On the Fringe – In Manchester

This year the CIPD conference is back in Manchester on November 5th and 6th. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed helping out at this event, and I’m really pleased to be going back again in 2014. In previous years I’ve done a lot of blogging, given talks on social leadership, culture and HR, and last year I had a lot of fun curating content for the CIPD on their tumblr channel. Things need to move on, things need to change, and so 2014 is going to be a little different for me. In addition to meeting lots of lovely people and learning something new, I’ll be playing a bit closer to the fringe this year, most of the time with my friend Meg Peppin.

Early Start

I’m heading to Manchester the day before the conference, to run an Art for Work’s Sake session. This is an interactive, useful and fun workshop to help you think about ways to be more creative at work. Here’s a review of the last Manchester session and if you’d like to come to this one, tickets cost just £80 and you can get £10 off by using the discount code CIPDConf when you book.

Reflect and Connect

Reflect and Connect

Meg and I have been asked to facilitate some open space conversation around what people are learning and how they might apply that learning in their work. Reflect and Connect takes place on the CIPD stand between 1pm and 1.30pm Wednesday and Thursday. These sessions are open to all, and we particularly hope that people attending the event on their own will take part and meet new people. No ticket required for this one – just turn up, meet people and share something interesting.

Street Wisdom

On the Wednesday morning – there’s a chance to hit the streets, and walk and talk and think. Tickets for Street Wisdom, which runs from 10.45 to 13.45 are available here. To be clear – I’m not taking part in this – I can’t fit it into my diary – and I see it as part of the wider fringe activities so I am listing it here for anyone who might be interested.

The Art of Conversation

Everyone in HR appreciates the power of a good conversation. Join us for a drink and a chat, and play with some simple ideas to explore the art of good conversation. Come and reflect on the conference and exhibition so far, and connect with other professionals in a social setting. This is an early evening get together at Epernay between 18:45 and 20:00. It’s free to attend, please grab your ticket here so we know how many people to expect.

HR Unscrambled

HR Unscrambled is back for it’s second year. What is it? A mini unconference, where you help set the agenda, and then talk about how to make work better with your fellow HR professionals. Last time out – we spoke about connecting, sharing and learning, and the future for the profession. HR Unscrambled is on Thursday morning between 08:00 and 09:15, it is free to attend and you will need a ticket, available here.

If you are going to the conference this year – it would be lovely to see you at some of these sessions. In addition to all this, I’m particularly looking forward to hearing from Rita McGrath as she asks, ‘Are We All Entrepreneurs now?’ and explores how small changes mean so much for business agility. Small is the new significant – a favourite subject of mine. What are you looking forward to?

Creativity Constrained – HR Tech Haikus

Haiku: Noun. A Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

Today my blog post
Is based on the haiku form
Will it work or not?

I spoke with Heather
Tweeting from a conference
About HR tech

She encouraged me
To give haiku tweets a try
Here are some of mine

Data has a soul
And to find it you must search
Way down in the mine

Data makes patterns
Numbers as flow and beauty
Your work is your art

Human capital
A name devoid of feelings
I’m not a number

HRTech Haiku
Sort the data from the flow
Aha! Now I see

Data in the cloud
It’s raining information
Drowning in numbers

Heather wrote some too
She said I could share with you
OK here we go

Data are just bits
Of fact, wrapped up in stories
Truth requires both

Data cannot drive.
It doesn’t do anything
Unless asked nicely

Workforce analytics
How do we measure spirit?
With data ripples

Engage your data
Algorithms need love too.
No more lonely code

Great #HRTechConf
Have a people hangover.
My brain is too full.

Ofen driven by constraint
You do more with less

My Week Sucks – Who Am I Kidding?

Monday, what a drag. You know how sometimes nothing goes wrong enough to make a fuss but somehow everything sucks just bad enough to leave you hollow by the day’s end? Yeah – that.

Monday evening – read Laurie Ruettimann’s blog post – felt better, more purposeful again.

Tuesday, quick out of the blocks. I always get excited when orders for Stop Doing Dumb Things come in, and I’m due a delivery from the printer with new stock too. While I wait for the DHL van to show I kick down my to do list.

Tick, tick, tick – I’m on the case, take that Tuesday! Delivery arrives – world turns upside down.

IMG_2789The top row is how the cards are supposed to look, the bottom row is what has arrived from the printers. Ouch! I reminded myself – ‘keep calm, there’s a solution in here somewhere’, and rang the printer. It turns out that three orders, including this restock, are all wrong. And to rub salt into the wound – some are going direct to clients, and the correct card template has been overwritten. The problem only affects a few cards in each deck but long story short, I am going to have to rebuild the complete set again from scratch.


Time to take my medicine and get on with it. I start on Tuesday afternoon and finish on…

Wednesday. After several hours of retyping, setting and colouring I’m done. Proof it – approve it – get on with it. Wednesday afternoon is all about prepping my management accounts and playing catch up, and so too is…

Thursday. I’m getting on with stuff, and yet drifting a bit, suffering some kind of sorry for myself post panic hangover. Then I check an email that arrived during all the hoohah from Joan, who I met two months ago in Illinois. It said:

‘You definitely made an impact in my world and the story you shared about your father’s pocket watch is still with me. I’ve started to follow your blog & professional posts as I so enjoy your writing. Wishing you a great day. Thanks again for all you do & share to help everyone else be better & do good things!’

Two things. 1 – Thanks Joan, what a lovely note. 2 – I think my week sucks – who am I kidding? Something went wrong, it got fixed, nobody died. I got a whole bunch of stuff done and best of all, Joan appreciates me. What’s not to like, dumbass! (Note: I’m talking to me right there, not you).

For the most part I have an optimistic outlook, and yet this week is a great reminder for me: negative stuff is a fact of life, it creeps in – and boy does it grow quickly when you let it. I think Meatloaf said it best when he sang: Bad things in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are. Or something.

I’m off to read Laurie’s post again, then I’m going to take Friday off and make a long weekend of it. May your week also close out in spectacular fashion.