Fearless Change Agent?

The agenda for the upcoming #RHUBNZ Conference claims that “After two days you can expect to be a fearless change agent” (http://rhub.co.nz/agenda/).  That’s a big call, but one I’m more than willing to put to the test. I’d love to be considered and consider myself as a Fearless Change Agent. How would that be for a job title? Sounds like a super hero. So aside from this, what else has got me excited about attending the conference touted as a must attend for all in NZ recruitment?

The line-up for one thing. The speakers confirmed for the conference read like the glitterati of the talent world. There are people here who I’ve looked up to and learnt from in one form or another for years now. Including one of my former AUT lecturers, so good he wrote the text books. I’m anticipating being more than a little star-struck over the conferences’ two days.

I’m looking forward to networking. Meeting people #IRL (in real life) that I’ve previously only met via social media and the like who share similar interests. This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of another conference I attended recently, resulting in deepened and strengthened connections with people I was already in regular contact with and a host of new people to share with and learn from. The incredible technology available now means that through social media it’s even easier than ever to maintain these relationships on an on-going basis.

Recruiters. I’ve heard them called the car salesmen of the HR world – don’t hate me for that comment, for it’s not one I subscribe to. Rather, I see recruiters as something of the super hero’s or “change agents” of the HR profession. In my opinion they appear to be the group forging ahead into new and different ways of working. Utilising technology, embracing it and pioneering a way forward. I believe the rest of the HR disciplines could learn a lot from recruiters, how and where they are working both now and into the future.

Takeaways, learning, development, growth, new ideas and new ways of working should all be given results of any conference, but to do so you need to be fearless. Fearless enough to learn and recognise there is always more to learn. Fearless enough to open yourself up to new. New people, technology, ways of working and thinking.

In reviewing my thoughts to this point I’m aware that I’m expecting what looks like a lot from this conference. However, as I’ve rarely stopped preconference to really think about what I want to get out of it before (other than the obvious – in this case honed recruiting skills) it may well be that all of the above is highly deliverable. Here’s hoping. Here’s to fearless learning.

Post the #RHUBNZ Conference I fully intend to be a Fearless Change Agent (with Super Hero like recruiter practices). I hope my post conference blog has the same title, but with the question mark replaced by a period. 
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Lessons in Patience…

I’m just back from a fabulous holiday on Australia’s Gold Coast; stayed in a gorgeous resort hotel, hit the theme parks, took the other half to the All Blacks game in Brisbane and caught up with very dear friends; all complimented with clear blue skies and a 27 degree average temperature – sounds idyllic right?!

And mostly it was. However, combining a 4am wake up, three hour flight, three hour time difference and not being able to check in until 2pm, when we arrived at 9am and lack of a pram meant the first was a tad trying for Miss Four. This in turn meant it was a tad trying for the other half who’s usually very patient, and by 6:30pm that night even I was feeling a tad frazzled. The day was greatly improved by a trip to Kmart and the purchase of a cheap pram to save Miss Four’s legs from walking everywhere and my arms from carrying her when she refused. At this point I should mention that she’s a red-head and has every bit of the stubborn temperament inherited along with this from her Scottish ancestry. To be fair post a huge sleep the first night, for all of us, she was a dream from that point on (again very thankful for the pram though), with only a couple of other standoffs over having to leave the pool.

But that first day was an exercise in patience. In remembering she’s only four and being mindful of that fact in how much we were doing, when and where from that point on ensured we all had a fantastic holiday, one that we all got the most out of.

It was interesting though to watch other families at our resort in the same or very similar situations. Some, like us were very clearly tired on day one and came right after that. Others never changed the whole time and I wondered whether they or their children enjoyed the holiday at all – or even why they bothered if they were going to be that uptight the whole time. I wondered what they were teaching their children in their attitudes towards them, the way they spoke to them, the language used and the flow on effects of how it made their children feel.

As usual this all led to me thinking back to work. In a more reflective way than anything else and how I treat people and if I exercise as much patience there as I do with Miss Four. I wondered too if we all knew how much our leaders, co-workers, employees had going on in their lives if we would extend them more patience? If we all considered and were mindful of the fact that none of us know exactly what another is dealing with behind the scenes that we might be more patient in our dealings with them and less quick to react or write them off, or at the very least be more courteous? In my reflection I noted that I often see people behaving badly in the workplace with or without good reason – but the fact of the matter is we’re all adults and there is no excuse for bad behaviour whether given or received. Be more patient. Be more mindful. Be more courteous.

