Lloyd Davis

Harnessing the power of the newbie

I’ve recently (in the last month) joined the Board of SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) as one of the new trustees and I’m very much in the mode of newbie at the moment, trying to learn as much as I can about UK social care.  It’s an unusual feeling for me to be so far out of my comfort zone.  Last week I attended a SCIE workshop in York with 50 or so people from across the health and social care sector.  Everyone was very friendly, welcoming and keen to answer the (many) questions I asked colleagues at my table but with all the jargon that’s used in the sector I did feel a little bit like a fish out of water.

In the afternoon we participated in an ideas gathering exercise.  We were asked to write ideas on cards, stick them on boards around the room and then read everyone else’s ideas – and if we liked one, put a blue sticker on it.  Genius way to collect ideas & feedback in an anonymous and non confrontational way.

As you are all aware and will no doubt have observed in your own place of work, the more senior you become in an organisation, the more difficult it is to get anyone in your team to disagree with you.  This is well documented and really quite frustrating when it happens.  CEOs go to great lengths to find ways around this.  It’s the reason why you should choose non executive directors who will be confident enough to challenge and disagree with you.

I wandered around and put two ideas up on the boards.  By the end of the session they were blue dot free.  No-one had voted for them.

Lloyd Davis at Tuttle Club

Lloyd Davis at Tuttle Club

I thought about this from time to time over the next day or so and then at Friday’s Tuttle club, discussed it quietly with Lloyd Davis and Tony Hall.  Stalwarts of the sensible both of them.  We concluded that my ideas had not been bad ideas per se – they were just completely out of kilter with the way that everyone else in that room thinks and expresses themselves.  They were too “different” for anyone to agree with them or probably even relate to them.  We debated for a while between ourselves and decided that it probably takes about 3 months in a new role for someone to become completely aligned with everyone else in the company or sector.

Once that happens, you’ve gained an assimilated team member but you’ve lost that fresh pair of eyes that you worked so hard to bring in and any new perspective they brought with them.

I’m interested in ways you think organisations generally can better harness the power of the newbie and it would be great if people out there who already do this well can share with the rest of us.  Please add your comments below.

Good to be back blogging again!

Women – would you like to earn as much money as your male colleagues?

I was at #altukgc13 yesterday on the 5th floor of the Royal Festival Hall.  It came about thanks to Lloyd Davis & James Cattell who jumped into action following cancellation of UK Govcamp because of a bit of snow & the chaos that wreaks on the British public transport network (I note that even Buzz Aldrin had to take the train from London to Edinburgh on Friday and sit in standard class, although from the photos online he appeared to be having a great time).

One of the groups I joined discussed why it is that conference speaking platform slots are overwhelmingly dominated by white, middle aged males.  We had a lively discussion & generated some ideas.  One of the women in the group, the very fabulous & sadly ex-public sector Sharon O’Dea, has successfully managed to break onto the speaking circuit herself where she talks about technology.  Rare indeed.  Sharon agreed that she will write a blog with some tips for interested people on how they may do the same.  You can find Sharon’s blog at http://sharonodea.co.uk/

The discussion got me thinking that many of the reasons that women in particular don’t put themselves forward for speaking slots are similar to the reasons why women are so rubbish at either negotiating or improving their salary packages.  That was my driver for writing this blog.  When I was a younger person in a junior job it didn’t occur to me that there was a difference in outcomes of salary negotiations between men & women.  I naively assumed that everyone did as well as each other.  I knew I felt a bit uncomfortable having to wrangle with my MD in this way once a year.  Then one day in a team meeting a wonderful woman that I used to work with, Kirsten Gillingham (now Bursar at St Antony’s College, Oxford) challenged our MD about this inequality & made reference to the many studies that have been done showing that women are extremely unwilling to negotiate their salary and are financially disadvantaged as a result.  For me, merely becoming aware of this fact was enough to bring about a change in my own behaviour from that moment on – another reason for writing the blog as hopefully the same thing will happen for at least one person that reads it.

When you get to the stats they’re a bit alarming.  For new graduates, 57% of men negotiate a higher starting salary than the sum they are first offered but only 7% of women do.  In recruitment exercises, 90% of men immediately ask for more money when their offer comes through but over 50% of women accept the first offer.  Women earn about 75% of what men do in the same role.  I’m not talking about the public sector here or organisations where there is a transparent pay scale – although I will say that even then, you do still have a chance of negotiating a better deal when you’re joining the organisation.

So why is this?  What are the contributing factors?  I think there are probably a lot including:

  • women systematically underestimate their own abilities and performance
  • women underestimate their own value and the contribution they make to an organisation
  • women often aren’t used to negotiation because of the types of jobs they do
  • women probably care more about fairness
  • women are nervous & less confident of their position if they don’t have complete information – in this context specific salary information on other people is unlikely to be available
  • women don’t usually like conflict & will be extremely reluctant to threaten to walk if they don’t get what they want
  • at recruitment time, women may believe they’ll be able to improve their lot once they’ve started working & demonstrated their value to the organisation
  • perhaps women are more scared of losing the job offer than men are
  • maybe bosses treat this as a bit of a game and women don’t readily understand the rules
  • perhaps worst of all, success & likeability are positively correlated for men & negatively correlated for women – I can think of many occasions where I’ve underplayed my own achievements in order to be better liked or more easily accepted (we publicly put our success down to luck or help from other people).  So the male that negotiates a great package for himself is seen as an all-round great guy whereas the woman who does the same thing is seen as a hardnosed ballbreaker.

No doubt there are many more.

So how can you improve your salary negotiation outcome?

