Naked Banking: The Truth About Banks And You is written by Steve Hogg, Paul Riseborough, and Karolina Morys, and is out on 5 October.
In this book we take you behind the veil of retail banking to explain how it really works. As industry insiders working for one of the UKâs highest profile new âchallengerâ banks we are perhaps uniquely placed to do so. We will show you why the big banks always seem to do the wrong thing: from designing products they know will rip customers o to cutting branches they know their customers rely on â over a thousand between 2015 and 2017 alone.
The story starts with the way banks are set up â their business models. Weighed down by lots of underutilized, poorly designed branches in the wrong places and creaking information technology infrastructure, banks have big bills to pay. To meet them and still make a good return for shareholders, banks have in recent years viewed âproduct innovationâ as the solution, developing more and more new products to deliver increased revenue to the bank. Simple products that everyone understands are now a thing of the past.
This is more than just a story of big banks and their product strategies. We will show you how individual customerÂ behaviour â the way we think and act when it comes to our personal finances â actually plays into the hands of the big banks. Product managers know customers have blind spots and biases and they develop products to take financial advantage of them. We will show you how they do it.
We will also give you a sense of what itâs like to be a product manager at a big bank â what they are asked to do, how they are rewarded, and the type of working environment they nd themselves operating in. As serving product managers we know better than most what the big banks are up to. And we reveal why the things product managers at the big banks are told to focus on â and which are important to them progressing in their careers â are often a million miles away from the things that matter to customers.
Sometimes you just want to know how to avoid tripping up when it comes to your nances and this book will help you in that regard too. We detail the specific product management strategies used by banks to part you from your money. Some are more obvious than others. Cutting the interest rate on your savings account a few months after you opened it is annoying but at least something you can understand. But what about inverse interest-rate tiers on your current account? Or ârepresentativeâ annual percentage rates (APRs) when you apply for a loan? The truth is that product managers have dreamt up every trick in the book to slowly â sometimes imperceptibly â earn more and more out of you. We thought it was about time someone documented what these tricks are, explained why product managers use them and pointed out what you can do to avoid them, or at least use them to your advantage.
Of course, itâs not just about avoiding the pitfalls. A question we get asked all the time is âhow do I get the best out of my banking, then?â Here we provide some pointers as to what you can do to organize your personal finances that little bit better. Some sensible steps, and a healthy dose of personal discipline, will allow most of us to bank in a way that is simple, understandable, and worry-free.
We also make some recommendations for things that banks could and should do to put customers first. From a potentially painful move away from the function of âfree bankingâ to taking more steps to ensure we all understand how products work, the opportunities for banks to become more transparent and customer focused are many indeed. We will show you how a new relationship based on a fair value exchange between banks and their customers could point to a brighter future for both.
The future doesnât stop there though. Retail banking is in a state of flux and there are reasons to believe that something more customer focused will emerge. From the promise of open banking, where personal banking data can be shared with other financial services companies to ensure products are better tailored to specific customer needs, to more thoughtfully designed services and processes, banks are starting to think more deeply about what customers want and need. is new dawn o ers banks the chance to build leaner, more agile organizations, better able to respond to customer demands and deliver new products and services quickly. Weâll take you through what we think it all means.
We decided to write this book because we believe that good banking is important. Important to start-up businesses needing advice on how to nance their growth. Important to young people learning how to better manage their money and save for their futures. Important for our economy and our society so that we can grow as a country and pay ourÂ way in the world. Yet the current state of affairs is not good enough. The big banks, almost without exception, have let us all down with their too-clever-by-half products and poor service cultures. The path to redemption starts with a clear-eyed view of what has gone wrong and this is our contribution to that debate.
