I am English. I can’t help that. It’s an accident of birth. Geographically. As an Englishman, I have always reckoned that we do some things in this country very well. And of course, other things we do less well.

In my view, one of those things we excel at here is questioning the status quo. Crossing the Rubicon, challenging accepted protocols, turning the world on it’s head and viewing things from a very different angle. That way madness lies they say. But also genius. Great, great genius. So… Onward!.

Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Clive Sinclair, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Tim Berners-Lee, John Constable, William Shakespeare, Lennon and McCartney, Francis Bacon, etc. The list is long. For a little country, we produce more than our fair share of mavericks and forward thinkers who dared to try something different.

Hence, today’s message from the pulpit is on the subject of Mavericks. Embrace them and ignore them at your peril. They are ‘never a whatever’. This subject is actually in the forefront of my thinking because, the weekend just gone, I encountered such a maverick. A chef. Michael O’Hare.

JS70788136I went out for dinner on Thursday night. Not unusual in itself, but the round trip to the restaurant was perhaps slightly longer than normal. 600 miles to be precise. I refer to a restaurant in Leeds called ‘The Man behind the Curtain’. A restaurant owned by the Michelin starred chef, Michael O’Hare.

To say that this was the most exceptional meal I have ever enjoyed does not do the meal justice. To say that his skill and bravery allowed him to create dishes I would not have thought possible, again does not give the full story. Potato custard anyone?

The meal and the service here were just ridiculously good. The superlatives just kept coming until I simply ran out. But the point of my missive is not so much about the culinary genius that is Michael O’Hare, but the lesson therein. To look at what we all do. Closely. Scrutinize. Every. Single. Detail. The attention to detail and the approach we take to the service or product we deliver is everything. Whether we are web designers, architects, accountants or sales trainers like me, it is in our DNA to push the boundaries of the style and application in the role that we perform.

In my world, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of sales trainers working with businesses to deliver training and better skill the businesses with whom they work. And if we’re honest, much of what is taught is going to overlap. In the same way that all car manufactures need to include an engine, a chassis, wheels, bodywork, etc. in their designs, it is how it is delivered that ultimately differentiates. Mini Coopers and Aston Martins are both cars. They have the requisite parts. Engines, a chassis, bodywork, etc. because those components will always be essential. But the detail in the delivery is what separates. At Monkey’s Paw, we are inevitably going to deliver similar core elements of sales training that will always be there with all other trainers. Because they have to be. But HOW any of us deliver it and the detail of the process; the sand between the pebbles if you will, ultimately determines whether what we deliver works or not. Are we mavericks? No, probably not. Are we constantly looking for new approaches and new techniques? Of course. We embrace them. In short, never dismiss those trying new things. Pushing the boundaries. Without them we wouldn’t have the seminal Beatles album ‘Sgt. Pepper’, the Mini Cooper with it’s revolutionary sideways engine or in fact, Michael O’Hare.

The Romans used to say “Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis”, meaning “Times change and we change with the times’. They were right.

At Monkey’s Paw, we have that approach as a key part of our business development because the world does not stand still and nor can we. Never forget; embracing change, embracing the radical, applauding the mavericks like Michael O’Hare is essential for all of us. You can’t ignore them – your DNA won’t allow it…