The ultimate explanation of why you need a strategy

I was reading the excellent Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath this week and came across the most brilliant analogy to explain why all organisations – or even projects – need a strategy.

“If you’re playing darts and your friend consistently aims too high, you can give useful feedback. But it’s the obvious location of the bullseye that makes your comment possible.

What if and your friend don’t agree on where it is? In that case, your communication will be unproductive and irritating for both of you – and if you were playing “business” rather than darts, the person with more power would win the discussion. A common strategic language allows everyone to contribute.”

I’ve worked on countless projects and in many organisations, where it wasn’t immediately obvious what the end goal was, nor the way we were going to measure it.

If you ever need to explain to anyone – even a boss – why a strategy is important, this is the way to do it.

CC photo via Flickr: John

Why loneliness is so desperate

Working at Age UK it’s impossible to escape the topic of loneliness.

It affects upwards of 1m older people in the UK and is practically invisible to most of us.

I came across this piece by Judith Shulevitz from 2013 talking about “The Lethality of Loneliness” and – specifically – why loneliness is so damaging:

“Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.”

There are things that can be done, but it’s tough. Lonely people are – by their very nature – hard to find and identify.

– If you want to find out more about the issue or help someone who may be affected head to

The ultimate tests of being rich and smart

John Waters
I was listening to an episode of the excellent Radio 4 series A Good Read recently, featuring Kathy Burke and Tom Allen.

Allen chose a book by the film director John Waters – Role Models – and during the ensuing discussion mentioned the following quote, which for me hits the nail on the head.

“Being rich is not about how much money you have or how many homes you own; it’s the freedom to buy any book you want without looking at the price and wondering if you can afford it.”

I’ve found myself buying and reading books more voraciously this year than ever before – partly because I want to keep learning and I’d prefer to get a book over a new item of clothing or some other less useful thing.

This quote from Charlie Munger – Warren Buffett’s right-hand man – is also a mantra I take to heart.

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

So do yourself a favour and go and buy a book and start reading today.