The Obvious?

I wrote a post this morning that had a go at faux busyness in the workplace but decided not to post it. It was a grumpy post, written for the wrong reasons.

It’s too easy to focus on the bad things in life, the news does it, we all do it, it seems to be part of human nature. It’s also wrong to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that things are OK when they are not. But just finding fault without offering possibility for change or insight doesn’t help.

We should try not to.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

The enormity of it all

The Obvious?

By the nature of my work I spend a lot of time with people who are trying to change the world around them, upsetting the status quo, encouraging people out of their comfort zones and into new ways of working. This is often unrecognised, long term, and challenging work that calls for endless energy, personal commitment, and a belief in worthwhile outcomes.

Sometimes people get ground down by the enormity of it all. They feel like Sisyphus, endlessly pushing that stone up the hill only to have it roll down again; a lone voice facing armies of at worst dissenters, at best the disinterested.

Helping keep their confidence and energy up is part of my role; reminding them that they are not alone, that others around the world are taking on similar challenges. Reinforcing the idea that what matters is taking the next concrete step, no matter how small, and doing that again and again – potentially for a very long time.

The trick is to focus on and enjoy the process rather than obsessing about the outcome. Remembering this is the hard bit!

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Fear of disapproval

The Obvious?

We all face it. From an early age the disapproval of our parents and teachers was something that most of us learned to avoid. This feeling of not being good enough carries on into the workplace where we are monitored, measured, compared. Even if we have become successful, have reached senior positions, gloried under impressive job titles, the existential terror of being found wanting lurks under the surface.

On the face of it we may appear confident but our decisions are really being driven by concern about what other people might think. We don’t say what to us seems obvious in case we contradict. We keep our world changing ideas to ourselves in case they are laughed at.

In the online world this fear is even greater. We are expressing ourselves in writing, potentially in front of large numbers of people most of whom we don’t know, in a medium that can last forever.

It’s little wonder we are terrified.

But we need to overcome our fear. We need to learn to assert ourselves, risk disapproval, deal with it when it happens. We need to because if we don’t we will always wonder what might have been. We will have let ourselves down. We will have let those around us down.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Being brave

The Obvious?

We live in a time of massive change and instability. Many of us sense the uniqueness of the opportunities this presents us as individuals and collectively.

But we are daunted too. In many cases we are trying to shrug of lifetimes of conditioning and habit.

In the “real” world of work most of us are afraid, most of the time. We comply, compromise, concede. We know we “should” be brave and then we beat ourselves up about being too scared.

We need to be gentler with ourselves, and each other, as we take the small steps that are the only way we will be able to deal with the enormity of our challenge.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »


The Obvious?

Years ago I wrote that “Social media adoption happens one person at a time and for their reasons not yours”. As time passes I am more and more convinced that this is ultimately how any change happens.

For all the change initiatives that keep people busy at work, the strategising, the PowerPoints, the endless meetings, nothing happens until one person has a conversation with another and the other person thinks “Right, I’m having some of that!”

We use slightly disparaging words such as viral for this kind of change, as if it was somehow under the radar, unofficial, risky. But it isn’t it how all change really happens? Isn’t everything else just a displacement activity helping us avoid facing the fact that we feel uneasy about having those real conversations because we ourselves haven’t bought into the change that we are so busily proposing?

Isn’t real change something we do for and with each other rather than something we do TO others? How could we get better at that? How could we all make it more likely to happen?

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

It’s the little things

The Obvious?

It fascinates me how organisations don’t disappear under the weight of their own administravia. Getting even the simplest thing done becomes a challenge that can soak up valuable time and energy. As a freelancer I have a lot of control over my own processes but if you are stuck in a large organisation it can become a nightmare.

Bureaucracy is a necessary part of all of our lives but sometimes it runs rampant and out of control, becoming an end in itself. We need to exercise constant vigilance to keep it in check: to get as good as we can at designing the form that we expect others to spend time filling in; to constantly ask if we really, really need the form in the first place; to have the courage to say no to processes and practices that we feel add no value.

The world doesn’t end if we say no to bureaucracy. Try it today!

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »


The Obvious?

Presenteeism came up in conversation over the weekend and I was expressing frustration that it was still so common. “But that is what real work is like” was the rejoinder,”anything else is just philosophy”.

How did we end up with this fixed sense of reality? Isn’t it all just stories about how things should be?

We must always ask who started those stories and why. We must always remember that we can choose our own stories. We can always imagine new ones.

If we don’t have control over our stories we have lost control of our lives.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Stan The Man

The Obvious?

The stunning poem In the video below by Tom French (recited by Andrew Rowen) brought back memories. I knew men like Billy and Tadgh, or their Hebridean equivalents.

Those memories prompted this novice poem.

Stan The Man

Clattering down Byres Lane late
His seg’d brogues sparking on the cobbles.
Hands in dungaree pockets
Leather elbowed tweed flapping like wings
‘Til he swaggered to a stop.
To stand shaking
Drink sweating from his flanks
Like a bull shocked to be in the ring

Ready to drive the truck.

Pity The Bastards (For Billy & Tadgh) from Andrew Rowen on Vimeo.

View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

Balancing acts

The Obvious?


Technological progress and stable society.
The drive to succeed and the need to support.
Standing out and fitting in.
Striving for excellence and being good enough.
Being a seeker and finding peace.


View Rainmakers Bio »
Go to Source »

The Mouth Is Mightier Than the Pen

NYT > Public Speaking

The written word may not be the best way to impress, a new study shows. A better bet: Use your voice.

Go to original 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.


  • 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.(

Get Adobe Flash player