All Posts By

Ronnie Malcolm

Scotland decided!

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Yesterday, three million, six hundred and nineteen thousand, nine hundred and fifteen people who live in Scotland cast their vote.  Regardless if your preference was “Yes” or “No” this is a seminal moment in UK politics.

The question was; “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

It’s a monumental study in change management.

There’s two conditions required for change to happen in any situation, be it a referendum on independence, major change in your business, small change in your work environment or some change in your personal life.

It’s a simple formula:  Change = Dissatisfaction + Desire.

Condition 1: dissatisfaction with the current situation.  A person becomes so dissatisfied, disgruntled or distressed with the way things are that they recognise the need for change.

Condition 2: desire for a better way.  A person becomes so engaged by a vision of a positive future that they recognise the need for change.

However recognising the need for change is not enough to make change happen.  Both conditions need to be realised.  Dissatisfaction without desire is not enough to motivate change.  The end result?  A “No” vote.  Desire without sufficient dissatisfaction is not enough to motivate change.  The end result?  A “No” vote.

Dissatisfaction with the as-is combined with desire for a compelling vision results in a “Yes” vote.

There’s three possible combinations that can generate a “No” vote and only one combination that generates a “Yes” vote.  The odds are stacked in favour of the status quo.

Yesterday, 55% of the people of Scotland who voted had insufficient dissatisfaction and/or insufficient desire for them to vote “Yes” to the proposition that Scotland should be an independent country.

We are hearing this morning that things will never be the same in UK politics.  That may be the case, but we are still a united kingdom.

Change = Dissatisfaction + Desire.

When you are proposing change in your business (or in your personal life) and you want to take people with you, remember that dissatisfaction with the as-is is not enough and desire for the compelling vision is not enough.  Only these two things together can fuel the drive for real change.

When in Rome ….

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I wonder, does everyone in the world know the expression “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”?

I guess the answer would be yes.  But does everyone in the world know the origins of the saying?  I found myself wondering; why Rome?  Why not “When in Venice …” or “When in Paris …” or “When in London …”.

Well, let me illuminate …..

St Ambrose (c340 to 4 April 397) was Archbishop of Milan and was influential as one of the original Doctors of the Church.  He believed that religious worship should not be rigid and invariable, rather following local custom and practice.  When he was pressed for guidance by Augustine of Hippo on the rights and wrongs of local differences he said “When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan I do not.  Follow the custom of the church where you are.”  His advice has remained in the English language as the saying: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

I’m just back from present day Rome where I delivered Day 1 of the 5 day Management Development Programme (MDP) for the Club Managers’ Association of Europe (CMAE) in conjunction with Federazione Italiana Golf (FIG) and Associazione Italiana Tecnici do Golf (AITG).  The course finishes today.

This is the first course of its type in Italy (special thanks to Arnaldo Cocuzza, President of CMAE for his efforts).  It’s nice that these guys are just kicking off just as I have just delivered my last CMAE MDP event outside of Scotland.

This course is now active in Scotland (where it started), Spain, France, England and Italy.  In addition to those host nations, we’ve also had delegates from clubs or industry bodies in Dubai, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Morocco, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden, Thailand and Wales.  Having first exchanged ideas with Kevin Fish of CMAE and Scottish Golf Union (SGU) on this around eight years ago, it is a delight to see how this initiative has grown and the success it has enjoyed.  I’m proud to have been the “day 1 guy” on every event.

There are too many people to mention and it’s probably unfair to single any one out on what has been such a team effort, but …. Kevin Fish needs recognition for his vision, drive and determination; Jason Koenigsfeld for generously giving his time and guidance, providing a steer from the Club Managers’ Association of America with wisdom way beyond his years; Hamish Grey and Andy Salmon at Scottish Golf for additional impetus just when it was needed.  So many people have made a contribution but without these guys it wouldn’t have happened.

The hosts in Europe have been superb and so welcoming: Daniel Asis in Spain, Marc Bousige in France and Arnaldo in Italy.  Their hospitality shines and their passion for education is exemplary.

So it’s time for a new “day 1 guy” to take this to the next stage.  I hope I have set the bar high and that the CMAE MDP in Europe goes from strength to strength.

If you’re involved in the club industry and you’re not involved with CMAE or this programme then now is a good time to act.  You can click on the Management Development Programme logo on the “Our Clients” page at or go straight to and get involved in the new season which will kick off in Autumn 2014.

Today it’s one thousand, six hundred and seventeen years since the death of St Ambrose.  His words still ring true …. “When in Rome …..”.

Too busy to be better?

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How many times in the past week has someone told you they’re too busy?

Maybe even you’ve found yourself saying that all too often?

