Trevor’s a top collaborative learning evangelist on Twitter!

Trevor Merriden

We were over the moon to discover that 10Eighty’s very own Head of Collaborative Learning, Trevor Merriden, was named ‘2nd most important influencer on social learning’ according to a report created by – ‘What were the 2016 L&D Twitter Trends?’ – which broke the main L&D categories into:

  • Virtual reality
  • Video
  • Collaborative/social learning
  • MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course)
  • Games/Gamification

It analysed L&D-related Twitter posts from 2016 and identified key topics people were actually talking about, with a view to predict the future direction of L&D over the coming years. Amongst all this analysis Our Trevor made the Top 5 in Collaborative/Social Learning with an impressive 236 tweets on social learning.

Trevor has long been a ‘Collaboration Advocate’ arguing that we need to “kick down silos” and “pop learning bubbles” to work better together. And he has been helping to make this happen for a range of organisations thanks to 10Eighty’s Leadership Cloud, a platform that supports collaboration and learning across organisations and:

  • allows leadership development to be highly customised, delivered to individuals, to groups, or the complete leadership population
  • cuts across hierarchies and taps into an organisation’s collective intelligence, creativity and innovation
  • facilitates dialogue within a leadership population, enabling CEOs to communicate and get feedback on their strategies
  • builds high-performance, a step-change in engagement and delivers a rapid ROI.

Click here to find out more about 10Eighty’s Leadership Cloud.

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Careers in the 21st century


We took in Fuel50’s recent online seminar with Josh Bersin and Dani Johnson of Deloitte Consulting, which looked at human capital trends, recent research on career management and a case study from Ingersoll Rand. Here’s a summary of what we learned.

This is not your parents’ career management

There have been major changes in the workplace and the workforce in recent decades and employees now aspire to manage and map out a career path with support from their manager and organisation, the emphasis being on shared responsibility, which looks like this:

  • Worker – drives the process
  • Manager – supports and guides
  • Organisation – sets expectations, builds infrastructure

There is more attention to career progression which is not necessarily, upwards, but embraces more movement in general, with an emphasis on development, and “experience collecting” and “attribute building”.

The modern way of working has seen a move from structured to open career paths – where the focus is on facilitating work by assembling the most appropriate talent. Movement around the organisation is based on an integration of worker interest and organisational need; this way of working is particularly appropriate in team and collaborative environments.

careers-in-the-21st-century The new industrial revolution

90% of organizations surveyed by MIT and Deloitte anticipate their industries will be totally disrupted by digital trends. What will this mean for the workplace of the future? Bersin says that the impact of new technologies will lead to hybrid jobs which require a knowledge of the technology as a given and good social skills, cognitive skills that facilitate creative thinking, teamwork, research and problem-solving. We are all knowledge workers now.

Career management has become important because what millennials really value is training and development. Lifelong learning and continuous professional development are crucial to sustainable career given the changes we are seeing:

  • The half-life of technical skills is approximately 2 years
  • 50% of millennials will live to age of 100, expect 10-12 jobs by age of 38
  • Life expectancy of Fortune 1000 firm is less than 15 years
  • 37% of working people believe they will change careers within 5 years
  • Only 29% of companies believe careers in their company are 10 years+, 44% say less than five years

The job for life has long since disappeared. Career management now is about accruing experience in a journey during which you appreciate as an asset. Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn points out that prospective new hires are asked “What are you going to do when you leave LinkedIn?” because they are committed to the idea that as an employer they are going to be transformative in the prospective employee’s career. A job is less a lifetime contract and more a “tour of duty” – a limited-time engagement meant to achieve specific ends on both sides.

This means it is increasing important to carefully select your career moves, seeking organisations that will offer development opportunities and personal growth; we know that a person’s best performance comes when they are given meaningful work that leverages their personal strengths, we need roles that offer the potential to optimise strengths and build and develop skills.

We’ve seen a massive shift to an expanded non-traditional workforce – don’t think of a contract of employment as the principal employment method, we are all our own boss now as consulting, freelancing, contracting, externships, crowdsourcing and contingent working predominate.

The Deloitte model suggests that successful career management is predicated on an alignment of preferences and values to traverse progression paths and development opportunities facilitated by the enablers of leadership, messaging and infrastructure. Flexible career paths being now more common than a more structured approach.

