A few months ago I wrote about a person central to my network, Richard Martin, someone, well, someone you should know. Today, perfectly timed with Working Out Loud week #WOLweek, I wanted to introduce you (in my own way) to someone else you should know, if you do not already – Simon Terry.
Focusing on individuals – on a highly personal experience of people, places, problems – slows me down and deepens my awareness. This is never truer than when talking with Simon.
Just as with Richard, Simon is someone who entered my network via social – he was an early industry leader in the yammer universe, and then bazooka’d into Change Agents Worldwide with intent. Every interaction, from afar, had the tinge of curiosity, deep knowledge and an open mind.
I could clearly see and sense that Simon had a successful, rich background in management but by one of the genius quirks of social networking, I had almost no idea what job he had. We met in the Amphitheatre of ideas and discussion, not in the skyscraper of hierarchy where it would be clear that having a corner office on floor 34* meant how important Simon was.
So, it was interesting to finally meet Simon last week when I was visiting Australia for work. He filled in the blanks of his social journey as a senior leader inside a large Australian bank, as the leadership voice / vanguard for sharing his work – #WOLyo! – from an eon ago (6 years and counting…). Simon acted as an edge leader for the organization, by which others could gauge their own social journey. He provided context.
Visiting a country that in some ways is very similar to my own (UK / Canada) but which has its own orientation (anti-clockwise?!) about how things gets done, meant context was very much to the fore when I was there. I was seeking it out – at work and walking the cities. Context is such a critical feeling / sense to possess. It provides description to issues without prejudice. Context allows for breakthrough thinking; it encourages discourse and investigation.
And, of course, Simon has this thing, context, in spades. In his experiences as an executive, he worked out loud daily with the simple conceit that others might understand better. In his current role as a leadership and organizational consultant, he shares his knowledge widely, freely, kindly with clients, competitors and interested parties alike.
He has a beautiful meld of arts and craft in his writing – some of it metaphoric, poetic, other pieces grounded in the brick-wall-hitting reality of change practice. Simon is a #maker. He commits to his craft, but he doesn’t judge it. He iterates his thoughts and IP in the manner of a master (shout-out to Harold!)
It seems odd to say of a successful senior executive that he is blossoming, but I see an unfurling of a global leader in the #FutureOfWork practice. He has done the work before, he is helping others do the work today, and he is preparing his network for it tomorrow. How many other change / social / future of work personalities can you say that about?
I am excited to see Simon take his work to the proverbial next level, his voice to a wider octave range, maybe even a bit shoutier. My guess is, if you want someone to help you crack that most intractable of workplace issues – how to be human at work – Simon might be the man for it.
In the spirit of working out loud, this draft is rather haphazard. I wish I could explain better his gift, but it is not to be. It is to be the best I could do. I haven’t mentioned his wide reading, his commitment across timezones to meet and greet and embrace and encourage. I haven’t mentioned his take on trust, not his ability to be quiet when full of ideas and answers. I haven’t mentioned steak knives, nor Dunbar! You should ask him about Dunbar.
Simon almost missed the last flight home from Sydney to Melbourne the night I met with him, because he was pushing the limit of his conviction to share as much as possible with those who are on the shared journey – namely, me! How lucky am I, in the person-to-person economy, to know a person like Simon!
*I have no idea where his office was.
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