Should you believe anything we say in this book? We are, after all, still working in the industry, albeit for a bank that is trying hard to change the status quo. Youâll be your own judge of that. Our aims for this book are modest: that you understand how banks work a bit better, grasp how the products they sell actually operate so you have a bit more money in your pocket, and that you reward the best banks â the banks putting customer service and simple products first â with your business, and not just the big banks. Because for all their gleaming headquarters, bumper pro ts, fancy adverts, and thousands of employees, it is you â the customer â who holds the key to better banking.
Naked Banking is out on 5 October.
In her new book, Read My Lips, Elaine Eksvard explores the different avenues of rhetoric, and how to get people to want to listen to you. Today weâre exploring Elaineâs idea of how music impacts almost everything we do, and how we can harness it to get our messages across to audiences. Check out the extract below for her take on how music influences rhetoric.
There is no doubt that music is powerful. It can move us to tears, or lift up oods within a few minutes. What is usually overlooked, however, is how we all are awash in, and influenced by, music. Film directors steer our emotions with the help of music. When you look at a film and suddenly become emotionally moved, you canât be entirely certain whether it was the music or what you saw that gave you that feeling. It can, of course, be a combination of the two, but the music strengthens the impressions. Magical, transporting films often manage to plant emotions without showing them. We âhearâ the feelings, but donât see or read them.
The effect is not limited to cinema and media in the slightest. The neurologist Oliver Sacks, who wrote the books âMusicophiliaâ, was of the opinion that music can have incredible effects on people with neurological conditions such as Parkinsonsâ, dementia, stroke, and aphasia. Music seems to have a unique ability to tap into inner abilities that people had lost. Part of the explanation for this is that the various components of music, such as rhythm, timbre, and beat, affect different parts of the brain. Since music triggers emotional as well as cognitive, autonomic and motor functions, it stimulates many parts of the brain.
In this way, music can also be used in the work environment. A meeting can be more or less successful, depending on the background music. You can use music strategically to create a mood that convinces the listener. It can create a feeling that you want to achieve and help lighten conversations. It is a powerful tool if you use it correctly.
Which music has the greatest effect? Is there a particular song that always works? No, but what affects us all similarly is the rhythm. But other emotions that are aroused are different. According to Ingrid Hammerlund, music therapist and teacher at the Royal College of Music, researchers today agree that the music that is most effective, medically and psychologically, is that which you choose yourself.
Ultimately you have to think about what you want to say with the music you choose, and what feelings do you want to convey. Try to use music strategically and carefully, to arouse the right feelings in the person or people you are going to meet. Think about the tempo in the music, but also the age, background, and musical taste of the listeners.
Read My LipsÂ by Elaine is out on 21 September
Presenting is a key part of any job, whether youâre dressing for that interview, or presenting a report to colleagues. Despite âpresentingâ being fundamental to many jobs, a lot of people find it daunting. To help those of us who struggle with this, Emma Serlin, Director and Founder of London Speech Workshops has written a âhow-toâ guide in communicating more effectively in 50 easy steps. Hereâs a taster below:
The fundamental building blocks of any good presentation are the writing, and the physical delivery. The writing should be powerful, engaging, and should get the point across fluently and succinctly. The physical delivery should feel fresh, alive, and full of energy.
Start with your objective. To avoid waffling and going off topic, clearly define the objective of your presentation beforehand. Think about the effect you want to have on your audience. Do you want them to come away feeling inspired? Delighted? Motivated? Every slide or point should clearly refer back to the objective.
A good structure is key. The most straightforward and fool proof example is the sequence: problem, solution, evidence, summary.
Enrich the story of your presentation by connecting with your audience; infuse your presentation storyline with a palpable sense of emotion and humanity.
The physical appearance of the presentation is essential. First impressions count, so make the most of this by holding your shoulders back your head upright, and your chin level as you âtake to the stageâ. A good way to stay calm as you begin is to take a moment to absorb the space. It will ground you, let the audience see you, and you see them. Itâs a small thing, but will also help to connect with the audience.
