#PunkHR and more on bold from Cyrus Cooper – a guest blog around external emboldened embodiment

Posted: March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Welcome to my first ever guest blogger.  Cyrus Cooper. An original punk – 


though he doesn’t look anywhere near old enough – and a thorough learning professional. 

Cyrus and I go back 10 years.  We have always had a shared passion for what this profession of ours is all about.  He’s a great facilitator; he coaches with a gentleness that endears him to all his clients yet moves them on and he is one of the most internal externals I’ve ever worked with.  He joined in the bold debate and he has this to say about the internal / external thing.  I hope you enjoy the thoughts of a good man and trusted partner-in-crime.  Cyrus is Managing Director at my favourite Learning Consultancy Maximum Per


formancewww.maximumperformance.co.uk and he 

tweets @CyrusCooper1.  Cyrus is also too modest to tell you he wrote a book on facilitation 

called Brilliant Workshops.  Available at all good outlets.



Bold – Internal -v- External view

The ‘Bold’ debate had at the L&D Connect Unconference had us all going. The question was ‘Are we bold enough as L&D representatives?’ Firstly, how do we define ‘bold’? This will also depend on whether we work as an internal or external provider of L&D services as the definition will shift. It is in my humble opinion that we should all challenge positively as a starting point. From that initial conversation with the ‘client’ we need to demonstrate our worth by not just agreeing to everything the ‘expert’ has told us to do. Being bold is to stand up for the profession and play detective to dig deep and find out exactly the reason for any intervention and the potential solution(s).


Being bold is being the critical friend.

Being bold is being respected first, rather than liked. Challenge as standard!

Externally, that is why we are hired. Sometimes we can say things that an internal person cannot, as they need to maintain daily relationships.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When I was an internal L&D consultant, I would get frustrated as we were brought in at the end ‘to make it happen’.

We rarely had a say in the design and the people requesting it were more senior than me.

If I was bold back then, I would have built more strategic relationships. I would set expectations than when me, or someone in my team, is asked to assist, we will be probing for understanding and outcomes and want vs need. I would have said you call us in at the outset. We are not an add-on but a valuable resource they would be better with us as partners. We are on your side! I will set expectations that nothing has been ‘agreed’ and I will be asking many questions to ensure the right solution is found. Some questions will really make you hold the mirror up to yourself and think why you are proposing this. It will be in the L&D strategy. The L&D team will be skilled up in the art of crucial conversations.


But the art of being bold is perhaps to leave a person with more options after you’ve been bold and challenged them to think and act differently and your credibility will rise.

Thanks Cyrus – so does an external partner have more licence to be bold?  Do internal practitioners have to dial down their boldness?  What do you think?


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