Are You Just Too Busy? And is it Good Busy or Bad Busy?

When would NOW be a good time to start your personal Trainer / Coach / Academic / Student – Time / Work Quality revolution?

  1. The Good Busy test. How much of the following (honestly) applies to you?

“I am Good Busy. My schedule is packed with exciting trips and assignments taking place in desirable locations, working with and for kind, progressive and generous clients who seem to understand me, appreciate me and, specifically, understand my worth to them.

Effective Time Management

They provide a stimulating brief that I am excited to get my teeth into. The work has plenty of variety, suits my strengths and allows me to be fully expressed, in the zone and at my best as I execute the work that I love.”

Have we described your life perfectly? Or, the one that you wish to have in 2018?

  1. The Bad Busy test. When I am not filling in or scanning endless administrative forms, I seem to be trapped in other unpaid, repetitive and unrewarding chores. Either that or I feel duty bound to travel and fulfil my Mephistophelean contract of vast acres of underpaid, boiler plate assignments in grubby locations with cheap accommodation for an unappreciative audience that would far rather be anywhere else than there. My clients are Monolith factory sweatshops that deploy above average people to perform stressful, complicated and disjointed work for little result beyond task completion, urgency and the avoidance of an escalation that sparks the harsh tongue of a similarly stressed supervisor hovering above them, micromanaging the process.

Both 1. & 2. are, of course, an exaggeration. The point of showing you the above two paragraphs is to get you to feel something and recognise elements of WHAT YOU WANT and what you are stuck with and wish to ESCAPE.

The Symptoms –

*Does your heart race or sink when a new work order comes in?

*Do you ever feel ill or experience a mild panic attack on the way to work?

*Do you feel low on Sunday and drink too much on a Friday evening alongside your equally disenchanted colleagues?

*Has your description of what you do become more cynical when are asked about it socially?

What needs to change in 2018?

  1. Audit. I am often asked what is the key to happiness when in the middle of the upheaval of changing country and one thing I learnt years ago is that externally enforced relocation, reassignment or revolution is the perfect time to take stock of your situation and ask some profound questions of yourself…

*Who were you when you set out in the world of work?

*Are you still that person?

*What do you want your day job to be in 5 year’s time?

*What do you want your legacy / eulogy to be?

*What do you enjoy most in your work?

*What activity fills you with dread?

*Are you healthy / happy / fulfilled?

*Are you EARNING what you are worth?

*Is the output of your work good, neutral or evil?


*Are you giving out something via your job that is adding value to the broader human experience?

What can you Do?

  • Say “No!” – The breakthrough moment came for me working as a freelance trainer and coach many years ago when I started saying no to discounted work, unfulfilling assignments, crappy locations, unprepared clients and work that was meaningless, harmful or just a tick box exercise for a corporate customer.

    Better fees


Instantly my life improved. I felt rebellious, free and more in control of my content, my audience and my outcomes. My income went up, my spare time went up, my boredom, stress and frustration levels went down.

My question became, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”

Upgrade Everything – If you increase the quality of every little thing you work on and create something whole that is exceptional, people will notice, your brand will become REMARKABLE and your place in the world will change.

+How can you turbo charge your product?

+What will take your service levels to a place that commands a premium price?

+How can you find the courage to ask for an OUTRAGEOUS fee and keep a straight face?

+How can you create a niche that you will own, dominate and FILL with value?

+How can you spend your time being Fully Expressed, utilising your value and being totally connected to your client, their objectives and your transformational talents?

Excited woman working at desk in office. Using antistress ball.

Conclusion – You get the life you tolerate, so maybe it is time to take action and raise your standards.


If you have been affected by this blog post and want to start your year with a bang – Do feel free to drop me a line and we can have a 5-minute conversation. I would like to hear your story.

Matthew Hill culture trainer 07540659995

Call Matthew

Thanks and “bon chance” for 2018.



Cultural Risk Management Part III by Glen Burridge

Just how serious is it?

I’ve previously said there is a risk in our world that, by virtue of its very pervasiveness, we are more blind-sided to than any other. It threatens us with the most terrifying consequences if we do not respect it and, yet, if we harness its power, it can be an accelerator towards our greatest riches: It is that of Cultural Risk.

Assumption No. 2:

“Even if it exists, there is nothing to be done about it….”

This the biggest stumbling block we face and many people never get beyond this point.

This failure to see a solution is best explained by what can be ascribed to a malaise in both the Cultural and Risk fields.

Perhaps the question would be better re-framed:

“Why is the knowledge that exists to tackle it not being deployed more effectively?”

There are after all not one, but two fields of expertise meant to be dealing with this.

