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

Thanks,

DDS

Gamification – the early years

It was my daughter’s birthday at the weekend. Two things happened which made me reflect on the nature of playing games.

The first was that Kate Griffiths-Lambeth gave my daughter a game, it was actually a Christmas present, but I wanted my daughter to open it early. The game was one that I’ve never seen before and is designed, at its core, to increase collaboration. It says that on the box. Kate said it was one of her favourites as a child.

image

I’ve worked alongside Kate for the past few months and had a chance to observe Kate in action. Collaboration, help, support, team – I smiled when I saw the game – as it was exactly the kind of thing you would have expected to see Kate play as a child.

I wonder how much impact what we play as children has on how we behave when we are older. We are now starting to appreciate the power of the systems of games as tools in the workplace.

How much of a difference does what we play in our formative years make?

Did the individuals behind the banking crisis play Monopoly with their pals and delight in everyone else going bankrupt? Maybe rig the card deck so that they always got out of jail free?

Are the top surgeons in the country the individuals who just kept on playing Operation long after everyone else had finished? When the batteries died they wouldn’t rest until they could test their steady hands again?

Are our best structural engineers the best Jenga players?

I was addicted to Trivial Pursuit as a child. All I wanted to do was test myself against the adults. If somebody wanted me on their team on Trivial Pursuit then I got to stay up late . My freakish capability at Trivial Pursuit at a young age became something for my family to show off when people came over. That stimulated me to read more and get even better. In the end we used to play all of my family against me to make it fair. If you keep doing things you keep good at them. There was nothing special about me, it wasn’t about me being smart or making claims about my ability. It was about what Matthew Syed describes as ‘purposeful practice’.

Believe you can get better, approach learning in a controlled way and test yourself. Trivial Pursuit allowed me/encouraged me to do this. I was a product of that environment.

So, what lessons is my daughter learning? Well, at the weekend she had  a birthday party. We had a game of pass the parcel and my wife and I fouled up. A real parenting low point. My daughter waited for all of the other children to receive presents and then there was nothing left for her. Her bottom lip quivered but she kept it together.

I can imagine the moment being played back as part of an interview on a chat show when she is older.

‘I’m sure my parents did love me, but one of my first memories is being the only child not to receive a present in pass the parcel – at my own party’.

Plenty of other parents came up to us to say that their child would have thrown a tantrum. We are lucky we don’t have one of those children.

Doug Shaw suggested that it was a genuine life lesson for her. He may be right, but it isn’t one that I had planned. Maybe I should have. The Marshmallow Test is a fantastic example of understanding the importance of self control and more and more work on the importance of ‘grit’ to success is being produced.

Maybe I should be planning more life lessons through games for her. Or maybe if I really want her to help others I should just dust off Operation?

Final thought.

People play games every day. We tend to view people in the office who ‘play games’ as a bad thing. It suggests engineering a result for them, using other people as pawns. It is worth remembering there are more positive results available if you play nicely with others. Same is true for Social Media, same is true for life.

(written on the train, may have multiple errors, all apologies)

Why I don’t hate HR

I’m writing this because Neil Morrison’s last blog covers some of the same ground in a different way and the comments struck a chord with me. If you only have time to read one then I’d suggest reading his.

Last week I was lucky enough to be asked to speak on a panel of ‘experts’ about the future of HR. The question was actually ‘is there a future for HR?’. I was on the panel with senior individuals from two multinational firms. I said the following things that passed the lowest benchmark of wisdom – being tweeted by others.

Towards the end I told the room that businesses deserved better HR departments and there was an unusually high volume of approving noises. My overarching point is that as the world becomes more nimble and companies rise and fall faster there is no place for bureaucracy. We are about enabling growth – not keeping things safe. We are not policymakers, but business shapers.

The issue isn’t about people not understanding balance sheets – the issue is that if you don’t understand how businesses grow you aren’t in a position to help them grow. ‘Why haven’t HR embraced social media more?’ I was asked. The answer is half the profession haven’t got their heads around Excel yet. The world has outstripped our progress – as an aggregate – and we are playing catch up.

Nobody invites people to the toptable who simply want to tell you what you can’t do. They invite people who are part of the team of doing.  At the end of the debate I was approached by two groups of people (it’s lovely to be popular).

Group 1 – people who work in businesses – they told me their HR departments were slow, burdensome and obsessed getting in the way. They were relieved that some people in HR also agree. They shared tales of sheer, utter frustration.

Group 2 – people who work in HR – they told me it was unfair of me to write off a whole profession. I didn’t write off a whole profession, I was encouraging people to up their game to meet the standards set by some in the profession. It’s like saying that showing a photo of Pele to children when they are learning football is somehow a criticism of the children.

Someone telling you that you can be better is either giving you more space to play with or is an attack, but it depends on your mindset. We have too many people seeing forward movement of others as an attack.

The best question came from the audience ‘if the gap is so big, what do you do with those who can’t make the jump?’ The answer comes in two parts

  1. I believe in the ability of people to change and improve and grow. That’s why I do what I do. So I’m not writing off as many people as you may think. I’m telling them they need to change or become relics
  2. I believe that we should be no more protected in HR than any other part of the business. If someone in IT doesn’t fancy keeping current then they cease to become employable. We have people denying the march of progress. The thing about market economies is that you don’t get to decide your own value – other people do. If you stay still you get left behind.

That isn’t a criticism. That’s life. That’s progress.

I like to think of the best organisations as helpful. Places where someone can tell you that you need to improve something and you understand that intent. For a profession that spends a celebrated amount of time wondering what we are supposed to do I offer you this thought

‘Make businesses better’, not ‘make them less bad’

That will look different for different businesses and different phases of growth, but if you don’t get up in the morning and try to do that you are holding everyone else back. And they will eventually just let you go.

Humane, Resourced – on the way!

Kaboom!

!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)

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…