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By Peter Neville Lewis, Nov 17 2016 02:52PM

This iconic black and yellow jar (and its contents), which recently hit the headlines, has come to symbolise many of the people and issues that are engaging us right now.

Opinions are often very polarised re celebrities and current hot topics!

It’s like the Emperor’s decision at the end of a gladiatorial contest –

Thumbs Up or Thumbs down?

• Donald Trump

• Hillary Clinton

• Wayne Rooney

• X Factor/Simon Cowell

• Jeremy Corbyn

• Craig Revell Horwood (Strictly!)

• Heathrow’s 3rd runway

• Nigel Farage

• HS2

• Jose Mourinho

Oh ..and not forgetting Bob Dylan’s Nobel Literature Prize!

The times they are a-changing......

Who is your Marmite person or thing? Do leave a comment!

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Sep 16 2016 08:57AM

I have to confess I have had nagging doubts about this “New Age” practice for some time. So my attention was inevitably drawn to the following:

• Economists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Gothenburg believe the evidence for the alleged benefits of mindfulness (meditation to you and me, or just simply taking a time out to refocus?) may be “inconsistent and subjective”.

• Researchers found that putting students on a 6 week mindfulness course did not make them anymore likely to eat healthily, exercise more or give up smoking etc.

• In fact watching 6 hours of a TV programme on the origins of civilisation appeared to have much the same effect!

• Biochemical stress responses in the two control groups were similar.

(An interesting fact is also that 25% of the students dropped out during the experiment)

Another doubting view comes from Miguel Farias, an expert in cognitive psychology, who has found that:

Mindfulness can even induce mania, depression and psychosis!

Not quite what was intended and a salutary warning to GP’s a third of whom, it is estimated, happily refer patients with anxiety/addiction problems to mindfulness courses!

(Another drain on scarce NHS resources?)

A final quote from a neuroscientist at Cardiff University:

“trouble is.... mindfulness has been co-opted by so many now, mostly looking to make some money out of a currently fashionable but cheap to use thing."

Hmmm?.... Maybe I should just pop down to my local WH Smith and buy myself a mindfulness colouring book?

Cheaper than a 3 month contemplation programme with a trendy guru!!

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Aug 10 2016 08:13AM

Can we please stop banging on about Agility!

It’s been around for 15 years so it really isn’t very new.

And yet it is being advocated every week as the latest business solution. Pish!

• What does it really mean in a business context – being adaptable, nimble, quick to react and recombine?

If so, any business worth its salt will have been doing this for years or else it will have gone OUT of business!

• Or does it just mean adapting very quickly?

Again fast decision making is not necessarily the best option – more often pandering to instant gratification in a world where few people have mastered the art of consideration.

Too quick often equals repent at leisure....

Perhaps being agile has more to do with observing carefully the changes that are constantly happening .. the VUCA world of volatility,uncertainty,complexity and ambiguity – and then involving groups of forward thinking people to consider the best approaches and likely outcomes.

So...listen to the wisdom of your people and you might just end up being more effective.

If you must call this Agility be very clear what you actually mean and are seeking to achieve.

Otherwise the word itself will ultimately become debased as a business term.

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Jul 1 2016 11:17AM

What a political mess Milliband (E) and Cameron have left!

Who is running the Parliamentary shop now?

• Labour is in meltdown - will Dave 2 (eg Milliband) appear as a deus ex machina?

• Will Jezza defect to Moscow? The Trots are taking over....

• Lib Dems - sorry... Who??

• UKIP – job done and despite their 4.1 million votes at the last GE no influence at Westminster.

• SNP – well Nicola is doing her best to stir things up and to be fair given how the Scots voted you can see her reasons. But with oil at $50 max foreseeably, why would they abandon their Westminster safety net? And Hollande says he won’t deal with the Scots direct

• Greens- mmm .... Not sure I saw any meaningful Brexit stuff from them. So who are they aligned to anyway??

Which leaves us the bruised and battered Cons.

• Dave and George are now toast.

• Theresa remains steely eyed but mostly silent, perched on her Christian Louboutin designer heels. Can you remember any major policy statement from her ever?

• And so to Boris, who at least 60 odd Tory MP’S ( I am told) are determined to thwart in his leadership bid. Could he unite the Tories or has he got too many personal flaws? Peter Oborne (Daily Mail politico) thinks he is much savvier than his public buffoonish image and can in fact delegate. Hints of marmite though here?

Throw in all the other complications and emerging unease around Europe and it’s a right old kettle of fish.

Pedro’s crystal ball....

• Boris shafted - Theresa gets the nod, snap election in Spring 2017, forms new UK Centrist Party with Dave M +SNP + a dwindling band of disaffected UKIPpers.

• Nigel appointed Court Jester, Brussels (with or without portfolio)

• Merkel becomes first officially elected Euro President

• President Marine Le Pen removes French citizenship from Hollande and Sarko

• Lord Johnson of Foulness becomes UK’s Euro commissar

• Europe proper recharges itself from its core base as the UK forges ahead globally

• Portugal, Greece, other fringe Euro players relegated to Div 2

• Wales votes for independence. N Ireland gets devo max.

• Business and commonsense ultimately prevail as Brussels morphs into a Centre for European Cultural Projects (CECP) to encourage greater understanding of all our values and traditions

• QE2 celebrates her 100th birthday and Engerland (sic) wins the World Cup.

Pedro the Jester

PS Does Brexit mean that we don’t have to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest any more?? Now that would be a result....

By Peter Neville Lewis, Jun 1 2016 08:47AM

Do visit our new revamped website –

• It is simpler, more concise and easier to navigate.

• We have also added details of a distinguished bunch of business experts – our Trusted Advisor Group.

• Have a look at the skills and experience on offer which cover an exceptional range of business support.

Our work continues to impact in many areas. I am currently leading a Research Project on the Employee Ownership model (JLP et al) and all its challenges in absorbing the so called Millennial Generation.

My colleague and good friend, Prof Roger Steare (a Trusted Adviser of course!) is also leading another Project with the CMI, using MoralDNA™ as a core analytical tool.

The focus here is on studying behaviours and performance in the Public Sector.

We will keep you posted when the outcomes are released later this year.

But...despite all this worthwhile investigative work we still find time, as you would expect, to challenge careless, selfish and sometimes arrogant, behaviour at Senior levels in organisations.

The Jester’s job is never done!


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)