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Digital HR: In Olden Days A Glimpse of Stocking …

How well we are handling the impact of social media? It’s a point that Mervyn Dinnen touches on in a blog post, Social Media, Judging Others and The 5 Year Rule. Social media, as people have pointed out, redraw the line between public and private. Not all of the impacts of this are instant headlines grabbers. … Continue reading “Digital HR: In Olden Days A Glimpse of Stocking …”

Lies, damned lies and statistics …

If the culture and peaceful internal existence of an organisation depends on a moderately high level of mistruths to ‘maintain co-operative relationships’ then the culture needs to be reviewed. If people are lying in self-defence, or because a less polished version of ‘the truth’ would be socially unacceptable, the culture – and the organisation – are in trouble.

If the culture and peaceful internal existence of an organisation depends on a moderately high level of mistruths to ‘maintain co-operative relationships’ then the culture needs to be reviewed. If people are lying in self-defence, or because a less polished version of ‘the truth’ would be socially unacceptable, the culture – and the organisation – are in trouble.

Empathy and fellow feeling: a deeper embrace than sympathy

The challenge with empathy is that it is harder than sympathy. Even those of us in reasonably sound mental health will know what’s meant by a phrase like ‘making sympathetic noises’ – and how little those noises might really mean to the person making them. Empathy is more demanding: you don’t just have to demonstrate the socially acceptable response to someone else’s plight, you have to be able to imagine yourself in it and then make some adjustments.

The challenge with empathy is that it is harder than sympathy. Even those of us in reasonably sound mental health will know what’s meant by a phrase like ‘making sympathetic noises’ – and how little those noises might really mean to the person making them. Empathy is more demanding: you don’t just have to demonstrate the socially acceptable response to someone else’s plight, you have to be able to imagine yourself in it and then make some adjustments.

Employeeship

As a non-academic, there are times when I encounter the outpourings of the higher education community and catch myself thinking “Yes, I knew that, actually. I wouldn’t have explained at such great length, or with so many historic references or such recourse to technical language. But I still feel like I knew that already.” I had that feeling recently, when I researched the idea of Organisational Citizenship.

As a non-academic, there are times when I encounter the outpourings of the higher education community and catch myself thinking “Yes, I knew that, actually. I wouldn’t have explained at such great length, or with so many historic references or such recourse to technical language. But I still feel like I knew that already.” I had that feeling recently, when I researched the idea of Organisational Citizenship.

The Assumptions Comfort Zone: Two Rights Don’t Make A Wrong

A lack of reciprocity and curiosity and an abundance of judgement doesn’t just sell the leader’s potential contribution to the organisation and/or its mission short: it sells everybody else short too.

A lack of reciprocity and curiosity and an abundance of judgement doesn’t just sell the leader’s potential contribution to the organisation and/or its mission short: it sells everybody else short too.

Interview feedback: “In five years time?”

It’s one of the classic HR/interview questions, isn’t it? Where you see yourself in some hypothetical future state, having mysteriously gained awesome prophetic powers that enable you to accurately foresee not just your own career trajectory, but the future health of the interviewing company, the economy in general, your personal life circumstances – and presumably that bus you step out of the way of just in time sometime in 2017.

It’s one of the classic HR/interview questions, isn’t it? Where you see yourself in some hypothetical future state, having mysteriously gained awesome prophetic powers that enable you to accurately foresee not just your own career trajectory, but the future health of the interviewing company, the economy in general, your personal life circumstances – and presumably that bus you step out of the way of just in time sometime in 2017.

Conventional wisdom? Meet a real maverick …

Close to ASK’s heart is Ricardo Semler’s insistence on a critical question: “why?”. And not just asking it at every available opportunity, but asking it three times. The first to get the rehearsed answer, the second to start the process of fresh thinking in the questionee, and the third to push the new thinking forward. (In an extract from his second book, The Seven Day Weekend, at inc.com, I was amused to see him draw the same parallel with four year olds as we did here some years ago – although we obviously forgot the motivational power of ice-cream.)

Close to ASK’s heart is Ricardo Semler’s insistence on a critical question: “why?”. And not just asking it at every available opportunity, but asking it three times. The first to get the rehearsed answer, the second to start the process of fresh thinking in the questionee, and the third to push the new thinking forward. (In an extract from his second book, The Seven Day Weekend, at inc.com, I was amused to see him draw the same parallel with four year olds as we did here some years ago – although we obviously forgot the motivational power of ice-cream.)

Defining Courage

Courage isn’t just about bravery and derring-do. It also includes holding yourself accountable, encouraging pushback and seeking out feedback – including negative feedback – on your own behaviours and actions: taking the personally rough with the personally smooth. To quote Hemingway, “Courage is grace under pressure.”

Courage isn’t just about bravery and derring-do. It also includes holding yourself accountable, encouraging pushback and seeking out feedback – including negative feedback – on your own behaviours and actions: taking the personally rough with the personally smooth. To quote Hemingway, “Courage is grace under pressure.”

Don’t create statements, ask questions

A question invites a response in ways that a statement simply cannot. And if a statement is a description of an unsatisfactory state of affairs, something that moves us towards tackling it is definitely a first step. Statements may make diagnoses, but getting a diagnosis doesn’t cure the patient. Questions can help us dig below symptoms. Help us realise that not banging our head on the wall is a better step forward then taking painkillers.

A question invites a response in ways that a statement simply cannot. And if a statement is a description of an unsatisfactory state of affairs, something that moves us towards tackling it is definitely a first step. Statements may make diagnoses, but getting a diagnosis doesn’t cure the patient. Questions can help us dig below symptoms. Help us realise that not banging our head on the wall is a better step forward then taking painkillers.

In uncertain times, anticipate surprises

Life does not take place at the movies. If working life does indeed have people called ‘Directors’, they don’t sit in chairs with megaphones shouting ‘Action’ or ‘Cut’. When did you last get offered a second take? Or get told that something can always be sorted out in the edit? We may prefer suspense – knowing that the bomb is under the table – but sometimes we get surprises instead.

Life does not take place at the movies. If working life does indeed have people called ‘Directors’, they don’t sit in chairs with megaphones shouting ‘Action’ or ‘Cut’. When did you last get offered a second take? Or get told that something can always be sorted out in the edit? We may prefer suspense – knowing that the bomb is under the table – but sometimes we get surprises instead.