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Austerity measures; the right price?

“Value” stores, such as Poundland, Peacocks and Greggs, are enjoying growing market share as retail consumers respond to the harsh economic climate, says Clare Barratt in the FT

In view of this, and the points made by Lucy Kellaway in her recent column in the FT on CEO remuneration, should investors follow suit and increase their holdings in companies with “value” CEOs, and football clubs take the same view on player purchases?

Corporate Governance 1 : The Football Association 0

As a huge football fan and a recruiter of Chartered Secretaries and Corporate Governance professionals, I was excited and somewhat surprised to see my two worlds collide at the end of March when the FA’s General Secretary, Alex Horne, told MPs investigating decision-making processes at the FA that the decision to alter Fabio Capello’s contract on the eve of the World Cup was a corporate governance mistake.

The Football Association admitted the decision should have been taken by the whole Board, not just “four or five” executives.

David Bernstein now Chairman of the FA added: “It won’t happen again. It’s just proper organisation. Any contract of any size, any changes should go through the Remunerations Committee and then through the Board. I will ensure proper governance. We need to fully comply with our own procedures even when we’re under pressure.”

So it seems there is no escape from governance, even for one of the world’s most powerful institutions. Stories like this bring the biggest business issues to the masses in a topical and relevant way which can only be a good thing! Let’s hope that a greater understanding leads to greater support and recognition for those professionals whose job it is to ensure good governance on a day-to-day basis.

Can you think of any other institutions that have been challenged in this way?

Do you think it’s harder to achieve engagement in this environment?

Do you think there are any circumstances in which any such entities should be treated differently, and if so, why?

BLT at the MCA Awards

BLT had the pleasure of attending the 2011 MCA awards last night at the Lancaster Hotel in London. We were delighted to be one of the main sponsors of the event and sponsored the Change Management in the Public Sector Award which was won by Ernst & Young for their project with NHS Direct.

The event, in association with The Times, was hosted by comedian Dominic Holland. The self proclaimed ‘funny man’, lived up to his reputation, and kept the gags and the laughter flowing over the course of the evening.

Congratulations to all those nominated, and of course to all those that picked up the prestigious awards, including a guest of BLT’s; Julian Sawyer, whose company Bluerock Consulting picked up the innovation award for their work with Barclaycard.

It was refreshing to see some of the smaller firms picking up awards despite the near consistent performance of the larger companies. Boxwood picked up the overall ‘Platinum’ Award for their project with Carphone Warehouse.

For a breakdown the winners in all the project categories, be sure to visit the MCA website

Oh and keep your eyes peeled for a special supplement in the Times on Monday 11th for full coverage of the proceedings.

Consultancy: fee-sharing model

We’re helping The Consultancy Company recruit consultants. They’ve been around for almost as long as BLT, but this is the first time we’ve worked with them.

They have an interesting business model which I haven’t come across before. It’s a fee-sharing one: 70% of fees on average are redistributed to the consultant team.

They attract experienced senior managers/directors looking for a new career direction, and experienced consultants who want a different way of working.

I like their proposition that you can do as little or as much as you want with them – a way of addressing the work/life balance issue which is the consulting industry’s big turn-off for many people.

They are looking at the moment for Supply Chain and Local Government consultants. If you’d like me to put you in touch with them, email me your cv –

Expect the Unexpected

Whilst browsing the internet this morning I stumbled upon a quick ten tips for interview success.

Having given the article a thorough dissection it is clear that interview tips come in all shapes and sizes; presentation, immediate impression, rapport, preparation but my favourite by far is ‘expect the unexpected’, as usually this refers to the possibility of a left field question such as, ‘What kind of an animal are you?’

Candidates often say that this type of questions would immediately throw them, but by taking a deep breath and pausing for a moment to collect your thoughts, this type of question is readily answerable and it’s easy to identify the professional context to the enquiry, (in this case it could refer to habits, personality traits and personal preferences.) However, there are some that are not quite so logical. How would you react if you were asked to dance ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ as some poor interviewees at B&Q were? In what respect might this be a valid assessment of your suitability? Alternatively, what would you do if you noticed the interviewer falling asleep as you answered a question? Would you be offended/pretend not to notice/apologise for being boring?

These occurrences happen all too often as interviewers try to become more and more creative in their approach, which leads me to wonder how you can prepare for the variety of tasks that may or may not be sent your way. Whilst giving candidates advice there is only so much you can predict from an interview and tackling the unknown is never easy. The only advice would be to think laterally and expect the unexpected!

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