Tuesday, 24 November 2009

More from the CIPD conference – developing a culture of…


Lousy T shirt   There were quite a few sessions at the conference about developing a culture of something, eg of:

  • Coaching (Jane Turner, Newcastle Business School)
  • High performance (David Smith, ex-ASDA)
  • Homogeneity in a global context (Mark Adams, Abbey / Santander)
  • Innovation (Jaideep Prabhu, University of Cambridge)
  • Integrity (Roger Steare, Cass Business School)
  • Leadership (Anete Jajkowska, Microsoft)
  • Resilience (Rebecca McIntosh and Claire Jelley, also at the University of Cambridge, but internal this time).


However, there wasn’t any linking between sessions these even thought the actions organisations need to take to develop each one of these cultures are largely the same thing!

Basically, there are two or three key steps:


1.    Decide what / how you want to be

Organisations can’t do everything, so the key question is which of the capabilities from the above list are most important for you?  Having a clear BHAG or mojo will make this easier for you.

Describe the required capability in detail – what behaviours and actions will you expect to see when this capability is in place?  This becomes what McIntosh and Jelley referred to as their North Star.

This is, of course, where things between each of the culture types are a bit different, and where some knowledge of the particular type of culture, and what attributes / behaviours support it, is required.

For a culture of innovation for example, Jaideep Prabhu suggests that organisations need three particular attitudes:

  • Future market focus
  • Willingness to cannibalise
  • Tolerance for risk.


Once these three things are in place, innovation should follow.

Actually, I think there’s probably a bit more too it than this ( read my post on Hal Gregersen’s presentation, and listen to the last Talking HR show where I discussed developing innovative cultures with MOK from the Innovation Beehive).


2.   Decide on the actions which are going to lead to the required attitudes (and them do them)

For innovation, Prabhu suggests the following:

  • Product champions
  • Asymmetric incentives
  • Internal markets.


Once again, I think it’s a little more complicated that this!  In fact, it’s the actions Prabhu doesn’t mention, that are common to the development of all these different types of culture that are the most important.

So, what are these?


Hard issues

Well, there are a few ‘hard’ issues, such as getting your ducks in a row, ie linking all of your HR and management activities to the required capability, and then monitoring these activities (see Microsoft’s system model, and people scorecard):





You might even want to produce a few T-shirts?


Soft issues

But the soft areas are the harder ones (if you see what I mean).

David Smith did a good job of describing some of these in connection with ASDA’s journey:

  • Hire for attitude
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • Listening
  • Engaging style of management and leadership
  • Remove your underperfomers, push your talent
  • Recognition
  • Fun / buzz and a sense of community.


But I think Roger Steare captured what’s at the heart of changing these soft issues even more accurately.  For him, good behaviour and culture is when:

  • People stop and think
  • People talk about shared values
  • People unite around a common purpose
  • People act fairly for the common good.


Out of these, it’s talking (- particularly about what’s important - see Emmanuel Gobillot’s ‘narratives’) which is at the hear of culture change.  There was a good post on this in Harvard Business / Peter Bregman’s blog How We Work, this Summer.  This put culture change down to the way we tell stories:

"You change a culture with stories. Right now your stories are about how hard you work people. Like the woman you forced to work on her wedding day. You may not be proud of it, but it's the story you tell. That story conveys your culture simply and reliably. And I'm certain you're not the only one who tells it. You can be sure the bride tells it. And all her friends. If you want to change the culture, you have to change the stories.

I told him not to change the performance review system, the rewards packages, the training programs. Don't change anything. Not yet anyway. For now, just change the stories. For a while there will be a disconnect between the new stories and the entrenched systems promoting the old culture. And that disconnect will create tension. Tension that can be harnessed to create mechanisms to support the new stories.”


It emphasises, I think, that much of what we mean when we talk about culture change is actually social capital (which I define as the value of the connections, relationships and conversations taking place between people in an organisation).

And which brings us straight back to the importance of Connectivity again!


Cross posted from Strategic HCM.


