07891 277310

Leaders for Leeds Default Image

A Breakfast Reflection from Paul Burr

I hate writing blogs! But here goes…

I came into the leaders4leeds meeting with some mistrust, I left feeling trust in a group that is still in a stage of development. I felt as if I had contributed and more importantly was heard and gave some benefit, if only with some exchange of knowledge.

I was part of a group that was discussing ‘networking’ and how that might be developed. We came up with a few pointers;


If we think of a group of 10 people in a room ‘networking’, one person has had health and safety training for 1/2 a day and knows how to resuscitate someone whose heart has stopped, another falls over with a heart attack. If the first person saves the life of the victim, the victim has benefit for the rest of their days. I see the measurement of output being the 1/2 day of learning, the outcome though, has an enormous value but relies on the fact that the victim was in need.

(In silo working the victim would die!)

We discussed how a national business network such as BNI works within a particular ‘chapter’. Now, I know there’s lots of critics as there is to any network, but it does have some positive points we can adopt.

Turn up to the network with the presumption of ‘giving’. This allows the network we develop to self regulate, after all the people who turn up who wish to just take will probably not get that much out of the network and will probably leave after a while. (Gatekeepers might not like the network since they will not be comfortable in a giving network and will be easily spotted by the rest).

We realised our network needed to be ‘open’. – If the person with the half days training above happened to be illiterate, there’s no point in having a 100 word application form to fill in, we’d have a death.

There’s conflict of interest – I’m 48, a smoker, I’m more than likely to be the victim, I am going to benefit from some help. The bonus though, with a giving philosophy, I’ll be giving for a lot more years and I’ll be absolutely passionate about wanting to give.

Confidence to say “I’ve hit a problem, I might need a bit of help”- we develop as a supportive network, which has been mentioned before as one of the goals we’re trying to achieve as a group. This approach develops the confidence needed to actually ask for the help in the first place. We should be aware though that we need to recognise the person who needs the help, after all they may be ignorant of the fact that they can get help.

A simple open network structure such as this allows for inclusion, values a ‘human being’ for their skills but allows a multitude of skills and knowledge to be shared.

This network develops by each of us spreading the word, not just to people who might gain something, but who can possibly give something. (Thats probably everyone). We also need to realise, I think, that people’s perception might be that the ‘door’ was shut or slammed in peoples faces in the past. We will have to go ‘outside’ and maybe demonstrate the support and then invite them in.

This blog of course is my perspective of the discussion, the other people around the table would have their own view. They’d be able, no doubt, to add to this.

Paul Burr

CEO, Founder, CAN do Project

1 Response

  1. Robin Thompson

    I would like to tune in to the upcoming Leaders for Leeds Annual Conference, even though I live more than 3,000 miles away in New York.

    I spent time in Leeds many years ago as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company. We were developing ways to integrate the sales organizations of Shell, BP and National Benzole.

    I hope to be working in the next few months with Paul Burr, Founder of Can-Do, on a community development project in Dewsbury.