Wellbeing: what’s not working?

Last night a group of coaches, HR pros and leaders gathered in the pretty town of Castle Donnington to talk about wellbeing and explore what’s not working, why are the figures going up, what is needed? All facilitated by Debbie Leafe using Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment.

The group

In the context of the work I do with clients – reconnecting them to their innate ability for connection, clarity and calm – this session was important to me, both to give our delegates an experience of those innate qualities on the day, but also for them to explore what wellbeing really means and what really needs to happen. read more

The Rebel Playbook : A Book Review

I’ve just finished reading my pre-release copy of the Rebel Playbook and wanted to pen a few words to share my thoughts so that you can choose if you’d like to read it when it’s released on 23rd Feb this year.  You can pre-order it now though – here or (currently at a reduced price) here.  First up, I want to say that I have no association to Debra or Glenn so this review isn’t a “helping mates out” thing.  I bought a pre-order copy, as anyone could do if they spotted the tweets promoting it.  Full disclosure though – they did send me some Haribo!  Which swiftly went to the kids 🙂  And a second book by way of apology because my copy was delayed.

So, my thoughts….

My summary view : a fantastic, practical and accessible handbook to shift attitudes to how we work with those we employ and therefore how we can make work more engaging.

The book’s based on Debra and Glenn’s Engagement Bridge model and so it’s structured around the ten elements of that model.  These elements are essentially the elements you’d see in any decent people strategy but with the nice Bridge metaphor – the foundational rocks for the bridge are Workspace, Wellbeing and Pay & Benefits.  Above that, the more “planks of wood” you lay, the stronger your bridge and the more people you can safely get across the river.

The ten elements provide the chapters for the book – but in a flexible way.  There isn’t a prescriptive “work on this, then this, then this”.  They invite readers to jump in where it feels right for them.  So you could read the whole book and then decide your priorities, but equally, if you know where your opportunities are you could go straight to those sections.  I also like that at the end there’s an acknowledgement that there can be huge overlap and interconnection between these ten elements.  So many books try to keep the boxes of a model (falsely) separate so I like the honesty about the fact these elements are operating as a whole system.

Each chapter begins with insights or knowledge-sharing about the topic, then how Rebels do these things differently – the outcomes they’re striving for and the behaviours they deploy, before sharing case studies or “plays” from a huge variety of organisations – varied both in terms of type and size of business but all consistent in being led by people who have a passion and the courage to do things differently to make work better.

In terms of the Plays, I don’t believe for a second that all these organisations have engagement perfectly nailed in every way, but the examples of what they’ve done give great ideas to get thoughts stimulated and minds broadened to possibilities.  Again Debra and Glenn are honest about this work of improving engagement being an ongoing journey.  There is no quick fix, no silver bullet.  It takes commitment for the long term and continued effort to keep practices fresh and still engaging.  And also (yay!!) they discredit the idea of best practice – read the examples, consider them in your context, and do what’s right for your organisation, your values and your uniqueness.

I found some chapters more interesting, sparky and hope-inducing than others – even though some of principles and Plays are ones I’m aware of.  The one I found least engaging was the Learning & Development one, but maybe that’s because it’s the area I know best.  The Plays in it just seemed to be things we were doing in Boots a number of years back and not especially innovative.  Or does it mean that L&D are ahead of the curve in doing things differently?  That would make a nice change to the usual narrative around L&D holding things back!

Counter to that, HR and Legal teams get the raw deal in here.  Held responsible for the dreadful employee handbooks, rules and policies which punish the many for the misdemeanours of the few.  However, that approach has grown up from the management practices of the 19th Century and the belief of the need to control the lazy workforce so I don’t think HR and Legal can be held solely accountable here.  A key message is about starting from a place of trust and believing that people are at work to do a good job – and that if you treat people that way that’s likely what you’ll get.  And if you don’t, you deal with that on an individual basis, treating it as the exception to the rule that it really is rather than writing a while new policy paragraph.  @HRGem would be proud!

