Scott McKenzie's Collective Conversation Blog » culture http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/scottmckenzie Fri, 01 Jun 2012 10:48:08 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 The ballad of Barrett’s privateers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/scottmckenzie/2012/03/09/the-ballad-of-barretts-privateers/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/scottmckenzie/2012/03/09/the-ballad-of-barretts-privateers/#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2012 16:50:49 +0000 Scott McKenzie http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/scottmckenzie/?p=445

I recently spent a couple of weeks visiting my parents in Canada. The mix of two kids under three, a long haul flight and jet-lag was, to say the least, not particularly relaxing. My mum and dad worked hard to give my wife and I a little bit of down time. The best example of this was a glorious day ski-ing, followed by a Friday night out.

Frankly, there is nothing more gratifying than sipping a cold glass of beer with the gentle ache of a day’s ski-ing in your legs. What made it even better was the live band that night.

Sarah (my wife) and I are both Celts and lovers of Folk music. The band gave us our first introduction to the music of Newfoundland. We were enthralled as we heard beautifully sung ballads about leaving your country, family and home behind. The songs were often bawdy, colonial tales of amorous adventures or drinking disasters. One in particular stood out - the infectious Ballad of Barrett’s privateers.

It’s been a couple of weeks since we got back and I still find myself humming it, or singing parts of the (very catchy) refrain in the shower…

It has made me reflect once again on the importance of storytelling. Humanity has had an oral/aural tradition of telling and re-telling stories for millenia. It is where many of our common myths and legends were born. As corporate storytellers we often focus on the rational. The facts and figures. These are important indicators. People want to know whether we are we up, or down.

But do we invest enough time getting behind the emotional elements of the story? The bits that really resonate. The bits that are sticky, memorable, easy-to-repeat. The bits that have you singing in the shower?

P.S. – we are really looking forward to hosting the next LCEG event here at H+K on the 20th March…

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Coming up for air http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/scottmckenzie/2012/01/25/coming-up-for-air/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/scottmckenzie/2012/01/25/coming-up-for-air/#comments Wed, 25 Jan 2012 10:43:22 +0000 Scott McKenzie http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/scottmckenzie/?p=434

My second daughter Niamh  is 7 months old today.

It’s fair to say that I subscribe to the concept of the second child multiplier-effect… in other words 1+1 does not + 2… it feels many times harder than that!

The early casualty of this has been what Sir Clive Woodward calls the critical non-essentials. The things that make an incremental difference but could be described as non-core. A bit like this blog.

The cumulative effect of very little sleep, an incredibly hectic work schedule and no free time has often felt like both myself and my wife have been living our lives under-water… in a kind of parallel world, where everything takes much longer but paradoxically you have even less time…!

Since the new year I have tried hard to change things. I’ve taken a bit more exercise. I’ve had the odd night out with friends. I’ve booked a holiday to go and see my parents who live in Canada (it’s the first time my dad will have seen Niamh since she was born). It all feels a little bit selfish when there are so many other demands on your time. But in another sense it has felt like I am coming up for air…

For example, last night I attended VMA’s excellent event at The Hospital Club which revealed the results from their comprehensive Business Leaders in Communications survey. It was a stellar panel with senior communciators from GSK and BP as well as academics and thought leaders. The key-note speaker was Charlie Mayfield, Executive Chairman of John Lewis Partnership. Clearly John Lewis have been much in the news recently, with the Deputy Prime Minister seeking to build what he describes as a “John Lewis” economy. Charlie rightly pointed out that the co-operative model is not a panacea for all known ills. As I have stated in previous blogs I am a huge fan of co-operatives but would also concede their limitations.

Instead what I took out of Charlie’s remarkably candid and inspriring discussion was his clear view that communications is a major cultural lever. His view is that great communications contributes directly to increased engagement from partners (employees), and as a result… an increase in dicretionary effort. So this is not fluffy. There is a clear competitive advantage to be drawn from great communications.

That message certainly helped me take a deeper breath…

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