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Sunday, 22 November 2009

CIPD conference summary: Connectivity


   Jackie Orme didn’t include this as a theme, but it was certainly one for me.  And I think it builds upon the previous three: transparency, authenticity and sustainability.  And behind this is the fact that we live in a social world – and this came through strongly too:

  • In ‘Leadershift’, Emmanuel Gobillot suggested that leadership needs to be connected
  • In ‘The Future of Work and Organisations’, Richard Worsley from the Tomorrow Project noted that knowledge is a social activity
  • In ‘Harnessing the Power of Social Media’, Nick Shackleton-Jones explained that learning is largely social too (that information comes with emotional tags)
  • And in ‘Coaching to build Innovative Mindsets’, Nick Jankel from wecreate positioned social collaboration as a basis for innovation.


Social connecting also came up in presentations from:

  • Callum Petrie from Philips Electronics, where connecting with employees is seen as a basis for performance (see slide)
  • Kathryn Pritchard and Judy Noonan from iris, for similar reasons
  • Jacky Simmons from TUI, where interrelating is positioned as the centrepiece of an approach to developing organisational resilience.  Interrelating consists of:
    • Connecting across the organisation through the development of strong networks
    • Collaborating by developing shared plans, cooperating and sharing knowledge.


But probably the most powerful argument for improving connectivity was provided by Andrew Kakabadse from Cranfield in his presentation on the divisions between members of top teams.

Kakabadse’s research suggests that banks knew about the credit problems 15 months before the financial meltdown, but that division, denial and paralysis had become the cultural norm.  More broadly, he suggests that Boards often share few penetrating insights and have little shared view of differentiation and competitive advantage.

If this is the case, how likely will it be that employees will all share one common view?


So what can organisations do to develop greater connectivity and improve collaboration?  I’ve already posted on the role of social media, but there are many other opportunities too.  In his session on organisation design, Andrew Campbell from Ashridge suggested that organisations need to guard against these blockages on collaboration:

  • Unclear objectives
  • Differing objectives or incentives
  • Competition for money, people, promotion, praise
  • Unclear authorities
  • Transfer prices
  • Physical or cultural distances
  • Interfering bosses
  • Control freeks or secrecy.


And in her workshop on ‘Facilitating OD Interventions’, Sylvia Baumgartner suggested that we need to influence group dynamics, particularly as work becomes increasingly situational and less routine.  Appropriate OD interventions include:

  • Diagnostic activities
  • Team-building activities
  • Survey feedback activities
  • Education and training activities
  • Structuring activities
  • Process Consultation activities
  • Third-party mediation activities
  • Competency development
  • Coaching and counselling
  • Life and Career Planning activities
  • Planning and Goal Setting activities
  • Strategic Management activities
  • Organisational Transformation activities
  • Organisational Effectiveness
  • TQM (Total Quality Management)
  • Conversations…..


All of the above issues and activities are things that I deal with on this and my other blog, Strategic HCM.

It’s why I was rather critical of the session on Next Generation HR.  The rise of connectivity is leading to much bigger changes that those identified there.

These include the social business (enabling organisations to connect with their people) and social HR  / HR 2.0 (the move to facilitating rather than managing HR outcomes).

And it’s also why I was delighted with Shaa Wasmund’s description of me in her tweet:

Shaa Wasmund tweet


(This post is cross posted from Strategic HCM.)


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Thursday, 19 November 2009

CIPD09: A New Leadership Paradigm (Part 2)


   Live blog from the CIPD 2009 conference final panel keynote:




And it’s a wrap!


This post has been cross-posted from Strategic HCM.  Also Also see part 1 of this post there.



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CIPD09: A New Leadership Paradigm


   I enjoyed day 2 of the CIPD Conference more than day 1 (I met some people who thought the reverse, so of course it’s a personal thing, partly depending upon which sessions you attend, and a whole heap of other things as well).  I particularly enjoyed Nick Baylis on ‘the Rough Guide to Happiness’ and Sarah Redshaw from Unilever on ‘Building Transformation through Engagement’.  I’ve not blogged on these sessions, but you can see plenty of tweets from me and others on Twitter, using the hashtag #CIPD09 (if you don’t know what this means, you really should you know).

