Saturday, 31 January 2009
Friday, 30 January 2009
Kindness is my religion and you are kindness itself. Let kindness be your compass. Hold your course. You have right of way.
Things are looking up and if they looked up from the floor of the exchange they'd see that grasshopper you can see too from your fine viewpoint. The wind blows from the right quarter. Things are looking up.
Breakfast at the Wolseley. Haggis. Duck's eggs. A shot of your espresso mind. A rare treat, perhaps to be less rare. I leave nourished.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Old habits die hard.
At Laytham, looking at the sky, looking up, is a way of life. the sky is big, and graffiti ed onto your consciousness.
In London, though, looking up is a minority sport. but you see some surprising things when you do.
Three examples this morning. The Coliseum is surmounted by a wrought iron globe resting on the shoulders of nine slave boys. Then there's four lions. Only then four muses. An odd hierarchy for a theatre.
At the corner of St. Martin's Place, there's an automaton of a cooper, endlessly and pointlessly raising and dropping his left arm. Look only at street level and you miss him.
Also easy to miss, there are portholes in the spire of St. Martin's in the Field. Why?
This afternoon I am off to the bank of England. Think I'll try and get a bail out package for small consultancy businesses. What better use for the taxpayer's pound?
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Eating bean soup. Blasting my linked in presence. Thinking about tattoos to mark spiritual endeavour. Acting as moral guardian to a film making project. Writing and preparing spiritual exercises. Pondering my secular grace. Paying attention to food. Pissing about with simplistic formulae on Excel. Nursing my broken arm. Dreading a manual car. Loving clementines. Discovering Fruit and Fibre as the all day all time ideal snack. Watching Man on Wire and wondering about what came afterwards. Punting After as a film idea. Breathing. Allowing peace with an identification of myself beyond achiever. Questioning where will it all go. Noticing that mainly nothing happens and we spend so much of our effort making sure it never does. Listening to Rob talking about why Languages at Lunch closed, and how he stayed at a cheap hotel and got a photo of a naked man under his door with a phone number on it. Thinking that was the really funny and interesting part of the story. Wondering at small ritual. Farting. Noticing all the things I hadn't noticed I do automatically with my left arm. Thanking you, Mr. Leftarm. Manifesting graham to move his trailer. Smiling at Steve Willett's email, and at the box that contains Zara's ballet shoes. Typing. Programming the satnav for Yas. Mooching into the sitting room and playing San Diego Serenade slow enough for a left hand that can't. Texting Harvey about dreams project. Waking at 4 am and wondering when the owl will pack it in. Breathing. Placing thought in its rightful place. Teasing Yas's potential client. Taking my 68 steps daily exercise. Investigating San Diego serenade lyrics. Crooning. Juggling money. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Saying "never surrender" for a sound exhibitioon. Making a fire. Reading formulas for now. Being inspired by banksy. Returning to peace. Berating myself for doing nothing when I am in fact doing all this. Losing weight. And processing that bean soup too. Clever.
AN EVOLVING MANIFESTO FOR HR
This piece sprang from using the idea of manifestos as a team facilitation technique recently. It got me thinking. I visited Worms cathedral, and became familiar with the Cluetrain manifesto. this is a work in progress. Don't know if it'll reach 95 theses. If it does I'll be visiting a few clients with a hammer and nails.
Hours get longer. Despite a work life balance movement, increasing chunks of our lives are spent in our workplace, and the majority of our waking hours are lived out here.
This makes organisations a social battleground.
In the past, organisational thinking has focused on the profit side of the equation – what shareholders get out of it.
But to produce profit, something is being spent. That something is the waking lives of people producing those profits.
- Scant respect has been given to this side of the equation. Yet ask any cancer victim which is more precious – time or money, and you will gain a perspective on the relative value of these commodities.
- Shareholders are not, of course, interested in what is being spent to get their rewards. They are only interested in the rewards.
- Organisations have become insatiable profit markets in their own right. This thinking obscures the most obvious fact of organisations which is that they do not exist to make profit. In fact, you can’t just make profit. You have to do something else first. Organisations exist to create the benefits for their customers that makes profit. There is a vital difference
- The language of organisations ignores this.
- Nowhere more than in the term Human Resources.
- Human motivation is ultimately much more to do with the spending of life – my life – than the production of profit – your profit (or even my profit),
- Paradoxically, though, this blindness to this other side of the equation leads to massive missed tricks.
- This is best witnessed in any field that has a calling. Actors, nurses, doctors, social workers, writers, aid workers all exemplify far higher levels of motivation and dedication than would be expected from an average workforce.
- Passion is the reserve of the heart. Money, the head.
- This has a relevance to the profiteer in the form of a paradox. The more one can generate a forgetfulness of money and a connection with heart and passion on the supply side of the equation, the more hard headed output will be generated on the other side of it.There are hard headed reasons for this, deeply embedded in the way society and markets have changed.
- Functional benefits are largely dying and being replaced by brand loyalty centred on emotional benefits. At least, the pace of technology change means that functional advantage tends to be more and more short lived.
- Emotional benefits are not delivered by machines, but by people.
- In service industries, this relationship is direct and one to one. In other fields it may be more indirect, but is nonetheless there.
- At its most remote, it consists of the ability of people to innovate, and to recreate and recreate again the benefits to their markets that produce profit.
- Yet, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, few organisations provide or encourage specific time for innovative thought. Ask yourself this question – how many days in your beautiful career have you dedicated to thinking innovatively?
- A measure of the way this tends to be ignored is the extent to which organisational leadership diagnoses “cost problems”. In practice, most cost problems are in fact revenue problems, or in world markets highly literate to emotional benefit – a people issue.
- The very term Human Resources reveals this discipline’s complicity in this shabby ignorance.
- It cannot be surprising therefore that HR has become the cabin boy of more muscular but unimaginative leadership, on the one hand pilloried for being dull and procedural, on the other for being fluffy and irrelevant.
- When HR can claim clear understanding and an ability to act upon the essential logic links to profit, it can be redeemed. It must be remembered that accountants produce nothing but measurement. People, on the other hand, sweat. So understanding people ought logically to have a primacy in a search for profit.
- Terms like inclusion and diversity do not signal an understanding of the intimate link between people and emotional benefit taken to market. They simply mark a further complicity with woolly thought.
- Human capital is likewise another feeble rebranding exercise, devoid of understanding that the real asset is that which cannot be easily measured. It is the generation and development of ideas that create, recreate and continue to recreate market advantage.
- If market advantage is to come increasingly from the deployment of emotional benefit, then some of the normal understandings need to be planted on their heads.
- One is about leadership. New world leadership centres on the desertion of ego. With ego comes control need. With every control step, a little piece of people’s passion gets killed. This is not a manifesto for chaos, but for a careful examination of what facilitating ideas really means.
- Another is about training. Untraining will be of new world importance.
- Play will become more important. The emotional landscape is a playful one, and it is in the realm of play that workers can create the ideas that have emotional appeal. Without play, tired, serious ideas that take themselves way too seriously will be what emerge.
- As markets speed, so thought needs to slow. Creative space is slow space.
- People will need to think about stuff other than what they are meant to be thinking about.
- Invention lies in just dicking around.
- In being extraordinary, there is a paradox of priorities. The unimportant and trivial, such as the nature of an envelope, or the way candidates rejected for jobs are treated, become of high importance in establishing emotional credentials. Brands like Virgin and Innocent understand this well.
- The free child voice and the adult to adult transaction ascend over traditional parent child transactional styles, both between organization and audience, and organization and employee.