The one with the divine discontent

So we’ve almost made it through January and the first (and maybe only) #snowgate2013 has been and thawed. Reading Twitter, talking to friends and colleagues and observing the marketing drives of brands various makes it insanely obvious that the new year brings a rash of resolutions, goals and aspirations for the new calender year.

Whilst catching up with my timeline yesterday morning and reveling in the milder temperatures,  I read a tweet from the Exec Editor at Retail Week, George MacDonald, who reminded me of some lovely prose courtesy of Kenneth Grahame from his “Wind in the Willows”. Mole has been hard at it with some spring cleaning and Grahame observes,

“Spring was in the air… Penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing”

I think it’s easy to long for better weather and longer days in doing so sometimes I realise I am wishing my life away but the words that made me stop and re-read them were ‘divine discontent’. It’s a phrase I first heard from a previous boss and it’s one I often think of in realising that actually I never quite reach the point of being delighted with what I/We deliver and always wanting to take it ‘out of the window’ and tinker with it a bit more before the business gets to play with it. Whether I do or not is usually influenced by pragmatism, availability of time and a decision on the value of a 1 or 2% improvement in something.

Like a lot of businesses we are reaching the end of our business planning cycle for 2013/14 and that usually surfaces a lot of ‘divine discontent’ thinking as you sit down and ascribe £s to particular pieces of work and question the value to the organisation and what impact a given effort is ACTUALLY having.

With the challenges, often rightly made, to the value of the human resources function and the continual drive to any business to do everything better and cheaper in the future than it has in the past I have often realised how well I’ve been served (without realising it) by the observation Moley makes in his lowly home because even if it isn’t broken maybe an improvement now will stop it every reaching broken. Improve before there’s a requirement to fix maybe?



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4 responses to “The one with the divine discontent

  1. Tinker away Rob. ‘Philosophy of marginal gains’ – worked for Team Sky and England Rugby under Sir Clive Woodward.

  2. Pingback: The one with the wild rabbit | Masters or Bust

  3. Pingback: The one with the wild rabbit | Masters or Bust

  4. Pingback: The one with two candles | Masters or Bust

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