« To people » or not « To people »

« To people » or not « To people »

Organisations need a new verb to describe how to most effectively interact with their constituents, to team up, to move forward together, and to negotiate in view of obtaining a constructive outcome.   

This new verb is: ‘to people’. 

It could add so much to help us understand what is going wrong in case our discussions, our collective efforts, our negotiations and our energy spent trying to get somewhere do not lead us to the desired outcome.  

It would help global and local human resources professionals to develop more successful individuals, teams, and organizations.  


Skill, competency, natural talent, organizational capability.

« To people » is all of that.  It is the art of moving forward together without necessarily agreeing with the party you are moving forward with. It is about creating a common goal and being courageous enough to be interdependent.  It is about motion and moving to avoid standing still or going backwards.  It is about understanding the frame of reference of the person who is sitting on the other side and about not being afraid of trying.  


Strategy and implementation

Sometimes an individual, a team, or even an entire function in an organization forget the reason why they exist.  Instead of meeting specific business needs with a concrete approach, very high-level plans are developed and thoughts, ideas, and actions end up at the cemetery of brilliant though unused ideas without ever being put into practice.

All of this because the business does not « people » well.


Management and Social Partners

Another example frequently observed is the unproductive way management and social partners interact with each other.    Business leaders and union or works council representatives start from the position that the other is almost certainly wrong or just does not get it.  

When all parties start doing things just to fit their own agendas, they won’t be able to move forward in a constructive way. Rather they will do the opposite and dig themselves in. Short-term solutions are developed in face of an urgent crisis and long-term issues continue to exist. 


How to move forward together without necessarily agreeing on everything.

How can you be successful in respecting people?

  1. Have a strong desire to make things happen.
  2. Be courageous enough to put everything on the table and avoid ‘a prioris’.
  3. Avoid being dogmatic and exclusive. 
  4. Make a conscious effort to understand the frame of reference of the other party.     
  5. Focus on the opportunity and not on what can go wrong or on what is dangerous.    
  6. Have a firm belief that information is not power.  How you use information is key.
  7. Don’t think you need to like everything that is going on : just be willing to try, to experiment, to forget your anxiety for a moment and engage.


Keeping in touch with all stakeholders including your social partners.

In these turbulent Covid days many companies have significant economic challenges ahead and need to adjust to the new reality. 

« To people » correctly when you need to restructure means:

  • Creating an environment where both sides commit « to people » well

  • Determining what is in the interest of all stakeholders

  • Avoiding to inject non-negotiables

  • Not hiding behind laws or mediators

  • Not being shy of sharing information

  • Determining what you are interdependent on and which common goals you have

« To people » well means parties exchange numbers ahead of negotiations to make sure that they are understood. 

When negotiations start, they know each other’s point of view and can start looking for common ground to find solutions without spending hours just challenging the data. 


« To people » well

Where there is a will there is a way.

If you really want « to people » well you will find the opportunity, if not you will create a drain on energy. It’s almost as if you had deliberately decided to stand still or to go backwards, whether you like it or not, whether you realize it or not. 

« To people » is free of charge, gets fantastic results fast, and builds value for your business and team members.

And the best is: once you get the hang of it the sky is the limit.  

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