TWOLI: From smart people in business to brands in crisis

November 7, 2021
TWOLI: This Week On LinkedIn with Professor Sebastian Longsword

From smart people in business to brands in crisis, I’d like to welcome you to the first edition of TWOLI – This Week On LinkedIn. In this article, I will explain what TWOLI is hoping to achieve and then share some of my illuminating posts and comments.

The concept of putting together a weekly article to showcase my activity on LinkedIn, popped up before me as I sat the in school hot tub during our weekly faculty meeting. One of my Ass Pros stared blankly at me when I referenced a particularly insightful comment I’d posted on the world’s number one business networking site and it made me realise I’d been hiding my light under a virtual bushel.

I exclaimed that it was now time to shave the bushel, as it were, and thrust my LinkedIn-posted ideas forward for all to see and grasp, hence the concept of capturing my best nocturnal emissions (I tend to do it by hand at night or in the wee small hours) into one weekly rendezvous for website visitors and email subscribers.

We’ll revisit this concept by Christmas but during November and December I plan to give it a jolly decent shake.

If we haven’t connected on LinkedIn yet, please consider following The MBA School Of MBA Credentials page, and/or connecting with me directly: Professor Sebastian Longsword.

Now, let’s get into posts from the last few weeks because I do have some catching up to do.

Smart people in business

This post by Tim Denning caught my eye because I don’t often fit ALL the criteria of social media lists.

My comment:

Wonderful, Tim. It’s nice to know I fit your criteria because every morning I humbly read a lot of books alone on the toilet, occasionally making some sounds of exclamation that make my colleagues think and result in me being quiet for a while in meetings. I find such time helps many things pass loosely, not just opinions, although while in my cubicle I wrestle with the fact that I am, at once, both the smartest and the dumbest person in the room, the thought of which preoccupies me so much I have no time left to argue with trolls. I agree, there is a lesson in here somewhere!

I released this as a standalone post and it motivated others to ‘fess up about some of their habits. Very healthy, methinks.

Brenton Cox, Adelaide Airport

This was just a lovely story about a respected person getting the nod for a promotion.

My simple comment, which garnered much adoration:

Someone’s career is taking off!

I will always argue that MBA Thinking goes further with a good pun.

A crisis of absence of marketing strategy behind brands

The virtual marketing professor, Mark Ritson, popped up in my feed with another of his firebrand, provocative ponderances and I noticed that among the many people who usually clamour to get noticed by him, there was a worthy comment from Kevin McTigue that had gone unnoticed.

Here is Kevin’s comment, which, at the time of commenting, had not been reacted to by Mark Ritson:

Love it Ritson. Someone should write a book! I was nodding along to the entire article and now I’ll likely cite this study when we’re teaching briefing to students and companies. My colleague (Derek Rucker) and I saw the same issue and just wrote a book about how to create a great brief. From reading you for a while, I can say we share a very similar viewpoint.
(I hope it isn’t bad form to jump with a book link, but this post is literally why we wrote the book.)

So, with my MBA Thinking cap on, I stepped in with some advice:

Kevin, I don’t think Mark has seen your reply yet but I have a tip on how you might get his attention. Look at the following quote from the article: A recent YouGov study found 31% of men could not identify a clitoris from a giant diagram despite it, literally, staring them in the face. These men are, almost certainly, the same ones that self-identify as being superior at lovemaking in other annual studies. Now look at your job title. Clinical Associate Professor. It seems to me Mark would be more impressed if you changed that to Clitoral Associate Professor. No guarantees, of course, but I might have just put a finger on it for you.

I didn’t hear back, but it was nice to know I tried to help.

How do you elicit feedback from staff?

One of my favourite friends on LinkedIn is Cameo Doran, who’d just shared this thoughtful post when I had time to sit and reflect.

I replied with the first thing that popped into my head:

I confess that for one guilty moment I was hoping the transcript of your story would read thus:
“I hate how she treats us” one said.
“I know,” said the other, “she’s always so condescending.”
I wondered who they were talking about until they turned and saw me.
“Condescending, you say,” I sneered at them. “While I’m surprised you know a long word like that, I’d be shocked if you knew how to spell it.”

