I just got home from HRevolution and I am beat. I’ve been wrapping my head around some of the things we talked about, how it intersected with Talent Camp and some of my own personal revelations. There’s good news and bad news but first I wanted to touch on the unconference itself.
HRevolution Was A Resounding Success
You can correct me if I am wrong but I don’t believe Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, Crystal Peterson or Steve Boese had any experience running an event like this before. Honestly, you couldn’t tell because everything ran incredibly smooth and surprisingly close to time. This is amazing simply because I know that this group of people can be some of the worst traditional conference attendees. Maybe that’s why the format worked but let’s hand it to these four who put in a ton of effort to pull this off.
Everyone has different goals coming into an event like this so you can take this as just one person’s opinion. I hope that future events like this will be more about equipping progressive people in the talent industry with the knowledge, tools and passion necessary to push our industry forward. We can talk about the future of HR, strategic vs. tactical HR, and those huge topics all day. There is a fear in my mind that we get caught up in circular arguments, questions about terminology or nitpicking advancements and failures on the part of the traditional talent models.
Let me back up here.
What Is Revolution?
July 4th, 1776 is a fairly significant date in US history. It is the day that our Declaration of Independence was signed and the birth of our nation. The document itself isn’t the reason that the day is significant though. After all, the document itself is a Dear John letter saying goodbye to British colonial rule with some fairly outdated language conventions. Without the context of everything else, the document is imperfect and written by one of the least diverse groups in history.
What makes the day and the document so significant is that it spurred us into heavy action. Those resulting actions, followed by many, many more, gave us what we have today in the US.
What would have happened if they just kept talking about the document instead of acting on it? What would have happened if they got together in 1779 and talked about how there are some imperfections or how some had some significant issues with the document itself? What would have happened if the Declaration were still on the table getting discussed in 1789? 1799?
We might have missed an opportunity to do anything. Rebellion could have been easily squashed, new power structures could have been installed and people could have lost the will to continue discussion with no inaction. The founders knew that the window of opportunity was swiftly closing and that 100% agreement was less important than capturing an inspiring statement and using it to thrust a cobbled collection of colonies into war.
Revolution Is Action
I may be burned out a bit from all of the future talk but at the end of HRevolution, I felt like there wasn’t a call to take real action that will push us forward.
I know. It is all so uncertain. We don’t have a crystal ball. That’s why there is hesitation to lead.
We can continue to wait for the right time, the right answer, the right set of circumstances and the right people. We can revise the mission statement a thousand times. Until we execute, until we move forward personally, and until we accept the fact that we will never have all of the answers about tomorrow today and that it might result in failure (spectacularly hopefully), things will simply change without our input.
The odds are always against purpose driven, proactive change. Simply reacting to a set of circumstances is too easy, too in line with human nature to impact those odds that much. That’s why I am not interested in convincing others (at least with words) to get on board with the future of business and people. It is actually more effective (counter intuitively at times I might add) to simply do something amazing without thinking a ton about it. The rules are written as we act.
I’d love to have a forum where we can talk about tactical ideas that align with this new paradigm and how we can implement them both within ourselves and our organizations. Then we could talk how those ideas actually worked and what we could change about them. Then we would change and implement again. Repeat forever. Sound easy?
It Won’t Be Easy
It seems like a simple thing but it isn’t. It is easier to talk about big ideas and never bring them back to action. It is also easier to think the former argument is more important than the latter because that feels more strategic and inspiring. To me though, the most strategic and inspiring stories come from people who have succeeded through imperfect action. A couple of takeaways that I have been using to ignite action in my life:
- Constantly question with the purpose of acting – I mentioned this on HR Happy Hour but I will do it again: I ask questions to help me take my next step forward. Just because I ask if HR is dying doesn’t mean I believe it is or whatever else was being implied. It means there is critical examination taking place so that I can continue to evolve and push for change.
- Constantly act, especially when you feel uncertain – I am in a place in my career where I don’t know what I am doing all of the time (some would say all of the time). Being paralyzed because of that would be easy but acting has helped define much of the constantly evolving strategy of our business. I would never know what actually is going to work without doing it.
- Constantly give, especially when you won’t get anything in return – I am prone to think about actions in the context of this “What’s in it for me?” mentality. When I drop this mentality and just do it for the sake of helping other people, I have found that this prompts me to act more than I normally would. And acting more means learning more means defining the best path forward.
How do we push for revolution? We find every opportunity to act. Are you ready?