Friday 21 September 2012

On the Guru Group


   This afternoon I’m at an update meeting of the engagement ‘gurus’ supporting the UK’s Engaging for Success taskforce.  The session is being led by Bob Hughes and Katie Truss.

I don’t want to try to channel Doug Shaw but I can’t help but start with a little criticism…

In giving us an update on the taskforce and a meeting earlier this week, David MacLeod has kicked off by introducing Engaging for Success as ‘our movement’ – but we still only got the speaker’s introductions, rather than all the other gurus in the room. I think the picture above falls into the same trap, suggesting that the guru group’s role is communicating the vision, rather than being involved in developing this. It all models communication and engagement from the old world rather than the new world which I think David & Co want to create (I know I do).  Engagement comes from involvement, and I think this group needs to role model what it is promulgating.

Engagement comes from allowing people to make criticism too, so I hope nobody takes too unkindly from me saying this!


David also introduced the group’s website and a new cheesy (sorry) video which will be launched soon.

Katie Truss talked about her sub-group – they’ve written a whitepaper on job design and engagement which will be available on the E4S website and I will blog about here (also see this post). There’s also going to be a conference on 17 December addressing how academics and practitioners can work together better.

Dilys Robinson is starting up a sub-group looking at the future of engagement (the membership is me and her at the moment).

Nigel Girling has a group on engaging leadership.

Doug Crawford is running a group pulling in new thinking from related fields eg neuroscience, behavioural psychology etc .

Sharon Derwent from BT updated us on the practitioner core team and the events they’ve been running.

Tanith Dodge from M&S talked about the work her sub-group have been doing pulling together all of the evidence on the effect of engagement, aimed at convincing the non-believers. The issue is that most people understand this intuitively but only about 7% examine the financial impact (I’d argue that there are good reasons for this). So they’ve been doing their own research involving about 100 organisations as well as Hay, Gallup, the CIPD etc, comparing engagement scores to customer and financial results. There’s some good stuff in it apparently though they did struggle to tie engagement to innovation or health & safety. Again the report will be available in November, and I’m sure I’ll post on this too.

The launch of this will be taking place at No 10? on 12th November and this will be followed up by an event at the QE11 conference centre on 26th November.  So there clearly has been a huge amount of progress and it sounds as if November is going to be quite exciting!


To be continued….

Comments / inputs?


OK, I’m back – we’ve been having some discussions about what the guru groups can do to support Go Live.  Conversations around tables.. lots of engagement and ideas… shame we didn’t start like this.


And we’re now onto some more inputs – David MacLeod on what’s going to happen beyond November.  This is going to include formation as a charity, a programme board, some rotating trustees, and a paid director funded by 15 organisations (they have 12 so there are still 3 places if you’ve got an extra £15k sloshing around).


And more conversation – and this to me was the most interesting part of the afternoon.  We’ve been talking about what we, the gurus, can do to support practitioners.  Our little group got into a conversation about this really being down to practitioners rather than us – the offer of support is on the table, but they need to tell us what they need.  What’s stopping this? – that they don’t want to be sold to (hence David reinforcing the code of conduct we’ve all signed up to).

We also made the suggestion that we should perhaps be more vocal in the Linkedin group than we are.  And I thought this was a good point too – we’re potentially seen as gurus because of our insights and ideas.  So the most valuable thing I think we can do for the movement is to contribute these, and try to help close the gap between research and practice; academics, consultants and practitioners.

But then this is never really going to be overcome until we get past the selling thing.  To me, this is what we need to focus on, especially because the fear of being sold to can be overcome.  My best example of this is ConnectingHR!

In fact, in less than a month’s time, we’ll have our seventh tweet-up which will consist of a good mix of practitioners and consultants, hopefully with a few academics and journalists thrown in.  It’ll be a hugely engaging event where absolutely no selling will take place (or at least it never has).  I hope some of the other gurus, and particularly the practitioners, may like to come along.  More details here:

Oh, by the way, I think that getting beyond the evident distrust between practitioners and gurus (or we’d just have the one group, wouldn’t we) is part of creating the new world of engagement too.


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