Language is a fascinating thing but as a psychologist looking at speech development in children, especially my own, is hugely entertaining and enlightening into the workings of thought and logic. I watch with great anticipation and expectation as I observe my children and their friends talk about everyday life to see what wonderful combinations of phrases and mispronunciations occur, something I often do myself – and not always on purpose. One which made me laugh out loud most recently was when a friend of my middle daughter was trying to explain a school project she had to do, which puzzled us all to begin with…

“I had to make a boat out of Pepperami”


An article by Carly Chynoweth in the October issue of People Management, Endurance Tests, makes me wonder if the business world has finally come out of a coma. Glancing at the patient’s notes, I notice the first piece of evidence:

… assessments are now being broadened to cover all levels of organisations; talent-spotters are no longer assuming that future leaders or relevant talent can only be found in certain pools of employees” 

OMG, really? They’ve only just discovered this? No wonder organisations have been struggling though the recession. Continuing to scan, the evidence mounts:

Organisations are looking to identify leaders earlier in their careers so that they can equip them with the skills and exposure that they need to progress through the organisation faster… companies increasingly look inward when succession planning.”

Doctor, I’m afraid it’s worse than we first thought. We may have to operate.

…organisations now want the data presented to be aligned with the employee’s capacity to deliver in the role, or against the organisation’s strategy.”

Nurse, we’d better inform the relatives – time is of the essence …


Having recently spent, what I’d like to consider, a healthy proportion of the school holidays watching cartoons with my children I was struck by the creation that is Never Never Land, depicted by JM Barrie as a dream-like fantasy world inhabited by Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook and a realm of other fascinating characters.  It made me think about the whole concept of escapism that all of us, no matter how old, have the urge or need to venture into at some point. And about the role of ‘dreaming’ as opposed to cold, hard logic and realism.


We couldn’t help but notice just before Christmas news items at both and announcing the launch of Virgin Media’s new leadership development scheme, aimed at turning its business into ‘a talent academy’. This struck as simultaneously a very encouraging development and an audacious, brave – and potentially foolhardy – one.

We’re optimists, so we’ll start with the good news. Virgin Media’s leadership development scheme will be based in personal and (reading between what are currently a few brief lines) psychometric profiling, judging by the Personnel Today news item: (more…)

New Zealander Stephen Billings has been publishing a series of interesting and thought-provoking items on his blog – Changing Organisations – exploring the difference between organisational learning – people learning in an organisational context, and learning organisations – where the organisation itself is seen as being able to learn.


According to a news story at HR Magazine, 82% of HR staff fail to measure the return on investment of their practices. This is almost as shocking as the fact that this is hardly news at all – back in 2006, a benchmarking survey in the USA conducted by Bersin Associates showed that “Only 5% of respondents routinely measure ROI, and only 8% regularly measure actual business impact”. This despite their finding that 82% of companies surveyed thought they should be spending more or much more on measurement.


I was recently interviewed by Training & Coaching Today for an article about psychometrics– and the online version’s article title should be valuable lesson for any L&D department using or looking to use these valuable tools as part of their development activities: handle with care.



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