Sunday, 9 June 2013

Guess who's back?

The Grand Poobah is a minor character in one of Gilbert and Sullivan's finest musicals - The Mikado.

As a kid, I used to go to the theatre with my beloved grandad (Poppy) who was one of the most supportive and significant figures in my childhood. He was born at the beginning of the 20th century, too young to fight in the First World War, too old to fight in the Second (thank god). He was from a poorish family (part of the huge migration that came into Manchester as the city industrialized) and left school at 14. From this unpromising start, he became the embodiment of a self made man: trained as a cost accountant, joined the Masons, pillar of the church etc etc. He was present at the O'Connell Street GPO uprising. He married his wife, an immigrant German woman, whom he met when he stopped a gang of lads bullying her and her sisters on the street, as they thought (mistakenly) that she was Jewish.

He was smart, hard working and had ten tonnes more moral fibre than most. We used to fight like cat and dog (as is not untypical of someone of his age, he had "interesting" views on Empire, people of different ethnicities and so on) but, still, I miss him terribly (he died, at the ripe age of 92 nearly 20 years ago). I like to think that he's sitting upstairs, cup of tea in one hand, probably watching a test match and, broadly, approving of what I'm trying to achieve.

Which is what, exactly?

Well, the Grand Poobah is the epitome of a puffed up, ego driven, largely talentless but professionally often successful and high ranking character. You know, the type you come across all the time in businesses. And life in general. And she's now my alter ego, and a reminder that, in my personal and professional life, the best people, the most effective and generally the nicest are those whose egos are in check, and who don't need the security of a huge title and letters to bolster their confidence.

I am a free lance talent advisor and Executive Coach, and, believe me, the Poobahs that you meet in this world are many and vocal. I'm on a one woman mission to bring the voice of reason, balance and simplicity back into the fold. Because there's nothing too complicated about the theory of it - as with many things, it's getting the practice right that matters.

So, watch this space, follow this blog and, above all, don't be afraid to call the Emperor on his new clothes.

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