The Power of Ideas

Every life has value and lessons.

Hollywood and the mainstream media look for the blockbusters. But often the insights and lessons we need come from people like us. People living everyday lives who have seen something that we haven’t.

A book has a life’s experiences encoded into a few hours read.

Those few hours can let us vicariously experience a lifetime of insights. Someone who’s worked 30 years in a narrow field can have the insights we need. Not Nobel Prize winning, but enough to solve the problems we face.

Michael Ward is a man who has lived a full life.

Business Owner. Management Consultant. Author.

He’s spent many years working in, and with, organisations. He’s written popular books on Management and on his passion, Climbing. He’s also ghostwritten a number of other books

Now he helps people share their ideas and lessons with the world.

He works with them to structure and write books that make an impact. People who might not otherwise ever contribute their ideas. Whether through lack of time, writing skills or confidence.

We had a wide ranging discussion covering Psychology, Politics, Economics and much more.


Michael Ward Linkedin Profile  

Should You Write A Book PDF  

Michael’s Website



Michael: [00:00:00] In one of your earlier podcasts, and oh, by the way, thank you for putting your podcast site in transcripts because I’m a very visual person, so I find it much easier to read the transcripts, they’re great.

Michael: So for that. In one of them, you mentioned Rolf Debelli’s book about thinking, and Rolf Debelli’s done another book about Something that I’ve been wondering about for a long time, and he wondered about it more and got there faster, about not reading newspapers, not reading news.

Michael: Because he feels that it doesn’t give us, Rolf de Belli and I guess you, want to look much deeper into our world and our society and kind of dive down and, try and understand the whole thing. But the news we get is so superficial. No disrespect to Taylor Swift, but, really, situation Ukraine, Taylor Swift, no disrespect to the lady, good luck to her, but really, are they of equal import?

Michael: I think not really. He feels that if we don’t watch the news, he feels we’re just endlessly distracted. By little soundbites and things, and I think this is true and I feel it happening to me, really. And he feels that if we, [00:01:00] he feels that not going cold turkey can be a bit grim. I look at the news for about five minutes a day now, really.

Michael: And one of the things he does is he goes back to pivotal times. Maybe 2008, maybe the 90s something big happened and he says this was the news that day. And you wouldn’t have known the import of what was happening historically, you just wouldn’t have known it. Really? So it’s hard for us to not be distracted by the superficial and then, keep going deeper and deeper.

Michael: Really? It’s hard. 

Rob: I think social media has taken that to a new level. I’m with you I know what you mean about being very visual. I don’t have enough time to read anymore. I listen to a lot of books. So when I’m on the dog walk, when I’m cooking or something I’ll have on a book or when I go to the gym, so I’ll get through quite a few audio books.

Rob: Last book or the book before last was I read Rebel Ideas, Matthew Syed. I don’t know if you’ve come across it. It’s brilliant book and it argues a lot of the points that I want to argue about diversity of thinking. It’s not just everyone having to say, but it’s about the [00:02:00] sources of diversity of thinking that are important.

Rob: So a book like that, I then have to go back to on Kindle and start making bits out. A good book, I’ll read twice. I deliberately didn’t look at news for a long time. This is strange because I’ve just downloaded the telegraph app because my daughter’s about to start in working there. She’s a journalist. 

Michael: Okay. 

Rob: And she’s starting there on Monday and she is because we were we’re the gap between her finishing uni and settling in and we may have gone away, but one of the reasons she didn’t want to was she went to the vote And she hadn’t sorted out a postal vote and she said, no, I can’t complain if I can’t vote.

Rob: Yeah. Yes, so she is, I can’t remember what my point is, but yeah, I, so my belief has always been, the first time I ever voted was, when my daughter was 18, she wanted me to drop her down the station. I thought I’m here. I might as well vote. Because I’ve never felt that I’ve always felt that the internal narrative [00:03:00] I have has far more impact on my life than any politician.

Rob: And I think that’s the landscape that we navigate. And I never felt like one vote made much of a difference. But it does to you, it does to you, Rob. Yeah, but I always felt I suppose I feel like looking at the news and, voting, that kind of thing first of all, I’ve never really fitted into any establishment.

Rob: I started school and disagreed with the idea of it and never really fitted into an organization. 

Michael: Yeah. 

Rob: But I’ve always felt what happens is down to me. There are situations, I could be in a concentration camp, I could be in prison, I could be in a country where I don’t have a say, but I’m a great believer in Viktor Frankl’s quote that the last of our freedoms is our freedom to choose.

 I scan the headlines. I look for anything interesting half of it’s news half of it’s football, and just to see what’s going on. But I’ve always felt it was much more important my actions, my choices and how I navigate within the landscape that everyone else I [00:04:00] feel has power over.

Michael: I completely agree. In terms of the Frankl thing, I think of it like a row of dominoes dropping, we hold power over the last domino, whether we choose it, even if we were in front of a firing squad right now, you’ve got a choice, you can accept it. I’ll say sod you mate. There’s a bit in the wonderful film Breaker Morant where Edward Woodward plays, it’s a true story from the Boer War, and he’s getting shot with his mates that, before firing squad and it’s completely unfair.

Michael: The whole thing’s been rigged. He’s a political scapegoat. Totally. And he just holds out and he says, shoot straight you bastards. So he’s not accepting it. He’s got, what is it Hemingway said, a man can die, but not be defeated. I think both can happen, but he chooses he’s dying, but he’s not going to be defeated.

Michael: He’s just saying, to hell with yet. He’s not blaming the firing squad. They’re just doing their job, but he’s just saying. The whole thing’s a load of crap, basically. So yes, we all do hold that final domino. I feel a lot of people feel that they don’t hold any dominoes at all. Have you come across learned helplessness?

Michael: It came from the [00:05:00] concentration camps, really. Marty Seligman’s. Yeah, a lot of work in that. And because obviously a lot of American psychologists were Jewish, escaped Eastern Germans in the 30s. They spent a lot of time in the 50s trying to think, how the hell did this happen?

Michael: Trying to understand what we now think of as social psychology. But I think nowadays a lot of people have, It’s not the same learned helplessness, but it’s a type of learned helplessness where they feel what’s the point in voting? Politicians are all the same. There’s nothing I can do. And I think it’s very important to combat it.

Michael: One way I do it very simple way is picking up litter. I know it sounds silly, but if you pick up litter, it’s a tiny little thing. But it is making a change, albeit minuscule in the world, but it is reinforcing the feeling that you can actually make a change no matter how tiny. You have a choice whether to pick it or not pick it up.

Michael: You’ve got that choice. Similarly, if you see say a guy who’s just sitting there begging and you say hello, it’s acknowledging his humanity. Whether you give them money or whether you don’t, or give them a sandwich is another issue. But just [00:06:00] saying hello makes a big difference because those people feel that they’re in a bubble and They’re dehumanized.

Michael: They don’t even exist as people any longer, really. If you go out canvassing or something, it’s pretty easy to feel like a non person quite quickly, really. So I think these tiny little actions that we can do are a way of us saying, I reject learned helplessness. I’m in this world. I can make a difference, however small.

Rob: Yeah. I suppose I never felt helpless. I just felt that it was under my control. I felt the largest part I could control, but I think your point about picking up litter, I think it was Rudy Giuliano when he was first, was it New York? Oh, was it? Yeah. I’m not sure if it was him, but he made a huge difference and it was by clearing up the graffiti in New York and it had a dramatic difference on crime figures on lots of things. It was explained by when people saw, graffiti, they saw litter. They thought, oh, it doesn’t matter. This is what you do. That becomes the norm.

Michael: Yeah, it does. 

Rob: [00:07:00] And once it was cleaned up and people saw that everywhere that we were having pride in it, people started taking pride in their environment. And then that became the norm. It goes back to the Kitty Genovese study, where Along those lines where, Kitty Geneveve was a case where someone was being raped and murdered.

Rob: Lots of people in the neighborhood heard her screams for hours. And everyone assumed someone else was gonna take action and no one did. And she was killed. And it was prolonged over four, eight hours or something that anyone could have stepped out and helped, but because everyone else thought, Oh someone else will deal with it.

Michael: Yeah, 

Rob: no one did. I’m trying to remember but that came out of the social psychology. I see that we have a shared. Love and we began from psychology. 

Michael: Oh, I did have a vexed relationship with it and probably always I mean I used to be a psychologist So it’s just hand off. Excuse me.

Michael: Oh god I’ll tell you my own little experience, but I’ve been more really more interested in yours I did experimental psychology as a first degree. Long time ago. I completely [00:08:00] disagreed with it Really, not with experimental psychology, but the take then from psychology, I’m going a long way back to the seventies now, because I’m very old.

Michael: Psychology, what I did was then regarded as part of biological sciences, kind of biology, really. So it wasn’t about people. It was just about kind of physiological processes, really. It was very reductionist, very behaviorist, and in my view very silly, really. And I just thought this whole thing’s bonkers, but psychologists went along with it for careerist reasons.

Michael: They wanted to be taken respectably. They wanted to be seen as a science. So they based themselves on Newtonian physics, which was great apart from the fact it was about 70 years out of date with quantum mechanics. So because they saw physics as the most respectable of the sciences and psychology is the youngest they were basing that they were trying to suck up to a model that didn’t exist. It was obsolete, shall we say, really. So I disagreed with it. 

Michael: I felt physically ill after doing psychology. I didn’t read another psychology book for about seven years. And when Isaac’s book, if you said at the time to [00:09:00] psychologists, I’m studying because I’m interested in people, they would literally laugh at you.

Michael: They would laugh at you and put you down. They were really horrible. They said, no, it’s not about that. It’s about scientific study of behavior and stimulus response behavior, really. There was nothing more. There was no Shakespeare. There was no Aristotle. Forget those guys. We’re studying behavior.

