Category Archives: Podcasts

Becoming who we are not: facilitation as performance

jIu84dxoCathy Salit is one of the biggest influences on my work. She’s got a book out this April – Performance Breakthrough -and I talk to her in this podcast.

The subtitle of the book is A Radical Approach to Success at Work and I think Cathy lives and breathes that claim. Listening back to this interview, I feel reinspired in my work. Facilitation is not about having clever tricks to make people behave differently; it’s about helping people discover and grow together. We need to avoid the traps of aiming for “behaviour change” and be more open to the amazing things that human beings are capable of.


Show notes – these are a rough guide, there’s no substitute for hearing the real thing!

0.00 Introductions.

1.48 Cathy: helping people to be who they are, and who they are not… who they are becoming.  We all have this capacity to become new versions of ourselves.

3.20 Cathy: The value of being unnatural, that’s how we expand our repertoire of what’s possible.

3.38 Johnnie: It’s easy to get stuck in the weeds when we seek to change. To grow, we have to leave behind old versions of ourselves.

4.39 Cathy: We are all artists… think about living more as an artistic process rather than focussing on “behaviour”.

6.07 Johnnie: How a child learns to walk: not by being instructed, but by pretending to walk until it can.

6.40 Cathy: How babies learn language also a process of pretending; and the adults join in this pretending process, relating to babies as who they are, and who they are becoming.

8.15 Cathy: So facilitation, leadership can be about creating space where people can go beyond their normal, constrained ways of behaving.

9.10 Johnnie tells a story of how Viv once responded to a group in apparent difficulty: by saying, “you can work this out” and leaving the room. An example of how you can be quite robust in the way you show faith in people.

10.30 Cathy sees that story as being like a theatre director, responding to what the group is doing and seeing what they need to move forward. Letting go of control, not being “the answer”

11.39 Johnnie: the paradoxical role of facilitator – being seen as “in charge” but also needing to get out the way. Talks about the notion of the ensemble raised in Cathy’s book.

12.20 Cathy: The importance of trusting the group, at least as much faith in creating the ensemble as in getting the notional work done. The dangers of getting over-focussed on the outcome.

13.45 Cathy: Story of a recent facilitation where she asked them to do an unusual introduction process. People met in pairs but then had to perform to the group as the person they’d just met. How it had a dramatic impact on how people were connecting, the performance element helped create a sense of ensemble.

17.15 Johnnie: an apparently simple activity can start to reveal that there’s a lot more going on in meetings than the surface material that we notice. Recalls Cathy’s notion that we can be more than one version of ourselves.

18.50 Cathy: We are not just who we are, already packaged and done. We have a multiplicity that we give little voice to. The perils of being told what “type” we are and getting attached to our identities.

20.20 Johnnie: How I (and others) respond to pressure is to double down on “who I am” which keeps us trapped – and keeps people away. But what right do we have though to push people who are stuck like this? Relates a story about getting permission and creating invitation.

22.10 Cathy: I don’t believe in trying to change people’s behaviour, I believe in helping people to grow. We need to see that we have choices. We have performance choices, we can play other people.

24.15 Cathy references Herminia Ibarra’s book: Act like a leader, think like a leader. Flirt with the idea of being other than who you are.

24.50 Cathy: What it means to be authentic is to give expression to our multiplicity, getting stuck in one role is inauthentic.

25.20 Johnnie: The importance of trusting people to uncover possibilities, and not necessarily on your own schedule.

25.50 Cathy: The orientation to changing people’s behaviour makes it a problem to be fixed. I don’t want to problem-solve when it comes to helping people to collaborate. It’s not a problem, I want to help people grow. Relate to people as performers.

27.30 Johnnie: Recalls Keith Sawyer‘s work on problem-solving vs problem-finding. The value of not answering questions for the group.

28.25 Cathy: Asking big questions about little things. Engaging people in philosophical activity. Beware of assumptions about what we think other people are saying, thinking “it’s all been said before”. The importance of curiosity, keeping asking questions. Language is something for us to create new meaning with. There is so much to work with than we realise is available to us.

30.30 Johnnie: Sometimes I ask a group to not settle for analysis. If people give a performance of an issue, it comes to life in a very different way. Getting beyond management-speak. Connecting more levels of intelligence than the initial problem description suggests.

