In Prague

Work is work, regardless of where you’re doing it. Work is something you do, not somewhere you go.

I disagree. Sometimes the opportunity to do interesting and useful work combines with a chance to do that work in very interesting places. In the previous 18 months I’ve been fortunate to travel beyond London to Dublin, Sandusky, New York City, Manchester, Glasgow, Minneapolis, Newcastle, Chicago, Baton Rouge, and other great cities and places to work. I can imagine that for someone who is permanently on globe trotting mode, this stuff might get a bit boring, but not for me. I find it fascinating to work in different parts of the world, observing cultural and architectural similarities and differences.

Prague is now added to the list of great places I’ve worked, and this time I was fortunate to be there working with Meg Peppin. We spent an intense couple of days facilitating some fascinating conversations for our client, and we managed to squeeze in a couple of hours looking around the city too. Here’s a little bit of what we saw.

Life is all about mixed feelings. There are good days and bad days, I’m no different from anyone else in that respect. These last few days, they definitely go in the good day drawer.


The subject of connections has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve blogged about it a lot, and yakked about it a fair bit too. Without People – You’re Nothing.

And I’m not just a writer and a speaker, I’m a doer too. I love to help people connect and collaborate better, and I often find that opportunities to do this kind of work are even better when I’m partnering with someone.

For several months, Meg Peppin and I have been talking, listening, sharing and exploring opportunities to collaborate more closely. We think our work experiences are similar and different enough to add value and excitement to what we do for us and our clients. Perhaps even more importantly, we feel the values that we share make for a great place to work together from.

If you don’t already know Meg – here is a link to her ‘Halls are Made for Madness’ blog, and you can check her out on Twitter here.

It’s one thing to think and talk about it, quite another to make it happen. We’ve not been in any rush, patiently impatient, and a new client has asked for some help to facilitate conversations around collaboration and workplace culture. We have happily agreed to help and so it is that we (Meg, myself and the client) are really pleased and excited to have some interesting work to do together.

Currently it’s not our intention to work together all the time however we will share more news soon about where we think we can help people create the best opportunities to make work better.

Real Work + Proceed Until Apprehended = Collaboration

Keeping it Conversational

Having just blogged again about how email is a poor substitute for conversation, I thought I should check myself and see how I’m measuring up.

Last week started with a shot of extra Joe Gerstandt via Skype quickly followed by an interview with Jo Dodds for Engage for Success radio. Tuesday was spent talking with clients about culture, effective communication and collaboration. On Wednesday I got to spend time talking with Meg Peppin and the author Jamie Notter on humanising work, before flying towards the weekend in conversation with Kev Wyke about business development, and more client stuff about making work better and communities. I also squeezed in phone conversations with Julia Briggs and Dorothy Matthew too, and a few very helpful mini chats with folk on Twitter. The week closed on a high after Susan Avello offered to have a Google Hangout with me as a sneak peek on my contribution to the upcoming Illinois SHRM conference in August.

My session in Illinois on connected leadership will be a series of building blocks. I’m pulling together a series of stories, approaches, ideas and exercises and I’m going to lay them out and encourage people to choose the direction of the talk on the fly. A lot of my work is about how good conversations sit at the heart of good work, and by way of example I want the nature of the session to be more conversational and participative.

Having checked my email sent folder I’ve not done as well as I would have liked, and a few people have had emails from me where I think a phone call would have been better. Sorry if you’ve been on the less conversational end of things this last week, I make mistakes and I learn from them too – I will do better next time.

And I guess another thing I need to check is – was all this conversation needed? Would our week have been more collaborative, more productive had we not picked up the phone as often as we did? I guess I should have closed each of the conversations I’ve been involved in with those questions, so I can’t speak for everyone but for me, those conversations weren’t just enjoyable – they were absolutely necessary. Thank you to everyone I spoke with for helping make a good week, great.