Speaker Blogs Archives – MFL Global

What is tone of voice?

What is tone of voice? And what does it mean for an organisation’s values, brand, and… security?

Ben Afia and Bruce Hallas discussed this recently.

Ben and Bruce cover:

  • How getting tone of voice right can help you write policies and get people using them
  • How tone of voice can bring a brand to life, or hurt it
  • Understanding your audience and what they want to hear
  • Heavy-handed vs lighter-touch communication
  • Defining your brand and values to reach tone of voice
  • Creating change by getting people around the organisation engaged

The Challenge of Saying It Like It Is

Pritpal Tamber is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bridging Health & Community, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming how we approach health so that it goes beyond health care and public health to include fostering the ‘agency’ of a community – its ability to make purposeful choices.  After speaking at an event this week, he’s shared his blog with us:

I’m sitting in Business Class on Emirates on the way back from Dubai. I’ve just spoken at an event held by a health insurance company. They held the event to illustrate to their regional partners that they’re thinking hard about the future of health, including making care more personalised and reducing its cost.

The thing that really struck me is how it’s hard to present an alternative narrative to those that dominate.

The narrative I deliver is how health care has gotten out of control, become too expensive, and fails to respond to what really matters to people. It’s a critical narrative, one that forces audiences to look in the mirror and think about whether they’re part of the problem and need to change.

The other speakers weren’t so challenging, at least not in such a fundamental way. They challenged the audience to embrace more technology, take note of how Generation Z (is that a thing?) conduct their lives, and be aware of how poorly trusted health insurers are, but they didn’t challenge the very shape of the industry. By being silent on it, they effectively endorse it.

That surprised me. It seems to me that if anyone should be holding health care to account its those that need to pay for it. And yet there seemed to be an acceptance that the way things are can’t be changed. Some of the executives even shared with me (over an excellent lunch) how they’d personally received care that was clearly driven by revenue rather than need (whether clinical or cosmetic). There was a collective shrug in the air.

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GDPR, Marketing and George Best

On September 14th 1963 my dad took me to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United for the very first time. Also making his debut that day was a genial young Irishman by the name of George Best.

I witnessed the beginning of something very special that day as the 17 year old Belfast boy weaved his magic on the hallowed turf for 90 minutes. Truth be told, I was hooked after just ten. And so began a life-long relationship with my local football club. You see, I was born and raised in a small mill town 7 miles to the east of Manchester. And, as any true football fan will tell you, where you’re from is an important factor in deciding which team you support.

These days, of course, it’s not just success on the pitch but also multi-million pound marketing campaigns that attract new supporters. And they’re just as likely to live on the other side of the world as the other side of the Pennines. But after May 25th Manchester United FC will need to know exactly where their fans are coming from. And this isn’t about being red or blue or owning a season ticket. It’s about the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation. You see, businesses will have to prove that customers have given their permission to be contacted by email. So if you’re concerned you might be amongst them, put aside for a moment your possible distaste of all things Manchester United and read on.

During the past few weeks I’ve received promotional emails from the White Company, Russell & Bromley and Tesco. As far as I know, I didn’t ask for any of them. In fact, if subscribing to such a list required any effort whatsoever I’m pretty sure I didn’t expend it. I take the view that if I want to buy bedlinen, shoes or groceries I’ll do just that. I don’t want to be on their lists. End of. However, I do want to be on Man United’s. Which is why, as a fan, I did go through the process to receive their emails. So how do you do it, and what do you need to know? In short, how can you position your emails so that people become raving fans?

Well my very good friends at Communicator (who send out my emails) not only have all the answers but also plenty of knowledge and experience of tried and tested techniques. Simply contact alan.scott@communicatorcorp.com and he’ll tell you what to do and what not to do in order to comply with the new regulations. I’ll be using their great techniques myself as we approach May 25th.

And George? Well, following his debut against West Bromwich Albion, their full back and acknowledged hard man, Graham Williams, shook Best’s hand and said “Stand still son so I can have a look at your face. I’ve been looking at your backside all day disappearing up the touchline”.

