November 22/2016


For those who have met me in person, seen me speak on stage, or attended one of my events or seminars, you will be aware, I’m sure, of the importance I attach to having my shoes polished… toe-caps especially glass-like, so you really can see your reflection in them.

An old habit… from my past life in the services. And one of those things I decided to keep as a habit.

Many people ask me “how do you do it?” (note they never ask, “why?” always “how?”!)

Well, it really is a technique, a little time, and a little extra effort.

But that’s not the point of this tale.

You see, in reality you are not actually polishing the shoe leather. You are polishing the layer of polish underneath.

After a while, you can get quite a build-up… and there’s a danger that the polish will crack. The tendency is to polish over the chips and cracks… and for a while you can get away with that.

But, there comes a point where you have to take all the layers of polish off, and strip the shoes back to bare leather, and start again.

The first time I saw someone do this I thought, “Aaaaargh! What are you doing? They look fine to me. Why are you taking that beautiful polish off?”

Then, I saw the result of them going back to zero and starting again… a fresh approach.

After just a short time the shoes were gleaming – better than they had been previously.

You know, to make radical changes takes courage, takes decisiveness, and takes application to rebuild.
You sometimes have to deconstruct the golf swing, go back a couple of stages, to develop and grow and improve your game.
You sometimes have to dismantle the old marketing platform, before rebuilding.
You sometimes have to go back to the bare bones of your service, to re-invent, re-ignite it for the world.

That’s why most people stay put.
They stay where it looks “fine.”

But for those for whom “fine” is not enough (and why settle?) sometimes a bold change means stripping back to bare leather, and rebuilding, with patience, time, effort, application.

It’s worth it…


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Peter Thomson, The UK’s Most Prolific Product Creator
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Jim Hughes, Pepsico