Archive for May, 2014

In the shadow

Posted: May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

Now THIS is worth noting and doing something about folks. What IS your HR shadow?

People Stuff

I’ve blogged before on leadership shadow. The idea that leaders cast shadows across organisations through their behaviour, their actions, their language. How the shadow gives clues as about how to fit in and how to get on. Employees look to their leaders to learn what is okay around here, and the shadow is the quiet answer to a subtle question.

But what about the HR shadow? How does that cast across the organisation and influence its culture?

The wording in the offer letter.
The clauses in the contract of employment.
The tone of voice of the employment policies.
The language in the standard letters.
The forms that need to be filled in.
The choice of communication method.
The speed of your response.
The advice you give.
The rules you create.
The processes. Oh the processes.
How much you tell, rather than guide. How much you restrict rather than empower.

View original post 222 more words

[work]spatially challenged

Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy (Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, 1773; public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

“On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées” (Victor Hugo, 1877)

This wasn’t going to be my third post. It was going to be about the wonderful Jane ni Dhulchaointigh’s perspective-shifting Sugru and the mass customisation of FM. You’ll have to wait for that. Soon. I promise. Why? Because something has happened this week that can’t go unacknowledged, and following the lovely messy reality of announcements and responses, it has left me reflecting on hubris… and humility. It’s easy to get carried away.

The BIFM’s annual conference #ThinkFM happened on Tuesday. Last year, as a chair for one of the conference streams, I experienced a day spent encouraging poor little FM to give itself a big sorry hug because no one was (still!) listening to how valuable it is…

View original post 1,080 more words

Crass were an anarchic UK Punk band back in the 1970s I remember well. They used the Anarchy symbol in the A of their band name. If I were to see that today I would think “clever marketing”. Back then it was SYMBOLISM. It was about two fingers up to the institution and the establishment. for more.

Crass weren’t as memorable to all as the Sex Pistols perhaps, but I don’t think their lead singer ended up in a reality TV programme or a Butter advert. (Thanks @workessence Neil Usher, @Stuart_Snelling)



Needs the money


Not many people though – unless a die hard Punk – remember Steve Ignorant but he was a frontman for Crass and didn’t end up like John Lydon fronting Country Life butter ads.

Crass – in themselves – provide a fascinating look at how a Punk attitude can mature into direct political activism and how seemingly sensationalist actions aren’t about individual publicity and superstardom they are necessary parts of being noticed and creating an interest in others to effect change.

An interest in others to effect change. There you have it.

Crass were underground, AND needed to go overground. BUT not at any cost. They were incredibly anti commercial and anti consumerism. They had ex-army surplus gear worn to destroy over-individualism and not (as the dumb mass media thought) to portray themselves as fascist militaria. They had no leader yet all lead with their thoughts on a wider socio-political agenda.

Crass were Punk in music, attitudes and ideals.

I have never been a Punk in musical or clothing senses. Yet I hung out with Punks in the 70s and 80s and couldn’t help but be influenced.

I had this ridiculous tension between my being an individualistic Mod – smart clothes looking VERY modernist consumerist – with the Punk rebellion – snarl at preventative, establishment thinking.

I found a home in my mind as a Punk and in my outlook and presentation as a Mod.  I could be construed as a fake. As neither fish nor fowl As a pretend rebel in establishment attire. As plastic. As a danger. A sell out. An indecisive who goes with the flow. A trend follower with no substance or identity.

That’s how I sometimes find myself in a professional capacity too. Establishment appearance. Alternative mindset and heart.

I’m what I CHOOSE to be. I know my values core and identity. All it is, is different to yours / conventional thinking. Different to anything people want to codify and define.

I coined a #PunkHR thing and found others had already beaten me to it. I’m never under the illusion I’m original. Or inventive. Yet this playful thing, had some folks expressing outright dislike for it. Others loved it. Some might “bandwagon” it but the 6 letters put together like this say the following

– There’s individuality to be found in a collective.

– There’s attitude to be found in professional endeavours.

– There’s edge to the mainstream.

– There’s crossover in the underground.


Those rebels in us love a dark corner of dissent and a hangout exclusively for enlightened ones. Where there’s danger in the words used. Where being discovered is a constant threat and part of the thrill. Where membership is a nod and a wink and there’s a club of elite and edgy minds. No intellectual jousting here cos we are all in the know.

But if there’s good in the rebellion, it will be noticed. In fact it is inevitable it will get noticed as that’s a law of nature. Darwinism if you will.

And then it’s not so seductive anymore.

Those normal people you’re not part of suddenly come and hangout with you – and even a little bit worship you as a pioneer. And admit it, you like that for a while. Then it becomes a little too crossed over and the intellectual, philosophical and attitudinal gaps appear and you think your rebellion has been spoiled.

It’s crossed over that’s all. Yes as a result of crossing over, some of the extreme ideals may wither and die, but isn’t that natural selection right there?

Isn’t the reason for a rebellion to overthrow and replace with better?

How you do that without massive support? So my view is you HAVE to crossover. Gain mass appeal.

It does NOT mean you have to sell out.

You may have to prune some extremes but the bigger goal is at stake here so you should still hold the crucible ideal as the thing that counts.

Let go of your dark corner and shine the light on the real reason you wanted to change. Better. For all.

If you dissent from the crossover then you might just like the act of rebellion too much and aren’t really after any bigger outcome. Check yourself if you are and go create some harmless, fruitless rebellion somewhere out of our way.

