Looking for Sally…

At high school, Sally was brilliant at pure maths. When the teacher raised a topic, she would research it in depth, she would learn complex proofs. She could create multi-dimensional worlds based on the maths that she read, she would play there, testing the work of geniuses.

Sally went to university to study maths. It was so boring! In her first exams, she came third out of 120. But she had done no work! She had soon realised that almost every lecture was about a topic she had already mastered, so why work? In her second set of exams, she came 10th, she had done no work and was still on course for a 1st but borderline.

Her third set of exams were a shock, 91st and borderline fail!

Sally was determined not to fail, her dreams depended on getting a doctorate, she needed to do research. What had she done for 3 years, had she day dreamed her future away?

Sally chose subjects she knew nothing about for her final year, that way she would be interested. She worked every hour she could until her final exams – 2:2 … borderline 2:1 – no doctorate for Sally.

The job market, Sally got jobs because she was clever. She lost jobs because she was too clever for her bosses. She belittled her colleagues by being so much faster and better. She was a maverick, her appraisals would say that she was “unmanageable”.

But she did learn. Sally learned about living in the real world as well as her dream world. She learned how to be patient and let others knowledge grow slowly. She learned how to be non-threatening. She learned how to be valuable to others. She learned how to help other very clever people give value to the world outside academia.

She saw an advert with the line “weirdos from William Gibson novels like that girl hired by Bigend as a brand ‘diviner’ who feels sick at the sight of Tommy Hilfiger“. She had never read William Gibson so she had no idea what this meant but she liked the sound of it. She wanted to be that girl.

Sally was that girl. She found herself in a place she had never dreamed of. The author of the advert was not clever enough to know what he would unleash…

Starting again with TOGAF

Some years ago, my career became “managerial” and “consultative”. I was moving away from enterprise architecture. My TOGAF renewal came up and I decided I no longer wanted or needed it. My feeling was that nothing fundamental had changed in TOGAF, it was growing bloated and was serving the architecture training industry better than enterprise architects.

Things changed. I was asked to review a solution, did it meet the long and short term needs of a business. Should the organisation “bet the business” on the solution? Was the solution part of the organisation’s digital transformation?

It was a quick review but it re-awoke my inner architect. I was much more fulfilled by the mental stimulation of architectural thinking. So, I returned to an enterprise architecture role. And the client required that I was TOGAF certified!

Did this old dog’s ego get out of the way and allow me to discover some new tricks?

I decided to buy the TOGAF study guide. I must say that the Open Group website is uninspiring and unattractive, I like to think of enterprise architecture as creative and dynamic helping businesses understand how to change, how to grow, how to create compelling propositions. Did the Open Group website inspire me? No! Staid and old fashioned were the phrases that sprung to mind – I think a refresh was in order to help attract more people into the profession.

However, it was easy to find the self study pack.

A bunch of documents arrived in a zip file. I unzipped it and guess what … two of my pet hates (this isn’t going well, is it?) … the files were in a set of nested directories and the files had names like B180p and N181p. Seriously, have the authors of this study guide ever used a computer? It is painful to navigate up and down a file hierarchy with 18 files in 12 directories where each file has a cryptic name requiring every file to be previewed in order to discover the file you want to view.

Oh and 18 pages of preamble that I don’t care for before I get to Chapter One!

I bought the 505 page study guide so I was determined to study it but I was a little irritated.  Yes, yes, my complaints were trivial and I got over them in seconds but why not make it easy?

I must be positive! I must be positive! I must be positive!

After several weeks of trying hard to read this stuff, I abandoned it and went on a crash course at Firebrand because the client was getting impatient. The course was excellent, I came out with the certificate, I could look the client in eye, the presenter was someone that I vaguely knew and suitably pragmatic rather than a zealot.

A Tale of Three Managers

Helmut

Helmut is a German technologist. He lives in Frankfurt. He moved there to develop his career as a technology leader. He is extremely successful. He is a widely recognised thinker, speaker and writer on the industrial use of new technologies.

Helmut gets his kicks when he is teaching, when he is waving his arms about, speaking passionately, drawing frenzied pictures to explain a complex concept. He is thrilled when he creates. He is excited when he wakes others up to new ideas. He loves to create excitement.

