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Without a doubt, artificial intelligence (AI) has become one of the hottest topics in town.


A combination of breathless excitement and near-paralysing fear are driving the debate along with countless – often ill-informed – predictions about how the technology which will revamp our future lives.

While it is far too early in AI’s evolution to understand its true potential or how quickly it will have a fundamental impact, it is already penetrating our lives. From smartphones and dating sites to web searches and driverless vehicles; it is becoming part of the fabric of life.

Over the next few years, businesses, homes and schooling could be completely different with AI on the scene.

At its core, AI is a type software or hardware that learns – and it could become programmed to learn mostly about us, its users. The technology is being applied to learn our habits, our likes and our relationship patterns. Just as Netflix uses an algorithm to suggest films you might watch, a similar ‘Lifestyle AI’ could help choose your wardrobe, your next meal, your job, or romantic partner.

While it all sounds a bit like science fiction, the capabilities of AI tools and the range of applications are growing exponentially. Indeed, by 2020 AI could be present in some form in everything we do and, by 2030, AI is likely to have infiltrated our lives in much the same way as smartphones, the internet and global travel are now taken for granted.


So, how might AI change our day-to-day existence?

Here are 15 ways our lives could be different in future as a result of AI:


1. Better Dating and Partner Selection

From one-off dates to life partners, AI could access and evaluate the array of big data being amassed about us every day. The matching algorithms could consider everything about us including our social media activity, communication styles, interests, dislikes, DNA profile, medical records, walking speed, aspirations, and relationship history. The systems would help find the right intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual match, maybe even determining how long a marriage is likely to last and advising on whether we should even consider longer term relationships.


2. Anticipating your ‘Party Sick’ Fridays

Some companies are exploring the idea of monitoring employees’ social media activities to determine if they may be partying a little too hard tonight and thus likely to call in ‘sick’ tomorrow. Knowing in advance would allow for cover to be arranged – this is of particular interest to customer contact centres which need to maintain certain staffing levels to achieve their service targets. Indeed, employers might even offer staff ‘party days’ – where they can accrue extra hours which can then be used to sleep it off the morning after a big night without it affecting their pay or employment records.

The entire set of activities described above could all be conducted by AI with no human intervention.


3. Managing our Mental Health

There is a growing incidence of pre-clinical and clinical level mental health issues across the developed world. From workplace stress to full breakdowns and a range of other conditions – people are struggling to cope with the pressures of modern life.

To help address this, AI tools on our phones and computers could monitor everything from our speech patterns and keyboard strokes to an array of medical indicators captured through body worn devices and implanted sensors.

From early detection of possible issues to providing background guidance during stressful calls and conversations – AI could help manage our mental health.

More advanced systems might go so far as to shut down all functionality of our phone and not re-activate it until we have done some meditation or taken a walk. The system could provide our doctors with regular updates on our condition and call in special medical assistance in emergencies.


4. Making Good Decisions

Our AI could become a sort of conscience, reminding us of right and wrong at every turn. This could work on both the individual level (should I lie on this job application?), and at an organizational scale (should we rip off this customer?). Not only might AI be deployed as a form of monitoring or ‘truth detecting’ technology that sets off alarms at the source of any mistruth, but data could also become so ubiquitous and verifiable that it won’t pay to lie.

Along the same lines, crimes of all kinds could become much more difficult to commit. Indeed, law enforcement could eventually get bored and look for something else to do – possibly investing the time in strengthening community engagement.


5. Wardrobe Management

The in store or ‘on App’ AI mirror could show you what you might look like in different colours and sizes of the same dress and under different lighting conditions – simulating work and leisure settings.

Knowing your wardrobe, usage patterns, accessorising approach and changing fashion interests, your AI could call ahead to the store to have a range of suitable items waiting for you with a human or robotic personal shopper to assist you. When wracked with doubt over whether to make a purchase, your AI could call in the advice of your friends for trusted instant opinions.


6. Mandatory Personal Growth

The ability of AI to help us understand ourselves and learn could lead to lives filled with learning. The ‘unexamined life’ could become obsolete—it may one day be legally impossible to avoid the constant ‘big brother’ data gathering and feedback about one’s daily progress against officially defined or personally set physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual development goals. The absence of such goals or tracking information might indicate antisocial tendencies.

Everyone might be expected to make full use of AI to become better students, employees and friends. The gathering of data to improve one’s performance in every area would be viewed as a must-do, otherwise, what’s the point of collecting it – or indeed – what’s the point of living in an organised society?


7. The End of Solitude

The days when someone could take a few days off the grid and disconnect from everything may be coming to an end. For AI to really know its user, the blanket of visible and hidden data collecting sensors that enshroud us must be on and working everywhere and around-the-clock. While you could be physically alone, your digital footprint could reveal your whereabouts in a microsecond.

Privacy issues may arise if terms and conditions are not properly established, and security systems will remain vulnerable to hacking. Even in this scenario, it is very likely that you could still be ‘allowed’ to voluntarily turn off your AI, but that alone would be a red flag that might trigger further and more in-depth scrutiny of your behaviours.


8. Legal Dispute Resolution

Many current cases could be directed away from the courts to be resolved by AI judges. For example, in divorce cases, employment tribunals, industrial injury and many customer-supplier disputes, judges today are largely applying standard formulae to determine settlements.

With AI, a much larger volume of precedents could be considered in a fraction of a second to find the cases that best resemble the current one. Hence greater consistency could be achieved across the country in the resolution of similar disputes. In more severe cases such as robbery, murder or violent crimes, data could be collected and analysed from the IoT array of sensors built into everyday objects such as furniture, clothing and electronic appliances. If the TV room surveillance camera, the sensors in the sofa and your mobile phone AI all say you committed the crime, then AI might be able to resolve the case faster and more cheaply than a traditional court room. A jury might still be involved but the AI would be providing them with more consistent, up to date and precise guidance than any human could ever hope to achieve.


