Thursday, 10 November 2011

Theology and HR Converge at 2011 CIPD Conference

One of the themes that appears to be running through the CIPD conference in Manchester this year is that of playing to your strengths.

Sessions which cover this theme include:

  • Making an impact: using your strengths for exceptional working relationships
  • Taking a strengths-based approach to performance management
  • Strengthening resilience against stress at work

And then of course there’s today’s closing keynote address by (swoon ladies, for it is The Handsome One!) Marcus Buckingham , who has made a lucrative career for himself exploring the concept of finding your strengths and using them. 

Areas to be covered by Marcus Buckingham include:

  • Recognising the strengths that exist in your organisation and how to utilize them for individual and business success
  • Acquiring tools and techniques for ensuring your people are leveraging their strengths, and being supported to do so by managers and leaders

The strengths-based approach represents a subtle shift from previous attitude to people management, including how we equip those in the HR profession to perform in their roles. Gone are the days when the focus was solely on providing HR professionals with new skills, be those ones of negotiation, consultancy or business partnership. Now the focus is much more on identifying abilities already possessed and putting them to good use.

It’s more a case of Stop Trying To Be Someone Else, and Start Being The Person That You Already Are.

As a Theologian in the world of HR, I would say this, wouldn’t I, but this is not a particularly new idea.  The New Testament Parable of the Talents covers exactly the same theme: that of recognising what your gifts, abilities or strengths are, and putting them to good use in the service of others. In fact the New Testament approach to talent development is far more radical than anything that you’ll hear at the CIPD Conference this year. The New Testament doesn’t simply say that it would be A Good Idea if you used your talents. It tells us that you can either Use Then Or Lose them. It suggests that to ignore the abilities that you have is actually irresponsible.

So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

So, Dear HR Case Studies readers: Do you know what your strengths or talents are? And, more importantly, are you using them?


  1. Dear Editor, I know my strengths and talents but the opportunity to use them to full effect is sadly limited. Shame really, as being able to do so can be very satisfying for all concerned.


  2. Well, Blogger, food for thought indeed.
    I seem to recall that the Leader in NT parlance decided that Martha and Mary had strengths. Sadly for one of them, it turned out to be a case of wrong strength, wrong place, wrong time. Such is life. A good conference, on the whole, with a healthy serving of theology thrown in - so glad I discovered you there, CPD :-)