Creativity Constrained – HR Tech Haikus

Today my blog post
Is based on the haiku form
Will it work or not?

Haiku: Noun. A Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

Today my blog post
Is based on the haiku form
Will it work or not?

I spoke with Heather
Tweeting from a conference
About HR tech

She encouraged me
To give haiku tweets a try
Here are some of mine

Data has a soul
And to find it you must search
Way down in the mine

Data makes patterns
Numbers as flow and beauty
Your work is your art

Human capital
A name devoid of feelings
I’m not a number

HRTech Haiku
Sort the data from the flow
Aha! Now I see

Data in the cloud
It’s raining information
Drowning in numbers

Heather wrote some too
She said I could share with you
OK here we go

Data are just bits
Of fact, wrapped up in stories
Truth requires both

Data cannot drive.
It doesn’t do anything
Unless asked nicely

Workforce analytics
How do we measure spirit?
With data ripples

Engage your data
Algorithms need love too.
No more lonely code

Great #HRTechConf
Have a people hangover.
My brain is too full.

Ofen driven by constraint
You do more with less

Slowly Waking

For all you lovely busy people suffering from TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read), this post is mostly about resisting the temptation to rush everything. You may now get your head back down and charge off to your next meeting. The rest of us might choose to read on…

The past couple of weeks have been a wonderfully paced return to work, after a thoroughly relaxing three week family adventure around France. I didn’t plan to have such a rhythm in my return to work, but I think it’s been hugely helpful. A couple of days into this reawakening I scribbled this note on Facebook:

‘My body is back from holiday. I fully expect my brain, heart and soul to join it sometime in the next few days…’

My friend Heather Bussing responded with this:

‘It happens that way to protect you from the shock. And because there really isn’t a rush, despite the insistence otherwise. If everything came back with your body, the cognitive dissonance could cause instantaneous human combustion. Relax. Your life depends on it.’

Heather knows her stuff, so I’ve tried as best I can to follow her advice. In the time between then and now, I’ve reflected a couple of times on the importance of the stories behind numbers and data, and it seems to me that we tend to jump towards, and cling to the figures because they’re immediate. Instantly convincing. We are 46% more in a rush than this time last year, and therefore 82.9% more likely to believe this, or something.

I took the opportunity to attend the first day of Learning Live this week. It’s rare for me to simply attend an event. I’m often running workshops, speaking and/or writing, and in this period of reawakening it was absolutely lovely to be among people enthusiastic about learning and development, and only be expected to soak up as little or as much as I wanted.

I chose to listen to Owen Ferguson speak about the importance of agile methodology in L&D. Owen spoke from the perspective of the product development part of his business. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about agile, and here’s The Agile Manifesto (copied from the Wikipedia page and used in Owen’s talk:

‘We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over Processes and tools
  • Working software over Comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over Following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.’

I found the talk interesting and I think there’s more to be done in exploring how to use agile methodology in the more behavioural side of L&D, as well as in the development of product.

I chose to listen to Sukh Pabial talk and facilitate conversations about being your best self at work. I enjoyed the cocreative aspects of the session and I’ve asked Sukh if I can incorporate a couple of his ideas into my own session on collaboration over in Ohio next week.

I chose to converse with many smart people at the event – too many to mention. I chose to go to the dinner in the evening, and enjoyed wonderful conversations through many chance meetings. I even chose to help write a song before we sat down to dinner, thankfully – it was beautifully sung, by Alex Watson, not me!

I’m now ready to switch up a gear and change my cadence again, which is a good job as there’s much work that needs doing! Times like this are great fun and for most of us, they aren’t sustainable. Much like Neil Morrison wrote about recently, times like this are often at the expense of something else. You could, with sufficient justification I’m sure, say I’ve missed out on things by coming back more slowly than usual. My body came back from holiday a while back, and my brain, heart and should have finally joined it. I’m delighted they chose to take their time.

Creative Leadership – Essential Reading #2

A quick review of The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun

Creative Leadership - Essential Reading

Following a quick peek at 101 Things to Learn in Art School, next up in this mini review series is the epic, The Year Without Pants, by Scott Berkun. This book was recommended to me by the very lovely Heather Bussing (here’s her excellent review of it here) and it’s without a doubt, one of my favourite, most useful and enjoyable reads of all time.

Why do I like it so much? Essentially – it’s just very well written. It has the human touch, lacking in a lot of ‘business’ books, and it’s shot through with some great humour too. It’s about the year(ish) Berkun spent working at, the experience he and others gained and the wonderful shared learning. Rather than offer tons of advice, the book asks great questions – and often encourages you the reader to add your own organisational context. My copy is full of little tabs and markers highlighting little snippets I can easily refer back to. In no particular order, I’ll share a few of those with you here:

On Friday August 24th…I had my first team meeting. It was the worst kind of meeting – the kind where no one knows why they are there.

The only good news was the meeting was short, which is never a mistake. Until the day you can end a meeting where someone other than you says, ‘Wait! Can we meet longer?’ it’s safe to assume the meeting was longer than necessary.

The realisation that everyone is different when you talk to them alone is a secret to success in life.

What assumptions do you have about your organisation that hurt you? And what experiments are you doing to discover them and find better ways to work?

We faithfully follow practices we can’t explain rationally. Why is it that work has to start at 9:00am, and end at 5:00pm? Why are you required to wear a tie of you are a man and a skirt if you are a woman? Why are meetings sixty minutes long by default, and not thirty? We have little evidence these habits produce better work.

I love that when he started his work – Berkun drew up a list of priorities. Here’s his list:

  • Trust is everything

Keeping it real, keeping it simple.

This book has accompanied me to and been photographed on tour in London, Louisiana, Latvia, I had an L thing going on at the time. It has become part of my memory and a truly memorable read. I enjoy it so much I have bought several copies for friends, and happily supported the Kickstarter campaign for Scott’s next book.

Have a great day – next up it’s the turn of Steal Like An Artist

Note to self – this is the 700th blog post on this site. I need to get out more!