9. Home Management

Consumer AI will enable wave after wave of automatable functions in the home. When combined with appliances, AI could make housework and household management seamless.

AI-powered apps which allow the oven to communicate with the refrigerator and the pantry robot would act like home chefs. Instant replenishment of food and supplies would mean never running out of anything again. Cleaning could be run on appliance to appliance (A2A) scheduling, which robotic cleaners then conduct almost completely independently of humans.

One of the advantages would be a reduction in household waste, as AI would aim for efficient use of all products and to perfect the recycling habits of the consumer.

Putting the household in better balance with the ecosystem and releasing humans from housework could deliver major benefits in terms of sustainability, time saving and less domestic stress – at the cost of constant in-home surveillance.


10. The ‘More Time’ Illusion

With all the assistance that AI could provide at work and home, humans might suddenly find themselves with an abundance of leisure time. However, it seems more likely that new expectations could become set and that new activities would emerge.

However, there may need to be a trade-off: just as the introduction of mobile phones made us all available on the go so we could be more productive and ‘always on’, it also invaded our private and recreational time. Hopefully, the new possible activities would be driven by passion, curiosity and inspiration rather than productivity.


11. Super Personalisation

Previous industrial revolutions have favoured mass production over personalisation – mainly because of the costs of customisation. With the introduction of AI and 3D printing to manufacturing processes, a new generation of adaptable production machinery and control software would lower the cost of delivering more customisable products.

Today, Amazon and Google use search algorithms to prioritise the results that they believe best match your digital profile. In future, AI could order a unique cereal that would match your desires and diet requirements for the following two weeks. Adoption of AI could enable individually tailored products and services to replace generalised market segmentations.


12. Community Building

Communities may be better organised since AI could monitor and analyse the ‘health’ of the community – covering everything from environmental indicators through to levels of crime, engagement in public spaces and discussions on web boards and social media.

Community planners could harness the intelligence of AI for optimal planning, ensuring that public works and services are available where and when residents need them. For example, AI mapping might help planners identify and predict faster that an area with a rapidly growing population will soon lack sufficient access to schools, health facilities, libraries, and even a fresh food markets.

Community managers might send mobile classrooms, GPs, libraries, and fresh food trucks to those areas, or help reorganise the community to self-provision some of the missing essentials.


13. Environmental Monitoring

Environmental conditions may improve by using AI and sensors connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) to help monitor the local and even global environment. Sensors may constantly feed AI software that records and analyses the latest local environmental data on factors such as air and water quality.

Based on AI predictions and recommendations, commuters may be redirected to public transport or to use reduced emission roads on certain days. In addition, trees and greenery might be planted in specific areas to reduce soil erosion and decrease potential flooding, while entire cities may be redesigned to lessen overall environmental impact on the planet.


14. Personal Travel Agent

Artificial intelligence could be the brain behind future travel and transport planning. Smart tools might evaluate travel preferences in different circumstances and match them against the travel options available. Should I drive, take an Uber, or the train? Should I fly and where from and to? What connections do I need to reach my destination? How can I make all my business meetings on Friday and still be home in time for my daughter’s school play? What is the greenest and least environmentally impactful route I can take?

Having created a bespoke itinerary, the AI could complete the necessary reservations, submitting the personal data required to confirm a booking. Not only would AI manage that process, it may also be at the centre of the experience where autonomous vehicles control the journey. Whether car, train, bus, plane; the AI would hopefully keep transport system users safer from accidents – where human error has long been the predominant cause.


15. Education Revolution

For a long time now, the criticism of many primary and secondary education systems around the world has been that they are preparing students to pass examinations and not for the world of work they will be joining; especially a world that is evolving rapidly.

Artificial intelligence could replace the technical information delivery role currently undertaken by teachers. Each student could be specifically monitored by AI on a range of subjects designed to prepare the student for the future world of work.

No longer will all students work to the same or similar curriculum through all 11 years of primary and secondary education. Instead they would have a carefully planned and constantly monitored, evolving and personalised programme. This would be designed to stretch and develop each student with the skills he/she needs for the expected types of jobs or further education landscape they might encounter at 16 years of age. Students will still need someone in the classroom, but maybe the human ‘teacher’ is responsible for helping advise on research strategies and problem-solving approaches, encouraging group working and collaboration, nurturing individuals, providing emotional support, and helping the students develop the social skills required to enable each to play a full role in the emerging world – served by the machines – thus ensuring every individual a very human future.



About the authors

Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, April Koury, Alexandra Whittington, and Maria Romero are futurists with Fast Future, which specialises in studying and advising on the impacts of emerging change. Fast Future also publishes books from future thinkers exploring how developments such as AI, robotics and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, society and business and create new trillion-dollar sectors. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. See:



What happens when a big business meeting discusses a small proposal?


Consider yourself to be a project leader in a business meeting, with some big shots there with you. The next item on the agenda is your proposal for empowering customers and employees with easy access to market data. Your proposal is a response to a clear executive question in a previous meeting. Now you have reconvened and they are curious to hear what you propose.

The data to be shared is already in the public domain, so there are no concerns regarding confidentiality. In addition, your company owns the copyrights of the data so there are no legal issues either. But the data is scattered and thus inconvenient to locate. Your solution will create a service that delivers convenience in data collection.

Given that the investment is moderate, you have a solid business case, as it will save a lot of time currently wasted on collection. Operational costs will be modest and governance is simple too. A staff department will take on the responsibility of keeping the system up-to-date. This department will also manage the service requests any future beneficiaries may have.

