Cards on the Table

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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?


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