Archive for November, 2013

It’s a brilliant world we live in at times. Brilliant through all sorts of human endeavours and nature’s ever wonderous ways. It was a mix of human interaction and nature’s plans that bought Amanda Sterling and I together for three-and-a-half weeks of OD adventures; social media fun and learning escapades.

It was cooked up over social media; after we’d met and gotten to know each through social media and was largely as social a venture could be. And something quite unforgettable too.

Whether it was the sheer pace of things or good fortune but there are so many examples on the highlight reels:
A visit to the epicentre of HR – CIPD HQ;
Freestyle delivery of an event around Social Media use for learning professionals
A roundtable on “Human Risk” issues at work for People Management magazine
CIPD Annual Conference in Manchester
Meaning 2013 Conference in Brighton
TEDx conference in Salford
Recruitment using Social Media workshop
HR and Social Media sessions in Belfast for CIPD Northern Ireland; and
Superteams and Human Potential conference in Kensington

As a tour manager, I couldn’t have scripted a better set of brain-food; mind-blowing; life-shaping events.

Yet the most telling and memorable part of this whole escapade was the people.

People I know, trust and believe in opening up, sharing excitement, listening intently and making the welcome a joy to behold.

People I didn’t know doing the same.

And all this because someone – Amanda – demonstrated all the things that I’ve come to appreciate about the human spirit.

Warmth; generosity; bravery; ingenuity; sincerity; flexibility; creativity; empathy; consideration.

It’s made me hugely proud to be Amanda Sterling’s tour manager for this most bodacious of adventures.

New Zealand has loaned us a true jewel but it’s time to return it. Your sparkle will shine on here though. We look forward to seeing you again next year?


Where else do you find a profession so troubled by itself, so rife with definitions of what it should and shouldn’t be about and where so many possibilities lie other than that of HR?

Operations? You make things; service customers etc. Research & Development – you look into stuff; survey it; deduce; and come up with new stuff. Finance – you count; invest and balance books. Marketing – you entice, excite and extol the virtues of the organisation, its services and its products that Operations put together and deliver; R&D come up with and Finance authorise / allow to spend. Sure there’s Legal and others – I am not getting into MBA lesson silo-bingo here.

But HR. Hiring, rewarding, developing and firing is way too simple for what I have come to understand as the land of the HR Professional.

As @HR_Gem put in her blog
(here ; it’s about people. And therein lies the beauty of the many faces of HR. I could put a list in here of the things we all talk about but they’re all over the blogosphere and I am not being lazy here I just want to focus on one thing for now.

Our ATTITUDE. “Our” meaning HRs attitude. For I am one of us.  So HR’s attitude about itself, to the role and to the opportunities that lie before us.

So my take on our attitude is this.

We are too apologetic at times. We are too naive at times. We are too process oriented at times and we are too risk averse. I could go on.

What SHOULD we be more like? Hang on let’s not peak too early.

What is good about our attitude?  Our attitude is often defined by the following attributes: –

– Generosity;

– Empathy;

– Conciliation;

– Willingness;

– Flexibility;

– Effort;

– Putting others first;

– Taking the flak and accepting appropriate shortcomings;

– Keeness;

– Deep belief in learning;

– Fairness and inclusivity;

– Calming troubled waters;

– Being good organisational advocates

So what is needed then?

More balls. More determination. More belief in what we know is true. Our attitude then needs to be more about bringing our presence to bear. We OF COURSE need to do this with credibility but the lack of conviction up to now has been quite staggering.

We know A LOT.

We care A LOT.

We can save work. No seriously we can. FFS – let us get on with it. It starts with us adopting this attitude. Let’s get over ourselves and get on with it.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again here.

If you’re in HR and you haven’t the stomach for what will be a battle ahead, then move out of the way and let us who HAVE get on with it.

Your 90 policy ring binder will not shield you from our incessant desire to be better than you are letting us be. You will not deter us with your Human Capital Claptrap theory. Nor will your petty insistence that “the business” knows best. You are part of that business and if you don’t know enough about your business to challenge people in it for the better, then it’s over for you.

HR with attitude. And acumen to match.  To quote a pretty marvellous Northern Soul song – “it’ll never be over for me”.

Pogo on!