If you don’t want to see your emails disappearing up the touchline best take action.

See what I did there? Best take action?

I don’t just throw these together, you know.
Ha ha ha

Article written by Phil Hesketh, one of the country’s top professional speakers on sales motivation, he both commands the attention of an audience and captures its imagination.

The Future of Leadership

Leaders have never had to deal with so much change, at such speed and with so much complexity and intensity. The result is constant overwhelm, with leaders struggling to do Business As Usual let alone spearheaded external innovations and internal transformation to ensure they are match fit to survive and thrive in the Digital Age.

Few leaders have been taught or trained how to lead in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambitious (VUCA) world where fast and furious changes are driving a triple threat – and so triple opportunity – for every leader.

Firstly we are fully grappling with the implications of a networked reality in which people, places and products being connected in ways never been seen before (and that are hard to grasp). AI, the blockchain, the Internet of Things and 3D printing will impact everything we do and everybody on the planet in unprecedented and unpredictable ways. Every leader needs to stop ignoring or repressing this reality and see how they are going to change themselves and their organisation to cope.

Secondly, seismic cultural changes are underway as younger people enter the workforce and consumer marketplace. Born after the fall of the Berlin Wall, their have a generational demand for equality, empowerment and ethics whether as customers or employees. Industrial Age motivational levers like power, promotion and profit often fall flat on their ears and fail. Many senior leaders I work with struggle to cope with leading these cohorts of people.

Finally, we are in am increasingly stressed world, dealing with major global risks like climate change, pollution, inequality and clinical depression. Every leader must reckon with their own stress, anxiety and sense of purpose and value… whilst ensuring their teams and employees find a way to stay healthy, creative and, ultimately, become part of the solution not the problem.

This emerging reality demands a new kind of leadership. I call it liquid leadership. Every human being was born with the two brain networks they need to master liquid leadership. The first, the Cognitive Control Network, puts us in what I call Control and Protect Mode: Linear and logical, we follow best-practice using existing rules to improve things – but don’t have the creativity we need adapt as times change.

But we all have another brain network, the Default Mode Network, which allows us to enter Create and Connect Mode. Insightful and imaginative, we forge next-practice by solving new problems with fresh thinking and ideas and more relevant new processes and behaviours.

Leaders who can consciously choose the mode they are in can metabolise constant changes in the external world into exponential value within organisations: whether through digital transformations or disruptive innovations. With flexibility within, we can forge the future we want to see not just be whipped around by the cyclones of change.

This is radical behavioural agility grounded in radical emotional stability. This is the future of leadership.

Watch Nick’s video on the Future of Leadership:

Nick Jankel, is an award-winning author, thought leader, serial entrepreneur and founder of WECREATE WORLDWIDE. Nick develops original ideas and powerful tools to ensure leaders can constantly metabolise fast and change into exponential value. Nick inspires people with the limitless opportunities on offer within the networked age – from disruptive business models and org cultures to future cities and styles of leadership – as well as how to leave behind industrial-age thinking to become agile and entrepreneurial enough to seize them.

The man who cleaned millions for Pablo Escobar

For most US Government workers, a long career is a safe way to save for retirement and pay off a mortgage. But for Robert Mazur, its only reward was half a million dollars’ of hits on his head.

But then again, Mazur’s career was far from ordinary. The former US federal agent of 27 years spent five years undercover in two of the world’s most infamous drug cartels.

It was the 1980s and US authorities, after Richard Nixon’s declaration of war on the illicit drug trade, were busy trying to stem the tide of cocaine flowing in from Colombia — then among the largest exporters of narcotics in the world.

Mazur’s was part of ‘Operation C-Chase’, designed to focus on infiltrating one cartel in particular — the Medellín Cartel run by the ‘King of Cocaine’, Pablo Escobar.

Read his interview with ABC Australia here


Guarding maritime chokepoints against worldwide disruption

Written By John Sitilides for The Washington Times – Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Returning to Washington recently after consecutive keynote presentations at several major investor events, before hundreds of highly-educated and well-informed finance executives, I was struck by their focus on the turbulent shifts in geopolitical relations on a global scale of recent decades.

