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OK.

I’ve thought about this for a while now.

And I’ve tested it.

In my mind.

Leaders.

I have worked out who should lead the world.

The world should be led only people that have these three things.

All three things.

And they have to be authentic.

They have to mean it.

Here we go:

  1. They have to be clever. Knowledgable on the vital points relating to the subject areas they lead. Deeply informed. They have to really know their stuff. Contextually, historically and currently.
  2. They must have no agenda. They must be just. They must be sincere. They really must be leading us and making decisions for us for the greater good of us all. They must know, and do, the right thing.
  3. They must be good communicators. This is just as important as the other two. They must be able to engage us. To help us to understand. Not to persuade us but to give us the information we need so that we ‘get it’. They should be clear in what they are saying. And what they are doing. Because sometimes the channel or clumsy communications gets in the way.

Solutions.

So there we go.

I have worked out who should lead the world.

The world should be led only people that have these three things.

If you’d like me to solve any more of the world’s most significant problems.

Drop me a line at michael@50odd.co.uk and I will let you know my fees.

Thank you.

‘Special Projects’ is a London based design and invention consultancy.

It was founded by Industrial Designer, Clara Gaggero Westaway.

And Experience Designer (and magician) Adrian Westaway.

I met Clara at TEDx Newcastle this month.

Unboxing.

Clara showcased a 9 year old project.

(The age of the project is significant).

And how she and her team tackled a problem that older Samsung customers had.

With the unboxing of Samsung phones.

Backstory.

The backstory with the unboxing.

Specifically in the context off the customer’s age.

Is this.

Younger.

Younger customers tear open boxes.

Throw packaging to their right.

Throw instruction manuals to their left.

Frantically press buttons.

Slide fingers over screens.

And away they go.

Their ‘unboxing experience’ manifests as a slight dip in happiness.

But they get there in the end.

Older.

Older customers unbox slowly.

They lay things out.

They begin to thumb through the manual.

From page 1.

To page whatever.

And their ‘unboxing experience’ plummets.

They hate it!

And this is the issue that the Special Projects team were asked to address.

Oldschool. 

The proposed ‘concept solution’ to this problem was really lovely.

And there are three lessons for businesses.

Firstly, know your customers.

And more specifically, know your different kinds of customers.

And be special for all of them.

Secondly, sometimes.

To achieve more.

You must do less.

Or to move forwards.

You must think backwards.

And thirdly, here is a great quote from Clara:

In every moment of frustration there is a fuzzy moment waiting to be freed.

Clara is right.

This 150 seconds explains all: https://www.50odd.co.uk/oldschool/.

 

One of the most impressive people I’ve never met.

Is Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

(I saw her.

But didn’t meet her.

At Ammar Mirza’s Asian Business Connexions Dinner.

Two weeks ago).

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

In amongst a whole host of confident and memorable narrative.

Sayeeda spoke about how she made key decisions.

Referring directly to when she resigned from Cameron’s government.

In 2014.

Because she wouldn’t support the Government’s policy on the escalation of violence in the Israel–Gaza conflict.

Two Questions.

Anyhow.

Whatever your politics.

I like the two questions that Sayeeda asked herself.

To come to a decision about her resignation.

She asked:

Am I saying what I believe?
Am I doing what I say?

Both are great questions independently.

But side by side – they’re even better.

One follows the other.

Decisions.

Next time I have to make big decisions.

I’ll ask myself these questions.

And maybe you should too.

In business.

People with nothing on the back burner have two affects on me.

First, they can send me into shock and silence.

Second, they mess with my head.

I’ll explain.

 1. People With Nothing on the Back Burner Send Me Into Shock.

People with nothing the back burner have nothing to sell me.

No agenda.

No secret mission to get my money.

Or my time.

And creepiest of all.

They don’t actually want anything from me.

Yet they have the audacity to just stand there.

Being all generous and concerned.

Listening hard.

Punctuating our conversation with examples of how they or others can help me.

Asking for absolutely bloody nothing at all in return.

And as I say.

This can send me into shock and silence.

2. People With Nothing on the Back Burner Mess With My Head.

People with nothing on the back burner also mess with my head.

They know what they’re bloody doing.

They know what they’re making me do.

They’re brainwashing me.

They’re making me like them.

In both senses of the word.

They’re making me like them.

And they’re making me like them.

They’re making me want to help them too.

And they’re making me want nothing at all in return.

From them.