In summary, the objectives that implementing the system will deliver are to:

  • Share the data as and when they become available – so to be timely
  • Share all the relevant data that we can find – so to be complete
  • Check all data by a sort of quality assessor – so to be accurate


Normally, nobody objects to a cost-effective, data-driven, advanced-technology-based solution that cuts data overload and delivers need-to-know data to executives that need and accept to act upon it.

As there so often is, however, there is a catch…


A cat among the pigeons

This proposal was delivered by a young female who was respected as a tech-savvy expert. Moreover, she is a gifted presenter. So what could go wrong?

For derailing her good proposal, only one word was enough. No matter how well the proposal had been prepared and no matter how much the decision-makers had initially had positive intentions.


The word was ‘Twitter’.


Once the bird entered the room, the window of opportunity to reach a decision closed. Our expert presenter proposed to have the system be operated on Twitter. What happened?

The word Twitter unleashed all kind of silent assumptions in the audience. The fact that Twitter may have been a suitable tool to deliver the ‘how’ element of the proposal didn’t matter anymore.

Twitter was perceived by some – and here’s the catch – as only suitable for what it is now notorious for: a source of brief and rarely nuanced political messages.

Why would our company want to identify with the image of Twitter: we are nuanced, right? What does this staff department think: that they can send all kind of statements into the world?

As a participant in the meeting, the moment the word Twitter was mentioned I knew no consensus would be possible anymore. Withdrawing the proposal and delaying the execution had become inevitable. Having studied decision-making before I felt I recognized the script1.


How to avoid derailment

What happened here matched a typical pattern of biased thinking. A single word appears on stage. It means so many different things to different participants as to guarantee confusion. All the different participants upon hearing the word prematurely closed their minds.

The word Twitter triggered their already held opinions, no matter what facts they might be confronted with. They needed no more insights; they had already made up their minds. Solid opinions – and very different ones at that – suddenly populated our meeting room.

The presenter attempted to still position Twitter as the preferred technical solution for the realization of the system we all agreed we needed, but it was too late for rationality.

There are no easy answers on how to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Different settings may require different approaches. Different people in different circumstances may react differently and show more or less aptitude to control their biased thinking reflexes. Having said all this, there may be some ideas that may be generally helpful.



Start with acknowledging that there are and always will be biases. Different participants that will join in a meeting will have different instant reactions to one and the same word and subsequently prematurely close their minds differently. The word Twitter provides an example that shows that what could well be a knowledge management tool by many participants was perceived as a one-liner, one-way communication instrument. Such differences exist. When time permits it is commendable to approach at least some of the participants to the upcoming meeting in advance to check what they think and what implicit criteria they have in mind to judge a proposal they will be facing. When in doing so you uncover some of the decision-makers’ silent assumptions your mission is already partly accomplished before the meeting.



Subsequently your presentation should clearly split the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. The ‘what’ should meet the requirements of your brief. The meeting should agree to the ‘what’ prior to moving to the ‘how’.



Finally there is the ‘how’. Now one of the questions is: what ‘trigger words’ to avoid? The only thing that matters regarding the ‘how’ is the solid evidence that the ‘how’ solution meets the ‘what’ requirements. The best project leaders I know prefer to get a sharp definition and a clear approval of both the ‘what’ and the boundary conditions within which the ‘how’ should be realized. The rest of the ‘how’ they don’t wish to discuss. They know the ‘how’ for themselves, otherwise they wouldn’t have been project leader.


By focusing on the ‘what’ and avoiding executives to get involved in the ‘how’, you may keep biases like premature closing out. But don’t put that on Twitter too early!



.1.        Elgersma, E. (2017), The Strategic Analysis Cycle – Handbook, LID Publishing, London, p. 438.

About the author

Erik ElgersmaErik Elgersma is author of The Strategic Analysis Cycle Toolbook and The Strategic Analysis Cycle Handbook. He is the director of Strategic Analysis at FrieslandCampina, one of the world’s largest dairy companies. He speaks and lectures frequently at universities and on business seminars on the topics of strategic analysis, competitive strategy and related data analysis and management. Erik holds a PhD from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, and is alumnus of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria.



The schoolboy shuffles to the front of his classroom.


Shabby jacket, scuffed shoes.

But then he speaks.


“When you look at me, you probably think I’m a joke.

But I’m not!

You probably think I’ll end up in a gang.

But I won’t!

Come on Headmaster, be honest. You must look at me and think I won’t do anything with my life.

But I WILL.”


Over the years, I’ve heard thousands of speakers – from CEOs to refugees, from MBAs to primary school teachers, from university professors to politicians to the occasional prison inmate.

Few have matched the impact made by that 15 year old boy.

To say you could have heard a pin drop in that classroom would be an understatement.


Was he perfect?


(Frankly, he was a pain for much of the day.)


Was he polished in his delivery?

Far from it.


Was he inspiring?



Be inspirational

So, what is it to inspire? At work? In your community? At home?

We know the importance of Inspiration. We thirst for it.

Some assume that to qualify as ‘inspirational’, you must first have a celebrated accomplishment to your name:

  • Olympic gold medallist
  • Presidency of a country
  • CEO of a billion dollar company
  • Founder of an international movement
  • World record holder


Others believe inspiration entails ramping up the music, jumping up and down, punching the ceiling and shouting at people.

In my experience, inspiration requires none of these things. What absolutely is required, however, is certainty.

Certainty in what you believe. In what you value. In what you know, deep down in your gut, to be true and important.


How to have impact

Think about it for a moment…

Could you imagine being inspired by a ditherer? By someone who simply can’t make their mind up? Who’s never-really-quite-sure?

Princess Diana, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs and Mother Theresa may have expressed themselves in very different ways.

What they had in common, however, was deep conviction – a clarity in their own mind regarding what they believed to be important.

The impact was plain to see.

