Category Archives: People

Implement + Associates believes in that organisations can grow and develop by implementing good “people practices”. Recruit good people, train them, engage them and retain them. Do so strategically and you cannot go wrong.

Sunrise, Sunset

sunrise cropped

I live in provincial New Zealand. Our towns and city are small. We are well networked and we know a lot about each other. We like to do business with people we know and trust. We are interested in new people and businesses, but we like them to make a connection and engage with us too.

The other day I noticed another retail business having a closing down sale, a national brand that hasn’t been there long, and I reflected on the businesses that have gone and those that look like they’ll be gone soon too.  Many of them have come into town, set up a pretty shop and waited for us to come to them.

I belong to communities that are active in the social media space. We are well networked, we know a lot about each other. We like to do business with people we know and trust. We are interested in new people and businesses, but we like them to make a connection and engage with us too.

I see many people and businesses set up on-line accounts and then give up after a while because it hasn’t given them the results they wanted. They have set  up pretty accounts, told us what they do, and waited for us to come to them.

I have read much about the changing face of retail, of business, of work, of life due to the phenomenon of “on-line social”.  That the sun has gone down on the old ways of doing things in favour of those who have embraced new technologies.

But I think the rules are the same. Those that actively engage, connect and recognise the needs of their community will flourish. Those that sit and wait for people to come to them will not.  I am a big fan of social media, but I have reached the conclusion that I love it because it enhances what I do anyway. I have always been a connector, a networker, an active community person. Social media gives me another forum and another tool to extend my networks and my communities.

To enhance your business, or your career – GET SOCIAL, ENGAGE. In person or on-line, tell people who you are, make connections, create communities of interest.

Having a thick skin

In New Zealand at the moment there is a high profile harassment case which is polarising the public, despite none of us knowing what actually occurred.

The public reaction is an interesting glimpse into the psyche of a nation that prides itself on being first to give women the vote. When it involves a man’s career over a woman’s, the choice seems to be that the man’s career is more important.

It also highlights that an organisation “following a process” can end up at a point it probably didn’t intend to get to. Allowing a high profile executive to “leave with dignity” (and I can imagine the conversations that occurred) following findings of serious misconduct has been conducted publicly, providing a forum for the allegations to be rationalised.

The right to “privacy and confidentiality” of the complainant has left her without a voice.

The core of the issue though, is how we expect people to treat each other in the workplace. I have been in the workforce for a long time, long before sexual harassment had a label or a law covering it.  Most of my career has been in a male dominated environment and I will say that, for the most part, I have been treated with absolute respect as an equally valued staff member and colleague. There was sexism, and some behaviour that could be considered to be harassment.

One of the best descriptions I ever heard about sexism is that is is like a cloud, you can see it, you may even feel it, but you cannot touch it or grab hold of it. Much of the behaviour that contributes to harassment is the same.

It is the joke that if you complain about you have no sense of humour, it is the patronising language that is “just what I say, I don’t mean anything by it”, it is the body language, touching and close proximity that is uncomfortable but isn’t visibly threatening, it is the mild flirting that is ‘harmless”. Harassment is likely to be a combination of all of these behaviours.

What is the result of this behaviour? In most instances it doesn’t escalate to a dangerous level, it is often carried out by “a good guy” and doesn’t result in criminal behaviour.

It does result in the recipient feeling uncomfortable, they may question why they need to put up with it and they may leave for another job, they may not be able to have a good working relationship with the person because of this discomfort and fear of where it is going next, they may be absent on days when they feel most vulnerable, it may result in sub optimal performance.

Are you doing everything you can to make sure everyone in your organisation feels valued, has the opportunity to contribute equally and relishes the opportunity to come to work to make a difference?  Or do you expect people to harden up, learn how to take a joke and develop a thicker skin?



Postcard from the beach



Wish you were here….

No, not really. I am enjoying a well earned break at the beach. I arrived with books, a little bit of work to catch up on and no plans to do much except relax. My days have settled into a lovely beach routine, walks along the beach, afternoon naps, cups of tea and simple food.  My idyllic lifestyle comes to an end in a few days and then I will be back to reality.

