Why are successful people, successful? Ronaldo, Trump, Cruise, Musk et al. Some we admire, some we hate. However, they all have something in common – self-management.


The Brexit Tricksters

In many myths, the fox is seen as a trickster. They are cunning and resourceful . Let’s look at some of the Brexit foxes – Rees-Mogg, Dyson, Johnson and Farage. Despite the evidence provided by economists, the business community, government agencies and the concerns of friends and allies, they slink around posing a significant threat to the people they encouraged to vote for leaving the EU. They have no answers to what will happen after the UK has left the EU other than banal comments about ‘we’ll be masters of our destiny’ or ‘every country in the world will want to trade with us.’

There is nothing to support this but they do not care. The pound could tumble and become weak and unstable. The country is in limbo and there will be disruption to supply chains and a long list of consequences. For the ordinary person, normal goods become more expensive. Exported goods could actually cost more which might lead to job losses and higher unemployment. Transport routes are likely to be disrupted. Bizarrely, regions in the UK that fell for the Brexit foxes tricks and lies are likely to be the most affected. No matter, Rees-Mogg, Dyson, Johnson and Farage will not lose their jobs and are wealthy enough maintain their current standards of living.

Why? These old foxes went to school when the world map is covered in pink. They see themselves as Churchillian even though he was in favour of closer European unity. They cannot stand the idea that the UK has to work with others and sometimes even take notice of what others say. Nigel Farage is still taking a salary from the EU and will receive a pension. What hypocrisy.

When something creaks

Shock, horror, a former Nazi supporting political party has made significant gains in the recent elections in Sweden. This is a Scandinavian country ‘held-up’ as a model of social stability, offering a good standard of living and a warm welcome to visitors. Sweden has a population of around ten million so 200,000 asylum seekers since 2015 is bound to have an impact in terms of integration. The country began to creak. This is a position constantly exploited by nationalist political parties. The supporters of Brexit in the UK focused on exactly the same issue. They have not offered a jot in terms of definite answers around the future of trade, travel, security, research, policing (the list goes on) with their European neighbours and largest trading partner.

Trump exploited aspects of ‘creakiness’ in US society. Declining industries, stagnation in blue collar pay and a belief that no one in Washington cared. How did the Dems respond? Offer a candidate that represented the failure to deal with the the elements of the country that were creaking.

If something is not working, change the approach or address the issues that prevent it from being successful. The approach is the same whether one is talking about a country, a business or a family group. Amazon is seen as one of the most successful companies on the planet. Love ’em or hate ’em their success is not just a result of luck. They spend a phenomenal amount of money on research and development, encourage ideas and work to resolve the creaks in their work.

When something creaks – mend it or pay the consequences.

A Jealous Guy

Over the last few days, the good and great of the US have taken time to celebrate the life of John McCain. Meanwhile, President Trump has skulked around the White House and disappeared to one of his golf courses. Despite this indifference, Trump hopes he will eventually be held in the same regard, receive the same respect and the same love. A modern American hero.

No chance. Trump will become as ridiculed as Hitler – the moustache, the hair flopping over his eyes and the arm waving. With Trump, it’ll be the golden mop, the orange face, denture malfunctions and notes with huge lettering because glasses suggest weakness. There will not be any statues for people to visit, no buildings in his name – unless of course, he pays for some of these himself?

Actors and comedians will wear fat suits and long red ties. The hair will look like Cossack hats and speeches will be confused. Cheap laughs for children in the future who’ll find it difficult to believe that someone who ‘glowed’ was elected US president.

Donald you are not Hitler. Nothing like him. But you are no Lincoln, Kennedy or Obama. You are a spoilt three-year-old. John McCain was no saint and by his own admission, made a lot of mistakes. Sarah Palin anyone? However, he argued over ideas, not people’s gender, race or religion. He did not need to use insults.

There’s still time to change Donald or you’ll just be a jealous guy.

The vast majority of people are good

It is very easy in these disruptive times through the US and Europe to wonder ‘what the world is coming too.’ Both sides of the political coin look to portray the opposition in the worst possible way or countries are judged by the behaviour and ideas of their political leaders. Let me reassure Europeans that people in the US are nothing like the three-year-old in the White House and folks in the US that Russians are generally not thieves like the con-man in the Kremlin. A person falls over in London, Buffalo, St Petersburg or Berlin. People gather round looking to help. A disaster occurs, people rush to help, often not caring about their own lives, wanting to support, East or West. People across the world are the same. Hardworking, wanting to provide for their families, help neighbours and enjoy life. Of course there are bad people who are cruel, exploit the weaknesses of others and behave in appalling ways. However, in reality they represent a very tiny proportion of their country’s or world population. Let’s remember this.