Career-Navigator-10Eightys-Career-CENTRE Explore-Career-Paths-10Eightys-Career-CENTRE

Career management at Ingersoll Rand

Michael Martin of Ingersoll Rand said employee engagement surveys had told them that employees wanted more focus on career development, raising questions around the issue:

  • Can I achieve my career goals at this company
  • The company has effective processes for developing people
  • I am supported in taking advantage of available career opportunities

They implemented an online career navigation system enabling employees to reflect, explore and plan to enhance their career development which included manager tools to facilitate better career discussions and guidance as a foundation for succession planning and building stronger talent pipelines. The aim being – ‘growing people to grow our business’.

Poll results for seminar attendees

  • 54% are considering restructuring their career pathways
  • 49% believe work needs to be done on career visibility – why don’t employers make career paths more obvious and available for exploration?
  • Only 14% have open career approach, 55% flexible and 30% structured

Watch ‘Careers in the 21st century’ seminar

Click here to watch the seminar in full

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How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Brexit

Stop worrying learn to love brexit

Nine months have passed since the European Referendum and the UK’s economic prospects don’t look sunny. Sterling’s value against the US Dollar has fallen by about 15% and this is having an impact on fuel prices and the cost of foodstuffs, which suggests we’re entering a period of cost inflation and bleak times.

Stop worrying learn to love brexit

With Brexit Day (29 March 2017) fresh in the memory and as a remainer and passionate European I could take a negative view of the future. But I refuse to. Instead I turn to Shawn Achor’s work – his TedTalk and book ‘The Happiness Advantage’.

As an illustration of Achor’s philosophy I want you to imagine we are walking into a local bank. We arrive in the reception area and there are 48 other people waiting to be served. As we wait, in bursts a robber with a gun, he fires off the gun and a bullet goes straight through your arm.

The question to ask yourself now is ‘Are you lucky or unlucky?’

People who consider themselves unlucky, because – “How come I got shot when there were 49 other people in the room?” – are taking what is called a negative construct.

People who consider themselves lucky, because if the bullet had been 6 inches (or 15 European centimetres) either way then they could have been killed, are taking a positive construct.

Achor argues there are 3 good reasons why we should take positive constructs.

1 – When faced by challenge or adversity such as Brexit, people who take positive constructs rather than negative constructs are likely to achieve better outcomes. Their glass is half-full rather than half-empty.

2  – People who take positive constructs tend to have longer lasting relationships, indeed Achor argues you can rewire the brain to take positive constructs. For example, for the next 21 days, share 3 good things about your day with your partner. Achor argues that not only will you think more positively, the relationship with your partner will be stronger and more rewarding.

3 – Is ‘The Killer’ and is based on two pieces of research.

The diaries of novices entering a nunnery in the early 20th century were studied and their entries divided into positive and negative constructs. They discovered that nuns who took positive constructs lived, on average, 10 years longer than nuns who took negative constructs.

Dr Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, asked people who were going down for open-heart surgery if they thought they were going to get better or die. He found that those who thought they were going to get better, had a propensity to get better. And those who thought they were going to die, had a propensity to die.

This reminds me of the Henry Ford quote: “Whatever you think, you’re probably right”.

So there’s good reason, despite the economic doom and gloom, to see Brexit in a positive light and as a positive construct.

Those who sit around remoaning won’t succeed. Individuals and companies who see Brexit as an opportunity are the ones that will do best.

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Careers in the 21st century – a webinar recording from partners Fuel50

We wanted to tell you about a webinar hosted recently by our New Zealand partners Fuel50 ‘Careers in the 21st Century: This is not your parents’ career management’.

This hour-long event, originally aired on 7 April was led by  Josh Bersin and Dani Johnson of Bersin by Deloitte, Mike Martin of Ingersoll Rand, and Anne Fulton of Fuel50 who discussed 2020 Career Predictions and much more.

Here’s a few slides from the presentation…

Fuel50-Careers-in-21st-Century Fuel50-Careers-in-21st-Century Fuel50-Careers-in-21st-Century

Bersin by Deloitte is the leading provider of research-based information, benchmarking, professional development, and advisory consulting services for strategic HR, talent management, leadership development, recruiting, and training organisations.

