The fifth company to take part in our guest blog series “making an impact online” is GT Conflict Resolution. Director Gillian Thomson has struggled to figure out the role of social media in a company which promotes face-to-face interaction, however, 18 months down the line, she reckons she’s found the winning formula…
“When Kim asked me to write this guest blog I spent a long time thinking, “what on earth have I got to say that’s going to interest people about making an impact online?” After all, my business is all about getting people to speak face to face – the digital era, social media, email etc. has generated a whole host of conflict that might have been avoided if people would just grab a coffee or pick up the phone to each other. I won’t hesitate to admit that I have a somewhat challenging relationship with online activity!
When starting my business 18 months ago I felt like being online was something I “should” be doing. I dutifully signed up for Twitter, created a business Facebook page, Linked In page and all the rest. I started writing a blog and I embarked on a cycle of “feast or famine”. I’d have a couple of weeks where I’d be all over the social media: posting, commenting, liking, tweeting. Then work would get a bit busy, or life would just get in the way and it would all fall by the wayside. Several weeks would likely pass and when I had a bit more time on my hands, so the cycle would start again! This went on for about a year, before I realised that what I needed to do was have a more balanced diet – little and often. As a business owner and mother to a toddler, I needed to find a level of online activity that worked with all the other demands on my time, and most importantly was sustainable.
But, if it’s important to manage a sustainable level of online activity, then it’s equally, if not more, important for your online activity to be authentic.
How often have you looked at someone’s social media posts before meeting them and then been surprised at how different they are in person? What people see of me online should be the real me.
In the interests of trying to save some time, I experimented for a while with various content generator tools. You know the ones – you give them a few key words and they post a load of tenuously related links for you, however often you want, on all your social media accounts, so you barely have to lift a finger.
Well, they were about as useful at showing the real me online as a chocolate teapot. My business is reliant on trust. If I’m mediating a dispute and the parties involved don’t trust me, then we’re unlikely to get to the root of the issue. If what they’ve seen of me online doesn’t ring true with the Gillian they meet in person then I’ve got an uphill battle on my hands!
I’ll be the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to my impact online, but if I can keep those words in mind, sustainable and authentic, then I’ll be happy!
Who is Gillian?
Two years ago I was at a bit of a crossroads after my maternity leave and had to decide whether to go back into a big corporate HR role or do something else… I decided to concentrate on something I am passionate about – helping people have better relationships at work. I set up GT Conflict Resolution and haven’t looked back. I love helping people prepare for a tough conversation or resolve a long running conflict. But really, what I want to do is help businesses get to a place where they don’t need someone like me to come in and help, because all their leaders have the courage, confidence and compassion to deal with issues and resolve them quickly.
Originally an engineer, I spent the majority of my career in HR for large corporates (Mars, RBS, Centrica). I’ve seen people issues dealt with well, but often dealt with badly, and with over 360 million working days lost to conflict every year I’m a firm believer that there has to be a better way of doing things – that doesn’t involve huge legal fees and a big cheque book!
As well as running GT Conflict Resolution, I am also a career coach with Penna and I sit on the Board of Directors of Inspire PTL , a North East charity with the aim of empowering the life choices of people with learning difficulties and other support needs.
Like this post? Check out the other stars of the ‘making an impact online’ guest blog series: