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Men in Black

You’ve heard, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” right?  Whether it’s politics, family relationships or business leadership, there is a sense that we keep coming back to the same issues and conversations.  It’s déjà vu all over again.

The photo of the current slate of movies out shows a bit of this truth.  Did you really think you’d see Toy Story, Men in Black, Godzilla, Spiderman, Aladdin and Child’s Play all back in the theaters?  Of course, there are different versions, but isn’t it generally the same? The plotlines feel similar, the characters are developed with a standard pattern; perhaps the graphics are better, but is that enough?

Having recently attended the National SHRM Conference in Las Vegas, I found myself listening in on some of the same conversations we’ve been having for at least 20 years.  The same fears, the same threats, the same frustration (perhaps with a slight variance on the details) were the topics of dialogue.  Professionals in human resources grappling with the redundancy of process and performance discussions.  We’re still discussing time clocks, handbooks, onboarding and discipline.

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And while those things are important, we might be spending more time than we realize.  Perhaps we put our heads down to write a handbook in 1995 and have looked up in 2019.  Maybe you were flashed by the Men in Black?  Isn’t that what it feels like sometimes?  Where did those best laid plans go?  How did things become so tactically circular?

In some ways, a space traveler returning to earth after 25 years might not be able to see how business has really evolved.  Sure, the tools may be more advanced, but has business advanced?  As people experts, we know that our involvement in hearts and minds change the fabric of organizations.  For instance, all of the diversity training in the world won’t change people’s approach and consideration until their hearts and minds are impacted.  That takes a deliberate, personal touch.

We’ve got to stop singing “A Whole New World” and actual work to create it, however small our power and fiefdom might be.  Start where you are.

Attack areas of:

  • Communication
  • Inclusion and Equity
  • Collaboration
  • Organizational Structure
  • Job Duties, Enrichment and Enlargement
  • Career Progression
  • Skill Advancement and Knowledge Transfer
  • Talent Assessment and Alignment
  • Resource Development, Acquisition and Usage

Understand, too, that this consideration is more than just a rally cry.  It is a call for consistent change to business approach.  In human resources, relegation to tactical, responsive living is commonplace.  The truly proactive HR approach is rare.  We have to partner with fervor around all business decisions.  And if your current role is not one where this approach will work, that’s ok.  Support the person in the role that can.  Take the tactical off of his/her plate so there’s clear sailing.  We’re a team.

We’ve got to wake up before another 25 years of the same conversations occur.  For heaven’s sake, people, scrunchies are back on the market and people are wearing them.  We can’t let this much history repeat itself!