Drawing on Bard for inspiration

Shakespeare took centre stage at the Socpo conference as Laurence Olivier’s
son took HR ‘once more into the breach’.

Richard Olivier used the plot of Henry V to show delegates the numerous
different facets they need to display if they are to wage a successful campaign
in business.

In his presentation, ‘The Management Philosophy of Shakespeare’, he said
personnel staff should call on a "muse of fire that would ascend the
imagination of heaven".

He likened the infighting of noblemen to board level quarrels and said that
the battle of Agincourt (where 8,000 British soldiers beat 40,000 French),
showed what could happen if managers could inspire their workers.

Olivier told Personnel Today that using the play was a very effective way of
teaching managers about different strategies, even if it was 400 years old.

"People are sick of having lists and statistics rammed down their
throats," he said. "It is easier to learn and remember if you use


Henry V for HR directors

Prologue: A call to imagination

Act One: Assess the past and create a vision of the future

Act Two: Allocate resources and deal with traitors

Act Three: Identify common goals and inspire the troops

Act Four: Do battle and achieve the vision

Act Five: Turn the battlefield into a garden

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