People with nothing on the back burner.

They’re messing with my head.

Plan. 

So I have developed a plan for dealing with these bloody people.

These people with nothing on the back burner.

As soon as I get the slightest suspicion that someone is nice.

That they have nothing on the back burner.

As soon as I get the slightest suspicion that they might want to help me selflessly.

I frown at them.

Through squinty eyes.

And I get in first!

I wrack my brains to try to help them.

Before they can help me.

Heading them off, the cheeky sods.

By thinking (something like):

This’ll show them.

They think they can come out here being all kind.

And generous.

Trying to out-nice me.

Well they can’t.

Because I am going to out-nice them!

Business.

People with nothing on the bloody back burner.

They turn me into someone with nothing on the bloody back burner.

Both of us just trying to out-nice each other.

Imagine if everyone in business was like that!

In fact, imagine if everyone in life was like that!

Bloody weirdos.

Dedication. 

This story is a dedication.

To him: https://www.50odd.co.uk/back-burner/.

I went to TEDx Newcastle last week.

And I heard some really clever people.

Talking about some really clever things.

Really simply.

Simplicity.

I have worked with brands that create Mission Statements and Value Statements and similar for years.

And they are always too complex.

So I always distil them down.

To scarily few words.

Maybe six words.

This is because people are more likely to remember simple things.

And if they are more likely to remember them.

They are more likely to do them.

The PCI Rule.

So.

Using this approach.

I’ve distilled a day long TEDx Newcastle event.

And event with 1,000 people milling about.

And 12 or so excellent speakers.

Into 3 letters.

They are PCI.

And I’ve turned these three letters into a rule.

A rule for me

Capacity.

I have done this because I’m quite tired at the moment.

I am allowing myself to be pulled from pillar to post with my work.

Which is taking me towards the edge of the cliff called ‘capacity’.

And that’s not a good place to be.

Not because I will fall of the cliff.

(That won’t happen).

But I will lose something as I approach the edge.

Focus.

Quality.

Reliability.

Clarity of thought.

Something will weaken.

So I have to be careful.

And my new rule is helping me.

The PCI Rule.

PCI stands for:

  • Positivity.
  • Creativity.
  • Imagination.

It was the chap from Twitter that mentioned these words.

He suggested that when we all get trapped in The Loop.

Doing  too much work.

Forgetting to be positive, creative and imaginative.

We are worse off.

We don’t grow.

And I totally agree.

So, my new rule.

Whenever I am feeling a bit shitty.

Or that I am not doing my work as well as I could.

I move into positive, creative and imaginative mode.

And it works!

I feel better.

And I do better.

Try it.

It might work for you too.

You know that promise your brand makes, right?

The promise that makes you unique.

Unique because it is you and you alone able to deliver on that promise.

So you own that promise.

So that when I think of just the promise – you are the first thing that comes to mind.

So that when I think of you – your promise is the first thing to come to mind.

Yes!

That’s it.

The promise that makes you an actual living, breathing brand.

As opposed to just a business.

Yes!

That promise.

Well.

What is it?

Please read this story here (you need the photo): https://www.50odd.co.uk/doh/.

The title of this short story?

That’s that noise Homer Simpson makes.

When he’s done something daft.

Contribution. 

Authentically contributive businesses are the best business.

They matter.

These are the businesses that care authentically about reducing waste, recycling, the environment, physical and mental health, principles as well as profits and more.

Authenticity.

But it’s a big deal to commit to such things properly.

It’s hard.

It takes a lot of thought and effort.

And that’s why  I reference ‘authenticity’.

Because if you’re just pretending to care.

So you sell more stuff.

You’ll get found out.

Raja UK

Now, I am not saying that Raja UK are not authentic when they say:

Together let’s be more eco-responsible.

But what I am saying is that.

When Raja UK send two identical catalogues.

To two different people.

When the brand they are targeting.

Employs only two people.

That’s daft.

Take Care.

If we really do care.

We have to be really thorough.

We have to think things through.

Because if the Raja UK marketing department are encouraging me to think green and buy green.

And someone else in the same department can’t be arsed to clean the database.

Something’s wrong.

So let’s hope Raja UK are just starting this journey.

And that data cleaning is on the to-do list.

And not the to-Doh list.

(Sorry).

One morning.

When I ran my Creative Agency.

A polite and well presented young chap wandered into the office.

Up to reception.

And introduced himself to our Office Manager, Samantha.

