Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding Preparation the world's media & raising the flag

Disguised stone
camera keeps
Day old -Newest wallpaper stone effect wall being assembled - the rather older Abbey stones of the west door in the background!
Media positions opposite the Abbey

Prince William's namesake ancestor- statue in St James Square

Raising the Union Flag - one of many in London

Prince William and Catherine Middleton -Royal Wedding Preparation and celebrations

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Aleksandr Orlov invited to Royal Wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton

Mr Appeal is on holiday celebrating Royal wedding so the blog has been taken over by Anchor Meerkat superstar Aleksandr Orlov.

Greetings peoples of the world. Yes I am standings here outside the famous Abbey of Westminster where Prince William and his fiance Catherine are to be married.

Joys of joys I have been invited to weddings by no less than Russian sounding Boris Mayor of London - see exclusive printed invitation below.

It stands proud on my mantlepiece at Orlov mansion

I have been practicing wearing crown. It is heavy and gives me mighty headache but that is what i have to bear like all other crowned heads of world.

Here is my modern looking invitation card from mayor Boris

British Bone china industry ( made in China) doing fantastic business)

Cutey teddy bears aboundings

There is buntings and BUNTINGs

Street of Regent look wonderful!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Ai Weiwei "Sunflower Seeds" - Questions of Corporate Social Responsibilty for such as Unilever & we as consumers

There is something about the 'artwork' sponsored by Unilever currently at the Tate Modern gallery in London but I cannot quite put my finger on it.

Indeed neither I, nor other visitors can do so since visitors are now prohibited to walk, lie on or touch the work. The dust from crushed ceramic seeds apparently is a health hazard to some people so visitors can no longer physically interact with the work. I would have loved to have felt what it was like to walk on it and hear the scrunch underfoot.

This raked 'sea' of ceramic sunflower seeds is to be found displayed on the floor of the huge turbine hall.

Each 'seed' has been individually painted by community workshops in Jingdezhen China.

Unilever coincidentally makes products from Sunflower oil which is the non-volatile oil expressed from sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seeds - the real ones rather than the ceramic varieties in show!

The 100 million ceramic seeds of the art show that make up the display pose questions to the viewer

What does it mean to be an individual in today's society?

Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together?

What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?"

These questions above are posed by the TATE Modern Gallery programme for the show but also have daily relevance to our world of selling or buying -whether we be a global corporation like Unilever or as an individual consumer.
Through sponsoring the Artist Wei Wei the Unilever brand logo is promoted .
160 million times a day someone chooses a Unilever product in the world (-some 1.5 times more than the ceramic seeds on display!).
For those not able to get to the show in London before it closes on May 2nd - here are some photos accompanied by those questions.

What does it mean to be an individual in today's society?

Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together?

What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?"

What does it mean to be an individual in today's society?

Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together?

What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?"

What does it mean to be an individual in today's society?

Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together?

What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?"

What does it mean to be an individual in today's society?

Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together?

What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?"
Ai Weiwei was arrested by the Chinese authorities on 4th April as he tried to board a plane to Hong Kong.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter-Easter Bells , Easter fire Brazier,Choir Rounders match and Flowers

This Joyful Eastertide

This joyful Easter-tide,
Away with care and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
Hath sprung to life this morrow.


Had Christ, that once was slain,
Ne’er burst His three day prison,
Our faith had been in vain;
But now hath Christ arisen,
Arisen, arisen, arisen!

My flesh in hope shall rest,
And for a season slumber;
Till trump from east to west,
Shall wake the dead in number.


Death’s flood hath lost his chill,

Since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill
My passing soul deliver.


Rejoice, heavenly powers!

Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!

Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King!

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!

Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!

The risen Savior shines upon you!

Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends, standing with me in this holy light, join me in asking

God for mercy, that he may give his unworthy minister grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you. People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood, and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night when first you saved our fathers: you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!

How boundless your merciful love!

To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says: "The night will be as clear as day: it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's solemn offering. Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

(For it is fed by the melting wax, which the mother bee brought forth to make this precious candle.)

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night! May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:

Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

ASF Choir World Series!

Ring those bells

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Happy St George's Day - Patron Saint of England

Brian Patten - Liverpool Poet wrote this poem for English Heritage. I have always enjoyed his poetry right back to school days with my copy of the 'iconic' Mersey Sound produced by Penguin Books ( 1967) by Brian Patten, Adrian Henri and Roger McGough


St George was out walking
He met a dragon on a hill,
It was wise and wonderful
Too glorious to kill

It slept amongst the wild thyme
Where the oxlips and violets grow
Its skin was a luminous fire
That made the English landscape glow

Its tears were England’s crystal rivers
Its breath the mist on England’s moors
Its larder was England’s orchards,
Its house was without doors

St George was in awe of it
It was a thing apart
He hid the sleeping dragon
Inside every English heart

So on this day let’s celebrate
England’s valleys full of light,
The green fire of the landscape
Lakes shivering with delight

Let’s celebrate St George’s Day,
The dragon in repose;
The brilliant lark ascending,
The yew, the oak, the rose

© Brian Patten 2008

Why not join me and raise a pint in honour of St George today and toast his memory?

