Latest Blogs

If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right…by Tariq Siraj

Many of us use the turn of the year as a symbolic point to make resolutions, start afresh and take a new approach. Usually things we know we should have been doing anyway but, hey, you need to start somewhere.

I didn’t really make any specific resolutions this year, but I have been thinking on a broader level about improvements, about how to make things just that little bit better. How do I make processes run a little smoother at work? What new approaches can make the team perform on a higher level?, how can my wife and I find that extra time (and energy) for each other when we both work and have a toddler and a crawler at home?

I concluded that maybe we’re better off trying to fix the small things rather than jumping in with huge daunting grand plans. Maybe the key is to look at all the micro ‘hows’ rather than the big meandering macro ‘whats’?

At around this time a video randomly popped up on my feed – one apparently that has likely also popped up on yours at some point in the last 3 years (it’s gone viral in a big way and had nearly 100 million views).  It was a 2014 graduation speech to the University of Texas by Admiral William H. McRaven, a decorated US forces commander.  What he says puts a great perspective on all of this.

The main message? “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”  The line gets a laugh, but in his own way he basically sums up the idea I had been trying and failing to say in my own head;

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that’s made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

I guess it’s the sort of lesson you would expect from a military leader, but while you can certainly practice the literal lesson of making your bed every morning, you can also apply the same principle to the way you approach your work, your projects, your daily tasks and your relationships.

My favourite line of his is that making your bed will “reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.”

Exactly! Lots of small changes are easier to accomplish and will almost certainly be more effective in impacting the bigger picture.


Two-do List…

Something else I found which ties in nicely here is an article by Nick Miaritis – a Global Business Director at Saatchi & Saatchi in New York and a serial blogger. His piece asks us to ‘rethink the first 10 minutes of our day’; to make a few small changes (no snoozing, drink water, don’t look at your phone first thing etc) which just might transform how we approach the rest of our day.

My favourite tip is to have a ‘Two-do list’; the idea that in this time of our fast-moving busy lives, never-ending information and endless platforms to check emails, messages, pictures, blogs and news, it might just make sense to get up in the morning and spend the first few minutes focusing our brains solely on the TWO most important things which will happen that day;

“Close your eyes and imagine them already done, observe how they will make you feel, how they may make other people in your life feel, etc. Your “two-do” list can consist of anything from cooking dinner for your family, walking 10K steps or crushing a big presentation — all that matters is that you decide what the two things are and let them rise above everything else going on that day.”

I like that piece of advice and I like the notion that the way we start our day can impact our approach, mood and energy levels for the rest of it; how we work, how we treat other people and how motivated we are.   A good start, of course, is to make your own bed…


TAS Blog

The Gender Pay Gap – why the resignation of the BBC’s China editor matters…by Catriona Cookson

It’s the first week in January and the gender pay gap is back in the news. With over 500 firms reporting their figures in advance of the April deadline, some of the figures look startling but can be explained by the variation of roles held by men and women. For example, the difference at Easy Jet is 52%, largely due to the fact that most of the pilots are men.

However, the recent resignation of the BBC’s China editor over the discrepancy in her salary is very different. In her open letter published here she sets out the facts which everyone should read. As you would expect from a respected journalist it is a well written letter which includes the following:

“In the past four years, the BBC has had four international editors – two men and two women. The Equality Act 2010 states that men and women doing equal work must receive equal pay. But last July I learned that in the previous financial year, the two men earned at least 50% more than the two women”.

There can be no justification for this but the following is just as disturbing. As ever, there will often be people who are afraid to speak and pursue their claim for fear of the repercussions :

“We have felt trapped. Speaking out carries the risk of disciplinary measures or even dismissal; litigation can destroy careers and be financially ruinous. What’s more the BBC often settles cases out of court and demands non-disclosure agreements, a habit unworthy of an organisation committed to truth, and one which does nothing to resolve the systemic problem.”

While the spotlight is clearly on the BBC over this, it can’t be the only organisation in a similar position. Others would do well to ensure their house is in order in the coming months.

Finally, there is much validity in the closing comments of Carrie Gracie’s letter:

“I don’t want their generation to have to fight this battle in the future because my generation failed to win it now”

We all have a responsibility to ensure the gender pay gap must end.

