Monthly Archives: October 2015

Motivation and Maslow

Hang on …I’m never throwing out Maslow.

I blog, becaaaaaaause I’m happyyy! And I blog, because I’m freeeee! Sister Act 2 anyone? No…!?

Theory like any reference or metaphors requires precise application. For example Prochaska and DiClementes Cycle of Change model, if you know it, share with someone to whom it can make a difference. Apply it somewhere  it can help people or someone become unstuck.

Here’s what happens when we deliver workshops on working with groups and train-the-trainer:

“Have you seen this theory of Maslow before”

Most people nod.

“What’s it a theory of?”

Most people don’t answer – the word ‘motivation’ is clearly visible.

“How does it make sense to you in leading groups and adult learning…”

And so it continues, and so many times I’m hearing or reading feedback about how “I’ve heard Maslow thrown in so many times but it never made sense before” or “that’s really shifted my thinking to be more people focused” about viewing the behaviour of others as need deficit rather than an unwanted negative trait.

Sukhs right in his encouragement that we keep reading new research and models. Deci’s self-determination theory (another oldie) is still relevant, and whilst the original isn’t current, there are studies grown from it that are. I’m still in the self-assessment for and of learning to enhance motivation and self-efficacy, and when that happens, stuff happens, differently.

And, I referenced Maslow, well (she said), in recent academic assessment.

Maslow is an easy and helpful model to switch from behaviourism to humanist thinking about others. A valuable and essential approach for leading in learning.

Are we really still following the loud and shiny voice that is Pink (also recently referenced), and not noticing that he’s taking psychology back to behaviourism. Yes in 2015! His progressive people focussed good stuff is marred with this. I’m not prepared to treat the people I work and learn with like robotic thinkers who can’t pause and make a different decision based on better thinking. When we know so much about the role of emotion and how we think, and how much potential we have. In fact, I’m determined to create environments that allow space and time to think. You deserve that from me as an L+Der.

No it’s not the only theory, and it certainly can be misused/overused and misunderstood. But we need to start somewhere, and so many times I’ve seen it start with Maslow.

It links to the functional model of behaviour repetition (and thus addiction) that suggests people take part in risk/harmful activities because the good bits fulfill functions: needs. Individually prioritised needs. Their motivation is needs based, not because they’re unable to think better, differently, or do something else instead. Behavioural economics assumes humans will just react, not thinking, and I’m not prepared to champion that.
If you want more reading or have more reading, get in touch and lets share.

And now read this from Simon Heath.



Sometimes I forget to listen.

Sometimes I’m so caught up with my own agenda, I forget to hear yours.

Sometimes, I care so much I want to take away your problem. I have so many solutions, I think I know what’s best for you. What you should do. I forget it’s your problem.

Sometimes I’m thinking about what to say next. What question. What direction. I forget that you’re leading.

Sometimes I recognise your problem. It’s familiar, I’ve heard it before

Then I pause, and I remind myself to ‘just listen’ and that which was feeling difficult, becomes easy again.

Empathy II

I’m not afraid of public speaking

In fact, if you say ‘Go’!

Right now

There are 2 things I would talk about – in no priority order

1. Is alcohol…everything about it

2. Is empathy…everything about it

Whilst it used to be my naive ambition to “reduce crime and stop child abuse”, now my passions lie firmly in the two items above. I got wise and gave up on the original ambition. Or …?

What is empathy?

You can define it

You can learn it

You can express it

But you’ll only truly understand it’s power when you feel it. That moment when another person expresses it in an attempt to test a hypothesis about how you’re feeling right now. Or about how that is or was for you. When someone listens and truly sees you. Makes the effort to truly see the part of you that is real and not yet seen. That blow to the gut. That good vulnerability. You’re accepted. You’re understood. You’re valued.

Thank you for that.

You didn’t feel what I felt – how could you. Nor did you attempt to. Your imagination was guided by your ability to notice everything I was communicating. In the safety and mutuality created when the power has moved out of the powerful and into the space between us where empathy passes. You permitted my permission to be me. And so I grew. I changed.

There will be two books: 1. Alcohol. 2. Empathy. Both will be forever here. Making the world go round.

