Written on July 8, 2010 by Charlie in #TrenchHR, HR Profession
There’s been a lot of talk in the HR blogosphere lately around “TrenchHR” (HR professionals actually practicing in a corporate environment – private or public) needing to get more active in publicly promoting, advancing, and influencing the practice of Human Resources (See HR Capitalist, HR Whisperer, CareerLifeConnection, FistfulofTalent). The perceived imbalance between what we hear from outside consultants/pundits and what we hear from those in the trenches appears to be the impetus to this trend’s emergence. I’m not here to argue one perspective is more important than the other; but I’ve been preaching the dangers of this imbalance to the profession for quite some time.
I’ll be the first to extol the progress we’ve made from being administrative to operational to organizational to strategic. Have we finally “arrived”? I don’t know, that’s just a stupid question. But we’ve changed and I think we’re better for it. Here’s the problem, though: A lot of us are still ambivalent about that change. We thought we wanted it, we worked hard to get it, and now that we got it we’re not really sure how to use it…wisely. We are the proverbial dog that finally caught the car…ohhhhhh shit!
Say what you want, but I think there is one large obstacle inhibiting the average HR professional’s ability to wield this new power wisely: The Fear of Failing. We are, after all, programmed to be judicious, to play the middle, to counsel and console, to protect and serve. We’re glad they’ve taken notice, but now we’re scared we’ll mess it up. We are constantly trying to prove our value, lest they call us “impostors.” We are generally not entrepreneurial (which, by the way, most consultants are) and haven’t learned that failure is a major ingredient to success. Successful entreprenuers thrive on failure – they carry it like a badge of honor – and they know it makes them smarter, faster, stronger. How many times have you been told by someone (outside of HR) that what you’re proposing won’t work? We wouldn’t have one-tenth of today’s wonders if the people behind them had listened to those fools. And what if it doesn’t work? Who the ‘f cares?! You shouldn’t… and so what if they do?! Stop paralyzing yourself for fear of how your contributions will be received. Inaction is neither success nor failure…it’s just plain old nothingness. And nothingness will get you – and the profession – no where.
Photo Credit: ThePrytzFamily
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