Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Boris Johnson’s new book, ‘The Churchill Factor’, is the pick of my Christmas Holiday reading

Holidays always provide a fantastic opportunity to catch-up on some of those books you’ve been meaning to read for a while, or perhaps re-visiting, and on some occasions coincide with the release of a new and interesting title. All three of these applied to me as we set sail from Southampton for The Canary Islands on 17th December. 

Of the five titles I read, although all very good indeed, the pick of the bunch for me was London Mayor Boris Johnson’s reappraisal of the life and work of Winston Churchill which has only recently been published.  

Boris has a real concern that perhaps the greatest Briton of all time is slowly fading from people’s memories, with the insurance dog sadly being the first thing that many people associate with when the name Churchill is mentioned nowadays. There is also a strong sense that in the 50 years since Winston Churchill’s passing, his reputation has been unfairly attacked and diminished by critics living in a different time, and perhaps of a differing political hue. 

Boris doesn’t shrink from this, and tackles all of the situations cited as Churchill’s errors of judgement and re-evaluates them in a balanced and fair way. In several of these, he brings forward the reasons why they are not in fact the failures that Churchill’s detractors like to suggest, and in some instances were ideas and actions based in very sound logic. Throughout the book we also get a smattering of many of the retorts that Winston was so famous for, which is almost worth the admission price alone! 

Although the book covers Churchill’s entire life (although not chronologically), it cleverly pivots around May 1940 when he finally became Prime Minister at Britain’s hour of need, along with the vital fact that, but for this one man and his steadfast resolve, Britain would more than likely have undertaken a deal with Nazi Germany. Great Britain today (indeed Europe in its entirety) would be a very different place indeed to the democracy and freedom that we enjoy if that had happened (Hitler clearly never stuck to any previous agreements so why did the rest of the coalition cabinet think it would be any different next time?). Cometh the hour, cometh the man. 

Frustratingly, despite his substantial military experience (and valour) and his influential political savvy, he was often thrown out of office, denounced by colleagues and had his words of warning dismissed by others who thought they knew better when history shows that they clearly didn’t. 

In a remarkable political career that spanned over 50 years, Winston Churchill was a driving force for victory in both world wars (the tank was his idea and its introduction was decisive in breaking the stalemate of the trench warfare). He had been fired at on four continents, was an early British enthusiast for aviation (taking to the air many times in those pioneering early days) and was crucial to the beginning of the welfare state in the early 1900s; he gave British workers the job centre, unemployment insurance and tea breaks. Furthermore, he was instrumental in the foundation of Israel and the campaign for a united Europe. Remarkably, he had more words published in his books than Shakespeare and Dickens combined.  

Boris has written this book with passion, new research, re-evaluation and great reverence to a remarkable man whom we all owe a great debt to. I highly recommend this book and congratulate the Mayor of London for a job well done. 

One book that I re-visited over the holidays was ‘Coaching for Performance’ by Sir John Whitmore. I first read this book over a decade ago as a precursor to the Executive Coaching course I undertook with John Webster’s CEOs Office (and am still on the National Coaching Register to this day). In fact one of the sessions on the CEO’s Office course was actually taught to us by Sir John Whitmore himself and it was absolutely amazing and inspiring. The book, as the title suggests, is about the principles and practice of coaching and leadership; growing human potential and purpose via the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward). This remains a great and inspirational read. 

I followed this up with a Richard Bandler NLP book (he was a co-creator of neuro-linguistic programming), Fiona Campbell’s ‘Business Coaching the NLP Way’, ‘The Naked Leader Experience’ by David Taylor and Sir Terry Leahy’s ‘Management In Ten Words’ (very interesting considering Tesco’s current woes). Unfortunately, by the time I had got stuck in to the latest Jim Collins book, ‘Great by Choice’, we were already sailing back in to Southampton – but it does assure me of some great reading with which to start the New Year. 

