All posts filed under: Stories

Where I Came From

I grew up in the land of corn and farmers. John Deere was connecting their sales teams to the farmers in the field over 20 years ago. The salesmen took their portable computers out to the farmers in the field to show them photos of the parts they could order for their tractors.

I’m sure my grandfather, who bought the first John Deere tractor in his part of Nebraska many years ago, may have met one of these salespeople!  (more…)

What We Can Learn from an Unfinished Ceiling

…… Original post published in June 2005. This update in 2017. ……

Intranets and digital initiatives are never finished. They are part of continual change in the workplace.

Observation in 2017: This famous unfinished ceiling at the United Nations is a timeless reminder for me of how some movements and initiatives will never end. When I took this photo in 2005, I was working with the Secretariat in New York on their intranet. The post below was written at that time. (more…)

Drivers in Paris 13 Nov 2015 , Terrorist Attacks

…… First published in December 2015 ……

When I went up to Paris several days after the Paris attacks for a meeting, I took a taxi (or rather a private car) driven by a young man born in Paris of North African parents. I asked him if he had been working on Friday the 13th and he told me he was in the 3rd arrondissement when the news came out on the radio and he drove immediately to the area where the attacks were happening and started picking people up in the street and driving them home.


What we can learn from a newspaper (and it’s not the news)

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2014 ……

Learning Chopin while managing crises and being true to your purpose

I recently read Play It Again, by Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian newspaper and website. The book triggered a new interest in The Guardian and it also got me back on the piano.

Alan Rusbridger’s yearlong journey to learn Chopin’s Ballade No.1 is the primary story line for this book. However for me, the background stories about courage and whistleblowing, illustrated by the following three examples, were more compelling: (more…)

How to kill an intranet

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in July 2009 ……

Four easy steps if you’d like to bring sudden death to your intranet. This is a real story from the trenches. Sent to me by an intranet manager who prefers to remain anonymous.

  1. Remove or redeploy the intranet team, and put external communications in charge.
  2. Stop training authors.
  3. Turn the home page into a flashy news tool with lots of fancy widgets.
  4. Remove all user feedback mechanisms from the home page.