'I have been moved and inspired by many books. One I return to again and again is EM Forster's Howard's End. In his novel, Forster explores the literal and metaphoric marriage between the 'masculine' qualities of progress and control and the 'feminine' qualities of empathy and emotional intelligence.
'Only connect' is Forster's mantra. For me, one of the key challenges of management is balancing these two dimensions, delivering value by connecting successfully with staff and customers. To achieve this we need to encourage people to bring their individual personality and talents to work. By getting rid of the corporate straitjacket, individuals can enjoy the freedom and space to be more creative.
Fiction is a very powerful way of getting this message across. By being emotionally engaging, stories help to develop creativity and imagination, and both stimulate and challenge the mind. Business is real life, not a science. The most brilliant strategy is only as good as the people who have the energy and commitment to deliver it.'