HR Hartley

I decided it was time I ‘did’ another Harrogate this year. It would be good for the CPD, and besides, every other blasted colleague has a ‘conferencing’ excuse at least once a month.

So I headed onto the A1, thankful for the break, and with an out-of-office message that read ‘at conference for three days, if you want someone sacked, do it yourself’, or words to that effect.

The ‘big one’ of that afternoon session was guru-in-chief, Gary Hamel. For the most part I took it in, but got distracted when trying to work out how much he was getting paid per minute, and then how much per word.

Anyway, his broad drift was our need to reinvent ourselves because the next big threat always comes from ‘left field’ – just as record companies didn’t see Apple’s iTunes coming, or British Airways somehow missed Easyjet. I duly made a mental note to share this with colleagues and headed off for the first party.

What followed I’ll never admit to, but suffice to say that Hamel was my last session and the only CPD I managed was Continuous Partying and Depravity.

It didn’t make for an easy weekend at home, and the following week only accelerated downhill. First, finance argued to the board that it should take over payroll, then procurement announced that it would now be managing all my staffing contracts. And then to cap it all, marketing appointed a new agency to handle all communications. Mine included.

Then the penny dropped: they’d seen Hamel at their conferences… and they’d moved into the left field.


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