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New world bank president appointment could have far-reaching implications – by Tariq Siraj



The World Bank will begin the search and selection process for a new president in February after President Jim Yong Kim’s surprise resignation last week.

Kim has spent the best part of 30 years as a leading light in the development of the world health infrastructure. He founded Partners in Health, oversaw the World Health Organisation’s HIV/AIDS work with incredible success, and he led academic initiatives at Harvard and Dartmouth in the US.   At the World Bank had been in the role since 2012, was re-appointed for a second term and has generally been considered a success in the role.

So, with all this in mind, it is hard to begrudge him seeking a new challenge to join a private investment firm where he will focus on infrastructure investments in developing countries.

The issue is that Kim’s resignation has raised concerns among the international development community that the United States — which traditionally dictates who runs the organization — will seek to replace Kim with someone less supportive of financing climate change projects. The Trump administration could also exacerbate tensions with China by selecting someone sure to reduce the WBs lending to Beijing.

The World bank is political by its nature and history – but at a time when the world is more polarized, where populist governments are coming more and more to the fore and where aid and development budgets are more under threat than ever, it would be worrying if the appointment of the World Bank President was politicised to the degree that it effectively minimises World Bank influence and feeds into trade war, isolationist and foreign-aid budget reduction policies.

The World Bank provides billions of Dollars in loans each year to help countries develop capital projects and has a stated aim to eradicate poverty, combat disease, reduce child mortality, promote gender equality and many others.

Many are demanding the bank shake off the historic U.S. stronghold over the appointment process and, in a statement, the bank’s board has affirmed its commitment to an open, merit-based, and transparent appointment system.

A new process agreed in 2011 where the board itself shortlists candidates and has the final say on selection should allow for an inclusive candidate. This appointment and the direction of the World Bank over the next few years will be interesting to watch – to say the least.

-          Tariq

Pre-Retirement Planning – Do You Have One? by Liz Watt

We meticulously plan so many aspects of our lives. The planning that marks the transition from school to University or further education; the thought and effort that goes into career planning; the intricate detail that is involved in organising the ‘big ticket’ events in life – significant birthdays and celebrations, holidays; and even the more mundane ‘what’s for dinner tonight?’ type of planning.

And yet one area of our lives that is often significantly under planned or suffers from a lack of deep thought and attention, is what the plan is for life post retirement. Or should I say pre-retirement? As the concept of traditional retirement rapidly evolves, the consideration should be what life might look like post 55 – 60.

The Centre for Ageing Better has published a report on retirement which states that a significant number of people worry about retiring. Data from a poll of over 50’s suggest that over half of those planning to retire in the next five years are not looking forward to it. A third are concerned about feeling bored, and 32% about missing their social connections from work. 24% are worried about losing a sense of purpose.

Employers are being urged to play a far greater role in supporting their staff and helping them to plan for this major life transition. The sense is that being open and positive about managing the transition into retirement will help retain experienced staff. It sends out a really positive message that plugs directly into the health and wellbeing strategies championd by most businesses.

An increasing number of us are finding ourselves in the position of considering our options at a far earlier stage than previous generations, especially as there is quite likely to be a gap between when we finish conventional employment and when pensions (state or otherwise) kick in. This may be an enforced situation – eg redundancy, or driven by health or family issues; it may be that one experiences a growing realisation that life in the corporate world is no longer as fulfilling and ambitions wane; or one may be in the fortunate position that financially suddenly it is possible to change tack.

Whatever the reason, the reality is that having made the decision to change direction, or retire, many are blind-sided by the question ‘Now What? Lack of planning can leave a huge gap between the world that was, and the reality that is now. Consequent issues can include boredom, loneliness, ill health, loss of purpose and direction and often financial hardship.

I think it makes good sense to start thinking about what your future life might look like a couple of years before the change takes place. That way, you have the time to mentally acclimatize and put practical steps in place – for example, to undertake a good financial health check. You can also consider whether you still want to work and if so, in what capacity? Part time? Consultancy? Do you want to change tack completely and re-train? Or would you like to find some form of employment that simply provides company and a supplementary form of income?

If you aren’t planning to work, how will you fill your time? Consider what your interests and passions are and how you might develop these. Or maybe there is an unfulfilled ambition or interest that you would like to focus on. It may be that charity work or volunteering are on your agenda. Then there is travel, time with family and friends, and some well-deserved down time to weave into the mix. For most people it will be a combination of all of the above!

