Women on the board

There has been much debate recently about the lack of women on the boards of big companies.  Senior politicians seem very keen on the subject, hosting various seminars and debates and generally giving off encouraging signals.  They all seem to agree that having so few women on boards is a bad thing and that having more would be a good thing.  Other than that there seems to be little consensus. ...

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What to do about executive pay?

The thorny subject of executive pay has once more returned to the political centre stage.  Many politicians have accurately defined the problem but no-one seems to have a sensible solution.  Most seem agreed that there is little wrong with high rewards for good performance. This, of course, does nothing to reduce the excesses of high pay and certainly doesn’t address the definition of what good...

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Rogue reporters and how to fix society

The furore over phone hacking in UK has produced much righteous indignation, much of it from journalists.  Watching some of them pontificate with faux anger reminded me of Captain Renault as he closed down Rick’s bar in Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.”  The truth, as one wag put it, is that it’s 95% of journalists who give the profession a ba...

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Yes or No. A PR man’s PR dilemma

I’ve been a PR man longer than I’ve been a PR.  Electoral reform is in my blood: my Great-Grandfather probably knew Lloyd George.  I learnt my alternative systems at the knees of the masters, having been part of the King Crewe at Essex University in the early 80’s. I may be a Reformer (indeed, I’m a member of the Reform Club), but I am also a classic Liberal.  And that means that I nail...

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Harry Potter and the security of the familiar

Last night my eldest daughter, home from University, persuaded me to watch the latest Harry Potter movie that's just out on DVD.  Having never read the books and only seen one of the previous movies I was, of course, hopelessly lost.  For those of us for whom the little wizard is not an essential part of our lives, it is impossible to understand the hold it has over some people.  For others, lik...

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Gnothi seauton

‘Where is the life we have lost in living’, asked TSElliot in The Rock. It is extraordinary how the frenetic pace of life seems to leave so little room for thinking. Leadership, both at work and as a parent, can seem an endless cycle of tasks to be completed and things to be done. Doing has become synonymous with living; and doing - being seen to be busy - is often more important than achie...

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Loose change.

I was part of a fascinating discussion recently, hosted by WatsonHelsby, at which the author Martin Thomas took us through the thinking behind his new book 'Loose'. The basic premise is that many organisations are still suffering from the delusion they can control what people both do and think. The book had particular relevance to the many communications directors around the table, all of whom ar...

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Book club

I've recently read two books that have profoundly impacted my thinking. The first was Jonah Lehrer's 'Proust was a neuroscientist'. I have to admit that I was drawn to this book initially because of my love of Proust. But it's message is powerful. Basically Lehrer posits that when it comes to thinking about how the brain works, many of the deepest insights came from artists first and it was left...

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Pesky old truth

I've been thinking recently just how insidious truth can be. Just when you think that you can control the message, pesky old truth manages to inveigle its way to the surface. Slowly and surely, cunning old truth manages to find a way around all the obstacles that have been placed in its path. Take two current examples: firstly, the phone hacking saga. Ironically, at the same time that some peop...

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Recent books

With Christmas and a January birthday, I've had plenty of new books to get my teeth into. I've already mentioned the book by Susan Maushart in a previous post. Here's what I've made of the rest: Franzen's Freedom - disappointing. I'd been looking forward to it so much but I never really warmed to the characters or the theme. Roth's Nemisis - excellent, and so much better than Indignation. Rowan'...

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