Anarchists in the Boardroom

I arrived at our meeting place, a small pub located in the posher end of East London. I was early and I ordered a pint of London Pride and slowly sipped it, waiting patiently. Then the door to the pub flew open, and in walked a slender, tall dude sporting a neat beard and a hat. I instinctively knew this was the man I’d been waiting to meet. None other than Liam Barrington-Bush, the man behind @hackofalltrades. We bought more beer and talked, and talked, and talked. Honestly I don’t recall the conversation in detail, but I know we spoke a lot about workplace culture – a subject that fascinates us both. Minutes passed like seconds and all too soon we parted company, agreeing to keep in touch.

Keep in touch we did, and last April he and I and a few others met up again to discuss Anarchists in the Boardroom. Liam is on a journey to help organisations be More Like People, a super catchy phrase and a great ambition. One of the ways Liam wants to help influence change is by writing and publishing a book titled Anarchists in the Boardroom, and the conversation last April was to help Liam with his thought process towards the book.

Here we are now in March 2013 and Liam’s written his book and kicked off an inspiring crowd funding experiment to help get it published. The campaign is off to a great start and has already reached its Tipping Point of $4050, so publication is ensured. But I’m keen to see Liam hit his full fund raising target of $7,700 so that he can deliver the project to an even higher standard. I encourage you to take a look at the crowd funding plans that Liam is coordinating and if you feel you can support him in any way I know he’d appreciate it.


Approximately 10 million soldiers died in the First World War. As a kid, and again as a young man, and again as an older man I have visited the site of The Battle of Vimy Ridge. Since my first visit I felt the desolation and despair of the place. It’s important to remember the high price of war, or ‘organised murder’, if you prefer the description given by the late Harry Patch. 10 million lives.

Approximately 7 million civilians died in the First World War. They did not sign up to fight, nor were they conscripted. Rather they were unceremoniously blown to bits, shot, burned, starved, diseased and destroyed. 7 million lives.

I choose to remember and I choose not to wear a remembrance poppy. I increasingly find myself in a minority. Even though we seem particularly bad at learning from it, I still think remembrance is vital. And I don’t wish to offend, but I choose to unite my remembrance of all the war dead from all conflicts, military and civilian alike. Whatever you think about the poppy as a symbol, it does not currently stand for that united remembrance.

No One Knows What They Are Doing

I’m a bit rattled. I read a rattling read by TheHRD titled The Disposable Consultant. Briefly, he compares the role of consultant to that of the expendable cannon fodder of war before going on to say that when a consultant is appointed to deliver a difficult project, it will fail because neither side knows what they are doing. The appointer will kick the appointee out, blame them and watch as they ride off to fleece work with the next client. I recommend you read the post for yourself (the beautifully crafted swear at the conclusion is great and worth a look in itself).

My first reaction was one of anger, then I laughed it off. I guess he’s had some bad experiences, and we’ve all had some of those eh?

A couple of hours later I re-read the post.

Then when it all goes badly, as it inevitably will (because you don’t know what you’re doing and neither do they), you blame it on them, turf them out and move on to the next one.

This time, something different happened. This time, I felt surprise. It will inevitably all go badly because:

you don’t know what you’re doing and neither do they

And what, exactly, is so wrong with that? Maybe I’m just lucky but I am often asked to get involved in projects with uncertain, even unknown outcomes. Watching something evolve and being able to help co-create it and learn from it is exciting. If you really know what you are doing and where you are going, and so do they – then a) how dull is that and b) do you even need each other in the first place?

I don’t know what I’m doing and neither do they. And so long as we both know it, that’s just how I (and apparently they) like it. How about you?