07980 718872 david.howell@ableandrush.com Monday - Friday | 9:00am - 5:00pm

What’s in a Name?

One of the most enjoyable elements of starting your own business is thinking up a name for it. Being creative I wanted the name to hit several key criteria which included:

  • It had to be a poignant name to myself
  • It had to be easily remembered
  • It highlighted what the business did
  • It had to have a deeper meaning behind it as to what the business stood for
  • It was quirky and different

So how did the name Able and Rush actually come to fruition?

Well, if you remove the word ‘and’ from the name ‘Able and Rush’ you are then faced with ‘ablerush’ and if you say that slightly slower you then get to the word ‘a bulrush’.

So, the next question is obviously why bulrush?

Well, some years ago I took two of my daughters to the nearby JCB Excavators World Headquarters, situated at Rocester, Staffordshire. We regularly visited there to ride their bicycles and scooters around the edge of the magnificent lake, situated at the front of JCB’s impressive premises. The path was flat and safe from any other traffic, barring other cyclists and walkers. If we were lucky, we would also get to witness the JCB helicopters land or take off from the helipad which was just yards away from the beautifully laid paved footpath.

On this particular day the long brown cylinder like heads of the bulrushes, that adorned the edge of the lake, had started to explode and were sending their fine seeds over the immediate area around the plant, across the grass and adjoining paths. Whilst riding and walking around the lake the girls could not avoid riding their bicycles through the fluffy white seeds. We thought nothing of it.

On arriving home one of my daughters started to complain of being itchy and she started to develop hives across her body. She was in a lot of discomfort so we took her to the doctor who immediately sent us to hospital where she was admitted in order to work out what was causing the irritation. The doctors and medical staff could then work out how best to treat her. I mentioned the exploding bulrushes experienced during the afternoon’s bicycle ride but was somewhat ignored and ‘palmed off’ as just another irritation. I sensed that as I did not have the medical knowledge or training, I was not in a position to offer up such a possibility.

Having to leave my daughter in agony in hospital was excruciating and upsetting but I was determined to at least do something so when the opportunity arrived later that night, I decided to do go back to the JCB lake. It is said that you feel less helpless if you actually do something positive and that is what I was going to do. I took a plastic tub from the kitchen and went and collected some of the fluffy white seeds that were now strewn across the grass and path.

I did wonder if the JCB security would come and ask we what I was doing in the dead of night collecting bulrush seed but fortunately that scenario did not play out and I did not have to explain the strange situation.

Having collected my tub of seed I set off to the hospital in order to present my exhibit to the experts. Perhaps they would be now more interested as I had gone to the trouble to actually providing them with a possible cause for my daughter’s ailment. I even felt a bit like ‘Dr. House’ trying to solve the patient’s problem after analysing all the symptoms and circumstances surrounding the whole situation. Still no interest was shown by the medical staff and I had to eventually leave feeling subdued and slightly silly as to all the trouble I had gone too for not even a ‘thank you, we will have a look at the seeds’ I could easily have been placated by a smile, a metaphorical pat on the head and ‘now on your way’ remark, but I was left feeling worse than when I set off on my little quest.

My daughter spent nearly a week in hospital with the doctors failing to establish or gain any real understanding as to how the rash and itching had been caused. She was eventually discharged from hospital after being given a large number of steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs. Thankfully she has not experienced such an episode again and the incident did not have any long-lasting effects on her health.

The incident did however have a lasting effect on me and highlighted to me the need to be open-minded and consider all the options, not shutting down well-meaning suggestions from all possible perspectives. For me there was also a need to treat people with respect and dignity and not belittle people as that one sliver of information or idea may be the difference between success or failure.

This incident would also resonate when I experienced the Innate-Talent Discovery assessment and highlighted to me my non-linear thinking potential. Perhaps if I had been a little more forthright when I took those bulrush seeds into the hospital that night then my daughter would have been cured and the itching and hives eradicated.

There is also another poignant connection in the name of Able and Rush. One of my most favourite actors is Geoffrey Rush, the Australian actor, who played speech therapist Lionel Logue in the award-winning film ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010). The film centres on the impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire by King George VI and the efforts by Lionel Logue to cure the King’s profound stammer.

There are two very emotive scenes in the film which resonate with me and the previous scenario described previously.

The first scene involves King George VI, played by Colin Firth, speaking with Lionel Logue in Logue’s consultation rooms.

The King's Speech - The Mentor Scene

Logue explains his somewhat innovative and pioneering methods of helping the King to battle his stammer. There are two telling lines in this particular scene, the ‘mentor scene’, which see the King question Logue’s methods. King George VI takes from his coat pocket a packet of cigarettes and proceeds to light one at which Logue asks him not to smoke as he believed breathing smoke into your lungs kills you. The King responds by saying,

‘My physicians say it relaxes the throat ‘.

Logue immediately informs the King that, ‘they’re idiots’

The King, taken aback by Logue’s comment retorts in his physicians defence, ‘they’ve all been knighted’.

Logue responds with the classic line, ‘Makes it official then!’

We can sometimes become blinkered by people’s qualifications and the letters after their names in an attempt to prove their credibility and reputation but we should on occasions look behind that decorative veneer in order to seek out and question their true abilities and value.

There is a great quote by General Colin Powell which resonates with this particular situation and is Lesson Number 3 of his ‘Leadership Primer’ he states the following:

Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgement. Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.

The second, ‘I have a voice’, scene surrounds the actual coronation of King George VI and focuses on the rehearsal for the coronation, the day prior to the ceremony. The King and Logue were approached by The Archbishop of Canterbury who had obviously been doing his homework on Lionel Logue as he had apparent deep-seated suspicions as to Logue’s credentials and unconventional methods. Logue did not conform to the status quo and was seen as an outsider, unsuitable to be advising the King.

This extremely emotional and pivotal scene in the film tells us all we need to know about Logue and why he has followed his passion of helping people to speak. The words are telling and perhaps imitates where we are at the moment in the world with an over emphasis on credentials and qualifications rather than life experiences, context and insight along with an altruistic passion to help and see others succeed and thrive.

This scene also tells us that we all have a voice and an innate talent to make a real and positive difference if we are given the opportunity to do so.

So, if you were ever to ask me, ‘what is in a name?’ hopefully you will now know. A lot!

Able and Rush (People Solutions) Ltd has been formed to give people that voice and to realise the innate talent that too often sits dormant and untapped within an organisation. That talent could easily be transformed, and given the right opportunity, support and understanding, could ensure that your organisation thrives and prospers, as a result of your people and not at the expense of your people.