Let’s start with a simple representation of broadly pretty much any activity human beings engage in:

At the heart of this view lie two inescapable elements:

  1. What drives how groups of people behave: “Culture” (the shape of their collective motivations)
  2. What people do for the results they want: How they judge the benefits against the “Risk” (ending up in a desirable place in the range of possible futures)

    Glen Burridge Cultural Risk Model

    Cultural Risk Model

Why the intercultural signal has been lost

The field of intercultural studies should be a coherent whole, but isn’t. This is a deep irony as much as it is a tragedy.

Originally born of the need for anthropologists to make sense of “exotic” cultures that were cut from cloth very different from their own, the study of the ethnic or national dimension of inter-cultural relations carries with it a genuine, and life-affirming curiosity to explain, reconcile and improve relations between communities, whether they be tribes, regions, nations or even global blocs. Its remit can be said to range from the village green to the UN.

Equally, there have been various attempts at understanding the way assemblages of people work together as organisations since the 19th Century. Driven by a far more prosaic imperative of effectiveness, it reaches to understand the same dynamic of how people can work better together, whether it is in the name of financial profitability, optimising supply chains, guarding reputations or simply completing a mission.

Despite tackling many of the same material questions about human collective behaviour, these two perspectives remain unreconciled; the latter may not even be aware – let alone, seek co-operation with the first – with protagonists finding themselves having to delve into psychology, business studies, sociology, applied linguistics and communications for answers.

The only potential touch-point you’re likely to find is within international management studies, where the interface of culture is all but inevitable, but this is a niche. Pick up a publication from the two sides of the cultural coin and expect little overlap in thinkers.

In recent times, a third dimension has taken on a consequence all of its own, due to the ability for the global community to talk to and between itself. These are the self-identifying and potentially ephemeral cultures (manifesting, as they do, often in digital form) of networks. If there is one global social activity that perhaps defines our current time, it could arguably be this one phenomenon.

This fracture is at the heart of why we do not see our most pressing questions of the day framed in intercultural terms. There is no shortage of expertise or technique. It’s that the brand is simply too weak.

If you want a perspective on what the intercultural can offer and Glen’s own take on what holds it back, see his 2014 presentation slide deck from the Dialogin international management conference in Konstance here:

Management’s nasty secret: It too easily forgets all risk is human…

The fundamental issue that has still yet to fully dawn on many organisations is that their greatest risk has always been and always will be human. No technology or opaque algorithm is going to change that anytime soon.

“All aircraft accidents are human factors accidents”

Captain Dan Marino, International Civil Aviation Organisation – pioneer of human factors in aviation safety

We are reluctant to contemplate the role of our own Human Factor in the vulnerabilities of a given situation. The complexity of our world and the challenges we create for ourselves mean this reticence to consider the risk we create from our own collective psychology is no longer tenable. The wonders of neuroscience, probability theory and data visualisation have also marched too far for any more excuses.

Now, some subjects are so huge and the issues so pressing, they require a whole new literature and approach. For the most eloquent raising of the warning flag on the way the spectre of uncertainty is handled by organisations, look no further than Douglas Hubbard’s brilliant The Failure of Risk Management. Otherwise, follow Alexei Sidorenko on LinkedIn, who posts almost daily on this theme.

In short, what’s gone wrong with the classic manifestation of “risk management” as we understand it today is that it is shot through with our own fallibility – to the point of its own self-destruction. We need to couple our stunning abilities to numerically model a sweep of possible outcomes and their probabilities with the Human Factor. Only then can we hope to provide the best chance for quality decisions and a far more realistic and resilient vision on the true uncertainty we are facing – from which threats will surge or benefits develop.

As we’ve moved into the 21st Century, a whole new field has become dedicated to this very task, born out of the lessons of behavioural economics and social psychology, namely Decision Science, a topic I will no doubt return to, since it is our greatest hope for a vehicle to resolve this.

Cultural risk management as a trade

The other good news is that the two most fundamental applications of cultural risk management happen to have been foundations of our global society for thousands of years. So much so, we can be forgiven to taking them for granted: They are the relationships we form with each other through diplomacy and through trade.

The art of finding a mutually agreeable solution between multiple sources of power must rank among the oldest three professions (even if others commonly are accorded the epithet!) and the fate of everything from individuals to, at times, the entire human civilisation has hung on its success.

Without functioning diplomatic relations, you do not have much of a basis for society-level stability, the ability to assure safety nor to progress through exchanging ideas and material objects with other groups. There’s a very close and immediately acting correlation between lack of diplomatic effectiveness and anarchy.

The first place to look for mastery of this art is, therefore, among the great diplomatic successes of history, sometimes which are acts by single individuals. And, then, to look, by extension, at those who seem to have an uncanny ability to reach out to many groups, either with ideas or products.

