Wednesday, 1 February 2017

#hrdsummit17 blog 7 (final one)

I'm in a session by Rob Jones from Crossrail. I missed the afternoon opening keynote as I was having a late lunch, having missed lunch because of arranging to meet people at that time. 

Robs session is about transitioning from operational to strategic HR and the key building blocks of doing so. His style was brilliant, and he was an engaging and funny speaker. 

He talked at first about what he had noticed in his career that are operational. Lots of things may appear operational, but they can also be strategic. He refreshingly talked a lot about the mistakes he had made, but also how some of these had helped him to learn more about how people operate and how they improve. 

His point was that you can only learn certain things from a report, but you learn much more from getting out and about and talking to people - not in a staged way, but when they relax and open up to you. 

He also talked about his time at Mothercare, where he figured out that the leaders viewed anything that put cash in the till as strategic, and anything that didn't as operational. 

His experience of being at Crossrail was a true initiation into the world of Organisational Effectiveness. His role was to examine barriers and blockages in the organisation, help to remove them and then get out of the way. That often involved HR work but was about understanding people, systems and processes just as much. 

He realised that he was better at his job, and could win, was by doing problem solving and getting into the detail of it. Not by delivering an HR service although that does need to happen too. But also try to be three or four moves ahead of the rest of the organisation and plan for different eventualities. 

This was a tour de force talk on how HR can reimagine itself as organisational effectiveness professionals and Rob made a passionate and entertaining case for that happening. Well done. 

And that, I think, is me done for today. It's been a long and tiring two days and I'm glad to be headed home but I've enjoyed this event more than in previous years. Next year I can see that it's going back to three days which I am concerned may be a mistake but we shall see. 

I hope to be here again anyway. 

Till next time...

Gary