I had a very interesting and enjoyable morning at Birmingham Business School, judging proposals from PhD students to deal with real life projects for a local social enterprise. The students came from a variety of subject areas, with little business background. After their week’s entrepreneurship school, they were able to research and present their proposals, and did so very well.

Apparently, from feedback over lunch, I was the “nasty” one of the judges. And there was me, thinking I was being restrained!


The Erosion of Trust and Leadership

An interesting story in the Telegraph today, following a CIPD report on the erosion of trust in leaders. This obviously follows on from reported issues at Barclays and other major companies.

Startlingly, only 36% of those surveyed trust their senior management. This had a knock on effect on engagement, and the willingness to commit to the job.

Where I disagree with the interpretation is on its comparison to “command and control.” In my view, loyalty and trust are important components of performance even if the boss can have you shot. Otherwise, people will just do the minimum to avoid sanction.

It may just be that I am getting old, but there seems to be a general weakening of trust across society. Yet a functioning free society depends very much on trust.

If you are a leader, or aspire to be, you need to ask why your followers should trust you. Do you demonstrate integrity, or do you take advantage of people? Do you keep your word? Remember that it is easier to lose trust than to build it.


The Danger of Being a Lawyer

James Ward, of Morris Goddard & Ward was shot in the head in his office in Devizes, Wiltshire yesterday. Telegraph story here.

Any shooting is shocking, particularly if unconnected to gang activity. That it should happen in a market town such as Devizes makes it even more unexpected. Having worked for a firm with an office in the town, I am personally relieved that my former colleagues are safe: Mr Ward’s colleagues must be deeply affected.

I will not speculate about the background, although there is more in the Mail’s report. Thankfully, serious attacks on solicitors are very rare. Sometimes the solicitor is blamed for their client’s decisions and actions.

Should solicitors take special precautions? I would say not: this kind of incident is extremely rare. But we all need to be aware of possible dangers whatever circumstances we are in. For example, is a solicitor more likely to be attacked in their office, or mugged in the street for their i-phone?

But pray for John Ward and his family.