Cards on the Table

Custom Made Business Cards
Custom Made Business Card

Cards on the Table

The coming together of a thriving online network. Connections developing into relationships. I’d been looking forward to our Is Bad Behaviour Killing Big Business knowledge share event for weeks. So much so that even when I got a call from the venue on the day to say there was a power failure and so we’d have no lights, I just thought – thank goodness for candles.

We had encouraged folks to design and make customised business cards to bring to the discussion. And we weren’t disappointed. In addition to the beautiful water colour cards designed by Vandy, we were treated to more unique ideas by Ian Price, Peter Burton, Peter Reid, Ian Sutherland and Quentin Kopp. I like them all and I’m particularly inspired by Ian’s jigsaw puzzle idea. We also received a lovely example from Esmé Davies from Itinerary Tours. Although Esmé couldn’t join us I wanted to share her creative card with you.

Esmé Davis’ creative business card

Long Distance

Among our guests were Ian James and Kerry Hastings, who had travelled down from the West Midlands to be with us. And Quentin Kopp journeyed down from Chesterfield. We were also joined by Shereen Qutob, and her husband Cristiano. I’ve known Shereen for over 18 months. We’ve met on a number of online networks but never in person. Shereen and Cristiano were over from Dubai on business in Europe and I was very excited that they chose to pop in en route from Paris to Edinburgh to spend an evening with us.


The Conversation Grid
The Conversation Grid – by Torch Light!

We deliberately didn’t set any agenda for this meet up. We used the grid model, so successful at the recent Connecting HR Unconference, and asked people to populate the grid with conversation ideas. We had loads of ideas and loads of good conversations. I didn’t do a very good job of keeping things on track but when interesting people meet other interesting people it can be hard to stop the conversation.

Down to Business

Here is the rough cut of what we talked about. Needs work? Absolutely and I hope that by putting this out in raw form, people will be encouraged to add to the melting pot.

• People behave to fit the system
• Do a good deed every day
• Can you balance organisational values with personal values?
• What is the opposite of honesty? Silence!
• Success is all about preparation and practice, talent is overrated
• Organisations know how to behave well yet they frequently choose not to. It’s often counter cultural to do the right thing. People who do often leave (eventually feels too much like hard work) and the organisation reverts to what it was before. Someone referred to this as the work equivalent of social dieting, love it!
• Being aggressively busy causes bad behaviour
• Unselfish is important
• Posed the question online asking for examples of inspiring/inspired change leaders. Got lots of me me me, I’ve done it, but only one recommendation of someone else doing it. Yet when we ask other questions we get more generous answers. So there seems to be a lack of inspiring change leaders – is leadership too homogenised these days?
• You get what you measure – so be very careful what you measure
• There is no such thing as an organisation, only people

Because You’re Worth It

This event felt like visible leadership (despite the dimly lit surroundings) very much in action. Thanks to everyone who stepped into the unknown and helped make this happen. We’ve run a number of events now but none quite as fluid, and easy going as this.

I’ve had some lovely feedback from our guests since the event and in response to a number of requests we will run another in Spring 2011 and hopefully build our initial conversations into something more, both at the next get together, and importantly, between now and then too. So – to those kind people who came along and invested time and energy into the conversation I ask you – what could we do differently next time? And to those of you who didn’t or couldn’t come this time – what might encourage you to join in second time around?

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

8 thoughts on “Cards on the Table”

  1. I very much enjoyed the time I spent with this team of like minded individuals. What I learned was that talking in this way is a completely underestimated method of learning & sharing. Sounds so obvious now but in reality we spend so little time creating events such as this. A big thanks to Doug for facilitating and using his very impressive skills to keep us in order.
    I for one will do all that I can to be at the next event & in the mean time use what I heard to improve what I do – thanks everyione.

    1. Thanks Ian – I’m so pleased you came, so pleased you participated and enjoyed the event. Look forward to seeing you at the next one.

      Cheers – Doug

  2. I am flattered though genuinely surprised that you liked my “card” and commented on it. Amongst the genuinely skilled and creative I don’ t see mine as being very good. The only slightly “clever” piece was that as a jigsaw with a picture behind it, it could theoretically bring people together at some point. Other than that it was a pretty mechanical execution of a single idea.

    More seriously, although I was late arriving there did seem to be some lively and interesting discussion going on and for me it was a chance to meet and engage with a set of people whose paths I would not usually cross.

    For me it was worthwhile, but then I know I handle ambiguity and uncertainty better than others. A completely open agenda works for me, certainly while it is in London and is an easy trip.

    1. Ian – thanks for coming and for adding your own brand of creativity to an interesting, enjoyable and useful session. Someone else remarked positively to me about your jigsaw idea too. Careful or you may have a fanclub on your hands.

      See you at the next one – here’s to completing the puzzle!

  3. Doug, thanks again for hosting such a wonderful event! We were chuffed to bits to have made it for the kick-off and really enjoyed the discussions. We met a lot of interesting folks and learned a great deal too! Mr. C and I even carried on the discussion topics en route to Edinburgh, a lot of food for thought 🙂

    I loved the fact there was no pre-planned agenda, it sort of organically flowed on the spot and one conversation led to the next and it all linked together perfectly. Above all else I was really excited we finally managed to “meet” in person! I sincerely wish you the best for the coming events and who knows maybe I’ll start something similar up in Dubai – we can even link up via video web and share lessons across!

    Shereen (Mr. C sends his best too!)

    1. Shereen – it was a pleasure to host you, your husband and all the other wonderful folk who pitched in to make the event flow so well. It was great fun.

      Your words about flow are much appreciated and yes, it was lovely to meet in person after so many blogs, tweets, ideas etc. Look forward to seeing you again soon and a Dubai event would be great fun – go for it! Can I come?

  4. Doug – let me add my thanks to you for a refreshing event that went against the grain of other conferences/networking events from which I think all of us are suffering a degree of fatigue. It felt as if I was among kindred spirits and I hope you will do something like this again.

    Love the tableau of cards by the way..


    1. Hello Ian. Given your expertise in the field of information overload and the resulting bad behaviour it can cause, I’m heartened by your note.

      Watch this space – news of the next event will be coming very soon.

      Cheers – Doug

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