The Metafore blog

Help with subscriptions

Link doesn’t work

Clicking the icon should add the Metafore blog to your RSS feed reader. If it doesn’t, go to the reader and add the feed by pasting this URL:

If you don’t have a reader set up for this browser…

How do I start?

It depends on your browser:

Internet Explorer:

Should work automatically.


Should work automatically.


Although both Chrome & Google Reader are from the same supplier, you need to tell Chrome to use Reader. The easiest way is to add, to Chrome, the RSS Subscription Extension. ▼Show more

When you follow the above link you should get a screen like this:


Click the button + Add to Chrome and follow the instructions. ▲Show less


Should work automatically.


Should work automatically.


If you’re using an old version of one of the above browsers, or a different browser, your options are (1) switch browser (they’re all free to use and pretty simple to install) or (2) search online for help.

You don’t have to use the reader that comes with your browser, but it’s a good way to get started. Browsers evolve over time and there will be situations that we haven’t covered; search engines can usually find help.

What’s this all about?

If you subscribe to this and other blogs you’ll be able to monitor updates from one place, without having to visit each site on the off-chance that there is new content. This facility – known as RSS – is offered by nearly every blog. More: quick overviewjaunty video

Category: personal responsibility

27 November 2011England Rugby Part 3

Martin Ledigo

by Martin Ledigo

I hesitate to comment further on English rugby having needed to eat ground glass (from my crystal ball) following an earlier blog. In that I said that I felt Martin Johnson was right in his initial decision to trust the players to behave themselves rather than lock them away without WAGS during the football World Cup as Capello had done. What became clear was that some of the players clearly had failed to take the responsibility they needed and Johnson hadn't reacted quickly enough.

What has sadly emerged in the press and particularly through the leaking of the confidential reports was that there was no trust and no openness in this team, in fact no team at all. Two of the quotes from the reports were particularly enlightening "It was not a place where you felt you could be yourself or talk candidly. It was a depressing set-up to be part of" and "We had meetings where values were discussed but they just felt like empty words". In how many organisations would both of these be true?

We believe that the hallmarks of an engaged organisation are:

– authenticity, where people can be themselves and bring their whole selves to work

– alignment, where people's needs are aligned with the organisation's so that people do the right thing out of belief not compliance

– empowerment, where people are able to take responsibility for action and exercise discretion.

This is very challenging to do and explains why for many companies there are slogans and lists of values on wallboards and plastic cards but they are really an aspiration not reality.

If you can make them real there is a dramatic impact on performance – just look at the Welsh team who clearly got their teamwork spot on.

Subscribe to blog Help

1 comment

Categories: behaviourpersonal responsibility

17 November 2011Talent over compliance

Martin Ledigo

by Martin Ledigo

A bit of culture this morning… if someone asked me what I know about Wagner (the opera one rather than the one from last year's X Factor) my word association would be German, Ride of the Valkyries, Apocalypse Now, dubious politics, very long and heavy-going operas.

I had never had the chance to enjoy or endure one of his operas so was excited to see a performance of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. It was 4 hours and 50 minutes and I was sure that I was going to be snoozing through parts of it. I was very pleasantly surprised. It was really enjoyable and the time just flew by.

The plot revolved around a German guild of male singers (The Mastersingers) that existed in Nuremburg from the 1500s to the 1800s. Admission to this elite group was via a series of auditions which were assessed by someone called the “Marker” and the marking was based on a series of arcane rules. In other words you had to tick all the boxes to be admitted. The opera tells the tale of a very talented singer who, in Act 1, fails the test and, without giving the game away too much, the rest of the opera is about his gaining membership but without compromising on his personal style. In the end talent triumphs over compliance.

I was chatting to a fellow attender after the performance who knew the opera and quite a lot about Wagner. He said that this opera was a statement by Wagner that reflected his own situation – whereby his music was being judged in relation to the musical principles of the day which sought to constrain him rather than encourage him to develop his own style and let his obvious talent flourish. This sounds a lot like the initial rejection of the Impressionists by the Paris Salon who were judging impressionist landscapes by the standards of the classical.

In organisations there is a place for rules – for clarity and certainty. But all too often they control and constrain. I once spent a day visiting several PC World stores and on entering was greeted with the phrase “What brings you to PC World today?”. Why do you need that rule? Why not instead ask staff to greet customers and allow them to find their own way to do it. And everyone will be different – and real.

Subscribe to blog Help

No comments – comment now

Categories: behaviourpersonal responsibilitycompliance

27 October 201125 years of Big Bang

Martin Ledigo

by Martin Ledigo

Big Bang – the deregulation of the City of London – took place 25 years ago today and there has been a transformation and revolution in the whole financial industry. I am sure much good has come from it for London and the UK and in terms of support for business. However, in life for every benefit there is a cost and clearly Big Bang started us on the road to the Credit Crunch and the problems in the Eurozone that dominate the news today. I am no expert on the financial markets but it is interesting to look at the cultural impacts of the change that, if they were recognised at the time, don't seem to have been addressed. When I started in business the City had two major players in the Stock Market – the jobbers who were the market makers and the brokers who were the intermediaries between client and jobber, advising clients on investments and then buying them from the jobbers. Most of these organisations were partnerships with unlimited liability. Today these functions are both carried out by global investment banks.


To me the pre Big Bank approach provided a good balance in the market. First, no conflicts of interest (as seemed to be the case when a leading investment bank was recently prosecuted for advising their clients to buy the dodgy investments that they were selling). Second, there is less sense of personal responsibility today. Back in the early 80s the jobbers were putting their own personal capital on the line – with the corollary being that they could lose everything. You would expect that would result in less speculation and more sensible behaviour. Today, traders use their banks' capital and if they lose a lot of money it seems the worst that happens is they get sacked and then go and find a job somewhere else.


Bankers will say there are numerous benefits to deregulation around availability and cost of capital, market efficiency etc but I don't think the industry (or the regulations) has really dealt with this issue of responsibility and accountability. I don't underestimate the scale of industry and indeed societal change that is needed but until we start on that road I think we will continue to live the unintended consequences of Big Bang with Governments and regulators playing catch up and forever closing stable doors a little too late.

Subscribe to blog Help


Categories: behaviourpersonal responsibilitycompliance

site developed by Mark Iliff, Talespinner