Psyched and Grateful

Realising that if I don’t write a blog post my head is probably going to explode, I guess that’s the reverse of writer’s block isn’t it?

So, I did it. I’m psyched. Actually, Dip.Psych‘ed to be specific. My little jamboree of academic qualifications now includes science, engineering, education, technology, theology and psychology. For the latter, I am grateful to Dr Mike Hollier for the inspiration and encouragement to turn my lifelong interest in psychology into something all together more focused, formal and useful, and to Anthony Finbow for providing me with the space and platform to enable me to pursue it. They also enabled me to turn Redcatco from half of an idea in my head, into a business that provides communication infrastructure to over 250,000 people, in more than 50 countries, for some of the largest and most profitable businesses on the planet. That definitely wasn’t something I had on my personal roadmap back in 2007.

It has been an amazing journey, and it has only just really started. Studying with the Open University has been an incredible adventure in itself. I’ve got to know many inspiring fellow students who have broken through all sorts of obstacles and challenges in order to pursue their dreams and passions. It has been humbling at times, realising how tiny the challenges I face are, compared to those that others have already overcome. It has also shown me what can be done with the technology that I love so much. Learning at a distance, sharing and managing knowledge on-line, using the Internet as a learning platform, and blending all of that with ‘real-world’ interactions. I’m proud to have been a part of it. And, finally, I can read (and just about understand ;) ) the research papers on Positive Psychology that have fascinated me these past few years. I’ve even had the chance to meet Marty Seligman and many other researchers on the way.

What next? Well, work sucks. No, really, it does, at least the kind that goes off in most modern, knowledge-driven businesses. My hope for the next part of my journey is to fix that for as large a number of people as I can manage. Work should be enjoyable, perhaps even fun! It should be social, rather than anti-social; it should flow, rather than jar and judder. Most of all, it should be purposeful – informed and encouraged rather than demanded and enforced.

Focusing people on results and  team achievements, rather than obscured organisational rules and the pursuit of individual survival, provides a way to unlock a huge amount of value for many businesses – and hopefully a cheerful amount of value for myself and those I get to work with along the way! It is once again possible to make work both ‘visible’ and ‘social’. Then make it a team-lead, rather than the structured-process model that stifles innovation. SocialOptic has got off to an amazing start. Our first product, Milestone Planner, has outgrown one data centre and is gradulally colonising a second, with customers across half a dozen countries already. Every time I look at our management dashboard, more users have signed up. There is much to add to the service, but every time I talk with people from the user community, their passion and enthusiasm for how it enables them to work gives me a buzz. The second product is already more than paying its way too, providing insight into team progress, employee engagement and customer satisfaction for some great organisations.

2012 looks like it is going to be a fantastic year. Yes, there will undoubtably be curve balls, it wouldn’t be life if there weren’t any. But I’m psyched. I’m really psyched.

  8 comments for “Psyched and Grateful

  1. January 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Hi Benjamin,
    Love the blog post. Very inspiring, well done.

    I consider myself extremely lucky to work within an education environment which provides me with an excellent work/life balance, the obvious downside to this is the financial remuneration, which could and probably would be better in the private sector.

    I love my job and actively look forward to going to work every day. (An enviable position? – Maybe!)
    I have pro-actively made an effort to encourage my team to be goal focused and think they are a long way to achieving this.

    I also allow a very socially interactive environment to exist within my team and I think this has definitely improved team performance. I have also employed coaching and mentoring techniques to assist my teams development.

    Employing Project Management methodology has also allowed my team to excel within our organisation and successfully complete some very complex projects.

    I will definitely be looking at your Milestone Planner product with interest.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Benjamin Ellis
      January 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Hello Kevin,

      Sounds like you are in a good place! Let me know how you get on with Milestone Planner and drop me a line if you have any questions!

  2. Berniejmitchell
    January 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Benjamin! I can feel your energy bouncing out of my screen as I read.
    Really pleased for you, you are. Certainly an inspiration! Thanks for you help in 2011, I learnt so much from you antics :-)

    • Benjamin Ellis
      January 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you, Bernie – your energy is inspiring too – so many things on the go!

  3. January 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    and not one mention of Jerry & the guys!

    • Benjamin Ellis
      January 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Ah, but I’m very much alive, for now!

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