THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Back to celebrity reality

After all the excitement of yesterday’s announcement, I completed my call-in day mid-afternoon and packed for what will be 10-nights in hotels all over the UK. It’s a punishing schedule, made possible by the daily enjoyment of the work I do – and the prospect of 2 weeks vacation in 3 weeks time – a week of which will be in Vathi, Ithaka – at a beautiful boutique hotel that has become a sanctuary (not telling). I’m carrying photographs from Greece on my desktop as a daily reminder of the pleasure to come. The oil-rig shift is nearly over. So I left a very sunny Cornwall at 4.30pm Monday afternoon, for the usual 5-hour drive to the Midlands, where I’m going to be based at the Forest of Arden for the next couple of nights. The drive was good fun, largely because I spent a good deal of time hands-free on my cell phone, checking in with various team and clients and listening with great interest to the participants on our monthy bridge call – both of them. Yes – it’s holiday season and clients are either away or in the garden – so attendance is down – but I want to thank the ever-reliable Marcus Spry and Ashley Davenport for what was a fascinating conversation about 21st Century branding for dentists. Today, a quarterly workshop with Servicemaster – the world’s largest industrial contract cleaning franchise – I’m working with the top 10% of their UK franchisees – I know, “where are the dentists?” – it’s a long story and a long-standing connection that created this opportunity – and it does make a change from teeth and gums to buckets and mops – although not that much is different! What I didn’t know is that there is a celebrity golf tournament at the hotel today. As I checked in last night, I shared the experience (to my surprise) with Len Goodman – one of the judges in Britain’s “Strictly Come Dancing” show and now, I understand, commuting across the pond to perform similar duties on a USA equivalent. Forgive me – “Strictly” is absolutely the only TV programme I ever watch, apart from football and the news – I love it and winter Saturday nights have become a weekly highlight as a result. So checking in with Big Len had me star-struck for the moment. Confession – I used to attend ballroom dancing classes when I was 14 years old – and have always wanted to start again – an unfulfilled ambition. About 10 minutes later I was walking back to the hotel bar from my room, when I found Len wandering, lonely as a cloud, around the endless corridors of this place. I helped Len Goodman find his way to the bar! How’s about that for an achievement? He seemed very good on his feet for his age – but clearly directionless – just the job for a compulsive helper. This morning, I have enjoyed breakfast on a table next to two 70’s football stars – Frank Worthington (who looks 60+ but still has long straggly hair) and Ian St John. The word is that they are all playing from 7.45am this morning – and then there will be a big shin-dig in the tent outside tonight – bearing in mind that the Black Abbots are here to play golf, I dread to think what the cabaret will be – Peters and Lee? If I see any more famous people I’ll let you know – for now it’s off to coach my cleaners – aah, the jet-setting life of the international business coach. Do Brad and Angelina play golf?

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