Leaders or bullies, the people you follow, what’s the difference?

Do you watch Room 101 on television when they select their least favourite items from a group of celebrities? If I were on the programme I would include noisy, talentless, bullies who claim to be leaders. A problem with leadership is that often the difference between a good leader and these sort of people is not always clear. It’s a matter of circumstances and opinion. Who is to say? And it takes a strong personality to make bold decisions to tackle some problems. Churchill, Thatcher or Napoleon were right for their time, but take them out of context and less appealing aspects of their characters might be more apparent. So, do you turn a blind eye to the colourful excesses of strong egos? I have always worked with entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders, and some of them are great fun. A good number very challenging. And I am sure you can think of similar characters. Suppliers too, especially who live on their wits. Perhaps a change-management consultant or website or SEO expert, their very modus operandi is to convince you, that in some specific way you are weak, or your business is failing. You’re no good at “it”. But they are. So, shut up and listen. And give them money. Don’t get me wrong, they could be right. Or is it just their force of personality looking for fooling weak followers? Leaders or bullies, the people you follow, what’s the difference? Leadership is doing the right thing. The leader is the visionary, with ideas, energy and inspiration to make the organisation work. I’m going to focus on leadership, what is it, how it differs from management, and how it varies in small and larger organisations.

Manager and Leaders

Leaders or bullies, the people you follow, what’s the difference? Is it just a title? A populist thing? Peter Drucker has the best answer, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” The former, management, focuses on effectiveness, whilst leadership overlays this with, innovation, vision, embracing opportunities, winning hearts and minds and possessing a moral compass – this is not a complete inventory of leadership qualities! In an age where all evidence suggests people, employees and customers, buy and are motivated by more than money, this is critical. In an Industry Week article, “The Most Important Leadership Quality” it quotes an IBM report which finds an one vital new leadership characteristic which is to “serve as mentors and teachers for their employees and eventual successors”. On a wider more strategic level Warren Bennis, one of the pioneers of contemporary leadership studies, was fond of saying, “The manager administers; the leader innovates.” Andy Boynton give a nice summary of essential leadership qualities in his Forbes article, Nine Things That Separate The Leaders From The Managers. He writes, ” Without leadership, there’s no agenda for change and improvement. There’s no vision.”

Popular leaders – does it help or hinder?

Does this mean leaders have got to be popular? Tony Robins criticizes many leaders for “doing what’s popular not what’s right” in this interview.  They need to be visionary, in his view, storytellers, inspiring employees based upon what clients and customers tell them not focusing on the product. So, no, leaders do not have to be popular but emotionally intelligent, yes. But is there any hard evidence of this or is it anecdotal? An example of this in practice was data collected from 134 midlevel manager in a large company in the energy sector. Leadership, effectiveness, emotional intelligence and personality had a measurable effect. In a smaller company it’s about performance or as Dr R Ted Prince puts it in his article Style and Substance – What to look for in new leaders, “Style without substance is a common problem among first-time leaders. No-one teaches you how to be a CEO.” He stresses employees quickly fail to trust the CEO, Investors too. Listening is the most powerful tool the CEO can apply. A leader has to ultimately get results. It earns employees cash, bonuses, and pensions. And delivers shareholders their returns on investment. But of course ideally an emotionally intelligent, focused leaders is the full package.

The Confident Leader

The body language and demeanour, tone of voice combined with other key aspects of emotional intelligence will push a leader through, such attributes as:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

However much leadership training is given to less confident people, in smaller companies ambition is apparent. In larger organisations the wider panoply of emotional intelligence is essential for success. There is also a difference between the “driving” CEO and the COO role, the latter perhaps more the completer finisher – well described by Belbin.

Heroes or Egos?

There is a fashion in recent years to “dis” larger companies and “play-up” every small company as a paradigm of perfection. Nothing is perfect, per se. The current move of large  and small companies to work together is positive. It’s a marriage of resources and agility. Having been a plc director and still working with larger charities and larger organisations in a voluntary capacity and as clients, I see the challenges and weaknesses that come with size. But nothing is perfect. There are often overlooked benefits of size such as:

  • Top talent – you can buy the best
  • Training capabilities
  • Great infrastructure
  • Systems and processes – for example delivering GDPR and ISO
  • Cybersecurity – the resource to do this properly
  • Pension provision

….just a few benefits

Weaknesses have been often times listed such as politics, bureaucracy, lack of agility and innovation.

Does Size Matter?

Here’s come typical recruitment website advice to younger people on working for larger or smaller employers. What I think is often less well described is the challenge of working with the likely leader types in small and larger organisations. A good outfit is a good place to work, “period” – to use the vernacular. A large company that falls down on the people side, I’d suggest frustrates because of size, lack of innovation, lack of proximity to risk, and consequent potential lack of dynamism from management. But some, smaller companies can suffer from “napoleons” and the “not invented here” syndrome, limiting the advancement and opportunity for employees. Large, small or medium can all be successful with the right leadership and great people. Leaders or bullies, the people you follow, what’s the difference? Leadership is doing the right thing. The leaders is the visionary, with ideas, energy and inspiration to make the organisation work.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited


Focus on your problem, the specific solution and get results

Focus! Have you ever told yourself to concentrate harder after making a mistake? I certainly have, specifically, when I play tennis, and lost a point and for years, I wondered why didn’t this work? And in business with a lost pitch, deal or argument. I hate losing. But I need to understand why. And never repeat mistakes. Live in the now, solve problems, now, that’s the thrill of sport, business and success. So, when a coach pulls you up, and says, “focus”, I’ve worked out this self-talk, can be an incomplete conversation. What am I supposed to “focus” upon? With more matches, meetings and years in business I found a practical, workable route to results. Focus on your problem, the specific solution and get results. Too often business people do not identify the right problem to be solved, as I wrote in this blog. Or when people search for good ideas, without really thinking about a purpose, (an old problem with many Suggestion Schemes and with brainstorming). Well described by Jeffrey Baumgartner, top international innovation and creative writer and speaker. In business and with your passions in life, focus on your problem and the specific solution on your particular journey. I’d like to share some processes to help you attack challenges, fast and effectively.