How can I take some of this holiday feeling back to reality?

A beach holiday (for me anyway) is a about paring life back. Not trying to do too much, enjoying simple things like a walk along the beach, letting things happen when they happen.  I am going to try to take some of this home with me to keep that holiday feeling going for a little bit longer.  These are my promises to myself.

1. Appreciate the simple things in life– stop and appreciate the view, a good book, the strangers who smile and say hello.

2. Just sit and look – make time to switch my brain off, appreciate the view, just sit and enjoy the moment

3. Get outside – on a daily basis get out in the fresh air, walking in the rain, wind or sunshine is invigorating and good for the soul

4. Get enough sleep – one of the bonuses of a holiday is the excuse to have an afternoon nap and a sleep in, which is not always possible in real life. I will do my best to remember the feeling and plan for a good night’s sleep.

What promises would you make to yourself to keep that holiday feeling going?



Creating a community Last week I attended two events which gave me pause for thought.

As mentioned in my previous blog, I attended Unfurling HR, an unconference organised as an extension of the  on-line NZLead community, bringing HR related professionals together from around the globe.

The second event was a weekend at Puniho Pa, participating in a marae visit with my Te Reo Maori (Maori language) class.

The juxtaposition of these events, involving the most traditional of New Zealand communities and one created from new technology; highlighted to me how important our communities are. At the unconference we participated in an event that advanced our thinking, created learning opportunities and enabled us to develop friendships and networks for the future. We worked as a community to create those opportunities. At the marae, we were welcomed as visitors and left as whanau (family).  We worked together to prepare food, clean up after ourselves, learn, entertain and create opportunities to develop friendships and networks for the future.

For each event I felt that I had participated in something special.

I can’t help thinking about what would happen in organisations and businesses if we created something equally special in the world of work. What were the common threads in my two special events that we could transfer into our workplaces.

  • Aroha-In Maori, this means so much more than its English translation of love.
  • Teamwork– everyone participated, contributed and shared
  • Learning – pushing the boundaries, stretching comfort zones
  • Inclusiveness – everyone’s contribution was asked for and valued
  • Fun – laughter, not taking ourselves too seriously, and a little bit of mischief

How cool would it be to work in a place that did this all the time?


Unfurling HR – conversations for change

koruLast week I attended the Unfurling HR Unconference organised and facilitated by Amanda Sterling of NZLead. The fern was used as a metaphor for unfurling, unravelling and re-positioning the people and culture related disciplines in organisations. It was an inspiring and motivational event and I have included links to other blogs with feedback about the unconference below.

I participated in discussions about leadership, personal development and the internal brand. As a consultant I couldn’t resist putting my feedback into a stop-start-continue format with suggestions for organisations and HR.

  Organisations could…. HR could….
  • Leaving all the people stuff to HR
  • Leaving all the compliance stuff to HR
  • Creating a consumer brand disconnected from the employee experience
  • Tolerating poor people management practice
  • Taking on all the people stuff
  • Taking on all the compliance stuff
  • Creating employment brands
  • Tolerating poor people management practice
  • Ensuring all managers are trained how to manage people
  • Supporting personal development for all staff from day one
  • Supporting a culture that is living the brand inside as well as outside
  • Developing leadership across the board
  •  Facilitating processes to ensure all managers are well trained
  • Facilitating personal development plans for all
  • Collaborating with marketing and others to develop the culture that supports the brand
  • Identifying leadership qualities that support the culture
  • To look for better ways to do things
  • To collaborate with HR to create stronger organisations
  • To recognise the knowledge and experience of their people related teams


  • Having challenging conversations about doing things better
  • To learn about the business and how they can best add value
  • To learn from each other and share knowledge widely in their organisations

Thoughts from other attendees- #unfurlingHR created a lot of food for thought.

Amanda Sterling – Reflections from #unfurlingHR – what next

Megan Borrie – #unfurlingHR – Baking these things in

Richard Westney – Off the beaten Track

Angela Atkins – #UnfurlingHR

Vaughan Rivett – Attending my first unconference

Jonathan Hagger – One quick recap

PS- this event will inspire at least one more blog from me,  so watch this space.