In 1988, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were still locked in the Cold War, with most nations siding with liberty or totalitarianism. The 1990s were marked by America’s unipolar moment, with Russia rendered relatively meaningless in world affairs and China just beginning to rise from Mao’s domestic ruins. The first decade of the 21st century literally exploded into being, unleashing American military power in Afghanistan, Iraq, and globally against a vast radical Islamist terror network.

The last 10 years have witnessed the resurgence of a resurgent quasi-monarchy in Moscow undermining Western cohesion and American influence in Europe and the Middle East, joined by a revisionist authoritarian regime in Beijing determined to manage Asia’s commerce and overturn the international liberal economic order sustained by U.S.-led alliances for 70 years.

In 2018, the world is witnessing a tripartite landscape, marked by nuclear powers of varying influence within a framework unlike any of the past century. The question for political, corporate and finance leaders centers on how to engage these new power arrangements, sure to be in flux for the foreseeable future.

The perilous fusing of twin threats from nascent nuclear power North Korea and aspiring nuclear power Iran portend the broader destabilization of the Pacific Rim and Middle Eastern regions. Neighboring countries warn of plans to acquire independent nuclear arsenals or deploy American systems on their territories as desperate means of deterrence against aggression from Pyongyang and Tehran — a proliferation system that would gravely undermine stability.

Many of these flashpoints have emerged immediately adjacent to the world’s most important waterways, carrying the bulk of total global commerce and much of the world’s oil and natural gas supplies. Sovereignty disputes between China and almost every Pacific neighbor, from Japan to Indonesia, play out regularly in the South and East China Seas, through which a combined 35 percent of the world’s commerce traverses.

The Straits of Malacca, between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is the entry point for China’s ambitious naval security strategy deep into the Indian Ocean, where it has established a “string of pearls” comprised of ports and harbors in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Pakistan, and in several countries along Africa’s eastern coastline. China established its first foreign military base, in the African nation of Djibouti, across the Bab el Mandeb chokepoint guarded by the U.S. and NATO allies against pirate and terror organisations exploiting the civil war in Yemen and long-standing anarchy in Somalia.

India is emerging from the self-imposed isolation of decades of non-aligned socialism, seeking to build a modern economic powerhouse and assert its sovereign national interests across the south Asian continent and throughout the Indian Ocean, bordered by two dozen countries from South Africa in the southwest to Australia in the southeast. India’s strategic priority is to constrain China’s maritime, commercial and military ambitions from the Straits of Malacca to the Gulf of Aden, and to conduct military operations and project power expansively into the open ocean — ideally in a strategic partnership with the U.S., Japan and Australia.

In the Middle East, transformed by the 1979 Iranian revolution that provoked the radical Shia-Sunni sectarian divide with Saudi Arabia, Washington is conceding Moscow’s growing influence.

This began under the Obama administration in 2013, when the U.S. welcomed Russian assistance in purportedly removing chemical and biological weapons from Syria. In the summer of 2015, Iranian mullahs and military leaders persuaded Vladimir Putin to escalate the aerial bombing of anti-Assad forces close to toppling the Syrian regime. Moscow’s pitilessly decisive bombing campaign, joined to ground operations by Iranian militias and Hezbollah proxies, are the reason Bashar Assad prevails in Damascus.

The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy recognizes Moscow’s newfound regional power status, buttressed by 49-year leases to maintain and expand Russian naval and air bases on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. Moscow is now positioned to project greater military power and diplomatic influence throughout southeastern Europe and the Middle East than at any time since it was expelled from Egypt in the early 1970s.

Russia’s pronounced eastern Mediterranean presence will reassure China, which has designated southeastern Europe as its entry point into central European markets, and will challenge the U.S. and Egypt guarding the Suez Canal, through which 40 percent of global oil shipments and over 10 percent of world trade pass annually.

