Five Questions: Krissie Ducker

1) Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

I’m Krissie Ducker. I am a screenwriter for TV, and one day I’d like to write a film that actually gets made (I’ve written many un-produced movie scripts).

It’s important (for me) because it was my dream to do this, and the fact I actually get paid to work with people I admire and who inspire me makes me joyous at least 35 seconds if not more of each day.

It’s important (for the world) to provide an escape, a fun distraction from the grey that can descend on life. There is so much content being created at the moment and I think it’s a result of people craving connection – and they get that from watching the same show and being able to share it with others, or from watching human connections on screen even if in a heightened environment.

2) What’s your most valuable skill?

Being able to navigate a path to where I wanted to be and not getting distracted from the main goal even if the journey changed. I guess the skill in that was learning to be adaptable.

3) Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

Creative vulnerability. I have been in many writers rooms with successful and intimidating brains and I learnt quickly that I should just say everything that comes into my head and not edit myself when it comes to story ideas… yes, some of them are terrible but that terrible idea might spark something in someone else that we end up using. So the initial mortification of the room going silent with my bad idea is ultimately bearable if it’s for the greater good!

4) What advice do you most need to hear?

To have patience. I am always worried about where the next job is coming from because the industry is so crazy – getting a show green-lit and actually made relies on so many people that anything can happen. So patience and keeping faith!

5) Suggest an interesting/humorous/endearing question for question number five – and answer it.

Q: What was the last thing you googled?
A: “How exhausting is it to murder someone with a butter knife?”(Research for a murderous TV show, I assure you!)

Five Questions: Victoria Patience

1) Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

My name’s Victoria Patience. I’m a freelance Spanish-to-English translator and author’s editor, and am also a mother, reader, cook, runner, lapsed cargo-biker, and on-off vegetable grower. Professionally, I help Spanish-speaking government organizations, nonprofits and researchers communicate effectively with English-speaking audiences. Most of my translation and editing work focuses on development, human rights, and environmental issues. Translation is important because it opens up conversations and allows many more people to take part in them. Editing work helps people say what they mean more clearly so that they can be heard better. If there is to be any hope of our finding solutions to the global problems that affect all of humanity, albeit differently, we need to be able to talk to each other and understand each other despite the linguistic and cultural chasms that separate us. Good translations are an essential part in this.

2) What’s your most valuable skill?

Solving clients’ needs/requests/problems with a minimum of fuss.

3) Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

A collaborative working arrangement that I started with two colleagues I met online. We take it in turns to send each other short texts and give each other feedback and discuss interesting issues that come up. What started as a simple exercise to improve the quality of our translations has grown into an all-encompassing professional support network that I couldn’t do without. Through it I have learned that a sure sign of good collaboration is when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
More here.

4) What advice do you most need to hear?

You don’t need to say yes to everything. Think, breathe, and think again before accepting projects, responsibilities, deadlines — anything, really. It’s much easier to say no than to say yes and try to back out later (or wish you could).

5) Suggest a humorous or endearing question for question number five – and answer it.

This is neither humorous nor endearing but I’m your sister so I can flout your rules.
Question: Share a quote from a film, book or record that applies to your work (and hint at how it applies).
Answer: “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark”  (Woody Allen in Annie Hall). The final sentence is how I’d like to phrase the “it’s not you it’s me” emails to clients that you know you need to break up with but just haven’t quite done it.

One last thing…

Suggest one or two people you know whose answers you’d like to read, and who you think would enjoy answering.

Five Questions: Bryan Charter

1. Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

I’m Bryan Charter. I’m a business coach and I run a business coaching organisation along with my business partner. We do both one-to-once and group coaching to enable business owners – support them, facilitate them – to drive their businesses forward and to the next level, whatever that might be for them.

It’s important because I work with small business owners, and small business is the engine of the U.K.’s economy. There are something like 370,000 businesses turning over between £100,000 and £1 million per year in London and the South East alone. They make up something like seventy-five percent of the employment, so helping these businesses to succeed is providing employment and pumping money into the economy. Ultimately I have a hope that the tools and techniques we’re developing could be used to help businesses in developing economies too.

2. What’s your most valuable skill?

I’m good at breaking a big picture plan down into the next actionable steps and honing in on the definitive stuff that people need to be focusing on and doing.

3. Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

It sounds basic, but something that I consistently emphasise is the combination of accountability and realism in what can be achieved in a business in the short term, whilst keeping an eye on the long term goals. We ask our clients to focus on where they want to be by the end of the year in the five functions of their business (marketing, sales, operations, finance, talent) and identify what their major objectives are in those areas for the quarter, and then planning on a monthly basis. Critically, we help them make sure that those actions are concrete and unambiguous – “What am I actually going to do this month that is concrete, actionable, and gets me moving and takes me in the direction that I want to go?” So for example, “Find new freelancers who can work with my team” isn’t actionable. “Have four conversations with people who might be able to help this month” is. Breaking things down into small enough bits helps you to take action onto larger goals and helps to prevent inertia. And having accountability around that really helps.

