HR Lagniappe

Louisiana SHRM

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Why HR Needs to go Rogue. For Good.

footprintToday’s guest post is from Salima Nathoo who will be leading the Sunday April 6th pre-conference workshop at next week’s Louisiana SHRM State Conference on Human Resources. Make sure to join Salima in Baton Rouge… or Baton ROGUE


I like the word rogue. ROGUE. Rrrrrogue. There’s something special about it — it’s empowering, adventurous, alluring. Rogue is mysterious, it’s a bit of 007 (circa Sean Connery) and it’s on the fringe. Rogue is everything we are usually taught NOT to be in the workplace, especially in HR…because in HR, going rogue means going off the compliance grid (gasp!). It means taking an off-the-beaten-to-death path that could lead to this —Disruption.

Small ‘d’ disruption is what organizations fear the most. An interruption in the flow, the mechanized process that fuels an organization, cultivated partly by design but mostly by top-down decisions. When small ‘d’ disruption happens, companies take comfort in HR because HR’s job description isn’t to do things differently. Traditionally HR is the champion of checking off boxes to ensure the order of the organizational universe remains intact. It’s constant mandate is to do things better, which usually just means more efficiently to save time and thus costs. Traditionally, HR’s responsibility is not to do things differently for the sake of advancing the profession.

Big ‘D’ Disruption is what organizations say they want but also fear. It happens when creative thinking, fuels innovative outcomes that fundamentally evolves the way a business or industry functions, in a “there’s no turning back” kind of way. Big ‘D’ disruption is the result of design that involves everyone regardless of where they sit in the office or org chart. It’s driven by a cycle of purpose and practice. My theory is that if HR deliberately big ‘D’ Disrupted, then this would cause small ‘d’ disruption for the rest of the company. It’s as if HR is a company’s back-up generator. Somewhere in the basement where files are kept in fireproof cabinets is a golden switch which HR controls that restores status quo when things don’t go according to plan. Big ‘D’ Disruption in HR means redesigning the entire back-up generation system in such a fundamental way that other organizations have no choice but to adapt.

Big ‘D’ Disruption is a big deal but it’s all about starting small by going R.O.G.U.E.

  • Reconnect with your passion for HR. Why did you chose this profession in the first place? Go to that place that sparked your initial hustle. Lead from there.
  • Operate undercover, at least to start. Tune in to the impact of what is being said around you. If you’re in the room, you’re in the conversation whether you speak up or not. (True influence means you’re speaking up in the conversation even when you’re not in the room!)
  • Good is not good enough when it means applying old school paradigm to new world situations.
  • Obvious is usually not the right answer.
  • Understanding begins with questioning. Challenge your own assumptions before anyone else’s.
  • Everything is fair game. Use your knowledge of the business and leaders to embed yourself in the projects and conversations in which you can gain fresh perspective even if you’re not yet in a place to add it. Practice this.

Go rogue, for the greater good of your own leadership. Knowing and owning the glory of your power, as an HR leader, is just the first step. Once you’ve created a habit of going rogue, you can begin to truly influence culture and behaviors that lead to innovation and big ‘D’ disruption — a new paradigm. The how of this  is what I’ll be talking about this weekend in the pre-conference workshop at the 2014 Louisiana State HR Conference. I’ll be spilling the rest of the secrets then. In the meantime, game on!