Monday, 26 March 2012


This little bandit likes it messy!  Their gear is stored all over the place; I say “stored” but for Mess-ieur what’s the point of putting things away if they’re going to be needed soon?  Being too tidy, well surely that’s bad for creativity; the chaotic approach suits Mess-sieur much better, never mind that they can never find anything.  The rest of the gang have lost count of the times they’ve been late because Mess-ieur can’t find something vital for the raid. 

OK, a pristine environment’s not for everyone and many people agree that having some of your favourite things around you can help your mood and be inspiring, but they’re hardly inspiring if they’re buried under a pile of papers, dirty plates, clothes – worn and unworn and files.
Even simple tasks take time; the piles have to be waded through to find what’s required.
Mess-ieur may thrive on chaos but it’s having a negative impact on relationships with the other bandits.  They never give Mess-ieur any responsibility for organising anything; the lost tickets, forgotten birthdays, missed appointments over the years have eroded any trust that might have existed in their early days. 
Come on, Mess-ieur, it’s time to get a little bit organised; tidy a few things away, create a system for recording the  important details and start to build up that trust again.  If loss of creativity is a concern, find creative ways to keep the mess at bay.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Ruth Less

Ruth Less is fighting her way to the top.  She has designs on the gang leader’s job and is determined to get it.  Fiercely ambitious she often gets into arguments with Firebelly (Jan 2012), that other ambitious and competitive gang member.  But whilst Firebelly is ambitious for the increasing success of the gang, Ruth Less’ mind is focused purely on her own success.
She sees the other gang members as her competition (although she doesn’t rate them that highly) and can’t see the point of collaboration.  She’s really not a team player and will work hard to ensure her own ideas and efforts come to the attention of the boss, at any cost.
As you can imagine this makes her pretty unpopular with the other gang members but her view is that she’s not in the gang to make friends.  Hm, friends are one thing, enemies quite another!
Of course, if the boss is watching, Ruth Less can give a good impression of being a team player although of course she’ll make sure that her light is shining the brightest.
What she seems to fail to realise is that, should she ever step into the top spot, she’ll need the loyalty and support of those very bandits she’s currently trampling on!

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Firebelly strongly believes that the gang could accomplish bigger and better things and doesn’t hesitate to share this opinion with the other bandits, much to the concern of Slowcoach (November 2011) and Manana Man (August 2011), as you can imagine!

Favourite topic of conversation?  The next big raid; how can they capture a more valuable haul, take over new territory, smash the enemy?
Firebelly is driven and competitive – always reaching for something more, never satisfied or comfortable with the here and now.  Life needs pushing along, drifting’s for life’s flotsam and jetsam.  And Firebelly certainly pushes – hard and aggressively!  There’s  no quarter given to the members of the gang who believe in taking smaller steps and making gradual changes.

Firebelly welcomes risk with open arms – let’s just dive in, take the plunge and deal with the consequences if and when.   No sleepless nights imagining the worst case scenarios trouble this Time Bandit.

Sometimes this approach brings rewards to the gang.  But sometimes things go horribly wrong and the bandits spend a considerable amount of time and energy picking up the pieces.  Ambition and focus are fine qualities to have but without proper planning and a risk filter they can lead to dangerous waters.

Monday, 7 November 2011


Slowcoach, like the tortoise in Aesop’s Fables, is a creature who likes to take plenty of time to consider the route, consider the options and time to make a choice.

Slowcoach is frustrated by those who seem to rush in, guns blazing; shooting first, asking questions later.  Can they not see, that way madness lies? It’s been the cause of many a casualty and might well account for the bandit gang’s very poor health & safety record in recent years!  A little more care and consideration could improve their statistics hugely.
For Slowcoach, method and process make much more sense.  Weighing up the pros and cons and considering cause and effect means that many issues and problems can be completely avoided or at least, prepared for.  Preparation: a common word in the vocabulary of Slowcoach, who likes to plan to the nth degree.  It stems from a significant aversion to risk taking and leads to endless checking that all avenues have been explored before a decision can be made.

