“OMG Wes, how far can you take this theme?” I’m a firm believer that offensive driving is good defensive driving. That’s not to say I’m a jerk on the road. Ok, maybe I’m a little bit of a jerk on the road. I am a Los Angeles driver after all. But there are certain things I’ll do and certain things I won’t. If I know you want to change into my lane but you are not signaling, I will actively speed up to make sure you see me and don’t crash into me. On the other hand, if you are signaling, I’ll actually take my foot off the accelerator and let you through (see? I’m not a complete a-hole). What it really comes down to is that I’ll enforce the area around me. I’m going to make sure that my buffer exists by actively forcing the issue, not backing off.
I often think we are soft with our clients. “Hello sir, yes sir, of course sir…” I’ve heard so many times that we don’t have a seat at the table, that we are a cost, not profit center, that we are a support organization. All of this is part truth, and mostly crap. We don’t have a seat at the table because we don’t force the issue. “What are you doing about talent?” “Well, we’re working on it.” We are a cost center because we don’t force the organization to accept the real quantification of dollars that our hiring and talent activities produce. We are a support organization because we still feel like we need to cater to a business that wants to see their own activities as the highest priority instead of HR.
I’d love for someone to argue with me when I say that we lack confidence. I don’t think we get to where HR is supposed to be until we decide that “The Business” does not rule the universe. The next sale is not more important than talent, unless you’re about to go bankrupt. The business unit that wants to measure their workforce in a radically different way does not trump the standardization that we have fought so hard for. The CEO might actually think that people are our most important asset if we actually connected every activity we do to how s/he is measured.
In the end, we are defensive drivers for HR. I’d love to see HR go on the offensive, to attack, enforce and most of all believe. When someone is encroaching on our space, we can’t back off – we need to accelerate and make others aware that we are there.