Stripped back to its elemental, cultural evolution comes down to the (sense of…) distance between parties and whether they have anything which the other feels is of value, whether that be material, knowledge or even an idea. This was true in the hundreds of thousands of years when we were not much more than a clever pack of apes eking out an existence, as it is now when a quantum scientist, salesperson or political commentator speaks to a collaborator, customer or journalist on the other side of the planet. We might wrap it all in cultural artefacts like research funding, capital and network analysis, but the essential dynamic is just the same as it was on that river crossing, tundra or forest clearing back in our earliest days.

About the Author – Glen Burridge is a management consultant who’s come to the conclusion that intercultural risk is the greatest threat and opportunity lurking in all we do. To handle it, we need to think of culture as multi-faceted, ever-present and a context for every decision we ever make.

Contact Glen at 

#culturalrisk #riskmanagement #humanfactors #intercultural #crosscultural #management #risk

How do Chinese millennials travel differently? – By Felicia Schwartz

The world is changing

Chinese Millenials are defining travel as they account for nearly 60% of all outbound travelers and 93% of them consider traveling an important part of their identity. Millenials’ travel patterns are a reflection of who they are as a specific demographic group, different to their more conservative and thrifty elders ; They are more ‘hedonistic’ in their willingness to spend money to indulge and pamper themselves and slightly less price sensitive. They are looking for meaningful, adventurous and exciting experiences. (GFK)

Chinese Millenials

International trips are predicted to rise by 25% over the next three years, while adventure trip, polar expeditions, and road trip travels are predicted to increase by 52%, 38%, and 75%, respectively. At present one in eight tourists to Antarctica is Chinese while Finland’s Lapland region last year recorded a record 92 % rise in overnight stays by Chinese visitors. Meanwhile Chinese demand for adventure travel is causing a shortage of skydiving instructors in New Zealand. Other adventures that Millenial independent travellers are interested in include zip-lining over Volcanos, riding in a hot air balloon, abseiling or caving, and tubing, water sledging or river surfing are top on the aquatic wish list (

 They are increasingly independent in their travels ; the 25-35 years olds tend to be semi independent ; traveling several times a year and planning some organized programs while keeping overall independent, 20 – 25 years olds travel by themselves and are open-minded about staying in hotels that might not cater for their specific cultural needs. The youngest contingent (18-20 years old) are willing to stay at hostels and backpacker-type accommodations. There is a growing search in this age group for “authenticity” and local experiences as they travel and discover the world.

They are hyper connected ; Young Chinese travelers are digitally savvy and highly involved in sharing experiences on social media platforms. 50% use travel booking sites (the three most popular being Ctrip, Qunar, and Tuniu) and they rely on review sites when planning their travels. When at their destination, WiFi is a key amenity for 63% of Chinese millennials surveyed and for 70% of 18 to 20-year-olds.

However, with all their differences. Millenials still need to be seen through the wider lense of the Chinese traveller. First of all, Chinese do travel more often than others in groups of 2 or even 3 generations. Cruise liners, for example, typically have to contend with Chinese guests that span several generations. This is when it becomes handy to focus on communalities such as food predilection and other dining habits as well as the ubiquitous love of shopping,

While nature and hiking as well as culture are on the rise as a travel motivation, amongst millenials, “good shopping experience “ still comes in third place as an overall reason to choose a destination.

It is also worth noting that the Eastern concept of service and hospitality is more hierarchical and service focused than it is in our Western egalitarian societies. In general, Chinese travellers do not really like to rough it. According to tour operators in Africa, while some Chinese travellers clamour for walking and canoeing safaris and request sleep-outs under the stars, mostly Chinese clients prioritize staying in comfortable accommodations, having the flexibility to choose if and when to go on an activity.

And just as Chinese millenials conform to certain wider Chinese cultural norms at the macro level, they also divide into specific sub groups when taken under the micro loop.

Author Profile – Felicia Schwartz

Felicia Schwartz

Felicia has pursued an international career in branding working for global communication agencies such as Ogilvy and Dentsu. Her work took her from her native Austria to France, the U.S. and eventually to China, where she spent 13 years and specialized in strategic planning and consumer insights.

Currently based in London, Felicia helps brands and companies understand the Chinese consumer through cultural insight research and achieve effective business objectives through cross-cultural intelligence training. She has worked extensively with HR teams, delivered business skills courses as well as global mobility workshops including to youth. She has experience across a number of sectors such as automobile, luxury, cosmetics, retail and fast moving consumer goods.

She counts the UKTI, EDF Energy, OpenJaw technologies, Jaguar-LandRover, Renault-Nissan, Valeo, Bayer, GSK, Bicester village, Publicis Advertising, AURA and the IPA (Institute of Practitioners for Advertising) amongst her clients.

 Felicia is a graduate with Dean’s list merits, from Duke University in North Carolina, USA. Felicia then obtained her Master’s degree from Sciences Po, the prestigious Institute of Political Science in Paris, France.

She speaks fluent German, English, French and Mandarin Chinese.