This time it’s personnel – for all HR authors

This time it’s personnel – for all HR authors

Happy New Year and I hope you all had a great Christmas. I deliberately left you alone and went quiet for a bit – but the relentless, trundling communication will now return in earnest.

This post is an update for any authors – or potential authors – wishing to contribute to the follow up to Humane Resourced. If you’d like to join in then fill in your details here – if you know anyone who you think might then please share this link. Key points

  • all for charity
  • no experience needed
  • don’t be scared

We have over 60 authors signed up now so we are well positioned to create a book that is longer than the first and even better. The first chapters have been created (very exciting) and more people are contacting me for passwords or contact details to submit their chapter. I’d like to get to over 70 authors – so please think about how you might know who could add something to the book. Remember we are working towards early Feb for having chapters completed.

I could do with your help on the following things

  • we STILL need more US authors. If you know any people who’d like to contribute then please share and encourage. Remember, we are going for the #1 spot in the US charts and so the more US contributors we have the better – both in terms of reach and quality. Special thanks to Steve Browne for all his help so far and happy birthday to him too
  • Tim Scott and Perry would like a little of your time for their piece here
  • Last time we charged the minimum price we could for the book – under £2. It would be great if people could give their thoughts in the comments below as to how much we should charge this time and why

Please share this – Google+, tweet, LinkedIn, email and word of mouth. We have a Google+ page here by the way – feel free to post, share or +1.

Any questions – please get in touch



An open letter to Dan Pink

I dropped this note to Daniel Pink ( We met during the week and well, I got a little starstruck. Here Dan is with our new book – Humane, Resourced – it was pretty much thrust into his hands so he did very well to smile.

Just prior to this I had asked to move in with him. It was inappropriate and a slightly knee jerk reaction to meeting one of my favourite authors. It was  quite a busy room in which to ask such a personal question.

If you read the letter you’ll get a good sense of what we were trying to achieve with the book and what we actually did achieve with the book.

Embedded image permalink

Hi Dan,

First of all, having spoken to my wife I’m afraid I’m going to have to retract the offer to move in with you. As supportive of my dreams as my wife is, she still believes, thankfully, that I have a role to play in my daughter’s upbringing. And I am a rubbish cook. I can’t pitch, I’m bad at sales, I apologise for what lies beneath.

The short bit

I appreciate you taking the time to be forced into posing with our book on Thursday. As all proceeds go to charity and its success is reflecting positively on all 50 contributors, it has really made a difference.

I’m going to send you a tweet (from @dds180) – if you would retweet it that would be brilliant – as we have no PR machine, the book is completely self published and success relies on advocates like Peter Cheese and the CIPD and the kindness of strangers.

You can stop reading here or keep going to find out what we’ve done with the book. I’d love you to keep going, because I know you love real life examples of doing things differently.
With no PR machine sitting behind us and a budget of $15 we became, for a brief time the 7th best selling Business book on Kindle in the UK, pushing down more established business books from the likes of Gladwell, Goleman, Sandberg and well… you as well. Sorry about that last part.

We remain the bestselling HR book in the UK and this week – when it has been available free on Amazon – the book has been #2 in the US HR charts too.In short, last week 50 people became able to claim they were bestselling international authors. The first genuine effort to make a book was a tweet on 14th July. We’ve done it quickly.

The (optional) longer bit

A few months ago I wanted to write a book but didn’t have time. I looked at HR blogging on social media and noticed a whole group of people who had great things to say but were time poor.

So I fired out a tweet asking if people would like to contribute to a book of blogs. 48 hours later I had 30 potential contributors from across the globe – US, Canada, New Zealand, Oz, Ireland…

We ended up with 60 asking to join – and 50 of those ended up contributing – no money exchanged hands, only enthusiasm.Of the final authors I have met only about a third. There are another third who I interact with only through social media (I’ve only been tweeting and blogging for 6 months). The final third I wouldn’t know if I passed in the street, but I like them.