31.35 Cathy: A performance can be so much more honest. Performance and play create safety to say and see things that are unseeable, unutterable otherwise. Sometimes I’ll ask people to perform the conversation in the hallway that’s going to happen after this meeting.

33.05 Johnnie: What sort of safety is it we want? Do we want polite, po-faced safety, where we don’t take any risks or talk about feelings. A rather weak, febrile kind of safety. Versus a different kind of safety where we do share more emotional stuff and find we are more connected and safe in a quite different way.

33.55 Cathy: We’ve got to break down the cognitive and emotive divide that rules our idea of what learning is and what facilitation is. Learning is not just in your head, it wires our full selves.

35.05 More about the book and how to get hold of it!

I can’t wait to get my hands on Cathy’s book, and there are some incentives for pre-ordering. Details here.


Podcast: The tyranny of the explicit

Yesterday I recorded a conversation with Viv McWaters and Roland Harwood on the theme of The Tyranny of the Explicit. We explore how the need for certainty in an uncertain world the over reliance on metrics and the demand that learning be made explicit, can often kill energy in meetings and get in the way of innovation.

(This has been a theme of mine for a while: here are various related posts over the years. In fact, it’s one of three tyrannies Viv and I will explore further in our upcoming Crumbs! workshop.)

Here’s the podcast and some show notes:

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Show notes

This isn’t a transcript, just a rough guide, with all the pitfalls that go with trying to summarise a human conversation in text.

0.00 Introductions

0.10 Johnnie paraphrases Woody Allen ( the exact quote is “My heart’s desire is to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. And then see if I can get them mass-produced in plastic”) … and introduces the subject of the tyranny of the explicit: how we take the sublime/complex and try to make it into something measurable/deliverable/saleable. How as a facilitator he sees this often killing the dynamism of meetings

1.20 Roland: Recognise desire of organisations to pin things down in numbers. “The only metric I use is one of time”. Getting away from trying to sum up nebulous agreements/measures

2.00 R: there is a need to be explict at some point but most organisations try to do it much too early

2.20 Viv: Calling it a tyranny names “this process that absolutely drives me nuts”; refers to post by Roland about conversations, then relationships, then transactions. “All the numbers in the world aren’t worth anything… unless you’ve built relationships.”

3.30 R: There is value in giving something a name… so there is a role for the exlicit.

4.00 J: Yes, it’s a paradox. There has to be a role for naming the elephant in the room; the thing is to avoid addiction to the explicit at the expense of the vague, the uncertain and the implicit. Pressure in meetings leading to “premature encapsulation” – lots of post it notes and the next day, no-one wants to actually implement any of them.

5.25 R: Dealing with large organisations, they crave Return on Investment. They want to start there, so we can begin with that but as conversation develops you tap into what the real issues are, which are often political and social.

6.35 V: The numbers start to take over from everything else. eg in Australian education system’s league tables leading to false comparisons. Unintended consequences, it’s become a monster.

7.55 R identifies with that and relates his experience as a parent looking at all the school performance data but then exercising judgement. Chooses a school he thinks is brilliant despite some test scores not being so good. Those data are often based on very limited interaction. Can’t use metrics to abdicate responsibility.

9.40 J: Nothing wrong with measures but we must create a space in which that data is held, judged, reflected on.

10.40 V: The dangerous allure of certainty. Relates it to this TED talk by Barry Schwartz about the peril of having too many choices: We fall back on numbers to cope with choice overload.

12.00 R: Excited by the way, with economic downturn, the experts are proving so massively to be wrong. Moving from an age of certainty and metrics to one where people might take more responsibility for their decisions.

13.15 J talks about the pitfalls of insisting on having models for everything. The downside of making all learning explicit (echoing this post)

15:10 R talks about how he responds when people ask him how NESTA measures its effectiveness. Usefulness and helpfulness. Poss dangers of having no hard metrics.

16.25 V has a go at the trend for increasing numbers of “accreditation programmes” for eg knowledge managment and accreditation. She and J look at the pitfalls of this aspect of explicitness.

20.00 R talks about the Newtonian, cause-and-effect worldview and the new physics of uncertainty. “It’s not about certainty, it’s about responsiveness and responsibility.”