Helmut grew up in the black forest. He loves the mountains, the fresh air, and the lakes. He spend his spare time walking, skiing, and sailing. Getting back to nature allows him recuperate from the intensity of the corporate world. It allows his mind to recover. Towards the end of a weekend or more extended break you will find Helmut frantically scribbling down ideas in a mixture of words and pictures.

Jamie

Jamie’s accent is immediately recognisable to the non-Scot. It is Scottish. It has a slightly musical quality that holds the listeners’ attention. But to anyone brought up in Scotland, it is mystifying. There are elements of Glasgow, of Edinburgh, of the Highlands and some unplaceable oddities. Jamie is Scottish, posh Scots. He went to a very good school in England. He tries to hide his background by adopting a “Scottish” accent based on characters from the TV.

Jamie inherited a castle, a large estate which he has farmed for him and a collection of very valuable paintings. He has shipped the paintings to America where he now lives. No one in the USA spots the fake accent. Some people think it quaint and like to listen to him no matter what is actually said.

Jamie has two passions. His pictures and gambling. He just about balances his finances. The farm income and his job give him enough to live comfortably and to cover his losses. Big losses mean selling a picture. Big wins mean buying it back.

Jamie is intelligent. He is a theorist. A conceptual thinker. But when he talks he doesn’t care if he communicates. It is all about the voice. He loves to hear it. It is as though through oratory, in that perculiar accent, Jamie enters another universe where he is at the centre.

Zach

If there is a caricature of an American that will irritate the British then Zach is it. Film star looks, square jaw, bull neck, blue eyes, tall, loud, confident, talks and doesn’t listen. There is the goal, let’s go for it now, we will push through obstacles when we hit them.

Zach was always on the up. Could have played pro football but for injury. Glittering military career. Worked at the top consultancies. Lived in the most glamorous locations. He knew all the stars and even allowed himself to be an extra in a couple of movies. And then he joined us!

What is the opposite of a servant leader? What is the opposite of humble? Zach is! Who knows best? Who doesn’t need advice? That’s Zach! Zach knew us better than we knew ourselves and he knew what was best for us.

Me

I worked for Helmut first. Helmut was inspirational, I would have followed him into any venture that he tried. And I did try to. But Helmut knew me, what I was good at and what I wasn’t so good at. So when he got frustrated with corporate life, he moved on and I stayed put.

Then Jamie came along. This was a struggle that I eventually won. The guy tried to micro manage me. Plus he was a bully. After a bitter six month battle, he was fired. No one should go through the stress of being bullied. Some forms of bullying are illegal, why not all?

Zach was a whirlwind! He was gone before most people noticed he had joined us. The organisation regurgitated him like a pill it could not swallow.

Which brings us to Prem!

PREM

Prem was insecure. He came from an Indian family with a long and aristocratic history. He could bask in glory of his ancestors, but he was not adding to the story. He went to a second rate private school, his elder brothers went to more prestigious schools. He joined the navy because that was what expected of him. As an officer, he was never given respect by other officers or by those he commanded. When he left the navy, his service record was OK, but those he served with didn’t keep in touch. Prem left India and went to live in the USA. He joined a middle sized retailer with the help of an uncle. His career outside the navy was following a familiar path somewhere between success and failure.

Prem was headhunted, much to the surprise of his colleagues. He was offered a huge step up to create a new team. He jumped at it! It was finally a chance to make his mark, to be someone, to show the doubters, to prove himself. He would no longer be looked down on. He would no longer be mediocre.

But Prem had a flaw. He liked people around him who agreed with him, he wanted to be the cleverest person in the room, those who didn’t fit were quietly pushed out.

Me

Prem would have been the fourth manager in the tale of three managers. However, I had seen his style, I knew what was in store for me. I just wanted to do a good job for my customers and help my team become the best they could be. I was tired of the political battles. I was tired of the organisation protecting bullies at the expense of talent.

It was time to move on. Time for a sabbatical. Time to recover. Time to open my eyes to the outside world. Time to laugh. Time to get my creativity back.

Why write?

I always wanted to write a book. I thought of writing a business book but I realised that “The Art of War” said it all. I started a project management book with a friend but the publisher didn’t want originality. A novel … No ideas.

I posted a couple of blogs on the internet to let off steam at the pointless nonsense that management gurus have conned our largest corporations to waste their time and money on. This made me realise that my contribution to the management arts would not be a great insight but the rant.