Eye contact is the best way to connect whilst speaking. However, a lot of people get this wrong by looking up at the wrong point. The place for âqualityâ eye contact is the final few words of the sentence or important point. Here, hold the gaze for a moment, as if you are checking with the audience to confirm that they have received your message. They will start to feel as though you really care.
Answering questions after a presentation can also be nerve-wracking. Always take a moment to acknowledge and compliment the question â it makes people feel recognized. It also helps ensure that the entire audience is involved, which will keep everyone focused and engaged.
The main thing to remember through all of this is to relax! Youâve got this!
Read more great tips from Emma Serlin in The Connection Book, out 14 September.
LID author Matt Stephens gives his take on the simplicity of successful leadership.
âBut weâve told them a thousand timesâŠ.â or words to that effect. We hear this a lot from exasperated executive teams when we give them Heartbeat results saying that people donât know the organisationâs strategy.
Senior leaders are very close to the strategy and have worked long and hard on getting it right. But this can often be a handicap when it comes to explaining it, and getting others fired up and excited. We help by giving an external perspective and asking the âdumbâ questions which can keep it simple. In doing this, we have found 5 key things which help:
1. Develop a simple narrative – technical language, management speak, and complex sentences turn people off. On the other hand, most of us respond to stories and find day to day language accessible. We have helped organisations express their strategy through a story with a series of key chapters which take people through the challenges the organization faces, why itâs important to tackle them, what it plans to do, what this means for people working there, why itâs exciting and the benefits of success. All the way through, itâs important to keep it conversational, using everyday language. Any hint of complexity can give people licence to switch off.
2. Senior leaders need to show the way â the top team have huge influence. If they present the strategic narrative to other tiers of leaders, it can have a big impact on how they then do things. This is especially the case if the top team can bring parts of the narrative to life using their own stories and experiences.
3. Equip team leaders to share the narrative locally â seeing the top team present the strategy differently will be a strong encouragement to other leaders to do the same. Often, though, they need help to adopt a similar approach themselves. We have found giving team leaders a clear, step by step structured guide helps a lot. We call it Talking Points and it lays out key messages, questions to ask, exercises and activities.
4. Help people to share their own stories â as well as understanding what the strategy is, people need to see ongoing evidence that it is being followed, and having an impact. Updates from senior people can only go so far. What really keeps people engaged is a regular stream of stories which show real people doing real jobs applying the strategy and making it work. We equip local leaders to help their teams identify a story which will have impact and use Heartbeat as a simple mechanism for them to share them.
5. Keeping it going â strategies need to be living things. To have impact, they must be talked about regularly, and other messages should be linked with it so people get a sense of coherence and progress. Having a simple and clear narrative makes this easier by giving straightforward messages which can be repeated and reflected in other communications â it becomes a consistent point of reference.
Matt Stephens’ bookÂ Revolution in a HeartbeatÂ is out on 14 September.
As the saying goes, âeveryone has a book in themâ. But the writing of the book is the hardest part of sharing ideas, especially when the endeavour is close to your heart.
However, help is at hand! LID author Neil Usher, whose book will be released in March 2018 has written about the writing process from his experience of writing his new book, âThe Elemental Workplaceâ.
Check out an extract below, or to read to full blog, click here.
Ink in the well by Neil Usher
The lights of the ashes smoulder through hills and vales
Nostalgia burns in the hearts of the strongest
Picasso is painting the ships in the harbour
The wind and sails
These are years with a genius for living
I havenât posted anything for a while because I have been writing a book on theÂ Elemental Workplace. Itâs finished and will be coming out next Spring. It takes about six months from this stage to being on the shelves. Itâs been an amazing experience, and so for would-be writers here are a few thoughts on the experience, shared partly as a means of getting back into the shortform.
Starting is easy. After that coffee, of course. Itâs a little later that it becomes a struggle, after the initial headrush clears, when there is enough down to make it look like youâve achieved something, but a more expansive void ahead that needs to be filled. For so long, it seems as though you are not yetÂ half-way through, that there is more to travel than you had just trod.
