Gamifying me 0.1

I am the Podgemeister General. 

A week ago I stood on the scales and I was 14st 13lb.  That weight would be acceptable if I was an international rugby player, however, it seems that currently the Welsh rugby squad is strong enough to cope without me. 13st 10lb is about fine for me as a normal weight – 14st 13lb is only about fine for me if I was holding my daughter at the same time. To be clear, when I was on the scales I wasn’t holding my daughter.

A brisk sprint through Gamification

Earlier this year I took an online course through Coursera on Gamification, hosted by Kevin Werbach (https://www.coursera.org/course/gamification) . Gamification is the concept of taking the science behind games and applying it to real world situations.  It is becoming increasingly popular (as it proves very effective) and comes in pure forms (creating a whole world for people to experience) to lighter forms where you will recognise badges, levels etc without necessarily recognising it as ‘a game’. You might be part of a forum and notice stars and levels next to people’s names – this is to give them a sense of progress and achievement – mechanics that game designers have been refining for years. Consumers spent $20.77 billion on video games, hardware, and accessories in 2012 (ref: http://www.theesa.com/facts/). It is a serious business ,with serious people, who understand almost perfectly what makes us tick.  A computer game budget can now be as much as a Hollywood movie – so the teams working behind the scenes to understand what mechanics get people coming back time and time again are in the top of their field.

There are instances of successful gamification that you might not have reflected upon: when everyone was suddenly moving about AND playing computer games when the Wii was released? Gamification of physical activity. This was enhanced with the Wii Fit and Wii Sports – you were enjoying exercise whilst you beat scores, played with friends and progressed through games. It made exercising easy, fun and rewarding. Recently Aviva have gamified driving your car –  see video below – you get your car insured, your driving skills rated and you get to share your skills on Facebook. Suddenly people are competing to see how well they can drive – and Aviva can take your money knowing you are less likely to crash,,,

Richard Bartle came up with a useful way of categorising gamers called Gamer Types (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_Test), The four categories typically used are

  • Achievers – gamers pushing on for recognition or to test themselves
  • Explorers – gamers who like being able to do things at their own pace, discovering things others might not notice
  • Socialisers – gamers who are there for the community rather than the game itself
  • Killers – gamers who thrive on competition and outdoing others

For anyone who says that games aren’t relevant to business I’d ask you to look at the list again. Seemingly if you can tap into those motivations people will be having fun and achieving without noticing. If you can create communities, a sense of progress, an opportunity for people to elect to compete and space for people to explore – you are creating an environment that people would choose to be part of. That is why gamification is useful – it isn’t a fad, it’s been about as long as fun has been – and probably since warriors chalked up their kills for other people to see them or people competed on cold nights to see who could get the fire started first.

It isn’t the next big thing, it is a part of our toolkit that we are starting to understand, one that provides us with evenmore opportunity to help businesses and people succeed. It isn’t just about games in training – but also about socialisation of performance management and possibly even pay.

So does it work then?  

In short, yes. It can work when used well http://goo.gl/mXiBJz – although unsuprisingly you’ll also hear of failures where people have just thrown in a game without thought of culture fit or outout or people and -puzzlingly – this has proved less successful. It isn’t a silver bullet – it’s another tool.

You joined me when I was 14st 13lb . I’ve been using an app called ‘Mapmywalk’  this week that gives me all sorts of stats and typical gamification features (how do I compare to yesterday’s walk? what is my speed? what’s my biggest climb? How do I compare to other people doing the route? Congratulations, here is a badge for being quickest up that hill). The app has helped build habits and encouraged me to stick to them –  it’s allowed me to email my route and stats – my success and effort-  to my wife and friends (sociable), encouraged me to try new paths (explore) and to push on for slightly longer and quicker walks (achievements).  in short, getting fit has become a game.

I’ve just got back from a walk that has now become my favourite – a bit quicker than last week, but no less enjoyable. I lost 8lb in seven days. No funky diet, no starvation, no punishing regimes (I had two bbqs and a couple of beers…) – just playing by the rules of the game. Update: I’m now down to 13st 13lb (as of 14/08)

We want business to be fun – and we want people to try

People enjoy games and put effort into succeeding in them

Not complicated to put them together.

New: Collective decisions – the Book of Blogs

Things you need to know – new things are here… read on….don’t think you’ve seen it all before. There are some decisions to be made and you need to be aware of them – even if you don’t want to have a say. If you haven’t seen any of the blogs regarding this before I’d suggest you start here https://ddsouzadotcom.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/the-book-of-blogs-if-we-build-it/ PART A – General update The deadline is still 16th August for submissions. If you can get them in earlier that would be great – as you can see from the list below the book if filling up nicely and with a great range of topics being written about (with genuine insight and flair). Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. If you are waiting on a reply from me for anything then please nudge me via Twitter and I’ll get back to you. I remain delighted that this is a genuinely international project and would like to thank Steve Browne and Broc Edwards for their support in the last week. We still lack a title. If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments.  Simon Heath suggested ‘Practical Magic: Smoke, mirrors and human capital’ or ‘Human Realists: The future face of HR’. My suggestions have been nowhere near as good. Tim Scott has now suggested ‘Otherwise engaged’ – I think ‘Alternatively Engaged’ might also work. Select your favourite option to vote PART B – The money thing got a bit trickier, but not too tricky As anyone following this project knows we have been working on the assumption that Amazon will allow the book to be sold on Kindle for the grand price of free. Having investigated further (thanks to Simon Jones and Broc Edwards for the steer) Amazon will only publish under the following conditions