What is a problem?

Sticking with my tennis for a moment. The local county tennis coach told our West Hants coaches that two things really make the difference if you want to improve as a player: belief and match-play. On the latter, to succeed, I have to include Roger Federer in my thinking. He always goes into a match with a game-plan. But he’s admitted many times, how he enjoys being ready to change and adapt: it’s about problem-solving. The Oxford Dictionary defines a problem as “A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.”

Is a problem a mistake something bad and immoral to get angry about?

The better problem solvers, like Roger Federer, relish the challenge. He would accept that at times in the match he has created the problem. So, is he stupid? Is he bad, ignorant or to be admonished? Nope. He is put under pressure, short of time. In business, there are absolutely times, when problems are created due to unacceptable behaviour. However very often, market, competitiion or lack of experience by a company or person in a role, means they cause a problem. Or they come up against a problem, and it’s not a question of values, just a challenge to be dealt with.

Some of the current Global Problems in Business

  • Supply Chains
  • Information overload
  • Complexity
  • Diversity – cultural
  • Technology
  • Government and Bureaucracy
  • Globalisation
  • Innovation and Change
  • Uncertainty

More on the Top 10 problems faced by businesses. This is very much a macro/global view.

Local Problems for Business People

Any business needs to challenge itself by actually “looking for problems” before the problem, trips up the business. That is part of a good business and strategic planning process. Here’s a simple, typical strategic planning review template we use in a mind-map process. Nick Hixson from Hixsons Business Enablers carries out regular strategic health-check, with clients, he talks about in this podcast. There is a well-trodden pattern of challenges of any business setting up and then running a business. This infographic rather nicely pictures the early stages. So, it is a matter of life-stage, functions, different functions – such as finance, sales, services and so on that each experience problems and solutions to be attacked.

Be Prepared

Does this “problem”-centric approach, seem a pessimistic view of life and work? From a highly positive person, that may seem odd. No. What, I firmly advocate as an ex-cub scout is “be prepared”. And don’t be complacent about problems, or equally scared of them. It’s a challenge. The central message of this article is focus on your problem, the specific solution and get results. We use problem solving techniques and processes to help you attack challenges, fast and effectively.  Live in the now, name and solve problems. Your doctor does it: diagnosis, prognosis and then the doctor devises a successful outcome – hopefully. In business and with your passions in life, focus on your problem and the specific solution on the journey. Lastly, here is a terrific life-map to guide you through life, with an accompanying article from my colleague from Taking Control, Steve Barker. He always says, there is no such thing as bad weather, just weather. In other words, plan ahead and enjoy what life offers. We all check the weather forecast!

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Mike Warne

Mike Warne Event BU and CIM a showcase of leading marketing speakers every year since 2007

Each year final year BA (HONS) Marketing Communications students at Bournemouth University, (BU) deliver the Mike Warne Event.  They are supported by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the CIM. They source a range of leading marketing speakers. Since the event launch in 2007, the lecture addresses topical marketing issues, and honours the memory of CIM Regional Director, Mike Warne,(in the photo above),who was a strong advocate of building relationships between aspiring marketing students and the CIM. The event now attracts over 200 attendees annually. After over a decade of success, the Mike Warne Event for BU and the CIM is a showcase of leading marketing speakers every year since it started in 2007. Here is the exciting story for you, with some of the top brands featured. You can book to see this year’s event for free if you are a student and for a small fee otherwise, and you do not have to be a member. It’s on the 28th February 2018 at Bournemouth University 6pm.

The Mike Warne event 2018 from BU and the CIM – the future of influencer marketing

Mike Warne Speakers 2018

Final year BA (Hons) Marketing Communications student volunteers from Bournemouth University (BU) in association with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) have put together an event highlighting the importance of influencers in marketing, held in the Fusion Building on BU’s Talbot Campus.

Among the speakers was Jamie Spafford, co-founder of YouTube cooking channel, SORTEDfood. Jamie’s unique business has seen him travel across the world with friends and co-founders Ben Ebbrell, Mike Huttlestone, and Barry Taylor, in search of original and unusual cuisine. The channel, which started in 2010, has seen its audience grow to nearly 2 million subscribers. Read more on the event.

About Mike Warne

Mike was a great friend of us in the Dorset Branch and supported the idea I came up with, that Colin Merrett, at BU then supported, several years ago for this annual lecture. The idea being to set the challenge for final year marketing students to stage a compelling marketing communications event with top rate speakers, then promote it within the university and to the business community.

Mike was the original “Madman” or “Adman” really, working in an advertising agency in the early ’60s. He was in sales and marketing all his life. He ran his own business before joining the CIM as Chair of the SE and SW where I had the pleasure to work alongside him in both regions. He died prematurely because of an accident on holiday. But having helped set up these events we renamed them in his memory. Sue Warne his wife, herself having worked in the creative industries is a fan of the events and joins us along with the family each year.

How The Event Works – The History

Virtual Reality

Dean Johnson – “Mr VR” from our 2017 event

Every year a group of volunteers from the final year marketing students choose a topic and speakers to do with marketing communications. Presenters have always been of the highest calibre including Directors and senior marketing names from the likes of Virgin, Microsoft, Warner Brothers and Merlin Entertainments. Some of the most insightful and innovative words have come from fast growing creative agencies such as Holler or Metail.

Last Year 2017- Immersive Technology The Future of Marketing

Immersive Technology

The game-changing potential of VR – read the Bournemouth Echo article. Dean Johnson, head of innovation at Brandwidth and a pundit on the BBC, said the potential of VR was “incredible” but many of the wider public had little idea about it. Cathy White, founder of CEW Communications, is described as one of the “rising stars” of the tech industry. She said Google was “making a big push to get something like a billion people using VR within the next couple of years”. Mike Mallia, innovation and lab manager at LV= told how the Dorset-based insurer was piloting several uses for the technology.

