Settling for Less? Settling for More?

Settling for Less? Settling for More?

Settling for Less? Settling for More?

Do you have to be settled to hold down a job?

Is this still the case? Many businesses think so. I would challenge this. Societies values have changed we would suggest. It has lagged behind the technology curve but early adopters or “Mavericks” are being followed and the opportunities or cost has possibly brought around a change in what we want or think we need

I remember being in Mumbai for ten days in 2013 and everyday I kept in touch via Skype with the office and the family. I thought the living costs here are cheaper, the weather great for most of the year, people are friendly “the guest is god” and I’d probably rather live here than London.

Business are catching on a Smart Working Revolution is occurring. Why not help your young professionals work from their chosen location.

What’s in it for the business? Less need for office space, travel and accommodation. In short the bottom line.Whats in 9it for the individual worker? Less commuting time, expense, more time for other important matters and peace of mind.

Workers are settling a lot later in life and that brings with it the experience need, flexible working is becoming as ubiquitous as WiFi. Our workforce are more technically savvy and demand the life that is afforded by that. Companies are catching on to the human element of running their business and the cost savings that come with it.

There is a huge element of trust and flexibility in this relationship between employer and employee. Getting the right fit is paramount for both. Employer loyalty is declining among millenials. Employers need to work at understanding the behavioural psychology of the cohort of employees they need to attract, retain and allow to work on terms that suit both parties in the relationship.

As businesses we need to innovate to be current and grow. That extends to who you recruit and how you work.

Neil Chamberlain

Entrerprise Director


Disability widened my horizons

Disability widened my horizons

Disability widened my horizons

By : Rebecca White Co-chair Titchfield Disability Diversity Group Chair ONS Fibromyalgia, ME & Chronic Fatigue Support Group

Surprised? Doesn’t disability make life more difficult and mean you can’t do things? I think many, including myself, have felt that way about disability. We may believe that disability is a burden and those with disabilities are less valued in society, less capable, drain the benefit system, are unemployable and to have a disability would be the end of life as we know it.

Well, this may be true for some and gathering three disabilities in my life has been a challenge and I have had to adapt. But what I am saying is that those of us living with disabilities (or long-term health conditions) and those working alongside need to review our own opinions and unconscious bias.

So, let me tell you something about myself before I explain the title

Born in the group known as ‘fit and healthy’, I was a sportswoman from an early age, including jumping 1.25m at high jump aged 10, and winning all sprints at inter-primary school events. This ability continued into grammar school where I was selected for individual athletic training and became a key member of our hockey team, representing the school at both. I cycled, walked and competed in athletic competitions up to county level. I captained a successful Ten Tors team and succeeded in all activities I tried.  At sports days I gathered a following and rewarded them by lowering the 400m school record to under 60 seconds, a record still standing today. I was fated for great things, but that dream halted at 15 when I became ill and could barely rise from bed.

In those days ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or even ‘Yuppy flu’ were unheard of and although all medics agreed something was wrong it remained undiagnosed for another 20 years. After a year of poor health, I recovered to some degree but never to those heady record-breaking days. 10 years passed, and another undiagnosed episode resulted in retirement from teaching. But still I fought on (you haven’t met my mother, have you? That’s a story for another day). Then, in my 30’s, I finally received the diagnosis of both asthma and ME. These were shocking, depressing and debilitating. I felt my life had taken a turn for worse, I could not fully be a mother, wife or employee.

 It takes time to adjust and realign your viewpoint. I missed out on my children’s events because I didn’t have the energy when I finished work. I worried my colleagues would see me as a burden and not a valued team member. I kept looking back at what I used to be able to do and was my own worst critic of my current performance. I strived daily to ensure others couldn’t judge my perceived lower level of contribution, often to the detriment of my health. Work/life balance focused more on work with my family receiving the small remainder. I am not alone in this struggle, all those who become disabled have this or similar struggles. Then in 2015, as I felt I was successfully managing my conditions, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Really!?  Have I not enough? But by then it is just another disability and I had to buck up and deal with it. Being miserable and asking ‘why?’ wouldn’t change anything.