Of course with one book and ten topics to cover, these are relatively topline insights into each, but definitely giving enough information and ideas of “what” you can do.  There’s a gap in terms of the “how to” but maybe that will be for future books – or at the very least for you to research more and/or seek support from relevant experts.

One thing I struggled with, and am still grappling with now, is one part of the definition of engagement where Debra and Glenn say that engaged employees “genuinely want the organisation to succeed” which means “They will often put the organisation’s needs ahead of their own.”.  I just don’t agree with this.  I believe we have enough people who attach their self-worth to how well they do in a job (which can lead to burnout and mental illness) and I don’t think a human and responsible employer should use how much people put the org before themselves as a measure of success – further increasing the pressure to be “good enough” by going the extra mile.  In fact that to me this is counter-intuitive to the arguments later in the book about wellbeing.  If we’re truly going to help people be well we need to be OK with employees putting their own, their friends and their families needs ahead of the org.  Not only that, if we believe that putting the org first is a measure of good engagement then you automatically exclude a large and diverse proportion of the workforce from being on the “engaged” list because they may just not physically be able to make that kind of commitment – whether due to caring responsibilities, for their own health or because of a disability which limits how much they can work.

Overall I think this book is fantastic, easy to read and containing loads of top tips and ideas.  I’ve already recommended it to a number of my clients to help them and their leadership teams with their own cultural shifts.

Strangely I’m going to finish on a worry I have.  Not one that I think Debra and Glenn should have covered, nor are responsible for but…..

I have a more fundamental grapple about engagement and the purpose of the org towards which people are being engaged.  If these practices are intended to improve productivity towards a positive purpose then that’s all good.  But I fear that too many orgs continue to operate with profit as the primary pursuit, and engage in work which damages the local community / the environment / people further down the supply chain.  I appreciate this isn’t the concern of this book but it is something that concerns me about the world of work; that orgs will do the engagement thing like they might do the CSR thing – make themselves look good on the surface to hide the unspeakables that are under the rug.  My hope is that nobody can be that good at hiding….

And in the meantime I’m going to be focusing on the ones who have a positive purpose to do good in the world and who really mean it!

Carnival Time!! How do we make every day a learning day?

In a couple of months, on 10th and 11th May, the Olympia in London will become home to the CIPD Learning & Development Show.

It’s a fantastic learning event – whether you go to the Conference sessions, spend your time on the Exhibition floor and in the taster sessions, or talking to fellow delegates – there’s something for everyone!

This year, there’s a theme about embedding learning into everyday activities: Make every day a learning day! And this post is an invitation to you.

As part of the blog squad I’m running a blog carnival – an opportunity for anybody to blog around the theme of how we make every day a learning day which I’ll curate at the beginning of May. The point of this is to get everyone’s thinking juices flowing, to get people thinking and working out loud, and help you shape your purpose for going to the event or following #cipdldshow.

When you go to a conference or exhibition, it’s easy to go, fill your head with a bunch of stuff, fill your bag with a bunch of swag, and leave wondering what you went there for in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, there is much to be gained from the world of serendipity, where you allow things to appear and where you follow your nose in the direction your energy takes you. However there is also much to be gained from having a purpose. Having a reason for going. The ideal is to get a balance between both of these two. Be clear on your purpose and let yourself be led by your energy.

So, this blog carnival is to help you shape what that purpose is for you. Whether you go to the exhibition, the conference or just follow the backchannel (#cipdldshow) having a purpose will help guide your attention to the areas of greatest benefit to you.


So, what do you need to do?

🙂 Write a blog post by the end of April:

Either – Publish it on your own blog site and tell me it’s there – tag me into a tweet or LinkedIn post

Or – put your post in a word doc and email it to me, then I’ll host you on my blog page

🙂 Get sharing:

Share what you’re reading from others so more people can access all the thinking that’s going on

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    Can you see what’s going on?

    A friend shared this with me today.  Her political leanings being very much on the side of Corbyn and despairing at what she saw as Cameron’s arrogant attitude.  But this post isn’t about which side of the fence you sit on or which leader you favour.  This is about cultural norms.  The way we do things round here.  And how blind we can be to how we are.