Mike Warne Event 2016 – 10th Anniversary on Sponsorship

Speakers 2016

Pics of Sainsburys and Barclays, Gaele Lalahy, Head of Brand and Communications Panasonic, Nathan Homer Barclays.

Peter Ward, Sponsorship Manager at Sainsbury’s spoke. He managed the company’s Active Kids scheme,  and coordinated all the fundraising carried out as part of Sainsbury’s corporate partnership with Comic Relief and managed the relationship with the British Paralympic Association. more
Twitter feed 2016

Mike Warne Lecture 2015 – All about the brand

Mike Warne All About The Brand

The 9th Annual Mike Warne Lecture was ‘all about the brand’ with speakers from Organix and Urban Guild sharing their insight on the importance of branding and how it helped their company to be a success. more
2015 Twitter Event Feed

Mike Warne Lecture 2014 – The Future of Marketing

The Future of Marketing

Courtesy of The Daily Echo

Speakers in 2014 included Warner Bros Executive Vice President of European Film Marketing, Con Gornell, who headed up planning and implementation of marketing campaigns for all film releases. Mr Gornell believed marketers can learn important lessons from the film industry. He explained: “The media has historically always been in a state of change – in our business it’s about identifying and continuing practices that make you a successful marketer that’s important.”

Bournemouth University alumni Sarah Bulling, Product Communications Manager at Bournemouth based LV=, was responsible for marketing campaigns across a wide range of channels including TV, press and direct mail.

Ms Bulling described how the impact of the recession has resulted in LV= adapting its marketing strategy over previous five years and how it was now positioned to seize new marketing opportunities to strengthen its position as one of the UKs top car insurers.

Jonathan Fraser, Global Head of Strategy and Ideas at Holler. more

Mike Warne Lecture – 2013  Marketing Innovations


2013’s topic was ‘innovation’ and speakers from the three very different companies took the stand discussing what innovation meant to them and their business.  Microsoft – Commercial Director, Lush – creative Team and founder of Metail. more

Mike Warne Lecture -2012 – successful sponsorship: leading the way in 2012

Jackie Frost

2012’s speakers were Jackie Fast, managing director of Slingshot Sponsorship, and Jeff Dodds, executive marketing director of brand and marketing communications at Virgin Media – more

Mike Warne Lecture -2011 – Microsoft Digital Strategy Head, Holler and Connect Advertising

The Mike Warne Annual Marketing Communications lecture, held on Wednesday 2nd March 2011. The event included guest speakers Allister Frost, Head of Digital Marketing Strategy at Microsoft, Paulo Nieddu, Senior Planner at Holler Digital and Iryna Kepych, Digital Strategist at Connect Advertising and Marketing.  more

2011 Mike Warne CIM and Students
Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) praises Bournemouth University Marketing Students. See CIM Site

Allister Frost FCIM

Allister Frost FCIM
Subsequent to the event Allister has gone from strength to strength. Allister is a Fellow of the CIM. As Microsoft’s former Head of Digital Marketing Strategy, Allister has also managed marketing teams for brands including Kleenex, Huggies and Andrex. He is a Double Winner of the Lester Wunderman Award for Outstanding Creative Work and was awarded a Cannes Direct Lion for direct marketing campaigns at Microsoft. More on Allister

CIM and BU Marketing Communications Lecture -2010

T Mobile

T-Mobile continued the tradition of high profile brand speaker presentations.

Annual CIM Marketing Communications Lecture -2009

Mike Warne Presenters 2009

– Ryan DeCruz the Brand Content Manager for MediaCom

– Rob Healey the Head of European Marketing for Panasonic System Solutions

– Andy Le Duc the Brand Manager for Thorpe Park. more

Former graduates from Bournemouth University, Ryan D’Cruz, brand content manager for Mediacom and Andy Le Duc, brand manager for Thorpe Park, thrilled the audience will video clips and shared their experiences of marketing with the audience. It was important for the students to get successful graduates to present.  Equally Ryan and Andy found it a rewarding experience to present to former tutors.

Rob Healey, European head of marketing at Panasonic System Solutions gave an insightful presentation into the challenges facing the giant corporation in 2009.  He was able to produce very clear evidence of market challenges and show how focused Panasonic is with its marketing strategies.

The audience left instructed in the art of branded content from Mediacom: very creative use of entertainment and brand in a clear marketing strategy.  Impatient for the opening of the new SAW ride at Thorpe Park!  And confident that despite the current climate, with marketing organisations like Panasonic driving business, there will be opportunities for students.


Annual CIM Marketing Communications Lecture -2008


AQA – Any Question Answered

In 2003, Paul Cockerton our speaker, co-founder and Marketing Director presented on his novel AQA e idea – what if you could answer any question by text message? Four years, 1.2 million customers, and 10 million questions later, Paul shared some of his learnings (and mistakes) in taking an idea to market, developing and managing effective advertising, and providing enchantment for customers – in less than 160 characters.

Annual CIM Marketing Communications Lecture – 2007 INAUGURAL LECTURE
February 2007 first event Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic

Paul Charles, Director of Communications Virgin Atlantic thrilled the audience with his presentation. Paul now runs the highly respected PC Agency
Experts in travel and tourism PR, and have provided  services in brand marketing and public relations over the years to numerous well-known brands.


After a decade of success the Mike Warne Event  for BU and the CIM is a for showcase leading marketing speakers every year since it started in 2007. It’s been an exciting story with some of the top brands featured, and we are sure will continue to be featured.




