L&D, specialism and accessibility

I love the L&D profession. I know great people doing great work in enabling organisations and people to flourish. I also lament, at times, the profession’s ability to progress its own thinking and activity and a reliance on outmoded methodologies or thinking.

I say ‘lament’ because I don’t think in the time I’ve been involved in the sector I’ve met anyone that I didn’t want to do a good job, but there are things that set apart some of the best folk I’ve come across

Openness to challenge – they are willing to be proved wrong and change their approach and thinking when they get new information. They learn

Critical thinking – it is linked to the above but they poke and prod at ideas and information from different angles. They seek out new information to challenge their thinking and they use logic, rather than just emotion. Importantly they balance their own experiences and external research/evidence.

Breadth of ambition – they want people and organisations to do well. They understand what the organisation they support needs to do to succeed at a level beyond what happens in traditional chalk and talk

A feel for people – they normally can relate to people and get them to open up. They want to help and they find ways to do so – either at an individual or organisational level

They make the complex simple – they don’t use technical or new funky terms to create an aura of credibility. They want to be accessible and relatable to create credibility through results. There’s a depth of knowledge, but it surfaces in accessible forms.

They aren’t all on Twitter/social media – I love Twitter, I learn from people on there the whole time, there is a really good community there. But I know people delivering great results who either hate it or have only a passing interest in it. To anyone saying that you can’t do a good job in this line of work unless you are active on social media I simply say ‘bunkum’

Bravery – they are brave enough to explore, to challenge and to be wrong. Often they aren’t wrong. I’m all for this narrative about failure being occasionally acceptable, but it is still supposed to lead to success (last time I checked)

They love lists – if you have reached this far you might just be brilliant.

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Easy now, here comes the future… #HRTechEurope

A number of recent research papers have suggested that within the next 6 months the entire world will be run by a robot army, thereby leaving us as a species with little to do except sit around puzzling as to the role of humans in an economy that is run by robots. Of course, we don’t need to do that thinking either, as that could easily be done by robots. I imagine the last thing that people will relinquish to the robots will be the joyous act of putting funny cat pictures on the internet but, being a pessimist at heart, I fear that even that most sacred of activities is under threat. The only element of debate appears to be whether the robots will look like Arnie in Terminator or more like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit. Frank Sonder considers some of the potential impacts in this excellent and far less flippant piece.

I attended HRTech in Amsterdam last year and it is fair to say that one evening I became horrendously, horribly drunk. I assume someone must have cunningly spiked my 12th rum and coke, as it really hit me quite hard. As is the case with this new information age the results of that event were captured and instantly shared. This photo of HR professionals delicately balancing some traditional Dutch cuisine in their mouths was almost instantly available to anyone in the world with a connection to the internet (about 40% of the world’s population). Being drunk is, of course, a not unreasonable thing for an adult to experience occasionally – but it wasn’t previously the case that 40% of the world would have access to that information.

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Alone (and drunk) in Amsterdam I should have done the sensible thing and called a taxi, instead I started tweeting that I was lost – and alone and drunk. David Goddin, it turns out, used to live in Amsterdam and guided me back to my hotel whilst I took photos. I considered those photos to be very arty at the time, but they were strangely quite blurry when I revisited them in the morning. Yes – social media is simply that responsive. It is a network like no other. Everything has changed.

Possibly the biggest differentiator between these times that we live in and any other period in history is the level of interconnectedness of people and the ability to have information on demand. The fundamental nature of ‘smart’ has changed from being knowledge orientated to being a function of the ability to acquire and process new information.  A new age – with new skills, new values, new capabilities and the same old problems for organisations. The very advances that allow us to share pictures of HR professionals eating also allow us to tackle far more challenging and entrenched organisational puzzles.

I, technically, started my career in old fashioned Personnel. I worked in Personnel for one year before the organisation I was in ‘rebranded’ the department as Human Resources. On the launch day of this brave new world I came in to find the door to the office had been labelled ‘Human Remains’. I later found out that this had been done by the HR Manager herself as an act of rebellion.

The key issues articulated to me as ones to solve for HR when I started my career were

  • management/leadership competence
  • problems caused by functional silos
  • proving commerciality to ‘the business’
  • an appreciation that communication cascade wasn’t effective enough to maximise productivity

I’d argue that the issues remain largely the same. The potential solutions are, however, far more accessible, affordable and likely to succeed. I believe we are at a tipping point in terms of technological capability and that is why I’m looking forward to HRTech in London. The possibilities for technology in HR are intriguing – not because they are ‘new and sexy’, but because they are starting to be able to address entrenched and deep problems that have existed for years.  The line up of speakers is excellent (I’m particularly looking forward to Costas Markides), but there will also be value to had from conversations and connections in the Exhibition.

If you are attending and fancy a coffee then tweet me – because that one act shows how technology doesn’t have to be impersonal. It isn’t technology or humanity; it is how we use technology to enhance our lives that matters – and I’m a firm believer that HR technology can help improve our connections and decisions in the workplace.

Come along and see some solutions. Come along and debate solutions. The future is coming and luckily it may solve the very problems that I faced in the first days of my career.

#StreetWisdom – life changing L&D?

This could be the most important blog you read this year. Not the best, just the most important. Stick with me.

I dithered over my question

I knew the question that I should ask (but would be uncomfortable) – and I knew the questions it would be more comfortable to ask. I went for the difficult question. We’ll come back to that.

Last Friday I went on the best development event I’ve ever attended. It didn’t involve incredible content delivery, it didn’t require incredibly talented facilitators, it wasn’t high tech blended learning – but it was truly fantastic. I’d like to help more people have similar events. I’d like to help promote Street Wisdom. 