  • It is exclusively available to Amazon for 90 days (this shouldn’t be a problem)
  • We set a price of at least 99c (a price greater than 0c is a problem if you don’t want to make money)
  • We receive 70% of the sale price (I’m walking you through this slowly, 70% of 99c is still more than ‘no money’)
  • We can only set the price to free for 5 days in every 90 (meaning 85 days out of 90 it isn’t free, thanks for sticking with me)

Since, as per the initial scope,  I really don’t want to make any money on this my suggestion is we proceed as follows 1. We continue to publish on Amazon 2. We charge the lowest possible price (bizarrely Amazon can raise it if it wants and we don’t control it, but that will be the starting point) 3. We make the book free for five days at the earliest possible opportunity 4. Any author who contributes can have an electronic version sent to them to upload to their Kindle (if they don’t want to brave the store) can have one 5. All proceeds go to charity If you have suggestions for charities please leave them in the comments. I will then either run a survey to select a charity or if we don’t have many suggestions we’ll divide the money between them. It won’t be much money, but it will be something towards a good cause. If you don’t want to progress with the book on these grounds I completely understand, let me know and I’ll remove any content you have entered Suggested charities so far: OCD Action, Mind, Brook Part C – update on bloggers, content and a refreshed FAQ

  1. @simonheath1 – Simon Heath – submitted: A Sense of Proportion (as well as contributing an entry, the incomparable Simon Heath, will also be creating the cover illustration)
  2. @Projectlibero – Jon Bartlett
  3. @TimScottHR – Tim Scott submitted: There’s no such thing as ‘best practice’
  4. @HR_Gem – Gemma Reucroft submitted: A little more conversation
  5. @OD_optimist – Meg Peppin submitted:Trust me, I’m in HR
  6. @dougshaw1 – Doug Shaw – submitted: In Fear of Fear 
  7. @LadyLoki – Niki Rosenbaum
  8. @ruchikaabrol – Ruchika
  9. @Malcolmlouth – Malcolm Louth
  10. @StephenTovey13 – Stephen Tovey submitted: Watch the children play
  11. @paperclipgirl – Louisa de Lange
  12. @Jawaddell – Julie Waddell submitted: Succession planning: Corporate snakes and ladders
  13. @HRManNZ – Richard Westney – submitted: Collaboration is the new Competitive Advantage
  14. @sterling_amanda – Amanda Sterling submitted: What can HR learn from Lean manufacturing?
  15. @Jsarahwatshr – Jane Watson
  16. @KateGL – Kate Griffiths-Lambeth submitted: People are strange
  17. @KingfisherCoach – Ian Pettigrew submitted: Finding ‘friends’ you don’t like!
  18. @conmossy – Conor Moss
  19. @dds180 – me
  20. @bphilp – Bob Philpin submitted: Hiring our way out of the UK Leadership Crisis with Big Data
  21. @fourgroups – Four Groups – submitted: A Physics of People
  22. @sukhpabial – Sukh Pabial – submitted: What is hope?
  23. @verawoodhead – Vera Woodhead – submitted: No need to act like a Man. Women in leadership
  24. @myhr_nz    – Jason Ennor submitted: Building a slide at work: A true HR competency?
  25. @BenMorton2 – Ben Morton –submitted: Leadership in a VUCA world
  26. @IanandMJ -Ian Davidson –submitted: Why thinking in averages is below average thinking
  27. @ariadneassoc – Simon Jones
  28. @octopusHR – David Richter submitted: The Innovator’s Dilemma – Would you do any different? 
  29. @MrAirmiles – Jose Franca
  30. @MorrisElise – Elise Morris
  31. @sineadcarville – Sinead Carville
  32. @engagingemma – Emma Lloyd submitted: It is decision time ~ Round 1 ~ Heart vs Brain?
  33. @kat_hounsell – Kat Hounsell submitted: A Human Instinct
  34. @fuchsia_blue – Julie Drybrough
  35. @pontecarloblue – Amanda Arrowsmith submitted: Let’s be more Avengers than Minions
  36. @wendyaspland – Wendy Aspland submitted: if the workplace were a motorway
  37. @HRswitchon – Nicola Barber submitted: Bubble Busters
  38. @mervyndinnen – Mervyn Dinnen
  39. @damiana_HR – Damiana Casile
  40. @EmilydouglasHC – Emily Douglas
  41. @MeghanMBiro – Meghan Biro
  42. @DwaneLay – Dwane Lay
  43. @PamelaRoss – Pamela Ross
  44. @Nicky_T – Nicky Texeira
  45. @Lembitopik – Lembit Öpik  submitted: HR challenges on the USS Enterprise
  46. @LetSdeG – Leticia S. de Garzón submitted: Everyone needs a bad boss
  47. @zoemounsey – Zoe Mounsey
  48. @Susanpopoola – Susan Popoola
  49. @academyofrock -Peter Cook submitted: Punk Rock HR -A Manifesto for Simplicity, Brevity and Authenticity in HR
  50. @mindstrongltd – Tracey Davidson submitted: RIP Unproductive, Boring Meetings – How to Breath Life Back into Your Meetings 
  51. @brocedwards – Broc Edwards
  52. @sbrownehr – Steve Browne submitted: Release your inner Dali!
  53. @workessence – Neil Usher submitted: Barefoot in the heart: Part 3
  54. @injiduducu – Inji Duducu submitted: The Simple Key to High Performance Organisations
  55. @Honeydew_health – Honeydew Health submitted: The Absence Acid Test
  56. @AnneTynan – Anne Tynan submitted:Disabled HR Professionals = An Enabled Human Resources Profession

