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 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  ) 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.

The unconference: unbottling bravery

On Friday I attended my first Connecting HR event and my first unconference on the topic of #BraveHR.

I have no idea what that meant – can you break it down please?

Connecting HR is a group of HR profesionals connecting through social media and in real life to work out how to do things better

An unconference is a hardly structured collaborative event where the agenda is driven by the attendees. Floating off topic onto something you find interesting is fine, nobody is chasing you for timings. If you want to move to another discussion group you use your feet and do so

#BraveHR is the version of the world where we all do what we know we should do  – and what we talk about doing

# is to do with Twitter. If you aren’t on Twitter then don’t be scared, just get on Twitter. That’s what brave people do.

So, what happened in this chaos? I imagine dead ends and frustration?

What happened was fifty shades of awesomeness – creative, aspirational, practical, challenging, open, fun, disruptive, constructive and relaxed, but always on the front foot.

It turns out that if you get a diverse group of people with a common purpose and just say ‘go for it’ then you don’t need an agenda, you don’t need control, you don’t need a stopwatch or training notes – you just need a place to go afterwards when you run out of time and people are still talking with passion.

If those people are really positive and smart you don’t need to keep saying things like ‘back in the real world’ because everyone is smart enough to know there is a real world – and they know that the world changes and think shaping it is exciting, not daunting.

Sounds like a good chat? Did anything come out of it?

  • The conversations were constantly captured and translated into art. At the start I was just pleased to have my own words being translated into art. It was (selfishly) a lovely experience being able to pick out the contributions that you had made to the dialogue. You weren’t just chatting to someone you were helping create a narrative. By the end of the day the most rewarding thing wasn’t your own contribution, it was being a part of growing a broader narrative – of how businesses can be and the steps we can take to move closer to that reality
  • During a ukulele lesson (!) that was used to break up the day I sat next to poster. I hadn’t noticed it, but suddenly there was laughter and the flash of photography. I now have a new picture to accompany my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles


  • I met fantastic people. I chatted to Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD about the future of the workplace and the role of HR. I chatted to his people about the changes they had seen and what it was like to work for the CIPD at the moment (exciting and motivational) I chatted to the HRD of the company that has just topped the Times Best 100 to work for. I chatted to people whose blogs I have read an enjoyed and I chatted to people just entering the profession. And they all chatted and created with each other
  • I’m currently looking for a new role, I didn’t go to the event to network, I went to learn and relax. It’s Monday now and I’m just reviewing a pile of business cards I was offered over the day from people offering to help in my search . So I found kindness too.
  • 11pm on Friday saw me queuing up at Burger King in Victoria Station (slightly wobbly, I’ll admit) animatedly discussing the benefits and limits of various behavioural nudges ( with someone I hadn’t met until a few hours before. I found energy, shared interests and knowledge.

The output of the day was a mixture of things – all of them good. Each individual has taken away lessons and things to reflect on, but as a group we now have an even stronger shared agenda and plans to take that forward.

It’s amazing what you can achieve without an agenda. Next year – just go. Clear your calendar and go to an event with no agenda. It makes sense.


PS – whilst I loved the collective narrative there is always a strong feeling of attachment to your own ideas. Here are two of mine that found favour on the day and I got a buzz out of seeing illustrated

i) I think that HR should be braver by being the ones that call out the elephants in the room. The problem with elephants is that the more of them you get the less room there is for people to grow (and eventually to be). HR – chief elephant clearers


ii) the conversation wasn’t just about HR, it was about the future of business. In fact it is a frustration of many of the people who attended that conversation is often just about HR in isolation. The role of HR is to help create the conditions and drive for success. Part of this is strategic deployment of resources and I described how the temptation to put your best people on maintaining business (when competitive advantage is always temporary) needed to be resisted


This led someone to ask if it should just be oranges we are looking for or should we be seeking other fruit.

I confirmed that oranges are not the only fruit.