In the workplace, a leader’s ability to inspire through the spoken word has never been more highly prized. You may be rallying your team, seeking to engage the Board, presenting to shareholders or pitching to prospective customers.

So, what are the practical steps that make a difference?


1.  Start With Change


As human beings, we feel inspired ‘to’ something… to feel a certain way, to think a certain way and/or to behave in a certain way.

That ‘change’ is valuable.

It explains why effective speakers and leaders command the respect, recognition and fees that they do.

By contrast, the vast bulk of workplace presentations deliver little if any change at all!

The focus is almost entirely on the content, with little if any thought being given to how that content might be applied by the audience members.

 As a result, when the presentation ends, people leave, nothing really changes and the whole exercise has been a complete waste of time.

Ask yourself right at the outset of your preparation: What change do I want to achieve? In the room? In the minutes after they leave? Over the next few weeks? Months, if not years from now?

Build your key messages around that clarity of purpose.

By doing so, you’ll…

  • Deliver better – and more authentically
  • Focus your energy on the audience, rather than on yourself
  • Feel less ‘nervous’
  • Likely include less detail (which is good!)
  • Leave people with something concrete to take away
  • Differentiate yourself from the majority of other presenters
  • Be more likely to inspire others… to change!


2. Clarify Underlying Values & Beliefs


Inspiration involves a transfer of belief. If you do not believe in your message, idea or proposal, then why should anyone else?

Values and beliefs underpin any powerful message – sometimes, they might even be the message. There is tremendous power in the clarity with which you hold them.

In relation to what you need to communicate:

What DO you believe?

What DO you hold dear?


Get clear on that; harness that!

For example, for my part, I absolutely believe that:

1. The ability to speak powerfully is a skill, not a gift.

2. That as human beings we consistently underestimate the true value of our own personal experience.

3. That words can speak louder than actions (!)


These simple beliefs absolutely underpin the work that I do – and that comes across in the way that I deliver. (In my experience, mental focus is far more important for delivery than pure ‘delivery technique’).


As a simple exercise, complete the following sentence:

“I absolutely believe…”


Keep it simple.

There is power in the single-mindedness of your answers.


3. Find The ‘Critical Moments’ In Your Stories


Storytelling is often cited as the key to inspirational impact – and with good reason. Personal experience exudes Certainty. After all, you’ve lived it. You were there. No-one can dispute the fact that you’ve had that experience (assuming of course it’s genuine – so, no lies!)

What is often underestimated is the importance of drilling down into the specific ‘Critical Moments’ within those stories, to unearth the precious gems that ignite the interest of listeners.

Critical Moments are the gold of storytelling. Just like gold in the natural world, they’re not just lying around. They have to be dug for, retrieved and refined…


Reflect for a moment on a story you’re fond of telling.

What was the Critical Moment of that story? The tipping point, if you like. The point at which things changed.

What precisely happened? Where were you? Who was there? What was said…?


4. Use Dialogue


Dialogue is a very effective tool for conveying the drama of a Critical Moment. Through the use of dialogue, your story enters into the present tense. Listeners hear the voice of the character (rather than you the speaker). Emotionally, this makes for a more intense – and so, potentially inspiring – experience.


Contrast the following two statements:

A member of the Danish royal family was depressed and wondering whether or not to commit suicide.

 To be or not to be.


Give your characters a voice. If it’s you, voice your own words as they were said at the time; you’ll achieve a deeper emotional connection as a result.


We’ve covered a number of ideas in this short piece; which ONE will you take forward and apply?


About the author

Simon Bucknall Simon Bucknall is from Toastmasters International and was the runner-up in the 2017 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 352,000 in more than 16,400 clubs in 141 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are more than 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7,500 members. To find your local club: Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.









What scares you most about your career?


Interviews can be terrifying, while the thought of giving a public presentation can send shivers down your spine. If these sound familiar, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Research from Forward Role Recruitment, has revealed what the general public fear most about their job:


  • 13% of people said they feared being fired from their position. This is hardly surprising given the recovering state of the job market. With competition for employment fierce it’s no wonder that people are desperate to hang onto their paycheque.


  • Another 13% feared that they would fail. Whether it’s giving a big presentation to your boss or a performance review, we all hate the idea of doing any less than our best. No doubt many people’s fear of failing is coupled with their dread of being fired.


  • One in 10 people feared the overwhelming anxiety of dealing with too many tasks. It’s tempting to be a ‘yes’ person in order to impress, especially in a new job, but taking on too much can have its negative impact in the long run.


  • 8% feared confrontation. No one wants to be a bother, particularly in the workplace where everyone is busy. But rather than addressing our issues directly, we stick to being “nice” and complain to someone else instead, which of course solves nothing.


  • Finally, 6% feared that they wouldn’t fit in with their colleagues. No one likes being rejected or left out, but striking a balance between making friends with the people around you and not turning into someone you’re not can be tricky.


But when you’re facing careers ghosts, never fear. Who should you call? The experts!


Steve Thompson, managing director of Forward Role Recruitment, gives his tips for overcoming your office fears:

“We all have goals and dreams that we want to accomplish in our professional lives, but the fear of failure is often what holds us back from achieving those goals. We are so afraid to push the boundaries and reach for them because what if we don’t?

“It’s all about your mindset. It won’t happen overnight, but learning to look at your ‘failures’ as a stepping stone towards success rather than a reason to give up will help you far more in the long run.”


David Ingram, managing director of Bring Digital, offers words of wisdom on dealing with colleagues:


“Working with others is a fundamental part of any career, no matter what industry you are in. But your desire to be liked shouldn’t come above everything else; you’re here to do a job, after all. We’re not saying be aggressive and difficult to work with – that behaviour usually ends up getting you in trouble – but don’t be afraid to be assertive and get the job done. You’ll win more respect that way and progress further.”

