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Here’s hoping …

April 5, 2017 | Red Hot Blogs

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There is a service of Hope today at Westminster Abbey. It will be attended by the establishment’s great and good, and maybe some of the not so good will manage to slip in. The service has been arranged for the families, friends and colleagues of those affected by the recent terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge. I trust it will bring comfort to those who need it.

However what has ‘Hope’ ever achieved? In business you soon learn that Hope is not a strategy and that you are, to say the least, better off with a plan. If it had been a service of reconciliation I could understand it but Hope seems a strange choice of theme.

During the Korean war the North Koreans were very adept at removing hope from prisoners of war. They gave the young American GIs all the bad news from home, the ‘Dear John’ letters and so on. They withheld any good news messages. They also broke down all sense of trust between the prisoners. In other words, you were given a privilege, usually a cigarette if you informed on your fellow prisoner, but so too were they. In the end no one could trust anyone else. These young soldiers would go and sit in a corner, put a blanket over their head and be dead within 24 hours.

So there you go. Perhaps the Church of England is onto something, hope along with prayer. It may well suit some but I am all for planning a few goals and that way I am pretty sure that I have more chance of achieving something concrete, rather than just hoping and praying things will happen.

To each their own but I know what I would encourage.

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La La Land

February 24, 2017 | Happiness Leadership Red Hot Blogs

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Or in other words Leicester City!

I have no doubt that La La Land is where most of the Leicester City FC supporters felt they were nine months ago when they won the Premiership. Come to that, the whole of the city were probably there too. If they weren’t, well they are now. In case you have not heard they have sacked the very manager that got them there, Claudio Ranieri. Now if the Board think that’s a good idea I would love to hear the reasons why. The club isn’t even in the relegation zone!

Aside from politics which can be a very brutal experience during elections, I think football management must be one of the most precarious jobs out there. Loved one minute, hated the next. A classic way to build insecurity. We wouldn’t do it to children yet we do it to adults; how fickle and what immature thinking.

The fact is that in doing this the Board has removed all responsibility from the players, the same core players that took them to victory. This action will make them feel they are no longer accountable for their results, the view being it’s all the manager’s fault. It isn’t, and as a business decision this could well rank up there with Gerald Ratner saying his jewellery business Ratners sold “total crap”.

No doubt there is someone lined up to take Ranieri’s place, another dispensable human being, measured very publicly by the weekly results.

Far cleverer people than me spend millions each year in some of the best universities around the world looking at leadership and what makes a good leader or a bad one. I would suggest that at Leicester City there is enough material for a dissertation! No doubt someone will do one. I feel sorry for Mr Ranieri,  voted the world’s best manager just a few short months ago.

It’s very often the case that it’s difficult to replicate success and the harder you try then the tougher it seems to get, but that’s life, and there are some very good techniques that help. Sacking the manager isn’t one of them.

So back to La La Land, the fact that Ryan Gosling can neither sing nor dance isn’t going to prevent the film sweeping the board at the Oscars. My daughter and I both agreed that it didn’t matter that he was talentless in those two areas as he was just good enough to look at.

We would still pay to go and see him and give him another chance if he chooses to sing or dance again.

I reckon Claudio needed just that, another chance.

(image courtesy of BBC)

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December 23, 2016 | Coaching Confidence Happiness Leadership Red Hot Blogs


REDCo CEO Claire Howell has coached leaders for decades – she knows that New Year Resolutions are done by the end of January. Unless you write them down and give them a timeframe, your long term goals are just hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Watch Claire and hear how best to achieve those goals you so desire.

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Who here is in charge of recruitment?

November 30, 2016 | Coaching Confidence Creativity Culture Happiness Red Hot Blogs


Is a question I asked of a group last week. As a bit of fun when asking the group to introduce themselves, I suggested they tell the group one thing that no one else knew about them. One had been arrested and imprisoned for two days, one took a knife to school to use in a fight and several others had, to put it mildly, been involved in armed incidents.

All very amusing and no doubt a real conversation piece in the pub later, but there is a very serious point here. The number one employer on many a graduate’s wish list is Google and they were famed for asking the most bizarre of interview questions to unsuspecting candidates. Only recently one of these questions was put to the Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt (the question is at the bottom of this blog ). Needless to say Schmidt was quoted as saying: “This is like a really bad question.” Google has since phased out these types of questions.

No doubt recruiters view these questions as justifiable, in seeing if the candidate is a cultural fit, looking at their thought process etc. or are they just being too smart for their own good?

My youngest is at university studying game design – don’t scoff I had another son do a drumming degree! He has an interview this week for a weekend job at Escape Rooms, an online game rather like the Crystal Maze. The job would be for Games Master. We spent the evening on the phone going through the sorts of questions he may be asked. In a fit of exasperation after I had thrown my Google type questions at him, he said to me: “For goodness sake Mum, don’t you think they are just going to ask why I think I would be good at the job?” Fair point, he can smell BS a mile off.

I went for an interview at Cambridge University and was asked if I could change the colour of grass what colour would I pick and why? Totally demoralised I went home and said to my Dad, shall I withdraw now before they reject me? It’s up to you, he said, they don’t deserve you anyway. I still miss his wisdom.


  • Put people with high self esteem in charge of recruitment; people with low self esteem always recruit others with self esteem lower than their own because it makes them feel better.
  • Do your due diligence outside of the interview.
  • Ask sensible but pertinent questions and sometimes remember it’s always very easy to overlook the obvious and make things more difficult than they are.
  • And please – don’t try the Google question below on your potential new recruits – you might not like the answer you get!

Google Question:

You are the captain of a pirate ship and you find a chest of gold, your crew gets to vote on how the gold is divided up. If fewer than half the pirates agree with you, you die. How do you recommend apportioning the gold in such a way that you will get a good share of the booty but will survive?

(image courtesy of #SocialRecruitIn @googledave)

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