Sunday, 25 December 2016

How to lose hearts

Day 26 (Monday 26th December 2016)

26% of the Far North, the most pristine area of Australia's Great Barrier Reef 
has died. During 2016 the Reef suffered the worst bleaching on record
Scientists claim that the damage is caused by rising sea temperatures (in February, 
March and April, sea surface temperatures across the Great Barrier Reef were the 
hottest on record, at least 1C higher than the monthly average).

It is Boxing Day - a traditional time to sit, read something and reflect. I am sure that David D'Souza's post below will make you do just that - it should provoke thoughts, regardless of whether you manage people, work for others or just know people who fit into either camp. His piece has made me stop and contemplate how I work, what I do with and how I lead others and also to consider the approach of the wider business within which I sit. Are you aware of how you make others feel?

David is the Head of London and Head of Engagement (Branches) at the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development - the UK-based professional body for HR and people development with over 140,000 members). Previously he has worked within HR (with a strong bias towards learning and development) and has run his own consultancy. I am fortunate to have had him in my team and I can vouch for the fact that he is as values-driven, and family-orientated, as he comes across on social media. He is also a genuine polymath who can turn his hand and intellect to most things. He is a natural communicator and connector - you can meet and tweet with him on Twitter (his handle is @dds180) or else read his thought-provoking blog - 101 Half Connected Things or else his posts on LinkedIn.

David is a regular speaker at conferences and events, but just as impactful in a quiet one-to-one chat. He is a genuine, super-bright and awesome person. I am honoured to call him my friend.


A Ten Step Guide to Losing Hearts in The Workplace

Rather than a deep confessional I wanted to give people something constructive for the New Year. A workplace guide to losing hearts and leaving people hollow. A 'How to' guide for anyone wishing to spend a year removing trust and destroying group dynamics, should you be so inclined. I've had a reasonably long career and I've worked with some experts in this field over the years. Their lessons stuck with me and my commitment to people being entitled to the opposite is one of the reasons I joined the CIPD.

Of course, if you wanted to avoid doing the things on this list you might find that, at the very least, you don't do bad things. People often say that 'not bad' isn't the same as 'good'. I'd agree, but sometimes 'not bad' is good enough. 

How to lose hearts:

  1. Heroically take upon yourself the burden of the critical decisions and then get them wrong. Work with assumptions as if they are facts and LinkedIn quotes as if they are strategy.                                                                     
  2. Lead so well no other voices can be heard or recognised. Become the only voice that matters in the organisation. Go big.                                            
  3. Create a distance so great between your espoused values and your deeds that people point to it from afar as though it is a wonder of nature. They whisper in hushed tones in the corridors, they whisper of that gap. They marvel at your lack of realisation.                                                             
  4. Involve people at the point their involvement is largely redundant and then rail at them for a lack of 'engagement'. Dictate the rules of engagement and then object to being called a dictator. Use an annual survey to indicate commitment to everyday involvement.                                                      
  5. Keep your friends close and your budgets closer. Invest only in people and things that are conspicuous in their proximity to your world view. Create a comfort blanket of vanity projects and acolytes.                                         
  6. Keep talking about not being able to be half on the bus - until only the people on the bus are the ones that aren't smart enough to challenge the destination and timetable (even though it makes no sense)                         
  7. Pay no attention to the physical environment. People are lucky to have a building at all and if they were as good as you they'd get a nicer space to work in - with windows and a supportive chair and everything.                    
  8. Communicate what you want to communicate or what people want to hear. Leave the trickier task of telling them what they need to hear for another day 
  9. Make unfair reward your target. From exec pay down to saying "thank you", be selective, preferential and shun transparency. Tell yourself that if someone wouldn't object then you aren't making the tough decisions          
  10. And finally, remember why you hired all those bright people: to make you feel good about taming their intellect and having them all agree with you.    
Even if it means the bright sparks within them no longer shine.


  1. An excellent piece of "reversal" David

  2. Very nice and educative stuff, please allow me to share it on my Facebook wall.