Joining the dots



The Obvious?

One of the pleasures and privileges of my job is to work with people from all walks of life. From the military to aid workers, multinational corporations to small charities.

Recently I got to meet an amazing lady who along with a friend was organising a relief trip for Syrian refugees, taking a van full of supplies over to Slovakia. Her story made me think of all the people who spend their lives helping people recover from the disruption caused by wars or other traumatic change.

I then thought of all those involved in politics or even business who can bring about those massive changes. All people who wake In the morning and head off to work hoping, in their own way, to make a difference and, presumably, the world a better place. We are all parts of the same incredibly complex chains of actions and reactions that make up the human experience. Sometimes it is easy to forget this and act as if we are not.

I realised how unusual and privileged my position is. I get to see the variety and interconnectedness of human endeavour from lots of different perspectives. Part of what motivates me is the prospect afforded by the web to make this interconnectedness apparent to more people. Even within our organisations the consequences of our actions on each other can be hidden.

Maybe if we felt more joined up we’d be more thoughtful about what we do and get better at looking after each other…

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

The Obvious?

Here at HR tech World in Paris yesterday I heard Yves Morieux from Boston Consulting Group make the case that in a post industrial world an organisation’s people, and their willingness to collaborate, are their greatest assets. He also suggested that given that organisations play such a large part in modern civilised society, and that HR are responsible for the people in our organisations, that therefore the future of society was in HR’s hands. When I reported this view online it was met with considerable scepticism!

But how many times have we heard this before – that people are the most important things in organisations – and how little have we done to show that we actually mean it!? If it’s not HR who are going to take responsibility who is it? Finance?? IT??

Later in the day I watched Sir Richard Branson sit on stage in jeans and an open neck shirt berate the besuited audience for indulging in power dressing while expecting to bring out the best of the people that work for them. He also described how throwing a massive party for 70,000 former British Rail staff when Virgin took over the west coast main line converted them from “government workers” to enthusiastic customer service staff.

Hmm…

With unprecedented numbers of people expressing severe disengagement from work, and a general sense that something is wrong pervading the workplace, it is going to take more than changing our dress code and throwing parties to sort this. It is also no good waiting for the heads of our various silos to sort it for us. They are part of the problem.

If, as I believe it is, the future is about autonomous, thoughtful, proactive individuals operating and coordinating through trusted networks, supported by online conversations, then that is how we have to start acting. Now. We can’t wait for someone else to give us permission. We can’t wait for them to show us how to do it. We have to start taking responsibility for behaving differently, for saying no to more of the bullshit, for reaching out to others beginning to act in the same ways.

What are we waiting for? Seriously – what?

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Living in the future

The Obvious?

As I was getting dressed this morning I realised that I could do with some new T-shirts. I called Hey Siri remind me to get some new T-shirts” across the room in the general direction of my phone, confident in the knowledge that this would be added to my to-do list. I then sat down to dictate a fifteen hundred word contribution to a conference white paper that I had to write. Once I have finished dictating, I got my computer to read the text back to me which is a great way of working out if I have any errors or not.

I have just dictated this post which took moments to do and only required a couple of corrections.

I continue to be amazed by what it is so easy to take for granted.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Tinkering or transformation?

The Obvious?

I have written before about how it is easier for organisations to tinker with how they do things rather than to transform themselves. Yesterday I mentioned the possibility of holding our organisations to account by using internal social networks. There was a degree of scepticism in the comments.

I believe that true, long lasting, transformation comes about through repeated, consistent, small acts. It is as much about a change in culture as it is a change in systems. Culture changes when we begin to behave differently individually and collectively.

We are beginning to learn to change our behaviour on the web. We are beginning to realise what a powerful tool we have at our disposal and maturing in our use of it. We are beginning to realise that we can use what we have learned at work.

Yesterday at the E2.0 conference in London David de Souza used the phrase “working how we live”. Sure there might be some rearguard action by those determined to prevent transformation, but I reckon there are more of us brave enough to have a go by the day.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Digital Transformation

The Obvious?

Digital Transformation
“Digital transformation”. It sounds grand doesn’t it. One of those big, strategic, important initiatives we can all get busy with. But what does it really mean? Does it just mean using computers more, using the web more, shifting what we do now from one technology to another?

Or does it mean something more personal, more profound? Does it mean seeing the world differently and thinking hard about our role in it? Does it mean losing sight of the familiar shore of our assumptions about work as we set off into uncharted territory?

I see more and more people struggling with the changes we are going through and likely to face in the future. Uncertainty and anxiety can provoke an existential crisis. What does all this mean? What does it mean to me? What am I prepared to do about it?

Until more of us are willing to seriously attempt to answer these questions there will be little chance of a true “digital transformation” happening. We will keep rearranging the deckchairs until the new world passes us by and leaves us behind.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

"Could you just do me a one pager on that?"

The Obvious?

I remember the sinking feeling those words triggered. You knew that you had lost their attention and they were resorting to diversionary tactics.

So many documents are diversionary. Putting off doing something by writing a templated bit of business fluff. Reading yet another fictional case study rather than inspiring your own. Faffing about with formatting and fonts rather than taking the leap and sharing what you have written. Burying the final document on an obscure file server with the confident expecatation that it will never be seen by human eyes again.

If you are tempted to write a document today, or asked to do so by your boss, resist. Do something useful instead.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Anxiety Dreams

The Obvious?

