North Yorkshire 4 London 0

I was in Scarborough on Tuesday, meeting a client in the café at the top of Oliver’s Mount. If you’ve never been there, wait for a clear day and go for a cup of tea and a bun. The views are stunning – looking south you can see Flamborough Head. To the north…more or less the Arctic Circle.

Then I drove to Malton. I was a few minutes late because I was held up behind a tractor – but according to 5 Live the M25 was gridlocked for eight miles, so let’s keep things in perspective. After the meeting I wandered into the market square and treated myself to some fruit cake and a jar of local chutney.

Back home Dan and Rory were sprinting up and down the garden like lunatics. “What’s going on?” I asked.

“Sports Day in two weeks, Dad. Got to practice. Are you doing the Father’s Race?”

Hmmm…I’ll need to have a chat with my hamstrings before I answer that one,
but one thing I’ll never, ever do is miss the boys on Sports Day. According to friends with teenagers there comes a time when you’re told not to come to Sports Day any more (assuming the school has continued with something that’s so self-evidently against health and safety) – so you can rest assured that for the next few years I’m going to be on the sidelines, (and trying not to shout too loudly).

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what this gentle travelogue has to do with your business. Well, last Monday was a meeting of my first Board – and the weekend before, I’d been in London for a school reunion. (I went to school in North Wales: the reunion was in London. Geography wasn’t a big part of the curriculum.)

Gaz, Ducky, Clem…it was great to see them all again, more or less twenty years to the day since we left school as fresh faced 18 year olds. A lot of my contemporaries live and work in London now, a few of them in the City. Do they earn more than me? By and large, yes. Is their quality of life as good as mine? Without exception, no.

I was reflecting on that as we came home on Sunday night – especially as the Board meeting the next day was going to be a watershed.

Those of you that are members of a Board will know that the Board evolves – the dynamic, the relationship between the members, changes. This was my oldest Board, established for well over a year. And it was time to move to phase two: time for everyone to revise their personal visions, and set out what they really wanted to achieve over the next two to three years.

It was an excellent meeting. Everyone committed to worthwhile and challenging – but realistic – targets. To use the accepted cliché, lines were drawn in the sand. Was it comfortable, friendly and mutually supportive? No, not always. “Hell’s bells,” someone said. “If that’s what you really want from life why was your last challenge about re-arranging paper clips?”

And Sports Day – or its equivalent in their family life – was a common theme running through everyone’s personal vision. Seven Board members, all determined to balance business and family. And that neatly sums up what I want from the next two to three years. To draw my line in the sand, this is my personal philosophy:

I am absolutely determined to build a successful business by helping other business owners achieve their goals. I am equally determined that I will never miss Sports Day.



  1. Rich Cadden · June 16, 2011

    If you want to win on Sports Day, then you have a world champion sportman/elite sports coach on another of your boards to help you achieve your sports day goal 🙂

  2. Simon · June 17, 2011

    Absolutely. Sometimes we have to make personal sacrifices in order to build for the longer term. I spent most of a year living in the US while my daughter was young. But for the following year I walked her to school almost every day.
    If you aren’t fulfilling your personal goals, and ensuring a good balance between the compromises and the rewards then something is wrong. Remember to work to live, and not the inverse…

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