Susan Popoola

Leveraging The Value of People
January 23rd, 2017 by SusanPopoola

Food & Culture in Milton Keynes

As I went on a Sunday walk yesterday, taking in the aroma of cooking as I passed by different houses, I found myself pondering. What were they cooking? Was it food that represents their culture or a meal that represented food that they had discovered along the way – here in Milton Keynes or further afield?

It aligns to a fascination that I have developed. Although in many ways Milton Keynes remains much the same as the town that it was close to 10 years ago when I wrote the first edition of “Touching the Heart of Milton Keynes” – it has grown. It has grown in population density, housing and a bit in terms of infrastructure and business presence. It has also developed rapidly in terms of diversity.

I remember speaking to someone a few years ago who was convinced that social engineering had taken place within Milton Keynes, which had led to a sudden burst of diversity. I’m not going to speculate on this, however, I do find it most intriguing. I spoke to a headteacher of an outstanding primary school in Milton Keynes, who spoke of the diversity within her school, with students speaking over 40 different languages from across the world. A friend also spoke of her six year old son’s excitement when he discovered that he had a new classmate who speaks Romanian.

Children don’t typically see the challenges of diversity that adults often do. But one thing that I believe that we all tend to embrace with cultural diversity is the food that comes from all across the world.

People have asked me whether I’m going to write a new version of Touching the Heart of Milton Keynes. After two editions, I don’t intend to do that. Although Milton Keynes has changed a bit, the essence remains fundamentally the same. What I do intend to do though, is use this anniversary year to explore food as a representation of culture in Milton Keynes. So do look out for me snooping around and for the outcomes of my discoveries. Also do let me know if you come across a restaurant, shop or anything else that is of interest as relates to food.

For now, I’ll just say Happy 50th Birthday Milton Keynes.

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, a boutique style Human Value Optimisation Firm. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2017. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

January 8th, 2017 by SusanPopoola

2017 – A Better Year?

We all get there together or we don’t get there at all.

From the movie ~ Hidden Figures

 

The first half of 2016 was reasonably calm. However, by the time we reached the second half of the year with the aftermath of the British EU referendum and the endless drama around the US elections, I found myself constantly feeling as if I was in a Soap Opera on steroids.

In dream like fashion, I wished I could speak to the producer and ask him to tone things down as it was becoming unrealistic with the constant twists and turns at every corner. I say dream, however, many would think of it all more as a nightmare with outcomes that they had neither anticipated or wanted.

Beyond any electoral outcomes and the nightmarish outcomes, worse for me were the deaths; pain and suffering of those afflicted and/or displaced by terrorism and war; and the growing divisiveness in society, fed by undressed issues, a blame cultures and the entrenchment of prisms of them and us through the dichotomy of a negative other.

I could go into an in-depth analysis of the shock and sadness caused by the death of celebrities and everyday people more directly connected through personal relationships. The Syrian crisis with cease-fires during which abominations took place such as the targeting of hospitals; a response to people seeking refuge; constant acts across Europe and yes other parts of the world. These are all bothersome. However, most disconcerting and destructive of all is the divisiveness and growing concept of other viewed in a negative and different light. The failure to see ourselves in each other.

I guess it’s not easy to see ourselves in others when they are presenting viewpoints that appear to be in opposition not just to our interest, but to our very existence. In many ways it’s what my book, “Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain is all about though.  It’s also as President Barack Obama once said; “if we can begin to see ourselves in each other then the barriers will begin to tumble down.”

I found myself watching a number of box sets of television series in 2016. With well-produced products such as Desperate Housewives, and Greys Anatomy, I became well acquainted with the characters. I came to seem them as whole beings – developing an understanding of them and the character of the different characters and the what’s and whys of their behaviour both the good and It’s not about justifying bad behaviours, but I did develop an n understanding of the why’s of their what’s. Most people in the productions are basically good people – possibly at times mixed up, misguided, coming from a different starting point/philosophy or premise or what you have you.

The same applies to the vast majority of people around us – be it those that come to us seeking refugee or those that vote for different things from us. Ultimately, we all want what we believe is best for us and those close to us.

Many hoped for an end to 2016 because they were upset by events of 2016. When it comes to events such as Brexit and election outcomes; moving into a new year doesn’t directly change things; in fact it brings us closer to the outcomes. Talking to a friend earlier, we laughed, as we liked it to a pregnancy. If a lady gets pregnant by the wrong man, moving to a new year doesn’t change the circumstances or outcome. The only thing that really changes things is a change in approach and attitude – developing an understanding that somehow there is a need to find common ground and work together.

