Showing posts from 2017


I have a very simple, and achievable New Year’s Resolution for 2018, and I’m hoping lots of others will join me.
It’s not one of the usual suspects like dieting, getting more exercise, cutting out sugar, or even Dry January etc. (though all of those remain constants in my life and a drier January is very possible.)
I am going to try to avoid using single use plastic and consuming products that come in hard or not possible to recycle packaging, such as take away coffee and certain cylindrically shaped snacks.
To help me in this, I am going to keep a daily diary of instances where I do end up using plastic or other packaging that I cannot recycle with certainty. And I will take a photo of the product packaging and tweet it (#reducesingleuse). I’m hoping that this commitment to record this will help me in this quest, and that as the months go by, I will have more and more days, hopefully weeks, where the daily dairy is blank.
My motivation? Even before Blue Planet – a massive wake up call, i…

Walking reflections - a poem

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Set off for a brisk, yet meandering, walk with my dog With a watchful eye on the clouds scudding across the sky What a word - scudding! Its poetic, literary meaning Lost me in thought, as the clouds continued to multiply

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Climbed up towards the iconic church on the hill Limbs starting to loosen up as we went further high I love these walks, they're where I do my best thinking  And here, I’m trying to say why

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Decided that we’d take the long route along the ridge With glimpses of the new cycle path through the hedgerows close by Which were laden with luscious autumn berries I decided that I’d like to make a blackberry and apple pie

On a blustery Saturday morning in early September, I Thought of everyday things, as well as reflecting back on the week past A mixed few days, with a few scatchy moments, I have to testify I’ve been doing too much an…

Ride London Tandem Charity Ride for Hospiscare.

Anyone who knows me in real life, or who has read my Twitter and blogs for a while (thank you!) will know I am very passionate about working for organisations whose purpose is to support and or care for people when they are vulnerable and need support. You may know that after quite a while in the NHS, then the Probation Service, a dalliance with independent consultancy (still doing a small amount), I now work for Hospiscare, a Devon based hospice charity. You may also know that I have taken part in various fund-raising events over the years for different charities, running (kind of) or cycling on our tandem. 
This year, I am not a participant in any event, but I’m a definite groupie, a sort of ‘born again’ charity bucket shaker, and very possibly an irritant. It’s a fine line between attracting support and donations via powerful stories, and getting on everybody’s nerves with frequent sponsorship requests!

So, this blog is an attempt to tell you why I’m walking that fine line again. My …

HR, L&D, Personnel, People, Workforce Development etc. etc. and Professionalism

Above, in the title of this blog is what I consider to be our fundamental issue. What are we as a profession? What are we all about? What makes us distinct from the other accepted business/corporate functions like Finance, and, and, well hang on. How distinct are the other professions that come to mind? And do they all have a clearly recognised scope of things that they do and a professional code of conduct/ethics that anyone you asked on the street could identify in some way? Probably not. Except maybe law and medicine, where you have to be qualified to practice, and everybody knows this.
Something I have often said, sometimes in frustration, sometimes to illustrate my point simply, is "Would you have a non-accountant heading up Finance? No? So why, in a business where 70% ish of your spend is on your people, on whom you rely totally to deliver your service, would you not have a qualified HR professional leading HR?" This is where this blog could get very messy and disorgan…

Look up, look around, listen

As I walk along, I look up, I look around, I listen, I straighten my shoulders. I find I am smiling. I start to become more aware of my breathing and how I am holding myself. I notice more colours and patterns as I look literally all around me. I also notice several different types of birdsong, and which direction it's coming from. My smile feels natural and comfortable and it settles. I am on my own outside on a glorious day, walking my dog, who is also really happy and waggy. God! I am so lucky. This is this afternoon's sunny springtime walk, 5 to 10 minutes away from my house.

Today wasn't always like this. I woke up tired again. Grey fug for a brain. That general headachy feeling that comes from lack of sleep. Unable to get back to sleep, but longing for decent sleep to envelop me. I'm 52, and some of my female friends may identify with this lack of sleep, and why. Night sweats, damn you! I have too much to do today...

I have always found getting outside and notici…

Context and Risk - a Diagram

How much process do we really need?
Is there a policy for that? (And must we use it?)
What would be proportionate?
Can we use much discretion?
What does the law actually say?
What is the bottom line absolute risk involved?
What if we get it wrong?
Is there a precedent for this? Would we be setting one, if not? (And does it matter?)
The questions above, and so many more, invariably accompany complex HR/People management decision making. If you’re in HR or line manage people, you’ve probably had lots of conversations covering the above – you may have also had to try to describe your approach to risk in an interview…
I’ve had the following on my wall sketched on some magic whiteboard for a while. I was planning to start to write in some generic examples… Then I started to think about a wheel (from the wheel of life) with an axis –LOW in the middle radiating out to HIGH on the circumference. What contextual issues would I include? I had a go (well several actually – many discarded) on drawing what t…

A Matter of Manners

I’ve been part of the team assessing candidates at assessment centres recently for posts in our charity shops. I have been asked twice, once by a candidate and once by an existing member of staff, if we ‘bother’ to let unsuccessful candidates know the outcome?
I’m really quite taken aback by this question. (Although I’m not naive, I know this happens a lot...) 
·Our candidates have taken the trouble to tailor an application for us.
They’ve done on line relevant ability tests.

They have given up a day to join us for the assessment centre.

They have been shown around, participated in discussions and been interviewed. All with our values to the fore.

We and they have made quite an investment in the whole process.

So why on earth would we simply ignore anyone who we assessed on the day as not quite the right fit to carry out this post, at this time?

Three things spring to my mind immediately:
1.It’s a matter of good manners. Not getting in touch is simply rude. Politeness costs nothing, well a few…

Murmuration Inspiration

I bang on a lot about how I love living by the sea. I do, I really do love it – even in cold grey weather. And that’s when, surprisingly, I like it best.
A few days ago I was on the beach with my dog trudging along into the biting wind. It could have been a chore to endure.
Then I looked across to the sea, and for the first ever time saw a seabird murmuration. I stood and watched for a while. It was really quite magical. There was much majestic swooping, disappearances across the bay, then graceful reappearances.  
Usually I would whisk my phone out for photos, or my digital camera if I had it on me, but like many fair weather amateur photographers, I usually only take that out on clear days.
No, I thought, DO NOT get your phone out. What would be the point? They are too far away for much focus and it is very grey today. Anyhow, trying (and failing) to get a decent photo will detract from being in the moment. So instead I stood and watched, enjoyed and soaked it up.
Just those few minute…