I have Garry to thank for connecting with Perry. I follow Garry on Twitter and he mentioned his blog on his favourite books, so I followed the link to find that the first one was Transformational HR by Perry Timms. I ordered it, read it over two days, and through some synchronicity, had dinner with Perry this week. I am delighted that he has agreed to be the Advisor to Wellbeing Teams on all things related to H.R. I asked Perry to write a blog to introduce himself, and here it is. Something that he does not mention in this blog, is his amazing shoes!
It’s funny how music, energy and beliefs systems can have a more drastic impact on your life than degrees, gap years or privileges can. I don’t know about the latter because I’ve experienced none of them – well I have some privilege being a white male, but that’s a whole other blog post.
My musical tastes – Black American Soul music – defined who I was. At an early age I had the chance to explore deep socio-political, economic and artful frames of reference to help me realise that live is about giving. Giving hope, help and honour to others.
Music gives me energy; and my energy is my trademark. I seem to have such verve for things I believe in, that even I find it odd just how positive, enthused and determined I can be. I guess I have a zest for life; formed by my appreciation of the artform of contemporary music and its heritage in overcoming oppression, under-privilege and grit.
My beliefs system comes from a working-class position. Council house, state school, and loving parents. I stand for accessible and inclusive healthcare, education and justice free to all funded by a state that cares about those pillars of humanity above all else.
I am an only child with the need to connect and treasure others, and the ability to be introspective and comfortable with my own company. As a result of this combination I’m fascinated by the spirit of human endeavour on an individual and collective basis. Which is why work fascinates me so much and why I feel truly blessed to be in a profession where that is my life’s work now. I actually get offended when people call out work as bad and we should look to move beyond work.
One of my favourite quotes is from American Football coach Vince Lombardi of the fan-owned Green Bay Packers who said “The measure of who we are, is what we do, with what we have.”
I believe in the good of work – of the need for human beings to work at something they want but not necessarily to work for someone they don’t want. Even saintly types such as Dr Martin Luther King Junior or Mother Theresa of Calcutta had work to do. Just not for a global giant, political party or non-profit enterprise.
My working story goes from the civil service to the not-for-profit arena. Starting in a fairly conventional administrative role to being fortunately placed to become part of business process re-engineering and IT-enabled Business Change for around 10 years and then HR for the last 15. The most recent 6 of which are as an independent, freelancing consultant, speaker, and now author.
The majority of my work is with HR teams who want to do something different in their organisation. Be it tap into more innovation, inclusion, flexibility and agility – that desire I then match with my ideas and experiences, beliefs and research into how organisations could structure themselves for the networked era. I feel really blessed to be on the cusp of the decline of the post-industrial “knowledge” era into this digitally-connected, networked one. Whilst it is a little painful that people are hanging on to old orthodoxies no longer helpful to the modern world, it’s also helping me understand my place in the world: To help people let go, navigate and find their future.
It’s hard though. People who think they know best and think you’re a charlatan. People who sneer at those who lean towards progressive practices as cult-following ideologists. People who are stubborn, stuck and caustic about the world.
Yet they are the ones in pain, fear and uncertainty. For those with hope, energy and creativity are already making the future and as Joshua Cooper Ramo said in his epochal book The Seventh Sense “…anyone who tries to stop the future, always loses.”
So I work with those who have the intent, desire and yes, dreams, to be different about their HR and adapt to become a people and organisation development professional fit for this networked era.
I’m also really fortunate, because I would describe myself as operating at the edge of known HR, so I am guided, informed and reverse-mentored by people at the centre of HR. I’ve an amazing network of super-committed practitioners, so I may not have ever been an HR Director, I may never have resided over a TUPE transfer or handled a merger/acquisition, but I know plenty who have and they are informed, experienced and enlightened about this. So I trade with others. And it’s this trade I guess I’d leave you with. We can never know enough. In fact there’s something nice about what I call an everlasting learning deficit. If I ever felt like I’d learned enough, then I’d be truly delusional. Instead my thirst for knowing keeps me going. My network of brilliance keeps me relevant and my desire to be different gives me purpose.
I often end my keynote speeches with a philosophical quote. By someone way more intelligent, emotional and artistic than I’ll ever be.
This will be no different and so I give you my latest hero Nilofer Merchant (please do look up her work – she’s amazing) from her latest book Onlyness.
“I believe that at the very root of our humanity is a passion to create value with heart, to work alongside others who care, and to make a difference.”
That is modern workplace philosophy in my view.
My mission for my profession is for HR to accelerate itself from processors of people admin to purveyors of the impactful onlyness of each and every one of us in our work.
With Wellbeing Teams underway, it feels like you are already well on your way.