Please note: this article is produced by Peter Eales, not the CIM. However Peter is an active supporter and volunteer working with the CIM as a Fellow and Chartered Marketer in Dorset area.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited


GDPR locate and understand personal data in your business

The solution to dealing with your GDPR challenge is about context. A bit like when you climb a hill. The view you get varies every time you stop and look. Simply, locate and understand personal data in your business. I was talking to Mark Gracey, from Flavourfy, our GDPR guru and partner for explaining all things GDPR. I set him this challenge, “Mark, for busy business people, they do not want another GDPR webinar, seminar or paid for download. They just want to know, what to do. What website page to put up. Forms to write. How to stay legal. Let’s give them a list…”. The good news is, Mark said, “yes, a Privacy Page on your website is one place where you can put your policy and the ICO gives some good examples of this…” We have a link below. The bad news is, the information we store on people can be in a variety of places, environments and situations. Hence the need to communicate a specific privacy policy in those specific situations. It’s about context.

Communicating privacy information

I can do no better than quote directly from the Information Commissioner’s Office, the ICO, website page on this topic which is very helpful and clear,

“You should not necessarily restrict your privacy notice to a single document or page on your website. The term ‘privacy notice’ is often used as a shorthand term, but rather than seeing the task as delivering a single notice it is better to think of it as providing privacy information in a range of ways. All of the information you are giving people about how you are processing their data, taken together, constitutes the privacy information. More here

You can communicate:

  • Orally
  • In writing
  • through signage
  • Electronically

As Mark Gracey says, “If you are at a trade show, for example, and you collect personal information, be clear what you will do with it.”

Some Useful Tools and Templates

Here is the ICO’s Privacy Policy from their website – here.
These Steps to Compliance, on this sheet specifically page 6 are concise and useful – here
Key actions we recommend for small businesses looking to address their GDPR are:

  • Awareness & Training –  review ICO Preparing for GDPR 12 steps to take now here
  • Audit – The key point is where is data stored, where did it come from (data flow). Remove redundant data.
  • Privacy notices in practice – ICO guidance.
  • A lawful basis to process personal information e.g. consent or for contracts – see here
  • Procedures – record your processes similar to ISO or other procedures. If you area Microsoft user they have a portal for this:  aka.ms/compliancemanager
  • Appoint a person responsible for data protection – Data Protection Officer – DPO.

Make GDPR an Opportunity

I think it is an opportunity to get more business. You may groan…The point is that old data should be destroyed, so what is the problem? That will save you time and cost avoiding looking at redundant information. The data you have left in the form of contract information and marketing information should be used to get sales, so put it to use:

  • Contact people with offers, don’t just ask for consent
  • Find out if you have worthwhile data, if not you need more and better
  • Or improve the relationship with a marketing:
    • Blogs
    • Newsletters
    • Events
    • New services
    • New products

These are just ideas…

If GPDR makes us all do more to improve our data, replace it or work better with it, that is good. The solution to dealing with your GDPR challenge is about context. A bit like when you climb a hill. The view you get varies every time you stop and look. Simply, locate and understand personal data in your business.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited


The UK is an Innovation Leader and Dorset Plays an active Role

The UK is an innovation leader and has been historically, because of the new products, solutions and inspiring work created by our world class inventors and entrepreneurs. The UK does not have a monopoly on creative thinkers. For example Walt Disney, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs are listed here alongside other Brits on 7 Great Creative Thinkers in History. And this list of THE 12 GREATEST INNOVATORS OF ALL TIME adds Bill Gates and The Wright Bros. It’s notable in these lists how US and Euro-centric the lists are. Some claim, we undervalue the rest of the world, for example, the great Chinese inventors, listed here,  such as Sun Song should feature far more prominently. I would add Sun Tzu who whilst a military strategist is the father of all writing on strategy. Even so….with 0.9% of the world’s population the UK enjoys 3.2% of the world’s R&D expenditure in universities and businesses according to Innovate UK and our research base is responsible for:

  • 140, 000 papers a year
  • 16% of the world’s most influential academic papers
  • 10.9% of citations in patents worldwide

Second only to the USA for Nobel Prizes globally. Plus the UK has four universities in the global top ten.

A History of Innovation – The Industrial Revolution

From 1760 for around 80 years Great Britain led the world in terms of innovation and industrial growth. This is very well covered by IN OUR TIME from BBC Radio 4.  And also The Consequences of The Industrial Revolution from the same programme. What I found most fascinating, listening to the programme, was the fierce debate and disagreement between the expert professors as to whether the UK was first and best to experience the Industrial Revolution, at the time, due to circumstances or to innovators. One of the radio programme’s contributors would not have it that personality and brilliance played much part! She said it was down to environmental factor including:

  • Coal
  • Reliance on economic debt
  • Our geographic position

Whilst Melvyn (Lord) Bragg, tried to persuade her that whilst this played a part, surely the great engineers and inventors played a pivotal role, people such as:

There tends to be a view favoured by conservative, free marketers recognising the entrepreneur as a hero figure. And I would favour this view. But recognising the vital need for supporting infrastructure. Britain, perhaps has in its character an eccentric, creative, rebellious streak which encourages innovation! But as part of the current wider business innovation support team in Dorset, I recognise the need to encourage talent.

Innovative Environment

There are key organisations who encourage and foster ideas. As one of the founder directors of Dorset Business Angels we recognise the crucial role played nationwide and globally by UK Business Angels Association UKBAA. The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, representing over 160 member organisations and around 18,000 investors. Business angels in the UK collectively invest an estimated £1.5 billion per annum and are therefore the UK’s largest source of investment for startups and early-stage businesses seeking to grow.

