The Apprentice, Series 10 Episode 6: Playing the Game …

Lord Sugar’s intro voiceover continues to announce his roles as “Judge , jury and executioner”. Given that 11 contestants are still breathing, it feels like he’s been slacking. Pamela is practising her already advanced sarcasm skills, and Nick H and Karren are still wearing their oddly dated sunglasses. I half expect a few tunes from The Blues Brothers, but instead we get the shortest task briefing I can recall. Apart from the possibly dubious claim that HMS Belfast inspired the game Battleships, this consists of ‘you’re going to design, prototype and sell board games’. Bish bosh, job done, innit.

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Supporting business growth by supporting your managers

While dictionaries might define ‘managing’ as ‘succeeding in surviving or in achieving something despite difficult circumstances’, that is not a definition any organisation should wish to apply. ‘To manage’ must mean more than simply – somehow, despite everything – to cope. But what can organisations do to ensure their line managers do not feel as if their performance falls into the latter category?

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Highly engaged, but with yesterday?

Happy, committed and engaged people really do perform better at work, although there is – or at least one would hope – a difference between love and enthusiasm. I’m enthusiastic about Ajax FC, prawn toasts and historic monuments – I’m nothing if not single-handedly diverse - but none of these are relationships that I’m seeking to actively consummate. But what we might call ‘the happiness industry’ seems insistent on wanting to see the L-word as often as possible.

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In-sourcing – the new out-sourcing?

Maybe what lies at the nub of the idea of disbanding the HR function is the concept of sense of purpose – not for ourselves, but as judged by other people. It’s not our own answer to ‘what are you here for, exactly?’ that’s the issue, it’s how other people see it: not the purpose we think we serve, but the one that others think we do. Or, more critically, don’t.

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HR And Big Data: Storytelling or Journalism?

Mastery of a discipline (accepting the use of the term for HR) requires many skills, but also a sure-footed understanding of the raw materials and how to handle them. The raw materials of a Human Resources Manager are primarily, as the job title alludes, people. (Whether ‘human resources’ is a devaluing or derogatory way of describing them – or should I say ‘us’? – is a separate but not entirely unrelated point.) The raw materials of Big Data, by comparison, are more explicitly ‘in the title’: data. Quantitative measures. Numbers.

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Book Review – Turning Learning into Action: A proven methodology for effective transfer of learning by Emma Weber

Turning Learning into Action by Emma Webber is a welcome addition to a canon that is surprisingly small given that it deals with a problem that each year wastes over $500 billion worldwide. Subtitled “A proven methodology for effective transfer of learning”, it is a book for L&D practitioners rather than academics, but its purpose is the promotion of the author’s proprietary solutions rather than the creation of a community of practice.

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A long but broken engagement?

Back in April 2010, we wrote about the MacLeod Review, a government review into the complex and timely issue of employee engagement. Judging by the frequency with which we read about the topic in the HR/L&D press – and are even requested to comment or write for the same media outlets ourselves – it is not in that category of organisational issues that we can mark down as essentially a fad. On the contrary, engagement is the issue that will not go away. But are organisations listening to the sources that provide evidence of the need to make changes (or even the benefits of doing so)? The verdict is less clear.

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Outside the Ivory Tower

Those of us involving in workplace learning and professional development should be more than aware that ‘our’ kind of education has left the Ivory Tower. The classroom is no longer some kind of ‘holy’ place where employees congregate – no pun intended – to have learning bestowed upon them. The future of organisational learning will be WISE - Workplace, Informal, Social and Experiential – even if it might take a while for the actual individuals to merit the adjective.

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Fighting Talk

The following is an opinion on British Management. “Short Sighted, Short-Termists, or Long-Term, Growth Visionaries”. If the first couple of words hadn’t given an indication that further language with a hint of ‘step into the executive car park and say that again, would you?’ might be about to follow, here are more words from the same source ...

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