Not a rant but a ramble….


This is a ramble. It might arrive. It might not.

In amongst all the politics copiously reported on TV, radio and rather annoyingly from the seat behind me on the train on Tuesday someone pointed out that in 1922 Britain was without a PM for four days. Between Cameron and May the gap was measured in minutes. A car journey from Downing Street to the Palace and the old guy is gone and the new woman is in the job.

I guess in 1922 the collapse of the Lloyd George coalition was comparable with the events of the last two weeks and it would certainly have taken longer back then to contact people, fix a meeting and so on. Four days in fact. I suppose these days if you can be “dumped” by text or Twitter you can set up a new government at the same pace using the same tools.

I wonder how Churchill would have dealt with Twitter? “We will fight them on the beaches” would have been a fine Tweet, and #neverhavesomany a great hashtag.

Everything we do is “now”. The technologies that dominate our lives are in the main “instant coffee” rather than the selected, ground and brewed type. We wait for email or a Tweet and jump to respond perhaps a little too much, and too quickly? Measured and considered are good in my book.

Some companies in Europe, giants like VW among them, are switching off email servers at 530pm and at weekends and are disabling employee email accounts during leave periods. Other firms are now requiring staff to do “no email Friday”. Maybe it does or doesn’t improve the quality of experience and improve work/life balance, I don’t know, but it might improve the quality of decisions and the tone of relationships if we just took a little more time.

In other organisations the recruitment of younger people who are “digitally native” is a priority. The aim is to enable the development of the organisation in digital environments more intuitively and at pace by populating the organisation, including the decision making ranks, with people who are natural users of all things digital and who will develop and grow a business’s products and processes in ways that will connect with growing number of customers and clients who look for services in those forms.

In a museum in London this week I saw the uniform that Nelson was in when he was shot at the battle of Trafalgar. The info on display said that he had been given his first command in his early 20s. He was killed at age 47 with achievements that saved a nation and shaped Europe for a 100 years done. Youth has always been a source of good ideas and new ways it seems. And where are we in local government with that?


One thought on “Not a rant but a ramble….

  1. As well as being a pithy wee piece that’s all rather provocative (in a good way!) Richard. E-mail is the new presenteeism – it doesn’t matter what drivel you might write, as long as you respond to 60 e-mails a day you’re working hard. Press “send” and – hey presto – your work here is done … it’s now the recipient’s problem. But are you working well though? It’s harder but much more rewarding to measure our work’s contribution to organisational outcomes and positive results.

    I’m not sure either what Churchill would have made of Twitter (actually, given his enduring spat with the BBC on the lack of airtime he felt they gave him, I’m guessing that he’d have loved it …) but I’m very sure that Dwight Eisenhower would have given short shrift to expectations of instant response to instant messages be they e-mail or otherwise. Just because digital communication can be instant doesn’t make it either urgent or important (much less both).

    Finding the “off” button from time-to-time is a very good idea …

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