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The ingredients of success



In a conversation last night, I was discussing the frustrations of working in HR one of the key ones I believe is that we cannot solve peoples problems.  We can proffer ideas, influence, coach, develop, but we cannot “do” to an individual or more commonly a relationship between two or more individuals.  This often requires significant effort without visible results and is, in my experience, the biggest demotivator for HR professionals.  Some people would say this is because HR is ineffective, some people would say it was because it is not a real profession.  My personal view is that it is just damned tough sometimes.

I was talking about this last week too when discussing my love for cooking.  Given any spare time and I will try to place myself in the kitchen whether it is making cakes, biscuits, or a three course meal.  Why?  I don’t eat a huge amount myself but enjoying the process, I enjoy the simplicity and I enjoy (hopefully) the pleasure that it gives to others.  It is the complete antithesis to my work.  The goal is clear and simple, the steps to be taken prescribed and easy to follow, the outcome tangible and the feedback immediate. 

Of course there is an upside to the kind of work we do, when we get a result after all the effort it feels fantastic, when we get positive feedback it feels wonderful.  And this is the moment when you see HR professionals at their highest peaks, but in my experience these moments are few and far between. 

Psychologically, we all need to feel that we are achieving, that we are delivering, progressing, however you wish to term it.  That effort in is equal to output.  If you don’t get it in your job, you look for it elsewhere.  We all have our ways of achieving this, me I find it in the kitchen.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Lena M. permalink
    02/23/2010 13:06

    Kitchen… Hum… Who’da thunk it…

    I find lots of pleasure and rewards in the kitchen, but my favourite part about cooking is working on a recipe, silently, when the kitchen is finally empty…

    Lots of satisfying moments for me, when on stage or by the stoves… I guess I will have to grow up eventually and pick just one of them, but in the meantime, I’ll just go on having tons of fun and making people happy while at work…

  2. G-dog permalink
    02/23/2010 13:43

    I also love to cook – it is a great blend of creative & predictable (or at least usually edible). Also, cooking has more immediate & more tangible rewards. People seem to always be a horrible blend of completely predictable & unpredictable.

  3. 02/23/2010 19:15

    Hmm, I think if firms stopped positioning HR as a “friend”, workers would stop expecting HR to solve their problems.

    Just sayin’.

  4. 03/01/2010 08:28

    @Lena – I’m envious

    @G-dog – “People seem to always be a horrible blend of completely predictable and unpredictable” – summed up in one sentence…I doff my cap.

    @Geekette – Do I have your permission to be horrible to everyone now then?

  5. G-dog permalink
    03/02/2010 00:36

    School of hard knocks + Jerry Springer show + skepticism + glimmer of hope…

  6. 03/02/2010 10:53

    @G-dog – Multiplied by the square root of the coefficient of the ability to be an ass for no apparent reason!

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