Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Back to it with baby steps

Back to blogging!

It's been a while since I last blogged, or at least since I last published one! I'm often thinking, regularly writing and occasionally sharing my ideas. But, I've been doubting that what I've got to say could be said better than someone else is already saying it.

But, I've made a decision. I'm going to say it/share it anyway.

Last week I lead a creative writing session at our wellbeing week, and I've been thinking since about some of the fab presentations I saw.
Several people hesitated to share their writing, but did it anyway. And there was lots that was really good. And more than that, it was inspiring.

To feel the fear and do it anyway is something I've tried to apply to doing things. But I've not been so brave of late. Last week I decided to up my game, and today I went for it. Maybe not in a big way, but who said it had to be in a big way?!

I ran a meeting that was a little out of the norm. I wasn't sure it would work, and some might say it didn't. It was good to try though - same is often too safe and too boring. Afterwards, my fab internal comms colleague Kofi Kramo complimented me about my willingness to do something different, to just to something. Whilst some are busy talking about the hold-backs and hold-ups, I (he reminded me) do something.

All these little experiences of late have lead me here, so that's it for now, I'm just putting it out there. My lessons of the last few weeks are to:
- allow yourself to be inspired
- harness what you've done before (you must've taken some bold decisions in the past and survived!)
- listen to your champions
- do something different or brace, but mainly...
- just do something.

It's not really even a blog I suppose, just some rambling, but it is a (re-)start.

And, it might just inspire you to (re-)start something. Please share if it does.


PS - I am not ruling out blogs on the creative writing session (it wasn't all plain sailing) and the madness of my meeting (when I'm over the madness!)

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Wrapping your messages - Internal brand

The brand is not the message, but it matters.

I've been working on an internal branding project and initial presentations have focussed on clarifying why we need it, given that it's a new concept in the organisation. I've found the following useful in explaining it:

Imagine that you've a really nice gift to give... would you choose to wrap it badly in second-hand, flimsy, grimy paper? Highly unlikely.

Now imagine how you'd feel receiving that badly wrapped gift in that shoddy paper, compounded by the fact it's unsuitable for you (or the occasion) eg happy 1st Christmas, green paper... when it's your 21st birthday, it's June and you hate green. Not good right?

I personally think it would be better to give a considered (not necessarily perfect, expensive) gift in especially nice paper as opposed to a nice gift poorly packaged in poor quality paper - at least you'd feel like you were worthy of some effort and you'd have the experience of an 'ooh' moment* when you initially see your wrapped parcel.

Now imagine getting a rubbish gift (by your definition), wrapped stunningly, wonderfully, beautifully in lovely appropriate paper. That's right, it obvious the wrapping doesn't make the gift any better.
And let's not imagine receiving a rubbish present badly wrapped in rubbish wrapping paper!

Would you be excited by a gift that looked like this?
My point (though I'm sure you've already got it!) is...

Internal brand is like good quality wrapping paper... It isn't the gift itself (eg the message) and it isn't pretending to be, but it should make you excited rather than nervous about what you're about to get/hear and reflect the quality of what you're getting into.

So, make sure your internal brand is...
  • Authentic - this is key as it has to reflect what the organisation is (or at least what it can demonstrate it is aspiring to be)
  • Polished - is it good enough in its own right?
  • Appropriate - reflecting the organisation, and for the audience (staff)
  • Consistent - in its application, as well as its quality?
  • Fluid - can it wrap a range of messages, and evolve?

Let's not forget, a great internal brand isn't going to mask poor(ly managed) messages... but let's remember, a great brand will enhance the experience and perception of who you are and what you have to say. And, your staff deserve that just as much as your customers.

Looks good huh! Wouldn't you be curious about what could be inside?
Does your organisation have an internal brand, and how do you ensure it's the full package?


Sunday, 31 January 2016

Month one 2016 - Learn, grow...

...It's been anything but slow!

January 2016 has been busy, busy, busy! So much so, that I haven't done much of the laugh bit in my blog title.

They say variety is the spice of life and its something I agree with, but I've recently given myself a talking to as I've been pushed to accept that there are times when I have to slow down or stop juggling, and focus on one or a few things.

Jack/ie may do 'all' trades but they master none. For me, the impact has been tiredness (yes, I know it's only January) and the dropping of the admin' ball. I can't do it all, well and consistently. That's the (re-)learn bit!

This month I've played all my roles, and there are a few professionally as well as personally.

As I firmly believe my personal development message begins with me, I'm going to challenge myself to slow down for Feb, and here's how I'm going to do it. I'm going to...
  • Think about why I do each thing
  • Look for the overlaps in what I do
  • Be better at using dead time such as train delays (though I usually work through those too!)
  • Practice saying 'no' 
  • Look to the future, rather than do the now by asking myself 'does all you're doing meet your long term aims?'
  • Stop thinking about how much I have on and remind myself I DO have a choice
  • Challenge others to do their bit
  • Ask for support - hence sharing this with you
  • Blog in working hours, rather than after an evening of reflection!
  • Look after myself more and take time out to rest, eat, have fun

I know I can do it all, just not at the same time! That's the growing bit.

Wish me luck... And laughs!

PS - How, if all, have you learnt, laughed and grown this January?