Cat's Blog

Lessons in efficiency…by Catriona Cookson

For some of you this may be the first week back to work – welcome to 2018! You may have started the New Year with a spring in your step, renewed enthusiasm for your job and ready for all the challenges of 2018 …..or you may have come back with “It’s time for a change” at the front of your mind.

Whatever you’re thinking, here’s something light hearted below to start the year. Well, I say light hearted but there’s a serious underlying message from the article below which looks at “Procurement Lessons from the office tea round”.

How many other organisations particularly in the public sector are operating in a similarly inefficient way? And as always, it’s the little things that make a big difference. I was surprised they worked out people were having 3 cups of tea a day – I’ve probably had that by 11o’clock!!

Another article caught my eye last week on the future of Irn Bru – apparently the recipe is being changed to reduce the sugar content in advance of the government levy on sugary drinks coming into play this year. Whatever your views on the sugar tax and its validity, the idea of people stockpiling Irn Bru made me chuckle in that first week back to work after Christmas.

So whatever your tipple be it Tea, Irn Bru or something a bit stronger, we take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2018. ….and if that includes thinking about making a career change and/or recruiting for your team, you know where to find us.


Tea Round

Cost of Brexit…

Interesting article outlining the potential cost of additional duties payable by AstraZeneca following the UK’s departure from the European Union without a new free trade agreement.

Click here to read the article.


BLT: In-house Indirect Tax Recruitment

It’s been a particularly great six months for in-house Indirect Tax recruitment round here at BLT; we’ve successfully filled all but one of the permanent in-house Indirect Tax opportunities that we have been engaged on since March 2017!  A fair few more currently in train….but we’re delighted with how things have gone so far this year.

We’re not exactly known for blowing our own trumpet, but in an age where the temptation is for some companies is to shove an advert up on Linked In and see what happens, we’d suggest that this isn’t the most productive way of recruiting into such a niche area like Indirect Tax – you’ll save yourself time, money and an awful lot of aggravation by coming straight to the specialists. More often than not, you’ll likely get either no responses, a few of mostly dubious quality or applications from broader based tax/accounting specialists who haven’t got the deep specialist experience required! We’re regularly called upon to ‘rescue’ a recruitment assignment when direct sourcing or other larger, less specialised tax recruiters have failed. So why is this?

  • Quite frankly, most Indirect Tax specialists don’t have the time or energy to scour Linked In looking for the latest jobs. Most are productively and happily employed in their current roles and are more passively alive to hearing of alternatives. Which is where we come in.
  • Indirect Tax specialists tend to leave management of their career moves to BLT; they trust us to come up with the most appropriate options, and advise whether or not it’s something they should consider.
  • No-one likes applying online to a faceless entity! Whether they need more background information as to why the role has arisen, the culture or the organisation or more insight into role content above and beyond words on a job description, that’s what BLT provide.
  • After 30 years of specialising exclusively in Indirect Tax recruitment, we’ve by far the largest network of contacts in order to deliver the right result.
  • Working with BLT gives a company a stamp of approval in the eyes of the Indirect Tax population – they know that the company knows what its looking for with the Indirect Tax hire, and therefore have engaged with the right recruiters to help with the search.
  • Our clients trust us to advise them appropriately; they’ll have been given advice on what kinds of background would be most appropriate for the hire; they’ll have gained insight into current market conditions, they’ll know that we fully understand the brief and the drivers behind the appointment.
  • BLT don’t submit inappropriate CVs. Simple as that.
  • BLT don’t put applicants forward without candidates’ express permission. You’ll know that the applicants are genuinely interested in the role and your company, minimising fall-out along the way.
  • We’re adept at project managing recruitment assignments; spotting and dealing with any possible hurdles, ensuring applicants are engaged with the role, chivvying things along and managing expectations from both sides.

Maybe you have an Indirect Tax hire on the cards coming up and need some advice? Maybe you’re struggling to fill an existing Indirect Tax slot? Talk to the specialists, we’ll do our very best to deliver the best candidate for the job within the timeframes you want.

For more information about BLT’s services and how we can help, contact Guy Barrand or Emma Wade at or + 44 (0) 207 405 3404


Guy's blog

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