From the very first sentence, you canât shut down. You live inside it. Forget writing anything else, especially a blog, itâs searing jealousy wonât let you.
You start off in charge of The Book, and at a certain point that when looking back you canât recall, it takes over. From Master, you become Servant. It gives the orders. When you try and regain control it just ignores you.
Thereafter Book as it becomes known to you and those around you takes on a personality of its own. It lives with you, drinks your coffee, eats your lunch, falls asleep on your sofa. It doesnât leave, or understand that a welcome only last so long.
The completion of the first end-to-end draft is an amazing feeling, like tumbling across the finish line with a last breath, joyous. Only to be told that it wasnât quick enough, your style was awkward, your rhythm was erratic and you need to run back again.
When you finally pluck up the courage to re-read what youâve written, you wonder who the hell wrote it. For a while you are uncomfortably inseparable strangers. It takes a while, several iterations, for it to become yours. The first edit is without doubt harder than the first draft.
There is nothing âinstant-gratificationâ about it. This is old-school work. The internet might aid quick fact-checking, each of which of course needs to be re-checked because the sources can be a bit flaky, and the word processor might offer some additional wiggly lines to suggest brevity, but you have to write every single word yourself. Albeit my Mum did ask me if I wrote the first draft by hand.
You live in fear of misquoting or not crediting the right people. You wonder, did I hear that particular idea somewhere, is that my thought or did I scoop it out of one of the puddles that stipple the roads youâve hurried down in the dark, where the streetlamps werenât working, never there the next day.
If youâve ever taken a psychometric or an aptitude test, youâll know that itâs quite easy to feel categorized and filed away, trapped by the constraints of the results. Sally Bibb of Engaging Minds has torn down these restrictions with her book, The Strengths Book, which helps readers to find their strengths and find how they can make the most of doing what they enjoy.
Strengths are the specific things that you do really well, and that you love doing. These simply canât be measured in psychometric or aptitude tests. So, for example, a personality test might tell you that youâre conscientious. What it canât tell you is whether you have a specific strength in organising things to create order. Think of it this way: a psychometric test tells you about skill, and a strengths assessment tells you about will.
The tricky part is finding what your strengths are. Using techniques from The Strengths Book, we can reveal the key questions to ask yourself when youâre trying to find your strengths.
What did I do recently that I really loved doing and energized me?
Think of as many activities as you can.
âI had a great call with a new client about the website Iâm building for him, and they loved some new ideas I showed them. I punched the air afterwards!â
What is it about me that makes me love those things so much?
âI like sharing my creative ideas and seeing my client excited about them.â
âI like feeling Iâm doing a good job and that my creative work is appreciated.â
Think about all the strengths you answered for the questions above and choose three that give you the biggest buzz.
âIâm good at keeping projects on track because Iâm organised and conscientious.â
âIâm good at explaining/sharing/teaching my ideas.â
From answering these questions you can build up a Strengths Profile which you can use both personally and professionally.
Using these initial questions, anyone can build up their strengths. One clue in discovering our strengths is to know that they are usually the things that we love to do. Think of things that give you a buzz, that you look forward to doing, that energize you, that you always check off your to-do list first.
Ask yourself, what made you enjoy doing this?
Ask yourself, what that was like?
You have now begun to find your strengths.
The Strengths Book is out on 26 October.
We all come across sales in one shape or another in our daily lives, from the minute we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. We have also all âsoldâ something at one point â CVs are how we âsellâ our skills for a job, and every year hundreds of thousands of young people have to âsellâ their academic abilities in order to get into university, an apprenticeship or a college. Sales is undoubtedly everywhere, and no matter where we go, there will always be someone, somewhere, trying to sell something.
