Tuesday, 19 July 2011

My public service and a bigger brain


  Wally Bock (of Three Star Leadership) is one of my favourite bloggers, so I’m always encouraged when I see him commenting favourably on my blogs.  But I was amused to see this latest remark at Envisia Learning:

“Wally’s Comment: John Ingham is doing a public service reporting on various HR conferences and seminars. Here’s one about engaging those high potentials.”


Now I have to admit that public service isn’t my intent in posting to this blog.  In fact I’ve probably been though a number of phases supporting slightly different objectives in the four years that I’ve been posting to this blog.

Initially, Strategic HCM was simply (or at least mainly) an experiment enabling me to understand more about this strange new thing called social media (and ensure that I didn’t embarrass myself when a client mentioned their leadership ‘wiki’).

I suppose fairly quickly after this it also became clear that blogging provided a good opportunity for promotion, and conversation – initially aimed at supporting my Strategic HCM book, but fairly quickly for its own sake (I’m sure that a lot more people have read this blog than will ever take a look at my book).

And now the blog is pretty much at the heart at everything I do.  So one reason I blog from conferences is that this helps ensure that I get invited back and then to more conferences in future.  And that’s important to help me keep up to date with the latest case studies and more importantly to develop my own thinking based upon these and my own experiences to ensure I can offer the best possible insight to be clients.

The blog is also sponsored and this makes a small but really useful contribution to my overall business portfolio.

But actually at least as important as all of this has been that throughout these four years, I’ve found blogging an important part of my own learning.  I’d previously kept a learning log and my blog is basically my summary of my major learning.  I find that positing on the things I find most interesting / provoking firstly helps me link them into my existing schema, or on occasion to challenge these.  And the process of posting about these experiences helps me to remember them too.

I think this is especially the case at conferences.  I find that if I don’t blog I forget most of what’s been covered within a fairly short time.  But if I do, and particularly if I live-blog, I find that I remember much more content, and more newly created insight too.  And even if I don’t live blog, which is usually the case when I’m more focused on talking to people than I am in listening to the speakers, I find the additional time it takes to go through my notes and post based upon these (probably about an additional 20% of the time spent at the conference) to be a useful investment.

I’ve also found blogging easier to maintain than a learning log because I know that you’ll be expecting regular(ish) updates from me.  And I’ve often found your comments to be really useful in opening up different or additional insights too.

I’ve also found that as time has gone on that I’ve started to increasingly rely on these summaries of my major learnings.  My blogs act in a sense a bit like an extension of long-term memory, a detachable disc drive or USB stick I can use when my own long-term memory runs out of capacity or if a particular learning hasn’t been saved properly.

My blog provides me with a bigger brain, and that’s the main reason I keep it going, rather than any sense of public service.  But of course it’s great when you find it useful too.

So, if you blog, what benefits do you find you gain from this?

And if you don’t, don’t you think it’s about time you did?



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  1. Jon, I'll stand by the "public service" comment. By sharing what you've observed and learned at conferences you've broadened the reach and increased the understanding of many of us. For me, the big benefit is a knowledgeable briefing on areas that I'm interested it, but would never take the time or spend the money to go to a conference. Thank you.

    After blogging for more than five years now, I agree completely that you need to get some benefit from the process. My primary benefit is personal, writing in all its forms is the way I figure out what I think about things. Blogging, specifically, is the basket where I collect the pieces of my business life.

  2. Jon,

    I've personally (okay, selfishly even) enjoyed reading your blog because I feel like I get to learn along with you, which is helpful to me since I want to stay current in areas like strategic HR, which aren't my main focus but which are important to the organizational issues I care about.

    I've also enjoyed watching/reading about your journey, seeing you go from promoting your work and trying to figure out how to do that modestly and enthusiastically, to finding topics and questions that excite you, to challenging dogma, to inventing your own ideas, and ultimately to assuming a real thought-leadership position at the nexus of HR & social media.

    Your journey has been very good company for others of us trying to sustain similar learning curves. Your writing throws off infectious enthusiasm and just plain old good ideas, consistently and generously.

    And I'm sure I'm not the only one of your readers who feels this way.

    thanks so much,

  3. Thanks CV, I love your summary of my journey. I'm a great fan of your blog too, as hopefully you realise. Your comments provide a real boost for me - and I'm sure these will keep me going for another year!


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