Over the last three days, whilst the rest of Stan’s Cafe have been charging around being productive, I’ve spent the three days chewing the end of a pencil. When embarking on a bold new journey chewing a pencil is a pretty good way to start. We got offered a place on an “Audience Development Programme” and although we think our audiences are great, who couldn’t do with a bit of development? The programme is called “Not For The Likes Of You”, a name that ranks second only to our bookkeeping application “Mind Your Own Business” in the ‘difficult to refer to without sounding rude stakes’.
The programme runs over an extended period. The first stage is Leadership Training – hence the pencil chewing. Discounting rehearsals, I can’t think of the last time I sat down and thought for three days solid without any other work intruding. It would have been valuable for that alone. Corporate Training Speak isn’t my favourite language, but codifying common sense has its value and spotting simple patterns in a whirl of data is only easy once you’ve seen them. I found myself being thankful that the world is populous enough that someone somewhere (usually The States) has made it their life’s work do all this thinking for me. It is easy to see how people can become evangelical after a good training course.
There won’t be a sweeping change at Stan’s Cafe as a result of this one course, but its influence should be distinguishable over time. The company has grown to the point where old systems are having to be replaced, informal arrangements and understandings are having to be thought about and discussed. The skills required to lead Stan’s Cafe in the old days aren’t sufficient any more. Trotsky wasn’t mentioned at Aston Business School – not even misquoted (though I notice he got a look in through beard related statistics in Valencia), but what I took from the three days was a realisation that we need a Permanent Revolution.
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I think that all this developing and maturing professionally is a Good Thing. Scary though.