Monthly Archives: September 2015

CIPD MAP 15: Be HR Smart

I’m delighted to be covering social media with Helen Amery for the forthcoming CIPD Midlands Area Partnership event, this Saturday 3rd October in Hinckley, Leicestershire. I’ll be blogging here and also tweeting via @jostepho.

The event title ‘Develop yourself and shape your future’ makes two assumptions.

First, that you want to develop yourself 

Second, that you can shape your own future

My assumption from recognising that you’ve given up your Saturday to be at this event is that you care not just about your development, but also about developing others, and I’m excited to be learning with that group of people. As an enthusiastic L+Der I’m always seeking learning, embodying Carol Dwecks ‘Growth Mindset’ and believing that human capacity is infact limitless. 

I’m looking forward to hearing our fellow HR professionals share their career journeys of how they got to where they are now. I imagine there will be highs and lows, and I’m hoping to feel inspired by others’ self-belief and courage (no pressure guys). 

During writing this blog a tweet caught my eye (from @adyhowes also from the Midlands, just down ‘road from me). The interaction started:

“Do you agree that the only stories worth sharing are those that you are passionate about”

To which Ady replied “I have to say I don’t. The stories that others find passion about are worth sharing too”

‘My beautiful career and other stories’ is the tile of Professor John Arnold’s workshop, which you can catch at 11.30 or 13.30. My co-blogger for the event Helen Amery will be attending John’s workshop, which means unfortunately I’ll miss it (and will look forward to Helen’s blog instead). Just the title draws me to reflect on my own career, and to consider it as the ‘beautiful’ journey that has shaped who I am today.

The thing is, I’ve always had someone in my sights. No not like that. I mean a rolemodel, or somebody standing over there doing that, who I’ve looked across/up at and thought ‘I want to be doing what you’re doing’. When I reflect back it’s feels important to remember how impossible it was for me to imagine myself doing ‘that’. Rarely did I approach these seemingly huge aspirations with an action plan, yet somehow maybe from self-belief/hard work/determination/attitude, things happened. No wait – I made things happen. I shaped my own future. 

Is the challenge knowing how so that we can repeat the success? Or being brave enough to dream big and just believing you’ll get there in your own sweet time?

11 years ago I was a support worker in a 33 bed direct access hostel for homeless adults. Use your imagination in place of my elaboration. Lots of night shifts, lots of action, tons of learning about the people stuff, often the hard way. I definitely didn’t earn much but I definitely became richer. When I look back, I think I loved that job. People I supported often had workers from Addaction, and I sat in on treatment sessions and learnt about Harm Reduction (small interventions with a big impact). Then one day I attended a training session on Drug and Alcohol Awareness. I was enthralled and watched the facilitator with admiration thinking ‘I want to be doing what you’re doing’. It felt out of reach. 8 years later I became Learning and Development Manager for Addaction UK.

Now I’m wondering what I’ll be doing in 8 years time.

What’s your story? When did you last stop and reflect?

See you Saturday!


Empathy I

You say it’s innate. We either have it or we don’t. Like a personality trait you can own and admire in others.

Others say it’s learnt. The capacity is innate, in all of us, and in fact just believing it’s learnable will impact how effectively you demonstrate it when the stretch is a little further. A little harder.

You can walk in another’s shoes. See from another’s perspective. Use your imagination to understand how the world looks, feels, lands for that person, over there. What wonder. What richness.

Your sympathy and “sorry for” feelings; your identifying with similarities; self-indulgently hold no strength when it comes your ability to express empathy.

It builds bridges that don’t need crossing. The bridge itself is enough. The attempt to build the bridge is enough. The belief there can be a bridge is…

Empathy opens, connects, warms. Empathy is sharp, it wounds, it can hurt. Ready or not, here it comes.

I’m wondering how you are and knowing enough to see, and when it’s painful I feel it. Even though I don’t want to. I search for the switch. What’s learnt and can be un-learnt.

What Shaped Me

It’s not an easy question to answer because I’m pretty sure I’m still being shaped. It’s an ongoing thing enhanced by spending time in the company of people that enrich life. Which actually they all do, if your open to noticing.

Plus, right now feels particularly transitional.

And I think Helen’s right. A lot of what shapes me is for friends over wine (or other beverage). Here’s some other stuff…

1. At 13 I volunteered as a 1:1 befriender at a summer play-scheme for children with disabilities (totally different name then). I was paired with 18 year old who needed me to help with every everyday activity, but couldnt tell me what he needed. I took a group of teenagers out on a boat at the local reservoir. We survived. That shaped me.

2. At 18 I volunteered as a telephone counsellor with ChildLine. I learnt to listen, and often drove home in tears. At the same time I experienced excellent supervision and promised myself I’d replicate it for others. I helped train new counsellors and got a taste for exceptional L+D. That shaped me.

3. My first FT job was night shifts in a 33 bed direct access hostel for homeless adults in Derby city. Ever worked in one? Ever been in one? Places that come alive at night. There are many many stories. I also worked at a mental health specific residence. I realised I couldn’t. That shaped me.

4. At 13 I found out I had a Dutch Brother living in Holland. Aged 14 I met him. We eventually got to know and love each other over social media and then Hendricks last year. In May I had breakfast with my brother and sister for the first time ever the morning of her wedding – magic. This has shaped me. 

5. Psychology degree. She said “by the end of this year you’ll be a psychologist”. That happened and shaped me.

6. Studying at masters level: failing, succeeding. The people I know who coach and lead. This is shaping me.

7. I delivered a developmental programme for offenders. Turns out sex offenders have more community sentence hours to spend. We developed soft skills whilst climbing, kayaking, weaselling and other experiential stuff. I wonder what you believe about treatment or interventions to change people in this context. This shaped me.

8. As a young persons substance misuse worker I attended many child in need and child protection meetings. I worked with an 8 year old using aerosol (the most high risk and lethal drug use possible). Turned out there were reasons for that. That shaped me.

9. I learnt MI and SFBT and CBA and used it to enable growth and change in others. Then developed these skills in others, and now develop others to develop others to…. enable growth and change in others. This has become part of me.

10. The people I meet through the work I do shape me. Everyone I connect with brings richness. Thank you for shaping me.