Posts by: Naysan Firoozmand

I made a boat out of Pepperami

Language is a fascinating thing but as a psychologist looking at speech development in children, especially my own, is hugely entertaining and enlightening into the workings of thought and logic. I watch with great anticipation and expectation as I observe my children and their friends talk about everyday life to see what wonderful combinations of phrases and mispronunciations occur, something I often do myself – and not always on purpose. One which made me laugh out loud most recently was when a friend of my middle daughter was trying to explain a school project she had to do, which puzzled us all to begin with…

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All’s fair in love and HR: Talent Management and the F word

While HiPos deserve – and will probably demand – star treatment, providing it is not the only game in town. For one thing, a lesson that this star treatment must continue to be earned (by demonstrating increasing performance and realising the potential seen in them) is not unreasonable: Talent Management should produce talent, not prima donnas. For another, intelligent exploration of motivation (and barriers to it), mentoring or coaching styles of line management, recognition of valued contributions already being made, broadening or modifying roles and specific developmental assignments are just some of the strategies that can improve performance wherever an employee sites within the 9-Block Talent Map model. Expending all of an organisation’s energies on those who have made it into the top-right box and are now exploring the Talent Pool in their aspirational water wings is to ignore the remaining eight boxes: unless they are all to be recruited externally, the next flow into the Talent Pool needs to come from somewhere.

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To be really productive, we need to make friends not appointments

Informal creative networks are about more than ‘Like’ buttons, watercoolers, or collaboration pods (The Independent’s scorn was discernible and understandable): they are about making that valued workplace friend who provides a mental springboard, about exploring ideas in real depth or from new and refreshing angles, - and about discovering a sense of belonging (albeit to a sub-set of the organisation) that chimes with real personal interests.

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Guiding Principles for OD Consulting

Like any professional consultants (whether that consultancy is provided internally or – even more so – externally), the privilege of being selected to provided our service carries responsibilities. Some are mandatory in the strictest sense – the legal framework defines a range of liabilities and risks – while others are better categorised as ‘professional’ or ‘ethical’. To maintain our standards (and the standards of professional bodes to which we belong, as we are proud to support organisations that work to define, maintain and drive up standards), we are committed to regular and ongoing professional development. A further ethical concern is to recognise the boundaries within which consultancy is provided and presented: the opportunity to present ideas does not translate into a right to see them implemented. (Indeed, insisting too adamantly ultimately undermines the recipient client: effective consultancy should be based on mutual professional respect.) As world leaders in promoting the criticality of ensuring the successful transfer and application of learning, coaching and OD interventions, we are seeking here to identify and encourage the achievement of best practice in this business critical area.

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Permission to dream, sir?

Blue-sky thinking has a time and a place but try to remember that some visions need medication, not implementation. Nonetheless, encouraging a culture – or space for discussions – that allow ‘what if?’ to be not just asked but answered, and where ideas can circulate and percolate does mean that we don’t necessarily need to trap ourselves in our individual, hyper-realistic personal cages. Sharing and exploring with others might be more than just a way of bouncing around the ideas till they take shape (and getting feedback and fresh input from others, quietly unlocking themselves from their own little cages): it might be a way of encouraging them to share a more plausible dream – and helping each other to build it.

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Chinese whispers and the Captain’s Table

Last June, we wrote an article – inspired by a post, 10 Tenets for the New HR at KnowHR.com – about the imperatives and priorities for HR in our current workplace climates. Our concern was that HR needed to purchase training intelligently – grilling suppliers about transfer and application, evaluation, return on investment, progress measurement – so that had compelling evidence to back their arguments and claims not just for budget, but to have an maintain a seat at we might refer to as ‘The Captain’s Table’. This time around, we want to look at this from a different angle: asking HR to consider what happens when that seat is lost, when the debate continues without them and they have no voice of their own to speak with.

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Measuring success: evaluating evaluation

In early December last year, a member of the Training Zone website posted a query about measuring success that addressed one of the eternal issues of training and development – impact on business performance. Already testing learners two weeks and three months after the training, and getting informal managers’ feedback, the TrainingZone community provided tips and advice in a follow-up article, Measuring Success, last week. But it struck us there were some hints and tips missing. So, if we may so bold …

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Like a Virgin? Or just innocents abroad?

We couldn’t help but notice just before Christmas news items at both Personneltoday.com and HRMagazine.co.uk announcing the launch of Virgin Media’s new leadership development scheme, aimed at turning its business into ‘a talent academy’. This struck as simultaneously a very encouraging development and an audacious, brave – and potentially foolhardy – one.

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Time will tell: the evolution of transfer and application

As a company committed to enhancing and improving the transfer and application of learning, we continue to explore this vital topic not just through our working practice, but through academic research. My colleague, Robert Terry, has recently compiled a brief Critical Review of “A Sample of the Literature on Training Transfer”, which you can download as a PDF file.

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Mapping the future of the talent challenge

As the business world and patterns of trade become irretrievably global, organisations follow suit. This isn’t just an issue for production, distribution and sales: to succeed on a global stage, organisations need to find – and keep - leading players with the talents to match the environment. In this new world map of talent, the winning companies will be those that coach, motivate and develop their own talent, and those that develop an acute understanding of their own Employee Value Proposition. The true challenge is to manage both these demanding aspects in parallel with an inclusive, global recruitment process.

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