And with that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, successful and prosperous 2015.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

CIMA West Midlands is proud to launch its mentoring programme at an event on Tuesday 20th January in Birmingham

CIMA West Midlands Mentoring Programme
We will launch a mentoring programme in 2015 to bring together senior members who can offer mentoring support with others in the early stages of their career. This programme is available to those who wish to take advantage of this service. 

If you feel curious about this initiative come to our launch event on Tuesday 20 January at 6.30pm when all will be explained for both the mentor and mentee. We will also provide insight to networking opportunities and how to make the most of them and we all know that this can be essential for career development.   

Benefits for mentors: - 

        strengthen your coaching and leadership skills by working with individuals from different backgrounds and with different personality types

        help develop future talent giving a new member increased knowledge, skills and experience in attaining their career goals

        get new insight into your job - questions from mentees can help to take a critical look at how things are done and what areas have room for improvement

        a chance to develop a new skill for your CV. 

Benefits for mentees: - 

        one to one support from an experienced professional

        an opportunity to network and build contacts within an industry

        gain an insight into your chosen industry or career

        help in recognising your own abilities and limitations in relation to your career ideas and in highlighting areas for development

        get practical advice on job search techniques and skills.

If you are unable to attend this event, but you are still interested in being part of the mentoring programme, please register your interest by emailing  

This event will also help you look at your networking skills. When you see the word networking, what do you think of? I bet you think of having to 'go out' to 'meet strangers' at a 'formal event'. There is this little voice in our heads, who annoyingly keeps telling us that we need to put ourselves through this exquisite form of professional torture because we know we should be regularly networking to improve our business and career prospects. 

If we could show you another, more successful route by using joined up networking to achieve the career and business success you really deserve, would you be interested? 

At this event, Heather Townsend, the award-winning and best-selling author of 'The financial times guide to business networking' will share her methods and secrets which have, in the last year helped her clients generate an additional £1million of fees. Heather will be relaying stories and real life examples of how CIMA members have been using her techniques to make successful career moves and build their own healthy practice. 

She will be showing us: - 

How to use networking to guarantee career and business success, without it feeling like a form of professional torture. 

How to effectively network when you really don't have the time to network. 

How to make your networking fitter. 

Why today's savvy networkers know that it is not about your ability to 'work a room'. 

Why one cup of coffee is never enough. 

How to meet your George Clooney. 

Why you now don't need to 'go out' to network.  

This very popular event provides practical guidance to help you network efficiently so that you can maximise your productive time, boost your career and deliver exceptional service and results.  

Event Details 

Westley Hotel, Westley Road, Acocks Green, Birmingham B27 7UJ 

6.30 for 7pm 

No charge.  Buffet served on arrival  

Speaker Details 

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the go-to expert. She is an award-winning best-selling author of three books, 'The FT guide to business networking', 'The go-to expert' and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie). Not bad for an engineering graduate from Oxford who last wrote an essay at the age of 16. 

Over the last year she has helped her coaching clients, typically accountants and lawyers, achieve their business and career goals by supporting them to add over £1 million revenue to their practice.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The band I formed in 6th Form included on new 4-CD Box-Set out this week

My band, The Threads, formed in 1982 whilst in 6th Form, went on to make a number of records throughout the 1980s which were subsequently collected on to an anthology CD by Detour Records in 2000. On this Cherry Red Records collection, one of our A-sides from 1986, ‘Step Back’, is featured on this definitive 4-CD story of the Mod scene from 1977 to 1989…….

‘Millions Like Us’ - The Story Of The Mod Revival 1977-1989

‘Millions Like Us’ is the first-ever box set to properly document the Mod Revival scene of the late Seventies and Eighties. Across 100 tracks by all the key bands, the story of the Mod Revival is told, from its roots in Punk/New Wave through to its commercial heyday in 1979 with bands like Secret Affair, The Chords, The Purple Hearts and The Lambrettas and its resurrection in 1985 with The Untouchables, The Prisoners, Makin’ Time, The Moment and The Threads.