Under his arm.

He carried a large, multicoloured Pinjata.

Pinjata.

Samantha came over to me.

Mike

She said.

This chap is wondering whether you have five minutes for him?

Right now.

I did.

So I invited him in.

Handshake.

The young chap shook me by the hand.

Introduced himself.

Sat opposite me at the board table.

Popped his pinjata down next to him.

And explained to me that he was looking for a new role.

In New Business Development.

OK.

I said

Pop your cv through please.

And links to anything anything amazing you’ve been involved with.

And I’ll take a look.

He answered:

Oh, I have my cv with me today.

And with that, he slowly pushed his pinjata towards me.

It’s in there.

Creativity. 

If you want people to be interested in you.

Be interesting.

One of my biggest problems with Colleges and Universities.

Is that they push young people out into the world.

Very often with a great degree of talent, knowledge, skills and potential.

But with no clue of how to communicate or position themselves compellingly or memorably in the minds of the new people they meet.

It’s hard.

But it’s meant to be hard.

Because the best jobs, of course, should go to the best people.

The most conscientious people.

The most capable people.

The most interesting people.

CV.

Samantha and the team hung and battered the pinjata.

Ate the sweets that fell from it.

Handed me the cv that fell from it.

And I offered him a job the following day.

He started the following week.

And what was his cv like?

I don’t know.

I didn’t read it.

Some things really bug me.

Some are rational.

Some are not.

This?

You can decide.

The Photocopier Test.

‘The Photocopier Test’ is not really a test.

But it became really important to me, actually.

So important that I always had to say something.

People. 

Over 20-odd years or so.

I’ve employed a couple of hundred people.

Some amazing.

Some good.

Some not so good.

But one thing I used to always note.

And it did become a really good indicator of someone’s personality.

Was what they did whilst photocopying.

Photocopying. 

So; let’s say that someone in my team wanted 200 copies of something.

They’d wander to the photocopier.

Original in hand.

Lift the lid.

Insert the original.

Punch in 200 copies.

Hit ‘Start’.

Then.

Then.

Well.

Some would just bloody stand there.

Gawping.

Motionless.

Slouching.

Hands in pockets.

As each copy slid slowly from the machine.

Every two seconds.

And on they’d gawp.

Staring at the increasing stack as it materialised.

And it used to really annoy me.

Annoyed. 

I used to be really annoyed because as soon as I pressed ‘Start’.

I’d think:

Right!

I have a couple of minutes here.

I’ll empty a bin.

Want a coffee anyone?

I’ll just put this extra paper away.

Whose is this dirty bloody cup?!

Never mind.

I’ll wash it.

Ah!

Cool!

Copies are done.

Bye!

But some of the team.

They’d just bloody stand there.

Gawping.

The Photocopier Test. 

These things matter.

Well; they do to me.

Especially when, as I employed 20-odd people.

Some would hustle and not stand still.

And some would gawp.

The imbalance was unfair.

And I was having none of it.

The Photocopier Test is real!

And if you failed.

I’d bloody well let you know.

I noticed something this weekend.

I noticed that loads of children’s programmes.

Are themed around one thing.

Treasure!

The Plot.

You know the plot.

First, there’s the discovery.

The discovery of a Treasure Map.

This is SUCH an amazing feeling.

Can you remember that feeling?

Izobel could feel it as we watched the television together.

And I could feel it, too.

The excited realisation that something really, really special is out there.

Hidden.

Yet findable.

By you.

The Search.

Then there’s the journey.

The search.

The search zigs.

And it zags.

Because one minute there is hope.

And the next there is hopelessness.

And then just when it looks like all is lost.

If we just.

Keep.

Going.

We find it!

Treasure.

Treasure Maps.

When we are children.

Treasure Maps are found.

By Scooby Do.

And by Captain Pugwash.

And we.

The viewer.

Shares the feeling.

The excitement is tangible.

The excited realisation that something really, really special is out there.

Hidden.

Yet findable.

By you.

Adults.

And I just wanted to point out that.

As adults.

You can get that very same amazing feeling again if you like.

And you don’t even have to find a Treasure Map.

Because you can make a Treasure Map.

In your mind.

Imagine.

Give it a go.

Close your eyes.

And imagine.

It may take a little time.

And it may take a few goes.

But the realisation will happen.

The excited realisation that something really, really special is out there.

Hidden.

Yet findable.

By you.