Shooting myself in the foot

I was hesitant to open my blog, because it’s been so long and I had the same feeling I have when I open a Tupperware dish that has been sitting in the back of my fridge for months. I know it’s going to be bad, but just how bad…well that’ s the unknown isn’t.

So, as with the leftover sauce that I told myself I would eat the next day, it’s been months and there is a layer of mould and funky smell coming from this blog.  I attribute it partially to amount of time that has gone by and partially to the topic.  I mean, HR does go bad very quickly.

In fact, and this is not meant as disrespect to the many great bloggers out there, but I have not read an HR post in months.  I attribute it partially to the amount of time that I have and partially to the topic.  I mean, HR does get repetitive very quickly.

I have never really seen the appeal to most of the reality shows out there…Big Brother, The Bachelor, the whatever….I just don’t enjoy watching people intentionally put themselves into situations that make them look stupid and then act like they have somehow been wronged.  And the worst thing about reality shows is the insidious viral factor.  It’s not enough to have one version, we have to have spin-offs and the god-foresaken celebrity version.

And that brings me back to HR blogs.

(You can probably see where I am going with this, and at the risk of unintentionally insulting people, I will leave it at that.)

I mean, I am not shitting on HR blogs.  I am just saying that there is really only a limited amount of things that can be said about it…and a lot of people are tying to come up with new ways of saying it.  So a quick scan of my reader can feel like scrolling the tv channel guide…300 channels and not much on.

Of course, this could just be an extension of my increasingly jaded view about organized HR ,certification, and the need to up the ante to continue to be part of a club that is slowly becoming less relevant to me.

I have always endeavoured to write what I think about all kinds of things and for a long time, it was about HR.  The reality is that these days I don’t think about HR much more than I have to…I don’t lie awake at night imaging a better performance management system or how to incorporate gamificaton into our recognition program or how best to demonstrate the ROI of HR on business lines.

If work keeps me awake, it’s because there is a difficult conversation I need to have with a manager or I am trying to figure out how the hell I am going to do all that needs to be done in a timeframe that feels like it’s shrinking.

Forget dreaming of innovative HR practices and key metrics…I dream of falling down the rabbit hole and how long it will take me to reach the bottom.

I admire those individuals that are able to create links between the what exists and what can be.  The people who question and challenge.  The people that make me stop and think.  I will continue to follow and read those that continue to inspire me.

As for whether people feel the same about my drivel. To each their own and I respect your choice to move along.





Being clear about transparency


Apparently everyone wants it.  We want to know everything about everything.  We want to understand that reasons for all decisions, we want to know all the ingredients in our food, we want the ability to scrutinize the minutiae of every conversations that has ever been had.

Transparency is about being open, honest, and accountable.

On a macro scale, businesses are being held to higher standards and, as such, need to be prepared to open the books to rationalize and defend their practices.

On a micro scale, I believe that there is less clarity about transparency.  How much is too much? How honest is too honest?  When brought down to the level of a one-on-one conversation, transparency gets a bit murky.

If I can take a step out of the workplace for a moment and consider some of my personal relationships, I can attest  that being more transparent and honest has not always worked in my favour.

I spent most of my childhood and a good deal of my adult life wearing a mask around certain members of my family – keeping the peace, being tolerant, not rocking the boat.  And then after a number of life-altering and mind-numbing situations, I was forced to rethink this coping mechanism. And so I took off the mask.

The result has left me with more energy, more calmness, and a better sense of self.  So far, honesty and openness seemed to be positive.  However, this “new” me has created friction and confusion with some who would prefer that I go back to being a nicer person. Not so many points being scored here.

The reality is that I am not always a nice person, I can be moody, cranky, opinionated, stubborn, and sarcastic (for the record, I list this one in both pro and con categories).  If I am going to have an open and honest conversation with someone, there is a chance that one of the above is going to make an appearance.

I will be the first to say that being honest does not give you license to be an asshole, but nor should it condemn you to being a mean and hurtful person.  There is a balance to be had and that is where I was going with the notion of transparency.

Being completely open and honest is a good objective; however, this needs to be tempered with the risks that might be triggered by doing so.  So, am I proposing selective transparency?  Well….no…well, maybe…kind of…it depends.

Can you be transparent without revealing all? Can you be open and honest without saying every single thing that comes to mind?

In terms of businesses, is it absolutely necessary to lay all the cards on the table when there is no added value, but possible risks, in doing so?  I am not proposing hiding details – I am talking about measured and tempered communication.  Kind of like the old film noir that didn’t have to show every graphic detail to explain what was going on.   Enough was said and shown to get the message across.

Now I recognize that every day communication and practices aren’t always that black and white (hehe), but I think that if you avoid the trend of hyping up every message with a light show and heavy bass beat, you might find somewhere in the middle that meets most people’s needs.

Of course, when it comes to transparency, it’s clear that you will never please everyone.