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The internet is overflowing with inspirational quotes about failure. If we don’t fail, we never grow. If we give up on ourselves, we give up on our dreams. There’s no shame in trying, there is only shame in quitting.
It’s clear those people have never worked in HR, where today’s talent-focused leader is atoning for the sins of the past. Although the old school personnel department no longer exists, executives and supervisors still perpetuate the myth that life would be perfect if it weren’t for the pesky HR departments built on rules and incompetence.
If failure is so critical to growth, how can HR leaders explore disruption while providing seamless, just-in-time service to their clients?
In this session, we will cover the universal forces of failure that impact every HR professional. We will also provide ten opportunities for HR leaders to exhibit significant value to the organization while being human and creating a safe space to experiment.
S T R A T
E G I C O P T I M I S T : S o m e o n e w h o s e t s h i g h e x p e c t a t i o n s a n d a c t i v e l y a v o i d s t h i n k i n g a b o u t f a i l u r e .
S T R A T
E G I C O P T I M I S M : A n o b v i o u s f o r m o f d e n i a l .
R U I N O
U S L Y S E N T I M E N T A L : F e e l i n g s o f t e n d e r n e s s , s a d n e s s , o r n o s t a l g i a t h a t g e t i n t h e w a y o f m o v i n g f o r w a r d .
“ T o e x
p e c t t o o m u c h i s t o h a v e a s e n t i m e n t a l v i e w o f l i f e a n d t h i s i s a s o f t n e s s t h a t e n d s i n b i t t e r n e s s . ” - F l a n n e r y O ’ C o n n o r
L E A R N
E D H E L P L E S S N E S S : A s e n s e o f p o w e r l e s s n e s s a r i s i n g f r o m a t r a u m a t i c e v e n t .
D E F E N
S I V E P E S S I M I S T : S o m e o n e w h o l o w e r s e x p e c t a t i o n s a n d a c t i v e l y p r e p a r e s f o r t h e w o r s t .
D E F E N
S I V E P E S S I M I S T S : A l s o k n o w n a s D e b b i e D o w n e r s .
D E L A Y
E D G R A T I F I C A T I O N : T h e a b i l i t y t o r e s i s t t e m p t a t i o n r i g h t n o w a n d w a i t f o r a l a t e r r e w a r d .
U N I V E
R S A L F O R C E S O F F A I L U R E ® ™ : K n o w n a n d u n k n o w n c i r c u m s t a n c e s t h a t w o r k t o d e f e a t u s b e f o r e w e e v e n g e t s t a r t e d .
L TEAM S COMMITMENT H
BUDGET X CONFLICT d TIME W COMPETENCY M SCOPE Y COMMUNICATIONS V EXPECTATIONS L POLITICS The Universal Forces of Failure
TEAM T E A M
S A R E F O R S U C K E R S Lack of leadership. Lack of control. Too many cooks. Micromanagement. Freedom. Ambiguity. Nepotism. Misalignment. Misgivings. Idolatry. Sexism. Racism. Ageism. Ableism. Too much teambuilding. Not enough teambuilding. Blind faith. No faith. Cynicism. Pessimism. Narcissism. Competitiveness.
TIME T H E R
E ’ S N E V E R E N O U G H O F I T Too much. Too little. Unrealistic timetables. Inflated expectations. Incorrect guidance. Uninformed decision-making. Guestimates. Rushed. Incorrect timelines. Greedy clients. Workaholics. Work-life balance pressures. Other people’s agendas. Parents. Caregivers. Service Providers. Vendors.
EXPECTATIONS P L E A
S E P L E A S E P L E A S E L E T M E G E T W H A T I W A N T Too many. Too few. Too high. Too low. Unrealistic. Past precedent. Future potential. Guestimates. Misplaced hopes. Failed dreams. Legacy issues. Drama. Disappointment. Toxic personalities. Fakers. Queen bees. Victims. Patriarchy. Feminism. Social justice warriors. The 1%. The 99%.
