I took Finney, our cocker spaniel, for a walk this morning. As usual, I took a tennis ball and ball launcher with me to the field. The interesting thing is that Finney doesn’t wait for me to throw the ball to start running. As soon as I start the throwing action, he’s off, sprinting away from me, his ears bouncing happily into the distance.

In fact, I decide where to throw it based on Finney’s run. His run directs my throw, not the other way around.

It’s the same with the football team I coach. We’ve recently been working with the lads on making proactive runs to encourage passes, rather than waiting for a pass to encourage runs. If they make the run first, it’s far more likely that they can beat the offside trap, surprise the defenders and create goal-scoring chances.

Similarly, the success of your leadership, innovation and growth is based on your willingness to make proactive runs. Your customers and teams will see where you’re headed and, if it’s a better solution, will change direction themselves.

How willing are you and your organisation to make proactive runs?

Off The Record: I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin

Burt Bacharach’s sad passing this week is also a chance to remember some of the amazing music that he created. His partnership with the lyricist Hal David became a soundtrack to the second half of the twentieth century. Songs including Walk On By, The Look of Love, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, Do You Know The Way To San Jose? and Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head are engrained in our collective consciousness.

My favourite track, though, is I Say A Little Prayer. The voice of Aretha, David’s simple but beautiful lyrics and Bacharach’s sublime music and arrangement combine to create pop perfection.

The moment I wake up

Before I put on my make-up

I say a little prayer for you

While combing my hair now

I’m wondering what to wear now

I say a little prayer for you

The Chief Officers’ Breakfast Club, 2023

The aim of the Breakfast Club is to provide senior and chief officers with a place to meet, gain new ideas and insights and learn from each other and our guest speakers. At the same time, the £500 membership fee has allowed Club to financially support 12 high-potential young athletes through our partner charity, SportsAid.

Over the past year, our special guests have included Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sir Will Adderley (the deputy-chairman, ex-CEO and majority shareholder of Dunelm plc) and Ian Filby, formerly the CEO of DFS plc.

I will be sharing more details about the 2023 programme in the next few weeks, but if you’re an executive leader of your organization and would like to join the group, please contact me at stuart@morgancross.co.uk or call me on 01636-526111. It would be great to have you join!