I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS about leadership bubbling up inside my second brain. Leadership is a prime topic following me from my days as an Air Force officer and it's the main feature during Congregation 2021.
Several of the thought leaders I follow have recommended that I query my second brain whenever I have a question to answer in a public space. Since #cong21 is very public, I asked my bookshelf about leadership and I fell into a rabbit hole about ancient history. Deep thinking after reading about leadership is a good thing.
The first questions I answered about leadership happened when I was 18. In the 1970s, while in university, several of my professors revealed the important role of leaders in military campaigns. I read part of Edward Gibbon's seminal work on the Roman Empire and heard Robert Paterson cite the legions during his opening address at reboot9 in Copenhagen. Ten years ago I recorded a podcast that combined elements of Paterson's speech along with some thoughts of my own about fraternity and literacy that complement leadership. I wish I had a better audio library because that podcast segment included some very deep thoughts. Fortunately, one part of my second brain (Flickr) has a note from the podcast session.
I plan to share a few doodles from #cong21 because I expect to hear some very powerful observations about leadership from the 80 people I believe will Zoom into the huddles.
Leading with Data
I know I'm lucky to occupy a senior role as a university lecturer. I have taught students since the early 80s and should be retired but instead I want to soldier on through the next iteration of the creative multimedia degree programme that I helped articulate and revise since 2002 in Ireland. To ensure I can lead from the front of the classroom, I continue to refine and share information that I cull from my second brain. When reduced to its core essence, it's just a set of trusted sources. I plan to share these sources during a virtual huddle with people connecting in the Congregation.
Some of these trusted links extend back to email lists I still read every week. I've archives from webmaster-shoptalk, boing boing, slashdot, and boards.ie. Today trusted sources also speak during podcasts, YouTube clips, in private Patreon or Discord channels and in Reddit threads. I don't actually visit those sites regularly. Instead, I listen to musings on those sites and then ask AI to surface the most interesting snippets.
To my delight, I've discovered people at Cong also follow many of the feeds I've saved inside a legacy collection protected by Feedly and Inoreader. I wish voices like Evelyn O'Connor would start blogging again, perhaps sharing her account with her teenage daughter so my 13yo could return with leaving cert thoughts. (This snap of Evelyn O'Connor at Cong is the most-viewed image I've shared from Congregation. You can see the other images and videos from previous Cong huddles by using the arrows in the photo album above.)
Working with the data
It means nothing to gather information if you don't intend to master elements of the data you trust. In my working world, a lot of important data points surface inside email threads. As much as I abhor email, I know it's important to master its flow or I am relegated. So I've started setting up alerts that push to my mobile phone and I'm using "focus" as an essential service inside Microsoft Outlook. Best of all, I've convinced university students to circumvent email and use Teams chat or direct messaging to reach me fastest. And I've totally removed the whack a moles sequence of "when can we meet" by using Calendly to book time to chat.
Leading with Data from Second Brain
I realised something very important while locked down during COVID when my main channel of conversation happened only during virtual meetings. I realised I made my biggest impact by sharing (1) qualified snippets with (2) suggested action steps. This realisation has become a hidden aspect of leadership for me. How this works for me and how someone might borrow the workflow is something I intent to share during the 2021 meet-up in Cong.
The Rest of the Story
To follow thoughts about leadership, you should ask Eoin Kennedy for a Zoom Link into the free (as in blog post) 2021 Congregation meet-up. It runs from 1000 to 1600 on Saturday, November 27, 2021. Terms and conditions apply. And if you cannot attend but want to glean some of the high points, visit #cong21 on Twitter for a flow of thoughts on the day. There's also a Twitter List of Cong Peeps with insights from throughout the year.
Bernie Goldbach -- Building a Second Brain, Inside View , May 19, 2021
MarKeith Allen -- Why digital transformation success depends on good governance, Information Age, October 24, 2021.
Bernie Goldbach -- The Congregation as a photo album on Flickr, 2013-2021.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus for the Technological University of the Shannon.]