Red Hot Blogs

The 12 Books of Christmas

December 17, 2017 | Leadership Red Hot Blogs

Screenshot 2017-12-17 11.46.39For those of you who know us at RED you will know we are always talking about reading and ,as the great Jim Rohn once said, “the difference you make to your life is down to three things, the people you meet, the goals you set and the books you read”.

We can’t do anything about the first two but we can help you on your way with a list of books to get you going. Make one of your goals to read a non fiction book a month a year next year. To inspire you to get started,  here are our recommended 12 Books of Christmas.

Day 1 How to read a book – Mortimer Adler

Many people say to me I don’t read books so if that’s the case start with this one. It also has a great list of the books well-read people will read.


Day 2 Learned Optimism – Martin Selligman

For many a life changing book. I was fortunate to meet the author and this book changed my life.


Day 3 Raising Boys or Raising Girls – Stephen Biddulph

For the parents among us. The best child raising manuals out there!


Day 4 The Richest Man in Babylon – George S Clayson

It’s not the number one bestseller across the Middle East for nothing. A very quick to read full of great financial advice.


Day 5 Zen and The art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig

An enquiry into values. He also wrote Lila, an enquiry into morals, for anyone vaguely interested in politics this is a must read. Need I say more?


Day 6 Matt Cartoons from The Daily Telegraph

Every year they publish a selection of the best ones, always great for a Christmas stocking filler and never has it been more important to laugh out loud as it is now!


Day 7   How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

Great to have on audio to play in your car. Start it on the school run you are never too young to learn these techniques.


DAY 8 The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

How little things can make a big difference. Great if you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.


DAY 9 How to be a Brilliant Thinker – Paul Sloane

A great read to get those little grey cells working , lots of ideas here to immediately transform the way you think.


DAY 10 The Art of War – Sun Tzu

In my view one of the best leadership books out there.


Day 11  Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

As old as the hills written in 1937 and still as pertinent today as it was then.


DAY 12   Nudge – Thaler and Sunstein

We all make choices but how do we make better ones? Be it health, wealth or happiness sometimes we all need a little help getting it right.


(image courtesy of The Purposeful Mom)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sorry is the hardest word …

October 25, 2017 | diversity Leadership Red Hot Blogs

Screenshot 2017-10-25 11.26.27

Unless you have been hiding under a stone this week you can’t help but have seen the terrible trouble Jared O’Mara, Labour’s Momentum MP for Sheffield has managed to get himself into. He ousted Nick Clegg at the last election. I won’t bore you with the details but his homophobic, misogynist and just about every other ‘ism’ rants on a website a few years ago have left his plump little cheeks as red as his lovely hair.

Quite rightly he has had to apologise, except he didn’t quite manage it. Firstly, his story about having been ‘on a journey’ and ‘trying to improve’ falls away when it turns out some of this abuse was only made a few months ago. He himself has suggested that if he was a Conservative he wouldn’t be forgiven because well – they are not into equality. His apology therefore goes on to upset the millions that voted Conservative who presumably Labour will want to bring around to their side at the next election. Fortunately he has had the sense to resign from the Women and Equalities committee, but Mr Corbyn is still standing by him – well he shouldn’t. It’s all a complete mess.

Mr O’Mara should resign as an MP, spend some time on reflection, behave better and then maybe he could be rehabilitated. I am prepared to bet my house that won’t happen.

Why is it so difficult to get it right when saying sorry? The emotions of contrition are complex and deep rooted. We can all relate to making a child say sorry for some misdemeanour, we can all probably remember being made to apologise when we were younger, except we probably never meant it. No one ever wants to admit being in the wrong. If it was the wrong thing to do then, why do it? Few of us are brought up to say and do bad things but we do. It’s human nature. If we were all so perfect this planet wouldn’t have all the wars and conflict happening that it currently does.

Insincere apologies stand out a mile, you can even buy ‘Sorry’ greetings cards to save you the effort of speaking to someone face to face. My favourite is “I’ve been asked to apologise on behalf of….” It seems that unreserved apologies, never actually are and if I had a pound for all the corporate apologies I had received over the years I would be able to retire.

So, here’s some tips for Mr O’Mara, Mr Weinstein and all those other souls caught out:

  1. If you have lied then you only make it worse by continuing with other layers of untruths.
  2. Apologising swiftly shortens the conflict.
  3. Don’t even think of saying sorry if you don’t mean it.
  4. The saying ‘sincerity is the test of truth’ is rubbish, truth is truth. Insincerity is sniffed out a mile off.
  5. Never ever say: “I am sorry you feel that way.” It’s the route to being punched!
  6. If someone apologises to you then accept it, IF YOU WANT TO, if not still be mad as hell if your mental strength can cope with that.
  7. Saying sorry is NOT about words only, it’s also about changing your behaviour (the most difficult part of an apology).
  8. Look up the definitions of Accountability and Responsibility, enough said.

If this blog has gone on too long then I’m sorry…. but then again I might not be!

(image courtesy of The Guardian)


Tags: , , , , , ,

Revenge is a dish …

June 26, 2017 | Coaching Red Hot Blogs

Screenshot 2017-06-26 10.33.09

Best served out in the open, if your name is George Osborne. It seems that our ex-Chancellor of The Exchequer is using his new found freedom as editor of The London Evening Standard to undertake a personal and very public vendetta against Teresa May.

