Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where have all the MAD people gone?

Hello again listeners

As the title suggests I am hoping someone out there can help me to locate people who have a tendency towards MAD. To define this more clearly I am not referring to the individuals who are unfortunately deemed by society to be clinically insane, but rather a group of likeminded people who in this modern day and age are still capable of applying Meticulous Attention to Detail (MAD).

Growing up some of the most common phrases used by my eminent tutors all revolved around this concept:
“The Devil is in the Detail” “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” “Reward is proportionate to the level of commitment that is applied” and so on. This same underlying philosophy continued through my early career no matter what diverse roles or occupation I happened to be in at the time. Everyone I worked with whether out on a road digging a trench or within an Insurance house tallying foreign currency back in sterling amounts accepted the principle as truth, even though many opted out of applying it to their own development (which naturally arrested any hope of career development at that juncture)!

However at some point (and this is where it gets tricky) the concept of anyone needing to follow the well-trodden path of MADNESS (Meticulous Attention to Detail Necessitates Endless Scrutiny of Subject-matter) gradually disappeared from the collective public consciousness, along with worshiping pagan deities, leaving over a period of time a cold and confusing world for its millions of devotees.

Like John the Baptist for many years now I have wandered the planet in the hope of once more finding enclaves of followers to re-establish a society where applying the principles of MADNESS is once more the core foundation that all things are built from.

Although on occasion my hope has been lifted by finding an odd individual that has either previously worshipped at the altar of MADNESS or can understand the concepts and outcomes that MAD will provide them with throughout their lives and careers, they have been few and far between.

In recent times I find it more and more difficult within the professional service and consultancy environments that I inhabit to deal with the issues, problems, lost business and lack of respect that the majority of ignoramuses create as a result of being incapable of applying the principles of MAD within their daily professional existence. Regardless of how much time I have spent preaching on the subject or demonstrating in detail the fallout from a lack of MADNESS being applied to any given situation, still the nettle is not grasped!

If through a lack of MAD application even the smallest of emails or sales propositions is allowed to be propagated into a customer or even worse public domain, why would its recipient then believe as an organisation you are capable of servicing or operating their core business for them. Now imagine multiplying the potential consequences of the example up to say not applying MAD to the design of a Space Shuttle or even servicing vital life support equipment? To create a successful business or career and see either flourish over an extended period required MAD to be applied at every minute of every day to every task in hand. Only when this becomes a sub conscience act can anyone really refer to themselves as “professional”.

Give me twelve disciples of the principles of MAD and I will give you a world class Service or Business Operation.

Oh and if anyone knows of where I can find the nine I am currently missing please let me know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

borrowed time

Its a funny old life actually Granville!

Heard "Time" by Floyd on the radio today, and I was reminded of how bloody good those lyrics are? Except in my case its not "ten years have got behind me" its twenty!!

Suddenly its dawning on me that probably more than half of what I am due on this Earth has already gone and there is just so much more to achieve yet.

Then suddenly I'm thinking about what ifs and what maybes and if they had happened would I be further down the road of achievement already?

Answer: No.

I know its an old cliche but I really don't regret anything ( I should caveat that as there are a couple of things I am not particularly proud of!) as whatever has happened so far has made me into the person that I am now and to be honest I am pretty comfortable with who that guy is.

It just means that because my foundations have taken longer to put in place on the unstable ground that I had to work with that the actual build above ground is behind schedule and so we need to make up the lost time. Hence the urgency to know get on with the task at hand.

I have the final plans of the very grand design and know whats required to finish the build. However in real terms rather than analogies I have no more time to waste.

I have to ensure that every moment is used wisely. I need to ensure that both in work and outside time is not wasted on developing fruitless relationships that have no structure and provide no benefit to the parties involved.If they are not mutually beneficial and do not move me closer to my goals then its time to move on and look for new opportunities that provide progress elsewhere.

I know I will succeed this is not in question and there is no doubt but I still do not understand which tradesmen I need to employ to enable me to finish building the house.

What I do know is that the end deliverable is for the three most fantastic women in the World, My wife ( who without, the foundation would never have been finished) and my two absolutely gorgeous daughters who between the three of them have helped me to understand that I am truly blessed every day of my life.

Monday, August 9, 2010

OZ the land of opportunity

Well a year gone since we landed kitchen sink and all to start our new life down under.

Well so far so good. The family (and the 2 dogs!)are fitter than we have ever been having adopted the outdoor lifestyle with a vengance. Both girls are thriving and loving the lifestyle change and finally being able to see Dad during the week and not just at weekends.

Ive been lucky and landed a great work opportunity that will hopefully see me through towards retirement if all goes well but you never know!

What I do know is that you really can make the most of any opportunities that present themselves here and that you are not limited by where you come from, who you know or what University or Gentlemans clubs you went to or belong to. Here it really is a case what you can do rather than what you can say.

