Diagnose, don’t dream

Our ability to influence and to develop the human agenda within organisations depends on our ability to deliver successful solutions in to our businesses. Yet far too often, I see and hear of interventions that start from the solution and not from the diagnosis.

We have the answer before we know the questions.

Part of the reason for this is our eternal fixation with HR best practice and part of it is a need to feel that we are “delivering”. But I also think there is often a fundamental disconnect between our understanding of why we are in an organisation and the real value that we can add.

I’ve written before about the importance of marketing and also thinking about the impact on the end-user. And these have to be underpinned by a robust approach to diagnosis.

What are we trying to achieve?
How do we know that we need to achieve this?
What is the data that informs this?
What would success deliver?

I have a simple belief that in HR our “value add” is to make the organisation perform better. In order to do this we need to observe, sense and understand the areas of tension or friction, we need to relate these to the organisational system that we operate within. Then we need to be clever and creative in finding ways to drive improvement.

The simple benefit of doing this is that we can clearly articulate the need for the specific piece of work that we are doing, we can provide the context within the organisational system and then we can measure the impact. We base the need in the organisation, not in the HR department.

Influence comes from the ability to articulate our value, and that becomes a whole lot easier if we start with the diagnosis and end with the cure rather than just dreaming up need and repeatedly telling people what’s good for them.

Because none of us need that. Do we?

Give me a break

It’s that time of year again when we’re all starting, or thinking about starting, our Christmas break. The jumpers have been worn, the sherry drunk and the Christmas misdemeanours almost, ALMOST forgotten. It’s time for a break. A well earned rest.

And yet, whilst we all yearn for a break, I’m not so sure we give each other the same respect.

Meetings scheduled for the first couple of days back, reports sent on the last day before the holidays, actions completed and requirements passed on.

Because we need to get this off our list, off our backs and settle down for a Christmas break.

The thing is, have you thought about the person that you’re sending that email on to? The one that receives that report the day they are due to go on holiday, or has an important meeting land in the diary for their first day back?  Is this about getting things off your list, or do things really need to happen?

Are you making sure that those around you have a decent break too?

And it isn’t just about our work. What about those people working in the shops, for the courier firms, keeping our transport system going, our lights on and our internet working? Answering our calls and dealing with our queries, helping us to…..well switch off.

As you go away for your well deserved break, ask yourselves what you could do to give other people a break. At work, at home, when you’re out shopping, or dealing with that last minute issue. How do you want them to feel over the holidays, how do you want them to wake up on Christmas day?

Respect isn’t a once a year phenomenon, but once a year we can focus on how we can do more.

Enjoy your break and let other people around you enjoy it too. They may be working, but it doesn’t mean you have to make their lives harder. They may be off, but it doesn’t mean you need to make sure they’re thinking about the return.

Take a break and give others a break too.

It’s what we all deserve.

I’ll be back in the New Year with more ramblings and general grumpiness. Until then.

Peace out.

Reflect and review

In the same way that you can guarantee that @FlipChartRick will tell you that there are bad times ahead, that @SukhPabial will make you feel frivolous and you’ll never get to the end of one of @KateGL’s musings. You can guarantee the next few weeks will be full of blog posts on reflection and review.

And that’s all very well and good.

If you’re only interested in the past. Which I’m not.

There is a truth in the fact that our expectations are based on experience. But our goals should be based on the future, on exceeding and going further, on pushing things harder and achieving bigger and better.

It doesn’t matter which base we are working off, how one person might be further ahead than another. How one organisation might be in a different place to another. That is, in every way, irrelevant.

It doesn’t matter what bigger, or better means to you. Just that you have ambition.

The question is, how could you go further?

HR as a profession is notoriously unambitious, insipid and timid. It has developed an institutional need to seek permission. Often without asking, just waiting.

So my challenge to you is this.

What are you going to do next year to move yourself and your organisation forward? What commitments are you going to make to achieve and deliver more? How can you push the envelope that little bit further to create something that amazes and excites?

Reflect by all means, but remember that you’re only as good as your last performance. You’re judged by recent experience of you. And people are looking for you now and not then.

Because the past is exactly that. It has gone. And it isn’t a place we want to live in.

“Commitment is an act, not a word”

So what’s next?