When asked to think of examples of good leaders, we often cast our minds to figures that were instrumental to significant changes in the world.


People like Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill.

But try to identify what it is that makes these people the same and you might stumble. Because, the truth is, there isn’t one right way to lead. Different characteristics in authority figures create different outcomes; the type of leader that might thrive in one environment could flounder in another.

CALLCARE has rounded up these characteristics and narrowed them down to four key types of leader;


The charismatic leader

History has looked pretty favourably upon charismatic leaders. Among their ranks are plenty of people who have genuinely changed the world for good and have become very famous in doing so; their excellent communication skills makes them fantastic public speakers.


Typical character traits:

They’re inspiring – charismatic leaders are unrivalled when it comes to inspiring their employees. Able to connect with people quickly on a personal level in a way that boosts morale, they make staff want to work that little bit harder.

They’re great communicators – it’s no coincidence that charismatic leaders end up taking to the world stage. Able to communicate a clear vision and engage with a large audience, they are often influential in their field.

They bring a sense of mission – organisations run by charismatic leaders work towards a shared goal and are allowed to take the initiative to do so, which can be especially fulfilling for certain personality types.


Charismatic leaders you may know:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Sir Richard Branson


The collaborative leader

Collaborative leaders are real team players. They’re great at making others feel valued by being excellent listeners, and they’re less traditionally authoritative than other leader types.


Typical character traits:

They share the credit — collaborative leaders don’t just collaborate: they make sure people get recognised for their ideas. This helps boost employee morale and makes staff more willing to share their ideas.

They manage tensions — being great listeners means that collaborative leaders often hear about employee frustrations before they become a problem, allowing them to increase staff retention.

They get different groups talking — by acting as mediators between different departments, collaborative leaders help improve communication throughout their institutions to get projects done to a higher standard.


Collaborative leaders you may know:

  • Sheryl Sandberg
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Jeff Bezos


The calculated leader

Calculated leaders are all about the numbers. They’re great at using empirical evidence to make smart choices for the future of their institution.


Typical character traits:

They work hard — calculated leaders are obsessed with getting it right, and put in plenty of elbow grease to reach the best conclusion. This can win over employees who respect a boss that can walk the walk.

They’re not prone to making rash decisions — calculated leaders don’t make a call based on a whim, meaning they’re less likely to miss things that could hurt their business if forgotten about.

They’re process-driven — implementing effective processes to make their company a well-oiled machine is important to a calculated leader. This helps employees produce a lot of high-standard work in a short space of time.


Calculated leaders you may know:

  • Warren Buffet
  • Mary Barra
  • Mark Zuckerberg


The no-compromise leader

Like charismatic leaders, no-compromise leaders often become renowned figures in their industries thanks to their no-nonsense stance on otherwise complex issues.


Typical character traits:

They get things done — employees know exactly what a no-compromise leader wants, which makes it easy to prioritise what needs to be done and by when.

They’re confident — no-compromise leaders exude confidence, which can be reassuring and even inspiring to some personality types. This confidence also prevents them from being taken advantage of.

They make decisions quickly — by creating environments where clarity is prioritised over collaboration, no-compromise leaders can make decisions about new developments quickly, giving them the edge in making the most of a new opportunity.


No-compromise leaders you may know:

  • Lord Alan Sugar
  • Peter Jones
  • Steve Jobs


Speaking on the subject of leadership types, Gemma Harding from CALLCARE said: “In today’s diverse working culture, it’s more important than ever to understand how different types of leaders can be effective in their environments.

“Identifying the kind of leader we are can help make us more aware of our own strengths and weaknesses so that we can better anticipate how to best tackle the obstacles that come our way.”

David Ingram, Managing Director of digital marketing agency Bring Digital, commented: “It’s encouraging to see that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to good leadership. It’s useful for managers and CEOs in any business to understand how they work, so that they can be more intentional in making both themselves and their employees happy.”


Not sure yet what kind of leader you are? You can take our quiz here.



CALLCARE is a leading call centre and contact centre outsourcing specialist.

As LID celebrates it’s 25th anniversary this year, LID Radio speaks with founder and CEO, Marcelino Elousa, about how he started out and how the industry has evolved during that time.


The first book Marcelino Elousa published was a business dictionary of which he was the author. That was in 1983.

He had little experience in publishing at this time, but was passionate about his subject and wanted to help people train themselves.

“I didn’t have any idea about preparing a dictionary,” Elousa admits. “I thought it was as simple as having a dinner and inviting each of the distinguished alumni and experts in different industries to choose 200 terms from each industry and then putting them together. Well, this was not the case, because after two months nobody had done anything, including myself, so we needed to find another track.

“In the end, I reinvented the wheel because I didn’t know that the way dictionaries are built was changing at the same time I was preparing this dictionary. It was changing from building them around the entries to being more conceptual or thematic.”

This is a trend LID has continued, having now published 13 dictionaries and become the world leader in specialized business dictionaries.


Small beginnings

The company officially launched in 1993 when Elousa decided to publish the book of a friend; a business biography of a Spanish industrialist.

“I thought that publishing business biographies was the best way to teach people role models, to tell them what they can learn from other people, from their mistakes and experiences,” he explains.

This became LID’s second specialism, bringing the stories of many top-level executives, entrepreneurs and companies to the masses.

Having established itself as a business dictionary and biography publisher, the company branched out into general management books, bringing new knowledge to its readers.

“I want to help people train themselves to become better managers,” says Elousa. “I believe that if the management of companies is better, then the management of any organization will be better, whether it’s a school or a sports club, and then society will be better.

“The best leverage for change, for improving, is education and the education of managers is even more important.”

It is this aim that has driven LID over the last 25 years and remains at the core of the company today.