Michael: And then seven years later, Isaac, who was regarded as the chief psychologist, put a book out saying psychology is about people. And I thought, you hypocrite. You flaming hypocrites, you’ve gone along this line and then you’ve just jumped to something else. What? So anyway, that was psychology version one for me.

Michael: I went out and ran a small business and got into all that stuff and then I sold my business, went to business school. I had two years out that I could Learn and reinvent myself and stuff. So the first year was business school. And the second year I did a thing in organization development, which is by organizations going through change.

Michael: That was started by a bunch of people who were like me 20 years older. They being dissatisfied with psychologists, psychology in the [00:10:00] late fifties and early sixties. They’re Americans. And they’d wanted to go much deeper and they’d also wanted to address real world issues.

Michael: Because I thought what’s the point if the world’s full of people, if psychology is about people, then shouldn’t we be looking at things in the real world? So those were my two experiences of academic psychology. Unfortunately, the master’s degree is a bit of a waste of time. It was far too theoretical, really, but once I left that and went out and actually was doing organization development, then, like you, it was looking.

Michael: It was saying, how do we make organizations better? How do we make the world better? How do we help people lead more fulfilling lives? How do I manage my relationship with myself? The more real world it got, the more I switched on to it. But of course, to understand the real world, we need concepts.

Michael: So we’re constantly going through this. Anyway, so that was my, tell me about yours, please. I hope it was happy or wrong. 

Rob: I went as a mature student because I’d. It’s a good 

Michael: thing to do. 

Rob: Fought my way against academic study. Never worked at it. and basically [00:11:00] chose subjects. 

Rob: I started A levels with economics, English and maths. 

Rob: And the maths for some reason, the two teachers were teaching the same side and it was all about graphs and it’s very precise and I’m not precise. And I didn’t like drawing graphs and things like that. So I skipped out of maths for politics. And then I got to the end of the year economics.

Rob: And I realized I, I was going to have to work at economics. So I switched to business studies, which was much simpler. I was able 

Michael: to much more interesting as well to me in my mind. 

Rob: Yeah. So I was able to bluff through that. But I, I didn’t want to go to university. So I went out, I did the gym for six years and then later went to uni.

Rob: By then my first daughter was born. So I didn’t want to move about. So I decided late and just went, I just closed the business down and went to, the local university. So it, I couldn’t do a straight psychology but it was mixed with sociology. It was modular. And it also had some business modules, which I’d be interested to hear your take on that because so I was doing psychology and I was [00:12:00] doing sociology and I got that.

Rob: It was all the theories, the studies and that was easy to put together. And then I was sat in business and I was like, There’s no rigor to this. Where’s the studies? Where’s they just talked about general theories and not doing a lot of business, but doing mostly psychology and sociology.

Rob: How do you do this? There, there’s no evidence. Where’s the research? This is just talking about theoretical. I struggled with that. I would have hated to have gone and done an earlier degree like psychology earlier. I didn’t like the behaviorism. I didn’t like Freud.

Rob: I didn’t like any of those. There was still quite a bit at my time on personality differences and, perception, attention and intelligence, which seemed to be more political, because there was a history of eugenics in America, based on the intelligence quotient of cretin, moron and all that kind of thing.

Rob: There were, there just seemed to be vehement arguments against intelligence being genetic when [00:13:00] the evidence was overwhelmingly that it probably was largely determined by genetics. So I wasn’t so keen on psychology, but I loved social psychology. I love the stuff about, we’ve talked about pro social behavior, relationships.

Rob: But again, there wasn’t a lot on relationships. This was in the mid to late nineties. Yeah. So I think it was 99 to 2002. So there wasn’t so much like the Gottmans. It was Steve Duck, I remember was the man, mainly about relationships, but it wasn’t that well developed.

Rob: And Martin Seligman was just becoming the president and he just come out with authentic happiness and a few years before, before Mihaly Csikmentahali had, published Flow. So it was a great time. I looked at psychology and when it came to dissertation, everyone was looking at, crime and alcohol and mental health.

Rob: And I was like these are the ways that people are broken, but where’s the North star that we’re heading for. If we don’t know how to make better, the ideal life. Where are [00:14:00] we going for? And I was quite lucky because the only previous thing was in the fifties. There was someone had done about optimal living.

Rob: I can’t remember his name, but now suddenly there was a whole batch of positive psychology developing. And so I was able to study that, which then became my focus. I did think about doing a master’s or going on, but I looked at Even then the most dominant Narrative that’s or impact that psychology had was like behaviorist theory.

Rob: It was just starting to get into evolutionary. And that looked like an interesting area. But there wasn’t enough of the social. Also, I didn’t feel like being an academic, in psychology would make any impact. I thought it would be 30, 40 years later that any, anything you found would filter down into the general, and that didn’t fit.

Rob: I felt more like a balance of taking risks of not being evidenced, but. Using intuition, and pragmatism to would be more [00:15:00] impactful. 

Michael: I completely agree with that. That’s the take that I took in my management books. It was saying, look, these are concepts drawn from experience. I think they’re useful.

Michael: They’re not scientifically tested, but, the chance of doing harm is very minimal, give them a go. That was very much my take, really, but I’m saying I’m not an academic. They’re not scientifically tested, but in my experience, they really do work in practice.

Michael: Give them a go. And people seem to respond pretty well to that. So that’s totally up front and honest with them really. Cause the converse, I’ll tell you what the converse is. The converse is stuff that works in the lab that doesn’t work in the real world. That’s the converse. 

Rob: So much research is basically done on students. And we talked in another podcast. I know Paula had a lot to say about a lot of people are selling companies on evidence based approaches and the evidence is very shaky.

Rob: And it hasn’t been properly researched. It’s just taking a statistic and applying that.

Michael: It does feel that kind of evidence based is the new logo to stick on stuff these days. I’d say evidence based [00:16:00] on certain evidence, found in a certain way, to a certain degree. For instance, years ago, there was a particular, Psychology company specializing in psychometric, psychological tests, psychometrics.

Michael: They were British based and they went into the U. S. And they were going to like totally revolutionize things over there. See how that one works guys. They got a bunch of high powered sales guys and ladies out to sell their programs and their tests. And they created a test for these people to work out who’d be the best at doing it.

Michael: Sounds good? They were the masters of psychological testing. They were the boys. They were getting a test for their own people. Result, crash and burn. Egg all over face. Learn some humility guys, learn some humility. I won’t name the company, but it was regarded as the gold standard at the time. I don’t know what they did afterwards and recovered.

Michael: Hopefully they sat down and had a good long look at their own arrogance. I find this again and again, there’s a kind of an arrogance. I got taught psychological testing by a lovely man called Dennis Child, who was then ranked number five in the world, because they all ranked [00:17:00] themselves, and he was number five.

Michael: He was number five. And he was so humble. I, what I remember from Dennis was his humility, but a lot of times from psychologists and others of their ilk, I don’t get any humility, really. And if there’s no humility, there’s usually complacency and then arrogance. And then, of course you’re looking for confirmation bias and ignoring the rest.

Michael: One gets a bit iffy. 

Rob: Yeah, you can look at gravity and gravity is pretty universal. The sun’s going to rise tomorrow, but it still isn’t proven. There’s going to be one day, one example where that’s not going to work. And for something as foundational as that, when you get something that’s so much more variables involved, All you’re really dealing with is probability, and you can get more probability. But that’s all you can do. It’s like the election. Polls are notoriously, flawed. 

Rob: There’s so many reasons when you’re dealing with people, that you can get patterns and you can build up enough intuition. You can build up enough of a knowledge [00:18:00] base that you have more probability, but in the end, all you can ever have is probability.

Michael: Yeah. That’s it. Cool. I’ll tell you a fun example of another, another incident in my career. I, before I’d gone to business school, I’d run this tiny little cleaning company in Sheffield. And after doing the business school and the masters, I got a job at what was then, I’ll not mention that they don’t exist any longer, but they were the quote unquote, the oldest management consultancy in Europe.

Michael: They were based in Knightsbridge, number one Knightsbridge row, Knightsbridge House, number one, the establishment. So I’d arrived. This little kid from the back streets of Sheffield, he’s arrived. Anyway they brought me in And it was a kind of an odd recruitment. I said, I’m not really sure about joining you guys.

Michael: It wasn’t a ploy. I wasn’t sure. And the more I wasn’t sure, the more they wanted me, which I should have thought was a bad sign. But anyway, but they were developing a concept called competency analysis. The word competency we use really, that’s where it comes from.

Michael: There’s a guy called Richard Boyatzis. He had a book about it, which was even there. Don’t worry. Don’t try to read it. Even they admitted it was unreadable and need to be [00:19:00] rewritten. It’s unreadable. But basically his notion of competency and he’s been this nice into emotional intelligence. He fled the stage years ago, but at the time they were selling this evidence based And this is in the 80s.

Michael: This was rigorous and their competencies they were like atoms of behavior of atoms of managerial behavior, managerial atoms, really. I can’t even remember what they were now, but it was like they discovered the atoms of managerial behavior and skills. Managerial skills, really.

Michael: It was rigorous. They threw all these tests, blah, blah, blah. But the whole thing was a crock of crap. for instance, they showed me, I think they had 52 transcripts of interviews and I think I knew that there were two outstanding performers and these were project managers In British Airspace, I think.

Michael: And they told me there were two outstanding guys and the rest were okay. And I speed read the transcript and said, it’s those two guys, it’s Carl and William. And they said, but you can’t possibly know, you don’t understand the competency model. I said, don’t have to, I can just tell. And they, and I also said they’re successful for completely different reasons as well.