    When I watch the video I despair at politics as a whole.  When I watch this I see people (I’ve chosen not to use the word men) behaving like children in a playground, sneering and jibing at each other.  One bully boy gang against another.  Yes they wear suits.  Yes they speak well.  Yes there’s no physical aggression.  But the way people behave in that place – where they decide how our country’s run – fills me with horror.  Emotional intelligence is so far off the bottom of the scale it’s at arctic-level minuses.  And decisions are made to satisfy egos, prove points and just to beat the other side.  Nothing to do with ‘the right thing’ for the UK.

    And it’s always been the same.  To those whose work lives are there, this is their norm.  It’s been done this way for so many years they know nothing different.  They probably don’t see any need to change it – in fact they’re most likely proud of their traditions – and even if they did see the need it might feel too big a mountain to climb.

    Now this might show an extreme of example of poor behaviour and ineffective communication and decision-making, but there are versions of this all round the country, in organisations up and down the land, where egos and beating the competition matter above all else.  Where there might be no awareness of a need to change.  And where even if there was it might feel too big a mountain to climb.

    If you work in one of those places – and even more so if you’re responsible for leading one of those organisations (and I include HR with that leadership responsibility) – make a start to change.  Do one thing.  Because one thing is closer to better than if you do nothing.  It might be that the first thing you need is for someone to come in with fresh eyes to tell you how it is.  You might not be able to see it for yourself because it’s what you’ve known for so long.

    Then, once you’ve started, keep taking steps.  Keep doing one more thing.


    And in case you’re wondering, this isn’t about ‘going sot’ and letting people do whatever they like.  You’re still running an organisation that has stuff to achieve and people need to work to achieve it.  This is about behaving like relationship-filled, passionate humans who have the ability to think and achieve brilliantly together when given the right environment, development and support.

    If UK productivity, and levels of *[engagement / happiness / better lives], are going to have any chance of improving we need to start with one thing.  Now.


    *delete the words you don’t like


    This is me………..www.wildfigsolutions.co.uk


    #CIPDOD15 Aligning Teams and Building Collaboration for Performance

    Final piece goes to Rob Jones from Crossrail and Ally Salisbury from Sheppard Moscow.

    Building a sustainable culture of collaboration in Europe’s largest infrastructure project and creating alignment across boundaries and conflicting agendas.

    Focus for last 3 years has been creating space for new tracks and stations – finished tunnelling in June this year!


    Have an integrated client delivery team – 1600 people needing to be aligned to 1 set of objectives.  Those 1600 people work for 3 different partners who work for 9 different employers.  Different bonuses, different performance mgmt. processes, etc.  Our aim isn’t to align systems and processes.  It is a challenge and it continues to be a challenge.  And then we have 27 contractors and 10,000 people working for them!

    It is complex.  We talk about the United States of Crossrail.  The CEO is the President.  Helpful to have an analogy to make this size of challenge real and understandable.


    Needed people in the OD team, needed someone to help Rob make sense of it for himself.  Found support in Ally from Sheppard Moscow.


    Investing time and energy in understanding the context before trying to be understood – spending time finding out what the questions were.  What help is required and what will success look like?

    There’s an overwhelming complexity of politics and power.  Some want a safe railway, some want to make money.


    The big milestones were really clear but the smaller milestones are where conflict and misunderstanding have come.  They’ve worked on trying to build trust and unlock entrenchment.  Helping people focus on what they have in common rather than on their differences.  Tried to use simple interventions to allow vulnerabilities to be shown and trust to grow.

    If you talk to the engineers about what we do they’ll acknowledge that the soft stuff is hard to do.  Have asked questions like what do you care about and why to get them out of their trenches.

    The Audible Gasp

    Didn’t tell people their issues & challenges – they discovered they were very similar but at different ends of it.  Took 2 project teams, working at different ends of the same hotel, 2 independent facilitators – very important especially for the Joint Venture team.  Did an exercise around looking to ourselves first – what do we need to do to get better at what we’re doing?, what are we doing as a team to get in the way of our partners?, what would we like them to do differently to improve their team effectiveness?