Most managers seem to be able to put up with the rubbish that management consultants often spout. They don’t just tolerate it, they act on it, without anyone noticing the irony, they demonstrate the utter stupidity of these notions. They don’t laugh when the inevitable failure occurs, no they collude in the cover up. Despite the obvious they continue to proclaim the beauty of the emperor’s new clothes.

What do I do? I point out of the emperor’s nudity. I point out the emperor’s hairy back. I rant.

It came to me, the rant is my great contribution to management. In fact, it is the foundation of my talent as a leader. I rant to demonstrate that you don’t have to put up with it. You can do what common-sense tells you. You don’t have to wrap an old failed idea in new terminology and pretend that it’s innovation. You don’t have to acquiesce. You don’t have to be a sycophant. You can be your own person, but there will be a price …

You may lose your job. You may not get promoted. You may be unpopular. You may find it stressful when senior management threaten you. But you will have integrity.

Is the blog the rant? No, the rant happens in real life. The blog records and explains the rant. In the heat of the rant, there may not be much logic apparent. The rant is caused by a clash of rationalities — my rationality and corporate logic. The blog is my post rationalisation.

Leadership Principles

Introduction

Manager’s are often under pressure to compromise and deviate from what they feel is right. A manager, project manager, or any other leader needs a baseline of principle from which to base his actions. Managers need to know when to stand firm.

The Principles

These principles of leadership are based on my understanding of “Tough Minded Leadership” by Joe D Batten. The “traditional” approach to management is based around a steady state with well defined projects to make incremental changes. It concentrates on budgets, objectives, and timescales. This approach fails dismally in times of rapid change. It fails the individual and the organization generally due to its attention to the invalid goals of budget, schedule and objectives. A far more dynamic approach to management is required. It is more challenging. It recognizes that budget, timescale and objectives are in flux. The principles ensure meaningful deliverables and keep managers sane.

So what are they principles?

Create Expectation

Create a common understanding of project, corporate and personal goals. Develop plans cooperatively as a team to achieve progress on personal goals through achieving project and corporate goals. Create expectations of each person fulfilling their role. Create personal moral contracts between team members to help each other achieve personal goals.

Expectation := Results

Open honest supportive expectation become results. You create a moral obligation that is far stronger than threat or authority because this is personal.

Don’t order, direct, instruct or tell team members what to do or how to perform. This is hard to achieve. The corollary, which is more difficult, is to get those above you in the management to act in the same way.

Integrity

“… what’s on my lung is on my tongue. I will always stand up for myself and I won’t toe the line. I won’ t play the game if it’s not an honest game and an honourable game. There are a lot of people who don’t make waves and don’t speak up. I can’t be like that.” — Alan Sugar

If you don’t know, then say so. If a schedule is slipping then say so. If quality is low then say so. If you screw up then say so.

Always be open, honest and vulnerable. If someone takes advantage of that vulnerability then that’s life! Integrity is more important than a job. It is important to accept that the truth is often risky in the short term. However, messing with the truth is more risky, especially in the long term.

If you’re dealing with suppliers, then be honest and open. You may say, “What about negotiation?” I would reply, “What about partnership?” A good negotiator can reach a fair deal by being honest and open. If you reach an unfair deal then you open yourself for the same treatment later. In technology, you must accept that the supplier has some aces because technology is not a commodity.

Expect the Highest Standards of Yourself

Give 100%. Don’t be above the team. Don’t be a hypocrite. Encourage and accept criticism from the team — but make sure you can handle it. Make sure you know enough about the jobs that others are doing to know what they are facing. Also to gain their respect, to contribute to their work, and to understand their progress or otherwise
Guts and determination are an essential expectation.

Enthusiasm

It’s that can do, positive thinking thing. Most objectives are near impossible when they are served up by management. You have to be positive to be able to work out how to achieve something useful. There will be plenty of negative people in the team ready to accept failure from the start. Your enthusiasm and ability to find solutions will win them over so they can make a constructive contribution. There will be plenty of people outside the team ready to pull you down. You’re determination will prove them wrong.

See the Positive in Everyone

You need to see the positive in everyone, particularly in the team when often you have no choice over the members. Everyone has strengths that can be used to support the work and others in the team. Sometimes they hide them well — maybe that’s their strength!

People are People

Try to understand why people act as they do. It is often down to their conditioning, their background, and the environment that they are or were working in. The only way you will understand how people think is to get to know them. If you think badly of them then they probably think the same way of you. Is that how to do a good job? Give them a chance. They might give you a chance when you screw up!

