Member Since: 29th Oct 2012
Perry Timms is an international and 2x TEDx speaker, advisor and award-winning writer on the future of work, HR & learning.
Perry’s first book "Transformational HR” was an Amazon.com Top 30 HR seller shortly after its release, and his second book - "The Energised Workplace" - exploring Human Energy & Organisation Design is due in April 2020.
Perry’s work in progressive thinking in HR and the workplace of the future was recognised by his inclusion on HR Magazine’s HR’s Most Influential Thinkers List for 2017 and up to 5th most influential in 2018.
Perry is Adjunct Faculty at Ashridge Executive Education and Hult International Business School; he is a visiting fellow at Sheffield Hallam University and a Fellow of the RSA. In 2018 Perry was invited to be Guest Professor at GEA College in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Perry is also the world’s only WorldBlu-certified Freedom at Work Consultant + Coach, and currently leads the London Chapter of ResponsiveOrg.
You can find Perry online at www.pthr.co.uk or on Twitter (@PerryTimms) and his blog Medium.com/@PerryTimms. Perry is an avid fan of Soul music and supports Northampton Town FC and the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
23rd Aug 2016
Thanks for the comment. Yes during things like Brexit, I saw a lot of incredulous postings and realisations that to some people, they were simply surrounded online by "people like them" and it made many realise there's a world of difference to add to the mix. However I stand firm that where values are clashed, compromised or people just annoy the heck out of you, there's ways to deselect that kind of negativity and annoyance from the network. Shared interests means inevitably there's a bit of homogenous "membership" but we seek out people like us but that doesn't mean a Stepford Wives or cloned network. It means common ground etc. It's one to watch out for.
31st Aug 2015
Thanks for commenting Peter. I genuinely appreciate your views and your challenges and you're not alone.
You'll note a lot of what I've written about is from a personal experience perspective.
I am so much more in tune with my work; on top of things and feel more efficient. I'll let others be the judge of whether I actually am or not but I've adapted to use multiple platforms just like I take a Chromebook, phone, spare battery, iPod and tablet out with me. I can't rely on one device and I don't want to. I use multiple devices for different things and I use different platforms for different aspects of work. It's liberated me and the way I work to the point that the insistence on everything being emailed is a frustration for me now.
I accept that it's about how people use them but I see people with 11,000 in their inbox and I think "how ludicrous" that is compared to zero in my inbox; conversations with close associates on Slack; Projects managed through Asana; a shared workspace on Basecamp on one project I'm on; the odd Twitter DM or even Skype IM to manage and a Google+ community for learning.
I'm better for it and I wanted to share that with people.
Dustin Moskovitz (ex Facebook and now CEO of Asana) is on a mission to eradicate email from the way he works using his tool.
Luis Suarez eliminated email from his way of working at IBM much to everyone's insistence it couldn't work.
France banned emails for work post 6pm. Some German companies are auto-deleting whilst their workers are on holiday.
Something's wrong and I wanted to give hope to those drowning under their inboxes.
Each to their own but email's vice-like grip on our ways of working is over; there's proven causality between stress and the bombardment of emails; the inbox as a to-do list is coming under scrutiny as inefficient and time-wasting and whilst I accept scanning multiple apps may not feel better, there's bizarrely more control I feel over my work than ever BECAUSE I've tamed the email beast.
Like I said, each to their own and the way we manage the applications - email included - denotes whether they're effective or not.
I am committed to making more out of my move away from email with the range of apps on the market.
The exploration is putting some real fun back into working digitally in a way email will never be able to replicate.
Thanks again for commenting here and on LinkedIn (where I've replied similarly).
7th Apr 2015
Totally get that and thanks for adding even more practical thoughts here to help people get this right. People can go off-rails even with the most trusting and adult philosophies.
My view is that you can crowd-source and co-create some "not acceptable" stuff and have people build it with employers/HR. I get that implied stuff is difficult to prove in the case of breaches however if people have created something, it's then down to being accessible, well known and understood and people will be unable to play the "I didn't know" or "it was felt not appropriate to my role/circumstance" card.
Then we're all safe. There's always Glassdoor anonymity for those who don't want to abide by even the most adult approaches in this area.
5th Mar 2015
Thank you for a challenging piece on "trendy" social media. I've looked in the archives for a post on how, in 1993, "trendy" email was ruining the art of handwriting and casual conversations over the fax machine whilst you scanned the contract for the 3rd time, but couldn't find a single blog post on it.
We have always been social. We're agreed on that.
Cliquey social media circles of practitioners who only share their trend-thick postings amongst themselves is not my experience of "the best company of people I've never worked for."
Why? Well the traditional format of companies as social hubs is no longer the case. As jobs fall off outsourcing cliffs at the drop of a Finance Director's emailed spreadsheet, our social needs are no longer serviced by these forced constructs.
So, those of us who have taken to this "trend" have done so because it is that very connectivity we lose in the "real" world and find in a virtual one.
Denial of that is to denigrate your own argument of connectedness. It is just another form of socialised exchange.