21.40 Closing

21.50 End

Podcast: Agility

In this podcast I talk with Rob Paterson and Neil Perkin about agility in organisations. This was sparked by Neil’s post about agile planning – ways for organisations to respond more effectively to the speed of change in a networked economy.

It’s the usual non-linear kind of conversation exploring what makes for agility in organisations and what gets in the way. We wander off into wider topics of education and innovation along the way.

Click to Listen Download the Podcast (30m 12.3 MB)

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Show notes

This is not a transcript, just a rough guide with approximate timings.

0.00 Introductions

0.40 Neil: agility is a philosophy as much as a process. Traditional business approaches involve big goals, lengthy cycles and rigid processes which don’t necessarily work in a fluid environment where things change rapidly.

2.00 Rob recalls working in a bank where every project was 5 years and 50 million dollars. It didn’t really work very well back in the day and certainly not today. We’re often dealing with issues we can’t fully understand, eg health care reform in the states where the old system is breaking down but no-one can know what will emerge. The process of iteration is the only way to discover the really new. “You’ve got to sit around the campfire and talk about stuff and try things.”

3.40 R agreeing with N, it’s about what your philosophy is. Conventional planning only good for simple things like building a 1000 square foot bungalow.

4.05 Johnnie asks Rob to say more about budget process in organisations, how this gives power to those with the biggest budget and works against those with lower cost, faster approaches.

4.35 R talks about how innovation was squeezed out in an oil company because the big money and the big budget was lodged in oil.

5.05 N The process of budget setting in organisations is very laborious and budgets are out of date by the time they are approved.

6.00 N talks about alternative budgeting process which allows much more rapid revisions

6.40 R talks about KETC St Louis. They decided that the meta-project is transformation; that’s the criterion by which they evaluate projects

7.30 N refers to IBM research confirming many CEOs felt their organisations weren’t ready to keep up with the pace of change. Reacting to change very different from being hungry for change.

8.40 R: most businesses today are set up to not change. You see this in the school system, in the conventional media. People would rather kill the newspaper they work for or own than change.

9.40 N many organisations don’t know who their competitors are going to be in a few years’ time.

10.10 Johnnie talks about this YouTube video by Dan Brown: how the education system needs to change or risks dying. Not good enough just giving students content and then testing to see if they’ve remembered it.

11.10 We now have technology that allows us to do for ourselves things we used to rely on instutions for. The way we’ve organised organisations doesn’t reflect that change.

11.30 R: If your local college’s Professor Paterson is a third-rate physics professor and you can get the best physics guy in the world on YouTube at MIT, there’s something wrong. And that’s assuming lectures are still the way to go.

12.00 J: And some of those online lectures reveal the weaknesses of the system.

12.45 J: Our education system, more than anything, has taught us that the way to learn is to sit in serried ranks and listen to an expert. And that doesn’t work any more. A lot of business meetings and conferences are still organised around that idea.

13.15 N: Contrast with conversation. In conversations, thing change and you need to react, change your position. That’s what businesses need to be able to do.

13.45 R: Play’s an important part of this. Imagine early humans sitting around a campfire and things happened by accident. Discoveries were made that way. Learning by playing.

15.00 N: Play doesn’t work by setting a big fat hairy goal; the requirements are barely sufficient. All things to change as they go. End goal may not be the one you set out with at the start.

15.45 R on writing a book without knowing he’s writing it.

16.10 N on how iterative development mitigates risk.

16.25 R: depends if you think change is going to be more of the same, you may not have to go down the agile route. But I don’t think that the way things are going.

17.25 N: a lot of organisations in marketing, my career area, the marketers are falling behind the audience, they’re playing catch up.

17.55 J: A lot of the BS talked about innovation misses that it’s already happening, doesn’t need to be invented, just needs to be noticed.

18.40 J: problem for organisations set up around achieving shareholder value is that they exist to perpetuate themselves, whereas disruptive technology is not about perpetuating institutions. “Social software is here to speed the creative destruction of dinosaurs” (getting a bit carried away I think.)

19.20 N talks about time and speed; technology is about things happening in real time; organisations are slower. It’s a scary prospect for them, they’re used to having time to plan and react.