    Brought the teams together for the afternoon and each team read the other flipcharts and they were amazed – an audible gasp – that what they’d said in Q2 was the answer for Q3 of the other team.


    No one party can solve an issue – it needs 2 or more every time.  Their aim was to get common understanding of the issues and to give permission to ask for help.  Engineers’ natural position is to be right and to assert for their position.

    Safe to Fail Environment

    These people understand how to deliver, everything is a to-do list.  Getting them to take themselves out of that to take time, courage, be vulnerable and share things is a big challenge.  Rob realised he was taking the risk in it failing so they didn’t have to.  He needed to give them permission to not be right first time.  Creating a place where they can explore and have space to do that.

    Elephant in the Room

    Helping teams t admit there is an elephant was one of the biggest things – the need to be right was very prevalent.  To see it and decide together what they were going to do about it.  Less comfortable with climate & relationship – taking it away from process and task.  Goal to get this stuff out rather than being talked about at the coffee machine or down the pub.

    Used pre-interviews in one to one or small focus group to identify elephants safely and confidentiality ahead of the group interventions.  Accelerated the openness and diagnosis felt shared.

    Wicket Rolling

    The background work was essential to success and included helping leaders to take responsibility for the effectiveness for their teams – they had to be the driver even if we were in the car with them.

    Know When to Fold

    Takes courage to realise the hand you’ve been dealt with isn’t right and you need to step away to take a different angle and come back in.  Sometimes it was hard to get the right people in the room.  Sometimes sponsorship was patchy.  Some leadership capability was low.  Rob had to go back to the business to challenge whether the right people were on the bus.

    Scar Tissue

    We were new, they all knew each other – worked together for years, if not decades.  Huge consistency in the contracting industry.  Often the issues dealing with were from 5-10 years ago, nothing to do with Crossrail, issues of corporate reputation rather than individual – they did this to me.  Had to clear the crap out of the wounds to allow them to close over and start healing.


    We’re not doing it for them but they get used to having us around as a sounding board to help them frame their problems.  Been vital to stick to terms of engagement – the eyeball agreement about what we’re here to do – and when that’s done – get out!  Unles it’s a fresh problem the ‘client’ needs to face up to this for themselves.  We aren’t there as a sticky plaster, they need to feel capable to take this forward.


    The people who need the most help are the ones least likely to ask for it.  Important to ensure not just the needy to get the help and important to differentiate between needs and wants – what’s at the root of this?  Get the reality before intervening.  Go out and find where the issues are.


    Rob and Ally have become effective partners by communicating openly and frequently.  Ally’s previous experience is that the internal partner gets the inside track.  Can create a dynamic about vulnerability, side-lined.  Got round that with lots of coffees, lots of trust both ways, feeding back to each other – work by Proceed Until Apprehended! (Stolen with pride from Doug Shaw).

    The Long Run

    It’s not a sprint, it feels like a hard slog, it’s not easy to train for – felt like this in the early days.  Lots of emotional energy and investment and not getting much back.  Kept just putting one foot in front of the other.  Small successes build more success and credibility.  People now call on them to go to other teams.


    Versatile toolkit – team coaching, conflict resolution, goal alignment – we don’t lead with any of the theories.  Sometimes because when you get in there it’s not what you’ve planned for anyway.


    Key to achieving has been sponsorship – if you haven’t got it – pull stumps and get some

    Keep it Simple Stupid

    This project isn’t about OD – it’s about clear vision and leaders that can engage people and manage the environment and system – step back and keep it simple.

    This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDOD15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.

    #CIPDOD15 Doing Digital OD

    Karen Dumain from the NHS Leadership Academy.

    Talking about achieving cultural shift through tech – how can practitioners make use of tech?

    Karen’s background in Behavioural Science and feels like OD is coming home.  Joined the NHS a bit over 2 years ago.  Karen and Paul Taylor lead ‘Do OD’.  They link with the Leadership Academy to spread OD capability across and above the system of the organisation.  Focus on Dialogic OD.

