Hundreds have played Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders around the world – and we like to check in with people. Earlier this year, in conjunction with the Partnering Partnership and Richard Goff, we launched the new version of our workshop, starring Hugh Mann, Globocorp’s HR Director. This workshop is aimed at HR Business Partners who want to make an impact with senior leaders.
One of the participants was Michael Berry FCIPD, a Senior Human Resources Business Partner at HM Revenue & Customs. This is his story, as told to Stephen Welch.
Stephen: Hi Michael. Thanks for participating in the début of HR Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders. Please can you tell me a little about your work?
Michael: I’m a senior HR business partner at HMRC. I support the Customer Services Directorate. I’ve been in the Civil Service 17 years in various roles and locations including Sheffield and London before returning to Nottingham where I’m from.
Stephen: What are the key challenges in your role?
Michael: I need to balance our long-term transformation goals with short-term actions and political uncertainty. It is hard for some people to look beyond the short-term; and this makes it sometimes a challenge to involve people in a discussion about the long-term.
Stephen: Why did you decide to attend the Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders workshop?
Michael: I’ve been in my current role just over a year and wanted the chance to step back and think about my stakeholder relationships in a new way, and how I need to flex my leadership style in different situations. The Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders workshop helped me do that, and gave me a chance to consider new approaches.
Stephen: What was the highlight for you?
Michael: Taking the time to think about my impact. It was also good to work with people from other organizations and consider things in a different context; learning from other people’s experience and their different approaches to similar situations. It helped me think differently about my key stakeholders and how I can build credibility with different groups of leaders as my stakeholders change.
In the game we had to consider our reputation with different stakeholders, and keep track of how many reputation ‘beans in the bank’ we have with each fictional leader / character. I’ve now started to apply this concept in my real-life relationships and think about how I can put beans in the bank with key people.
Stephen: That’s good to hear. We developed the concept of the simulation and fictional characters to enable exactly that: the translation of the concepts from the game into real-life situations. So I’m glad it’s been useful. Thank you for the feedback.
Michael: I’d like to see if we can find a way to bring the simulation to HMRC to support our HR Business Partners. I think it’s a great learning experience for people who are working with senior leaders in the business.
Stephen: Well, as you know, we do run frequent in-house workshop tailored for specific clients and their challenges, so let’s keep talking. In the meantime, please tell me a little about Michael outside of work.
Michael: Well, I like sports: especially cricket, hockey and fencing.
I’m a member of Chilwell Blades Fencing Club. Spending time with these clubs, my family and my friends is crucial for me and helps build my resilience, balancing the books —so to speak— with a busy job.
Stephen: I agree. Thanks for your time and let’s keep in touch.
If you would like to learn more about HR Snakes and Ladders, and see if it is right for you, get in touch.