LID around the world

Elousa credits LID’s success to the people and relationships established worldwide. Not only those that work within the company, but those who have supported the growth of LID into new territories and, of course, the authors.

“We have always chosen not to publish books, but to publish people,” Elousa says. By partnering with business experts and thought leaders, LID provides readers with unique insights into a number of sectors and gives them the benefit of personal experience.

The company now has over 2,500 authors worldwide, with books translated into more than a dozen languages.


Publishing in the digital age

While there are more books than ever being published every year, the ways in which we publish, borrow, buy and read have evolved somewhat.

Elousa recognizes the role of the internet and digital advancement in this evolution, and breaks it down into three steps:

1. The first step is selling physical books online. “Amazon was not the first online book store but of course it has been the most successful,” he said.

2. The second step is selling digital books online. “We could say that we’re at this stage.”

3. But it’s not just about eBooks. Looking to the future, Elousa argues a new step is not selling books – eBook or otherwise – but selling an online subscription service where you can read all the books about a certain subject.


“In fact I believe downloaded eBooks will disappear in less than 10 years,” he says, referencing the various streaming services for music, television and films now used globally that have greatly reduced the number of individual products being bought by consumers.

“The future is in services that provide access to online content,” Elousa explains. “You can read books, listen to audiobooks, watch videos and have a discussion on the content with experts and peers, all in the cloud. This is content with context.”

He predicts that consuming content in this way, and being able to interact with the text by adding virtual notes and comments, will change the way we learn; encouraging discussion, debate and greater knowledge sharing.

It is this furthering of knowledge and education that lies at the heart of LID’s ethos.

“Sometimes we consider wealth only in financial assets, our houses and so on, but the biggest wealth is in education,” says Elousa.

“This is what creates income for the people. That’s why there is more equality in the world than ever because education is more widespread across countries.

“LID wants to defend the culture of entrepreneurship, of working harder, better, and the books are the best way for that.”


Marcelino Elousa

Marcelino ElousaMarcelino Elousa is the Chief Executive Officer of LID. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Commercial University of Deusto and in Sociology from the Complutense University of Madrid. He is also an MBA and MA in International Economics from Stanford University. He has been CEO of Elosúa, SA, Chairman of the Board of Carbonell y Cía. from Córdoba until 1991 and founder and head of very diverse companies. In the academic field he is the author of numerous professional articles, invited professor in business schools and director of the CAPITAL Dictionary of Economics and Business (León, 1998, 8th ed.) And of the Course of Management of Small and Medium Enterprises in the 21st century ( Madrid, 1999). He founded LID Editorial in 1993 in Madrid. The UK arm LID Publishing was established in London in 2012.

To hear more from Marcelino, tune in to this week’s podcast.



Equity crowdfunding can be a tough way to raise money, but it can also bring you so much more than just cash for the business. If you have the right strategy.

Here’s how to get the most from your crowdfunding opportunity:


1. Build a tribe


The great thing about building a tribe is that they care more. The most effective founders I’ve come across use their first funding round as a means to bring their fledgling tribe together in one place and get them involved in their business journey.


BrewDog – the Aberdeenshire brewers came up with the idea of Equity for Punks. The simple act of naming their campaign, and in the process their tribe, gave their community a moniker and a sense of belonging. They also generously rewarded their Punks with discounts, and now that the company is valued at over £1bn.


2. Advocacy, Awareness and Amplification


Advocacy is about winning over investors and/or customers who really believe in your idea, and are willing to support you in your goals (rather than just simply buy whatever it is you’re selling). You’re likely to find advocates during crowdfunding due to the emotional and rational buying decisions they need to make before investing in your company.


Awareness is the sheer amount of brand awareness your company will get during your campaign. For example, at time of writing, Crowdcube has almost half a million users. Just by pitching your investment opportunity, you are making half a million relevant people aware of your company.


Amplification refers to the number of highly incentivised new customers you’re going to get from your campaign. Crowdfunding allows you to offer so-called ‘soft dividends’, i.e. free or reduced-cost goods and services, which will incentivise an investor to be a customer, and vice versa. Also, if you need them to share a promotion or discount code in the future, they’re highly likely to do so.


SmartPlant, successfully raised on Crowdcube in December ‘17. They offered incredibly attractive lifetime subscriptions to their investors, turning them into their biggest evangelists. Their main business took off during their campaign, and they weren’t afraid to ask even their clients and partners to become investors, many of whom did. As a result, they’ve now developed a significant pipeline of B2B sales opportunities and have grown their app user base by over 30%.


One other benefit to having an audience of engaged advocates is the fact you can ask them for help, with the knowledge they will have your very best interests at heart.


3. Boost your marketing and PR campaign


Crowdfunding gives you a unique opportunity to run a national (or international) marketing and PR campaign; it’s probably the only time in your company’s early life where you can justify the outlay, since every penny will be providing twice the bang for its buck. Getting a national newspaper placement can bring you new customers, as well as investors. You’ll need a good angle and help from a PR specialist.


Lightvert raised £760,000 on Crowdcube in 2017, much of which came from a VC in Hong Kong, which came about from an article in Asia’s biggest newspaper, the South China Morning Post. This VC will help them sell their unique hyperscale advertising technology in the East. On top of that, they received an unprecedented amount of enquiries from advertising agencies and industry influencers from around the world


4. Word of mouth


The biggest mistake is ignoring your investors. These are your biggest evangelists! Work with them and they will help you achieve your goals.

The worst culprits are the crowdfunders who go completely silent until they need more money. An investor will be less inclined to support you if you don’t keep reminding them why they invested in you in the first place.

If you’re thinking about crowdfunding, then set yourself targets beyond just raising cash; press placements, sales enquiries, new social followers. Having an eye on these targets will also help drive towards the primary goal of having a successful campaign.



