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.


Picture the scene: You’ve had an idea. It feels good. You take the idea to your boss and he says, ‘This is good, but….’ And proceeds to tell you a bunch of reasons why your idea is in fact, not good at all. We’ve all been there, and experienced that sinking feeling. The word but, and the consequences of but are disengaging.

Why is this on my mind?

Last week I spent an invigorating Friday afternoon coming up with a storm of creative ideas with Liam Barrington-Bush, aka @hackofalltrades. It was a little like being in a two piece band – one idea riffed to another. In these early stages everything goes into the pot and we’ll spend a few days tweaking notes here, adding a rest there. Refining and finessing the tune. Liam and I are alike enough that we can resonate, and unlike enough that we can still find room for dissonance and the occasional bum note in our thinking. It’s great fun.

At one point Liam stopped me. ‘Doug, you just swapped a but for an and, and you’ve done that several times today.’ We chatted about the more expansive, invitational nature of the and versus the but and concluded that tough though it is, and beats but.

The next time someone comes to you for guidance, don’t close them down with a but, open the possibilities with an and. It’s much more engaging, much more fun, much more useful.