20.00 R: when he became a consultant, had to match his pace to that of his clients. Corporate time is very slow.

21.00 N: Agile methods are changing the rhythm of work

21.20 R: Dinosaurs will die because power comes through the budget process which gives a lock on power and prestige.

22.20 J: Hierarchy is toxic to innovation

22.30 Good improv relies on the ability to change status, not keep it fixed

23.30 N expands on the idea of toxic assumptions in organisations eg that change will be incremental, that they’re entitled to a certain market share or that things will be the same next year

24.20 J has a go at the notion of having to get “management buy in” and how it blocks innovation

25.10 R talks about the role of benevolent despots at eg wikipedia and wordpress. They’re concerned about the health of the system.

26.15 N on the wikipedia as one part anarchy, one part democracy; one part aristocracy; one part monarchy.

28.00 J returns to the idea of getting agile around a philosophy rather than a profit margin

28.20 N talks about the agile manifesto

29.50 R: Paint by numbers or be a painter.

30.05 End

Podcast: The tyranny of excellence

Update cue twilight zone theme. Interesting coincidence here’s Hugh‘s cartoon of the day:

Viv McWaters and I are developing a workshop called Crumbs! We look at how creativity is not about big ideas and sudden leaps of insight. It’s much more incremental, and involves closer attention to the detail of the present and how we relate to it.

We’ve decided the tyranny of excellence is one of the things that can get in the way of collaboration and creativity.

There may be contexts, like manufacturing, where the pursuit of perfection and processes like Six Sigma can be effective. But when you get humans involved, it all becomes more complex. Then a lot of striving for excellence is counterproductive. In fact, the demand for excellence is often a code for “do it my way”, and its pursuit is quite destructive to working relationships.

Viv and I recorded a podcast to expore this with our friend David Robinson. David’s a theatre director who now works with with organisations on managing diversity.

It’s definitely not an excellent podcast… and it did get me thinking some more about the topic.

Click to Listen Download the Podcast (25m, 23.5 MB)

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Show notes

This isn’t a transcript, just a rough guide…

0.00 Introductions

0.20 David: improv theatre notion of putting down your clever and picking up your ordinary. The things people judge as their most ordinary is the source of their greatest gift.

1.30 D talks about the notion of the anit-hero inside our head, the criticial voice, and how it’s polarised with the hero, the part that wants perfection. The search for perfection creates this enormous monster in our inner dialogue that yaps at us all the time.

3.20 Johnnie: Allowing ourselves to be ordinary can make it easier for people to have a relationship with us.

4.10 D talks about Parker Palmer‘s distinction – in his book The Courage to Teach – between being an expert and having a real engagement with a subject. Being expert locks people out. The idea of mastery, doing what you do to get better at it, never assuming that you know it all.

5.20 D reflecting on the relationships we create with others or ourselves when practicising. So being ordinary is not a diminishment at all; it’s a place of presence.

6.10 J: The distinction between advocacy and enquiry. Being excellent links to advocacy; enquiry, living with questions, allows more relationship. The “In Search of Excellence” myth.

7.20 J: There can be more surprises when we allow ourselves to really notice what’s going on than when we’re trying to be remarkable.

8.10 D: Cult of excellence comes from industrial age thinking, a factory model. Need now is to show up with what we bring and not just as consumers with what we demand.

9.40 D: excellence is an arrival word, sets our a place to get to; mastery is a process word – you never get there, you continually work on improvement. You don’t become masterful if you’re trying to be clever.

10.40 Viv on the pressure created by the urge to be perfect and how it gets us stuck. Why do people resist just trying things and making mistakes?

11.50 D: the education system reinforces the idea that there is an answer and it is outside of me somewhere. If trainers are expected to get perfect scores in sessions this negates the power of the work. Getting to places of discomfort is important.

13.40 V: Testing and measuring in education and the expectation that teachers, faciltators, the person at the front of the room has the answers and will be liked.

15.30 V: Facilitator as disruptor, asking awkward questions.

16.00 J: Organisations have this idea the everyone should be aligned as if they are all the same. Groups should experience friction and discomfort.

17.30 D: We brief clients to expect disturbance.

18.10 D: Collaboration isn’t about easy agreement nor is it always about voices being equal

18.50 V: Sometimes we’re asked to generate consensus when actually one person is going to make the decision.

19.30 D: You need obstacles to make stories move forward. Red Riding Hood needs the wolf. Hobbies are all about creating obstacles, it’s the obstacle that creates the engagement.