These are just some of the paramount geopolitical risks concentrating the minds of today’s political and financial leaders. Their concerns are growing, clear answers are few, and the potential for significant disruption is kaleidoscopic. What is needed is far-sighted, innovative and realistic leadership as the foundation for essential American predominance in a stable and surer world order, limiting the reach of those countries that would undermine the relative security and prosperity of recent decades.

The alternative is a world economic order dominated by a mercantilist Chinese Communist Party, weighed down by the constant menace of Russian revisionist ambition, and the undermining of political stability, regional economies and energy resources by North Korea and Iran.

With 90 percent of total world commerce — including that of the West’s most determined adversaries — borne on ships, the United States and its partners have no recourse but to maintain free and open shipping across and throughout all international waters. Such are the daunting challenges of our constant turmoil, seeking to mitigate geopolitical risk in a world as dangerous as ever, where history and geography remain the bedrock of political choices and decisions — today, tomorrow and always.

John Sitilides, geopolitical strategist at Trilogy Advisors LLC, specialises in global risk analysis and regulatory affairs.

Right Here Right Now

Let’s talk about control.

Every day, we have thousands of thoughts. As humans, we’re blessed with this incredibly sophisticated organ we call a brain. It’s so advanced and complicated that we haven’t even really begun to understand how it works. It runs fast and it runs slow, stimulated by every little thing we experience. It processes and reacts to everything we see, hear, touch, smell and taste. It helps us to make decisions, governs our mood. It stores our memories, alerts us to danger. Even when we sleep, it’s working, repairing itself, sending us subliminal messages about our lives, in the form of dreams.

But modern life doesn’t prioritise peace of mind. Switch on the breaking news, and it’s deeply alarming. We live in the age of the update and the alert. Our smart phones connect us to every latest thought, action and development. 350,000 tweets are posted every minute, and on the ring road, the traffic never stops. Our schedules change quickly, our commitments pull us in every direction. We’re in the gig economy and there are no more jobs for life. A new generation of young adults inhabit a world of sofa surfing, student debt and information overload. It’s disorientating.

Sepsis blew my world to pieces. My brain won’t ever let me forget that. The experience of waking from that 4 month induced coma in 2000 and slowly taking in the extent of my amputations near enough destroyed my soul.

For about sixty seconds, I wondered if I could deal with the damage – then I looked into my wife’s eyes and decided that I could.

Tom Ray

Control has been crucial throughout my long period of rehabilitation. For a few years, I was all at sea. I had different appointments every day and I effectively became a professional patient. There were doctors, nurses, consultants, physiotherapists, local government agencies, plastic surgeons, pharmacists, prosthetists, all knocking on my door. My wife devoted at least five entire years of her life to all this, accompanying me to every single therapy.

Then, at a certain point, when I could drive a car again, and remember where I had to be and when, I started going solo. Slowly, I started taking responsibility for myself.

Getting back to work helped a lot. It gave me a fixed schedule, a daily framework, I really benefitted from that. Being with other adults in a group where I wasn’t the centre of attention was therapeutic and transformative.

Now, a full 17 years on, my daily preoccupation is on controlling my mind. This is important and I have to consciously work at it. Because, although I have that same brain constantly bombarding me with endless impressions and information, I truly believe that it’s only me who can control how that goes.

This one notion fills me with joy. In terms of resilience, it’s very empowering.

It means that although I have this experience of unusual adversity, I can choose how I think about it. No-one else has to tell me to feel sad, tragic, angry or hopeless. It’s completely down to me.

Mindfulness helps enormously in this context. I discipline myself to being in the moment, thinking all the time about all the fantastic things that surround me:

People. The sky. Music. Words. Coffee. My children. Football. The way the water ripples in the low-slung breeze across Rutland Water. Love.

What you dwell upon grows. I’m alone with all these good thoughts, I’m working to fill my head with these things, right here, right now.

How to be more mindful

Remind yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you.

Notice the everyday

For example, the sensations of things, the food we eat, the air moving past the body as we walk. This has huge power to interrupt the ‘autopilot’ mode we often engage day to day, and to give us new perspectives on life.

