Okay, full disclosure – I haven’t stopped posting completely: I used to have a schedule of three posts per day on Twitter/Facebook/Google+/LinkedIn each, and now I just share something occasionally. Same goes for this blog on topdog-innovation.com and Medium: It used to feature a new article (almost) every Monday; the last month went by without any updates whatsoever.
There are different reasons why I stopped posting so much:
- I was mostly speaking to an empty room. Some of you definitely kept listening, and it means a lot – but most of my articles (with the notable exception of “How Agile vs. Non-Agile Misses the Point” which felt really great) would just come and go without creating any kind of resonance. This was fine for a while because I used writing as a kind of vent and as a tool for honing my own thoughts, but at this point I feel I’ve vented enough – and maybe my thoughts aren’t as interesting as I’d hoped, even when polished by writing.
- I need to talk less and listen more. I’ve been guilty of treating conversations not as a two-way street among equals but as an opportunity for self-representation. Someone once said that “in our culture, we don’t listen – we reload.” I’ve found that to be very true for the online culture of Agile/organizational development and I’ve sometimes been a prime example myself. This is unfortunately very common among those who preach the opposite:
This morning on Twitter, an expert on collaborative management asks for others’ thoughts on why a specific thing is defined like it is – only to shoot down every reply and pushing their own, already made-up opinion down commenters’ throats in return.
A few weeks ago, there was a photo shared on my LinkedIn feed, showing a presentation on digital transformation at a large enterprise – there was a single slide(!) visible in the picture. The person who shared it had attended and liked the event. The comment section consisted of half a dozen Agile “gurus” who weren’t there – but who were very ready to analyze that out-of-context-slide to death and explain why that approach couldn’t possibly be any good.
This behavior is contrary to what I think Agile is about and I don’t want any part of it. So I’m kind of “de-toxing” myself by not interjecting any personal views into these fights (I can’t honestly call them conversations) and instead just taking in other people’s thoughts. Once you quit reloading, the quality of your listening apparently improves dramatically.
- I got lost in my own echo chamber. I would put my own opinions into writing and share content that agreed with my own views. The interactions that resulted on social media were consequently those of individuals that agreed with me and had similar feelings on work and organizational development.
This detached me from social reality as a whole. I would regularly become frustrated in real-life interactions when people weren’t as informed about the topics I cared about or didn’t feel that my pursuits were all that pressing. It was bizarre: I wanted to wake the working dead, to free the slaves of our economy from their command-and-control shackles – only to find out that they were totally fine and content with the life they’re living.
At what point does peer-to-peer conversation become a re-education effort? I’m not sure, but I don’t want to find out – and I certainly don’t want to try it out on my friends and business contacts. So I’m opening myself up to alternative approaches instead of telling people they’re wrong about enjoying their work the way it is.
I’ll keep this blog and write something when I feel I’ve got something to say – I think that will make for a better trigger than the simple fact that it’s Monday. If you want to be notified when that happens you can sign up here. Thank you for reading!