Keeping it Real Makes Stuff Stick

I was helping a 15 year old niece with her homework. She said: “What is the point of learning history if I can just google it all on my phone? Same with maths. Waste of time.”
We were doing a history assignment (oops sorry she kept correcting me it was an ‘assessment’) about the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War where many New Zealanders and Australians died.
She was just ‘not’ engaged, and the Facebook and text interruptions just kept coming, in her world far more engaging and relevant that stats and info about a war many, many years ago.
The exercise was to learn how to use multiple sources, write bibliographies etc.
It was hard going,  yep, actually boring, and I was struggling to convince her about the value of the project.
Then as we got to some photo resources, my young friend was really moved by the commemorative wall covered in the names of those who had died. She said it made her emotional. She had seen the wall on a field trip to the War Memorial Museum.
Here it finally made some sense. She became engaged in the whole project.

One question in the assessment was about why remembering the event was important today. She had the answer from her personal experience.
So how often do we miss the heart connection in pieces of work?
The connection here shifted the chore and grind of doing something that did not seem relevant to something that clearly made sense in her world today.
The very best teachers engage hearts and minds, when they have the time and support to do so.
But I wonder how often this is the exception rather than the rule?
We ended up having a good time with this piece of work, learning about the objectivity and point of choosing and comparing multiple sources ( so easy Not to do with Google at your finger tips these days) and bringing a piece of history to life.
The key is to start with a connection, clear about Why, and then the rest of learning, even the hard yards, falls into place.

If You Love Your Brand Set It Free

When I used to work in a corporate management role we used to joke about having to be the brand police.
It was a time when access to computers meant people could use clip art, and various pieces of software to tinker around with the organisation’s brand.
They would embellish it here and there for their project or piece of work.
It drove the brand managers nuts.
And for those that liked to tinker, they saw those managers as control freaks, soul-less corporate leaders who were the equivalent of ‘thought police’ dictating templates, logo placement and the way the brand was articulate.
That was the early 2000s. We’ve all moved on aeons since then, even though it is just a decade, a blip in time.
But you know, I think this issue is still alive.
How do you ensure your brand is consistent? But at the same time enable your people, your staff , your employees to contribute to it?
Smart organisations are getting their head around this.
They engage with employees, and have them reflect the brand creatively through their stories and experiences.  But to be clear, they are NOT saying: Help yourself to the logo, the vision, the business strategies. They are ensuring that their vision and brand has depth, so that everyone can see themselves reflected in it. But they ARE saying
Visions and brands that are built on powerful metaphors do that.
It is all about strategy articulation and strategy execution.
To be articulated well  a strategy has to be inclusive. You cannot silo the organisations stories to the PR and Marketing department and the executive team.
Everyone has a story to tell.
And those stories have to be about the challenges as well as the wins. No Spin. No gloom and doom. Telling it like it is.