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Around the edge of the £2 coin is the phrase “On The Shoulders Of Giants.” Noel Gallagher read this and decided it would make a good name for Oasis’ 4th album, although because he was drunk at the time, he forgot that giants have two shoulders, hence “On The Shoulder Of Giants.”

The inscription is a reference to a quotation by Sir Isaac Newton, the full quotation being “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”, the meaning being that his “genius” was actually supported by various unsung heroes, more genius than he.

The same is true of us all, isn’t it? For every Brian Clough, there’s a Peter Taylor. For every Elton John, there’s a Bernie Taupin. For every Alan Sugar, there’s a Claude Littner.

Henry Ford at one point sued the Chicago Tribune for calling him ignorant. During the court case, the Tribune tried to defend themselves by demonstrating Ford’s ignorance – they asked him a series of questions, not about the manufacture of cars, but of American history – and sure enough Ford was unable to answer their questions correctly.

At the end of the line of questioning, Ford then asked the lawyer why he should clutter his mind with general knowledge, when he had a team around him who could answer any question he had. They were Ford’s giants.

None of us, whether at home or at work, can possibly be expert in everything. We all need giants. At Amberley Security, we have Rory and James who are money giants. We have Matt and Alex who are advertising giants. We have Sarah and Steve who are commerce giants.

And you, dear reader, have your own giants.

It seems obvious to say it, but if you want to see the furthest that you possibly can, you need to stand on the shoulders of the tallest giant you can find. You have many groups of people who depend upon you seeing as far as you possibly can. The two most important, in different ways, are called “Family” and “Clients.”

To those people, not standing on the shoulders of the tallest giant is, well, short-sighted.

So, how do you know how tall your giants are?

Do you just accept their claim that they are the tallest giant? How broad are their shoulders? How long has your giant actually been a giant? Are they a member of the Tallest Giants Association? Or are they only a member of the Quite Tall People Association, who actually will accept anyone of any size, so long as they pay their annual membership fee? Have you asked other people how tall their giants are, and compared them to your own giants? Or are you content to compromise, and not see quite as far as you could – or should? And will your dependant groups, Family & Clients, be happy that you have compromised?

Let me give you a specific example. We came across a block of flats this month where the communal doors had only a small thumbturn to exit the building, and the doors could be deadlocked such that it required multiple turns of the thumbturn to unlock. I can assure you, with my 30+ years in the industry, that the giant in question for this block was not very tall at all. And I can produce a document from a very tall group of giants indeed, that backs up my point of view. (If you’d like a copy of that document, please get in touch.)

As we head into the new decade, it’s a good time to evaluate your giants. Don’t accept quite tall people. Try a different giant, to see if you can see further. Maybe you could stand on our shoulders (I’m told the view from up there is amazing.)

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