FAQ (it stands for Faked Anticipated Questions) Why did you decide to do this?  I had the idea on a whim when I was thinking about crowdsourcing and in particular this list of HR social influencers http://list.ly/l/5qg. It seemed like a nice community project and, as I enjoy the content shared on HR blogs so much, I thought it might be nice to collate it. I then shot out an impulsive tweet and things took off from there. So, what is your motivation? My motivation is very much about giving people an open space to create as individuals, whilst at the same point creating something as a group. I’m unlikely to get a job from this (if you’d like to hire me have a look at goo.gl/fySbh  ) but  I currently have some space in my days I thought it would be fun to build something. The book will be priced at free *update 30/07 -when it isn’t available as free it will be priced as cheaply as possible – and all proceeds will go to charity*, so this isn’t a stealth commercial project. It is a community project, plain and simple. I like ideas, I have the time to invest in helping and motivating people to share theirs. If you agree to take part then please understand that this is the ethos and don’t ask be complicated questions about who owns the rights etc. I simply don’t know and am probably disinclined to make things more complicated, if you are worried about this then just don’t take part. If you can think of it as a giant collection of guest blogs then you are in the right place. What are the entry criteria? Anyone can contribute – it can be their first blog or their hundredth. It can be new or their favourite old blog. It just needs to make sense standing alone. I’m sort of hoping that we do get to showcase some new bloggers and that the experience helps them go on to create more, that would make the project worthwhile in itself. There is no quality control – if someone has taken the trouble to write it then I will take the time to publish it. I haven’t approached anyone directly as I wanted people who were involved in the project and didn’t want to place any pressure on people to contribute. Please don’t attempt to sell a product – that is the only thing that won’t be acceptable. What are the timescales? A month from today for the content (!) should be enough for the length of writing required. So by 16/08 please have your content submitted or uploaded (see below). If you are able to do it earlier then please do, as there is only one of me so having 30 arrive on deadline day will doubtless cause issues. *cough, cough* but you don’t know anything about publishing do you?  No, I don’t, good spot. I do, however, love new technology and I’m also able to use Google. The combination of these things has led me to PressBook which is like a communal WordPress tool that will allow people to upload their own content and then for me to publish the content as an eBook to make available on Amazon etc. So we are all uploading our own material? It would be really helpful if once you have written it you could upload it yourself. If you write it in WordPress it brings everything over quite painlessly.Send me your email, I’ll send you a log in and then you can just paste your material in as a new chapter *update 22/07 – apparently this is quite painless*. Click on text and then new chapter… If this seems like the scariest process in the world then there is a two step process i) attempt it yourself, you only get to live this life once and being in fear of useful things isn’t very useful ii) send me your content directly – I don’t want anyone to suffer undue emotional distress in what should be a pleasant process How will the book be structured? I’m undecided. I might attempt to collate similar entries together or deliberately leave them apart. Who knows? It’s fun embracing an open approach. What if everyone writes on the same topics?  I don’t think they will, but if they do then we will still have a book – just on a narrow range of topics. My experience is that people have their own style which means at the very least people will offer different angles on topics. Is there anything I can’t do? Please don’t link to any material that we don’t have rights for.  I like putting video and pictures in my blogs, if you are doing so then please make sure you aren’t breaking the law when you are doing so. What will it be called? I haven’t a clue. I’m accepting suggestions. In fact if you send me suggestions I’ll run a poll and we can choose together. That is how collaborative this can be. Can I contact you with questions? Yes, I’m weak on Geography, but I’m pretty strong in most other areas. You can vote more than once below…

HR Social – Unicorns, rainbows and pixies

Emotivism – I feel a bit bored of social media without the fighting

Prescriptivism – everyone should fight, because I’m a bit bored of social media

Yes, it’s a trite summary of someone else’s position – but it’s provocative, likely to start an argument and possibly upsetting so it’s actually ok.

————–

Yesterday I read this blog http://goo.gl/IGMvG by Neil Morrison. Neil had been tweeting similar for the past few days, so I thought I would reply. Then some people agreed with Neil, so I attempted to pop their bubbles and things got a bit out of hand. Later on things got even less professional with people attacking each other directly and losing sight of the point altogether. The final comments posted were simply not something you would ever like to see. It was just abuse. I wasn’t involved in them, but as you can see they are personal, distasteful and not fun.

I’m guessing, but I imagine Neil is delighted that he has acted as some kind of provocateur (not delighted about the abuse, but the debate), bringing more fire to the topic of social HR. Stirring up some action, creating a platform for more openness. In contrast, what I was seeing was how quickly things disintegrate when a lack of respect is shown. I saw nothing creditable, no quality of debate, none of the upside that Neil originally posted about. It was like telling everyone in a meeting that from this point on you just need to shout loudest to win. Neil’s view (lifted from his blog) is that –

Social HR should be:

Edgy

Argumentative

Difficult

Provoking

Upsetting

Social HR has become:

Cosy

Warm

Consensual

Boring

Predictable

Guess what – I think the first list paints a picture that is horribly exclusive and the second one a horrible caricature . If the point is ‘wouldn’t a bit more constructive challenge be useful?’ then the answer is normally ‘yes’. However, to think that anything (a business or a group) should aspire to a culture that upsets people and is ‘difficult’ is something that, historically, only people already in power desire.