Tell The Truth

“I have only two eyes and ears: there are other eyes and ears on the pitch and I am always prepared to listen.” — Lawrence Dallaglio

Tell your boss the truth. He can’t make sensible decisions without good information. Managers are idiots because no one tells them the truth!

Don’t wait until you have the full facts, it might be too late. Give your boss the pieces of the jigsaw that you have. Between you might be able to see the full picture.

Please, Thank You and Help!

It is simple courtesy to say please and thank you but how many managers say it? It’s also important to act on it. In an appraisal, a good rating or a pay rise says you meant it. Asking for help is a great compliment to someone and rarely an imposition. It also recognises that you are not perfect.

Fun

No job is worth it if there is no fun. The fun should be during the work as well as socially. Don’t do stupid hours.

Some managers and users won’t like to see your team enjoying themselves. You need to protect the team from the “Victorian” work ethic, it’s destructive. Why should anyone work for you if it isn’t fun?

Control

If the personal contracts are in place then the team control themselves. Communication within the team is established to deliver the contracts. Reporting is automatic. Exceptions are reported as potential failure to honour a contract. Regular reporting is automatic to help you fulfil your role.

Be Bold

“Its not what you predict but what your imagination inspires. It is aspiration that creates the future.” — Zurich Group advertisement.

Work is about realizing a vision. That vision must be communicated and understood by the team. A bold plan is an honest plan. It doesn’t say more than is known — you can’t commit to a date until you’re on top of it. The management or client won’t like it but you have to tough that one out.

When you have information, create a plan that uses it. Don’t ignore the facts because they don’t fit.

Live the Plan

You have to believe in the plan for others to take it seriously. If others are to take it seriously then it must be credible and your belief in it must be credible.

Conclusions

The principles are simple but effective –

  • Create expectation
  • Integrity
  • Expect the highest standards of yourself
  • Enthusiasm
  • See the positive in everyone
  • People are people
  • Tell the truth
  • Fun
  • Control
  • Be bold
  • Live the plan

The danger of passion…

Like many enterprise architects, I am extremely passionate about my work. I like to work with and employ passionate people. But the passion that creates drive, which causes them to push through when others would stop, is dangerous. It can override sensitivity to other people’s feelings. It can mean poorly thought through action prevails over a considered plan.

If you are about to employ a passionate person then think it through. Get them to work through tough scenarios. When they miss out on a promotion or pay rise because they upset a key person who doesn’t understand passion, how would they deal with it? When a colleague actively obstructs them, how will they handle it? When the strategy that they have worked on for six months is rejected by the board, what will their reaction be? Can you help them think things through without stifling their power? Can you protect them? How would they avoid the situation? How would they reduce the damage caused to other people and themselves? How will you look? How will you deal with the problems that a passionate person can cause? You need to understand how you will use and direct this passion for positive effect. You need to understand how you will manage the risk to yourself and your passionate employee.

As a passionate person, you need to understand that how ever much your employer talks about wanting people who are passionate, this is usually a myth. The job adverts and person profiles are mostly written by “dry old fish” who wouldn’t recognise passion if it came up and kissed them. They are writing to attract staff, they may be half copying someone else’s work, they are selling. You are buying, you need to make sure it is not a con. Can your new manager cope with you? Will they protect you? Is the political situation one where you will be easily provoked into rash action?

Take a walk around the office — it is easy to spot passion — there should be raised voices, there should be people standing around talking animatedly about work. If there is quiet, if people are huddled in their own cubicles with little interaction then there is no passion. A passionate person communicates and shares. If there is quiet then you will be a misfit. Are you willing to be a pioneer and create some, at least initially, unwelcome noise? Does your new manager really want you to disrupt the current peaceful working environment? Is your new manager prepared to take a risk? Is your new manager prepared to have some fun?

Good performance?

Most architects that I know pay very little attention to their reputation and visibility within their organisations. They typically consider such activities with contempt.  It is playing politics, it is putting style over substance, it is dishonest.

Dishonest? Yes, dishonest! Why? Because every success is a team effort. Any one person taking credit is disrespecting the other team members.

So what do you do in a culture that recognises and rewards those who glister rather than those who just get on with their work and do an exceptional job. Your choice is stark – play the game, move on, fight or accept it.

If you play the political game then you earn the contempt of your peers and sometimes yourself.

