The world turned this week – did you notice?

I think we will look back on this past week as a turning point.  And like most positive turning points, it arrived quietly.

This week we moved past a point where cool in American is Fonzi and Grease.  This week became the week when it is cool to work hard at school and to get up at 04:30am to do extra work if necessary.  This week, schools became a place where students explore opportunities and we as adults and teachers make doorways to bigger and more exciting worlds and put away treadmills that are pounded for no reason.

This week the momentary Acting President while Congress was listening to Obama’s health speech was a Nobel winning scientist.

This week it has become clear that sulking is not an option. Engage in intelligent debate about solutions. Negotiate. Find answers.

We will look back on this week as the point when the world turned.

I for one am very glad.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Plan Big Enough To Include Now: We Call It Mindfulness

I am tidying up my blog and I like this post that I wrote in January about Obama’s arrival at the White House.  Obama’s worldwind activity foreshadows how we will all work in future. Fast, decisive and above all, very dependent on our colleagues.

I am an Obama-fan.  You may not be.  But then it is all the more important to study the effectiveness of ‘his machinery’.  Read carefully!

For psychologists, coaches and aspiring leaders, I’d be interested in your comments on the four points of effective living in the networked age the summaries that I added in italics and how life has changed.

I’ve also highlighted in red the work of leading a huge immensely talented team. Since I wrote this in January, I have become convinced that management and leadership will not change much in the networked age.  It will just rest less on command-and-control and more on orientation, synthesis and coordination.  I’d love your thoughts.

Learning from Barack

Day Two, Barack Obama continues with his extraordinary pace.  With Hillary Clinton, on her first day, he appoints experienced Special Envoys to the Middle East and Afghanistan and Pakistan.  His Communications Director gives the first press briefing, and he tours the Press Room personally in a surprise visit.  He signs Executive Orders, closing Guatanamo, and reinforcing the Freedom of Information Act (or US equivalent).

Importantly, he has done all of this in public view.  For many of us, this is a welcome inclusion in the process of government.  For others, this is a useful preview of work, leadership and management in the decades ahead.

Networking our work

We are seeing networked government in action.

Obama’s Blackberry is its symbol.  He uses rapid, brief electronic communication, but his communications are neither thoughtless nor ephemeral.  Indeed, as President, all his communications are recorded.

Everyone in the network was invited in for their experience and professionalism.  They are able to assimilate new information quickly, point out what they don’t know, and act accordingly.  Not everyone is old.  His Director of Speech Writing is 27 and has acquired experience, confidence and judgment through successive elections.

The network moves with dazzling speed.  Though they were able to prepare for these two days, they have been moving office, moving house, and waiting for confirmation of some senior people.

Networking our work

All work is going the same way, and we have questions.

How do young people get experience to join in at this level?  How do we work with a leader whose vision is different to ours?

There seem to be 4 rules to this new way of living and working.

#1  Find our own vision

We have to find our own vision, build our own networks, and develop the mindful working skills to work with very skilled people in networks that are forever reforming and reshaping as they responding to world events.

Even the youngest among us needs to adopt a posture of leadership.  We all need to be bold enough to work out our vision and identify the best people to take us there.

#2  Act

Dreaming is not enough.  We need to reach out and be the bridge between people who are part of our vision.

#3  Be present

Personally and electronically, monitoring and nurturing involvement and direction.

#4  And because we need to be present, we can only pursue “one vision at a time”.

Whatever we pursue should be big enough and important enough for us to spend all our time with it.

Learning from the master

I am glad we can watch the President at work.  He helps me pinpoint 3 challenges to ask myself at any moment.

#1 Those of us who grew up in hierarchical systems at home, school and work, may find it difficult to imagine a system where we are all leaders and that we are actually guiding an entire network at the moment when ‘the ball passes to us’.

At this moment, I am holding the ball.  I am mistress of the universe. Quick!  What is my vision?  What do want for the world and what am I promising to work at with all my heart and all my might?

#2 Before the internet, we were able to compartmentalize our lives, putting on a mask as we went to work, and taking it off again on the way home.  In this interconnected world, like the President in the gold fish bowl of the White House, we need to live as we mean to live, wherever we are, and whatever we are doing.

Is what I am doing ‘so together’ that I am happy for everyone to see it?  If not, why am I wasting time and energy on it?

#3 And hardest of all, the old systems allowed us to ‘sleepwalk’ and blame the inadequacies of our lives on the ‘owners of the vision’.  There was no need to be fully present, and it was probably better not to be.

Networked work requires us to be mindful.  Just as we are part of a large fast moving network, today is part of a seamless stream of yesterday, today and tomorrow, and for today to play its part, we need to revere today and live it fully.

If this place that I have come to is not where I want to be,  what must I attend to fully to take me on my way?

Day Three

So today is Day Three.  The President will have another tight schedule.  He relies on the many competent people he has brought in to play their part without minute direction, but with minute coordination.

His role and contribution is to keep the common vision alive, to acknowledge and value the smallest contributions, and to ensure that the network gets rapid feedback about the way the world receives our actions, so we are able to respond effectively and appropriately in real time.

