Archive for 2009

How to become an effective business leader

Common Purpose is a not-for profit-organisation that brings together people to help them become more effective leaders in society.  It runs leadership development programmes offering  inspiration, knowledge and connections to help organisations become more active and engaged in society.

It’s an International organisation but as part of the drive in Scotland, we were invited to speak at their event:


The format for the event was for us to take an overview of the economy in Glasgow – what are the conditions for success, and how the Glasgow economy fits – into the National picture.

Twelve leading organisations made up of SME, public sector and social enterprise businesses were all represented. And we helped them learn about and better understand the social and business (economy) side of Glasgow.

Basically, a lot what we spoke about our everyday business experiences and how we’ve adopted and adapted to the recent tough times. We spoke about what Dunning do, how we do business in the city and how the communications landscape is changing.

It was a fun and enlightening day and as the other speakers  included Dr Lesley Sawers, CEO at Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Bobby Hain,  Director Broadcast Services  STVRoss Clark, Centre Director, Hillington Park Innovation Centre and Eamonn Thompson, General Manager, Marriott Hotel, the participants gained a really rounded insight as to what’s ‘going down’ in the Glasgow business sector.

Common Purpose, an interesting organisation. You can read more about them on their Blog:

Daily Mail takes a traditional view-shock!

Jan Moir

This wee woman is currently Public enemy No1 and it’s all because of an article she wrote, in a recent issue of The Daily Mail. As we all probably know, Stephen Gately, the Boyzone band member died recently, in fairly tragic circumstances. Obviously, for any young geezer to die is a sad event but the fact that Stephen Gately was a famous pop star and an openly gay man, it was obvious  Daily Mail ‘fodder’. They were duty bound to comment on his death. from a ‘traditional’ viewpoint.

Whether you subscribe to her beliefs, or the Daily Mail’s beliefs or whether you’ve even read the article or not, that’s not important. What were ARE defending is ANY journalist’s right to free speech. We’ve got our opinions on the Daily Mail and we’d argue that it’s their JOB to take a slightly priggish, conservative view on anything that’s not straight down the line. It’s what The Daily Mail was invented for. So, for 22,000 people to take issue with a traditional, dyed- in-the- wool, curtain-twitching newspaper’s approach, it’s sort of strange.

This knee-jerk ‘complaints’ culture has become prevalent of late and it’s definitely been fuelled by internet ‘rumour’. The whole ‘Jonathan Ross-Manuelgate’ scenario was something which the Internet blew out of all proportion. In the case of Ms Moir’s situation, it similarly started off on Facebook, when a number of ‘right-on’ liberal types, they urged fellow Facebookers to send off a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission regarding Jan Moir’s article, alluding to the less than straightforward (and we use this word advisedly) circumstances of Stephen’s death. Like it or not, it wasn’t what the average Daily Mail reader (if there is such a thing) would regard as ‘normal’. Three gay guys, a flat in the Balearics, a whiff of ‘drugs’…absolutely ‘no-brainer’ stuff for the Daily Mail to comment on.

And that’s what’s surprising, reading the offending article, is that it’s just someone’s opinion, a bit of virtual fish and chip paper which will be scattered in the ether tomorrow. It’s been blown out of all proportion and is something which has got every trendy outspoken liberal leaping in and out of closets, chatrooms and online forums to condemn someone, for writing a fairly standard bit of Daily Mail-type blurb.

Looking at this and similar newspapers on any other day, there are literally dozens of stories which could have any fairly rational person throwing their hands up in horror at their one-sided slant on modern, British life. As we mention before, it’s the Daily Mail’s job to do this. It’s salacious and it’s what Bearsden, Barnton and Middle-England-shire want to read…society’s gone down the pan. In the ‘Gately-gate’ tale after all, one of the gay blokes in the flat was BULGARIAN!  Could it get any worse? What was HE doing in Majorca? Was he there illegally? There’s a whole ISSUE of the Daily Mail could be dedicated to this one piece of human, personal tragedy.

Anyway, our point is are these 22,000 ‘liberals’ turning us into a generation of mini ‘Mary Whitehouses’? Are they any worse or better than her? Are we getting outraged just because we can? Are we jumping, bandwagon-esque on ANY cause that may trample on ‘liberal’ views, because if we are, the trouble is, we could be fanning the flames of something altogether more dangerous or turning us into one of Europe’s dullest countries.

These are probably the same ‘Liberals’ who are crying-out for BNP leader Nick Griffin to be given his chance to defend his party policies on the great British Institution that is ‘Question Time’. It’s another hot topic of news at the moment. These people want to see BNP on Question Time (because they’ve been democratically elected). If you think BNP are bonkers, you’d watch to see just how big a hole Mr Griffin can dig for the BNP.

If you voted for them, you’d like to see Nick be given a proper, mainstream platform to demonstrate that thousands of people in Oldham can’t be wrong. You’d like to hear him talk about traditional British values and his party’s Churchillian  ‘Battle for Britain’.  Because of course, there are two sides to every story and it really depends on your point of view as to which side is the unsavoury one.

