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By Peter Neville Lewis, Jan 18 2018 04:39PM

Here’s why Rationality and, by association, business planning often doesn’t work.

Consider these two well known experiments.

1. 10 people were assigned a random lottery ticket, 10 others were allowed to write the number of their choice on a blank ticket.

Before drawing the winner participants were asked how much they would sell their ticket for.

The Irrational answer for those with a chosen number was at least 5 times more than those holding random numbers.

But Rationally since it was a lottery every ticket had the same odds! Hmmm?

2. Soup cans are put on discount at a supermarket. Shoppers normally buy 3.3 cans on average.

But when there is a sign stating “offer limited to 12 cans” purchases go up to 7 average!

Psycologists call this an anchoring heuristic. In the first instance shoppers “anchor” on what they came to buy, but in the second they “anchor” on the 12 limit and adjust downwards.

Behavioural economics such as the above prove how predictably Irrational we can be in making what should be Rational decisions!

Does this happen in your organisation? Does the Rational get swamped by the Irrational and non-relevant “anchors”? Probably!

(For example Fairness and Integrity are part of every banker’s code yet....they sold us a fraudulent product called PPI!

So if this is a people “thing” what measures do you have to improve decision making and limit risk damage?

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Dec 1 2017 09:28AM

Delighted to announce that our client CHARPAK Ltd was RUNNER UP (highly commended) in the entire UK SME category at the Nov 29, 2017 Business Culture Awards gala event.

Fantastic achievement guys!

Other winners on the night included Easyjet, Vodafone, TFL and the Home Office – so Charpak was in pretty good company.

So proud of them and, of course, the work we have done with them, including the production of their Charpak Charter of core values, over many years.

It’s a lovely payback for everyone!

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Nov 15 2017 04:06PM

In the light of all the recent scandals my colleague and good friend, Prof Roger Steare, has just done some hair raising analytics based on our MoralDNA stats. It reveals how widely Fear is to be found in the workplace – and in some alarming places – particularly:

• Media (no surprises here)

• Banks (not again...)

• Politics (oops)

• Health Care (a bit of a surprise?)

The real worry is that in all four groups Women are more prone to the Fear Factor than Men, with Banks having the biggest gender gap.

This is the clear evidence for the breaking of the wall of silence by a hitherto intimidated silent minority.

Will Codes of Conduct help? Nope! In fact it will only worsen the fear of being found out.

What though if employees had a greater say in the choice of Managers and their approval?

And would applying some moral standards like Love, Fairness and Humility also help?

Fears never go away – you just get more comfortable at ignoring them (Jason Ritter)

Thanks Roger!

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Oct 16 2017 07:45AM

Apologies to William of Wykeham (1324 -1404), founder of Winchester College whose original phrase, Manners maketh Man, is the motto of both Winchester and New College Oxford.

What does this slightly out of date aphorism (less heard nowadays) really mean? Wykeham went on to add:

It is by politeness, etiquette and charity that Society is saved from falling into savagery.

In other words the basis of civil society is how we behave towards each other.

People skills in business are critical – they help to oil the wheels.

However we see poor examples every day – and programmes like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice don’t help as they are mostly populated by ill mannered, uber competitive individuals.

The arch priest of rudeness, and prime example, is sadly the President of the US for whom there is little respect from his global audience.

Autocracy and Power get you so far but without consideration and empathy, plus the willingness to listen to others’ points of view, the ability to influence others soon disappears.

As my friend Eve Poole of Ashridge Business School said recently:

“You get further in life by being liked than by being right!”

Learning to care about the outcomes of your decisions and behaviours is a skill which all leaders and managers need to acquire if they want to be genuinely successful.

“People don’t care about how much you know until THEY know how much YOU care!”

So, please can we all try and behave a little more graciously?

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Aug 1 2017 09:11AM


These two splendid WW2 acronyms translate as

Situation Normal – All F****d Up!

F*****d Up Beyond All Recognition!

Seems like a fairly accurate description of the Trump administration right now?

Throw into the mix “The Mooch”, as Antonio Scaramucci * is known, and you are getting close to a combo of Goodfellas and The Sopranos

The Mooch recently described ex Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, as a “f******g paranoid schizophrenic” and then threatened to “kill all the f******g leakers” in the White House!

It wasn’t long till Press Sec Spicer went to ground before being taken out in a hail of twitter bullets and it looks like the next guy slated for a concrete overcoat is AG Jeff Sessions.

To add to the White House cult of gang warfare Steve Bannon has issued “warnings” that Facebook and Google should be regulated as public utilities (despite their not being owned by the State!).

Orchestrating all this is the Godfather re-incarnate, aka The Don-ald (funny coincidence this...).

It was a lie but he believed in telling lies to people . Truth telling and medicine just didn’t go together except in dire emergencies.

Behind every successful fortune there is a crime

(Mario Puzi – The Godfather)

Somehow it feels like fiction and reality have become conflated. So will a hitman take The Donald himself down perhaps??

Given the propensity for political assassinations in the US it is far from improbable in this bizarre landscape where SNAFU and FUBAR are the order of the day.

Pedro the Jester


Why The Corporate Jester?


Because there is always a need to “call it out”, point out the emperor’s clothes may not be quite so fancy as he thinks (or others are telling him) and boldly say what others dare not!


The role of court jester was well known centuries ago and they had the licence to attack pomposity or stupidity in their betters without fear of retribution. (Well nearly!) Many of Shakespeare’s plays have a fool who is the commentator on human foibles – the most famous probably being in King Lear, the architect of his own downfall through his wilfulness.  Familiar?


May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?  (Fool – King Lear, Act 1 scene 4)