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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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What are our columnists’ NY resolutions for 2016?


It’s that time of year again – in the run-up to Christmas, we’re already thinking of self-improvements so that 2016 can better than 2015. At HRZone we have an expert panel of columnists who write on everything from military leadership lessons, social business and psychology to the neuroscience of engagement and recognition strategies for the modern era. So what are they going to do to make 2016 a year to remember? We caught up with all of them to find out.

Justin Hughes
CEO, Mission Excellence and former Red Arrows pilot

View all of Justin’s column posts

“I see a lot of examples of ‘local rationality’. Examples occur when people ‘violently agree’ with you about a challenge to the status quo, but then don’t change anything.

My commitment is to try and avoid falling prey to the same thing.

I promote a number of ideas on team and organisational performance to clients, some of which might be perceived as quite challenging to existing norms.

As we grow our own business, there is a clear danger of believing and saying one thing, but failing to apply it myself. I must walk the talk. My second commitment (shameless plug warning!) is to finish my book, ‘The Business of Excellence’, to be published by Bloomsbury in Sep 16.

Happy New Year!”

Top columns from Justin this year:

Jan Hills
Founder, Head Heart + Brain

View all of Jan’s column posts

“There is one aspect I think many people neglect when setting New Year resolutions and that’s a review of your past year. I tend to do this towards the end of the year and because most people forget what their past self was like it’s good to keep a record of what you said last year and what your areas for improvement were. Just in case you forgot your resolutions as the year progressed! If that’s an issue for you we just ran a breakfast club on willpower.

My ritual is to look back on the year and review what I have achieved: am I happier and healthier and did I spend my time doing the things that nourish me or deplete me? Did my business reach its goals, in terms of income and the type of work we wanted to do? Are we better known now than we were and did we do the marketing and write the books we intended? How are my relationships looking: did I spend time with the people who matter to me and have I given those people the right support this year?

You can add whatever categories work for you and your life. A particular area I’ll focus on next year is going to be energy. You will be seeing quite a lot from me on that topic and so it features in my ritual too.”

Top columns from Jan this year:

Perry Timms
Founder, PTHR

View all of Perry’s column posts

“I rarely make resolutions these days but I’m happy to join the HRZone resolutionathon for 2016. Firstly, what am I looking forward to in 2016?”

Part (a) to this answer is a coming together/maturity of the work around digital transformation. I am aiming to help as many HR professionals as possible to understand the world of digital technologies and make good on what they can improve in the workplace. Many people talk this up and don’t really have a grip on what it actually means and is but we’re getting there.

Part (b) is the continued push towards more socialised ways of working with less control and more liberation of people at work which I fundamentally believe is the saviour of mediocre working lives we seem to have inadvertently created.

Secondly, what have I learned from this year? That there is a growing bank of examples where people are creating alternatives to the tired, lumbering orthodoxies of 20th century ways of working and learning. I am keen to share these – not because it’s hipster trendy to do so – but because people need hope, examples, influence and then maybe, we’ll move towards work that is more fulfilling and purposeful for a lot more people.”

Top columns from Perry this year:

Caroline Gourlay
Business psychologist

View all of Caroline’s column posts

“My New Year’s resolution is to move more.

I’m not talking about fitness, though obviously that’s important, I’m thinking about thinking and the quality of my work. I’ve long realised that I do my most creative thinking when I’m moving. I do a lot of blog writing in my head while running along Bath’s canal towpath.

I still don’t do it often enough, though, and can end up sitting in a fixed position at my laptop thinking rigidly. I’m now trying to extend this to my work with clients. A recent walk along a footpath with a coaching client turned out to be the best part of the coaching session.

Sometimes it feels a little bold to suggest a ‘walking meeting’ but that’s my aim for 2016.

Oh and my second resolution is to write my HR Zone column more often!”

Top columns from Caroline this year:

Jasmine Gartner
Training consultant

View all of Jasmine’s column posts

“I’ve thought a lot about what gives me a sense of purpose this past year. The one thing I keep coming back to is this: the thing that motivates me, that gives me some happiness, is creating environments that enable and encourage other people to learn. In a word, I love teaching.

As a trainer and a writer, I’m lucky that I get to live out that sense of purpose.

For me, teaching is about aligning the real world we live in with an ideal world. It’s about seeing how we can work towards achieving goals and aspirations practically; it’s those real-world, practical insights and related solutions that really inspire me.

I feel like there’s a strong current out there of cynicism. At a talk I went to recently, I heard senior people – civil servants, academics – talking about how terrible the state of the workplace in the UK is, and how it’s not going to improve.

I found this cynicism naive and to some extent ignorant: they have no idea of all the hard work people are doing to improve the workplace – for example, the employees and managers who work so hard to implement best practice and improve communications, especially during periods of difficult change.

My goal for 2016 is simple: keep chipping away at it, helping others to learn how to improve themselves and their workplaces, so that together we can collectively show those cynics how wrong they are. As a trainer, I’ll continue going out there and talking about it and, in my writing,

I’ll keep sharing the amazing stories of the people who are, bit by bit, changing the face of the UK’s workplaces.”

Top columns from Jasmine this year:

Rob Catalano
Global speaker on recognition & reward

View all of Rob’s column posts

“I’ve been giving my ‘2016’ a lot of thought on how I can personally and professionally be better… and the best way I can describe it is through focusing my improvements in the five themes I’ve created below:

Educate: I must keep learning. New skills, new perspectives, new approaches. The information is more readily available than ever – I have no excuses (and I bought my new Kindle this month with a goal of a book a week). Sharing my knowledge is also important to me. My experiences in HR and leadership best practices can be more valuable if I share through speaking and writing.

Think & Plan: I don’t know what success looks like and I can’t get to the end unless I plan appropriately. Being better at this will be paramount in new endeavours – big and small. I will create my Painted Picture before the new year starts.

Communicate: I can’t be successful in isolation. I must be better at communicating in all aspects at life. This includes aligned expectations, difficult conversations, first interactions, articulating ideas… the list goes on.

Deliver: If I want to win, I need to deliver. And since I can’t do it all, I want to do some things awesome and not a lot of things poorly. I will focus my goals. I will theme my days. I will make progress and eliminate waste.

Reflect: It’s easy to move forward, but hard to stop and reflect. I will allocate time to reflect and educate myself. Repeat. Reading ‘Scrum’ recently has changed my approach of delivering and reflecting.

When offered the opportunity to do this for HRZone, I had already given my 2016 personal goals some thought, but would never have articulated it like this without writing it down. You should definitely try it. A world of difference. And post it somewhere – in your house, on your computer wallpaper, etc. The gentle reminders are a game-changer. I’ll need all of these to achieve some very personal and lofty goals.”

Top columns from Rob this year:

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

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