Mike Beckett is caring for business and taking no liberties…

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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Institute of Directors, Director of the Year awards

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Mike in Leeds

Mike Beckett on his way to the Director of the Year awards

Yesterday was a great day, attending the Institute of Directors, Director of the Year awards at the beautiful Aspire venue in Leeds on Thursday 8th of  September 2011.

It was back in 2010 that I joined the Institute of Directors, having decided to embark on their Continuing Professional Development by studying at Leeds Business School, which is part of Leeds Metropolitan University. In July 2011 the Institute of Directors notification arrived, which said that Mike Beckett was to be awarded a Certificate in Company Direction, with Distinction.

So it was a real honour for me when yesterday Barbara Colledge, the Dean of the Faculty of Business & Law presented me with the certificate. The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Director of the IoD, Kenton Robbins, introduced me to receive the award with some very kind words, saying “Cllr Michael Beckett from Caring for Business Ltd is a promising young entrepreneur of whom we are expecting great things”. On a personal note the best part for me was that my wife and parents were able to be present to witness this.

Mike and Cal at Aspire York with certificate of Company Direction just recieved

Mike Beckett's delight at receiving the Institute of Directors Certificate in Company Direction, with Distinction.

Nick Beech, the Principle Lecturer, from Leeds Business School at the Lunch told me that over the last 10 years of running the course, they have had just 7 students achieve a Distinction on this course. This reminded me of the economic principle that rarity enhances value! The IoD programme has a strategic focus on the development of high performance boards. As a cross sector leader I have found the course beneficial in improving  standards and practise in achieving KPI outcomes  and this has demonstrated to me its value as an investment of time and money.

The awards winners were Hayley Erner of High Flyers Business Coaching Ltd was awarded the Business Advisor of the year (sponsored by ABDN), for impressive achievements in increasing the size of client businesses.  Gareth Barker from Sheffield Forgemasters was awarded the Young Director of the Year (sponsored by Totally Exec) for leading an efficiency drive in making the business profitable. James Lambert from R&R Ice Cream received a Lifetime Achievement award  (sponsored by Grant Thornton). Kenton had earlier said that as an austerity measure there was no desert today, so James raised smiles from everyone by agreeing to provide ice cream for next years event. Peter Roberts of Pure Gym, providing no-nonsense budget gyms, received the Judges Special Award (sponsored by The Insurance Partnership). Christopher Hopkins of Ploughcroft was awarded Small & Medium Size Enterprise Director of the Year award (sponsored by The Alternative Board) for growing his business and for innovation in solar roofing technology. Christopher has also receiving support from an encounter with the Dragons Theo and Deborah from Dragon’s Den.

The finale was the award to Lawrence Tomlinson of the LNT Group which is ranked 28th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Companies. He was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year and followed this us with the award for overall Director of the Year 2011 (awards sponsored by Leeds Business School and Welcome to Yorkshire). Congratulations Lawrence, well done. I hope he goes on to have a Yorkshire win for us all in the National Director of the Year competition, happening later this year in London!

Growing Innovators

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Innovation is the game changer for each of us personally,  for our shared ventures and for businesses and government globally. By working smarter we can achieve more, through specialisation and adaptation to our environment and adaptation of our environment.

Our economy’s growth rate and the rate of employment are functions of Innovation. I define Innovation as to conceive new ideas and adaptations and the subsequent implementation of these concepts.

Individual’s potential when optimised through self-awareness enables  self-fulfilment. The more control and ownership they have of their life journey the more potency they can have to meet new challenges. We all need to work to achieve, to create, to make a difference we can be encouraged when we see for good or ill the impact our actions have. It is not enough to fear failure or to give up so as not to fail. It is in this struggle that the process of personal growth is engaged. By developing individuals and teams we generally become more efficient and effective. While some may go on a road trip of self destruction before hopefully tuning in and accepting a work ethic. Engaged creative individuals devoted to being and growing as innovators. This change is the prerequisite for dynamic economic growth for our society.

Ways to assist this are environmental, providing access to resources such as learning, team dynamics and finance. Interventions and motivation to help stimulate this can be to focused and rigid or to loose and unfocused. Individuals need personalised support and challenges to perform optimally and differing environments will favour differing outcomes. Certainly the most creative and game changing ideas and individuals are usually external to traditional large steady enterprises including governments. To be adaptable and innovative does require a vision that is invested in at all levels of the organisation to achieve success.


My fear is that if as a nation we do not do this and our national debt continues to rise. Then sooner or latter we will default on our debt and then I think the nation will face a stark choice bankruptcy or something as radical as the mass nationalisation of property to give to the creditors. In the past when this nation has needed to raise money Henry the Eighth did undertake the dissolution of the monasteries and then sold the estates. I see no reason, why this won’t be repeated, unless the Economy improves markedly. If I was a creditor of UK Ltd (I note we are no longer UK PLC) and I feared the nation would go bankrupt I would most likely threaten sanctions if we went bankrupt and demand the nation seizes and hands over collateral in payment. In a property-owning democracy I see this as the real underlying dilemma and the only palatable way to avoid it is to grow innovators now.

Written by Mike Beckett

2011/06/12 at 05:26

Support our British Olympics

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London Olympic 2012 Mascots

Wenlock and Mandeville

With only 18 months before the Olympics in London begin it is important for the British Peoples to rally behind the Olympics and to make them the best we can. We will be showing hospitality to every nation and together we can make this a time of great cultural learning and increase of international mutual understanding and respect as well as the focus of sporting prowess and fair play.