Michael: [00:20:00] William’s really cognitive and Carl’s just, he won’t give up. It’s really that. This whole evidence based thing was just a crock, basically, and I didn’t believe in it, which put me in a very embarrassing position in the company. They asked me to leave in the end! But, 40 years on, we were left with a horrible word, competency, which is really a skill, it’s nothing else, it’s just a skill.

Michael: But the whole atom, the whole basis of managerial atoms, that’s just gone. That didn’t exist because life’s not like that. The reality of management is a mixture of psychology, sociology, business theory, and just the hell of real life of people doing stuff. And I think the best we can do is look at it with different lenses, different frameworks, different concepts, and look for patterns and say hey, guys, this is the best we can do.

Michael: Does this stuff help really? Do the products I’m devising help you? And if they do wrong with them, if they don’t leave them alone, really, that’s all you can do. That’s all I can do. So anybody can do really. So the whole academic side of things. Nowadays in academia, it’s publish or perish.

Michael: They’ve got to [00:21:00] get research papers on it. Are they really adding to the weight of management knowledge? I would say not in terms of useful knowledge, really. So I’d say what people like you are doing and lots of other people on LinkedIn that I see is actually helping people far more, I would, that would be my view, than what comes out of most academic institutions.

Michael: Sorry, academics? 

Rob: Yeah, it seems a field that seems a little outdated, the model. 

Michael: Yeah, thanks. 

Rob: I’m wondering is the young boy running around in Sheffield from, tiny to going to do psychology, What led you to that and what was the appeal?

Rob: What was the promise? 

Michael: I’ll tell you exactly because I was in Sheffield in my 20s. I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1950s. We lived in a little cul de sac outside Belfast, four and a half miles outside Belfast, and there were mum and dad and two kids.

Michael: So it was like a nuclear family, middle class, respectable, nice, great. How good could it get? 

Michael: But the reality, dysfunctional family, dysfunctional neighborhood, dysfunctional society. My parents were good people, but they were unhappily married. My sister loathed me because I was a [00:22:00] threat to her, really.

Michael: And the neighbors wouldn’t speak to us because we were the wrong religion. Crock of crap, basically, so I grew up in that I grew up being a pariah being a victim of racism, just because I was the wrong religion, guys. Obviously, when you grew up in this you’re in it, because we’re in our experiences until we find ways of conceptualizing them making sense out of them.

Michael: So I was in my experience I grew up in it. And when I got into my teens I was. very academically bright. I’m not now, but I was then. It’s very bright. I’m not now, but I was then, but in my teens, obviously I started to probably like you and many people. I started to critically evaluate the world I was growing up in really.

Michael: But at that time, Northern Ireland was just blowing up into violence and I escaped. I ran away to England. So I suppose I instinctively wanted to understand people because it seemed to me that the society I grew up in, it just exploded, almost literally exploded.

Michael: So I wondered that, what’s going on really, what’s going on. But of course I shouldn’t have gone to university when I did, I was [00:23:00] too young and all those things. You did the right thing going as a mature student, Rob, you really did. You get far more out of it. When I went back to business school seven years after I graduated from psychology, I was a different person.

Michael: I was a completely different person. I was able to study, think, get value, critically evaluate, all those things. 

Rob: Yeah, you have a bit of experience to judge against. 

Rob: So I’m curious, that sounds quite a tough childhood growing up. And I’m wondering how that impacted you, in terms of your character and because it’s those kinds of experiences that shape how we see the world or how we react to the world.

Michael: They used to have this exam, the 11 plus, and I did it like a year early. I’d just turned 10. After doing that, I got sent off to boarding school and I was the youngest kid in the school and I got bullied. And it’s only in the last few years I realized the effect of that bullying, which was quite, it wasn’t that, as bullying goes, it wasn’t that bad, but it, whatever.

Michael: If I met those guys again, words would be exchanged, shall we say. They definitely would. [00:24:00] So I was this like shy, nerdy little kid, and then I got into climbing, rock climbing. And the first day I spent in the mountains when I was 14, I was out for 14 hours on my own and I didn’t see a single soul all day.

Michael: There was nobody else there. And I got in way over my head, totally over my head, and by probably hours eight to 10, I should have died basically. But I survived. And I think looking back now, that was when that shy. nerdy kid, some other persons, started to emerge in him, really. And over the next 10 years climbing, I probably should have died.

Michael: I’ve saved several people’s lives. I saw lots of my friends die, tons of them. And I’ve known over 50 climbers who’ve died climbing sort of thing, really. So it’s a lot, really. You’d have to be a combat veteran to know That number of people, really. So that was a very harsh world to grow up in, really.

Michael: So I think that probably changed me as well, really. From being this shy, bookish, nerdy kid to just having to survive, really. Just having to survive. 

Rob: Given that it’s something so dangerous, what [00:25:00] was the appeal of climbing? 

Michael: Oh, wow. Just goose pimples. Because when you’re in the moment, you’re in the moment.

Michael: You’re living. There’s a, oh, what is it? What’s the quote? What’s the quote? To be in the wire is life. The rest is just waiting. From the Carl Willender. There was a high, tightrope act back that they had. There was a family in the fifties called the Flying Wilendas. The whole family, they virtually all died in the wire.

Michael: But the original guy Carl Wilendi said, to be in the wire is life, the rest is just waiting. That was it, when you’re absolutely, when you’re giving it some, whoa, you feel alive. You just feel alive. I was bad at games, but if you’re good at football, I had a, I knew a guy at school, lovely guy, and he died, sadly died of cancer last year.

Michael: And when he, when Frank was on the field, you didn’t watch, you didn’t watch anybody else. You watched him. He was in it. He was there. So he probably felt the same with me as football. So you must, there must be things like that with you, Rob. There are with everybody. Yeah, 

Rob: I suppose football for me when I was a kid.

Rob: Up until a teenager, it was just playing football and I was lucky to be part of a great team that we had a [00:26:00] lot of success. 

Michael: But you must’ve felt those moments when you just you’re going for it and it’s just, you’re there, you’re in, you’re so in the moment.

Michael: This is, these are golden moments. 

Rob: That was a great time when we had that, but we also had some success where we were in, I don’t know if they still run it, but it used to be a police metropolitan five sides. I remember getting to the final of that. It being so pressured and so much nerves that you didn’t want the ball.

Rob: I suppose that’s the point that really determines the players who make it and those who don’t that we weren’t ready for, or I wasn’t ready. I don’t think most of our team were ready for pressure. So there was a point where it was right.

Rob: We loved it. Just being in that, I don’t know, it’s just playing for fun. It was just scoring goals, winning by 15 goals and that. So that was the time on, I suppose later on I got into boxing and I never really got into boxing for long enough.

Rob: My friend and I, we were like a couple of years boxing, whereas there were a couple just. about a year older than us. One was going for the ABA title. He later [00:27:00] became British, champion at his weight. And they’d been like seven or eight years. So we could never be at that level.

Rob: But the feeling of one week you’d go in and you’d be winning. And the next week you’d come out and you’d be battered and you’d just come home just with a headache and had to sleep it off. I suppose that was another time with that. But you clearly found something, that was More longer lasting.

Michael: Yeah, it’s lasted nearly 60 years. I, climbing has changed massively. It’s become more, far more mainstream. It’s become safer. When I did it, it was for misfits and outcasts and outsiders, really. That was the climbing world. People who didn’t fit into the normal world. And those people are still there.

Michael: I’m still there but, I live on Portland. It’s a huge climbing area. 

Michael: I live in a huge climbing area and I’m partly responsible for developing it. I’m the second most prolific developer. But most of the people there, their values are totally different. To them, it’s like they start in climbing gyms and it’s quite narcissistic. It’s about photographs. It’s about showing up on Instagram.

Michael: Whereas to people of my generation, it’s about the [00:28:00] experience. You don’t really talk about it to people, really. You 

Rob: just don’t. My daughter and her boyfriend, they were in Sheffield. They got into climbing, bouldering, they call it. 

Rob: My girlfriend’s daughter is, she worked for a while in bouldering. Her and her boyfriend, and they go down to the Peak District, then they go to Lake District, they go all over climbing, very much into it. And then younger one, maybe two are quite into it, but more at the climbing club.

Rob: It definitely seems to be something that’s becoming much more popular. 

Michael: It is. Bouldering, when climbing changed into something called sport climbing in the 80s and 90s, which was much safer, and then it changed again into bouldering, where you go up with your pads and it’s just a few feet high.

Michael: Although interestingly the, there’s a huge spread of accidents now with bouldering, because it feels safe. People Don’t pay as much attention as they perhaps should do, really. They fall badly, it can be. But objectively, it is the safest form of climbing that exists. It really is safe.

Michael: It’s a funny one. I was just thinking back to your, when you said about not wanting to, not [00:29:00] wanting the ball sort of thing in the final. Have I Yerkes Dodson performance curve at all? Because I drive people crazy about it. 

Rob: The name seems familiar, I think I’ve heard it, but if you explain it.

Michael: Just a quick, because this might be of use to people. Given I’m, have been bitterly critical of psychologists, it actually is one of the oldest laws in psychology, and it’s It’s really useful. It’s basically a curvilinear relationship between, I’ll call it arousal, but the arousal very quickly becomes anxiety and performance really.

Michael: So at the bottom of nought will be no anxiety, no arousal, no performance, because we’re asleep. And at the end, there’s no performance but there’s massive anxiety because we cracked up at some sort of thing. But basically If you think of it as doing exams, I used to know a lot of people that got really freaked out about exams, and they’d be up working all the night before and all that stuff, and that when they went into an exam, there were just a bunch of nerves.

