The promise of a new day


This morning on my commute I witnessed the sunrise, a glow of orange then yellow as the sun rose to start a bright new day.

It got me thinking about how I deal with the promise of a new day.

I’m a strong believer in leaving yesterday’s regrets or bruises in yesterday and moving forward without the weight of what has passed and can’t be changed. Dwelling, brooding, fixating on what could have been takes up an infinite amount of energy and you know what? We don’t have an infinite amount.

In order to face each new day, each new challenge. To be out best self we need to use our energy where we can make the most impact – and that’s on focusing ahead, looking forward to today not dreaming of what woulda, coulda, shoulda been.

I’m not saying forget, not saying no to reflection, remembering, learning, enjoying our past, these are all important parts of what makes us us, what helps us learn and grow and hopefully improve. But wasting energy replaying, regretting, damaging ourselves by allowing what could have been to dominate – that’s what we need to let go.

So let’s do this, breath in the promise of this bright, beautiful new day and breath out anything that is holding you back. Trust me – it’s worth it.


If everyone is different then why do we treat them all the same?

People are awesome.

They are, honestly.  The capacity of individuals to learn, love, laugh is endless.  We all see things a little bit differently and come into situations with our own experience and view point.  Sometimes we agree and find a common view with those around us – often they are the ones we are drawn to; the ones we share a laugh with, a G&T with, a Graze box code (I know it’s not cheap but it’s like getting a present every week!).  In short we like people like us; and then there are the people where there is no common view or background these folks can be fascinating and have a great story and history and view of the world.

We’re not all classic hero’s – we haven’t all ran marathons for charity or written a book or appeared in a west end hit or cured world hunger (or in my case done any of those things), but in our way we are all different, all on our journeys and all a bit (or a lot) Awesome.

Have I lost you?  Are you wondering where I am going?

If you found yourself agreeing with the above, even if it was only a little but or even if you were wondering what on earth this might have to do with HR, then answer me this – if we accept that everyone is awesome and that we are pretty much all different why do we insist on treating everyone the same at work?

We all get the same recruitment process, the same offer, induction, policies, procedures, performance reviews (I know I know conversations, appraisals all of the above), promotion, exit – cradle to grave in most organisations we become one. An employee….but we’re not the same are we?  We’re not minions we are individuals so what can organisations do to get the best from people and get them to love what they do by bringing their best self to work?

Here’s a few ideas:

  • throw out the rule book……I don’t mean the actual rule book but that heavy tome of policies and procedures that dictate how we expect a Minion PLC employee to eat, sleep, drink, breath.  Yes we have some tactical, legal things we need to cover but on the whole we are dealing with grown ups so lets treat them with respect and its likely it’ll all be ok.
  • One size doesn’t fit all – lets personalise the recruitment and on boarding process – we’re investing a lot in these people it’s probably worth the investment of finding out how they tick and designing their personal start in any role with that in mind (no standing up and singing for the introverts please)
  • Take the time to find out how people work best and see what you can do to make that happen – I know we have businesses to run but if we can make small adjustments to help employees be successful then the return on our investment will be worth it.
  • Encourage people to share their ideas, no matter how new or how junior they are perceived to be if we all have a different viewpoint then we all see things a bit differently and we might (just might) have a bloomin brilliant idea.
  • Find a way of hearing everyone – we’ve all been there, the same voices every time, he who shouts loudest etc etc….so find a way and take the time to hear everyone
  • Finally (and most importantly) remember that people are awesome – tell them that you believe they can be awesome, show them that you believe in them and respect and trust them and until they do something to change that reap the rewards it brings.

None of this is rocket science – or new or innovative, but often the simple things aren’t.  Its simple just remember People are Awesome – a world where we are all the same might be easy to manage but limiting in many other ways.  Let’s be brave, let’s banish the minion approach and welcome diversity of view, background, opinion and style.  Let’s celebrate the difference and success a band of awesome individuals can achieve.

Enough of the minion, bring on the Avengers.



eternal optimist and HR consultant

This blog if part of a brilliant collection of blogs curated by David D’Souza and available from Amazon Kindle store. All proceeds to charity. download your copy here

HUMANE, RESOURCED – Advance Review

So this brilliant review (ahem puff piece) is for a collection being published tomorrow that I contributed to. Honoured to be one of those that have taken part.



