I’ve been writing a weekly email distributed newsletter: commentary on my travels and reflections, as well as various contemporarly news stories. I’m sharing occasional copies of the newsletter here on the blog.
Captain’s Log: Issue 12 – Culture, Grammar, Trust
I’ve been working in Sweden this week, presenting a series of sessions at a Nordic Defence conference, primarily around Social Learning in military contexts, and the wider shifts in power and control in the Social Age. A lot of my thinking has been around the social dynamics of community: motivators to engage, the forces that moderate or amplify stories, where the energy for growth comes from, how wider social forces have eroded the formal power of organisations, and even nations, and the emergence of new organising principles: engaged global communities of ideas.
Around the conference, I’ve been sketching out some new ideas for a ‘coffee shop book‘ on Trust: the idea is for it to be a reflective space, literally a sketchbook, where the illustrations create the scaffolding and the space for you to explore and capture your own thoughts on the subject. It’s intended to tie into the Landscape of Trust research: not as a data gathering tool, but rather to encourage individuals to reflect, and to create different ways to explore the subject, perhaps through art as well as words.
I’m considering distributing the Sketchbook as a paper and digital Zine, that people complete themselves, and then share photos of their completed exploration as a way for them to share their story.
In the News
Gathering sources on trust
I have no answers about Trust yet, as it’s early days for the research, but I’m collecting articles and perspectives to inform what will probably be a Trust Handbook that I’ll write next year.
Please feel free to share any great articles or work that you come across!
Challenging the lethargy
I had the pleasure of meeting John Timpson last year: I loved two things about how he challenged traditional thinking. First, he was unafraid to simplify and, secondly, many established HR people are horrified when I say how he did it. Recruiting, the simple way:
Cooking up Community
This says it all: a socially engaged brand, able to outcompete the bigger players, without even recognising its own constraint. Large organisations should beware…
I’ve written around three core areas this week: ‘Reflections on Iceland’, ‘Organisational culture’ and the ‘Sketchbook of Trust’.
The six articles on Iceland explore facets of the expedition: from considering permanence and transition, through to reflections on islands as microcosms of wider society.
In ‘The Grammar of Culture‘, I build out some thinking that I first explored in conversation with Sae Schatz at the conference: what are the mechanisms through which meaning is created and held within culture? I look at four aspects of this: ‘grammar’, ‘artefacts’, ‘totems’, and ‘shadows’, reflecting the attributed and intrinsic meaning. As is often the case, I find that when one gives reflective time to seemingly simple concepts, they blossom into deeper fields of exploration.
Finally, I’ve shared five initial images of the Trust Coffee Sketchbook. It’s just a fun exploration of an idea at this stage, but, once the ‘Social Leadership 100 days’ book is out, I may crowdfund it and actually produce it.
The Landscape of Trust 12%
I’ve kept a focus on the Landscape of Trust research: we now have 113 narrative accounts, and will start some very (very!) preliminary analysis in the next week or so.
I’ve had a real focus on setting up Research Partner organisations: entities that will run a dedicated cohort in parallel through the research, allowing them an early chance to explore the subject, but also to baseline themselves against the wider picture: get in touch if you are interested in being a Research Partner!
Finally, through conversations, I’ve become quite interested in aspects of gender and trust: do women tend to trust other women more, or the same for men? I have no hypothesis around this, but there does appear to be a strong gender component in the early responses.
I will share regular updates on this: you can sign up here for the regular newsletters if you want to follow the work closely.
What I’m thinking about
Working with the military this week has had me thinking about evolved power, the relationship between social systems and hierarchies of control, and the sheer benefits of accessing tribal knowledge in this context.
Elsewhere, my initial work on a new publishing idea, as well as final proofing of the 100 days book, have reinforced to me the incredible freedom of democratised publishing in the Social Age.
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