Scotland the Blog: Kind hearts, kilts and cones: (plus a bit of Guinness)

I wore a kilt last week to our ACE conference in Manchester which was a fantastic event.  Superb opening keynotes by Goffee and Jones and Dan Pink's closing session on Drive where sandwiched by much great HR insight. After ACE I went off to Galway for a long standing engagement to speak at the University there and mingle with the  west of Ireland's HR leaders. As I wore a kilt at two Centenary dinners. I will try and weave them together.

Yes  me in a kilt was a novelty and super connector Martin Couzins posted something on twitter. But to our Chairman Donald Gordon a Huntley man hardly a big thing. I bet you Donald doesn't have a plastic Skean dhu either and knows where the pockets in a kilt tunic are, unlike me who had so much in my sporran I was tilting over. Donald regularly wears a kilt and I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't wearing one to one of our launch events. We welcome Donald back after a lightning recovery from heart surgery to CIPD's gathering of the clans in Perth.

>Companies like Medtronic who make about 40% of the worlds cardiovascular stents in Galway, keep people with heart disease alive and thriving when they would have been sick and restricted

Our gathering  Is the coming together of the  four branches which make up CIPD Scotland. Next week we will be launching CIPD Scotland in Aberdeen. Edinburgh and Glasgow drawing senior leaders and volunteers from all over Scotland. Peter Cheese will be setting out our vision for Scotland along with myself and Donald. However we are already operating differently it's about having people on the ground. Now one of the big issues for me was getting a kilt on early.

When I tried to select a tartan to fit my Irish surname it was the Tyrone tartan which came up in the little Glasgow kilt  shop MacGregor MacDuff. I arrived in Galway just as  Ireland has been released from what is known as the "troika"  of financial debtors. Slowly and surely the Island is recovering. The Celtic Tiger period has left a bitter legacy  ( and some great infrastructure) but Ireland is still a very attractive place to do business and pleasure. Companies like Medtronic who make about 40 % of the worlds cardiovascular stents in Galway,  keep people with heart disease alive and thriving when they would have been sick and restricted. That would be Donald. Medtronic have a unique mission as a life sciences company as beautifully  outlined by one of their top global HRD's "to relive people of pain and suffering." I probably didn't take too much medical advice on Guinness consumption and was then treated by professor Tony Dundon, fellow mature student turned academic to a tasting odyssey on the black stuff. Like Scotland's malt Irelands's stout is a massive brand for our nation. I want CIPD Scotland to build the brand of people and performance in Scotland and that's what I have been focusing on.

Being in Ireland made me think about my own country. Scotland is a very diverse country economically and culturally. We all see ourselves as Scots but some Scots have more in common with the Scandinavians than they do with the Glaswegians and Edinburgher's who dominate the country population wise. My long lost (contact with) Shetland student pal Irvine Tait tells me that people who go South from Shetland are known as "Soothmoothers." They take the mouth of the river South. What an amazing and lyrical  image.  They celebrate the festival of Up helli aa celebrating the raging energy of the Vikings. Shetlander's like those from Aberdeen and The "Doonhamers" of Dumfriesshire in the far south value their identity .  

Finally,  In my hometown Glasgow some humourless officials played the role of killjoy as though cast in an Ealing comedy. They decided to raise the height of the plinth on a statue which guards the entrance to our Museum of Modern Art.  The reason to stop pranksters putting a traffic cone on the Duke of Wellington's head. Apparently this creates a "depressing image of Glasgow."  But the power of social media came in to play just like that tweet of me in a kilt! 63000 people tweeted against the removal of the cone ( not my kilt). The council relented.  Great. Glaswegians are as well known for their humour as Shetlanders are for their fiery independence!

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  • We were delighted to have you for our keynote speaker in Galway.  It was a great way to celebrate 10 years of CIPD programme accreditation with you and the Western Region CIPD.

    And of course, the kilt at the dinner dance was the icing on the cake!