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Archive for the ‘What I do’ Category

2013 blog review; wishing everyone a peaceful and content 2014


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

technology should push us as well as pull us


If you’ve followed my Tweets over the last few days you’ll know that I have changed my mobile (cell) ‘phone last week. This was part of a long overdue strategic issue for me; overdue because I had been procrastinating about making the change from something that I used for calls, and the odd text, to something that made sense as an integrated office tool for the itinerant way of working that is my life. Read more…

avoiding the swings and the roundabouts and getting things done


I was discussing here the other week how business goes round in circles; the pendulum swings from one way of working to another and back again, and I argued that we needed to be less reactive. It’s a question of balance.

Conversations arising from that blog suggested that I was against radical change, but I’m not when it is necessary. If you have to swerve to avoid someone then it makes sense to do so rather that endure a painful collision. However, I would ask the question, why did you not see them coming earlier?

This is getting to the heart of running any operation, and those of us in #facilitiesmanagement know the issue only too well. We are often having to fire fight, and most of us in the business will have seen times when we were so busy quelling the flames that we didn’t have time to stop them starting.

One of the things that I’m passionate about in any job I take on is giving myself time to be able to do things properly. Anticipation is really 90% experience allowing you to expect the unexpected. You also develop your own toolkit of things that allow you handle things quickly when the need arises to stop matters getting out of hand.

Being able to anticipate is also a product of reading the situation and spotting the possibility of a problem and preparing for it, taking remedial action. “Perfect planning prevents p**s poor performance” as one of my team used to put it, and that really summed it up for our team. Yes we had our fair share of panics in the early days, but we worked on them, thought about them, talked about them and would listen to any idea, no matter how daft it might have sounded at the time.

Over the first year we had got most of the seasonal issues better planned and, no matter how well our solutions worked we would always review them because sometimes they were too good and we could get the right results with less effort and/or cost. Sure there were times when we got it wrong as well (I used to tell them that if we were perfect we’d be running FM beyond the pearly gates), but getting it wrong teaches you far more that getting it right.

Having the drains up in a non threatening way I also covered recently. Building a team where people can speak frankly requires a tremendous trust in each other. It isn’t the easiest thing to achieve, and you can lose it in an instant if you’re not strong enough as a leader, but when you have it the team can, and will, fly. Team spirit is another major factor in being able to anticipate problems and head them off at the pass. The team will be watching each other’s backs and playing for the good of the team rather than for themselves.

I’ve used the FM environment here to illustrate the point, but it applies just as much across the whole business spectrum. A fired up and motivated team will have the bases covered and negate the violent swerves because they will see things coming. A business in this shape is not going to get caught up in the pendulum swings because they don’t need to. They can make and cope with the fine adjustments to strategy by deployment of the right tactics to achieve objectives.

The only circles you will find a team like this going round are of the Plan, Do and Review kind as they constantly improve their performance.

Cracking codes and getting the secrets – a day in the life of JB

September 6, 2010 2 comments

They meet in a quiet office overlooking the restricted area. Security guards with fearsome dogs patrol behind razor wire topped fences. She knows why JB is there. They waste no time on small talk; she slides a single sheet of A4 paper across the desk to him. He glances down the two columns typed upon it and nods. He puts the page into his briefcase, they shake hands and he leaves. Read more…

what goes where


I started this blog with no clear idea of what I was doing. Social networking was new to me and I just wanted to get started.

Today I’ve put into place the thoughts that have been coming together thanks to the input of others around cyberspace that have helped me.

This blog will now become my area for blogging thoughts on leadership and team building together with sharing my own experiences so that others can, I hope, benefit from my failures and successes.

John J Bowen’s blog will take the more random thoughts that I sometimes come up with and be a bit more of a personal blog.

Gulfhaven News will blog updates from my primary business identity.

Links to the other blogs are over on the right of this blog page and, when I’ve worked through the mill later today all three blogs will have links to each other and my various web sites.

You’ll also find links here on this page to some of the other business sites and blogs that I find useful.

Thanks for dropping by, or following me, and I’ll try and keep it interesting and relevant. Let me know what you think.

The Principles of Warehouse Design 3rd edition


I was honoured to be invited to contribute 2 chapters to this latest edition and am pleased to confirm that the launch has been announced for 10 March 2010. More news will be on the web site of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) and I’ll update this blog and my own web sites as the timing and venue are confirmed.

Congratulations to Peter and his team for their efforts in pulling the project together.

monday musing on sunday?


Tomorrow (Jan 25) will see my eleventh Monday Musing post and I’m quite proud of that. The original idea was that I would sit down on a Monday and write something, but work looked like it would interfere so I began to write in advance and set up scheduled publishing. Tomorrows was written today, and is the first of a different challenge.

When I began these weekly blogs (as opposed to the random postings that crop up here) it was in response to a suggestion from I guy I met at the airport lounge in JFK earlier last year. He gave me some good advice on social networks generally and which I’ve followed up on since, but it was he who suggested that I write weekly and to use a general thread, in my case teambuilding and leadership.

My new challenge is to write to a consistant length of 600 words (tomorrow’s is 599). This has come from a friend who is a former journalist and we have a bet of lunch riding on it. I have to deliver 600 words (plus or minus 10) for the next 6 weeks. If I can she is paying, if not it’s down to me.

So I shall try. I follow a number of columists and admire their ability to punch out their daily or weekly thoughts, so now it is my turn to try and emulate them. This entry doesn’t count by the way, it is the Monday morning entries that payment for our lunch will hinge on. I’m looking forward to trying.

A Bit About What I Do


Just a quick summary of what I do, in no special order:

1 – I am a Trainer. Mostly in running in house courses for companies, but also at professional and business gatherings. Key topics include; customer service, purchasing, leadership and team building.

2 – I am a mentor tosenior managers, young managers and management teams. As an experienced senior manager and non-executive director I can help with business direction and team building.

3 – I am a consultant. I help businesses through the experience I’ve gained from many years of senior management. I am a general manager and Non Executive Director, but with specific experience in procurement, sales, facilities management and logistics.

4 – I am a speaker at conferences and business gatherings, and have become something of an industry pundit over the last year.

5 – I am not an academic, but have co-authored the latest version of the standard hanbook The Principles of Warehouse Design, published by the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) and Cranfield University and I am also setting professional examination questions at levels 4, 5 and 6 for the British Institute of Facilities Management.

6 – I am an experienced (and qualified) interviewer and assessor of people.

If I can help you or your business in any way please get in touch.