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My Kingdom for an HRevolution

Chillin’ at my BFF’s house after HR attending my first HRevolution, I picked up the latest Vanity Fair.  See me and my BFF love to relax to Vanity Fair, US weekly and the Real Housewives of Atlanta. It was a good chillin’ moment after the conference at Georgia Tech. In between stories about Rob Lowe and the Royals, there was a small one pager about Harold Bloom.  Bloom is the preeminent US scholar on all things Shakespeare; he should be–he’s 80, has written 39 books (mostly on the subject o’ thee Bard),  and has been teaching on the subject at Yale for 55 years.

Whuuu…. makes your head spin. Oh and he thinks Shakespeare is God.  Duh.

Then the article swung me to an HRevolution place.  At that time HRevolution was in my headspace pulling a full-frontal on me.

Bloom was frustrated with biographies of Shakespeare.  To illustrate the point he stated,

“Let me quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, best mind ever to come out of America:  Shakespeare is the only biographer of Shakespeare.  In other words, don’t look for the man in the work; look for the work in the man…”

This is the very reason why HRevolution worked for me. After reading lots of material from a lot of the attendees at the HRevo, it’s been easy to infer who they are from their work: blogs, tweets, job titles, etc. But in the live, kinetic, authentic context of the conference/unconference you were able to see the value, voraciousness, and depth of the work through the person.

For example—Charlie Judy through his blog HRFishbowl writes about Simply Engineered HR.  Premise = quit over thinking HR and get back to the basic, human element of the profession.  Reading his blog you can interpret Charlie through his work.  Charlie is a smart HR guy so there is a lot to take away. However, in real life when you see how he interacts with people, very open, welcoming–dare I say Charming (not in a creepy way @DwayneLay) you begin to be to see “the (HR) work in the man”. When you see his talk about his children, family you begin to see “the (HR) work in the man”. The HR context is full circle.

So that is the beauty of the HRevolution.  And a beauty you should share on your own HR stage.  

And as Shakespeare said…all the world’s a stage.

Paranoid-al Activity: HR, spine up and relax…

My pal Michael Carty asked me to write a submission for his stellar series, “If I could change one thing about HR” for his blog xpertHR –so many thoughts, so little time.  But to me the answer is pretty clear.  HR needs to quit being so damn afraid. Really. really.

There are many things to be afraid of, but HR practice shouldn’t be one of them. So many HR practitioners are afraid to let their inner rockstar shine.  Afraid of reckless abandon…and yes, I do mean reckless. Reckless doesn’t have to be stupid, callous, cruel or libelous. Reckless in the HR world simply means, if even a baby step, to quit living in the world of the worst case scenario. It doesn’t serve you, your company or the HR discipline well.

I’ve had two brilliant mentors in my career…both taught me so much that to try to describe would be an insult to them.  However they came from the 1.0 and 2.0 generations of HR. Here were some mantra’s from both of them:

  • Everybody can sue you
  • In HR you always have to “know your place” within the corporate structure.

Years of experience did teach them these principles. These thoughts did come from a real and smart place. After years of hand-slaps, you do learn to “know your place”.  But what if they had imagined a different reality; enough to have changed theirs.

Still other HR pros (simple-minded ones) think that they are more credible to scare others into HR submission.  Instead of finding their voice and influencing corporate change through talent management they believe lawyer-speak feels and sounds important.  Yuh….

·         Quit being afraid
·         Know risks, inform your boss of risk, but also know the probability of that risk (likely low)
·         Think differently.  Quit making rules for the exception.

This is a call:  Spine up and relax HR