Deep Thoughts

A collection of resources that inspired and influenced my work in 2020

I’m often asked where I get my inspiration from and who are my influences.

This is a hard one to answer, not because I don’t have any but because I have too many.

I’m inspired by so much in the world around me, from a simple walk around my village, a chat with my hairdresser or watching random videos on YouTube. A lot of things in daily life inspire me and give me fuel for the writing game.

The same goes for influences, they are wide and varied. Some you may know and many you may not. They’re ever changing and I’m influenced by people, things and places from all walks of life.

So, instead of trying to answer what are all the things that inspire and influence me and my work. Here’s a selection of some of the stuff that did just this across 2020.

In no particular order:

Nick Shackleton-Jones: How People Learn

If you’re working in the world of learning/people/talent development or are just curious about the world of learning, then this talk is essential viewing.

I’ve never met Nick but he seems like a cool guy and he knows his stuff – give it a watch, you won’t regret it.

6 onboarding ideas to steal from Culture Amp

Some of you may have come across me/my work after reading some of my articles on disrupting the traditional concept of employee onboarding. This is one of the many resources that influences such thinking.

You’ll see much more from me on this topic in early 2021.

Why work doesn’t happen at work: Jason Fried

2020 was just about an odd of a year that I’ve experienced. I, probably like some of you, have been questioning why we work the way we work, when it obviously doesn’t work.

This talk from 2010 makes even more sense 10 years later.

Happy by Derren Brown

All of the work I do, the 9-5 and my side project involves the pursuit of better understanding the human mind. I’m on a never ending quest to understand me, you and why we do the things we do.

This book by Derren Brown is a deep read but a very worthwhile one. It focuses on the stories we tell ourselves and the worlds we create, and how we can trap ourselves in them. 

With a big focus and psychology, neuroscience and philosophy, it’s one that will really make you think about everything we do.

Jason Yip: Why T-shaped people

The term T-shaped is not new, it’s been part of the agile methodology for years, despite what a lot of learning teams will tell you.

Who better to help us explore the concept of T-shaped people and skills than a senior Agile coach from Spotify. This is one of many pieces I’ve read on Jason’s blog that’s inspired me in 2020. Make sure to check out the rest of his work here.

Matt LeMay: Your company keeps doing the same thing over and over again, and it doesn’t work, here’s why

I can’t recall the last time I found myself so engaged by one article. I won’t say anymore than that for this one. I really enjoyed it and have shared it with many people, perhaps you’ll get something from it too.

How to maximise behavioural change in leadership development programs: McKinsey & Co

My current obsession in my 9-5 and one that will probably take over my life for a good chunk of 2021, is helping those in leadership roles with the skills and behaviours they need to tackle the modern workplace.

Perhaps a controversial thing to say but I don’t think a lot of workplaces get leadership learning right. It’s usually bloated and not connected to any real world context. This article is one of many that’s both inspiring and influencing me to do something different.

The 5 Whys: A root cause analysis tool

I’m all about better problem solving techniques and getting to the heart of what’s really causing an issue. This approach has helped me several times in 2020.

Liam Wong: Night time photography with a neo noir cyberpunk aesthetic

I love the artwork and photography of Liam Wong, it resonates with my personal style and interests. I find something so relaxing and yet exciting about his night time neon shots.

Liam’s Twitter and Instagram feed are rare joys in an otherwise odd world. I highly recommend you check out his stuff and his book TO:KY:OO

HBR: What happens when your career becomes your whole identity

I’m going to finish off with this one as I think it’s extremely important.

The pandemic has made all of us reflect and perhaps rethink what a career means in today’s world. The psychological attachment to one’s job cannot be underestimated and neither can the dangers it poses when merged with how we identify, and value ourselves.

That’s it from me. As I said at the top of this, these are just a slither of the things that have inspired and influenced me across 2020.

I’d love to know what inspired and influenced you too! Share it with me in the comments below.

Before you go… 👋

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