Punk Rock HR

This is the first post to introduce my new book “Punk Rock People Management”.  Before we start, here’s a classic piece of Punk Rock – New Rose by The Damned:

I had the great fortune of seeing The Damned, The Doctors of Madness, The Jam etc. many times at The Marquee Club in London.  This included getting ‘extinguished’ by Captain Sensible on stage when it became so hot that the Captain decided to hose those pogo-ing on stage down with a fire extinguisher amidst electricity and live cables.  This was in the pre-risk assessment era – Hooray! 🙂

Punk Rock People Management suggests that the HR profession has become a bloated industry which delights in making things more complex than they need be.  In the book I have stripped down People Management to the bare essentials.  This means that each ‘chapter’ is just one page long – ideal for the busy person / Kindle reader etc.  Thus you can read a chapter in less time than it takes to pogo to a Sex Pistols or Linkin Park song! 🙂  On hearing about it , Tom Peters, the world’s greatest business thinker, author and speaker sent me a mail with just two words in it:  “Do it!” – Now that’s what I call succinct in the normally long world of HR!

Never mind the HR Boll..cks

To whet your appetite, here are some chapter titles.  The book is organised using the classic ‘Life, Sex and Death HR cycle’, i.e. Hiring, Inspiring and Firing:


Selection – Shall I stay or shall I go?

Induction – It’s my first time


Engagement – Pretty vacant

Motivation – Reasons to be cheerful

Training – Waiting for the great leap forwards

Innovation – What’s new pussycat?


Conflict – Who killed Bambi?

Redundancy – Submission

To order your copy of the book, see Punk Rock People Management.  To buy our other book go to AMAZON.

For now, let’s treat ourselves to the great punk philosopher Billy Bragg, with his song “Waiting for the great leap forwards” – a song all about the gap between talk and action in change management / organisation and HR development.  Reminds me of Red Wedge and many other great days of wide eyed optimism and passion.  There still is a better way to get your point across than stealing a bottle of water from Poundland!



19 responses to “Punk Rock HR

  1. Great that you have ditched the term HR in your title and that your purpose is simplifying and debunking this important topic. People Management is key part of every manager’s role. The HR ‘profession’ seems focused on making it more complex. A recent indicator of this (in a global blue chip) was the description of the HR Function as the ‘Sales Prevention Department’ .
    Like great Rock’n’Roll we need to keep the basic structure simple – ZZ Top, Status Quo – and do it with conviction. keep rockin’!


  2. Pump it up!

    So many managers, HR or otherwise make me wanna quote the doc’s diagnosis in Warren Zevon’s song, “Your sh+t’s f@cked up.” (and I am a Boy Scout type who calls his brother Sir).

    I’d love to read the book. It appears you boil it down to the primal chords and Rock On!


    • There ought to be more Elvis Costello in the book – perhaps you will rectify this by writing a chapter in the sequel ‘The Great HR Swindle’ or a guest blog Thaddeus!

      I will put you down for a copy. Would you mind sending me an e-mail with BOOK in the title so I can log it into my list?

      p.s. re boling things down, I have been very economical with words – this sets its own discipline up.




  3. More from Linkedin:

    Mark Turvey • I have read this with interest. I guess all successful rock groups have a need for discipline and improvisation, but also creativity, talent, and a hard work ethic and the critical bit; leadership. In the case of the Beatles it is clear Mr Martin may well have had a key role in leadership and a statement to support Ringo is a direct action to keep the team together. In the case of Deep Purple I wonder where the leadership came from, I have not studied them so closely but I believe one Mr Lord may well have been the driving force and anchor for the group throughout. If we look at one Mr Grohl it is blindingly obvious he drives the whole show that is the Foo Fighters. Drum solos I believe are a classic element seen within many businesses where an existing talent (or product) however good is assumed to meet the market need and is promoted just because it exists when in fact they satisfy no-one, I suspect not even the drummer. It is the job of the marketing (producers?) and leadership to ensure that talent is directed to benefit the whole product which includes the creativity, innovation, the music and image.


    Peter Cook • Hello Mark,

    I guess we need to differentiate between musical director and manager here. Deep Purple was to some degree a ‘rugby scrum’ in terms of writing although some songs originated from the different members. Blackmore was often in charge of on stage improvisation. Martin Birch (the producer) tended to settle disputes and look after some of the bands interpersonal tensions when recording. They produced some of their records themselves, with Martin holding court re tensions over who needed to be loudest!! 🙂 Does anyone know if Deep Purple had a manager?

    The Foo Fighters is an excellent example. Perhaps you would like to write a guest blog. I know that Dave Grohl is a big admirer of my friend Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe.


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