Archive for February, 2014

RIchard Westney is one of the people I have met through social media and in real life and who inspires me to be better. He shares with a passion, things that matter to this profession. He’s a kindred soul, and great bloke and the heart and soul of a lion. He’s clever not contrived, modest and yet bold and one of the reasons why I actually like the term Social HR – it describes people who connect, share, support.

Great read. Words. Mouth. Out. My. Of. The. Took. Right.

Up the Down Escalator

So then, social HR. What is that all about, eh?

Not content with beating ourselves up about our lack of a seat at the mythical table (get there early is my advice. There is nothing worse than having to pull up a chair) we now find the “social HR” community (what an awful label) turning in on itself and attacking each other for sheep-like behaviour, being fake and not walking the talk. In essence, the message seems to be “it’s all too cosy and there is no impact on real life HR practice.”

Now I have no problem with the authors of such pieces. In general, I enjoy reading their posts and respect their point of view. They make me think, and if I’m thinking I’m learning.

It’s great to ask questions and have a debate and agitate but come on. None of us can change the world in 140…

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It’s one of those things where I just don’t quite get it. Those ink blots that some psychiatrists used, so that what you see tells them something about your thinking state. Some of us might see a lion’s head. Some might see a swirling torrent of flowing water. Some of us might see a dark and mysterious reaper like the Wraiths in Lord of the Rings.

We see different things in the patterns that happen around us. Not necessarily right or wrong. And I am NOT sitting on the fence here.

Perception; interpretation; deduction.

We also have soft spots. Things which are either a pet like / adoration of ours – and no matter what others belittle, we believe in it and we feel it as “right”. Or indeed the soft spot is a weaker element of our make-up. Something we are not that great at doing or working up towards. Be it statistical analysis; turn of phrase or influencing tactic.

We then have penny drop moments. We get it. We may not have been first to get it but we get it. Eventually.

So when others see a different shape in the ink blot; have no tolerance for our soft spots and are earlier in the penny dropping is that REALLY something to get all arsey and hyper ventilate to others about?

Maturity of viewpoint; realisations over busted models of operating; outmoded thinking on certain elements – things happen to us in different waves, at different times and with different catalysts to change our approaches.

Instead of giving it “oh, we’ve been operating that model for so long we’re actually moving to an all new approach. That “X” model is so not the way forward”.

I see this in Social Business already. And it’s not really gotten started yet. It’s like fashionistas saying tgtt his years fashion collection is already out of date before it’s on the catwalk and thet know what 2016’s is all about. What a crock. In your own mind maybe.

Maybe you have a frustration that not everyone around is on the same page or even chapter of the book as you. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re being deliberately anti-fashion to be fashionable. Like the Intellectual Parents in Viz.

It’s all a bit smug when the kickback on the state of play is tinged with sarcasm (lowest form of wit); undeserved admonishment and a touch of “oh I’m so beyond all that”.

Here’s an example of what I am getting at. I used the Alfred Mehrabian quote on communication around 7% words; 38% tone and 55% body language as “how we receive communication”. So it’s not what you say but the way you say it. I understood this (as it was taught to me at the time and I had no reason to doubt it) for all communications.

I was then alerted by someone else via Twitter that actually this was what was behind the meaning of comms which resulted in a MISUNDERSTANDING.  So I had to unlearn and then relearn that. The debate around this still rages on.

So if I see someone who uses this in the wrong context I can put them right now and give them something else to explore.

Not tear a strip off them for seeing the ink blot as someone else had described it. Of having a soft spot for not checking their research with amazing scrutiny or label them lame and useless for the penny not having dropped.

All that would serve is embarrassment to the individual concerned and the overall feeling that I was a “know it all arse” if I battered the intellectual crap out of them for being so behind the curve.

FFS have some tolerance for others arriving a little later than you.

Have some humility and dignity in pointing out alternative views.

Be generous in people at least trying to get it right and help them move their thinking on.

Or call them out as missing the point and making them feel pretty rubbish.

“Oh Dan Pink is so 2009” or whatever.

Well, maybe. But if this is about others arriving a little later, they need YOUR HELP TO CATCH UP.

Not a verbal slap in the face. We live in a tolerant society not a fricking bootcamp. Life’s tough enough without chucking insulting put downs around.

Give people a break.

Give them something MORE inspiring instead of chewing their ear off.

Giving is proven to stimulate you and others.  Taking away just simply doesn’t.

Gnashing just wears down your teeth enamel and can damage any confidence to think differently that people are maybe just trying to build.

I still don’t get ink blots though.

