Sugar my tea baby
Last night I was lucky enough to meet Laurie Ruettimann. I know I don’t need to explain who she is and if I do, then you need to get a life…..or a browser….or a cat magazine or something. It wasn’t a work meet it was an informal beer but inevitably we talked a little about blogs and blogging. In this world I am a new-born and Laurie is a wizened old woman. In fact if you’ve seen the picture…… When I started I was always drawn to Laurie, not because I agreed with her, because here was someone who was willing to take a position and stand by it. Often I disagreed completely, but the one thing it did was to start me thinking, to make me argue, to make me work out my position.
HR as a profession is notoriously crap at having balls. In fact there used to be a blog called HR with balls….not sure what entirely happened to them…..castration? I digress. Having a position, making a stance is not a weakness, far from it. Managers, fellow professionals respect you if you say what you believe. The moment you say, “this a decision for the business” not only have you disempowered yourself, but you’ve also added a further degree of separation between HR and “the business”.
You don’t influence by giving choices, you don’t change peoples’ opinions by asking them what they want to do and you don’t get better decision-making from submissive compliance. You get it through debate. And in order to have a debate, you need to have a position. How you express that position is going to be different depending on who you are dealing with. I have colleagues where conversations are the office equivalent to cage fighting and others where it is a game of chess. But each time I know what my position is and I make it clear.
If we’re serious about this profession (and I know I am, ‘cos its all I’ve got) we need to start standing up and being counted. We need to bring something to the party other than snivelling subservience. We need to start adding something. We need to bring a position.