And for all countries for whom St George is a much loved saint

from the Collect for 23rd April – Common Worship – Church of England
George – martyr, patron of England c. 304

God of hosts
Who so kindled the flame of love
In the heart of his servant George
That he bore witness to the risen Lord
By his life and by his death:
Give us the same faith and power of love
That we who rejoice in his triumphs
May come to share with him the fullness of the resurrection
through Jesus Christ our Lord

Friday, 15 April 2011

From a small pine tree to global Corporation -Komatsu

In Japanese Komatsu means small pine tree. In English we have an expression “from little acorns great oak trees grow.” Komatsu are a big ‘corporate’ oak tree in anyone’s language. Young boys might like to play with Tonka toys but when one encounters the real business of Crawler Excavators, Wheeler excavators, Crawler dozers, Dump tracks, Backhoe loaders, Mobile crushers, recyclers, wheel loaders, motor graders, skid steer loaders, etc these are the real toys for boys! The Komatsu product range is one of the largest in the world

This week ,I've been working out in Vilvoorde near Brussels with my colleague Simon Broom running a Management Strategy Workshop with managers at Komatsu the Japanese truck manufacturer. I had a fantastic group of managers from Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Bosnia and the Ukraine. It was an event filled experience not only on the business front but also on the personal front. We celebrated one delegate's birthday ( Richard from Ghana) and another (Wonder) entering into the world of fatherhood.

Our programme covered discussions on defining what the role of a manager is today and what are the challenges both at the local, national and global levels. Models of the machines that Komatsu manufacture, service and support. At the global level the resilience of Komatsu's headquarters despite the huge challenges that the earthquake and tsunami that the home country has suffered was impressive. Komatsu's Management Principles include: Quality and Reliability  The essence of Komatsu's management is to maximize its "Corporate Value" through the pursuit of "Quality and Reliability."

They believe in the notion that "Corporate Value" represents the total sum of trust the general society and our stakeholders place in Komatsu.In order to gain more trust, Komatsu Group companies take into consideration Komatsu's Corporate Social Responsibility ("CSR") and strive toward mature corporate governance and high "Manufacturing Competitiveness".

Their pursuit of "Quality and Reliability" is naturally applicable to their products and services to ensure that they are highly valued by our customers. However, its successful application further encompasses such aspects as organizational structure, business operations, employees and Komatsu's management in general.

They issue their managers with guidelines which indicate what they should do for the purpose of enhancing "Quality and Reliability." These guidelines are not only for management but also for each and every employee of Komatsu Group companies in performing their respective jobs on a day-to-day basis:

It is worth looking at these priciples as best practice from a global player.

a. To always think about the needs of customers and to strive to provide products, services and systems that are environment-friendly, safe and innovative;

b. To always pursue self-initiated innovation of technology and management;

c. To promote consolidated management from the global perspective;

d. To contribute to the welfare of the local community as a good corporate citizen; and

e. To provide employees with opportunities for self-initiated innovation and achievements. Komatsu clearly work on solutions rather than being part of a problem! Although there are certain influences that managers cannot directly effect there are certain actions mangers can take to bring them teams close to corporate objectives nevertheless.

One area that was a challenge for all on the course was that of time management. The demands on Komatsu managers are many and various.

The key elements we identified included Selection, Organisation, Direction, Motivation, Correction, Controlling, Assisting, Developing, Decision making, Change management, Inspiration, Retention of Staff and where necessary Dismissal. The communication channels that today's manger can employ are in four areas

1.Written communication via email

2. Reading

3. Listening

and 4. Speaking
There was a feeling among the group that more time needed be spent by getting out of the office chair and engaging with their team member face to face a little more. It was felt that MBWA ( Management by Walking About) - popular some 30 years ago, is due for a return .

No doubt the world's Business Schools are re-inventing that "particular wheel" with some fancy new title - suggestions please. The group also discussed and debated at some length about the various different styles of authority that can be employed for different circumstances. e.g. Structural, Moral, Charismatic and Wisdom ( 'Sapiential') and " Give them a damned good listening to!" The groups worked on a stretching case study that required them to to produce a product and market plan.

They had to decide and justify their decision with respect to analysing data on a sales team both in terms of past and future potential in view of the change in market and product mix described in the case.

They had to draw out conclusion about the type and amount of activities the sales team and individuals contributed to the overall performance. Although the case was not specific to Komatsu's segment the group pulled out many parallels that the various units were currently experiencing. Of course just "telling" a team will not be enough to make it happen.

So we refreshed our knowledge methods of monitoring, analysing and planning in terms of the team's activity, direction and ability. Activity was measured by quantity and frequency Aim / Direction was measured by the right products, to the right customers and the right contact. (Robert from Kenya presenting his team's approach to 'pipeline' forecasting. Ability in terms of knowledge and skills. ) Forecasting and Pipeline.

We reviewed how forecasting and 'pipelines'. We considered particular products and service offered by Komatsu and broken each down into steps of decision and and information capture into a 'staircase' approach. A further development of this approach was to give a rating / percentage likelihood of each step It was felt that this would be a useful tool for working with their team members to keep them on track and on target.

For Komatsu many of the projects and sales have extended time lines from first interest to Revenue earned. We then did some refreshment work on Team motivation considering models such as Maslow Hierarchy of needs and how best to apply it in the field. We then moved onto the topic of PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT.

We looked at how competency matrices can help the manager manager their people and their talents this was linked back to our 3As model ( Aim, Ability and Activity) to best effect. We then rounded off the programme with working or the giving of feedback and coaching skills. We refreshed our skills on focusing on behaviour and behaviour change consider the pros and cons of subjective and objective feedback. We looked at the DESC model Describing the behaviour to be coached ( corrected) Explaining and Expressing the effects of the behaviour Specifying what was required and commensurate changes and remedies Consequences of changing / or not changing and how to explain them We put this all together into a series of short role plays of challenging situations where today's manager need to coach and give feedback to their staff.

Listening was particularly stressed by many as a skill to constantly work on. We worked on formulating accurate yearly forecasts and approaches to 'pipeline management'. It was not all work though. We had a great evening dinner at Ristorante -I Latini, place Sainte-Catherine , 1000 Bruxelles .

My "Royal" Bream fish was delicious www.

Related link Komatsu 2012