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Trying Behaviour



Well who would have believed the brouhaha that arose last Thursday and Friday?  I write a post.  And things go mental.  What started with a press release on 30 September heralding the launch of Think HR, Think Again finished with the CIPD being forced to issue a further statement in defence of the campaign.  The power of social media in action. Thank you to everyone who tweeted and re-tweeted the original post.

The CIPDs claim that THEY, “started a debate that need to be had” is of course laughable. They didn’t start the debate, we did.  They didn’t want the debate in any shape or form that is why they tried to shut it down.  I’m not going to carry on banging on about the specific campaign though, I thing I have said my piece on that.  As have you all.  Some for and some against.  Rick is pro CIPD, Harriet is more in the anti camp.  But even the defenders seem to agree that the campaign itself is duff.  Nice effort from the people who run the CIPD Marketing Awards, “the most coveted, robust and prestigious awards in the UK recruitment industry”.

The sad thing about the whole affair is that the only defence seems to be, “they were trying”.  Three words that leave me feeling entirely flat.  When I was at school I had a teacher who whenever a pupil stated they were “trying” would dryly reply, “yes you are…..very”.  What a British disease.  Doesn’t matter what the outcome, as long as we try.  We teach our kids that winning isn’t important, as long as we try.  We talk about our sportspeople making “brave attempts”.  Brave failures more like.

The HR profession is full of tryers.  We don’t need that and nor do we need to excuse failure away.  If we are truly striving to improve standards, then trying is not enough.  And that should be the case for each and every one of us as well as our professional body.  The statement from the CIPD that, “It’s always possible to pick on an element of a campaign like this, but we want people to take a step back and ask whether the CIPD is doing the right thing?” Is basically saying, OK we fucked up the execution we get that….but you know…we meant well.  And by the way, it wasn’t an “element” it was the headline that YOU trumpeted. (Oops…..I said I wouldn’t go there didn’t I?)

But my point is this.  If we want to improve our profession.  If we want a better professional body, then we will only get it if we identify underperformance and hold those responsible to account.  Brushing it under the carpet and polite acceptance is the breeding ground for mediocrity.  Being satisfactory, being adequate is not enough.  I don’t accept it from myself, I don’t accept it from my team. And I don’t accept it from my professional body.  Not because I want to damage it, because I want to make it better.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ministry of Truth permalink
    10/04/2010 14:07

    Isn’t there a difference between trying and trying your best? TBH I think if people try their best that is reasonable. They may of course not be up to the job. For instance were Nottingham Forest to employ me as a striker, I would for sure try my best. It is also certain that I would not be good enough. However, surely that wouldn’t be my fault but those who had employed me. I do think however we should be careful about disdain for trying and certainly for trying ones best. Trying is a lot better that not. Trying one’s best is better still.

    We should not idealise failure, but nor should we criticise effort.

    I am not in HR, I am not a member of CIPD so I can’t comment on them. I do work in design and print and I can tell you their slogan was crap!

  2. 10/04/2010 15:37

    Getting a sense of nestle and deja vu. The smart move would have been to invite you, and others in for a conversation, not a strong PR statment. Will people never learn? Challenging without engaging only fans the flames.

  3. 10/07/2010 08:46

    @Ministry of Truth – Ok so maybe we are into semantics here. But my point being, success is important. The end is as important as the means. PS. Yup the slogan was crap! 🙂

    @BillBoorman – To be honest, if they had approached me on the blog and said, “great come and talk to us in person” it would have shut me up! But it would also have sent out a great message to everyone who read it.

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