Posted tagged ‘criticism’

You’re booked

23/01/2009

“…Identity is such a crucial affair that one shouldn’t rush into it…”

David Quammen

Social networking is brilliant and has opened up a whole new way for people to communicate; but there are pitfalls.  The clue is in the words ‘social’ and ‘networking.’  Read this as open communication, really open, read by everyone.

So why is it that at least three people I am connected to within the last few weeks have first, said they hate their job (they are linked to other colleagues at their workplace), two, declared they had a hangover and had stayed off work, and three, had a ‘pop’ at their boss.

Self-awareness is a key skill in communication and the world of social networking seems to lull people into some serious lapses.  But the award for totally insensitive and idiotic posting has to go to a politician in my local town.

In the last couple of weeks, two St Helens councillors Mike Doyle and Ken Pinder died.  I have had the pleasure of dealing with both men and they were truly remarkable politicians and local communitarians of the best type.  Both men stood for Labour and at times like this you would imagine that all parties would come together and recognise their achievements at public servants.

Well a local Liberal Democrat, David Crowther thought differently and wrote this on his Facebook page: “It might be three before long – at least one other is rumoured to be seriously ill – great shame their (sic) not our target seats, but at least it will give us the chance to see how strong they are and it will seriously distract them for a few months.”

Clearly politics is a dirty game and although it fronts itself as anything but, the opinions slipped out here are often hidden away.  Social networking has no hiding place. 

In organisational communications the projection of identity is one of the three pillars of managing reputation.  Social networking projects an identity and it is crucial that we are all self-aware whatever our opinions and be aware how other people may view them.

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A Friend Indeed

29/11/2008

…”I remember the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare, that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, ‘Would he had blotted a thousand,’ which they thought a malevolent speech…”

Ben Jonson 1630

Last night I went to see King Lear staged at the Liverpool Everyman with the actor Pete Postlethwaite in arguably one of the most challenging roles in the theatre.  The production received a hard time from the critics and was, in truth, a fairly disjointed affair but ended with tumultuous applause and a standing ovation.  It left me thinking about the purpose that underlies criticism and the part critics play in society.  Why would an audience rise in admiration when critics could hardly find anything more than a one or two star rating for the same performance.

One of my roles is to act as a critic but I like to use another phrase which is critical friend.  It is buzz terminology that came into being during the 1970s education reforms but it does aptly describe how I go about my business.  In terms of a definition

A critical friend can be defined as a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critiques of a person’s work as a friend. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The friend is an advocate for the success of that work – Costa, A. and Kallick, B.(1993) “Through the Lens of a Critical Friend”. Educational Leadership 51(2) 49-51

Last night I started to wonder what the outcome would be if critics, whether they be panelists on TV shows, writing in newspapers or posting blogs, started to use this definition to underpin their criticism , how much more improvement in performance would there be.

Interestingly, Postlethwaite and the cast had done something remarkable with the criticism they received.  Most actors tend to state they never read the papers but in a recent BBC interview Postlethwaite agreed with some of the points that had been made.  In this case they had used some of that critical comment to make changes to the production.  This is a great example of how criticism, or perhaps we should call it feedback, can be turned positively to make a product or service even better.  This perhaps gives an indication as to why the audience came to their feet last night to recognise the ‘work’ of the cast and the high performance they put in.

King Lear is at the Liverpool Everyman until this evening and then transfers to the Young Vic running from the end of January 2009 to the end of March 2009.