The guidance given to contributing authors was this

  • Write less than a book, more than a paragraph
  • Nothing offensive
  • Write about what you are passionate about

We used a site called to coordinate the writing (like a community wordpress) and Peter Cheese graciously agreed to write the foreword. The book cover has been designed by one of the contributors (@simonheath1), the charities that money goes to were chosen by contributors, the title was chosen by contributors and the the final version was checked by contributors. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I learnt how powerful it is to not want to let a community of people down.

A loose community of people with a shared goal got things done faster than most companies can, and without any dedicated resource (although with lots of dedication). The nicest review I have had so far is from a final year HR student, who says the the book helped him understand HR and business better than any of his required reading.

I’d love to add the story to your memory bank, maybe you’ll draw on it one day, maybe not – but I think it’s cool enough to be in there. I remember the anecdotes you used to illustrate the principles of Drive when I first saw you speak several years ago, and my modest ambition in life now seems to be to become an anecdote.

I’m going to tweet you this as well and if you’d share it that would be great. The book is available to buy through Amazon, I know you are time poor, but it’s episodic nature makes it quite good for gaining random (and useful) thoughts. There is even a chapter in there on #goodsales that would be right up your street….Feel free to leave a review – US link – UK link

Thanks for whatever and any time you gave this. It’s appreciated by 50+ people who are all keen to keep hacking away at business until it gets better.


Anyway – within a few hours…this happened. All is well in the world

Humane, Resourced – on the way!


!BoB cover

So, I’ve finally pressed the ‘publish‘ button after a near endless email chain with Hugh at Pressbooks. Essentially the issue that appears on my screen, previewer and physical Kindle – where the book starts in the middle of the index – doesn’t appear on his. I’ve therefore taken the gamble and published in the hope that for new readers the book starts at…the start. I’m hoping when I wake up it will be available in the Kindle store.

A few final notes:

-The book can only be ‘free’ for 5 days out of every 90. I therefore will make it free from Tuesday next week – so it is free to download throughout the CIPD conference

-This has been a ‘homebrew project’  – there will be formatting errors and I’m sure at least one typo will have managed to sneak in there. If you let me know any that you come across I will do an update in a month or so that will be available for anyone who has downloaded it. This a natural consequence of my relaxed nature to things like this and the speed of the book’s production.

– I guarantee someone has sent me something I haven’t included. It is just bound to have happened. To that person (or people) – I apologise, it wasn’t intent, it wasn’t an assessment of your writing – it is just me being rubbish. I’ll try and update it if I can, but please just let me know I’ve left you out without shifting into ‘I can’t believe you left me out you “£%”£$% mode’.

– There are links to videos and articles throughout, these won’t work on a ‘normal’ Kindle but will on iPad/Android/PC. It seemed a shame to leave them out and their presence is the reason that, at the moment, the book isn’t available as a physical copy. If it is successful then I might try and edit it so it makes sense in a print version. It would be nice, I’m sure, for all of the authors to have a physical copy of the book.

– There will be a second book that will improve upon the above….next year folks!

The final list of contributors is below, it is an incredible crop and I’m just delighted that the book has enabled me to come into contact with them. People haven’t just submitted articles they have supported, cajoled, edited, crafted the cover and promoted the book. They are great folk and they made this project happen for each and every one of the other writers

