You Have Control?!

You are not a happy bunny!  You’ve been standing in a slow-moving, then virtually stationary queue for over two hours, caged in a like a rat in a trap, nothing to do or look at other than the ‘cage maze’ surrounding you on all sides and even above you, listening to the same two minutes of pre-recorded music, noise and nonsense, waiting to go on a ride that is guaranteed to scare you witless and throw you around in all directions for a couple of minutes, when a cheerful – almost a gleeful and merry voice – pre-recorded, of course – tells you and the thousands waiting with you to disperse ‘immediately’ as the ride is now closed due to technical problems.  Who has control here?

“You have control!” a voice says in your ear as you are sitting belted into a seat several hundred yards above Bristol, at the dual controls of a Chipmunk training aircraft (giving my age away now!) on your first ever flight as a R.A.F. cadet.  Minutes later you are experiencing the exuberance of flying an aircraft that does what you tell it to do – every time – go left, right, up, down, faster, slower, round and round, all of these at once! – the world’s your oyster, or your lobster, as one of my favourite Mr Malaprop’s used to say in those days.   Push the joystick forward more than a fraction of an inch and you start to go into a dive, much to the annoyance of the proper pilot who says “Not like that, old boy, we want to stay in the air if possible don’t we, not make a nasty mess on the ground?!  Ease it back a tad … ah … that’s better!”.

Who has control here?

You are enjoying some ‘me’ time, as we love to call it these days.   Those bedding plants you’ve been meaning to plant out for the past week or more – already looking a bit limp and sorry for themselves – are beckoning you to take care of them.   So, you walk away from the ‘glass teat’ in one corner of the room (thanks to Stephen King’s book  “On Writing” for that one!), or the ‘thin controller’ (the one with the keyboard) in another corner, open the back door to the garden and the front door bell rings.

It’s your next door neighbour asking to borrow a small hammer.   You know what happened to their thumb last time you lent them a small hammer, so half an hour later – good deed done – you head for the garden again.   This time your mobile ‘phone plays you a tune that one of your children put on it to surprise you before they went to school.  You wonder where the hell that tune is coming from when you feel the vibration of the ‘phone, pull it out and answer it!

It’s that lovely person from TalkTalk, asking you if you’re having a good day and if you’d like to hear the latest special money-saving, super-fast-broadband etc. deal for ‘TalkTalk’ customers only.  It will only take a few minutes of your time.   Half an hour later, with another £ 10 per month going out of your account for the next year for an amazing package you like to think you understand – at least in part – you stand perplexed, wondering what you are doing in the garden!  Who has control here?

You switch off your mobile – toss it casually through the back door onto your favourite armchair, where it happily slides down between the cushion and the side, not to be found for quite some considerable time, as you’ve set it so it will not switch on in any circumstances other than by you pressing the button that manually switches the power on – how quaint!

By now the afternoon is wearing on so you decide to feed the pets, water the garden, mow the lawn, have a refreshing cup of tea and then take a look at those bedding plants – maybe even plant some out – water them at least.   By sheer perchance it is getting dark and your dinner is ready by the time you turn your attention to the bedding plants … never mind, there’s a day tomorrow isn’t there?

Who has control here?

We live in an age where there has never been more potential for control of just about every second of our conscious and semi-conscious time.  But who is doing almost all of the controlling?!  If you would like to be doing a lot more of it, and your business and colleagues and everyone else to be doing a lot less of it, so that you have – oh dream of dreams – some time to think, plan and make stuff better (rather than just keep running the treadmill of ‘the way it is’), why not give us a call on 0114 2363781 or e-mail us at with a ‘bullet points’ summary of your business frustrations, challenges, problems etc.   If you feel like getting lots of words down, feel free to do so, reading takes very little time compared to writing, as writers know only too well!   Just remember that “a word in earnest is as good as a speech.” (Charles Dickens).

We aren’t Fairy Godmothers, or Godfathers come to that, but we do have big, listening ears.  We tend not to display our wands, because it’s your magic, not ours, that they need to be charged up with.  The first time we meet you we’ll even listen to you at our expense and promise not to come up with any silly ‘instant fixes’ – we both know those don’t work, don’t we?  But do be aware that, if you ask us the time, we may ask to borrow your watch (a     very old joke about consultancy that carries a grain of truth)!

Whatever else happens, we promise to give you a good listening to, go away quietly and reflect on what you’ve told us, then drop you a line and come and see you again with something positive, productive and pragmatic to propose to you.

What do you have to lose but a weight off your mind and maybe your shoulders?  What do we have to lose but another learning experience?   What do we all have to gain?   Remembering your own youth again, that amazing voice in your ear that (in my case) actually said, “YOU HAVE CONTROL!”

by Ian Flemming and Peter Collett

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