Getting Messy in HR


You were absolutely right in your last post to call out courage as a critical marker of the progress we are seeing in HR. The courageous are leading the way.
There is one more thing that I’d like to add to this discussion. It occurred to me as I was having an email conversation with a friend of mine about a project we are undertaking together. Here’s a snapshot of how the conversation went:
My Friend: “It’s good to have you back in the game on this thing.”
Me: “It’s good to be back in the game. Let’s go make a mess and get something started.”
My Friend: “I’ve been a slow learner, but I’ve come to realize that I need to make more messes. I now know that not everyone is going to like me all the time, and so I need to be willing to get more messy. Plus, what good is amassing this political capital if I’m not going to use it once in a while? It’s not worth anything anywhere else.”
Progress is messy. Change is messy. Revolutions don’t happen in orderly, comfortable ways. Most of the time, we have to let go of the old ways of doing things before the new way emerges. We have no guaranty of success when we start, so we have to put ourselves in a tough position sometimes. Talking about the future, about change, makes people around you uncomfortable and when people get uncomfortable, they begin to resist. I’ll say it again, progress is messy.
You know what’s not messy?
  • Status quo
  • Complacency
  • Irrelevance
All very orderly and predictable. All very widely embraced by those around us because it allows them to stay in their comfortable existence without interference.
So, this is another reason why an event like HRevolution is so important. It’s an “unconference” so it’s bound to break many of the rules we’ve come to expect for conferences. It will allow for conversation and even encourage discourse. It should press us into discussions that feel unsafe and wildly uncomfortable. It’s built around creating social capital and furthering ideas, not selling products. It might just make us change our views on things.
It’s going to be messy. That might be the best lesson we can learn from this experience. Less order, more chaos. This is HR for the future.
Let’s go make a mess.

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