It’s in line with this, that you will hear me increasing speak about the Mosaic model this year. The basic believe that there is a need to respect and value differences, which can lead to a bright and beautiful appearance, if we also remember our common interests, and values, which bind us together, like glue.

It’s not always easy with the hateful views and things that some people espouse. But I believe it’s usually it’s more effective to try and find some connection and common ground – to remember humanity another person than to shout hatred from across a wall.

#Selah

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, a boutique style Human Value Optimisation Firm. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2017. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

December 5th, 2016 by SusanPopoola

When Employees love what they do, but not where they do it.

I went into a shop to buy lunch last week. As I stared at the menu board trying to decide what I wanted to order, one of the assistants at the counter politely asked me with a smile, what I would like to order. I told her that I hadn’t made my mind up yet and so she went on to do other things. By the time, I’d made a decision she was no longer at the counter, so I placed my order with another assistant who was equally as polite and smiley.

As I waited for my order the assistant that I had originally spoken to returned. “Have you made your mind up yet?” she asked. “Yes I have, I’m just waiting to collect” I responded.

I went on to comment how they appeared to be so happy working asking, if the shop was a nice place to work in.

They looked at each other, somewhat surprised if not outright affronted by the question. One then piped up and very clearly stated, “I enjoy serving people; I like helping people, but I don’t like it here”

At this point my order arrived and more customers came to the counter so I didn’t have the opportunity to ask any more questions to understand what it is that they disliked about the shop. I did, however, walk away feeling quiet sad. It’s nice that they like what they do, but it’s sad that the shop does not appear to have created the best possible atmosphere and/or conditions for their employees.

People often criticise the attitude of workers, especially young adults. These two ladies had a great attitude, however, the organisation would probably lose them. As they were engaged with the work they’d do, it’s possible that it would just take a few small shifts to make them happy. A key problem though is not that their employer might not care, but that they might not know how their employees feel.

I gained an insight because I asked them. Their employer would find out if they took the time to engage with them on how they feel. Be it through surveys; formal and/or informal conversations; performance management; team meetings; employee suggestion boxes to mention a through of the methods of obtaining feedback from the staff. People do give feedback, unless they believe it may lead to recriminations or that it will simply no be taken seriously.

Key question for you – if I was to bump into one of your employees and ask them what it’s like working for you, what would they say and would you already know? Don’t assume to know – ask.

#Selah

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, a boutique style Human Value Optimisation Firm.  She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2016. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

June 30th, 2016 by SusanPopoola

The Significance of Brand Ambassadorship

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I’ve been speaking about employees as organisations most important Brand Ambassadors for quite a long time now. It was, therefore great to go the Recruitment Festival – RecFest and hear people directly or indirectly speak of the importance of both employees and potential employees as Brand Ambassadors.

First was House of Fraser with a five minutes recruitment video in which employees spoke about their experience of working in the organisation. Critically talking not so much about the jobs that they do, but how they felt working within the environment. Resounding in my mind is people talking about being able to bring themselves to the workplace and be themselves. This is critical to me, as I specialise in Human Value Optimisation, which is all about optimising the value that individuals have to offer and how it is utilised, be in education, the workplace or wider society.

House of Fraser through their advert demonstrated the glamour of retail, though if we are to be honest, this isn’t really a true reflection of most retail environments. Most important of all, was the message of what it feels like working within the environment. From now on, when I bump into House of Fraser employees, I will ask them what it’s like working with the organisation as their response will be a key test of the authenticity of the advert. Not so much for me, but for the people that will apply to work with the organisation and perhaps gain employment with the organisation. True Brand Ambassadorship goes beyond the banded messages of an organisation to the everyday experiences and feedback of each and every individual employee.

I still remember meeting with the Chief Executive of a major House Builder. He told me all about the organisation’s ethos and approach. It sounded really good – I was impressed. A few weeks later, a bumped into the husband of a friend who turned out to work for the same organisation. With very little prompting, he spoke excited of his employer. Although he used different words, he virtually mirrored the sentiments expressed by his Chief Executive.  I hope that when I speak to House of Fraser employees they do the same, as that is true Brand Ambassadorship.