20.55 J: What often marks our a satisfying group… is not that everything is solved, but that there’s a willingness to go on together. Perils of neat looking pseudo-agreements and “commitment ceremonies”.

22.00 J: Some of the best Open Spaces end where people aren’t that clear what has been achieved but do sense that something useful has happened. They suspend the requirement for a neat and tidy ending in favour of a willingness to live with ambiguity and carry on.

23.10 D talks about the permitted messiness of Open Space.

23.40 V: the importance of valuing relationships instead of trying to be someone we’re not.

24.20 J offers a suspiciously neat and tidy closing comment.

Podcast: Viv McWaters

This morning I recorded a podcast with Viv McWaters. Viv’s a fellow facilitator and we shot the breeze about a few common interests.

Click to Listen Download the Podcast (30m, 10.5 MB)

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Some of the stuff we covered:

GFC: Global Financial Crisis or Geelong Football Club

The pitfalls of strategic planning and the need for it to be The Truth. Dealing with our need for control and the lessons of losing the car keys.

Roland Harwood of NESTA’s model of conversations relationships then transactions

The dilemma in the audience: we know what we should be doing but we’re doing the other thing because it’s someone else’s agenda

Does this get you in the gut?

Bush fires and facilitation in recovery..

Responding to the global economic crisis.. trust leaders or go peer-to-peer… the idea behind We20

Going from filter then publish to publish then filter as a model for media, and taking responsibility for the information you’re receiving

The world is more complex but that doesn’t have to disable us. Human beings can be great at complexity.

Letting go of the need for certainty. Standing on an enormous sea of jello.

Podcast: letting go of planning and control…

Rob Poynton, Mark Earls and I recorded a podcast this morning, around the benefits of doing less planning. The podcast itself was largely unplanned but we managed to cover quite a few interesting topics.

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Here’s my rough summary of what we talked about but hopefully you’ll want to hear for yourself.

We begin talking about the workshop Mark, James and I ran with NESTA a couple of weeks ago and looking at what improv can teach us about control and influence. Mark refers to Simon Caulkin’s recent piece in the Observer highlighting dual standards among CEOs when it comes to control – they seem to advocate light touch control of their companies by government but tight control by them of their internal processes.

We go on to explore how this paradoxical attitude to control goes on in each of us, and start looking at two different notions of power – one which is more about power over others, the other more about sensing our intimate connectedness to the world and operating from that sense.

Rob is based in Spain and explains that the Spanish have two different words for power use the same word for ‘power’ as for ‘capability’ that relates to this idea. We talk about how Improv can teach us the difference between controlling a narrative, say, and realising that we can have great influence over it. I get in my mantra of “notice more, change less” and how it influences how I manage my own anxieties, as well how I work with groups. Rob elaborates on the flow state of almost disappearing from groups he facilitates.

We look at the connections between Lenin, Henry Ford and Frederick Taylor – and how we want to move away from a brain-based, mechanistic notions of how the world works towards approaches that are, literally, more full-bodied. As Mark puts it, “the twentieth century dehumanised this amazing, collaborative, co-creative, brilliant species of ours into something which is a gross distortion, and we’ve lost a lot as a result.” And Rob ends by talking about how we can, paradoxically, use the fruits of that divisive way of thinking to have a kind of connectedness we’ve never had before.


While I was in Australia I recorded a podcast, pretty much on the spur of the moment, with Geoff Brown and Vic McWaters. We recorded it on a cliff overlooking the WinkiPop surf break nears Bells Beach. It’s a typically rambling performance but if you stick with it, we touch on a few interesting facilitation themes. We get into the idea of surfing as a metaphor for it, explained more by this post by Geoff. Listening to it this morning has been a good reminder for me about the importance of not trying too hard and not trying to be a genius.

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Hugh, Rabbi and the Tribe

Hugh Pinny and I invited Ben Keene of Tribe Wanted onto our podcast.

I heard Ben give a talk in London and found his story inspiring. We chatted to him for 30 minutes about his experience setting up a tribe on a pacific island with an extended online community. It’s another great example of the sort of collaboration the web makes possible, and it’s also a fabulous example of how its about high touch as well as high tech.


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Show Notes

You know the drill, these are rough, check against delivery, do not chew the woodwork etc.

0.00 Intros

1.00 Ben recaps the story of Tribe Wanted. Could we take an online community and give it a real world headquarters on a desert island.