Frankly I think he’s rather overdoing it. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely understand what a delicious feeling revenge is, that sense of getting your own back for a slight or wrong you have suffered is enormously gratifying, but you just can’t keep it going.

Mr Osborne needs to understand that whilst he may gain some instant gratification for his startling headlines and grotesque looking cartoons it is he who in the long run is going to be the one feeling worse off.

Scientists have found that prolonged campaigns of revenge simply deepen the unpleasantness of the original deed that was exacted on you and make your upset even deeper. In common parlance, it simply means you just have to let it go! If you don’t, you will perpetuate a cycle of retaliation.

In the case of Osborne vs May I am afraid he is making himself look mean and petty and it’s not healthy psychologically. If I were advising him, I would suggest he put his feelings to better use. Such strength of feeling can easily be channelled towards much more productive goals. Somebody, much wiser than me once said ‘Whilst seeking revenge dig two graves, one for yourself’.

Once, when upset after somebody had said something nasty about me at school, my Father sat me down and said: “Claire, what other people think about you is none of your business.” It’s advice that has served me well. I can walk past the joke voodoo kits but can you?

Mahatma Gandhi said it brilliantly “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind”

(image courtesy of AFP)



Tags: , , , ,

A coaching letter to Theresa May

June 10, 2017 | Coaching Red Hot Blogs

"Getting someone to stand in for you on a TV debate is cowardly. Saying you are brave enough to call an election and then not show up for scrutiny is beyond damaging."

“Getting someone to stand in for you on a TV debate is cowardly. Saying you are brave enough to call an election and then not show up for scrutiny is beyond damaging.”

If I was asked (I won’t be) to provide some coaching for Mrs May here’s what I would say. Enjoy!

  1. Only ever surround yourself with the best people

Love him or loathe him I always admired the fact that Alex Salmond only ever employed the best people for the job. Being a leader doesn’t mean you trust a small coterie of acolytes, you have to be able to see through sycophancy when you are in the top job. Always have someone that will challenge your ideas and your thinking. You are NEVER right all the time. This may be unpalatable for those in power, but true.

  1. Be positive

You can’t possibly sell a negative message to get support. The Tory manifesto was absurd in the extreme. Giving unpleasant messages because you feel it’s for the greater good won’t win you any support. It was ridiculous and naïve. Every attack on the opposition loses you more votes than you garner. Fact.

  1. Listen

The biggest fear politicians have is that people don’t listen to them. In a crowded market you can struggle to get your message across, you only have to look at the TV debates to see that. Ironically though, you see a lot of politicians who don’t listen to what others are saying.

  1. You never get a second chance to create a first impression

Simply put, once people have made up their mind about you it’s the devil’s own job to change their views. You do this by showing some humility. Enough said.

  1. Don’t go round kissing babies

In other words stop the insincerity, you can’t fake being someone you are not. People sniff out insincerity a mile off. The politician with the £50k watch lecturing us on spending habits doesn’t cut it. There was a certain Welsh Labour politician who had two cars, a clapped out banger for when he visited his constituency and a new one for when he wasn’t. He lost his seat.

  1. Communication, try it

One of the most irritating aspects of any leadership campaign is the constant repetition of mindless slogans. Plaid Cymru had #DefendWales, thereby making potential supporters looking like they were victims, lowering the voters’ self-esteem and generally making people feel worse about themselves. Ridiculous. For her part, Theresa May seems to have perfected the art of not answering a question openly and honestly. Looking evasive is the same as being evasive. Stop doing it.

  1. Big up those around you

Not once did I hear any praise from Theresa May for her team. Not once. The best she did was to say the Lord Mayor of London was doing a good job, and he’s not even in the same party. Why should your team walk over hot coals for you when you only ever talk about yourself?

  1. Leadership is an absolute privilege not a right

I know a lot of MPs from all political parties and some are the nicest people you could want to meet. There are very few who are ‘in it for themselves’, a view commonly put about after the expenses scandal. However, the arrogance of belief and right on political correctness is a complete turn off. You have to admire Jeremy Corbyn for connecting with the youth vote here; they believed he was in it for them not him. Not sure you could say that about Theresa May.

  1. Do not hide behind others

I’ve seen lots of leaders get others to do their dirty work for them. I once had a CEO tell me the most important job his HR Director did was to fire people so he didn’t have to. Getting someone to stand in for you on a TV debate is cowardly. Saying you are brave enough to call an election and then not show up for scrutiny is beyond damaging.

  1. Say sorry

Too little too late is often the politician’s approach because they don’t want to look weak. After she had been to the Palace to see the Queen, Mrs May’s address to the press was a display of tone deaf, graceless arrogance that left people watching wondering who on earth advised her to do it that way. Sack the advisors!

Tags: , , , ,

Here’s hoping …

April 5, 2017 | Red Hot Blogs

Screenshot 2017-04-05 11.06.25

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.

Tags: , , ,

La La Land

February 24, 2017 | Happiness Leadership Red Hot Blogs

Screenshot 2017-02-24 19.45.20

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)

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,