When the late and great Bob Hoskins back in 1995 said “It’s good to talk” within the BT adverts, it was all about ensuring people see the value of talking rather than the cost of making the phone call. Even in 2015 it is still true that we need to look at the massive benefits to be derived from being an active ‘go-giver’.
Back in a blog entry in September I mentioned that I was asked if I would speak at IT Nation in Orlando. This is a conference run by the provider of the main line of business software used at Business Computer Solutions, called ConnectWise. It is attended by close to 3,500 delegates with another 500 vendor representatives.
It’s a big event. The main stage display was driven by 16 projectors. Yes, I counted them all. The headline keynote speaker this year was Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s The Profit.
So, is it good to talk? Do I have anything to talk about? Can I fill a one-hour slot? Would people be adequately interested in what I have to say? What should I proffer as a topic?
Then it struck me that the issue of companies using shareholding as a way of buying loyalty of their staff may make an interesting topic. I came up with the title that ‘Ownership does not equal leadership’ and I was away …
Having read Dr Larry Little’s book, ‘Make a Difference’ (see my blog book review) I had already started to understand that some of the team at Business Computer Solutions are not and will never be leaders. Giving some of these people shares in the company and expecting them to become leaders would just be madness. Separating ownership from leadership is the only way forward.
As part of my book review and with this presentation in mind, I purchased four brilliant masks.
With the co-operation of a few of my team I got the following photographs to represent the types of characters in the team which made for an amusing slide during my presentation.
So having visited the Cash and Carry, I packed three boxes of Nestle Lion bars into my suitcase and headed for Orlando.
At the start of the presentation Samantha handed out the chocolate bars and I gave the statutory health and safety warning about nut allergies. That said, most of the chocolate had been eaten by the time I gave the warning. I had an afternoon slot and I think the energy boost was welcomed by most.
One of the delegates posted a picture of his half eaten chocolate bar on social media, which wasn’t one of the outcomes I expected.
Although I was, as you would expect, apprehensive at the start, I soon found my stride and delivered about 45 minutes of content and fended 15 minutes of questions.
I had a queue of people who wanted to chat after, which was a great feeling. In fact, a feeling only bettered by people stopping me in the corridor later in the evening to say that they had been in my presentation and had gained value from it.
I started out thinking that the only outcome for me would be that I will have the ‘bragging rights’ to say that I have ‘Spoken at IT Nation’. What I didn’t factor was the benefits of the education I would gain on the journey of researching my presentation. Looking closely at various IT businesses and getting details of those that have introduced sharing ownership well and those that have made a horrendous mess of it.
The research that went into preparing a 45-minute presentation would probably make a half-decent 200-page book. Maybe this is the topic of my first book? Another unexpected benefit of being a ‘go-giver’.
So I reckon Bob was right, it’s good to talk.