Michael: On the kind of arousal thing, or the anxiety thing by this time, they were getting close to the peak. So once the exam [00:30:00] started, they tipped down the other, their performance would just start to drop like a stone, really. Basically it says that You get top performance with medium arousal.

Michael: People don’t win Olympic medals when they’re half asleep. They’re focused, but it’s the right kind of focus, really. What happens to most people is they’re fighting their nerves. You see this like in Wimbledon finals when it goes against people, they’re fighting their nerves, really. So they’ve got hyper arousal, but the performance is dropping.

Michael: Now the people who win don’t go down that thing. I remember watching oh gosh, who’s that Swiss guy who’s the best tennis player of all time? Federer. Federer, sorry. I hardly ever watch, my partner loves tennis, but I hardly ever watch him. But I think I saw one match ever, and he was obviously having a bad day against a good opponent, and he was just being broken down.

Michael: And I remember thinking, nah, he, he can’t come, but he was close to the end. I thought, most people would have just given in, but he didn’t. And he just stayed in the game, just, and then he fought back, and he won. To me that’s the difference, that’s what makes champions, really.

Michael: He probably didn’t have to win that, It wasn’t [00:31:00] that important. It was to him. Top performers become very good at staying in the low arousal state and visualising what they’re doing. And then they know once they’re into the exam or into the match, into the final, you’re not going to fall asleep.

Michael: Then you’re going to wake up. And then they’re in that peak performance state. And then they drop back again. There’s a style of climbing called redpointing, which is longer than bouldering. And you have to master this to be a good redpointer. You have to be super relaxed. The minute you leave the ground, you either do it or you fall off.

Michael: There’s no injury, you’ll get injured. You shouldn’t. Some people they will take a hundred falls to achieve. Some people, maybe more, really. You can climb for 40 meters and fall off in the same place again and again. So it can be. It can be soul destroying, really.

Michael: So you have to be super relaxed before you start. I’ve seen so many climbers beaten before they leave the grind. Now you can apply that to boxers, you can apply it to tennis players, you can apply it to people at work. 

Rob: That’s really interesting. I never tried at school but academic just suited [00:32:00] me maths and English were my strong points.

Rob: So I never really had to work at primary school. I got through school, whole of school without doing any work by focusing on subjects that with general knowledge and being able to be literate and being able to do math that I could get through. Anything like science, I couldn’t do because science requires detailed knowledge.

Rob: And I wouldn’t pay that much attention. I couldn’t do languages. I always knew from a very young age, I went into exams and I was like, I’m going to do this and I looked around and I saw and it doesn’t matter, how much someone knows I’m looking around and I’m knowing that everyone is going to pieces from nerves.

Rob: I never felt any nerves going in. Yet later, the only time I did study was at uni. At uni, I got the best marks in exams. I got a first in every exam, I think. But I never got a first in my degree because in the essays, used to say you got to show your thinking.

Rob: I said, I am showing my thinking. They said, no, you’ve made leaps and you haven’t shown one. I said, [00:33:00] no, I’m showing my thinking. But they would say, no, you’ve made leaps. I could know the answers. So I could get the exams, but I couldn’t explain it as well. I wasn’t able to, I think I thought differently.

Rob: And so that’s been a perennial theme for me that I find it hard to explain what’s in my head sometimes. So I can see a clear line. 

Michael: But leaps are how we progress. 

Rob: That’s what I thought. They would say no, you’ve got to show this, and they said you’ve made a leap.

Rob: I never mastered it. So that was, Something that I never really was able to get my head around. I can see a clear line from the exams. I had no pressure when I played football. I loved football. But what I loved more than winning or losing was, running down the wing and knowing that I could go past someone and knowing that sometimes I would just do it for fun, go back and back, it was the dribbling, and then when it got to that point on the five a side.

Rob: Where you’re really playing against good players and it became so much pressure with a big crowd and that [00:34:00] watching it, that took the fun. It wasn’t playing anymore. It wasn’t playing around. It was about getting the result. And then when I think, and I apply that, your graph to boxing.

Rob: Boxing was all about overcoming anxiety. It’s terrifying to step into the ring for the first time. And there’s a huge curve of being able to overcome that. And then when I think about, I did martial arts and the martial art. I got on best with was the one that directly taught you about fear? Because I was in a lot of karate and I didn’t like any of those kind of very, traditional martial arts because they Were you 

Michael: in like shotokan or something like that in karate? 

Rob: Yeah, I think it was. I basically did it because I wanted my daughters to have some kind of self defense. And I, so I went with them, but it didn’t seem real. There was nothing about it that felt that it was, had any application outside.

Rob: It was training for a dojo for specific moves. What happens, I think to a lot of people who’ve done something like Karate, unless they’ve done 10 [00:35:00] years and really mastered it, what they do is they get a false confidence because they know what’s coming. And when it’s applied and someone isn’t coming at them in the same way first of all, the fear means that they lose the micro muscle movement they lose their calmness and so they’re not able to replicate the same things.

Rob: This martial art taught by directly teaching you to deal with fear. And it worked on making you scared, making you learn to recover from, being winded and those kinds of things. So yeah, I can see a real application, for that graph. And I think tennis, when you mentioned tennis and golf, haven’t played a lot of tennis, but I’ve played golf.

Rob: Golf’s quite a difficult game to learn, but once you learn, you can get around the course. And from then, often you don’t get much better because of the tension. So I remember playing with my friends and we used to have little tournaments and that. And when you started winning, it was, it would get into your head and you’d be, and then you’ve got [00:36:00] to just be able to putt or chip it in.

Rob: And the nerves would mean that you just couldn’t do it. I’m sure that’s applicable, in all fields. And I think in business, someone, when they’re coming to make a sale, when someone’s making a presentation and in that real pressure, it’s going to affect their ability to perform.

Michael: Yeah, it will totally. It does, it absolutely does. People go to pieces. They just gotta to pieces. But what the martial art you find in the end was the what was it by the way? 

Rob: It’s a Russian martial art. And I don’t know how much is true, but it’s basically came from they reckon it was the traditional Russian martial art, and then Stalin made it only that.

Rob: Spetsnaz units or something can do it. And so basically it came, someone came out of, one of the Spetsnaz units and moved to Canada and started teaching it. And his mentor from, was a colonel in. Russian Army, who, and then there’s different factions of them and they’ve split off Yeah.

Rob: Because they were 

Michael: split. Yeah. 

Rob: It’s very based in [00:37:00] orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, religion, and the principles of that, of, don’t destroy the man, but destroy their aggression. . And it’s got some, the pragmatism of military of do the least being able, it’s not being able to fight, compete for a gold medal, but being able to survive when you’re injured.

Rob: That kind of thing. There’s no belts, which I found the belts systems, which is like a Westernized version of martial arts, which is just basically a money making thing. I left karate when we had this fifth dan or something come down and he was performing and he was berating everyone and it was like a television performer, but everyone passed.

Rob: How can you shout at people, tell them, look, I’m so much better than you. And yet you pass everyone. Some exams, the tests don’t have much validity unless someone fails. 

Michael: No. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 

Rob: But yeah, so it’s just, it didn’t seem much point. 

Michael: I think it is now quite, I did Shotokai for a few years, but then I just went back to climbing.

Michael: I prefer climbing more [00:38:00] and when we when we went up a grade in a belt, you just used to dye your belt. So you started with a white belt and you dyed it, but now you, people buy new belts and the money that goes into it. Passes hands. It’s my God, really, because the original notion was that you would start with a white belt.

Michael: You would end up go to a black belt and then got the dan grades. Because you washed it so much your black belt would end up pretty much white. So the notion was you would come back. The notion is that white belt was a complete beginner. So if you did karate for 30, 40, 50 years with the same belt all the time, that belt would just get so old and so frayed it would go from black to white again, or pretty white.

Michael: So the notion was you were just, you were still a beginner. That was the notion. So the original principles were in many ways, wonderful, not applicable to fighting on the street, but in many ways, wonderful. But it seems that it’s become commoditized. Climbing has become commoditized and virtually everything’s become commoditized.

Michael: And once you commoditize something, you just rip that soul straight out and it’s a money maker machine. 

Rob: Yeah. It’s a bit like [00:39:00] going on holiday. You can go on holiday to a place that’s unspoiled and have a lovely experience. And then you go back a few years later and it’s a tourist area and it’s just about taking money from you.

Rob: I’ve, we’ve become distracted in, in, in so many fascinating topics, but I would really like to make sure that we cover your journey.

Rob: So if you could tell us a little bit about that journey from, so you’ve covered a little bit of it, but from psychology to the organizations and the work that you do now. 

Michael: When I went to business school, when I did the first one, I went back into education. It was brutal. There were 37 people started the course, 11 people finished. I came second. I would have come first. No, I wouldn’t have come first. I couldn’t understand IT. The person who came first was an IT manager for British Telecom, but he was brighter than I was.

Michael: But what was obvious to everyone was that Alan was super bright, but I seem to have some sort of kind of finesse or maverick ability that other people didn’t really. This is in the 80s, so I’d probably be I was looking at bigger pictures because in the end, back then it was like a military academy, really.

Michael: And the notion was [00:40:00] that if you’re a successful manager, you could spend Friday on the golf course because it’d all be done. There’d be nothing to do. And I thought geez, I don’t want to spend Friday on a golf course, don’t want to. So this got me into change, the notion of change and how organizations could be better.

Michael: I asked the guy who ran the business school and was an ex management consultant. I said what are management consultants doing? He said they produce reports. And I said, do they get implemented? And he said not really. No. So then this took me to change an organization development OD.

Michael: I’m actually supposed to be helping a guy with his book about organization development because he feels it has become commoditized too, really. But it was about really helping people through change processes. And I had done this for years, but it was grueling. I destroyed my health. It was nonstop work.