4. What advice do you most need to hear?

Enjoy the journey and take a long term view. It’s very easy in business to make a plan and start thinking it all needs to happen tomorrow. I can often get stressed about the rate of progress and not feel like we’ve moved forward fast enough in a month a quarter or even a year. I like what Dan Sullivan does, encouraging people to have a twenty-five year plan – one-hundred business quarters – and it helps to give perspective about short-term successes and failures. A good quarter is just one of 100 and the same is true for a bad one. Keep resetting and keep going and enjoy it while you do.

5. Suggest an endearing and humorous question for question number five – and answer it.

My questions is “What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done today?” – the answer being that I just ate a peanut-buttered crumpet that had fallen peanut-butter side down on the floor of my shed. It wasn’t the tastiest decision…

One last thing… Suggest one or two people you know whose answers you’d like to read, and who you think would enjoy answering.

Kevin Johnson.

Cohort

Seth Godin talks quite a lot about cohorts: “The people who get you. The ones who have been through it with you. Who see you.” An emphasis on peer-relationships is one of the defining features of his highly rated and very-low-drop-out-rated online workshops.

He’s got me thinking again about the value of a group of people doing similar work, with similar levels of experience. These are people – ‘fellow travellers‘ – who can relate to your struggles, share what they know, encourage you to keep going, push you to get put there and do better work. By turns they might be sounding-boards, collaborators, mentors, sympathetic ears, or champions of your work.

Where’s your cohort?

It’s relatively easy to find them among peers when your training for something – in school, on a course (although I’m agnostic about finding them on an online course), in your time in the army (!), or in the trenches doing your job. When I was teaching, colleagues at about the same stage of their careers were definitely my cohort.

But having a good cohort becomes harder if you move around, or as you start to manage and lead – by default there will be fewer ‘people like us’ around, and there are fewer natural opportunities to meet. Maintaining a cohort becomes something that you need to do deliberately by seeking people out and having conversations, by asking questions, looking for opinions and advice, and sharing resources with people who find them helpful.

Five Questions and – slowly – the Driverless Crocodile podcast are a way of doing this.

That saying (wherever it’s from) might be right: “… if you want to go far, go together.” Find friends for your work.

Five Questions: John Greenall

Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

I’m John and I’m the National Field Director at the Christian Medical Fellowship (www.cmf.org.uk) in the UK. I’m a paediatrician by training and combine that with my work with CMF. I head up our fieldwork with students, nurses and doctors to unite and equip them to live and speak for Jesus Christ in healthcare. My passion is leadership development in areas such as parenting and children, apologetics, global healthcare, advocacy and the day in day out work in healthcare. Medicine is at the interface of questions such as ‘what does it mean to be human’ and seeing Christians discipled in this area is key as we compassionately care for others and share the gospel with them.

What’s your most valuable skill?

I’m a starter and talent spotter. Starting programmes, training cohorts and inspiring people with the big picture vision is my passion. A bit like a number 10 on the football pitch, I get a kick out of helping others understand why they are on this planet.

Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

What we call High Impact volunteering. It’s harnessing a set of principles that govern how we recruit, select, equip and lead volunteer leaders. I truly believe that when you look after your leaders, when you envision and equip them, then the work looks after itself.

What advice do you most need to hear?

You try and do too much too fast and you’re on your way to burnout…again.

Suggest an endearing and humorous question for question number five – and answer it.

“What musical genre would you enjoy performing if you were a global superstar?”  I have to admit, whatever Michael Bublé sings.

One last thing – suggest one or two people you know whose answers you’d like to read, and who you think would enjoy answering.

Tim Cross
Steve Smith

Five Questions: Stu Patience

Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

I’m Stu. I’m part of the team at Saya Suka Membaca (sayasukamembaca.org), a literacy charity in Jakarta. We’re working so that children in poor communities across Indonesia can have the chance to learn to read, and to love reading. It’s important because literacy – the ability to read with fluency, critical understanding and enjoyment, and to write to communicate and to think – is one of the cornerstones of education, and I think it can change the world.

What’s your most valuable skill?

My ability to learn – and get reasonably good at – lots of skills, and to bring them together to help people get things done.

Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

Apart from reading and taking inspiration wherever I can find it… getting a working understanding accounting and double-entry bookkeeping has been really useful in managing projects, and helping me get a really good handle on what the different things we do actually cost, and how our spending reflects – or doesn’t reflect – our priorities. It’s also been hugely important for developing relationships with new donors, and is surprisingly satisfying.

What advice do you most need to hear?

You are a pain in the backside when you try to do everything – spend more time finding and training people who are better than you at one of the things you tend to hold onto, and let them go.

Suggest an endearing and humorous question for question number five – and answer it.

Today I like “Which character from a children’s book or TV show would you most be?” – I’d be Dangermouse, who is spectacular … and the Enormous (driverless) Crocodile.

One last thing – suggest one or two people you know whose answers you’d like to read, and who you think would enjoy answering.

They’ll be receiving an email from me shortly…

DriverlessCrocodile ping-pong: five questions, ten minutes (v0.1)

Here’s a set of quickfire questions you might enjoy answering:

  1. Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?
  2. What’s your most valuable skill?
  3. Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.
  4. What advice do you most need to hear?
  5. Suggest an endearing and humorous question for question number five – and answer it.

One last thing

Suggest one or two people you know whose answers you’d like to read, and who you think would enjoy answering.