2.00 How the tribal chief shook hands with Ben and turned down Survivor

3.00 Working to build a sustainable village in Fiji, where people visit for 2 weeks but sustain their membership online.

4.00 Johnnie: reading the book, it seems the idea emerged from a conversation over a beer in Manchester. How did this crazy idea happen? Ben: the idea itself was so powerful. Creating a real world community could be done; building an online community could be done; so the leap of faith was in putting the two together.

5.55 Hugh: Tourism has made visiting exotic places fairly ordinary, so this idea of participating creates more sense of adventure than just sipping cocktails on a beach. As marketing gets more sophisticated, the search for meaning gets deeper.

6.40 Ben: The range of motives of community members ranges from wanting to lie on a beach to a real search for meaning.

7.40 Pinny: Draws analogy to the shtetl in Poland or Kibbutz in Israel. What is the role of the chief in this?

8.15 Ben on the ideas of leadership in Fiji. Part of the social experiment was to create an online democracy, which – amongs other things – elects the tribe leader each month. Leaders have ranged from 19 to 60. They have to really engage with the local community, this isn’t another reality TV show.

10.05 Pinny: how are people reacting to this idea. Ben answers: inital response to the idea when we threw it out was pretty big – but a lot of people said it would never work.

11.30 Hugh talks about England’s native scepticism. Ben explains how the US reacted more positively.

12.55 Hugh asks how Ben met the island chief. Ben tells how someone on the island had foretold that the world would come to the island. They’d actually anticipated this, and put the island up for lease to help the prophecy come true.

14.30 Pinny asks about sustainability. (Will you end it and then do the book tour?)

15.20 Ben answers and talks about the future. The beginning of a much bigger story, extending the lease on the island and other ways to build on the idea.

16.45 Johnnie: sense that although Ben has led the project, in many ways it feels like the story itself has led Ben. Johnnie prompts Ben to tell the story of how explained his idea to the islanders. 17.30 Ben tells the story [it’s worth listening to, I’m not writing it up, but it involves the local narcotic, David Beckham and the best use of a Venn diagram I’m ever likely to hear.]

20.15 Johnnie asks Ben to talk about how the community, in its very early days, coped with a major island fire. Baptism of fire indeed. There was a classic difference in the way Fijians and non-Fijians responded. The locals made tea and waited for the fire to burn itself out; some of the visitors tried to take action. How this represented different ideas of what community meant – and also notions of leadership.

22.40 Johnnie asks about how the island itself is a teacher; Ben talks about how the islanders celebrate mother’s day and frame the island itself as a mother.

23.20 Pinny asks about the spiritual/religious side, how does that work out? Ben: pretty much everyone that comes seems in tune with what we’re doing. The Fijians live a fairly traditional, Christian way of life. Things seem to pan out ok.

25.15 Pinny asks whether people stay engaged. Ben says this is the biggest challenge, including adapting to the fast changing technology eg things like Facebook.

27.25 Ben talks about the power of ideas, and trying to build a life around one.

28.00 Johnnie wraps up.

What’s Love Got to do with It?

The latest Hugh and the Rabbi podcast features Hugh, Pinny me and guest Euan Semple.

Recorded a few weeks ago we’ve only just round to posting it but I hope you enjoy it.

We went round the houses on a few things, but started off talking about love and what it might have to do with organisations.

Show notes below, you know the drill: unreliable blah blah…. timings approximate yadda yadda… rough paraphrasing etc etc… don’t take literally, rhubarb rhubarb.

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Show notes

0.00 Intros, Hugh forgets who “the Scottish guy is” and isn’t sure what Euan does but settles for rock star.

1.00 Hugh sets up the idea of love, recalling a talk about this by Euan at Reboot.

1.45 Euan talks about the L word, and people’s reactions to it. It’s about people’s basic desire to connect to each other, caring about things, getting passionate about things. So much of the business world sanitises passion out of things.

3.15 Pinny wonders about how companies show love. References Lovemarks. In relationships, if you don’t go to the nth degree, everything else doesn’t count. Talks about how mistakes by Facebook and Apple get pounced on by the blogosphere.

4.40 Lovemarks proves a red rag to Johnnie’s bull. Love means different things to different people. Johnnie wary of the fanatical idea of love, the pursuit of perfection. It’s more about being human, fallible.

