This week, Philip Warwick, Senior Teaching Fellow at Durham University Business School, UK, introduces the author Peter Wilcock who visited Durham in November this year. Wilcock’s new book “The Business Whisperer” helps budding entrepreneurs to develop the tools they need to be successful business people.
Peter Wilcock arrived in the North East of England in 1995 to lead Comcast an embryonic cable TV and phone company, who were back then trying to persuade people that one day they might want to have something called a cable internet connection as well as a phone and cable television package (now better known as a broadband and multi-media package the internet was not so important back then). In the mid-1990s many customers in the North of England didn’t perceive the need for such services. But from a standing start with zero customers the business transformed over Peter’s 12 year stint as a senior executive, first becoming NTL and then Virgin Media, with over 6 million customers and £2.5bn in revenues. Now the Tees valley towns where
Comcast started operations (Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton and Darlington) enjoy some of the best superfast broadband connections in the UK thanks to the cable network, or ‘digital pipeline’ as Peter called it, that was laid in the 1990s. Virgin Media has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the UK’s top internet and multi-media operations.
Since he left the digital media industry, Peter has been an entrepreneur investing in various ventures and building a contact centre which now employs over 300 people. Recently these experiences have inspired him to write a book The Business Whisperer, in which he uses animal parables to help budding entrepreneurs to develop the tools they need to be successful business people.
The book is a mix of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese, although I think that the author would probably prefer a comparison with Covey’s The Habits of Highly Effective People.
The animal anecdotes, or parables as they are referred to in the book, offer memorable accounts of effective management in the guise of stories about animal behaviour; for example the camel in the tent illustrates incremental strategy and the monkeys in the cage story to illustrate change management, more memorably but similarly to Kurt Lewin’s unfreeze, change, refreeze approach.
Speaking to an audience of mainly 18 and 19 year old Business and Management students at Durham University recently, Peter told the students that the main constraint on their future careers would be their belief in their own ability and urged them to trust their instincts. The animal parables and the stories of his own business success were very well received by this audience. The book too, will be well received by aspirational managers and entrepreneurs waiting to be inspired by easy read self-development texts.
Having published the book using a small publisher in the UK, Peter now hopes to get published in the US and secure 0.01% of the lucrative self-development books market in North America. I really hope he makes it. If he does, well you read about it here first!
The Business Whisperer is published by Quoin Publishers ISBN 9781907257889, £9.99.
Senior Teaching Fellow
Durham University Business School
Prior to entering academic life Philip spent 17 years working as a manager in the National Health Service (NHS) in Yorkshire and the north east of England. While still a manager in the NHS he studied for a part-time MBA at Durham Business School. In 2000, he joined the University of York, where he stayed until moving to Durham in autumn 2012.
Philip has two main areas of research interest and activity, public sector strategy and internationalisation and the scholarship of teaching and learning. His public sector strategy interest encompasses health service management and university management, in particular the international business in higher education, which is the subject of his doctoral research. Much of his work in the field of teaching and learning also relates to internationalising teaching and learning, making teaching and learning more appropriate and relevant to an international audience.
Read more about Philip Warwick’s blog posts:
This week, Philip Warwick, Senior Teaching Fellow at Durham University Business School, UK, writes at guest blog on the state of internationalisation in British universities. Professor Warwick has been studying the international strategies of a number of universities in the UK and in other countries. He has found that approaches vary across countries. Within the UK he has identified four specific strategies to international development within the group of universities he studied.