I was glad that RecFest didn’t just speak of the Brand Ambassadorship from perspective of the current employee. There was also the talk from Lorraine Scroope of The Hire Lab who spoke of the recruitment system that her organisation had developed to make the recruitment process more interactive and human. As I come from an HR Systems background with the viewpoint that HR (and Recruitment) are not just tools for management processes, but key strategic enablers, I’m very much excited about The Hire Lab and look forward to a demonstration.

I’m conscious that none of this provides the Why of the importance of Brand Ambassadorship and what employees and prospective employees think and say about organisations. It was therefore great to have Virgin present to talk of the financial costs when prospective employees (as is the case of employees) have a bad experience with an organisation and go home and mention this to friends and family members a like, with the result that they all stop using the organisation’s services.

The talks that I heard at RecFest have given me the extra boost to go forward and continue to talk about employees and prospective employees alike. I hope this provides food for thought for you to.

#Selah

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, an HR firm focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation for Innovative, High Potential organisations.  She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2016. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

June 22nd, 2016 by SusanPopoola

The Fallacy of a Referendum

The EU Referendum debate was an opportunity for us to have an intelligent discussion about some of the challenges that we face as a nation with reflections on the potential opportunities and solutions both in and out of Europe. Sadly, It seems to me that we have failed on this account.
Although I may be exaggerating, it seems that every faction on the leave side attributes or at least links every problem that we have to Europe, whilst the remain faction speaks of how great Europe is for virtually everything.

Fundamentally, I’ve come to realise that if you spoke to 10 different people on their reasoning for voting for either leave or remain; you’re likely to get 10 different reasons from either side.

The different factions also have different storylines in relation to what in or out means… largely on the basis of their ideologies or simply what they believe will gain them support. Truth be told, even if any of the pictures painted were actually workable in totally, it’s not possible for all the in or out positions to be realised.

Where the intending to vote for Remain the focus should be on what current and future elected governments are likely to do. For those intending to vote to Leave, take a look at the official vote leave position ref:http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/ ; it’s key members and consider both what they say leaving Europe will mean together with what they are likely to do. Then vote.

‪#‎Selah‬

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, a Human Value Optimisation organisation, focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation for Innovative, High Potential organisations.  She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2016. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

 

 

August 21st, 2015 by SusanPopoola

Remembering the Key and Common Purpose

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I was a School Governor i.e. on the Board for a School for close to 10 years. As I was a Founding Director not only did I share in the privilege and responsibility for setting the vision and direction of the school, I also had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people – both members of staff and fellow board members. Without question I learnt from each and everyone who all brought something special and unique, but the most tangible lessons came from two particular fellow founding board members.

First was a lovely, honourable gentleman who had very prestigious and senior level experience working for organisations both in the UK and further afield. He rarely spoke of his past experiences; he just came along and used his expertise to do what was required of him with full dedication. He never dominated discussions during meetings, but he was never afraid to express his point of view – even if he was the lone voice expressing a particular opinion. He would stick to guns to the very end – clearly articulating his reasoning unless he was convinced otherwise. However, once the board voted on a decision, he would go along with the majority consensus and not one outside of the room would know that he had, had a difference in opinion.

Then there was a lovely, forthright lady who had worked in education for most of her life. As you may have already gathered, we had some very robust debates – especially before making key decisions. Everyone was encouraged to express his or her point of view and for the most part we did. Often, we would get to a stage where the lady I refer to would declare – “Hang on a minute, its all about the youngsters, what is best for the youngsters? That’s what we need to really consider!”

From that point onwards the discussion – which would have been very useful, would take on a new, focused tone. Philosophies, experiences, preferences, views on the what’s and how’s and what have you all became secondary to what would ultimately serve the interest of the students and benefit them.

These are fundamental lessons that I have learnt from people that are much older than me. In generational terms they would be referred to as Traditionalist, Maturists or the Silent Generation i.e. people born before 1945. Maybe they both represent and present values we no longer adhere to and that are rapidly being forgotten; yet I believe that with the world that we live in they become more important than ever.

I have been observing the British labour party’s leadership contest in despair. A candidate appears – as if from nowhere. He expresses his position and points of view. He rapidly gains support. The other candidates and the party establishment are horrified and the whole campaign seems to now be focused on why people should not and would be foolish to support him. I would have thought that they would have in the first instance taken the time to understand what it is that is leading people to support him and then to work harder at given people clear reasons to vote for the alternative candidates since they are convinced that he is the wrong person to lead their party.

