The Marvellousness & the Minutiae – What do you bring?


There seemed to be lot of interest and comments on this week’s blog post, which is always satisfying.

And there were some great examples of how people are contributing – what they are bringing to organisations or organisational conversations…..

and yet I find I want to re-press the point, ask again to see what comes back from readers of the fuchsia blue blog:

What is your contribution to being agile or adaptable in your work? What do you bring to your work conversations that is different or useful or necessary?

Are you innovative? Do your bring order? A good grip on data & measurements? Are you provocative? Political? Can you raise a smile in the midst of heavy conversations? Do you handle conflict well? Can you sit with difference? Is it good public speaking? Or the ability to have small, trust-filled conversations? DO you have a fantastic eye for commercial potential? can you tap into the “feel” of a conversation well? Do you bring compassion? Practicality? A particular interest?

I’m looking for the marvellousness and the minutiae. What do you bring?

I’m asking because I’m genuinely interested . I suspect your stories will be lifting. I suspect there are wonderful positive stories from people about what differences and contributions people are bringing to their work space.

I’m particularly mindful there were no comments from women, this week, other than via DM or conversation and I REALLY want to bring those voices forward, because I don’t feel I have and have a suspicion there is a rich narrative there.

and in case anyone is feeling self-conscious about stating their contribution, I offer Come To The Edge as an enticement

Come to the edge.

We can’t. We’re afraid.

Come to the edge.

We can’t. We will fall!

Come to the edge.

And they came.

And he pushed them. And they flew.

Guillaume Apollinaire

So. Friday/ Weekend invitation to bring your contribution stories here. I would, simply, love to hear from you.

27 thoughts on “The Marvellousness & the Minutiae – What do you bring?

  1. Am working on it 🙂 ….certainly found your blog thought provoking and have been thinking about my contribution….maybe there is a clue there as to what it is in the fact that I havent yet shared it with you….ie it takes me a while to work out what it is, and then once I do wonder if I have missed the moment so don’t make it !!

    • No pressure – I’m looking to kind of curate good stories and positive contributions. I know you have loads. I look forward to hearing one or two.

  2. My experience of my contributions at work in my prior corporate incarnations has been that the ones I made that were most meaningful (to me and to others) have often been outside of the confines of the functional aspects of my roles. That is, they were on human rather than organisational scale. I read this in recommendations made by former colleagues on LinkedIn and in private communications. This matters to me enormously. None of them recount my excellence or otherwise with spreadsheets for example. When considering my future it is this understanding of where I bring most value that will inform the choices I make, the paths I take and the way I touch the lives of those with whom I come into contact.

    • Hah Hah! Lovely point about the spreadsheets, Simon. I believe it is our human-ness that adds value – but somehow that doesn’t seem to be taken into account when organisations are so focussed on the bottom line – I guess this is where I get puzzled by how de-humanising our environments can be….why do we do this to each other?
      You have always generously shared your drawings, cartoons and creativity in your interactions on Twitter – for me, your contribution has been to brighten my day, often… and your blog experiments kind of encouraged me to push out this question again…so thank you.
      I hope the choices you make, the paths you take & the way you touch the lives of those you come into contact with prove to be enriching and positive for you & yours as the future unfolds… I watch this space with interest.

  3. Can I offer a Foolish Question?

    Its the question you ask that others won’t ask for fear of appearing foolish.

    I think it is based in two things – an energetic curiosity, the type one finds in childrens’ questions and their assumption that everything is known and they just have to ask you. I am driven by a genuine desire to know, rather a desire to prove a point, show someone up, show off myself, etc…

    Secondly, it is about feeling secure enough in oneself, feeling happy to be authentically ignorant or foolish in front of others.

    An example – I was facilitating a strategy day for a group of senior managers whose departments looked after all the objects in a large museum. Having listened to them grapple with process, levels of authority and create more squeeze points than when they had started, I asked “What is the method you all have of measuring an object?”

    Being “other”, not an expert, it was a question only I could ask. I was the only one for whom it was acceptable to lose face. As I didn’t have much face in the first place, I had little to lose. It was only safe for me to appear foolish.

    Of course, as I suspected, there was no one consistent method of measurement. However, it opened up a different avenue and potentially more valuable avenue for discussion.

    The character of the Fool in Shakespeare is the one that brings about most knowledge for the widest audience.

    The Foolish Question, if you are comfortable with it, is a great question to ask

    • Thank you – beautiful illustration of what you contribute. I enjoy the lack-of-ego and the care you show the group here, by asking the unask-able and taking a risk.
      I’m a huge fan of childish curiosity and not-knowing – deep certainty unnerves and disturbs me, often…I’m not convinced there are set truths.

  4. I like to bring something home made. Not always – but when the mood takes me. Might be cake, or brownies, might be a song, a poem, maybe a piece of visual art. And like James – I take my ignorance with me wherever I go, it is one of my greatest assets. Cheers – Doug

    • No – does not sound cheesy, Alison – it sounds absolutely fair enough and what is needed. Authenticity and being self – there seems to be a bit of a theme here in the posts.
      I’m also deeply delighted to have another female voice contributing to the comments…. thank you.

  5. Hi Julie. I can’t meet your requests for a female comment and I hope that mine will suffice all the same.

    What do I bring? It is more about what I don’t bring. What I mean by that is I have become practiced at leaving my judgements and biases out of the conversation. I find that means I get better conversation as those I am talking to can be confident that what they share will be free from any judgement or opinion from me.

