united we stand

Managing a team can be a tricky business. Balancing egos, personalities, ideas, grafters, blockers and dodgers. The best teams usually boast a natural leader. Or two.

by Phil Jewitt

There’s a film called The Damned United which tells the story of the managerial partnership of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. Together, they successfully led Derby County and Nottingham Forest to football glory in the 1970s but not so successfully* after they went their separate ways. For those too young to remember or not remotely interested in football, you can replace Brian and Peter with Ant and Dec, The Hairy Bikers or any other successful partners.  

It’s probably fair to say none of them would have achieved the success they jointly have without the relationship they created and maintained and their understanding of each other and their teams.

Recent posts by Darren, Paul and Simon explained similar experiences of being a Head of Comms. Relevantly, they all talk about relationships, supporting and being supported by their teams.

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is the future of comms unequal?

Look around at comms teams and there is an imbalance. The senior people are men. The team are overwhelmingly female. That surely means the people at the top will be female in future, surely?

by Julie Waddicor

As many of my colleagues have blogged and tweeted, the first session of the LGCommunications ‘Future Leaders’ programme took place a couple of weeks ago. It is a fantastic programme that I am hugely honoured to be a student of. It’s the kind of opportunity that money would struggle to buy: the bringing together of a group of peers (and the other people on the course are both hugely impressive and talented, so I better up my game), the allocation of a mentor and the opportunity to talk to people like Alex Aiken (Executive Director for Government Communications) and Christian Cubitt (Deputy Spokeperson to the Prime Minister), who frankly have other, fairly pressing calls upon their time.

If you ever have the chance to take part, I would urge you to do so wholeheartedly.

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winston churchill and the art of knowing when to powerpoint

Never. In the field of human conflict. Has powerpoint. Badly deployed. Caused so much damage. Of course, Winston Churchill was a good leader. But he was never hindered by pie charts and bullet points on powerpoint. In this post look at where you need to tailor the approach.

by GUEST EDITOR Chris Bolton

Excellent News! Through extensive research* I’ve located a picture of Winston Churchill from June 1940, practicing his Powerpoint presentation of the ‘fight them on the beaches’ speech.

If you squint carefully (its an old picture) you can just make out the Pie Chart percentages of where the fighting will take place: Beaches 45%, Landing Grounds 20%, Fields 10% etc. Apparently Churchill was ready to deliver the carefully crafted presentation when, during a bombing raid the House of Commons projector bulb was shattered by some stray shrapnel. The result was the impromptu, unsupported speech to Parliament, and the rest is history.

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measure twice, cut once

by Darren Caveney

I’ve always had a fascination for stats, and a sadly photographic memory for stat-related trivia.   This problem surfaced as a youngster.  As a 10-year old I could reel off the brake horse power and top speed of pretty well any car in my Top Trumps sports cars pack.

I even began to memorise chunks of the more interesting sections of my 1977 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

When it came to football I could bore with the best of them on stats and figures. It partly came from spending too much time staring at Ceefax on a Saturday evening following the day’s results (pages 312 through to 324, for those in the know).

And I could probably tell you the attendance, to within a couple of a hundred, at most of Birmingham City’s key home games in the past 20-odd years.  

 

So, no surprise then, that one of my favourite quotes ever comes from Vic Reeves who once said that “88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot.”

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future leaders network

by Kim Neville

LGcommunications has nominated 16 communications specialists from local authorities across the UK to take part in a new leadership programme. The LGC Future Leaders Network, aims to support up and coming officers, connecting them with peers and some of today’s local government luminaries to help them shape their thinking and forge relationships for the future.

What does the next generation of local government chief communications officers look like? I may have had a glimpse into the future yesterday when I joined the first gathering of LGcommunications Future Leaders’ Network in Westminster.

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winds of change …

by Darren Caveney

I’ve been lucky enough to attend and participate in a couple of excellent events this past week or so.  The first UKGovCamp in London and the second an LGComms seminar on social media in Cardiff.

A key theme running through both events was that of the shifting nature of the communications landscape, and the differing ways in which organisations are reacting and redifining activity.   The sands are certainly shifting at speed for some, for others they're moving at a far gentler pace.

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