Posts Tagged ‘Poor Performance’


La Pinoche

There are a number of top blogs out there around HR and the world of work and this week has seen some corkers.  @neilmorrison blogged around this here:

Neil Morrison Banner

and I mean this respectfully – he became the #ConnectingHR Seth Godin (who blogs here).

Seth Godin

Why is that you might ask?  Well, for me Neil became our Seth with this blog because he cleverly put a few words out with a HUGE resonance.  So huge that every HR blogger out there should pick up their drafting shoes and get blogging about this.  Poor performers – it’s our fault.  And it is.


Now I know HR has performed a lot of self-flagellation in its recent past.  I entered the profession officially around 2003 and it was a stark realisation I’d not expected.  I doubted I would be popular by being in HR but the disdain, the licking of wounds and the acceptance of the position took me by surprise.


We criticised ourselves over a poor service proposition; beat ourselves up for being out of touch and cried into our skinny lattes over our lack of imagination and inventiveness.


Then we said enough is enough and we started to move out of our own shadows and started talking up commerciality; the performance game and organisational effectiveness.


We included agendas around talent; business savvy and engagement and yet STILL we haven’t cracked some basic fundamentals.


Organisations continually hire the wrong people; promote people who don’t deserve it and then to cover their ineffectiveness restructure and pay people off.  It’s not their fault.  They have played an imperfect system and gained.


We have to hold ourselves to account for a lot of those imperfect systems and processes which just don’t cut it.


Our fundamental reason for being is to be the experts helping the organisations we serve get the best of their people and in doing so people get a fair deal back for that.  It starts with the best people found in the first place and we are the ones (largely) with carriage and ownership of how we do that.


Now what this is NOT is an attack on the recruitment arm of HR.  It’s still partly your fault Recruiters – as much as it is all component parts of HR.


You know what though?  Now is the time to accept that it IS our fault and do something about it.  We are not in a position to delay but equally no token, knee-jerk reactions and programmes of HR initiatives.  That’s been our playbook up ‘til now and doesn’t seem to have worked and will probably deter our businesses from believing this will be anything different.  A four-legged stool or a 2×2 and we’re done for.

But different we need.  So what do we do?


I WISH I had all the answers.  I do know though that the current system is just not good enough.


Maybe Jean Tomlin’s LOCOG / London 2012 machinery has a lot to offer us – so many people with such diverse backgrounds delivering well?  We all know there was the the Army having to come in and bail out the Group4 proposition / issues but even that seemed to work.  Is what happened throughout London 2012 a replicable model for the workforce of forever and not just for a summer?



Maybe Morning Star (HBR Blog here) ; Wholefoods (nice article here) and the Hackmeister @profHamel’s case studies (here) hold the key?


They do appear to create a different dynamic in the workplace and have a different method for finding people; hiring them; setting them to be of their best and continuing to thrive in this thing we call work.


Maybe we need some seismic shock to force change you might say?  Erm, hang on, we’re still mired in the longest recession situation since the Great Depression with more societal and welfare issues than we’ve ever faced before.  WE HAVE THAT SEISMIC SHOCK RIGHT WITH US NOW. But we are the frogs in the gradually boiling pan.  We are coping; there is hope.  Yes there is hope but NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT and Neil’s blog is the perfect place to start.


I say start because this needs follow on;


  • inventive thinking;
  • passion and drive;
  • a root out of all those who deny the cause and will get in the way;
  • an ascendancy of challenger spirits (see Khurshed Dhenugara’s work here); and
  • some of the cleverest, most informed and creative thinking and doing HR has ever put its name to.


Can we do this?  Yes we can. Sorry obligatory Obamaism there.  But we can.


We have enough people with the requisite skill; experience; insight; drive; zeal; fresh thinking.  But they’re not lined up together.  We are a disparate group of champions and stalwarts; modest genii and decent hard workers yet we also have some drag on our trajectory from within.  Some people drive with the handbrake on or never get out of 3rd gear and all they worry about is speed cameras.

wind tunnel


So how do we do this?


I think the @CIPD has already given us a chance/start.  The forthcoming Hackathon using Gary Hamel’s infrastructure could see us let all that frustration; ideas; and energy out towards a more collective way to cease the trickle of our own disappointment and stem the tide of our under-appreciation.


Why should we do this? Well because we are to blame for poor performers.


Yes they have responsibility to perform per the contract they take on in return for pay; but if they see a chance to make a living or are even delusional about their own levels of performance, you cannot blame them for the first “mile” of this experience – so we are responsible for putting them there.  We are responsible for not cracking why managers can be the most mediocre and ineffective members of our tribe and we are responsible for not taking ourselves to account and ridding ourselves of our own “drag” factors.


Please get on board the Hackathon – it is a chance to get our thoughts straight and now is the time for any and all thinking on how we get the right people in; connecting them to a cause worth working on; and seeing just how fabulous our working lives can be no matter how tedious and menial or complex and stressful the role may appear to be.


We need as many hackers, punks and jazz-cats on this as possible; all welcome; just have an attitude, a belief and ideas to share and that’s how we can make things happen.


We have SO MUCH to get right;


  • how we find and recruit the best people;
  • look after their well being and enable them to do brilliant things;
  • skill them beyond their own wildest dreams;
  • create ascension and transcendence in work;
  • be dignified about the things that just don’t work out;
  • find the right place; situation; connections; tools; methods and dialogue that continues to make people thrive;
  • handle the downs of life and the inevitable twilight elements with compassion and humanity;
  • work out our physical and spiritual environment that makes work utterly amazing; and
  • engage in rewards and acknowledgement that gives people’s purpose a sense of legacy and place in the cosmos.

Stop Whining


Better stop the whining, get thinking and then crack on eh?