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By Paul Gilbert | July 2020
The triangle is the least consequential instrument in the school orchestra. The tool for the last one picked. A way to include everyone and to exclude no-one. It is a means to fulfil a benign and thoroughly unobjectionable ambition that everyone can play if they want to.
However, based on my school days, I have come to believe that it had a rather more insidious purpose. Aged nine, and loving music but without a hint of talent or of my potential, I was the triangle player and I ticked a box for the school.
I ticked the box that says everyone who wants to be in the orchestra can be in the orchestra. It was not however a benign tick. This tick allowed the teachers to focus only on kids already identified as talented, and simply to tolerate me in the least distracting way possible for them. It cut off my route to have any of their care and attention, and it excused them from all responsibility to nurture me.
Inevitably, when it was so boring and so unfulfilling, I asked to leave the orchestra. There was no soul-searching required from the school, they had fulfilled their brief. Instead a note was sent home about how disappointed the school was in me. I was never given an opportunity to play anything ever again.
The school had nothing to regret, nothing to feel guilty a
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Paul is Chief Executive at LBC Wise Counsel, a business he founded in 2000 working predominantly with in-house legal teams and General Counsel around the world.
His focus is on impactful one-to-one mentoring, career counselling, supporting the strategic purpose and operational efficiency of in-house teams, and on designing and delivering residential skills development and leadership programmes.
Clients include international energy conglomerates, global life sciences teams and major banks, as well as a range of FTSE and smaller UK teams. He has designed career development programmes, mentored General Counsel and supported over 100 law firm panel appointment processes.
Before LBC Wise Counsel, Paul qualified as a solicitor in the UK in 1987 and was an in-house lawyer for 12 years including as General Counsel to two UK financial services companies.
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