And don’t worry, you haven’t missed this fascinating discussion on careers in the 2020s. You can watch the entire event on Vimeo video using this link.

Stay in touch and find out more

To make sure you’re subscribed to our community to stay in the loop with future events, and receive more recap material like this just click this link and complete the details on the short form.

If you’d like to find out more about our career pathway software 10Eighty’s CareerCENTRE™, please click here.

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How Emma made difficult conversations easier yesterday


We held an interactive invitation-only lunchtime session ‘Making difficult conversations easier’ at 50 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7PD yesterday.

The event was facilitated by Emma Mitchell, one of our leadership development experts along with Joan O’Connor Head of Leadership Development, who was advertised as Emma’s co-host but was unable to attend due to illness.

Leadership-showcase-Difficult-conversations At this 90-minute session attendees:

  • learned how to call upon their strengths to face challenging conversations with confidence and composure.
  • explored how working with a strengths perspective can transform a difficult conversation into a constructive dialogue.


Everyone who attended yesterday were offered a selection of recent 10Eighty leadership articles, which are all available to download on our website:

‘Here Come the Everyday Leaders’, an article which recently appeared in HR Grapevine’s Learning Technology Guide 2017

The Strengthscope® white paper ‘Strengthening Workplaces: achieve performance excellence using a strengths-based approach’

A case study about 10Eighty’s work with MBNA: ‘How MBNA increased employee engagement from 52% to 88%

A 10Eighty White Paper: ‘Surfing the Collaboration Wave: How to spread the benefits of Collaborative Learning across your organisation’

Here’s a slide from Emma’s presentation (full disclosure: the model used in our presentation slides was adapted from ‘Difficult Conversations’ by Stone et al)

Leadership-showcase-Difficult-conversationsWe’re planning more invitation-only lunchtime showcase events over the coming months.

Find out more

Click here to find out more about the benefits of our strengths assessment tool Strengthscope®.

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Are you an Everyday Leader?

At 10Eighty we’ve been thinking long and hard about leadership development and about what a leader should look like in 2017.

And you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve encapsulated our thinking in a 2-page article catchily titled “Here Come The Everyday Leaders” (full disclosure: Suga Babes and Ini Kamoze songs were painlessly paraphrased in the creation of this headline!) and written by Joan O’Connor our Head of Leadership Development for HR Grapevine’s Guide to Learning Technology 2017.

You’ll see this advert about our leadership development services in the April 2017 edition of HR Magazine:


In a nutshell… an Everyday Leader understands what the organisation wants, has clear personal plans balancing business needs and their own careers and, most important of all has good leadership habits and knows how to embed them in others through their words and deeds – and continues to do this throughout their working lives.

Read ‘Here Come The Everyday Leaders’ in full

If you would like to find out more about 10Eighty’s new thinking around leadership development and read Joan’s article in full just click here, enter a few details and you’ll received the download direct by email.Everyday Leaders Article - HRGrapevine

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Dealing with common myths about strengths development


Applying a strengths-based approach to development is neither a management nor an HR fad. The strengths-based organisation selects on strengths and trains in skills and knowledge; it recognises strengths so as to deploy them effectively, combining them in innovate and robust strategies to develop and deliver results.

Conventions, myths, assumptions and stereotypes abound wherever people interact but a focus on strengths provides an effective way to improve performance and engagement.

People know their strengths

Writer and management guru Peter Drucker observed “most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong and yet, a person can perform only from strength.”

Clarity and confidence around strengths and weaknesses actually takes some analysis, reflection and a level of self-awareness, and for a variety of reasons we may not always be clear-sighted about our own strengths and may take for granted aspects of our strengths and mastery.

Strengths-development Even those who do understand their strengths may have reservations about discussing them, perhaps through fear of appearing complacent or arrogant. In contrast, most people, especially those with more work experience, tend to be familiar with their weaknesses.

Using Strengthscope® we help employees learn how to combine their strengths, skills and abilities to achieve work and career goals whilst mitigating weaknesses and other risks to performance; this enables them to challenge limiting beliefs and to achieve peak performance. The key lies in time spent reflecting on strengths and deliberate development time focussed on how best to put them to use in pursuing aspirations both inside and outside of work.

