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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