So, after all that, why do I say disability widened my horizons. Well that is about perspective and mindset. I could have just curled up and said, ‘I can’t work, my life is ended’ or I could think life is for living and live it. So, mobility has become limited due to constant pain and my body not working so well but there are advantages to everything in life and I had to look for other interests. In 2013 I took a scuba-diving taster session and loved it. Andy (my husband) and I then took this forward, gaining our PADI Open water qualification and have now dived in the Canaries, Hawaii and Caribbean. Photobombed by a turtle, I’ve swum with sharks and explored wrecks. With extra assistance on the surface I can dive freely; from 3 metres down I feel no pain. Diving gives me freedom back and during the dive I am no different to other divers, who, like me, are amazed and awed by the beauties beneath the waves. If I hadn’t developed disabilities, we would have continued to pursue walking and sport, but this new skill has been amazing and truly widened our horizons. None of this has been easy and there are times when I ask why or why me? There are still times I grieve the person I could have been and feel judged for the adjustments I need. I am no-one special, just an individual trying to get on with life and everything it throws at me, like everyone else.

I just want to say that developing a disability is not the end, just a new challenge. So, when you think about disability, what are your biases? Do you judge an individual by your own perceptions and opinions or do you look beyond?

I can, as an individual living with disabilities, be a valued member of ONS, my family and the world in general. I feel privileged to use my circumstances to drive forward change within our organisation. I now need wheels to whizz around Titchfield, with a smile on my face, which really helps even on the days it is a struggle. This has made my disabilities more visible and requires less explanation or justification of any workplace adjustments. Something many with hidden disabilities still suffer.  I don’t want pity, or to be judged on first impressions, I just want to be valued for who I am and what I contribute. So next time you think of disability, as an individual with or without a disability, stop and think. We can all be limited by our own opinions and horizons, but we should just push these boundaries. You may be surprised.

We all have a “Bank of Courage”

We all have a “Bank of Courage”

We all have a “Bank of Courage”

Trench Warfare and the IOS

This blog relates to a late night Radio 4 programme, an experience @ THE TRENCH-Bodmin and a week in the Isles of Scilly – how is that for a random collection?

Let us start at the Keep in  Bodmin on the evening of Saturday 14th of July 2018, 100 years on from World War 1, and my enlistment into the Duke of Cornwall’s’ Light Infantry 6th and 7th Division. I was kitted out with my Tommy helmet, a cape, rifle, pocket tin, a ration pack  and dog tags with a name of a WW1 regiment soldier – we were travelling back in time. 

Over 60 of us enlisted that day and were duly ordered and shouted at by NCO’s and Officers. We were then marched to the railway station for embarkation by steam to France. We arrived at the “Front”, crossing open ground under sniper fire before entering the trench network. 

This was an audience immersive performance by professional and volunteer actors to bring a little of WW1 to life with flashes, bangs and debris flying in and over our trench. Armistice is declared just seconds before we go over the top and it’s all over – but it isn’t – as we leave the trench we see lines of crosses as we line up in our platoons. Names are read out a platoon at a time and these lost souls step to the front, upturn their rifles and stand in silence – the Fallen – my soldier would return.

We move on, listening to a late night Radio 4 programme, driving a large truck down the M5 when a really interesting discussion takes place. This guy had studied war and events and came up with a “Bank of courage” which everyone has, some smaller than others, but all with a credit balance. He explained how soldiers on the “Front” in the First World War could have extraordinary levels of courage but they also needed to move back for rest to rebuild their credit in their bank of courage. There were  VC and Military Cross winners some of whom were kept at the front to guide the young recruits but in turn used up their credit and couldn’t carry on – some got shot at dawn.

What has this got to do with a holiday on the Isles of Scilly – well the basics aren’t too far away. We had a very busy year at Zamu with lots going on including redefining the business and starting up a new chapter of Business, Accountancy and Finance Services.  Busy from many different directions and we got to the point where we just needed a break to recharge our batteries by doing something different. It wasn’t about doing nothing, just a change to build up our credit of energy – yes, with two young children we came home tired but our “Bank of Energy” was back in credit.

Keeping going can become self-defeating and we sometimes need to just take a step away to reset ourselves, clear our heads and get on with renewed vigour.  If You are holidaying in August Enjoy your break!

Gary Perkin MD Zamu Ltd

Co-Creative Working (Part 2)

Co-Creative Working (Part 2)

Co-Creative Working (Part 2)

A History Lesson

In part 1 we discussed briefly the benefit of working collaboratively or Co-Creatively. Let’s look at why we got to this point and how the market works. We are at the start of the next industrial revolution and as businesses we need to adapt, change and innovate.