So, with ‘balance’ in mind are we right in condemning a Daily Mail article for perhaps being a bit homophobic?

Here’s another way of looking at things. We’re living in an age where one of the cleverest comics of our age Frankie Boyle, has been heavily censured for making a joke about Her Majesty on TV’s Mock The Week. It’s the one where he suggests The Queen is so old her erm…’nether regions’ are haunted…I watched the episode and was doubled-up with laughter, as were the audience, and all of the other panellists and I’d imagine, most of the people watching at home. Sure, it was an opinion, and a bit shocking, and rude…and bloody funny. So, where are the 22,000 complaints that Frankie was anti-monarchist and ageist? They were not forthcoming because potential complainants, they’re not part of the Internet generation. It would take too much effort to raise a possee.

It’s simply a bit of persepective we need to regain. If it’s easy for an online generation to click a button to vilify an obvious target like The Daily Mail, fine, go ahead and do this. But let’s not open-up the floodgates for a new generation of moaners, who will turn on people, en-masse and shout down anyone, just because they’ve got a different opinion.

It’s Homecoming Year, so let’s let Robert Burns comment on our ability to be transparent and gain balance. And by this, we don’t mean developing a chip on both shoulders.

‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us. Tae see oursels as ithers see us!’

The Rail Link 'battle'

"Taxi for Glasgow?"

"Taxi for Glasgow?"

To your average American, they probably find it absolutely astounding that they can’t jump off a plane at Glasgow Airport and right onto a fast-link train, which takes them straight into Central Station. Of course, there are lots of historical reasons why Scotland’s major airport still relies on cabs and buses to ferry the increasing number of visitors and business tourists  into the city. The Dr Beeching train infrastructure cuts which ravaged the rail network in the 1950’s were set against a backdrop of a fairly bankrupt Britain, where a lot of the soothsayers were thinking that cars and buses were ‘the future’ anyway. Trains (and trams, for those of an Edinburgh persuasion!) were seen as outdated, old-fashioned, slow, noisy etc etc.

To rational people, it might seem completely and utterly bonkers that in Fife, at St Andrew’s, the actual ‘Home of Golf’ it doesn’t have a railway station, to ferry rotund Americans, who are usually allergic to walking, on, or near to, the first tee.

It’s the same in the North. In the Highlands, there are only two lines available, to take people (rather infrequently), to the North West and North East extremes of Scotland. Ditto The Borders, lots of beautiful towns which are absolutely perfect for train day trips from Glasgow and Edinburgh, if there was a blinkin’ train that went there…

The fact that we don’t even have a proper MOTORWAY between Scotland’s two biggest cities might give the realist a hint of how policy has developed in ‘Scotia’ over the decades but really, honestly, in 21st Century Scotland, surely our main Scottish Airport HAS to have a rail link into our biggest City?

Our MD Claire Dunning, she kicked-up a bit of ‘a stooshie’ at last week’s Glasgow Business Awards. She simply said in her speech that Businesses in Glasgow were going to fight the decision of the ‘Mandarins’ to axe the proposed rail link. This seem to be a sensible and totally rational comment, but it was seen to be important enough, that she featured (along with her shiny new hair-do) on the front page of The Glasgow Evening Times!

In spite of Claire’s stance (which is surely backed by just about every sane Scottish person even the ecology people as it’s be cleaner than loads of buses and taxis?) officially, at the moment, it’s not going to happen. We’re NOT going to have a rail link from airport to city, which must put us in a tiny minority of Big, grown-up cities who don’t have one?

Of course, ‘in this current climate’ is the excuse and it’s said it comes down to cost. However, we’re living in a world where a slightly iffy (in some people’s eyes) Scottish Parliament building cost half a billion quid and the new Edinburgh tram network will cost…well, nobody knows, but it’s looking like being wayyy north of £800 million.  So, the cost of £70 million (let’s DOUBLE that to be safe as that’s usually what happens anyway and say £140 million) which has been quoted for the rail link seems a bargain?

Surely this HAS to be sanctioned, or in the future, we’re going to appear to be, in Billy Connolly’s frank and honest words words… ‘a wee, ‘diddy’ Nation’? After all We’re competing in a tough market and having a crap transport infrastructure is like fighting with one arm tied behind our back!

Scotland…Glasgow…Edinburgh, everywhere…is growing in confidence, stature and appeal and if you look at our ability to attract European Cups, MOBO’s, MTV Awards, G8 Summits and some of the WORLD’S biggest conferences, is it not time for us to grow up, put our money where our mouth is and INVEST?

Maybe we’re being simplistic but we reckon there will be a lot of battles entered-into but lost in the forthcoming years, due to ‘infrastructure’ issues letting us down.

So, come on Glasgow, Scotland, the Scottish Parliament, Scottish People, Glaswegians, Edinburghers, Paisley ‘Buddies’, SECC bosses, See Glasgow gurus, everyone…stand up and be counted!