Diminished impact

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

“I’m fed up ‘cos all you want to do is criticize”…sang Alexander O’Neal and deliberately spelt in the American-English version.

In this world we’re in, and in democratic states of course, we can say what we like about topics and issues and others can disagree and challenge. Be it a discussion with your significant other about the choice of wallpaper for the feature wall, to a chat with a cabbie about the educational policies of the Government.

Question Time on the BBC is a great debating forum for political and societal issues and not for the feint hearted. Audience participation is a key part of this and proves either the man-in-the-street can trump the politicians or some thoughts ought to be left to ferment a little more in peoples’ heads.

We don’t have to agree with each other and we express the what and why behind that and somehow we either try and convince our fellow humans we have merit and that they adjust their views.

We may not even wish to “win” – we may simply wish to provoke more thought and discussion amongst others (whilst being mindful of becoming a sociopath with no real intent other than to feed their own desires).

Some situations around such challenges get heated, argumentative, sarcastic, dogmatic yet there’s a richness to be had in open discussion to help shape thoughts. Many people enter into such frays to prevent someone making a pillock of themselves and others.

Plenty of people just don’t get into this kind of arena – actively avoiding conflict. It would be a strong assumption to make that they are short of thoughts or confidence; they maybe don’t want/need to get involved in “spats”. Others love the cut and thrust of a verbal joust. It’s not an introvert / extrovert stereotype either.

Up for a debate? Strong on contra views and share them regularly? Controversial and edgy in your dialogue? Sounds good doesn’t it.

A cavalier of the conversation.

A buccaneer of the banter.

At the vanguard of the vernacular.


A predictable pulverizer

A roll-your-eyes rambler

A pay-it-no-heed pundit

If ALL you do is the equivalent of BBC’s Grumpy Old Men then it is my assertion you diminish, negate or totally lose the impact you wanted to have with your prose.

Want to shift people’s minds to a better way? Choose your critique carefully.

Moan like a trooper over almost everything? Then be prepared to get lost in the wilderness of dismissable “oh that’s just how they are” reactions.

Worse still – insult, berate, take the piss…lose, lose some more and lose pretty much every time.

Now, equally so, being ultra positive about everything is probably as annoying to some as having a permanent grump-on. So I’m not advocating we need to be living in an episode of “The Waltons” or like a Retreat for the Extremely Happy.

Positivity can change the world for the better as much as calling something out can help avoid or overcome a tyranny.

Being too much on either side will result in diminished impact. Always positive; not taken seriously. Always negative; moans about everything. On both, a lot of the reaction created is “So what?. Just like they always are. Now what was the topic..?”

One difference though stands out for me: acknowledegment of others in a positive sense is very likely to induce a good reaction. Not gushy mind, just positive and factual. Sincere and specific.

Criticise carelessly and it’s like a verbal glare and “come on” to induce an argument. Even carefulcriticism could lose your impact before you’ve even got going.

And think you’ll get away with non-personally directed criticism lumping people into one amorphous glob? Then you will likely cause a negative reaction as often we may go “they’re talking about me…” and that’s people not being overly paranoid, more a natural reaction.

I defer to the great Jazzie B OBE and the Soul II Soul’ track Dare to Differ

Dare to differ
Dare to be different
Change the rules
Become the leader of your own new school
Listen, have a mind of your own
Or be somebody else’s fool

Why do we suffer so much pain
When there’s so much more for all of us to gain
Forget your wallets man, just use your brain
You know I’m saying?
When will we all finally learn
That we deserve exactly what we earn
There ain’t no shame,
Just show your pride to all concerned

A nation of moaners. About the weather, the state of immigration, the newspapers. This presents another picture. Dare to be different. Not dare to be miserable; or even dare to be happy-clappy.

Dare though, is sometimes killed outright before it’s even gotten going.

Just think of the fallout of your overly fluffy happiness or your dark clouds of doom.

Not good.

Daring yourself into something foolish and others smile away whilst you are on the road to making a  burke of yourselves or others.

Not good.

Daring to speak up about something you deem worthy but is shot down in flames of venomous attack by others simply because they don’t like “it” or the phraseology used?

Not good.

Encouragement; support; belief – these aren’t given without thought though: they are though gifts that can turn criticism into impact; concern into acceptance and challenge into action.

Chastise, knock down, insult – too easily dismissed, the cause of overly-emotional arguments which rarely get anywhere; a waste of good intellectual energy.

We’re cleverer and more considerate than that. Aren’t we?

I’m fed up ‘cos all you wanna do is criticize…