Dumb ‘n’ Bass

Learning, Recruitment

Sorry, Robin.

That seems a good place to start this unload.

As the latest recruit to the covers band and my new partner in time, you arrived to such scrutiny; ashamedly from all of us.

A seasoned, knowledgeable, technically gifted and personable bassist, we doubted your integrity, your commitment, your longevity, your honour. Why would you, a pro who has played all over the world with some great musicians, want to play with us Sunday footballers? But that’s the view we took about ourselves before you joined, intentionally overlooking all your attributes to protect and mitigate risk.

Fuck risk. We, and you, are better for accepting it.

Right. You set, Robin? Count us in.



  1. ….70:20:10 the new Pareto’s Law for L&D?
    • 10% Effort
    • 20% Resources
    • 70% Results


  2. ….there such a thing as L&D borrowing capital (budgets) from shareholders (other depts) and promising them a dividend?  Or is this what they call ‘Shared Services’?
  3. ….L&D ‘at risk’ and/or ‘a risk’?  And who is best positioned to make that assessment?

More questions (and no answers) to come.


#peerwatch, CPD, Learning

Last week on #LDInsight Tweetchat(Fridays, 8am BST), the following question was posed.

Who could we be talking to that we aren’t at present?

Here was my response.

LDINSIGHT response

Now perhaps Peer Observation was probably not the right terminology, but my comment did resonate with some people, including respected colleagues Michelle Parry-Slater (@MiPS1608) and Jo Stephenson (@Jostepho).

Within my most recent organisation, my experiences of observation were either provoked by an HR process (e.g. appraisal/performance management), change (e.g. imminent restructures), or a combination of both.  It strikes me now that we just sat and waited for these triggers.  We weren’t agile, we weren’t really benchmarking ourselves sufficiently and possibly against the wrong things.  Frankly, I feel we got a little lazy.

Your practice (and perhaps definition) of observation might well be different within your workplace.  In this social age, we actively ‘observe’ our external peers through conferences, blogs, Meetups, Tweetups etc, but are we missing out on some useful CPD by partnering with an organisation and periodically observing each other’s day-to-day environment and practices?

Yep, the idea of external observation scares the heck out of me too, and I know it’s not easy, but how much value would both parties gain from spending time (and little budget) with each other, especially if your industries and/or sectors are at polar opposites?

So anyway, I’ve decided to put this to the test.

I plan to approach some individuals and organisations over the next few weeks…. speak to other LnDers, Developers, Architects, Marketeers, Product Managers.  I have no idea what to expect (neither do they), but I’m confident it will be time and (little) money well spent.

Finally, in the spirit of recent hybrid hashtagging trends, I will today launch this campaign (of one) under the HT of #PeerWatch.

Would love you to join me on this.

From The Roof Up

I recently caught up with my mate John, an incredibly skilled and well-respected civil/structural engineer. Now in his sixties, John has worked all over the world building big factories for big clients.

John is old school. I say this because he’s not over-reliant on technology when it comes to creating and analysing structures. Don’t be worried by this…before I bought my current home, John spotted a defect on my conservatory that no other surveyor did. He saved me a few quid in the process.

John has just returned from a two-year gig in India. Now, when most of your friends come back from a lengthy outing abroad, you expect lots of media and tales. John is no exception, but when he came round, opened his laptop and launched PowerPoint, I knew this was going to be front row with popcorn. What John presented was a wonderful and illustrative narrative that was as absorbing as the biscuits we were dunking in our teas. John speaks with great technicality, and even though I can’t keep up with him, I love it.

Passion. Pride.

Anyway, slide 263 showed the early stages of one of his building creations, a roof at ground level against a backdrop of steel columns. “Trusstastic!” you scream. However, what is interesting is that his team are also chucking in the pipework, ducts, cabling etc at ground level before lifting onto the steel supports.

Roof. Done.

What this now does is provide protection, a shelter that allows you to repeat the process with subsequent floors. Each floor then becomes a shelter in itself allowing work to continue below, but it also serves as a support in allowing work to continue above.
There’s something Kanban about this approach. I don’t know what makes me say that, but it’s just…different.

Funny that we talk about agility, collaboration, bottom up, top down, scaffolding (yep you saw that coming), but are we still operating within old and tired techniques in LnD? A roof is there to protect, to frame and support.  It has as much importance, if not more, as your foundations. You can still function with a shelter over your head.

Is it time for you to build again, from the roof up?


CPD, Learning

You remember that hilariously classic TV moment from the 70s involving boy scouts on a roller coaster?  Y’know, the one from ThatBastardMonster’ll Fix It .

The unknown. The expressions. The mess. Great viewing.

That was me, yesterday, at the CIPD 2015 exhibition in London (Day 2).

Let me take you on a snapshot of my ride.

  1. Arrive [climb into car]
  2. Want to leave [car climbs]
  3. Meet Kevin (@donnyboy71) [Kevin is next to me. His arms are in the air]
  4. We share an experience [Kevin holds on to his lunch]
  5. Again! Again!

And so it continues. People jump on. People jump off.

Fear is a bugger, isn’t it. I know that one day very soon, Reader’s Digest will come through my door. No, sorry……I will unknowingly subscribe digitally.  Fear was something that the quite incredible Julian Stodd observed and blogged recently.

My fear yesterday was about where L&D would continue to add value in the medium term. Yes we scaffold, we curate, we analyse, we play Acronym Bingo, but how long will this last? In this age of PLE and PLN (Bingo!), how long before Millenials, BBoomers, Gen X etc (by the way, it’s a load of tosh) just work it out for themselves?

They already have, haven’t they.

But then I spoke to someone who gave me hope (*stirring music*).  He of identified gender shall remain nameless, but Martin reminded me of that work that ‘falls under the other areas of HR’ – Talent Management, Recruitment and Retention, Performance etc.

We co-own that. We so bloody co-own that….with everyone.

Clearly I haven’t got a clue, and my comments are indicative of the organisational setup I’ve been part of in the last few years. (Colleagues, if you are reading, I have much admiration for you. Sincerely. Truly.)

We all need to let go a bit. Put our arms in the air.

And this, dear friend(s) is when I turn to Toto – they of hits such as ‘Africa’ and ‘Rosanna’ (still one of the tightest, funkiest, most difficult drum beats ever).

Let us pray:

“I’ve been waitin’ for your love, and it’s been here all the time right in front of me”

Now, I didn’t say this to Martin (nor do I have a need to), but thank you Martin. For me, it’s added to my purpose.

Yesterday was about overcoming some of my fears: networking, socialising, punching way way way above my weight.  It’s reminded me of what I still need to do. I’m comfortable with that. I even accepted the ‘Knob’ comment on presentation of my badge.

I’m a better person for the whole experience.

I want to congratulate Andy Lancaster and all at CIPD for finally grabbing my attention again after seven long years. Well done. I wish you great success.

For those who gave me your time, your ears and your wisdom, thank you.

Lead on.
‘Knob’ out.

#cipdLDshow #ldinsight