Assumptions of an adult learning

As a student on a masters programme I made some assumptions…

I assumed there would be mutual respect 

I assumed that equality would be championed and diversity of thought would be celebrated 

 I assumed that I’d be encourage to lead on my own learning 

I assumed that criticality and reflexivity would be modelled  

I assumed that I would be engaged – with equal effort from all parties to engage and learn collaboratively

I assumed my assumptions would blown away by space and time to think, and by sharing others’ thinking 

I assumed that I would be viewed with positive regard as a being from which new thinking and knowledge and meaning can emerge…

Today I made an ass out of you and me

And I’m sad about that 

Why Top Achievers Set MASSIVE Goals #CIPDMAP15 

After a bustling and energising day meeting fellow HR and L+D professionals I’m getting comfy and bringing my attention to our Closing Keynote by David Hyner of Stretch Development titled ‘SMART goals DON’T work! – and why top achievers set MASSIVE goals’. 

David opens his plenary with self-deprication to engage “I know what you’re thinking, a small fat man from Birmingham…and I am”! Then leads to how we have to accept others, and we all make assumptions. He asked us: Do people make assumptions about you? Do you make assumptions about people? 

He thinks it’s worse when we make assumptions about ourselves. 

There’s reaching transparency about David’s approach, and he has laugh from the room in the first 5 minutes.

Those assumptions about ourselves are often based on “rubbish we were told as a child”. Our belief systems are based upon untrue assumptions and these now guide our thinking. David wants to know why are we using SMART goals on programmes including MBA and those in Harvard. The inventor of SMART goals actually wrote “not intended for goal setting”. David excudes passion for changing our beliefs about setting SMART goals.  

ASSumptions Vs Truth: David tells us 3 things and we decide: 2 truths and a lie. Only 6 people got it right, and there are 200 in the room. What if out of 200 things you think are true only 6 are? What if…just 5 minutes a day you found out what you CAN do!? Pick one of your limiting beliefs to find out if you really can’t do what you think you can’t do…and you will amaze yourself.

David asked Tim Watts how he sets goals:

Tim believes SMART goal set people up for mediocracry. David exclaims “If you’re teaching it to you kids STOP. If your delivering it in L+D STOP”.

David asked everyone for their MASSIVE goals and takes someone up from the audience who’s goal is to be a HR Professor. First, brainstorm all the things you need to do to make this big goal happen. Then plot these actions on a pyramid with the most important at the bottom first:  

Advice from a fellow HR Professor in the room “it can be done”. David suggest we change the language from ‘can’ to ‘must’. 

David talks about To Do lists and our motivational energy levels …do you save the hardest toughest jobs to the end of today when this is low? He asks the goal-setter “if the only thing you had to one was [one of these tasks] could you do it”, the answer each time is “yes”! 

David recommends a ‘Mastermind Group’ to support your development, not a group of friends, a group of people who will challenge and hold you accountable. He suggests that everyday we can do one thing to take action towards our goal.

Q: how do you eat an elephant ?

A: one bite at a time !

He ask us to share the pyramid, “teach it to your kids. Use it in L+D”!

David talks about Cows and Rhinos. Which are you? Staying with the herd, safe, familiar, with friends. Or one of the 3% who are Rhinos. They see what they want, and charge. Without pause to think of all the reasons not to or all of the barriers in the way. “Let’s Go Rhino”! David appreciates we all have Cow-days, and shares a technique to shift from Cow to Rhino through anchoring (defined here and captured below)… trick your amygdala into positive state:  

AND he’s a magician! 

What an inspiring man with a thousand stories. A mix of psychology, good thinking and entertainment, delivered with energy. Mostly I loved David’s Jason-Statham-esque comments spoken closely into his clipped on mic! 

[This blog was written live in session at CIPD Midlands Area Partnership conference 2015 in Hinckley, Leicestershire on Saturday 3rd October. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session higlights, but my own bias and views may also litter the blog. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter @Jo_Coaches #cipdmap15].

Workshop at #CIPDMAP15 Development Through Gamification

My second workshop of the conference is with Ray Atkinson of Wadenhoe Consultancy, on Development Through Gamification. Sponsored by Hays Recruiting.
My initial thoughts:

Gamification isn’t a real word.