COMPETENCY T R U S
T M E , I G O T T H I S Unable. Unwilling. Clueless. Passive. Aggressive. Passive-aggressive. Eager. Over-eager. Lazy. Feckless. Ruthless. Pragmatic. Confident. Skittish. High-potential. Burned out. Skills gap. Training deficiencies. Wage gap.
COMMITMENT B A B Y
I ’ M Y O U R M A N Willing. Unwilling. Dishonest. Disingenuous. Conflict-avoidant. Over-committed. Unsure. Skittish. Engaged. Disengaged.
SCOPE S T E P
O F F Too big. Too large. Global. Local. Mobile. Social. Within your competencies. Outside of your comfort zone. Alone. In tandem. Someone’s gone rogue. Pre-beta. Beta. Alpha. Collaborative. Siloed. Toxic. Ongoing. Time-limited.
CONFLICT S T O P
L O O K I N G A T M E W I T H Y O U R F A C E Too much. Not enough. Electronic. Verbal. Physical. Emotional. Abusive. Upsetting. Unproductive. Wishy-Washy. Horizontal envy. Jealousy. Petty nonsense. Legitimate grievances. Cultural confusion. Gender-specific. Vulgar. Obscene. Infantile. Hate speech. Anonymous.
COMMUNICATION H E A R
M E N O W , F E E L M E L A T E R Too much. Not enough. Loud. Quiet. Introverts versus extroverts. Timid. Email-dependent. Slack-dependent. Text-dependent. Emoji-dependent. Unfocused. Too focused. Rigid. Loose. Undocumented. Informal. Overly formal. Aggressive. Confusing. Hysterical. Hyperbolic. Uninformed.
POLITICS T H E T
H I R D R A I L Democrat. Republican. Independent. Libertarian. Green Party. NORML. Mean Girls. Weasels. Do-Gooders. No-Gooders. Right-Wing. Left-Wing. Queen Bees. Patriarchy. Feminism. Animal Welfare Rights. Social Activism. Intersectionality. Pettiness. Refrigerator Wars.
• TE A M •
C O N F L I C T 70% • TI M E • C O M M UN I C A T I O N • E X PE C TA T I O N S 50% • PO L I TI C S • C O M PE TE N C Y • C O M M I TM E N T • S C O PE 30% How do HR & recruiting teams fail? bit.ly/beatfailure
PROJECT PRE-MORTEM F A I
L E A R L Y , F A I L O F T E N • Assume a project fails before it even starts. • Ask, “Why did it fail?” • Take 90 seconds, be a Debbie Downer, and brainstorm some glitches. • When your time is up, review your glitches. • Map your glitches to the universal forces of failure: team, time, budget, conflict, communication, commitment, competency, politics, scope, and expectations.
Why a New Onboarding Program
Will Fail 1. Nobody trusts HR to get it right. 2. Sometimes the technology we choose disappoints us. 3. Vendors promise one thing and deliver another. 4. HR likes to start projects but never finishes them. 5. We can’t get support from our leadership. 6.We’ll do this at corporate but the field offices won’t follow along. 7. Our CHRO has other priorities for the year. 8.We have to be old-school because we don’t have budget to invest in new technology. 9.Betty in benefits loves onboarding and doesn’t want to give up her baby.
10 THINGS YOU CAN DO
TOMORROW 1. Be a strategic optimist when someone shares an idea with you. 2. Avoid ruinously sentimental behavior. 3. Be a defensive pessimist when testing your own ideas. 4. Don’t be a Debbie Downer. 5. Play the long game and try to delay gratification. 6.Learn the universal forces of failure and spot them in your team dynamics. 7. Before you start a project, do a pre-mortem. Ask yourself, “How will this fail?” 8.Be kind. Go easy on yourself and others. 9.Remember that you’re probably more successful than you know. 10.And we’re all bound to fail. That’s what makes us human.