Luckily, to help with the constant stream of selling, four of the top salespeople in the UK have come up with a solution for how to be the best salesperson you can be. This solution comes in the form of a new book, The Salespersonâs Secret Code written by Ian Mills, Mark Ridley, Ben Laker and Tim Chapman. Their âbelief systems that distinguish winnersâ are based on five âDestination Beliefsâ, which form the basis of the Secret Code.
The five âDestination Beliefsâ come as the result of tireless research by the authors and their team, of interviews with 1000 salespeople from all strands of sales. These interviews revealed the core beliefs held by these individuals, who view their sales career as a journey that has a destination to reach. âDestination Beliefsâ are necessary components of a salespersonâs belief system, and you can find out more about them below.
Destination Belief 1: Fulfilment
Fulfilment is defined as the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted. According to the Secret Code, âhigh performers are constantly evaluating themselves against a personal progress goal to be the most professional, productive salesperson they can beâ. Fulfilment is therefore both a goal and a motivator for the best salespeople.
Destination Belief 2: Control
Control is the second element of the Secret Code. Salespeople believe in having a plan, and regularly evaluate where they want to be, where they are, and what the gap is. They show a sense of personal accountability for their success or failure. When failure does come (yes, it does for even the best performers) they embrace it and take ownership of it. When you own a problem you can do something to change it. To high performers, failure is a temporary set back to the road to inevitable success.
Destination Belief 3: Resilience
This third belief is connected to control because it represents the ability to bounce back from the setbacks and failures salespeople inevitably face. Resilience is shown through the action one takes after a setback. Resilient salespeople face whatever the world throws at them, convert the stress into positive energy, and get busy shaping their own destiny.
Destination Belief 4: Influence
Having and gaining influence is paramount for any sales professional. You need influence to open doors, gain support, and win business. You also need influence to be able to see any changes, risks, or opportunities before they are common knowledge. When changes are known about in advance, that gives you influence to change how people feel about them, and use this to build up your track record of success. Then you can gain friends in all the right places, which in turn adds to your influence.
Destination Belief 5: Communication
This is perhaps the most important belief out of all five. You can never communicate too much with colleagues or a customer. However speed and clarity are absolutely essential. Speed is important because today people ingest information at a record-breaking rate. If it isnât less than 200 characters, people tend to switch off. Keep communication short yet regular. Clarity is just as important; there is so much competition for a customerâs attention that your message has to be precise in order to cut through the static.
The Salespersonâs Secret Code is out on 28 September
Read My Lips is the new guide for how to say difficult things nicely. Elaine Eksvard is a best-selling author, TV personality, avid blogger, and CEO & Founder of rhetoric agency SnackaÂ Snyggt, which offers courses in modern rhetoric, presentation techniques, and sales rhetoric.
Read My Lips: Rhetoric and the Power of PersuasionÂ is out on 21 September.
Martin Luther King, with his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, has been widely considered the best rhetorician of all time. People have tried to emulate his style and manner for half a century now, but with limited success. That’s because King was very much a man of his time. Today, we listen to things differently. There have been many books published in which rhetoric is situated firmly behind the speaker’s podium, but here we want to make it useful in your everyday life.
The purpose here is not to try and magically transform you into a Martin Luther King or a Barak Obama, but to help you become the best version of yourself in terms of communicating, motivating and persuading. Is this possible, you might wonder? Of course it is! If you haven’t figured out how to do that, I guarantee that this book will help take you there.
First and foremost, rhetoric is not something that’s just for politicians or actors. When I comment on rhetoric in the media, it is often about the rhetoric that I like the least – the sort that stays firmly planted behind the speaker’s podium. I am often asked, ‘Who is the best rhetorician among the politicians?’ That is roughly asking, ‘Which sumo-wrestler runs fastest?’ Politicians today are not so fantastically skillful. They do things that completelyÂ deaden one’s motivation for listening. They have a speaker’s podium and a printed script or teleprompters that they mechanically read from. But surely, you might think, they must have to do it that way. My responseÂ to that is, ‘Who says so?’ Not us rhetoricians at any rate.