With the strengths analysis in place it’s possible to design focused action plans that will stretch an individuals’ strengths to enable them achieve work and career goals. Managers with practical coaching skills and techniques can empower employees to optimise their strengths and skills.

Playing to strengths is the easy option

There is plenty of evidence to support the value of identifying and playing to your strengths but it’s important to recognise that, in context, some strengths may be optional whilst others are essential. You can’t always choose, and you can’t play it safe, growth depends on stretch and challenge, we learn a lot about ourselves when we deal with new situations and adjust to new contexts.

Knowing your strengths isn’t a one-stop shop, once you’ve assessed strengths using Strengthscope® you can move on to the next stage – building a strategy for personal development. Optimum performance is achieved when you operate outside your comfort zone and test yourself. To optimise one’s strengths and move from good to great takes work and application. It’s useful to consider ways in which to use signature strengths in addressing weaker areas.

Think of the performers and athletes who hone their strengths with constant practice to achieve peak performance. Carol Dweck suggests that if we are willing to learn and persist in the face of challenge we can grow strengths that may not be ‘natural’ talents.

You can ignore weaknesses

It’s natural to focus on existing and natural strengths more than we do on our weaknesses, but that doesn’t negate a need to manage those weaknesses. You can’t overlook weaknesses and it is short-sighted to assume that playing to strengths will be enough to offset them. We can work to address these areas but it would be unrealistic to expect to transform a weakness to a signature strength.

Leveraging core strengths to address areas of concern is the best option, Strengthscope® helps the user examine creative ways to use strengths in dealing with weaker areas. Armed with self-awareness about strengths we are better able to discuss our weaker area and other risks/blockers to performance. Strengths assessment can also help in building partnerships with others who have strengths in areas where we are weaker and this has the added benefit of enabling a strong team culture within the organisation.

Acknowledge weakness and invest in self-improvement. Relying solely on established strengths is too limiting and calls to mind ‘Maslow’s hammer’ – over-reliance on a familiar tool “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail”, (Maslow, 1996). We work in a volatile and uncertain environment and need to ensure we offer skills that up to date, relevant and in demand.

Management guru Marcus Buckingham claims that organisations that focus on cultivating employees’ strengths rather than simply improving their weaknesses stand to dramatically increase efficiency while allowing for maximum personal growth and success. A win-win situation!

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Learning on the job


The UK’s 10th annual National Apprenticeship Week will be taking place from 6 to 10 March 2017. Co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, the week is designed to celebrate the positive impact apprenticeships and traineeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

The overarching theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2017 is ‘Ladder of Opportunity!’- focusing on the progression routes of apprenticeships, from traineeships through to higher and degree apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship has a long and honourable tradition, from the 13th century master craftsmen operating within the guild system trained their successors, usually for a seven year term, admitting those who completed their apprenticeship and journeyman year to the guild.

In modified form this system of training survived until the Industrial Revolution when attitudes towards training and employment changed. Today apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying for a work-based qualification – from GCSEs or equivalent up to degree level. Apprenticeships can last from 1 to 4 years, depending on the level of qualification the apprentice is studying for.

National_Apprenticeship_Week_2017 Employers can apply for funding to cover the costs of an apprentice’s qualification if they are providing their formal study as well as being their employer, otherwise the training organisation which provides the apprentice’s training will get funding.

An apprentice must be paid at least the minimum wage during their placement and must:

  • work with experienced staff
  • learn job-specific skills
  • study for a work-based qualification during their working week (for example, at a college or training organisation)

The CBI, TUC and a wide range of employers support apprenticeships and work with industry to develop the modern apprenticeship frameworks. Apprenticeships can also be the basis for training more established employees.

Thousands of organisations around the country are taking on apprentices in order to grow their businesses and solve recruitment challenges and to provide training that’s tailored to the needs and requirements of the organisation.

Some key facts

  • Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries, from advertising to youth work and from environmental engineering to legal.
  • There are currently 100 higher and degree apprenticeships available, with more in development, including foundation degrees, HNDs and full honours degrees. These include job roles ranging from legal services to banking and engineering.
  • After finishing, 7 in 10 apprentices (77%) stay with the same employer.
  • 46% of apprentices had received a pay rise since completing their apprenticeship.
  • 36% of higher apprentices report getting a promotion after completing their apprenticeship.

