“Don’t want to Tweet, don’t want to be a twit.”

The last two days have been split between Grant Thornton’s Leeds and Sheffield offices talking social media, in particular about better use of LinkedIn and Twitter.

And yes, it’s true. Yorkshire really does take credit for the success of Team GB – it was mentioned more than once! 😉

The biggest takeaway from both days was the number of people who claimed to have no interest in social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, (although to be fair, Facebook gets the hardest bashing everywhere I go, yet we still slavishly stick with it) but who turned up for a session to learn all about it. I think we converted a few, but some stalwarts still left resolute.

It genuinely surprised me though. No pressure, no coercion, “it’s not for me but I realise I need to understand it.”

Given we know that there are the early adopters and the stalwart naysayers, is this new breed pointing towards the ‘tipping point’? Is it the stampeding hooves of inevitability that drove them to involving themselves, or curiosity and a growing sense of missing out?

I’m not sure, but from me they got a “well you’re here and that’s enough.” And it is. It truly is.


The change curve, Arsenal and loyalty in the work place


The Change Curve model describes the four stages that most people go through as they adjust to change.

I’m an Arsenal fan. I’m used to existing somewhere between anger and acceptance on a regular basis, usually in August, a few days (one in this case) before a new season. Ultimately though, for most of the year I exist in the ‘commitment’ stage and have done for many years.

Anyway, all this talk about footballing mercenaries, Olympic heroes and the differences between them has got me thinking.

Robin van Persie is this morning wearing a Manchester United shirt, training with his new team mates, smiling, laughing as if nothing has happened. A couple of days ago, there were similar pictures of him in an Arsenal shirt doing the same thing. If I look through last year’s programmes, his Captain’s notes were full of words like ‘pride’, ‘loyalty’, ‘togetherness’. What changed? What Went wrong? Where is he on the change curve?

Clearly in this case there are ridiculous amounts of money involved, agents, foreign players who are expected to show loyalty to what is essentially a local club, nowhere near their native locality.

But what of us in business? What keeps us loyal? What makes some want to join competitors, larger organisations, smaller companies, while others stay and look at those companies with a watchful eye? Money is one thing, trust another, but really, what makes us stay beyond the standard football contract of 3 or 4 years?

For me, feeling supported and part of a team, whilst having the trust to be autonomous makes me feel that I’ve got the right fit. If what I want to do is supported and I’m allowed to do it and be successful at it, why move?

Footballers just want to play football surely? If they’re supported in doing that, and they are, then does it just come down to success?

I don’t know. I’m suspicious. All I know is that things change and people change, but if you’re committed to what you’re doing now and it makes you happy, that’s enough…isn’t it? Or am I just being naive? Would be good to hear some thoughts.

Anyway – that’s my lunch break done. Onwards!

Social media and a good pair of shoes


I was asked last week what my advice would be to anyone just starting down the social media road in an organisation like Grant Thornton and my answer was “buy yourself a good pair of shoes.”

Why? Because you won’t get far without hundreds of conversations all over the business and that takes a lot of shoe leather.

Today for example looked like this;

A discussion with Jive about taking our pilot to the next level, a discussion with a colleague about shared ideas, a meeting with a board member about our investment in social media and the idea that she should set up a blog, a catch up with my boss about that meeting, a meeting with our LinkedIn advisor on strategy and direction, a partner and her team joining us to discuss the great progress they’ve made with their LinkedIn VAT group and ramping this up, a meeting with a Director and a marketing colleague about Twitter, LinkedIn and all the above.

I was at my desk for about an hour.

And, I’ll say it quietly, but I’m beginning to think that all that chat is starting to pay off.

A recurring theme was that all of the people I spoke with had seen the impact first hand of what someone else in the firm was doing with social media and either wanted a piece of the action, or wanted to understand what they could achieve by getting involved themselves.

Tomorrow the day looks much the same. Friday I’ll catch up on missed emails, catch up with myself and on promises I’ve made along the way.

So back to that advice and I’d like to know what others big advice would be.

You can write reams and reams on theory and strategy, spend days on presentations and slides, but what you can achieve by a simple conversation is more instant, more gratifying. Each of these conversations today got us a little bit closer to where we want to be.

Now, until tomorrow, time to put my feet up.


I’ve been struggling to come up with a blog post that neatly sums up my experience of the Olympics so far and how social media, in particular Twitter, has enhanced my time in front of the TV. (I’m going today so the armchair guilt factor will be significantly reduced)

A post by Euan Semple this morning, ‘The Olympics – building culture one tweet at a time’ sums it up quite nicely so I’m going to defer to Euan and wait until inspiration hits me before I blog again.

I will say that for me and my role at Grant Thornton, the timing couldn’t be better. We have a wave of cautious adopters, taking to the social media world for what may be the first time, (or at least the first time in earnest) and an internal culture that supports them doing so.

The Olympics and the way that the athletes, spectators and commentators are all coming together on Twitter, is more than a public validation of channels which are, in some way, still a minority sport. They are the validation of community and the sense that anything can be achieved if we all come together with a common purpose.

Enjoy the rest of the Games.