Keep it regular

Pick a regular time – the morning journey to work or a walk at lunchtime – during which you decide to be aware of the sensations created by the world around you.

Try something new

Trying new things, such as sitting in a different seat in meetings or going somewhere new for lunch, can also help you notice the world in a new way.

Watch your thoughts

Some people find it very difficult to practice mindfulness. As soon as they stop what they’re doing, lots of thoughts and worries crowd in. It might be useful to remember that mindfulness isn’t about making these thoughts go away, but rather about seeing them as mental events. Imagine standing at a bus station and seeing ‘thought buses’ coming and going without having to get on them and be taken away. This can be very hard at first, but with gentle persistence it is possible.

Name thoughts and feelings

To develop an awareness of thoughts and feelings, some people find it helpful to silently name them: “Here’s the thought that I might fail that exam”. Or, “This is anxiety”.

Free yourself from the past and future

You can practise mindfulness anywhere, but it can be especially helpful to take a mindful approach if you realise that, for several minutes, you have been “trapped” in reliving past problems or “pre-living” future worries.

Tom Ray is a quadruple amputee with additional facial amputations as a result of sepsis. Beating Sepsis, coping with the aftermath & trying to earn enough for his family has been the challenge of his life. Tom Ray had to go right back to the bottom step of the career ladder, he’s been there for over 10 years now and some days can be very painful. However, he is here to tell his story along with his wife Nic and although things have not turned out as they planned and he sometimes looks a shambles they are very proud of who Tom is & what as a couple and individually they have quietly achieved.

If ever there was a story about resilience, beating the odds, dealing with disruption, coping with change, after change, after change, and characterful and courageous leadership, then this is a story definitely worth listening to. No matter what business sector you work in, or what your role is within that business, we are confident that you will leave Tom’s session, humbled yes, but also inspired, wiser, and with ideas and strategies that will help your business cope with adversity and change.

Out Now – World Class Thinking – World Class Behaviour

Penny Mallory‘s latest book, World Class Thinking – World Class Behaviour is now available to buy

This powerful book is for everyone interested in upping their game in every aspect of their life. Penny Mallory dispels the myth that elite performers are ‘special’; instead, she asserts that you possess all the qualities you need to be at the top of your game, you just haven’t discovered them yet.


This is a refreshingly straightforward and engaging approach to raising your game. You will learn how top performers think and behave in order to win. Success is not just for ‘special’ people – it’s for you.

Penny Mallory battled against all the odds to make her childhood dream come true – to become a champion Rally Driver. She tells both her own story and of others, to illustrate how you can adopt winning techniques and strategies to achieve the success you crave.

Available now on Amazon



Say goodbye to dull presentations – Free workshop – 25th April 2018


5 Things Your Business Can learn From Making Pancakes

Today is Shrove Tuesday, better known as Pancake Tuesday. It is a strange ritual and celebration, seemingly confined to commonwealth countries, which will culminate in millions of pancakes being made, flipped, dropped and eaten (even the dropped ones!).

It is an odd day. Every year it falls on a different date as it always precedes Ash Wednesday, the day the Christian Lent begins.  The story goes that if Jesus could wander around the desert for 40 days and 40 nights denying himself all manner of things, then you should be able to give up chocolate, crisps or your Xbox for the 6 weeks prior to Easter too. Self-denial is good for the soul, apparently.

Did Jesus Like Pancakes?

Now what pancakes had to do with all this I always struggled with. Perhaps before Jesus strapped on his sandals for his desert road-trip, his mum had insisted he gorge up on Nutella and Maple Syrup … who knows? Unlikely as it would have ended up in a very sticky hipster beard on his part.

It turns out that the actual tradition is based around using up the foods that you would be denying yourself during lent. Fats (butter) and sugars. Various other religions have similar traditions pre- or post-fasting. A full-on gorge to prepare or celebrate the successful fast. And so it is, pancakes and Easter eggs now book end the modern day Christian Lenten festival. Of course, today many just eat the pancakes and chocolate without observing the middle ‘fasting’ bit! Such are the modern times we live in.

