The bottom of the bell curve

It's dark down there at the bottom of the bell curve, probably due to a complete absence of stars. It's where people go to underperform and make your life harder. There's nothing practical in this post. It's about the performance bell curve and how we think about its beguiling shape. It's about the bottom. The … Continue reading The bottom of the bell curve

A ‘could do better’ for Britain’s managers

Managing people better is probably good for the economy. Better skills only benefit us when there is a requirement for those skills. Consider this report waving.

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) published its Growth Through People report recently. It’s a wide-ranging review of the UK labour market which brings together lot of useful information in one place and highlights the trends we have seen over the past few years.

The report notes that, despite the increasing skill level of the workforce, something I have commented on a few times, (here, here and here) productivity and pay are still in the doldrums.

The UK now has one of the largest graduate workforces in the EU, and one of the largest shares of high-skilled jobs in employment.


We can continue to improve the skills of the UK workforce, but unless we can be sure that workplaces are going to use them, the impact on productivity will be muted.

Where once we feared becoming a low skill, low productivity, low pay economy, instead we have become…

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The Three Failures of Performance Appraisal

Considered and interesting. Point 3 is a great point that doesn’t normally receive enough attention.

People Performance Potential

There’s something about performance appraisal that isn’t quite right. Even those teams & organisations that feel they do it well enough sense it may not be good enough…

We know there is both merit & value in setting, gauging and talking about performance.

We want to recognise and support performance – it’s a very good thing to do for humans and organisations.

We each want to grow and develop – if we can do that congruously with the organisations purpose and objectives then so much the better.

We want, need and deserve recognition for what we contribute and the efforts we make.

Yet beyond “doing it well” we struggle to put our finger on what it is that isn’t right… So what is wrong?

The Three Failures

I want to suggest that three interconnected failures are at the root of much of the dissatisfaction. These are:

1. A focus on outputs not…

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The Jeremy Clarkson Case: The Views.

Once every few hundred years there is a defining legal or employment milestone that sets the tone for the generations to come. Magna Carta, Roe vs Wade and Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men would be examples of variable relevance. It is clear from current commentary that the Clarkson 'incident' is of similar import. … Continue reading The Jeremy Clarkson Case: The Views.

Informality and culture – a true story

Even if you work in a relaxed environment. Even if you work for an organisation that is all about inclusion and diversity. Even if you hate first meeting people  armed with an agenda and key points to cover, seemingly never getting to know them as people. Even if you are most relaxed when chatting and … Continue reading Informality and culture – a true story

The Alternative Twitter #HR list – you are in there

A couple of years ago I published a list of 'influencers' that was hopefully going to be a bit different to other lists you find on Twitter, it would be chosen not by algorithm but by people. I used Listly to create it and the idea is that you can add whoever you like, vote … Continue reading The Alternative Twitter #HR list – you are in there

The Death of L&D: A Post Mortem

I remember 2015 like it was yesterday, it was such a hopeful time to be around Learning and Development professionals, we stood on the verge of a brave new world, full of change and opportunity. 10 years on and it seems bizarre that we hadn't seen it coming, that the death of our profession had … Continue reading The Death of L&D: A Post Mortem