The National Apprenticeship Show will take place in Milton Keynes on 13 and 14 March 2017.

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Fairness at work


Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 runs from 27 February until 12 March. The Fairtrade movement is made up of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their communities for Fairtrade.

With Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal, and that means they can make their own decisions, control their futures and lead the dignified life everyone deserves.

At 10Eighty we think aiming high is a sensible thing to do, so changing the world isn’t too much to ask and a fairer workplace is a good place to start.

What is fair?

This is what ACAS has to say:

  • Employers promote a culture that recognises diversity, addresses equality and tackles discrimination.
  • Employees feel safe and valued at work, and employers recognise and support their wider wellbeing.
  • Terms and conditions and pay levels are transparent, comply with the law and reward employees fairly.

The CIPD says that ’Evidence suggests that organisations that treat their employees with fairness, integrity and sensitivity are more likely to find that those employees respond with increased commitment and productivity.’

Last year the BSI launched the BS 76000 standard that says people are inherently valuable and are an organisation’s biggest asset. The standard provides a framework for any organisation to put processes in place that will help support that relationship. To facilitate the practical application of the standard, a set of Codes of Practice is being developed, with diversity and inclusion being the first.

Fairness-at-work-Fairtrade-Fortnight-2017 Fairness benefits all

Employee engagement and motivation are perennial topics for us and key to the issue is a human need for fairness; HR professionals need tools and processes to build trust and support fairness.

In a difficult economic environment and volatile marketplace organisations expect their staff to engage beyond the 9 to 5 contractual obligation, delivering over and above job descriptions. The quid pro quo is that organisations need to be real models of integrity and the quality of the relationship between the employee and the employer, is crucial.

Employees assess fairness at work using fairly straightforward criteria:

  • Workplace support – a good work environment and opportunities for professional and personal development.
  • Flexibility and autonomy – with regard to work schedules and how work is completed.
  • Inclusion and diversity – the value placed on all types of diversity among staff.
  • The length of service of employees at the organisation.

At a very basic level it matters because a research collaboration between Stockholm University and the University of East Anglia explored how perceptions of fairness and health relate to each other over time. The results suggests that employees who feel unfairly treated are more likely to develop health problems.

At 10Eighty we believe that enlightened organisations design jobs around employees’ values, motivators and strengths. They focus on investment in people management because adopting a proactive approach enhances engagement, performance and productivity.

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Magic for HR professionals

Magic of HR

Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is a neat trick, if you can do it, though probably not terribly useful in real terms. Magic isn’t that helpful in HR because it is difficult to describe, measure and compare and really HR should be rather more scientific.

Wikipedia says that modern Western magicians generally state magic’s primary purpose to be personal spiritual growth. At 10Eighty we believe in personal development and we like to keep an open mind, but we do practical work with organisations and managers to help them improve what their people actually do at the sharp end.

Magic may well work if you believe in it; if it is the ability to bring about change in the universe by focus and sheer will, then a lot of us do it without knowing. The truth is, the things you want can be made to happen, but you better be well prepared and have done the groundwork and then be ready to deal with the consequences; often what we want is not what we need.

Magic of HR HR, generally, makes decisions and manages change based on expertise, evidence, resources and context. We all have to do more with less and find innovative solutions at the drop of a hat but spells won’t help, what HR professionals really need is commercial awareness, political savvy, professionalism and the strategic awareness that gives them credibility within the organisation.

Follow the evidence

Evidence-based HR (EBHR) is a useful place to focus. Boudreau and Jesuthasan (2011) suggest five principles of evidence-based change. For them, business-thinking is linking EBHR with a systemic view of human capital management.

  • Logic-driven analytics – using logic models, data and analysis of key issues.
  • Segmentation – to understand the strategic value of different employee groups and treat segments differently where it makes sense.
  • Risk leverage – to understand HR risk as it affects the business.
  • Integration and synergy – to inter-connect HR across processes and organisation units.
  • Optimisation – to focus on HR interventions with the biggest business impact.

Rob Briner, professor of organisational psychology at Bath University’s School of Management, says “The term ‘evidence-based’ describes something people always do, which is basing decisions on information, but doing more of it, doing it better and doing it more critically”.

Critical thinking

HR professionals should be curious, willing to question received wisdom and management fads, able to apply critical thinking skills in exploring alternatives, seeking understanding and testing assumptions about the effectiveness of activities and decisions.

