“As I glide down toward that little town on my short parachute ride, I’m just about to learn how negligible is my control over my station in life.
“It’s not all up to me. I’m going right now from being the leader of a hundred-plus pilots and a thousand men to being the object of contempt.
“I can hear shouting and pistol shots and whining bullets ripping my parachute canopy and see the fists waving in the street below as my chute hooks a tree but deposits me on the ground in good shape. With two quick-release fastener flips I’m free of the parachute and immediately gang tackled by ten or fifteen town roughnecks I had seen in my peripheral vision, pounding up the road from my right”
It’s 9 September 1965 and seconds earlier Commander James B Stockdale’s A-4 Skyhawk jet had been shot down over North Vietnam. He would spend the next seven and a half years as a prisoner of war at the infamous Hanoi Hilton suffering torture and solitary confinement in appalling conditions. Continue reading
You know when a baby wakes you at 4am every morning of it’s life so you don’t set an unnecessary alarm for the one day of the year when you need to be on the 6:30am train to London?
Well, you can guess what happened next and the slapstick, desperate race to the station ensured that I made it onto the long commute with literally seconds to spare.
Despite this the sweaty indignity was well worth it to catch the latest NHS Providers Communications leads network session which featured Daniel Reynolds, Stephen Waddington, Claire Riley and Darren Caveney. There was some excellent advice and discussion but here are my key takes for NHS Comms folks: Continue reading
As we collectively polish off the last of the After Eights, think about starting that new fitness regime and contemplate the sheer horror of Dry January, looking back over the past 12 months is often a very timely distraction.
It’s always interesting to take a look back and see the key themes from the year and try to understand the most popular topics. Looking at the most read posts on this blog during 2017 gives me a sense that many of us are facing the same challenges and seeking the answers to many similar problems. Continue reading
Over time it seems that the term ‘leadership’ has become part of the jargon of middle management that infuriates so many comms people and leaves many thinking of a po-faced Ian Fletcher from W1A. However we shouldn’t make this mistake because if you look closely at every organisation you’ve worked in the difference between good and bad performance is so often to do with leadership.
Certainly when you look across the NHS and the Public sector more generally the most successful organisations are the ones that are really well led. Continue reading
Tweets, status updates, videos, animations and many other must-have skills have all become part of the daily tools for people working in PR.
As the number of communications channels proliferate comms professionals need more skills than ever before to engage with their publics effectively.
The way people access information, connect socially and interact with news has been revolutionised over that past decade and the communications industry has changed to match this. Continue reading
How do things survive change?
There’s lots of philosophical and academic thinking around objects and concepts but what about people or teams?
In the classical thought experiment Theseus’s paradox we’re asked to consider if a ship that returns from a long voyage, but has gradually had every part replaced, is still the same object or something completely new? Continue reading
Is it an art or is it a science? That seems to be the perennial question asked of corporate comms so it may be that the NHS was trying to tell us something by hosting a North East Event at the International Centre for Life.
The International Centre for Life opened in 2000 and as well as being an excellent visitor attraction, almost 600 people from 35 countries work there including researchers, doctors and nurses.
Much of the day went on to focus on how communications teams can use a more planned, scientific approach to their work allowing them to add much more value at a time of increasing change and shrinking resources. Continue reading