Restricted or Bountiful?

We moved house on Monday!  We’ve been living with my mum for over 7 months – she’s definitely gone above and beyond the job description!  Now that we have our own place again I popped to a large wholesale store yesterday to stock up on exciting things like kitchen towel and loo roll.  This is the second big batch of kitchen towel I’ve bought in my life – 20 in a pack!!  #awesome  When I used to buy 2 or maybe 4 rolls at a time I would save it for real necessity, using it only when it really felt like the best thing to use.  Otherwise reaching for a cloth.  Since switching my shopping habits my attitude to kitchen-towel-use has changed*.  There’s something about knowing you have a bountiful supply of absorbent paper available that makes you free and easy with its use.  Split some milk there, no problem, let me wipe it with some kitchen towel.  Red wine on the carpet, no worries, kitchen towel will soak that right up.

Kitchen Towel

When something’s in plentiful supply we feel we can do anything!

I experienced this effect with my perspective on time after my op-recovery when I went from things being hard work, kinda painful and taking a long time to suddenly being able to do lots, quickly and pain-free – this sense of maximising my time was also assisted by more exercise which boosted my resilience, thinking abilities and sleep quality.

We all have a finite amount of time in a day, and a finite amount of money or resource to do things with.  So here we have a choice – we can choose to think we don’t have enough of either, or we can choose to think that we can invest what we have in a way that is most important to us.

So, what is there in your life that you feel is in short supply?  What do you feel you’re most restricted by?  Find that and then do something with it.

Oh, but there’s a thing there.  Choosing how we invest our time / money / resource needs us to know what’s important to us so it can act like an anchor for our decision-making.  What’s most important to you?  What are your big priorities or goals?

How clear are you on this?  How clear are those around you?  Are you and your team aligned on what counts as important right now?  And if you’re working in a business where ‘important’ can be dictated from elsewhere, outside of you, it will change – sometimes frequently.  How will you know that it’s changed and adjust your sails accordingly?

So there’s another thing, stuff changes – frequently – so to help our thinking on that I rather liked this image from Carl Richards (HT Brene Brown for sharing) because sometimes we can’t be absolutely, definitely sure that what we’re choosing to do is the most important right now.  At those times, embrace the uncertainty, choose to do something and do it.

Carl Richards Embrace Uncertainty.png

[Here’s Carl’s article if you’d like to read it]

I’d love to hear about what restricts you and how you have, or are going to, choose BOTH what’s important to you AND embrace the uncertainty.

* P.S. – I appreciate this attitude to kitchen towel probably isn’t best for the environment. Sorry about that.

This is me……

WFS Tree


#CIPDMAP15 My Beautiful Career

My second seminar choice is My Beautiful Career – messing around with narratives of our careers with Prof John Arnold of the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough Uni.  With a surprising foray into standup comedy!

How do we tell the story or our career? How could we tell it differently or better?  To both ourselves and to others.  Do we have different versions for different audiences?  And how might we tell it instead?

First career and story –

Career : “The evolving sequence of a person’s work experience over time” (Arthur et al, 1989) – John likes this one because there’s no assumption about upward promotions.

It’s the life story that holds together and provides a biographical bridge to cross form one job to the next (Not exact quote) Savickas, 2009.

We use our career stories for many uses e.g. to get a new job but also to impress friends, family, a new date.

John asking audience to wok in pairs, 1 person spend 5 mins to tell the story of their career – objective facts & subjective emotional / motivational aspects, don’t get hung up on details of dates, etc.  Listener – keep time and listen really well, suspend judgement, keep quiet.  Their ‘hearing’ of the story will be used later…  Then swap.  Lots of buzz in the room.  Seeing lots of great listening too!  Lots of matching, mirroring, nodding.  Only a couple with their hands over their mouths – watch this one, you might unintentionally be sending the message of ‘stop talking!’

Now John’s going to introduce some different ways we can think about our career.  Features of a successful story?  As for everything, that’s context-specific.

His 9 points ofr success –

1. Authentic

2. Credible

3. Agentic (the person telling it is actve in it!)

4. Situations and opportunities required you to take action

5. Obstacles and tribulations

6. Key turning points

7. Triumphant success or tragic failure

8. A lead charcter we can warm to

9. Flexibility so it can be told in different ways for different reasons/contexts.

Now inviting pairs to get together again to discuss how evident those features were in the story they heard a few mins ago.  What was there, what wasn’t, what could there be more of?

John’s heard from people’s conversations that some great feedback and collaborating on option and opportunities.