Let us go back to King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Contrary to popular opinion, it was actually a deadly boring speech. At least that was the assessment of gospel music legend Mahalia Jackson, who was sitting in the front row. While King went on and on with his written remarks, more than a few listeners could be seen yawning. Halfway through the speech, Mahalia shouted out, ‘Tell us about the dream, Martin!’ King stopped short, looking out at Jackson and at the sea of people standing there listening to him. He took a deep breath and did something that many politicians, and communicators in general, could make great use of. He literally improvised what would become one of the most iconic proclamations in history – ‘I Have a Dream!’ he spoke from the heart and shared what he had envisioned in his inner-most dreams.
The Chinese Entrepreneurs Series offers a unique insightÂ into some of the world’s most important businesses and individuals: Dong Mingzhu & Gree, Jack Ma & Alibaba, Ma Huateng & Tencent, Ren Zhengfei & Huawei, and Wang Jianlin & Dalian Wanda. The full series is available now.
Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of Gree Electric Appliances Inc. (Gree’s) and a leader of China’s industrial reinvigoration, embodies many assets of a successful businesswoman. At the age of 36, when most women settle down into the comfort of a family, centered around their husband and children, she started a career from scratch. Step by step, advancing year by year, she eventually rose from an entry-level sales associate to the president of Gree Electric Appliances Inc. She is wise, bold, strong and firm. Dong Mingzhu’s success and experience have given her a unique perspective, and her intellectual wealth surpasses that of her peers. Her journey serves as an inspiring note to young people and a textbook for entrepreneurs.
For some men, their career is everything and marriage is only half as important in their eyes. Jack Ma was lucky, for he had both a successful career and a happy marriage, each of which was mutually beneficial to the other. Not only did Jack Ma’s times at the universityÂ bring him knowledge and confidence, but he also gained a wise and reliable partner. When Jack Ma left Hangzhou Normal University, his high-spirited and resolute eyes were brimming with hope for the future. Of course, there was no way he could have predicted the success over the next years, but he believed that even though today and tomorrow might be full of cruelty, the day after that would be worth waiting for.
What is this thing called the internet? More importantly, what can it do for us, this modern invention that provides simple ease of access to a worldÂ of complex information. The internet represents a technological and cultural revolution, which has heralded a new era of industrial development – all at the click of a button. In terms of Tencent QQ – popularly known as QQ – its founder, Pony Ma, captured the internet’s most revolutionary aspect: communication. QQ has become an indispensable part of people’s lives as communication has moved from traditional mediums, such as the telephone and letters, to networked communication. With QQ’s little penguin logo and mascot, Pony Ma created a miracle inside the Chinese internet’s ‘experience economy’. He has allowed countless netizensÂ to discover the ease and magic of online exchange at the touch of their fingertips.
In 1987, Ren Zhengfei retired from a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) base in Sichuan, and came to work for the Shenzhen Nanyou Group as the deputy manager in its affiliated electronics company. Honesty helped Ren Zhengfei navigate through eleven military years. However, sabotage quickly taught him theÂ guileful nature of the business realm. Duped into a bad deal, the company found itself in debt of over two million yuan. In this situation, Ren Zhengfei had no choice but to bite the bullet and leave Nanyou, truly unemployed. When it rains, it pours, and his first wife left him soon after. At that time, Ren Zhengfei was under a great strain to take care of his retired parents and help his six younger brothers and sisters. With the resilience of a soldier and eleven years’ military education, Ren Zhengfei did not crumble in the face of these challenges. With no time to brood over the business failure or family break up, Ren Zhengfei decisively started a business in 1988. He started a small technology company, Huawei, with only 20 thousand yuan, getting off to a rocky start by selling a Hong Kong (HK) made telecom switchboard. After fifteen years of hard work, Huawei’s sales revenue reached 30 billion USD in 2003. Huawei was a dominant force amongst the most successful national companies of China.
