Fill in the blanks

The picture above was taken last Sunday. It shows Keira’s innocent smoothie letters collection, there are a few gaps. This is a story about how friends and social tools helped fill in the blanks.

facebook two

Tuesday evening, the postman has been and there are two letters for Keira. Two letters containing three letters, if you see what I mean?

And so now, everything is in its place.

Thanks to Sara Headworth and Belinda Unasing for their swift generosity.

And the next time someone asks you “where’s the return on investment on social media?”, maybe you should ask them to talk to Keira?

Team Work

Today we’re looking at how teams of people can come together and integrate difference without losing it. As a result, they can create great power with and for each other, not over each other. Here are two good examples.

Last week a committed bunch of football supporters got together at a fund raising event to raise £10,000 for their club. The club will use this money to help fund a loan player for the squad until the end of the season. The group of supporters are known as the Tranmere and Wirral Football Supporters’ Trust, the football club is Tranmere Rovers. The event was promoted on national radio by the trust and club together, it was featured on the club’s official website and doubtless elsewhere locally too. The supporters trust succeeded and hit their fundraising goal. This interested me for three reasons:

1 – It’s unusual, and impressive, to see a football supporters trust working closely with the club they support. Too often these trusts are viewed as an unnecessary irritant by the club, and I know this has been the case in the past in this example. Now, differences have been overcome, and clearly everyone is working together for a common aim.

2 – This shows how powerfully people can unite in support of a cause, or brand, they believe in. The people who supported this fund raiser have lots of differences. Where they live, how they work, what they look like, religious beliefs will doubtless be just a few differences. Yet they’ve integrated those differences and come together to show visible leadership in support of something important to them.

3 – This proves that persistence pays off. As a lifelong Tranmere Rovers supporter and former member of the Trust I’m personally delighted to see that.

I had a chat with Brad Jennings this week. Brad’s an interesting guy, currently working with Vodafone. He focuses on the power of communication to create a branded employee experience which in turn will create a branded customer experience.

Brad spoke about the excitement that can be generated in large organisations around bringing the spirit of the brand to life. He spoke passionately (well what did you expect?) about:

How powerful it is when people come together in support of the brand they work for and believe in. The people who work in Vodafone have lots of differences both individual and the role they play within the organisation, so the goal is to merge those differences and bring people together to support something important to everyone.

Each employee loves the brand in their own individual way, so why not release that spirit and encourage employees to be brand advocates not brand clones.

Brad’s approach is about energy and passion to ignite the brand by integrating the difference without losing the difference. That’s powerful.

Smoking is good for you. Fact.


Productivity trumps presenteeism every time. Sure, input is necessary but output is what really counts. And we know that taking time out, little and often, helps us to stay sharp and to deliver. Here’s a little something that Katherine Wiid found out about and told me which may interest you:

A man by the name of Boice, has extensively researched the productivity of academics. Do you know that there is a differential of 7:1 between the best and ordinary academics?

Highly productive academics
* work early in the morning before the household gets up for 1 to 1.5 hours (maximum)
* work on one project at a time and working at it a little every day
* work in snatches of about 15 minutes and take mini breaks
* stop.

Of course, then they go into the office and attend to the busy-work of universities and the complementary work of teaching. In working regularly every day and STOPPING, they achieve 7 times more than people who “binge” work.

Despite this, we often see people running from meeting to meeting, oh so terribly busy. It feels like a competition to outbusy everyone else. What’s the driver? Fear? An attempt to make oneself indispensable? Whatever it is, a long day with no breaks serves no one well.

Which brings me to smoking. I was with a friend yesterday who suggested that maybe smoking is good for you? What!! He explained…

Most organisations I know barely if ever bat an eyelid when a smoker gets up, and pops out for a cigarette break. And yet they can be gone for upwards of fifteen minutes, several times a day. Imagine the questioning a non-smoker would get if once every hour or two they got up and wandered off for quarter of an hour. “Haven’t you got work to do?” “Aren’t you busy enough?” It probably wouldn’t be tolerated; peer group pressure at least would likely make the habit fail. Yet a much more dangerous habit at least brings with it the potential benefit of increased productivity. So you see it turns out that smoking is good for you.

OK I’m kidding, and so was he. It isn’t. What is much better is to create a culture where it’s not only OK to take regular breaks, it’s encouraged. So, if you are in a position of visible leadership. Take a break. Encourage someone to join you. Do it again, and again. Just enough that other folk know it’s OK to refresh and recharge for their benefit, and your benefit, and the customers benefit, and the shareholders benefit…