It is open. It isn't devisive. In fact it is formed around people being open to connecting more widely. Not exclusively. Openly.
Yes you have to use the tools to connect on social media. Which is the digital equivalent of being in the same room as people you wish to talk with.
If you're not in the room you'll still have a future. Just a lonelier one perhaps.
Whereas the social one will still happen with or without you.
You said it, we've always been social and we'll always be social.
Just in different ways.
No doubt I'll see you - eventually - online, at a tweet-up or at the leper colony. Just hope my thumbs don't fall off before I post that selfie.
13th Feb 2014
Thanks Tom for reminding us of what we believe is right but that doesn't always appear to be done in that way. Leadership is still in need of attention; reinvention and in many cases, CPR. We still see successful enterprise and human endeavours fuelled by good leadership and failures almost certainly down to poor leadership. Not just but a key part of the creation of circumstances that lead to failure.
I wanted to add courage more than a dash of bravery in there - and not in a "go in and rescue an injured comrade under fire" courage that Sinek talks of about Navy Seals and Military leadership qualities, no more the "hold your nerve about what you think is right as a leader" type courage.
I'll use Alpha Male type behaviours as an example over what you see more of in the new military way (and featured in Sinek's book Leaders Eat Last). When the dominant, hierarchical force appears to be someone who is a teeth-gnashing, politically savvy game player, others will adjust their behaviour to succeed based on that.
It's like "this is what it takes to lead around here". I am not even sure it's that hooked on data misinterpretation.
It's highly unlikely ANYONE has data on courage. There may well be performance data that supports a team where the leader is courageous enough to do it their way. I underscore that.
As courage comes into play NOT through the data lens but more so in NOT replicating/modelling the "toxic" sorts of behaviour and then courage to lead your way.
I know from being one, from coaching leaders and being in a learning environment with many leaders of different experience levels and approaches, the imprint by their leader is "lead like me and all will be well". Often meant positively and sometimes egotistically. I know best. It takes some courage to stand up to an autocratic pushy leader when proposing an alternative take.
It also takes courage as some people who you LEAD have become conditioned to the old way of being told what to do. They are comforted by being led and when given freedom to become autonomous and have responsibility, they actively reject that and label you as a lame or lightweight leader.
It is therefore a little over simplified to say "we know yet we don't do". when it's about a collective "know" and "not do/allow" that is at play for much of this. We are enacting performances based on one style and not our own interpretation; plus we are becoming tribute bands to poorly executed but nonetheless hierarchically successful acts
So for me it's a little less of "let's keep educating leaders in this new frame of reference" and focus more on "how you work your courage quotient up to be the leader YOU KNOW is right and not what everyone else THINKS it should be".
So the way a lot of us look at leadership development is broken - I agree with you.
I think as well as narrowing the knowing / doing gap you rightly call out, I think we need to work on the fuel additive that does that and for me that starts with knowing yourself and then is mostly about being courageous enough to stand by what you believe is right for you, at that time, leading in the situation you find yourself in.
Thanks for provoking my thoughts on this one. I have often gotten SO jaded about leadership tales of woe that instead I have focused on the power in the many and in "leaderless" type structures.
You have reminded me that we have a lot to do here still and probably always will and should keep going on this front.
4th Oct 2013
Hi again Lucinda - I agree that where new is needed, definitions are helpful. Even if they're not proven to be 100% spot on.
Take the hacking style of innovation. Open source; crowd sourced; ideas jams. Yet not chaotic as some process needs following. I think someone like Kjell Nordstrom or Magnus Lindkvist said "even innovation is a process". I disagreed at first but there is truth there.
So we will need some formative touchstones and handrails for this new model and way.
Goodness knows it's more adult that than some of the current checking up philosophies. Treat people like...behaviour breeds behaviour....tighter the grip the more star systems fall through your fingers...
Anyway I am loving this debate. I think I will be a stalwart advocate in social business just like I am a stalwart advocate for the act of continuous learning; showing respect; and having positivity no matter what. I don't need metrics to convince me of any of these but I welcome the reassurances you do get from such evidence.
I simply believe the social business construct is the way to go for work to be rescued from the greyness I talked about earlier. Please look at Nick Isles' excellent book The Good Work guide. He calls it before it was known as Social Business.
Enjoying this thoughts and words kick around. Keep it coming.
4th Oct 2013
Mr Lizard you are of course onto something regarding the lack of spirit in such workplaces and the nearness to sweat shops. I paint a little more of an ideal than an actual of course so thanks for the earth wire/grounding moment.
What I HAVE seen is the shadow culture that prevails where such malpractice reigns. People do good stuff IN SPITE of the system, the protocol and shoddy management. Again in my experience, I am yet to find a manager who isn't BUSY. Often too busy to attend to the people management elements of their role and instead are in meetings; working up project briefs and answering emails.
So there's room, yet you're right again, there are often punitive measures where people are trying to innovate.