Moving that forward now is to use metaphor to enable our stories to be more memorable – our brains connect to images and emotions and these things stick in our heads – worlds and lists of bullet points don’t.  Engage others in your stories  using –

Spatial – pyramids, ladders, climbing frames

Journey – paths, roads, in the driving or back seat

Horticultural – growing, flowering, blossoming and then pruned / discarded

Competition – rat races, uphill struggles, tournaments, fast tracks

Aquatics – charting progress, rocking the boat, treading water, stuck on rocks

Linked to this there are cultural career scripts that convey our story simply and say a lot in a few words – Rags to riches, The hero who saves the day, The stranger in town, Like a farce, Local boy/girl made good.

Watch out using ‘luck’ too much in your career story – can suggest you believe you have no control over your own life and are possibly a bit incapable.  Or could suggest you’re humble bragging and come across as big headed.

Everyone talking about their career and where metaphor could be used.

Final word – shameless plug – get in touch with Loughborough Uni School of Business & Economics for leadership development programmes.

This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDMAP15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.

#CIPDMAP15 Rethinking the future of Workplace Learning

I’ve joined a seminar session with Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning at the CIPD.  As someone who’s passionate (and a bit excitable!) about what he does I’m looking forward to a lively energetic session!  And the first evidence of that – he’s going for a #periscope experiment to live stream on twitter!

A thank you from Andy for CIPD MAP inviting him and to the audience for being here on a Saturday with commitment to their learning.

He’s going to be talking about the next 5 years of workplace learning.  Andy’s been in learning for 25 years and see the world changing more than ever before.  Good old VUCA!

L&D must evolve to stay relevant as tech evolves.  Flexible working – the standard 9-5 day, 5 day week, is reducing more and more.  Day courses will decline with this.  Digby Jones of the CBI is saying we’ll all have at least 7 jobs in our careers.  Learning can’t stay the same.

And yet we still have classrooms that resemble Victorian school rooms – based in a time when there were few resources and relied on 1 person at the front with the book / knowledge.

Andy’s sharing his experiment with  He came up at 43 (he’s happy, his age starts with a 5) and his friend came out at 13.  He’s asking the delegates to estimate the average age of the people on their tables.  Who said average age was 40? 50? Further into 50’s?  So this room is around 45 – this is a consistent theme for Andy at conferences when he’d done this before.  He’s working on retiring about 67 which means we have about 20 years left of career.  How much has changed n the last 20 years – so how much will change in the next??

1 in 5 under 5’s access the internet every day.  These people will be in the workplace before we all retire.

Using #MAP15Predict – what will be the learning-based headline on People Management in 10 years’ time? – “Learner Chip Upgrade” > “What’s your robot colleague going to teach you this week?” > “Where’s the human gone?” > “Hollogram Horrors” > “No Offices”

We’re in a changing, disorientating period at work.  Andy has 10 shifts for workplace learning – he sees it as a Carrot issue, not a Stick issue.  We need to think forward about where things are going.  Minimise threat response of change, or removal of the safe and familiar for ourselves and learners.

Learning Shift 1 – BUSINESS not L&D Priorities – the future of learning has to be about a focus on business performance and how the learning we provide is relevant to the org strategy.  Cant just offer a suite of options anymore.  To do this we need to be more like consultants.  This is seen in 70% of the top orgs already – ‘what do we need to fix?’

Learning Shift 2 – we’ll be informed by metrics, not guesses – e.g. retailer’s loyalty cards, fit bits, mobiles with location trackers, Google have developed a contact lens to measure glucose levels for diabetics.  We need to be informed by data to make informed decisions.  Only 1 in 5 are currently doing this currently!

Learning Shift 3 – Science underpinning learning approach – neuroscience is telling us that a lot of what we’ve been doing is good, but now we have scientific evidence for this stuff.  We can now go to those who value research, with research.  Only 1 in 5 using science at the mo.

Learning Shift 4 – Curator-concierge not just creator – 50% of content is developed from scratch.  Plus we’ve got an explosion of info online.  Whatever you’re writing will be available online.  Instead of re-creating the wheel every single time, curate content for people, bring it to others, point people and signpost people to where they can find things that will meet their needs.

Learning Shift 5 – user-choice not prescription – retail knows we need personalisation.  Learners also want this – and organisations like to sheep-dip because it’s simple and easy and controllable.  Learners learn through different methods in their personal lives and we need to bring this into the work world. Links back to curation – getting content from learners and making that available / pointing others to that.  Two-way.

