#NZLEAD PREVIEW: Collaborative leadership

This week’s topic is building on a HRINZ event on Tuesday where Amanda talked about collaborative leadership, social media and the #NZLEAD story.

This video of Seth Godin really sums it up.

We  recommended you have a look at the #NZLEAD tweet stream from this event as we build on this discussion in the tweet chat.

This week’s questions:

Q1) Is collaborative leadership one individual bringing people together or the leadership of the collective?
Q2) What are the implications for businesses and management of a collaborative approach?

Q3) What could collaborative leadership look like within organisations? What is the role of social media in this?


#NZLEAD RECAP: Workforce planning


Thank you to all who participated in #NZLEAD on Thursday night when we spoke about workforce planning.  Workforce Planning is such a broad area that connects with many difference concepts. It’s hard to narrow the topic down to just four questions – but the conversation was great!

We started with a discussion about the changing nature of work – “Is the world of work really changing?  How relevant are terms like ‘global connectivity’, ‘contingent workforce’, etc?

@blackbirdsthree kicked off the discussion with a recognition that the world has already changed, and we’re often playing catchup, a theme that was followed throughout the conversation.

@alisonhallnz, @matt_pontin, @tashtasticnz, and @zoemounsey added some key points:

1.       The fast change in the technology world is challenging to keep up with. (@AlisonHallNZ’s tweet)

2.       This change is changing entire business models to “just in time”, which affects our traditional approaches to the workforce.  This is one of the reasons we’re seeing the rise of contingent workforces, as an attempt to increase workforce agility. (@matt_pontin’s tweet)

3.       HR needs to continuously move to ensure we reap the benefits of the changes that are occurring, but it’s hard to keep up (@TashTasticNZ’s tweet@zoemounsey’s tweet); and

4.       In this world of rapid change, the “old ways” are no longer the most effective – we need to reinvent ourselves in order to stay relevant.

The dichotomy between global connectivity and ‘physical presence’ was one that generated a lot of conversation. @nzheadhunter pointed out that there is a conflict between remote and office work and that, as connected as we are, physical presence is still important to many.

@PaulJacobs4Real talked about the change from ‘company’ to ‘community’, and in fact this could be a topic in itself (pick up a copy of Makers by Chris Anderson for some excellent examples). Also, @PowerHour60 talked about globalisation as the “new normal”, even for small companies.

Contingent workers, their place in the culture of an organisation, and the extent of their engagement with their employers was a topic that generated a lot of discussion as well.

Question 2, was the extent to which connectivity has changed the world of work.  Some concerns here raised about the effect on work/life balance…

…but also some discussion around ‘working from home’ and contracting being a return to the pre-industrial world of work:

There was a lot of conversation (and agreement) around question 3 and the need for tailored, rather than “one size fits all” approaches to connecting HR practices to the performance of employee, and a collective cringing at the term “best practice”…

…but also a recognition that HR is not always enabled to tailor their approaches by the organisation:

The final question for the night was around ‘strategic workforce planning’.  There were some great remarks here – not all of them agreeing that workforce planning was delivering value, even if there was a recognition of the potential value:

Shane Granger (who I must thank for making the original suggestion that NZLEAD do the Workforce Planning topic) took things from a different angle (a 90 degree one):

…And Rashka offered a ray of hope, and some more definitions, approaches, and words of caution emerged:


Thanks again to @tashtasticNZ for running the discussion, and to both Tash and Amanda for inviting me to contribute.  Finally, thankyou all for your insights – I’ve certainly taken away some things to think about, and I hope you have too.

#NZLEAD RECAP: Introduction to engagement

It is entirely coincidental that the same week #nzlead starts talking about engagement is the first week we ask two members of the community to step up and facilitate. Thank you to Zoe Mounsey and Rebecca Smith for going the extra mile for our weekly tweet chat. Shall we now measure how engaged you are in #nzlead and correlate that with your performance? (just kidding).

Generally speaking, engagement is about wanting to go the extra mile for nothing in return. Engagement is contributed to by respect, feeling that you are involved and listened to and that someone, generally the powers that be, are genuinely interested in what you do and say. But, and that’s a big BUT, Engagement means different things to individuals and companies. It is therefore difficult, and entirely subjective, to pin down what engagement really means. Therefore, as Simon Jones asks, does the fact that we struggle to define it mean that it doesn’t mean anything?

If you can’t define it, how do you measure it for comparison and correlation? Then, how do you consistently correlate engagement with performance? Employees can be engaged, but not necessarily performing. Performance is more likely to be a consequence of a great culture but geesh, that’s another can of worms, how do you measure culture? And should you?

Instinctively we know that when people are engaged they are more likely to contribute discretionary effort, but this instinct just validates that it’s all about a feeling. Great cultures FEEL good, and you FEEL like going the extra mile. How one person feels and what causes this might be quite different from someone else. What came up consistently throughout the tweet chat was the notion of tailoring engagement to the individual because every individual is going to FEEL differently about it.

To further complicate things, measuring engagement is often a lengthy and once yearly process. How can you get value from that? And if we’re talking about individual perceptions, wouldn’t we get more value from having regular conversations with employees instead? As Neil Morrison pointed out, you shouldn’t need a survey to know what your people think. However, if you do use an engagement survey, it’s what you do with that information that really makes the difference. As Daniel Harrison suggests, use them as a starting point for a conversation.

Honest conversations and authenticity appear to be the cornerstones here. Much more so than throwing around HR terms like ‘engagement’ and one size fits all quantitative surveys that don’t necessarily capture individual motivations.

I liked the way this article by Matt Monge spoke to the authenticity concept; “the challenge is to engage your employees in authentic ways that spark in them the desire to create, innovate and push your organization and our industry forward”.  You can also find one of the most comprehensive summaries of engagement by Michael Carty here.

Over the next few weeks we are going to explore the engagement topic further. We will delve into how culture and values shape engagement, hear from a consultancy who works on engagement (in the interests of a rounded argument), and talk about what this ubiquitous term ‘engagement’ means from a talent attraction and retention perspective. So whether you agree with the term or not, please join us to continue the discussion.