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Speaking Engagements

Throughout my college years I traveled all around the United States – for free.  My home base was California, Pennsylvania the site of a small state-supported college.  During those years I spent a summer in Alaska; went to California three times; Florida twice; New England once and enjoyed the Mardi Gras.  I spent one summer traveling back and forth from Hamtramck, Michigan to Rillton, Pennsylvania every weekend to see my girlfriend.

My mode of transportation was my thumb.  I simply stuck it out where the driver of every car passing by could see it and waited for some kindred soul to stop and offer me a ride.  When I first experimented with hitch hiking I was very tentative about putting my thumb out.  I did not want to seem too aggressive nor did I want to impose myself upon the drivers.  So in my meekness I barely held my thumb away from my body and I never looked directly at the driver.  End result was   people were confused about what I was doing on the side of the road.  They thought I was waiting for a friend to pick me up or that I was loitering with nothing to do. 

After hours of disappointment I had the epiphany that I needed to put my thumb out where everyone could see it.  I needed them to know that I was asking for a ride and then let them decide if they wished to offer it or not. 

My thumb went out, I looked directly at drivers (not defiantly) and suddenly my success rate dramatically increased.  One of my trips from Pennsylvania to Lancaster, California took only three rides and 52 hours.  As one friend said:  “It takes longer to drive it than that”.  That trip held many interesting stories (accidentally setting a car on fire; being offered a large knife by someone who had been stabbed; being in a car chase around Albuquerque NM, and riding through the Mojave desert in the back of a pick up truck being driven by two cowboys).

Well here it is nearly 40 years later and I am ‘sticking my thumb’ back out and looking for opportunities.  Only now I am not looking for a car ride but instead I want speaking engagements.  My blog, my company’s website and my webinars on business design are all ways to make the public aware of ideas around the concept of business design.  And while writing can be effective I prefer to directly speak with people about it.  I want to speak with as many people as I can about the impact design has on the performance of their businesses or agencies.  They need to know that 80% of the time the performance issues facing their business are design-related.  Executives need to be reminded that the design of the business is their responsibility and they have to be shown how they can escape the business life/death cycle (Strategy Cycle).

If anyone reading this blog can point me to a speaking engagement I will be very grateful.  Business design is the key to change, not strategy, and I welcome the opportunity to speak about it.

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