How we got to this point

 Over the last century manufacture has moved on a massive scale from the home or local community to global supply:

  • Supply and demand,
  • Market matures customers and markets are created or identified,
  • Working with customers – Co-creation (Lusch, 2007).

Source Tobias Kohler

The organisation delivering products and services to the consumer market or controlling sales channels for the exchange. The firm creating value and the consumer on the outside – the “value chain” Porter (1980) confirms in Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2004). From exchange and goods dominant logic to the service dominant logic of today (Vargo & Lusch. 2004).

The start of the paradigm shift “a new business landscape” (Mack, 2009. P: 6).

How the Co-creation market works

 A Market – a conceptual space where products and services are sold to customers at a balanced price (

The Co-Creation market – a fluid consideration more to do with effectuation expertise, not cause and effect (we produce, and you buy) the players effectuate, Co-Create using network, suppliers and customers (Sarasvarthy, 2008). Co-Creation markets constantly change (Storbacka & Nenonen, 2011) as unique concepts and resources are created and received.

Vargo and Lusch (2004) consider there are two ways of involvement.  Initial creation and invention described as the “fuzzy front end” (Fuller et al, 2009. p: 82) and the creation of changes brought about by experience and use of a product or service.

Narver et al (2004) is detailed by Kristensson defining reactive and proactive market orientation (Kristensson et al, 2008). Kristensson considers that proactive orientation (discovering and understanding underlying needs) is a pre-requisite to involve customers in Co-Creation resulting over time to value and fulfillment (Vega-Vazquez et al, 2013).

In Roser et al (2013) it is cited that Sawhney et al, 2005; Prandelli et al, 2006; von Stamm, 2004, Fuller et al., 2007, Nambisan and Baron, 2007 consider Co-Creation reduces market research, R&D costs and establishes customer relationships, customer satisfaction and better quality products.

Generating ideas is better with Co-Creation than conventional market research (Witell et al, 2010). Consumers interact with the company and each other settling their own brand issues (Pongsakornrungsilp, 2010).

So that is some of what the experts, PhD’s etc. have to say on the matter after years of research. What does it boil down to? We would suggest a very basic thing “talk and engage with your customers, suppliers and other businesses” Do this in an open and honest way. Be clear and let the others tell you – so listen and contribute.

Part 3 coming soon.

The Price is Right

The Price is Right

The Price is Right

“Knowing the price of everything – but the value of nothing!”

It’s difficult to buy with confidence, unless you are a professional buyer – when dealing with often some very good salesmen you are definitely at a disadvantage. The advice of getting three quotes is fine if you understand more than your name, date and the price – how on earth do you unravel the technical details and specifications presented to you when that’s not what you do?

You might be trying to supply a customer who seems intent in screwing you to the floorboards. You can’t provide service if you have no margin and ultimately the business relationship is going to fall short and perhaps fail.

In any transaction both parties need to come out with something (buyer and seller).

Gary a few years go now came across a client who just went on price.

In a previous galaxy in a land far far away Gary worked with a technology business. He was asked by a building company towards galafray that wanted to upgrade it’s existing radio communications system, improve coverage and in addition it wanted a “Trunked” system that allowed individual calling to each vehicle. This required more complex equipment and management.

Gary quoted £8500 (We told you it was a while ago!) by utilising some of the existing equipment and included putting a Repeater station up on a hill. The Client chose a supplier who was going to do it for just over £6000 – you win some you lose some! (He did loads of business with his brother though).

A couple of months later Gary had a phone call – “are your prices any keener yet as this bloke has messed up my radio system?”. You knew it was coming and now there was a complete mess to clean up, so Gary had to add £1000 to clean up the mess.

The lesson was that £6000 was not the right price and assuming that they had paid some money upfront to the other business the total cost now would be far higher than it should have been.

In any transaction, both buyer and seller need to come out with something of Value and that’s not just the Best Price.


On our “What would you Banish to the Basement of Stand 101” competition at the Cornwall Chamber Business Fair this year Mark Picken of MPAD won his experience day with his daughters at the Cornish Birds of Prey Centre for just the reason we have outlined above.  Zamu are sure we would all like to banish price over value choices into the basement.