1.    Simon Heath (@SimonHeath1) – blog, glossary and cover
2.    Doug Shaw (@dougshaw1)
3.    Sukh Pabial (@sukhpabial)
4.    Ian Davidson (@ianandmj)
5.    Bruce Lewin (@fourgroups)
6.    Ben Morton (@Benmorton2)
7.    Richard Westney (@HRManNZ)
8.    Lembit Öpik (@Lembitopik)
9.    Emma Lloyd (@engagingemma)
10.  Gemma Reucroft (@HR_gem)
11.  Stephen Tovey (@StephenTovey13)
12.  David Richter (@octopusHR)
13.  Amanda Sterling (@sterling_amanda)
14.  Wendy Aspland (@wendyaspland)
15.  Peter Cook (@AcademyOfRock)
16.  Julie Waddell (@jawaddell)
17.  Leticia S. de Garzón (@letsdeg)
18.  Vera Woodhead (@verawoodhead)
19.  Nicola Barber (@HRswitchon)
20.  Tim Scott (@TimScottHR)
21.  Amanda Arrowsmith (@Pontecarloblue)
22.  Inji Duducu (@injiduducu)
23.  Anne Tynan (@AnneTynan)
24.  Neil Usher (@workessence)
25.  Louisa de Lange (@paperclipgirl)
26.  Megan Peppin (@OD_optimist)
27.  Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach)
28.  Steve Browne (@stevebrowneHR)
29.  Kate Griffiths-Lambeth (@kateGL)
30.  Tracey Davison (@mindstrongltd)
31.  Jason Ennor (@MYHR_NZ)
32.  Bob Philps (@BPhilp)
33.  Kat Hounsell (@kathounsell)
34.  Simon Jones (@ariadneassoc)
35.  Mervyn Dinnen (@MervynDinnen)
36.  Alex Moyle (@Alex_Moyle)
37.  Julie Drybrough (@fuchsia_blue)
38.  Susan Popoola (@susanpopoola)
39.  Ruchika Abrol (@ruchikaabrol)
40.  Simon Stephen (@simonstephen)
41.  Damiana Casile (@damiana_HR)
42.  Honeydew_Health
43.  Malcolm Louth (@malcolmlouth)
44.  Perry Timms (@perrytimms)
45.  Sinead Carville (@SineadCarville)
46.  Jon Bartlett (@projectlibero)
47.  Jane Watson (@JSarahWatsHR)
48.  Broc Edwards (@brocedwards)
49.  Sarah Miller (@whippasnappaHR
50.  Meghan M. Biro (@MeghanMBiro)
51.  Anna Lloyd (@buggilights)
52.  Luke Thomas(@springccr)

Humane, Resourced: Twitileaks

Secret Bunker
Secret Bunker (Photo credit: marcmo)

The list of authors is growing and is here: – I’m trying to keep it up to date but there is some lag.

Update on yesterday’s leak

I thought I’d write a brief note explaining what happened yesterday. A chain of events took place (with great intentions sitting behind them) that for a brief time meant that the book was circulating in an unfinished form. There is no harm done and it was completely unplanned. I wasn’t involved and it wasn’t part of a viral campaign. I was out shopping for socks when suddenly lots of people were tweeting about the book and copying me in. Nobody starts a viral campaign whilst shopping for socks. It’s not that the book is secret, it is that it isn’t yet ready. Also the front cover by Simon Heath is so cool that I would have included that.

I’ll be leaving it open on that link (rather than setting it to private) as someone tweeted lots of business/HR publishers with it and I’d rather they didn’t get a dead link.

Due to the leak I did want to set some people’s minds at rest by making some points about what was circulated as I got quite a few tweets/DMs

Have you axed me from the book?

No, you haven’t been axed from the book. The book isn’t finished yet, contributions are still coming in and if you weren’t in the list of authors at the back that is simply because I only put that list in (about a month ago) to remind me to put a list it. It hasn’t been updated since. The policy remains the same as long as what you have written isn’t a plug for your product or offensive you will find a home in the blog

I sent you my blog, but it wasn’t in there

Contrary to popular belief I’m not a blogging hermit. I have a family and occasionally go out in the sun! If you sent me your blog to update manually that will happen, but I was hoping to go the whole weekend without doing anything on the book. It hasn’t quite worked that way.

I thought the deadline had passed?

