Companies have problems, of course. The worry is when those working next to or with the problem-because of a toxic organisational culture -are fearful of mentioning it. As problems ignored rarely self-heal.
When we decided to start a science magazine to rival the glorious arts one Isis I guess we all envisaged being in the cool jobs: editor, layout, photo-shoot specialist and so on. We loved concept meetings, brainstorming possibilities of who we might interview was fun and commissioning articles from fellow students keen to 'build their brand' was not hard.
But as always we needed money; we needed to sell advertising. I decided to give it a try: how hard could it be? Very hard: I wrote, I telephoned and we got by with each issue but I realised we needed a breakthrough. I decided to go to the top: Sir Basil Blackwell, head of Blackwell's Book Shops.
Sheer naivety on my part of wandering in and asking to see him (several times) must have caused him to be curious. I got 30 minutes with the great man. I did my pitch, he listened carefully, and then pronounced that Blackwell's had no need ot an advert but would do so to support us. He was exceedingly courteous.
Working on Zenith I learnt a lot. Everybody wants the cool jobs but if 'sales' is not done and done well the cools jobs won't exist. That it's amazing what you can get if you ask by being polite and persistent. And that looking back although Blackwell's didn't need an advert then it certainly needed to shift its thinking very soon after; the empire is not what it was.
It's the wrong question: instead ask 'how do I focus more clearly and easily on what is truly important?'
Why? (1) You never will have enough time. Busy work, busy family and a multitude of interests rule that out. Accept it. (2) Get better at choosing how you do want to spend your time. What's key at work? What's important and fun at home? How would you like to develop and have fun in your own time? (3) Simplify, push back on addictive distractions and accept that enough is enough and more isn't just not better, it's sometimes a lot, lot worse.
1-5 are here: To a fresh business idea/To your first novel/To a more motivated team/To healthier eating/To build your personal brand.
6-10 are here: To a better negotiation/To a better mood, quickly/To getting the job where you miss a key criterion/To a better curry/To manage jet lag.
11-15 are here: To being a better presenter*/To develop your child's imagination/To be more intelligent/To make a better decision/To improve your finances.
16-25 are here: To ensuring people get back to you promptly/ To better coffee/ To becoming more professional/ To sleeping better/ To becoming wealthy / To getting on top of e-mail/ To worrying less/ To sorting a gym injury/ To getting the right things done/ To helping the planet, easily.
26-30 are here: To a business start-up opportunity/To a more impactful CV/To escaping the cubicle/To promotion/To a better play-list
31-40 are here: To learn more quickly/To understanding The Rules of Life/To repair a relationship/To greater happiness/To better selling/To a better conference/To more confidence/To getting up earlier/To understanding the meaning of life/To giving up sugar in tea and, or coffee.
41-45 are here: To becoming more lucky/To a better cocktail/To writing & publishing your business book/To more business in the pipeline soon/To better world knowledge.
46-50 are here: To keeping fit at work/To spending less at the supermarket/To being more bold/To achieving your own evening when you have young children/To becoming wise on management & leadership
51-55 are here: To a tougher self-managed workout/To accessing the drugs you really need/To great food really quickly at the end of the business day/ To shorter, more productive business meetings/ To a caffeine free healthy drink that actually tastes good.
56-60 are here: To more organised notes/To perfect English tea/To creative, confident children/To being a better interviewee/To longer battery life on your iPhone.
61-65 are here: To an improved memory/To an easier life/To knowing The Secrets of Success/To receiving less e-mail/To understanding modern Germany.
66-70 are here:To a better knife/To training for your team on a tight budget/To perfect custard/To a quick, budget MBA/To a more productive day.
71-75 are here: To an improved inherited PPT/To getting that invoice paid on time/To a better Monday morning/To being more outrageous/To a 'to do' list which actually helps.
76-80 are here: To better performance while exercising with high intensity/To more effective studying/To some quick wins/To no nasty surprises in your schedule/To getting more non-fiction read.
81-85 are here: To understanding that parallel universe/To enjoying life/To a clear personal vision/To encouraging your children to read/To easier meal entertaining.
Stapler, paper clips: multi-coloured, pads of yellow stickies and assorted business cards. Multiple list of TTD (things to do), print-out of slow-roast pork recipe and discarded (slightly sweaty) beanie for morning runs. Coffee cups, one 1.5 litre Evian water, half-eaten bag of satsumas. CDs: Thea Gilmore, McCartney re-release and Pink Floyd collection. Felt pens, biros (all lacking tops), one very nice Mont Blanc fountain pen but no cartridges anywhere. Copy of the new Grisham: not sure at all.
Charlie swept them all without emotion nor regard into a modest cardboard box. OK, now the desk was clear.