Learning shift 6 – social not just formal – people watching from afar by taking learning online grows the connection and allows physical barriers to not matter anymore.  And think about social settings so learners get the chance to connect as humans.  Of top 10 learning tools, 7 are social, top is Twitter.

Learning Shift 7 – Just in time in the flow not delayer – waiting 3 months for a course isn’t good enough.  Things will have moved, the need will have changed by then.

Learning shift 8 – Bite size, not just feast – we would stuff people full of content in a day to maximise the opportunity of getting people together.  Not good for brains!  We need to make this bite size – lunchtime learnings, breaksfast briefings, short bits here and there. 75% of people now learn on the way to work.

Learning Shift 9 – Digital not just face to face – Face to face is great and human connection is important to us –  and we can’t make this work all the time anymore – time and resources don’t allow, and why should we when digital learning can support us – like #periscope today.  Make learning available to more people more easily.

Learning Shift 10 – Measuiing Value Not Volume – it is NOT about bums on setas – what we help people learn needs to be relevant to the business and we need to be able to show the difference we believe this is making to the business.  It’s can be hard to make a direct correlation but we can measure a number of indicators to give a rounded view.

Andy’s asking everyone to rate themselves 1 to 10 on these to spot their gaps.

He’s hearing that HR and L&D are shifting more and more on this and that sometimes it’s the business / senior leaders who are resistant to change – it feels scary and risky.  This is where the roe of consultant comes in where we provide options, broaden mindsets, bring examples and evidence of where this stuff’s been done before successfully.

Creatures metamorphosise without even realising it!  Think caterpillar.  They just do it.  It happens in the natural word because if the creature stays in that existence there’s more probability of dying.  Tadpoles change into frogs at different paces by sensing their environment and whether it’s right t change.  We’ll all change at different rates

CIPD are providing more online learning – their CIPD Level 5 in L&D got 18 people in 2013/14 and the online one now has a cohort of 220 (first one got 58 people)!  People from round the world can access – fantastic opening of the opportunity to more!

Insights from audience questions – future learning isn’t all about tech – maintain social, give knowledge one way, maintain social/interaction/debate/discussion in another. Keep learning blended – some employees won’t have the skills or access to tech to engage with this in the same way.  Play the role of consultant to help leaders become aware of the different options to an all day course, the stories and benefits seen by other orgs, the benefit for your org – ideally not just about cost/resources saving.  Find new ways to measure the impact of learning – bums on seats definitely won’t work with this.

Final thought – this is moving fast.  CIPD is tracking these 10 key shifts that have been hared today.  We now all need to think about how we shift from the old ways to these future-focussed ways.  Your learners will love you for embracing some of these new things.

This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDMAP15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.

#CIPDMAP15 A Professional Approach to Development

First up for the 2015 Midlands Area Partnership Event is Louise Fisher, HR Director of Xerox Europe, talking about a professional approach to development.

Louise is going to talk about her career and she’s going to share what the CIPD is doing and has done to help everybody here with their careers.

Louise’s Career

Spent in retail management at the start.  Louise learnt so much about business and making money – from high street fashion – leartn about speedy decision making.  Next a business that had a valued brand that actually wnet on the balance sheet.

Sector most enjoyed in early career was hotel industry – thought retail was tough until worked there.  365 days a year.  Lots of learning about scheduling and rostering.  And great opportunities for holidays.

Having dne management training, Louise then moved into PErsonnal and stayed there ever since but specialised in L&D, Mgmt dvlpmt, Org dvlpmt.  She took risks with her career choices – she went to different sectors, did different roles – you learn so much by getting out of the familiar.

She regrets never working abroad, learn a language and be immersed in a whole different culture.

Louise’s qualification was the IPM which had a lot of basis in psychology and human behaviour.  Great knowledge to gain early and to help in her roles.  Then in the 90’s she did a masters degree – another injection of knowledge and insight to apply back at work.

Louise is now the chair of the CIPD.  In the 80’s and 90’s she sat on a branch committee that positively influenced her day job.  Then she was appointed as a board member of the CIPD.  For the first few months she behaved like an HR person when in fact what they needed was the focus on the governance of the charity.  She was also on the audit committee for 6 years.  All giving a completely different experience than she would ever have gained from a normal day job.

Benefits of volunteering with CIPD – shows flexibility, commitment, desire to learn, a breadth of experience and knowledge.

