• CIPD Northern Ireland Conference: Focusing on the Future with People

    Belfast’s ICC was the venue as 250 HR and learning professionals from Northern Ireland and beyond gathered for the inaugural CIPD Northern Ireland annual conference on Tuesday.

    Wellbeing, inclusion and the impact of technology were the core conference themes highlighted by CIPD Head of Scotland and Northern Ireland, Lee Ann Panglea, as she opened the event.

    In the opening keynote, CIPD Membership Director David…

    • 4 Dec 2018
  • Apprentice Blog: Week 2: Don’t pitch yourself up to fail

    The second task in what Lord Sugar ominously calls “the process” was about designing a comic. The grizzled entrepreneur spots opportunities few can see the need for, which is probably why he developed the email phone. But a tablet compatible comic to keep kids laughing and (hopefully learning), was potentially worth millions. The teams were briefed by a scary avatar of the man himself, and went off on their way. …

    • 15 Oct 2018
  • Meanwhile on the Apprentice. There really IS no I in team. Follow the leader

    I am an avid watcher of the series for all its shortcomings. I will highlight the great stuff the contestants do when skilful as well as the epic skill fails, which they all demonstrate and which hold them back. I will call out my winner after week 3, as well as who I think should have been fired if I disagree with Lord S. What do you think?

    This week they went off to Malta to an onerous voiceover about “Britain going…

    • 11 Oct 2018
  • People Analytics and the Profession: HR leader event Belfast 6th September

    This week CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland gathered practitioners in Northern Ireland to discuss the challenge and opportunity of people analytics. CIPD’s Head of Research and lead on human capital Ed Houghton, Jonathan Ferrar ex VP of People at IBM and CIPD Board member, and Caroline Van Der Feltz, HR Director of Danske Bank shared their insights with a group of HR leaders.

    When we think of people data as insight…

    • 7 Sep 2018
  • Let’s celebrate the people management excellence we are going to need now and for the future

    After the Stormont squabbling and the Ballyhoo over Brexit and the border, there is one constant in the future world we face. The issue is can Northern Ireland build the kind of future fit workplaces we need? Can we bring more people into the workplace as our population ages and our youth population and migration stagnates or falls. Can we develop well-managed and motivated people who are engaged and therefore productive…

    • 27 Mar 2017
  • Apprentice: A Washout made worse by the Dearth of a Salesperson

    Have I been watching the Apprentice?  Yes but I am not exactly enthused. In reality I think this year’s lot are the poorest crop of potential partners for Sugar's cash rush ever. Earlier episodes saw the teams being creative as they promenaded hopefully down Brighton front: Guiltees and 'Suck it and Sea.' great names. This is when we saw super confident Sofiane's sales technique of relentless pressing…

    • 25 Nov 2016
  • Is tax really just for the little people who work?

    Leona Helmsley a mega rich new New York property developer is reported to have said after her arrest for tax fraud “we don’t pay taxes only the little people pay taxes.” She was known as known as “The Queen of mean.” Sadly many of our biggest global corporations have a similar attitude.

    Modern governments face an increasing challenge in protecting their tax base. Footloose firms set up name…

    • 2 Sep 2016
  • Scotland the Blog: The double deluge on the Don and Dee means time for a granite renewal

    I spoke with our network in The North east and Islands this week. The area has been hit recently by two deluges.  The most pressing issue for the economy and Scotland’s is the deluge of Saudi oil driving the world price to below thirty dollars per barrel. This makes the sixty dollar price everyone had been fretting over this time last year look stratospheric. The second is record rain fall which has brought widespread…

    • 15 Jan 2016
  • Scotland the Blog: A cracked bridge and packed trains cramp Scotland’s Skilled Future

    I have been watching the latest Scandi Noir "The Bridge" with its brilliantly believable human characters. Saga Noren the high functioning Asperger detective is one of the best characters in TV. The bridge in question is the Oresund crossing a ten mile long critical artery connecting Sweden and Denmark. The Bridge is the subject of some dispute as Sweden wishes to close it in response to the migrant crisis and for…

    • 9 Dec 2015
  • Learning from The Apprentice: Creativity and Innovation Counts

    Episode two of The recently ended Apprentice

    was characterised by three skills and behaviour problems which we see a lot. I titled it creativity catfights and commercial suicide Today we’ll concentrate on creativity. Creativity is one of those skills and attributes which organisations need but which they frequently misidentify as being only in the province of so called "creative" people. So, an engineering firm trying…
    • 15 Feb 2011
  • Learning from The Apprentice: 1: Desperate Dan’s Leadership Dilemma

    In this 12 week blog I will be drawing some learning and talent lessons for the last series of The BBC business  talent competition. The Apprentice. This week I''ll be looking at Dan's leadership Dilemmafrom  Episode 1. I will be using clips, links and references to useful books and summarising key debates as way of helping members of CIPD and the public to use the show to reflect on some of their  organsation's and indeeed their…

    • 20 Jan 2011
  • Apprentice 12: Why Stella shone and Chris will be OK and what it tells us about Britain’s talent travesty

    And finally... Stella won Apprentice 2010 because she actually exhibited the best marketing, people and influencing skills. She was also the best in terms of her learning journey. She managed the final team task of developing a new brand of alcoholic drink brilliantly. It was her inspiration to come up with the fantastic idea of Urbon, as a female friendly “soft” variant of bourbon. She also pitched very well and kept her…

    • 22 Dec 2010
  • The Apprentice 11: Found out and Feeling the Vengeance of the Lord

    This was the final destructive testing of the candidates to see who would be paired up for the final showdown. All were put through the wringer. Jamie wilted under Margaret’s stone faced unwillingness to be charmed. He also got his metaphors mixed up, the wrong thing to do with a pin sharp classicist like Margaret. She had returned specially to grill candidates having just popped out to do a PhD for in papyrology for…

    • 16 Dec 2010
  • Get on the Bus! Fight in the Boardroom or Get Fired

    When you get in to the boardroom on this programme you better have a strategy. Stuarts been there so many times he knows how to play it. Preen and look keen works best. But as I said last week the three C’s of charm cheek and chutzpah are a banker when the firing finger hovers. Tell him you can make him millions and he is as intrigued. Not that Lord sugar is greedy or grasping. He is a big advocate for people paying…

    • 9 Dec 2010
  • The Apprentice 9: Hard Luck stories and Soft Noses.

