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?

Performance anxiety

I’m no fan of the performance review. In fact I’d class it as the single biggest example of the old joke about the definition of insanity being the repetition of an act whilst expecting different results.

It isn’t working? Then change the form.

Everyone hates performance reviews, they suck the life force out of managers, employees, the HR department and the leadership team. And yet, we kind of need them.

I was having a conversation with a friend last week and they were bemoaning the torture that is the annual performance appraisal. The sentiment went something like this,

“And then they expect us to review people against these stupid f***ing values that make no sense to anyone. Why can’t we just get in, get out and get the job done.”

And I’ve got some sympathy. We all like the idea of a quickie. The performance equivalent of a knee trembler behind the bicycle shed.

But the thing is this, if you think about the best manager you’ve ever had, if you think about the best team you ever worked with, if you think about the most problematic experience you’ve ever had at work. Was it because of the delivery of the work, or was it because of the behaviours and the personal qualities?

My guess is the latter.

The challenge for us in HR, the challenge for those of us who aren’t sleep walking towards conformity and a mediocre stupor, is to think about how we reinvent and rethink this important aspect of our working lives.

– We know the value of human and heart in the workplace, and yet we systemise it to the point of ridicule and derision.

– We know the value of feedback and honest, open discussions, and yet we develop such complex processed that it becomes a task in itself.

– We know that what we have isn’t fit for purpose and yet we persist in tinkering not transforming.

And yet, I just can’t come up with an answer.

That’s what is on my mind. What’s on yours?

Ten things you don’t need to know

I described last year as a, “black ice drive“. I didn’t realise then that 2012 was only a warm up act. 2013 has been memorable, I can at least say that.

I could now tell you about the testicular cancer of my dog, my guinea pig’s genital warts, or some other contrived tragedy, in order to make you feel sorry for me. I could plead exceptional circumstances, reach out for the community love. But you know what, as I’ve said before, I’m one of the lucky ones.

Things have happened, things are happening, things will happen. That’s the rub. That’s life

So here are ten things that I’ve learnt in 2013 that you don’t need to know,

1) There are good people out there doing good work, daily. They don’t feel the need (get the space) to tell the world.

2) Winning stuff and being recognised. That’s nice. But not the point.

3) Laugh in the face of adversity. Constantly.

4) The most supportive and helpful people aren’t the ones who talk about how supportive and helpful they are.

5) Until you’ve sat and broken bread with someone, you don’t know whether you’ll really like them.

6) SoMe is full of guff. Period.

7) The real conversation isn’t happening where you think it is, it’s happening where you hope it isn’t.

8) Given a choice, most people would elect for self interest over collective benefit.

9) 90% of debate results is nothing more than intellectual masturbation. Fun, but unproductive.

10) Never listen to a blogger that thinks they can summarise a situation in 10 points.

Happy Christmas one and all.

Neil

PS. That’s me done for 2013. I may be back in the new year, who knows?