Track Listing: -

Disc 1
1. Just Another Teenage Anthem - The New Hearts 
2. The Fashion Plague - The Exits 
3. I Can't Resist - The Reaction 
4. All The Sounds Of Fear (Demo) - Strangeways 
5. Sema 4 Messages - Sema 4 
6. No Survivors - Speedball 
7. See Saw - The Jolt 
8. They're Back Again, Here They Come - The Cigarettes 
9. Why Shouldn't It Happen To Me - The Killermeters 
10. What I Want - The Donkeys 
11. Time For Action - Secret Affair 
12. Millions Like Us - Purple Hearts 
13. Now It's Gone - The Chords 
14. Your Side Of Heaven - Back To Zero 
15. Walking Down The Kings Road - Squire 
16. Plastic Smile - Merton Parkas 
17. Modern Boys - The Crooks 
18. Untamed Youth - Untamed Youth 
19. The Beat Is Back - The First Steps 
20. Gabrielle - The Nips 
21. Strength Of The Nation - The Teenbeats 
22. Go Steady - The Lambrettas 
23. 1970's Boy - Long Tall Shorty 
24. Career Girls - Les Elite 
25. Don't Throw Your Life Away (Live) - Beggar 
26. Let Me Be The One (Live) - The Mods 

Disc 2
1. Opening Up - The Circles 
2. Saturday Night - The Odds 
3. Bank Holiday Weekend - Seventeen 
4. Carefree - The Most  
5. Hey Girl - The Scene 
6. Wild About You - The Same 
7. Bank Holiday - The Vandells 
8. Three Bands Tonight - The Directions 
9. Maybe Tomorrow - The Chords 
10. School Days - Sta - Prest 
11. Pack Fair And Square (Previously Unissued Demo) - 9 Below Zero 
12. Blood Spattered With Guitars - The Accidents 
13. Television Screen Heroes - Mi5 
14. My World - Secret Affair 
15. S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song) - Q - Tips 
16. That Driving Beat - Red Beans And Rice 
17. Choose You - Dead Beats 
18. Nobody Loves Me - The Letters 
19. Fuck Art Let's Dance - The Name 
20. D - a 
21. My Mind Goes Round In Circles - Squire 
22. I've Had Enough - The Scene 
23. I Can See Through Walls - D.C.10's 
24. Soho - Run 229 
25. No Way Out - The Fixations 
26. Don't Lecture Me - Two Tone Pinks 

Disc 3
1. The Kid - Small Hours 
2. Tina's Party - Weekend 
3. Only For Sheep (Previously Unissued) - The Upset 
4. Can We Go Dancing - The Amber Squad 
5. Red With Purple Flashes - The Times 
6. Go - The Heartbeats 
7. Blind To Fiction - The Dodos 
8. Would You Listen Girl - The Retreads 
9. Win Or Lose - Long Tall Shorty 
10. The Faker - The Gents 
11. No Vacancies - The Clues 
12. You And I - The Onlookers 
13. Love Is Dead - Small World 
14. Plane Crash (Respond Version) - Purple Hearts 
15. One Step Ahead - The Stripes 
16. Modesty Blaise - Direct Hits 
17. I'll Keep Holding On - The Diplomats 
18. Confusion (Hits Us Everytime) - The Truth 
19. Hurricane - The Prisoners 
20. I Don't Need No Doctor - Fast Eddie 
21. Wednesday Girl - The Jetset 
22. Jump Back - Dee Walker 
23. Time Moves Us On - The Way Out 
24. Nothing You Can Do - Manual Scan 
25. I Am With You - Mod Fun 

