Publishing Mishaps

  After writing hundreds of published articles and almost 40 books, booklets and manuals I have had only three real disappointments. The first was when Face to Face, my first solo book was published in 1976.  The publishers, The Institute of Personnel Management, had promised to consult me about the design for the cover.  I had even volunteered to submit some designs myself but, since they had a longstanding contract with a graphic designer, this was declined.  As the publication […]

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A bit about croquet, but more about life

‘Ever played croquet?’ a friend once asked me one day in 1971 during a lunch break at country house being used as a management training centre.  I sniggered, assuming croquet was a sedentary game only played by old people on vicarage lawns. ‘Of course not!’ ‘Well,’ said my friend, ‘You’re missing a treat.  Let me show you.’ In a dark space under the stairs, amongst vacuum cleaners, buckets and mops, we found a croquet set in a Jacques wooden box.  […]

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Meetings, lovely meetings!

I see that meetings are getting a bad press again.  A new survey has found that nearly a million people spend half their working week in meetings and that at least a third of that time is wasted waiting for late-comers. Waiting for late-comers is crazy; it punishes the people who have taken the trouble to arrive on time and fails to inconvenience those who haven’t.   Indeed, waiting for late-comers actually trains people not to arrive on time; why bother […]

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Give managers a break

I have spent my whole career helping managers of different shapes and sizes to manage people better.  I have also been a manager myself so it hasn’t just been ‘do as I say’ stuff.  Most managers I worked with were what I’d describe as reluctant managers – and this includes me.  They were reluctant because, in order to progress, there had come a point in their career where they had to stop doing whatever they were good at and start […]

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A manager who was hooked on brainstorming

Miles was a section manager in a large design agency.  He was in his thirties, with an unkempt beard and given to wearing corduroy trousers. He had a degree in graphics and design and was a gifted cartoonist.  The agency created advertising campaigns, advised on corporate logos and designed catalogues and brochures for a number of blue-chip companies.  The ethos of the place was right-brained, informal and emphatically ‘can do’.  Miles was a great fan of intuitive processes and lateral […]

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