Failure to take responsibility is the worst thing a boss can do

It probably won’t be a surprise to find I don’t particularly warm to Paul Nuttall and UKIP.

I don’t agree with their politics, so have very little time for them. However, recent news has made me have even less respect for the UKIP leader than ever.

I’m not talking about his pretence that he had close friends who apparently died at Hillsborough, which is pretty indefensible anyway.
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Is personalisation really any good?

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A tweet in my time line caught my eye last week. Someone I follow was calling out Sainsbury’s for giving her an offer for pork sausages, despite her having bought kosher margarine recently.

What surprised me more was Sainsbury’s explanation.

Their claim that vouchers are generated randomly smelt distinctively of the horseshit variety.

Holy grail

The holy grail of modern marketing is being able to send such hyper-targeted communications and offers to customers that they continually return to your brand on a never-ending, subliminal journey of discovery and purchase.

The reality – as the above example shows – is somewhat different. Continue reading

Leaders and their resistance to stress

Arsenal manager Arsene WengerI recently read Alastair Campbell’s excellent book Winners: And How They Succeed. Among many pearls of wisdom that Campbell gets from a variety of people in the public – many of which I want to share at a later date – is the following from Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger

We have gone from a vertical society to a horizontal society where everybody has an opinion about every decision you make, everybody has an opinion on the Internet straight away.
Basically the respect for people who make decisions is gone because every decision is questioned. So one of the most important qualities of a good leader now is massive resistance to stress.
Under stress you become smaller and smaller until you cannot give out a message any more and that, of course, is something that is vital. Many people underestimate this challenge.

Wenger instantly puts his finger on why being a leader in the 21st century is so much more difficult than it used to be.

We invite feedback from all quarters. We’re asked to be open. Everyone should be allowed their say.

Respect – which is always a tough thing to achieve at the best of times – has gone out of the window for all but the select few.

The science behind resilience and the importance of it is slowly becoming more widely recognised and – if Wenger’s experience is anything to go by – needs to be placed higher up the list of qualities for leaders to develop.

Winners: And How They Succeed is definitely worth a read: a genuinely fascinating insight into people at the top of their game.