HR Business Partner – the modern court jester in companies?
This is a contribution by our guest author Christoph Henties. Christoph already published the three-part “Organisations Learn Jazz” in June this year. We are very happy to have him back this week.
Recently, in a conversation with an experienced, committed HR manager, she quoted one of her superiors: “Our job in HR is solely to implement the board’s decisions and measures.” I visibly felt the restrictive effect of this statement of loyalty to the hierarchy on my interviewee. The disappointment at neglecting one’s own ideas for constructively shaping creative personnel work for employees and the organization was all too noticeable.
of the court jester came to my mind: a figure who could tell the authorities
unpleasant truths without fearing the consequences. This figure could mention
the unspeakable. It had the task of telling the ruler the truth, had the
freedom of fools.
noticed those stickers? They are proudly displayed on cars – mostly on the back
and often on vehicles like the KIA Carens and the Peugeot 807. Very rarely or
not at all on a Mercedes Benz SLK or an Audi TT. You may think: “Oha! The
latter vehicles are well-endowed with horsepower, while the former are in need
of it.” With this I counter with the Opel Tigra Twin Top, which even with
the largest engine produces a modest 125 bhp. Now you might think:
“Eureka, I‘ve got it. The latter are made by German carmakers and the
former are from countries less skilled in car making.” I counter such a
foolish assessment with a dry “Citroën C3 Pluriel”, a convertible
like SLK and TT, which is built in a country that stands for French bread and overpriced
red wine, and in terms of power potential still lags behind the above-mentioned
often sport small screens at the back fastened to the headrests, which is never
the case for the latter. To all those who now think: “The latter can only
accommodate two people, while the former can accommodate six to seven”, we
can only shout “Brilliant!”
Blame Management (Part 2) Undocumented, but practised processes of project management
Part 1 we introduced ourselves to the significance of this falsely demonised
topic in society and companies, it is time now to become more concrete.
requires a common understanding of what it is all about.
Definition of terms
term “blame” has also been very common in the German-speaking world
for some time, but there it is increasingly used in its progressive form of
“blaming”, i.e. accusing someone of something. In my opinion, we
should expand the definition in the corporate environment in such a way that it
better fits actual practices:
responsibility for negative events or circumstances to the lowest still
plausible, but politically most defenceless hierarchical level.”
falling leaves, persistent rain and colder nights dread falls upon us… When I
went to my car yesterday in a good mood, it was already there! She was waiting
for me, unmissable, right in the middle of the door to the underground car
park! That’s my door, it wanted to tell me. I would have liked to have agreed
with it and run back up the stairs immediately. My breathing became shallow and
my body began to make movements the mind considers nonsense, but my mind had absented
itself anyway. You guessed it. On the door sat a cobweb spider, aka a house
spider, altogether about 6 cms across.
Why am I
telling you about my fears?
think it’s time to make fear socially acceptable. Fear is a deeply human
emotion that unfortunately sometimes makes us do things that don’t make sense.
I often experience this in companies. But first things first.
Undocumented but practised processes of project management: Blame Management
perhaps even countless approaches and best practices can be found for projects
and for dealing with projects. Often they differ only insignificantly, which stems
from the nature of things, or better said, from the nature of project
management. After all, there is a certain consensus about the most important
aspects and topics in this environment. Only in the weighting of the topics and
then possibly in the details do the different approaches differ. However, one
thing strikes you: not all the important procedures commonly used in practice
are included in these descriptions. And these tried and tested approaches often
make the difference between personal success and personal failure. We need to
bridge this gap.
following is a detailed and process-oriented description of one of the most
important aspects of successful project work: the process of blame assignment
and administration (blame management).
talk broadly about international company takeovers, joint ventures and
corporate co-operations, there is an interpersonal aspect behind these economic
headlines: teams that previously were often active only in their own language
and cultural area need to initiate international cooperation. I have already
experienced this situation in two companies (one formerly German and one
formerly Dutch) and am aware of the uncertainties that the initial phase of an
international team structure brings with it. The time is not always there to prevent
all potential gaffes with hazard warnings. I can assure you that under the
pressure of day-to-day business, people very often blunder, even with the very
companies, the Conference Call is the easiest way to hold meetings with
participants from different countries. Depending on the company’s policy, this
is done as a video call (with web cams) or audio only. Both have pros and cons.
The advantage of the
video call is that it becomes easier to follow what is happening, because you
can see the participants talking and can recognize and interpret any emerging
anger, impatience or lack
of understanding earlier.
The advantage of “audio only” calls, on the other hand, is that you can take part in meetings that take place in the middle of the night or in the early morning due to the time difference, even in your pyjamas, without anyone noticing it. In addition, you can wander around the house during the meeting – equipped with a headset. However, it makes sense to know the range of your headset, otherwise you might miss crucial dramatic moments.
Once upon a
time there was a great king who had ruled his country for many years. He also
had a beautiful daughter, who grew up with frogs and dwarves, but that is
completely irrelevant to this story.
had learned to protect his kingdom successfully against invaders and raids and
had fought many a battle. He had a big, strong army, so nobody dared to attack;
there was peace in his country for a long time.
But more and more travellers reported incredible changes in other parts of the world. Previously unknown kingdoms rose rapidly, while others disappeared into insignificance at the same speed.
Do you know
what happens next? This: “…they laugh at you, then they fight you and
then you win.”(1) A sentence often quoted by politicians, the weight of
which is increased by the reference to Gandhi and with which you can always make
an impression. Thus the populist politician Frauke Petry felt inclined to twitter
this quote on 24.09.2017 to the result of the Bundestag election. Hmm…. But actually
people say it didn’t come from Gandhi himself but from the US-American trade
unionist Nicholas Klein a good 100 years ago.
to Wikipedia, Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution is “a word
creation originating from a project in the
high-tech strategy of the German government, which promotes the computerisation
Is this now the panacea for all the problems of the manufacturing industry? Is
it enough to network a factory?
industrial revolution is characterised by the fact that it brings about
fundamental changes in all areas of social life and thereby changes and reorganises
the economy. But a few more sensors, some big data here and a pinch of cloud
services there are not enough. It’s about more than integrating planning,
production and resources. Many companies have to ask themselves whether their
business model will still function at all in the future in the environment of
new technical developments and social changes.