China has Wanda and Wanda has Wang Jianlin. Wang Jianlin joined the army in 1970. In 1986 he transferred to a civilian job and became the office director of the local People’s Government in Xigang District, Dalian City. In 1989 he became the managing director of Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. He has remained in that position to this day. The Hurun Report – a magazine which ranks China’s wealthiest individuals – stated in October 2015 that Wang Jianlin’s assets had reached the value of 220 billion yuan, making him once more the richest man in China. During the rapid development of China’s economy over the course of the past 30 years, there has been no shortage of tales of wealth of every kind. The protagonists have been just as manifold. Yet the tide ebbs and flows and it has been rare to see one linger at the top for long. How has Wang managed to climb, slowly but steadily, all the way to the very top to be crowned China’s richest man?
Rene Carayol is one of the world’s leading business gurus, specialising in leadership, culture and transformation.
His new book, SPIKE: What are you great at?Â is the product of 30 years of supporting the growth and development of thousands of individuals and organisations globally, and brings together a proven formula for personal and business development.
Everyone has at least one inherent strength, read the extract below to find out more about how you can find your SPIKE.
When I try to explain SPIKE to friends, colleagues, and indeed to the audiences to whom I speak regularly, I usually struggle to articulate a precise definition. I have come to realise thatâs because there isnât one. Like most things that we find difficult to define â love/hate, peace/war â we can easily tell you what it isnât and we can always tell you what it looks like when we see it.
What this book isnât is another unit in the ever growing âStrengths-based leadership/development/coachingâ industry, exemplified by the excellent Gallup publications (a market leader in strengths training), focusing on exponents such as Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath, which has dominated this approach over the past 10 to 15 years.
In fact, there is much to agree with in an interview in the Harvard Business Review from 16 January 2016, entitled, Stop Focusing on Your Strengths, given by Tomas Chamorro- Premuzic, a professor at University College London and Columbia University.
He warned of the potential dangers of concentrating on your strengths alone. He argues that âmost tools and assessments that are designed to nd your strengths would simply pick up the thing that you are best at.â I agree and that is precisely the point. A âSpikeâ is not simply something you are good at â it is something that is your brand, the essence of what you are.
There are many people who are great at certain jobs but actually hate doing those jobs.
Many sports professionals fall into that category. They have not necessarily found their âSpikeâ but have fallen into their marketable skill. This book isnât about positioning yourself for the best paying job â itâs about understanding what the best job is for you.
Itâs not about ignoring your weaknesses â itâs about recognising them and making decisions about how best to accommodate them. When thinking of team environments this means identifying, recognising and developing individual Spikes and balancing them in the service of the team.
What separates this book from the strengths-based theorists and practitioners is that it does not try, or even want, to provide a guidebook to success or an online âstrengths finderâ or dictate the way each individual should be; it is not, in any way, a self-help book.
It does not provide a methodology; rather it attempts to develop a philosophy â not for self-help, but for self-discovery. It does this through its use of real and emotionally connecting stories and through its simplicity.
Through my work and life over the last 25 years, I believe that I have earned the right to tell the stories that have informed my Spike philosophy and, more importantly, that will allow readers simple, but not simplistic access to Spike, through that greatest of learning vehicles: the story.
This book also is not about data-driven deep, impenetrable lists, charts and amateur psychometrics. at is the IQ approach of management, and there are more than enough good books covering this already. Spike is all about engaging your EQ, your Leadership of yourself and your future.
Management is concerned with âdoing things rightâ, where Leadership, on the other hand, is about âdoing the right thingsâ. Management is all about tasks, plans, strategies and activities, leading to their ongoing measurement of how these factors affect the tangible and demonstrable results.
Spike, however, like all Leadership approaches, is much more about attitude and mind-set. Spike sets out to provoke a completely different mind-set about our real natural assets and how we best capitalise upon these.