So today, for the day that is in it, I think it only appropriate to learn from the simple pancake. It has much to teach us.


5 things your business can learn from making pancakes

1. Sieve For Lumps

Those of you who have made pancake batter know too well there is nothing more disappointing than lumps of flour sitting in your pancake. Good batter is beaten until it is smooth. From a Customer Experience (CX) perspective, a ‘lump’ is that moment a customer experiences something wrong in your product delivery. It is the moment the call centre operator fails to convey empathy with their issue, the moment the self-service checkout refuses to acknowledge your existence or the moment you scream as your verified by Visa fails for the 3rd time. Pain is not a welcome moment in any customer journey and frictionless is what we all need to strive for at every turn.

Recently I came across an exciting new business called www.pixelpin.io, allowing users to simply tap any 4 points on a chosen image as their user ID/ password for any app or account. Soon the days of the pin, user name and password will be gone. Good riddance to those lumps.

2. Push Past The Basic Ingredients

Milk, Eggs, Flour and a little Salt. Those are the ingredients for pancakes. Mix them up in the right quantities and you have your batter ready to cook. But if I fed my kids plain pancakes there would be a mutiny. Who wants to eat a plain pancake? The pancake surely is just a canvas onto which you can let your sugar desires run wild? While a squirt of lemon and sugar might satisfy some, others go all out. Nutella, whipped cream, ice-cream, strawberries, maple syrup, bananas, blueberries, bacon, and chocolate sprinkles… and that’s just on their first one!

Don’t get trapped into thinking that whatever product or service you sell is what the customer wants. Sometimes that is just the basics. The brands that are succeeding today are the ones that are continuously adding new elements to what they do. It is Amazon opening its’ cashier-less convenience stores, it is Uber Eats delivering your food, it is Air BnB selling tourist related activities in the city you have travelled to or facilitating group payments. Sometimes brands forget they need to be more Nutella and less flour & eggs.

3. Prepare to Flip

Most of the fun around pancakes involves trying to flip them in the pan. The subsequent ‘stuck to the ceiling’ or ‘dropped on the floor’ moment is always entertaining. Like everything, there is a knack, one that you don’t learn until you have failed many times!

In today’s disruptive world, every business needs to be ready for the FLIP. Whatever business model has been successful for you in the past, prepare to be side-swiped. Things are being continuously turned on their heads, often by a single product. Remember, 85% of the entire market capitalisation of the GPS industry was wiped out only 18-months after Google Maps was launched. One App and there goes an industry.

The brands and businesses that will succeed long term in today’s fast pace of change are those that are practicing the flip today. They are looking at where things might go, the forces that may challenge their business and preparing for them. My advice is to start a few practice flips before you are called on for the main event!

4. Inspiration Leads To Change

Many people will serve up boring pancakes today, traditional toppings lacking in imagination. Without any other input, it is in our nature as humans to revert to the routine, the habits that have worked well in the past. Again, similar to the disruption point above, such an approach does not bode well for surviving a future peppered with change.

If you want a shopper in a supermarket to buy more impulse items today, then show them some pancakes with indulgent toppings. A glossy appetising image is all that it will take. Strawberries, cream and grated chocolate. Or blueberries, crispy bacon and crème fraiche (and a heart attack?). As humans, we react to inspiring images and prompts. Most supermarkets will have large displays of Nutella and flour/eggs today, but few will offer strong recipe inspiration in-store. If they did, they would sell more items.

And so it is with all brands and businesses. Sometimes we think our jobs are done when we have designed and brought our product to market. No. It is only the beginning. It is up to YOU to inspire and excite your shoppers to engage and use your product. It is up to YOU to delight shoppers with the life possibilities that could be theirs through buying what you are selling. Inspire shoppers and they will buy. Expect them to inspire themselves and they will not.

