Five years ago, when I decided to go nomadic (and ended up living and working with others around the country for the next twelve months) it was largely because I’d realised that while I needed somewhere to live, the place I was in wasn’t working for me and it seemed that nothing in the market was really for me either. I didn’t want to move out of London for good, but I also didn’t want to stay. I didn’t want to live on my own and I didn’t want to move in with someone else (yet). I didn’t want to get a job and I didn’t want to work on my own. I wanted something else but I found it really difficult to articulate what it was. But I did find it over time. I found stimulation in the variety of people that I worked and lived with. I found rest on the road, knowing each time that I was moving again that new possibilities were opening up.
So now I’m settled, I like where I live, I’m married again, but I’m restless around work. I’m mostly working from the dining room table and sitting in coffee shops (or theatres!) and I’m feeling the need for a workplace that goes beyond the basic needs of desk, power, wifi. I need people and I need space to host in. I think of new invitations for open spaces and unconferences practically every day and they include working through some of the ideas around co-operative knowledge work with #tuttle that I wrote about before I went to America last month. I don’t know whether anything among the current crop of co-working spaces might be close enough – I definitely want to be part of a community rather than just another desk-renter.
I don’t know much more, but I was reminded by a wise friend yesterday that my best work comes when I express as much as I know and let others fill in the last 20% rather than trying to hide away until I have something finished.
So help me fill the gaps in this. Or y’know, put your earbuds back in and get back to what you were doing.
We’ve been round this one before for consulting, soon after we did the work with the British Council. Where I think we got was that we needed to pitch it to lots of people, take it round and refine the pitch.
Our Fridays are full of conversations making sense of new waves of technology. We have people who can talk with authority about pretty much any subject. But we’re also good generalists many of whom have worked in big organisations. We’re not unsympathetic to the realities of corporate life, but we step firmly outside it. We can really help people who are stuck, who are struggling with thriving in a networked world, who know they need to change but don’t quite know how and could do with some help experimenting with new ways of working and new ways of being in work. We can also help people who know that they need exposure to people who are comfortable on the edge – we can be “rent-a-freak” for those people whose networks are getting stale or have been talking to the usual suspects for too long.
We have a (still) unusual engagement model, where we take the simplest of briefs and bring the Tuttle experience to you to talk it over, refine it and turn it into productive projects.
So who can we go and see? Who have you been talking to lately who could do with an intervention? Who could benefit from a visit from the friends of Harry Tuttle?
Private messages are welcome as well as public comments.
We get all sorts at Tuttle, but over the years there’s been a consistent pattern within the whirl of on the one hand, freelancers, artists, startup founders, pet geeks and others all of whom hustle their way from gig to gig and on the other hand people with jobs who manage to escape the desk-shackles for a couple of hours of thinking differently. In between are the people who are “resting”, between jobs, on gardening leave, or have had a few bits of freelance or interim work.
Most of these people have been in full-time employment in large organisations for many years. They’re not lacking in skills (except perhaps hustling) but they’re loath to jump straight back into another corporate role (they’re likely in their late-forties or early-fifties) to take them through to retirement. They also haven’t made enough money to live on that long even though they’ve enough from a redundancy package or savings or a small inheritance to keep them going for now. They’d like to work and they’d like to have an income but none of the things on offer look tasty enough and the thought of starting a new business from scratch is too much.
The question is, how can a network like Tuttle help people like this (more accurately, how does the network help itself)? We do it week by week in informal ways, lots of opportunities arise, good conversations and connections are made, projects get kicked off and people disappear to do them, but it feels like time again to have a go at something a little more formal, enough structure to make something happen (and hopefully not much more) – come and talk about this tomorrow and any Friday, but also let’s talk openly (here in the comments or on your own blog) about how to organize for making the most of this excess capacity because I have a feeling we’re only going to have more of it.
I spoke at Social Media for Business ’10 the other week and in the panel session afterwards we were asked what we thought social media in the enterprise meant for leadership and management. Big question. I flannelled off some stuff about leadership through service, that the leader needs to encourage and facilitate what’s already going on rather than decide what needs to happen and then make others do it.
(Oh man, I wish I could take my own advice sometimes…)
It ties in with some of the work that’s been stuck up on the wall at #c4cc for a while – a bunch of statements of value that Frankie noted down when I was speaking about Tuttle2Texas at TEDxTuttle. They summarise the value an organisation might get from interacting with “us” whoever we are – tuttle, tuttle consulting, me & Brian & Heather, just me? That’s all for another post.
But when I’d finished writing them out it seemed to me that there was something else to it. These things are only valuable if you have a particular mindset about the people you work with. So I wrote the following things on the end, intended to summarise our assumptions about the sorts of organisations we can deliver value to. If someone is going to buy from “us” they probably will share these assumptions – that managers or leaders need to:
- be more comfortable with their own creativity;
- let go of the myth of control;
- work more effectively in groups;
- report on what they’re doing in an engaging way;
- be more responsive to changes in a market or organisational environment;
- lead people in audacious acts of innovation;
- better understand the cultural implications of what they do.
so, each of those probably needs a blog post of their own but I think that if you’re looking for ways to get the people around you to do some of the things on this list and you’re struggling then you should come and have a chat about how we can help.