The highlight from today should be the end of day keynote, ‘a New Leadership Paradigm’.  The outline certainly looks interesting (and just seeing John Humphrys live should be good):


Public respect for leaders has hit an all time low. The exposed inadequacy of those in leadership positions has brought current thinking on leadership and the established models into question.

Today, it seems that there is a substantial lack of ‘real’ and successful leaders equipped with both the resilience and capability to deal with the complexity and pressures of the ever changing global market. So are we now at a cross roads? Is this an ideal opportunity to challenge the current view of what it takes to be a good leader and to establish what behaviours and competences will be needed to lead organisations and societies into our uncertain future?

Join us to debate:

  • Why and how have traditional models failed?
  • How can we learn from the past and build on its successes?
  • How can we re-establish leadership credibility?
  • What skills and attributes will successful leaders of the future need?



I’ll be live blogging from the session, but here are a few thoughts to warm-things up.

Firstly, I think it is a really big and important question.  I do think existing leadership is failing.  Look at Hay’s stats from yesterday, or simply the end results (the recession we’re now in).  And we know that leadership accounts for a significant part of this (Jim Collins’ point that leaders can destroy organisations on their own).

I agree that resilience and capability are part of what needs to be fixed.  But I think attitudes need changing too.  We need to look again at what we mean by leadership and change the way that leaders lead.

And we’ve had a few pointers during the conference, particularly from Jim Collins on Level 5 leadership, and the need for leaders to act through others to create greatness; and Emmanuel Gobillot on the connected leader in his session on Leadershift.

Leaders may have a particular role but they achieve success through their community.

It seems to be a view that’s taking off.

I was talking about this with Jonathan Austin at the Best Companies exhibition stand yesterday too.  He had just attended a session with Edgar Schein where Schein had been talking about leaders as ‘humble engineers’ who need to work through others to make their organisations work.  And I’ve already posted on Social Advantage on Henry Mintzberg’s concept of Communityship.

Emphasising that companies are not collectives of human resources, but communities of human beings, Mintzberg suggests that traditional views of leadership isolate people in leadership positions, thereby undermining a sense of community in organisations.  He believes leadership and communityship go hand-in-hand: "A community leader is personally engaged in order to engage others, so that anyone and everyone can exercise initiative".

And it’s by developing this sense of community that individuals become bound to each other and start to want to focus on developing the productivity of their organisation as a whole, rather than acting purely out of self-interest.


That’d be the basis of my answer if I was on the stage today.  And it’s also one of the things I write about at my other blog, Social Advantage, and you might want to check over there.

Join me for the live blog if you can!


This post is cross posted from Strategic HCM.


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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Using social media at CIPD09


My favourite session yesterday was Nick Shackleton-Jones (@shackletonjones) on the use of social media supporting online learning at the BBC.  I was going to blog on this, but Rob Moss from Personnel Today got their first, so see his summary on this.

Instead, I thought I’d write about the use of social media at the CIPD conference itself.

There have been quite a few of us blogging and tweeting, and in many ways, this has led to the development of a small community, sharing experiences and learning with everyone else through social media, but also face-to-face between ourselves.   At times, it’s felt like a conference within a conference.

So, thanks for a great conference everybody!

Martin Couzins (@martincouzins) and Rob Moss (@robmoss) plus Kat Baker and Louisa Peacock from Personnel Today / XpertHR (@PersonnelToday  / @XpertHR / @HRSpace), all busy in the Press Office:



Charlie Duff (@charlie_elise) from HR Zone (@HRZone) :


Adrienne Fox (@foxlondon)writing for HR Magazine (US):


Jennifer Liston-Smith (@listonsmith) writing for the BPS:


Mike Morrison from RapidBI (@rapidbi) on the right, also with Nick Spindler from Nationwide:

(Check our Mike’s notes from the conference at cipd2008.blogspot.com)


Steve Bridger (@stevebridger) from CIPD Communities (@CIPDcommunities):



Last night, we met up at the CIPD’s tweet-up.

