Friday, 4 June 2010

Newsletter Issue 184, June 2010

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 184, June 2010
Hi guys,
I've been thinking, but unlike Richard Prebble, its about Leadership on Ice - read on, below.
The end of one lifetime's use is not necessarily the end of useful life. Read Eco-Businesses with Smarts
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Leadership on Ice

Recently I read an article about the 2001 book "Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer" by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell. I referred to another book about Shackleton in the last issue (Newsletter 183); Dennis Perkins' book "Leading at the edge: leadership lessons from the extraordinary saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition" (2000). Examining Shackleton's leadership became a bit trendy at the turn of this century, almost 90 years after his team set the record - at that time - for the furthest exploration south in Antarctica.
For a long time Shackleton's exploits were overshadowed by Amundsen, who reached the South Pole in 1912. But as time has gone on, what has become quite significant is that despite tackling journeys through unknown and hazardous terrain in extremely harsh environments, with no support available, Shackleton apparently didn't lose a person on his exploration teams. Every time there was serious danger, Shackleton halted the team, carefully took stock, then determined a course of action with the team which kept everyone safe.
His leadership appears - granted, in our perfect 20:20 hindsight - to have been inclusive, supportive, team-oriented, and never left a person behind. A tremendously 'modern' model of leadership; one based on transformational values.
If you have read Jim Collins book "Good to Great" (2001), you would also feel that Shackleton closely matched the Level 5 Leadership model that Jim outlines in his book - a model of quiet, humble leadership, driven by a strong, tightly-focused vision. To paraphrase a metaphor from the book, you could imagine Shackleton being one who, when there is a fault looks in the mirror; but when there is success, looks through the window at his team.
What made me interested in Shackleton was reading about the leadership of Kiwi mountaineer Russell Brice. The Discovery Channel filmed "Everest: Beyond the Limit", which glorified Russell's professionalism, experience and weather smarts as he led Everest expeditions in 2006 and 2007. However, in the 2007 expedition, Russell made some management decisions on Everest which very likely caused the needless death of climber David Sharp.
Russell was organising two separate expeditions for his company HIMEX; both expeditions passing David Sharp and both teams in a position to have done something to at least make David's last hours more comfortable. In both cases, Russell told his HIMEX parties to carry on and not give assistance - the impression given by these directives is that nothing is more important than his parties' uninterrupted ascent to the summit, including the life of another climber. What adds fuel to the fire is that Kiwi double-amputee Mark Inglis with his HIMEX guide Mark Woodward apparently came across David Sharp early enough to have saved David's life, and, when they radioed Russell for instructions claim they were told “There is nothing you can do” and to “move on” (to read more, go to and Reading about Russell I suspect that he would see "the leader" in the mirror, and "the children" through the window.
When I compare Shackleton's leadership with that of Russell Brice, there really is no comparison. You support your people, no matter what. Leadership is not about achieving the goal at all costs. It is about ensuring the cost leaves the goal still achievable.
Shackleton knew that. Russell Brice still doesn't.

Eco-Businesses with Smarts

The new word de jour is 'up-cycling' - recycling is so yesterday (!). There are some very cool business ideas out there, which embrace a sustainability theme and up-cycle.
The first one I would like to mention is Hello Rewind at This US company has a totally socially conscious focus along with a recycled product; as they say on their homepage "Turn your old t-shirt into a custom laptop sleeve + Support new life for sex trafficking survivors". Wow. Not quite what I expected when I clicked a link to see who this company was.
However, their product is very stylish, and they really make the whole process easy for you; you register, enter your laptop dimensions, they send you a post-paid envelope, you put your old t-shirt in it & post it off, and in 8 weeks you get your t-shirt back as a laptop sleeve. I am sure if this takes off, there will be some additional product lines that you can extend the life of your fave t-shirt into.
Another US company recycling specialised clothing is Narwhal at They take neckties and turn them into wallets, passport covers, billfolds and wristlets. You can purchase online using a credit card, and buy something to keep you credit card in; each one is a unique work of reinvention.
Then we come to the third US company;, the brainchild of Taryn Zychal, who makes dog coats, dog and cat toys, and rain hoods; largely out of fabric from recycled - oops, up-cycled - umbrellas. Not only can you order products online, but you can make arrangements to donate your up-cycleable umbrella to the production line, and generate a $1 donation from the company to an animal refuge for your pains.
In the UK, the Green Door at makes handbags, clutch purses and shopping bags from up-cycled clothing. You can order your own bespoke bag online, or you can browse their stock items. While this website is far less slick than it's US counterparts, each of the online descriptions gives a provenance, detailing what items were recycled during manufacture.
Earth Huggers also retail a range of bags in the UK at This is not their core business however, but all these products are from fully up-cycled materials.
Lastly we come to the Moonfruit range by Carol Atkinson in the UK at Carol makes slippers, bags, hats, brooches and scarves from up-cycled materials, as well as being an exhibiting artist.
These businesses target a small need; have a quite narrow focus, but all think about the WIIFM (what's in it for me) from the customer's point of view. While not quite cradle to the grave, the idea of creating something new from an item that you have enjoyed has quite a lot of appeal. Wear out your bestest t-shirt? Turn it into your laptop cover. Favourite umbrella died? Make it into a coat for the pooch. Spilt red wine down your special Christmas tie? Make a passport cover from it...
Regeneration is an idea for all of us to consider.

Remove bmp Backgrounds in PowerPoint

Adding your company logo to a presentation should be easy, but sometimes your background is a different colour to your logo background.
Luckily TechRepublic have just published a "How To" on bitmaps (bmp files) at,  which I am sharing with you all.
The solution is easy for bmp files:
  1. Insert your bitmap on the slide.
  2. Right-click the logo image and choose Show Picture Toolbar to display the Picture toolbar.
  3. Click the 'Set Transparent Color' tool (the second to last button). The pointer will change to resemble the transparency tool.
  4. Simply click the image’s background. If you’re lucky, the off-white background will just disappear like magic!
If you have a jpg logo, save it as a bmp, insert the bmp and then follow this How To.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • ARS, Acronym Rich Space. Usually refers to the IT industry :-)
  • CIM, Customer Information Management. Managing client data for Customer Relationship Management (CRM!)
  • CIS, Customer Interaction Software. The software back-office which your customers interact with your CRM system.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Function keys. We will start at the end, with F12:
  • Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint & Word "Open the 'Save As' dialog box" F12
  • Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint & Word "Save" Shift & F12
  • Excel, PowerPoint & Word "Display 'Print' dialog box" Ctrl & Shift & F12
  • Excel, PowerPoint & Word "Display the 'Open' dialog box" Ctrl & F12

Hot Linx
To see a hand-drawn, zoomable map of London full of interesting facts about every neighbourhood, go to The the level of detail is great.
To read about a fateful Word 2007 spellcheck auto-replace muck up in an Australian cookbook, check out This wee story clearly illustrates the need for time to proof-read!
If you are trying to co-ordinate a load of different people from different organisations to attend a meeting together, try registering for Doodle at It is so simple to use; enter a range of possible dates, then times, then enter your invitees, and you are done.
Check out Coroflot's foldable wind turbine at This is a great idea - who knows when it may be in production!

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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