It has however become popular in the L+D sphere in recent years describing approaches to engage people in (mainly) online learning, where designers have incorporated behavioural principles of reward and punishment to reinforce learning. This can involve badges, points or prizes for making the right choices to demonstrate your understanding of the content. It shares similarities with behaviour modification approaches to changing behaviour, and from a background in addiction studies I’ve noticed similarities with the design of online gambling. I’m yet to come across any Gamified products that evoke intrinsic motivation, so I’m not sure of it’s efficacy as an approach to learning interventions that have a long lasting impact on behaviour.

With all this in mind I’m approaching this workshop with an open mind, wide-eyed and with eagerness to hear how Ray and Wadenhoe find Gamification an enabler of development. 

As I sit waiting for the workshop to start, I realise it’s going to be very interactive and require me to ‘play’ a game:   

Which means my live blogging may be interrupted by my excitement to play. Am I being swayed by the trivia or an opportunity to learn?

Ray introduces the workshop and The Wandanhoe Modle (above) using the 5ps to introduce HR strategy. “To me a game has a board, cards and a dice…we didn’t realise creating a game for learning was ‘Gamification'”. In teams of six the game begins and we have to shake a 6 to begin…and the first comment around our table is “I think we should cheat” and then we did! 

Shaking a 6 means we get to take a green card, which are essentially labels for each of the 5ps and add it to the board:  

Once we have all 5 we’re asked by Ray to stand-up and shout “Ps in place” [nobody did]. The room is buzzing and there are a lot of cheers suggesting people are enjoying the frivolity. Ray checks we’ve got it write and clarifies the 5ps: Place, Purpose, People, Process, Performance, with examples and some discussion ensuring our understanding.

There are gold cards and lemon cards – I wonder what they are for.

The Lemon Cards! They are numbered 1-10 and we must throw each number to reach each corresponding card. These are essentially labels for the connections (lines on the board). My competitive streak has caused my to pause blog and chip in to ensure we get the answer right quickly…sitting back into my seat I’m wondering how helpful that is to learning and thinking, for me, for others. (Oops! I did it again!). I’m enjoying the cards and the discussions being triggered more than I am the requirement to throw a 6. Here’s our answers…currently being debated. 

Things I’m over hearing from other teams:

“I told you the rules and you’ve just broken them”

“I’m change management that’s why I don’t follow rules”

“I can see the fit… It sparks conversations that might not usually happen”

I’m enjoying myself. I’m also thinking that’s learning via competition is in contrast to the conditions that create a Thinking Environment. The game encourages self asserting behaviour: getting heard by being strongest, loudest, boldest – I’m responsible for self-awareness and regulating this in myself.

As we review there is an opportunity to shout out your answers and get it ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ which is responded to with collective pantomime jeers. 

“You got those two wrong”

“Yeah but we got this one right”!

“It’s wrong, I copied them…they must have got it wrong then”

Ray encourages us to recognise when the Purpose-Process connection is missing and the importance of this. Also, we discuss the connecting between People-Performance and swiftly conclude this goes when ‘the strategy isn’t clearly defined’. Ray summarises that this model is useful for us in HR to refocus and reflect on our direction when strategy changes, because we need to keep up with those shifts.

Q: what happens to cascade?

A1: it gets stuck at management 

A2: it depends what mechanism you use to cascade 

Now for the Gold Bonus Cards which we were forbidden to peep at prior to now, and so of course we definitely didn’t. We have to throw a double 6 to take a bonus card, read the ‘intervention questions’ and discuss. The dice throwing clearly involves everyone and there are clearly emergent leaders in each team who hold and read the cards. 

Ray then uses some key pre-planned questions to trigger more thought, and explains that these can be used to guide further discussion in teams. He encourages us to consider making our own game and using it in within our HR teams. 

Our summarising task was to discuss examples of when/how/where in our experiences the 5ps have been missing and share this on flip:  

Ray provided a experiential workshop in which we tried out a fun method of engaging teams in discussion around how HR fits into the business and organisation. An approach also championed by Lousie Fisher in her opening plenary. He enabled us to be subjectively learning about the 5ps and the role of HR whilst objectively reviewing the model and the game.

