I started this blog post just north of London at Hitchin Priory, a lovely old English hotel. As I reached up and felt the ancient rock wall in my bedroom I couldn’t help wondering who’d been in that room down through the ages. Its provenance dates back to the 14th century.
A few hours later I was with a bunch of senior executives, part of the Academy of Chief Executives, a British business mentoring programme. I’m here in the UK to work with a number of the groups and some of the individual members’ companies.
Here’s a short selection of one-liners from the executives:
On the topic of using ‘No’ as a prioritising tool
If you’ve ever heard me speak you’ll know that I say: “‘No’ is your most powerful time management tool (but not in a career limiting or relationship-limiting way).” So you can imagine my delight at this pithy phrase from one of the participants:
‘If you always say yes, your ‘yes’ has less value than if you sometimes say ‘no’.’
- A company policy:
No meetings, including one-to-one, before 11am.
Benefit: everyone gets a good start on their top priorities before being caught up with everyone else’s agendas.
- Notice on a senior manager’s door, shut for chunks of time in a day so she could concentrate on high-level work:
No entry. I’m working on your future as well as mine.
- When someone comes into your office, stand up and immediately (no chitchat) say:
‘How can I help you?’
Benefit: you’ll get visitors out of your office much faster.
Travel tips and observations:
If you’ve ever had to pay international roaming phone bills you’ll understand why I wanted to find alternatives.
Before I left home I ordered a British one online – www.giffgaff.com The SIM card was waiting at my first host’s home, ready to be activated. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a more intuitive and user-friendly commercial website. And even though I had a small problem activating my data and had to wait a few hours for an online response, their friendly approach and comprehensive helpful information solved the problem pretty quickly.
BTW, if you want to call me in the next few weeks my UK number is +44 751 821 3590 and I can take texts. (My normal email address works as well.)
When I reach France on 4th July I’ll have a French number for the three weeks I’m at language school in Paris. I’ve also pre-ordered a SIM, this time from Le France. Hopefully it’s as good as giffgaff.
Be wary of internet accommodation bookings:
I constantly book accommodation online but didn’t do much checking of last night’s offering – mistake! I was looking fora reasonably-priced hotel close to Heathrow for this morning’s early flight to Rome. (I’m sailing with friends around the Aeolian Islands near Sicily before heading back to the UK for more work.)
The picture of the Essex Inn Hotel, Southall gave me no reason to dig deeper. Let’s just charitably say that the maintenance (and the carpet cleaning schedule) was a bit behind. At least the sheets and the bathroom were clean, but not much else! Thank goodness I didn’t see any cockroaches! One benefit – the very multicultural street had plenty of ethnic eating choices.
Note to self: check what Trip Advisor members saybefore putting in a credit card!
Those All Blacks are everywhere:
I thought for a second I must be home when the ABs starred this morning on a pre-movie ad for AIG insurance. But no, I was on British Airways!
And now, time to relax and enjoy the beautiful southern Italy scenery as the fast Trenitalia train scoops up the miles.
Here’s sharing more useful tips in a couple of weeks. I’m in holiday mode now for a couple of weeks – putting my work/life balance philosophy into practice.
Yours in enjoying the learnings on all levels (as well as the holiday)