Thursday, 21 May 2009

Preparing for uncertainty: an industry perspective

“Winners must learn to relish change with the same enthusiasm and energy that we have resisted it in the past.”

-Tom Peters


MSFT Dynamics White paper here:

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Overcoming the fear

I wrote yesterday about a colleague who was reluctant to post their opinions to the new company Intranet.


This fear is understandable. For many of us there is nothing worse than feeling that our opinions have no value, however, this fear can be overcome. It doesn’t take money, status or possessions, it is choice, a choice only you can make. I encourage you to choose freedom over fear.



  • Your opinion is valid
  • Not everyone will agree with you
  • Opinion is different to fact

Your opinion is valid

Not only is your opinion valid, we want to hear it, your opinions are part of who you are, to hide your opinions is hiding part of who you are. Not only do we want to hear your opinion, we want to talk to you about it, we want to converse, to engage, to debate.


Not everyone will agree with you

We are human. We have our own thoughts, our own opinions, our own beliefs.
You are human. You have a voice. You are curious. You are passionate. You seek fun experiences. You seek to share your opinions. Like most people you also seek gratification, you may also seek validation and acceptance, you want to belong.

If you don’t use your voice (be it on this platform or others) to say something, have conversations and dialogue, you are ignoring an essential part of being human.

Think of this, close your eyes and really think, who are your closest relationships with?
Your spouse or partner? Your children? Your parents? Siblings? Friends? Colleagues?
Think of the 5 people who you are closest to…

Of these 5, how many agree with you about 100% of the topics you discuss 100% of the time?

None of them. Not one.


How many of the 5 do you agree with about 100% of the topics you discuss 100% of the time?

Do you see my point?


Being concerned that that someone will disagree with you is like being concerned that the sun will rise tomorrow, you can’t have everyone agree with you any more than you can stop the sun rising tomorrow, so why worry about it? You have more important and valuable things to use that big brain of yours for!


Opinion vs fact

Indulge me for a moment… If you were to say to me that:


“Linux is the most prevalent desktop Operating System in UK businesses today, and it out sells Microsoft Windows by a factor of 10:1.”

You would be wrong. And I may not engage you in conversation about it. I may point out some facts that show different, and you may learn something, but I am just as likely to ignore what you said.

However, if you were to say to me that:


“Linux is a better, more powerful, flexible and usable desktop Operating System than Microsoft Windows, and should be used as the standard in UK businesses.”

I would disagree, but, and this is important, this is your opinion (and it is valid). I would be interested. I would engage you in conversation.



You do have something to say.


And what’s more, we want to listen, we want to engage.


Possibly the most important thing to remember is this:


Speak using your own voice

Be funny, we will laugh.
Be controversial, we will debate.
Be passionate, we will respect you for it.

Tell us what you actually think, not what you think we want you to.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

The irony of fear

I was discussing the new Trinity Intranet with a colleague yesterday, in particular the subject of contributing to (and commenting on) the various KB’s, Blogs, wikis and forums.

My colleague (who will remain nameless) expressed concerns that their opinion may not be valid or considered authoritative, in short they were suffering from a fear of their voice not being listened to, or worse, being attacked in some way.


This struck me as both interesting and ironic.


The person in question uses various social applications on the public internet (e.g. Facebook, et al) and regularly posts updates and commentary that has the potential to be seen by anyone on planet earth with an internet connection (and the inclination to look for it). Therefore why have any reluctance to post to the Intranet?


The audience is subtlety and significantly different. On the public internet the audience is almost entirely made up of people you do not know and do not and direct personal interaction with. Given a world population of 6.77 billion [source:] the percentage of people you “know” is infinitesimally small, even when you subtract the number of humans without internet access, those too young, too old (and, of course, the 4 blind Tibetan monks walking along the road to enlightenment – but that’s a post for another day!), the percentage doesn’t change – it is too small to worry about.


Therefore is the fear born out of peer acceptance? That fact that within a relatively small organisation, such as ours, you “know” a much higher proportion? Is the fact that you care about their opinion of you?

While I believe that peer acceptance is vital, it speaks to personal brand and reputation, the acceptance will be better served by stating your opinions/thoughts/ideas and engaging your peers in conversation and debate.


This leaves the question, how to overcome the fear?


I’ll try to answer that tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Embedding objects/videos/etc in a MySite blog post

Thanks to the kind people who produced ERTE (, the following guide shows how to embed videos (etc) in a blog post…


1. download and extract this:



2. edit erte.js in your favourite javascript editor (or SPD), edit line 11 to reflect the location of the image:


var imagePath="/personal/mattg/blog/_catalogs/masterpage/erte.gif"


3. upload the 2 files (js and gif) to the _catalogs/masterpage library on your blog site (using SPD)




4. Edit the master page to include the following line (after the <BODY> tag)


<script type="text/javascript" src="/personal/mattg/blog/_catalogs/masterpage/erte.js"></script>


You need to replace “mattg” with your own name (look at the URL to your blog and work it out!)


5. You will now see a new menu option on the Rich Text Editor:




6. use the new menu item to insert the “embed” HTML in your post (the embed code is usually available on sites like YouTube, MSN SoapBox, SlideShare etc etc)





Updated file download link after moving it to Sky Drive