Home' HR Monthly : October 2017 Contents October 2017 HRM magazine 49
The art of the haiku may be
dead but its equivalent, the
terse poem that captures
the zeitgeist, lives. I found
them all on Lifehacks, by Lifelike UX Limited.
What’s a lifehack? It’s a tip or trick for making
modern existence easier. Once upon a time it
would have been called “mother’s wisdom” or
“ that weird thing grandad does with garlic he
says will make him live forever”.
The app works by sourcing tweets and
presenting them in a gorgeous interface – but
that explanation doesn’t capture the magic. The
app creates an old-world sense of beauty you
didn’t think could exist in the 21st century.
Don’t believe me? Read this: “It’s easiest to
peel a banana from the top, not the bottom.
That’s how monkeys do it.” Never again will I
diverge from the hard-won wisdom of monkeys!
But it’s not the advice itself that makes the
lifehacks or this app great. It really is the poetry.
Look deeply and you’ll notice the kind of
unadorned free verse William Carlos Williams
spent his life perfecting.
Marvel at this heartbreaking exemplar:
“ Smelling an orange – or eating one – reduces
stress by over 70 per cent.”
Could it possibly be true? No. But its
overwhelming tenderness and attention to
diction makes me want to think so.
A final example that left me breathless: “Air
dry your socks to make them last longer.”
This month we look at books about diversity, inequality and inclusion.
BY GIRARD DORNEY
DIVERSITY, THE NEW
WORKPLACE & THE
WILL TO CHANGE
BY JENNIFER BROWN
PUBLISHING 2016 $32
In the current business
environment, most HR
managers with any kind of seniority could
recite for you the virtues of being an inclusive
organisation with a diverse workforce. What they
would have a harder time doing is telling you
how to make yours work. A 2016 study showed
that despite the proliferation of such programs, in
many industries the representation of minorities
is in fact decreasing.
Enter Jennifer Brown’s Inclusion: Diversity,
The New Workplace &The Will To Change.
What sets it apart is that while you could describe
the book’s tone as positive, it has none of the
wilfully blind optimism that often characterises
similar efforts. Yes, Brown is a consultant, but
she is willing to admit there are situations where
you should not bother hiring her.
For instance, she writes: “If there isn’t visible,
sustained and meaningful action by leadership,
it can almost make it worse to have discussed
challenges – and made in the end false promises –
in the first place.”
Inclusion takes you through Brown’s approach
to organisational change, making frequent
references to past clients. It’s all very step-by-step
as she offers the tools for understanding how
an initiative happens. She does a good job of
detailing the different possible sources that might
agitate for change and what a change agent
should act like. It also seems wise that she doesn’t
start anywhere near recruitment.
“Part of the work of inclusion is helping those
already in the workforce feel safe bringing more
of themselves to work, versus what they’ve done
historically... downplaying parts of themselves for
purposes of assimilation,” she writes.
It should be said that this book is not going
to make all diversity advocates happy. Brown
wants to tread softly and score small victories.
To her, inclusion means being sensitive to the
anti-diversity complaints of white men, precisely
because of their privileges.
She doesn’t make this view easy to
swallow. She even goes so far as to joke that
‘mansplaining’ is not all bad because “men
discussing gender in the workplace, however
inartfully, would count as progress”.
But it would be hypocritical to compliment
someone for their forthrightness, then criticise
them on these grounds. So do pick up this book
if you want a fresh take on the subject. Like a
diversity initiative itself, it’s not going to have all
the answers. But it will hopefully get you started
asking the right questions. •••
THE GREAT LEVELER:
VIOLENCE AND THE HISTORY
OF INEQUALITY FROM THE
STONE AGE TO THE TWENTY-
BY WALTER SCHEIDEL
PRINCETON UP 2017 $38
Stanford professor Walter
Scheidel argues that more-equal distributions of
wealth correlate with calamitous events – world
wars, communist revolutions and devastating
pandemics. getAbstract recommends his
enlightening, singular study for anyone seeking
a fresh analysis of a contentious topic.
EARNING IT: HARD-WON
LESSONS FROM TRAILBLAZING
WOMEN AT THE TOP OF THE
BY JOANN S. LUBLIN
HAPERBUSINESS 2016 $36
Journalist Joann Lublin shares a
trait with the 52 female executives
she interviewed: they all pushed through multiple
barriers to succeed. In this well-structured if
sometimes repetitive collection, Lublin ties the
narrative together with statistics and “L eadership
L esson s”. getAbstract recommends her
compilation to both women and men.
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22/9/17 12:41 pm
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