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Euan Semple
Works at helping organisations, and more importantly the people in them, get their heads around the web
Attended University of St Andrews
Lives in Great Missenden, Chiltern District, United Kingdom
16,075 followers|323,934 views
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Euan Semple

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A shoulder to cry on

A lot of my time is spent listening to people sharing their challenges and frustrations. Lone voices in their organisations, who can see a better way of doing things, they get ground down by resistance and inertia. Knowing that others feel the same, and that people around the world share their vision of what is possible can be very sustaining. 

Just having someone listen helps. I can see them clarifying their thinking or stiffening their resolve simply through the process of articulating their thoughts and sharing them with someone who understands.

We don't often need people to fix things for us, we just need someone to help us work out what to do and find the motivation to do it. This is why a coaching or mentoring relationship is so powerful. Not the dependency model of old style consulting where you would pay others to come up with solutions and deliver them for you, but a way of building your own skills and insights and becoming better at using these to make a difference.  
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Oh yes...
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Euan Semple

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Just uploaded the latest edition of Shift. This one on Projection and Perception.

http://business-shift.com/podcast/2015/5/19/shift-episode-035-projection-and-perception
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It's been interesting to see the strength of response to last night's Facebook update:

"Pondering the possibility that reading more poetry books and less management books will bring about the changes we need to see in the world faster."

And not just reading poetry but writing it. I have long thought that good blogging is somewhere between poetry and essays. At its best it is an attempt to distill the essence of an insight and convey that insight as concisely as possible to others. 

The activity of blogging calls on the writer to develop a heightened awareness of their surroundings and to work out their reactions to those surroundings. If translated into effective writing this then triggers a similar process in others and sends ripples out into the world like lobbing a pebble into a pond.   

Developing these skills of acute observation, self awareness, and ability to convey ideas compellingly would appear to be key skills in the toolkit of anyone hoping to achieve influence in any context. 

This is why I still believe that blogging has enormous potential to help us sort our most significant challenges. 
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Girlfriends

At least as many of my best friends are women as are men.
This drew comment from one of my daughter's schoolmates:
"My Dad could never have friends who were women”.

This explains much that is wrong with the world.
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نساء رجال المهم الاخلاص
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Finding our voice

In conversation yesterday with a senior figure from business about why large IT projects so often go wrong we got talking about complicity, checks and balances, and ultimately the prospect of collective responsibility. Our conversation touched on many of the challenges we face in the modern world but we kept coming back to how passive people have become and how little dissent there is these days.

We rely too much on forces outside ourselves to dictate what we think, feel and say. Whether in the form of politicians, the media, or even the power of consensus around us, we defer to voices other than our own. We need to reclaim this right to think for ourselves and exercise this skill at every opportunity. We need to think more, think better, share what we think more, and work things out together. 

This process of waking up, finding our voice, and improving our collective understanding is the still untapped potential of the web and of blogging. This is what my work is about.

As polling day starts here and many of us struggle to know who to vote for other than the self dubbed "natural party of government", I am struck yet again how broken our current approach to democracy is and how far from our new found potential...  
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It just shows you how successful corporatism has been in creating docile consumers, and not aggressively engaged citizens.
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Airbrushed Reality

More and more people in the businesses I engage with are expressing discomfort with the work of their marketing departments. These people are spending more time online, they see what people are saying about their business, they are increasingly willing to engage in those conversations. 

But there is this unhelpful, shiny, airbrushed insanity, going on alongside. The glossy aspirational images, the disingenuous copy, the intrusive attempts to interrupt what we are doing to get us to pay attention to what increasingly just makes the organisation look naïve and untrustworthy. 

Did this ever work? Is it time they gave up? How can we help them to do better?
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Projection

The habit of projecting onto others things we don't like in ourselves. So easy to do, so hard to avoid. 

There is much to find fault with in the world. Much that is clearly not working. Much that causes tension and distress. 

How to respond without projection? Seeing our way without clouding things with our own baggage? Suggesting solutions without the need for blame?

Must try harder...
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So true!!
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Holding our organisations to a higher standard.

