Next Friday 19th April, four noted "HR Rebels with a Cause" have been hired by the Public Sector People Management Association (PPMA) to speak on the notion of "PUNK ROCK HR".   Mike Collins, Head of Community Development & Online Learning, DPG plc, Neil Usher, Head of Property Development for Rio Tinto and myself will present a mixed media manifesto for shorter, simpler and more authentic HR strategy and practice.

There will be no pogoing amongst the ranks, just a hoard of public sector CEO’s and top HR people with an agenda to make HR more relevant to the people they serve.  Here’s what the BBC made of the Punk HR approach:

I will be giving one of my masterclasses on Punk Rock HR based on the book Punk Rock People Management.  Quite timely as I interviewed The Blockheads for a TV piece the other week.  It was a rare pleasure to interview Mick Gallagher (pictured in the caption of this blog), who has worked with Ian Dury and The Clash, plus Sir Paul Mc Cartney, Robbie Williams, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.

Perry Timms caught on to the idea of Punk HR through his work in the Big Lottery Fund.  His vision is for HR to be at the epicentre of radical changes in the way work is done; how people are engaged, rewarded and skilled; and the impact work has on a better society.  He does not believe this can be done with ‘more of the same’.  I dubbed him "The Modfather" after learning of his passion for The Jam, The Who and other great rebels with a cause.

Mike Collins will be working on technology to disrupt the HR function.  Neil Usher will be working with the medium of poetry to reach into the soul of HR and so on.  

As Ian Dury was a "Master of Punk Administration" (MPA) in the field of music, so my friend and "Punk Poet" Dave Brooks has summarised the daily grind of business through the medium of poetry.  Dave works a Swiss bank by day, and is also a Master of Business Administration (MBA).  Here is his poem "Spreadsheet Bitch", which may get performed at the PPMA conference, set to music. MPA meets MBA at the PPMA !

Spreadsheet Bitch – Dave Brooks

Verse 1

The working day is long, It’s a hard and gruelling life, The hours seem to drag by, Till I go home to my wife,

I don’t raise a hammer, That’s not my ticket to get rich, I don’t work in uniform, I’m just a spreadsheet bitch.

Verse 2

I get the early train, At the office I arrive, I sit down in my cubicle, So the numbers I can drive,

Sometimes a presentation, Images together stitch, But the main way that I spend my day, Is being a spreadsheet bitch.


Spreadsheet bitch, Punch the keys in double time, Spreadsheet bitch, All my ducks are a line,

Spreadsheet bitch, It’s not the role I had in mind, Spreadsheet bitch, When you seek, You’re sure to find,

A spreadsheet bitch, Just a spreadsheet bitch, Another spreadsheet bitch.

Verse 3

I get here in the morning, Before the sun has shown it’s head, Leave late in the evening, And I slide right into bed,

But as the dawn approaches, My fingers start to twitch, I’m an addict with a habit, I’m just a spreadsheet bitch.


Middle 8

Formulas go round my head, Pivots, macros in my spread, Calculations not a hitch, For this job I’ll never ditch.


We’re hoping to see you at the PPMA event.  Failing that, try our next spectacular masterclass and networking event with Richard Strange, "The Godfather of Punk", as dubbed by Johnny Rotten, aboard the historic LV21 lightship in Kent on May 16. The event is sponsored by The University of Kent and in collaboration with The Chartered Management Institute, The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and The Open University Business School. Details at Punk Rock Innovation.

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