Because we want the bigger thing. And we won’t let anything – rebels or establishment – get in our way. We need you if your mind and heart are with us but if you’re just up for fighting, then fuck off and fight somewhere else.

Cross words those. I don’t use profanity for any other reason to express passion. For that’s what I have. Why do I exist? What is my life all about? I WANT it to be part of changing the way work is for EVERYONE for the better.

Not a plaque, or a Wikipedia page, or a knighthood. Just another tick in the box of “made a positive difference”.

5 across, 6 letters. – trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something)


That’s not a cross word, that’s a crossword.

I have belief in a better way and you’re either with that whatever your outward look or you’re not. Establishment rebels? Corporate Punks? Who cares. Just believe – that’s good enough to start with.

And then help us DO.

Something better everyday which sets out to improve the future or work.

There’s nothing crass in that.

Simon Heath draws like he speaks – in a stimulating and lifting way. Please read this. Proud to be mentioned and part of this coming together of FM & HR professionals to build a better place to work and also go beyond the workplace #BtW


silo dodos
Earlier this week it was announced that the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development ( CIPD ) and the British Institute of Facilities Management ( BIFM ) would be coming together in a partnership to drive a number of research and insight projects that will investigate how both communities of professionals are evolving and adapting to the changing workplace.
The driving force behind this initiative is Chris Kane , ex head of Corporate Real Estate at BBC Workplace and Chair of BIFM’s newly-minted Futures taskforce. A couple of months ago, Chris invited me to help him build the proposition that eventually led to this week’s announcement. I wrote on a whiteboard three questions to frame discussions around:
How might we?
What’s in it for us?

The “How might we?” question is “How might we reshape the world of work?”
The answer to “Why?” is “Because there is significant dysfunction…

View original post 826 more words

So yes, I was one of them. At the CIPD’s L&D Show (it’s first under that new title from the old – and inappropriate HRD moniker).


I think from what others have written, day one can be seen as not the greatest show on earth and more an “improvement needed” on the review card whilst day two was a “success” rating and showed what a show can show.

There’s been a terrific upturn in the use of social media at this year’s event with twitter – in particular – really flying (!) and many, many blog posts from a passionate and challenging blogging crew.

We’ve said it before and we shall say it again – that the CIPD run this with NO HAND OF INFLUENCE over content whatsoever is a tribute to being true to social.

Where speakers weren’t quite up to the mark, this was called out by bloggers.

Where session content was awesome, this too was called out.

Here’s a few themes I took after being a grazer of the content not a producer and being there myself.

1. Free, topic tasters in the main exhibition hall STILL attract crowds of people and prove their worth. Again some of this will be hit and miss with participants BUT generally some of these were heavily over-subscribed with 4 deep standing room only.

2. We are all a bit over a full programme of broadcast seminars. I don’t have the answers to this (but read on I kind of do) BUT even a 30 minutes pitch is now becoming something of a tolerance rather than enjoyable and exciting. Is one way traffic from speaker to audience with a Q&A at the end the best we can do? Something more engaging that mixes expertise and insight; storytelling and sharing; active participation and deductive dialogue. Audiences can be fickle though and despite your best attempts as presenters, interaction just doesn’t happen as they seem to WANT to be talked at. I know this is tough to break. We shouldn’t give up trying though.

3. We need a mix of content; formats; subjects; levels of expertise; timings and so on. Helen Amery’s blog post ( is great yet we’ve heard these conversations before. To be fair to CIPD they have tried some of what’s been suggested here. I know I’ve been around these events for the last 5 iterations of them all.

Yet these events CLEARLY have to cater for people across a spectrum of career journey/levels of insight. Pretty much all of the blogging crew do what they do so well because they fit a more edgy practitioner profile. They KNOW most of what’s on show happens because they are privy to that kind of information through their social networks and beyond. They research, read and post this edgier stuff all the time. Yet the sessions often don’t match that level of practitioner acumen. Because they’re trying to cater for a mixture of stretch insight; relevant application to now and calibration/assurances that you’re doing the right thing. So as Helen pointed out, you need more variety to cater for different levels of practitioner experience and insight. I didn’t attend more than 3 sessions (although was involved in delivery of 4 anyway) and didn’t feel like I missed out. Not the case 5 years ago. So I do think there’s utter merit in what Helen’s post says and now the time is right to do something different. Something that mixes the “straight up”, here and now insight with stuff on the edge and off the scale even.

So what do WE do about that? Hope? Pop out some blogs? I think you put your left leg in and you shake it all about.

Write to CIPD about this – don’t just tweet them.  Put a slide deck together describing your ultimate L&D Show and send it on. Whatever you like. But offer something, for sure.

There’s power in them thar hills – people power. Us. You. Me. Them. We should put our heads together.

With enough of us actually helping describe the best event ever, we’re more likely to get it delivered to us by a bunch of hard working and hard pressed people finding the right content, through the right speaker and the right format.


So, I’ve created a Google+ Community Page. It’s called CIRCUS. Conferences In Rolling Consultation Upturning Success.

Rollup, rollup. Come and join – share your thoughts and I’ll share them with CIPD Events.

Join here CIRCUS G+ Community

or search Google+ for the CIRCUS community.

If you choose to attend events like this in the future and it’s a let down, then you can blame ALL of us. Or be a clown and miss the greatest show on earth…