I guess I've been idealistic and so instead of saying this is the norm; I'm more saying wherever you THINK you can't do something, you probably can. It just needs to be worked through in the construct of that particular business. Even the most oppressive management regimes can see where customer satisfaction and efficient handling wins and if people play it right, they can influence the work they do more than they think.
Organisations may never wake up to the benefits of a social business construct until others are shedding management positions in favour of experts in frontline services who are self-driven and self-regulating - then when it saves a fortune, they'll all fall in behind that one.
I have a growing belief in social business constructs from my time in charitable enterprises, from what I see in technology and now in startup land what I see there. Sure it won't be for everyone but some kind of proving ground will shine the light on the best ways and hopefully people will be alert to this beacon. I see it as part of my role as an HR professional to at least stimulate thought, debate and find research that allows people to move in this direction.
Will we ever get rid of sweatshop call centres or cubicle farms? Maybe. We certainly won't if we don't surface other ways and at least build some momentum towards a more positive way.
Thanks for commenting. You've tested my belief and I come out stronger in favour so for that I thank you.
2nd Oct 2013
Thanks for the comments and feedback Lucinda and a really good question. It IS a little like teamwork of old but I think there are some differences. It's not old wine/new bottles.
I think the differences are choice; connectedness and communities.
Here's what I mean:
In days of yore, teams were constructed by recruitment to them internally or externally and the rituals, MO and roles were ironed out by the team leader and then we shifted occasionally and met and decided etc. We helped each other out, we had shared and common goals etc.
NOW - in a social business model - we are talking less about constructed teams and more about communities. Where people don't necessarily belong to a team or unit with their every being, more a "home address" but a tendency to go where the work is and not the other way around. Communities form and forge rather than are forced. Interest groups; project attachments; client focus; innovation driven or simply geo-locationally derived. It's less the same faces every day and more a spread of people who - like film production crews - assemble and disassemble with some ease and regularity. It's like Tuckman but on Fast-Forward and without much of the latterly added mourning-stage.
Choice comes into play because where you locate yourself and who you "socialise" with in this social business model. I found myself (and this was in corporate life) sometimes being with Press; sometimes the Marketers; sometimes the Exec Support; sometimes Policy but never in the same place and I learned and gained by varying my routine of actual desk attachment. I was a cuckoo, a nomad and a guest but I chose to vary according to whim or tactic. I hear of similar choices being made in organisations that are truly social and mobile. Choice also comes into the place where you need to get decisions and traction on. Choice is also there in how much time you actually spend with those in your unit - not so much you MUST sit with them, more do you choose to because it's beneficial and sociable to do so.
Connectedness comes from the tools that now allow us to "graze" what we're all up to and there's less need for team "checkpoints". So the team gathering element isn't necessarily for progress updates it's for innovation hubs and planning jams.
So I think some of the old archetypes and artefacts of teamwork are no longer necessary or desired and a newer more fluid approach is set for who you refer to as "your team".
The basic construct of "we're better together" and "networked intelligence" is a critical feature of social business, it's (ironically) like the community structure of small holdings.
A post-industrialised model for teams it may very well be. Whatever it is, it feels much better than forced into a relationship with people doing a similar grey job to yours and expected to form loops in a chain.
It's more colourful, varied, cooperative and generally more driven by people not process.
Hope that helps with my take on the new teamwork element within social business. You make raise a great point that I'd not really deeply thought of until now. Thank you.
14th Jul 2013
Appreciate that Kevan and thanks for illuminating that.
On re-reading and reflecting, I held off the blog so I think you've squared the circle for me here. Appreciate that. The blog will get a delete and rightly so. You're right in what you say - there is conflict. What their is in a lot of line relationships of now is not conflict just "friction loss"; inertia and "can't be bothered". I prefer to see some productive discussions surface out of a conflict through decision making or similar on matrix situations as people seem more inclined to raise them.
That was my reflection anyway so I don't even view the article with as much negativity as when I first read it.
How the mind works eh?
Thanks again for responding and flushing out the issues in the first place.
Vive la Matrix revolution!
27th Jun 2013
Kevan, I respect that you have expertise, hours, experience and gravitas in this world but I have to say this disappointed me a lot. Having been in matrix work situations myself for approaching 20 years I have a contrary view for all your bullet points here. I just don't feel it's as dark, dangerous and difficult as you're describing here.
I'll post my thoughts on my blog (so thanks for inspiring me to do that). Not disputing your solutions aren't adequate though so I have no doubts you can fix things when they are falling short. I'm not that naive to think it's all great in the garden of matrix working.
I hold a strong view that hierarchical, straight up line management as a model is broken and failing faster than ever before. We've been attempting to skill managers to work in this way and it just isn't a winning approach. It's an "it'll do" approach.
Rather controversially, I keep thinking "Bye bye Taylorism - hello Tailoring" And that means made to measure (matrix style centred on the jobn holder) not off a rack (in the line; MBO).
I just felt there was an overly negative view here on matrix over hierarchy that could frighten more than enlighten.
Sorry I can't be more positive about this but thanks for taking the time to share your views.