50 ways to leave your lover


“Problem is all inside your head”, she said to me

“The answer is easy if you take it logically

I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free

There must be fifty ways to leave your lover”

She said, “It’s really not my habit to intrude

Furthermore I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued

So I repeat myself at the risk of being crude”

There must be fifty ways to leave your lover

Fifty ways to leave your lover

During and after the HR Game Changer conference in Auckland I reflected on the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to change for HR of the people that attended. I read with interest the blog posts that followed and noticed a growing tone of frustration – change is hard – post conference blues had set in.

I think I know why – I’ve been down that road before

While there’s is a growing sense of the need for change by some members of the HR community its not really widely shared and just what we might be changing to hasn’t yet been defined.

The answers are hidden in plain sight

This morning I jumped on LinkedIn to see what topical conversations were occurring in the HR community, especially in the aftermath of HR Game Changer, Unfurling HR and Ram Charan’s recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “It’s Time to Split HR.”

Here is a list of conversations today on the NZ HRINZ LinkedIn group

  • Signing HR policies
  • Induction
  • Is HR the same after the quakes?
  • Disciplinary over a conference call
  • New drink driving limits – should employers provide taxi chits?
  • The business case for health and safety

Business as usual

In contrast here is a list of conversations on the Stooz Network LinkedIn group (non HR)

  • What trust does
  • 5 essentials of senior leadership
  • The post hierarchal organization
  • From Manager to engaging leader
  • Fearless leadership
  • Agile leadership

And then it hit me – while there is lively debate happening on #NZ Lead, led by the lovely Amanda Sterling, our friends and colleagues in HR Game Changer and the talented HR bloggers – for the majority of HR folk in mainstream social media aka HRINZ there is little evidence of awareness or desire to change

Many of you will be familiar with ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement). You’ll know that in order to change you must first know why the change is necessary – Awareness. Then you must have a reason to change – Desire. What follows is then what is changing – Knowledge and finally how to change – Ability and making the change stick – Reinforcement.

And if those LinkedIn conversations are representative of things that matter to the people in HR right now – that’s our starting and end point

Dave Ulrich in his commentary on Charans HBR article; says more is now expected of HR professionals. Charan lambasts the entire HR profession which he says is both unfair and simplistic. It ignores what Ulrich calls the 20-60-20 rule.

“In HR (or finance or IT), 20% of the professionals  excel and add the value that helps organizations move forward, 20% of HR folks are locked into a fixed mindset and lack either competence or commitment to deliver real value, and 60% are in the middle. It is easy and fair to critique the bottom 20%, but it is not fair to paint the entire profession with this same brush”.

Ulrich says he doesn’t focus on either 20%. The top 20% are exceptional and don’t need help. They should be role models for others. The bottom 20% won’t take help. He advocates teaching the 60% what they can do to deliver value.

Upgrading HR he says requires more rigorous redefinition of how HR can deliver value, how to develop HR professionals, and how to rethink the entire system of HR.

Spot on

But I disagree about what to do with the 60% – sorry Dave

Josh Bersin in his article – Why Does HR Get Do Much Grief says the problem is one of structure and roles, and today there is a new way to optimize HR.

“We’ve been doing research on this topic for 3+ years and discovered that we are in the early stages of an epic transformation of the function”

Lets revisit the fundamentals of change management – change won’t happen if you have no awareness or desire to change.

So how can there be an epic transformation for a function which in the main doesn’t see the need to change?

We have all had situations where we have tried to shift mind sets. Where there is no need for the change or to think differently – building awareness may have no impact at all.

I also know that acknowledging there might be another way requires a certain level of introspection. Without that there can be no adaption and no change. This will often happen incrementally.

That’s evolution rather than disruption

So I see some go forward options

Those that understand the need for change fall into the aforementioned top 20%. You are innovators and early adopters.

But it is not merely enough to know one needs and wants to change (A & D) we now need to collectively work on the what and how (K&A) as Ulrich points out the rigorous redefinition of how HR can deliver value and rethinking the entire system of HR.

For the 60% – the late majority – we can build awareness through role modelling, being creative networkers and redefining the conversations.

And this is our collective leadership responsibility.

But we wont change the world by spending our efforts trying to get ‘buy in’ – we don’t need to.

Its ok I think for HR to morph into something else all together. I don’t believe this is a reinvention, a new face and not even a transformation.

Something completely new, redefined and repackaged and renamed.

We can leave ‘HR’ behind just as we left ‘personnel’ behind

There must be 50 ways to leave your lover

 “Slip out the back Jack ,

Make a new plan, Stan, don’t need to be coy, Roy, just listen to me

Hop on the bus, Gus, don’t need to discuss much

Just drop off the key, Lee

Get yourself free”


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