As the workshop ends Fiona Anderson (of Valuing You @valuingYOU) and I sit discussing how we would use this and she shares some great ideas along the lines of…

  • A Post-it notes exercise where HR write down everything they are doing, then introduce the model and map it through. What’s missing?
  • Floor exercise with the ‘board’ spread out, people standing in the Ps, discuss barriers, perspectives. 
  • Use the model with different teams then share interpretations of this to come together 

I leave inspired – thank you Ray.

[This blog was written live in session at CIPD Midlands Area Partnership conference 2015 in Hinckley, Leicestershire on Saturday 3rd October. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session higlights, but my own bias and views may also litter the blog. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter @Jo_Coaches #cipdmap15].

Listening to HR Career Journeys at #CIPDMAP15

My first workshop of the #CIPMAP15 conference is titled ‘My HR Career Journey’ where a panel of 4 experienced HR professionals have come along to pass on their wisdom and learning.

Phil Pepper introduced the session representing the sponsor Shakespeare Martino. 

Liz Veasey (@liquoricelearn) is Director of Liquorice Learn currently interim with British Gas.

Louise Fisher (@FisherLousie5 opening keynote) is CIPD Chair, and European Human Resources Director for Xerox Global Services.

Nicky Hill (@nickyhillNUH) is HRD at Nottingham University Health NHS 

Graham Salisbury is Head of HR at Action Aid.

Graham opens the panel with some philosophical quotes to get us thinking … 

  • Life can only be understand backwards as it must be lived forwards
  • Life’s not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced

And a Question for us: How many hours do you spend working?

You go 80,000 hours in your career.if you spend 1% of your career thinking about your career that would be 800 years, that would be 5months, which would seem a ridiculous ask. If we do make sometime for this in about our career we can shaped it and direct where we want to do, who we want to be, how we can influence in the world of HR. 

Nicky Hill is a languages graduate, then joined Cadbury (lots of chocolate), then Boots for 20years working in several different sectors: service, manufacturing, brining this breadth of learning into HR. In 2010 Nicky took redundancy after reorganising Boots and getting rid of her own job. Realising if she didn’t take the risk she might never leave. Galla, Rolls Royce, NHS HRD at Chesterfield more recent,y living to Nottingham H

Liz Veasey decided early on her profession “L+D through and through” hoorah! Started in civil services then moved to Carlton TV, excited about the move then realised there was little structure in HR and L+D there. Stayed here and moved to L+D manager, then moved in a Law Business surprised again. Fully into accelerated learning Liz played music in learning sessions which brought a significant shift but set the scene of how she would be innovative whilst here. Later with G4S and in the justice sector developing people who work with prisoners, which Liz found a humbling experience. She then moved to  L+D Director for G4S, until becoming interim to date with various organisations.

Graham Salisbury started out teaching religious education in the worse performing school in the country, and realised “I must be good with people” and moved into HR. His beginnings were the Central Electricity Board (no longer titled this). He then moved to a sticky bun company, later to British Airforce, then arranged his own redundancy (there’s theme) but this allowed some thinking time. Graham then found him self in the 3rd sector. Now head of HR at…

Introductions followed with questions from the panel, to the panel.

GS: Q to LF what are the benefits and challenges of working in a different sector

LF: A – brief recruiters to seek people from different sectors. Recognising that you have transferrale skills  and articulate these on your CV. Tailor and market yourself in that way. Get to know your recruiters and keep in touch with them, even when your settled

NH: when I joined NHS people said ‘oh it must be so different in the NHS’, but it really wasn’t. HR wise there are so many similarities, the skills are absolutely the same, and you can transfer your HR skills and experience

LV: find a recruiter that’s been briefed for recruiting for diversity. Be brave, do something that’s memorable and recognise how you stand out. Lots of people know exactly what to say in interviews. Prepare and plan how you will articulate what you have. 

Liz used visualisation in an interview and asked the interviewer to close their eyes and visualise winning an award! “Be quirky, be you, stand out”!

GS: After working in cake manufacturing for 5 years British Aerospace were prepared to take a risk on me. After lots of experience I went back to interview to cake manufacturing and was turned away and told “I don’t think you’d be right here because cake manufacturing has moved on in the last 15 years” ! Quite the opposite of valuing a varied sector experience
GS Q: How much if your caree was planned and how much ‘just happened’!?

