Step out of the comfort zone

I recently had the pleasure of being asked to do the keynote opening presentation at a conference, my subject was Employee Engagement, Employee Wellbeing and the impact on Productivity AND how people analytics can help measure all of these.

I am pretty comfortable with all areas of this presentation.

However, my audience was not my usual demographic, I would normally be discussing topics with HR folk, this audience was made up of Chief Finance Officers, Chief Intelligence Officers, Heads of IT, Systems Managers and also a Professor of Business Performance.

So what?

Well sometimes when we discuss ‘HR’ things with ‘HR’ people much of the subject material is already well debated, this doesn’t mean that the presentations are not relevant but it does mean that some things are ‘a given’ and acronyms etc flow freely – in essence most people are already on the bus!

When I realised I was going to talk about Employee Engagement (which to be fair can spark heated debate amongst some of the gentlest in the HR community) to CFO’s and IT people I revisited my material to see if it would stand up to the pub test* rather than the industry I work in test!

But actually this was really good for me and my content.

I spent a lot more time going back and re-checking my sources, making sure that the language I used wasn’t vague or ambiguous.

I made sure I was presenting credible material on Engagement, Wellbeing and Productivity that I could back up if put under scrutiny (and I was)

The day

The conversations drifted into company P&L impacts, use of technology to look at engagement and wellbeing and linking this to individual, team and company performance.

Understand where your data is and how to use this to make data driven decisions.

Personal development

And I got something out of this – I grew my experience and I also had the opportunity to have some very different perspectives on HR challenges from the eyes of non HR people.

It may sound obvious but I would urge everyone to present their subjects/ideas/plans to people who are not already on the bus, who maybe didn’t even know that there was a bus and challenge yourself to communicate to them why your business should do whatever it is you are proposing, only by stepping out of the comfort zone can we really test what we are saying.

*The pub test is basically this….

If you can explain a thing, (this thing can be anything by the way, the workings of a gear box, abstract theological belief, the meanings behind take that lyrics or whatever) and you can explain it down the pub to your friends over a pint of ale…

Well then that thing now is simplicity itself, something the everyday person in the pub can understand…

This blog was written by Nick Court.


You can connect with Nick on social media on twitter @Scruffy_Nick and LinkedIn

Or contact Nick directly on

At Cloud9 People we help great companies and fab leaders look at how they can add value to their people conversations, feel free to get in touch and see how we could help you.

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