God loves London buses

It's good that people continue to wonder about God, although what he thinks about us may be more important than what we think about him.

The British Humanist Association are the latest in the line-up to give God some publicity, according to a BBC News report. Aided by Prof Richard Dawkins they plan to run a poster campaign on London buses in January with the slogan: “There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

This is described as the Atheist Bus Campaign, and atheists don't believe in God – right? Yet unable to say, “God does not exist,” they usethe motto above. I can only conclude that they're concerned that God may exist, and fearful of how he may react if they say he doesn't. This is despite the BHA's headline on its web site that “the humanist view of life is progressive and optimistic, in awe of human potential, living without fear of judgement and death.” I'm not sure they've arrived yet, and I also find myself wondering whether God has an even bigger view of human potential than we humans ourselves do.

I am happy to announce that I do enjoy life, in the knowledge that God is very much alive!

Systems! Systems!

This week I've been seeking to do more sales and marketing for the firm, which has included trying out networking meetings (with interesting speakers but we'll have to see how much business comes), and seeking to register with Train To Gain for their new Leadership and Management Advisory Service. The idea is that they will give grants to small businesses and charities to encourage top leaders to receive training – which may include coaching.

The idea is that as well as funding they connect clients and suppliers through their skill brokers. What seems strange to me is that it is very difficult to work out from their web site how to register as a provider, and when I phoned to find out I ended up following a chain of about six phone numbers that threatened to take me back to the one I started with. (In the end I did connect with a director, who knew what she was talking about.)

Maybe it's my fault for imagining that the process would be quick.

Crinkly Intelligence

I enjoy looking at the BBC news website. There seems to be a curious mixture of the news everyone is talking about and random information. The latest piece of random information is the exciting news that if you are middle aged (or older) blogging is good for you, maybe even better than doing the Times Crossword. Take a look.

On the more general subject of intelligence, I've been reminded that it's not that simple – with IQ, EQ, and SQ. Different people have different perspectives, and it seems to me that much of what we call education encourages people to be numerate, literate etc. (all of which are important); these people see themselves as intelligent (which is true); and are often looked to in times of crisis ahead of those with other kinds of intelligence.

However, to give an example of the current “Credit Crunch” the intelligensia are number crunching to solve the economic problem (IQ), and it is important, but are they in touch with how the population are feeling (EQ) and their perspectives (EQ and IQ) to be able to communicate and motivate effectively? Are they, and all of us, in touch with what is most important (this is about values too) and have the strength of character to win out (largely all about SQ)?

Putting it into practice

After writing about not colluding with powerlessness, I seem to have got a few things to work on.

My latest upset is Barclays Bank. Some years ago they closed down lots of branches in “small towns” including the one I live in. (Other banks did the same.) The main irritation of this to many people is the difficulty of paying in cheques. Once upon a time, when we lived a long way from a bank, Barclays gave us prepaid envelopes to do this. After a while they refused to do that anymore. Anyway, to lessen the blow to rural communities, they agreed to allow cheques to be paid in at Post Offices. This is useful, supports local Post Offices too (that's nice, because I'm not sure that the government want to support this useful social service) and – unsurprisingly – you have to obtain special envelopes to do this.

What happens if you keep ordering them and they do not arrive? Then you can't use the service anymore.

The system is that you phone a free number and get put through to a helpful person in Mumbai (I have nothing against that in principle.) He asks you for your address which he writes down and then faxes to an office in Britain. The office in Britain then posts the envelopes to my home. This seems a complicated system. Why not just use an online portal that automatically prints out the shipping documents? Why not use e-mail rather than fax?

When I phoned the same number and asked what the procedure was if the system worked, the reply was, “I can only send a fax.” So he sent another fax, and the envelopes did not arrive again. Why should they? (Einstein quote!).

When I spoke to UK customer services on the phone, they said they could not help me as they had no “procedure” to do so. Helpfully the lady took ownership of the problem and phoned the same number to ask for some envelopes for me. She had to wait about quarter of an hour in the queuing system.

I'm sure you will await the next instalment with excitement!

I still have not heard from Monarch Airlines, after I wrote to them.

On a brighter note, when I made the effort to chat to my local councillors about some things that were winding me up, I started to understand their problems more, and feel that they are now more in touch with the needs of those they seek to serve. I am impressed by the dedication of people who serve as local councillors, often doing it pretty much full time without a salary.

Coaching work grows

I've particularly enjoyed the last week as my new work continues to grow. I have been working in partnership with the Wilsher Group by participating in training courses and working with Baxter Europe (part of Baxter healthcare) in Vienna.

The work with Baxter contributed to their leadership development programme and we included training, facilitation, and group coaching to improve communication skills and support project teams. We used  Insights® Discovery and other material. It was very enjoyable, and there was great enthusiasm in each of the teams.

Our venue, the Hilton Hotel, overlooked the impressive River Danube, which was an added bonus.