What Are You Reading ??

I know that it is a bit odd to ask what you’re reading when it’s currently this blog. But, I want to delve a bit deeper than the obvious because I’ve seen a flurry of posts and efforts asking if you’re reading books. And, if you are, which books are you reading?

I don’t think this is a mistake and I’m encouraged that interest in book reading has surfaced once again. I’m a book reader. I love being a traditionalist when it comes to books. I understand that using readers are convenient and you can take them everywhere. I just happen to be someone who likes to feel the pages and read from either a hardcover or paperback.

I love that books are having a resurgence because we honestly don’t read enough. We are a society of “watchers.” This isn’t right or wrong. It’s just how we spend our time. The reading we do is in snipets and quick hits because we feel we don’t have enough time for more. We’re glued to screens. Trust me. As I type this, I’m including myself in this mix.

There are many reasons to read books. My favorite reason is that they continue to expand your horizons and keep your imagination alive. We need to use something to feed this urge because if we don’t, our thoughts atrophy. This is career limiting and we don’t even see it.

Too often we get stuck in a pattern that seems to mimic walking around in circles. This is true in our work and in our lives. If there isn’t something that adds a spark of interest, or a distraction, we’ll just keep plodding on and on making a deeper and deeper rut that keeps us from looking around.

One of the great opportunities that we have in HR is that we can infuse life and new ideas into our roles and into the workplace. I would even be so bold as to say that HR would be more valuable than it is already if we took this approach. Instead of working so diligently to keep people “in line”, why don’t we take new approaches to help them perform?

How can you do this? Read. A. Book.

Take an assessment of what is/isn’t going on in your workplace and then find books that can help you learn about different methods. It doesn’t mean that you will find a single method/model to solve what you’re facing. But, if you don’t learn about new ideas, you’ll continue to do what you know and nothing else. You don’t have to only read HR and business related books either. It’s great to read books from all types of genres because your brain gets charged and is interested to take in more and more. We make our company’s better when we bring new ideas to be considered.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started. The first is to subscribe to Goodreads. We always do better when others join in around us. If you’re a part of Goodreads, you share the books you’re enjoying and see what your friends are reading as well. You may get ideas for books you never considered !! The other effort is being launched by Laurie Ruettimann called the #HRBookClub. Laurie is encouraging people to join in and read a book a month. Think of that !! You’ll have 12 books read after one year. Very cool.

I’m not going to try to sway you to read one book or another. I will encourage you though to read. You have the time. I hope you join in this movement because you may find the idea that has just been out of reach. Expand your horizons and get out of your rut. It’s worth it !!


I Am HR !!

I am SpartacusIn the classic film Spartacus, Kirk Douglas leads a revolt against Rome.  He and his fellow slaves are face-to-face with the Roman troops when the commander demands that Spartacus reveal himself.  All of his fellow slaves stand and declare that THEY are Spartacus until the entire throng claims to be Douglas.  He stands defiantly facing his enemy while everyone rallies around him.  It is timeless and a call to arms for people to support a just cause and overthrow the empire !!

This past week a true revolutionary in our field of HR, Laurie Ruettimann, released her new e-book, I Am HR: 5 Strategic Ways to Break Stereotypes and Reclaim HR.  To put it simply, it is magnificent !!

Laurie has been a trendsetter in Social Media and HR for several years.  Her punk rock approach to what we do is edgy, challenging and intentional.  She hasn’t settled for HR to remain in stasis, and that doesn’t always sit well with people.  In fact, I know that people tend to either be hot or cold with Laurie since she rarely takes a stand in the middle of the road.

I respect Laurie for being a boundary stretched in a field that cries out so desperately for this.  For too long HR has bemoaned how it “isn’t this” or “isn’t that.”  We are the ONLY profession that does this by the way !!  Laurie and I have different approaches to being passionate about HR, but I consider her a dear friend who makes me think and not accept the norms that are often set as standards for our industry.

I am HRThis e-book takes the stereotypes of HR and peels them back.  It doesn’t pile on or reinforce them, but it does ask you as the reader to face what we’ve become.

The true appeal to Laurie’s work is that she offers some tangible solutions for each of these stereotypes to be addressed and thwarted.  Some HR books give lofty theoretical models filled with catchphrases and false motivation to get you jacked up to “act” into yet another phase of corporate ambiguity.  This book doesn’t do that.  In fact, Laurie gives real world examples of HR professionals that she has observed as people who break these stereotypes.  You can find each of these HR pros active in all facets of the field and from all types and sizes of industries.  Ironically, each of the people she lists are also visible and active in Social Media trying to move the entire profession forward as well as where they work.

This book will push you to look introspectively and then ask you to stand and proclaim.  I know that when I read it, I readily exclaimed, ” I AM HR !! ” as if I was rallying with Spartacus.  I encourage you to download the book, keep it on hand, refer to it often and join the throng to proclaim that YOU ARE HR !!

Become a Contrarian Craftsman !!

You have to know that I’m incredibly passionate about HR !!  I’m really passionate about most things actually.  Most of the blogs, conferences and resources out there are incredible in their observations, perspectives and approaches.  You can get people geeked about something pretty easily, but what people want is how they can apply what they read and learn in their everyday roles.

Too often we lack tools to apply the great things we learn.  That’s about to change !!  I how that you are a voracious reader as an HR professional.  It’s a needed attribute because you can stay current and relevant in the field.  My newest “find” to do that is something that gives you applicable tools as well.

Lean HR BookYou need to pick up Dwane Lay‘s new work – Lean HR !!

“Lean” is not a new concept by any means, but it IS a fantastic and unique approach to Human Resources.  Dwane takes the tools that have been traditionally used in manufacturing and shows how they can bring efficiency and reduce waste in HR.

The concept of reducing waste is SO needed in HR !!  Don’t think so?  There are so many layers of unnecessary tasks that it would take thousands of blogs to even try and capture it all.  I can remember in one of my roles where a company had an 8 page coffee making policy !!!  Eight pages !!  Not to mention a policy to make coffee !! Don’t even get me started on my wife’s company who has a current 10-page dress code policy !!

One of the key things that Dwane starts off with is the ability to be a contrarian – a person who takes an opposing view on things.  His reasoning is that you need to be comfortable in asking “Why?” and that is something that usually annoys us.  However, it’s key to be able to look at things from many vantage points to see if it can be done more efficiently.  This is where the cool tools come in !!  They are very understandable and you can use the data that exists around you.

I love this book and it’s a double bonus that I know the author !!  He’s an incredible resource and has introduced a work that will truly transform HR and give us a new method to make us the business partners that we long to be.  You’ll make HR a craft like it deserves to be instead of a field where you feel like you face constant obstacles.

Make sure to get a copy and start eliminating the waste that so desperately needs to be eliminated !!  You’ll be glad you did !!