Since I’ve started tweeting/blogging I have been reliant on the kindness of strangers, the warmth of a community and encouragement from people that I’ve never met to make a contribution. That is how this works, we get excited about first time bloggers because we recognise the bravery in those first steps. People contribute in the hope they have something to offer – quite often it may not be ‘new’, but it will always be a slightly different angle. People do this because there aren’t monsters lurking in the background waiting to leap on their mistakes.  People do this because most people realise that, deliberately upsetting other people is counterproductive, if you want to to get the best from others, rather than just ‘win” the debate. The job of leaders is to move people through the cycle of forming, storming, norming, performing as quickly as they can – not to keep it in storming just because you used to like it that way.

Ignore the words ‘HRSocial’  and you’ll find any group benefits from being welcoming, supportive and curious. If you give support and create openness you end up with ideas. If you shoot down ideas, simply because you want to upset people under the banner of debate, then you are killing thoughts. Steinbeck said ‘ideas are like rabbits, get two, look after them and soon you have hundreds’. We now have hundreds being socialised on Twitter and blogs, it’s harder to track down the ones you might want to keep as pets… but the choice….wow.

Do you know what else kills debate? Crude polarisation. The thought that if we create something ‘warm’ then it can’t have edge and must be boring. Or that consensus means there has been no debate. Or that upsetting people shows that you have edge. That if you aren’t upsetting people they only other option is that you are obsessed with unicorns, rainbows and pixies and would never challenge something you believe to be wrong.  Some of the finest people I’ve worked known have been able to challenge, provoke and shape  my thinking without ever having to upset me. In fact, if they had upset me it is unlikely I would have allowed my thinking to be challenged.

Neil wrote a ten point agenda for change in HR that I really liked. It contains the following parts that I think apply to ‘social’ as well as in business. After all, we are people in and out of the office…

We need to stop saying “no”. Our language, our communication to the business needs to be positive, not negative. We need to be owners of good news. Deal with problems individually, not by memo. Stop sending out dumb emails, if it isn’t positive, don’t send it.

We need to accept that you don’t get influence through control, you get influence through other people’s positive experience of you. Get influence through people wanting you involved not by telling them you have to be.

We need to listen to our employees and our managers. We need to stop seeing them as being “the problem” and start seeing them as being the people that we are here to help. They are the reason we have jobs, so stop moaning about them and start listening.

We need to be more human. We need to get out and talk, interact, spend time with people, we need to be empathetic and understanding, we need to feel. Sitting in the HR department bitching is not going to change anything.

I could sign up for that for being what we need to do on Twitter, with a few tweaks; I can’t sign up for being difficult just for the sake of it. There are other people involved when we are difficult. Those people matter. If you upset someone on social because that is what you think you should do then it is cowardly. You aren’t doing it face to face, you don’t have to deal with the consequences and unlike work they were giving their energy to the conversation for free. Bad form, bad form.

So what’s new?

Neil makes the point that he is bored of reading the same old things, that everyone is still talking about engagement surveys etc.  Well, that’s true, but everyone has a different angle, in fact, when I started blogging I read an article about blogging for HR that inspired me to publish my first blog, it was written by Neil and contained the following

I won’t have anything new to say
Take it from me, there isn’t a single blog post that hasn’t been written before, fact. But there are a million different perspectives to be had on a subject and with the news constantly changing, you get a whole load of potential new topics presenting themselves each week. Blogs that add insight, perspective, thought and challenge are as popular as those that try to be at the cutting edge.

I haven’t read a blog that I haven’t taken something from, even if it is just one person’s view of the world – and I’m always glad they took the time to share their view. I was glad I read Neil’s, it gave me the chance to write this. He’s written some great stuff and I’m glad we have people injecting debate, but I can never be glad when someone is the architect of conflict, because normally it isn’t them getting hurt.

(slight caveat – this isn’t the start of the ‘Dave vs. Neil’ wars to keep people entertained. This is just a counterpoint, similar to the excellent one offered here wp.me/p2YgNX-fq by Simon Heath. Which attracted less debate, but also less bile. Neil actually has been nice to me personally, supportive and welcoming. I just want everyone to have the benefit of that)

If you want to know what ‘social’ constructively might be for I’ve added a feel good video…

 

Update: The Book of Blogs 22/07

Quick recap: The Book of Blogs is an upcoming book of HR/OD/L+D/Business blogs that we are attempting to produce as a crowdsourced project, with conception to publication on Amazon in a total of less than 2 months. Currently we are making amazing progress. Thanks to everyone who has agreed to contribute.