The Labour Party’s leadership contest has not, however, brought me to tears as the closure of the UK Charity, Kids Company did. To be honest, I’d heard about someone’s negative experiences of working at Kids Company a number of years back and there were clear signs of trouble emerging in the media in the last year or so. The closure of Kids Company therefore didn’t come as a total surprise to me. I was, however, surprised at how quickly it came to a close and how little preparedness there seemed to be to support the young people dependent on the services from those in key positions who would have seen clearer signs of trouble than I who was observed from a distance. I can say whether the charity should have stayed open or not. If there were serious problems with the way in which it was being run, duty of care to the young people and to how they were being supported, then it may have been best for the young people for the charity to be closed. With Kids’ Company, of most critical concern to me was the fact that after the sudden closure the focus seemed to be s on who was right and wrong, the problems of management, the approach of the leader, complaints that may have been made etc. rather than what immediately needed to be done to safeguard the interests of the young people that may have been dependent on the services of the charity.

There are always exceptions, however, I believe that if a lot of us look closer to home – sometimes with families, but not wanting to get too personal, I’ll focus on the workplace and just say even at work similar attitudes and behaviours are often exhibited. When we go to work, do we remember the common purposes that we are all there for that extend beyond just making money. Are we really ready to pull together to achieve that common purpose even if it means at times taking the time to see things from other people’s point of view; accepting other people’s point of view; making compromises or even swallowing pride and apologising.

I know that in sports teams, everyone is working towards a common goal, the minute that is forgotten things begin to go array.

I’m in no way coming from a place of perfection, but I have been privileged to have been shown some great practices which when adopted lead to greater productivity, success and happiness.

#Selah

References:

Labour Leadership Contest: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32654262

Kids Company closure: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33788415

 

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, an HR firm focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation for Innovative, High Potential organisations..  She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

 

July 27th, 2015 by SusanPopoola

Who Matters?

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I got rather upset last week. I had a disagreement with Ben, the details aren’t that important. What is, important is the fact that I spoke to Dorothy about it as she knew both of us and was aware of the background to the situation. I probably shouldn’t have bothered speaking to Dorothy though as her response was to tell me everything that I should have done and should now do to support Ben. She demonstrated a full understanding of where he was coming from but appeared not to recognise what he had done wrong, my intentions in the whole situation and how much I had been hurt. Even if she recognised any of this she definitely didn’t acknowledge it and each time I tried to point things out she went back to Ben, what he needed and how I should support him.

After some time, with tears in my eyes I burst out – “I have needs to you know, don’t you think my needs are important or don’t you think I matter!?!”

If I was to have spoken in precise terms, I would have said “… don’t you think I matter too” “ or as well as Ben” However, I didn’t think this was necessary, From the dialogue I felt that there was no question as to Ben’s importance to Dorothy, The real question was whether she recognised my significance and needs.

I believe the whole Black Lives Matter is similar. It’s in no way saying that white lives don’t matter or that ALL lives don’t matter. It reflects a concern that in some quarters black people are (perceived to be) treated sub-humanly as if their lives don’t matter.

Selah

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, an HR firm focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation for Innovative, High Potential organisations..  She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

 

May 10th, 2015 by SusanPopoola

A Few Election Reflections

“Gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can”

John Wesley

I’m very engaged politically – I believe that politics affects almost every aspect of our lives. At the same time I’m somewhat agnostic when it comes to political parties as I see the pros and cons of most of them and none really lead me to a sense of allegiance. This has been especially true with this election period. At the same as I listened to the political shows and debates and reflected on the past few years I recognised that difficult as is was to choose – I had to vote.

 

Reflecting on the two main parties, I very much agreed with a lot of the ideologies of the conservatives (Tories) such as the objectives of getting people into work and reducing reliance on benefits. I believe most people do actually want to work. I do, however, believe that there is often harshness in approach and implementation with the Conservatives, which is often unsupportive and does not take account of the humanity of the people that they are dealing with. I think policies such as the ‘bedroom tax’ would have been all right if the people being ‘taxed’ had alternatively accommodation to move to. I could also see that whilst there was talk of economic recovery, it did not appear to have filtered down to the lives of everyday people and I constantly spoke to people and learnt about the direct affect that cuts and the financial squeeze was having on their lives. I also heard of what I would describe as social engineering with people being priced out of areas such as London due to the increasing rental costs, child poverty and reliance on Food banks. I’ll stop and say, yes, the Conservatives have done well to bring about an economic recovery, but not only did it seem that not everyone was benefiting, it actually appears that a lot of people were suffering. I saw no indication that things were going to get better for them either.

