Let The Pigeon See The Hole

pigeon

“THE WAR FOR TALENT”, “HUMAN CAPITAL” – divisive and unhelpful phrases that undermine our efforts to advance the hopes and aspirations of people at work.

“How so?”, I hear you ask.

Well, there are times when I’m surprised more people don’t run from their places of work at the end of the day like Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner screaming “I am not a number, I am a free man!”
People are messy, contrary, complicated, complex lifeforms. We’re not neatly labelled. We don’t want to be pigeon-holed or reduced to digits on some CFO’s spreadsheet. You want creativity and innovation? Well, don’t refer to us as assets or resources. We’re not “talent”.

So much of the language we use in business is dehumanising to the point where we can move those digits around on the spreadsheet without concerning ourselves with the lives they represent. Euan Semple got it bang on when he said “Organisations don’t tweet. People do.” The media refer to “banks” or “business” as if they were some kind of sentient organism responsible for many of our woes. Banks don’t award the huge bonuses that so many of us feel are undeserved. People do. Businesses don’t give poor customer service. People do. Businesses don’t want to “attract and retain the best people”. People do. Schools don’t educate our kids. People do. The NHS doesn’t look after our poorly relatives. People do. Businesses don’t have culture. People do.

Businesses don’t pigeon hole people. People do.
People don’t want to be talked of in the abstract. But people do. About people.

Isn’t it about time people stopped?

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6 comments

  1. Reblogged this on 101 Half Connected Things and commented:
    I’m getting into this reblogging thing. I’ll reblog posts when I wish I had written them. It seems a War is coming over the War for Talent. It involves human capital arguing with itself.

  2. Thank you Simon. Thank you for writing this, you have saved me from doing it, and done it better than I would have. A hole in one 🙂

    I tweeted this earlier today:

    War is an act of aggression, death, wasted lives and sorrow. There is no such thing as a #war for #talent it’s just work #ffs

    And in related news, Neil Morrison wrote this on ‘Human Capital”.

    http://change-effect.com/2011/04/07/hcm-a-depressing-blast-from-the-past/

    And I penned this on ‘Leadership capacity constraints’.

    http://stopdoingdumbthingstocustomers.com/hr/where-is-the-soul/

    1. Thanks Doug. I’ve been following along with this for a while and just finally felt I had to get it off my chest.

  3. […] Simon Heath thinks people should be nicer. To people. Here he skewers the busy speak we've adopted that let's us blame poor choices, dumb decisions and bad service on thrird party entities effectively washing our hands of responsibility for same. But organizations don't do things, people do. @SimonHeath1 offers more to consider […]

  4. […] Simon Heath thinks people should be nicer. To people. Here he skewers the busy speak we've adopted that let's us blame poor choices, dumb decisions and bad service on thrird party entities effectively washing our hands of responsibility for same. But organizations don't do things, people do. @SimonHeath1 offers more to consider […]

  5. […] Businesses don’t pigeonhole people. People do. People don’t want to be talked of in the abstract. But people do. About people. Isn’t it about time people stopped? — Simon Heath, Let The Pigeon See The Hole […]

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