Organisational culture, Systems Leadership

The Power of Persistence

I’ve just learned that the winner of a 6 week virtual school rugby contest is “Ysgol y Ffin”, and I’m delighted! I don’t know who this School is, never been there. I’ve never met any of the pupils, or any of its members of staff. I don’t know whether their junior school rugby team is any good and to be frank, I am barely aware of what the rules of rugby actually are … but yet I felt completely invested in whether or not they’d win a tournament that involved clicking on their School name on Twitter!

Why was this? Well I know Rachel Hughes from real life business and enjoy her posts on Twitter. The first time I saw her tweet about this tournament, it barely registered with me and I scrolled on by. Then *bing* twitter notification.. she @sarahlethbridge’d me about it. I liked the tweet and voted for “Ysgol y Ffin”.  Now I was “Ysgol y Ffin aware”.  As the days went by, “Ysgol y Ffin” seemed to be everywhere.  They got to the final. 

Another @sarahlethbridge direct tweet. Another vote secured. I went to bed and saw lots of other people that I followed on twitter, taken up with the “Ysgol y Ffin” campaign.  They were slightly ahead. As I settled down to go asleep an “I wonder if they’ll win” crossed my mind.  I woke up in the morning, stretched across to reach for my phone to commence scrolling. I clicked on the Twitter poll. 50% each! Neck and neck.

“I can’t have this!” I thought, so I set about composing my own tweet to appeal to people I knew to get involved.

I wonder how many people acted in exactly the same way as I had done? Quite a few obviously because they ended up winning with 59.6%

It reminded me of a recent experience I had had with Cardiff University Yammer (a bit like facebook but for work).  I happened upon the ‘Lean Library’ add-in that Cardiff University subscribes to (which in itself was a surprise that it had taken me so long to actively investigate a product that had ‘lean’ in the title).  It’s an absolute marvel. Anyone who enjoys, or needs, to read online academic papers would revel at the ease at which it enables the user to automatic glide into journal subscriptions without inputting your University ID a million times.

As a passionate believer in the importance of sharing innovations and best practice, I set about telling my colleagues at Cardiff University.

Nothing.

So I posted a reply … to myself …

Tumbleweed.

“For the Love of God… answer me someone!” Two answers were before me… EITHER everyone had been using it for years and I was oblivious OR nobody knew about this amazing thing and it was my mission, and mine alone, to let everyone know about it.

Last attempt.

Laughing face emoji to lighten the mood and lessen my obvious desperation.

Only THEN, did I get some engagement.

“Have you seen this?”

“Does Cardiff University have a license”

I’d hardly say that I attracted a stampede of comments, but it was really interesting how it took three posts to actually, in whatever capacity, “breakthrough”. (There is a chance that people took pity on the strange woman who bleats on about lean all the time but I’m overlooking that possibility for the purposes of this blog).

These tiny experiences have reminded me how important regular communication is – how powerfully persuasive it is.  It also reminded me of this Ted Talk, which I’m sure you’ve all seen, which beautifully demonstrates how important followership is to achieving success.  Only when people engaged with the messages did they become meaningful. To everyone else, and to me. What’s also important is someone being prepared to put themselves out there.

So yes, if you really believe in something, keep talking about it, authentically, don’t deviate, and people will follow. Those couple of supportive posts from colleagues, that virtual rugby tournament win, will, in the words of Derek Sivers, make you feel less of a ‘lone nut’ and more of a leader.

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