Monday 14th May, 2012
Opening keynote at the IFO's Fusion Conference, Laura Ling really gave us food for thought today with a remarkable story of bravery, strength and humility in difficult circumstances. A well respected human rights journalist, Laura was taken captive by North Korean soldiers while researching a story on human trafficking into China. Through her tales of desperate times, low points and trauma - one key theme kept recurring - how sometimes just small things can make a huge difference and how above all and at all times, communication is key.
In Laura's case it was one phone call - albeit one phone call from Bill Clinton.. Many years ago Bill Clinton had been the first person to call Kim Jong-il on the death of his father - even before his own allies. And it was that one act of compassion, despite the strained relations between the countries which swung the odds in Laura Ling's favour, and helped to secure her release all those years later.
I reflected on that point a few moments later when sitting in a workshop session listening to Bill Portuse of UGL Services talking about how to align Procurement with the rest of the business function. Ultimately it seems we all need to communicate more, and communicate better so that we can understand the whys and the hows. Of course processes and technology play a huge role in how our business world will develop, but without taking to time to really get to grips with what our individual place is within the business and how that relates to others - we'll only ever be able to operate at half speed.