With businesses making sure it happens creating jobs and lasting local community resources. An army of volunteers supporting it and taking part gaining experience and giving a useful service so the Olympics happens more efficient and more friendly.

With interesting regional events scheduled enabling everyone to get involved locally. The merchandising of the games is interesting with this teapot as perhaps the most British iconic memento.

Loved the video introduction to the mascots Wenlock and Mandeville although Mandeville couldn’t help remind me of a certain Lord of spin…

Written by Mike Beckett

2011/01/30 at 21:28

Alan Johnson

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Sad to learn Alan Johnson has stood down. I guess he might have been asked to resign unsure of the reasons at this stage. While I like Alan Johnson MP as a person and I think he is one of the more reasonable and optimistically I had hoped liberal Labour MPs, I am therefore only somewhat  saddened to see him go. The resignation letter and acceptance letter leaked on the internet appear sanitised and for public view so not sure what has caused Alan to jump but suspect Ed’s hand was behind it.

Interesting article by Stephen Tall

The new Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls comes across as more of a bruiser and I suggest that debate on the economy may become more heated in the future. Although I believe he has some responsibility for causing the deficit from his work in the previous government. I suspect Ed Ball’s will put clear water  between his party and the others which will make policy distinction easier. I also suspect popularist and short-termist policies will be adopted more readily under Ed Balls.

I think the tabloids will have a field day with balls related headlines especially around the economy. I think Ed Balls will come out fighting but whatever he attacks with as much damage he lands on the coalition he will damage Labour as the author of the present woes and the first cause. If he hides or ignores the reality and encourages others to believe a delusion that spending is the only answer to all our problems based on an extrapolation of  Keynes. Rather than being simply partisan I would find him moving towards blatant opportunism and irresponsibility. As Dicken’s Mr Micawber would say “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” With low interest rates and a deficit that is still growing we need to control spending and have controlled investment to stimulate the economy to help us be able to start repaying the UK national debt and to put our house in order.

Economic theory about a balanced budget or investing in growth through statutory spending are both with merit but I suggest only optimal Keynesian spending should be engaged in and all would agree it is better to have interest coming in from a surplus than spending additional money paying interest especially if the cost of borrowing is to increase. The only controversies are the route to achieve this, the timescale, the sacrifices and who would make the required sacrifices as is so often the case the rhetoric of investing a surplus is laudable the devil is in the detail of getting there. If we as a nation don’t plan to get out of debt, when will we ever? … the only other choice involves default and bankruptcy and the loss of sovereign power and the severe reduction in services we would experience then this must be avoided by continued planned action now!

(EDIT: I have since this post re-designated this blog as a business blog and political views are now in Mike Beckett’s Political Blog: Mikish Musings thank you)

Ed I know what you did last government!

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Once again, Ed Miliband has invited Liberal Democrats to join him.
Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat chief whip, wrote on his Facebook blog on 15/1/11 “So Ed Miliband wants Lib Dems to join Labour. After careful thought I have compiled a short list of those that I am prepared to let him have. If, after a week of having them, he still wants more then he can come back and we can discuss it. Careful what you wish for, Ed.”

I think that those attracted to Labour might have a superficial interest as I don’t think Ed Miliband’s Labour stand up to scrutiny…

What are their policies, what would they cut, what would they do differently, what responsibility are they taking and how are they helping to make things better? Refusal to compromise is not adult behaviour, adults negotiate and all I see is that Labour are right because they are Labour and they should not compromise and we others should be converted to Labour because they are right. This is so shallow, and the Unions are interested in themselves and their leadership not individuals. In my experience they are just as out of touch as Labour are.

My overwhelming thought, Dear Ed, is I know what you did last government! If I didn’t have a memory, if I did not know your record, then I might be interested. The centralisation, profligate spending, erosion of civil liberties and putting the Labour party’s priorities above the interests of the country are some of the reasons I will politely decline Ed’s offer.

I urge intelligent people tempted to vote Labour to look to building a better society, to support freedom, fairness and electoral reform and back the liberal Democrats.

The inspiration for commenting on this came from Simon and the Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/LibDemLife which I recommend and appreciation to Peter for editorial advice.

Now Ed is attacking the Unions to be seen to be strong against them, however this does look like rehearsed pantomime. I can’t believe it hasn’t been planned in advance and seems to me to just be about positioning and not about reality *sigh*

Ed my impression is that you are coming across as cold and calculating to me and wanting to win at any cost, even family, if this is what the people want then maybe our next Prime Minister will be Mr Miliband but I know I for one will oppose you at the ballot box Ed and I think others will too!

(EDIT: I have since this post re-designated this blog as a business blog and political views are now in Mike Beckett’s Political Blog: Mikish Musings thank you)

Word Press recommended as a platform for blogging

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In case you don’t know I am giving wordpress a try as I am experimenting with setting up a blog and am testing formats to see what works and how it works. Before deciding on where to blog.

Previous posts  as when deciding to blog I googled blog and got blogger which is no surprise to those who know blogger is owned by google, but I have received advice to shop around before I settle into blogging…

What do others think of wordpress?

Latest news we are to have another By election with Oldham tomorrow we will soon be having another one in Barnsley both caused by Labour MPs who had both broken the law even more electioneering fun!

(EDIT: I have since this post re-designated this blog as a business blog and political views are now in Mike Beckett’s Political Blog: Mikish Musings thank you)

Written by Mike Beckett

2011/01/12 at 22:55