    The ability to negotiate, to spit on your hands and shake on a deal marks you out as a player in Lord Sugar’s world. That was hard luck for Stella and Laura. (who got fired), They suffered from confronting some of stoniest negotiators going. Buying tartan they faced a man whose hard-faced negotiating stance made Bob Crow look like the Emir of Qatar spreading the welcome mat before FIFA in Zurich last week. The women’s…

    • 6 Dec 2010
  • Apprentice 8; Taking One for the Team When the Chips are Down Can get You Fired.

    I know there is pre-occupation with the Germans, in the UK, and of course some of our greatest comedy is rooted in that awkward history. The comedy of this edition of the Apprentice was the attempt to sell crisps or "Kartoffelchips" to the Germans.

    To be fair Herr Baggs came out best as he actually attempted to speak German. That said his show off display of counting to twenty was displayed as though he had just translated…

    • 25 Nov 2010
  • The Apprentice 7: Good Teams Prop up Bad Leaders

    Week 7’s task called for skills of creativity planning costing and selling. After a trip to Pinewood the Hollywood of Britain which Sandeesh thought was a "furniture place", Lord Sugar set them up to sell "blue screen" entertainment. Basically a live action backdrop is filmed and people do something in front of it. They then hopefully buy a video of their experience.

    Luckily for Stuart Baggs "the boor" his team members…

    • 18 Nov 2010
  • Apprentice 6: Alex Walked because he Didn't Walk the Talk

    The task was to design a new household cleaner and take it from design, through to the creation of a marketing and advertising strategy. Advertising as anyone who has worked in it, or even watched Madmen is much harder than it looks. Alex who is billed as "Unemployed Head of Communications", was the team leader on one side and Christopher the ex. Marine was team leader for the other. It’s difficult to think of two more…

    • 17 Nov 2010
  • Apprentice 5; Pride and Pushiness

    Pride comes before a fall and Paloma pushed her luck. The marginal difference in sales between the teams didn't matter. Some say Paloma should have been spared and loquacious but useless Alex or superfluous Sandeesh should have walked the plank instead.  However the contest was one on product selection inexpensive party dresses. Paloma as team leader lost it because she above all treated her possible supplier with a cold…

    • 5 Nov 2010
  • Apprentice 4: Found out

    Some people were found out on this episode. The task of selecting innovative products and trying to flog them to hardnosed retail procurement people was a big ask. There was a reprise of episode two's chronic catfight over disputed order books. The sacking of the the atrociously bad Melissa was expected and overdue. Try as she might to convince us she was a "business person", she was indicative of that talent show chutzpah…

    • 29 Oct 2010
  • The Apprentice 3: Empty Vessels, and Baked-in costs

    The positive thing about the third episode is that a lot of learning has taken place. Stuart Baggs "The Brand" has made a strategic decision not be known as Stuart Baggs the bufoon with bog brush barnet booted out in episode 3. He controlled his considerable ego albeit like a seven stone weakling restraining a helium balloon during a hurricane. He did however manage to finesse his approach and showed his selling prowess…

    • 21 Oct 2010
  • The Apprentice 2: Creativity catfights and commercial suicide.

    Episode two was a brilliant lesson in the balance between confidence and competence. First of all a project manager in charge of a creative project who shut down the creative process and who had no system for getting the ideas flowing. The team was not allowed to truly innovate as in brainstorm, re-purpose or do any of the stuff that gets creative electricity going.

    No one would have adopted the Bookeze if they had…

    • 15 Oct 2010
  • The Apprentice 1: Why Desperate Dan Got Fired

    The Apprentice is great TV and this series looks better than ever. It always starts with pantomime posturing where wannabe business titans  look into the middle distance and with a straight face say things like "I am the best salesperson in the world...everything I touch turns to sold". Another said my management philosophy is JFDI (Just **** do it.

    This presaged the kick off task making and selling sausages whilst…

    • 8 Oct 2010
  • Habits and Happiness 18: Getting the Measure of Change

    I have been occupied recently with measurement with a project on Coaching Evaluation and my general interest in the analytical side of HR. I’ve been lapping up John Boudreau’s new book "Re-Tooling HR" and can’t wait till he speaks at our Annual Conference in Manchester on the 11th of November.

    I share his concern that HR gets hung up about developing specific measures for everything we do. In reality organisations…

    • 10 Aug 2010
  • Habits and Happiness 17: Obliquity and Getting into the Swim of Things

    John Kay is a fabulous thinker who also happens to be a top economist. In my view if he was an American he would be much more famous and highly regarded than he is. Unlike many economists he doesn’t think the world is full of rationally maximising satisfaction units reading market signals coherently. Like Paul Ormerod another brilliant British economic thinker Kay believes the world we live in is humanly messy.

    In his…

    • 3 Aug 2010