HRevolution – The Beginning


First let me say that you were missed in Chicago. For me personally, I was trapped in my own personal purgatory of explaining where the hell you were over and over again. Not sure why people like you so much . . . clearly, they’ve never visited your garage. But I digress.
HRevolution was an experience, that’s for sure. There has been a lot said about the conference, so I’ll try not to rehash the experience, but rather try to share what I took away from the event. While I certainly brought my Talent Anarchist game to this gathering, I found myself coming more from the perspective of the corporate HR leader in the conversations, trying to provide the perspective of a person who was living in the work on a day to day basis.
As others have said, the participant base came from all corners of the HR world–vendors, consultants, bloggers, speakers, publishers, and even a few practitioners. The value of the experience for me came from the connections and conversations I was able to share with these bright, passionate people. But, a connection is simply a beginning, it’s what happens next that truly matters. Here are my prevailing thoughts as I left the event:
  • Ideas are cheap. Everyone has ideas. They are everywhere. What differentiates the best from the rest is execution–taking those ideas and turning them into results.
  • If HRevolution is truly about evolving the discipline of HR, we have to find a way to engage more practicing HR leaders in the conversation. It has to continue to evolve from a gathering of social media savvy HR folks to an event that promotes ideas that serve as the foundation for a new reality in the work of HR.
  • Talking does not equal change. HR transformation isn’t going to happen in blogs or unconferences. It will happen when a new kind of leader and practitioner emerges who execute their role in a different way that creates breakthrough results for our organizations.
  • Social capital and influence are, in my opinion, at the center of what top performing HR people need. I worry that some of the practitioners at the conference are spending too much time blogging and engaging in the twittersphere at the expense of building and developing the relationships they need in their organization to take their game to the next level.
So, while I completely agree with you that Curiosity, Critical Thinking and Courage are critical to participating in this (r)evoution, the list isn’t complete. I have a couple others to add.
  • Accountability: Leadership means giving away credit when things go right and accepting more than you share of the blame when things go wrong. In HR, it’s amplified by 100 times. There was a lot of discussion about what HR should and shouldn’t take responsibility for. If you want to be a revolutionary HR pro, take responsibility for it all, even if you only influence a small part of the result. We have to completely stop this blame assignment game and just step up. Yep, management may be “who” is supposed to be growing and developing people. If they aren’t, raise your hand and take responsiblity for it. Then, go make it better.
  • Execution: I’ve already mentioned this point. Ideas by themselves don’t do anything. You have to be able to turn those ideas into results. Trish and Ben, the founders of HRevolution, are great examples of execution. They could have stopped at the discussion of this idea, but they didn’t. Two unconferences later, they have started a movement. Another example–I have heard and read a lot of criticism by attendees about there not being more HR practitioners at HRevolution. If they really feel that way, then when this event roles around next time, they will work hard to get the other HR leaders from their network to attend. The vendors who came might even pay for some of their HR clients to be there next time. We have to stop our complaining and realize that we own the solution if we’d just step up and do it.
  • Influence/Political Skill: The stark reality that most of us in corporate leadership aren’t prepared for as we get promoted to larger roles is that our effectiveness becomes less and less about what we do and more about what we can influence others to do. HR leaders must become students of human behavior and political systems. We have to understand how things get done, who the players are and how those players make decisions. We need to be able to navigate in the shark tank without being eaten. This means studying things like power, sales techniques and social capital. Start here.
Thank you to HRevolution and the planning committee. It was a remarkable event and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to participate. It has definitely stoked the fire for me. Up with the revolution!

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