BY Russell Wardrop

DATE: 18 NOV 2016


It seems odd to be asking for rain this time of the year. After enjoying an Indian summer in October who’s interested in that? Those doing budgets for 2017 are. In fact they are praying for rain. In an uncertain world every business owner knows there can never be enough.

The hope technology will make rain is forlorn:  that fancy CRM system or zoomy new web thingummyjig (HOW MUCH?) only gets you as far as the phone, or at best the front door. Everything else is, in the immortal words of McFly, all about you.

The biggest single boost to our nation’s economy would be to create more rain in all our businesses. It means growth, expansion, profit and- as sure as rain in Greenock- more money to spend on everything. Everyone should be able to create a light drizzle but collectively we need a deluge.

Whether you are an established family affair, a global behemoth or an ambitious new start the essential, human, ability to connect is fundamental. Watch any episode of Dragon’s Den and see it’s never just about the idea: You think Reggae Reggae sauce is really that good?

We have lost the art of conversation, of really engaging with people. Recently a lorry driver used his mobile while driving, with heart-breaking consequences. Aviva Health found in the UK we are the worst sleepers in the world, with 37% of us permanently cream-crackered; the fact we are always “connected” a big contributor. Those are big issues but minor infractions happen every day at the conference coffee break. Look around, everyone is buried in their mobile device while there are real humans with real emotional needs right and left. People who need to feel good about themselves, to be liked and noticed and listened to. Not to be sold to, but for someone with genuine curiosity to travel with them over interesting terrain. Once you make that connection anything is possible. Conversations can have amazing destinations and that video of a cat in a jumpsuit can wait.  

Imagine landing here - in our fantastic first world country - from a place that was under siege. Imagine you were told that scariest thing you had to do was go speak to people you did not know well; pick the phone up instead of sending another email; think well of everyone; be outwardly optimistic; find out what others’ needs are first; and not get disheartened too soon. You would think that life was a breeze… No?

In the wake of Brexit a colleague called a client immediately he heard her business was preparing for a brutal restructure: he was the only one to pick up the phone, just to say he was thinking about her. On my last flight south, delayed and a bit grumpy as I worried about missing my connection, I had an amazing, poignant exchange about a too soon passed colleague simply because I introduced myself to a stranger I knew I would be sitting beside on the tarmac for a few, miserable hours. The PC stayed in my brown leather briefcase.  

Empathy and curiosity are one side of the coin. The other is that today we need to cut through a billion YouTube videos and be uniquely memorable whether we have 30 seconds or 30 minutes: To elegantly introduce ourselves without chucking cards about like confetti; have a small group mesmerised by a story about that business trip where your shoes never matched; share a thought about Ed Balls on Strictly then turn it into a story about redemption, risk and reward.

How good would it be to get “absolutely soaking wet” in 2017? Now there’s a terrific line from a great tune. Go make the weather, girls and boys. Make it rain. Let’s broaden our horizons, look outwards, take a risk or two. Let’s suspend our need to be “there” and stay “here” because here is always where the action is. Imagine we all attended to this personal deficit. Imagine how it would help help with that other deficit.

“I want to walk in the open wind; I want to talk like lovers do. I want to dive into your ocean; Is it raining with you?”

Trust, essentially, is what it is. And there’s not an app for that. 


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about the author

Russell Wardrop is our Chief Executive. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.

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