The 1,000 Day Manifesto

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Dorothy Sanders, Dean Fischer and Jonny Millar co-founded Maptia. As backpackers, they were seeking beautiful, simple ways to share and find memorable experiences of places.

In a three-handed presentation, taking us through 1,000 day of their start up, they took us on their remarkable journey from idea to launch, which took them from Durham to Chile to Seattle to Morocco; from Morocco to Switzerland to launch. They spoke of what they learned, the risks they took, the cost, at times, to their emotional well being…..

And at the core of it all was a dedication – will and a belief that sharing stories about the remarkable and beautiful planet we occupy is important.

At the end of the session , they set us a task – come up with our 1,000 day manifesto – what will we do and bring to being in the next 1,000 days.

It’s a thought provoking challenge and one I’m only just beginning to be able to articulate well, 8 days on…. I feel time may be ticking, people… but I want to give it proper consideration.

It’s a cool exercise – what would your 1,000 day manifesto be?

 

This is part of a four- blog series:

Intro: Happy Start Up Camp – Reflections

Reflection one: DreamBalls & Being Rich in Other Ways

Reflection two: The Need to Break Bread – Marketing by relationships

After the Ecstasy… The Laundry

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Greetings from a field in East Sussex. This morning I flew south, knowing that Scotland would remain within the UK, knowing that the people of Scotland had voted No.

I feel far from home.

After the frenzy and the emotion of the past weeks and months, after everything I have heard, the hours talking and thinking about it all……. What now? I’m guessing the Sunday Papers & blog columns are filling up with these words already… I’m on terrible signal and no wifi… So I’m digitally as well as physically disconnect…

It HAS to go somewhere. This energy. This fervour. This passion.
It could wreck or derail if it goes somewhere negative.
It could light up a future if the opposite. Continue reading

Getting Over The Social Media Wall

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(aka: Why I think if you work in L&D/OD you should be active on Social Media.)

So I’ve been thinking.

I’ve been in few conversations of late with folk who work in organisations and whose job seems to be about delivering/ improving people development or engagement or organisational culture. At the same time, I’m in conversations with those who are consultants, external experts, trainers, facilitators, coaches – folk who offer to design and deliver interventions for clients or into a client system.

And I keep bumping into some sort of Social Media Wall. Continue reading

Good Will Huntin’

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Good will.
It has an organisational currency.
I understand it as the thing that means folk will stay a little longer, put a little more in, keep the place a little tidier, a sense of pride, of liking being here,  of choosing to put our time and energy in to something collective…. that stuff that is put under the heading “intangible”.
It’s a bit tricky to measure (although, if you’re an accountant, I believe there is a methodology of sorts) yet you can often sense it, feel it in an organisational context. If you work in a place that is operating with a fat dose of good will – you know it.

Continue reading

Fighting Fog

6a015436eb4a84970c0192ac870d39970dThis blog has been a long time in the making.
There are times in my life and my work where I have the sense I’m fighting fog. Like somehow I’ve just lost a game I didn’t know I was in. Where I become aware that I’m feeling angry and somehow disadvantaged and I can’t quite work out how or where it has come from… where the rules of engagement seem to suggest everything is fine and normal and good – but my instinct is all is not right and I have an urge to kick back and bite…..
So when David D’Souza wrote his blog last Sunday on Sexy Women of HR– I found myself profoundly, almost comically angry… and I mean properly, arrestingly – WTF angry….. but I couldn’t quite find the words for or understand why.
And I’ve sat quietly with a question of what “that” sense of anger was…. and then a lot less quietly when I talked to David about the blog, my response, others’ responses… (In a highly emotional, pointy way after too much wine… Sadly my courage sometimes needs to be Dutch.)
Having processed it, what it comes down to, mostly, is this. There was something about the tone of the piece that made me furious.

Continue reading

The Thing That is A Bit Ugly

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I have a coach. I’m a firm believer in do as you would be done by.

I believe part of keeping any business sharp (and unhelpful assumptions checked) is to work with someone who offers a different perspective on the thinking and actions being played out. I have to believe that, or I couldn’t do my job.

Or rather, I have to believe that.. It IS my job. Continue reading

Dear Client….

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I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to work with you, if you’re up for it.

I want to be an effective, flexible,  trusted resource who adds value to your business and makes you look good.

I want to help you really understand the internal environment you are working in – and offer fresh eyes, new thinking and innovations that will take hold and be purposeful.

I want you to allow me to push you a little or maybe even a lot. You will tell me you know what works; let me understand and question that. I will tell you I know what works ; go ahead and challenge and question my thinking.  Then, let’s co-create what else.

I want to use some diagnostic and analysis to help you see your organisation in different ways – and for these to form the basis of good decisions, aligned planning and informed activity.

If the pace of change is too slow in your organisation, I want to help light up fires and get the energy moving. If you are battering forth with change with such rapidity that you are losing focus, drive or damaging your people, I want to support space for reflection. If you’ve got the balance about right – I want to be able to say “you’re already doing it, I can’t see where I’d add value”.

I don’t want to collude with you as a client – it serves neither of us well.

I don’t want to have to pretend to have all the answers – I have previously stated that I do not carry the Holy Grail on my person; please can we operate on the basis that this will always be the case?

I’m equally not trying to gather paid-days and wasting your time. It’s not how I operate – but sometimes, I’ll need to spend time on the matters you raise. It gets uncomfortable if you view me simply as an expense. If you can’t see how or what I would add, then that is a valid question.  For both of us.

I’d like you to have access to my network – I’m surrounded by smart, innovative freelancers, consultants and creatives who know things and try things and make it their business to stay at the cutting edge of what’s new and what works. I’ll introduce you. They are fabulous.

