Saturday, 13 September 2014


I’ve been thinking a lot about Unfurling HR ahead of our NZLead #UnfurlingHR Unconference. If you haven’t already registered to join us on 15 October – do so now!

I’m looking forward to asking loads of questions, seeing the problems as one big massive opportunity. Walking away so we can implement some cool new stuff; try it out, and give it a go. Step in to the wild.

So how can we be unfurling (as in the verb….constantly unfolding)?

I love this article on being anticipatory. Daniel Burrus talks about not only being agile, but being anticipatory – you can check out his wise words here.

“When you’re anticipatory, you’re creating changes and driving disruption from the inside-out rather than being disrupted from the outside-in”.

So, how can we be anticipatory?

Daniel gives three practical tips to go about it:
- Make the future more visible; look at the cyclical and linear change
- Identify the hard trends; the disruptions on the horizon
- Look outside our industry for the solutions we need

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how this applies to what we do.  

Firstly, how can we make the future more visible? What about cyclical change?

There are of course, many cyclical changes that have a direct impact on what we do.

So how can we better understand the business context we are working in, see outside the organisation, look at the cyclical cycles that are impacting us, to help see what the future holds?

What about the economic cycle or business growth cycle? What point in the growth cycle is our business? A start-up, high growth, established? What about the product or service we offer? Are we in a growing market? An established market? A diminishing market? What, in turn does that mean for our people in (or outside) the business?

Next, what about the Linear Changes?

So it’s easy to think about linear changes when we think about products. Like, for example, the music industry; from cassettes to live streaming to U2 releasing their new album on iTunes last week. 

But what about the way we do HR? What about our linear trends?

It occurs to me that in some areas, we are holding on to very old, tired, out dated processes that do not match the way we work now. How can our processes be fit for the future of work? Easily adaptable and always changing….unfurling…..?

For example, what about incentives and Dan Pink’s ideas that we are motivated by automony, mastery and purpose.  What does that mean for how we pay people? What about performance; how are we all connected to the vision and purpose of the business? How can we measure our results real time? And most importantly, how can we help people to give quality feedback? What about attraction; how do we attract people to what we are doing? Are we truly connected to the best people? And how are the best people connecting with us? What about organisational design; how can we design a way of working that really gets the best from everyone? 

What are the hard trends facing us?

Maybe the hard trend is that parts of HR are redundant.

We keep getting the questions like “Is HR dead?” and Angela’s post recently in the HR Game Changer thread “Most CEOs see HR as 'least strategically important' function". I’ll leave you to Google it and you will soon come up with a resounding theme.

So how do we respond?

I loved Perry Timm’s blog this past week - What if all the smartest people came to work in HR?

Do we have the smarts to see it ourselves? Do we have the capability to see the gaps? Do we need to look outside, step into another’s shoes to really see how we can be game changing?

This leads nicely to Daniel Burrus’ final point.

How can we look outside our industry for the solutions we need?

I love hearing from amazing entrepreneurs about how they get the best people simply doing their best work. I love what Kirsti Grant is doing with Vend, I love listening to Xero's Rod Drury talk on this topic, and Melissa Clark-Reynolds was simply amazing at the HR Game Changer Conference in Auckland.

Let’s not hold on to the known, let’s have the courage to keep questioning and try new stuff. Learning just in time.

And, if we learn to simply ask the right questions, then maybe that alone will keep us unfurling…..

#UnfurlingHR unconference – here we come!



  1. Great post Megan. I look forward to meeting you at the conference.

  2. Thanks Vaughan, be great to catch up then