I’ve been watching with fascination over the last couple years as countires have rebelled against their governments (Arab Spring in 2011), and American citizens have condemned corruption, and congratulated the populous for rising up and forcing change. It’s fascinating to me because we are so unaware of what has been going on around us for so long. After all, we (as a country) have been supporters of Egypt for decades. The United States has supplied and trained their military, given them aid in various forms, and we have very publicly acknowledged them as strategic allies in the region. Apparently, The United States has never actually cared that a particular leader was corrupt. I mean really, do a Google search for the now famous photo of Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein. Uhh, yeah, Saddam was an ally too. Oh, the guy we took out of Panama, Noriega, him too. Actually, we were the ones who put him in power ((I think, but I’m on a plane and can’t actually do the quick research to verify this)). I mean, come on, we’re all blind to the other side of the coin that we hold in our own hands?
I’m often surprised at the level of myth that is present in large corporate organizations as well. “Oh, no, we can’t possibly expect to have most of our employee transactions go through the portal.” Really, in 2011, you can expect it, and you can even demand it. “Oh, no, we can’t outsource payroll, the displacement of control would be devastating to us.” Guys, you still control the rules in the gross to net. You really want to run printers and update your own taxes in the payroll system forever? “Our CEO has demanded that we implement talent management in the next 3 months.” Seriously, this is just the flip side, and you didn’t tell him or her that it’s a bad idea to slam a strategic system in?
I love myth. Myth tells us about ourselves, our beliefs, and our culture. In every myth, there is a grain of truth, a particle of reason that is steeped in the reality of our companies. But often times, myths get blown out of proportion. Deeply held beliefs that are there for so long that they only are a reality in the minds of the 10 and 20 year company veterans. Unfortunately, those 20 year employees are usually not that current with the as is culture.
We as HR have indeed started to change. Talent Management was honestly one of the biggest catalysts we have had, in conjunction with an ever improving ability to manipulate data through systems. But I often think that the biggest obstacle of change are ourselves. Talent was supposed to be a revolution, but 5 years or so later, all we have is a bunch of automated processes and new theories. We need to be the HR leaders that force the issue, realize the former state was crap (even if we put it there and supported it), and the future state is where the game will be played.