I’d like to not-jump through too many hoops. A procurement process that asks for a vastly high turnover is prohibitive for my business– I’m wee and wily – that’s part of my business model, to be agile, alert, cost effective and able to work quickly.

And finally, I want to not have to work with you for a while because the work we did together means I have rendered myself jobless.. .. but I trust the work we did together was good enough that we will do something new in the future.

How enticing.

For those who choose to run Up life’s Down Escalator

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I’ve slightly got back in the blog-reading swing this week. This morning, I read Being You is Hard by Neil Morrison. At the risk of detracting utterly from his point, the blog gave me pause particularly at the point of “some people have to walk up the down escalator” and then again with “never be afraid of being yourself”.

I’m someone who is drawn to walk up life’s down escalators.. actually, I prefer to run, to be honest – it means I get somewhere. This leaves me exhilarated, but in need of a breather usually. Yet as an escalator-runner, I recognise a paradox in myself. I know I’m pretty much going to stand out and despite my propensity to take the more awkward path, I’m also someone who is oft afraid of being herself and being truly seen. So I sometimes find myself a little torn.

Because folk are going to look at the person going against the flow, against the sensible path… and probably point a bit and say stuff (I know this, because I would too). So going on the basis that I can’t wear an invisibility cloak AND run up life’s down escalators (health and safety); I figure I end up faced with a choice: Be exhilarated, exhausted and seen, or be less awkward, less visible, less knackered and maybe just a little less alive.

You don’t get to stand out without consequence. That’s not how it works. You want to run up a down escalator? You have to commit to that action or you won’t get anywhere – and even if you commit, there is a high chance of falling over, of getting too tired & having to ride the flow back down to the bottom.

But if you make it all the way– Oh. My. Imagine that.

So you have to choose to go against the flow AND keep making that choice – and if you are a leader, in an organisation and you are pushing for change, for transformation, for a restructure or a re-navigation of “The Way Things Are Round Here”? You are going to be seen. You are going to be tested.

People will whisper. They will point. They will say you won’t make it, can’t make it. You might face sneering. Or outrage. It might tap into old wounds, insecurities and doubts. You may question yourself deeply.

But not everyone will question you– and that’s the point. Some people will look at your antics and want to join in. Some will ask you how you got up the down escalator and work out new and easier ways to do it. Some will gamify the process & have fun with the journey. Some will cheer.

The very best will walk down the up escalator beside you and yell you on and put their hands on your back to push you forward every step of the way

But at the core? At the heart of whatever reaction you have evoked and provoked? I reckon you end up with a few things:

You made your choice to be yourself.

You broke ground for others to follow.

You know exactly who has your back.

So for those who choose to run Up life’s Down escalator, I say this:

Pick your battles, then run at them hard; understand that invisibility isn’t an option, given the choice you made; love and thank the folk who put their hands on your back.

And smile to yourself – because you did it.

 

Image of the Copenhagen Metro – by Bill Lancaster

Say

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I have Bloggers Block.  (which somehow sounds less significant than writer’s block, weirdly)

This would not be news (and arguably still isn’t for most folk) but for the delicious irony that 14 days ago I handed in 40-plus pages of a dissertation entitled: How do I sound? Finding my voice; showing up in organisations and life.

When my voice starts to falter. I pay attention these days. I pay very careful attention.

My story is I lost my voice for a while – I left organisational life to become a freelance consultant and lifestuff happened at the same time (as it has an annoying habit of doing) and I found myself unsure about who I was, what I offered, what I stood for… I was mean to myself about how I sounded. Really mean. As in derailingly so.

And slowly I realised I couldn’t speak well – couldn’t articulate what I actually thought to clients, in my family, even at dinner with a group of almost-strangers one evening I found myself agreeing with stuff that I fundamentally questioned. I was “faking good” left, right and centre, pretending I was alright, denying I was afraid that I wasn’t a “proper” consultant when everyone else seemed to know what they were doing, turning up at friends’ birthdays wearing a big smile and neatly avoiding any conversation that would scratch my veneer. (I could give out tips on how to appear present without actually showing up at all, if I thought those tips were in any way useful or purposeful) … and my soul was shrivelling up, I retreated deep within myself, locking off my ability to speak my own words. I got very small.

Honestly? It is shit when you can’t speak. Apologies for the vernacular, but I’m saying what I mean here. Voicelessness is deeply, annoyingly, frustratingly terrifyingly, soul-destroyingly rubbish.  I don’t know how else to describe it. When I was a kid, I remember that saying “shut up” was deemed to be really rude. Now I’m older, I get why:

Shut up.

Close off.

Lock away.

Don’t speak.

Don’t be in the world.

 

It’s insidious.

So I’ve been working to get my voice back. To speak up and speak out – on paper, via the blog, on Twitter, a little Linkedin Group discussion stuff, a little Facebook Ta Daaaah-ness. I’m working to be frank and clear in my family. I’m trying to be more open and honest with clients – saying what I see and feel with authenticity and care. I’m experimenting – what happens if I say?

I don’t mean I’m experimenting with saying every tiny thing that comes into my head. I’m not into over-sharing or being casually cruel through sharp-end “honesty” – but if you catch me relaxed and full flow and these days I err toward the “this is how I see it” over the “hmmm… well.. I can see what you mean”… and voicing yourself comes with a different set of challenges and responsibilities from those posed when you are mute.

Less said, soonest mended and all that… but I’m learning

So I am denying my bloggers block. I’m refusing to cave into my fears that I’m not writing cleverly enough, or not making some decent, massive, organisational/L&D/ HR point and therefore somehow I ought not to be blogging under a professional guise.

Because part of what I do now, is get folk to say. To speak or write or draw or snap images on phone cameras… What IS it that you are not saying – the thing that grips you deeply and holds you silent?

Bloggers block?

Who, me?