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Formula One ……Team or No Team ………

The final race in this year’s Formula One competition was truly fascinating as Lewis Hamilton tried everything possible to retain his title.  An individual sport yet at the same time a team event …….. with strategy and tactics underpinned by the best outcome for the team. So why does this approach seem to sit uneasily in Formula One ….yet sits a whole lot more comfortably in cycling? On many occasions in competitive cycling the efforts of the team have been united in ensuring the success of one rider – whether that be in setting the pace, protecting the rider or leading a breakaway group.

Why does this seem to be more successful in one sport and not so well in another? Is it the  individuals involved, the management style, the culture of the sport / teams – or a combination of many factors ……not least the huge amount of prize money and sponsorship earnings in F1?

And how does this relate to the business world? Management consultancy is a competitive industry and career path – our clients are often keen to promote a very team based environment and a collaborative and collegiate culture.  But what’s the reality? –  Is the Lewis Hamilton approach the best (or only) way to reach the top? Or can you climb the career ladder and be a genuine team player? – in the words of Michael Jordan “Talent Wins Games, but Teamwork and Intelligence wins Championships”. Peter Kuhn, economics professor at the University of California, explores this further in a recent study.

Send us your views, we’d love to hear what you think .

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Fear of the Unknown…

2016 seems to be the year of the outsider. The year of the underdog.

As a recruiter, I’ve learnt over the years that there is great value in the unexpected. The candidate who gets the job is never the closest match to the job spec – it’s always the one who looks a slightly interesting alternative on paper, and then wows and convinces everyone face-to-face.

Hmm, that sounds an oddly familiar story to a certain President-elect.…

The election of Donald Trump is the flashing neon-lit headline act for 2016’s tales of the unexpected – but of course there have been a number of support acts; Leicester City winning the Premier League, the UK voting for Brexit, Portugal winning Euro 2016 and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series were among them.

One of the key takeaways from all this is the validity of polling organisations, bookies and ‘expert’ forecasters. They got all of the above wrong – some spectacularly so!  You can even go back to 2015 when none of the UK pollsters told us a clear Conservative majority was on the cards.

Leicester City were famously a 5,000/1 bet at the start of the season and every ‘poll of polls’ suggested a narrow but clear Hillary Clinton victory. When I went to bed the night before, Trump was a 9-1 outside bet.

Their power and relevance has always stemmed from the fact that they mostly got everything right – but do the failures above show them to be redundant now?  Is there still a place for this type of forecasting? The old methods of working out the numbers seem to be outdated.

We’ve always taken comfort in the predictable. We’re content when we know roughly which players will reach the semis of a grand slam or which teams will be fighting for the Champions League. This is heightened even more so in politics. Political predictability keeps our faith in the very stability of our institutions and systems.

Oh well, maybe we should give thanks to Usain Bolt, Kim Jong-Un, Mo Farah and Vladimir Putin who – for better or worse – have proved that 2016 has also seen some very predictable continuity.

Fear of the unknown


Hillary & Donald: Glass Ceilings (again)…

The US Presidential election is entertaining for many reasons – but unfortunately I’m not gonna focus on what Trump grabs, what Hilary emails or the hilarious ironies of Melania Trump announcing a personal crusade against online bullying and working illegally in the States many years ago (allegedly).

As we finally approach the end of this campaign, pretty much everything that can be said or written about it has already been done so, and I imagine there is some serious ‘election fatigue’ going around – so I promise I won’t keep you for long….

Breaking through…

Over 50 women have held the top job in countries all over the world going back to the 1960s – and that includes so called ‘undeveloped’ and ‘unenlightened’ states such as Pakistan and Liberia.

The term ‘glass ceiling’ has always been a constant for Hillary Clinton – and for obvious reasons, but while Hillary winning the Presidency wouldn’t be such an earth-shattering event abroad, a woman being elected President in the US would be huge. Much like having a first black President did, it may begin prompting some much needed changes throughout the system.

What gets overlooked however is the glass-ceiling broken – in a very different way – if Donald Trump were to win.

‘I’m the best at breaking glass ceilings…’

Like him or loathe him, Trump has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations; in a two-party system designed for career politicians, he quite easily achieved the Republican nomination despite having no political experience whatsoever and clearly proclaiming himself a Democrat supporter only a decade earlier. He’s an incredibly controversial businessman who has refused to release his tax returns and has never acted in a manner which you would expect of anyone with any serious political aspirations. He ticks none of the boxes.

Whichever way you cut it, Trump would break an enormously thick triple-glazed window if he were to win. Maybe even thicker than his Mexican border wall! Trump winning would force change and re-thinks throughout the system too.

We live in a world where everything is photographed, recorded, filmed, shared and forever debated. Trump should not stand a chance – but he has succeeded to the point where it is genuinely a tough call. Even today – polling day!

As hard as it is to say it; for that at least he deserves some credit.

 

US Election


VAT & Property Conference 2016

BLT were delighted to sponsor this year’s VAT & Property Conference, which took place yesterday at The Bloomsbury Hotel in central London.

Guy and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with so many VAT friends and familiar faces – apologies if you were there and we missed the chance to say hello.

The delegates were entertained throughout the day by the insightful speakers –  Andrew Hitchmough QC, Michael Thomas, Ben Tennant,  Martin Scammell, Hui Ling McCarthy, Graham Elliott, Neil Owen and Marc Welby. Colin Smith Chaired the event with aplomb!

The conference was really well attended again this year, and by the sounds of things, places sold out super quick – this really has become a ‘must attend’ event in the VAT calendar.  I suspect it will be just as popular next year, so do remember to book your place early – you can find out more about the conference and register interest in next year’s event at http://www.orcalaw.co.uk

Thanks and congratulations to Martin Scammell and his team of organisers on another successful event.

By Liz Watt

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Long live the traditional CV

According to a recent article, it would appear that you don’t have to put your cv on a chocolate bar or attempt any other attention grabbing antics to stand a good chance of getting an interview.  Whilst the recruitment industry is ever changing and evolving, over 98% of recruiters believe that the traditional cv still holds an important play an important part in the recruitment process.  The article also highlights some interesting facts such as photos are deemed unnecessary on cvs by many recruiters and nearly half the UK workforce don’t know how to write a stand out cv.

 

CV


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