It was heartening to finding out that Cameo enjoyed my MBA-led alternative rendering of the tale:

This made me laugh.
After it happened I dreamed of alternate responses . One of my favorites was imagining myself yelling, “How dare you talk about me that way” and firing them on the spot.

You will see more of my liaisons with Cameo over the following weeks, I’m sure.

Leave people better off when you meet them

Another person who is important in my life is Wendy Perry, who brought quite a number of students to the 2021 Adelaide Fringe semester of A Lunchtime MBA. She posted:

On this occasion, I fired off a cheeky reply:

Okay, okay, I promise I’ll tip you next time 😉

Not my sharpest MBA comment, but importantly, Wendy liked it which meant I had fulfilled the brief!

Medical-influenced puns in marketing

Sometimes I am merely the messenger, passing on comments from my students, which is exactly what happened when Ryan Wallman posted this humorous piece.

Strap in, this conversation ebbs and flows. I  began:

Oh dear. I showed this to my students and they came up with a couple of new ones – oh the harsh boldness of youth!
Dadjox – An affliction like Chicken Pox, in which older men craft puns that then spread across LinkedIn as friends comment and share.
Quirkuity – Symptoms include a quirky idea that is seen through to the end, despite being vaccuous.
Kindathereitus – When a notion is almost there, for want of conveying something meaninful.
Now you know what it’s like being a Professor with such sharp-eyed critics. If you had to do what I do every day, you might well retreat to medicine!
I almost didn’t share this but because your post precluded me from charting a Venn diagram of competing values, I had to give into the madding crowd 😉

Ryan replied:

Yikes. Brutal. 😉 Tell them that if they thought mine were lame, they did an excellent job of emulating them. 😉 Also, chicken pox shouldn’t be capitalised, vacuous only has one c, and meaningful has a g. Maybe academic standards have changed since my day.

I replied:

Both academic and humour standards, I guess. I shall pass it on.

Ryan then replied:

kids of today! LOL

Ah, the spontaneity of LinkedIn at its best.

Adelaide’s Riverbank Arena debate

This is another case in which I was merely the messenger and paid the price for it!

Here is how the conversation I sparked, began:

I gave this dilemma to my students to discuss and they instantly came up with three possible solutions if this park must be preserved:
1. Developers should visit IKEA and see if they have a collapsible stadium that could be erected and dismantled on that site for each event. Advantage: If modular stadiums are on sale, they can mix and match depending on crowd size. For example, soccer or Tina Arena, put them all together. Rugby or reality show “celebrity”, just sling out a 2-person tent, a few seats, and an esky.
2. If the Arena was constrained to just that car park, chalk could be used to mark out playing or performance areas to suit each event and spectators could bring umbrellas for protection from heat and cold. Advantage: Audience could use chalk to play hopscotch and Tic Tac Toe before, after, or even during events.
3. Developers could simply buy 15,000 virtual reality oculus headsets and borrow the surplus, raked seating stands once used for the Clipsal 500. Then, patrons could sit on these stands in that car park space and collectively have private virtual experiences for each event while paying $20 for a beer. The software could even include pigeons and train noises.

Rob Mitchell replied:

No Sebastian Longsword, Adelaide Oval changed the Adelaide city forever, lets push on, chalk is not going to fix amenity and growth, the site is overgrown and hasn’t been used in decades

To which I replied:

Dear Rob Mitchell please don’t shoot the messenger. This post has an important conditional qualifier. It says the solutions were based on what to do IF there was no choice other than operating with that car park in place. It’s important to note the nuance of conditional logic operators.

Harvard Business Review and pipelines

And I’ll end with this one. It was a quick reply to the good folk at HBR.

To which I replied:

I’m quite happy with the depth of my leadership pipeline but I wouldn’t mind a little extra length to ensure reliable performance. You’ve given me plenty to play with. Thank you.

It’s nice to finish on a note of gratitude.

More next week, I hope.

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