MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES … has always been a favorite phrase of mine as I have always taken it to mean … should you be so lucky
as to live in active, dynamic and expansive times. While many of us have attributed this as an old Chinese proverb, it turns out to really be an English translation of an old Chinese curse with a different slant that goes something like … “better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period”. Hmm, I am not so sure about that but I am pretty sure we could substitute our favorite VUCA acronym in place of chaotic (warring). My question for today is which period would be better if you were an HR professional looking to make a difference
? For me, there is no debate, I would take the chaos of a VUCA world hands down for the chance to help SHAPE THE FUTURE
– maybe in part because the idea of being a “dog” at any time doesn’t work for me.
HR professionals and leaders of every sort have a significant opportunity and challenge to make a meaningful difference in today’s NASCAR frenetic pace operating in non-oval world filled with occasional blackouts of visibility as you face the “fog of the future” as Don Sull from MIT likes to say.
This challenge is not one for the faint of heart or those with fear of the unknown because there will continue to be lots more in the uncertainty that lies ahead. I am not sure how many of you might have watched or seen the finish of Sunday’s DAYTONA 500 – but it was pretty exciting even for a non-race fanatic living in North Carolina. The last 10 laps seemed amazingly calm as 20-30 race cars zoomed around this fabled track at around 200 mph jockeying just inches from each other and potential disaster. It is only as they flash by that we truly realize how fast they are going and how incredibly fine the line between advantage and destruction.
Just as amazing as the talent of the drivers is the total synchronization of the full team – crew chief, pit crews, engine and body crews – no way to win without the full team. It is the full combination of these forces that enabled DENNY HAMLIN to come from behind at the right precise moment and harness the total agility to seize the win – being totally focused, fast and flexible as he adapted throughout the race to stay poised for the win. Same dynamics apply for all agile, high performance teams in any arena including our HR teams.
Our new book FOCUSED, FAST & FLEXIBLE provides a roadmap with many practical guides to help show the way to build winning agility. Additionally, further insights and important learning is available for colleagues and practitioners at the upcoming HUMAN CAPITAL INSTITUTE SUMMIT on March 29-30 in New Orleans. Our full Agility Consulting pit crew will be there and love to trade ideas and practical insights. Hope to see you there!
Tom O’Shea, CMC
Organizational Agility Practice Leader