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Comment is Free

Declared a newspaper editor, at the turn of the last Century. Little could he have known that 100 years on , the press would be read online by millions and that comments, made by its readers, would increasingly become a clear indicator of the success – or not – of the content.

If you’re anything like me, it’s the articles, reviews and features that create the most discussion, that are the most interesting.

Whenever I log onto a news site, I’m drawn to the articles that have generated most comment. And more often than not, I’ll even skip to the comments section, before I’ve finished reading the full article.

The online Economist, ranks all articles according to the number of comments received. The print edition will give you a list of articles as they appear in the magazine. Read it online, however, and you will know at one glance that last week’s piece on Germany’s role in supporting the European economy received more than 1800 reactions, thoughts, ideas and suggestions from people all around the world.

Guess which article I read first?

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Turning energy, talent and passion into success

While we can’t expect a medal-winning performance every day or to excel at everything we do, we can discover our natural talents, where our strengths lie and what we’re truly passionate about. Read More »

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The Results: How Reverse Mentoring Can Enhance Diversity and Inclusion

Back in April this year I wrote a blog about a programme we drove in Europe last fiscal year called Reverse Mentoring, where a senior employee is also mentored by the junior employee. All of our 31 mentors and 31 mentees have now reached the end of the programme and I’d like to share with you their feedback – what they enjoyed, what worked well and what we can improve upon in the future. Read More »

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Shaggy Dog Story

Some time ago now, when I was a teenager, I was told a shaggy dog story. For those who haven’t heard of shaggy dog stories, they are purposefully longwinded tales that play upon the preconceptions of the audience. The audience listens with certain expectations which in the end are either not met or met in some entirely unexpected manner challenging the audience to check how they think.

I won’t take up this space and your time telling a full length shaggy dog story but I will recount the gist of the story to highlight the preconception that I’m afraid I was guilty of as a teenager and still sometimes fall into the trap of now.

A girl is lying in a hospital bed having had a serious accident. So serious, in fact, she has to remain in hospital for a good while. She is visited by many people: Her friends, the doctor, the nurses, her father, her teachers, her brother and her sister, each of them bringing her get better soon gifts and asking after her well-being.

When the tale comes to a close the narrator says: Didn’t this girl receive a lot of visits? Then asks:  How many times did her mother visit, can you tell me?

You stop. And think. And decide to say: Well it’s a bit tricky counting up all of the mother’s visits because there were so many visits altogether, too many to keep track of the mother’s. But then you think, actually I don’t think the mother visited at all. Yes, that’s right. The poor girl didn’t get one visit from her mother. How could that be?

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Open Doors

I’ve been doing a bit of Googling recently on the subject of community inclusion, motivated initially by what I heard people saying about causes of the riots that shook the UK this summer.

I was away from the UK when the riots took place but certainly felt the nation’s confusion upon my return. Politicians, journalists, academics and community leaders alike struggled to articulate and agree on the causes and solutions.

The confusion, of course, isn’t surprising, since there is never just one cause of civil unrest easily pinpointed and eradicated. But what has surprised me is some of the labelling that’s been used, one phrase in particular really making me sit-up with shock.

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