Julia (Twitter username pending!):


Mike (@rapidbi) with Klothilde (@kganzer):


Steve and David (sharing @RightwayCWS) with Irsa (username pending)


The CIPD’s Natalia (@NAlexandrou or @CIPD_Events) with Charlie (@charlie_elise or @HRZone) and Steve (@stevebridger or @CIPDcommunities):



Well done to the CIPD for raising the role of social media this year.  There’s still a way to go, but it’s been a very good start.


A few other non-Twitter peeps (I won’t say ‘muggles’ again!).

Perry Timms from the BIG Lottery Fund before his session ‘Communicating with Impact’:


Former colleague, Alison Crossley:


The Elsevier stand – my book’s just about visible on the back shelf:




Cross-posted from my Strategic HCM blog.


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Monday, 16 November 2009

HR & social media workshops


HR Society logo   I’m doing quite a few workshops on HR’s use of social media over the next few months.

One session I’ve just agreed on is going to be with the HR Society (not till March though).

I’m going to be looking at the 3 parts of the agenda I believe are important:

  • The Social business – what this is, and why it’s a great opportunity for HR
  • Social HR – how HR can use social media tools to support recruitment, learning etc.
  • Social media practice – an experiential session ensuring all participants have some personal understanding of how they might use the tools themselves.


If you’re a member, do ensure you’ll come along, and if not join! – or ask me to do a session just for you and your organisation etc.



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Monday, 9 November 2009

Enterprise 2.0 conference: Connecting the Dots


   In his comment to my last but one post, reviewing Andrew McAfee’s book and his presentation at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Mike Ricard, Enterprise 2.0 Community Manager at Reed Elsevier responds to my view that Enterprise 2.0 needs to be much broader than IT by stating:

“Those tools are social enablers. The alternative I have seen HR suggest are people networking 'get togethers'. That's OK if you are in the same country and you can manage to coordinate your schedules, but what if you are not and you can't? And often it is the same A-types who dominate the proceedings.”


I have responded that:

“I don't mean to trash web 2.0. I agree it an absolutely key social enabler. But I think there are more... and that HR can do much more than organise get-togethers too.”


I hope to take this argument to the next Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston next Summer.  I’ve submitted my proposal (the first one on the site) and you’ll have the opportunity to vote for it from early next year.

Here’s the text:


Connecting the Dots to Competitive Advantage

Session Description

Enterprise 2.0 can increase efficiencies and help meet business objectives but it can also generate competitive advantage. To create higher levels of value, the use of social technologies needs to be linked to other organizational enablers, eg HR practices, OD interventions, facilities design etc. This session will show how.


Professional Biography

Jon Ingham consults with organizations to help them develop human and social capital as a key source of competitive advantage.

He generally works with employers that already have sound management approaches and helps them extend their agendas to gain further improvements in the capabilities and engagement of their people, and the effectiveness of their organizations. He is based in the UK but works on a global basis.

Jon also works as a researcher, speaker, trainer and writer. He has recently spoken in the US, Europe,Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He has also lectured in strategic management, change management and human resources on executive MBA courses in both West and East Europe.

Jon started his career in Engineering, then spent six years working in IT before moving into Change Management where he has spent most of his career. He has also worked internationally as an HR Director.

Jon has a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Engineering and an MBA. He is a Certified Management Consultant, a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and its occupational psychology division, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).


Company Background

Strategic Dynamics Consultancy Services Ltd is a human capital and change management consultancy with a difference. What makes us unique are our beliefs that:

  • People are a key source of innovation and competitive advantage - we use this insight to help transform people and organisational capability
  • People are the focus of effective change – we work with, not against, the quirks of human spirit and the dynamics of human behaviour
  • People work best in open, challenging, collaborative relationships – our consultancy services are based on this approach.


The consultancy is led by Jon Ingham, an experienced business manager and consultant, and is supported by a small team of employed and associate consultants.