If you accept then you will see those with little talent prosper, they will advance and perpetuate a political system that creates a kakistocracy – rule by the worst and all that this entails.

As one who has fought many times, I cannot recommend it. It is stressful. It will damage your reputation. And support is hard to find among managers who are just trying to survive themselves. A little passive aggressive resistance may be in order – be humble, retain your integrity, give valid praise in public to those who deserve it, counter any undeserved criticism of others and help those with unrecognised talents to find places where they can excel.

Your remaining option is to move on. This may take time since there is little point in moving on to a similar environment. You need to find the right people to work with. In particular, the right manager…

A manager of mine, when he understood what was happening, said “perhaps I am looking in the wrong place”. He realised that he could not rely on the grapevine to provide an accurate picture of performance. The news spread by others is biased, it is politicised, it carries the advertisements of the carriers. He had begun to realise that the formal performance reports of project managers, clients and others were often biased.

He worked out that he needed to get out there and continually and consistently look for himself. He started to take a deeper interest in the capabilities, aspirations, working environment and efforts of his team. Only then did he start to get an accurate picture of the performance of his team. And only then was he able to help them. Only then did he start doing his job as a manager. Only then did he discover the excellence in his team. With this knowledge he was able deploy the team better, grow their capabilities and to start to repair the reputations of his team.

Taking over…

A long time ago, I took on my first “real” management position with a responsibility. I was to lead a product development department of about 20 people. I didn’t know what leadership was. I had this vague concept that it was about a guy standing in front of a bunch of folk waving everyone forward over a parapet. The group would then charge forward joyfully into battle. Miraculously we would come out with minor cuts and bruises and no casualties ready to fight another day.

Why would they follow me? Perhaps I because I had said some rousing Shakespearian words. Why were there no casualties? I can’t fathom that one.

I had great optimism and incredible naivety. The result of this was a two year nightmare of making mistakes as my team meandered with no direction in some other field.

I eventually left that job to my great relief and probably my team’s. I had been the boss but not the leader. The two are not directly linked. Being boss gives you control over people’s pay and prospects. But they have a much greater level of control — the boss’s success lies in the hands of his team. This is the first great realisation. It doesn’t help directly because it only tells what not to do.

When I joined the software company as head of product development, I spoke to the directors. I learned what they expected of me and how it would benefit the company. Then, on my own, I decided how my team would deliver it. I stood up in front of them and told them what we were going to do. I got blank faces. I got shrugs of indifference. I got folded arms and frowns. There was a growing low hum of chatter in the background. Anyone observing would have realised that I had failed to convince and the team had moved from neutral to being against me.

I struggled on for a year with an ineffective team who just about kept me in a job but no more. Performance was lack lustre. Our year end bonus was pitifully low. I had a member of staff complain about my performance to the CEO and a salesman too. The CEO had appointed me so he called me in. He gave me a simple piece of advice, “ask for help”.

I asked for and followed the advice tentatively and finally left the company without really stepping up to the job. I had three months off before starting a new job. The separation and the break gave me the opportunity to reflect and learn from the experience.

The first lesson was that that being the boss does not make you a leader. The second lesson was that people chose to follow leaders. Leadership is earned over time. It does not come with the position. It is not a result of authority. A job described as a “leadership position” is one where you are expected to earn leadership quickly. I recruited a soldier into a team of mine who brought this home to me, he said, “the officer may be the boss in peacetime, but when we get on the battlefield, he relies on his men to keep him alive, it focuses the mind”.

The third lesson was that in most situations there are already leaders in place. There are people who are followed by the majority of the staff. They may not be in management positions. They may lead in a direction that contradicts the organizations objectives. But they are there. They are a route to establishing your leadership. You need to build relationships with them and get them to bring the rest of the team along. Since that first disastrous management role, I have always looked for these leaders and very quickly told them that I am putting my trust in them to help me make the team more successful.

I went through a number of transitions in my thinking:

Tell to Listen

I to We

Being above to Being on the level

Arrogance to Humility

Authority to Vulnerability

Being in front of the group to Being with the team

Driving the team to Batting for the team

This is what we are going to do to How can I help you?

Company goals to Individual goals

Boss to Servant

Going through these transitions is simply good management. Practicing good management earns the manager the leadership role. This was the fourth lesson.

