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Highlights hr and training insights forum - 230x230

Highlights: HR & Training Insights Forum - 27 Feb 2014

Optamor hosted a successful HR & Training Insights Forum at Langstone Technology Park on Thursday 27th February. The forum was very well received by delegates who attended from the local HR community and we had some great feedback from the event. 

Information Security and HR 

The forum, which was completely free for all delegates to attend, consisted of two separate topic sessions, the first of which was hosted by leading security expert, Craig Goodwin (VP Information Security at Monster Worldwide).  As a respected authority on holistic security, and in particular the human factor in information security, Craig discussed the current state of information security and how it pertains to HR. 

Over the past 20 years, information security has had one constant: change.  Craig spoke of the difficulty in keeping up with the pace of this change.  With the focus having moved away from purely physical access and where data is located, the digital revolution has now created a world that is always on and always connected which presents new challenges in relation to information security.  

Craig went on to say that whilst the way in which we communicate information has now changed, the fundamental principles of security have not.  He said “people have data on their iPads, iPhones and are uploading to Facebook and LinkedIn, but realistically as long as you’ve got some kind of control over that data and you understand the control then that is what is important.”

Articulating how Monster is endeavouring to deal with the security of its data, Paul used the analogy of it being less like a house in terms of using locks, fences, gates and guard dogs (technically being firewalls, safes, routers, switches etc) to keep everyone out and away from data. Whilst this is great, it is also very archaic and having a perimeter control is no longer needed as the data in that environment is not there anymore – it is being walked out of the gate on everyone’s iPad/iPhone! 

Instead, Craig said that in today’s world it is more pertinent to become more like a hotel.  Rather than not letting anyone in - that is exactly what you do. You have a big reception area where everyone can come in (your website) then you have a number of rooms coming off the reception that can be protected separately.  If someone needs HR, then the wall of that room will be thicker, it will have a stronger bolt on it, an alarm and a safe.  But that level of security is only needed for certain rooms (important parts of the business such as HR, finance, proprietary data, code etc).

The areas that it wants people to come in and choose and use will be much more open, such as allowing people to use tools and apps on their iPad and bring in their own device to use on the network – as long as they don’t touch any of that sensitive data. 

Craig explored some of the current hot topics within the security field, such as the Snowden incident and the recent spate of cyber attacks, and demonstrated along the way how HR and information security departments should work more closely together to minimise such risks.

Emotional Intelligence

The second half of the forum was led by Paul Miller, International Performance Coach.  Paul explored the fascinating subject of Emotional Intelligence and shared information on the effect it plays on us and how we can use it to improve our lives. 

Paul started the session with a fun exercise that illustrated how we all make assumptions about things which makes life more difficult for ourselves, when in fact we can achieve better results when performing the same task just by looking at it with a different mindset. 

Paul engaged the audience in another group exercise that showed delegates the difference between Intellectual Intelligence (IQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ).  He said that we spend the majority of our time only improving our IQ skills and merely accept the fact that our EQ skills are based on the way we are and are not developed any further. 

“To be the best we possibly can, we need to constantly change.”  

Paul said “Emotional Intelligence is defined as the capacity to recognise and utilise emotional states to change intentions and behaviour.” He also said it means “having the ability to recognise different emotional states; assessing the effects of emotions on subsequent behaviour; and having the ability to switch into the best emotional state to manage a particular situation.”

Asking who in the audience had experienced a fairly challenging time in the world of work over the last three years, the majority of delegates indicated that they had.  “When times are challenging, we find out more about ourselves - we find out about our limits, capabilities and what we are prepared to do,” said Paul. “When life is easy, we live in this comfort zone, but for us to perform at our best in any situation it’s about how we mange our emotions effectively to utilise the skills that we have.”

Why should you know about EI?  Paul told delegates that 70% of the reasons for losing clients are EI-related.  He said that “poor service, poorly handled complaints, unpleasant interactions, no follow-up, not going the extra mile and a lack of human connection have all contributed to this."  He also said that 75% of the reasons why careers get derailed are EI-related.  Unsatisfactory team leadership during challenging times, inability to handle interpersonal issues and an inability to adapt to change and elicit trust are all typical reasons for this.  “You’ll know a good leader in time of change/challenge,” said Paul. 

Paul also spoke of the Chimp Model (Dr Steve Peters’ book, The Chimp Paradox: the Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness) in which he simplistically refers to humans as having three brains.  The frontal lobe (human), the parietal lobe (computer) and the limbic lobe (‘the Chimp’) that combine to form the ‘Psychological Mind’. 

Although these three brains try to work together, they very frequently get in conflict and struggle against each other to gain control – with the Chimp often winning! Paul said “our challenge as humans is to be able to get the brains to work together, and that is where we start developing our Emotional Intelligence.”

Paul stated that “our IQ is fully developed by the age of 19-20 years old and starts to recede in our late 40-50’s”.  However, he said that “our Emotional Intelligence is something we can grow throughout our lives – it is a muscle that can be grown like any other, through development and work.”  

Our prefrontal cortex, crucial to our rational decision making, can only hold up to seven pieces of information at any one time. Paul spoke of some of the strong negative emotions that we can sometimes suffer from - particularly those within the HR profession who can often take on the stress of employee problems.

He referred to an ‘Amygdala Hijack’, a term (coined by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ) that describes emotional responses from people which are immediate and overwhelming.  It produces a fight or flight response which results in errors in work and in memory, an inability to react flexibly and the chemical Cortisol being released into the body (which takes approximately three hours to clear). 

Paul concluded the session by explaining the benefits of developing Emotional Intelligence.  “What’s in your tool box to help you deal with life’s situations?” he asked. Finishing with an amusing clip from Ally McBeal, Paul asked the audience to think “What is your theme song?”

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