He that makes himself dirt is trod on by the swine
It was about 3am this morning, I’d been asleep for hours when I woke with a start. My heart beating fast, sweat pouring down my face and an extreme sense of panic that I’d never felt before. My hands gripped the sheets, the knuckles white, as I slowly slipped out of bed trying not to wake my wife sleeping peacefully beside me.
Downstairs, I switched on a low light, poured a glass of water and tried to concentrate on slowing down my heart. I took a piece of paper and a pencil from the side where the kids do their home work. It was all becoming apparent to me now. A clarity that I had sought for years. On the paper were four lines of writing, four simple points that I knew were going to set me apart from the rest. The answer we all search……..
- Optimise our use of social media
- Implement the removal of the default retirement age
- Develop line manager capability
- Improve our recruitment systems
It was mine…….the key to being strategic…..
Was it fuck!
People, these are not strategic issues. Nor are they the things that keep me awake at night. We hear the relentless banging on about being a strategic function about raising the bar, about getting a seat at the top table and then we go digging around and wallowing in the dirt. Well of course, you get what you deserve.
If HR is a brand we are sullying it day by day with our total inability to raise our heads and look anywhere above the pointless inevitability of our own tactical existence. I’m not thinking about social media a whole lot, not because (as some would tell me) I’m backward looking, but because it means diddly squat in the grand scheme of things. The removal of the DRA? Change a few documents and see how it pans out. Line manager capability isn’t the problem it is HR capability that is. And as for recruitment….recruitment is a process, pure and simple.
These are not the things that are keeping me awake and I bet you they are not the things that are keeping your CEO awake at night. Maintaining margins in an environment where inflationary pressures need to be balanced against a squeeze on consumer spending? Now we’re talking.
I’m not saying these things aren’t important, but every time you allow yourselves to be drawn into thinking that they are the REAL issue, every time that you spend disproportionate time focussing on and debating tactical interventions and process, every time you take your eye off the issues that really DO need talking about……
Every time you do that, you belittle yourself, you belittle your organisation and you belittle your profession.
Being strategic means exactly that. It doesn’t just happen because you close your eyes and hope.