In my experience, though, it is those with a sense of purpose that make the most successful transition. Everyone is different and the same plan won’t work for everybody. And undoubtedly there will be some trial and error involved. I know people convinced that they will just want to potter at home find only to find they are bored senseless and have to return to work; others who had grand plans and find that actually they were far too ambitious. But undoubtedly the happiest and most fulfilled pre-retirees are those that have thought about the change, embrace the opportunities and challenges and go into this new phase of life with a sense or curiosity about what might be possible.

If you are at the stage of considering your future life, but aren’t quite sure how to go about planning for it and would like some help, you might like to consider my Pre-Retirement Planning programme. If you would like further information, please contact me Liz Watt – at or on 07867 517919

And if you are an employer looking to help your team with pre-retirement planning, I run Future Life learning lunches. If you would like to find out more, please contact me :


Confidence – Innate or Learned? by Liz Watt

We all know people in our professional networks who seem to be innately confident – nothing seems to phase them, they breeze through life taking everything in their stride, they are always positive and never scared.

Of course, there are many for whom this is their reality – they are indeed supremely self-confident and never suffer from a moment of self-doubt.

I would suggest though that these individuals are in in the minority – the more I engage with my Coaching clients on a deep level, the more I realize that quite often many are living with a genuine lack of self-confidence and they have to really steel themselves to overcome or manage the business and personal challenges they encounter on a daily basis.

Yet to the outside observer, these are all confident, successful people who are achieving in their chosen career, who would appear to have their lives on track. Imposter Syndrome is a very real phenomenon!

This is not to suggest that most people are in fact quivering wrecks terrified to face the world though! Most people I encounter are pretty resilient and learn to manage the areas of their life where they might not feel completely in control. For example, fear of public speaking is one of the most common anxieties, often ranked higher than death in the pecking order of ‘things to fear’. And yet somehow speeches are made, seminars are delivered, and meetings are facilitated. Most of us manage to overcome our fear and ‘fake it to make it’ – we do the best we can, we face the fear head on and in the main, people would never know that we suffer from a lack of confidence in a particular area.

One area I really lack confidence in, for example is driving. Not crucial to my professional life admittedly, but something I would rather avoid at all costs, much to the hilarity of my nearest and dearest who cannot understand my fear. Of course, I do drive, and get around fine, but don’t suggest a motorway, or driving somewhere unfamiliar to me……

But if you do suffer from lack of confidence and gaining confidence in a particular area seems like a huge hill to climb, what can you do about it? Is gaining confidence a learned skill?

I believe there are techniques and tools you can employ to increase your confidence – as with so much in life that is worth having, it requires effort, hard work and practice. The following ideas might help you build your confidence:

  • You’re Good – Remember Why! You have a professional skill, are experienced in what you do. Take some time out to reflect on your achievements, think about your successes and take pride in them. Better still, ask a trusted friend or colleague to list 3 things they believe you are good at and why.
  • Passion – what are you really passionate about? It doesn’t matter if this is a personal or professional passion – being able to let your passion for something really shine through will make you feel better about yourself and others will take their lead from your exuberance.
  • Take Risks! Don’t be afraid to try something new. Taking calculated risks is a great way of experimenting, moving forward, expanding your skills base. What’s the worst that can happen? And the exhilaration when it goes well – which it will – is infectious!
  • You Have A Voice – Use It! If you never put yourself forward at work, are reluctant to let your talents shine through, never say what it is that you want to do, how will anybody know? So be prepared to speak up, to volunteer for that responsibility, to ask for the training you need so that you can move forward.
  • Your People – surround yourself with positive people who will champion you, who you enjoy working with, who are fun to be around and who share your values and ambitions. Avoid at all costs those who are negative and who sap your energy and motivation.
  • Be Kind To Yourself. We all make mistakes, sometime things don’t go to plan, we might upset someone by accident, we might not win every pitch. That’s life. Don’t beat yourself up or ruminate. The key is to look at the situation honestly, think about what you can learn from it – and then move on. It is all about silencing your inner critic and not allowing that pernicious voice to undermine your confidence.
  • You’re Not Alone. Look around you at your colleagues and friends, you may think they are all sailing through life brimming with confidence. The chances are though that they have their insecurities, doubts and worries, their own areas where they don’t feel all that confident. Appreciating this might make it easier to recognize and celebrate your own achievements and accomplishments, and empower you to not let a lack of confidence to stand in your way, but to be determined to overcome any impediments to reaching your personal and professional goals.

If you do suffer from a lack of confidence in any area of your life, the start of the new year is a good time to think about the changes you can make to build your self-esteem. They don’t have to be dramatic, but a shift in thinking could pay amazing dividends!