About the author

John AucklandJohn Auckland is a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst, a global crowdfunding communications agency that has helped raise in excess of £4m for over 20 companies on platforms such as Crowdcube, Seedrs, Indiegogo and Kickstarter. TribeFirst is the world’s first dedicated marketing communications agency to support equity crowdfunding campaigns and the first in the UK to provide PR and Marketing campaigns on a mainly risk/reward basis. John is also Virgin StartUp’s crowdfunding trainer and consultant, helping them to run branded workshops, webinars and programmes on crowdfunding. John is passionate about working with start-ups and sees crowdfunding as more than just raising funds; it’s an opportunity to build a loyal tribe of lifelong customers.



Twitter: @Tribe1st




Businesses of all shapes and sizes are dependent on their workforce.


Simply put, the stronger your team, the brighter your future will be.

It is important not only to recruit the very best talent available, but also hire people who embrace your company’s culture.

A culture within a business can be hard to put your finger on but, when someone doesn’t match up, you can certainly tell that it’s missing. Culture embodies everything from the way people get on, to the core values that your business was founded on.

If the personality and culture of a new employee matches the rest of the business, then it is more likely that they will perform well, experience greater job satisfaction and be more likely to stay with the same company for longer.

People who are actively looking for roles are starting to prioritise culture as highly as other factors such as salary and benefits.


Why culture matters

Will Craig, managing director at Digital Impact, says that the importance of culture in the modern workplace should not be underestimated:


“The single toughest challenge to a business’ culture is staffing. Recruit the right people and you’ll find your workplace stronger than ever; recruit the wrong people and you risk poisoning the well. However, as anyone who’s ever had to hire for a position knows, picking the diamonds from the rough is far from easy.

“While you should never compromise on the quality of your hires, there’s one small tweak you can make to help find the gems out there: prioritise passion, culture and talent over experience.

“It’s really easy to chase people who are already equipped to do the job right now. Picking up someone super experienced might help you now but, if they aren’t right for the company, it’ll come to harm you later. Ignoring a bad personality and hiring for their experience risks tainting the rest of your staff and disrupting the culture you’ve worked to create.

“The simple version is this: make sure you pick the right person, not just the right CV.”


Home grown talent

Many agencies in particular are now choosing to focus on producing their own ‘home grown’ talent. This may be through hiring someone who fits culturally, ticks plenty of boxes but is perhaps a little rough around the edges skills wise, and then providing them with ample time to self-develop.

This can be through reading the latest articles online, sending them to industry conferences and hosting internal training sessions. Those who are able to educate themselves about a little known industry are incredibly valuable, and they’ll appreciate the chance to learn and grow.


Think outside your area

How often have you missed out on a candidate with a great application just because they lived a little too far away? If you’re looking to secure the very best, those in competitive industries cannot afford to be too picky.

Jeff Ellman, co-founder of UrbanBound, commented on the importance of not being restricted by geography:


“A company’s best talent can’t always be found in its backyard. Recruiters are currently faced with the challenge of finding talent with specialised skills and experience. That’s why today, more and more companies are taking on a global mindset when it comes to recruiting and hiring to cast the widest net possible.

 “To help hone in on these perfect candidates and convince them to accept job offers, recruiters are relying on strong relocation strategies. A strong relocating benefit allows recruiters to search for talent outside of their region and ‘tips the scale’ for candidates who may have previously been wary about the headache of moving. Strong relocation strategies are a win-win for both recruiters and employees. Companies are able to acquire the best talent and provide employees with the support to execute a seamless move. A company’s relocation benefit can make or break a signing deal, so it’s important for companies to have all the tools necessary to know they can snag top talent to fill their open positions.”


Look at your own networks

Our social and professional networks are filled with people who are educated and skilled, but for some reason they never cross our minds. Rachel Carrell, CEO of Koru Kids, is a strong advocate of looking close to home before expanding your search:


“Almost without exception the best people came via my own social networks. They weren’t friends – that can be risky – but rather friends of acquaintances or vice versa. It didn’t take long to find them; just a few emails and messages on Facebook, which I use for recruiting a lot. Plus, of course, using your own social networks to recruit is free! That’s especially important when you’re a startup.”


About the author

Steve ThompsonSteve Thompson is the Managing Director of Recruitment specialist Forward Role Recruitment.


Culture has a host of different meanings.


For example, “I’m off to an art gallery to get some culture.”

In this post, I’m thinking about how we view the world; our beliefs and values, behavioural norms and attitudes.

As more and more of us work with others in different locations and from different backgrounds, our capability to do so without causing misunderstanding – or offence – becomes more important.

I’ve had the privilege to work in different countries and with different cultures. Each and every time there’s been a wake-up call of some kind:

  • What to say (and not to say) in a meeting
  • How someone can inadvertently unravel an agreement – in seconds
  • Why it’s a bad idea to complain about yet another power cut


I can also claim to have taught a surly customs officer to say ‘please’ – but really wouldn’t recommend it.

Here are my top tips to build your cultural intelligence:


Beware your biases

We’ve all got them and very often they’re so automatic we don’t realise they’re making decisions for us without us even thinking. “They’re lazy”, “They’re timid”, “They’re loud”, etc. Notice the assumptions you make about people and scrutinise them – where’s the evidence? We can all too easily view the world as ‘us’ and ‘them’, particularly when we encounter beliefs, values, customs and attitudes that differ from our own.


Check the time

In some cultures, the agreed time for a meeting or conference call seems to be entirely optional. In Spain, locals have the good humour to smile when they say ‘mañana’ (‘tomorrow’), knowing their attitude to deadlines may differ from those they’re conversing with. Other cultures are very time-bound, as demonstrated by the apology issued in Japan for a train departing 20 seconds early.


