#1000Insights on Performance, Culture, Leadership, and Engagement

We launched #1000Insights to challenge all our thinking and to run in conjunction with the annual CIPD Conference and Exhibition 2015. We’ve been sharing insights from our Starboard team on Twitter, and gathering reflections from practitioners, academics, exhibitors and speakers on organisational performance, culture, leadership and engagement. As 2016 approaches, it is apposite for us all to reflect and bring multiple perspectives into our reflections.  

Thank you to all those who have tweeted us @starboardthink or who came to speak with us at the Conference – our #1000Insights Wall was created to capture ideas from inside and outside #CIPD15.

Here is a crowd-sourced compilation of insights to give you some inspiration in each of these areas.

Organisational Performance, Strategy & Change

Maximising organisational performance is our goal, but what drives this and what obstructs? Capability, effort, change management, health & wellbeing and simplification were all cited as foci for accelerating performance .

  • Matthew Syed, journalist, author and broadcaster, challenged us to consider if talent or effort is the precursor to high performance. ‘Talent is the dominant feature of high performance vs. You get out what you put in’. @matthewsyed
  • There is not enough time spent thinking about why our business is successful, & where success will come from. Herminia Ibarra, Economist and Professor, INSEAD.
  • Presenteeism costs twice as much as absenteeism. Employees that attend work when ill or disengaged actually cost businesses more than those who are absent. Work should be fun because we spend so many hours there. Professor Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology & Health, MBS Manchester University
  • Alarming statistic via @Microsoft: 77% of people see emptying their inbox = productive working day.
  • No one size fits all. Solutions should be bespoke to the organisation. There is no best practice, only good practice. Peter Cheese, CEO, CIPD
  • People, morals and values are key to a successful organisational change. Christina Chakalova, Learning and Development Partner, Travelex
  • Change starts with ourselves; asking the questions ‘Why me? Why now? What should I be doing differently?’ Tony Denton, Independent Training Consultant, TD Learning Consultancy
  • How to block an initiative: ‘no need’ ‘no time’ ‘no budget’ ‘no urgency’ ‘no trust’. Tim Pointer, Founder, Starboard
  • At GE it’s all about simplifying our approach to everything. Una Bates, HR Manager, GE Aviation
  • We must take a multi-stakeholder perspective of our organisations and shift from Accounting to Accountability. Peter Cheese
  • Are you a Hub or Bridge? Safe, proven approach or new, exposed & networked yet strategic. Professor Herminia Ibarra
  • It’s an unnusual description of creating organisational strategy, but this video depicts China’s 5-year plan #CIPD15.

People vs. Process

In today’s increasingly high-tech, process-driven world, it’s unsurprising that we feel the individual is getting lost in the quest for greater efficiencies.

  • Don’t fit people around your processes. Reshape processes to support needs of your workforce. #cipd15
  • We used to say HR has to be more business-savvy: business should be more people-savvy. Peter Cheese
  • People forget that it’s not about fitting our people into policies. It’s the other way round. I am not a human resource. I am a human being. Anonymous.
  • Employees are people, not just defined by their job titles. We need to revolutionise HR thinking in this respect. Portakabin HR team
  • @Cheese_Peter Cyber security is about people, not the technology.

Culture, Ethics & Values

The organisational values admired today are those which are valued in everyday behaviours: fairness; enjoyment; pride; learning; ethics and transparency. We see organisations succeed where there is trust and empowerment, but falter when blame and anxiety are to the fore.

