Time Frames !!

We’re getting ready to have a Rummage Sale at our church at the end of May and that means people are bringing donations in. It’s heartwarming to see people so generous, and it’s fun to go through the items to see what “treasures” they’ve decided to give. My kids are home from college, and they were automatically roped in to help. As we were organizing items, I heard an audible squeal from them.

“Look at this !!” they exclaimed. “Can you believe it?”

They held up a box full of video game cartridges, controllers and a precious Nintendo 64 gaming system. Also, buried in the bottom of the box was a Sega Genesis system. They both wanted to leave instantly and plug it in to see if it worked. When we got back home, they wasted no time running to the basement to see if a glimpse of their past would come to life.

I don’t blame them. They’re acting like all of us. We relish and cherish the past. One of the great realities of how our mind is wired is that our past (even if it’s been challenging) is remembered fondly in some aspect or another. We may remember a favorite vacation spot we visited, or a certain toy that we always played with, or a song that evokes certain memories.

The music side of the past is where I find myself living. Sirius XM just announced it’s going to have a Beatles station, and I can’t wait !! As I thought about this though, I’m geeked about a group that started over 50 years ago !! The more I contemplated this, the more I realized that the majority of the music I enjoy is 30 to 50 years old. Eek !!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I dig finding new artists and music to enjoy as well, but it takes a conscious effort to do that. I’m much more comfortable listening to the catalogs of artists I already have in my music collection.

This “living in the past” mentality is something that hinders us personally and organizationally. There’s nothing wrong with having great memories and experiences from years gone by. However, using the good old days as our frame of reference keeps the status quo as the norm. It also explains how challenging it is to move things forward in companies. People desire innovation, but few make that happen because they’re trapped in the past.

You can learn from history, and you should. Your past accomplishments can be a great foundation from which to build. The key is . . . build !! Being excited about the past is not generational (as noted above.) Every generation wants to keep hold of those great instances. Another challenge that arises though, is that each generation thinks their idea from the past is the one that should drive how things are done.

As HR pros, we need to be wary of the trap of time ourselves. Things changes too quickly now and thinking that we can just maintain the status quo and be successful is a mistake. I think WE should be the one who help honor the past, but force things to move forward and not allow things to get stuck in the mire.

Always remember, we are given the responsibility of caring for humans. Let’s keep them moving !!

To show that I believe in modeling the behavior you expect in others, here’s a great new musical find that a friend shared with me recently aptly fitting HR. Take some time to enjoy “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man !!

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 !!

Have You Played Lately ??

I have !!  Man, the past few weeks have been full of FUN !! And, I work in HR !!  How cool is that?

We had our Christmas Party for our store Managers at Star Lanes at Newport on the Levee.  There was bowling, eating and billiards surrounded by tons of laughter and stories.  It was very casual and loads of fun !!

I also had the privilege of speaking at the chapter meeting of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association (GCHRA) and the event sold out !! Yikes !!  The presentation was on Leadership through HR, and I had a blast.  Lots of laughter, stories and food !!

Then, this weekend I went to the National Museum of the US Air Force on the Wright Patterson Air Force Base with my Boy Scout Troop.  We went through the miles of planes and years of history on a scavenger hunt, took in an IMAX movie and even got to tour through past Air Force One planes.  The boys (and certain adults) let their imaginations run wild and pretend we were fighter pilots.  We all picked our favorite planes that we just HAD to have !!  Again, more laughing, fun and memories.

The ironic thing during all of these activities . . . no one got hurt.  No one was upset.  No one was negative.

It made me start to reflect about what we do in HR.  Is it fun?  Do we allow people to play?  Or, are our processes more important than people?

How about our Associations, Conferences and gatherings?  Fun ?? Parts of them are, but there are also a myriad of rules and structures with good intentions, but limit people from enjoying themselves.

Why is this?  Is someone playing at work, or having fun that threatening?  I’ve said this before. Do you know what happens to kids when they grow up?  They become our employees !!

This week start a new practice before people make silly New Year’s Resolutions that they will strive to break vs. keep.

Have fun at work !!  Quit looking for others to engage you.  Be engaged first yourself !!  Fun is different for all of us, but look around at your company’s culture and see if it fosters creativity or compliance – innovation or conformity.

I plan to play more and more and pull others along with me. Let’s see who’s more productive in the end !!