Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong

There has been much controversy recently around how we measure success in the not-for-profit sector. I really like this TED Talk by Dan Pallotta which challenges conventional thinking in this area and suggests that we: focus on the scale of charities dreams rather than the size of their overheads. His argument picks-up five aspects where charities face what he calls 'discrimination' against the expectations and standards we have for the private sector: #1 Compensation Pallotta argues that salaries and bonuses that are associated with 'doing well for yourself' appear to be almost without.
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The Impact of Attitude on Life

I was tidying up some paperwork yesterday and came across a folder from a leadership development course I attended when at LTS,

The course was organised and led by the inspirational Norman Drummond of  Drummond International. Hidden away in the folder was this lovely quote. Not sure who the author is but I am attributing it to Norman for the moment, it sounds like one of his gems of wisdom.

The longer I live the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than.
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We are Here: The Pale Blue Dot

Also love this video with words from the wonderful Carl Sagan - who I remember reading 30 years ago when I was a student at Edinburgh University. I found this posted with some very thoughtful comments from my friend and colleague John Connell..
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What is an expert?

In Outliers Malcolm Gladwell  suggests that opportunity plays a significant part in someone becoming an expert. He suggests that a 10,000 hour rule applies as much to the success of The Beatles (opportunity to play live 7 days a week in Hamburg) as to that of Bill Gates (opportunity to attend an elite school with a computer club followed by access to the University of Washington IT facilities).  Whether or not 10,000 hours is a magic number it strikes me that access to the best facilities and time to practice are essential. All the better if learning is.
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Some Leadership Top Tips?

I was asked to speak to a group of LTS staff this week on the subject of leadership and identify some 'top tips' for aspiring leaders. Here is a adaptation of what I came up with as a starter for discussion:
  1. Be a lifelong learner - as soon as you think you know all the answers you can be sure you don't. Read as much as you can and widely as you can (not just 'how to' stuff but also the classics of literature because they are timeless and deeply rooted in the human condition).
  2. Know what you stand for - what.
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What are the chances?

Got selected for jury duty today at Dundee Sheriff Court. This is not much of a surprise as I have been called four times and never selected so it was just a matter of time. The real surprise is that my colleague Derek Robertson not only had a citation for the same day but was selected for the same jury. I was picked out 2nd and Derek was 4th out of the 15. The one good thing about jury duty (apart from the important civic duty that it represents) is that I have a very good reason for.
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After another busy week

A good week over and sitting at my kitchen table with a glass of beer listening to Van Morrison and trying to stay out of the way of the teenagers on a sleepover. Covered a few miles this week but it's always great to get out and about even if that means not being able to service the demands of my inbox. The long trip to Torquay was really worthwhile. It gave me a (brief) chance to catch-up with developments in England. Listen to a seminar on OFSTED's findings about ICT. Find out how our progress with Glow compares. Not to.
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February Already?

January seems to have flashed past. Xmas and New Year are always busy, followed by most of a week in London at BETT, then my great friend and colleague John Connell left for a new post with CISCO, followed by the recently retired Stuart Robertson returning on short-term contract to help organise the Learning Festival ... Meanwhile the end of the financial year approaches and we need to complete tasks, meet deadlines, chase invoices, deliver programmes and of course re-engineer our business processes . All fantastic stuff and I get paid to do this too :-) My football team, Hibs, have.
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Remembering 11.11.18

Yesterday afternoon I was doing some work in the house and listening to the football on Radio Scotland. The featured match was Hibs v Inverness Caley Thistle and as usual at this time of year a two minute silence was observed before kick-off. I always think about my paternal grandfather during these times. I wear a silver ring on my left hand that my grandfather made out of a South African coin at the end of the so-called Great War. It has '11.11.18' engraved on it beside his initials 'M J O'D'. His experience of that war can only be described.
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