Well, process this, Slowcoach: endless analysis and foot dragging is causing frustration, impatience and extreme intolerance amongst the rest of the gang.  Time to steel yourself to take the occasional (calculated) risk, jump in head first, leap before you look and develop the art of speeding up your decision making.
In the words of Carl Jung:

“Caution has its place, no doubt, but we cannot refuse our support to a serious venture which challenges the whole of the personality. If we oppose it, we are trying to suppress what is best in man --his daring and his aspirations. And should we succeed, we should only have stood in the way of that invaluable experience which might have given a meaning to life. What would have happened if Paul had allowed himself to be talked out of his journey to Damascus?”

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Blimey, another bodged bandit attack! The last raid didn’t go too well either, but the post-raid debrief should have sorted it out and helped everyone to see what went wrong and the part they played in the debacle.  This time, everyone’s shaking their heads in disbelief because Touchy made the same mistake again.

What they’ve failed to take into account (and we know by now that they’re not the most effective bunch) is that learning from mistakes is not Touchy’s strongpoint.  Deliver some feedback to Touchy and no matter how constructive, how carefully thought out, you can guarantee that Touchy will take it personally and dwell at length upon the negatives.  Even during a team debrief, where no one single person is to blame, Touchy will take it as a personal criticism.  To Touchy this is rejection; hurt and embarrassed, Touchy wants to move on quickly and forget it ever happened.  Analyse what went wrong and how things could be improved next time?  No thank you – too painful!
If the gang want Touchy to be more effective and productive, they might need to change their approach.  Empathy, reassurance and 2 way conversations are the building blocks to develop Touchy’s confidence to learn from mistakes, look over the parapet and put forward ideas to be judged by others.  It will take time but Touchy’s loyalty and support for others are well worth the time,  energy and effort.

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Doomsayer

Let’s face it – we all know someone like the Doomsayer.  Favourite sayings “What’s the point” “It’ll never work” “There’s never enough time to do it all”.
The Doomsayer (a born pessimist at heart) will always see the roadblock in a plan and is happy to call it.
Now, that can be a useful skill to have in a team: someone who can critically analyse a plan and use that analysis to guide the choices and decisions being made, but, quite frankly, the Time Bandits are finding it’s wearing a bit thin!
The Doomsayer can’t even imagine a better future and has put the ki-bosh on so many plans and ideas suggested by the other bandits that they have stopped asking for his opinion.  They’re being held back and it hurts.
The gang recognises that they need to move onward, forward and upward – it begins with a state of mind and The Doomsayer’s mind is just in the wrong state!  OK, there’ll be some difficulties but they’ll always remain difficulties unless we have a go.
This attitude of doom and gloom means that tasks never get prioritised properly.  The Doomsayer “knows” there’s too much to accomplish so doesn’t devise a plan or a structure but simply starts at the top of the pile and works downwards.  This means that trivial tasks get done but often key tasks get missed – they’re just too far down the pile and The Doomsayer has run out of energy long before getting to them.
Instead of simply dismissing ideas and options The Doomsayer could practice coming up with practical alternatives in addition to raising concerns.  This way the gang will be able to see that The Doomsayer can make a valuable contribution and is more likely to listen to concerns in the future.
The Doomsayer doesn’t set out to be difficult.  They might just be very analytical or out of their depth and the negative outbursts may just be a cover for a lack of know-how on banditry.  A crash course or someone with the patience to explain things might pay dividends and The Doomsayer will once more become a valuable member of the gang.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Mañana Man

Mañana Man has a very relaxed approach to getting work done.  Often to be found feet up in a hammock, maybe working on some trivial and low priority tasks, he “knows” he has plenty of time to get things done and really hasn’t got enough fire in his belly to get on with some of the key stuff until the deadline is looming closer. Looming deadlines stoke the fire and create a rush of activity.  Worry?  No worries – it’ll get done, often with seconds to spare.  Worry?  The other members of the gang worry as it seems that no progress is being made!  Mañana Man has had a few sticky moments – sometimes deadlines for bandit activity get brought forward – then he knows what worry feels like!  If only he’d taken some activity on the task – even if it was a rough plan or a record of key thoughts – maybe the shifting deadline wouldn’t cause quite such a gut-wrenching feeling and fellow bandits, including the chief, would feel more confident.  Sometimes it’s about perception – just a bit of activity can reassure others that progress is being made and the deadline will be met.  Another tactic Mañana Man could try is to set self imposed deadlines or milestones, maybe breaking the task into chunks that can be tackled with short, sharp bursts of activity – the energy to carry them out created by the frequent or regular deadlines.