When at the start of her career Louise felt frustrated because she felt she had lots more she could do.  and she did but she needed to become more mature, to take more time to stop and reflect.  She did this in her 4th year in this role to consolidate – this frustrated her but it was the right thing.  Gave her time to think broader than the day job.

Being a director was an huge eye opener being out of the day to day.

Louise believes every HR person should have a specialism in one of the HR disciplines.  Stands you in good stead.  Underpinning her’s was L&D and it enabled her to be more strategic, stepping away from the reactive day-to-day to think bigger, to research, to think, to gain time to make conscious choices and to work to a longer time frame than just ‘what’s happening today’.

Louise has spent time as the No2 to a couple of HR Directors and enjoyed it, had a lot of freedom, was responsible for lots of interesting projects.  And always wondered if she could do a No1.  She did her first HRD role in a printing role, as a 1200 employee business she was bored after 6 months.  So she then started to work with each of the MDs within the business to help them think more strategically about their people.

She then went back into corporate – a very different environment to a small privately owned business – both helpful and demonstration of flexibility.

Plus, as before, Louise advocates getting voluntary experience – and for us to encourage that in those around us where we work.  Her plan is to move into non-exec director roles as she gets towards the end of her ‘rat race’ working life.

Her advice – get out with managers, with sales people, with customers.  Learn about their worlds, broaden your horizons.  Louise recommends getting out of HR for a while to gain a completely different experience.

Tips on successful career management – (1) Prove you’re valuable, flexible, fun (2) Take some risks – risks that are a risk for you (we’re all different) (3) Get a voluntary job to develop outside of work (4) Get customer-facing experience and spend time in sales – learn the business inside out (5) Your career is YOUR responsibility and nobody elses! (6) Network – plagiarism is productivity and goodness knows we need to improve UK Productivity!  Someone else here will be doing what you need to do and can hep you – and you can maybe help them or someone else #payitforward

CIPD Professions for the Future (PFF)

Louise has used the CIPD framework to inform her activity in Xerox –

  1. Insights on Changing Context – where’s your industry / market going, what does that mean for people?
  2. Science of Human and Organisational Behaviour – understanding this so we can motivate and engage more effectively
  3. HR and Learning Processes, Practices and Policies – how can technology help you to make processes simple and efficient so people aren’t spending time there.  The ore global the org, the more essential this is
  4. Business, Commercial Insights and Analysis – know your business, get into the stuff the CIPD are doing and saying around HR analytics, how do you analyse data and WHAT WILL YOU USE IT FOR (my emphasis! – a pet hate about not doing data for data’s sake)

So why is PFF important?

CBW&WL (Championing Better Work and Working Lives) requires good HR and ppl dvlpmt  > but good HR is context-specific > move from prescriptive best practice to broader principles > but it takes time to apply those principles in practice > so we need to build and maintain professionalism in HR > so HR remain trusted & credible.

The aims of CIPD membership – differentiated member proposition, promote HR as a conscious career choice, provide relevant support and to grow all levels of membership.

What’s been done in 2014/15 –

  • Work
  • Whistle blower advice line
  • My CPD Map
  • New networks
  • Career support – Career hub
  • Student bursaries – first come first served to new Level 3 foundation students and <£25k a year. Covers tuition and membership fees.
  • Student recruitment activity
  • Member research – migration, zero hours contracts, valuing your talent, CIPD Manifesto for Work, sustainable performance, neuroscience
  • CIPD voice in the media (online press, radio, TV)
  • +2.8% on membership
  • +16.7% on student recruitment
  • £900k investment in new activity

And the offer for fellows – focus on professionalism, more strategic content, work journal, fellow networks, opportunity to give back, mentoring, input into research, integrating a fellows policy group.

What the CIPD are doing to help you get value from your membership and help you get in and get on in the HR profession –

Needed to retain people after their study, give people reasons to go up through levels of membership, make HR a credible career for life.

CIPD are looking at the touchpoints where they can connect with people about joining HR.

They’re using website – plotr – like old fashioned careers advice but that’s actually helpful!  Takes about half  an hour but good fun and informative.

CIPD are going into schools and colleges to talk to students, they’re connecting with people in different places, they’re offering webinars for career advice, they’re running a mentoring scheme for people in HR, working with Penna to help people back into HR if been out for 6 months or more.

And more to come e.g. MOOCs, development in CPD area. Piloting 2 tools at the moment.

Final word – network, network, network!  See #cipdmap15 for a pic of Louise’s top tips if you’re not sure where to start with this (11am 3/10).

This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDMAP15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.