Rousseau and Barends (2011) suggest that EBHR means making decisions, promoting practices and advising the organisation’s leadership through the conscientious combination of four sources of information:

  • the best available scientific evidence;
  • reliable and valid organisational facts, metrics and assessments;
  • practitioner reflection and judgement;
  • the concerns of affected stakeholders.

HR-Grapvine-Magic-of-HR-2017We work in globalised environment that is unpredictable, complex and volatile, and HR managers need to be realistic about what can be learned from past practice. We need to learn how to respond quickly and positively to uncertainty by employing flexibility and versatility in the face of unpredictable events and talent shortage.

The Magic of HR

Regular visitors to these page will recall that we’re sponsoring the HR Grapevine annual conference “The Magic of HR” on Thursday 16 March 2017 at The Brewery 52 Chiswell Street, Moorgate, EC1Y 4SD.

Click here for more information about the event and to secure your place (tickets are still available).

Join the conversation

If you’re going, or if you can’t make it, you can join the conversation about magical HR on Twitter on the day using #HRGV2017

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Posted in Change management, Decision making, Homepage

Everyday creative thinking


At 10Eighty we like to think we’re a creative bunch. We always enjoy a challenge and whether designing development programmes, building rockets from plastic bottles or sketching houseplants we’ll take it on.

Creativity offers a means of expression and communication that aids problem-solving, strategic thinking and resilience.

The benefits of creativity

  • Creativity is integral to learning and development
  • Creative activities are proven to be good for mental health
  • Creativity is a route to self-awareness and authenticity
  • Creativity is liberating, allowing us to take risks and try new things
  • Creativity inspires faith and confidence in our self-expression and inventive instincts
  • Creativity allows us to find new, resourceful ways of solving problems

Creative-Thinking As with any strength you can boost your creativity with practice and attention. Try to incorporate more creativity into your life. I recommend Edward de Bono’s How to Have Creative Ideas which is simple, practical and fun. The exercises may look too simple but perseverance shows that they aid in developing creativity of mind and fluency in dealing with ideas, concepts, perceptions and values.

Creative thinking is increasingly seen as a must-have in business life. Creative thinkers are crucial to the UK’s future economic success across business, industry and society. De Bono says “In business, creativity has become essential. This is because everything else has become a commodity available to everyone”.

Boost your creativity:

  • Look for ways to be more playful and to make your routines more fun.
  • Try changing your habits – take a different route to work, take notice what you see, value your walk as a meditative practice
  • Renew an old hobby – unearth your old guitar or your calligraphy supplies
  • Start a new hobby – start a journal, try writing stories or poems, try collage or marbling or macramé
  • Expose yourself to the life artistic by visit galleries and museums
  • Read biographies of musicians, dancers, artists, scientists, business leaders.
  • Listen to music; listening to music stimulates the part of our brain that controls motor actions, emotions, and creativity.
  • Exercise your eyes – moving the eyes back and forth facilitates interaction between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which may boost creative thinking
  • Create a mood-board – collect a bunch of inspiring items such as photos, quotations, magazine clippings, ephemera – you can use Pinterest to do this

Creativity is worth cultivating, it encourages open mindedness, a pride in individuality and a real interest in diversity. It is not the preserve of ‘creative types’ or the design department, it can come from anywhere at any time.

There’s an amazing amount of creativity untapped in the workforce and business leaders would do well to encourage creativity and innovation at all levels. Creative thinkers learn to look hard at problems and consider all the complexities of situation while looking for new and different approaches that might lead to new discoveries and world-beating innovation.

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Love the job you do


At 10Eighty we love any excuse for a celebration. Valentine’s Day is good because it involves both chocolate and flowers, we love both, though we’d choose sunflowers rather than roses.

Saint Valentine was a martyr, or possibly three martyrs, records are unreliable. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired in mid-February, this became associated with the romance of Valentine. Although the legends differ, Valentine’s Day is widely recognised as a day for romance and devotion.

Romance in the workplace, not appropriate, not going there. I did once work for a firm where, on Valentine’s Day, the Chief Executive gave each female employee a single red rose, in a beribboned cellophane cone, from a very smart and very, very expensive Mayfair florist. Nice, but a bit odd.

