Upsetting people by blogging

Blogging is a very direct medium. In my case, I find ideas and stories work better if I can publish them quickly and then take ideas or thoughts from others out there in the online community. This immediacy means I can get ideas and comment out to people within minutes.

For example, I was at IBM this morning listening to a speech by Lord Mandelson and blogging it live as he was speaking. The policy advisor sitting next to me from the department for Business, Innovation, and Skills probably thought I was being incredibly rude by typing during the speech, but these are new times for information. I was getting feedback on the speech before Mandelson had even walked off stage.

However, this immediacy and the fact that this is a written form of communication, means that tone and meaning can sometimes be lost – opinion or humour can be mistaken for flippancy.

I’ve heard it through the grapevine that my last blog entry here, the one about teaching for London South Bank University on Sunday morning, has not gone down too well with some of the university staff. I’ve not heard from anyone directly, but the impression I got was that my blog post was viewed as a very negative perspective on the MBA residential weekend.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

But, let’s have a look at the blog post and see what could be misunderstood?

I said that I had not been able to do a lot of advance planning because I could not access the LSBU team. That’s not a big issue. It’s just that I had wanted to explore some ideas around my presentation, but it’s not as if I need much help preparing to present on a subject I know well. The issues were mainly personal anyway so I’m not complaining here, merely observing that I’d really like to explore some ideas next year with the team. It’s hard as a visiting lecturer – I’m not on campus all that often. Maybe I should pop in for lunch more often.

It was genuinely nice to speak and then to find that the students were keen to keep on asking questions, and several mentioned that they would have liked my talk earlier in the weekend so they could keep talking to me for longer afterwards. I thought that this was a very positive statement. I’m only joking about them all being hungover. Sure, some of them were probably hungover after having a few drinks on Saturday night, but everyone was in there on time and really engaged with my session, and Leslie’s before mine.

The comment on Twitter is just linked to the earlier comment. I’d like to explore some ideas around interactive lectures that can draw ideas from the students or connect them in new ways. I don’t think it’s offensive to suggest an exploration of innovative case studies or student networking.

The final comment was really just a passing joke on the students and their Saturday night party. I was not even there, but I thought the play on the MBA acronym was amusing – I never made this up, I merely passed it on and several people I know got in touch with me to say they thought this was amusing.

I really love my role as a visiting lecturer at LSBU. I’ve been regularly contributing to the MBA and MSc International Management for about six years now. I’m not full time. I visit and do my thing, hopefully offering a view from outside the campus, and I really enjoy being able to meet the students and to interact with them.

Working with post-graduate MBA students is not like working with undergraduates. The students have all worked, and they are mostly giving up time from their career to take the MBA (or trying to cope with studies and work together). They come from all over the world, and they have many different views and opinions that I also learn from and enjoy.

I regularly speak at conferences and events all over the world and at these talks, and in all my books, I always mention that I’m a visiting lecturer at LSBU because it’s something I’m really proud of.

The weekend residential sessions are a really valuable opportunity to focus a lot of time with the students and the staff that I don’t meet all that often. I think the sessions at places like Latimer house are really excellent and benefit both students and staff alike by allowing everyone to escape the regular campus structure for a few days. I usually come and stay on site for these weekends, but this year I had too many deadlines, with a book that needed to be approved for printing. I spent all day Saturday checking and working on this book, so I had to just drive in on Sunday to do my talk and return home again. It was a shame as I missed a lot of the usual weekend interaction, but then it could not be avoided.

I’m sorry if anyone thought my earlier blog post was negative. I thought it was humourous, not negative. But, if anyone doubts my commitment to LSBU then why not take a look at my most recent book cover, Talking Outsourcing. There is a reference to LSBU above the innovation boss of IBM and the IT head of KPMG. Or perhaps, on Who Moved My Job? where LSBU is mentioned above one of the senior writers at BusinessWeek. And also here on the soon to be released Brazilian edition of the same book…

I’m looking forward to getting back into LSBU for my next lecture. Possibly around my new work on enterprise social media… watch this blog for news of my new magazine column and book all around this theme.

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One response to “Upsetting people by blogging

  1. Aline Mazzocchi

    Hi Mark!

    Hahaha… I had some fun reading your two last posts, Mark, because sometimes people do get too serious.

    One of the good think about the LSBU residential is that we have the opportunity to get to know people from other courses (as a full-time student myself, meet the part-times students), do some networking, get some different ideas from people with other backgrounds and of course: HAVE FUN!

    I adored the residential, had a lot of hard work during the weekend, and a few more drinks than I should. And I’m not even a bit embarrassed. I think we all reached a point that fun doesn’t get in a way of our main objectives. As you pointed, we were all there at 9am to listen what you and Leslie brought to us. That is what was important. Hangover or not, I believe one hour was not enough for discuss your presentation. We had many students from India that could add more, and a lot of question to be made. That’s it.

    I still believe that MBA, university, weekends, living abroad, and every single part of this experience is Much Better w/ Alcohol. That is what makes many of the amusing stories we will remember forever.
    Thanks LSBU for the wonderful and constructive time. Thanks Mark, for your short, but impressive presentation. See you around (with or without alcohol), hahaha.

    Aline

    LSBU is

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