As you can tell from my first post, I feel that HR is long overdue for some major overhauling. As someone with a business school background, I look at the HR function and see a department that in some ways has lost touch with the rest of the business world.
While the majority of the business world has changed with the times, it seems HR has been stuck in a rut for the last decade (or even longer). What do I mean by this? If you look at other business functions like marketing, manufacturing, IT, or management (among a slew of others), they have evolved as the market has demanded. More than ever, organizations are focused on solutions…experiences…”dream fulfillment”…brands that inspire…design…and WOW projects.
As a result, there is more and more press on how organizations are “thinking outside the box.” The way I translate this: more than ever, organizations are willing to take risks on the intellectual capital (read: Talented people) within their walls. In the past, large corporate entities were hesitant to hand over anything significant to the “risk takers” who wanted to go against the grain. It was “safer” to instead make incremental improvements that management teams suggested after thorough “analysis.”
But times have changed. As I said in my previous post, we live in an Age of Talent. But the catalyst to this age has been disruption in the business world. Organizations find themselves having to compete in a global landscape against competitors that didn’t even exist six months ago. Witnessing the quick rise of Google should tell you that this disruption is a new reality…a new constant in this age.
Now organizations are finding themselves becoming more and more reliant on the group of people they once ignored. It’s the creative, the nutty, and the risk taking individuals who are helping to push organizations ahead of their competitors. In short, it’s a new breed of intellectual capital that’s helping to open up new markets for these large firms. The “White-Collar Revolution” (as Tom Peters calls it) has officially begun.
Tom Kelley, founder of the acclaimed design firm IDEO, addressed the new collective spirit of this movement fittingly when he said, “weed out the dullards, nurture the nuts.”
This is where the staid HR department comes in.
HR needs more nuts. It’s the only way we can survive in an era when change and disruption are the constant. It’s the only way we can finally begin to pay Talent its due, rather than giving it lip service.