The story behind WhatComesNext.Live

WhatComesNext.Live

Today marks 89 days of solo isolation, within which I’ve had one or two challenges for sure! However, every challenge is an opportunity to grow and learn and I’ve had more than a few “Lockdown Learnings”.

Out of these learnings, several ideas have emerged, one of which I’d like to tell you about today, “WhatComesNext.Live”.

Although this new show won’t launch for a couple of weeks (we are still fine-tuning a few things!), I love to share stories, so today sharing my process of seeing an idea, developing and launching it. So:

  • Where did the idea come from?
  • What is the show format and focus?
  • Why watch/listen?

Where did the idea come from?

The idea came from four “lockdown learnings”, please humour my storytelling 🙂

Lockdown Learning – I love thirty-minute calls

One key learning during lockdown has been quite how much I love the focus brought by thirty-minute one to one zoom meetings with people who are open to share and bring forward new learnings.

As soon as lockdown started, I offered myself for thirty-minute zoom calls (still bookable, in moments, at the links on my site). Through many (many!) of these calls, the framing and set up of the calls has become honed to:

Bring one leadership question you are focussed on,
I’ll listen and reflect, then we will bring clarity together. 

Though lockdown is easing now, I’m going to keep this format rolling and keep the diary open, as these honed in calls are really working for people who book them, plus they both energise me and bring me new learnings from these amazing people who choose to be open to conversation.

Lockdown Learning – I prefer a conversation to a broadcast

As we now appreciate, every day counts when taking decisive action in the Pandemic, and in crisis leadership in general. In the UK, the dithering of government in delaying lockdown until March 23rd came at a high cost, yet one can understand this to some level, as those in charge were really not familiar with leading in a real existential crisis and this has been such an experience, one unique in our lifetimes. As for me, through my own experience in leading through natural disasters and similar major crises, I did shift gears in my writing and conversations relatively early, writing “Act Now” back on March 8th then shifting my writing to a focus on crisis leadership.

By the week before lockdown then, a regular reader, a dynamic and entrepreneurial leader from an online university in the USA decided to “Act Now”, retaining me for a project to create and distribute content to support their community through leading for themselves and other through the lockdown and beyond.

We moved fast as a team, so by April 23rd the client team we had conceived, developed, written and sent a series of six articles via email newsletter to their large audience, together with short films to accompany each article.

Six short films. Now, this is where the learning came from. These were not something I had ever done before. In fact, when we came up with the original idea for the project together, I thought this would be in interview format, but instead, they asked me to film summaries of each article to camera. As we were in lockdown, these were filmed very much solo, and though, with amazing support from the client team, I did improve as we went through the six videos, I never really felt that comfortable.

You see, I love an audience, and, within that, if you give me the choice of speaking to an audience from a microphone or sitting in a conversational interview or panel discussion, I’ll always choose the latter, I love to feed off ideas and questions.

So, a great learning experience, yet when we finished on April 23rd I was still so busy going from one thing to the next (and one Zoom call to the next!) that I had not crystallised the relevant learning from this, this came a few weeks later, thanks to Scott Perry.

Lockdown learning – Live conversations add additional value through focus

By early May I’d been having many, many 1:1 thirty-minute “Sounding Board” conversations, then on May 14th I was Scott Perry’s guest on his “Creative on Purpose” live show, a thirty-minute conversation on Facebook Live (our show is saved here).

Scott has been running these lives shows for quite some time, so he has a simple and professional process to make it easy for himself and his guests, and, with all of that, the format is really simple. There is a simple framing around “Creative on Purpose”, then he simply asks a standard opening question of “who are you and what are you up to?”, then guides the conversation from there.

Over the years I’ve been on many live TV interviews and panels, conference panels etc, so to be in conversation with Scott was a powerful reminder of how much I LOVE live conversations, it is something that further focusses a 1:1 conversation, around the responsibility we both have to the live audience. We had so much fun with such an easy and relaxed conversation, and at the same time, the live format brought discipline and focus to bring actionable insights for the audience, both the live audience and the larger audience watching/listening later via video replay or podcast.

Lockdown learning – We all need a Sounding Board

Yes, none of the three learnings so far were entirely new to me, but all brought current awareness that I had not been seeing.

What then brought them all together was a check-in call with my amazing VA, the wonderful Katie Tew (site here). She has a knack of listening then, yes, being a Sounding Board for me, reflecting back what she hears and observes, often adding her ideas.

You see, we can’t see the goldfish bowl we are swimming in, so yes, a professional Sounding Board also needs a Sounding Board 🙂

So, on this call, Katie’s insight was around doing what I love, what feels easy, what I’m good at, what the world needs. In short, one of my favourite concepts, Ikigai, a topic I’ve written about more than once!

From this, it became obvious. Create my own live interview show. Easy!

What is the show format and focus?

My conversations with Katie that crystallised all of this was about a month ago, so as of today the logistics for the show are nearly completed, it simply remains to load the webpage for WhatComesNext.Live, invite the first guests, then launch the show. More soon !

As with any new venture, there is much to do behind the scene, yet from all of the above learnings the show format decided itself easily:

  • Live – creates a great focus and energy for the conversation – will be recorded on Zoom, integrated to YouTube Live
  • Thirty Minutes 1:1 in conversation, framed for focus.
  • Focus and Format: “On each show our guest first shares their story, then together we seek to draw out actionable insights, through exploring the intersection of first having the vision to see what comes next, then finding clarity on what is needed to make it happen.”

Once recorded live, each show will be loaded as a podcast (as well as being saved on the Youtube channel) with a summary of the guest and key insights from the conversation.

WhatComesNext.Live as a URL will become a landing page on the main site where all past shows can be accessed and future guests and show times and links (weekly is our intention) will be listed.

Why watch/listen?

The thirty-minute Sounding Board calls noted above (and that I continue to offer) bring my total focus on clarity towards action for the person booking the call, 1:1 and to their needs alone.

On the other hand, my daily writing (around 1000 daily posts on the site at this stage) is all about sharing my continual new learnings around #OpenLeadership. As I say on the Writing page on the site:

I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job. I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure. As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.

WhatComesNext.Live is a place to bring these together, to bring on inspiring guests that have insights to share to benefit a wider audience.

Within that, as the title infers, it is about taking where we are right now and looking ahead to “What Comes Next”, to look ahead in your leadership, bringing you actionable insights to lead yourself and others into the future.

My role on the show, then, is not as a Sounding Board, but to be in conversation with our guest on behalf of the audience, listening, reflecting, plus sharing my own thoughts and insights from all I have learned and continue to learn.

So, whether you read my posts daily, follow via the twice weekly email digest newsletter, or simply occasionally dip into them via daily distribution to Medium, LinkedIn or Twitter, I encourage you to join us for WhatComesNext.Live, whether live or via podcast.

So, that’s our “origin story”, I hope you stay with us on the journey as we start and evolve and iterate!

In closing, Sounding Board calls. Book yours 😉

Let’s talk

Book your 30-minute meeting here.


Also published on Medium.