Archive | Articles


Taking the guesswork out of relationship

Much to the amusement of my Android colleagues, my gleaming iPhone failed me recently. The display started to click off unexpectedly in the middle of sending an email or checking my calendar. Everything else about the phone still worked. Calls continued to come through, apps were still running in the background but without the screen, I […]

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Change that sticks – decisions are just the first step

Keeping those promises to ourselves about losing weight, getting fitter, taking up a hobby or getting a new job seem realistic when we make them, full of hope as a new year dawns or a life milestone approaches. How often are we, as many are, stung by the reality of nothing quite changing as it […]

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Where are the time bombs in your NHS Trust?

What does low relational capital look like in the NHS? Poor relationships between management and clinicians? Staff and patients not listened to? Lack of openness and transparency? Lack of compassion, even? The Francis Report cites this familiar list of issues as directly causing the breakdown of patient care in Mid Staffs Hospital. Many of them […]

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How to be a Board that nurtures the next generation

The founding generation sets up their organisation with passion, vision and commitment – be it a charity, a social enterprise or a business. The founding board members often feel like trustees, even if they don’t have that official title. The relationship between the board and the first employees is often a close and personal one. […]

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Strategic Cancer – a silent killer

“We never manage to do what we intend to do as an organisation.” “Our strategy looks good on paper but we never manage to actually make it happen.” For an apparently fit and healthy person, a diagnosis of cancer can feel like a bolt from the blue. In retrospect, there may have been signs: occasional […]

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The secret of creating capacity

“Don’t tell us we need to change. We can’t: we are already working beyond our capacity.” “I don’t even have time to think about whether I shouldn’t be doing this.” “I will think about doing that when I get the chance.” There should be a fundamental difference between a group of a hundred individuals and […]

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Translating the best…to the rest

I was at Jamie’s Italian recently in Liverpool. The menu had all the trademarks of the man’s appreciation of simple quality. The décor combined a sense of kitchen with a marketplace. The staff, albeit without a hint of Essex, had a familiar enthusiasm about the food they were serving (apparently they are trained to know […]

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Don’t be afraid to show your chiselling

Michelangelo is said to have described sculpting as a process of removing the marble that wasn’t part of the finished statue. Though the outcome is rarely so beautiful, building a convincing business case should take a similar approach. Starting with all possible courses of action and chiselling away at those that deliver the least benefit […]

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Does Mission-critical always have to mean Mission-crisis?

Any time-management guru will tell you to distinguish between the urgent and the important. In practice, non-urgent but important tasks get shouted down by the ‘Do it Now’ category of urgent importance. There are, after all, plenty of these on the table for most organisations. The result is that issues that should get regular attention […]

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Seamless services

It’s the holiday of a life-time. Saved for, planned for and eagerly anticipated. A guided Himalayan trek into the mountainous wilds. But when a connecting flight is cancelled, a series of missed connections is set in train, leaving you 36 hours behind the rest of the party, negotiating in a Kathmandu taxi rank to catch […]

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