This is part of that promotion, but I’ll also be delivering a few sessions in the near future to help encourage other people to spread the word too. I haven’t joined a cult – although if I have it is a pretty well intentioned cult with very low requirements for entry.

People found answers to some of life’s biggest challenges in 2 hours. If you wrote down a list of the biggest questions life can throw at you – then you would have found a group of 50 people grinning at having resolved them last Friday afternoon.

Short background

At the CIPD L&D show I met a guy called David Pearl. We talked about what I did, what I believed in and he said ‘look, I’ve got a not for profit thing that I do, it’s called Street Wisdom and I think it might be right up your street’. We exchanged details and a couple of days later I got an email with an invitation to a Street Wisdom event and a link to his TED talk. I watched the talk and signed up for Street Wisdom. I had a bit of faith.

In the run up to the event I was asked to think of one question I’d like answered. I toyed around with some career stuff but eventually committed to the big question I’ve been struggling with ‘what can I do to get better prepared for when someone close to me dies of cancer?’. There was no pressure on me to go with a big question, except that answering that one, in particular, seemed most likely to be of benefit to me and my family.

What happened on the day

We met in Trafalgar Square and were allocated to a facilitator. It was a diverse group – differing backgrounds, differing reasons for being there. We had a short introduction to Street Wisdom with particular focus that the intent is that it should become a movement – it isn’t owned by anyone, it is just about making a difference.

For the first hour we were set a series of challenges. Simple, simple challenges designed to get our heads into a space where we would be in a position to solve problems effectively. They were solitary adventures and I’m not revealing them in case losing that sense of unexpected spoils the learning journey for someone else. You don’t need to be scared, they are interesting. You do feel different when doing them.

After that you all get together to share your questions and then head off to see what the street can answer for you. I took photos as visual anchors – you didn’t have to but you weren’t told you couldn’t. I’m sharing about 70% of them, some of them I can’t as they are too personal or refer to other people involved.

I left feeling as in control of myself and my environment as I have done in the last 5 years. I left with things that I was committed enough to that I went home and talked my wife and brother through them. I left with a clear head about a difficult problem that I’ve wrestled with for over 2 years. I left with good things and a hope that I could share the simple techniques that gave me that benefit with others. 

Here we go – these are my resolutions and realisations. Nothing dramatic – but all gained in about an hour of wandering and wondering.
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I need to exercise more. Even in the hustle and bustle you can find time to commit to it. Whether it is walking instead of the tube or getting up earlier for a jog, I need to make sure I’m feeling less sluggish and more energetic.

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And I need to take more holiday too. I let my free days become cluttered days and don’t get enough genuine time to relax and refresh.

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And I have to realise that when I take that time out it won’t always be that the bits all click together like a jigsaw. Some things can’t be solved. I need to be OK with that.

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I need to find more opportunities (and plan more opportunities) to have conversations with people that I enjoy. With the people that I’m most glad to catch up with.

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Even when things are busy I need to find time to communicate. When I don’t feel like communicating – I still need to do it.

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I need to focus more specifically on what my wife and daughter need to make them happy. If we can sort out the three of us then that makes everything else far more manageable.

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I need to keep learning and keep seeing new stuff. It gives me energy (as long as I balance it with the need to not clutter that I’ve mentioned above).

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I need to make use of the weekends to do cool stuff with family, but also find ways to do that during the week too.

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I need to hold it firmly in mind that stuff can always be rebuilt. It just takes time.

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I enjoy going to watch sport. Sandro is a Spurs player, so this is my reminder to try and get myself up to watch my club a bit more often.

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Most nights I only get a short window of time with my daughter before she goes to bed. It’s up to me to make sure we make the most of that time during the week.

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I need to not expend energy on things that don’t matter. I can spend a few months not getting animated about the little annoyances (like people paying a premium for Apple products without checking out alternatives that may be a better value fit for their needs…)

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Buy my daughter toys she will cherish and enjoy

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Make use of the countryside that we have where we live…

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Remember the importance of environment in how I feel. I’m always listening to my IPod, I need to ensure that I’m picking tunes to pick me up.

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Take family up on offers of babysitting more often, so my wife and I can have time out and about enjoying London.

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Give gifts to people more often. I diverted from my reflections to get this for Simon Heath. If you haven’t read 3 Men in a Boat then you’ve missed out on a lot.

 

What happens now?

Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, Simon Heath and I will be running one in the near future in London. Let me know if you are interested in taking part. Kate and I have also agreed to do one in Edinburgh. Simon and I thought it might be a good addition to an unconference format.

Most importantly – I’m doing things differently. And that, after all, is what L&D and life is all about. 

For more information head here

Did you find what you were looking for?

Superquick NYE blog.

Dilbert
Dilbert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I only started blogging back in May and it’s been a fun ride. I named the blog ‘101 Half Connected Things’ to allow me freedom to write about whatever popped into my head or I saw that day.

It isn’t an HR/business blog in a literal sense – it is normally about people and how they work (in and out of work). Sometimes it is serious, mostly it is not.

Over the course of the last 7 months the following search terms have led people to my blog. I can only hope to generate more randomness in 2014 and that people continue to spell ‘arc’ in that fashion.

Thanks for all you support, comments and criticism – they all help. Have a great New Year.

dilbert rocket acceptable losses
sexy love alive
disabled hr professionals
michael jackson blind fans
david d’souza humane
thoughts in half things
the letter (to post) in half an hour
good points and bad points of half people
innocent drinks organisational structure
hacking into hr
i love sexy wp
indiana jones didnt have a role in the outcome of raiders of the lost arc
random things that when put together make sense
do you think george bailey from its a wonderful life to be a role model

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.

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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.