Friday High Five – what’s been in the news this week

After the terrible leaders debate this week my good friend Catherine Brown, a barrister and esteemed coach, asked how bad things have to get before we stop confusing confidence for competence.

Repeating something in a posh accent, time and time again, doesn’t make a lie not a lie.

Reducing politics and business to an offshoot of the entertainment industry diminishes debate, but is risky too.

As a journalist, I get to speak to lots of people who give good copy, who interview well and speak with that utter certainty that their insights and wisdom is right.

I don’t approve of chucking a milk shake in the face of one particularly obnoxious public figure,  but nor do I think he deserves having so many microphones thrust in front of him either. 

The best interviews are always those that display a touch of vulnerability, self-doubt and reflection.

So many times I wish had more time to delve deeper into people’s backgrounds and talk about their journey through adversity and setbacks.

For our growing Rainmakers platform this week I spoke at length with John Whelan and James Darlington about how the strategic choices they have made have been informed by either adversity, or a desire to seek personal challenge.

Whelan in particular spoke about the horrors of two long criminal trials, from which he walked away an innocent man, but left his life in tatters.

One of the big stories this week has been Joanne Roney’s decision to leave the ‘best job in local government’ running Manchester City Council for a new role turning around the financial basket case that is Birmingham.

You can’t understate what an incredibly difficult job she stepped into at Manchester Town Hall in 2017.

Sir Howard Bernstein had been there forever, and was a titan of local government.

At the time it was likened to David Moyes taking over from the long reign of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, which hadn’t ended well. 

The economic progress under Roney has motored on, she won over ‘deep state Howard’ and the established way of working. Development hasn’t halted, a social housing build is underway and she reformed public services, taking the city’s children’s services from “inadequate” to “Good”.

I mean it as no disrespect when I say she was underestimated. But that record of competence should take her to her next job with deserved confidence.