Nowt As stange As Folk!

I’m always amazed at how true that saying is!


This week I’ve been interviewing over 50 people interested in a place on the next Growing Talent.  All have been assessed by their Job Centre Plus office.


All get the same information yet the interpretation of that information along with how to dress, and act when attending a meeting on a corporate site sees to be absorbed completely differently or ignored totally!


Some stick in my mind – and others especially our receptionists! – more than others


One chap was over 45 minutes late. and never called ahead despite having contact relevant details  When he arrived, he was very well presented but our receptionists were looking a little taken aback.  During our meeting – he chewed gum – one of my pet hates! and explained he was late because he came from Tottenham Court Road where he’d stayed with friends.  On realising that is only three underground stops from our location he quickly added he had to go home first and get his smart clothes.  At least he thought on his feet!


When asked what he liked to do socially ‘well man – I’m a real party animal – I love clubbing’ – not the smartest answer to give an employer!  After he left, the receptionists told me he’d asked if the client biscuits and bottles of juice were free – then proceeded to fill every pocket with them!  They had to re-stock!


Was he really stupid? or really clever?


I suspect the latter.  Acting like that, no employer will give him an opportunity so he can continue living on benefits without any sanction.  I wonder if he’ll feel the same way when he’s middle aged?





Voice Technology – What Do You Think

Good for business?

Good for the home?

Any need for caution?


It struck me watching the BBC News this morning how we continually chase the next ‘new thing’ which we can’t live without.  The feature was on technology.  It’s a decade since Steve Jobs launched Apple’s first IPhone.  Seems much longer!  Now they are common, do multiple tasks, saves us time and health – no longer do we need to lug around a heavy bag containing notebook, diary, paper presentations etc!


From a business point of view the IPhone has been ground breaking.  I’m not sure that’s the same for domestic life.  Yes, definitely more efficient with software that connects all family members up but how many times have you seen people walking along texting – not looking where they are going or in a restaurant checking emails rather than talking to each other.


There’s also been a very subtle stealth ability for providers to capture data each time we log on to a website for instance.  How often after visiting a site do ads pop up? Infuriating!  Of course without advertising revenue a lot of the search engines would charge considerably for the services we’ve become used to.


Now the next generation of technology has been launched with the arrival of Alexa, Siri etc – Voice activation.  Still a lot of teething issues but it is early in the technology.  Food for thought from the BBC report was how much data we give away using this technology without knowing it?


Time will tell whether the risk is worth it.


Theresa May & Mental Health

An encouraging interview with Sophie Ridge of Sky News and the PM was aired yesterday morning.


Initially, I felt a bit unenthused at the start of the interview.  Sophie seemed fixated on the single market.  She asked three times about if we were leaving the single market in favour of securing our borders.


This illustrated to me the blinkered, reporting some journalists fixate on to get ‘the story’.  Three times Theresa May explained there is no opportunity to stay in the single market as we’ve voted to leave.  The negotiations will bring a different relationship. Still Sophie persisted before moving on to other topics.


This is where my interest was renewed.


The PM is highlighting mental health resources especially for children – which is fantastic news.  She recognises the biggest issue is stigma.  If people felt able to talk about their issues there is proven evidence they don’t deteriorate and get help quickly.


The PM is making a speech 9.1.17 – it will be interesting to see what she says on this.


Mental Health is  core component of Growing Talent.  We strongly believe in training participants as First Aiders.  Indeed everyone on Growing Talent complete the two-day standard global course.  There are many reasons for this – a key one is to remove the stigma associated with Mental Health.  I’m glad the Government is finally catching up!


Let’s get talking!



Journalists – Report all the facts or cloud them?

Most of us were brought up to believe nothing we hear and only half of what we read.


We know, in the UK especially, we have a habit of building someone up and then knocking them down.  We saw this decades ago with the household favourite boxer – Frank Bruno built up by the press to be everyone’s favourite.  He went on to win the world title.  But then life events happened and gradually he wasn’t winning anymore.  The same press then changed their headlines from totally positive to totally negative especially during his mental health issues.


Why? wouldn’t it have been a great opportunity to share the fragility of life and use positive press reporting to encourage debate on social issues as well as mental health? It seems not.  Negative headlines ‘sell’ better


As the years have passed, social media has made reporting instant. Reputations are damaged in a second without any responsibility or accountability.  If the truth ever ‘outs’ it’s a shrug of the shoulders and an ‘oh well’.


Today we have the news that ‘our man in Brussels’ has chosen to step down and the Government has ‘no’ plans.  How does the press know this?  The same press reported on how David Cameron and his team including our man in Brussels’ had failed to negotiate any tangible change to the UK membership of the EU resulting in the vote to leave a few short months later.


So is ‘our man in Brussels’ effective or not?  It seems there are two sides to everything but the press only wants to highlight the points that ‘sell’ or result in ‘retweets’ or ‘likes’.


What happened to solid, impartial reporting to give the public the facts?