Photo credit Andy Walmsley http://andywalmsley.blogspot.co.uk

Photo credit Andy Walmsley http://andywalmsley.blogspot.co.uk

I had a very vivid dream last night in which I was struggling to remember how to drive a very old continuity desk in the BBC World Service. It was a vertical, grey metal, “B Type” desk with kellog keys to start tapes and rotary faders for various sources. I had no script or running order, there was a mess of old paperwork in front of me, we were live on air, and I kept starting things late, using the wrong keys to talk to the engineering control room, and generally things were falling apart with millions of people listening
.
This was a first time dream. Usually I dream that I am doing a Latin American broadcast driving the studio on my own with lots of tapes to start remotely from the mixing desk. We’re doing a live broadcast with the presenters through the glass in the studio and me rushing back and forwards from the desk to a row of tape machines setting each one up as we go through the show. One of the tapes on a large 2400 reel which needs a plastic NAB centre. These were always in short supply and I can’t find one. It’s the next tape to go on air and in my attempts to lace it up the whole tape unravels and falls on the floor.

Interesting that after more than twenty years this sort of pressure still leaves scars that surface when I have something coming up that I am focussed on. I am doing a workshop on Friday in Brussels for a large number of Directors General (senior civil servants) at The European Commission. Looks like it matters!

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Public Speaking

Who hasn’t had a bad, embarrassing or totally off based engagement where you were christened as the person to speak publicly and you totally bombed?

Let’s say you’re part of a new team, a committee of sorts and you and the team are going to review a power point to get things rolling, and you’re deemed to be in charge of a various section of slides.

You think to yourself, “I got this,” and then that moment hits.

You’re on deck, next to speak and you totally lose you willpower and crack under pressure.

Your voice isn’t assertive, you are short of breath and that mouth is becoming dryer by the minute.

Yes, that experience is telling and traumatic all in the same breath, but the public speakers that know they’re good, or even the ones that aren’t as adept at it, know that one bad apple can’t spoil the bunch. Simply put, that bad public speaking experience shouldn’t define your career as a person who perhaps needs to be able to lead a meeting or speak in front of a group but can’t due to your fear that what just happened could occur again.

The key to public speaking really isn’t the idea of speaking, making jokes or trying to hard to succeed at it. Much like anything else, you need two things: practice and a penchant for knowing the subject matter and topic inside and out.

Part of knowing the topic is research but also practicing it as well as the two aspects of public speaking go hand in hand. The research means you have found a central theme to what you’re saying and everything else falls into place as you build the perfect speech and start going over and over it until it almost is committed to memory.

Another characteristic of a public speaking who is equal parts poignant and poised is knowing their audience and not trying to hard to wow the crowd as if you’re doing some sort of comedy act. The idea behind a competent speech is feeling comfortable that the information is tailored to who is listening.

If you’re presenting to your boss, you might want to get a little more technical, rather than perhaps pitching to investors who want to know how the topic at hand is going to benefit them without knowing the nuts and bolts of the business but rather how they get from point A to B. That goes back to finding a speech that is specific.

The trick is putting yourself back out there, almost as if that first experience was the bad date you know you can get over if you just give it another shot, and be opened mind that maybe the next time out, you’ll knock it out of the park.

Go to original Source

The Power Of Stories

The Obvious?

I spent the end of last week talking to a group of financial directors on a cruise. As part of my responsibilities I hosted four discussion groups, the topic for which was “Creating customer focused finance teams”.

At the start of each session I asked the participants to introduce themselves and talk a little bit about the businesses that they were from. The range of businesses that people work in amazed me yet again. Everything from the world’s largest supplier of daffodils to a company trying to export the idea of free range eggs to America. All of them, even those in more conventional businesses, had great stories to tell and flew in the face of conventional wisdom that would have us believe that accountants are not the most exciting people in the world!

In fact it became apparent that all of them had a significant role to play in the overall story of their businesses. Not only the story as it related to the customers, but also as it related to their own employees. In fact it was the potential of stories to help everyone make sense of what could otherwise be difficult to understand data that became the theme of the sessions.

Making sense of things, and helping others understand, are really key activities in the workplace. They are also aspects of work that the social media principle of “working out loud” is made for.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Being bothered

The Obvious?

I can’t be bothered”. It’s a phrase I use all too often.

At the weekend Penny went sailing with a friend and talking to him how much faffing about it took just to keep the thing maintained and setting it up to go sailing I marvelled at how he could be bothered.

Last night we went kayaking along a stretch of the Thames. We nearly didn’t go because I couldn’t be bothered. In reality it only took us twenty minutes to drive to the river and five minutes to inflate and set up the kayak. In return we had the most wonderful trip in glorious low sunshine and came back full of the joys of life.

It’s the same at work. It so easy to slip into not being bothered. Failing to find the reason to put in that little bit of effort that can make work so rewarding and make a difference.

It’s worth finding the reason to be bothered.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

RSS Business

  • Asian stocks, dollar climb as Fed lifts off December 17, 2015
    SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stock markets jumped on Thursday as investors chose to take an historic hike in U.S. interest rates as a mark of confidence in the world's largest economy, lifting the dollar and piling on the pain for oil prices.
  • Fed raises interest rates, citing ongoing U.S. recovery December 17, 2015
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade on Wednesday, signalling faith that the U.S. economy had largely overcome the wounds of the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

RSS UK

  • UK car production rises 9 percent in November - SMMT December 17, 2015
    LONDON (Reuters) - British car production rose 9 percent year-on-year in November, helped by a strong increase in exports, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said on Thursday.

RSS World

  • Pentagon chief Carter used personal email account at times - NY Times December 17, 2015
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter used a personal email account for some government business in his first months at the Pentagon, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing White House and Defense Department officials and copies of the emails.(http://nyti.ms/1QqOuu2)

Get Adobe Flash player