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Friday, 6 November 2009

Andrew McAfee on measuring social media (and ROI)


money   The other section of his book that I think McAfee has written very well is the one on measurement.

I haven’t always been a fan of his approach on measurement which, like his general conceptualisation of Enterprise 2.0, seems to me to focus too much on activities (use of web 2.0 tools) and business benefits with very little focus on the intermediary stage of outcomes (social capital) which I consider to be the most important aspect of this field.  See for example this quote from one of his blog posts:

Why not measure instead what we’re really interested in –  innovativeness, productivity, service levels, etc.?  For one thing, they can be hard to measure… So I advocate measuring and evaluating people based on their contributions to E2.0, and have some faith that E2.0 helps with innovation, productivity, service, etc..”


However I do like the way that, in the book, McAfee suggests organisations should measure progress, not ROI:

“It’s possible to quantify many things about an Enterprise 2.0 initiative: the number of blog posts and comments; the number of wiki edits, editors and new pages; the population of tags created; the volume of trades and traders in prediction markets; the number of members in a technology-facilitated social network and the volume of updates they share with one another; the popularity of all these ESSPs as measured by the number of times they’re viewed; and so on.

It’s also both possible and smart to collect case studies; anecdotes, and examples over the course of the effort to demonstrate the values of ESSPs.

I do not, however, advocate that decision makers should ask for quantitative ROI analyses, either before approving an Enterprise 2.0 effort or to assess its progress.”


To support this view, McAfee includes a quote from Kaplan and Norton that I also include in my own book (p145) to explain the same point:

“Improvements in intangible assets affect financial outcomes through chains of cause-and-effect relationships.”


These relationships mean that valuing benefits is always going to incur “estimates, at worst pure speculation”, particularly in separating impacts from “contemporaneous individual-and organisation-level changes”.

McAfee recommends that instead, Enterprise 2.0 advocates put together a business case that has three main elements:

Stages in my value chain McAfee elements
Input “Cost and time lines: The cost portion of the cost-benefit analysis.”
Activity “Technology footprint: A technology’s footprint is its geographic, divisional, and / or functional reach.”

“Benefits expected: When describing benefits, it’s often useful to include short case studies or examples of the results of other ESSP deployments.”


McAfee concludes:

“A discussion of whether it’s worthwhile to pursue Enterprise 2.0 should revolve around whether these benefits are worth the cost, not whether the ROI figure for the project clears some hurdle rate.  I have never spoken with a leader or participant in a health Enterprise 2.0 initiative who wishes that she had calculated an ROI figure, whereas I have spoken with many people who have described their ROI exercises as unproductive uses of time and effort.”


I agree 100% with the conclusion, although I retain my concerns about not splitting out Outcomes and Business Impacts to make these benefits clearer still.


Photo credit: At.morey.tota


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Thursday, 5 November 2009

Andrew McAfee: Enterprise 2.0 (beta)


McAfee  I’ve been following proceedings at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week (and wishing I was there – or actually anywhere but here given the weather at the moment).

And I’ve also been reading the rest of Andrew McAfee’s book on Enterprise 2.0 (McAfee’s presentation at the conference is available on E2TV).


What I like about the book:

The technology

I really like McAfee’s explanation of the technology and its uses.  As a regular reader of his blog, there’s a not a lot new here for me, but it’s still interesting stuff.

And that’s it on that - I’m going to move on because McAfee’s views on the technology aren’t something I’d want to criticise either positively or negatively as he clearly knows an awful lot more about all of this than me.


Adoption of the technology

And in any case, my favourite sections of the book are those chapters (6,7 and 8) at the end of the book dealing with adoption of web 2.0 tools (ESSPs: emergent social software platforms):

“I’ve noticed that concerns around Enterprise 2.0 fall into two broad categories: fears that people won’t use the newly available ESSPs , and fear that they will.  The latter, which stem from the lack of upfront control common to ESSPs, tend to crop up first.  When first exposed to these technologies, business decision makers voice concerns about what happens when direct control is surrendered and many people can freely contribute to information platforms.  The scenario of broad participation in these platforms behind the firewall gives rise to a consistent set of worrying questions:

  • What if employees use their internal blogs to post hate speech or pornography, or to harass a coworker?
  • What if blogs are used to denigrate the company itself, air dirty laundry, or talk about how misguided its leadership and strategy are?"
  • etc (it’s a good, and quite a long list!)


