Day 2 of HR Event, halfway through that second day. I’ve heard three keynotes and three sessions. Talking about organisations and people. We hear a real mixture of conventional methodologies, sharing of practical case histories, through to some new thinking. I’m not saturated yet, although feeling the pain of the Powerpoint.
There are some themes that are emerging; There is no news – it’s all been said somewhere somehow. There is good news, that when applied with heart, some stuff works really well. There are some new perspectives, deeper insights – this is the new news.
We talk engagement; my view – If you present a set of slides, you will create a passive audience. I’m no neuroscientist but I bet neural pathways get very narrow the more that we are talked at. I wonder sometimes if it’s a metaphor for how what we call employee engagement is approached. A neat, tidy, logical plan. It makes perfect sense, so of course, it will work. Where are you reaching me emotionally – because when my emotions are engaged, then I can learn, change, shift.
The material led by word slides has to be very good indeed to engage me.
And, some of it was very good indeed.
There were two standouts.
One of the keynotes gave us glamorous subject matter; an anthropological enquiry by Rasmus Ankersen into the Jamaican “running gene*. Everyone sits upright in their seats. Lots of pictures, even moving pictures with sound. We all become alert. The subject also was about talent – finding the goldmine in your own organisation. A construct (talent) that I struggle with. But, what a turn around for me.
Do you go after “talent that shouts” or “talent that whispers”? The coach at the local Jamaican sports club where Usain Bolt and other super achievers trained is no runner, or indeed, no athlete, himself. He promotes a hard work ethic, searches for hunger and creates the conditions for people to excel. We were encouraged to seek out the “talent that whispers”. The “talent that shouts” is probably already taking care of itself or we are taking care of it. Do not be beguiled that the talent that shouts is the only talent. The talent that whispers – not necessarily the A graders – that’s where there may be a hunger for better that can be nourished..
The speaker was so alive, moving, talking to us not at us, creating a story, and sharing some insights.
The other session which grabbed my attention was visceral intelligence. Alexander Mackenzie – the speaker told us he had a background in story telling. He told us a story about noodles and singing; that a beautiful song remained when the singer is long gone. It creates a visceral experience. Contain your selves, settle down. We were invited to get involved in experiencing this for ourselves, and in a short six minutes, we revealed insights to ourselves, more than we could have believed possible at the outset. Alexander talked about fearless leadership, and I say there is a possibility for beauty in all our relationships, work too, if we believe it.
We spend a lot of time worrying about how we prove the worth of “human capital” *shudders*. There is no news – it’s already well documented how to engage employees and how this pays back into results.There are books, researchers, surveys, programmes. We know how to do it, on one level – the intellectual level. The visceral level requires you, me us, to step into the unknown, the uncharted, the undiscovered.
There is good news; HR Event shows that there is a growing body of evidence and research to educate, inform and influence business leaders – that includes HR people who are also business leaders. “The business” is your business. The quality of the conversations, even with my unfriend the power point slide, shows there is much thought and effort that is being expended into developing people in the organisation. We’re a long way off whilst we talk about people as Human Capital – and there is so much more to do with trusting non managerial staff’s perspective and opinions, and so much more that HR can do to get out of the way of managers, and let them make their own mistakes to learn from.
There is new news; that the thinking about the uniqueness of the individual, the potential for all of us, and the blending of visceral intelligence with intellectual and emotional intelligence.
Both speakers wove a story to get us involved. One used images, one used the audience. Perhaps something to remember when we are imparting vital messages
Look for talent that whispers.
Get visceral. Not courses for other people; allow yourself to access deeper.