Okay, if there are all these good people around, why do idiots get elected? Valid point. The answer is, that most people do not have time to reflect on what every politician stands for. Additionally, because most people are decent, they give politicians, yes even politicians, the benefit of the doubt. If your community feels ‘forgotten’ it us understandable that you might vote for someone who says they will do something for you and your family. If a young person hears that a political leader is going to provide free higher education that young person and their friends will be tempted to vote for that leader without thinking about how this offer is going to be paid for.

The downside is that political leaders have more than one agenda and once elected, some agendas become more important than others. If only politicians were like real people………

The Brexit Bandits

The past is important as long as you do not stare at it! Brexit has happened – what can we learn from it? Let’s look at two men who were major influences on the result. Firstly, David Cameron. To satisfy the critics in his party he called the referendum. He insisted on just yes or no. Unfortunately, it was not that simple as we have seen with concerns from the business community, the collapse in the value of the pound and the predicted chaos if the UK leaves without a deal with the EU. Nigel Farage, the mouth of the Leave campaign is really good at shouting about leaving the EU but never offers and solutions to ‘how’. That is how complex it is – not a yes or no.

The next Bandit is Ed Balls. Happy to stab his brother in the back to gain leadership of the Labour Party he then introduced rules making it too easy to join the party. Result – Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the opposition as a result. There is plenty of evidence indicating that people from a range of political persuasions joined the Labour Party to ensure that the worst leader possible was elected. Consequently, the opposition is unelectable and can not contribute to determining the Brexit process. Leaving the UK is now in the hands of one bickering political party.

Do these Bandits sleep at night?

Premier League owners are daft!

To own or part-own a Premier League football club you have to be seriously loaded. Unless you are Roman Abramovich, who stole his wealth during the post-glasnost chaos in Russia, most owners or investors have been successful people who would have made difficult decisions that enabled their businesses to grow. Why do they lose this nous when they run a football club? Bottom club West Bromwich Albion employed Alan Pardew who failed at a number of clubs previously and most recently, Southampton have just employed Mark Hughes who was sacked from, wait for it, Stoke City, who are currently second from bottom in the Premier League. The numbers (data) available on Hughes indicate that he is not likely to inspire ‘new manager bounce.’ With this in mind, why would anybody employ him to rescue a club spiralling downwards? In addition, he is allowed to bring his buddies with him as assistants who were part of his previous failure. Sir Alex Ferguson had his flaws but he realised that using the same assistants continuously was uninspiring for the players and often meant that training became stale and lacked innovation. Additionally, he liked his own thinking to be challenged. Both Hughes and Pardew are arrogant, full of their own importance and do not doubt their ability. It would seem they are able to con experienced business people to employ them despite it going against practice they would employ in their business lives which would certainly include looking at the track records of potential employees. Given the data now available in professional football, would it not be worth employing an up-and-coming manager from one of the lower leagues? It would be a risk but less costly and could turn out to be an inspirational move.

When asked about advice on important management strategies Sir Alex identified ‘getting rid of the c**ts’ as they brought negativity to team culture and drained energy. It is about time that club boards took Sir Alex’s advice and stopped employing the c**ts.

Which tunnel would you choose?

If I made you an offer which went as follows, what would you do? There are two tunnels ahead of you. Entering one, makes no change to your life whatsoever. Entering the other, means uncertainty, possible lowering or loss of income, unclear future in terms of employment for you and your family OR, things could get better. There is not indication about which tunnel leads to which scenario – your choice? How comfortable would you be about this?

Try answering this question? Can you tell the time? I expect so? Do you know how a watch works?

These are my analogies for the EU referendum held in the UK. Forget the pros and cons for remaining or leaving, how easy is it for anyone to understand forty-seven years of social, political, legal, cultural and business integration? None of these complexities were explained during the for or against campaign. The focus was on outliers such as immigration rather than how much leaving could cost or whether the country might actually be poorer? A referendum sounds like a good idea – everyone gets to vote, democracy at its purest. And, it can work if the vote is about simple, straightforward issues. Should we allow smoking in restaurants or ban large drinks with excessive sugar in them? We vote for politicians to make decisions for us as they have time to investigate and pursue the important issues – interestingly, the British Parliament would have probably elected to stay in the EU!

In life we also have to make decisions. Sometimes it is appropriate to involve others, in other instances, it can make things worse. Leaders are paid to make decisions. Parents have to decide things for their children – deciding when and how is often the biggest challenge.

Try not to be like David Cameron the Prime Minister who introduced the referendum because he was to scared to take another approach. His decision will haunt him and Britain for a long time.

