#declaration

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I’m sure we’ve all had to declare stuff (except maybe at Customs borders where we all go through the green channel).

It’s a really important word #declaration.

The entire US Constitution was formed from the famous Declaration of Independence. War is declared as the ultimate state of discord between nations or factions. Love is declared between people.

In these connected days of hype, over-exuberance and distorted use of words, we could declare all sorts of things and somewhat devalue the sentiment behind such a powerful word.

And yet, without #declarations are we merely existing carbon vessels of sentience undefined? Or are there enough labels without us becoming over-affiliated?

I feel a sense of need to put out some form of #declaration: Nail my colours to the mast. Show others what I belong to.

“Why?” you may rightly ask. Well, I think having traversed various undeclared states and affiliative connections, I think I’m ready to declare. So here goes.

I declare:

I am an HR professional and not at all disturbed by the continued use of the phrase Human Resources to define the profession I have come to love working in.

I do like People & Culture; I like Chief People Officer; I like Organisation Development. I respect the fact that we can call it a number of things but I will readily and perhaps eternally identify myself as an HR practitioner.

I am committed to helping my fellow (especially newer) professionals make good in a part of organisational/working life that I have come to enjoy, believe in and feel a sense of belonging to. I might find some interpretations of it aren’t exactly how I would be.

Yet if there is a demonstrated passion for the profession, energy for doing things that help people experience work in a positive and fulfilling way, and then those who can ride the choppy waves of under-appreciation for what HR does or can do, then we’re likely to get on pretty well.

I declare:

I am a believer in, and user of, self-management theories, principles and practices.

I’ve been curious, inspired and researched a range of things under this banner. It’s been trendy, hyped, failed and more. Yet I remain resolute that there is more than a fascination I have with self-management, it’s something that defines my view on how the organisation of collective human endeavour should be.

I’ve looked at the sciences of this. Stories and studies of how this is. I haven’t been found wanting on any of it.

Confirmation bias? Maybe but I didn’t always set out to be self-managed and a believer in this approach. I discovered it. Developed an interest in it. I’ve practised it and implemented it. It hasn’t always worked that well. In some cases, it’s been a revelation and a revolution all in one. I am now, by default, a self-management proponent. Not my only trick in the box, but certainly my favourite when it is right for the circumstances I’m faced with.

So it’s a big thumbs up for this to Ricardo Semler, Jos de Blok, Paul Green Jnr, Susan Basterfield, Jean-Francois Zobrist, Matt Perez and Roberto Martinez, Samantha Slade, David Tomas, Lisa Gill, Nathan Donaldson, Jim Whitehurst, Karin Tenelius, Frederic Laloux, Stelio Verzera, Julian Wilson and others.

Am I a bit “romantic” about self-managed organisations? I am. Just like I’m romantic about my chosen football team (Northampton Town), NFL team (Detroit Lions) and musical genre (Soul music — particularly Northern Soul).

I’m not going to apologise for being this way, hence the declaration.

I declare:

I am an admirer of great thinkers in the world of business and organisational life.

I’ve taken inspiration, been challenged and enlightened by so many people that are labelled speakers and gurus and the like, that I feel a sense of spiritual, emotional and of course intellectual development from the teachings of a range of people. Sure, some are highly-paid stage-walking thought leaders, yet I can see beyond any of that if their insight sparks me into action. It’s right-on to bash some of that crowd. Yes, I’ve been disappointed at times by some of these people and yet, there’s been so much value that’s been created in my world because of people who stand for things that I will not jump on the bandwagon of tearing them down or calling them out at every turn. I feel discerning enough to not get taken in by false prophecies, and even if I do, that’s part of my learning.

I declare:

I am happy to act on intuitive motivators and will continue to explore things without having large amounts of evidence.

I am drawn to new things. There’s excitement in some new realisations. Because they’re new, they don’t always have a vapour trail of evidence behind them. Some things, I’m unsure about (instinctively) and sometimes evidence will persuade me to be somewhat more in favour of the thing. Other times, I’ll see evidence that calls into question some of the claims made about the thing’s impact, and I will still find myself believing in it. I reserve the right to make my own choice about that thing.

I admire the evidence-based management/HR thing that’s gathering momentum. Will I ever be one of those practitioners who will extol it (Evidence-based practice) at every juncture? No, I won’t. Where someone’s safety is jeopardised, I won’t make irrational decisions and I reserve the right to seek more evidence where that’s the case.

I believe the human race has advanced partly because of evidence and partly in spite of it. Life, the universe and everything, means it’s a bit too complex for me to come down hard on either side of the fence on this one.

So I’ll declare that I am not a reliable proponent of evidence-based practice and therefore that’s either a delight or a risk to some.

I’m sure of where I am on this though and won’t pretend otherwise.

I declare:

I have an unwavering belief in inclusion and fairness beyond identified characteristics.

Do I eschew movements and positive campaigns to highlight differences? No. I recognise there are more, and less, effective ways to tackle biases and prejudices and not all campaigns make the aspired differences.

I abhor prejudice, and yet I also abhor fascism. So am I prejudiced about fascism? I think I am because it’s intolerable to me. Do I recognise that those who identify as fascists find things intolerable that I believe in? I do and yet that’s the reason I choose to be anti-fascist. It’s a simple good-v-bad for me. Dark side-v-light side. It’s not that some won’t like me being more liberal, it’s that they are choosing to be the opposite of what I consider to be tolerant, liberal and inclusive that abhors me so much.

