minimising risk...protecting reputation...maximising performance

PC logo RGB

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What does this slightly out of date aphorism (less heard nowadays) really mean?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

By Peter Neville Lewis, Jul 6 2017 10:48AM

Perhaps this new acronym symbolises what many people think about political and business leaders?

(I am indebted to Gillian Tate of the FT for this deliciously cynical observation).

So what does F.U.C.U actually stand for?

F = Fragmentation, the breakdown of social cohesion, despite the supposed integrating benefits of social media. Yes we connect randomly but we also actively de-select those with whom we do not have consensus. Likes tend to polarise views and compound tunnel vision.

U = Untrusting. Trust in leaders and “experts” has fallen but the tribal instincts of fragmentation mean we trust only those we know. Competing views maybe disregarded or even trashed by “comfortable facts”.

C= Customisation of personal needs. The danger politically is that people go for a “pick and mix” approach which make pre-packaged parties and policies harder to sell. The tendancy is to rally round single issues, eg Brexit, Trump, immigration.

These three produce a breeding environment for the final letter

U = Unstable, the mixed VUCA world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The world is confused, people are confused, the pundits are confused, no one can predict the next week.

And what else does this give us – two more U’s Unpredictable and Uber (in it’s proper meaning of excess, or striving for even more). Perhaps the shortcomings of the Uber business model itself are a manifestation of the 21c culture of F.U.C.U?

It’s not an attractive proposition.

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, May 12 2017 10:07AM

Don’t you just love the raw honesty and directness of this frustration laden poem/appeal by a 15 yo for a more practical approach to education. It’s called....


It’s absolutely insane,

The fact that I was taught equations

over basic First Aid.

Negative a +7 - b2 and of course,

Mitochondria is the power house of the cell.

I was never told about my human rights,

But I know the wavelengths

Of different hues of light.

We were never told how to get a job,

But we remember dissecting frogs.

I wasn’t even taught how to vote.

They used that time defining isotopes.

And they choose the solar over political systems,

And now like any typical citizen,

I don’t know what I am voting for.

Not even how to recognise mental disorders

or diseases with avertable causes.

‘Cos of course, mental math is deemed more important.

But it’s fine. At leastI can tell

you the number of unnecessary deaths

probably wasn’t prime!

Never taught how to handle bullying,

But I know tons about Shakespearean writing.

You consider me an idiot for not knowing two languages?

What about not knowing how to pay taxes?

Because apparently we get educated?

But really our childhood is wasted.

School is just a place to be tested.

By BRIANNA CHILDS (15), Chingford Foundation School

Makes you think. eh?

Pedro the Jester

By Peter Neville Lewis, Mar 21 2017 02:15PM

Don’t you find it extraordinary that even if Charlotte Hogg had a very regrettable memory lapse about her brother Quintin’s job at Barclays that nobody else in the BofE spotted it?

You can’’t be SERIOUS!

Director of Group Strategy at Barclays Investment Bank is hardly a position which is not on the City radar?

And he has been an employee at Barclays in various senior roles since 2006.

How this gross breach of governance slipped through Internal Audit at the BofE beggars belief.

Ms Hogg herself admits she gave false evidence re her potential conflict of interest when interviewed internally.

Doubly worrying is that Mark Carney thought a verbal warning (yellow card) would suffice until his weak judgement was overturned by Andrew Tyrie, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee. He saw this as a prima facie conduct failing and a straight red!

The Hogg family have form too. Her Dad, when he was an MP, was also guilty of a compliance peccadillo when he (carelessly?) pushed through in 2009 a £2k claim against his parliamentary expenses for having his moat cleaned!! Remember that one?

(His reward btw for standing down at the next election in 2010 was a seat in the Lords. Good old Dave - never too hot on the ethical stuff....)

So economy of truth seems to run in the family....

The big question now is Quis Custodet Custodes?

OR do we just have to put up with a load of HOGG wash?

Pigs and troughs also spring to mind but that’s enough of this metaphor...

Oink Oink!

Pedro the Jester


More embarassment in high places... The FRC, so called watchdog for the Auditing Profession, has itself slipped up!

A senior barrister, former Chief Inspector of the CPS no less, and a legal adviser of the FRC, has allegedly leaked a guilty judgement against PWC ahead of official publication to the legal correspondent of The Times claiming it will make “good copy”.

Ye Gods! Can no-one be trusted?

Quis, blooming well, Custodet Custodes? Again....

No wonder there is so much contempt for the supposed ELITE = Ego-driven, Lying, Immoral, Tortuous, Evasive


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)