  • Great strategic plans are only successfully delivered by high-performing organisational cultures. #culture #performance. @TimPointer
  • Simon Heath, Consulting Artist, on values: The 4 H’s of the 21st Century: 1. Humanity 2. Humility 3. Honesty 4. Humour @SimonHeath1
  • Culture should be just as much part of hearts and minds, as values written on the wall. Anonymous
  • Let’s stop the race to blame. Helen Tracey, Lecturer at Northumbria University @HRpotential
  • The rise in (or desire to) trust & empower: great that we’ve heard this many times throughout #cipd15 Cath Longfield, Starboard
  • The only way is #Ethics. David D’Souza, Head of London CIPD @dds180
  • Good to see that ethics are firmly back on the agenda and that ‘Human’ is back in Human Resources. Professor Michael J Kelly, University of Leeds
  • The health of the organisation is one aspect that is unfortunately being pushed (gradually) onto the back burner! Lina Sappor, Deputy Director, Controller & Acct-General’s Dept, CAGD, Ghana
  • @ProfCaryCooper 1 in 4 of you here have had or are experiencing depression. Cost of anxiety, depression & stress.
  • Companies which are fun to work for eg. @google @facebook are best role models & most inspiring @Kiran_k_tank
  • Key thing for me is enjoyment, good relationship with colleagues and some fun at work. David Kent, Senior Innovation Advisor, Invertya


Leadership reflections centred on what employees and other stakeholders are asking of leaders: to treat their team members as individuals; to recognise effort; and to role-model organisational values.

  • 3 aspects of effectively leading people 1. People are different 2. People are different 3. People are different. @Rapid61
  • HR people must demonstrate the behaviours you want to see, even if senior leaders don’t. Be a role model, credible & trusted. HR Magazine
  • Professor Cary Cooper on the three key requirements of line managers: Social skills, Compassion and Empathy/EQ. HR Grapevine News @HRGrapevine
  • @SimonHeath1 on the need for more socially skilled managers
  • We face children believing in the X Factor i.e. Praise for Talent. We actually need Praise for Effort. @matthewsyed
  • An organisation is a shadow of its leaders: #Leadership behaviours are crucial & should reflect org values. @TimPointer, Starboard
  • We should hold up the mirror to leadership behaviours to facilitate rapid development of leadership skills. Christine Worthington, Equine Facilitated Coach, LeadChange
  • Professor Herminia Ibarra on leadership behaviour: Be somewhere between a chameleon & fixed extremes.


We need to be trusted and empowered to feel engaged. Businesses can enable our greater engagement but we have a responsibility to drive it too!

  • It is up to us to drive the change to make work fun and meaningful. Engage for Success
  • Businesses need to better understand human psychology to increase #engagement. Jamie Lawrence, Editor HRZone @lawrencejamie
  • #Engagement is involving employees, inspiring leadership & enough resources to do the job. University Centre Doncaster
  • #Engagement feeds #productivity: it will help the UK remain at the forefront of the global economy. Cath Longfield, Starboard
  • How to create a culture of engagement? Trust and thoughtfulness is key. Giving freedom motivates. Tom Cassidy, Trainer and Personal Coach @tomcassidy10
  • What do employees want most? We’d suggest respect, empowerment, acknowledgment. Celestine Casserley, Starboard
  • Use psychometrics as an integral part of developing and engaging people. Don’t just use it for interviews and then forget all about it. Elena Eleftheriadou, Director of Business, mrb resourcing

Growth Mindset & Personal Development

We need to take charge of our personal development and take risks in order to maximise our learning and engagement.

  • If you have a choice to be a sponge or a rock, be a sponge. Jo Dodds, Engagement Consultant @Jododds
  • Growth mindset (seeing opportunity for learning) vs. fixed mindset (seeing potential for failure). Beckham has the greatest growth mindset of any individual I’ve ever met. Even more than Steve Redgrave. @matthewsyed
  • What’s the point of life if we can’t stop to take detours, workwise and personally. We need to take risks. Dr Wilson Wong, Head of Insight and Futures at CIPD
  • “If today were my last day, wld I want to do what I’m about to do?” Steve Jobs. Find what feeds your passion & energy #cipd15 @StarboardThink

Starboard at #cipd15

It was great meeting so many passionate professionals at the CIPD Conference and also showcasing Starboard in the Exhibition Hall. Personally, I also enjoyed chairing the “Enabling Leaders to Develop and Maintain High Levels of Performance” session with Catherine Ward, Group HRD at Interserve and Indi Seehra, HRD at the London School of Economics. You can see the introduction to the session here.

Starboard at CIPD

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