Especially If You Want To Start A Heated Debate

The journey from provocation to result takes grit and determination.

The provocation is crucial — it’s the grit that creates the pearl.

It is the oxygen required for the wildfire that inspires everyone — the energy needed to achieve anything.

Everyone has their own pace but increasingly realise as the unknown/blurred is revealed and becomes focused.

Throughout, images, words and structures compose themselves into material tools, plans and platforms.

These Are The Five Reasons I Get Up Every Day


Lessons For Survival On The Voyage To The Elusive Future

“It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” — Niels Bohr

You may well have heard of the wicked problem. It’s the definition of especially thorny societal problems. It was coined in the 6o’s by Horst Rittel.

For the last two decades (at least) I’ve come to realise that even solving an everyday business problem is hard — often wickedly hard. And keeping the damn thing solved ?— doubly wicked.

Getting to the future is a pretty nebulous idea. You describe the ideal future, it seems reasonable if a little challenging but that’s good. The world changes constantly and the plans you’ve made have to change accordingly.


A growing list — I’m at 32 so far.

>70% of change initiatives fail

Over the years we’ve gathered insights into why leaders and strategies go off the rails. Not surprisingly they are worth the effort to revisit every now and then.

  1. Knowing a challenge is complicated, but not spending time simplifying how to think about it.
  2. Developing plans without involving those executing it and expecting it to work.
  3. Creating a new vision, strategy, mission and position without shifting investment accordingly to deliver it.
  4. Thinking we’re good communicators while not enquiring if the intended message ‘landed’ with the intended audience.
  5. Agreeing vigorously that listening is a core competence and then not hearing.
  6. Wanting the…


Photo by John Beukelmann on Unsplash

I Know Nothing

I’ve developed some fresh rules for my life.

I precede every discussion with a disclaimer – ‘I’ve no idea’ — no idea what’s going to happen — no idea what’s true. And no idea how people have arrived at their conclusions. Except they have.

In each conversation, I hear words turn into phrases. I try and pause long and hard before allowing judgement or (my) opinion to cloud anything. (It’s really hard.)

“We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” — Douglas Adams

When the inevitable happens and I differ with another’s point of view I weigh up the…


If you want to change the future, you must first change your mind. Then you can help change the world.

After a few decades stumbling around the topic, two things became clear.

1. You have to change the way business thinks if you want to change how it works.

2. If businesses change how they work they can change how their audiences think.

Imagine That

Businesses have the chance to change the world. That’s bloody good news because it’s obvious governments won’t. This is disgusting because they could.

I’ve spent a lifetime challenging convention. First, when I was a client and now as an advisor and collaborator. I believe businesses have a critical responsibility to step up.

It’s going to take a…


Before It’s Too Late?

We’ve been conditioned to believe that to get somewhere we need a plan. I’m not denying the idea, just the traditional plans we make by default.

How can a plan — that current device that has actions and initiatives, milestones and measures — work in a context that’s changing this fast?

Well, it can’t.

The best a business can expect to achieve is a permanent spring-loaded state of preparedness.

Prepared to constantly reinvent.

This idea doesn’t go down well with seasoned managers, accountants, shareholders, or even the workforce who seek certainty.

The mental ability to be fully prepared to pivot…


I read recently that organizations worldwide spend roughly $356 billion on leadership development. And in the same breath, 75% of organizations rated their leadership development programs as not very effective.

This was because many leadership development efforts overlook how leaders think, learn and behave — their mindsets.

Mindsets are the front line of everything.

They are how we view the world. They dictate the decisions we make — the actions we take. The leadership mindset is the beginning middle and end of whether a business will be successful.

Mindsets are the mental lenses that decide what information gets through and…


Wake TFU

We used to define the future in units of 5, 10 – maybe even 50 years. Science fiction painted us the pictures.

Now it’s possible to achieve almost anything we like in weeks or months if we put our minds to it. If you are awake then you are already putting your mind to it. If you are awake you are only limited by imagination.

The business world is racing to create new/better services at less cost and increased utility. Currently this involves returning sufficient value (margins) to the shareholders. …


A Primer For The Third Decade Of The 21st Century

Photo by Upal Patel on Unsplash

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” — Sir Winston Churchill

Under Pressure

Whatever size, type or age of your business right now the pressures are the same — increase performance at the lowest cost and without risk. Do that while ensuring investment (or revenue) and avoid being disrupted, outspent or dismissed.

And That’s Not All

  • Where are we headed?
  • What is the result we want?
  • What are the challenges we must solve?
  • What are the opportunities we must exploit?
  • How do we get there? — When?
  • What needs to change? — Why?
  • How do I take my people with me?
  • Do…


Why have we stopped engaging in conversation?

I’ve lost track of the plane journeys I’ve been on this year. The only saving grace of air travel is the refuge it affords. A disconnected space up here on top of the clouds — a welcome respite from the deluge. A chance to pause — to catch up on all the things on the list.

Except for this flight, it has WiFi.

I just realised how terrifying my list is. If it fell into the wrong hands I could get struck off. I’m not on anything that I could be struck off from though.

“The hardest thing to learn…

John Caswell

I’m Head Of Crayons At Group Partners. We Help Clients Make Strategies That Work. May The Bridges I Burn Light My Way.

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