There are times when I have to think hard about working with some clients. They maybe provide services or products that I am not sure about or work in ways that I disagree with. I have limits and do say no sometimes. But for the others I justify my involvement in the following way.

If you have a big enough, mature enough, and lively enough internal network maybe when someone suggests sub prime mortgages and enough of you go "Really?" they think again. Maybe if someone proposes putting yet more sugar in your prepared food product and enough of you go "Really?" they choose a healthier option. Maybe if your organisation screws up, tries to spin the situation, and enough of you go "Really?" they do the right thing and take it on the chin. 

In my book I suggested that if our corporate behemoths are becoming harder to constrain from the outside maybe we could all play our parts in doing so from the inside. 

Maybe...
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Really? Yes, for sure...
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Euan Semple

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Eating Elephants

Clearly we are facing some pretty significant changes in our worlds of work. Partly driven by technology, partly by changes in society. 

But there is often an unfortunate revolutionary zeal about change. Out with the old in with the new. Get with the programme or get out of the way.

There is also a lot of theorising done about new ways of organising ourselves with firms like Zappos hailed as visions of the future. 

Much of this serves to put people off, intimidating them and building resistance. 

In contrast I am seeing more and more real change happening in client firms and it is happening incrementally, one person at a time. It is happening because things are being done differently rather than talked about. Problems are being solved and opportunities grasped. Deeper changes are happening as the consequences of these actions start to bite and people have to work out what to do about them.

The end point is going to be no less significant than the revolutionaries predict but how we get there will be gentler and more incremental. 
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Interesting that you are seeing it too.

Euan
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Dusk tonight. 
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Rough life right there! :) great shot
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It’s the little things

Just in the last week I have had to navigate miniscule file size limits on corporate email systems, a broadcaster whose staff don't have industry standard audio codecs, and having to complete labyrinthine forms in order to reclaim travel expenses. 

Thankfully, as a freelancer, my exposure to such mind numbing inefficiencies is limited but most people have to put up with this sort of thing most of the time.

I understand the need for procedures and controls, especially as organisations grow, but they become ends in themselves and those responsible for enforcing them become so remote from the people actually trying to get things done that the whole system is in danger of being dragged down by its own weight. 
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Real conversations with real people about real products and services

Reading [this article][1] from Azeem Azaar yesterday, and reflecting on conversations over dinner last night here at [The Retail and eCommerce Directors Forum][2] I am struck, yet again, how much opportunity there still is in companies truly engaging in online conversations with customers or business partners - and how few do. 

Most companies still hold the internet at arms length, whether through the controlled actions of their own marketing departments or, even worse, by using digital agencies many of whom are still stuck in the internet dark ages.

And yet their staff are increasingly all over the internet, probably having to try and work out if they are allowed to talk about work and if so not sure how to. Conversations about their organisations will be happening all around them. They are going to have to join in some time. 

I don't want to be a business's "friend". Remember Organizations Don't Tweet - People Do. I don't even want to be friends with people who work for the companies I buy from. But I do want to have real conversations with real people about the real products and services I want to buy. 

Your staff are my best chance of doing this. Why not help them get good at it and help you get closer to your customers?    

[1]: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-b2b-lost-opportunity-azeem-azhar?trk=prof-post

[2]: http://www.theretailforum.com
B2B brands lose a lead every single day on social media. Given the value of a typical enterprise customer, this represents a substantial lost opportunity.Social media is earth-shrinking, bringing people, ideas and opinions closer together.B2C brands across all industries, recognizing the value of these social havens, have invested heavily in leveraging the capabilities of social media to promote their daily operations. So why are B2B brands so fa...
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Have him in circles
16,075 people
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Education
  • University of St Andrews
    Drinking, 1978 - 1982
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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Management consultant, speaker and author.
Introduction
help organisations, and more importantly the people in them, get their heads around the web.
Bragging rights
Author of Organizations Don't Tweet - People Do http://amzn.to/xRYEHs
Work
Occupation
Management consultant, speaker and author
Employment
  • helping organisations, and more importantly the people in them, get their heads around the web
    present
  • BBC
    1986 - 2006
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Great Missenden, Chiltern District, United Kingdom
Previously
Strathaven - St. Andrews - London
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