    Context for NHS – the world is complex, decreasing resources, higher expectations of patients, changing demographics, a need to shift to prevention rather than cure – how do we respond to these and to the need to change?  Digital is just a constant for the young people coming into the workforce now and in the coming years.  If you’re talking about ‘getting online’ then you’re behind the curve!

    NHS – worlds largest publicly funded health system, provides for 54 million people, a patient every 36 hours.

    Do OD focus on putting theory into practice – Connect > Share > Learn > Grow.  Paul and Karen hold the frame, they’re the container.  They work with the NHS OD community – the system – to understand their challenges to create new solutions & resources together.  They enable conversations at all different places and levels.

    7 challenges came back from the OD Community with Culture, Values and Behaviours as the top 3 – what do we do with these, how do we measure the difference, how will it impact patients?  Looking ahead to 2015-16 they’re focusing on Systems Thinking, Building OD Capability, Integration, Culture Change, Evaluating OD.

    Now a focus on Culture…..What can we do to evolve culture?

    At the same time that the NHS was being celebrated in the Olympics opening ceremony, the Mid Staffs investigation was coming out.  There was a call to action about changing culture.  Conversations about the culture wanted in the NHS – Happy, Caring, Compassion…as a few key words.

    When they started Do OD they asked for people to put their trusts forward to share what they’d already done (with acknowledgement that it was a beginning rather than a ‘job done’ situation), and others who wanted to be pilots for new stuff.

    People thought they’d get a magic tool or solution but quickly realised it wasn’t that.  The dialogic OD approach used was underpinned by Appreciative Inquiry. A move away from Diagnostic, linear OD.  Also used Bushe – What we think > leads to Decisions and Actions > that evoke Shared attitudes & assumptions > which forms Culture.

    Digital came out in an emergent way from the conversations and they started to develop an app (launched in Nov 14).  Anybody can download the app and it allows you to dip in and out because everyone’s starting point will be different.  You can go in at level of You, Team, Org, Partners & Stakeholders.  When you go into one of these areas there are questions to prompt thinking and conversations.  Based on your answers it summarises where you’ve made progress and where there might be more to do.  Recent update – Space to Think cards to enable creative thinking.

    With over 1000 downloads, just starting to do formal evaluation but informal has been very positive – Practitioners have said very helpful.

    This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDOD15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.

    #CIPDOD15 Aligning Org Capability and Culture to the Org Plan

    Inji Duducu, Group People Director of Benenden.

    Talking about using Appreciative Inquiry to identify the org’s true values, and developing engagement and comms strategy to sustain commitment across the org.

    Benenden is a healthcare provider (mutual, not-for-profit) – they’re a single product, single price healthcare provider.  80% of spending member funds is finding a fast route to diagnosis via private.  Do lots of cataracts, varicose veins,… and offer helplines at a single flat rate at £8.45 a month with no restrictions – the most under-priced product ever!  And available for corporate schemes 🙂

    Their challenge?  Used to only be able to join if in public sector or civil service (started for the Post Office originally) people would sign up and they easily got to a million members.  More recently had a decline in members so now about 900k – and aging.  First answer was that anyone could join Benenden.  Concern at the time was that they’d be swamped with interest.  But of course nobody had heard of them and their product was unusual.

    2 years ago, new CEO, acknowledgement that open access hasn’t worked.  Talked about partnerships, new channels, new products…. In 10 years time we’ll be unrecognisable.

    Inji joined for that reason – 108 year old business, average length of service 25 years  how do you take that org through that level of change?

    When started, the strategy had been put in a bullet point list & left on people’s desks – it didn’t work! (Building blocks, New IT system, New product launch underway, First acquisition strategy underway, Hospital redevelopment signed off, Digital channel being built).

    All this started or happening – and no thought to the people and how they fitted into this plan!

    When Inji joined her challenge was to do 12 mths change in 6 – with an org that had never really changed.

    Split the change into 3 buckets – 1 bucket of ‘how we do stuff’, shared services, structure.  1 of capability, roadmap (what you’ll need for your team in next 3-5 yrs), behaviours & l’ship capability (much more needed than technical knowledge).  And 1 of culture, values, action plan.

