Previous month:
November 2009
Next month:
January 2010

December 2009


Welcome everyone to the end of the year; it’s great to think we’ve made it! Not only, hopefully, are we still alive, but our businesses are still running too. This latter point is probably more surprising than actually physically existing, given the sheer incompetence of Governments, especially ours in the UK, and the general greed of bankers and their ilk.


Following the UK’s experience with the financial crisis this year, I have decided to redefine the ‘mother of all Parliaments’ – namely, the UK’s – in these terms: The UK Parliament, a Definition: A place where second rate minds with third rate principles, and no vision, legislate to afflict the working population. I welcome all comments that can improve upon that definition and even surpass it; if I am impressed enough by entries/comments I may well award a prize in a fit of 2010 generosity!


The key issue for us all is to go on running successful businesses, and running a successful business is not primarily about the money. In fact as was observed long ago – the primary purpose of a business is to attract and retain customers. How is this done? By providing outstanding levels of service. Making a profit is a by-product of outstanding service levels. Running a business, therefore, is being incredibly socially useful.


One end of year thought, then, is: are your service providers giving you outstanding levels of service? If not, why are you with them? My wife and I have done a review of our service providers and it is a salutary experience. Big changes are going to be shortly implemented at our end.


A second end of year thought is to return to basics – the simple truths that underpin all success. One of these that I am particularly fond of is Peter Drucker’s maxim that only two things make money for a business, and everything else is a cost: to wit, innovation and marketing.


I am going to spend a lot more time this year being even more creative about our services and our products, and innovative too about the marketing of the same. As I review the last 18 months I realise that although we have ‘marketed’, we have not had a strong enough focus. Although we have a unique product, we have not sufficiently got this message across in the niche areas where leverage is massive.


So my final piece of review advice this year is: get yourself a business strategist – get someone to challenge your assumptions – get someone to get you getting more focus en route to market. I intend taking my own advice – in fact splendidly so: tonight I see in the new year celebrating with my strategist. Wine may make things a little hazy tonight, but I am sure that by tomorrow 2010 will be as clear as day.


Happy new year to all my readers!




Money Week ran an article recently on the West’s only hope – economically – against the East. It’s called innovation – apparently, we are very good at it and we need to do more if we are to thrive.


That comes as no surprise to Motivational Maps Ltd – we are a company that depends on innovation for our survival. There are too many consultants and coaches out there to be comfortable; one has to differentiate one self, and not be a ‘me-too’ business. In any case, just how tedious is it doing the – wow, that’s a great product – let me rip it off and sell it for £1 less?


There is a story of a town in Dorset which had in the town centre a One Pound Store – everything in the store could be bought for £1 or less. Amazing. Alas, it has gone out of business: some smart aleck opened up across the road with a 99p Store – everything for sale for 99p or less, and customers of the £1 Store deserted in droves!


We need innovation – for our products, our services, our systems, our processes and even our customers. What? Yes, even our customers need to innovate for us.


One of my best clients – for nearly 15 years – and a friend of mine is Philip Warr, the MD of the highly successful practice, PH Warr PLC: . Philip is currently innovating himself – penetrating new international markets. Good on him – long may he prosper.


I was a bit surprised, though, when he innovated with my product – the Motivational Map! Over 5000 Maps have been completed worldwide, and we claim that the Map is 99.9% accurate: there have been two queries about the results that we have been made aware of in that number.


Philip seems satisfied with his latest Map, but it is how he did it that is ‘innovative’. Whilst he was hands-free driving to his next network meeting, his PA posed the questions on the mobile, and he gave the answer, which she entered on- line. Bingo! He has an accurate result.


Thank you Philip. I don’t recommend this method, especially, but it does give you pause for thought: suppose we could create voice recognition software for the Maps? How cool would that be?


So again, thanks – from your ingenious attempt to maximise your use of ‘idle’ time we have a fully-fledged new idea that might in future just run. You see, it’s all about innovation!




Occasionally, you get a staggering email, and realise you – or rather your product – has made an astonishing difference. Of course, I also happen to believe that I – and others with a similar philosophy, attitude and outlook – make massive differences all the time; it’s just we are not always aware of it. Sometimes we need someone who has benefitted from our service or process or product to be fully articulate, to be grateful, and to hit the right moment when they decide they are going to share with us.


Such a moment happened to me recently. I bang on a lot about how good Motivational Maps (and our PMP on our other site:  are at helping people with their careers. This is not surprising when you consider that choosing a job with the right endemic motivators must be preferable to choosing one that simply works against our motivators.  To take a simple example, if our primary motivator is ‘learning’ – what we call The Expert – and the job/career/role we choose involves absolutely no training, coaching, learning or development (and such posts still seem to exist in reality), or only involve learning on an absolutely minimalist need-to-know basis, then there is built into the job a frustration right at the start.


About a year ago, a very bright professional woman did the Map, and said how good it was. Great. A couple of days ago I received an email from her that really set out just how ‘good’ good was! In her own words – with relevant changes to preserve anonymity, especially of the guilty – it goes like this (Her dominant motivator is what we call Spirit, the need for freedom and autonomy):


1. I had a boss, who tried to micro manage me. It irritated me enormously. I take it as a insult against my professional judgement. Why employ me, if you don't trust me? But I only truly realised this AFTER having done a map. Prior to completing a map, I would get agitated by his way of managing me, but couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that unsettled me. When was reading the map report and the do's and don'ts when dealing with Spirits, micromanagement hit a spot - "That's what they are doing to me and that's why I'm unhappy!"


2. Time recording - quite right, the pain of my life. In fact I need to do my time sheets for the last two weeks tomorrow, as it is the end of the month! But here again, the Map helped with self-awareness. Previously, I would forever kick myself in the ankle for being so disorganised for not getting my time sheets done. Now I am A) more aware that lack of ability to stick to a mundane administrative protocol is a weakness of mine, so I take more precaution to force myself to stick to it and B) when I haven't, I don't beat myself up about it quite so much and know to be a bit more understanding of myself


3. Completing a Map helped with career focus. ABC is the most prestigious firm to work in Bristol area. I would have been more inclined to stick with it, had I not completed a map and come to realise that it was highly unlikely that I would ever feel settled and happy in that place. Further, accepting the latest position at XYZ was somewhat risky, not least because of their alleged financial difficulties. Again, had I not done a map, I would have probably been more reluctant to accept it. However, knowing that I am a Spirit and having had the discussions with A.Nonymous of the likely role and freedom that is meant to go with it, it was really a no-brainer to accept it!!


So, I owe a lot to the Maps. Thank you. I'm sorry I haven't told you this before.

Self-awareness – the beginning of wisdom and change for us all. How wonderful – in fact, what a wonderful life – when we see the fruits of our efforts! Choose a role, then, that motivates you.