The fifth lesson was that you have to defend your team. I have “been into bat” for my team over pay, grades and conditions and won most of the time. I won because the case for change was good and I followed through. Other managers who had similar situations but who didn’t have the guts to fight were not happy. I have had stand up shouting matches, attempts to discredit me, threats as a result of this. The weak manager is dangerous when cornered — this was the sixth lesson.

I, and the team as a whole, have expectations of each other. We will always aim to be professional. We cover for one another. We deal with problems in the team. We are like a family. What about the organization? This is tied up with being professional which implies delivering the organization’s objectives — this is the only reason for the team to exist. Failing to meet these objectives is the team’s biggest internal threat. The team will not protect a member that threatens its existence. It expects the leader to either change that team member’s behaviour or to remove them. The seventh lesson is that the leader protects the team from internal threats.

There are times when the organization’s existence and the current form of the team are not aligned. This may mean moving people out. In one role had to fire 12 architects because we were restructuring. My approach was to talk to each one and find out their aspirations. They were clever people, they knew what was happening. I eventually placed 11 of them in alternative roles within the organization; every move was a good move. Only one person left and went on to another organization. The eighth lesson is that the leader “bats for the team” even when managing them out.

There is a difficult balance in all of this. With the team on a day to day basis, you are a team member whose responsibility it is to represent the team to the organization. The organization sees you as the boss in control of a set of resources with a set of objectives to achieve. These views will come into conflict and it will be tough. You have to recognise when changes need to be made. You must not be seen as a wrecker who is just protecting his team — if that happens then you will lose all upward influence. This is the ninth lesson.

SMART Objectives Redefined…

In many organisations there is an annual ritual, goal setting time. Time for that tired piece of management advice about SMART goals to be trotted out once more.

Everyone’s heart will sink… Staff will not want to over commit. Managers will push and cajole because there is pressure on them from above. The annual battle is on.

Can you get your bonus without effort? Will you know that, despite all your best efforts, your enthusiasm cannot get you there? Do your managers already know that they have missed their targets. Or have they managed to con their bosses into believing that the “stretch” target they have set has not already been achieved. Have they conned you into working hard for peanuts?

We need to get away from the counter productive nonsense of SMART goal setting. It looks good on paper but completely fails to take into account human nature. Emotion counts! Logic is virtually irrelevant!

Unfortunately it is not going away so let’s redefine it!

Stretch  -  be creative, be wacky, be different, change the rules for yourself and your organisation, be innovative, organisation want a step change, challenge everyone to be different, to take a different route, every organisation wants to improve, to make any significant change you have to do something different, forget incremental change, take a different direction.

Motivate – each day you should want to go a bit further towards your goals, you should want to meet and overcome any obstacle, your goals have got to be exciting, they inspire you, you should wake up in the night with fresh ideas on how to achieve them.

Alive – get excited, make sure your goals will keep you excited, infect others with your excitement, don’t worry if they look at you as if you are mad — you are! Your excitement will motivate others, it builds teams that endure and succeed.

Reach  -  set no limits, so what if it is impossible, the greats of this world didn’t settle for possible, why should you? If you get halfway to impossible, it will be 10 times further and more satisfying than your Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timebound goal.

Timeless — we have one life, lets keep on pushing, keep on going, keep on having fun, lets keep on driving to our great goals because we want to, never retire, never stop, just get another great goal.

Much SMARTer!

The Puppet Master

There is a guy that I have known for about 12 years. He is going to retire shortly. I have admired him since I met him. Those who know him will recognise this description, if he reads it I hope he takes as it is meant – it is a compliment, and those who don’t, well, just think on this description.

He has never been number one, but as long as I have known him, number two. He has been number two to many number ones. He has survived the passing of many number ones.

I joined him once when he was briefing another number one.  At the end of the meeting, I knew who was in charge.  I knew that the puppet was the star but my friend was pulling the strings.

He has several amazing abilities – he is universally liked but many don’t know why they like him. He listens very well, and keeps a confidence given. He takes care of those who put their trust in him. He advises with clarity and honesty. He can read people, their intentions, their emotions, their motivations, he can anticipate their actions, and very often shape them. He has a huge network of friends, many of them with influence.

He is a patient man. If he wants something, he will get it. He will plan a simple plan and “softly, softly catchy monkey” he will execute and deliver that plan.

But don’t cross him, because you will only cross him once. That network of friends that he has will turn into a monster and devour his enemies.