Who are you? Exploring the intersections of identity

What it was:

Day of talks and discussions with Richard Heaton, MoJ permanent secretary and civil service race champion, plus other speakers from across Whitehall, held at the MOD on 11 October 2017.

What I learned:

Intersectionality is typically when people are a member of more than one minority group e.g. someone who is LGBT+ and a member of an ethnic minority.

Some of the hardest challenges are faced by people at these intersections – but  these intersections are also opportunities to embrace and enhance diversity.

“Diversity is being invited to the party… Inclusion is being asked to dance”

Different aspects of intersectionality may manifest in different contexts e.g. in a room full of men you are a woman, but in a room full of white people you are black.

What if you bring everything that you are to the party?

Authenticity is key.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Think about my ‘micro behaviours’ with my own team – do I use exclusive language / make exclusive judgements without conscious awareness?

Be more inclusive – for example, make sure team events are inclusive.

Ask new team members about their background.

Think about my privileges, what they are, and how I can use my privileges to help others.

Leadership Brand

What it was:

Session on Leadership and personal brand at Ashridge as part of Future Leaders Scheme residential module one. August 2017.

What I learned:

Your real leadership brand is what other people say about you when you leave the room.

Leadership brand has various Attributes:

  • Contacts (judged on who you associate with)
  • Story
  • Appearance (image you project)
  • Presence
  • Behaviour (collaboration)
  • Purpose
  • Values
  • Talents (what are you famous for)

To consider:

  • What is the source of your authority? Why should anyone be led by you?
  • What do you expect of others?
  • What stories do you want other people to be telling about you?
  • What type of leader do you want to be remembered as (legacy)?

If you’re not constantly evaluating these sorts of things, you are potentially dangerous!

In the book “Why should anyone be led by you” they examined “what do followers want?”

  • Community (feel part of something)
  • Authenticity (not a robot leader)
  • Significance  (something that matters)
  • Excitement (new and interesting)

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • I will try to develop (write down) my leadership brand
  • I will read: “why should anyone be led by you”

DMSD Agile Foundation and Pracitioner

What it was

A week-long course with tests and certification in London, on Agile project management techniques. February 2017.

What I learned

This is a comprehensive introduction to the practices of project management as set out in the industry-standard DSDM (“dynamical systems development model”) framework – more commonly known as “agile”.

Born from bitter experience in the world of enterprise software development, “Agile” project management can be applied widely, but is most suited to scenarios where the final product is malleable and can be iterated, where requirements and estimates are fluid or unknown at the start, and where the project must respond quickly to business change.

These are scenarios where traditional PRINCE2 / “waterfall” project management approaches often fail.

Agile is broadly applicable to PR practice – in particular event planning, producing publications, web development, and evolving campaigns which respond dynamically to feedback and external change (e.g. social media campaigns)

The DSDM framework is complex and comprehensive and covers key roles, products etc but can be summarised into eight key principles:

1. Focus on the business need
2. Deliver on time
3. Collaborate
4. Never compromise quality
5. Build incrementally from firm foundations
6. Develop iteratively
7. Communicate continuously and clearly
8. Demonstrate control

Two key techniques in Agile are:
1. MoSCoW – this is a way of prioritising requirements into Must/Should/Could/Won’t so that the project focuses on delivering the “must” requirements, using the resource for delivering the others as contingency to guarantee that the “musts” – at minimum – are delivered. Thus agile projects, unlike other approaches, act to fix time, cost and quality but vary *feature set*
2. Timeboxing – this is a rigid discipline in which the project is divided into fixed time intervals of iterative delivery, with built in co-ordination, review, acceptance and retrospective sessions. Fixing the time frames of an agile project ensures that whatever is delivered is delivered on time, with no prospect of delay. Combined with MoSCoW this is a powerful tool for ensure projects deliver what the business needs, when it needs it.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

I will seek to apply Agile methodology and techniques to my team’s working.

Social Media Beyond Borders

What it was:

Lecture on the international aspects of social media, organised by PRMoment.com at Ogilvy PR, Cabot Square. Date: 19 January 2011

What I learned:

Sites like SocialBakers.com can give simple stats on Facebook usage etc
We use different meanings of “friend” on different sites and in different contexts
Dunbar’s Number (approx 150) – a nominal estimate (perhaps not scientific) how of many friends you can sustain – perhaps has relevance to social networks.
Social Networks are interest-driven; social interaction must add value; narrower interests make tighter networks
Are social networks transnational? It depends who your friends are!
Facebook dominates, but different networks are popular in different countries.
PRs should seek to establish relationships with moderators/editors as you would with journalists.
The Chinese prefer to click not search.
Arguably Flickr is the most truly global social network.
China has  active “human flesh search engine” which sometimes tracks people down.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Consider the international dimension when designing social campaigns and when thinking about channel choices.

Reputation Management – options when all else fails

What it was:

Chartered Institute of Public Relations briefing, 21 October 2010

What I learned:

There are things that PRs can do when reputation is under attack
Tony Balir described the media as a “feral beast”
Some PR firms use intelligence gathering to protect clients/target critics.
The Press Complaints Commission can step in to help stop doorstepping very quickly.
PCC judges that information made available on social media profiles is fair game
Understand what libel law can do in such situations.
Stay calm! Remain emotionally detached.
Know your enemy – and consider contacting them.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Be aware of approaches that can be adopted in a reputational crisis.