As London prepares for the Olympics to roll into town, the news today is full of the transport chaos which is set to ensue. Hearing about the newly active ‘Olympic Lane’ and the complaints which will doubtless follow, I was reminded of the poster, seen around the world;
“You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.”
I must confess to feeling a sense of loyalty at this time, both to London and to Britain. There will be many opportunities for Londoners to complain over the coming weeks, and at the risk of sounding like a toadying sycophant, I’m going to resist that urge. The world is watching and, as the saying goes, this is a brilliant opportunity to keep calm and carry on. In fact, I’m reminded of a favourite line by Mark Twain;
“The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right.”
Yes, call me old-fashioned. Friends of London and Britain have a world-class opportunity to decide what to say, and what not to.
I was thinking about road-blocks earlier this month. At lunch with a well-known foundation, we were asked to consider how we could get more social entrepreneurs helping the next generation.
Guests spoke of new platforms and the idea of harnessing the latest technology.
For me, there was an unspoken truth which, being shy and retiring, I chose to share, and ended up getting pretty passionate about.
Many people claim to be ‘up for helping others’, and passing on what they have learned.
Sadly, however upbeat their intentions, their day-to-day behaviour simply doesn’t reflect this desire.
Here are a few questions for them;
1) Do you regularly (really regularly) distil the lessons you’ve learned, the mistakes you’ve made, the people you’ve met and the organisations you’ve found helpful, sharing them online for anyone to read about?
2) Have you made any sustained effort to make sure that those insights reach the widest possible audience, by offering your views to better-read publications than your own personal or company sites?
2) Do you make yourself accessible enough to people starting out? If I Google ‘contact Fred Snooks’ for your name, is it clear to me how to get in touch?
3) Do you regularly (really regularly) make useful (sometimes spontaneous) introductions between people, especially those who are just beginning their career?
4) Do you make a point of sharing (especially using social media) every time you discover a useful article or resource?
If it’s a massive YES to all, then that’s fantastic.
I know it isn’t for me.
My hunch is that breakthroughs will come sooner through changes in behaviour than the invention of new platforms, however exciting.
If we are not connecting, we are being a barrier.
If we are not helping people, we are slowing them down.