People are more than the Pink Floyd proverbial “another brick in the wall”. We know this. We’re not replicants. We’re uniquely different even when we’re biological twins.
Back in March 2021, it looked like we were coming out of the pandemic. Yeah, right. I wrote this post: WorkX. It didn’t get much traction. Oh well, some do, some don’t.
I won’t repeat the post but feel free to dive in almost one year on because I think the issues and potential options are still relevant now.
Anyway, it’s not a shameless re-plug of an under-performing post.
It’s to declare something that we at People and Transformational HR Ltd. are about to launch into.
A new series of posts ideating, synthesising and agitating on what’s next. What’s next for people. In (mostly) work, and thereby in life and in play.
We’ll research and compile evidence and thoughts on experiments, discovery and emerging practices in how we calibrate our lives and our work in that schema of things.
The web is a crowded, noisy and sometimes overwhelming place to get insight, fresh thinking and evidenced perspectives on things that are new, novel and inventive. We know we’re adding more to that but we aim to synthesise and summarise; not just add, but aggregate.
It was reasonably well-received without setting any fires and our attempt to curate and help make sense for our fellow people professionals will see this repeated into 2022. So watch out in September for a fresh state of HR.
Anyway, it was this exercise that really got us into curation and compilation and testing our own views and evidencing what was happening, statistically relevant and valid and emerging into new practices and even attitudes.
So PeopleX will be similar. Curation, synthesis and ideas. Aiming to help people make sense. Not just a one-off report but an ebb-and-flow of relevant, real and inspiring content.
What’s brought this into being is where we are.
We’re big believers and users of a concept/framework called Cynefin. See here for more but this diagram shows you what the modelled version of this looks like.
We hit peak chaos in 2020.
We had to act to curtail COVID-19.
We emerged into a mixture of chaos (variants, protests) in 2021 and complex.
Vaccinations, social distancing and the like.
We’re into complex and complicated even more into 2022.
With some clear things (Lateral Flows, vaccination cards etc) also in 2021/22.
We’re very much bouncing around this framework still.
With COP26, Davos, militarised operations looming in Eastern Europe, Tsunamis in Tonga, “Partygate” in the UK, Novax in Australia and Congress elections later in the US, who knows what other chaos may ensue.
Whatever the geopolitical landscape, we aren’t going to be short on complicated, complex and chaotic situations we find ourselves in, when we probably need and crave more clarity and clear ways forward.
Step forward Business.
- The oligarchy of capitalist extremes?
- The extractive polluter through commercial gain?
- The most ridiculous inequality of wealth ever?
- Continued toxicity in leadership?
- Rising inequity and mental ill-health and stress at work?
- A Great Resignation/Reshuffle/Rethink world of business?
Yes, but not THAT business.
Soulful business, we believe, is possible and needed. And business, compared to other woeful elements of 21st Century life, is the least bad of a poor performing construct.
Edelman publishes a Trust Barometer year on year which is a good indication of how we feel. We DO NOT trust the media, certainly not Governments and Institutions and only mildly better trust NGOs and businesses. But there’s something in this.
For 2022 the report is here.
- Business’ societal role is here to stay — People want more business leadership, not less.
- Demonstrate tangible progress — Restore belief in society’s ability to build a better future: show the system works.
- Focus on long-term thinking — Solutions over divisiveness; leadership must focus on long-term thinking over short-term gain.
- Provide Credible Information — Trustworthy, consistent and fact-based information is critical to breaking the cycle of distrust.
With this in mind, it gives us a real challenge in closing divides, living with paradoxes and forging ahead with combined energy. We seem to be tearing apart at the precise moment the planet and its people need us to come together now more than ever.
Where do we start to repair such a damaged world, fractured society and unfair, unequal system?
And I haven’t even mentioned racial, religious, gender, sexuality, age, socio-demographic or ability differences yet.
Where do we start then? Well: Somewhere. Anywhere.
Cohesion will have to come from a salvo of initiatives, experiments and shifts. We haven’t the time or the inclination to strategise the world when even local politicians can’t even strategise their wards and boroughs, it’s gotten that complex.
What’s heartening and equally annoying is that the solutions are already (mostly) here.
In this excellent article from the now-closed The Correspondent, historian, economist and agitator Rutger Bregman gave us a sense check and hope. In describing how Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek assembled the trickle-down neoliberal capitalist approach we’re in now from “theories that were lying around.” So we can reimagine a new form of economic system in a similar manner — from things lying around.
This seemingly glib take on theories isn’t glib at all.
It’s what we have now in the concept of work, society, life, and the restoration of a balanced planet. We are choosing to conform to orthodoxies or are forced into obeyance to them by economic or societal circumstances. BUT our alternatives are lying around.
Be they in Conscious Capitalism, Systems Thinking, Organisation Design, more humanist principles of operating business and societies, declarations by the CBI in the UK or the Business Roundtable in the USA.
We have solutions IF we want them and put the effort into making them our new work/business Operating System.
So if what we need is lying around though, how do we assemble it for good?
After all, it doesn’t like it’s being done very well with that polarised world Edelman’s research has confirmed.
We need activism, actions, deeds.
- No more word confetti (sorry Thought Leaders).
- No more well-intended models that may seem helpful but are too easily dismissed or overlooked or poorly enacted/embedded.
- Not just the edutainment of a TED talk and hope it comes to be.
- Not just a focus on values and culture and aspired sense without committing to actually doing something about it.
- Not some overly academic viewpoint without lived experiences to teach or talk to.
We need a PeopleX (as I said in the WorkX post — multiplier, version of) approach to the challenges we’re facing and we — as a small but ambitious and fervent believer we can fix this — want to help.
By curating, creating and connecting you to what matters to us all and how we can climb on top of this and make the changes needed. Before it is all just the same old, same old, but with an app.
This is why we’re devoting some of our time, effort and application to agitating on that need.
Watch out for regular posts, links, content, summaries and shares that we believe are “lying around” and can be assembled into your WorkX Operating System as part of our PeopleX strategy.
We’ll start next week with a big one: What part can ESG play in correcting our course?
Whilst many may see ESG as another trendy, fancy name for some kind of ineffective governance, we believe that done right and well, it can be the counterbalance to toxicity, misdirection and unethical ways of running businesses.
We’re a Certified B Corporation and proud. We may shamelessly spotlight others who are of this ilk because, well, the test of their mettle is they are social, conscious and good corporate citizens. But we’re one of only 600 businesses in the UK (though this is growing rapidly) so if many aren’t bothered enough to follow Coutts, Ella’s Kitchen and others to become certified, why not? ESG may be the lever to pull to get more businesses into the BCorp mindset/fold and do more good than they do now.
We’ll cover alternative ways of leading, learning, being, doing and wrap it all up with what we believe are practical ways to turn that insight and emergence into action.
You may think it’s all too much and that it’s all just shades of beige normality.
We see the technicolour waiting to burst out. We hear the caged souls trying to liberate their true potential in the world. We feel the sense of desire for a more purposeful life not just in the privileged few but in the masses who toil day in, day out to make ends meet.
Something’s better out there. We can be enlightened about, engaged with it and be enabled through it.
Our mission at PTHR is better business for a better world.
We will live that through our PeopleX posts and shares and urges to change, for the better.
We may be just another post in the noise. We may be the catalyst for tiny changes. We may tip the balance towards a more soulful way to work.
We won’t be ANY of this if we don’t lean in, put our best to the task, and do. If you’re with us, welcome. If you’re curious, that’s a great start. If you’re not bothered, then good luck.
PeopleX — exponential possibilities for a flourishing way to work. Thanks for reading.