CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 42, 19th January 2004


  1. Editorial: Paying it forward
  2. Book review: The Gorillas Want Bananas

1.     Editorial: Paying it forward

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultantI have long believed in the concept of casting your bread on the waters - what goes around comes around. The more you give, the more you will receive. Hence the many hours that I spend writing CorporateCoach, and the free resources on our web site.

If there is a choice between believing in abundance or poverty, then I have made my choice.

However, I have been studying two works of fiction to model the concept, and notice one difference.

My friend Cliff Edwards recommended that I should read The Godfather. This is a book about power. And one way that the Godfather gets power is by doing favours for people. Unsolicited – out of kindness! The link to power is that he makes sure that the recipient recognises that he/she is receiving a favour and that, maybe, one day that favour will be called in.

In The Gorillas Want Bananas, reviewed below, Debbie Jenkins recommends the film Paying It Forward, so we hired the video at Christmas. It is about a young pupil who decides to do three favours for people. Unsolicited – out of kindness. The key here is that he tells the recipients that he/she is receiving a favour and that they should now do three unsolicited favours. This was his way of making a difference in the world.

The theory is to give purpose to your giving by doing it explicitly. (I am not sure how this fits with my belief that charity should be humble and for its own sake.)

However, there is a difference between the two approaches - namely the implied threat of machine gun bullets if you are unwilling to reciprocate when the Godfather calls in his favour!!!

There are two controversies in Britain at present. There is a major debate about the funding of universities. And there is much discussion about the trend to out source back office services to India.

It is good news that developing countries have raised their educational standards such that they can compete in the global economy. It will increase the abundance of the planet, bring wealth to these countries and generate trade with other countries.

However, it sends an important message to countries in the established economies. They cannot continue to rely on the benefits of an educated workforce. They must continue to raise their own standards or find a different business model. Such changes have occurred in the past with large proportions of the population moving out of agriculture and then out of industry as technology has advanced. In each case, people have been released from traditional jobs to contribute to growth in new areas. This time round it is a combination of education and communications that is driving the change.

British educational policy has been to expand university education to a larger and larger proportion of the population. But this has been at the expense of excellence. Wherever there are resource constraints, there is likely to e a conflict between quantity and quality.

However, if we sacrifice excellence to mediocrity, we will be unable to generate new jobs to replace those exported. Brefi Group is investigating exporting some functions to India. Initially this will create one job in India – and, we hope, ten jobs in Britain. A win/win situation.

This week saw the publication of league tables for schools. This year they reflect 'value added'; the ability of a school to raise the standard of their pupils, rather than to achieve high results. The tables take account of the educational level of pupils when they start school as well as when they leave. The head teacher of one of the top scoring schools was interviewed. How had they achieved their success? They interviewed each pupil to identify potential and, using national benchmarks, the pupil then set targets for his or her achievement that year. School and pupil then worked together to achieve the target.

An appraisal based process that we advocate at work. We at Brefi Group share that school's mission, to help every individual and organisation to discover and achieve their potential.



Debbie Jenkins puts it into practice

Here is a chance to take part in Debbie Jenkins' "Pay It Forward" Experiment...

Debbie writes "I'd like to start my own Pay It Forward movement by giving you a FREE sample chapter of The Gorillas Want Bananas.

Download it from...

But rather than expecting anything in return from you, all I ask is that you do three or more good deeds for people you know. The easiest one being to share this sample chapter with three or more contacts who might benefit. Just send them the link...

You have my blessing and permission to pass on the entire FREE sample chapter to whomever you want and for whatever reason you want. If you have one, you're even welcome to offer it as an incentive to increase the number of people subscribing to your own ezine.

So, get involved and see how long it is before you're good deed is rewarded. Then plan to start your own Pay It Forward movement and be sure to tell me (and CorporateCoach) what you're doing."

Debbie Jenkins

2.    Book review: The Gorillas Want Bananas

Why do some people seem to magically attract new business while others face rejection after rejection? What enables some businesses to build an enviable reputation without ever spending a penny on advertising, while others do everything they can but still get lost in the clutter? Why do some people achieve great results even though they never seem to be busy, while others run themselves ragged never to achieve what might have been?

The Gorillas Want Bananas sets out to show how you can do less work and get more success. It claims to explode the outdated myths that have become a burden to the modern entrepreneur, so that you can build your own success and enjoy it.

The approach taken by authors Debbie Jenkins and Joe Gregory is one of lean marketing. A major focus is to stop you doing things, rather than to get you to do things.

The subtitle of the book is "The Lean Marketing™ Handbook for Small Expert Businesses". It was some time before I realised that the term 'expert business' meant consultant or coach. However, it was early in the book that I appreciated what a valuable text this is.

The book contrasts the traditional marketing approach – Gorilla Marketing – with the Lean Marketing™ way.

Gorilla Marketing

  • Convince your target to buy what you've got to offer, whether it suits them or not.
  • Interrupt them when they're doing what they're interested in.
  • It involves lots of trail and error, as you race about trying to get anyone and everyone interested.
  • It inevitably leads to high cost and high waste.

Lean Marketing™ Way

  • Your first responsibility is to get people to WANT what they NEED.
  • You provide the solution to their path "Just in time" - when they're looking for it, not when you're doing a big marketing push.
  • It involves building a relationship that matures and develops over time.
  • It involves low cost and low waste activities that are measurable, repeatable and adaptable.

These truths might seem self evident. The value of this book is the simple exercises that it contains. In particular:

  • the value chain: set out features of your offering – then repeatedly ask "So what?" until you have discovered a personal benefit for your client.
  • the pipeline: a table for moving 'suspects' to 'prospects' to 'expects' - from complete stranger to an evangelist, who will promote your business on your behalf.

Let's take the Brefi Group statement:

"Brefi Group is a corporate change management organisation providing an integrated package of change consultancy, facilitation, executive coaching and training designed to improve corporate performance."

So what?

  • Organisations can deal with people who understand how they work
  • Organisations can deal with a single supplier who can integrate training, development, strategy and change initiatives
  • Organisations that introduce change can achieve improvements in corporate performance.

So what?

  • If you deal with us you get more change for less personal effort.
  • If you deal with us your organisation gets more change for less investment.
  • If you deal with us you get 'generative' change – change leads to more change.

So what?

  • Your organisation becomes more successful and a more pleasant and worthwhile place to spend a third of your day.

This is a very personal book, filled with examples of the authors' successes and failures. I found it helpful


We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

THIS IS A FREE PUBLICATION! Please SHARE it willingly with a friend or colleague who could benefit from knowing more about corporate coaching.

Copyright 2004 all rights reserved.

To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE to this Newsletter: /newsletter.html

To unsubscribe, go to the address above and enter your e-mail address. If you use more than one e-mail address, be sure to enter the same one that you used when you subscribed. If you want to change your e-mail address, then subscribe with the new address and unsubscribe with the old one.

Brefi Group is a change management organisation that provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. Be sure to visit the Brefi Group web site at

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

Telephone: 08450 678 222, or +44 (0) 121 704 2006 (international)