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Jez's Notebook | Intrigue Me! Archive

We’ll Pay You Later

Imagine that today your computer broke. They sometimes – thankfully rarely, although usually when you really need them or are in the middle of something important – transition rapidly from absolutely fine to complete meltdown.

Well, imagine that happened at work. You’ve no backup computers and the long term solution is, of course, to replace the computer. You’re going to need to buy one but when you call the computer supplier, you tell them that you want the computer now but won’t pay them until three months time.

Or imagine that you decide you’re going to all get together and have a nice coffee from the independent coffee shop near your office, sending out someone to get takeaway coffees every lunchtime. When you order them you tell the coffee shop owner that you’ll pay them in three months time.

There is an increasing trend by organisations – large organisations with tens of millions of pounds of profit – to tell suppliers their

It’s Okay for It To Not Be Okay

When the sparrow was deftly plucked from the bird feeder at great speed and then eaten by the sparrow hawk, I was stunned. I stood and watched the whole thing unfold and as I looked on, filled with an equal sense of awe and fascination and sadness and disgust, contemplating whether I was in the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time.

Can you spot the pesky woodpecker eating nuts, not bees.

When we first moved to the farm we didn’t really see many birds, nor hear them either. There was the punctual barn owl that takes its hunting flight at seven o’clock each evening and the occasional blackbird, robin or sparrow flitting about in the hedges. After we installed

The Culture Claptrap – why is culture not more important?

Ask any CEO, anyone with the title “Head of”, a Brand Manager or anyone in human resources and they’ll all tell you – no matter what industry or organisations type they’re from – that culture is key.

And why wouldn’t they? They’re hardly going to say: “we don’t really care what working environments are like; we’re far too busy for that investing in product and margins – people should put up, shut up and bloody well get on with it”, are they? Yet organisations don’t need to verbalise that as actions speak louder than words: what we do – or don’t do – often has a greater impact that words.

The dreary impact of a lack of focus on environment.

I’m still hearing

Listen to the Bees – Work In Silos!

Honeybee hives can teach organisations a lot about efficient and efficacious models of teamwork.

You may – or may not – know that Mrs Jez and I are beekeepers

As we launch the nationwide expansion of Bees for Business, I’ve written this short article on what observing the honeybee teaches about working more effectively, communicating better and more efficient teamwork in your organisation.

During the peak, summer season the average honeybee hive can

Tales from the Farm – Bees…in the roof

I love bees even more when they are in the right place

I love bees. That’s why we keep them here at the farm. Well,  I say “keep”, but in reality we’re simply guardians of the bees – they are wild animals and we simply provide housing benefit. However, I don’t love the fact that bees (not ours, I might add), have decided to take up residence in our roof.

Some weeks it does seem like this farm is testing the very limits of human capabilities. This week has been one of those.

After we discovered that our bore hole head was leaking (which is in itself an understatement – thousands of gallons of water are pouring out of a crack in it, which we now are in the midst of arranging to

Tales from the Farm – Lessons Learned

“TV’s favourite gardener”, Monty Don, inspires Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

The brand new training barn is finished! My favourite parts are the whiteboard wall and the wild flower roof.

It’s been 6 months since Mrs Jez and I moved into the farm and its also been a while since I last blogged with tales from the farm. That’s partly because every time it looks like we’re about to turn a corner and things are sorted and calming down, we face another major obstacle, or we discover yet another major thing that is broken.

The latest challenge, which is, frankly, putting it lightly, was to discover that our bore hole is leaking. A lot. The inspection chamber was

How to Train a Chicken (the real secrets of leadership, management and team building)

You learn so much about people, teams and leadership by training chickens.

Our new chickens, which we’ve named Chasseur, Casserole, Cajun and Stuart are bright, friendly and highly trainable. I’m talking distinguishing between different shapes, coming to you when called, playing the xylophone and even riding a skateboard – and perhaps more useful in your role at work, they can help you to create super switched on management teams, too.

Are they souper chickens? We like to think so!

I have repeated the phrase: “people shouldn’t be allowed children until they have first learned to train a chicken” many times. The reason is that chickens are pretty unforgiving; if they’re bored or you fail to clearly guide them, they’ll just walk off. There are plenty of better things for chickens to do than wait around for you to get your act together and work out what you’re trying to get them to do: pecking the ground, eating grain, preening, taking a dust bath, scratching my rose beds, chasing the dog, having a little bask in the sun – they don’t need you. If you’re in a leadership or management role, that might sound like a familiar situation.

If you want to train them to do the simplest of tasks, like

Going Organic! – Soil and the Organic Leadership System (I made that up)

Behaviourist and broadcaster, Jez Rose, blogs about the process of achieving Soil Association Organic Certification for his Cambridgeshire farm and home to The Good Life Project.

Every day something changes – the peas were not there yesterday but here they are today!

Our peas have broken through the soil, my garlic and shallots are sprouting strong and my potatoes (yes, the ones I planted upside down) are shooting! But something interesting happened while I was planting some more herbs up for our kitchen herb garden.

I’d been chatting with my good friend and fellow soil-lover, Blaire Palmer, about leadership. She’s looking to buy a farm to keep alpaca but don’t hold that against her; she’s actually really lovely. When Blaire left, I headed out to

Tales from the Farm – Spring is here!

The first honey bee of the year spotted out (with his friend) on the blossom.

“TV’s favourite gardener”, Monty Don, inspires Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

After a fair number of cloudy days, quite a bit of rain and some really strong winds, it looks like Spring is finally here. And that’s why I haven’t blogged from a few days because the weather at this time of the year really does dictate activity – juggling a busy writing and speaking schedule with the long lists of things to do here at the farm has always been tricky but with the new barn going up quickly, there’s even more to get done so e’re ready for our first training course in May!

I’ve managed to

Going Organic! An Inspector Called

Behaviourist and broadcaster, Jez Rose, blogs about the process of achieving Soil Association Organic Certification for his Cambridgeshire farm and home to The Good Life Project.

Irritable, soil-obsessed and socially awkward, the Soil Association inspector was not. Thankfully. I found myself getting a little bit stressed the morning of the inspection; double checking that there wasn’t any plastic that had been overlooked in the compost bin; going over the documents I’d been sent to complete to make sure I hadn’t made any mistakes and snapping at Mrs Jez for leaving a Kit Kat wrapper on the side – a non-organic chocolate bar! What would they think of us?!

As it happens, Mike was nothing short of lovely. In my last blog I said that our inspector was called Andrew – only a few days after writing that Andrew called me to introduce himself; he’s actually our “certification officer” (they all have quite militaristic titles, which make them sound much more intimidating than they are in real life). Andrew’s job is to help support and guide us through the process of becoming certified as organic by the Soil Association. Our inspector, who visits the farm and goes through our plans, paperwork, and site, is Mike. How can I describe Mike? Calming, professional, incredibly knowledgeable and experienced and with more than a little similarity to Michael Parkinson – and he loves