Michael: It was just incredibly absorbing. Trying to help an organization, not turn around an organization, but help an organization to turn itself around is just grueling. It’s incredibly skillful. You’re dealing with people at an individual level, a group level, intergroup level, all the way through the organization.

Michael: It’s like kind [00:41:00] of five dimensional chess. It’s Really hard. Anyway, I burnt out on that. And I just thought I dropped out of the corporate world, even though I was massively successful, but I would have had a heart attack. I would have died. And I prematurely wrecked my health, prematurely aged. And I dropped out and I did projects on my own.

Michael: I wrote two management books for a company called Gower and the first got me a lot of work, which is nice. And the second one was just their big success story for the next 10 years, really, which was also nice. But then I got disenchanted with publishers. The notion of a journey is that we find places and then we see the bits that are good and then we see the bits that aren’t good.

Michael: Then we leave and then we go on. And I think that will apply to me, you and many other people. It’s in our natures to constantly search, to constantly go on, really. It just is, really. I mean that SAS motto, always a little further, which comes from we’re the Pilgrim’s Master, we shall go always a little further, even to the last blue mountain.

Michael: It’s in our natures to do that, to keep going. I wrote a lot about climbing because I had a kind of reputation as a climber. I got into [00:42:00] ghost writing, helped a guy with, historical books. And then the whole management book thing was like burgeoning. And then I got into helping people get their stories out, which is what I do now.

Michael: But this is, because I meet so many people who have got great ideas. Some people have drafts, but some people have great ideas, but they haven’t spent years writing. So they need help. To get, to articulate their vision, to get it out. And I don’t want to write books for people, I want to write books with people.

Michael: Help them get their vision out. Recently I helped a guy with a book about racism. It’s at the publisher, it’s a black guy in the UK. And it was a real eye opener reading what he had to say. It was quite, Deep, we’re white guys, it was shocking.

Michael: It was like, this is what the world looks to a black guy in his 40s. This is the world, this is his struggle, really. So I think through doing these books, through helping people, these books, it also forces me into getting out of any complacency and comfort zone that I might be tempted to get in. That’s me, really.

Rob: Okay. It’s interesting you say about [00:43:00] I hadn’t really thought about that directly, but when you say we go on the journey and we find somewhere we like and then once we find somewhere we like, we find things we don’t like, because that’s very true. That’s exactly what I noticed in relationships, we get into relationships because we’re attracted to someone, we get along, everything’s wonderful.

Rob: And then people hit the bits where, they’re not getting along, where they find their differences because we connect over how are we the same. And then we reach a point where we find we’re different. And when they say they’re just not the person they were, or, I don’t know who you are anymore.

Rob: That kind of thing. And for me, the relationships, the key to relationships is the ability to deal with the conflict, which is what happens at that point. And most relationships don’t, because going back to psychology is, we don’t have a model for relationships or conflict. That is, relevant to the times we have, we are now.

Rob: So it feels like you’re someone who’s read lots of books. You’ve been seeking knowledge, and now in [00:44:00] working with people, is that a progression. Because it seems that the appeal of helping people write their books or writing books with people is In what you’re learning from that, is that your why for?

Michael: Yeah, it probably is. It’s forcing me out of any kind of comfort zone I might be tempted to get in. Because I’m like plastic baby boomer people my age, been retired for years. The hell with retiring? I ain’t retiring. No, never gonna happen. I’ll drop dead in front of the laptop and that’s just fine.

Michael: Because I’m trying to understand. That little 15 year old kid there, everybody said, wow, he shows such promise. It’s years later I’m still trying to understand the world. Because our world is, it’s in ruins. It just is, it is. So it won’t be my generation that fixes it.

Michael: We haven’t, we should have, but we didn’t. But maybe this kind of baby boomer that just didn’t give up. I’m still out there trying to make sense of it. When I’m creating new climbs on Portland, I’m giving something physically back to the world, even though it’s just a little climbing world.

Michael: So I [00:45:00] refuse to give up, Rob. I refuse to give up. That seems to 

Rob: be a theme. You’ve mentioned that a lot of times in connection with Roger Federer, with the guy, when you looked at the two transcripts the competitions. Oh 

Michael: yeah. Cool. Yeah. 

Rob: And there was, there’s been a few references. You mentioned it in connection with climbing. So never giving up that kind of resilience, grit, that seems to be a core theme for you. 

Michael: Yeah, I don’t think about it because it’s just me, it’s probably easier for you to see me than me to see me sort of thing.

Michael: But yeah, probably is. A quick tale about years ago, this I tried to learn forex trading for currency trading, really. And I got this kind of guru who was a great practitioner, but he was a terrible teacher in my view, really. And it took, and he said, most people burn out really quickly if they can’t do this.

Michael: I sat in a room for nine years to crack it. And it was like nine years out of my life, really, pretty much. And I did, in the end, I won. I just wouldn’t give it. I just wouldn’t give it. Is that dumb? Yeah, I would say it is. That’s pretty dumb. But [00:46:00] we have to be true to who we are, Rob. I wouldn’t, I would not say to anybody else, behave like me.

Michael: But it’s right for me. I won’t, I’m not giving in. I’m just not. That’s the end of it. If I was going to give in that day when I was 14 in the mountains, I would have given in and died then. And all those other years afterwards, I would have given him that. So it just becomes, you’re just, you’re the guy that won’t give in, however dumb it is.

Rob: So was that a formative decision at 14 or was that just the first example of it? 

Michael: I don’t know. That’s a really good question. I think it was just a feral thing. For instance I spent a year and a half in Liverpool with a guy he was teaching me self defense kind of thing.

Michael: And he had a huge problem with me. I just wouldn’t attack. I wouldn’t attack basically. I was great at defending, but you don’t win fights through defending. You need to attack. So if you have to, and he’d said once that if he, if you get your hand on somebody’s carotid artery, you’ve got four seconds before they black out.

Michael: One day he grabbed me by my carotid, and I was thinking four seconds. And it’s shit, we’re two down now. I was absolutely awful. I was at him. [00:47:00] Now he was he was a sixth dan at Shotokan then and loads of other things. He could have stopped, he could have chucked me out really easily.

Michael: But what he was trying to do was to allow me to access that aggression that, that will to survive in me, which we all have. And years later, somebody had done something very similar with him, a guy called Terry O’Neill, very famous guy had done it with Keith, really. So I think I would think most of us have, if not all of us have that survival.

Michael: The most dangerous killer will be a woman looking after a kid, the most dangerous killer you will ever get. Because their motivation will be a thousand percent, really. They might not be skilled, but you won’t stop, you’ll have to kill them to stop them, thing.

Michael: Maybe that day when I was fourteen, it was probably that will to survive, really. But it took me away from being the bookish child who could live in this cerebral world, really. If that makes 

Rob: sense. Yeah, it does. Okay. So there was something that you mentioned a little while ago that you’re still learning about the world.

Rob: The world is broken. It needs fixing. So I’m just what comes to mind, we’ve just had [00:48:00] an election here yesterday. If you were to stand with a mandate for a new government, What needs to change? What would you be focusing on? If it was a TED talk or a book, what would that book be?

Michael: Oh gosh! I know what the answer is, but it’s not right. It would, and this isn’t a deliberately political comment. I would focus 100 percent on neoliberalism. The definition I would give a neoliberalism is where, A government aligns itself with the markets.

Michael: Capitalism isn’t immoral, it’s perfectly moral. No it’s not immoral, but it’s amoral capitalism in itself. We’ll just keep going. The point of money to capital, the more capital. Benjamin Franklin said the point of time is to make money.

Michael: So you get some more time and you make more money and that’s fine. But where does it end? 

Michael: So Keynesian economics basically said how to split and said look, the free markets are great. Keep them free. But if we actually want. better societies, if we want, humane societies, we can’t just do that.

Michael: Government needs to be removed from this. It needs to be saying what kind of [00:49:00] world we want, really. Now, I don’t want to sound political, but in the last 40 years, we’ve gone way away from that. Neoliberalism has destroyed this country and many other countries.

Michael: And it’s not me, saying this, it’s the International Monetary Fund, it’s every man his dog saying it, really. And I think even old style conservative MPs would totally agree with me, really. So I think neoliberalism has served us ill, very ill, because Oscar Wilde said it , people know the price of everything, the value of nothing.

Michael: The whole point of neoliberalism is there is no value, there is only a price. There’s only a price. So if it’s karate saying, it’s about paying for your next black belt, that’s, it’s just a black belt progression. It’s not about the joy of a belt. It’s about the money of a belt, really.

Michael: If it’s climbing, it’s these young climbers, how much money can I make out of it? So everything comes back to money. Now I’m not saying money is not important, of course it is, but it means that things become commoditized. Education comes, becomes commoditized. Everything comes commoditized.

Michael: And it’s I think Joni Mitchell said about [00:50:00] paradise being a parking lot, we just trash it. So you go on your holiday to lovely place and it’s not that it develops, that’s fine, but it becomes trashed. So people move on so the whole world becomes trashed in every possible way. And that’s what neoliberalism does.

Michael: It reduces everything to, to just money. That’s what I would attack that notion. 

Rob: It reminds me of the tragedy of the commons. Yeah yeah where there’s common land and as soon as it becomes free to everyone, everyone is in fear of other people taking it and eventually it becomes destroyed. It reminds me, we had a discussion on AI and I didn’t really I was just taking in, the point someone made was AI is a moral.

Rob: Doesn’t care, just you give it the goal. 

Michael: It’s really amoral. It’s not neither moral nor immoral. It’s just amoral. Yeah. 