And in case you’re wondering – I asked someone in my team who I can trust to be very honest with me, and who has given me very frank feedback in the past, how patient I am and how I treat others at work. Her reply? That she can’t believe how patient and courteous I am in the face of some of the situations I deal with. She says I do everything in the kindest and most genuine way. Except, when dealing with one person who shall remain nameless! Apparently 99% of the time I’m good but every now and then with this person a hint of annoyance comes into my voice, but the real giveaway is when I hang up the phone and say “F*#k” under my voice. I’m pleased to hear I’ve largely got it under control – but clearly there’s still work to be done. There should always be something to work on!

CHANGE…EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITY

How do you feel about change? How do you view it? Is it scary to you or anticipated? Are you a person who instantly pooh pooh’s the unknown? Or someone who looks forward to the new and unexpected?

Time and again over the past few years I’ve heard the phrase change is the only constant. It’s become something of mantra for me and as a result I’ve made a major shift in my thinking in the past few years. As I’ve alluded to in previous posts I viewed HR as a career / team / business entity /service etc – as unlikely to change. That HR had developed processes and procedures that were tried and true and to be followed to the letter. Always. And I’ve also openly admitted how wrong I was! Particularly in the areas of social media, best practice and the like – and probably now if I’m really honest in every aspect of HR; we need to change! The rest of the world is changing around us and if we don’t change and adapt we’ll become extinct as all things do that are resistant to change.

But back to me personally. I love change. I’m someone who’s easily bored if I feel I’m standing still or repeating same old same old too often. So change is in my nature to a degree – interesting then that I once held the perspective that HR didn’t or wouldn’t need to change! I regularly view around me both personally and professionally people who resist change and people who openly seek it out. I believe the later to be in a better position. For those who openly seek or are at least agreeable to change will have an easier road ahead than those resisting it in my opinion., They will be afforded more opportunities in every aspect of life and will therefore be more likely to take those opportunities than those adverse to change.

Again taking a personal view of both angles. In the past five years I’ve undergone a lot of personal and professional change; had and am raising the most beautiful child; bought, sold and moved house three times; studied for and been awarded a double degree with an admission into a high achieving alumni; have sought and received promotions at work; meet the man of my dreams; embraced and developed the use of social media; traveled extensively both locally and overseas; taken up running including my first half marathon and all that on top of my usual life of family, friends, work, sailing and the like. Change, I love it.

But at the same time I’m regularly faced with those adverse to change. Prime example, my parents. On a weekend away at their reasonably remote bach (holiday home) recently I attempted to explain blogs, blogging, social media, meeting people IRL (in real life) and a conference I’d recently been on (HR Game Changer). Over a couple of whiskey’s (Dad’s Scottish after all), I almost had my Dad convinced to blog as he’s undoubtedly an expert in his field and people would seek out his expertise. This is a man who’s never sent a text or even an email before in his life and still uses a cheque book. He’s still not sure why or who would read his blogs and most importantly how he would do it (we concluded I would have to do it as his alias), but it was a big step that he even thought about it. I don’t believe however, that he’ll do anything to change what he does now and has always done. My Mum however has surprised me. A month later she’s phoned me to ask about facebook, twitter and “Linking In”. And wants to know could this relate to her business? Short answer yes. The long answer is along the lines of I have a marketing background and have been trying to tell you this for years as you run a sports and function venue... But something must have resonated – today she asked me if I could help the lady next door to her at work with social media marketing! She’s starting to put it all together after hearing it from different angles and situations (FYI the lady next door is 70 – considerably older than my Mum, go her for getting into it I reckon!). And my best friends grandfather, now aged 93 regularly skypes, texts, emails and is currently investigating snapchat – how’s that for change and progression?!

My point in all of this is where could you find yourself if you were more open to change? What could you achieve? Where could your organisation be if you were to advocate, rather than work against change? In turn how could you affect engagement and culture if you were a change advocate in the organisation? How could you inspire others to change, grow and develop? How bad would it be to do things differently and try something new? After all you, and they just might find that you like it.