Am I biased towards people who identify themselves as Alt-Right or a member of an extreme faction that seeks to separate us based on a range of characteristics? I am. Do I respect those people’s right to have free speech? I do, and yet I abhor manipulative measures played to hijack our choices and distort the sense of what’s good for people, that is considered fair and humane.

Do I declare myself as a feminist? I do. Because I sense and believe there have been systems and measures that have favoured men over women, that take no account of what’s fair in balancing opportunities and treatment around things like menstruation, childbirth and menopause that men simply do not have to face. It’s biological and psychological differences that a fair and tolerant society should recognise and adjust to ensure that fairness.

Have I ever been the victim of prejudice? I may have been. Have I ever felt marginalised because of being different in how I look and am? A tiny bit but nothing that’s stopped me experiencing the best things that life can offer. I can’t speak about being disenfranchised for my entire life because of the colour of my skin, sexual orientation, gender, religion or my physical or mental ability. I have shared aspects of life with others who have, and whilst empathy is a great thing, and support is given in the best way possible, I have none of the lived experiences some have. And yet I feel the sense of privilege and duty to be fair, open-minded, tolerant, inclusive, supportive, generous and as kind as I can be.

I declare:

I love the language I have, to communicate how I feel and what I believe in.

OK, it’s English, so by this, I mean words, phrases, portmanteaux and more that I call my lexicon. I might use some words because of the liking for its intonation, impact and that there’s a range of ways to describe things that bring to life emotions, realisations, and useful insight.

I might get called out for using some jargon, buzz words or shorthand. I might get hooked into a code that is peculiar to a craft, a process or a methodology.

I use the language I do because I like it; it invokes how I feel about things, and yes it might grate others gears. I mean no offence by what I say or write. I choose not to weaponise my words and intend to use them to enlighten, clarify, and yes provoke. Most of all I use the language I do to inspire something in me and others. Inspire curiosity. Inspire action. Inspire research. Inspire belief. Inspire confidence. Inspire possibilities.

If my choice of language does the opposite, then maybe you were never my intended recipient of that inspiration. If you are repelled because of the language I am choosing to use, then I respect that choice as you may have to respect my choice to use the language I do.

I use my language in things like speeches, presentations and talks I give. To some this is a lame way to make a living. To others, it’s an aspiration and a wish to do the same. I never take for granted the platforms I’m given. I choose my words to suit and represent the reason I’m asked to speak. I won’t apologise for being asked to do this and will continue to give all I have to make the experience a useful, enlightening and enjoyable one. I’m grateful and proud of what I do in this arena and for as long as I’m asked to do this, I’ll willingly give it my all.

I declare:

That I’ll always value, and never stop, learning and wanting to learn more.

I describe myself as being in an eternal competency deficit. I’ll always want to know and learn and do more. I will always want to give away anything I’ve learned that is of value to others and never be circumspect or stingy with things that could benefit others.

I love learning things; for the sake of it sometimes. Just because something to be learned is there. I don’t always rationalise what I’m learning but I am led by some mystical force to learn about stuff that I simply don’t question. I love it. Learning fires me into every day, every situation, every difficulty. I’m upbeat about most of life because if I’m not, I can learn about something that helps me overcome adversity, or rejection or doing something bad.

And most of all I declare:

To commit to those who believe in things I also believe in.

So if you don’t believe in HR, thought leaders, certain types of language/prose, self-management, unbridled learning, intuitive action, inclusion then I doubt we’ll be committed to the same things.

Is this some apartheid of thought? Some exclusive club? Some echo-chamber creation of group-thinking, like-minded agreeable folks?

Simply put, no. And yet, when the strong set of beliefs that guide my declarations are matched in others, I see it as perfectly acceptable to form into clans, tribes, teams and coalitions. If we’re after the same things, we’ll be drawn to each other. When we have opposites, when we’re intolerant of our views and acts in the world, then we can choose to be apart rather than a part of things.

Any of those abhorred fascist and anti-feminists are unlikely to want to spend much time with me, nor me them.

Those who despise thought leaders won’t have much to talk to me about or work on with me, if that feeling is so strong they look at me as a lesser being, a cult-follower or a duped bandwagoner.

I’m comfortable that with some people, we won’t commit to each other and we might as well accept that and don’t go through some facade of liking, socialising or supporting.

In affiliations with those who share similar (or the same) beliefs as I do, I’m comfortable talking about all the depths of emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of those beliefs. If that’s too much for you, then maybe we’re not that well affiliated.

You can call out someone’s attempts at operating in a conscious capitalist sense if you choose, with whatever backs up your assertion. If it conflicts with a belief of mine, and I listen, understand and still dislike your #declarations, then we’re unlikely to affiliate and I’m OK with that. We may share 90% other things but if this is a chasm we can’t cross, then I’m comfortable with a respectful distance and discord.

So I’m declaring what I believe in, and declaring my own imperfections, failures and shortcomings.

Declaring that my intent and outcomes aren’t always matched or understood.

Declaring that I will feel some pain, elation and disappointment along the way.

Declaring that what I’ve done, and will continue to do, are things others won’t get, don’t like or will find comfort in.

Declaring that I understand why some people will see this as indulgent crap and others will check in their own beliefs and intents and (privately or publicly) do a declaration of their own.

My personal #declaration of being.

Thanks for reading.

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CEO PTHR |2x TEDx speaker | Author: Transformational HR + The Energized Workplace | HR Most Influential Thinker 2017–2021 | Soulboy + Northampton Town fan

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Perry Timms

Perry Timms

CEO PTHR |2x TEDx speaker | Author: Transformational HR + The Energized Workplace | HR Most Influential Thinker 2017–2021 | Soulboy + Northampton Town fan

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