Rob: Yeah. That’s what I meant. Amoral as in it doesn’t care. You give it the goal and it will follow whatever the goal you give it. But it made me realize [00:51:00] that the dominant model we have is an economic model because once you have public companies, the only thing that matters is return on investment, which leads to short term thinking, it leads to, profits over people. And so that’s the goal post that we’re going to be giving to AI.

 AI can replicate so much quicker. That then puts us in danger because we’re not valued. Humanity isn’t valued. The only thing that becomes valued is money. And then what is the money for? Because money is only a symbol for whatever, I remember John Gottman, the relationship researcher.

Rob: He boiled down what people meant in, in arguments and discussions about money and he stopped after a hundred definitions. So money is freedom, money is security, money is safety, money is status, money is all of these things. And we’re not defining what money is, but we’re just placing money and it’s not really money that we want because money only has any meaning while we give it a meaning.

Rob: We give it meaning, as soon as, like [00:52:00] you look at Bitcoin or things like that, as soon as we change our definition of money, there could come a time when money is just left, and no one uses it anymore. And yet we’re feeding greed and just a greed for money for no other reason.

Rob: That becomes very dangerous in the context of AI. So I can see, what you’re saying is because I think the way I see it is we’re reaching breaking point because everything’s been about money and we’ve reached the time now where there’s a qualitative shift from logistical work of making mining things to Knowledge work, which is about people and we have to access more of people.

Rob: We have to access a greater level of clarity, a greater level of communication, greater level of, emotional, granularity. When we’re still making it about money, we can’t, we’re not providing the conditions that enable that. So I think politically, economically, socially, we’re reaching a breaking point in [00:53:00] society.

Rob: So I can totally agree with that. See that and agree with that finding. 

Michael: Just a silly example. In the eighties, I had a client called Alan Leaves, the Managing Director and helping the owner of an electronics plant. And the year before I met him he sold his business and he made 6 million.

Michael: His partner had also made 6 million. So Alan really was a 6 million man. So everybody thought he’d be wildly happy. 6 million was quite a lot of money back in the eighties, but he was totally miserable. His partner had a heart attack and died. He died. The new owners of the company kept him on as MD, but they hated him because he was a maverick, really.

Michael: His kids just, got spoiled by the money and his old mates just thought he’s too stuck up for us. He wasn’t. And he kept trying to put work their way and they just ripped him off. I was the only person who could understand that. It was like Alan, why wouldn’t he be happy?

Michael: He’s got the six million. No. And I was the only person that could understand that the poor guy was totally miserable. His wife lived in permanent fear that they’d lose it all, which they did in the end, sadly. And, it was just It was almost like, because he had so much, he had more to lose. It’s a bit like your game in the final, you’re at the [00:54:00] final, you got more to lose.

Michael: So everybody saw the six million is how much he got. But I think he saw it as, I’ve got even more to lose really. And he was miserable anyway. That’s just a simple, silly, but simple example of money not doing Alan. any good whatsoever at 

Rob: all. Yeah, it was one of the most surprising things when I looked at lottery winners.

Rob: A year later, most of them are more miserable. And it made me realize and really think that Money is always a problem in your life. It’s either you don’t have enough or you have some and you need to protect it. But the more that you have, the more level of worry. And like you say, you have to worry, then you’ve got, okay the, what if the banks go bust?

Rob: What if this investment fails? Where do I put it that it’s safe? Yeah, I think It’s coming to recognize that the myth of people is always once I get this thing out of the way, once I get this, and the reality is there are certain things that are constant companions in life, [00:55:00] fear, money worries, all of those, issues are just something that we have to come to terms with and navigate through all of life.

Michael: Absolutely. There’ll always be something that can give us a sleepless night. There will always be something, what good are sleepless nights? They’re no good at all. So I think exactly that people think instead of living in the moment and accepting the moment and working from the moment, even to something better, they think, when I get there, I’ll be happy when I there won’t be.

Michael: Because it’ll be another moment. And it, and we’re like, we just follow the bread trail along. But the sad thing is people waste their lives doing that, really. That’s the sad thing. So maybe that’s something that, people like you can help people with, to realize that the present moment is ultimately all you have, and all you will ever have.

Rob: Yeah, you 

Michael: can look back, you can look forward and I have, okay, you can look back, learn the lessons, that’s fine. If you live in the past, you live in the future, you’re throwing away your power. You’re just completely thrown away. You’re just thrown out the window. 

Rob: The power of now, someone should write a book on [00:56:00] that.

Michael: There you go. There you go. There you go. 

Rob: This is something I’m sure you probably come across as a book. Whenever you come up with an idea, so I moved from relationships to teams and I thought, okay, what a really great relationship is really, it’s a team.

Rob: What a great team is has great relationships. And I, so I looked at applying that to teams and I come up with this model, five step model. And then I thought, ah, I wonder who else has done that. And Patrick Lencione had pretty much, we’re pretty much similar. Mine was more focused on relationships at the beginning, and his was more on results, whereas mine was more on alliance, more as an individual journey, pretty much covered the same topics.

Michael: This is really important. So did you feel that you’d been scooped by somebody else?

Rob: A little, but I looked at what I looked at. I looked at his final one. I think he’s focused on results. And I thought, hang on, I’m doing it from an individual basis.

Rob: So I didn’t think he talked enough about trust. So I think his was trust. Yeah, his was trust, conflict, trust, [00:57:00] conflict. I can’t remember now. Three of ours were the same. But he talked about trust. I talked about relationships because I think relationships are how you build trust, whereas he said build trust, which I think you need to focus on the relationships, but he was.

Rob: His last step was focused on results. And I realized mine was a bit woolly. You develop the relationship, you bond as a team and then, but there isn’t really an output. So what it taught me was to look at see I did feel that my model was had already been done. But what it gave me was it showed me mine needed to be more focused on, okay, how did that benefit the organization?

Rob: Because that was already done, I could focus then on, okay, what’s the next stage? And then, which made me look at that. I think there are three problems, that create those, cause he talks about five dysfunctions. And I think there are three problems that create those dysfunctions. 

Rob: So where his came more from an organizational basis, mine came more from an individual. So the pathway was slightly [00:58:00] different. I don’t know what he actually does, but I think it’s from what looking at it, it looks like basically that model, whereas mine is much more about relationships and the model is how the relationships create that dynamic.

Michael: But if you look back at something like the history of scientific discovery, you will find again and again that people had similar thoughts at the same time. Oxygen was in, discovered by Lavoisier and oh, my brain’s gone. It’s that guy they wouldn’t speak to, not Cavendish wouldn’t speak to anybody.

Michael: Anyway, I can’t, is it Cavendish, Joseph Cavendish? Anyway, it was discovered by two people at roughly the same time. The periodic table was discovered by several people at roughly the same time. So it’s a nature of discovery that different people have the same ideas at the same time. And you should never feel scooped by people because you’re, Your set of concepts will always be different, they won’t be just 100 percent matched, so there’ll be strengths and weaknesses in both of yours and things you can learn from each other, and it won’t matter in any case because some people will just prefer yours and some people will just prefer [00:59:00] his.

Michael: And yeah, don’t feel like, oh God, it all got done before, it didn’t, it just didn’t. 

Rob: No, yeah, no he was like 20, 30 years before me he was In the 

Michael: scale of ideas, in the time span of ideas, 

Rob: that’s nothing. I suppose because of the work, I’ve always feel that this is what I do in these is I’m trying to get the understanding of the person, behind the profile.

Rob: So it’s because there are, lots of us doing the same thing. We’re all talking about teams and lots of people are talking about leadership. But we all do it from our own flavor. And I think it’s because of our individual, experiences, even with the same model, it’s a very different, philosophy and a very different approach, because it is shaped.

Rob: In terms of writing a book, pretty much every, you do find that there, there is like inventions, ideas are ready at the same time. And like you said, there’s so many examples of those people that come out, with something similar at the same time. 

Michael: Actually, I’ve just very quickly, I’ve just thought of an even better example.

Michael: When I wrote [01:00:00] my first business book about organizational change, and then I did another one, Which they called 50 essential management techniques. I didn’t like essential, but I’d say pretty, 50 pretty useful ones. Anyway, it was in the publication process down the kind of pipeline to be published.

Michael: This guy Malcolm, who was the editor, he’s one day sent me this clipping of a book. And I remember opening the envelope and my heart just sunk. I thought, Oh, somebody’s just written my book. It’s just come out. I thought, oh no, it was a guy that I’d heard he’d also done a previous book.

Michael: So it was his second book too. And he’s a legitimate guy. And I thought, there’s no point doing mine now. It’s just no point, just it’s busted. And then I thought it’s in the publication process. They pull things back, what are they going to do? And I thought, let them get on with it.

Michael: But I thought, it’s game over. It’s game over. I think anybody would have thought that, forget it, right? The reality is I never heard of that book again. I never heard of that book again. I hope the guy did do okay, but I never heard of it again. My book sold in 29 countries.

Michael: It’s, and it was 46 pounds a pop for a hard [01:01:00] copy. And it was eye wateringly expensive, really. It’s a long time ago, 46 quid. It sold in 29 countries. It was their bestseller for almost 10 years. They put out four competing titles. That was the way of thanking me by putting out competing titles, all four bombed.

Michael: Now, for whatever reason, I’m not saying mine was the best. I have no idea. All I’m saying is I thought I’d been scooped. I wasn’t. And they put out four competing models, none of which worked. So that’s, I don’t know any more than that, Rob. So I would say to anybody in a similar situation, Don’t give up because in that situation, I would have just, if they’d pulled it out and said, look, we don’t want to publish it, fine, understand it, just throw it in the bin, mate, throw it in the bin.

