Saturday, 31 March 2012

Bud Burst

I love this time of year – “burgeoning bud-burst” as my mother calls it.  Bud Burst is the correct terminology, as used in a viniculture, often with connected festivals to celebrate the awakening of the vines and the wine to come, and there is the well established Project BudBurst in America, launched in 2007 by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which involves citizens, teachers and scientists recording the budding, leafing and blooming of various trees and plants thereby creating an annual phenological database that can be used to determine the impact of climate change   

In my garden tiny green handkerchiefs of leaves are pushing their way out of the fig buds (they are certainly too small to hide the private parts of anything bigger than a vole) and the bay tree is laden with flowers that hum with contented bees; the drive to visit my mother in Somerset last week was glorious with the ash trees in flower, the grass on the verges as green as fresh pea puree and the hedgerow trees tinged with a hint of vibrant green on their still distinct branches.

The daffodils in my central London garden are almost over, but the countryside was awash with them – one of my happiest memories is of skipping though an ocean of daffodils as a mad act of celebration with my youngest when he broke up from junior school for the last time.

For many Spring brings a heightened awareness of things that could and should be done. It’s hard not to think of Mole in Chapter One of Kenneth Graham’s “The Wind In The Willows” undertaking his spring cleaning until the lure of the great outdoors becomes too much:
“ his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said `Bother!' and `O blow!' and also `Hang spring-cleaning!' and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat...
...The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.”

Like Mole, friends I haven’t heard from for ages are emerging, sending texts and suggesting that we meet up.  You can almost feel the sap rising.  At work we are doing our own form of Spring Cleaning, finalising budgets and business plans prior to the start of the new financial and business year.  Life is full of plans and optimism.

I am a natural networker – I like hearing what people have to say and helping, if I can, by providing useful contacts or at times further complicating a matter by contributing my own “two pennies worth” of ideas.  Recently I made contact via Twitter with a CEO who is trying to recruit two new non-executive directors for his Board.  In an ideal world, he would like to enhance the diversity of the current Board’s make-up.  His business provides support for a diverse community within a specified area of London and he feels that he can better appreciate his customers’ issues and provide what they need if his top team have a breadth of knowledge, skills and experience to draw upon.  On the advice of a recruitment firm, he ran an expensive advertisement in the Sunday Times.  He was disappointed when not a single woman responded to his advertisement.  He tweeted his surprise and that is how he and I first came into contact.

His plight has set me thinking: why did he get such a poor response to the piece he placed in The Sunday Times?  Has the readership profile changed?  Given the kind of individuals he would like to attract, I am mildly surprised that he was advised to advertise in the Sunday Times as opposed to The Guardian.  However, in my opinion, he would have done better to notify people of the opportunity using Social Media.  I have had some fantastic experiences using Twitter and LinkedIn over the past six months.  I have found excellent candidates for roles, had training and development and global mobility experts recommended to me in areas where my contacts are limited and been given advice and warnings about products that I have been considering.  I am in the process of planning a team off-site and will be using a business called Trainers Kitbag,, which I first became familiar with via contacts on Twitter, to help facilitate a team-building day.

The longer days and rising sap have clearly got to me, as I am excited by the future and the opportunities that are out there for the taking.  I have been in my new job for three months now and most of what I had planned to achieve in my first 90 days has been attained.  I have built a foundation on which to build a great future for me, my team and the Group.  Like the buds bursting, there is growth and an attractive future ahead...

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