One day in heaven – One small step for children

Peter Cook leads the after dinner keynote musical experience: Sex, Customer Service and Rock'n'Roll

I had the privilege of sharing the stage recently with Heather Small, lead singer of M-People, as the before and after dinner speakers / performers at the Customer Service Training Network (CSTN) Awards.   As well as being a mighty fine singer, Heather works for Barnardo’s and a number of charities.  She gave an impassioned speech about the work of the charity, encapsulated in the words of her song ‘What have you done today to make you feel proud?’

This also provided us with the challenge of ‘follow that’, since we had the slot afterwards to fill.  Just as well that I took our ‘secret ingredient’ in the form of Sam Laming.  Sam has two great passions, extreme sports and playing original music from Ukraine on his 32 stringed Bandura.   Here is Sam pictured up Ben Nevis, having hauled the heavy instrument to the top of the peak.  Imagine the reaction of 600 corporate executives when we arrived with the instrument at the Sofitel Hotel in Heathrow.

Sam Laming on Ben Nevis with Bandura

During the keynote, I discussed service excellence from several perspectives, dwelling on the work of Tom Peters and First Direct’s approach to banking which puts the p word (personal) back into personal banking.  We then turned to the question of personal mastery and unleashed Sam’s Ukrainian folk songs on the unsuspecting audience of 600 people.   Watch Sam’s live rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, played on a ukelele.

So, in their completely different ways, Heather Small and Sam demonstrated personal excellence at the awards ceremony.  I was indeed proud to have been there alongside them. Creativity, a willingness to exceed personal boundaries and not being afraid to surprise others are all qualities of excellence and the event was an exemplar of this.  All thanks to Don Hales for inviting us to speak and perform at the awards.  We are delivering another event for the CSTN soon entitled ‘Myths and Riffs of Leadership’.

'Like a virgin' - A delegate experiencing stage fright during the 'Customer Service Blues'