Michael: So you don’t know. Let your readership decide. That as long as people put out a book in good faith and said, look, I’m trying to help people. This is me. I’m trying to help people. It’s over to you guys. And then I would say, let the market decide, let people decide whether that’s you with your stuff or anybody else with anybody else, let them let your customers decide.

Michael: Some will like it. Just let them decide. 

Rob: So that [01:02:00] moves us into what you’re doing now. So I’m really curious about that. Could you tell us a little bit about. What is exactly that you’re doing? And the process of how that would work. 

Michael: I think first of all, I’m drawn to people who like helping people.

Michael: I think that’s the first thing. I’m drawn to people who like helping people because I like helping people. I think people like us are on a journey or are on our own journeys and helping people, helping other people is part of our journeys too. So I think there’s a natural alignment myself with kind of coaches, consultants, public speakers, people like that really.

Michael: I’m less interested in just industrialists really. I’m not uninterested, I’m less interested. Because my fundamental notion always will be, how can we make the world a better place? When I grew up in a dysfunctional family, a dysfunctional neighborhood, a dysfunctional society, the whole thing was to several levels of dysfunctionality, and it all went to pot, historically shown.

Michael: So how do we make the world a better place? And the only way we’re trapped in our experience until we get better ideas, better concepts, better lenses, really. [01:03:00] Now people have these, or they’re working on them, but they usually beset by doubts, imposter syndrome, somebody’s done it before. How do I get this out?

Michael: Is it blog posts? Is it podcasts? Is it books it, whatever? Really? And all I do is look on the book aspect of things because not that it’s it’s just different from the others, but we still take books as the gold standard. We just do ’cause they’ve been around since the Gutenberg printing press.

Michael: So I think we just do take those as a gold standard. We may not in 50 years, but we do now. So people look and think how God’s name I gonna write a book? It was easy for me because I had years and I’d done Malcolm Gladwell’s Thousands of Hours before I ever began to write my first book. I’d done all that because I wanted to be a writer.

Michael: But most people haven’t, so they struggle. So I really reject the ghostwritten novel. Sorry, the ghostwritten idea of just, doing the book like a piece of margarine, producing it. When Ronald Reagan’s autobiography came out, he said, somebody asked him, he said, I’m really looking forward to reading it.

Michael: So at least he wasn’t hypocritical, bless him. But I don’t [01:04:00] want that. To me, that’s the commoditization of books. I was talking to somebody recently, no names, no practical, but they can basically be a number one bestseller in the most prestigious newspapers on the planet.

Michael: And I don’t want to do that. Just don’t want to do it. What I do is help guide people through the process. So somebody might have started writing the book and I look at their writing and think we need to improve it, but it needs to be their personality.

Michael: So I’m rewriting it, editing, rewriting. Somebody else will talk into a microphone and I get their transcripts and we look at it. Somebody else, I’m going to interview them, but I’m trying to be a kind of like literary midwife really, bringing their baby into the world. And I don’t mind how it’s done.

Michael: I really don’t mind how it’s done. I want it to be as much of them as possible, which, from a financial point of view is wrong, because, the more of me, the more money they’re doing out of it, but I want it to be them. But my notion is that if we can bring out books into the world that really do matter, they don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be good, and they do have to be from the [01:05:00] heart, really, with good stuff in them.

Michael: Then that’s a way of helping our world to be a better place. I can’t go back into organizations now. I’m too old and I’m too tired and it would kill me. I just can’t do that work anymore. And I don’t want to do it. It would kill me. The guy with the organization development book, I mean he’s Sounds like he’s got health problems too, and because he’s been at it for 30 years, he’s done his bit.

Michael: So it’s my positioning of myself, to try and help other people, help the world to be a slightly better place. And we realize now that this applies particularly to work environments because the days of command and control have gone out the window. That’s gone forever, thank God.

Michael: When I went to work, you shut up and did as you were told. People aren’t going to do that nowadays. Why should they? Not going to work. So any kind of emotional intelligence needs to be far greater for somebody now than it was for somebody then. So there’s a lot of work for you, me, a lot of people to do.

Michael: This is a big time, Rob. 

Michael: Our world is ruined and we need to make it better. That’s our [01:06:00] mission. That’s our mission. And why shouldn’t we have businesses doing it? There’s nothing wrong in that. It’s perfectly moral to charge people money. Perfectly moral thing to do. But our mission, our journeys are about our development and our development of our world.

Michael: That’s what I think anyway. That’s what I think. 

Rob: It’s interesting that you said about your book and you said it was expensive. I look at which is because we have an idea of what a book is supposed to be. But I’ve done courses, I’ve done, All types of things, but when I will really want to learn from someone, I think a book encapsulates, if not their lifetime knowledge, at least like a decades, it’s a significant lessons and it’s the most, nutritionally dense material.

Rob: You can read on articles and we read a lot, you get headlines basically from social media or LinkedIn or whatever. But to really get an idea, you’ve got to have the idea, the branches, the roots, the trunks. And the only way you really are able to get that, or I [01:07:00] am, is through a book.

Rob: I’ll take courses that if there’s something technical and I want to be able to follow along, then a video works. But for me to change perspectives, to make those shifts so that I can understand where someone’s coming from. I think that, that takes a book. And I suppose the problem is today.

Rob: A lot of people are not willing to pay the price of investing that time. I started off that I don’t read as much because it takes that time. It’s that, in. Yeah, it’s like we have to pay the price to get the reward. And that for me, the best way of passing on knowledge. 

Michael: Yeah. A good book is a distillation of somebody’s life knowledge that, the years and years of sweat and pain have gone into this.

Michael: This guy Martin’s book of organization development, he’s been doing it for 30 years. It’s full on. I’ll tell you, every single day is full on and he’s knackered now. He may be too tired to write his book. I don’t know. I don’t want him to write it at the expense of his health. That’s for sure.

Michael: But if, and when that book comes out, [01:08:00] it’s going to be a guy on the coal face of 30 years who spent his whole life thinking about this, it’s his journey too, and it’s going to make a huge difference. If and when it comes out, it’s gonna be a huge difference to people that you are really getting a distillation, you’re getting a concentration of wisdom and experience and knowledge.

Michael: That’d be very hard to get any other way. A TED Talk. Okay. 18 minutes or whatever. But you’re not gonna get that in a, you just not, you can’t do it. We need books. We need books. And yes, they do take time to read. 

Rob: And to write, I, I. I wrote my book and I first did it, it was a series of blog posts, and then I sold it as an ebook.

Rob: And I wasn’t going to do anything with it. And it was someone who was an early customer and she was like, can I publish it? And even then when it was written, but to reorder it and to go through the whole design process and re. It’s just that I think that’s the bit about a book is the editing and the editing of regoing back.

Rob: But it [01:09:00] is a great. way, in the end you view it differently because when you’ve gone over something so much. I’m guessing, maybe it’s different when you’re working with someone else’s book than when you’re working with your own. Do you find that? Working with someone else’s book is, 

Rob: it’s a bit like there’s something too personal looking at your own because you’re looking at your own and, which is the editor has less bias than you and a fresh pair of eyes.

Rob: Okay, so the right kind of person for you is someone who has some knowledge. They’ve been on a journey and they want to share that with people. Is that right? 

Michael: Yeah, probably. But I suppose my question would be, am I the right person for them and it’s for them to decide that. But yes, from my perspective, those are the people that I’m perhaps most drawn to really, yeah. 

Rob: So your immediate question was, am I the right person for you? What I’m picking up and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you have this cookie cutter thing of, we’re going to make this book and it’s basically automated. I think that you probably look through it and find a [01:10:00] way of expressing the ideas and and structuring the ideas, and making it in the person’s own voice. It’s got to be their voice. It’s not me. It’s them. In their own voice. And but you do that hard work, is part of going through the book. Someone has to do the work. And I’m guessing that is a large part of what you do is that when you say the right person, are you the right person for them?

Rob: What distinguishes you? 

Michael: Oh, gosh. Gosh, that’s a good question. I’m different. I’m older. I probably thought about things more. I don’t regard books as commodities. I won’t just do the normal ghost writing thing. I just don’t want to do it really. So I’m definitely not for everybody. That’s for sure.

Michael: I can take people down the publishing route and, but I’m not guaranteeing I’m not going to fiddle there. That, that sort of, Best ranking. I’m just not going to do it really. That’s not what I do. All I will do is help them get their ideas out honestly and directly into the marketplace and help them to [01:11:00] market or get those ideas across their audience.

Michael: One of the things you said was that your book came out of your blog post. What I constantly say to people is that when you’re working on your books, you should be getting blog posts out. You should be putting bits of them on LinkedIn. They don’t have to be taken verbatim. We can change them around a bit.

Michael: So you need to be telling people, this is coming down the line. A lot of people I deal with just won’t do this. It drives me crazy, but they should. They should. You want your book to be a success. You need to be doing lots of little ideas going on each day with people.

Michael: So they’re getting little bit pockets of value and they’re seeing, they’re thinking it’s also marketing your book. It just is you delivering value little bits for all the time. That’s what you do in your LinkedIn posts. That’s what other people I followed do as well.

Michael: Like posts. Now there’s value coming out each day. 

Rob: Yeah, when I write on LinkedIn, it’s with an idea I’m going to see. I’m going to share an idea and I’m going to see how that in that format is being received whether it resonates or not with a view of this will later [01:12:00] become part of something else.

Rob: I haven’t been on LinkedIn as much because I just, it’s not because I don’t have the content. I could put out enough content anytime. But it’s The engagement that’s needed. And so I’m busy with other things at the moment. But I’ve been frustrated the last couple of weeks because I haven’t had the chance to write because I do the podcast this that’s twice a week.

Rob: I’ve only been on LinkedIn two or three times a week because of the time it takes, but I am getting I’m like, I want to write these ideas. Are 

Michael: you writing them down? Are you just taking heed of them? 