Disc 4
1. Something That You Said - The Scene 
2. Bend Don't Break - Stupidity 
3. In This Town - The Moment 
4. Free Yourself - The Untouchables 
5. Dreams Come True - The Combine 
6. Guilty - The Alljacks 
7. Here Is My Number - Makin' Time 
8. Kiss And Make Up - The Co 
9. One Good Reason - The Boss 
10. The Last Man In Europe - The Blades 
11. Catcher In The Rye - 5:30! 
12. Train To London Town - Solid State 
13. I Want To Sleep With You - Eleanor Rigby 
14. Looking For You - The Rage 
15. Step Back - The Threads 
16. Jobs For The Boys - The Risk 
17. Blow Up - James Taylor Quartet 
18. Julie London - The Kick 
19. All I Want To Be - The Reflection A.O.B. 
20. Get Out Of My Hair - Studio 68 
21. Paint In A Day - The Leepers 
22. Worming - The Clique 
23. Arthur C. Clarke - The Aardvarks 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Dr Andrew Bass to speak at the LMI Leadership Lunch in Birmingham on Tuesday 9th December

Information, Eduction, Inspiration 

Mark Tonks says, “The LMI Leadership Lunch is exclusively for business owners, business leaders and senior decision makers. Designed to inform, educate and inspire the event features professional presentations, guest speakers and interactive sessions focused solely on the subject of leadership.

As today’s business world changes and evolves through increased global competition, constant innovation, lightning fast communication and continual advances in technologies the need for effective and highly skilled leadership has only intensified. 

Extensive research has shown that the best leaders, the most effective leaders master four key aspects of leadership, namely: -

•Personal Productivity- the ability to manage oneself

•Personal Leadership – the ability to lead oneself

•Motivational Leadership – the ability to lead other people

•Strategic Leadership – the ability to lead an organisation

Each lunch is themed around one aspect of leadership taken from what we have called the “Total Leader Solution” 

December’s lunch will focus very much on Motivational Leadership. Every leaders’ role is unique, it differs from one organisation to the next and from one job to the next; even the titles given to leaders vary widely. However, positions of leadership no matter how they differ in the detail have one significant common denominator, they must all depend upon the fundamental need to work with and through people. Leadership is really all about relationships, leaders who work most effectively with and through people deliver the most outstanding results.” 

The principal speaker is Andy Bass Ph.D. 

Andrew is the founder and principal of BassClusker Consulting, and helps leaders to bring their strategic goals to fruition more quickly and completely. He has worked across a wide range of industries and sectors with clients such as Aon Risk Solutions, KPMG, DLA Piper,  L’Oreal, all three emergency services, AAH Pharmaceuticals, the NHS, and International Automotive Components Group. 

Andrew teaches at Warwick Business School and is a visiting faculty member at the Aston Business School Centre for Executive Development. He is a member of Interchange Research, a leading cybernetic think tank led by Oxford philosopher and scientist Dr James Wilk, with whom he works closely on applications of Minimalist Intervention in the corporate world. He is also on the ‘Big Thinkers’ panel of experts for #oglivychange. 

Andrew has a PhD in Software Engineering and a BSc in Computer Science and Ergonomics. In addition to research articles on systems thinking and organizational culture, he has been published on and in Career Development International, Legal Week, and Managing Partner magazine. He is author of the book, ‘The Performance Papers: Incisive Briefings for Busy Leaders’, published by Bookshaker. 

An active member of the Birmingham (UK) business community, Andrew is a member of the West Midlands Regional Advisory Board of Common Purpose, a member of the advisory board for the Ethical Business programme at Newman University, a former Board Director of the business lobbying and networking group Birmingham Forward, and former advisor to the Birmingham Future Mentoring Scheme. 

The LMI Leadership Lunch- Tuesday 9th December 

Opus, 54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham, B3 2DE 

Cost £35.00 (incl VAT) 

Running order: - 

11.45 – Registration, open networking & refreshments 

12.15 – Welcome & Introductions 

12.30 – The Challenge of Motivational Leadership 

1.00pm – Lunch 

1.40 – Guest speaker- Andy Bass 

2.10 – Q&A 

2.20 – Summary 

2.30 – Close 

Refreshments will be served after the close and delegates can continue to network.