Detect degrees of directness

Sometimes an outright ‘yes’ or ‘no’ just isn’t going to happen. It might cause offence or loss of face. So tread carefully around asking closed questions that can only be answered by ‘yes’ or ‘no’. By contrast, I’ve found groups of participants in The Netherlands to be breathtakingly direct. Different degrees of directness apply in non-verbal communications too: looking someone in the eye can be far too direct in some situations. Whereas ‘eye-balling’ can be inferred as seeking to demonstrate sincerity in some Western cultures, in others it can be too direct to the point of being confrontational.


Notice levels of reserve

Some cultures are expressive when it comes to emotions: expansive in showing joy, sadness and anger. Conducting a negotiation can be a roller-coaster experience in this cultural context. Others are much more reserved, to the point where expressing emotion would cause unease and embarrassment. Again, this shows up in gesture and posture as well as what is said, so be sure to read the body language.


Assess attitudes to power

Are people accustomed to being empowered to speak up? Or would it show disrespect for another’s status to make a suggestion? Having worked in countries where gender, wealth and connections dictate the status levels, there may be little room for manoeuvre. In some cultures status is fairly fixed but in others – particularly where status is something someone achieves – it can be gained and lost rapidly. Observe the behaviour towards those in positions of authority; how do others address them (by first name, title or job role)?


Observe orientation to group – or individual

This aspect of cultural intelligence can bedevil collaborating across different cultures, as those who are wired to value individual effort, expression and achievement may feel impatient at others’ demands to satisfy group needs. Incentivising individual results can backfire in collectivist cultures such as China (and some will argue it hasn’t worked very well in the individualistic West).


Do your homework

Read up on the cultures you’ll encounter in your work. Observe the behaviour of those with more experience; how do they demonstrate cultural awareness and intelligence? Notice the verbal and non-verbal cues that get favourable responses. Listen for concerns and issues that matter, so that they can be respectfully explored.


About the author

Dawn SillettDawn Sillett has been designing and delivering training workshops and executive coaching for over 15 years.


Author of: The Feedback Book

THE FEEDBACK BOOKMaintaining performance today is no longer simply about having an annual appraisal and telling employees “you must try harder”. Research demonstrates that regular discussions about performance and providing feedback to the people you manage is a more effective way to motivate them and keep them on track.Distilled into this single, handy-sized volume are 50 tips, advice and techniques to help any manager become quickly skilled at regularly discussing performance, setting goals and objectives and providing the necessary feedback to ensure individuals and teams thrive in the company. Structured into five key parts, each of the 50 concise chapters also contains a practical exercise to help the reader understand and implement the concepts and ideas of this book.




When we formulate what we have to do that we will not do immediately, a good way to appropriately limit the to-do-task to a size that makes it attractive rather than something we postpone, is to include a verb in every task. ‘Call’ is a verb, ‘write’ another, ‘email’ is one and ‘register’ yet another.


Little Pandora’s boxes

I have previously discussed the impracticality of choosing tricky verbs such as ‘fix’, ‘get’ or ‘make sure’ since these particular verbs can in fact hide entire projects rather than be something we do in a single go (such as ‘Get a new client in the Eastern region’). If the task is too big, we might take a look at it, think to ourselves, “Right, we need to get a new client” and then just move on in the to-do-list and choose a task that can be done immediately – because we want to tick something off our list.


An action only you need to do

I recently worked with a client who made me aware of a seemingly small, but still treacherous, verb-trap. Most of us work with tasks and roles that involve others in some way: either we meet, check in with, sit down with, or discuss something with others. And even if ‘meet’ indeed is a verb, the question is if we are wise to formulate a task using it, such as ‘Meet [someone] and discuss [something]’.

We want to keep our tasks as action-oriented as possible so that it becomes easy to decide when to do what, but if we are to be successful in meeting someone, the person in question needs to appear at the same place as we are in at the same time. It is hence more likely that we encounter one another if we have made an appointment (day and time). Wouldn’t you then agree that ‘make an appointment with’ is the more appropriate way to phrase the task in this case, or perhaps even ‘suggest a time for a meeting’.

These details might appear insignificant and trifle, but believe me when I say that it is often the smallest things that make life difficult, something I see proof of often when working with my clients.


Do this

If you want to avoid falling into this ambiguous trap, skim through your to-do-list right now and check for two things:

  • That you have included a verb in every to-do-task
  • If you have chosen a verb which you might want to exchange for something else for any of your tasks – one that is only dependent on you doing something in order to tick the task off your list (‘suggest a time’ instead of ‘meet’), or one that more clearly defines or describes what you will do (‘call and tell her’ rather than ‘involve’ or ‘anchor with’).



Get moving faster

If you choose your verbs more carefully and thereby make your to-do-tasks more distinct, you will (if you are anything like myself and many of my clients) be tempted to get going with the thing you wanted done when writing the task down in the first place. Instead of having a list full of musts and ambiguous things or events that will or might happen sometime soon, you will have made the step from writing a task down to getting it done a whole lot smaller. You will spend an extra second or two thinking of what verb that would best describe what you need to do, but in exchange you will waste considerably less time when you are up to speed and want to move on with getting the next task done.


About the author

David StiernholmSUPER STRUCTUREDDavid Stiernholm is a trainer who teaches thousands of people every year in companies, government authorities, organizations and universities how to become more structured and attain a higher degree of personal efficiency.

He is also the author of Super Structured.

“Information overload”, “too much going on”, “full email inbox”, “too much on your plate”, “heavy workload”, “ASAP”, “piles that keep growing”, it has to get better soon… Yes, there are many ways to describe the chaotic life many of us lead at work. But, if we create a better structure at work, we will have more time for what matters most to us and to our business. Super Structured is based on a highly successful training program and is for anyone who wants to create a workday that runs smoother and with greater ease. In short chapters with useful advice and tips.