Diversity: What is it that creates change? I’ll tell you…

I think the biggest issue that I see in the world today, is complacency…

We all get so carried away with what drives us as individuals, that we forget the bigger picture. We forget that if we “nip something in the bud” early then we often remedy the issue before it’s begun, but that complacency thwarts our efforts towards a greater good…

We see it every day in life as we do in business and it’s frustrating that the problems persist, because, that social angst that’s galvanised within us, it tell’s us that if we don’t follow format or protocol, that we won’t flow with the tide of society… but the tide of society isn’t there to support you, it’s there to keep you compliant, pushing money up the food chain and removing the soul you started with…

To be honest if you took a step back and watched even one of the two Lego movies, you’d see what people with a creative and free outlet are trying to tell us… And even Facebook, the bane of humanity, is trying to tell us, in it’s new social mechanic that our vanity is sucking the essence out of what life is all about. It won’t manage, because you still have to be stuck to a phone to see the message and if you’re stuck to a phone you don’t ‘get it’ as far as I’m concerned; hopefully in time people will drop the mobile… but as Clinton Cards would say, it’s the thought that counts!

We all need to sit up and think about our day to day. What do we do for a living, does that make us happy?

What is our drive as an individual? Money? Fame? Recognition in a given field? And in reality are any of those drivers bringing anything good to the world or are they just evolving our own vanity or self importance?

Gandhi would have given us a slap, if he’d not been a pacifist…

O.K. let me re-phrase…

Gandhi, would have lay down in front of us on the way to work and said, “You must be the change, that you want to see in the world” before he let us continue over the FTSE threshold…

I’m not saying lets all revolt and jack in our jobs, I’m saying think about every decision you make in life, on a base level and be honest as to whether that would lead to to Santa’s Naughty List or not.

Did you give the person the job because they went to the right school? Or because they were the most qualified?

Does the female CEO earn less because she doesn’t have the right appendage?

Did someone bring you a commercial opportunity you stole because you could, rather than fairly re-numerate them for, because that was the right thing to do?

Did you even look at the man on the street and consider where he came from, regardless of whether you had change or not? And if you had change, did you make the assumption (if you acknowledged him at all) that he’d spend it on drugs or alcohol?

We make thousands of decisions every week, some big, some minor, but they are all equal in their measure of ethics. You may not think that every decision requires that ethical root within our synapse, but practise makes perfect, I always say, and if we consider everything on a base level initially it becomes second nature eventually.

The moment I woke up and decided I’d focus more on what it was that made me happy every day, as opposed to what made me money or presented gravitas, was the moment my world changed forever…

I’ve made celebrities wealthy and been screwed, I’ve made companies fat and been screwed… but imaging how wealthy and fat they’d be if they’d not shafted me in these circumstances, how devoted I’d have been if they’d honoured my input as opposed to palming it off as their initiative…

I love it when you get a like on Facebook or LinkedIn from someone you know did you wrong, it’s those sycophantic individuals who will be worse off in the long term, because this train didn’t derail and it’s only gaining more stability and momentum… and sure, it pisses people off that I talk about a lot of this, but generally it’s the people who get pissed of that are dodgy in the first place, so that’s their hang up, not mine.

Lets look at the positives, as I work in the ‘Retail Industry’ it’s important at this point to mention River Island, who are leading the way in celebrating diversity in retail, with some beautiful children sporting their attire. (Their full ad can be seen here, though you may have to watch Taylor Swift promote something first #partoftheproblem)

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And just because it’s not been done before, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done again and again… there have been children with disabilities, as long as there have been children without, why do do we not just call them all children? Diversity wouldn’t be a word at all in this context, if we all just accepted that we’re equal as human beings.

My mother has always been involved with special needs as a teacher, so from a very young age I had children with Down Syndrome, Asperger’s, Autism, or Cerebral Palsy staying with us; or we were involved with their activity by default and do you know what the best bit is… There’s no bullshit… any individual condition like this is a humbling one; humbling for those who look on and humbling for those who suffer and it removes that veil of vanity that the rest of the world shrouds themselves in.

You don’t see kids with disabilities reaching for a selfie stick when a celeb pops up, because they live in the moment and they couldn’t care less whether they’re ‘cool by association’.

What happened with ‘Plus Size’ women being promoted in retail was far too late in my opinion, as I’ve been living with these women all my life, my sister has saved countless babies lives within the NHS, but was never celebrated on a billboard like a glamour model, who’d rather spend an evening with a mirror and a bag of powder… but she’s beautiful on every level that we should be celebrating…

River Island and those like them should be celebrated for making people think, of course their end gain is to generate revenue, that’s business, but they’re so big that they will make money anyway, so better to get off your arse and make a change in the world, otherwise we’re just selling clothes right? And whats the point in that, when you go to your grave if you don’t make a change that will impact perceptions…

I spoke to the CFO of Govia Thameslink Railway recently, an inspiring individual within another inspiring organisation…

Yes, I know we all hate how train companies molest our wallet on the way to London every day, but set that aside for a moment and consider that Govia are not just considering how they change things, they’re actively trying to solve fatalities on train-lines. A major issue for any rail company today and something that devastates me every time I hear it, I never grumble if I’m late for a meeting like everyone else in the carriage, I wonder who it was and what they had to go through to get to that point…

What Govia understand, is that there are a vast amount of homeless people, most suffering from some form of mental health issue, who throw themselves onto the tracks and end their lives. I’ve been on that track…

The general consensus within big train companies is that those who do this just want to be splashed about on the news; so they make a point, not to promote anything like this happening… fine, you don’t want to acknowledge the issue and you don’t want the PR because others might feel like doing it, thus leading to increased train delays… not sure how this helps the individuals but that’s your M.O. and you have a focus on running your trains on time, so you make more money.

Now, Govia are growing successfully (probably because they’re not only worried about the bottom line, they’ve got these ever so illusive business ethics) and what they do have ample of in this time of growth, is jobs, so they’re now connecting with the homeless that sleep along their tracks, or congregate around stations and they’re giving them opportunities for work, supporting them to achieve a future, and its bloody well working!

The biggest problem they now face is that because the homeless don’t have fixed accommodation, they can’t get a bank account, so where to they pay their wages? Because Govia are even willing to front wages in advance of work, to ensure secure and comfortable accommodation… but with such financial red tape surrounding this issue they also need support in executing their social give back…

What we need are some big boy property developers or housing companies, financial planners etc. to offer the homeless a solid digs for 6 months and some sort of saving strategy so they can establish a bank account, get themselves up and running and with the support of GTR get back into the world of the working and flourish.

This is how we make waves, and shame on people like big Phil Green, who suck up peoples pensions for another week on an overpriced boys toy in the Caribbean.

You may think it’s a risk to say something, or make some waves within your own organisation, maybe it is, but if it’s a risk making a change that may evolve someones life for the better, then are you really in the right place?

Have a think about your own ethics today… would your 10 year old self be proud? Or would the give you a slap?

Because this may just come across as a Bipolar Businessman making noise… but if ‘I’ give a shit and ‘you’ give a shit, then we might just become the change that we want to see in the world…

Be_the_change_you_want_to_see_in_the_world

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