Our Day Three

Networked times have come and take some readjustment of our thinking.  It is good to watch Obama in a White House that seems to have developed a glass front.

Our role is to start to take part.  And our first step is to work on a personal vision, which is important enough to pursue with all our heart and all our mind, beginning in the situation in which we find ourselves today.

It is a big task.  I am on to it.  Are you?

ROI for Social Media

After the Bucks08 Social Media Camp, I found some figures on the effectiveness of Barack Obama’s on-line campaigns and came up with a rule-of-thumb magnitude figure of 65.

Here are some more numbers on how much Obama and Clinton spent on social media. I am not sure I understand them fully. Someone else might like to comment.

  • $1m to Google? For ads?
  • Nothing for consultants? Mmm . . . does this mean Clinton’s spend on social media consultants . . . mmm . . .

Social Media Mafia is probably more interested in what was done, when, where, by whom, etc.

  • The pundits believe that the Obama campaign has ushered in the internet age just as Kennedy ushered TV when he defeated Nixon.
  • I still believe the effect works in the opposite direction.
  • A new generation came of age with a new technology and a new candidate was in tune with the new generation and new technology.
  • After all, all the candidates have access to the same media. Clinton seems to have spent masses on social media experts (correct me please if I have the wrong end of the stick here).
  • McCain has been spending but not getting the same results either.

If I am right in my thinking, we have a spiral effect.

  • A new era arrives with new issues.
  • Sometimes, new times are marked by new communication technologies (e.g., TV, internet).
  • Sometimes, through the accumulation of demographic facts and figures (births and death rates), a generation is particularly large (baby boomers and Gen Y) and they have the numbers to influence politics and purchasing,
  • Sometimes, a politician arrives who understands the issues of the time, the new technology and the concerns of the young largish population.
  • Sometimes, the politician has done his (her?) homework and positioned himself ready to move into a party’s mainstream. And, sometimes, he has prepared himself by acquiring the management experience to direct a massive campaign

And then with this platform, the spiral can kick in, but it is not automatic.

  • The new technologies tend to be more democratic. Candidates are more visible and more accountable.
  • More democracy means more feedback and information to the candidates, who can interpret it and adjust as they see fit.
  • The stance they take is visible to their constituents
  • And thus the ‘dance of leadership’ begins

The spiral can go up, or down, depending on how our response (and non-response) is received.

And remembering that other candidates are doing the same thing and that the future is not known, the side that wins is the side that keeps it up, has reserves for the bad times and survives ‘events, dear boy, events’. In a competition, we have no guarantee of winning. Competition, yeah?

And what is our role as social media consultants?

  • Many of us concentrate on creating the platform: I’ll put that aside for the moment.
  • When I was training psychologists, I would tell them if you are a police psychologist, first be a police officer – live and breath policing. If you are in wet food industries, get to know the industry backwards, etc. We need to begin with experts on the industry we are serving and experts on the social side of that industry – who is in it, who communicates to whom, about what, using what, where are the coalitions, how do they form, what are the issues, what is the current groundswell? Let’s layout the social ecology as well as we can at the outset.
  • Then use SEO techniques to add to this analysis.
  • Have a forum where this information is fed into the leaders and digested so they have taken into account all that is known and knowable about the social side of their industry.
  • Be involved in formulating responses and align the social media responses to responses in other channels.
  • Raise the issue of timing and ensure that the forum is meeting sufficiently often to hear the quicker response that comes from social media and to formulate the reply – remember this is a dance – if our partner has to ‘wait’ for our response . . .
  • Coach on how our response has been perceived – was it liked and why? We must have the capacity to answer why and what would our constituents prefer?

We must be able to discuss the consequences of the preferred response on parts of the social fabric who don’t use social media, and, the consequences of not delivering what is preferred on the people who do use social media predominantly.

Metrics must tell us more about our people and the direction they think we must go. “There go my people. Quick, I must find out where they are going so that I can lead them!”

I’ll be at MediaCampLondon on July 5 2008.

Gen Y rocks!

What has Gen Y done to the English language?

There was a time that I would have needed an interpreter to understand my title. After three years’ teaching a large management class (+-900 students) on the South Island of New Zealand, I agree with Scott McArthur, Gen Y rocks.

Dispel the myths about Gen Y

  • Far from being out-of-it, as young sociologist Maz Hardey at York University attests, mobile phones represent levels of interaction that our generation can barely comprehend. Games, as I know from talking to young games designers, represent a level of social design beyond anything envisioned by the social engineers working in 60’s and 70’s.
  • They don’t vote.  But this isn’t lethargy.  It is like helicopters blaring out “Paint it Black” as they go into combat.  And Forces’ radio “Good morning, Vietnam”.   We are seeing a similar attitude and I suspect, a revolution.

Celebrating the new Gen

And about time too. Gen X was horribly out numbered by the boomers. Gen Y is as powerful as the flower power, baby boomers, the contraceptive pill, protests against Vietnam and a VW Kombi.  Gen X is also known as the generation without a war. Gen Y have their war. They are turning out for Obama.  So let’s see.

As for me, I think Gen Y rocks. The 21st century is looking good!