Last week my wife and I took in a musical. We love to see shows every once in a while and this was one of the best ones we’ve ever seen !! We saw Wicked and were entranced by every single moment of the show.
The story is a much different tale of Elphaba the Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good Witch in the mythical land of Oz. After taking it all in and seeing something “familiar” brought to light in a different way, I noticed a troubling twist to the story. When Elphaba meets the Wizard of Oz, she is put into a position where she is the enemy, and therefore, “wicked” !! The Wizard even states that the people want someone bad so that he can look good. To that point Elphaba was just trying to fit in because her green skin made her completely different than all of the other characters.
I think Elphaba is a lot like HR in many organizations !! She wanted to care for all of the animals in the kingdom of Oz – the outliers of their society. She wanted to use her powers for good, but people didn’t understand what she did or why she wasn’t like everyone else. All in all, she wanted to be included, but others didn’t want to do that. In fact, they forced her to become wicked because they others could “deal with her.”
Unfortunately, HR acts in much the same way. In the end, we too, allow an organization to put us into a box which they’re comfortable with even though we are not. Why is that productive? How does that enable us to practice what we do well in the company? Why have we become a profession that tends to “accept” our fate?
I won’t tell you the end of the show (if you haven’t already seen it), but it’s really fantastic because Glinda and Elphaba sing about how each other have “changed each other for good.”
I think that we have this opportunity as well. In order for HR to “change for good” we have to be comfortable with who WE are and not how others define us. Also, we need to not allow folks to label us as “wicked” – other terms you may be familiar with is “the No People” “The Police” a “Necessary Evil” or the famous “Ssshh, it’s HR !!” Step in and show people that we are far from wicked. We don’t let other employees treat each other this way, and we shouldn’t let other departments treat us poorly either !!
The great thing about HR is that we DO look at things differently !! We bring the human factors of situations to life and make sure they aren’t overlooked. Don’t ever apologize for doing that – ever !!
Wicked has a great ending for all of the characters. The ones who are truly wicked get their due, and the ones who are truly good have the perfect fairy-tale ending. It’s time for HR to understand the good we offer, the good we are and the good in others. It’s not a make-believe situation. It’s WHO WE ARE !!