 

As for Labour… they clearly demonstrated a concern and interest in addressing the social problems and supporting everyday people. I heard little that convince me of their ability or even interest in supporting professionals (not so negatively impacted), small businesses or anyone else. Whilst I believe things are too complex to say that they were responsible for the recession, full stop, I didn’t hear much that said that they had taken responsibility for possible errors of the past. They didn’t come across to me as very progressive either. Ultimately, I don’t believe that they presented the most credible of messages.

 

Taking account of the polls, if it was practical to do so, I would have voted for a party such as the Liberal Democrats with the hope that they would have moderated the approach of the Conservatives if they were elected or sharpened the approach of Labour if it turned out that they were elected. At a practical level it would have been a waste of my vote, for me to vote anything but the Conservatives or Labour in my Constituency as no one else had the remotest chance of winning. As far as ‘m concerned, LibDem hardly even campaigned. I therefore went for Labour. In my book, “Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective” I talk about minding the gap (between people doing well in different areas and everyone else). I therefore concluded that I’d prefer a slower recovery that carries everyone along, than a rapid recovery that crushes people in the process.

 

Regardless of the decision that I’d come to, I very much enjoyed the diverse pre-election commentary of my various contacts both via social media and face-to-face conversations. I was, however, disappointed – very disappointed in the ultimate election results. I was disappointed in how a fair amount of the online discourse became almost warlike. I was disappointed that so many people had voted for an option that I believe is and has been destructive to the lives of so many other people. I look forward to discussions over time with such people that I knew, as I would very much like to understand their thinking.

For now though, here are a few of my more immediate thoughts:

 

Polls:

I’m concerned about the pre-election polls. They continually and consistency presented a force picture of the likely election results that were so far from the truth. This increasingly fed into the pre-election discourse and debate with a strong focus on coalition options for the two major parties – especially Labour. I find this concerning as I can’t help but wonder how many people would have voted differently if the pre-election polls had presented a different picture.

 

SNP & the Conservations

I’ve heard it said that with an overall majority, the Conservatives could do whatever they want and that regardless of the fact that the SNP have 56 seats, they have very little if any authority. I see things a bit different. To believe that the Conservatives can do whatever they want with their narrow majority assumes that they are a homogenous group who think exactly the same, will always agree with each and follow the party line. I think this means that that there may occasions in which the Conservatives have to rely on votes from other parties – even possibly the Conservatives regardless of their differences in ideology. I also believe that the Scots have made their position of being anti-austerity measures very clear by overwhelming supporting for the SNP. In fact whilst the Conservatives gained 36.9% of the overall UK vote and the SNP only gained 4.7% of the UK vote, they did gain 50% of the votes in Scotland (where they fielded candidates). I think it would be unwise for David Cameron to ignore this or take it lightly. I will eat my hat if there are not historical consequences if he does so!

 

Labour

Well what can I say! Not too much actually. Shortly after the results were announced, a Labour candidate stated “Labour needs to reconnect with voters” I don’t believe this is the real issue. I think the key is for Labour to establish its credibility before the electorate. I’ve also heard some Labour supports blame their demise on the SNP. The truth though, is that even with all the seats won by the SNP, Labour still wouldn’t have gained a majority. More importantly, if the Scottish people were convinced by Labour they would not have turned to the SNP.

 

UKIP

So UKIP retained one of it’s two seats and Nigel Farage did not gain a seat in South Thanet. As such, some have rushed to celebrate and declare this to be the end of UKIP. You only need to look beyond the top-level figures of her won or not to recognise that there is no real reason to rejoice in relation to UKIP. UKIP won 14.1% of the UK vote. Nigel Farage won a close 32.4% of the vote for South Thanet, compared to the Conservative candidate’s winning 38.1%. If we were to change to proportionate representation that many people are clambering for.

 

There are a UKIP Supporters everywhere. For my local constituency of Milton Keynes South, the UKIP Candidate won 7803 votes. That’s close to 8,000 people that agree with their ideologies or at least saw them as the best possible option. For the local elections in Milton Keynes even fielded a black candidate of Nigerian origin.

