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2nd June 2012 
 
The Apprentice – TV’s Answer to Marmite... 
 
For years, I resisted watching the Apprentice on television, giving friends and colleagues numerous excuses as to why I didn’t watch it... It was on the wrong channel; it was shown at the wrong time; it clashed with another programme, I had a life etc. etc. But I guess the real reason was that I was perhaps a HR purist (or puritan) – or frankly a HR snob and the concept of Alan Sugar’s idea of a recruitment campaign didn’t quite sit comfortably with me... 
 
So what happened to make me change my views?? Well quite simply, I had family staying with me one weekend and whilst I was waiting for them to finish in the bathroom and go to bed, I happened to flick the TV channel and found the repeat showing late one night and I started to watch... and just like that, I was sucked into the concept of the programme... The episode I started watching was in the latter stages of the last series when a job was the prize on offer and I was drawn into the dynamics of the contestants. Perhaps a little naively, I couldn’t quite believe how two-faced they were; giving Alan Sugar such positive feedback of their Project Manager to sickening degrees as they walked into Board Room and then going for the jugular of that same person once it had been revealed that their team had lost the task... Not that I feel sorry for the Project Manager, they were equally as bad as their team-mates, with very few of them ever accepting responsibility for the failure of the task – which as a Project Manager myself, I see as part and parcel of the role – when things go well, we accept the praise and when things go less well, we accept the responsibility for that... 
 
It also struck me, as I watched that first (and subsequent) series, how incredibly ‘brave’ or ‘stupid’ the contestants were... I mean, how many of you would actually employ some of the contestants from that show?? Surely it has to be a seriously career limiting move to go onto national television and to perform less than well on the tasks and then try to sell yourself in an interview as a competent Project Manager, Salesperson, Business Manager etc. when you have already shown the viewing public just how incompetent (and daft) you actually are (remember the guy who thought the Dry Cleaners called ‘Top Hat Dry Cleaners’ would actually sell Top Hats???!!?!?). I love that they try to bat their bad performance down to the editing; but at the end of the day, they can’t argue with the fact that, if there is tape of them doing/saying daft/stupid things, then the only way it could have been recorded is for it to have happened in the first place... Yet again, my naivety shines through – of course I should have known that as with all of these reality shows, it’s not just the prospect of the prize itself that is the big attraction, it’s the ’15-minutes’ of fame and all that that brings which is the biggest attraction... 
 
As I sit preparing to watch this year’s final, I’m wondering who is going to ‘shine’ through and enter into a business partnership with Alan Sugar... Will any of the four remaining contestants show the same degree of genius that was shown by Tom – last year’s winner; saving that story of how he got in front of the Product Buyer for Walmart to the moment when it was down to him and the other finalist awaiting the final decision, rather than flogging it to death every time he appeared in the last three in the Board Room (as others had done before him...), was pure genius... And, more importantly, will any of the finalists have actually spent time preparing a thorough and researched business case before they get sat in front of the interviewers (and my view of the interviewing techniques will be saved for another day)... 
 
So, like Marmite - love it or hate it, I’ll leave you to decide, but for me, Wednesday evening viewing will just not be the same without my fix of the Apprentice... 
20th May 2012 
 
So this is it, my entry into the world of blogging... I have been procrastinating about this for some time, but can no longer put it off. I expect that some will wonder what on earth could be so interesting about HR and Organisational Development to prompt me to do this, but I hope to not only share news & updates, but some interesting and amusing insights into the world of Human Resources as I go along... 
 
I am told that my first post should be about me and my life so far... So here goes... 
 
I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in HR (or Personnel as it was back then) at the age of 16; right after my very first interview for the Youth Training Scheme (anyone remember those??) with a rather large commercial banking organisation (who shall remain nameless, but who many years ago apparently ‘liked to say yes’!!). I can’t recall the actual content of the interview itself, in NLP terms; it is something I have chosen to ‘delete’ from my ‘map of the world’. I do recall coming away from that experience and telling my parents that I had decided to go into HR as I wanted to be the person on the other side of the interview desk ‘inflicting the pain’ rather than being on the receiving end. Of course, whilst I have conducted too many interviews to recall over the last 18-years or so, I do still find myself on the side of the interviewee from time-to-time, so it hasn’t quite panned out as I had expected it to! 
 
After making this significant decision, I spent a number of years collecting certificates, diplomas and degrees that ensured I was appropriately qualified in Personnel/HR Management before embarking on my career; finally entering the world of work age 23... Interestingly, one of the first and hardest lessons I learnt in my first job was that despite all of my education and qualifications, the one thing I had not been taught about was people! A bizarre concept when you think about it, studying to work in HR and not learning about people – without whom, there would be no need for HR! 
 
Experiential learning has therefore been one of my biggest teachers over the past 18-years; having spent time working in the public, private & third sectors, as well as in Central Government (though that may be a blog post in itself...!) as both a Generalist and Specialist HR Practitioner. 
 
Outside of work (when I get the time); I enjoy cycling and next month will be completing the Moonride between London and Brighton – something I am really looking forward to, apart from the ‘big hill’ that I am told awaits me at the end! I am also learning to play the saxophone (slowly & still at the ‘murdering musical classics’ stage of learning) and very shortly will be taking to the golf-course... 
 
I am also a big believer in development – personal and professional; but then I guess you would expect me to say that! This past week, I have been on an amazing journey – with a fantabulamatastic group of people all of whom have just become NLP Master Practitioners – including me...!!! So expect to hear more of that in the future too. 
 
And so, I have reached the end of my first blog post and hopefully you will now know a little bit more about me. Over the coming months, I will share with you some more stories from which I have learnt a great deal and grown as a person; as well as focussing on areas of HR & Organisational Development that may be of interest... 
 
Please do tell me what you think – all feedback is gratefully received (remember – ‘There is no failure, only feedback’!) and just to pre-empt some comments, I shall be utilising other formats and not just text in the future...!!!! 
 
13th April 2012 
 
My all new website is going live and I have some new and exciting ideas planned for it; I'm finally joining the 'blogging' sensation and very shortly you will be able to read all about the world of human resources and organisational development from my perspective... 
 
So watch this space; it's coming soon... 
 
In the meantime, if there is something you would like to see on this page, use the comments box here to let me know... 
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