Oliver Ursus writes…

Dominic Raab fails to make an impression
(Photo: https://twitter.com/USAmbUK/status/1202533439372759040)
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Stars of screen?
Spare a thought for training consultants. As you probably won’t, then try sparing a thought for those they train and develop. The most effective training is in a workshop or face-to-face and Covid isolation or social distancing is going to make that more than difficult. ‘Ah’, you say, ’What about e-learning?’ Have you tried it? It’s clinical, it’s cold and, usually, it’s an emotion-free zone. It’s OK for teaching facts but not to be used when training in, say, communication skills (managing, delegating, conflict solving, selling etc.).

And decent training takes time. Time to discuss, understand and practise. Time to disagree and time to have fun. An effective workshop takes at least a day away from the desk. And it has spontaneity and energy.

Those who practise this sort of training have had a pretty bleak six months and look like having a further income-free six months. More importantly, the potential participants aren’t getting the development they deserve and may well need.

So is the answer to swap the training room for the training zoom (sorry), the currently go-to solution to everything? It’s probably going to have to be. But one –day workshops will become a couple of 90-minute sessions (try staring at your colleagues on a screen for much longer); spontaneity will go; practise role-plays will be nigh-on impossible; and nobody will have much fun.

Nonetheless, this is going to be the only solution for some months yet and then, although it’s not as good as the real thing, the cost and time savings are going to embed themselves in HR culture – despite the participants actually being deprived of the quality of personal development they deserve and that most companies need to ensure the quality of their future managers.

And the training consultants are going to make less money. Shame.

Woke up, fell out of bed/ Dragged a comb across my head/ Found my way downstairs
. . . and switched on Twitter. Not a good habit but one I can’t, yet, shake. First, check to see if the editor’s tweeted anything (yeah, right), then scroll through and always, but always, stop at the Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) tweets commemorating the birthdates of those who were murdered. I always retweet them and add a comment if the victim was young. I’m old enough to have been alive when this atrocity was taking place; and giving faces and names to six million makes it more than just a large number – it makes it real.

The same goes for Covid deaths in the UK. Currently, the number of UK deaths is equivalent to a plane falling out of the sky every three to four days. Despite this, and the huge number of infections, we walk the streets and go into shops, usually without a mask, and hardly practise social distancing at all. Why? Not only because we don’t think it will happen to us, but because we don’t know anyone it’s happened to. The awful conclusion is that more people need to fall ill and/or die before the public at large believes it could happen to them and start to behave accordingly.

Brexit is different. No-one really knows what is coming their way in terms of the price and availability of staple items. There’s no-one else to learn from. And when the hit comes by, say, the end of March 2021, it’ll be too late. Cue screams of outrage and ‘why didn’t anyone tell us?’
We tried, we really did.

Woke up, fell out of bed/ Dragged a comb across my head/ Found my way downstairs (2)
. . . and found myself a tad worried that I agreed with one, no – two, actions of our very own tailor’s dummy, aka the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab. Offering a home to Hong Kong Chinese and invoking the Magnitsky act are the right answers! And this from a man who only recently discovered Dover.

Not to worry too much, though. I’m sure our Home Secretary will soon put this right. She’ll (allegedly) bully her way to the front pages and be a-smirkin’ and a-thinkin’ that offerin’ safe haven to anyone who even looks like an immigrant is somethin’ that goes against the take-back-control-of-our-borders grain. And, having had experience of running a parallel foreign policy, I’m sure she’ll be able to sort things out with Mr Xi and put young Raab back in the bottle.

Liz, Nige and the Turks
Having attempted to terrify the population with threats of a Turkish horde entering the UK, despite the fact that Turkey was never likely to join the EU, I’m sure that Master Farage will be less than delighted to see that world-beating, global Britain is now negotiating a trade deal with Erdogan which will involve lots of freedom of movement for those Turkish citizens desperate to get away from their domestic monster. But wait till the smirker is hearin’ about it. Then it’ll be rebottled Truss.

Oliver Ursus lives in Cheltenham