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October 2015

The Secret to Successful Change

I was shocked! And slightly disappointed in myself. In hindsight perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but I was – even though I suspect change professionals are just as prone to it as the rest of humanity. It highlighted something we probably all do often every day but that professional change managers should always guard against.

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How the Learning Cycle Fits into Organisational Development

Apparently the achievement of learning induces a chemical reaction within the body that makes the learner feel happy and good about themselves. This past week-end I experienced this for myself. In fact, I got such a ‘buzz’ that I cannot resist sharing what I learned. I hope you experience a similar ‘high’!

It all began with an introduction into Max Boisot’s theories about the learning. Like most people, I was already aware of the distinction between data and information and so the differentiation between information and knowledge was only a small step. Likewise to understand that knowledge has no value until it is put into use. However, the discussion was around why knowledge isn’t always put to use and that is what was so enlightening. The following diagram is my interpretation and helps explain better.

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Challenge: People Skills or People Management Skills

Potential 11049229_sAre people skills and people management skills the same thing? The question arises from a recent DPG blog that identifies “people skills” as the number one requirement for HR professionals to be outstanding, and explains this by saying. “HR spends so much time dealing with people and people issues, so good people management skills are essential.” This suggests they are, but it is definitely a premise worth challenging. In fact there are several things that bear challenging in all this.

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Emissions, Ethics and HR

As the world gets to grips with the fallout from “Dieselgate” I was amazed to learn that 74% of respondents to a CIPD poll agreed that, “HR should play an active role in building an ethical culture.” Even making allowances for an almost exclusive survey population of HR professionals this seems surprising. One can only assume that they failed to recognise the corollary which is, that in the event of a major ethical failure such as the one that has come to light at Volkswagen, HR would have to be held accountable.  I am sure they wouldn’t like that!

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‘People’s Companies’ would make a moral difference

“We made a mistake.” That was the Volkswagen dealer’s answer when I asked him about the emissions testing exposé. Would you buy that?

Volkswagen is a good example of how quickly a reputation that has taken years to build can be damaged or destroyed. Yet Volkswagen may be better equipped to recover than most organisations. After all the company’s origins lie in Adolf Hitler’s pet “people’s car” project. On top of that, despite the scale of the problem, right now reaction to the revelation appears to vary from outrage to nonchalance, with the latter suggesting that the cause is not lost. It will be interesting to see just how damaging the revelations ultimately prove.

The dealer’s response suggests that remedial efforts are well under way and that a clear and consistent message is being told. Yet I would question the term “mistake.” For me a mistake is something that is either inadvertent or the result of a wrong choice. How much of what happened was a choice?

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