The Web At Work

A lack of restraint

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. - Howard Thurman

This line was quoted by Flemming Funch this morning in Facebook and it got me thinking about the nature of change. How much we all try to change other people - whether our family, our colleagues or our staff. But we never, ever succeed. No one has ever made anyone else change. They always have to decide to change themselves at some stage. And why do we change? Because we have seen the possibility of being better. Happier, more effective, more successful. Whatever it is we have seen something in someone else we want to emulate.

The more someone berates us, finds fault with us and attempts to bring about a change in us the more we dig our heels in. And yet seeing someone being the way we want to be can make us change in an instant.

The prevailing business culture in most organisations - mature, restrained, un-selfaware and often aloof - is the last sort of thing that is going to make any of us want to change.

We need more people alive, awake and going for it - whatever it is!

Mass illiteracy

Are those who espouse the primacy of face to face communication really just hiding the fact that they are illiterate? I mean this in the sense that they are not very comfortable  expressing themselves in writing. Most people don't really have much experience of putting thoughts down "on paper". Not many people keep journals, letter writing isn't what it once was, and business documents are really a very small and undistinguished subset of what is possible with the written word!

Just wondering ...

The real blogging revolution

Another quote from Simon Parke which sums up for me the real power of social media:

.... after most revolutions, only one more thing is required: a further revolution. There is no system of government that can improve the lot of unexamined lives. Unexamined lives are asleep to all things. Such lives frequently know what they do not want, but do not know what they do want. So they may cry with passion and power, 'Reform the system!' But they can never improve the system.


Revolutions can execute the king. But they cannot execute transformation. So we are not concerned here with political revolutions. Rather, we are concerned with the more significant revolution of self-observation. Once we have recognised and greeted manipulation, fear, control and judgement, we can begin to say goodbye to them.

from The Journey Home

Killing songbirds

Following on from my previous post about fear I re-read this passage in Simon Parke's wonderful The Journey Home:

Imagine if I murdered someone. Perhaps I would then drive their body at night to a lake: I would then weigh it down with stones, and throw it into the depths. The body sinks, and the water returns to calm. And as the days, months and years pass, I begin to believe that I have got away with it.

But twenty years later, I am driving alongside that water with my son. My son turns to me and says what a wonderful lake it is. Outwardly I agree. But inwardly I die. For I know what lies beneath the surface.

We die inwardly at everything we cannot bring to the surface.

I have had a recurring dream about doing something very similar - murdering someone, believing I had got away with it, hiding it so effectively that even I forgot, and then when I wake from the dream each time I am left wondering if it was in fact a dream or a deeply buried memory. [My confession of this in such a public place is an expression of my belief that this is in fact a dream!]

When a youngster I was wandering in the fields behind my house with some friends. We were all carrying newly purchased air guns and I had in my hand a pistol. In the sky above us appeared a skylark and without really thinking I took aim and fired. Against all the odds, in such a huge sky, with such a small target and ineffective gun, I hit the poor thing and killed it. I have never since been able to hear the wonderful sound of a skylark without being wracked with guilt.

We all hide the bits of us we don't like or even aren't sure of and kill our own and other people's songs. How many of your own dreams are you going to bury today or how many other songbirds are you going to kill in the office?

Reciprocity and respect

Martin Weller today remembered and tweeted about a fine post of his on the subject of reciprocity and how we build and maintain learning networks.

Reading it made me realise what is wrong with much of the corporate use of social tools - namely the lack of respect shown to customers.

Reciprocity relies on mutual respect. When you are treating me as a statistic, or worse a target, I don't feel respected and have little inclination to reciprocate.

Why should I re-tweet your tweets or like your Facebook page when you won't even tell me your name?

E to C

I have always struggled with "B to E" or "B to B" or "B to C" and the way these phrases are bandied about almost aggressively by people wanting to show how businesslike and in the know they are. For a long time I had no idea what they were on about!*

I am currently writing a chapter for a book on what I have called staff advocacy. Cut out the middle men, let your staff talk directly online with your customers. They are anyway but have to pretend they are not or do so with only partial information. Why not accept this is happening and make a virtue of it. Imagine - real conversations between real staff and real customers!

I reckon E to C is the way to go ....


*They refer to communication between Business to Employee, Business to Business, and Business to Customer for those as unenlightened as I was

Every journey .....

I am often struck by the way people circle around social media in business. They read case studies, write strategies, spend loads of money on tools - but when you ask them if they blog you get a blank look.

Part of me knows you don't have to have done something yourself to manage it. I took on the management of fifty film and VT editors many moons ago having come from radio and don't believe I was the worst manager they had ever had. I also have clients who are helping their organisations adopt social tools very successfully but ..... part of me still has a nagging doubt about why people don't get their hands dirty and use the tools themselves.

I recently tweeted "Social Media 101 - put your own hands on the bloody keyboard and write something!" and I reckon until you have done so you can't fully grasp the magic of what these tools make possible.

What do you think?

The Web At Work

Many experts advise that without a specific theme you can't be successful at blogging. I am not so sure. I have always wanted this blog to be a varied reflection of the things that interest me. The bloggers I enjoy reading the most may have a predominant area of knowledge but they also allow various aspects of their interests and lives to be reflected in their writing.

As I began to think  about writing more frequently and more specifically on the use of the web for work I started off deciding to set up a new shiny, focussed blog with loads of "information products" and all the currently fashionable ways to package and sell information to others.

But then I thought no. That is too spammy and impersonal for me. A bit like my decision not to call my company some corporate sounding name to give the impression that there was more than just me behind it.

So. I am going to write more often and in more of a "how to" form than I have in the past but I am going to do it here on my blog.  I have set up a category called "The Web At Work" and will mark all these more focussed posts under that topic so people can pull them all together.