The Web Changes (nearly) Everything…and what to do about it…

The web has changed (nearly) everything.

BloggersTweetersPatient OpinionFill That Hole and so on…the web is full of people’s opinions, experiences, ideas and beliefs about you, your organisation and your products and services.

It is far more likely that we will read about what you do in a piece written on the web by our peers than a piece written by your Press Office or PR agent on your website.

We have learned to recognise and respond to authentic voices that want to converse.  We are increasingly immune to your sales pitches….

In this one day workshop we will explore exactly what has changed because of the web and how.

This will not be a day for technologists and web geeks, but for communications professionals, service managers, business developers, strategists and others who are wondering how to manage perceptions on the web and use them to build a better business.

We will not be looking in any detail at the specifics of particular social media platforms or web sites but we will be examining how the new information that it surfaces can either kill or cure an organisation.

We will then look at practical actions and strategies that will help to re-position you effectively in the web enabled world.

Remember:  your customers and service users know more about your products and services right now than you do.

And whether their experience is good or bad, increasingly they will use the web to tell people about it.  The only question is, once you accept and understand this, how do you respond?

Who Should Attend?

This workshop will be useful to anyone who is coming to terms with how the web is shaping their business and how they need to re-think strategy and communications as a consequence.

Whether you work on the delivery and management of a public service or in the private or ‘third sector’ our promise is that  this workshop will provide yo with practical ideas about how to make the most of the new web2 world.

What we will cover:

  • Why people listen to the web, and how you can too…
  • When a story breaks – how should we respond?
  • Why SHOUTING on the web won’t work – how to engage in polite yet powerful conversation
  • Finding your voice and speaking your truth
  • Moving from online to offline – what to do when you actually meet the online community
  • Dozens of ways in which the web changes everything and how you might respond as a result

Workshop Leaders

The sessions will by led by some of Leeds most influential and experienced bloggers, tweeters and social marketers.  By people who care passionately about the web, good business and civic society.

So far the list includes Mike Chitty and Phil Kirby – but is likely to grow!

If you fancy lending a hand in the design and delivery of the workshop rather than coming along as  participant, or if you have any questions then please do get in touch.

Workshop Costs

£200 per person plus VAT and booking fee.

Just 10 early bird tickets are available at £150 per person plus VAT and booking fee.  Early bird ticket sales end when all 10 have gone or on 31st September.

Grab an early bird ticket while you still can: http://webchangeseverything.eventbrite.com/

If you would love to attend but can’t afford to then drop me a comment and I will see what we can do….

The Internet is a Completely Different Culture…

The genius of muppetry.

Marketing Wisdom from David Mitchell

Complexity from Simplicity

This video provides a useful and at times very beautiful introduction to the topics of complexity and emergence – which offer us a very different way to think about our organisations and how we manage them.

and this one takes the journey a little further:

If you want to see how you can use these ideas to improve your leadership and management then do get in touch.

Conducting and Leadership

Find yourself half an hour and wathc ths wonderful video to learn about leadership from conductor Itay Talgam.

Looks at various conducting styles and teaches profoundly while entertaining!

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Carmine Coyotes Hits Nail on Head – Again

What is the true value of creativity to organisations?

Just read this post!

And then reflect on what you do to suppress or promote creativity.

Remember that your team is a perfectly evolved repsonse to YOUR management style.

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Change is Good

I have just come across a really good online video, thanks to Phil Gerbyshack, called Change is Good.  It seems to sum up so many of the principles that I try to teach people how to practice in my PMN workshops.  (There are still someplaces left on Giving and Getting Great Feedback on 20th May in Leeds).

The film is only a couple of minutes long but contains so many great hints, tips, reminders and pointers to profound truths that should have immense implications for personal and organisational change.

Why not show it at your next team meeting and see what reactions, suggestions and feedback it elicits.

The video has a soundtrack – but still works if you are not sound enabled!

Change Is Good – The Movie

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BGT Still Providing Management Lessons

One of my very early posts featured Paul Potts on Britains got Talent.

Well BGT proves itself to be the reality show of choice for the progressive managers looking to learn.

Forget The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den.  For lessons in authenticity, body language, hidden talent, and managing expectations.

Watch the video on youtube here.

Conscious Capitalism

I have been watching a movement develop over recent years called ‘conscious capitalism’ or ‘conscious business’.  It provides a different take on what it means to be a ‘social enterprise’.  The idea is being pioneered by amongst others, John Mackey, CEO of Wholefoods Supermarket.  In a recent speech he says:

A Conscious Business is one which has two major attributes that define it:

  1. It has a deeper purpose beyond only making profits. Just like individual people by following their hearts can discover their own sense of deeper purpose, so can the business enterprise. I believe that great businesses have great purposes that inspire them to higher levels of success. Think for a moment about some of the greatest businesses in the world and ask yourself whether they exist to fulfill a greater purpose beyond only maximizing profits. Certainly Apple does, driven by its intense desire to create “insanely great” technology which transforms our lives in positive ways. Clearly Google does too with its passion for discovery and desire to operate an ethical company. One of the best examples in the world is Grameen Bank in Bangladesh founded by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus, which exists to end poverty in Bangladesh and throughout the world. Every business has the potential to discover and actualize its higher purpose—it has the potential to become more conscious.
  2. The Conscious Business also understands the interdependency of all of the major stakeholder groups—customers, employees, investors, suppliers, communities, and the environment—and the business is managed to consciously create value for all of these major stakeholders. Instead of viewing the stakeholders in terms of win-lose relationships with conflicts of interest dominating their interactions, the Conscious Business understands that there is a harmony of interests between the stakeholder groups and that by working together greater value can be created for all of them. At Whole Foods we understand that management’s most important job is to make sure the team members are well trained and happy at their work. The team members in turn understand that their job is to satisfy and delight the customers and happy customers result in happy investors through the prosperity of the business. A virtuous circle is created with all of the stakeholders flourishing together.

