple, accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative”. So, I figure we have an amazing opportunity for more people to be doing more good things more often. The old maxim “if I can’t help you, I won’t hurt you” should be kept front of mind as we forge ahead with creating a better future for all.

At the end of the day, we all share the responsibility of leadership and this is a global leadership issue. I invite everyone to join me in doing “their bit”, we might just be at a turning point, seize the moment, make a difference, we are all in this together.

plasticine graphic1

Plasticine Strategy

A plasticine strategy requires a culture that is underpinned by strong ethics and high performance. We all know what happens to a house built on weak foundations, it doesn’t stand the test of time and an organisation is no different.

Most organisations around the globe whether large, small, public, private, government, not-for-profit, sporting or recreational are faced with the challenge of how to remain relevant in an ever demanding world.

Strategies that assume a relatively fixed course over a set period of time fail to recognise that everything is in a state of flux and constant change. This has always been the case and as far as we know will always be the case. It is only the degree of change that differs.

Nevertheless, many are struggling to form a clear view of the future and are asking the question “how do we set a course for a future that we don’t understand?” Besides consulting a clairvoyant (check failed stockbroking firm BBY) or even those rare breed of people called futurists, there is a way to approach this dilemma.

Plasticine strategy is all about being highly adaptable in a way that allows you to not only survive but thrive in a demanding, rapidly changing world. Assuming the foundation is in place the next step is being absolutely clear on what you do and why that is valued by others. From there you need to be able to continue to evolve what you do in a way that justifies the organisations on-going existence.

Here are the keys to implementing an effective plasticine strategy:

  • Great leadership;
  • High level business acumen;
  • Relevant real-time data; and
  • Quality, timely decision making.

Don’t forget that an effective strategy is delivered from a foundation of strong ethics and high performing people (check out how Netflix did this). Making strategy part of “business as usual” is also critical – that will foster open-mindedness, innovation, collaboration and resilience.

So much opportunity, so little time!


Winston Churchill

Change is hard

Winston Churchill said “to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”.

If we are not committed to continually improving ourselves, or if you like developing our characters, how do we expect to make the most of our time on the planet?

For the majority change is hard, we are creatures of habit whether those habits are good, bad or indifferent. Typically change will come from three places:


  • I want to change (internal – desire);
  • I need to change (internal – desperation); or
  • I have to change (external – law, regulation).

Change for the sake of change is foolish so it is vital to have a clear view on the objective and inherent value before embarking on a process of change whether personally or in business.

On one hand I find change to be exciting and on the other scary – working through the fear is my biggest challenge!  However, if we risk nothing and do nothing we limit our experiences, our growth and our capacity to be of use to others.

If you struggle with change or just don’t know how to go about it, look for someone who can help and live your life with no regrets!

tantrum graphic2

Emotional Intelligence

‘It’s just a stage he is going through” advised the well-meaning friend to the parent.

I have recently had the good fortune to listen to Greg Hywood, Managing Director & CEO, Fairfax and Carolyn Stenhouse, Managing Director, Stenhouse Consulting talk about leadership. They talked about fear, emotional intelligence and the need to continually develop your character – how outrageous!

When you peel back the layers of the chest beating, tantrum throwing, ego driven adult what you find is a big lump of gooey fear. Typically, “fear that I will lose something I have” and “fear that I will fail to get something I want”.

Leadership requires a range of attributes and “by example” is key. Tone is set from the top and if a leader has little or no idea what he or she is really like, nothing or very little will improve – self-justification and self-righteous indignation are the primary behavioural characteristics.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could build personal development, personal relationships, communication, culture and leadership into the heart of every school curriculum with the aim of making character development a life-long pursuit. Thoughts?

Disclaimer: I am 56 years old and still trying to grow up!

Shop local graphic

Big world, small world

I have friend who can recall nearly every business in the main street where we grew up and most were locally owned and run. Unfortunately the majority are now gone, or going, having been out-competed by the multi-nationals, nationals and on-line providers.

Buying groups have helped some with pricing and margins however product differentiation is still a major issue.

However there are signs of a local resurgence which is being driven by social forces. Demand for local food products is one example and we typically see this at both retail and hospitality levels.

In addition to local produce we also have access to a huge and diverse global cottage marketplace in a way that is quick and affordable. In other words not all products and services need come through the traditional supply chain for a local business to have a clear value proposition in their immediate marketplace.

Local fashion designers can have their product made locally or overseas and ready for sale within very short times-frames. A great example, albeit at a global scale, of how this can work is the business model adopted by Amancio Ortega for the fashion retailer Zara which has been stunningly successful.

From a services sector perspective technical and advisory support services are also available and more easily accessible from a global marketplace. This provides local services providers with the ability to satisfy client needs beyond their immediate capacity and capability.

Peer to peer finance, micro finance and the emergence of local power suppliers will also be part of supporting the local alternative in the future. Opportunity for local business abounds, it requires different thinking, different business models, innovation and collaboration based on relationships founded on trust and mutual benefit are vital.

Big is not always better, small can be highly competitive – are you open to the potential?


Who stole our monopoly?

Technology and the world-wide web have a lot to answer for!

Gone are the days where professional service providers held a virtual monopoly over the information and technical expertise that underpinned their service offering. Further, the regulators move to a risk based “self assessment” environment coupled with increasingly sophisticated intuitive technology has changed the game forever. Whilst XBRL, the global standard for exchanging business information and reporting, started with the big end of town this will be the norm for SME’s within a relatively short period of time.

The demand for compliance and transactional services will continue albeit at lower margins and volume.

Adding insult to injury the competition is moving from being predominately local to global and damn it, many of these players are quicker, better (choke) and cheaper. Another interesting and recent move is that of the Big 4 international accounting firms who have developed comprehensive affordable advisory packages targeted at SME’s, a marketplace they often left to others competitors.

What all this means is that smaller to medium sized accounting practices are under competitive threat from all sides.

Information is free, knowledge is cheap, however wisdom that solves client needs as they arise and better still predicatively, is at the heart of remaining competitive.

The need to change is a given, do you have an end game, a strategy to back it up, a target market and a value proposition that will drive your competitive advantage?