Red Hot Blogs

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)

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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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To my three children I leave …

November 23, 2016 | Happiness Red Hot Blogs



Well it’s not exactly nothing, but a couple of weeks ago Bill Gates has said his children are proud that he and his wife are leaving all their billions to their charitable foundation rather than to them. He does go onto say that they have been provided for and won’t ever be poor but doesn’t say how comfortable they will be, however, good for them.

So why do we work so hard to leave something for the children? Certainly my parents-in-law never took a foreign holiday, were frugal to the point of parsimony and left everything they could to their four sons – along with a massive inheritance tax cheque to the Exchequer. My mother on the other hand will be leaving zero as she is happily and merrily spending every penny while she can. I have asked that, perhaps as a kindness to the family, she could clear her credit card before she pops her clogs but I’m not convinced she will.

We updated our wills recently, which was no mean feat, and clearly just in case of an accident. I would far rather give the children anything we can now and not let them wait until we have slipped this mortal coil. My husband is retiring next spring and in his unique and charming way is looking forward to managing others’ expectations and is already planning how much less waste and frivolous spending there will be. What a joy.

Maybe it’s worth thinking about what to leave to loved ones other than the obvious. We spend a lot of time looking after other people and that’s great, but if you wear yourself down to the point of exhaustion you are not much good to anyone else. Look after your health and it’s ok to treat yourself before others. It’s better to give than receive, but not all of the time. One of the first rules in personal growth and development is to pay yourself first, think of it as putting on your oxygen mask before helping others. Just a thought.

And we have had our annual fight over donning extra jumpers or putting the central heating on. A rumbling peace has been agreed as to the number of logs put on the fire and we have held a two hour debate about why we have so many lights on. All very laudable, but not a lot of fun, and it’s hardly going to save much to go towards the children’s inheritance.

I would like to think that my kids couldn’t be happier if their Mother left them nothing but happy memories as she is buried in an eye-poppingly expensive pair of Manolos. Failing that, I have suggested my ashes could be sprinkled up and down the escalator at Selfridges, at least I know my daughter would visit!


(image courtesy of Manolo Blahnik)



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