Forty-nine year old Steve Carell apparently noticed how hard out the Pizza restaurant he was at, that he donned an apron and spent an hour serving, answering phone calls and mucking it up in the kitchen.  In Jeff Hadens 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People  number 6 is Volunteers always win (yes take these quick lists with a grain of salt but if it works you know!).

I saw the movie Cafe de flore today. It’s too early to process what it’s all about but it’s a bit about exorcising some connections that don’t work where they are and embracing new ones or old ones in a new context.

I’ve been too flat for blogging recently, writing an article for a magazine in the weekend was really hard, but the movie, some great conversation over the last few days (even thanked someone for an involuntary coaching session it lifted me so much) I feel back, as Jasbindar Singh would say, in the groove.  And listening to the song Cafe de flore.  Very groovy tonight.

Simple pieces of service to others can lift them and you immeasurably.  I’m thinking of a Conversation at a Cafe with like-minded people on leadership stuff.  I’ll mention this in the next day or three and get it going.  Service to each other to lift our spirits and our business too.  Sound oblique?  Could be, but just roll with it.  It’ll be fun.  Especially if you’re 49 or think you might run into someone interesting who is.



View from the 6th floor

“I hope that the journalists present here report only the absolute truth,” said Ri Jinju, her voice trembling, her hair frozen with hairspray. “The truth about how much our people miss our comrade Kim Jong Il, and how strong the unity is between the people and leadership … to build a great, prosperous and powerful nation.”  so it was reported in the NZ Herald this week as the journalist’s bus inadvertently took the wrong road on the carefully managed tour in North Korea.

It’s the 193rd richest country per capita in the world.  Which I guess makes it close to the poorest country in the world. South Korea is 40th, New Zealand 48th. It has a little over 700 km of paved roads, New Zealand over 68,000 km. So when I read tonight that the new leader of this sad place said it had built a “mighty military” capable of both offence and defence in any type of modern warfare, it really struck me at how serious demented and deluded leadership can have such serious implications for those being led (nowhere!).  The whole drama of a family handing down its power and treating its dead former leaders like some sort of Messiah is very Monty Pythonesque. But I guess, that it really is quite serious, not just for the danger to the region but to all the poor starving people who have to live there.

The hired help who lived on the 6th floor in the French movie “The women on the 6th floor” know a bit about narcissistic leadership too. Confined to tiny rooms with no facilities and a shared, permanently blocked, toilet they work tirelessly without complaint. It’s 1962.  When one of “the bossess” ventures to their living quarters he discovers as much about himself as he does about the women.

Perhaps Kim Jo Un should take the road the Western Journalists went down and ask himself, like the Boss who visited the 6th floor, “what I am really doing to these people?”.

Leader? Yeah right!.

A delightful movie, with a Whatever Works theme about it.

First Night

It’s been a bit of a first night for me these last 7 weeks getting used to my new role and lots of things have suffered in the meantime, including my blogging here which I enjoy so much.  But I’m back.  A bit of time out of Auckland recently has seen me flying much more than I’m used to and if you know me you’ll know that it’s not something I’ve enjoyed recently but even that’s going okay somehow.  Conditioning.

Sarah Brightman is the First Night - but she doesn't sing much (photo courtesy of

The movie First Night is a farce. A funny movie set in the beautiful Manderston House in Scotland.  Always wanted a two kilometre long stone driveway.  I used to listen to lots of opera but haven’t much lately. I think I’m into it again after First Night. It’s about the production of Mozart’s comic opera Cosi Fan Tutte and it’s glorious music, great setting and very funny too.

Sometimes you just need a feel good movie to get you back on track.  As I let the story glide over me I realised these last seven weeks have been pretty intensive. Now it’s time to get back to being happy for myself, now that I’m settling in.  And enjoy life.

That’s leadership. Leading yourself into a great spot.

I’ll be better tomorrow for it.  Hope it’s all good for you too.