Too busy to get to the gym.  Too busy to meet a friend for lunch.  Too busy to cook a proper meal during the week.  Too busy to take time out for planning.  Too busy putting out fires to spend any time on fire prevention.  Too busy to get your new website done.

It has become a much overused phrase, way too much.

The real danger is we’re too busy to be better.

So much of our working week is taken up with stuff.  A manager’s job is to get things done.  But the job is also to make things better.  What’ve you done today to improve the way you do things?

There’s things that need to be done because they are an immediate need.  There’s things that need to be done because they are significant.

Breathing is a pretty immediate need and it has considerable significance.  In fact let’s do an experiment – let’s try not doing it for a bit.  Go on start now …..

How did it go?  I got to 40 seconds.  To be honest for a bit of that time I was thinking about the other things that I should be doing.  For example that was 40 seconds during which this blog wasn’t getting written.  Once I got past 30 seconds my mind didn’t wander too much.  I was pretty focussed on the importance of my next breath.

You just can’t be too busy not to breathe.  It’s of immediate significance.  Fortunately most of the time we are able to do it while doing something else.

All your activities fall into the four possible combinations of immediacy and significance:

  1. no immediate need and insignificant
  2. immediate but insignificant
  3. no immediate need but significant
  4. immediate and significant

How much of your day is spent on activity which is immediate and significant (mode 4)?

How creative are you in that mode?  Does innovation flourish when requirements are immediate and significant?  Is that the time that you explore new ways of working, new technologies?  Or do you stick to the tried and tested ways (that may even be outdated) which got you to where you are?  Here’s the news, the really smart folk know that the methods that got them to where they are won’t get them where they’re going.

No doubt, we get things done when in mode 4, but sometimes it’s just survival.

How much of your day is spent on things that have no immediate need but are of great significance (mode 3)?  Because they don’t require completion right now you can be a bit more thoughtful, creative, experimental, expansive, reflective even, truly productive.

Often the really significant stuff gets put off in favour of the really immediate.  In the meantime the really significant stuff that wasn’t immediate last week has become immediate and we execute that in our good old immediate and significant (sometimes even headless chicken) mode.  In time, mode 3 becomes mode 4.

Significant with no immediate need (mode 3) is where high quality improvement activity comes from.  It allows us to rebalance our priorities and is the key to short, medium and long term success.

How much time do you spend on stuff that’s immediate but insignificant (mode 2)?  Really, that much?  Oh, I see, it’s important to someone else and they can get you fired?  Truly successful people know their own priorities and those of their various stakeholders and they have been able to get some alignment between those.

How about insignificant stuff with no immediate need (mode 1)?  Yeah, I thought so.  I don’t have too much time for that either.  Be selective about how you spend your time.

Truly successful people don’t spend much time on insignificant stuff.

Spend the rest of your day logging, if you can, how your day spreads across these four modes.  If you’re too busy to log it then just make sure that you consciously raise your awareness of both immediacy and significance throughout your day.

It’s not just about work.  We should be spending quality time on significant pursuits with people who enrich us – to make us better, fitter, more interesting and consequently more successful human beings.

Let’s be more significant, let’s make time to be better.



By | RRM UK News | No Comments

Welcome to the new RRMUK website and welcome to our blog.

Many of you will know us from  We’re embarrassed to say that website had remained largely unchanged since 2004.  The guys at NetMedia finally got through to me and during 2013 and the early part of 2014 we put a lot of work in to creating  This is a whole different ball game!

We hope you’ll agree is interesting, engaging and worth visiting (and revisiting).  It sits on a dynamic platform so we will be able to keep it current and fresh.  With regular blogging and an expanding offering there should always be something so see, whether you are a client, potential client or passer-by.  In the coming months we will add our materials library with a wealth of useful resources.

The new, shorter web address is actually quite symbolic in itself.  We are focussing on core business, going back to our roots while projecting forward into an exciting future.  We are more active on the international market than we have ever been while maintaining our strong position in the domestic market.  We are a small Scottish company with a global footprint (see About Us on the new site).

The website isn’t just a presence on the web.  It’s the foundation of our new media strategy.  It’s a way to connect with clients and potential clients in an effective and meaningful way.  It should add value to our business and to your business.

Many thanks to Alasdair Mackenzie for pushing me to do and to Will Mackenzie for all his hard work and great ideas.  Take a look at if you’re thinking of doing something similar.  All I need now is the discipline to ensure the upkeep of the site, a growing portfolio and a stimulating blog.

A large part of what will make work is regular blogging.  This blog is the first of many and I look forward to sharing valuable experiences, stimulating thoughts and the occasional bit of fun with you.

Be well, Ronnie