Last week I attended the Ohio SHRM State Conference which has been a staple of my professional development for several years. I enjoy it because I get to hang out with some of the most engaged HR professionals that I know from all over the State. I’ve seen some friends who come year after year, but I also was able to meet a ton of new HR pros which were attending the conference for the first time.
The location of the event always lends to the feel of the Conference and Kalahari Resorts located in the rural outskirts of Sandusky, Ohio is just perfect !! The African motif, the spacious halls, the INCREDIBLE staff and the subtle touches of art, décor and music keep the theme together. You completely forget your office and melt into the resort. It clears your head and allows you to take in the sessions, the vendor hall and the chances to network.
I learned something new, or received a fresh reminder, from every session !! The programming was spectacular from the opening session to the early birds to the closing keynote. I noticed something that occurred throughout the entire conference, and especially after sessions. I listened to attendees and the question that was asked almost instantly was whether they “liked” the speaker or not. It was true for every speaker.
I understand this question because I’ve asked it myself often. What doesn’t make sense to me though is that we rely more on judgment and opinion instead of content. If a speaker is liked, then he or she smart and had something to offer. If a speaker isn’t liked, then whatever they shared wasn’t good. The more I look at it, we could miss many resources just because of delivery.
What if we tried to look at things from a different filter? Instead of asking whether we like or dislike a presentation, we ask – what did you notice?
I’ve been trying to do this over the past few years and I’ve come up with something I’ve noticed as a professional in HR.
We’re more focused on what we do . . . . and not enough on who we are !!
This feeling was confirmed when I heard this theme showing up over and over throughout this year’s Ohio SHRM Conference. It’s time for HR to come to terms with “who we are” because it affects “what we do” and not the other way around. I was geeked to hear so many speakers talk about the positive impact of HR in organizations, in individual roles and especially in the lives and performance of employees. There was VERY little talk that tore down HR, and this was honestly refreshing. It seems the tide is turning, and the next step is coming to terms with our identity.
The shift in focus that you can use in looking at conference presentations needs to occur in your role and throughout your company. Whether we are liked or disliked isn’t important. I know that it matters personally because no one wants to be disliked. However, we need to get people to notice who we are first. This can happen only one way. We need to be authentic and genuine. I can’t define how that looks for you, but I know that’s what people seek.
Too often we see people who put up a façade in order to be liked. It’s not what’s needed. The mold has to be broken and it’s personally up to you to make that happen. You can’t preach it to others and not model it yourself.
This week strip away the function of what you do and start being who you are first and foremost. It would really make a difference to everyone !! Try it and see !!