    A very friendly helpful culture.  If in 2024 we’ve become just another insurance company then we’ve failed.  Our culture is special.  Understanding what really makes us special was essential to future success.

    There was low leadership visibility – e.g. the leadership team hadn’t been involved at all in the launch of new insurance at the time when Inji joined.  They’re now front & centre, quarterly update on progress from CEO, any chance to get them visible & approachable – servant leadership e.g. a summer party with leaders welcoming people, handing out drinks, etc.  Recognised & appreciated by the team.

    Big focus on celebrating successes – much to celebrate.  They’ve won Most Trusted Healthcare Provider 5 years in a row!  Entirely down to the people.  Don’t take it for granted.  Really want to be that & strive for it.

    These things don’t have to take a lot of money – the symbolism of directors handing out pizza and saying thank you to people face to face has a big impact.

    Values has always been evident as the heart of the business.  But they didn’t feel special – Integrity, Respect, Professional Service Excellence, Respond flexibly and positively to change, Fair & supportive employer of staff.

    To capture the ‘specialness’ they did workshops with volunteers to explore the future culture they want – and the values that are fixed in their heritage.  Used Appreciative Inquiry to understand the values – talked about why people joined, what their high points have been, what their most audacious dreams are for the org.  Never fail to be surprised at the power of focussing on the positive.

    AI – a change methodology used to focus on the positive rather than problem solve.  And believing the system has the knowledge, insights, resources needed to create what’s needed.

    AI > Discovery – Dream – Design – Destiny.

    Their values are now – Care, Mutuality, Sustainability, Wellbeing.

    Nobody needs to be convinced of these.  They recognise them as what Benenden stand for.  They don’t need ‘selling in’.

    As part of review of Performance Mgmt they’ve created a Behavioural Framework – How we work with each other, How we honour our heritage, How we work through change, How we deliver results.  Each has a summary statement e.g. We respect, trust & value the contribution from everyone and we inspire others through great leadership.  Then 4 statements below that e.g. We communicate openly & honestly & have a positive impact on others.

    When thinking about alignment, not sure you can get everything absolutely aligned, but can gradually shift one part at a time.  Inji’s experience is that it takes about a year to have people realise things have shifted.  And that at the point you are so bored hearing yourself say the same thing, is about the time that it’s really filtered out into the org.

    There’s been huge change in nearly all people practices & policies in the last 18 months including making the call centre like an actual call centre – knowing when calls are coming in, flexing staff, knowing how much cover you need & have at any time… etc.  Rather than drip feed they waited and packaged it up into a picture (co-created by people, not briefed by Inji) to communicate it – people respond better to images than words.  Gave facilitators of the story some training (just an hour) so they could take others through it.  Part of that role was about listening to what these things meant to them, to ask questions, to share concerns.

    Achieved a 5% uplift in survey results like understanding the business plan and where I fit in it.

    In the CEOs ‘town hall meetings’ people now ask how we’re doing in certain areas rather than waiting to be told.

    Learnings > Communication + Co-creation + Celebration = More capacity for change than you might ever have thought!

    This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDOD15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.

    #CIPDOD15 Beyond OD Orthordoxy: dialogic and networked change approaches

    This is with Prof Cliff Oswick of Cass Business School at City Uni London.

    It’s going to be a fairly quick look at moving away from problem-centred change and to discursive approaches to OD.  Shifting from top-down to emergent, network forms of change.

    Traditional vs Dialogic vs Emergent OD

    1900s to present – orgs as machines.  1960’s to present – orgs as systems.  1980s to present – interpretive meaning-making systems, 1990s to present – complex adaptive systems.  The last 2 acknowledge the complexity, subjectivity, emergent, chaotic nature of OD.

    We’ve come to realise that it’s the discursive construction and context of something that frames what we think of it.  It’s how we frame the problem that matters.

    New dialogic OD is solutions-driven, proactive & rhizomatic (that means non-linear!), generative, complex & emergent, abstract & intangible, multi-directional (not constrained by hierarchy).  In the past OD took a problem-centred, concrete & tangible, reactive, linear approach.

