Welcome to #cipd11

#CIPD11 is the annual conference from the CIPD. It is Europe's leading Human Resource professionals event.

Over 3 days the Conference offers over 30 sessions covering five key subject areas including retention, talent management, learning and Organisational Development.

There are plenty of free seminars in the exhibition all for those on a budget.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Day 2 at #cipd10 - Riding the waves of innovation

Looking at culture, diversity and innovation was Fons Trompenaars. It would be easy to dismiss Trompenaars as being out dated and out of context, but from what I recall of seeing Trompenaars some 12+ years ago his message has changed and kept fresh.

Trompenaars started out by saying that the “essence of innovation is to combine existing stuff in exciting ways”. He told stories of when his consulting firm would be asked to go in and work with firms that had just “come out the other side” of a major project with one of the big consulting firms. He said that often the client would take them around the firm and show off the IT solutions they have as a result of the work, his stated reply was “… yes but people live here”.

Describing our world as one full of bi-polar attitudes and thoughts. He cited as an example MBTI. Saying that can we only be Thinking or Feeling? Why not both? This statement resonated with many in the room. His view was that in order to innovate it was not about Thinking or Feeling – but Thinking WITH Feeling, or Feeling with Thought.

Trompenaars has strong views on a number of issues for example:

Research – is just academics quoting each other and going round in circles – what we need is “search” not “research”

Having “destroyed” MBTI (a familiar tool), he then went on to look at KAI – the Kirton innovation tool. Again criticised as being bipolar but more than that Trompenaars said that in his view Kirton has confused Invention for innovation. As a measure of inventiveness he agreed that the tool added value – but that innovation was more a function of invention AND Adaptiveness (another scale on the instrument). I found this particularly interesting, as I have thought this true since working with the Creatrix Innovation inventory. What Trompenaars described as innovation is clearly identified in the Creatrix the work of Byrd some 40+ years ago.

  1. Individual or team?

The rest of the session was in essence looking at how we could help leaders to move from being bi-polar thinking – to duality – or “both and” approach. For example not the dilemma of individual creativity or team performance. He put the case that not only can we have both – but for future sustainability and growth we need both.

Overall some interesting ideas. How clearly his ideas are communicated in his book only time will tell.

My notes on this session were extensive and I will generate a bigger article in time.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

day 1 - Delivering ambitious growth through your people

Day 1 - afternoon session - Beyond Survival – delivering growth through your people #cipd10

This was the last session of day one at this years CIPD annual conference. It was led by Carl McPhail CEO of New Look the large UK retailer.

After showing us a short (1min) promotional video showing the business time line from conception as a market stall to its current multi million operation. McPhail introduced the business as “always being about change” and that to be successful in a sustainable way “you need to engage with customers as well as employees”.

McPhail talked about the cycle of products, the number of times the average customer visited (on average twice a month) and the need to have new products on the shelf for every visit and a complete stock change every 8 weeks. He highlighted that just 5 partner suppliers provided 50% of all new products and that while many would consider this narrow supply chain as a risk, McPhail considers this to be a strength for both the supplier and themselves.

It was at this point that it really dawned on me – here is a CEO at a HR conference talking business not HR. the language he was using was more about profit, than retention or other HR measures. This was refreshing. It was not that he was ignoring HR – he wasn’t, what he was doing was truly integrating HR & the business.

McPhail went on to talk about the strategy to achieve their aggressive growth ambitions. It included the following:

Being the #1 in the retail market space

Aggressive targets

Sales & profits

Cash & returns

UK space




World class benchmarking

Obsessive customer focus

Best people

McPhail highlighted the last three:

Benchmarking, this is not within the sector to other retail providers – but best in class – logistics, finance etc

Customer focus, in that they have created social media channels, Facebook, “MyLook” – they own network, so that they can take temperature checks on a daily basis so that they can react to what the customer experience is.

Best People – McPhail himself says that he has his strengths and weaknesses, and that he knows his weaknesses and engages with the best people he can find (in and outside the business) to address this. The examples he gave was the introduction of online shopping and social media, as it was his team that recommended the change of channel.

On the people agenda – all leaders (himself included) have been assessed and personal development plans put in place. He said that he relied on his HRD to provide honest information on the people in the business and to act as a trusted adviser. The HR leadership approach aspires to provide:







Overall this was a refreshingly honest and business led session (rather than many fad based sessions), good to hear the value a CEO puts on HR, when HR works with the leadership to deliver a successful business.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

CIPD10 - annual conference

CIPD Annual Conference 2010 - #cipd10

#cipd10 imageThis year as last the annual shin-dig of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development CIPD (the UK’s professional body for HR, HRD & OD professionals) is taking place at Manchester.
Some interesting sessions attended so far.
The introduction by Jackie Orme – the CIPD’s CEO set the scene for the event. Pointing out that for an organisation to be a success required a unique blend of both financial health of the business with an appropriate level of social responsibility.
The CIPD being both politically and sectorally independent puts the CIPD in a unique position. Orme highlighted the importance of putting the people agenda back at the centre of HR work, meeting both the business needs and the needs of the people to deliver the business.
Orme announces a package of changes to the CIPD member offer to further develop the support to members and their growth throughout their career, recognising that cost of CIPD services may have been a barrier in the past. New services and price revisions are taking place to address this.
Orme suggested that HR needed to be more insight led rather than policy led for the future success of both our profession and our organisations.
Ram Charan
A charismatic professional that started out by asking how many people used powerpoint for such presentations.. then proceeded to spend the entire session “out in the participants” – not using any visual aids and engaging with people eye-to-eye. I suspect that some of the audience may have felt a little intimidated by this.
He had some great messages.
His first was that to be a good athlete they need to train – not just with complex kit, but doing the basics like press-ups. Now the athletes don’t like this but they do it as practice and practicing the basics is fundamental to success. Using the analogy we were challenged as to what are the boring basics we need to practice in HR/ HRD? He suggested that relationships, influencing are amongst those things – and do we practice them often enough?
The future of HR is as the trustee of the people – much like the CFO is the trustee of finance. This means we need to understand the talent we have, where each person adds value and where they do not, and to make sure that key decision makers are aware of the latent talent so that it can be retained, grown and deployed.
The key role HR has were stated as:
1)      to be the trustee of people
2)      recognise the potential in every leader in clear and specific ways (actions not competence)
3)      to find people and find a fit for them and to develop them (note the order – not what is traditional, putting people into roles!
For Hr to do this properly we must not rely on 360 and other measurements – the human brain is better at this, we need to see them in action – in the “day job”. We need to be able to spot leaders with “bandwidth” capacity.
As HR professionals, one thing that we can add strategically to the business is to be able to spot “social trends” occurring both inside and outside our organisations and look for the organisational relevance and inform business leaders. HR is better connected than many other functions to do this.
He stated the obvious and yet it seemed in context – WTHOUT PEOPLE YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS.
This session covered a lot – too much to put here – when I have digested this maybe there will be a longer piece!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

#CIPD10 - The CIPD annual conference and exhibition 2010

It is now just a few short days away before the annual migration of HR professionals from all over the world to its annual conference and exhibition. For the second year running it now takes place in Manchester having spent over 20 years in Harrogate.

Thousands will be attending the exhibition run over 3 days and many conference sessions exploring all areas of HR.