The {revised} hierarchy of needs

August 21, 2013

The new hierarchy of needs

Truth behind ‘out of office’ replies

March 17, 2013

Have you ever wondered what it means to receive one of those ‘out of office’ emails? Well, here’s the truth (!):

What’s your judgement like?

February 23, 2013

People AnswersOne of the critical things about making a decision is to have enough information to make a proper judgement. To do this a person needs to be able to identify the gaps in their knowledge, to fill them, and then to come to a sensible conclusion.

Someone who does not see that there are gaps, or who jumps to a conclusion with too little (or inaccurate) information can blindly make decisions without realising what is missing or unclear. What this amounts to is that for judgement and decision making there are four basic types of people:

Over-confident: This is someone who has high confidence in their judgements even when their thinking is faulty. They believe that it’s better to make a decision, even if it’s the wrong one!

Development point: The positive side is that over-confident people take the initiative and get on with life. However they do need to ‘take five’ and learn to recognise when more information is needed. It’s all about thinking before acting!

Animal: The over-confident person is like a Cobra – quick and decisive, but not always hitting the right target.

Under-confident: This is the sort of person who generally has no confidence in their judgement and decision making, even when they’re right. They often find it difficult to get ‘off-the-fence’ because they believe they’re going to jump the wrong way.

Development point: The positive side is not ending up in tricky situations just because they haven’t thought things through properly. However this may end up in no action at all; so to move on someone needs to force themselves to make decisions in low-risk situations, just to recognise that the sky doesn’t necessarily always fall in!

Animal: The under-confident person is like a Gazelle – bouncing around trying to decide what to do, and never quite making their mind up.

Accurate: This is the sort of character who reads situations with confidence, and knows when they’re getting things right or wrong. They have the savvy to check the signs and know if they are taking a risk.

Development point: This person is on the button and has got decision making pretty well organised.

Animal: The accurate person is like a Fox – weighing up the situation, balancing the risks, and picking their battles.

Inaccurate: This is someone who charges at things and gets most decisions the wrong way round. They are not confident when they’re getting things right, and over-confident when they’re getting stuff wrong.

Development point: The good news is that this person wants to do things, it’s just that they have a habit of getting everything upside down. A bit like the Cobra this person really needs to think before acting, in fact they need to think, and think again before acting!

Animal: The inaccurate person is like a Bull – enthusiastically charging backwards and forwards, but tending to put their foot in it.


What sort of an animal are you?


1. How do you feel when you have to make a snap decision?

A Energised – It’s better to make a decision than no decision at all

B Decidedly queasy – I don’t like having to make a decision

C Confident – I’m pretty good at weighing things up quickly

D Resigned – I’m famous for making the wrong decision.


2. When deciding between a number of options, do you…

A Pick one and stick with it, even if it turns out not to be the best

B Want more and more information (you can never have too much)

C Dispassionately check out the options and move on

D Home in on the wrong one like a guided missile?


3. If you haven’t got enough information, how do you decide what to do?

A Gut instinct

B I can’t decide (you just said there isn’t enough information!)

C Go with what I calculate is the best bet

D Pick anything – it’ll all go pear shaped anyway.


4. You’re going to make an expensive purchase in a shop, do you…

A Just go in and buy it

B Come over all uncertain

C Check that it’s what you want, and then buy it

D Feel like you’re about to make another costly mistake?


5. It all goes horribly wrong, what do you do next time?

A Exactly the same!

B Nothing (there isn’t going to be a next time)

C Better research

D Take a lucky rabbit’s foot.


6. What’s happening in your head when making a really BIG decision?

A Surprisingly little

B A Headache

C A meticulous balancing of the pros and cons

D A feeling of déjà vu (and not a pleasant one!)


7. You have a number of things to do, how do you decide where to begin?

A First on the list

B Definitely look at the list, but it won’t be nearly long enough

C The most important thing on the list

D Gave up using lists years ago.


8. How would your best friend describe your judgement?

A Shoots wildly from the hip

B Never gets his gun out

C Hits the target, every time

D Judgement, what judgement?


Mostly A = Over-confident (Cobra)

Mostly B = Under-confident (Gazelle)

Mostly C = Accurate (Fox)

Mostly D = Inaccurate (Bull)


Note: This is a fun questionnaire! However it is based on sound research and I wrote it for a magazine a couple of years ago.

Santa’s Silos

December 17, 2012

For an update on the latest HR and brand management issues at Santa’s toy factory, take a trip to:

How to enter a room

April 4, 2012

Here’s something from Entrepreneur magazine. Click on the How to Enter a Room video option, view and enjoy.

PS: It has its funny moments!

PPS: It also includes useful advice on how to dress like an entrepreneur…

It’s enough to make Stephen Fry blush!

July 26, 2011

I was, dear reader, going to write a post on the relationship between brand management and human resources. However, having just been on the receiving end of a tranche of incomprehensible business-speak I thought I would have a rant about communication: more precisely, communication that does not communicate. Firstly, have you noticed how everything has to be ‘uber’ these days? So, to begin, I was asked to contemplate how I could achieve an ‘uber-solution to a multi-channel marketing strategy’. So far so good, say what you mean… But secondly, had I not noticed that ‘consumers where differentially attracted to the convenience of 24/7 self-transaction.’ Well, I had actually. Not only that, I was ahead of this Johnnies game and had realised (perhaps rather smugly) that I needed to ‘extend my pipeline in order to tap into regional discontinuities’.  All of this is of course total tosh. There is never a time or a place for this sort of thing, and it’s not clever, it’s just a misguided attempt to re-image rather tired third generation resources. Ahh, I feel better for that.

Now, to change the subject only slightly, I am not for a moment suggesting that Mr Fry is the sort of person to suffer from any of form of craniofacial erythema, indeed I cannot think of anyone less likely to succumb to such an encumbrance; nor, I should add, can it be said that he is anything other than a precision engineer, a veritable 21st Century Dr Johnson, of the intricacies and vicissitudes of our Mother Tongue, but there are times when plain speaking is required – not least when it comes to business communication. As, I think, I may have demonstrated. And, to pick another obscure example completely at random, perhaps that’s why we find ourselves in such a mess with regard to the banks. Frankly they don’t even understand each other, hiding behind their Chinese Walls and their Hedges, trying to leverage a despondent Bear Market with a quick Swap or a nifty Spread, on the way to Leveraging a Buy Side solution, or maybe a touch of Arbitrage with a Credit Derivative. Give me Liquidity every time I hear you say, and you’d be right. I’d certainly be very interested in taking out an Option on a double. No, don’t get me on the subject of bankers. Enough said I think.

PS: And I know about the apostrophe in wits’ end!

Photo credit: NowandZen/

Anti-PowerPoint party formed in Switzerland!

July 14, 2011

There’s a new political movement in Switzerland that has a single aim: the outlawing of PowerPoint! Curious really, but perhaps the Swiss think that PowerPoint gets in the way of getting stuff done, and just clogs up the neural arteries with mind numbing charts, graphs and diagrams, and those slides packed with very small text. Nothing is of course further from the truth.

PowerPoint is a fine business tool that can transform any audio-visual presentation in to a thing of pure beauty. And what would people do if they didn’t have to spend endless hours looking for suitable images, getting the animations to work in the right sequence, and cutting the whole thing down to a mere 60 slides (for a 10 minute talk). No, I think our Swiss friends are barking up the wrong tree this time.

Think you know about PowerPoint, take the BBC quiz:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 89 other followers