Which leaves devotion. As in loyalty, commitment, dedication –  the devotion to duty evidenced by the engaged employee. For inspirational quotes about careers you can’t beat Winston Churchill’s, “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work again.”

Love The Job You Do Valentines Day 2017

Optimise the search for the perfect career

We think you should devote some serious time and thought to planning and managing your career. Most, but not all of us, want work that is stimulating, meaningful and rewarding. Some need teamwork, some want power, others need autonomy and meaningful work looks different to each of us.

We like to feel we are part of things, that we understand the corporate vision and strategy and that our contribution is recognised and counts for something. We are more likely to devote our energy and commitment to our jobs when we see the link between our performance and organisational success.

First, think about what you really want from your working life. Consider the factors that shape your career choices – how important are money and status? Do you need a job that embodies your personal values? Are you a specialist or a generalist?

Then, review your skills, values and drivers. Assess your strengths and preferences, and your aspirations. At 10Eighty we use a strengths-based approach. Strengths are what energise us, we enjoy using them and learn quickly when we can put them into action. A 2011 study showed that people who felt they were using their strengths have more positive emotion, greater vitality and self-esteem, compared with people who did not feel they used theirs.

Career management

If you want a rewarding career you need to work it. The ideal is find a job that suits you, so you are doing work you enjoy, working with people you find congenial, in a cause that resonates with your values. Your career is your responsibility. Invest in yourself, learn new skills and garner new experience, keep up to date with developments in your field and relevant technologies. Don’t restrict your learning to work-related studies, learning is good for your brain, learn for the joy of expanding your horizons.

It’s not pie in the sky, you spend a lot of time at work and many of us will either have to or want to work well into our 70’s, so finding a career that is challenging, rewarding and enjoyable makes sense.

Just so you know, the day of the week when people love their job the most is Thursday, believe it or not. I have no idea why.

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Staying safe online


Coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre Tuesday 7 February is Safer Internet Day. Hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

The day offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community.

Using technology at work

Some employers object to staff using the internet during working hours. Where use of a computer is part of the work monitoring is standard in some environments and takes many forms: some employers track content, keystrokes, and time spent at the keyboard; some store and review computer files; others monitor the blogosphere to see what is being written about the company by employees, and some monitor social networking sites.

Access to information and communication carries a responsibility to use it for the benefit the organisation. Failure to do so costs UK businesses millions of pounds a year, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD). They found that UK companies are losing up to £2.5m each year due to non-work-related surfing. It also discovered that about 84% of employees in the UK have unlimited access to the Internet and e-mail.

A telecoms company sacked 45 staff for viewing pornography on the internet at work. Apart from the loss of working time such activity may lead to legal action being taken by other staff or people outside the company on the grounds of sexual harassment, an eventuality that is potentially damaging both financially and in terms of organisational reputation.

The problem of illegal material being found on workplace computers is also growing. As an organisation it is important to take responsibility for devices and networks used by employees.

Safer-Internet-Day-2017 Protecting the workplace

Last year the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a company which read an employee’s Yahoo Messenger chats sent while he was at work was within its rights. The ECHR said that it was not “unreasonable that an employer would want to verify that employees were completing their professional tasks during working hours”.

They also made clear that it would not be acceptable to carry out unregulated monitoring of staff’s private messages, advising that policies should be drawn up to define what information employers can collect and how.

Online abuse of time does occur at work but we think monitoring is an over-reaction to the activities of a small number of employees.

  • Create a robust internet and email policy that gives employees clear guidance around personal time online at work. Focus on trust and responsibility, without making staff feel like criminals.
  • Train managers and supervisors to recognise when an employee might be abusing Internet time or sites at work.
  • Creating and maintaining a culture of trust where employees self-monitor personal online time at work is the most effective approach.
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This day is numbered


Today, Friday 3 February is a mega maths fundraising day – NSPCC Number Day is a fun, nationwide maths fundraising event for children and young people of all ages that helps raise money to support the NSPCC. This initiative is a fantastic way of making maths meaningful to all, regardless of age or ability while raising the profile of the NSPCC.

“Good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.” Andreas Schleicher, OECD.

Poor numeracy costs the UK dearly; research suggests that poor numeracy skills cost the economy £20.2 billion every year. The UK needs a numerate population in order to build a strong economy and compete globally.

