Big idea landed in my head last week, crystallised in conversation with Ray Richards from Do Something Different.
Having done NixonMcInnes for about ten years, I’ve become accustomed to the reality that we can do very little right now that will impact the company’s performance right now.
In fact, it’s tended to be the case that what we do now, today, shows up as tangible impact six months later. Earliest. Sometimes a year later. Sometimes more.
The truth that I have very limited ability to influence my organisation right now is both scary and hugely freeing.
I love it because I know it is true, from first-hand experience. But I also love it because it lifts the lid and opens things up. I can get on with the now, freed by the belief that whatever comes up over the coming weeks is the harvest of seeds that were sown half a year or more in the past. (It’s all very Buddhist I know. But that’s OK with me too.)
This big simple idea was reinforced by Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, in his commencement speech at the University of Michigan. Dick talks about improv – about reacting to what happens in the moment and making bold, courageous decisions. It’s a nice talk.
He also says something great along the lines of ‘whatever impact you are having right now, you can’t see it yet’.
It relates to something in Systems Thinking about stocks and flow. I cannot immediately deplete a whole forest or immediately replenish a whole sales pipeline. Even with focus these things take time.
Yet in life and in business especially, we’ve gotten used to this addictive little lie that we can have immediate effects on the here and now. That there are linear relationships between inputs and outputs and that doing more of X and Y will lead to a very clear and definable Z.
My experience so far has been that it doesn’t really work like that. These things take time. And some of the consequences and outcomes are mysterious, loosely connected, and arrive sideways.
The thing I want to hold onto is this. Your impact has been delayed. My impact has been delayed. Or that’s what it really feels like. The reality is, it hasn’t – we’ve had an impact, it’s just we can’t see or feel it yet. But it’s coming. It’s coming.
Thank you for a great day.
If the job of TED is to spread ideas worth spreading, and the job of TEDx events are to reach further into diverse networks and geographies and expose more talent and reveal more ideas worth spreading, then I think the first TEDx Brighton was very fucking good.
I’ve heard different people say different talks worked for them – the beauty of different tastes and the cross-pollination of new ideas from other worlds – but for me the talks which gave me the most were David Bramwell’s talk on Utopia, Dr Judith Good’s talk on Learning & Technology, George MacKerron’s talk on Mappiness and Sarah Angliss’ talk on music and machines.
There are some thorough overviews written up by participants there on the day:
- Victoria Richardson
- Travel Blather
- Ros Barber
- Jodie Oliver
- Katie Piatt
- Erocdrah’s wicked little sketches – have a click around
And some excellent accompanying notes from fellow speakers Antony Mayfield and Sarah Angliss:
Isn’t great how people create such useful content eh, audience and speakers alike?
As a side note, it must be blooming hard to organise successful events.
Personally I never regret handing over good money for a great event and respect the job of organisers – so much prep, so much stress, people grumbling about wifi and coffee, speakers cancelling last minute, equipment suppliers forgetting to deliver the right kit.
So a peak of activity – one shot to get it right. And when it does – BOOOM! A high for everyone.
And then those magic unicorns that are fantastic events with no or a very low cost attached. Crazy cool. I’m thinking of Interesting, The Story. Stuff that good.
For me, TEDx Brighton was up there with these. And that was the first one – the prototype – and inevitably I imagine there will be things to roll into the next one, of which it sounds like there is already talk of…
So I’d like to say thank you – to Tom Bailey the producer and his team of volunteers, to the audience and other speakers, to the sponsors. The whole enchilada, Mother Nature and the UNIVERSE. Thank you.
And for me personally a massive thank you to my team – usually when I do speaking gigs, it’s a very solo experience from inception to delivery and the knackered journey home. There wasn’t a single person in our team who didn’t help with the TEDx talk – I did 3 practice run throughs (!) – yep, it was too important to wing it out without some proper PREPARATION! Loads of moral support and back up. It was cool to feel massively supported.
That event was and will continue to be great for Brighton. Thank you.
Suddenly, probably just to me, it seems like the world is awash with futurists.
Thinkers, futurologists, labs, institutes and ‘tanks.
But the other current ripping under this visible tide is the makers, the do-ers.
With the world spinning as it is towards a very different way of being I suppose we need both.
But when the revolution comes I know who I’ll want on my side.