If you would like some help in building your confidence, please contact me for a confidential discussion: or 07867 517919


How does January look for you? by Liz Watt

It’s January. And once again I will be attempting Dry January. This in itself is a bit of a depressing prospect – and added to the general gloom of the month, the end of the festivities and the sense of the party being well and truly over for another year……well, it’s enough to send anyone scuttling back to bed in the vain hope that the month will be over soon!

But …. hold on a minute….. as I was contemplating the year ahead, I realized that I was in danger of creating a really negative mindset to start the year, and this is not a good place for a Coach to be in! How can I work positively with my clients, helping to set goals and plan ahead, if I am not in a positive frame of mind myself? So – time to reframe the dialogue and think again!

Over the years I have fallen out of love with making new years’ resolutions – they just seem to become a stick with which to beat myself if they fall by the wayside. So, this year, have decided to make January the month to draw breath, be kind to myself, and create a resilient and healthy mindset that will be my bedrock for the year ahead, ready to make the most of new and exciting challenges. This doesn’t mean doing anything fancy or complicated – yes, I will stick with dry January and it’s probably a good idea to focus on some healthy eating (far too much chocolate consumed over Christmas!). What else? I have a pile of new books to get stuck into and I asked for (and received) a giant jigsaw for Christmas (yes really……) which should while away some hours, and as I received a beautiful new notebook I’ll be giving journaling a go. I’ve decided to reinvigorate my exercise programme – I know I am far more likely to stick with things if I’m enjoying them rather than doing what I ‘ought’ to do. And of course there will be plenty of time for family and friends – no sense in becoming a hermit!

So in short, I feel really positive about 2019 and the opportunities out there to develop my Coaching business and the Women’s networking groups I run. There are lots of other ideas on the horizon too – if you follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn you can see what is happening.

How are you viewing your January? What plans do you have, both personal and professional? If you are stuck and would like to have some outside input in framing your 2019, please get in contact with me for an initial consultation. Time to take a positive stance and make 2019 a great year!


BLT are hiring!

£25 – £27,000 base, depending on experience + generous commission structure

Want to be part of the BLT story? We’re looking to recruit two Recruitment Consultants in London, one to join our award-winning Management Consultancy Recruitment Division, and one to join our Indirect Tax recruitment Division, the pre-eminent name in this niche field.

  • Recruit for some of the most prestigious names around
  • Be treated as a grown up; we’re not a KPI driven business.
  • Capitalise on the strength of the BLT brand; our reputation is second to none
  • A company characterised by a strong ethical approach.
  • Friendly, supportive culture; team work is valued and encouraged.
  • Work with and learn from a team of vastly experienced recruiters.
  • Your efforts will be competitively rewarded.

BLT is one of the longest- established recruitment businesses in the UK, with a great track record and reputation. We’re a small business with a real ‘family feel’, that punches well above our weight.

The role in our Management Consultancy Division will see you handle positions in the fields of Strategy, Change Management, Operational Improvement, Corporate Development, International Development, Brand & Innovation Strategy. You’ll be learning from and working with a highly experienced team, and will be recruiting for a range of strategy houses, mid-sized and boutique consultancies, in-house corporate teams, not-for-profits and start-ups.

The role in our Indirect Tax Division will see you work closely with the Directors on the continued development of our market-leading recruitment offering in the specialist (and rapidly expanding) field of Customs Duty & International Trade. You are also likely to work on junior to mid level VAT roles both in the UK and overseas. Our clients include all the major professional services firms, boutiques as well as some of the biggest and famous corporate names around.

To apply, you will need to demonstrate all of the following:

  • Prior recruitment and/or sales/marketing experience in the UK.
  • Individuality – our recruiters stand out, and you’ll need to too.
  • Genuine ambition to forge a career in recruitment.
  • Empathy.
  • Hunger to generate revenue for the company and yourself.
  • Exceptional communication skills.
  • Self-motivation whilst being a team player.
  • Confidence on the phone and in person.
  • Keen to become a recognised expert in a niche field.
  • Willingness to learn; recognisant that you’ll need to walk before you can run!
  • Resilience and adaptability.
  • A good sense of humour.
  • High degree of professionalism.
  • That you can operate in a small but growing company where everyone looks out for each other. No prima donna’s round here!
  • Good networking skills, both in person and on social media.

What do the team at BLT say about us?

  • The consultants here are professional consultants, not CV jockeys or wideboy salespeople. BLT is in it for the long term.
  • We’re really good people to do good business with. Our strong ethical values are at the heart of everything we do.
  • Very supportive and open environment, no-one gets their head bitten off for piping up with a question or asking for help.
  • You’re encouraged to be an individual and find your own way of effective working. We’re business partners to our clients, rather than mere suppliers.

If this sounds like you, please send your CV to Guy Barrand, Director at


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