5. Focus on the Fun

Ultimately as referred to earlier, pancakes are about the fun. The idea that instead of a boring meat and vegetable dinner, kids will come home to tasty pancakes is delightful. That the flipping will go horrendously wrong is part of the delight. Marshmallows and melted chocolate dribbling down chins. Sticky fingers and stuffed tummies, the ‘how many did you eat’ challenge running around schools tomorrow.

Whatever your business, fun is what you need to foster. It is engaging, demands a consumer response and makes people smile. Tears of laughter and joy create powerful memories. Every brand should have a Fun & Laughter Director I think, their only job to engage with customers in a way that makes them smile.

I’ve always liked this ‘Hearing Hands’ Samsung campaign focused around their Hearing-Impaired product launch. The actors had fun and the customer embraced it. Fun can be emotional too, you know!

So, this Pancake Tuesday, even if you have never celebrated before, I suggest you go home and get creative. Apron on, prepare for a messy kitchen and sticky fingers. My daughter once asked me to make her an Olaf pancake …. “sure” I said. I mean how hard could it be?

It turns out, beyond my capabilities!  Ah well … it’s good to learn your limitations too!


Article written by Ken Hughes

Ken Hughes is one of the worlds leading Shopper and Consumer Behaviouralists, blending his vast expertise in consumer psychology, social & digital anthropology, behavioural economics and neuromarketing to answer the question to which he has dedicated most of his career: Why do shoppers buy and how can we make them buy more? 

World Class Thinking – World Class Behaviour

Penny Mallory‘s latest book, World Class Thinking – World Class Behaviour is released on 23rd February 2018

This powerful book is for everyone interested in upping their game in every aspect of their life. Penny Mallory dispels the myth that elite performers are ‘special’; instead, she asserts that you possess all the qualities you need to be at the top of your game, you just haven’t discovered them yet.


This is a refreshingly straightforward and engaging approach to raising your game. You will learn how top performers think and behave in order to win. Success is not just for ‘special’ people – it’s for you.

Penny Mallory battled against all the odds to make her childhood dream come true – to become a champion Rally Driver. She tells both her own story and of others, to illustrate how you can adopt winning techniques and strategies to achieve the success you crave.



Reason to be Cheerful (Not) 1,2,3. The GDPR with Apologies to Ian Dury

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union privacy law which will establish a global standard for both the collection and use of data online. It will ensure that all personal data has to be managed in a safe and secure way, has to be gathered lawfully, is only used for the purposes for which it was collected, and must be accurate and up to date. When the law comes into force in May this year, companies doing business in the 28-member states will have to accommodate rigorous opt-in, privacy and data transparency policies or face fines of up to 4% of their total revenues.

The problem for business with any regulation coming from Europe has always been a compliance burden which many smaller companies struggle to achieve. In a climate of increasing information risk; an area in which I specialise, businesses know that they have a better than 60% chance of a data breach, as high as 80% in some geographies, given the sophistication of the powerful criminal hacking tools now freely available as a service to anyone wishing to buy them.

Two recent examples may immediately spring to mind, TalkTalk which I wrote about in The Guardian and of course Equifax. Both were catastrophic data breaches in different technical circumstances, but under the new GDPR, the former’s £400,000 penalty from the Information Commissioner (ICO) might have been as high as £59m. A YouGov survey last year revealed that 71% of UK businesses are unaware of fines under the GDPR and a number fear they would go out of business if forced to pay the maximum fines.

As things stand, The Register online publication reports, the Information Commissioner can presently apply fines of up to £500,000 for contraventions of the Data Protection Act 1998. Once GDPR comes into force on 25 May, this year, there will be a two-tiered sanction regime – with lesser incidents subject to a maximum fine of either €10 million (£7.9 million) or 2 per cent of an organisation’s global turnover (whichever is greater). The most serious violations could result in fines of up to €20 million or 4 per cent of turnover (whichever is greater).

Most organisations will have to fundamentally change the way they organise, manage and protect data. And to help prepare online marketers for a brave, new, more private world, a group of security and risk analysts at Forrester issued a list of issues companies must consider to be compliant by May and I’ve broken these down a little further for salient points.

