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Home » Patrick Vermeren: The Uncomfortable Truth of HR and Leadership Development (Transcript)

Patrick Vermeren: The Uncomfortable Truth of HR and Leadership Development (Transcript)

Patrick Vermeren at TEDxKMA

Here is the full transcript of researcher Patrick Vermeren’s TEDx Talk: The Uncomfortable Truth of HR and Leadership Development at TEDxKMA conference.

Patrick Vermeren – Researcher

I both love and hate the business of human resources and you will soon understand why.

This vivacious young girl was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 21. Like so many patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, she did not want to accept her disease and she often refused to take her medication. She became so desperate that she decided to put her fate into the hands of a charlatan.

Very soon he had convinced her that it was the medication that made her feel ill. So he urged her to abandon that medication, and he convinced her to take his Bach flower remedies instead. Now, her condition soon deteriorated.

And one late afternoon in 1996, I received a phone call from her boyfriend because she was standing on the escape ladder of the apartment building where they lived. And she was threatening to throw herself off. So I rushed over, and we somehow managed to save her by recklessly storming down the ladder and grabbing her tightly. And with the help of her family and a lawyer, she was rid of the charlatan. But the damage had already been done.

She tried to commit suicide on several occasions. And this was, of course, a turning point in my life and my career because I realized, because I personally witnessed how dangerous pseudoscience and quackery could be, so I realized how dangerous it could be.

And what has this got to do with human resources? Well, at the start of my career, I had to attend training in Transactional Analysis, and this theory states that during the first three years of our lives we make our life script, including the diseases we will have and try to conquer. And this sounded so very strange to me that I decided to challenge the trainer.

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