This week’s milestones

Milestone 1 – I’ve just finished the next phase of the experiment. This involved exporting the content that we have so far to an Amazon Kindle.  There are some problems with spacing, but it has worked. I have been able to open the book and the links within it using my PC, android devices and an original Kindle. I may have jumped up and down in excitement a small amount. Bloggers:  It’s worth noting that links to video will work on all of these except the original Kindle

Milestone 2 – not only did we have our first blogs added via the online software, but we are now up to 7 having been added, well in advance of the deadline of 16/08. Thanks to @dougshaw1 for kicking it off. If we can keep a steady stream coming in then that will really help me manage my time effectively and help ensure the formatting is correct etc. Apparently the upload process is pretty painless, which is good news

Milestone 3 – the goal last week was to hit 30 contributors. Given that we are now standing at 49 and counting we have definitely exceeded expectations

Milestone 4 – I am delighted to welcome a number of US contributors to the project, something I wanted to happen last week,  including 2 bloggers who were in the top 10 of the recent Huffington Post  list of Social HR Influencers. I’m really happy about this, not just because I know they’ll provide great quality, but also because I think it will be amazing for some first time bloggers to be published alongside them

Milestone 5 – we still need a name, that will be the next milestone. Please make any suggestions you have to me and I’ll set up a vote in a few weeks time

  1. @simonheath1 – Simon Heath – as well as contributing an entry, the incomparable Simon Heath, will also be creating the cover illustration. 
  2. @Projectlibero – Jon Bartlett
  3. @TimScottHR – Tim Scott
  4. @HR_Gem – Gemma Reucroft submitted: A little more conversation
  5. @OD_optimist – Meg Peppin
  6. @dougshaw1 – Doug Shaw – submitted: In Fear of Fear 
  7. @LadyLoki – Niki Rosenbaum
  8. @ruchikaabrol – Ruchika
  9. @Malcolmlouth – Malcolm Louth
  10. @StephenTovey13 – Stephen Tovey submitted: Watch the children play
  11. @paperclipgirl – Louisa de Lange
  12. @Jawaddell – Julie Waddell
  13. @HRManNZ – Richard Westney – submitted: Collaboration is the new Competitive Advantage
  14. @sterling_amanda – Amanda Sterling
  15. @Jsarahwatshr – Jane Watson
  16. @KateGL – Kate Griffiths-Lambeth
  17. @KingfisherCoach – Ian Pettigrew
  18. @conmossy – Conor Moss
  19. @dds180 – me
  20. @bphilp – Bob Philpin
  21. @fourgroups – Four Groups – submitted: A Physics of People
  22. @sukhpabial – Sukh Pabial – submitted: What is hope?
  23. @verawoodhead – Vera Woodhead – submitted: No need to act like a Man. Women in leadership
  24. @myhr_nz    – Jason Ennor
  25. @Joolztybura – Julia Tybura
  26. @BenMorton2 – Ben Morton –submitted: Leadership in a VUCA world
  27. @IanandMJ -Ian Davidson –submitted: Why thinking in averages is below average thinking
  28. @ariadneassoc – Simon Jones
  29. @octopusHR – David Richter submitted: How to recognise and nurture disruptive innovation
  30. @MrAirmiles – Jose Franca
  31. @MorrisElise – Elise Morris
  32. @sineadcarville – Sinead Carville
  33. @engagingemma – Emma Lloyd submitted: It is decision time ~ Round 1 ~ Heart vs Brain?
  34. @kat_hounsell – Kat Hounsell
  35. @TashTasticNZ – Tash Pieterse
  36. @fuchsia_blue – Julie Drybrough
  37. @pontecarloblue – Amanda Arrowsmith
  38. @wendyaspland – Wendy Aspland
  39. @HRswitchon – Nicola Barber
  40. @mervyndinnen – Mervyn Dinnen
  41. @damiana_HR – Damiana Casile
  42. @EmilydouglasHC – Emily Douglas
  43. @MeghanMBiro – Meghan Biro
  44. @DwayneLay – Dwayne Lay
  45. @PamelaRoss – Pamela Ross
  46. @Nicky_T – Nicky Texeira
  47. @Lembitopik – Lembit Öpik  submitted: HR challenges on the USS Enterprise
  48. @LetSdeG – Leticia S. de Garzón
  49. @zoemounsey – Zoe Mounsey
  50. @Susanpopoola – Susan Popoola
  51. @academyofrock -Peter Cook
  52. @mindstrongltd – Tracey Davidson
  53. @brocedwards – Broc Edwards

FAQ (it stands for Faked Anticipated Questions)

Why did you decide to do this? 

I had the idea on a whim when I was thinking about crowdsourcing and in particular this list of HR social influencers http://list.ly/l/5qg. It seemed like a nice community project and, as I enjoy the content shared on HR blogs so much, I thought it might be nice to collate it. I then shot out an impulsive tweet and things took off from there.

So, what is your motivation?

My motivation is very much about giving people an open space to create as individuals, whilst at the same point creating something as a group. I’m unlikely to get a job from this (if you’d like to hire me have a look at goo.gl/fySbh  ) but  I currently have some space in my days I thought it would be fun to build something. The book will be priced at free, so this isn’t a stealth commercial project. It is a community project, plain and simple. I like ideas, I have the time to invest in helping and motivating people to share theirs. If you agree to take part then please understand that this is the ethos and don’t ask be complicated questions about who owns the rights etc. I simply don’t know and am probably disinclined to make things more complicated, if you are worried about this then just don’t take part. If you can think of it as a giant collection of guest blogs then you are in the right place.

What are the entry criteria?

