Human Resources, or Humans?

I never liked the title Human Resources Manager. People are more than just a resource and humans work best when they are led rather than managed. In contrast I recently came across someone whose title was Director responsible for People and Culture. Much better!

After getting some new clarity around my consulting work I have just registered the domain .

It is a deliberate turning upside down of the concept of human resources for business.

Engagement surveys across a variety of industries consistently show that current models are not working. Typically anywhere from 40-60% of the workforce is disengaged. At any one time, a minority are so disengaged that they are actively working against the business. Sadly, because this is the norm we don’t question it and we don’t ask deep enough questions about whether there is a different way.

At the root of the problem is a model of business and the economy based on the metaphor of the machine. It was designed for the age of the assembly line when employees were a expected to behave like cogs in the machine churning out widgets. Little was expected by way of creativity, teamwork or putting heart and soul into the work. Instead what was valued was time (hence time-sheets) and standardisation (hence KPIs, job descriptions, policies and procedures manuals and the dreaded Performance Review) and the minimisation of risk.

In today’s Knowledge Economy, (and increasingly a Reputation Economy)  this outdated model simply doesn’t cut it. What we need is to find ways for people to bring their joy, enthusiasm, energy and unique creativity into high-value and high-trust teams. But so often the models and systems in place make people feel that they have to leave their humanity at home.

The good news is that thanks to the work of a new generation of psychologists (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Martin Seligman, Daniel Pink, Shawn Achor and others) we know a lot more about how humans work and how to bring out the best in them. If we were to design business systems from scratch now, using this information, we would do things very differently.

As I start to populate the new website, I will include the resources I have come across which fit this new paradigm.  Feel free to contact me with resources you have come across which work for humans. In time we may the shift away from a toxic culture which says that humans (along with other natural resources) are there to be exploited to serve the economy, and replace it with a life-affirming culture which says that the economy (and business) is there to serve humanity and the natural world we are a part of.

Meanwhile, check out the Talent Enhancers Tribe I am a part of (I’m one of the Tribal Elders). If the above resonates with you, you might like to join us.


Business Resources for Humans

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