Fortune Friday: Workplace Wisdom from a Cookie | HR Fishbowl

Written on September 30, 2011 by Charlie in Fortune Friday, Trench HR

We had Chinese carryout last night. In the year we’ve been living in La Grange, IL we’ve yet to find a Chinese joint we’re enamored of. None the less, last night’s meal satisfied the soul…temporarily. As I was crumbling the cookie to get at the fortune and as I was tempted to play the “in bed” game, it struck me that the same pithy (and often eerily apropos) hilarity might just apply to the workplace. So instead of adding “in bed” at the end of the fortune in a rather juvenile way (and who wants that?!?!), let’s see if we can capture some wisdom about the world of work by adding “at work” at the end. If it catches, we’ll do it every Friday…I know, too much excitement for one week. Here’s the fortune my Chinese brethren provided us last night:

“Beware a man of one book” (at work)

This actually speaks to me. Especially as it relates to the realm of Human Resources. It scares me when someone knows too much about something…or one thing. Our brains have a limited capacity (don’t listen to all that crap about our using only 10% of it). If you spend all your time becoming an expert with one subject, you by default know very little about everything else…unless you’re Marilyn Vos Savant…and you’re not.

From the recruiting perspective, this might apply to the candidate who has worked for one company their entire life in pretty much the same job. This one-book-candidate may never really have been challenged, didn’t have the energy or passion to test his boundaries, and found contentment with the status quo. Not my favorite kind of candidate; I want someone with a little more move and shake in ‘em.

This might also apply to that HR professional who picks their favorite business, management, leadership or self-help book and uses it as their point of reference for actually everything they do at work. Whether it’s One Page Talent Management, Good to Great, Drive, or the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, neither one of them carry the “end-all-to-be-all.” And those who consume these books with little regard to the whole host of diametrically opposed perspectives out there, are no better than a horse walking through life with blinders on. It’s that guy that walks around quoting the book at every turn…to the point of predictability. Sure, you might be focused, not so easily spooked, and resolute; but you’ve missed all the fun going on around you.

What other parallels do you draw from this cookie’s fortune to your experience at work?

Image Credit: ~Jetta Girl~ (via Compfight)

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