The HR Juggler

Day 5: 2011 Highs and Lows of Rob Jones

Posted on: December 5, 2011


I’m delighted that Rob has taken the time to write a blog for this Advent Calendar series of guest posts. I’m a big fan of his own Masters or Bust blog, which continues to go from strength to strength. And my Twitter timeline would certainly be far less entertaining without his perception, insight, humour and wit…you can follow him too @RobJones_Tring.


So 2011 has been quite a year, lots has happened and there’s been LOTS of change. When I initially saw Alison’s invite to contribute guest blogs I thought ‘that’ll generate some interesting contribution’ but didn’t immediately think of contributing. Over the past few days I’ve been reflecting on the year and actually decided ‘what the hell’ so here goes…

The lowlights of 2011 (yes there are plural) have both involved that well known Robbie Burns quote “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley” as I had a defined plan for both my career and my academic work and both it’s fair to say have not gone anywhere the way I had intended them to.

The lowlights have not been the plans themselves going astray but rather the moments of realisation that it’s not working and a new plan is required. I can remember one of them quite clearly, sat in the back of a black cab in London and feeling quite overwhelmed with the new reality and what it meant for me.

Needless to say a stint ‘in the bunker’ (home, phone off, twitter off, stomping and thinking) and new plans were formulated and are so far *crosses fingers* on course!

The highlights of 2011 have been numerous and myriad but on a personal level it’s been the completion of what you could describe as a rather tricky piece of recruitment for a position that has only had interim occupants until this year. On a professional level there is one stand out moment that really made feel that what sometimes feels like pushing molasses up a sandy hill is worthwhile. I’ll elaborate…

Two years ago I started doing some work in China for the business I used to work for. In the process of completing a leadership development workshop I encountered an individual who for the purposes of this we’ll call Tom (all the Chinese team members have anglicised names too!) Tom had been with the business for about a year, was clearly intelligent and capable and was delivering good results in the role he was in at that time.

What struck me about him, aside from his clear potential, was how frustrated he was with perceived lack of recognition, his lack of quantum career progression and how defensive he was in receiving any kind of feedback or challenge. I had the opportunity to spend some 1 to 1 time with Tom, talked with his line manager, the local Head of HR and his line director. Over the intervening time I was able to work with Tom, either in groups or 1 to 1 and we had some great conversations.

The highlight moment was stood on a fire escape in August of this year (we both indulge in a rather toxic habit). Tom is now in a divisional management role and it was a gap of about 6 months that provided the distance for me to see how Tom had really grown comfortable in himself and his new role. I was absolutely chuffed for him and expressed that. His response was to share some of the challenges he had faced and how much was still to come and then he turned to me and said “the thing that started it was standing here about 2 years and what you said whilst we smoked”. I wanted to hug him!

There is no doubt that what he achieved was mostly down to his own personal effort with the support of his management, but to stand back and think I had a role in helping this great individual take a big step forward in his career was a kodak moment….


Got any comments or questions for Rob? I know he’d love to hear them ;).

2 Responses to "Day 5: 2011 Highs and Lows of Rob Jones"

Ah, but was he looking over your shoulder? 😉 jokes aside, a very touching story. I have no doubt you make a difference far more than in just this incident.

Love this story. You can feel the power and passion in it for all involved. Fab, fab, fab Mr Jones ….. mmmmm, pondering, how does one keep up with the Jones’es? 😉

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