Dorset – One of the UK’s fastest digital growth areas

A couple of year’s ago, Bournemouth, coming from a very low base, became the UK’s fastest-growing city in the digital economy, with digital start-up incorporations rising 212pc between 2010 and 2013 as was widely reported at the time. Innovation is supported in the area by a number of agencies and organisations including:

  • Dorset Business Angels – “Where talent and Investors meet” – here
  • Silicon South – Dorset’s not for profit accelerator for startups and growth companies
  • Dorset Growth Hub – Financing your Business. Financing your Business · Raising Finance · Invest in Dorset · Support Schemes · Local Banks & Accountants · Managing & Operating Finances see here
  • Dormen – Dorset Business Mentoring Programme – here
  • Wessex Entrepreneurs – presents regular opportunities to meet on a business and social level with like-minded entrepreneurs – here

The UK is an Innovation Leader and Dorset Plays an active Role

The UK is an innovation leader, and has been historically, because of the new products, solutions and inspiring work created by our world class inventors and entrepreneurs. Dorset plays an active role in this exciting future.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Lewis Manning Hospice Poole

Let’s talk about life, death and success but be honest

I visited Lewis-Manning hospice (pictured above), where they talk about death in a very positive way not using words to mask facts.  It was a moving experience and I was impressed by the whole experience. I am a supporter, but that is not my point in writing. My point is, admiration for professionals who are effective by being honest. Simple as that. Professionals in care situations, when they get it right, say it how it is. Death cannot be avoided, so it is patronising, and in fact upsetting to speak of “passing away” to people you are helping. The choice of words in situations and context is important. I am a trustee director of a major charity and have worked with charities. I also help relatives in care. Honesty matters, in fact it works in challenging situations. I would draw attention to several examples of how straight talking works. I’d say let’s talk about life, death and success but be honest. Any deviation is a failed conversation – and here I am quoting Susan Scott, a great author, of “Fierce Conversations”. More of her in this article below. I will cover a variety of challenging but equally rewarding difficult work and home one-to-one conversations. The essence of all this is good listening, empathy, honesty, even if the method seems “fierce”.

Sharing Bad News

The best guide to speaking honestly and frankly in our view is Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations CEO of Fierce. Susan Scott asserts the need to speak frankly in order to be effective when having difficult conversations in business particularly, but it relates to any area of human relations. I would suggest being honest about any challenging situation is essential, with colleagues, suppliers, relatives, friends and loved ones. It is simple, focused, kind but tough. Scott writes, “A careful conversation is a failed conversation.” The conversation, is the relationship. One conversation at a time. Be here, and nowhere else. Take responsibility for your emotional wake. Let silence do the heavy lifting. A couple of key bullet point lists from her book are…

Common Mistakes in One-To-One Conversations:

  1. Doing most of the talking
  2. Taking the problem away from someone
  3. Not inquiring about feelings
  4. Delivering unclear messages, coaching, instructions
  5. Cancelling the meeting
  6. Allowing interruptions
  7. Running out of time
  8. Assuming your meetings are effective

Scott says,”Fierce conversations cannot be dependent on how others respond.”  “If you know something must change, then know that it is you who must change it.  Your job is to extend the invitation.”

The Confrontation Model:

  1. Opening Statement
  2. Name the issue
  3. Select a specific example that illustrates the behaviour or situation you want to change
  4. Describe your emotions about this issue
  5. Clarify what is at stake
  6. Identify your contribution to this problem
  7. Indicate your wish to resolve the issue
  8. Invite the other person you are talking to, to respond
  9. Ask about their view
  10. Where are we now, what needs to be said and resolved
  11. Make a new agreement – agree how you will hold each other responsible

From From: From: Scott, S. (2003) Fierce Conversations. Little, Brown Book Group.  And here is a useful template for you.

More Case Studies of Fierce Conversations in Practice

Dorset Business Angels – the Results after Pitches

We have successful pitches when investors want to invest. But some pitches fail to attract the interest that the presenters hope for. Presenters, get 10 minutes to present. 5 minutes for Q&A’s then, they leave the room, and investors discuss the viability and appeal of the investment. Is anyone wanting to invest? Of course there may be investors after the meeting but the initial response is critical. At our last event, as I write, we had investor interest in all four presentations, which is great! But the reality is that from the hundreds of pitches, despite careful selection, inevitably some don’t excite investor interest. As General Manager, a founder director and the main organiser of our events at Dorset Business Angels, it’s my job to leave the room and tell the expectant presenters the situation. Tell them feedback after they have presented. They are always excited, filled  with adrenalin. It’s pretty heart breaking to say there is zero interest. But it is only right to be honest. What the entrepreneurs want and need to hear is helpful feedback which may include:

  • Is the business proposition viable?
  • Is the team seen as viable / capable? Particularly the CEO
  • Is the business plan – ROI, financials and so on viable?
  • Was the presentation good? Did the investors understand the ideas?

What you may see from the above is helpful feedback which if honestly and constructively relayed, this usually receives a positive response. Entrepreneurs realise they need to present to a range of investors, so need feedback. Substantive, meaningful, detailed, directed, informative, evidenced feedback supported by ideas and names and referrals, as relevant, works well for entrepreneurs. DBA has its good name to think of, plus we want to see deals done. It might well be the presenters could return or tell others about us. So we need to do a good and fair job.

Supplier Deals and Termination

It’s important as a supplier, to get clear feedback for presentations, bids and quotes when unsuccessful. In the long run it can be more helpful than actually winning the contract. When we are working with suppliers, it’s too easy to forget about giving feedback and move on to just working with the chosen supplier. This is bad practice. Reasons to share feedback with suppliers include:

  • The need to maintain good relations for future supply
  • Word gets round, suppliers belong to trade associations and networks
  • Today’s supplier can be tomorrow’s buyer
  • A supplier can easily be a social contact – embarrassing and unpleasant if you or one of your team are disrepectful

Redundancy – Friendships – Family Communications

You can see a picture is emerging. The way you or I behave when sharing bad, challenging or frank news with people has a number of effects:

  • It helps them improve
  • It builds trust with you
  • It’s a demonstration of a serious initial engagement, with potential future opportunities
  • Despite what might seem as a “failure”, the relationship paradoxically is building, to use a hackneyed phrase: this is a journey

Being Honest with Oneself

When I thought about the various, specific situations, delivering bad news – delivering frank news to people – I came up with a perhaps surprising audience: oneself. How many of us really have a fierce personal conversation with that really critical audience: oneself? Perhaps it’s time to be fair to ourselves. And just as others give credit to you for that honesty, so we can all feel better for that honesty. Here are some ideas:

  • Am I happy with my job?
  • Happy with my family, home and social life?
  • Have I achieved what I want to?
  • Do I have a plans for different aspects of my life?
  • Would I like me if I met me?