  1. First and foremost, do a privacy assessment. Benchmark your current strategy against existing laws and best practices, build a business case for future investments, and present your new privacy initiative to your company’s board of directors.
  2. Hire a data protection officer; that’s if you can find one who isn’t already spoken for. If one of your core activities is the systematic collection of personal data on a large scale, this is a must. Your DPO should partner with privacy peers to align controls and policies with an eye toward establishing privacy as a competitive differentiator. The GDPR’s definition of personal data makes it clear that even online identifiers, for example an IP address, can be personal data and the new definitions provide for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, reflecting changes in both technology and the way organisations collect information about people.
  3. Establish a crisis, breach notification plan. The new law allows companies only 72 hours to issue notice of a significant data breach. If it’s t’s tough enough to give proper and timely notification to regulators, it’s even tougher to communicate it in a sensitive fashion to customers. Plan for failure and be ready to leverage corporate communications and your marketing staff—as well as third parties—to get the work done.
  4. Reassess your outside data and analytics, partners and providers. Under GDPR, they too can be held liable for privacy violations. (a cause of real worry if not panic among some companies) This changes the arrangement in two ways: They may charge more to allow for costs of compliance and they may need more visibility into your data, thereby exacerbating the risk of data leakage.
  5. Know where all the data is. The GDPR’s “right to be forgotten” clause gives users full access to and control of the data you keep on them. As a result, you have to know where personal data is at all times and be ready to delete it. Third-party contracts must also allow for immediate data deletion.
  6. Do you hold any data on children or juveniles; if so pour yourself a strong drink now. GDPR sets the age of digital consent at 16, though member states can decide to lower it to 13. There is nothing however, that will stop a determined 13-year-old from setting up online accounts when visiting countries where they’re digitally legal? Don’t count on box-ticking mechanisms to cover your liability here. Instead, institute you may need one day to demonstrate you have pursued real initiatives to educate children about privacy and security risks online.
  7. What is an ‘opt in’. No, really, what do you think it is and what does GDPR says it is? A great many companies have complied with opt-in rules set in the EU, but regulators continue to catch those not following the letter of the law. A fundamental issue to watch out for: failing to get a user’s consent to share his or her data with third parties.
  8. Be specific and hold to it. Be specific about why you are collecting a person’s data and what exactly you’ll do with it. For instance, if your privacy policy states that a CV submitted by an applicant will only be accessed by your Human Resources team, be sure to revoke access when the process is at an end.
  9. International data transfers remain an open-ended question. GDPR doesn’t set new rules for international transfer of business data.
  10. Company procedures for disclosing data to law enforcement. GDPR has a rule stating that data controllers cannot disclose data in its entirety and must notify the relevant data protection authority when a request is made. Concerned companies can use encryption and data masking to make data unusable, but it’s essential that they manage their encryption keys accurately.

So, nothing there to feel cheerful about; I’m sorry and BREXIT will make no difference whatsoever as enshrining this in UK law appears inescapable as the ICO pointed-out at a presentation I attended. If we are going to continue doing business and share data with Europe, then GDPR is a fact of life.

If you can point to at least five of those ten points and remain confident, then you are well on your way towards the required level of regulatory compliance. Congratulations. Computer Weekly suggests that some 40% of companies have done very little prepare for a substantive change in the regulatory environment surrounding personal data.  For much larger businesses and for some of the more recent small events I’ve spoken at, I’ve noticed that information risk and compliance are attracting Senior Counsel to a discussion that was once unique to the IT team. This illustrates how seriously the matter is being viewed by those who might have most to lose from a ‘Significant data breach.’

And finally, Good luck.

Article written by Simon Moores, a Technology Futurist and information risk consultant. A former ‘Technology Ambassador’ for the British Government, he is a Vice President of the Conservative Science and Technology Forum, specialising in information security risk, the evolving nature of artificial intelligence and the ethical challenges of the new attention economy.

A Guardian newspaper contributor, Simon advises organisations and governments on the converging and accelerating technology trends now shaping the future of business and society.