The original deadline was set to indicate pace. I really, really, really appreciate people who got work in on time or early. The nature of Twitter is that some people get to hear things later than others – I’ve chosen to welcome those people to the project. The nature of life is that people get busy and other things get in the way – I’ve chosen to understand that. Every author we gain is someone else to share your work, so please look upon the later additions positively.

When will it be published? 

I hope very soon, within a month if I can.  For clarity the factors in play with this are

i) I’m hoping the foreword will be produced by someone very senior in HR in the UK. They have generously agreed to this, so it will be well worth our wait to let them produce this

ii) I’m slowly making press contacts (but juggling this with attempting to find gainful employment) so if it makes sense to delay the launch to get ‘megapress’ we will

iii) We are reliant on the Amazon publishing process working as well as Amazon claim it will. I don’t foresee that being a big block, but if we lost all the formatting (for example) that would cost us time. We’ve used software to specifically avoid that so that is a reasonably well mitigated risk

iv) We are still receiving blogs so I won’t start a final edit or clear up until that stops (this week)

Anything I can do to help?

I thought you’d never ask. Anything you can do to promote the book, any contacts you have, any opportunities – bring it on! Also, anyone who would like to help with the proofreading would be much appreciated

Final thought

One of the lovely aspects of the leak was seeing (on a random Saturday morning) the support and enthusiasm for the book that already exists and also receiving tweets from people I didn’t know looking forward to the release. I received lots of tweets congratulating me – I have mixed feelings about those.

I’m proud of having the idea to bring people together but without 50+ other people I would currently have just written a foreword. This is a book that people shouldn’t be thanking me for but every other contributor – it took discretionary effort from a group of people to reach a viable length for a book. Thank everyone, not just me. I’m just the ideas guy.

Humane, Resourced: A book of blogs

Update and thanks

We are nearing the end of the ‘contributing phase’ and I’m amazed at what we have achieved in a month.

The list below is of the contributing authors and (where they have submitted early) the name of their chapter. I’l be working on confirming a release date over the next couple of weeks. We are hoping to get a ‘guest’ author to write the foreword and to tie up some PR, both these factors might impact the release date. We should be looking at within the next 4-5 weeks for a release (fingers crossed!). Thanks to everyone who has made a contribution or been a supporter. Start thinking about how you are going to publicise the book in your network on release day!

Special thanks

  • Neil Usher, Stephen Tovey – for the title
  • the incomparable Simon Heath – for the cover
  • Steve Browne – for championing the book in the US
  • Ian Davidson – for so many suggestions on the PR side

Have a great weekend.


  1. @simonheath1 – Simon Heath – submitted: A Sense of Proportion (as well as contributing an entry Simon has created the cover)
  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 submitted: An insight into UK Culture
  9. @Malcolmlouth – Malcolm Louth submitted: Sound Advice
  10. @StephenTovey13 – Stephen Tovey submitted: Watch the children play
  11. @paperclipgirl – Louisa de Lange submitted: Part Time or Part Paid?
  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 submitted: Is small beautiful?
  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 submitted: A love letter to HR
  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 submitted: 10 things about Social Media and business
  39. @damiana_HR – Damiana Casile submitted: Yearning for a purpose
  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 submitted: The Visible Boss
  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
  57. @simonstephen – Simon Stephen submitted:Musings from a cyclist
Incredible Countdown Clock
Incredible Countdown Clock (Photo credit: ATIS547)

The Book Of Blogs – almost there

Hi all,

1. Any outstanding contributions to the book of blogs need to be in by the 16th. If, for whatever reason,  you no longer wish to be included you need to let me know by the 16th too.

Deadline at Dawn
Deadline at Dawn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you aren’t going to get it done by then, but would still like to contribute, please send me a grovelling appeal for time and a £10 note and I’ll consider each case on its merits.

2. You can find an up to date list of contributors here – if you didn’t read update last time them please do now as the book is no longer ‘free’: . You can also suggest charities for any profits and vote on titles. If it’s a draw I’ll just choose a title – so please use your vote wisely.

