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Matyas
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Read to win

I love books. I love the smell of them, the feel of them. I love adding post-it notes to indicate passages that are particularly useful to me. I love using my special Caran d’Ache pencils to make notes in the margins. I love returning again and again to favorites, old friends that I take down from my bookshelves and savor. Right, I guess you’ve got the message: Matyas is rather fond of books!

I read novels on holiday, but the rest of the time the books I read are all business-related, or from inspirational writers. It’s a habit I started as a teenager, and have never looked back. I knew then that the world was a very much bigger place than I could ever fully explore, unless I drew on the experience and talents of others. And that’s what I have been doing ever since, reading books with dedication, and thoroughly. I read books as part of my business practice, and my whole education process. Yes, I went to university, and yes I have been in business myself for...

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Show up and do your best

“History is written by the winners.” It’s a quote you’ll find in various forms from Napoleon, Churchill, Nehru, and even the writer Dan Brown. Do you agree with the idea?
Another version is, “History is written by the people who actually show up.” Well for sure that’s true. Think of those thrilling scenes within living memory when the fall of the Berlin wall was witnessed via live global TV, as it was pulled down piece by piece at the hands of the ‘ordinary’ people who showed up. If they hadn’t shown up, the wall would not have fallen. OK, something similar might have happened, but the events that history records are unique exactly because those brave citizens were there.

First or second?

This also applies to business, and history is full of examples of people and companies who either ‘got there first’, or who instead became the ‘also-rans’. Few people now celebrate the creation of the...

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The Vegas effect

It all feels so unreal. Sometimes you can’t tell if it’s day or night. There are cocktails available at any time, you’re losing money every minute, and there’s all sorts of entertainment to distract you.
No, I’m not talking about coronavirus lockdown, but a visit to Las Vegas. Anyone who has ever been there will be amazed at the way everything is designed to make you forget ‘normal’. The concept is that you go into a dreamworld, and now many of us are in danger of entering a similar state in our own homes, as we attempt to continue with ‘business as usual’ but in very unusual circumstances.
What can we do to snap out of the dream and establish some methods of dealing effectively with the situation? I have some suggestions. 

Solo or sharing?


In part it depends on who you are sharing your ‘Las Vegas’ with. Perhaps like me you have a family, and the children don’t quite understand that just because their...

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Looking for an endpoint

What’s the biggest problem right now? It’s fear. Fear has spread around the globe, just like the coronavirus itself. Fear is infecting everyone. It has infected businesses too. Why are we fearful and anxious? The simple answer is because we do not know when this will end. A month of the current stasis is serious. Half a year, and we are all into entirely new and unknown territory. So we are most fearful because we do not know when this crisis will end. We have no endpoint.

Here’s a picture for you: We have all been forced to jump out of an airplane in mid-flight. It seems to be in danger of crashing. Maybe it’s night time and we can’t see how far it is to the ground. Some people have parachutes, others don’t. We’re shouting out to each other, asking who has a parachute? Can you help? And if we do get help, will we land on the ground, or in the ocean? How far will we have to swim if that happens? Yes, it’s a scary picture, and...

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Learn To Change

In general we humans aren’t great at dealing with change, even though we claim to like new things in our lives. Not really. We like the certainty of the same things in the same place, every day. New stuff is maybe for the two weeks we go on vacation, right?

So the global situation we now find ourselves in is profoundly upsetting for the vast majority of people. Businesses are being rocked to their foundations, because businesses are about people, and rely on people. In a matter of weeks, free movement of people around the world has almost ceased, and the knock-on effects of that grow worse day on day. But I guess you don’t need me to tell you this, because we are all living through it.

Challenges and changes

In a survey I have just run, asking businesses to comment on the challenges and changes they are going through as a result of the pandemic, the number one fear was around the business going broke, game over.
The number two fear was around liquidity, and having...

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Re-mapping peak lifestyle

In the mid-19th century world trade relied on fast sailing ships which crisscrossed the globe. They were powered by the winds, and relied on huge sails made of cloth. If you were a sail manufacturer, you were doing great business. Then in one generation, iron steamships appeared, and the business of sail-making was pretty well trashed. Now digging coal for the steam engines was the business to be in. By the turn of the century ships were running on oil and coal was on its way out. Halfway through the 20th century, the airline industry was starting to kill off shipping.

And so it goes: constant change, the fall of old industries, the rise of new ones in their place. History offers the same lessons: That when change comes it can be decisive, and offer no route back to the old ways. The First World War (and the Spanish flu pandemic after it) brought unprecedented change. In more modern times, the fall of the World Trade Centre towers changed the way states asymmetrically combat...

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One true purpose

There is so much to learn in this life, and we are all so busy, busy, busy. I make the time to read, because I find it one of the best ways of importing the experience and wisdom of others. You’ll very often find me with my nose buried in a book by business writers such as Karen Martin or Peter Drucker. I’m fascinated by success stories, and the fact that people rarely get where they planned to go by following a straight line. The road to success usually has many bumps along the way!

I also gain great insights from being challenged in my views by the works of Yuval Noah Harari, whose Homo Deus rocked my world when I first came across it a few years ago. And at the opposite end of the spectrum from business gurus, I’m fond of the writings of Eckhart Tolle, praised by Oprah Winfrey who said, “I keep Eckhart’s book at my bedside. I think it’s essential spiritual teaching. It’s one of the most valuable books I’ve ever read.”

So why...

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Doing the webinar gruntwork

Hashtags, spamming, woots – the internet has given us many new terms. In fact, even ‘internet’ is a relatively new word. One that I particularly like is ‘Webinar’, because it’s exactly what it says: A seminar, using the world wide web to deliver it. What’s more, I like the concept of the webinar, because it’s a new and refreshing way of communicating, and it really works.

For a start, all the traditional problems of traveling to a seminar are overcome, and that’s not just good for the meeting attendees, but for the world’s resources. Doing webinars is definitely an eco-friendly alternative to traditional international meetings. The second huge advantage is that through a webinar you can reach your ideal, niche audience.

Think niche, be niche

There’s never any point or benefit from trying to talk to ‘everyone’, and the more niche you get, the better. That means you can then meet at the highest level with...

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What’s the point of coaching?

What’s the point of coaching? As a business coach myself, specializing in helping startups, I find it important to re-ask that question on a regular basis. If I am sure of the answer, then I can be certain to deliver what’s needed by my clients.

Building on existing skills

Is coaching just another name for teaching? Well, yes and no. Teaching is where people learn new ideas and skills, that they haven’t come across before. For example, in school you elect to take a class in French, a subject that you may have no natural affinity for - unless you’re French! The teacher will start from the absolute basics, and then slowly build up your understanding, block by patient block. A great teacher will of course help develop individual’s talents, but the teacher of French will stick to the rules, and you’ll learn the language as it is spoken. There’s not a lot of room for ‘doing it your own way.’


Coaching, on the other hand, builds on...

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Getting the right advice

When should we ask others for advice? – When we don’t know the right answer, or the right direction to go in, that’s when. But we don’t just ask anyone for their advice, we need someone who has experience and who ‘knows the territory’. When we ask for directions in a new city we’re visiting, obviously there’s little point in asking another tourist. We need to check in with a local person, who really knows their town. Then they’ll point us in the right direction, and we’ll be secure in knowing that we’re heading the right way.

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Contender or champion?

There’s a reason why elite athletes also need help in being pointed in the right direction, even though they are already in the absolute top few percent of performers in their chosen field. They know that without the objective checking that comes from having a top coach viewing them ‘from outside’, they may only ever be a contender, rather than a...

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