The digital age means we are presented with more numerical data than ever and puts a premium on numeracy skills. Computers may do the processing for us, but we need good numeracy in order to use data effectively and to recognise whether the answer seems approximately right.


Putting numeracy to work

Research suggests that 90% of new graduate jobs require a high level of digital skills and digital skills are built on numeracy.

In most modern jobs success depends on flexibility, learning agility, keeping up-to-date, and increasing levels of technical skill. Most tasks require the use of computers and various aspects of mathematics, in terms of analysing data and ensuring quality control in a myriad of processes.

Usually we have to define the problem that needs solving, design the metrics or collect the data that is needed, formulate a strategy for addressing the problem, implement it and then check that the solution makes sense in the context of the problem. What counts here are good solutions.

Numeracy, or mathematical knowledge, is crucially important and increasingly necessary in a range of life-skills, from personal finance to data wrangling. The argument is that debate in society rests largely on statistical arguments, with increasing amounts of data in our digital society, and an understanding of these arguments is necessary for informed debate and decision making (British Academy, 2012).

A further argument is made that mathematics is important because it encourages and develops important ways of thinking. Mathematics is ‘critical in fostering logical and rigorous thinking’ (Vorderman et al., 2011). Critical thinking skills are crucial in a dynamic and volatile environment.

Count on some help

BBC Skillswise is a minisite for adult basic skills, which provides practical, commonsense maths for adult’, organised by topic. The activities include small, self-contained games and videos focused on particular skills.

The OU provides students and enquirers with free access to high quality learning resources related to everyday mathematics. Covering numerical, graphical and related skills, the resources include activities to help with new skills (or revise long-forgotten techniques), and quizzes to check progress.

A free app – Maths Everywhere  – for Android and Apple phones is available

Citizen Maths is for people who want to improve their grasp of maths, and become more confident in using maths at work and in life.

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Posted in Developing yourself, Homepage

Values – the calm in the eye of the storm


When good times turn bad, will the organisation you work for be able to cling on to its values? We all want to believe the answer will be “Yes”. But in truth, the pressure to buckle and bend can be enormous.

An HRD recently confided in me that that his organisation’s redundancy programme, while run in a highly effective manner, had somehow become cast adrift from corporate values, in the face of commercial pressures. Bad news was inevitable for many, yet the basic lack of humanity with which it was delivered betrayed values previously held dear. Consequently, the damage went far beyond those who lost their jobs – demotivating “survivors” at least as much as their fallen colleagues – and is still being felt.

The conversation made me realise that the more uncertain the outside world becomes the more the values become the calming sense of perspective we need to hold on to – they are effectively the eye of the storm swirling around us. Organisational values may be something we can cling to in times of uncertainty, but they can be hard to think, talk or write about in a meaningful way, because they imply different things to different people. The successful delivery of effective values-based leadership in turbulent times therefore requires a thought through reconciliation between the “big picture” business values and the personal values of each employee.

values-the-calm-in-the-eye-of-the-storm In the past, businesses simply defined what was required to get the job done, then recruited or developed employees to match those requirements. Today, enlightened organisations know they can do much, much better. They design jobs around employees’ values, motivators and strengths (what they believe, what they like doing and are good at) to give them an army of highly engaged employees. And the sense of “calm” that individuals feel from knowing that their personal values are being acknowledged makes it easier for them to contribute to their organisation’s “big picture” values.

Personal values are fundamental beliefs that are well-developed and have probably been part of one’s character for years. There are great ways of helping you become aware of your personal values – traits like credibility, determination, enthusiasm, integrity or passion – and the priorities that they hold in your work and in your life. Self-awareness of one’s values alone creates an energy surge that can effortlessly lead you towards greater success and goal accomplishment. And when there is a further connection between these and the values championed by the employer, there is probably no greater guarantee that success will soon follow.

In the face of the storm, therefore, the true leader looks to values to bring a sense of calm, focus and purpose. He or she builds the business around the needs of the employees – and employees in turn flourish when they see leaders who can know the difference between “what” needs to be done and “how” they go about it.

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Posted in Employee engagement, Homepage, Leadership Development, Organisational development

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Michael Moran – CEO 10Eighty

A blog about career and talent management, things that might help you with your career and in your job.