When Iâm on stage, I always say, âIf you want to know what your Spikes are, just ask a loved oneâ.â Not a work colleague, but someone who has unconditional love for you â mother, father, sister, uncle, partner, niece, gran, husband, wife, daughter, brother or wife. They will want you to succeed, so will not play games or compete with you. They will not use management speak but will kick-start your journey of self-discovery by using terms like, âyouâre generousâ, âyour patience is your Spikeâ, âyouâre firm but fairâ, and so on.
Understanding the Spike approach also enables us to tackle the implicit biases to which we are all vulnerable. Far too often, our first impression of someone will negatively colour our ongoing judgement of them.
is implicit bias can be very damaging, especially for women and minorities, and is a constant barrier to greater social mobility. The Spike philosophy can help.
By looking for an individualâs Spike from the outset, we will care less about their â first impressionâ. Searching for someoneâs Spikes takes us beyond their gender, race, religion, disability or social status.
But what does a Spike look like when you see it? As will be the pattern for the bulk of the book, I will answer this question by telling a story.
Forgive the footballing analogy â while this is not a story about football, it provides the perfect example of an individual who, at rst impressions did not quite look the part. Itâs the story of an individual with obvious limitations, but most of all, itâs a story of Spike.
It is the story of Ferenc PuskaÌs, a Hungarian footballer of the immediate post-war period. Ferenc GyurcsaÌny, the Prime Minister of Hungary, speaking after Puskasâ death in 2006 said, â There is not one Hungarian who will be left untouched by the death of Ferenc PuskaÌs. The best-known Hungarian of the 20th century has left , but the legend will always stay with us.â
Puskas scored 83 goals in 84 games for Hungary between 1945 and 1956. He was nicknamed the âGalloping Majorâ because he was nominally a soldier in the Hungarian army, but it was only as a player with the Hungarian army team, Budapest HonveÌd SE, that he really found his calling. He was to become an integral part of the Mighty Magyars, who bestrode the foot- balling world in the early-to mid-1950s.
They became the first overseas team to beat England on home soil in 1953. As they were warming up for the game, an unnamed English player looked across at Puskas and said, âLook at that little fat chap. Weâll murder this lot!â Hungary beat England that day 6-3 (Puskas scored two goals) and then took them back to Budapest for a 7-1 thrashing.
After the collapse of the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union in 1956, Puskas escaped to the West, surfacing in Spain to sign for mighty Real Madrid. In the ensuing years, he became central to the Madrid team, winning the first five European Cups, culminating in the almost mythical 1960 final against Eintracht Frankfurt at Hampden Park, Glasgow, watched by a crowd estimated at 127,000.
Madrid won 7-3 and Puskas scored four goals.
But what has any of this to do with Spike? Well, another tribute to Puskas by Sir Tom Finney, the England and Preston North End legend, holds a tiny clue. Puskas, he said, âhad a roly-poly physique, but a wonderful left foot and he was a brilliant finisher. I would put Puskas in any list of all-time greats.â
He didnât look like a footballer but, unlike the other England player, Finney looked past the obvious and marvelled at Puskasâ âSpikeâ: that âwonderful left footâ.
Most respected football coaches work on the premise that all footballers will have a favoured foot, which they will naturally try to play every ball with, and they work hard to push all players to work on their weaker and less used foot.
When Puskas was asked why he didnât practise more to make his right foot better, he explained that he practised all day, every day on his left foot to make it near perfect, and to worry too much about his other foot would have taken time away from perfecting his left . He understood what his Spike was, and appreciated that concentrating on a weakness would have been counterproductive.
In so doing, that âlittle fat chapâ became the best-known Hungarian of the 20th century. Not bad for a guy with âonly one foot.â Puskas did not ignore the deficiencies of his weak foot and worked to make it adequate, but he decided that a âperfectâ left would be more valuable and a competent right foot would be sufficient.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work” – Aristotle