Anyone can contribute – it can be their first blog or their hundredth. It can be new or their favourite old blog. It just needs to make sense standing alone. I’m sort of hoping that we do get to showcase some new bloggers and that the experience helps them go on to create more, that would make the project worthwhile in itself. There is no quality control – if someone has taken the trouble to write it then I will take the time to publish it. I haven’t approached anyone directly as I wanted people who were involved in the project and didn’t want to place any pressure on people to contribute. Please don’t attempt to sell a product – that is the only thing that won’t be acceptable.

What are the timescales?

A month from today for the content (!) should be enough for the length of writing required. So by 16/08 please have your content submitted or uploaded (see below). If you are able to do it earlier then please do, as there is only one of me so having 30 arrive on deadline day will doubtless cause issues.

*cough, cough* but you don’t know anything about publishing do you? 

No, I don’t, good spot. I do, however, love new technology and I’m also able to use Google. The combination of these things has led me to PressBook which is like a communal WordPress tool that will allow people to upload their own content and then for me to publish the content as an eBook to make available on Amazon etc.

So we are all uploading our own material?

It would be really helpful if once you have written it you could upload it yourself. If you write it in WordPress it brings everything over quite painlessly.Send me your email, I’ll send you a log in and then you can just paste your material in as a new chapter *update 22/07 – apparently this is quite painless*. Click on text and then new chapter…

If this seems like the scariest process in the world then there is a two step process

i) attempt it yourself, you only get to live this life once and being in fear of useful things isn’t very useful

ii) send me your content directly – I don’t want anyone to suffer undue emotional distress in what should be a pleasant process

How will the book be structured?

I’m undecided. I might attempt to collate similar entries together or deliberately leave them apart. Who knows? It’s fun embracing an open approach.

What if everyone writes on the same topics? 

I don’t think they will, but if they do then we will still have a book – just on a narrow range of topics. My experience is that people have their own style which means at the very least people will offer different angles on topics.

Is there anything I can’t do?

Please don’t link to any material that we don’t have rights for.  I like putting video and pictures in my blogs, if you are doing so then please make sure you aren’t breaking the law when you are doing so.

What will it be called?

I haven’t a clue. I’m accepting suggestions. In fact if you send me suggestions I’ll run a poll and we can choose together. That is how collaborative this can be.

Can I contact you with questions?

Yes, I’m weak on Geography, but I’m pretty strong in most other areas.

The Book of Blogs – progress update and FAQ

When I first set upon this crazy enterprise I wasn’t sure what I was doing or if it would take off. Whilst I’m still not sure what I’m doing, I’m delighted to say that the idea has very much taken off.

The individuals below have all agreed to contribute and if they all do then we have have more than enough content to justify the ‘book’ tag and it will be of incredible quality. I’m hoping that we attract more writers over the coming days, so please share this blog and the intent. It would be great to get a few writers from the US (edit: we now have!) , but as you can see from the list it is already very much an international project.

  1. @simonheath1 – Simon Heath
  2. @Projectlibero – Jon Bartlett
  3. @TimScottHR – Tim Scott
  4. @HR_Gem – Gemma Reucroft
  5. @OD_optimist – Meg Peppin
  6. @dougshaw1 – Doug Shaw – submitted: In Fear of Fear 
  7. @LadyLoki – Niki Rosenbaum
  8. @ruchikaabrol – Ruchika
  9. @Malcolmlouth – Malcolm Louth
  10. @StephenTovey13 – Stephen Tovey
  11. @paperclipgirl – Louisa de Lange
  12. @Jawaddell – Julie Waddell
  13. @HRManNZ – Richard Westney – submitted: Collaboration is the new Competitive Advantage
  14. @sterling_amanda – Amanda Sterling
  15. @Jsarahwatshr – Jane Watson
  16. @KateGL – Kate Griffiths-Lambeth
  17. @KingfisherCoach – Ian Pettigrew
  18. @conmossy – Conor Moss
  19. @dds180 – me
  20. @bphilp – Bob Philpin
  21. @fourgroups – Four Groups – submitted: A Physics of People
  22. @sukhpabial – Sukh Pabial – submitted: What is hope?
  23. @verawoodhead – Vera Woodhead
  24. @myhr_nz    – Jason Ennor
  25. @Joolztybura – Julia Tybura
  26. @BenMorton2 – Ben Morton –submitted: Leadership in a VUCA world
  27. @IanandMJ -Ian Davidson –submitted: Why thinking in averages is below average thinking
  28. @ariadneassoc – Simon Jones
  29. @octopusHR – David Richter
  30. @MrAirmiles – Jose Franca
  31. @MorrisElise – Elise Morris
  32. @sineadcarville – Sinead Carville
  33. @engagingemma – Emma Lloyd
  34. @kat_hounsell – Kat Hounsell
  35. @TashTasticNZ – Tash Pieterse
  36. @fuchsia_blue – Julie Drybrough
  37. @pontecarloblue – Amanda Arrowsmith
  38. @wendyaspland – Wendy Aspland
  39. @HRswitchon – Nicola Barber
  40. @mervyndinnen – Mervyn Dinnen
  41. @damiana_HR – Damiana Casile
  42. @EmilydouglasHC – Emily Douglas
  43. @MeghanMBiro – Meghan Biro
  44. @DwayneLay – Dwayne Lay
  45. @PamelaRoss – Pamela Ross
  46. @Nicky_T – Nicky Texeira
  47. @Lembitopik – Lembit Öpik  submitted: HR challenges on the USS Enterprise
  48. @LetSdeG – Leticia S. de Garzón
  49. @zoemounsey – Zoe Mounsey

So, I’m assuming at this point that people are in favour of the concept and I’m now getting requests for more detail. This blog is an attempt to give some of that detail…

FAQ (it stands for Faked Anticipated Questions)

Why did you decide to do this? 