Russia, smoke and mirrors

Russia has a very weak economy compared to many Western nations. Outside of Moscow there are shortages in basic foods such as milk and bread. If the US and Europe wanted to stop Russia interfering in elections or acting as the deliver of death in Syria, they could do so in a couple of days by instigating strict and harsh sanctions. Why doesn’t this happen? Clearly, Mr Putin holds something over Trump. For someone who likes nothing more than exuding power and control it is obvious that he is scared, despite him claiming that he would have run (yes run) unarmed into a school to tackle a gunman!! Let’s face it, he is a former draft dodger who talks a good story – so what does Putin have over him? Follow the money. It is in the public domain that Russians with dubious criminal backgrounds have used him as a money launderer. The extent of the laundering is up for debate but clearly there is enough for Trump to worry more about himself than children being killed in Syria.

What’s Europe’s excuse around not dealing with Russia? I don’t know. The second most popular air route in Russia is to London. The amount of Russian money swilling around the British capital is significant and one assumes that upsetting the Russian guests so they withdraw their funds could have a significant negative impact on property prices and the capital’s economy. Meanwhile children die and democracy is disrupted.

Maybe Mr Putin has something on Mrs May? Emmmmmmmmm…….

Strange priorities – Brexit supporters and the NRA

The world does not understand the US and guns. How does a major industrialised nation, the supposed leader of the western world, allow such appalling loss life to firearms? Enhanced background checks have been a major sticking point. Again, the rest of the world believes that if you are going to allow many in the adult population to own guns, it does not seem too unreasonable to check whether they are a potential terrorist, have a criminal record or history of mental illness. The NRA argues that enhanced background checks are an infringement of individual liberties and freedom (nothing to do with worrying about a decline in gun sales if the are harder to get?). Many of those who support Brexit, offer a similar argument – not so much individual freedom, but membership of the EU lessens national sovereignty and a countries’ right (the UK) of self-determination. Interestingly, no complaints from either party about social media. Lack of privacy, identity theft, misuse of information, personal attacks are all examples of personal liberties being challenged and are similar reasons that people argue against the EU or enhanced background checks. On top of this, social media can be a conduit for terrorism, child abuse and other illegal activities. In the case of the United Kingdom, social media is probably more of a threat than staying in the EU.

Children being murdered is even worse. Under successive Presidents not enough has been done by legislators many of whom, are sponsored by the NRA. Note the NRA’s complete lack of sympathy. Typical. So righteous.

Of course, social media is not all bad – I’m using it now! My point, which I have probably not made very clearly, is that aspects of social media are a significant threat to all countries yet is ignored by those who like to defend rights, sovereignty and individual liberties. The NRA prefers to defend the Second Amendment by claiming ‘more’ federal interference while ignoring fundamental ‘interference’ through social media andĀ  Brexiteers believe their sovereignty is being threatened but areĀ  happy with Facebook and Twitter. Bizarre.

Luck, don’t underestimate it!

For reasons too complicated to explain I looked at info about Napoleon the other day. Putting aside all his personal ambitions and bumptiousness I found that in terms of military planning he was innovative, prepared to be flexible and did not underestimate luck. Good for him – luck is too often mistaken for success. Would Trump be President today without luck? I sure he believes his presidency is the result of a brilliantly run campaign devised by himself – no, he was lucky because he was up against a candidate with no credibility amongst swing voters and independents. David Cameron was unlucky with Brexit. He gambled that he would be able to argue for remaining in the EU but did not count on voters using the referendum about the EU to show their unhappiness with government overall. Another time, another place and a bit of luck, the result would have gone the other way. Ironically, research indicates that those regions who voted most strongly to leave the EU are the most likely to be hit negatively by leaving the EU in terms of indicators such as employment and investment. Bad luck for them. In some ways the US became the power it was as a result of being lucky. Following World War Two, they were the only developed country that had not been ravaged by the horrors of the war. The US took advantage becoming the major industrial and economic power in the world. However, sometimes success can blind people into forgetting how lucky they were. As a result, complacency sets in which is why the US is now being overtaken by countries such as China and India and the technological advances they once owned no longer exist.

Did luck play a part in Zuckerberg eventually owning all of Facebook? When England won the world cup were they lucky to be playing at home? Alan Wells the British sprinter who won Olympic gold in Moscow was lucky the the US were boycotting those games. How much influence did the winter have on Germany’s unsuccessful invasion of Russia in World War Two? I could go on………..

Clearly Mark Zuckerberg is a good businessman, the US took advantage of their excellent infrastructure, positive culture and acumen, and the England soccer team did have some world-class players. It is recognising the part that luck plays which separates the successful with the rest.

As the South African golfer Gary Player once said – ‘the more I practice, the luckier I get.’