3. If anyone would like a sneak preview in exchange for feeding back on any errors (traditionally this is called proofreading but I’m keeping it informal) then let me know

4. If anyone has any PR/marketing ideas or contacts then please let me know – or better yet just contact them yourself and wax lyrical about the project. This has grown from a side project to an incredible collective effort – so to do justice to everyone’s work collaborating on making the book a success would be wonderful. We’ve already had some interest from People Management and Ask Grapevine – some US (or NZ?) interest would be brilliant.

5. I’m registered as a publisher with Amazon now. Hopefully I can confirm my tax status with them next week and then we are good to go!

It’s going to be great.


5 essential HR speedreads (pt 1)

The 5 books I aim to cover in these blogs are all worth a read. To make things faster (and probably shallower for you) I’m going to give you a short summary each books and then key lessons for HR – so it’s almost like you don’t have to read them.

Obviously I would recommend that you do read them- but this should be enough for you to sound relatively familiar with them at conferences etc. If somebody asks you for more detail simply explain that you read so much in this area ‘it has all just become part of a central repository of concepts in my mind, rather than me segregating by title or author’.

That should sound impressive without being a lie, in that it’s true to say you aren’t in a position to segregate by author.

The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinov

Summary: Your brain is attempting to impose patterns of things where patterns don’t exist.That is why we hold to feelings like after 5 heads we must be ‘due’ a tail. We also assign things a status of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way before we are logically in a position to do so – as we might be in the middle of a logically possible/probable sequence. You throw a coin and it comes down tails the first 10 times and you assume it is biased; in fact that isn’t as unlikely as you would think. People look for patterns in the stock market, but in fact the patterns stocks and shares take often look like a drunk tottering down the road, bumping off things as he goes.Hence the title. If you enjoy this then the slightly more challenging ‘The Black Swan’ by Taleb should also grace your bookshelf.

Key HR lessons:

  1. Performance tends to regress towards a mean, that’s why people sometimes think their teams respond to being told off or slack off when praised. The team’s performance is just regressing towards a mean- what the team would normally do. The manager has often had no effect – but we like to assign cause and effect to make sense of the world and make ourselves feel important. Next time you go to ‘coach’ a poor performer hold back, see if their performance uplifts without your intervention. If it does then reflect on your career and how often you have really made a difference.
  2. We completely underestimate the fact that some stuff just happens. And some stuff will always just happen. Reviewing it for meaning when it was a random event can be counterproductive. Could you have done something differently on that last project that failed? Possibly, but even with the best planning some things just don’t come off. The trick is just not to postrationalise things and draw conclusions for change in future behaviour.
  3. You (probably) regularly draw the wrong conclusions from small data sets. If you are going to start analysing data then make sure everyone is aware with it’s limitations – starting off with yourself. If you have 5 leavers from your company in a row called ‘Steve’ it probably isn’t worth your while pulling together a ‘let’s retain Steve’ taskforce. Part of there being no pattern is sometimes that things look like patterns, but aren’t.
  4. There is lots of luck/randomness involved in success. There is lots of bad luck/randomness involved in failure. So stop judging people by their status or wealth and start judging their content. Research has shown that people give more credence to people who earn more – where you can, start making sure your company gives airtime to the best ideas, not those who are at the top of the payroll.
  5. We are less good at making judgments than we think, even in our areas of expertise.As an experiment a Nobel Prize winning book was sent to 20 publishers. They all rejected it. JK Rowling’s recent work only became really successful when the name of the writer was revealed. Recognise your own blindspots – and the best way to do that is to get people you trust to question you.

The human understanding, once it has adopted an opinion, collects any instances that confirm it, and although the contrary instances may be more numerous and weighty, it either does not notice them, or rejects them in order that this opinions will remain unshaken’ Francis Bacon

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