Call yourself a gardener?

I’m no Bob Flowerdew, or Beth Chatto, but I can recognise systems thinking and green fingers when I see them.


#systems thinking

#no fertiliser, no weedkiller

#low and decreasing carbon footprint

#increased yield and quality

#now that’s what I call whole systems thinking

And yes, this kind of thinking is domain transferrable*, or rather to use a horticulturally systemic metaphor: the insights can be transplanted


*meaning that the insights to be gained from examining the system and processes in flow in this context, CAN be transferred to thinking in a simar manner in different contexts. There is some contextual systemic isomorphism (CSI)


A&E for Mail

What happens at A&E?  Triage. Can we do triage on email? Yes. What would it consist of? Let’s see.

OK, two scenarios, which together remind me of Richard Pryor’s awesome and charming ‘Black people and snakes’ routine

(some details, but no video, shame at


Scenario A : an office, somewhere

Somebody in your office, in a meeting with some other people cuts their hand really badly with the blunt disposable craft knife (that has been kicking around in an a plastic toolbox known as ‘The Box Of Meeting Stuff’), as they are trimming some flipchart paper down to quarter size for an activity. Lots of blood. Scenes of mild panic as the movie classification people say. OMG, OMG! Hold on don’t panic! Where’s the first aid box. I don’t know, do we have one? YES, its a legal requirement! Well, I don’t know, where’s Dave (the boss) He’s in a meeting. Ask Gladys! She’s on her lunch break.. Meanwhile Gary is bleeding out, you wouldn’t mind so much but it’s all over YOUR laptop keyboard…

Scenario B: your local hospital, A&E

What’s this? Yes that looks quite naughty, hold it over your head. To slow down the bleeding. Put this round it (hands wad of tissue to victim), hold it tight.

Things to remember…

…when you’re really really really busy and up against a deadline and let’s face it in a bit of a flap, way behind and there’s a thing you cannot delay or change at all and its really really important, and an email arrives…

  1. Pause
  2. Deep breath in, holddd, exhale slo w w l y and repeat
  3. Now actually read it slo w w l y
  4. Then think, think for a few moments
  5. Then respond.

Thank you, I’m here all week.

File under: we wouldn’t have to teach grandad to suck eggs if he didn’t keep doing it wrong





Do bad fences make sullen neighbours?



This particular fence, an unfortunate consequence, that is giving offence, without making much sense…

“I noticed the fence. For this Victorian school, which, for a hundred years, has found cast-iron railings sufficient to mark its periphery, had now added what looked like tall bamboo slats between the bars, as well as six feet of plant life climbing these slats, blocking the view of the playground from the street and therefore of the children as they played.

“I went home and sent an intemperate e-mail to a couple of parent governors:
“I walked past the school for the first time since I came home (yesterday) and noticed the wooden veil—for lack of a better word—that has gone up around the school. It made me so sad. I’ve lived in this area 40 years. I saw a wall go up outside the Jewish school ten years ago and then a few years ago at the Muslim school. But I never thought I’d see one up outside __________. I’m very curious as to how it came about, who asked for it, how it was decided, and whether the parents are happy with it, and what—officially—is its purpose? “Security”? “Privacy”? Or something else?”

Best piece I’ve read in years. One might say: bad fences make sullen neighbours…


TBC everybody knows everything now, except they don’t


Everybody knows everything now, except they don’t, thanks to the interwebs and Wickedpedia.

But what do you really know that isn’t from a PowerPoint you flicked through?

Or a PDF you read bits of.

Or Wikipedia.

Or (oldskool) a book!

It’s an old theme, and that isn’t stopping me have a go at it.

What do we really know?

What do we talk about when we talk about what we know?




THINGS THAT BOSSES DON’T DO #1 Bosses, hello. You don’t do these things, do you? Of course not…

This is the first of a series documenting and interrogating modern management behaviours.


😇Cookie licking…

…refers to a common Anti-pattern where someone (metaphorically) takes a cookie, licks it and puts it back on the cookie tray, essentially preventing anyone else from having it, but not eating it by himself or herself.

The splendid Community Management site goes on to say:

You can partially prevent this by having clear roadmaps and not allowing people to volunteer for more than they can handle.

An alternative option is to create a policy that issues are not ‘reserved’ to anyone but instead that people may develop drafts / codebases in parallel, then let others in the community review their work and either validate both, select one, or combine the approaches.

Another approach which works well is to put time limits on tasks – if someone says “I’ll send a draft by the end of next week”, then Monday the week after the task is fair game again.😇


is obviously the boss version of mansplaining. Bossplaining is not sexist, it applies to any boss regardles of gender or sexuality or other human characteristics.

Mansplaining is a portmanteau of the words man and explaining, defined as “to explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.” Lily Rothman of The Atlantic defines it as “explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee knows more than the explainer, often done by a man to a woman,” and feminist author and essayist Rebecca Solnit ascribes the phenomenon to a combination of “overconfidence and cluelessness.”

Due to its gender-specific reference to “man”, this term has been referred to by some critics as inherently sexist.


More to follow.

All will fit on one side of A4,

and will be on your desk by 9 on Monday morning…

Is it Leadership or Management? Neither.

Is it Leadership or Management? It’s neither.

There are endless debates about Leadership or Management, is issue X a leadership issue or a management issue, do they need leadership training or management training and what’s the difference, yada yada.
I can hear the sound of knuckles being cracked as keyboard warriors prepare to gurusplain* it to me. Beat you to it, here’s my definition: “Management looks INSIDE the organisation, andnotbut™, Leadership looks OUTSIDE the organisation*.” It’s about your attention and where you direct it, and why. But that isn’t what I wanted to talk about just now.

The NEITHER is this: it’s FAMILY.

Family is the Primitive Underpinning Relevant Explanation = the PURE**. Sometimes you lead a family, sometimes you manage them. Sometimes you are managed, or not, by your mum or dad, sometimes you don’t have one or neither of your parents. Sometimes you, or your mum or dad lead superbly, and sometimes you or they, or your brother or sister, or uncle or auntie or family friend, fuck it up completely. Andnotbut™ unless your family is completely dysfunctional, as some are, you forgive and move on.

Now, does that not help to nudge you onto a different path as you navigate the ‘Forest of Leadership and Management’ looking for the Veedon Fleece***?


I hope so.



*Gurusplain. Like man-splaining, which the WickedpeedyKrew define as ‘portmanteau of the words man and explaining, define as “to explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing”, gurusplaining is an uninvited explanation from a self-perceived expert in the comments on a blog. If you want to gurusplain, feel free to get your own blog and offer me the link, thanks. If, however, you have a comment, then please share here. More thanks.

**PURE = Primitive Underpinning Relevant Explanation. A concept which is general enough to have explanatory power in several, let’s call them arenas, or knowledge domains.

*** Veedon Fleece: speed-read down to the section called: About the title, and all shall be revealed, grasshopper…