An Unexpected Award!

As well as having the pleasure of seeing so many wonderful people winning Nebula Awards this weekend, I’ve had some personal good news. My colleague Phillip Wu and I have won a teaching award for our programme to use MS Teams for community building and social support among doctoral students! I’ve never remotely expected to be nominated for a teaching award, let alone win one, so this is really rather delightful.

Tales from the Workplace: On Being Wrong With Confidence

One of my many jobs when working for the Public Sector in Canada was, believe it or not, continuity announcer. This was at a historic military site which did twice daily shows of Victorian military drill or marching band music (alternating days). Those of us who didn’t do either, got to climb up a rickety ladder to an even ricketier crow’s nest with giant speakers, extract a binder of snappy descriptions of what the audience were seeing, and read those out over the microphone. If you were lucky, the drill sergeant would have told you the order of manoeuvres for the day. If you weren’t, s/he would just be randomising them, and you’d have to flip feverishly back and forth in the book for the descriptions, and hope you weren’t accidentally mistaking enfilading fire for form-fours.

Which is where I got a very useful piece of advice, from more senior people in the announcing trade: if you’re wrong, be wrong with confidence. Because you will make mistakes, or have to suddenly truncate a description, or have a page blow away in the wind, or similar, and the worst thing you can do is to stammer and stutter and sound like you don’t know what you’re doing. If you say it wrong, but with confidence, most of the audience don’t know there’s a screwup, and you can apologise to the ones that do later.

Fast forward twenty years, and it’s my first time reading out the names at Redbrick University’s graduation ceremony. I’m really, really worried about mispronouncing someone’s name, so I’ve been looking names up, asking colleagues who are native speakers of various languages how to pronounce things, and, in the final analysis, reminding graduating students that if they’re concerned about pronunciation, to please write a phonetic transcription on the little card that the attendant will pass to me with their name on.

The ceremony starts, and I’m reading off the names, and feeling more and more confident. I’m remembering pronunciations, and I’m helped by the fact that many of the students have written their names phonetically, and then I come to a card bearing the name: Jorje.

Which I know perfectly well is pronounced, to transcribe it for English speakers, “Horhey.”

And the student has helpfully written, above his name, “Horhey.”

But, unbelievably, and with confidence and gusto, I say:

“George.”

I looked for him after the ceremony to apologise profusely, but never found him. Jorje, if you ever read this, may I say that I am terribly, terribly sorry.

Preorder “Management Lessons From Game of Thrones”!

So, Management Lessons From Game of Thrones, based on (but expanding on!) my blogpost series Leadership Lessons From Game of Thrones, is coming out in July and you can preorder it right now!

UK link here

US link here

Buy direct from publisher here

This is the management theory book you never knew you wanted– order it now!

Book launch! Come join us!

Details of the launch of Global Taiwanese! I’ll be talking with project collaborators Prof Rueylin Hsiao and Prof Dorothy Yen, with key informant Mrs Wang and moderator Prof Elena Giovannoni, at 12:00 EST/17:00 London time! We don’t have wine but we may have publisher discounts. Click this link to register.

Guest blogging on globalisation

With my book Global Taiwanese: Asian Skilled Labour Migrants in a Changing World now live, I’ve got a guest blog post at University of Toronto Press! Click here to read what I have to say on globalisation and the threats it faces in the pandemic and post-pandemic worlds.

Aim for the stars…

…But if NASA won’t take you there, try Elon Musk.

If Elon Musk won’t take you, the Russian space programme has been quietly doing the job for decades, so try them.

And if even they won’t take you– then consider buying time on a satellite.

(Extended metaphor courtesy of the qualitative research methods clinic I run for the Academy of International Business– during a discussion of whether to aim for the higher profile journals that are more methodologically conservative, or stick to the lesser profile ones which are conversation-starters).

Universite de Paris-Est in the Twenty-First Century: A Photoessay

I’m currently adjusting gradually back to life in 2020, but one of the things I did over the December/January break was to make a collaborative visit with colleagues at Universite de Paris (shortly to become Gustave Eiffel University). The campus architecture is simply amazing, and I want to share the highlights: