Kate Tojeiro, one of ASK’s Associates (and whose blog you can read online), recently sent us an article called “Risk is the currency of progress”. It’s a great example of a strapline for our times – Chris Evans made it the title of his Breakfast Show on 11 January, so the phrase is ‘in the air’. Kate was referring to many things – the bravery and charitable efforts of Dakar Team GB, the new experiences in the broadest sense that we can enjoy when we take ‘the leap’, but also “new territories, products, people, ideas, experiences, luck… profits.”

I understand the idea of the risk/reward principle, but I tend to see it as a mindset, a particular lens for viewing life through, or something closer to the rules of a particular game. A game, moreover, often played by people who think of themselves as ‘players’ and see their lives in terms of ‘winning’. Losing is not an option, and all that. It often comes – and no offence is meant to Kate here – with a keen sense of heroics and derring-do.

Although unbuckling might feel appropriate, swashbuckling tends to figure – at the very least metaphorically, so I couldn’t help chuckle when I googled ‘swashbuckling’ and Wikipaedia’s opening line quickly equated it with “rough, noisy and boastful swordsmen”. I know we’ve moved on a bit from rescuing damsels in distress, and nowadays the maidens have an equal right to bear arms. But if my honour – or even my petticoats – were in danger, I’d be tempted to hold for being ‘rescued’ by someone a bit more … well, admirable.

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As well as adding a new downloadable article in PDF format to the Elsewhere page in this blog (Anton Franckeiss’ Ahead of the Game, published in HR Director in February 2010), you can also read another recently published article by Anton – What should public sector organisations be doing to motivate top talent?– online at Changeboard.

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Human beings – especially the English – seem programmed to use the weather as a metaphor, and the recession has been no exception. You’re probably as tired of hearing about stormy weather and ill winds as you are of travelling in the real thing. Although there are no bonus points for collecting the set, the missing cliché is the one about battening down the hatches.

But it’s not one to dismiss. Last week’s news coverage included updates from the OECD on growth forecasts. The anticipated growth rate for the UK for 2010 has risen to 1.2% – recession is ending, at least by its dictionary definition. The OECD expects unemployment to continue to rise throughout 2010 and possibly into 2011, albeit at a slower rate. Here are the opening words of the OECD’s Economic Outlook No 86:

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