UPDATE (29 October 2013) – Humane, Resourced is now available to buy online with all proceeds going to some very deserving charities.

You might have thought that modesty would forbid me from even considering a review of a book to which I have contributed but you’d be quite wrong. Perhaps we should view this as more of a puff-piece. I won’t deal with specifics to save the blushes of those concerned but will dwell on how it made me feel (which is perhaps more important any way). I’m no longer a salaried practitioner in the day-to-day hurly burly of the working world so I tend to paint in broad strokes in any event and I’m reliant on my social media and client network to keep me abreast of what’s happening at the coal face. I’ll leave my thoughts on the unchanging nature of the challenges they relate for another time…

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Critical Friend

Yesterday evening I attended Exclusion Training for School Governors. Leaving aside the death by PowerPoint, disparaging remarks about ‘ladies in the office’ and the need for the trainer to spend 25 minutes telling us about how the new regs are no where as good as the old regs which were perfect it was an interesting session.

One of the few areas that stuck out for me was the trainers assertion that Governors should rarely overturn the decision of the Head-teacher and only consider doing so in exceptional circumstances. Woah there – so you want me to independently review any decision to exclude a pupil for 15 days or more but not too closely? Well not quite but sort of.

His message was – don’t reinstate due to a technicality or a failure to follow process (ah the Polkey no difference argument ok yep got that) and rely on the Heads view of balance of probability.

He then completely contradicted himself and said but in review ask questions, completely satisfy yourself, and by doing this other parties, that any decision was proportionate to the circumstances.

I have to admit I’ve come away a bit confused. My role as stated by the regs and in the statutory guidance is to independently review to ensure that the decision was reasonable, fair and proportionate. Excluding a pupil can have far reaching impacts on that child’s future (I don’t have the facts and figures with me but the study’s show that exclusion is often the beginning of a ripple effect) and the decision should never be, and I’m confident on out heads case, taken lightly. But, and here’s the rub, I shouldn’t review too much as I should support the head in most cases.

I’m hopeful that I’ll never need to attend a Governor Review Committee in this school but if I did I think I’d find it difficult to not hold any decision to the highest scrutiny. The role of the governor is to be critical friend to the Head but also to ensure that the best decisions are made for all pupils – not to stand beside the head saying I’m independent and I support every decision out head makes.

It’s a difficult and fine line to walk sometimes and requires a good, authentic and mutually respectful relationship with the head that takes time to build and develop.

I didn’t enjoy the session last night – it was an hour longer than it needed to be, was rushed at the end with no focus on what are called ‘special cases’ for children with SEN or under referral as the anecdotes from the trainer and his 300 review hearings took too much time but it has made me think and reflect which is a good result.

So onwards and hopefully I won’t get the call.

One last thing – you can’t exclude someone for being pregnant! No sh*t!

Put up – shut up

When I interviewed for this role I was at the end of a long but not busy contract. It had had other pressures (no respect for HR or women or someone younger) and had been an uphill struggle and lesson in influence and patience. I’m really pleased I did it but I wasn’t sorry to leave.

So at interview I was ready for a challenge, to get my teeth into a role and deliver. Ha! After 18 months of a pretty easy ride it’s been a bit of a shock to the system.

The first few weeks were a gentle intro but the last month has made me challenge my ability to deliver. The project is big, scarily big, and there was no direction or even signposting – just a desk, some background reading and a vague instruction to crack on.

In all honesty it took me about 4 weeks to get past the fear; the inertia. I had a great sit down with the brilliant @dds180 (aka David) and tried to explain where I was – it was just all too vast. He offered some sage advice – ‘what’s the best way to eat an elephant? Piece by piece’.

So I portioned up the elephant and started to deliver. It’s deadline time and there’s been some major challenges (complete change in tender document and template – them, shingles – me). But now it’s time, so I’m working silly long hours (It’s Wednesday and so far this week I’ve done 31 hours).

Deadline looming – time to put up and shut up. Time to deliver and be that person from the interview.

Gulp – I’m heading in. Time to devour that elephant.