Opportunity or Task ??

“People.  They’re all around us every day.  It’s as if we HAVE to deal with them !!!”

Sound familiar?  Sound like you?  Sound like most people in the workplace . . . and HR?  It’s not surprising.  The workplace is filled with people.  It’s an amazing fact.  They desperately want to interact, communicate, perform and excel.  But, most of our efforts each day are to limit, thwart, conceal and conform.  Why is that?

Do you know that the 1st thing the vast majority of people do when they take that first step out of the car to enter the office is to heave a massive sigh and drop their shoulders resigned that they are off to WORK once again.  We do all in our power to make sure that people are in line, on task and diligent.  We overlook the chance that they are creative, intuitive and willing.

I think it’s because we treat the interaction between people as a task and not an opportunity.  We dread the possibility that someone will want us to stop, spend time with them and listen !!  Our e-mail, twitter account and texts are vastly more important than the conversation we are “stuck in” right now.  We are so horribly distracted and long for impersonal means of communication, that we will do almost anything to make sure we keep things short and sweet in person.  Ironically, we wonder why people never change the behavior we see in them that we wish would improve !!

The fact that this must change in the workplace is a gross oversight in HR !!  In our quest for “engagement,” we refuse to genuinely interact.  By making things a program, we miss the opportunity to take things in, relish and reflect on what is said and then act in tandem with others.

We tend to say, “Well, if Steve would just change, then I could make things work between us.”  (or something similar)  The fact is that we need to take the initiative and first step to look at others (even the really difficult ones) as an opportunity each and every time we interact.  People deserve this to be honest.

So, this week, drop your task list even though it will make most of you twitch a bit.  Look around you.  Find the sea of people that are a vital component of you are and what you do and dive in !!  It will get messy, challenging and even overwhelming.  But, the outcome is worth it !!


5 thoughts on “Opportunity or Task ??”

  1. This hits home for me since I was recently asked to travel for a meeting..I was debating the point but it hit me that if I simply go and let it happen, you never know what can happen.
    Just let it go folks.

  2. Hi Steve – great post. I think it’s worth remembering that people who enjoy their work say it’s the other people they work with that is the biggest contributor to that feeling of enjoyment. And like Chris says – you just never know what’s up next eh, get stuck in!

  3. Hi Steve – love this post because it is so very thought provoking. Many times in HR people become a task. Coaching an employee or manager is just another thing on our to do list. It’s important we all take a step back and appreciate the unique opportunities we are given to interact at all levels in the organization, that is a huge responsibility and not something that should be considered a task.

  4. Very good thoughts! Too many times we miss the opportunity to interact on a personal basis, due to time constraints and that is unacceptable. Having lived through the time of no cell phones, desk top computers, i-pads, etc. I have seen the “rather quick demise” of face to face communication and the impact on relationships.

  5. Steve, your post is spot on. And a little bit of a rude awakening for me. Instead of dropping my task list, can I slip it gently into my pocket without anyone knowing?

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