As a guest last night in The Palace of Westminster I felt mixed emotions…

…delighted to hear our host Paul Gilbert CEO LBC WiseCounsel guest of Col. Bob Stewart MP announce LawFest 2014; enjoyed an excellent guided tour given by Col. Bob including a special visit to The Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft near where Emily Davidson had hidden so that she was included as woman resident of the House on the night of the 1911 Census. I had been before many times and indeed worked with the Company which put TV into Parliament in 1990 but the sense of history never fails to blow me away every time. Yet as we all stood near the despatch box in an empty House of Commons and listened to our witty Guide, where earlier The Chancellor announced historic spending cuts, it struck me, as it strikes everyone, how small the the House is, how ordinary our leaders are up close but how extraordinary their power and impact, illustrated by Lord Lawson who passed us slowly on the corridor as we were shown into The House of Lords to listen to a debate. I couldn’t help but wonder what preparation or support they all get, if any, to lead and at times wield immense power over our lives.

Ciaran Fenton

[kee-ron]

20130627-082054.jpg

“The old model of work is dying” says Luke Johnson…

in today’s FT and he also says that “we should abandon the concept of a job being permanent, and instead see each position almost as an assignment”. I agree with this and it’s excellent that someone of his stature is saying this out loud but he doesn’t address the fact that HR and organisation structures are not, typically, in tune with this view because it constitutes a dilution of power. It is easy to say “go plural”, but lots want to to this but don’t know how. When you have to eat what you kill, it certainly concentrates the mind. But what if you don’t know how to sell? Most of my clients who have gone portfolio had a rude awakening when they had to sell without the benefit of a grand brand behind them. They can learn certainly, but they must first confront “compound ignorance” i.e. knowing what they don’t know.

Ciaran Fenton

[kee-ron]

20130626-090228.jpg

“To a man with only a hammer every problem looks pretty much like a nail”….

…quotes Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s partner, in The Psychology of Human Misjudgement a paper a GC client of mine gave me last week in hardcopy so I don’t have the link to hand. Look it up on Google. It’s one of the best papers on human behaviour in business I’ve ever read and I haven’t finished it yet. I’m reading it very slowly because my brain isn’t as fast as some of my clients who could benefit from reflecting on the folk saying above. It’s about obsession or over focus on one idea or process and what Munger calls “the manage with a hammer tendency”.

Ciaran Fenton

[kee-ron]

20130620-095322.jpg

Interesting use of the word “personnel” in the job spec of the new COO at The Bank of England

I’m intrigued by the use of the word “personnel” instead of “human resources” in the reports in today’s press regarding Charlotte Hogg’s role which also includes responsibility for finance, property, IT and security.

The sooner “human resources” is dropped from the business lexicon, the better. Perhaps The Bank of England believes now, as I and many others have done for years, that humans are designed never ever to behave like resources but like people, gloriously unique and nothing at all like a capital asset. Indeed they are 1/7 billion in their degree of uniqueness. The word personnel is a step in the right direction. Next we need to see the most innovative HR professionals fight for Chief of Staff roles and drop the term HR altogether.

Ciaran Fenton

[kee-ron]

20130619-114248.jpg