Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Good Recruitment, Bad Selection: Comparing the BBC's “The Voice” to Business

Are there comparisons between the selection process on the BBC’s “The Voice” and in employment?

Round 1- the “blind” recruitment of a team of 10 by each coach: The CV is the voice. The panel cannot see the singer before deciding who they want.

Round 2 – a competitive duel between singers paired off by each coach from their original 10. Five songs, so each coach can then decide which 5 singers will continue in the competition- the interviewed short-list.

I found the selection decisions in round 2 to be a little odd. Experienced singers and better performances seemed to be rejected in favour of younger, raw talent; the incomplete article preferred to the finished package.

There seems to be some process weaknesses also:
- The coaching seemed limited to persuading the participants that they were in a knock-out round, while singing a collaborative duet.  At least each coach now knows how their remaining team members handle ambiguity.
- The resulting choices seemed to be based on “gut instinct” rather than consistent criteria. The momentum gathered pace, but seemed rushed on the second day.
- Tom Jones even selected a man with dark curly hair. If Scott were alive today, he would be so proud to see his concern that people select in their own likeness validated on national television.

Round 3 - to be aired next week, is an assessment centred on live performances. The coaches will appear in a better light if they develop the rawer talent rather than take on the threat of managing those who already know what they are doing? Getting good professionals to excel may have tested their coaching skills, but the finale would be of a higher standard.

If this show is competing for ratings then its competitors should now be less worried. They have dropped some real high-flyers and immediate performers. Perhaps the BBC will now produce a spin-off show for those rejected. They could call it “These Britain’s already have Talent”… Well perhaps not :-)

This show does not compare to recruitment in the real world…

“The Voice” on the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00k96j4

Walter Dill Scott on Personnel Management http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001124751

Tuesday, 17 April 2012



“Non-Executive Directors should question organisational structures.

How quickly are your international thoroughbreds heading towards the knackers yard and what are your NEDS doing about it?”


“Good Facilitation.

You know it when you see it and you definitely feel it when it is missing.”


“Is The Quality of HR Senior Leadership in Decline?

The function has not been seen to address governance issues in high profile corporate failures.”



“Process excellence includes keeping your competitors guessing and your board aware.”

This blog continues to attract new readers



I recently completed the latest of three consecutive assignments for Pyramid ODI in an American owned multinational - three different European countries, three very different projects and three very different outcomes.

My pro-bono mentoring work continues in the background, with a major development for one of my clients – congrats, but still some way to go.

My second term as chair of the governance and nominations committee on the International Alumni Council at London Business School has ended. It was a real privilege to transition this body from a partially elected board to a fully nominated Council.


A business development trip to Belgium and a Business networking event at CPFC
http://www.cpfc.co.uk/page/CPFCBusinessClub/0,,10323,00.html ,

LBS reunion weekend & Global Leadership Summit to look forward to

and my next assignment, of course.

I hope your business and life are going well and you feel as positive as I do about the future.

Best wishes,


Mobile: +44 (0) 7768 391 000 Salmon Heaton & Kimmins Ltd, in association with Pyramid ODI
You have received a copy of this monthly newsletter as a valued contact, but if you do not wish to receive future updates then please send an email titled "unsubscribe" to info@shkltd.com

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Non-Executive Directors should question organisational structures.

This is not meddling with executive responsibility. Structures that give managers too wide a span of control create risk and this falls under a NED’s governance responsibility. Remuneration Committees need to ensure that they are not paying more to fewer executives, within flawed structures that are bound for future failure.

How quickly are your international thoroughbreds heading towards the knackers yard and what are your NEDS doing about it?

As costs rise and margins fall, many multinationals are cutting the number of mid-level executives; removing general managers and replacing them with remote, functionally-based organisations - matrix structures without local oversight. The remaining executives inherit a growing number of direct and indirect reports, increasing their supervisory workload regardless of time-zone and culture. Knowledge and complexity of diverse markets and technologies do not seem to matter. Performance is increasingly measured through automated dashboards and brief update calls.

