#CIPD15 : Inspired from afar

Posted: November 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Can you NOT go to a conference and still learn and be inspired?  Yes is the answer in respect of #CIPD15.

Screenshot 2015-11-04 at 20.00.37

I’m normally there, soaking up the inspiration in person but having just got off a 10hour flight to Heathrow, I’ve “simply” followed the hashtag.

I say “simply” because this was the most furious CIPD hashtag I’ve ever come across in my 7 consecutive years of using social media to follow the conference.  Relentless tweeting, sharing and blogging this year – amazing thing to witness and tough for all let alone those having almost 10 years of social media use under their belts.

Despite that, what have I picked up from afar?

Before I answer that I have to give a big HT Helen Tracy, Damiana Casile, Gemma Reucroft, Ian Pettigrew, Kev Wyke, Gary Cookson, Helen Amery, Dami Alice, Claire Thomas and others.  Sterling job.

So what did I pick up from afar?

Well from the off, Peter Cheese gave us the 2016 and beyond HR playbook.  Not that I didn’t believe in these beforehand mind, so not strictly learning for me but inspired about the things that I can expect from others in my professional field based on this list:

  • People matter: treat them like they do.
  • HR should be the ones holding the ethics barometer over organisations.
  • We have to reconnect with the sciences of motivation and behaviours in people.  Make sure we know them, make sure we know how to deploy them for humane successes in business.
  • We have to stay smart with technology – it’s a channel, platform, tool but if we utilise Artificial Intelligence, data sciences and security wisely IN HARMONY with people then we’ll gain huge advantages.
  • HR’s previous playbook of rules and performance management systems haven’t delivered the right results and need dismantling, reassembling and reforming for a more agile, human way of working
  • The gig economy needs careful attention by HR professionals as it has a very different employment and performance proposition to “jobs”
  • HR has to take its professionalism and continuous learning as a paramount feature not a nice to do.

It was another powerful positioning by Peter and proves he is still the man to be around for HR’s future.  There’s that word again but Peter’s belief in that powerhouse near-future HR is compelling and a real call out of something for professionals to congregate on.


And then straight into Professor Sir Cary Cooper’s call out around mental health, well-being and yes even fun at work.

What I learned here is some staggering statistics about the costs of the lack of recognition and support and action around mental health; the dire consequences of presenteeism and the need to bring more humane ways of working including email use and impacts of poor management.

We’ve got more than enough research into stress at work than we know what to do with – 20-25000 articles, and yet this epidemic is rife.  Solutions are few and far between it would seem and some of Cary’s calls were for us to look at how we value people, provide support for their wellbeing and in the systems we design for work.  

It was clear from this there’s an economic case for looking after people but that is just one dimension to appeal to those driven by fiscal impact.  It’s the RIGHT thing to do to look after people and that includes the things around their working conditions, management approach and corporate culture that boiled down to this:

Working longer is less productive.  It’s unhealthy to work for such long hours, feel under so much pressure and work in an uncaring environment.

And then the attention turned to Sir Clive Woodward: and his philosophies on talent alone is not enough.  He talked of the remarkable success of the England Rugby team and how much responsibility, learning, mindset and most significantly data they acquired.  It was clear that this was a popular session with many tweeted soundbites but I could tell how useful the analogies were to people in business from sport.  Many are sceptical and many feel the superstar performer tag can have a damaging effect on the overall team.

Sir Clive’s philosophy appeared to be about the case of individuals talents need a lot of channelling, additives and stimulus to really help the team’s overall impact.  TCUP – Think Correctly Under Pressure.

There’s that word again pressure.  Clearly we’ve got a balance here amongst these 2 talks:  uncaring, long-hours approaches will simply exhaust people so prepare people to cope with this pressure by maximising their talent, giving them responsibility for themselves and each other and then help them understand how IT and data can help them prepare for those moments when we want to suppress cortisol in the body and let the adrenalin and oxytocin not to mention serotonin released on winning.  

Which leads me onto Tara Swart’s session on Neuroscience and Leadership.  Such nuggets as cortisol can be sweated out – and exercise clearly will also make your body fitter to help your neurology with your body not being a taxi for your brain in between meetings.

We also gain weight with excess cortisol emitted so it’s a double whammy on our poor bodies if we let too much cortisol moments happen in our lives.

7-9 hours of sleep helps cleanse our brains so the more stressed we are and the less sleep we get, the less effective we are and therefore the more stressed we may be about our poor performance.

And the thought that an agile brain is a more useful brain.  It needs focus as much as an athlete looks after their body.  Rest, recuperation, stimulus, inspiration, practice, calmness, activity and care.

Boy does my brain feel agile keeping up with a relentless barrage of tweets; a speedy production of blogs and watching the odd video.

Inspired.  Learned a lot of stuff.

Tim Scott and Andy Swann argued about 2 forms of structure – hierarchical managed and holacratic freedoms.

Neil Morrison and Matt Elliott talked about an organisation approach to create the right climates for organisations in serious transition, merger and finding its new self.

Stephanie Davies and the power of laughter.  Julian Stodd and social learning.

Ian Pettigrew has diligently put together the most amazing almanac of the posts from this outstanding day.  https://storify.com/kingfishercoach/cipd15

Thanks to those socially inclined people at one of the world’s most interesting conferences about the world of work.  Can’t wait to join you all tomorrow.

Inspired from afar: an immersing experience from day 1 of #CIPD15


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