So this is how straight talking works. Whether looking in the mirror or dealing with difficult situations. Let’s talk about life, death and success but be honest. Difficult work and home one-to-one conversations. The essence of all this is good listening, empathy, honesty, even if it seems “fierce”.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Number 1

You are number 1 not number 6

Do you remember the Prisoner? The imaginative 1960s television series set in a nightmare village (in fact it was Portmeirion in Wales), where Patrick McGoohan could not escape. Here’s a brief clip from the series where he famously exclaims “I am not a number I am a free man!” McGoohan’s character was number 1, he kept, and we kept asking “who was number 1?” In a later interview, he said here in this clip, that he as a Producer, and creator of the series, suggested we are all number 1. I like this. Not just because I was a fan of the series and it’s fun. But because it’s a good philosophy for life. Does that sound a recipe for selfishness? It could be. And could be thought counter to a recent blog I wrote on Understanding people better (to focus on “you”) where I stressed the benefit of finding out about people through engagement. The point is, you are number 1, with your own stories, views, ideas and rights which you need self-confidence and skills to share. Do you? Do people misunderstand you? Do they understand your ideas, your business proposals, pitches and suggestions? People can misunderstand you, your ideas, business proposals, pitches or half listen and twist your ideas to suit themselves.  Put themselves as number 1 and you as number 6! Tell a good story, you can then better stand up for yourself.

Bad Listeners

Do you ever start to share an idea with someone and find some of these issues?

  • They listen to the topic or words you have said, interrupt, or even if they allow you to finish did not understand. Proven by how they might agree but steer the conversation in a completely different direction.
  • They give you few seconds before losing eye contact – perhaps looking at their phone.
  • Their glazed look shows complete disinterest!

Try, asking them,

  • Did you understand what I just said?
  • Ask another follow-up question if they did not understand you.
  • Perhaps suggest, “let me just clarify what I meant”, (explain), then check for understanding

Selfish Listeners – it’s about them

Hands-up, this was me. Steve Barker, my long-time HR guru and leadership coaching colleague pulled me up on this a few years ago. “Peter, this is about me not you….now listen…” It was a fierce conversation but a great one. He knew I had a habit at the time, driven by enthusiasm to share my mirrored experiences. But that got in the way of listening. I did not mean to be selfish. I thought I was empathising. I needed to shut-up and listen. How often do you overhear a conversation which is just an information dump between two or more people? Surely it’s better to recognise the speaker is “number 1”, better to be a noisy listener, ask questions to clarify our understanding. Can we help that person?

Your Pitch or Presentation is not Understood

For whatever reason, your fantastic idea, service, perhaps a fantastic new invention or product, when presented to the customer or investor, falls on deaf ears. As an ex-salesman, pitcher, product manager and now someone who sees many pitches, I have some very clear thoughts on this. Let me suggest some key problems:

  • Simply the presenter is unclear what on earth it is they are selling. Be very clear, in words and pictures, explaining what it is you have, what it does and for whom.
  • What are your Unique Selling Points your USPs
  • Is it better, cheaper or different – or a mix of these?

At Dorset Business Angels we have a page which gives help on this, see here. Be clear about your story, you can then better stand up for yourself.

You feel excluded in a group or meeting

It can also happens in meetings. There was a good article by Luke Johnson, the entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist, in the Sunday Times, making the point that the noisiest people in a pitch presentation meeting are not necessarily the most important. I think the trick here (he was talking about pitching for funding), where I have specific experience, is to do research before meetings and ask questions, as far as you can, at meetings. In a Board of Business Meeting similarly, doing your homework beforehand helps enormously. A good chairman should allow everybody to speak, and you will be there for a good reason, you have skills and knowledge other people want to benefit from. This leads onto a point I raise in my next section.

Networking Events

At networking events again its worth doing research beforehand, using questions and listening during the event and have confidence in your own capability supported by a few support tools:

  • Know your elevator pitch – how to do your elevator pitch i.e. in few words what your business is about, your USPs and why you?
  • Business cards
  • Ideally information on a website or online site e.g. Facebook site


People can misunderstand you, your ideas, business proposals, pitches or half listen and twist your ideas to suit themselves.  Put themselves as number 1 and you as number 6! Tell a good story, you can then better stand up for yourself.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited


James and Peter listening to an engineer

Understanding people better so that we can make more informed decisions

I was going to title this article, “you don’t know what you’re missing, start listening”. The theme being, by listening, finding out about the other person, we can enjoy life, learn so much more. And indeed that is my point. But it’s been made before. And I think to keep you reading, I’ve got some new ideas to share on problems in this area. Let me start with a story. A cleaner, known to many of us at a local sports club, happened to be chatting to my friend. She “unloaded” only because my friend took the time to stop and ask her about her family, and life. She told my friend that the food in the club was good but said, “I do special food. I did special food in my restaurant.” She proceeded to explain how she ran a successful business abroad, before she had to give it up and flee to England to escape her partner who was violent. Nobody else ever knew this. Or of her talent. Why not? Nobody had ever asked. Do you ever ask people or like me do you sometimes, conversely, come away from a conversation and kick yourself thinking: I missed an opportunity? In other words, just take time to listen and empathise. In most cases people never really find out about this lady at our sports club. I suggest we have opportunities to inspect, respect and appreciate. Understanding people better so that we can make more informed decisions. Listen, find out about people, it’s enjoyable, informative and opens opportunities.


I suggest if you can focus your conversations on the person you are talking to it’s a win-win. You get more from the experiences. People “like” you, share more, and…it’s fun! Go into meetings and conversations thinking it’s about “them” or “you”, not “me”. Specifically, why?