I had the idea on a whim when I was thinking about crowdsourcing and in particular this list of HR social influencers http://list.ly/l/5qg. It seemed like a nice community project and, as I enjoy the content shared on HR blogs so much, I thought it might be nice to collate it. I then shot out an impulsive tweet and things took off from there.

So, what is your motivation?

My motivation is very much about giving people an open space to create as individuals, whilst at the same point creating something as a group. I’m unlikely to get a job from this (if you’d like to hire me have a look at goo.gl/fySbh  ) but  I currently have some space in my days I thought it would be fun to build something. The book will be priced at free, so this isn’t a stealth commercial project. It is a community project, plain and simple. I like ideas, I have the time to invest in helping and motivating people to share theirs. If you agree to take part then please understand that this is the ethos and don’t ask be complicated questions about who owns the rights etc. I simply don’t know and am probably disinclined to make things more complicated, if you are worried about this then just don’t take part. If you can think of it as a giant collection of guest blogs then you are in the right place.

What are the entry criteria?

Anyone can contribute – it can be their first blog or their hundredth. It can be new or their favourite old blog. It just needs to make sense standing alone. I’m sort of hoping that we do get to showcase some new bloggers and that the experience helps them go on to create more, that would make the project worthwhile in itself. There is no quality control – if someone has taken the trouble to write it then I will take the time to publish it. I haven’t approached anyone directly as I wanted people who were involved in the project and didn’t want to place any pressure on people to contribute. Please don’t attempt to sell a product – that is the only thing that won’t be acceptable.

What are the timescales?

A month from today for the content (!) should be enough for the length of writing required. So by 16/08 please have your content submitted or uploaded (see below). If you are able to do it earlier then please do, as there is only one of me so having 30 arrive on deadline day will doubtless cause issues.

*cough, cough* but you don’t know anything about publishing do you? 

No, I don’t, good spot. I do, however, love new technology and I’m also able to use Google. The combination of these things has led me to PressBook which is like a communal WordPress tool that will allow people to upload their own content and then for me to publish the content as an eBook to make available on Amazon etc.

So we are all uploading our own material?

It would be really helpful if once you have written it you could upload it yourself. If you write it in WordPress it brings everything over quite painlessly.Send me your email, I’ll send you a log in and then you can just paste your material in as a new chapter. Click on text and then new chapter…

If this seems like the scariest process in the world then there is a two step process

i) attempt it yourself, you only get to live this life once and being in fear of useful things isn’t very useful

ii) send me your content directly – I don’t want anyone to suffer undue emotional distress in what should be a pleasant process

How will the book be structured?

I’m undecided. I might attempt to collate similar entries together or deliberately leave them apart. Who knows? It’s fun embracing an open approach.

What if everyone writes on the same topics? 

I don’t think they will, but if they do then we will still have a book – just on a narrow range of topics. My experience is that people have their own style which means at the very least people will offer different angles on topics.

Is there anything I can’t do?

Please don’t link to any material that we don’t have rights for.  I like putting video and pictures in my blogs, if you are doing so then please make sure you aren’t breaking the law when you are doing so.

What will it be called?

I haven’t a clue. I’m accepting suggestions. In fact if you send me suggestions I’ll run a poll and we can choose together. That is how collaborative this can be.

Can I contact you with questions?

Yes, I’m weak on Geography, but I’m pretty strong in most other areas.

Simple things – language and HR

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

It isn’t that hard.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but the things we do actually aren’t rocket science. Unless you are currently a very involved Business Partner for NASA ( in which case, apologies – but it’s hardly brain surgery).

It does seem that s all too often we require the comfort blanket of credibility that is jargon. How can HR become more ‘commercial?’  – is it by asking people to ‘have a bluesky roundtable, lasered in on improving synergistic dialogue that will improve idea socialisation and then to carpark any issues to take them offline’?

Do we really believe that the leadership teams we work with hear something like that and think ‘great idea, team!’ – or are we hoping they will be so confused that it will act in a way similar to Latin in a legal document – to distance understanding to the point where most believe they are reliant on an ‘expert’ to make sense of what is going on.

If we want transparent and inclusive organisations (most people do) then don’t make language a barrier make it an ‘enabler’ – better still, just make it helpful.

So here is my brief list of words that we could probably kill without anybody thinking less of us, feel free to add more

Add value – try just helping. Everyone understands help. ‘Am I helping you?’ is a powerful question. ‘Am I adding value?’ is asking for reassurance

Engagement – if you can’t define engagement  in a way that doesn’t immediately make someone think of a survey – then try another word. Are you scared of people being passionate about working for you and believing in what you do? Does it sound too woolly? Or was that what you wanted in the first place.

Stakeholder management – you have customers, shareholders and colleagues.  Which ones does this impact? Go make them happy. When I think of stakeholders I think of this drawing by the fantastically talented Simon Heath (@Simonheath1)

Contracting – try just agreeing. You are agreeing something with a person, don’t turn them into a transaction – you both lose out.