5.50 Euan chimes in against fixation on the romantic idea of love. Instead favours “the passion that grows out of day-to-day stuff”.

6.45 Hugh asks Euan about his World Service experience at the BBC.

7.30 Euan: Roughly 47 different language services in the same building. Lots of characters, different cultures. “If you were climbing ladders, they were all against different walls.” – so less ego and tribalism than in the rest of the BBC. You had to get on quickly with people, the ability to engage and connect, and move ideas round the building was a formative experience.

9.00 Product of World Service is ideas but also the kind of intimacy you can create on radio.

9.50 Hugh talks about the purpose idea – what are we here for, why are we doing this. Trying to get a sense of purpose going.

10.30 Euan: purpose is good, so is obliqueness. Says what he likes about podcasts is that they are not like broadcasts. Meandering semi-conversations that get under skin in a different way than stuff projected at you in broadcasts. Conventional radio output sounds increasingly patronising.

12.20 Euan on how he pays each month to support Leo Laporte’s podcasts, more than half he pays in the BBC licence fee. “That’s me doing that to an individual because I really don’t want him to stop podcasting.” People will pay for stuff that’s passionate and accessible.

13.00 Hugh contrasts Euan’s story with a UK show, Newsnight Review and its affiliation with the Notting Hill cultural elite. New media is a threat, not so much to cash as to old media privilege.

14.30 Euan recalls David Weinberger saying conversations can only take place between equals.

15.00 Hugh on fanboys.

15.20 Hugh asks Pinny a question “as the only guy here with a real job”: does this podcast affect your business.

16.10 Pinny: it’s not affecting the business… what it affected is how people view him. Discusses impact on his employees with Hugh.

18.45 Hugh on podcasts as disruptors. Euan says disruption is a word with all sorts of baggage but we get involved in this stuff because it makes a difference. How can governance cope with these changes? It’s going to change power dynamics and who is successful and why.

21.10 Pinny returns to the theme of love, inspired by his nephew’s wedding where a Rabbi talked about what happens when you aren’t in love with love, but with the other. Companies need to own up to mistakes.

23.00 Hugh: gosh, act like a human being, not a robot. Johnnie: intimacy an important word in Euan’s story. There’s something about “ordinary smallness”, the ability to have a real conversation; how meetings that strive to be effective often fail. The need to feel each other as human beings.

24.30 Hugh on how small town, West Texas experience has affected him. How it’s safe to have a guy walking round with a ten inch knife, because everyone knows who he is and what the knife is for. Euan reminisces about Glasgow and Pinny, Israel.

27.20 Euan: the danger of homogenisation of success. Quote Doc Searls about things being valuable without being important.

28.00 Johnnie on spending Sunday morning with the papers and someone else, where you don’t talk but there’s a feeling of companionship. You can’t put that on a spreadsheet.

29.15 Johnnie on a twitter-related experience of finding work in a very accidental way. If fell out of a conversation where he wasn’t trying to make something happen.

30.30 Pinny: the unplanned as the eureka moments of our lives. Getting beyond ego.

32.10 Pinny on the online course Oprah is doing with Eckhart Tolle. This is why the web was created: to spread goodwill.

33.00 Hugh: a lot of people are trying to use the web to do business the way it’s usually been done, which misses the point.

34.00 Euan wonders about how these changes connect to our spirituality. Hugh recalls a Catholic priest who influenced him. God as a metaphor rather than a bearded sky fairy.

35.40 Pinny the web is teaching religion to say it’s about human beings, not about God. It’s teaching companies it’s about what the customer wants to pull, not what the company wants to push. Strip away the disease of entitlement and learn humility. Connects to the rise of Barack Obama.

37.20 Johnnie on the difference between Clinton and Obama. Clinton’s positioning as the leader, Obama’s emphasis on us.

38.20 Euan: authority used to mean authority as conferred; now it means having a compelling argument or idea.

39.00 Johnnie on authority as being the authors of our own experience. You don’t take authority from the BBC any more, you participate.

40.00 Hugh wraps by asking what advice we’d give corporate man in light of all this. Euan: be brave. Pinny: don’t be stupid (“Be brave but have a day job”) Empty your mid once a day for opportunity to happen. Hugh: be compassionate to those above you. Johnnie: you already know what to do.

44.35 Ends