However, McAfee notes that whilst he deliberately looks for horror stories, he has yet to find any that make him question whether the risks associated with web 2.0 tools outweigh the benefits.

The risks are normally mitigated by:

  • Comments being attributable
  • Self-policing
  • Role modelling and intervention by formal leaders
  • Most people knowing how to act professionally, including when they’re online.


Behavioural problems in adoption

The second of McAfee’s concerns seem more appropriate.  Take-up of web 2.0 tools is not always fast and spontaneous:

“It’s easy to be impressed by the large, dynamic, and vibrant Web 2.0 communities on the Internet and so to overlook the fact that they’re actually quite tiny when expressed as a percentage of all Internet users.  A key challenge, then, for all Enterprise 2.0 advocates is… to understand why the ‘ ambient percentage’ of contributors to organizational ESSPs isn’t higher.

  • Are the technologies themselves too primitive, or are they difficult to learn and use?
  • Do some managers in an organization actually act to block Enterprise 2.0, because they don’t want information to flow more freely?
  • Or are the real roadblocks internal, rooted somewhere in the heads of individuals [users]?”


McAfee reports that the main barrier isn’t technology.  And it’s not managers (other than as another category of user) – something that surprised him (and me).  It is getting people to change the way they work, and “their choices, biases and endowments”.  This is hard, and therefore:

“Many organizations, especially larger ones, have found that ESSPs remain a niche technology even well after their introduction, used by only a relatively small portion of the workforce, and lagging far behind the universal deployment of older channel technologies like e-mail.”


What I like less

The starting point

The first thing I’m less positive about is McAfee’s answer to the key question that organisations ask: “how should we start?”.

“I respond by asking them to talk a bit more about what they mean by Enterprise 2.0 and by introducing the concepts of the tie strength bull’s-eye and the set of possible benefits.  I have found that these frameworks help focus the discussion about ESSPs for the enterprise in productive ways.”


Now, I do like McAfee’s discussion of social ties, but I don’t like the way he allocates different web 2.0 technologies, and his case studies, with the different types of tie.

The choice of application is about purpose (connecting / collecting) not context (tie strength)

(The main difference between the VistaPrint and Serena Software examples isn’t one of tie strength.  To me, the difference is between connecting (people) and collecting (knowledge).  Wikis are for collecting (Vistaprint) and social networks are for connecting (Serena).)

Purpose becomes clear if organisations answer their question using my model instead of McAfee’s (see this post or the slides from my recent Social Media in Business presentation).


It’s not not about being social

I’m cheating here, as this comment is about McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0 conference presentation rather than the book, but I do disagree with him that there is danger in the word ‘social’.

I’ve already dealt with this, so check out this post for my thoughts on this.


It’s not not not (not?) about technology

But my biggest concern is that I still think McAfee’s focus on technology in Enterprise 2.0’s is too heavy (particularly given his comments on the limited take-up in many organisations).

MacAfee seems to recognise this, explaining that Enterprise 2.0 is not primarily a technological phenomenon. 

But then he still says that Enterprise 2.0 is the phenomenon that occurs when organisations adopt the tools and approaches of Web 2.0.  If that’s not putting IT at the heart of his definition, I don’t know what is!


And this leads us to the central problem with Enterprise 2.0 which is that it’s still IT which is making all the running in this field.

Why is it that it’s someone from IT’s who has written the standard text on something that’s basically about behavioural change.

Why isn’t someone from HR writing this.  Oh wait, they are!  And I hope to start sharing some drafts of it with you in a couple of month’s time.


Also see:


Photo credit: Alex Dunne


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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Looking back to November 2008


  You may also be interested in these posts from the end of last year:


Or even the year before?


My contact details:

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