NH: Early on, in Boots, most if it just happened. Later on when I had an intentional move, I really valued my network and spent time talking to people about my options and considering my career. Head hunters advised me to do interim and demonstrate my ability to diversity on my CV. So these were planned.

LV: reflected on my roles, almost equal amounts of chose and imposed. Back in the day I had a manager who was skilled in NLP who said “when you stop learning it’s time to change”. Most of my moves have been around 3years. It takes year 1 to get to know the business fully and recognise how your L+D craft fits, then year 2 to make things happen, then year 3 you notice de ja vous. So I reiterate his advice. When people asked “why are you going” suggested my situation was really good, and my reply was “because you can can do it without me now”

GS: my message is don’t put yourself down In the public sector and don’t big yourself up in the private sector. 
GS Q: How has the CIPD featured in your career?

NH: my study buddies are still in my network, we keep in touch and share. I’ve found the resources valuable 

LV: I did L3 and then L5 and I could really tell the difference in my thinking after that. My first experience of attending a local CIPD meeting wasn’t great. It was very closed and cliquey. I believe if you don’t like it, either don’t go again or chose to change it! So I joined the committee and I also advise at Derby University. I really enjoy being an accredited assessor for the CIPD qualifications. 

GS: Be pragmatic in brining your learning into practice, don’t leave it behind. If your talking to directors about something HR related you need to be at the top of your game. Champion your own credibility. We have a responsibility to know what’s going on the world of HR.

Questions from the floor…
1. I’m keen on a portfolio career, how realistic is that as an ambition?

LV: Think about your CV as active and fluid. I worked with a recruiter who sharpened my CV and challenged me to articulate my craft more accurately. Be tight on your package and know what you have to offer.

GS: When we are looking to move on we can think ‘any job will do’. More useful is to reflect and identify common themes from my experience and across roles that now define who I am. There is a narrative that runs through all of that. Go out their with that as your proposition. If you have a disparate series of experiences you may appear as a square peg for the round hole…don’t frightened of being distinctive and waiting (and keep seeking) your hexagonal hole.

NH: [agreeing] Picking the hexagonal role will feel more right for you.

GS: question I ask myself is: if I was happy in this role and someone offer me this job, would I take it?

LF: Interim suites some people, but can be dissapointing if you want to see things all the way through and recognise the end results. You might also be doing more junior work, because often orgs want someone who can do the job blindfolded.
2. Any tips for building personal resilience when things don’t go as planned?

GS: Make sure you’ve got a decent support network for when that happens. The big question to psychological asses relief workers is ‘have they got a support network’ so that when they come back, who is going to support them with that.

NH: Sometime having people around you to re I don’t you what you’re good at. Affirmation from others is helpful at times. I use my own personal network for this.

LV: Such a good point about remembering how good you are and contacting other people, to remind you how good you are! Equally I remember to do this to those in my network. LF said early that people like “fun people”. People also like opportunists. Get social, blog, comment on others contributions and join in. You do have time! 

LF: some of it is experience. We have to take a few hard knocks. It’s good to have a network and reflect. Two key skills for building residence are EMPATHY and EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

LV: strangely, I recommend going through a redundancy because of that empathy thing. Grab your leaning from your own experience.

GS: Recommends Roman Krznaric’s book EMPATHY for all HR professionals 

As do I! Find it here. Empathy: why it matters, and how to get it.
3. How do I get the career I want whilst not letting it take over my life?

Lots of shared and agreed messages about work-life-balance and maintaining what is the right way for you to feel you can be effective at work and effective and present in the rest of your life.

Commitment to not answering phone after 7pm or on the weekend. Equally, doing weekend work when required.

Liz considers home working, where it’s less easy to ‘shut the office door’. 

And your final one piece of career advice…

NH: do the best job you can in the job your in 

LV: when you notice you’re not learning it’s time to change something 

GS: your development and your responsibility 

LF: get underneath the business – truly understand it. HR is your specialism. Think business first.
[This blog was written live in session at CIPD Midlands Area Partnership conference 2015 in Hinckley, Leicestershire on Saturday 3rd October. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session higlights, but my own bias and views may also litter the blog. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter @Jo_Coaches #cipdmap15].