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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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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Delayering

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My current Russian client, a large and very successful petrochemicals company, has had many reorganisations in the last couple of years. One of these that they are implementing in all their production locations, is a systematic delayering.   I recently designed and ran a workshop for thirty production engineers on one of their largest sites about change and transition. And …

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Mixed feelings about Teambuilding

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When I was head of the Corporate University in Kazakhstan, one of our ‘best sellers’ was Teambuilding. And my people were pretty damn good at it. Which I guess is the reason that we had so many companies as clients and return as clients. I have always had mixed feelings about teambuilding events though. And still have. In Kazakhstan I …

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Your individual leadership brand, and the brand of your team

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Recently with a new client in Russia I’ve found myself in executive coaching sessions talking about brand. And previously in Kazakhstan, we built the concept of brand into the new senior leadership development course we introduced. Brand is a concept I embraced many years ago when I had my first ‘remote’ global leadership team reporting to me. I wanted people …

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When is a team a team and when is it a group?

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Two recent events have reminded me about work I did almost twenty years ago about the differences between teams and groups (and even bigger ‘teams’ like communities and networks). I was coaching a young lady recently promoted to manager in one of my new clients in Russia, who wanted help in her new leadership role, with her small direct team …

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Some dilemmas in the selection & development of high-potential talent

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In the last few years I’ve been involved with setting up high-potential identification programmes in a number of companies, both in ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries. Recently we held a workshop in Paris for a client who wanted to review best practices, to help decide what decisions to make in their preparation of managerial talent, as they called it. And I …

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Job grading, job profiles and job families

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I seem to have been involved with job grading, job evaluation, job promotion, whatever you want to call it, on and off for most of my professional life. And it keeps returning! I was lucky enough to be taught job evaluation at Shell (a version of the Hay Group system) by the HR guru Fons Trompenaars, when he was still …

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Some daily routines that help 21 Executives (and me) succeed

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I do not normally read lists in HR, management or leadership blogs. Which is ironic given that some of my blogs here appear to contain lists. However one caught my eye recently and I ended up reading it. It was ’21 executives share the daily routines that help them succeed’ by Christina Desmarais, and if I am honest, I started …

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Learning Agility

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We have recently developed and used the concept of Learning Agility in the HR Consulting group, which reports to me in my current role, possibly for the first time in Kazakhstan in a Kazakh company. I had used Learning Agility a couple of times in previous companies, as an aid in identifying (high) potential. Now we were assessing everyone in …

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