Big data – you probably don’t know what this means. Have a look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_data Suprised? Stop using it because it is trendy – try doing some basic analysis of your data

Performance management – when you say you are ‘performance managing’ someone do you mean ‘I’m finally accepting I might have to sack them so I’ve started some documentation’? Thought so. What were you doing before? When they are performing you weren’t managing their performance? That’s a bit embarrassing – you only appear to have a role in failure. Awkward

Employee attrition – you made a bad hire or someone found somewhere better to work. It is unlikely that someone ‘attrited’ – it just feels nicer to say it because when we use technical language it loses some of the immediacy. ‘What percentage of our people didn’t want to work here anymore last year?’ is actually a far scarier and useful question than ‘what is our annualised attrition rate YTD?’. People leave, they don’t attrite. At the point you apologise for ‘having to attrite the party early’ it will be acceptable.

Managing expectations effectively – just let them know why you are going to miss the target. They are a grown up, you are – have a chat instead of attempting to manage them

Generation X/Y/Z – imagine how you would feel if you went out for a meal and were allocated your food based on age… How annoyed would you be? Or if the cinema automatically ushered you away from the movie you wanted to watch – because you were 6 months older than their target demographic. Doesn’t feel like a great way to run a business does it? So don’t do it internally, learn about your people and be flexible in how you treat them – not because generations are different, but because people are. Kierkegaard wrote ‘if you label me you negate me’ . If even his generation understood that….

Significant culture change –this appears to be interchangeable with ‘transformation programme’ which in turn seems to involve ‘significant structural change’ which in turn seems to require HR professionals who are ‘experienced in consultation’ which in turn seems to involve people ‘familiar with large scale redundancy programmes and TUPE’.  They aren’t interchangeable terms, I appreciate the interdependency, but changing a culture does not primarily involve needing to be able to sack people with minimal risk

So, that is my list of shame, please feel free to add more in the comments or on Twitter.

Dave

The Book of Blogs – if we build it…

I’m using this blog entry to add a bit more meat to the bones of a recent idea.

After the success of people contributing to a crowdsourced list of great bloggers (just scroll down a bit), I thought the next natural extension was to create a crowdsourced book made up of ‘blogs’.

The broad idea is to reach 100 pages + of content collected from a  multitude of contributors from across the HR twitterverse. I read so many great pieces each day I thought it would be fun to collaborate to create a ‘work’ and I think technology now makes this possible.

My best guess at the moment is approximately 30 contributors giving 1.5 blogs each of 3 pages each = 135 pages of awesomeness.

The rules/guidelines/principles  for anyone interested in contributing are below –

  • It must be your own work
  • You can contribute one, two or three articles. No more.
  • They can be new material or your favourite old blogs. Just enjoy writing about things you are passionate about
  • It must be loosely connected to business or HR
  • You don’t have to be a regular blogger
  • You can be as provocative as you like, but anything offensive won’t make the cut
  • It isn’t for advertising a product, it is for sharing ideas
  • I hope (and expect) that we don’t have a cut to make
  • I’m expecting the average blog to be about 1000 words long – a bit longer or shorter is fine, but I won’t publish a paragraph or a treatise – unless they are really good 😉

The book will be published electronically and for a grand price of free. It is about sharing knowledge, showcasing some great work and not about making money. It’s about giving people a chance to express and challenge. It’s about creating.

If you are interested please let me know, we hit 19 contributors in the first day (and I launched by random tweet over the weekend).

If you are signed up then just get writing. I’m hoping to set up the process for collation in the next week, collate blogs over the next month and publish within the next two months.

If something is worth doing it is worth doing quickly.

Hope to hear from you – and I’m accepting proposals for titles too

If you would like to know what exceptional company you are in then the following people are contributing so far

  1. @simonheath1 – Simon Heath
  2. @Projectlibero – Jon Bartlett
  3. @TimScottHR – Tim Scott
  4. @HR_Gem – Gemma Reucroft
  5. @OD_optimist – Meg Peppin
  6. @dougshaw1 – Doug Shaw
  7. @LadyLoki – Niki Rosenbaum
  8. @ruchikaabrol – Ruchika
  9. @Malcolmlouth – Malcolm Louth
  10. @StephenTovey13 – Stephen Tovey
  11. @paperclipgirl – Louisa de Lange
  12. @Jawaddell – Julie Waddell
  13. @HRManNZ – Richard Westney
  14. @sterling_amanda – Amanda Sterling
  15. @Jsarahwatshr – Jane Watson
  16. @ Kate GL – Kate Griffiths-Lambeth
  17. @KingfisherCoach – Ian Pettigrew
  18. @conmossy – Conor Moss
  19. @dds180 – me
  20. @bphilp – Bob Philpin
  21. @fourgroups – Four Groups
  22. @sukhpabial – Sukh Pabial
  23. @verawoodhead – Vera Woodhead
  24. @myhr_nz    – Jason Ennor
  25. @Joolztybura – Julia Tybura
  26. @BenMorton2 – Ben Morton
  27. Ian Davidson
  28. @ariadneassoc – Simon Jones
  29. @octopusHR – David Richter
  30. @MrAirmiles – Jose Franca
  31. @MorrisElise – Elise Morris
  32. @sineadcarville – Sinead Carville
  33. @engagingemma – Emma Lloyd
  34. @kat_hounsell – Kat Hounsell

Come join us,

Dave

PS Somebody asked me who the audience is, for anyone who has watched Field of Dreams, sometimes you just build something in the faith that people will come