People Matters, People Matter

A blog containing my ideas, thoughts, observations, suggestions and helpful tools, based on my own experience. This blog is currently only available in English.

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Corporate Universities: different levels of maturity, scope and expectations

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Having run the leading Corporate University in Kazakhstan and now advising one of the top Corporate Universities in Russia, both of which were under the expectation of their stakeholders that they would be developed and ‘transformed’ into something better – without these stakeholders maybe knowing exactly what that might mean – I have done a lot of research and benchmarking …

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People Bingo

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One of my favourite icebreakers that I have used for people to get to know each other better, especially in new organisations, is People Bingo. There are different versions of the game, but the one that I think works best is when the people involved are (confidentially) asked by the facilitator to provide an interesting fact about themselves. These are …

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Talent Magnet

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I was having lunch with somebody who used to work for me in Kazakhstan and who had recently left to join an international consulting firm. In fact I had hired him and seen him grow and develop so that he was actually heading up our HR Consultancy team before he left. A talented and modest young Kazakh man. A promising …

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Left hand column

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I have written previously about the Ladder of Inference, one of my favourite tools for promoting productive conversations. https://valshebnik.com/blog/the-ladder-of-inference/ This helps us understand why we jump to conclusions, rightly or wrongly, and gives us a technique to explain our own thinking or to get others to explain their thinking to us. Another tool I learned at the same time twenty …

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Risk Management Matrices & HR Projects

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A simplified risk management methodology – and especially the risk matrix of impact against likelihood – can be extremely useful in HR and other projects, even when your company does not officially require you to use them. Having had business, leadership and project management roles in my career – in addition to the global HR jobs – I’ve done a …

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The Power of Silence

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I’ve been recently conducting some focus groups for my Russian clients. Finding out what I already know: that Russians in general are not a very mobile workforce, and in this case do not necessarily want to move from their larger city place of work to a much smaller location in Siberia. I’ve been doing this together with one of the …

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Big meeting on-time communications

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Quite often I’ve been part of global leadership teams, who come together for a face-to-face meeting somewhere in the world for maybe two long days and then all dash off to catch planes or go to other meetings at the end of the planned agenda. Nevertheless as a team, you would like everyone to feedback to their locations or their …

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Directive questions

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Many years ago I worked for four years as a recruiter for Royal Dutch Shell. If you do ten interviews a day you need to get very good at asking questions, as you do if you teach interviewing, which was also part of my role. This was useful experience for me later, not only for recruiting and resourcing myself, but …

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Identification of high-potential technical people in technical organisations

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I’ve had lots of jobs, either as line manager or the senior HR person, in technical organisations. Where most of the people are engineers and/or scientists. And I am very aware of the difficulties involved in the identification of high-potential people (‘hipos’) in these types of companies. Especially compared to non-technical hipos, such as in finance or strategy, in the …

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The Ladder of Inference

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One of my favourite tools for promoting productive conversations in teams is the Ladder of Inference. I first came across it more than twenty years ago when we were trying to change our ways of working in a huge global reorganisation and transformation. The phrase was coined and the concept developed by the great Chris Argyris. It explains why we …

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