Rob: No I’ve got so many no, just to be 

Michael: honestly, just keep, just put a key word down so as they 

Rob: yeah, I use Apple Notes. Okay. And so many of mine come from comments. I comment on someone else’s and I’m like, oh, yeah, I need to write a post about that. And I’ve got, so I’ve got probably hundreds of idea starters that I want to write as posts and different ways of explaining things.

Rob: I feel that there’s a time when an idea comes, and you can capture a bit of it, but you have to have the right energy and be in the [01:13:00] right mood to be able to write that. 

Rob: Okay. So if someone’s looking for you to, or someone’s looking to write a book and maybe they don’t want to go through all the work themselves and they wanted to find out what that would be like and what would be involved, what would be the best way for them to reach you?

Michael: Just sent me a message. A while ago I did a little PDF called should you write a business book? And it just goes through the most typical questions people ask me, really. It saves me time and it gives them a glimpse of me, really. And the very first thing is, I’m saying, you don’t have to write a book at all.

Michael: You don’t. And people say everybody else is doing it. Fine, let them. Do your own thing, really. But if people really do want to think about a book, then these are the kind of ideas you need to be thinking about, really. For instance, just silly example, people come with revenge books, and they, that’s a bad idea.

Michael: Oh, somebody’s wronged them, and they want to get it out and print. Oh, wow. Gosh, that’s, we’re all going to be in lawsuits forever here. I get people with quite tragic stories, really often quite successful [01:14:00] people as well. Oh, people from terrible backgrounds and awful things have been done to them.

Michael: Even though they’re quite successful now. Those books can actually work because they can be like journey books that’s showing how they came to business success and what they’ve learned along the way. But people need to think very carefully about writing them because it’s going to be emotionally grueling.

Michael: For them, and for me, actually. I want people to think about things. Do you really want to do it, really? It’s going to be time, it’s going to be cost, it’s going to be a lot of effort. And you need to think, why am I doing it? There should be a return on investment. There should be. But if people don’t market their books, there won’t be because nobody will know you’ve got a book.

Michael: I’m just trying to get people to go through the basics, because with anything, it’s very often it’s the basics we get wrong. We’re so clever and so quick, and we’re so astute that we shoot past the basics, we’re sprinting down the road, but it’s the wrong road. We forgot, there’s three wheels in the car instead of four.

Michael: So I guess I start with them, just send them a little PDF. I think it’s about 10 minute read or something. It’s a few thousand words. It gives them a chance to think, do [01:15:00] I like what this guy’s saying really? Cause I’m very blunt with people.

Michael: I haven’t got the patience to sugar coat things. You want to do things fun. You don’t, that’s okay as well. 

Rob: It makes for an easier life. 

Rob: It’s too valuable to spend it on. 

Rob: We’ve reached this stage where so many people are writing books. That it’s become easier to write books. And I think a lot of people, there’s a lot of people I’ve seen, who have very shallow knowledge.

Rob: It’s not something that they’ve really done, but there’s all these gurus who are saying, you don’t need to have done this. You can still make money for it. 

Rob: I remember being in a group and it was in this group of very expensive course that basically, You could sell high priced courses or something.

Rob: I never joined it, but I was in the Facebook group that saw it and I and they would show people on their journey. And I remember this girl from, she was like very early twenties. And she was writing, I don’t know what I’m going to do. And then she’s, but she was like sharing all in public what she was doing.

Rob: And she go, Oh I’ve been on a dating site. I can give dating advice. And I remember her [01:16:00] then. Later on, wow, this process works. She said I was on a call last night with this woman. And she’s given, she’s paid me her life savings. And she’s going to pay, and she’s going to pay like a thousand pound a month.

Rob: And she basically sold for five thousand pounds, a three month coaching thing for this woman who believed that’s what she needed. To get that she was going to get in a happy relationship. Now, this girl had no basis other than the fact she’d been on dating sites. And I see this a lot where people have, Oh yeah, I’ve done that.

Rob: And they don’t really, they, because the other thing that I’ve seen is someone’s been in a. Unhappy relationship and they go, Oh, I turned my marriage around. And so you can do the same, but your circumstances were the same. And just the fact that what worked for you doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone.

Rob: It’s a bit like in in the gold rush, everyone’s selling digging equipment and whatever. And there’s so many gurus saying you can make a fortune and you don’t need to be an [01:17:00] expert, but you need to know a little, you need to have a little bit, I think mastery is important too.

Rob: But there’s so many people that are like, Oh, I’ve done this. I could do that. And never really gone through the process of figuring out what they have to teach and how it works in different, markets, which goes back to the kind of research is very specific and we can’t necessarily extrapolate from that to generalize.

Rob: And I think. There are there is a pattern of people who writing books for to sell their products but without really having the depth of knowledge, to really write a good book. 

Michael: I completely agree. I think we live in the age of the instant expert. Instant experts on everything, which is a concept I would completely repudiate, really.

Michael: For that lady taking, if it was the woman’s life savings, a huge amount of money. To me that’s not ethical doing that, really. I have no problem with high priced courses, I should say. I had a client [01:18:00] who, he charged Now it was going to go up from 5, 000 for a particular course, but it was to get a professional qualification, and over the period of somebody’s lifetime, he reckoned they’d get roughly half a million dollars more if they had this qualification than not.

Michael: And he guaranteed as long as you stuck with him, you would get it, and quickly too. No problem with Sean charging that at all. Good on the guy, because he was saying that. This will do it, really. So it’s not the money, but, it’s not the money, but the two things affordability, is it affordable to the person?

Michael: He wouldn’t have taken the life savings. He wouldn’t have touched with a barge pole. It’s got to be affordable. Are you actually going to deliver and help them get the results? And his case, he did because the guy was an ethical bloke, really. But the charge is a lot of money for, Nothing.

Rob: Yeah. The bit that really stuck, it was Christmas and she go, yay. Happy Christmas to me. I can now have a great Christmas and it was purely because she’d sold someone who she didn’t really have anything to sell. But yeah, so it’s, I, so I suppose it goes back to the, is it the Dunning Kruger?

Rob: Yeah, oh god. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. [01:19:00] The real people who really have knowledge don’t think that they have something and then a lot of the people who have nothing think they have. So I think that’s the point I’m trying to get at that. I think what you want is people who have deep knowledge, but maybe have a lot of doubt and not knowing how to market themselves.

Rob: But we’re in a world where people with so much shallow knowledge. are learning to market themselves more and more, effectively. And, often, yeah, it’s not the price of a course. It’s the value of the course. And often the high price is used as a marker, for something that isn’t worth it, but just because it has good marketing.

Michael: Totally. That there was a self development course Delphin, I think way back, late 80s early 90s and there were different levels and everybody was pushing up to the next level and it got to, I can’t remember, it was something like 45, 000. It was ridiculous. The whole thing was just a crock. I thought it was a crock.

Michael: Really? What? But it was this [01:20:00] notion that if you got to the next level, got to the next level, got to the next level, got to the next level. And it’s just silly. If what the person’s getting is making a difference, then fine. But if you take, Dunning Kruger just applies so much to our time.

Michael: It’s just we live in this world now. And ironically, the poor Yeats got there before them. He wrote, The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. He just nailed it because the people who are terrible, they’re brilliant at marketing because they’re out there all the time and they believe, what’s the thing, the sincere man believes his own propaganda or something a bit cynical.

Michael: They’re shallow enough to believe it while they’re saying it. 

Rob: Yeah. There is something in that often in business, It’s the person with the most conviction, that is, is the most effective because it’s that conviction. 

Michael: They’re effective at promoting themselves, but they’re effective at anything else in other matter.

Michael: I’ve known a lot of people in business who had stellar reputation, but it was all on cost reduction. So they go into a company, just chop everything out. The pit, the profit [01:21:00] and loss that go through the flaming roof. Then they go to the next company, rinse and repeat. It’s what I call ice flow managers.

Michael: They’d leave the ice flow as it was sinking because all the company, the people would be destroyed. They’d just be destroyed the intellectual property and people’s brains would have gone right out the window and year two, year three, year four, the company would sink. But they could say they got the result in year one.

Michael: Year one guys and they had huge careers out of this. But did they do any good? I would say they destroyed those companies. I would say they absolutely destroyed them. 

Rob: Wasn’t that what Jack Welch did is basically got everyone to cut costs, cut everything, and they massaged the figures for years and years until he left and then,

Michael: someone else had to pick 

Rob: up the pieces.

Michael: It’s what I could have done. I could have done it as well, but I didn’t. I did it a proper way. I spent ages and ages and ages with the people and trying to get them going. It’s viscous, just trying to get them going in the right direction. But when you get them going in the right direction wow, they really take off.

Michael: And it will last, it will endure. So nobody has to leave, there is no cost [01:22:00] reduction. But you will save money and you will make money, and you will get profits which will endure. Because the people are aligned to it. But it’s a damn sight harder to do. It’s just a damn sight harder to do.

Michael: So it’s far easier to go down the cost reduction way. 

Rob: Yeah, and depending on how you’re measured. And, which goes back to the real problem of metrics. 

Rob: It’s been fascinating. I really appreciate your time and it’s wonderful to listen to your journey and the ideas and it’s been a fantastic conversation.

Rob: Thank you. 

Michael: No, thank you. It’s lovely to meet the person behind the post because the one thing I get from you is that you’re out there questioning, querying, and trying to make sense of things day after day after day. And you’re not the only person, there are other people as well, really.

Michael: It’s not just you, there’s other people. A lot of them are the people on your podcast, actually. We’re all making our little journeys. We’re all on our little journeys. And maybe collectively, our little journeys can become something more than us, really. 

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