Who will create the Conscious Businesses of the 21st century—businesses that have deeper purpose and are managed consciously to create value on behalf of all of the stakeholders?

John Mackey, May 2008

This feels to me like a much more coherent, honest and powerful approach to making business work for the planet than cleaving it along  ‘social enterprise = good; for profit = bad’ divide.

Of course words are relatively easy (although John Mackey has found that words have got him into lots of how water in the past.  We have to judge the movement by its achievements.  But I am hopeful.

You can read a much fuller paper by John Mackey called ‘Conscious Capitalism’ here.

Twitter and the Progressive Manager

Over the last couple of weeks I have been checking out the latest (?) web 2.0 phenomenon that is twitter.  (As I write these words I am so aware that at some point in the future, like  a week on Thursday this will seem so very dated!).

I mean really checking it out.  Giving it  a thorough workover, experimenting with it.  Seeing if I can use it for anything helpful and productive.

And I love it!  Well, most of the time.

Twitter is a simple blogging site with one very severe restriction.  Each post has to be less than 140 characters.  That is about two short sentences.

Check out my twitter page here www.twitter.com/mikechitty to get a feel for it.

I can choose to follow peoples ‘tweets’ and they can choose to follow mine.  Each time someone I follow tweets – I can see what they are up to.  If they bore me or aren’t relevant then I stop following them.  If they are interesting, relevant, entertaining, resourceful or in some other way they bring colour to my day then they stay on the follow list.

Easy to set up and addictive to use, already twitter has helped to me connect with a whole bunch of people that I would otherwise not have found.  A Llama farmer in North Devon who is passionate about small business; a sheep dog handler in Northamptonshire who loves facilitation; a rugby loving family man from Exeter who earns his living trying to make local strategic partnerships work. I know more about the workings of the #uktrains than the fat controller.

All of these and many more have provided me with information, insight and opportunities.  I am currently following about 200 people and being followed by a similar number.  As I get more efficient in using twitter I will be able to follow more without it taking more time as I get better at filtering and searching for stuff that connects.

Essentially I use twitter as a flow of information and intelligence into me.  It is a great tool for what the strategy bods call ‘environmental scanning’.   I learn a lot of very useful, hard edged stuff that helps with work.  But I also learn some very human stuff that keeps things compassionate and warm.  I know that one of  my fellow twitterers has a son who is hospitalised with asthma at the moment, I know another has just relocated from Seattle to Washington DC.  I learn about the human being as well as the professional which, while it might annoy some, I love.

I am also followed at the moment by a couple of hundred people.  Some of these just follow anyone.  The more you follow and are followed the better is one viewpoint.  I am more discriminating.  I only follow people whose tweets work for me!  Some are following me because they are interested in my work, my ideas and what I am doing.  Some follow me because each tweet acts as a little nudge – perhaps reminding them of something they learned from me.  (I am considering set up a specific PMN account to tweet daily reminders about the power of 121s, giving feedback, coaching etc).

Having a community of followers, albeit small but perfectly formed is very flattering.  And another useful little community for me to test ideas on, ask for help from (yesterday I got a great response for requests for good online whiteboards that allow me to co-create and talk about diagrams with others on the web!) and generally commune with.  A plea for examples of social media being used to good effect in community development has unearthed several leads for me to explore.  Another twitterer has put me in touch with a consultancy looking to showcase great enterprise projects.  As a marketing tool, twitter is working for me.  It  does takes time – I reckon I spend an hour a day twittering – but it doesn’t feel like work – and it ‘fits’ wonderfully into the spaces between bigger pieces of work.

At the moment the twitterverse seems to be overpopulated with techy types. Twittering about twitter the way that bloggers used to (and still do) blog about blogging.  You can always ‘unfollow’ them.  But there are also different themes emerging, such as:

  • How can we use web 2.0 to get better at what we do – whether that is management, education and training, providing services for mental health, starting businesses, researching markets or whatever.
  • How can we use web 2.0 to engage more people
  • What role can the web play in community capacity building, economic and social development.

These themes engage me.  Knowing about them helps to pay my mortgage.  IT is not all about web 2.0 – but if you are not thinking about how web 2.0 impacts on what you are trying to do in life then I think you are missing a trick.

So for the manager twitter can:

  • improve communication with the team, peers, customers and the competition
  • help get early warning of problems and opportunities
  • portray a more human and rounded face of you and your organisation

So at the moment twitter gets a big thumbs up.  I won’t be deleting my twitter account just yet.

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