    I still bring empathy and just leave the judgements behind.

    • Hi Phil, Important contribution, I feel – to create a non-judgey place where folk can speak freely. That’s huge!

      I link this also to Alison’s contribution of open ears, open eyes & open mind

    • Hi Phil – I’d love to know how you leave bias out of a conversation and yet, still have a conversation. We’re all biased….aren’t we? Next time we meet you’ll need to tell me more, please.

      Cheers – Doug

      • Doug, Phil – the avid curiosity and the invitaiton to talk more – these are some of the things I see you bringing ( and I hope I bring ) but so what? What does this offer our wider L&D/ HR/ OD conversations in the UK and organisations?

  6. I always bring 5″4 of Portugueseness, ie, me, myself, and I. That’s the best I can bring to a group, conversation, dialogue, workshop, any piece of work I’m doing. There’s no point in bringing someone else or pretending to be something you’re not.

    I like to spark energy and action so always bring something bright, fun, colourful (usually neon marker pens). I bring “purple cows”, I draw, I encourage, I challenge and I say Thank You!

    I like to be daring and try different things. To my surprise, yesterday I came across with a group of people in Trafalgar Sq holding giant letters that spelt: CHANGE SOMETHING. It made me smile – thats me!

  7. Hi Jose,
    Loving you bringing you – fun, energetic and saying thank you.
    I want to know more about purple cows…… what?
    Fun as part of a contribution and challenge – yes. I can see how well these work.

  8. Hi Julie

    I think what I bring is compassion and empathy. At times I have been able to achieve extraordinary results with people and help them to shift their perspective entirely…but I always retain a very human element in all conversations. It is powerful, as well as being the right thing to do.

    What my boss values that I bring (as well as the above), is critical thinking…the ability to see past the processes and the chatter to view the end result and how to get to the best result for the business and the people. We undertook a very interesting and useful exercise as a leadership team where we identified three leadership traits that we felt that we brought and then did so for everyone else around the room. Fascinating to see what we valued in each other – often people are unaware of the real contribution that they make that is valued most by their peers. For some, it wasnt necessarily their commercial acumen that was most valued by their peers (although that was an undoubted strength) but the ability to make others laugh when times are tough or a supportive and resilient strength of character. It was a great exercise to do with colleagues you trust.

    • hi Alison – I’m seeing themes emerging through the blog comments now – humanity, compassion, curiosity, appreciation of difference, ability to challenge, but without hard judgement, a lightness of touch and humour…..

      Thank you for commenting and mapping what you bring – as we talked about in London, I was keen to hear more from the women in our HR/L&D & OD community.

  9. Hello Jools, somehow I missed this. Great blog.
    As Jose says, mostly how I would describe what I bring is me, all of me warts an’ all, and I’ll invite others to be there too with their warts and beauty spots. Their choice, no expectations from me.

    Focussed and yet flexible; making people feel easy was a description someone offered last week.

    • Hi Meg – there is beauty in ugliness and can be ugliness in what seems to be beautiful, I’m finding….
      and that need for focussed flexibility in organisations is massive. Good to hear from you, as ever. Your contributions are always generously given and appreciated.

    • Khurshed – I just love this. I hope I do something similar, though I feel I often lack the courage and commitment to be as edgy, as bold, as outspoken, as experimental as I sort of long to be…. and yet it’s little steps – blogging out, standing out, speaking out – that seem to make the biggest differences to me & others. I love watching friends, family, clients, colleagues stepping into bigger, wider spaces and just expand…….

      I like this as a contribution. Very much.

  10. This is probably what I’d like to be bringing. I probably don’t do this every minute of everyday but I hope l bring a sense of humour, a wit, a sarcasm and a blackened sense of the absurd to the office; I hope I bring a decent knowledge of the work of the artist formerly known as TUPE, I hope I can navigate an employment contract like a rally driver; my instinct is I have a pretty decent nose for the politics (small p) and the Politics; my gut tells me I like recruitment but hate recruitment processes; my boss tells me I can author pretty reasonable HR policies if only to set myself targets on how quickly I go about breaking them.

    I like to try and be a “why not?” as opposed to a “why, not” sort of person and I would like to be doing work that matters: not just doing matters that work, if you see what I mean. I’m told I’ve got a pretty decent antenna for the organisation but not always as keen an eye for the detail; a sense of what’s right and wrong and how to make better the latter as well as working damn hard at the former; I’m good at giving praise but hopeless at taking it; I don’t always like being the centre of attention but I do like to be within its immediate radar. Im likely to have an opinion on something if you ask me and I might give you an opinion even if you don’t ask. I will certainly have a view on who should go on the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia; the novels of Michael Chabon and James Ellroy; Batman comic books; crime drama box sets; Haribo sweets; the best Harrison Ford movies. I hate being wrong even if I say, out loud, “I’m happy to be wrong on this one folks”, knowing that some part of me is screaming and writhing in agony. I like people, what makes them tick and what makes them cross; I’m more concerned with the end, rather than the means to it; I’ve probably used the “work hard, play hard” phrase far too often because it makes you sound like a dullard. I work hard. I try to play when I can.

    And, yes, you won’t find me in the kitchen at parties; il be the one switching over the iPod to something dark and noisy and invariably metal of the heavy variety.

    There: that’s me.

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