    All new CEOs come into an org and restructure within 6 mths.  Even though they won’t really know enough about the best structure to create.  All you do is move the pieces around.  Mark their territory.  Prove to the shareholders that they’re ‘doing’ something.  We still like to hold onto tangible.  But who you report to doesn’t really matter.  The power isn’t located in the hierarchy.  However people are structured won’t change the culture.

    If interested in OD practices – book recommendation – Dialogic OD: a theory of practice (G. R. Bushe)

    Traditional OD – change as a scentific process, great for linear, tangible problems and solutions, top-down e.g. job design, teamwork and structural intervention

    Dialogic / Diagnostic / Contemporary OD – change as a discursive process, emergent, fluid, focus on positive and future – always trying to create better e.g. AI, Future Search, World Café

    Emerging OD – change as a political process, a neutral focus on change – what will be different now rather than what will be better in the future, turbulent & socially connected, change with employees e.g. Employee activism, Constructive deviance

    Talking about a play where the audience can choose to follow different characters acting out different scenes which shows the characters for who they really are.  Doesn’t work now because people tweet it / text it / fb message it so the other audience members find out about the back story they’d never have found out about before.  Just like in work.  There’s nowhere to hide your true self!

    Bottom-up is the way forward!  Hierarchy will become less important and leaders will emerge at all levels – they’ve always been there but they’ll now be overt.  Internal crowdsourcing with leaders facilitating the conversations (not heroically leading) will increase into the future.  Decisions made outside of the boardroom – engages and brings people with you. Co-creating change.  Viral change – start by infecting one or two until everyone’s caught the bug!

    This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDOD15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.

    #CIPDOD15 Creating an Enabling Mindset to Become Agile & Future-Focused

    Steve Morton Head of People and OD at Virgin Money.

    The VUCA got a mention!  *klaxon*  But yes, change is happening all the time, it’s just that it feels a lot faster these days.

    We all have a different response to the word ‘change’.  As we do to most things in life.  We all have different baggage we bring based on previous experiences.

    Steve likes to move away from ‘change’ and more into thinking about what you want to become – Virgin Money wants, and Steve says sincerely wants, to be a bank where everyone’s better off.  Steve has the CEO on his side, she really cares about what they do.

    There was a key criteria to keep the language the same as change began – the language in Virgin Money is simple and transparent and that needed to be maintained.  Doing that helps maintain trust.

    Monumental moment when Virgin Money and Northern Rock combined.  When Steve joined the language was still ‘heritage Northern Rock’ or ‘heritage Virgin Money’.  You can’t move forward until you accept those two things need to be something different in the future.

    To support change requires consistency of words and actions to build trust and belief that this is really happening and that people believe in it.

    At a big event with CEO announced that only 51% felt they got what they needed to do their job.  This was Steve’s challenge.  He took a standback, big approach to reflect a strategy that says everyone’s better off (EBO).

    For leadership development they’ve got a social media platform to manage learning, invitations sent through the post, creating an experience for colleagues to make it feel EBO.  Role modelling what’s needed because creating an experience is what managers and their teams need to do for their customers – creating advocates of the brand in employees and customers.

    Next step was thinking about developing talent.  The 9 box doesn’t fit with EBO.  He wanted a story to show an EBO approach that would include every single colleague and help them wherever they are.  They’ve got a 4 box and a circle model! – Core Performers – help them be the best they can be, Protect & Grow – key players, Honest Action – it’s just not working, Square Peg Round Hole – help back on track, Future Business Leaders – development stretch.  Whatever type of box-model you want to use, for me the key is the attitude towards the people in the boxes.  Respect for them and their needs.

    They’ve brought in apprenticeships to help local and younger community.

    Steve’s key – don’t talk up change – the word scares people.  Talk up the things that are most important to your org.  Talk about the reality in real language.

    This post has been live-blogged from #CIPDOD15.  I’ve done my best to represent the content accurately and fairly but some errors may exist.  Most of it is the speakers’ content and I aim to show the bits that are my opinion.