Another upside is the climate with proper summers and still close enough to the Mountains to get some snow action in the winter. For the first time in 20 years I have got through the winter months without actually getting suicidal from the lack of daylight.

However there are a few drawbacks here in paradise.

Cars are exceptionally expensive and so are grocieries compared to the UK but to some extent these are offest by the better tax breaks and being able to buy local in season produce.

Also it takes time to build up new freinds and peer groups so a strong relationship and focus on what you are here for is essential.

Other than that bring on Year 2 and if you get a chance to live and work in Oz grab it with both hands, 9 out of 10 people shouldnt regret it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Over the past few months as is my job I have been in the process of re-engineering a Services business. The thing that has stood out this time around (have been doing this for more than 20 years) is the attrition rate of the younger service personnel as change begins to gain momentum.

Although it would appear that most understand the logic behind the changes and in most cases even have no issue with change itself ( we are talking mainly University graduates here), they cannot accept personally that they are in any way connected to the necessity of the change. In other words that they cannot see that they are often the main contributing factor as to why change is now required. The principles of cause and effect, whereby they are the cause and change is the effect are lost on them. Those that have been struggling are unable to accept that they have effectively been under achieving and under performing in their roles for some time.

Obviously to an extent this has been caused by poor strategic direction and inadequate leadership and management but some of the responsibility must lie with the individuals for deep down they must know that they have not questioned the status quo nor have they been proactive in presenting alternatives.

To justify that in no way are they remotely responsible for or have contributed to the current state of play they reason that they are only delivering what has previously been asked of them and accept no responsibility for not trying to develop either personally or professionally by voluntarily exceeding historical expectations.

When now presented with new personal development challenges and raised expectations of delivery, they seem to take this as a personal criticism that is not justified(as outlined above),is seen as completely negative and even the mere hint of personal failure or criticism are concepts that are completely alien to them. I believe the issue here is that as a generation they have grown up being told at every juncture that everything they do can only be a positive thing, " your team may have finished last in the competition but at the end of the day you made the team. Good Job Jason, well done". Effectively they have never failed. Any competition is frowned upon, everyone is a winner and they have never needed to understand or develop being part of a team to achieve success as all individuals are a success whether the team has obtained its objectives or not.

In essence they have very little desire or ambition to work on long term aims or objectives as they see no point in these. They are used to receiving instant gratification in whatever they do and if this is not forthcoming they move on to the next thing that will hopefully provide this. There is no point in expending effort in understanding a methodology, a science, a religion, long term career development as tomorrow all these will have morphed and changed as there is no constant in their universe.

If we return to my original point, they have no issue accepting change as change IS the constant for them. What they cannot accept is that they are not without fault, that they can fail or fall short and that this in itself is not necessarily disastrous as understanding such short comings will provide the catalyst for them to comprehend that actually personal development often comes out of adversity and is a thing to be grasped with both hands not to be avoided at all costs.

In the meantime I will carry on looking through the Resumes for a few failures!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Well todays all been all about communication.

Were all told most days that we do not communicate well, effectively or enough. Its not only us its our teams, our companies, our friends and our families, everyone, in fact the World cannot communicate. Isnt this Ironic when we now live in the age where communication mediums are everywhere, instantanious, where I can post this blog and within seconds it is available potentially Worldwide, and there lies the problem! Its not that people have become worse at or forgotton how to communicate either at work or socially its just which medium do you choose to use and will the person you are trying to communicate with actually be trying to use the same medium. This is so true in the work place, important and direct communiaction between team members, divisions, companies and their customers is simply lost in the noise. People use email, sharepoint, IM, facebook, Phones, texts, call log systems, VC etc etc. Therefore person A sends an email to persons B C D and E. Person D then responds to Person E using IM, B responds to everyone by phoning them. D then sends a text to a C and E! Already communication on one issue, subject has become fractured an ineffective. No one from the original mail now is truely in the picture of what the status, progress and next steps are. Compound this 100 fold and you start to recognise my point here. We are not poor communicators we just cannot in this multi -media instant information age settle on which form of communiaction works for all people at the same time. Maybe if in the work place one method was chosen just for 1 week and all other mediums were disabled we could see how much more effective communication could become once more? Anyway answers on a postcard, IM, text, email, phone...................

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Customers A

Well what a day! Just when you think you have the whole Customer Service thing cracked, along comes a new lot of customers who just dont know when to say yes! YES your Service is just what we have been looking for. YES your Service provision fulfills everything we could possibly want from a Service Provider. YES its OK if you have overrun your deadline by a day. YES the 99 things you have given us out of the 100 we asked for is good enough for us. YES please take the weekend off and spend some well earned time with your family.

But what they actually say is NO. At every opportunity its NO its not good enough, NO were not happy, No we are not going to carry on using your company, NO, NO ,NO,NO and thrice more NO!

What I need to do is find a group of customers who have NO expectations and so what ever you provide exceeds their wildest dreams. Can anyone help me find this demographic group?