Thirty (i)

A theme for the management away day was forming in my mind, yet I felt I needed to explore further first. Saket was out of the country, but he was good enough to find an hour in his schedule to join John (IT), Michelle (Marketing), Yvonne (PR) and me, via Skype.

I set the tenor of the call by explaining that I didn’t have hard objectives but simply felt we needed to revisit some of the conversations in recent weeks and take them further. I apologized for the vagueness, but perhaps our guts could guide us as much as our minds on this call.

I referenced the conversation with John where we’d knocked the ‘T’ out of ‘IT’ and then substituted ‘Influence’ for ‘Information’ for the ‘I’. If you’re in IT, you’re actually in the business of influence.

I defined influence. You have been influenced when you do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done, or think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought.

“I don’t remember us getting as far as describing IT like that Eli”. John looked quizzical.

“Hmm. Perhaps you’re right. I think I’ve digested it some more since”, I replied.

I recalled the conversations about measurement. I told everyone how fascinating I’d found the discussion about communication. And recounted the thread with Yvonne about the radical transparency of the social Web. And that was my intro done.

Yvonne was first to jump in.

“I wear a public relations hat as you know, but what does that mean? PR has a PR problem. It seems there are two camps. The first interpretation, and perhaps oldest, is so-called ‘spin’ where I’m supposed to spin a line, persuade people however I can, adjust presentation of the facts to suit our needs.” She put her hands in the air to do the double quotes sign as she said “adjust”.

“Over the past decade or so this way of looking at it has appeared to both gain momentum in some areas of practice and become increasingly frowned upon at the same time.”

Michelle interrupted. “What’s this got to do with what Eli said?”

Unflustered, Yvonne replied, “I’m trusting my gut Michelle, and my mind come to that. Give me a minute to explain.”

She continued.