Following some unsuccessful attempts to break through as a pop star and a recent stab at professional wrestling that resulted in hospitalisation, former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik has returned to a career for which he was little known: HR management.
Drawing upon his experience as Global Human Resources Training Manager at the Newcastle offices of Procter & Gamble, Opik is hoping that his latest vision of personnel development will pay off. His work with the band Electric Flower is set to interlink his experience in politics with interpersonal and leadership skills – and is likely to draw from various episodes of his “personal journey from human resources to unemployment via one multinational, two careers and an Australian jungle”, which were aired and shared in a talk at London School of Economics (LSE) earlier this year.
Ironically, his bid to re-establish his HR credentials included working a highly public critique of his political soul-mate Nick Clegg’s performance into the LSE talk. A critique that involved calling for Clegg’s resignation. Ahead of the talk, he explained his rationale to London HR Connection: “Once people hear the issues from an HR perspective, I think most of the audience will agree,” he said. “It’s not personal; it’s strategic and its business.” But it wasn’t all serious. “Being an MP was a bit like being a corporate training manager,” he joked at the event, “except that fewer people seem to dislike me in the latter role – and that’s a refreshing change!”
Proving that the 46-year-old is not ready to completely leave the celebrity spotlight behind, Opik told Professional Manager that he is determined to use his management skills to help Electric Flower bring live music back to the pub scene. “They found me in the Toulouse Lautrec in Kennington and asked me if I wanted to work with them. I said: ‘Give me a ring tomorrow and if I’m still up for it then, lets do it!’ I’m a musician myself and if there’s one thing a good pub needs, it’s live music.”
His previous musical undertakings have met with a cool reception – but he hopes that the Electric Flower project, coupled with a revival of his HR career on the side, will demonstrate once and for all that his management skills have got what it takes in his post-Westminster life.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia