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  • 24 May 2014 11:05 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    Consultants usually specialise in …. productivity, quality, organisational development, innovation, or some other ‘improvement’ topic.

    This suggests that the business world is full of tools and techniques that must be selected carefully according to the kind of situation – and kind of problem – being considered.

    However my experience is that most of the tools and techniques – whether quality tools, productivity tools or whatever – are simply means of exploring the situation – and uncovering hidden ‘truths’.

    Any consultant worth his/her salt should be capable of addressing a quality problem or an innovation project – using whatever tools they feel most comfortable with.  We pretend to be knowledgeable and ‘clever’ – and of course we are … but often our major asset is having time and having an external, disinterested viewpoint.

  • 17 May 2014 8:57 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    I was recently looking at some documents I had created a few years ago.  My first thought on reading them was that they were out-of-date, but on re-reading them, I realised the format and appearance was out-of-date but almost all the content was still relevant.


    Sometimes we get confused by, or seduced by, the medium and forget to concentrate on the essential message.  Being up-to-date and looking modern and professional is important - but of no use if the underlying message is not right.


    Oddly enough, things rarely change as fast as they are often though to - or claimed to.  Even in the IT  world, most of the 'principles' of computing have not changed in 20 years.  The hardware and software changes but fundamentally, computing is much as it was in the early days of the PC when it moved from the computing department to the individual.


    So, review and update - but also reflect on the past and learn the lessons. Change - but because you have assessed the situation and the environment and have determined an appropriate course of action - not because change looks 'attractive'.

  • 12 May 2014 11:17 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    I’ve recently returned from Greece where I was privileged to visit the site of the oracle at Delphi – a major centre of  world communication in the 5th century BC.  The size and scale of what was the Temple of Apollo is staggering – this was both a communications and commercial centre of real magnitude.

    It is good to be reminded of past civilisations and their power and influence – and also good, of course, to be reminded that such civilisations often collapse or fail.  ‘Success’ is a fragile commodity – and the world changes around successful organisations – and nations.   Those who fail to ‘read the runes’ and fail to adapt to the changing environment are doomed to fail.

  • 12 May 2014 11:11 AM | John Heap (Administrator)

    I'm sure that even if you haven't read Thomas Piketty's book, Capital in the Twenty First Century, you will have seen the controversy surrounding his suggestion that we need to substantially raise taxation of the wealthy to force a 'better' redistribution of wealth (or more properly, of capital).

    Picketty takes special aim at those with capital who don't have to work for it.

    Whatever your views (and this is something about which people feel strongly rather than reason logically), Thomas Picketty has forced a debate on the world and that can only be good.  Those who believe in the free market have to defend the 'status quo'; those (like Picketty) who want to see change have to justify the actions they want to take,

    The rest of us can sit on the sidelines, observe and listen.  But this is an important issue.  I urge you to read the book - just so you can take a more informed position in the debate; I also urge you to read the criticisms of Piketty's viewpoint and seek the 'balance' that might steer us through this debate.

    We (almost) all want 'a fairer world'.  The question is ...Does Piketty have an approach that might takes us towards one?

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