  1. By being aware that this is just how things are done.  It isn’t personal and you may not like it.  During the hiring process most company’s recruiters will start by offering you less than they are authorised to spend on the post.  It is perfectly acceptable for you to refuse that sum & state what your expectation is via a counter offer.  The negotiator will then often lowball you with another offer that is less than they can pay you.  Again – just stick to your guns & continue to counter offer.  Stay calm & polite at all times.  Don’t give any reasons why you want more money unless they really press you to.  Often they won’t.
  2. Be familiar with your industry metrics so that you know what’s realistic – it probably isn’t realistic to ask for £50k when you’ve been offered £25k – but who knows – dependent on your sector & skills maybe it is.
  3. Practice your negotiations with a friend or mentor & reassure yourself that your demands are reasonable.
  4. Remember that negotiation at its core is culturally masculine.
  5. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation with your manager about a salary increase – my own team is made up of males & females but inevitably it’s the men who will chance their arm and pitch to me the reasons why they deserve a pay rise, even when they aren’t due for one.

Ideally the process should be changed as there’s also a commercial downside & cost to behaving in this way.  No enlightened company will consciously operate like this as they will appreciate that in order to succeed commercially; they need a gender balanced and happy workforce who are treated fairly.  At Learning Pool we want our people to have the same opportunities and to be treated equitably.  We recognise the very large sums of money we spend recruiting and training our team members so it’s in our interests that they are content & stay with us for the long term.  There’s probably a special place in hell for managers who offer pay rises only at the point where their people threaten to leave.

When I was researching this topic last night I watched again Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s famous TED talk entitled “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” – it’s just shy of 15 minutes long & well worth a viewing or another viewing.  I won’t repeat what she says but she makes some great points that really made me think.  The link is here http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html

I sincerely hope no-one is offended by this blog post.  That isn’t my intention & those of you who know me will know that I thrive in a male dominated sector and industry.  There’s lots more that can be said on this topic and I hope many of you will start a conversation using the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A blog about appreciation

Matt_with_tuttle_group

Today’s blog is an appreciation blog.  Often we find ourselves just taking people for granted and not giving them enough appreciation for what they do for us – so this is an attempt to redress that balance in some small way.  I’d just like to say a big thank you on behalf of all of us who work in Northern Ireland’s emerging digital and online content sector to Matt Johnston (@cimota) for the tireless work he does on behalf of us and to promote our sector and our companies. 

I’ve spent the last two days in London with Matt.  We decided it was time to go and tell a few more people about the many talented people and small businesses that work in our chosen space in Northern Ireland.  Over the course of those two days we’ve promoted Digital Circle and its companies to:

·         The Technology Strategy Board

·         A group of social entrepreneurs

·         The Royal Society of Arts (RSA)

·         Everyone present at Friday’s Tuttle Club in London’s Centre for Creative Collaboration

·         The gathering of entrepreneurs and start up companies at Dominic Campbell’s City Camp London get together at the Hub King’s Cross

We’ve been blown away by the amount of interest there’s been in Digital Circle and at every event Matt’s had a stream of people wanting to ask him about the workings of the Digital Circle, how it started out, what the future plans are and what the Digital Circle members have gained from being part of the community.  It appears that what we have in Northern Ireland is quite unique in terms of small and micro businesses actually engaging, collaborating and helping each other out.

So this is my way of saying we appreciate you Matt and all you do for us.  The non-stop networking, the liaison with our government departments and Invest NI, the constant promotion of our companies, the search for opportunities for all of us and the signposting, the bright ideas you have, the introductions you make, the tweeting you do (I couldn’t believe how many people at Tuttle nodded when you revealed your Twitter name – they’d all come across you), the sheer volume of stuff you wade through so that we don’t have to and the dry good humour with which all of the above is delivered.

Please join me in appreciating Matt and post up your story in the comments of how he’s helped you or your company.

If you’d like to know more about the Digital Circle or join our community, you can do so via this link http://digitalcircle.ning.com/

 

Mark Nagurski, Derry’s own Martha Lane Fox – 10 things the two Digital Champions have in common

This week Mark Nagurski started his new role as Derry’s first Digital Champion.  There’s been a lot of interest in and around the appointment and it’s become a whole lot bigger & more prestigious since Derry’s win of the UK City of Culture 2013 competition.  “Digital Champion” is a job title we’d never heard of 5 years ago but it’s becoming increasingly popular.  Other job titles of a similar ilk and in the same type of space would be Brian Halligan’s appointment as “entrepreneur in residence” at MIT or the appointment of Lloyd Davis as “social artist in residence” at the University of London’s Centre for Creative Collaboration.

Mark’s remit is to spend the next two years promoting the burgeoning creative digital sector in the North West of Ireland.

Now I realise that Martha’s job as the UK’s Digital Champion is on a much bigger scale than Mark’s but I thought it would be a bit of fun to spot some similarities between them beyond their shared job title – so here goes:

1.       They are both internet entrepreneurs and have been deeply steeped in the internet and what it means for business and society forever

2.       Neither of them studied a technology subject at university – Martha studied Ancient & Modern History at Oxford and Mark studied International Relations at the LSE

3.       They were both born in the 1970s so they’re both still “young”

4.       They’ll both talk to anyone

5.       They both write extremely well & are articulate in conversation

6.       They love starting things and are serial entrepreneurs

7.       Neither of them have sisters

8.       They are both grafters and will work their backsides off for a cause they believe in

9.       They believe in themselves and their own abilities

10.   They know what they’re talking about and command respect from their audiences and peers.

Good luck in the new role Mark.  I for one am delighted with your appointment and I can’t wait to see the success and opportunity you’ll bring to Derry and the NW in the next couple of years.


Mark_nagurski
Mlf