  • Everyone wants to talk about themselves
  • You find out all kinds of things
  • People like you for it
  • In business you find out more
  • In social situations, the people who don’t reciprocate, you can avoid!

Understanding people better helps me make more informed decisions. But does this normally happen? If you pass people walking past you talking in the street, or overhear people in a restaurant or at networking event, how often is a person actively probing another about what they do? I’d suggest it is normally an information dump. The word “passion” pops up frequently. If it translates into a really happy enthusiastic, charismatic person, that’s great.

See, Hear, Engage and Feel

Thinking about how you communicate and others do with you is surely essential for work, and any situation for  wider happiness. A useful way to plan ahead and recall what happens is the acronym SHEF: see, hear, engage and feel. This is not just amateur psychology or applying a smattering of NLP – neuro linguistic programming – which is cognitive appreciation of how people understand the world. Why it works for me:

  1. Because having to recall what you see, hear and feel in a meeting forces you to notice.
  2. You stop talking and start watching, hearing and better understanding your client.
  3. You give yourself a chance to engage unlike constantly talking.
  4. You need to pose appropriate, meaningful, good questions to make the process work.

More on this in my article an engaging model for marketing here.

Asking Questions

Rudyard Kipling put it best,

I KEEP six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.

the full poem is here

And on the same theme, The 5 Whys: is a technique used in the Analyse phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) methodology. … By repeatedly asking the question “Why” (five is a good rule of thumb), you can peel away the layers of symptoms which can lead to the root cause of a problem. Or just keep it very simple in any given situation. Until you are satisfied with an answer, just keep asking “why”!! There are various templates for this, I like the simplest one – see here Where you keep working backwards to find the root cause. Or across a whole project you can use this. You can adopt this approach in conversation and achieve a lot. Clearly taken to excess it is pretty irritating!


I was intrigued recently watching BBC 2 Horizon on How You Really Make Decisions. It featured the work of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics laureate Daniel Kahneman, who wrote the book Fast and Slow Thinking. Both are well worth seeing and reading. What they contend in fact prove is that we have two modes of thinking: 1″ is fast, instinctive and emotional; “System 2” is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. He showed it is more difficult than one might imagine to stop relying and using our fast thinking. Decisions are what make us who we are. And better decisions can only be good. We can’t go against our biological make-up but we can understand, it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking about me, and seeing the world through our prejudices.  Understanding people better so that we can make more informed decisions. Listen, find out about people, it’s enjoyable, informative and opens opportunities.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited


Realise your Passion

Some of the hundreds of charities, social enterprises and projects we help at Dorset Community Foundation where Peter is a Trustee. Including Dorset Dolpins visually impaired mixed cricket team.


How do you win in work and play to realise your passion? It’s why we work. Instinct in sport, leisure and work is to resort to obvious emotion to deliver our “best” fast. However, what is the best way to win people over? Be it to pitching money for a business, closing a sale, to run a project properly? Or just ensure your partner or children understands your big idea? And why is it, that so often what is in your head, or your company’s office seems impossible to move into the mind of the recipient? So here are some ideas on how to realise your passion, your ideas, dream or practical projects based on specific techniques and years of experience.

The Problem

Your idea is great. So find someone who needs it, tell them about it and then they should want it, right? But it doesn’t work like that. Why? First you probably don’t get in front of who you want to speak to. This is known as the persona, more on that here. Then it gets lost in translation. At Dorset Business Angels, we often find the pitches we expect to be the best are not and vice versa. I wrote about this in our other article recently How to win people over an engaging model for marketing view it here. Where we introduced a model of marketing recognising that people See, they Hear, they Engage, they feel in other words, they are alert to the other person. This can be taught, and it can be modelled for marketing.

See Hear Engage Feel

This is not just amateur psychology or applying a smattering of NLP – neuro linguistic programming – which is cognitive appreciation of how people understand the world. It is a different way of approaching project management and problem solving. Plus, there are other issues. Why be better at these engagement skills? Here are just a few reasons:

  1. Because having to recall what you see, hear and feel in a meeting forces you to notice.
  2. You stop talking and start watching, hearing and better understanding your client.
  3. You give yourself a chance to engage when constantly talking.
  4. You need to pose appropriate, meaningful, good questions to make the process work.

Vision, Mission Statements and Strategy

It’s critical to have a game-plan. In sport when going into a meeting or with a sales pitch or anything. You need to be crystal clear about what you intend to do. That means having a strategy. To do that you check-out or review the situation, look at competitors, see how you fair against them and do a SWOT (part of marketing plans). You need to have a clear vision on where you see yourself as an organisation and what is your purpose now. And what makes you better, cheaper or different now. In other words what are your USPs which ideally you should be able to articulate in an elevator pitch in a couple of minutes. Here is a simple outline of all of this. Here is how to do an elevator pitch. And here is how to make sure you have your Vision and Mission in shape.

Multi-Diagnostic in Depth Problem Solving

I hear investors say, great pitches are about people and passion, not necessarily the idea. I also hear time and again from top project management gurus, 90% of project management is about people. Too often there is little integration of team and leadership training into project management work. The advent of agile practices “sort of” helps a little here, by introducing flexibility into projects, allowing customers involvement earlier on and iteratively in the process.

What we recommend and do, that is different in kind is this. Two things. First recognise the importance, brilliance and fallibility of people including you and me. Build this into how we target, brief, project plan and implement our marketing, using human resources top level industry agile expertise. Secondly depth of expertise, simply put, years and lots of experience in different scenarios.

The result you ideally want is a model where you build partnerships with people, personally and in work: these are more fun, rewarding and lasting. Plus of course you can realise your passion.

