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On Fishing & Culture


One of the most enjoyable things about having a break is that you can undertake those things that you’re often too busy to do during the time you’re working and living a “busy life”.

fishing Murray

For me, that usually involves a fishing rod and books.  I can report that the fishing rod was merely a prop and didn’t yield anything in the way of produce (but I did enjoy very much sitting by the river contemplating the universe).

The books I took away and read were terrific.  None of them were tax or accounting books (c’mon, I’m not that boring!) and none were fiction (well…).  They did what good books are supposed to do – they opened up my mind to new thinking and helped me expand my horizon in a number of directions which will hold me in good stead as the years roll out.

From the time spent lost in their pages, there were a couple of ideas that I have taken and want to share:

  • the concept of team balance is often forgotten – everyone has to participate and recognise the contributions of each other to the success (or otherwise) of the team.  Share experiences (in and out of work) – it brings everyone closer together
  • A re-iteration of Dan Pink’s thinking – provide people with the opportunities to achieve Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose.  In other words, grab hold of good people who are aligned with your vision and goals, give them the tools they need and then get the hell out of their way!

One of the other benefits of being on holidays was that we spent time with some terrific and very smart friends.  Dean (in particular) has a wonderful capacity to “get” the issues around culture in a business.  Trust me – he’s seen the great, the good, the bad and the very very ugly in his career to date! 

As I was consuming pages, we would sit down in the late afternoons over a quiet beverage or two and discuss many things – including what I had been reading.  These discussions often ended up finishing well into the night.

It’s quite easy to be able to take an idea from a book and get it into your head – it’s a whole other matter to explain that idea to someone else in a way that they understand.  This is the art of communication.  Anyway, when Dean and I went through the stuff I was reading and thrashed around the examples we both had of experiences we had been through demonstrating the very best and very worst examples of the issues, it really did serve to cement a lot of this into my head.

The guts of all this waffling is then “what makes a good culture”? 

The guts of the answer is “I don’t know – but I know what’s a bad one”.

Anyway, I am looking forward to spending the next stint with my fishing rod and some more books.

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