Towards the end of last week, I made a bold statement:

I received this response:

And this one:

Oh, and this one (thanks Nicky!):

I’m never one to refuse a double dare and, as I boarded the train to London, I fully intended to do it.

Why shouldn’t I just turn up at a place of business, in person, and ask to speak with the person I needed to speak with?

It seems to be a taboo, with everyone hidden behind security walls and no name policies, general wisdom and etiquette dictates that we should never turn up unannounced. But, if I want a conversation with someone, what more natural way to do it than by making the effort to go to them and introduce myself, as myself? If they’re genuinely unavailable, that’s my lookout — at least they’d know I’d bothered.

In preparation, I looked through this ‘list’ of organisations who were frustrating me. I realised that other than a couple of token approaches, I’d done nothing sustained to get on their radars and start the conversations I want to have. I need to rectify this in my approach. I have ideas — but it’s all about execution.

Instead of focussing on who wasn’t talking to me, I should really have been focussing on what I was doing to get their attention. I also should not have wildly and autoatically assumed that all head offices are in London!

I’ve been considering organisational gatekeepers a fair bit recently. With that in mind, I’ve decided that I need to find a way to start conversations that lead into these impenetrable organisations that I otherwise have no link to, before I do anything more dramatic.

I will start turning up unannounced at organisations who ignore me, but I’m going to be a bit more structured about when and why by creating a weekly cycle:

•Monday – Make social media contact with the organisation or individual.
•Wednesday – If no conversation has emerged, call the Switchboard.
•Friday – If nothing, check the location of Head Office (or the location I need to visit), fix a visit day with myself over the next week.
•Visit Day – Tour the organisations I need to speak to and see what happens when I talk to real people.

As is my way these days, I’ll probably document it somehow. Part of me is considering wearing a small camera to film reactions as a project in how organisations greet a visit that doesn’t fit standard protocol, but I’m not sure that would be hugely interesting or fair… and it may also have the potential to get me arrested. Although, if you think I should wear the camera, I will! Tweet me your thoughts @AndySwann.

This all emerged after a week in which I’d had some amazing conversations and met some inspiring people. I’d plotted in a bar over a few pints with @PerryTimms, consumed an excessive amount of coffee with @purplesime, given a lift to @futureearthnow and spent time in-person and electronically with some amazing connections old and new.

One thing they all have in common is a refusal to compromise. They all create their own paths and I respect that hugely.

In fact, it’s the only way forward!

By Andy Swann on November 3, 2014.
Exported from Medium on July 15, 2016.