Two Friends, One Adventure.

If I could choose to be anywhere on the morning of Monday May 20th 2013, I would choose to be in Omaha.

Two friends, Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen are going on an adventure. It’s called The Frontier Project. They won’t be travelling alone, a band of courageous, restless souls will be joining them to blaze a trail. I predict they will have an exciting, challenging and valuable time together. I’m not generally afflicted by FoMo (Fear of Missing Out) but in this case I’ll make an exception, and though we’re many miles apart – I’ll be there in spirit.

Joe and Jason are kind enough to check in with me from time to time. Sometimes we share business ideas, sometimes we try and bust a few creative moves, our fledgling poetry slam fits nicely into this category. As nice as it is, we don’t just talk – I get real challenge and push back from my conversations with Jason and Joe. I find I thrive when I have an edge to sharpen my thinking on and Joe and Jason are a key part of that edge.

I’m planning some exciting developments with a trusted friend and associate to develop and bring the ‘Proceed Until Apprehended’ approach to work to market this Autumn, and In the next few weeks, ‘I’m Not An Artist’ will be available for you to experiment with. Would these possibilities be coming to reality without time spent with Jason and Joe? Probably. Would they feel the same to me as they do now? Unlikely.

So – if you’re in Omaha on Monday, get along to The Frontier Project. And if you’re not, then check these two poems on Perseverance for a hint of what you may be missing.

Home is where the HeaRt is


This blog post is part of a collection created by various Human Resources professionals. This “Carnival” of HR posts centres around the theme of HR and Home. To read the rest of the collection click here. You’ll be glad you did!

Home is where the HeaRt is

I live with my wife Carole (married for 20 years) and daughter Keira (aged nine at the time of writing) on the far flung outskirts of London, about 10 miles due South from St Paul’s Cathedral. I’m confident about that distance because in a previous life as an employee for a global telco I would regularly cycle into London to work. A great fun, exhilarating and slightly dangerous way to start the day. Fun, exhilarating and slightly dangerous. I think I would use those words to describe many great cities I’ve visited and worked in along the way.

I love London because it’s a fantastic mashup. Conflicts (as I write this a dozen or more seagulls fly past the window hounding a much larger heron bird off their patch) and contrasts fascinate me , and London is full of them. History sits alongside brand new, smart alongside scruffy, rich and poor, grey and colourful.

My work has many shades, many contrasts. From one week to the next I may be speaking in conference, facilitating, consulting, blogging, writing music, painting a picture. My work is experimental with a little professional troublemaking on the side. I’m close enough to the centre of London to feel the buzz, and far enough away to feel on the edge. As a consultant and facilitator, I think it’s vital to be close to the edge, where the real exchanges get done. My physical location, near to and yet not in the centre of London, serves as a useful reminder of the importance of edge to me.

Being so close to a big city I’m fortunate to interact with many smart people face to face. Alison Chisnell and Neil Morrison stand out for me as being two bright people always happy to offer constructive, critical friendship. And though I’ve come to know them both well in real life, it was in the online space that we first met. Like so many other great HR people I have come to know, there is a pioneering wave of bright energy and friendship to contribute to and learn from. Recently it was my privilege to Skype with Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt. I met Jason and Joe in Ohio earlier this year and I’m excited to be catching up with them again. Online, in real life, twittering, facebooking, talking. I’m a tiny part of a fantastic conversational community.

I love that I live just two minutes from a semi-rural track that takes me quickly out to the country side and trails on my mountain bike. Big city to the left, big country to the right. And I love that we are a short walk from Keira’s school and a short train ride to more history and excitement than you can shake a stick at. I love London, and I think it quite likes me.

To close this post here is a lyrical quote from the song Camera Eye, by Canadian rock legends, Rush.

Wide angle watcher

On life’s ancient tales
Steeped in the history of London

Green and grey washes
In a wispy white veil
Mist in the streets of Westminster
Wistful and weathered
The pride still prevails
Alive in the streets of the city

The song (which also references New York City) has played its way through my heart and head for almost thirty years. These words paint a vivid picture for me and I was delighted when Rush played this song on their last tour. I think it’s an epic piece and I encourage you to grab a cuppa, and enjoy this awesome, engaging performance.

United State of Mind

I’m well and truly back from the USA. The jet lag has passed, the laundry is done and I’m rapidly back to speaking English English not American English (pants, chips, taxis – you get the picture). And a few things remain powerfully uppermost in my mind about the trip.

The Flag

Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes is everywhere. To me it represents a powerful symbol for integrating the difference without losing it. I like seeing the national flag about the place, and I hope the UK continues it’s renewed interest in flags beyond the Jubilee celebrations and particularly the Olympics and Paralympics. I’m stuck on the whole republic/monarchy thing. I’m not a fan of the royal family per se, and nor do I want President Blair/Brown/Cameron/Clegg or whoever for that matter. But the flag can and should be about the people, and I think it was great to see it flying everywhere here through our sporting summer. Long may that continue – fly your flag.

The Welcome

Being on the road is great fun, and at the same time being away from your family sucks. Being made to feel so very welcome by so many people (and the pic above could have been soooooo much bigger), was fantastic. It felt so natural and it meant so much.

The Enthusiasm

People warned me about this. Those Americans – they’re so bloody enthusiastic! Actually it was said in a good way but I was left flying over to the US wondering how this enthusiasm thing would play out. What I experienced was probably closer to willingness, being more open to possibilities. As with everything you find a balance that hopefully suits you and I am an optimist by nature, but I’ve come back from America thinking even more determinedly about the yes than the no.

Video Diary

Because we like to take thing in in different ways I’m closing this post with a visual summary of my experience. I hope you’ll take a look, it clocks in at around 30 seconds so it’s not your usual post trip slideshow bonanza. And it has a rocking soundtrack.

Hot off the Press

I’m very excited to find out that in April 2013 I’m off to Louisiana to take part in their annual state HR conference. More on this soon.