One Small Step . . .

This weekend one of my heroes passed away – Neil Armstrong.  Maybe because he was a farm boy from Northwest Ohio, or because he was proud to be “nerdy,” or because he was humble and genuine.

I vividly remember being in my Grandfather’s house in tiny Luckey, Ohio with my aunts, uncles and cousins crowded around the TV as Walter Cronkite reported the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon.  When Armstrong actually came out onto the ladder and began moving toward the surface of the moon, there was awe and silence in the house.  After he uttered his immortal words and stepped onto the moon, my Grandfather – the epitome of the hard working farmer – just kept saying, ” I’ll be damned.  I’ll be damned.”  The general disbelief of what we all just saw was burnt into our lives forever.

If you’ve ever seen interviews with Armstrong after this life- changing event, he remained unassuming, thoughtful and curious.  He wanted to see people continue to stretch boundaries, just as he had.  The Armstrongs live about 30 minutes from my current house just outside Cincinnati.  So, this legend, was living a regular life and that is a great example !!

When he said “One small step,” he inspired a nation.  It makes you think.  What could I do if I took one small step?  So often, in our lives, and especially at work, we think that change has to occur in giant chunks, or earth-shattering movements.  In reality, it only takes those small, incremental steps.

What are some steps you could take in HR to be this type of “explorer”?  Could you make sure to say “Hi” to ALL of your employees (and not just the ones you’re comfortable with)?  Could you challenge something that needs to be corrected, but no one will step forward?  Would you join a local HR chapter, go to a regional or State Conference to meet other HR folks?

The questions and efforts are all within our reach.  This week, find your Neil Armstrong moment and take one small step forward in some area of your life.  Who knows – it might end up being something that is a “giant leap for all mankind” !!

Image courtesy of NASA

3 thoughts on “One Small Step . . .”

  1. Steve, you have hitthenail on the head. I remember (beyond my senior moments) joining the CPA (Cincinnati Personnel Association) way back in 1978 and thinking WOW this organization has such Great potential. I searched for a mentor and found Gene Wells. He had a vision and he told me that he could not fulfill his vision in one short year, as President of CPA.
    I shared Gene’s vision and he knew it. Gene asked me to keep and eye out for someone of like mind and I discovered Dan Amann. I followed Gene as President of CPA in 1985 and Dan became President in 1987. During that time we had many discussions about the future of CPA. The three of us plus a few others (excuse my senior moment – names ?? I don’t want to leave anyone out so I’ll just say others for now) began studying together for the first Accredited Executive in Personnel (AEP) professional designation under ASPA (American Society of Personnel Administrators – now known as SHRM). Many of our study group passed and today the study group concept still lives will people helping people. It was also during this mid-80’s time period that our object was to grow the organization. I remember being in my office at UC when I got a call from someone on the Membership committee saying they had just approved the Membership application of our 500th member. We introduced her at our next monthly meeting. What got lost in that milestone was the HER factor. Yes, we now had 500 members on paper but our monthly attendance was, at best, 65. The “good ole boy” CPA network was not helping us change the organization. Dan took the challenge of trying to change the formal name of CPA to GCHRA (a mouth full but not to be confused with Accountants). Dan succeeded and so his efforts live on today. Maybe the organizational name change and the efforts of our first female President (Diane Stricklin who served before Gene Wells who passed away several years ago in Louisville, KY) invited more female HR professional. I remember somewhere along the line after I joined CPA in 1978, the membership eligibility changed from seasoned Personnel professionals to opening the organization up to those who supported the HR function. Magically, diversity developed with the organization. New ideas freely flowed and leaders came out of the woodwork. It is AMAZING what small steps can do, not only for babies but for a social group of people who share a common vocation.
    Let’s not forget that Big Brother/Big Sister ASPA/SHRM saw our Cincinnati Chapter on a roll and awarded us the 1991 National Conference. The financial end result of the efforts of our volunteer leaders and helpers produced a check to our Chapter of $14,000 plus. This money was sorely needed after our loses in the Home State collapse.
    I now realize that many of your readers/followers are much younger than me and that is a good thing. The last GCHRA meeting I attended, there were 150 plus attendees and I only knew 5 (I did introduce myself to several new faces so now I know more than 5.
    Yes, the small steps taken by Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969 reflect the development of GCHRA today. Keep it up folks the best is yet to come.

  2. My small step will be to truely listen to what others have to say. Not just in HR but every facet of my life. Do you listen to what others have to say? What a learning opportunity if we learn to listen.

  3. Great insight and it is amazing how someone’s passing stirs up so many memories! Like Tom I have been involved in SHRM before it was SHRM…ASPA and its transition to the organization we belong to today provided us opportunities to be part of something bigger and with a future.

    The next generation(s) need their chance to take “one small step” to set the course of our professional organization, their workplace, our country, our world to be better place for “Everyday People”!

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