Yes, as I wrote recently, I am completing a new book (while rummaging about a longer-term one mixing my studying of Chinese and my experience in cultural/organizational/technological change as well as my life-long curiosity on how things and organizations evolve across history).
But I found myself in a corner, as I tried to adopt the stance of somebody reading it.
Let’s say that, as I keep writing online, I have no qualms about others re-using material for their own business activities: it is better than sit on it 🙂
Let’s add that writing implies structuring, and structuring implies making it clear first to yourself, then to your audience.
In my now quarter of a century of business experience, how many times did I interview somebody who “rationalized” what they were doing and how they were doing it.
Pity that, obviously, reality had to cope with self-image: and the perfect, clean, rational storytelling didn’t match reality- and my role was to first listen, then to ask questions, as I rather have the source understand the difference between the two, than say it.
Why? Because, in change, there are really few cases where you can generate something that will stay for the long run, if you don’t do a kind of “hearts and minds”: writing it in a document, manual, or telling it in a training does not imply that it will be done 🙂
The same applies when you write about your own experience- and I like to play my own “Devil’s Advocate”, after I have jotted down a first draft or outline- to see what’s written from the perspective of the intended (or idealized) audience.
In the past, I postponed the “online” part of my books and writings (I shared something here and there on my blog, robertolofaro.com/blog, e.g. on how to convert something that isn’t represented by numbers into something that you can count while observing and comparing organizations).
But I think that, in some cases, sharing drafts, or even just a better-quality version of the picture files or tables and charts with the associated data could be useful.
If you share the results and explain their logic in detail, share also the file- you are not giving anything more than what you already gave, and allows others to use what you share as a starting point, avoiding that they too have to waste time to replicate before moving on 🙂
So, I simply added another “section” to my personal website, obviously actually pointing elsewhere (on a free service).
The name? robertolofaro.com/books, of course!
While I was there, I also streamlined and simplified the other material online (including the Linkedin profile, linkedin.com/in/robertolofaro) and, of course, updated the CV and the experience database (robertolofaro.wordpress.com).
Except for my language learning & writing (mainly business, for the time being) activities, I do not know yet what I will do next, and therefore I stick to what I shared as a comment this week on Linkedin, when a connection posted a comment to one of the usual “business feel good” picture-with-text (the one that you can see along with this post):
– the original comment: “”I enjoy helping others, but there should be a balance. Having a high degree of expertise should be recognized, and appreciated.”
– my remark: “I agree: too many of those extolling the virtues of just giving forget that in order to give, you have to have a way to fund what you are giving… and in my experience I met too many who did do not walk the ‘purely altruistic business’ talk
in the past, I balanced on three elements: supporting start-ups (risk-based), working in the private sector (revenue-based), and accepting to work in the public sector at a discounted rate (I did also some pro-bono organizational development and change, e.g. in the educational sector)”.
If most of the humans who appeared on this planet in developed countries over the last decade are bound to live to 100 or more, our social system is still completely out-of-tune with demographic realities, and therefore maybe, instead of aiming to working e.g. 20 hours per week, we will have to consider having a tri-partite time-management system for most of us, i.e. partially working for ourselves today, partially as citizens, and partially on something for the future.
I considered that in the early 1990s when, after working few years, I assumed that a bookworm (myself) had acquired some experience (in five years I worked in parallel on multiple activities in multiple industries) worth sharing- a side-effect of my idea of “living ‘standard’ politics but not leaving political activities”.
Because, as I remarked once in a while that “technical government” is an oxymoron, any citizen that is alive and kicking cannot leave politics- simply, can choose that her/his political choice is to let others drive, or let others drive in the public affairs sphere while jointly driving in everyday life.
Obviously, I prefer the latter: as politics isn’t limited to the confines of elected offices- even a corporation is in politics.
It was so in the XX century, and it is even more true in the XXI, where ideas and actions can easily spread citizen-to-citizen without any mediation, like in a swarm 🙂
So, we should get used to permanent learning and permanent sharing of what we experienced and confirmed through learning: and therefore schools and universities should probably evolve into a similar “multi-track” system.
Permanent learning requires that while you have time (when you are young, generally) you learn to learn, plus some “current skills”- just the latter, as many “educational system reformers” would like to do isn’t enough- you need to have any school leaver to have developed, more than specific skills, an ability to adapt and evolve.
I would like to see more “generalist” teaching in schools (arts, history- generally, thinking and “understanding others” skills), coupled with some basics (on science and technology), and only then add up some “meet reality” internships or projects or activities that create contacts with the business world- not the other way around.
Why? Well, go online and look for famous quotes, e.g. by Watson from IBM: almost no politician or businessman barely 60 years ago would have expected to see computers into a phone that you can carry in your pocket (or even under your skin), why should our current crop of politicians and businessmen be considered so much better at thinking about the future, that we should clip the wings of future generations by creating educational systems that limit the ability to change and mind flexibility?
And now… back to my week-end books, both useful to help me learn from others about writing and communication 🙂
Enjoy your Sunday!