Good to hear The Pope speak of business as a “noble vocation” and the need to…

…unleash “free enterprise” to serve the common good. This is a far cry from what I heard growing up in Ireland in the 60’s and in the UK since I “migrated” here in 1989. The Catholic Church in the UK has seemed obsessed with “bedroom issues”. Some of these I’m sure have needed attention and it has, to its credit, been proactive on encouraging improvement in behaviour post crash. But I’ve never had the impression that the Church feels that business is “good” and that it has the same energy for understanding day to day trade as it does for speaking out on sexual morality. Perhaps it does but doesn’t know how to communicate it. Whatever the reason, perhaps it will now listen to the “boss” and give all of those in business the encouragement they need to create the cash and jobs without which there will be no common good. Leading and running businesses ain’t easy. 


A #GCCEOForum is my answer to Observer editorial query on best approach to avoid repeat of #VWgate…

…because in it’s  Editorial The Observer acknowledges that there are “no easy solutions. There is consensus that regulators need to focus more on firm cultures, but little understanding about what an effective approach might look like.” I believe CEOs set cultures. And General Counsel can help them get it right. But if the relationship between the CEO and the GC is not close, risks increase. The quality of the GC-CEO relationship should be formally on the risk registers of organisations. I have recently launched the #GCCEO Forum to create a forum for pairs of GCs and CEOs to meet to discuss how best to work together. Early responses are been encouraging, if a bit cautious. Which proves the point. 


Great to hear about The Smart Clinics from Gerard Barnes at Fenton’s List breakfast…

…earlier this week. The Smart Clinics is a group of Medical Clinics in Central London founded on the principle that “prevention is better than cure”. Gerard Barnes is a Member of Fenton’s List which is a network of contacts and clients of mine who help each other to achive business, leadership and career needs by being explicit about those needs in a trustful environment. 


Loving Bernie Sanders use of the rhetorical tricolon…

….”The American people are sick and tired with establishment politics, sick and tired of establishment economics, and sick and tired of establishment media”. Sam Leith in his excellent book on rhetoric for leaders – You Talking To Me – which I read over the summer explains how powerful the tricolon can be. Barack Obama uses it. Try it on your next all hands call and see what happens. Meanwhile, even if Bernie’s campaign fizzles out, he won’t be forgotten.


Lovely feedback email from the writer of the musical Daniel in Babylon…

…”Hi Ciaran, Good to read your latest newsletter as always! I’m not sure that I ever really let you know that it was during our session that you pointed out to me (and I realised) that I must follow my career passion, whatever it takes. In my case, that is to write (and produce) musicals. I’ve since had 2 on stage, completed a third last year and have started writing my fourth. Linda Walton. CEO Solid Rainbow; Writer: Daniel in Babylon ” (Email reproduced with her permission)

Thank you for the feedback Linda and good luck with Daniel in Bablyon.


Bully for General Sir Nick Carter for focusing on purpose, strategy and behaviours…

…in his defence this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme of his stance on rooting out bullying in all ranks of the Army when challenged that this might lead to a “politically correct brigade”. He did this cleverly by not accepting the premise of the question and instead by focusing on the purpose of the Army, which he chillingly described as “killing the Queen’s enemies”. Whether you like this purpose or not, it is at least clear and explicit. He then referred constantly to his strategy which I took to be “operational edge”. Then and only then did he address the issue of bullying. His point was that bullying does not help implement a strategy of “operational edge” to achieve the purpose. There are significant differences between war and business, and sometimes none. There is a long tradition of our looking to soldiers for help in leadership. I have seen horrible examples of bullying in business over thirty years. It’s therefore refreshing and reassuring to hear a leader speak firmly on strategy, propose and appropriate behaviours.

Bully for him.