Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Personal development

I wasn't sure whether to post this, because I wasn't sure if it was too humblebraggy, but I decided to because I learnt something, and that's part of the point of this blog, to share what I'm learning.

I've been working in HR since 2004, and in 2006 I joined the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, as a student member, then as a Graduate member from 2008. That's enough of a journey through my CV, but since then, the next step has been Chartered membership. To get Chartered membership you need to demonstrate that you are working with an appropriate level of organisational impact, and demonstrating certain behaviours, by filling in a form, updating your CV and getting supporting statements.

Obviously the hard part of this is working at the appropriate level, and demonstrating the behaviours, but this wasn't really the barrier I faced to attaining Chartered membership, as I felt I was working at the right level. It had been something that I had reflected on in my SRDS for the past couple of years, and whilst it hadn't been an official objective, it was something that I felt I should commit to doing, as it would benefit my professional standing and career development.

So why didn't I do it? Time is probably a big factor, as there never seemed to be enough of it. I left my first attempt at that sentence in, because as I was writing it, I realised that it was wrong. It should read, "Time is probably a big factor, as I never made time to work on it". What I perceived initially as me being too busy, is probably on reflection, me not making the effort to put time aside to work on it. For those of you who have been on our time management course, I wasn't making time for an important but not urgent task. (If you aren't familiar with Stephen Covey's time managment matrix, you can find a version of it here).

Therefore the biggest factor in not doing the work was actually about me taking responsibility for my development, and making an effort to achieve the results that I wanted to. Having put in the time over some lunch hours and evenings, I got my submission ready, sent it off to the CIPD, and a few weeks later, I got my Chartered membership confirmed.

What I have learnt from this experience is further confirmation of the importance of personal responsibility in shaping decisions on how we prioritise our development. Nobody was going to do this development activity for me, so the challenge was about matching up the level of priority I placed on actually doing the work to the level of importance I placed on the achievement of it. I am aware this is an easy thing to write down, and it's harder to actually put it in practice, however it is definitely a useful reminder for me.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Who is reading this?

Our planned date to "launch" our new approach is looming. With that in mind, we've been working hard on writing content for our webpages. Here's a sneak peek of a draft of one of the pages:

What has been challenging about this for me is thinking about the voice of the words I use in the webpages, and linked to this, who am I writing for/to? I feel that a lot of the time I write as if I am speaking to an audience, but I think this is ignoring the fact that this is not the case. I am not speaking, and the audience is one person.

Who is reading this blog? You are. (Hello by the way) There may be other people reading it at the same time, so in a sense I am communicating with an audience, but it seems like a different type of audience, because you don't know that you are part of the audience.

Therefore, I need to choose words in the webpages that make it clear to the reader (as opposed to the audience) that the content is directed at them. This isn't going to be straightforward because as individuals we are all different, so will take different things from the content.

Another part of the communication as about who we are. We are making a very conscious decision to make it very clear who is writing the pages. A sneak peak of a very draft about the team page is below

Alongside this will be individual profiles of each of us, and the external trainers we use, so you know a bit more about us. This is important to us, because we want you to talk to us. We don't want to be faceless or unapproachable, because that isn't conducive to a supportive environment for us all to develop. We genuinely want to hear from you, because we don't want our communication to be all one way, through web pages.

A phrase we seem to be using a lot within our communications is "join the conversation". I like this phrase because it makes a clear statement that we want there to be two way dialogue between us and you. It also suggests fluidity, in that the conversation can be shaped by either side and change over time. To reiterate, we really want to hear from you about what we are doing or what is important to you.