This week’s letters

There is so much to gain from IIP

According to a recent survey by the Institute of Directors, the impact of
Investors In People on the bottom line is limited (News, 13 November).

Notwithstanding, two-thirds of directors from companies using IIP said they
believed that the quality of training and development within their companies
had improved.

A creditable nine out of 10 directors of Investors in People standard users,
or companies committed to obtaining recognition, acknowledged that their
involvement with the scheme had improved their employees’ ability to do their

If I informed my main board that we intended to introduce more focused
training, improve people development and make our workforce more productive –
but that they should not expect to see increased profitability – then it would
not be either the value of IIP nor the abilities of our employees that would be
called into question.

For those companies that seek and embrace best business practice, IIP is an
invaluable guide and support on the road to improved growth, productivity and

Jim Armour
Managing director, WTA Airfreight, Heathrow

Lipgloss survey is bare faced cheek

I was most disappointed, but probably not that surprised, to read that after
all the work that we have done on equal opportunities our careers still rest on
whether or not we are wearing the appropriate shade of lipgloss (News, 27

Perhaps the path to the boardroom for women is via the make-up counter and
not via qualifications and experience, and maybe that answers a lot of
questions about the glass ceiling.

Like most of us when we are buying "grooming products", maybe the
directors in question need to pay less attention to the packaging, and more
towards what is inside.

Cath Howard
HR manager, Sense, London

It pays to stand out from crowd

So business culture is based upon conformity (Comment, 27 November)?

Mainstream education in the UK operates on the basis of behavioural
conformity in order to manoeuvre sizeable groups of children towards
pre-defined outcomes.

Why, then, are we surprised when our organisations emulate this model?

Creatively minded children often struggle in our conformist educational
establishments, where the mediocre and predictable are more manageable than
flair and unpredictability.

As those graduating from our learning establishments enter the workplace,
they bring with them all they have learned – the facts and behaviours that have
been necessary for them to succeed in their previous environments.

Having spent a great deal of time working with companies, wishing to unlearn
these educationally expedient, but business inhibiting behaviours, I have great
empathy with the conformists. It’s worked for you since childhood.

But the unpredictability of life and business often require more creative
and urgent solutions to problems.

Of course all organisations require a unique operational culture, but for a
company to follow our schools’ conformist culture by default displays a
misunderstanding of the concept of organisational learning.

Amanda Wilson
Director, White Room Consulting

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