#7Songs – Thunder !!

I’ve really enjoyed participating in the 7Songs blog series. To be candid, it’s impossible to get it down to seven single songs. I’m sure you could make a list like this fairly easily using different eras of music, different genres of artists and a myriad of different filters to compile a “best of” list.

The item that pulled all of these songs together for me can be summed up in one word – passion !! I am passionate about my choices and most people are very passionate about music. You may love one type of music and absolutely despise another. If you bring that up, you are sure to get arguments from others because they will defend their faves as well.

For me, there is only one band that embodies passion for me because every time they strike a chord on the guitar or belt out a crushing vocal, they bring it !!

#7 – Thunderstruck by AC/DC

Let's RockYou can’t help but banging your head and throwing your hands in the air the minute an AC/DC song starts. Thunderstruck epitomizes the essence of this
Aussie power group !! They made a career of songs built on three chords. Even though it’s “simple” music, they make arenas erupt.

I had been a fan of AC/DC for years when Thunderstruck came out. They had been making rock anthems for years before MTV had videos. So, I also got to SEE them perform this, and I couldn’t contain myself. The riff that Angus Young starts deftly moving up and down the frets of his guitar hooks you instantly. It’s something that would turn into a performance tied to HR down the road.

When I was chair of the Ohio SHRM State Conference, the theme was HR Rocks !! (double exclamation points included) For those of you who know me double exclamation points are the norm when I write (even texts and e-mails) because they epitomize passion.

As chair, I pulled my committee aside and showed them my vision of the opening of the conference. I wanted a stage with a catwalk, flashing lights and Thunderstruck blaring overhead. I actually bought an Angus Young costume and dressed up like him to take the stage and loudly welcome everyone to the event.

When I did this, the attendees all had drum sticks that they could pound together to bring the noise to a triumphant crescendo !! By the time I reached the mic to yell out “Hello, Sandusky !! Are you ready to rock ??!!” they were already geeked to get the show started.

Passion is something that we too often suppress when it is something we should express. Being tentative may be safer, but it leads to regret because you miss out on what you wanted to do. I learned long ago what it felt like to work in an environment that sucked the soul out of you. When I left that company, I vowed that my passions would never be suppressed again. . . . And they haven’t since !!

So, I encourage you to get the entire AC/DC catalog. It’s great to rip off the lid of the day and just flat rock !!! Find your 7Songs and keep them on a playlist to remind you that you were created to be vibrant, creative people. It’s who you’re supposed to be.

Let me help you get started – hands in air, head banging, cue the riff . . .

Time to Reignite !!

Many people are trying to shake the winter doldrums in the hope that spring will renew them. This happens every year and is very predictable behavior. Instead of enjoying the season we’re in, we keep looking forward to a rebirth in the next season to come. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the thaw that is finally upon us and am glad to see the snow start to dissipate.

I think many HR pros look at their career with the same anticipation they have with the changing of the seasons. There seems to be a push that ANYTHING would be better than the situation they currently find themselves facing. There is also a feeling of professional isolationism because they feel that no one is experiencing the levels of disgust, frustration and angst that they are. When I hear stories of despair I get concerned. I’m concerned because if that is how you are approaching your role, it will reflect in your performance and with the employees that work alongside you.

There are seemingly countless stories and sentiments of HR pros who are just flat burnt out. They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  In fact, all they see is the tunnel and it keeps getting deeper and darker. This isn’t healthy in any way whatsoever. Why would you continue to go back to a difficult HR environment just to be a martyr everyday?

It’s time for HR practitioners to come to terms with a reality in our careers. There is only one person who’s responsible for how Human Resources is in your role and that’s YOU !! Your career may be influenced by others around you, but in the end, you are the only person who can impact who you are and what you do.

Has the fire gone out for you?  Or, has the fire consumed you and eaten away at what you think HR should be in your company?

Lit Matches in a rowTake a different approach intentionally and reignite the fire of passion around Human Resources !! Everyday you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the people around you and also add value to the growth and success of your company. You can, and must, be the model of making this happen in your culture. Believe me when I say that this isn’t a pep talk to motivate you.  Motivation is internal and you alone can build that energy up. You could spice in a great rock tune, say something from AC/DC, to get you jacked up, but this isn’t a peak and valley approach. Once your passion is reignited, you need to fan the flame so that others around you start catching this fire.

I’ve recently been talking with some friends who either just changed HR roles, or want to. In every case they expressed that they want an HR role where they can flourish and make a difference in what they do. This needs to be the expectation of everyone in HR !!  The conversations I had weren’t somber or melancholy. They were a chance to share some encouragement and give them a nudge to no longer settle for mediocrity in what they do. The companies they work(ed) for didn’t view HR in a positive, integrated and broad way. That’s fine if companies want to limit HR – but YOU don’t have to be a part of that !!