The Link Between Quality of Relationship and Type of Activity

Infographic – Steve Barker


So whether you are implementing a partnership approach, which Steve Barker and I recommend as most satisfying when working with customers, or trying to realise your passion, you need an effective way to make it happen, to ENGAGE and implement. When you look forward or you recall results, a simple model of see, hear, engage and feel enables you to plan or remember simply. It’s a checklist for strategy and planning at both a top level and a tactical level. It answers the question for me of how do you win in work and play to realise your passion. Good customer communications, and communications is about “you” not “me”.

Peter – with inspiration and help from business partner Steve Barker see Steve Barker

Contact us if you have any questions

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM

Founder Director Dorset Business Angels

MD o i solutions limited

Dorset Community Foundation

Why a Community Foundation is the best charity to give your funds to the most needy

I’m lucky, I get ideas from new start-ups, from leading edge marketers and from passionate creative people. How? the first is Dorset Business Angels – a kind of Dragons Den. The second, the CIM, Chartered Institute of Marketing. And then Dorset Community Foundation, DCF, which this article is about. I’d also mention the Global Peter Drucker Forum, Nick Hixson at Hixsons Business Enablers, attends each year, the world’s leading management forum. I watch every minute of that. Back to DCF…. In a sentence, DCF raises funding from philanthropically minded people and organisations then directs them into thousands of the most needy charities and community projects across Dorset. When people speak to me about “funding” with my DBA angels hat on or as a marketer, I often find it is DCF that has a possible answer: a potential grant, or charity who may be able to help. Most counties have a Community Foundation, which is the best charity to give your funds to the most needy, with its knowledge of local charities, social enterprises and its audit capabilities. A fund can be a “flow through” which is distributed or you can set up and endowment to function over a longer period of time. Here are some of the many organisations DCF supports – see case studies.

Why do People Set-up A Charity?

I want to look at directing money to needy causes. Which creating a fund at DCF can achieve. However some people driven by do something in this kind of situation, set up a charity. “Do good, have fun, and money will come” says Richard Branson. More emotional motivation for creating a charity or fundraising is bereavement, injustice or an experience affecting family, friends or people close to you. Charities, are rightly highly regulated. And if you are thinking of setting-up a charity, here are some useful steps from the Gov.uk website:

  1. Step 1: decide if a charity is the right option
  2. Step 2: decide on your charity’s purpose
  3. Step 3: choose a charity structure
  4. Step 4: write a governing document
  5. Step 5: choose a name
  6. Step 6: find trustees
  7. Step 7: fund your charity’s work

For more visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-set-up-a-charity-cc21a

What sets DCF and Community Foundations Apart – USPs

Create Your Own Charitable Trust of Fund

It may be better to set up a fund. Not always. Otherwise some of the greatest charities including local charities I try and support such as Forest Holme and Lewis Manning cancer hospices, would not have started. At DCF, philanthropists look to us to invest their money into the most needy causes locally, that fit their passions, interests and what they believe is important. They take a varying level of control from hands-off – leaving it to our expert Grants Manager and panels to allocate grants – to being more involved on a case by case situation. In both scenarios, DCF will audit organisations before and after any funding.

Audit Capability

A community foundation team will audit a charity, social enterprise or person before distributing funds. In the case of an organisation for example, typical audit issues to consider can include:

  • Organisation sustainability
  • Project viability
  • Review accounts
  • Their unrestricted funds
  • Constitution
  • Aims and Objectives
  • Governance

This is not an exhaustive list, but gives you an idea. See my article on 5 Tips for Grant Fund Applications.


Most of our grants we award are between £1,000 – £5,000 and we support voluntary and grassroots organisations that are well-placed to identify and address local needs. Our awards to individuals support young people to develop and improve their life chances, and also provide grants to support older people in fuel poverty. Whether you are looking for funding for an organisation or an individual you will be asked to submit an application form and your application will be assessed and decisions about funding made by a grants panel. Grants Map for Dorset – 2016-2017 . More on DCF website here.

Channel to thousands of charities and social enterprises

UK Community Foundation made £77m grants last year, with £580m endowment amongst its 46 community foundations, of which DCF is one. In the last financial year, 2016-17, DCF distributed £149,055 to 181 local groups and individuals. Over the years DCF has given funding to thousands of people and organisations. The sum has been higher in some previous years, we are aiming to increase this in future years, to around £250K, working with local philanthropists and organisations.

Signposting Charities and Social Enterprises

What charities are there out there? Who does what and for whom? How viable is a charity? Is it better to give your next pound to x or y charity? And even in the same charity sector, who is going to do the better job? Well… a community foundation can help answer these questions. I first came across community foundations when we offered charity donations to customers for returned printer cartridges, in an office supplies business we ran a few years ago. When people did not have a particular charity, a friend of mine said, “tell them to default to their community foundation, they are the “charity of charities who funnel money to the best local deserving charity and social enterprises and audit the outcomes” “. It is still, probably the most succinct and clear description of a community foundation!

The Best Value Channel for Donors Unsure Who to Fund Locally

Community Foundations are best in my mind if you:

  • Are unsure who to fund
  • Want to make sure a fair amount is allocated to staff costs and the maximum to the charitable outcomes
  • Have not got the skill or time to do a personal audit on each specific charity
  • Want to make sure your money is allocated locally
  • You want to direct funding based on your specific criteria – note this may not be possible if you are making small donations, we all have to be reasonable! A £5 donation is not the same as setting up a fund for several thousand or an endowment.


I like the flexibility of Dorset Community Foundation and community foundations. It does not stop me from helping other charities. Just like at Dorset Business Angels where I will get involved with specific projects. Or CIM where I have clients we do marketing work for. So remember most counties have a Community Foundation, which is the best charity to give your funds to the most needy, with its knowledge of local charities, social enterprises and its audit function. A community foundation is not about raising very small sums i.e. £1 or £5 but best to create a fund which will make a difference. It’s pretty straightforward. A fund can be a “flow through” which is distributed or you can set up and endowment over a longer period of time.

I am a Trustee Board Member of Dorset Community Foundation

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited