What’s Your Motor ??

I think it’s fascinating that we have so many amazing people in our lives, and that most of them are acquaintances. There’s nothing wrong with this because people have a certain capacity on how many people they’re both willing to know deeply, or can dedicate the time to do that.

The challenge with people only knowing each other at a surface level is that you don’t know enough about them that gets them geeked !! You may wonder why that’s important, but in HR you really can be a step ahead of the pack if you take note of what motivates and excites people. There’s one caution to finding out this information about others because it has . . . wait for it . . . NOTHING to do with their work !!

Just making this statement is already making people shiver. You see, there’s a myth the permeates organizations that the only subject people talk about when they have conversations is work related. We tend to try to limit our communication to work related interactions because it’s safe and comfortable. If we have disagreements, it’s about work. If it’s positive, it’s about work. I am going to go one step further and speculate that the vast majority of these “work only” conversations are hardly effective. It’s not the content, it’s the reality that we have so many items we’re juggling in a day that the length of time a conversation captures our attention is minuscule.

It amazes me that so many HR people rush to the situation at hand, and don’t take a couple of minutes to talk about the person and what drives them first instead. When I hear that people want to humanize the workplace more, but they’re not willing to take the time to talk about the human in front of them and their interests, I’m skeptical about their approach.

Motor RunningPeople are fascinating !! There is so much going on in their lives that would amaze you about what gets their motor going. The question is – are you willing to dive in ??

I am. In fact, I spend a large portion of my day catching up with people about their interests, their families and their lives in general. You need to realize the your employees are aching to have someone acknowledge them and take just a few minutes for you to be genuinely interested in them. I realize that they may bring up topics that you aren’t particularly interested in, but that’s part of the gig if you want to differentiate yourself in HR.

If I’m not aware of a certain interest a person has, I take more time to listen to them to let them share even more. You see, you have the ability to get people reenergized and release their passion in a work setting. When you do this, people will perform and do almost anything you ask. This approach also works when you need to address difficult situations as well. Taking the time to see what’s behind what may be frustrating an employee and causing challenging behavior is worth the time !!

Let me close with one reminder to make sure this works for you. What gets your motor running ?? You need to know this and you need to make sure that you’re filling your days with these things on a regular basis so that you remain passionate yourself. You can’t fake this, and you shouldn’t. There is absolutely nothing wrong with renewing yourself to keep you motivated.

Me ?? My motor gets going when I meet new people (especially if they’re in HR), going to HR events, being active in my church, time with my amazing wife and kids, endlessly playing music, movies, a great book, tie-dye anything and lava lamps. And that’s just a start !!

I surround myself with things that motivate me because I know that it’s key that I motivate others. It’s one of the bright spots about HR !! So, step back, list out your “motorvators” and get geeked !!

Rallying Cry !!

When you survey the landscape of businesses today, you see the contstant drive for improvement and solving “problems.”  That is all well and good, but it tends to be inconsistent because often the problem that is given the most attention comes from the person or group who is most vocal.  It may not be what needs to be the focus of the organization’s efforts, but that doesn’t stop them from pouring time, effort and money into randomly moving targets.

To solve this companies launch into strategic planning sessions which are effective and do their best to bring a better set of parameters to keep things moving forward.  The “loud voice” syndrome can also take precendence in this format, but it’s harder to do because the plan should be looking at the business as a whole.

Why all this business talk on an HR blog?  Well, it’s because we in HR need to understand that we are in business first and we happen to practice HR.  When you look at this situation in organizations, HR can bring something to the table that others won’t think of . . . the rallying cry !!

This isn’t something for HR to offer as some sort of cheerleading effort.  It’s a way for us to advice our CEO’s about the value of pulling the team together.  Most of the time in strategic planning sessions, there are massive amounts of data shared.  Decisions are made from the data almost exclusively from a lack of emotion.  Rational thought is what tries to take the day.  This isn’t an argument against data.  Just the opposite actually.  People need to be emotionally tied to things as well in order to get behind them and make them come to life.  When this happens, the data will play itself out in the results that people are seeking.

Rallying CryWhen I was at Sea Base with my Scouts, there was a rallying cry that could happen at anytime and without a schedule.  There’s an out island called Big Munson Island that all of the scouts/adults stay on at least one day and night during their trek.  If a crew yells the word, “MUNSON !!!” at any time, you are obligated to yell “MUNSON !!!” right back regardless of where you are.  This simple word provided a common bond to everyone on the Base.  It was the emotional tie that everyone could relate to because everyone has had great memories of their time on the island.

HR’s rally cry has too often been “COMPLIANCE !!”  or “FORMS !!” or “REDUCE LIABILITY !!” – ugh !!  It’s no wonder that we are relegated outside the business conversation.  These things are important, but they don’t pull people together.

By meeting with the CEO (and it’s something that should be expected of HR, not just wished for), you can see what he/she want the troops to go after.  Being their sounding board to try out the cry is essential and will allow them to test what they are looking to do.  The cry should include risk, growth and energy.

Now it’s up to you !!  What rallying cry can you make for yourself ?? Your department ??  Your company ??  They’re looking for one and it’s time for HR to bring it to life !!