 

All in all, I don’t believe that UKIP is done by a long shot. Even if UKIP was to disappear, the sentiments, the feelings, the beliefs that they represent would still exist and another political force would surface and such people would behind it – even if it’s even more radical than UKIP. I say in “Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain” we must really start to understand and address the concerns of such people in an honest, realistic and open manner.

 

So What Next

I find the post election surges in membership for losing parties such as Labour and the LibDems fascinating. I do hope that the new members actually voted for the parties in question. Most important, I hope that they help to shape a future for the parties that help to present them as viable options. That will really make British politics exciting. Imagining a scenario whereby we have a series of great options and we have to work out the best of them, rather than what is currently perceived as the best of a number of poor options.

 

I hope against hope that in a second term and with an overall majority; having hopefully heard the concerns of the people through the campaigning period, that the Conservatives will temper their actions and approach with sensitivity and mercy.

 

Facing the reality of what is, I hope that I personal as other likeminded people will be able to gain all that we can for personal benefit and to most critically to enable us to be in the position to best support others in need.

Selah

 

Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, an HR firm focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation for Innovative, High Potential organisations..  She is also the published author of  Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.

Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.

 

April 13th, 2015 by SusanPopoola

The Future of Work

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A presentation I gave on the Future of Work at an event for HR Directors in March 2015.
Presentation at Strategic HR Network Annual Congress on The Future of Work. The Future of Work is Social, Collaborative and Connected.
Examining how employee behaviours at work are being shaped by wider consumer technology trends and social media
– Harnessing the power of social technology to build collaboration, connection and enterprise networks
– Implications for leadership within the organisation
The Presentation is available via Slideshare. Ref: The Future of Work

 

March 11th, 2015 by SusanPopoola

The End

I recently read the headline of an article entitled “the beginning”, strangely I found myself thinking of endings. Not totally off point as often for something to begin, something else must end.

They say all good things must come to an end. I don’t believe it’s ALL things. However sometimes they just do. Not because we didn’t give our best, stopped caring or what have you – sometimes things just change and the synergy is just not there – it becomes hard work and/or it ceases to be fulfilling.

This happens on a personal level in the various relationships we have. It also happens within various work environments. Often the signs are there long before we realise that its time to bring a chapter to a close.  There may be agitations, irritations and frustrations – ultimately it’s not as fulfilling as it used to be and/or people seem to act different towards us and we suddenly become increasingly aware of all that’s wrong.

When we finally realise its not working any more we typically try to do one more thing; to give things another go  – no one wants to be seen as someone that has given up or failed.

If we have the opportunity to talk to a representative of the other party sometimes we do so in a desperate bid to make things work. If they are willing and able to put things in place or changes things or if both parties are willing to work together – all may be well and good, as things just may turn around.

Often times though things have changed for a reason – a change in strategy, focus and priorities and so though the heart may be willing the reality is things are different and sticking around under those circumstances often ends up doing more harm than good.

I once worked with an HR director who said that when employees tell her they want to leave she never tries to persuade them to stay, as they will soon leave anyway.

Whilst I’m more I inclined to listen to the language they use, to take the time to understand their reasons and consider how far down the line the individual is; more often than not I do believe she’s right.

For the other cases an organisation’s employee engagement strategies should actually prevent them from reaching the place whereby they consider leaving in the first place. By engagement strategies I’m not necessary talking about anything fancy. More than anything else it’s basic communications be it through open communications that enables employees to speak openly to managers; one to one meetings that assess where employees are/what’s going on; and/or performance management processes that show an employees next steps/plans and whether/how they still fit with the organisation.

The ultimate decision however lies with an individual – it’s easiest to accept and handle things if there is a key incident or if a new and compelling opportunity arises. However one thing I’ve learnt is when it’s time, it’s no use dwindling, you just prolong the pain. So make a plan (openly if its practical to do so), pack your bags and move on. The sooner you do the sooner you end the negativity and open yourself up to fresh, new opportunities

After all not talking about leaving just because someone upset you one day. I’m referring to deep prolonged issues that the different parties aren’t ready/able to work together to resolve.

Susan Popoola runs Conning Towers Ltd, an HR organisation focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation and Engaged For Success a Social Enterprise. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain. She is also Winner Women4Africa Author of the Year 2013

Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.