Can you imagine what it is like for someone with 16 direct reports spread across the globe? More importantly, can you imagine what it is like for the 16 subordinates? Yes, they are all experienced professionals who enjoy considerable “freedom to act”, but at what point does supervisory support and governance responsibility start to suffer?

In organisational design and Hay job evaluation, 5 to 8 reports used to be the norm. The number tended to be lower when there was real functional diversity and higher when the roles were significantly similar. The “span of control” was higher for a General Manager than a Regional Sales Director, so it was not unusual for the latter to have more direct reports.

When results are exceeding expectations and delegation is running smoothly then all is well, but in recession and difficult markets, performance can be hard to sustain over the long term. The pressure builds as results fail to meet targets. Executives should now be monitoring their team more closely, but they do not have the bandwidth.

Both parties “buy time” with international calls in the middle of the night – broadcasting information rather than sharing critical factors for success. Over time, this supersedes vital coaching, mentoring and sharing of experience.

NEDs should ask their remuneration and audit committees to question the human and financial risks associated with these international matrix structures.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Good Facilitation

You know it when you see it and you definitely feel it when it is missing.

I recently attended an event that used an external facilitator. The group are still “reeling” from the effects. His contribution lacked… The meeting lacked … The outcomes lacked… Please let me know if you have had a similar experience in your organisation?

A good facilitator helps a group create an innovative and collaborative experience with clear outcomes. How is this achieved?


- Ensure the event chair understands what your role is and is not, relative to their role.
- Agree the agenda, structure and participants well in advance.
- Know the roles, characters and experience of the participants.


- Open well and close on a high – with clear agreement on next steps.
- Handle conflict and emotion constructively; acknowledge open or contentious issues.
- Know when to step in, to manage time effectively.


- Engage with everyone; use your skill to ensure full participation.
- Maintain a high energy level throughout; use techniques and tools wisely.
- Release your personality; use your experience to avoid being an expert.

You don’t want your next event or meeting to lack effective outcomes or energy. You don’t want to ask a colleague to facilitate and then wonder why it all went wrong. Do you?

Call me now. I am happy to give you some tips on selecting the right person.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

REMPLOY – The future for the disabled and disadvantaged in work

Liz Sayce’s report has given the green light to the UK Government to remove its subsidy to REMPLOY. It has been reported that this will result in the closure of 36 of 54 factories and put 1500 disabled persons out of work.

The subsidy of £25,000 per person per year could be better targeted to schemes encouraging disabled and disadvantaged workers into mainstream employment. Those involved could be better off in the long term. This change could break down prejudice. However, history is not on Liz’s side. It is reported that many of those made redundant when the last government reduced its support are, four years later, still unemployed.

With UK unemployment at more than 2.67m and many businesses facing an uncertain economic future, is this the time to experiment on recruiters?

Did I wake up this morning to a new world of benevolent shareholders who might sacrifice a fraction of a penny of their dividend to ensure workplace adjustments? Will HR officers be pushing at an open door as managers seek to hire ex-REMPLOY staff? Will colleagues support the transition of the disabled into the mainstream market?

There is no perfect time to make any change, but surely Liz Sayce’s new world should be given a chance if the Government helps to keep the factories open until everyone has been re-deployed.

UK Department of Work and Pensions March 2012 report,”Disability employment support: fulfilling potential”


“It is unacceptable that while many disabled people want to work, too few achieve this ambition, and that the life outcomes of young disabled people and those with special educational needs (SEN) are disproportionately poor.”

Liz Sayce’s Review to Government in June 2011, “Getting in, staying in and getting on”


“developing more equitable ways to:
– ‘get in’ – more disabled people doing apprenticeships, work experience, work placements, and on-the-job learning;
– ‘stay in’ – better promotion of Access to Work for retention; and
– ‘get on’ – whether setting up your own business or mutual, or gaining skills for career development.”