People wonder if my level of passion and excitement is some shtick for some on-line persona. You can trust me, it’s not. It took me several years to understand that HR can be on fire all the time. It also took some searching to find a role and a company that was as passionate and excited about what they did so that this ignited form of HR could grow and exist.

So, if you’re burnt out – rekindle !! If you’re an ember that’s just barely holding on and smoldering – add fuel and energy !!  If you’re in a role where HR cannot be exciting and passionate, then maybe it’s time to find a place that let’s you rock it out !! Reignite yourself and radiate great HR in all that you say and do !! It’s really the only way to practice.

Time for the 2nd Half !!

This week I get to celebrate a true milestone . . . I turn 50 years old on Friday, 1/3/14 !!

Now, I know that turning 50 is not that big of an accomplishment for most people.  However, in the Browne genealogy line, I’m a senior citizen.  My father passed away when he was 26 and my uncle passed away when he was in his late 30’s.  My other uncle made it into his 60’s.  But this isn’t a sad post – just some back story.

Most people look at 50 as something nearing more of an end of things they used to do with ease, or as being over the hill.  If you have been reading this blog, you know that I tend to look at things a bit differently.  You see, I’m looking forward to the second half of my life !!

Now, I’m not naive or arrogant in thinking that fifty more years are any sort of guarantee.  But, why look at things as “less than” when you don’t even know what is lying ahead of you?  I could never have foreseen what amazing things have happened during my first half century !!  (An example of this is that I’m writing a blog that others actually read from a laptop computer that is wirelessly connected to the internet as I sit typing in my living room.)

What's NextI honestly can’t wait to see what’s next !!  I don’t have to know the details, or have any absolute assurances in the least.  In fact, not knowing makes it a bit more exciting because I’ll get to experience whatever’s next as it happens.

As we enter another year, I find myself even more encouraged and passionate about life than I have been in the past !!  I’m sure there are literally thousands of people who I will get to meet, know and share situations with in the second half.  I’ve already been fortunate enough to experience this, and value it more than you know.

How about you?  Are you looking forward to what’s coming?  Or, do you have doubts, concerns and fears?  I know there will be obstacles, challenges, failures and other big unknowns that will come my way in the years to come.  But, that doesn’t concern me.  It intrigues me !!

I hope that as a New Year unfolds for each of us, that you choose to be wildly passionate, fiercely intentional and abundantly optimistic !!  It’s really a fascinating way to live each day, and I think it’s how we’ve been naturally wired if we allow it to happen.

Now I need to get ready.  The second half is about to start !!

Got an idea ??

Why has HR become passive within the organization?  There’s an on-going movement that is somewhat disheartening, and that is that HR feels it’s role is to be reactive and prepared.  To always play defense is not a healthy way to approach daily work.

Granted, HR does have to react because of the intangibles that people have each day, but if you’re just waiting for the red alarm phone to ring furiously off your desk, so you can jump into action, you’re doing things backwards.  Also, I can’t imagine how stressful you feel HR is by approaching the field this way.  When I talk to my peers, too many of them put themselves in this camp.  They also feel that this is what is “expected” of them from Senior Management.  Yikes !!

Time for something new . . .

Do you have ideas?  If so, do you share them, implement them, or shy away from them?  Do you feel you do/don’t have permission to act on your ideas?

Have you fallen into the pit of doing things the same way every day and for every situation?  If that is the case, let me share that I think that you have missed the value of how vastly different people and each situation you face truly is.  Most of us stopped either having, or sharing, ideas because we listened to others who beat us down when we want to try something new.

The other pitfall to ideas is that we think that systems “fix” people.  If we have the best system, it won’t matter who the people are. (I’ve heard this quoted verbatim at a company !!)  People are the difference at work and great people make great systems shine !!

Back to ideas . . .

I’d like to challenge you to follow my personal model.  I intentionally try to come up with 3 to 5 ideas a day to try something new at work.  Some are massive ideas, and some are small, trite things that take little to no effort.  The second step is that I try EVERY idea out.  EVERY ONE !!  That isn’t an exaggeration.

The response I can hear those of you reading this is – “But how do you have the time to have 3 to 5 ideas a day and then try them out?  My day is so full, I couldn’t possibly do that !!”  The fact is, my day is overflowing and I love that !!  With 3 to 5 ideas every day, it’s also new, challenging, fresh and positive.  Is that true with your full day ??

So, try it.  You have to remember that you don’t need permission to think and create.  You’re EXPECTED to think and create !!  Need to go now.  New idea brewing  . . .