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 – out on Kindle

I’ve just had a bizarre experience where Twitter has once again managed to beat other technology to the punch. At about 6pm someone tweeted me a picture of Humane, Resourced available in the Amazon Kindle store. It was another hour before I got an email from Amazon to say it was available in the store – and it is available here…

http://goo.gl/pi2KAm

A quick recap and then a call to arms

The recap

1. Over 50 authors contributed – if you were one then congratulations, thank you and it couldn’t have happened without you. People also checked the text, created a cover and promoted the book – thank you, it couldn’t have happened without you

2. All proceeds go to charity. The book will be available for free next week, but if you can spare a couple of pounds (or a few dollars) then please know your money is going to a good cause. And you are only paying about 4p per chapter

3. There will be some errors – I’ll correct them, if I can, in future revisions

A call to arms

  1. Share it – share it and then please share it again. On LinkedIn, Google +, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth. People have given their time and effort for free so let’s make the most of that.
  2. Share it at different times in different ways and not just this week – talk at conferences, networking events and family parties – something brilliant has happened here
  3. If you have connections that might want to review it for a publication etc then put them in contact with me – likewise if they want to talk to me about the story behind it I’ll do that
  4. Encourage people to post reviews – let’s get it properly backed on Amazon
  5. Enjoy it. There is something of real substance and ambition here and some exceptional content.

Thanks,

David

BoB cover

I’ve failed people

Fail Road
Fail Road (Photo credit: fireflythegreat)

I’m failed people and I’m embarrassed.

Most of the time your brain is working double time (in the background) to build up a retrospective rationale for the things you have done -so that you can sleep easy at night, in the sound understanding that you did the best you could.

That is why your mistakes are always understandable but other people’s are indicative of a lack of competence. If you think you are a balanced reviewer of your own efforts – you aren’t.

So when I openly admit I’ve failed – it means I’ve been so rubbish, that even my built in mental defence mechanisms can’t muffle the clanging sound of my errors.

What did or didn’t I do?  

I’ve never hired anyone with a disability to work in HR (that I’m aware of). I’ve never worked with anyone with a disability (that I’m aware of) whilst in HR. I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed a candidate with a disability.

I’m not unique in this – a recent twitter chat confirmed lots of HR professionals have the same track record. That just makes us as bad as each other – it doesn’t make me any better.

I’m sure I’ve had multiple conversations with other people outside of HR about how they should have an inclusive hiring policy and the talent they might be missing out on. I just never stopped to think about what I was doing enough to realise my hypocrisy.

For the past half decade I have been senior enough to have influence on issues like this and to call out a lack of inclusion (with respect to disability – I’ve actually worked in quite diverse teams otherwise). It never crossed my mind.

I have no idea how many people I have hired directly in the past few years where I have failed to think as effectively as I should. It never crossed my mind. 

I’ve been a hypocrite. It isn’t a lack of openmindedness – it is a complete lack of thinking. Complete negligence on my part.

I’m not blaming fear, politics, the organisation I worked for – this is my repeated failing on a very personal level. I don’t think I’ve done anything illegal. I just haven’t done anything useful.

so… I’m making a change.

The next time that I recruit I will challenge my own approach and see if I can give someone a chance that they probably already should have had –  but they don’t due to failings like mine.

I’m also making the opening chapter of the upcoming book (Humane, Resourced) a showcase for some great observations by Anne Tynan on this issue http://annetynan.wordpress.com/ . When people read the book the first chapter now will be one provoking their thoughts on this issue.

In short – I’m going to influence where I can.

What change can you make?

You can wait for your professional body to create an initiative – or you could just act differently on your own. If enough people do that then we don’t need any other form of intervention.

There are good people whose talents we are missing out on. That is a business problem.

There are good people who are just missing out. That is an issue of right and wrong.

PS – I realise that people can get sensitive about the wording on topics like this. Please respect the intent rather than concentrating on ‘I wouldn’t have put it like that’…I reserve the right to be clumsy yet well intended.

 

Humane, Resourced: Twitileaks

Secret Bunker
Secret Bunker (Photo credit: marcmo)

The list of authors is growing and is here: http://wp.me/p3wxuY-70 – 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.

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.

————–

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.