Many (including several of the United Kingdom’s most senior Government Ministers) may be surprised to hear that Новичо́к or as we say ‘Novichok’ is NOT the name of a substance.
The word itself means ‘New Kid on the Block’, ‘New Guy’ or even ‘Newcomer’.
‘Novichok’ refers to a series of highy toxic so-called V-agents with the generic formula CnH(2n+4)NO2PS with comparatively minor variants.
For instance, Novichok Nerve Agent VE has the formula C10H24NO2PS.
This particular series of nerve agents was developed by Russia over 20 years (1971-1993) and are collectively considered as the New Kids on the Block because they are Russia’s Second Generation agents with the first attempts having been produced in the Soviet Era – just after WW2. Continue reading Are you 100% sure that the Russians are lying?
In the last few years there has been a growing interest in leadership and leadership theory – in the wake of the appearance of political leaders whose election seems to be something of an anomaly.
For instance, Donald Trump is widely regarded as an incompetent (possibly certifiable) loose cannon and the United Kingdom’s Theresa May as a charmless administrator who has suddenly and by accident, found herself in the top job as British Prime Minister.
What Trump and May do have in common, however, is that they are widely regarded as being a perfect example of the Peter Principle. That is to say, they both appear to have been promoted to way beyond their level of incompetence. Continue reading Leadership: Charisma or Competence?
One of the most misused and least understood words in the English language is ‘psychopath’.
Thanks to the media, as well as the arts, the word is confused with ‘violent psychopath’.
Many years ago when I was still cavorting on the corporate stage, I asked one of my American ‘matrix’ bosses (who went on to head up one of the world’s biggest banks) what his ideal senior manager was. He studied me intently and replied, ‘An entrepreneurial psychopath with an MBA’………….. Continue reading In Praise of the Psychopath
The Cameron-Osborne Mantra
If there was ever a Prime Minister fully entitled to bang-on incessantly about “the mess left behind by the previous government”, it is Mrs May.
The Cameron-Osborne ‘mess’ has not been immediately apparent because of the veneer of spurious statistics applied to it like icing over a dodgy cake.
Hopefully with Spreadsheet Phil now in charge of the Treasury, we will be allowed to see some pure numbers, rather than those endless ‘percentages’ which Chancellor Gideon and Dave were so very fond of.
Did you notice that even towards the end of his valedictory address to the assembled hacks in Downing Street, David Cameron could not resist a quick “…and we reduced the deficit by two-thirds!” ?
No you didn’t, Dave and you certainly should not have bolted at the first sign of having to take some real “tough decisions”.
I have trained and coached some very senior people all over the world and at one stage (many years ago) I was hired by Angela Rumbold to train a few individuals at Conservative Central Office in Smith Square.
Unfortunately, I found that they all knew far more that I did, probably because of the mysterious process of knowledge-osmosis which Conservative MPs (and others) are subject to…..It is a mysterious phenomenon whereby once an MP is elected, he or she acquires all the world’s management knowledge and with little or no training or coaching can go on to manage the complexities of one or more of our great Departments of State…..even though they may have only been a lawyer, local Councillor or Trades Union person.
It is a mysterious phenomenon, on par with the migration of the Barnacle Goose.
However, I digress…..and as a leadership coach to several well-known people, my experience tells me that although Theresa May may well be an excellent administrator, she is no leader. For Instance, her ‘leadership’ of our Border Agency hasn’t been anything to write home about and in keeping with her ‘administrator rather than leader’ credentials, all of her solutions to Border Agency issues have been procedural rather than inspirational.
In other words, she’s an an ideal Conservative leadership candidate. Just look at the others: Major, Hague, IDS, Howard, Cameron…..all great leaders of their day!
On the other hand, Andrea Leadsom does appear to have a whole array of leadership qualities, including one which is considered poison by Tory High Command – CHARISMA…….but let us hope that they wake up before it’s too late!