Best of… Rambling On 2021

Would it be Christmas without a ‘best of’?

For the last 12 months, I’ve demolished countless articles and books, I’ve saved them, added them to Trello boards, analysed and drafted (and then re drafted) at least three articles a week for my weekly Rambling On email.

Conversations and ideas have come from very clever business people, philosophical thinkers, ex colleagues, friends or – on occasion – an angry tweet. They’ve been born from the hundreds of conversations I’ve had with clients and agency founders and then organised each week into what I hope is an interesting, thoughtful and curious Friday inbox delivery.

It has been a pleasure receiving little nuggets of feedback each week from those who enjoy Rambling On or have felt an article resonate or inspire them. For me, committing myself to this weekly output has been intensely rewarding (and yes, at times a little hectic).

Looking back, I can’t believe just how much content has been created and curated.

So here’s the ‘best of’ list – a mix of my personal favourites, the ‘most read’ and the articles that have sparked the most discussion. If you have time today, or find yourself in need of a little mental stimulation amidst the Christmas gluttony then be my guest and dive in…

Be an outbox, not an inbox

This simple step change in how you deliver information might just help you to win your next pitch.       


What shall I charge? A simple model to gauge price sensitivity

There are easy assumptions to be made on what a client ‘would think is too expensive’, or likewise, ‘too cheap’. But have you ever actually asked?

Busy is easy, thinking is hard – here’s an idea to help with the latter

David Hieatt quite rightly pointed out that ‘your business wants to run you. It. always. will.’ A cracking little idea to encourage founders to think about their business each day.

Poem: The Guy in the Glass:

This was shared with me  by Tom Cella in 2016, I frequently return to it.


Quadruple your thank you’s

There is a remarkable power that is borne out of saying thank you.


Watch: The power of process for agencies with Cat Navarro

Cat Navarro is the guru of process and COO of I was lucky enough to speak to her about how agencies can use process to accelerate and streamline their workflows, the importance of great process and some excellent examples on how to break down and tackle process work.


Everything you need to know about over-servicing clients

Take solace (if you can) that over-servicing is something pretty much every agency does. A dirty little secret if you will. Here’s a discussion I had with some agency leaders, plus some advice on identifying and tackling over servicing.

Face it, your business is not that unique

It’s a fact that most agencies spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to find a truly ‘U’ USP and the reality is that you aren’t unique. If you can accept that, you may be starting the journey towards enlightenment – and ultimately towards becoming more valuable to your clients and as a business.


Profit is not a dirty word – how agencies price

Profit is not a dirty word. No profit – no fuel for sustainability. Profit allows agencies to plan for longer term – build bigger brighter futures. Achieve and fulfil their purpose and mission. An article with lots of interesting ideas and thoughts about profit and having conversations with clients about value…


On not minding what happens (a thought-provoking piece)

“we cannot get anything out of life. There is no outside where we could take this thing to. There is no little pocket, situated outside of life, [to which we could] steal life’s provisions and squirrel them away. The life of this moment has no outside.”

Living more fully in the present may simply be a matter of finally realizing that you never had any other option but to be here now.


Watch: Make Rules Not Decisions – A Life Hack

By creating rules rather than making decision, you are more likely to stick to them, and save yourself a lot of difficult, time consuming to’ing and fro’ing.


But what did the raisins cost? How to approach ‘cost breakdown’ conversations with clients

What can you do to tackle the ‘cost per hour breakdown’ request? Some cake analogies to break down awkward discussions…


Just four hours. Do not ‘maximise your time’ or ‘optimise your day’

There aren’t many hard-and-fast rules of time management that apply to everyone, always, regardless of situation or personality, but I think there might be one:

You almost certainly can’t consistently do the kind of work that demands serious mental focus for more than about three or four hours a day.



The story of the Manchester Shoe Company, told by Benjamin Zander in his book The Art of Possibility, neatly encapsulates the power of reframing and the significance of a positive mind-set. In the early 1900s, inspired by a desire to enter a faraway market, two traveling salesmen were sent as a beachhead into the region. A few days later, two telegraphs came back independently. One said, “Situation horrible. They don’t wear shoes!” The other said, “Glorious opportunity; they don’t have any shoes yet!”

Imagine what would have happened if the company had acted only on the first message.


Mind the (L&D) Gap. What’s the secret for successfully upskilling your team?

Many leaders simply don’t really know what we need from their L&D.

Short of sending the team a list of courses from which to choose from (which will always see individuals pick the thing they’re most interested in) do we really KNOW which skills are missing, or lacking in our business?

See you in 22!




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