Sorry for the absence this week. Normally I can put a few posts up and still do the "normal" stuff that pays the mortgage but this week I was out of my comfort zone a bit and that takes more energy and attention.
This week reminded me that of all the things that drive performance - working on the edge really makes us feel connected to our work.
We can all go about our jobs pretty much on autopilot most days - but when you get something that pushes you in a new direction - or makes you use new, or less developed skills - that's when the adrenaline goes up a bit.
It's a bit heady - a bit of rush. The thrill and the threat come together so that after you done you just kick back and say, "Whew."
You're happy it's over - and yet you can't wait to do it again. The Yin Yang of performance.
That was me around lunch on Thursday last.
I can say this - it was great. The format was a bit "unconference" a bit conference and all fun. And a challenge. Jason Lauritsen and his crew put together a wonder, full-day of discussion around the practice of HR and how it might be invisioned in the future. The goal wasn't to create a destination - a solution - but to break some inertia and begin thinking about HR differently.
There is blog that will hopefully continue the discussion and I'm sure there will be more conversation amongst the attendees. It was a wonderful time.
And then there was me...
Get Your Zen On...
I presented a session called "Zen and Art of Human Maintenance" - a riff on how the thinking, philosophy and ideas found in the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" can be applied to the practice of HR. (The image below is a visual summary of the session - there was one drawn up for all the different presenters. A better version will be available in the future.)
I say "presented" - but it was more of a conversation. No PowerPoint, no cameras, no darkened room, no space between me and the audience. Just a few friends chatting about how HR needs to manage to the emotional and the analytical.
For those of you who present regularly you know there is something comforting about the slide deck - the little outline on the screen that keeps you on track - reminds you what's next - gives your audience something to focus on other than you. No here. Not this time.
Just me, and idea - and a flip chart.
There were moments of silence. Sickly, horrible silence. Then there was discussion. Interaction. Thoughtful postures, smiles, nods, frowns, disagreement. We asked questions. We challenged assumptions. We wondered if our quest for systems and efficiency gets in the way of effectively managing people and the big question - does it really matter?
It was fun.
It was hard.
It was even uncomfortable at times.
It was the perfect yin yang of performance - a little bit of planned and familiar and a little (lot) bit of unplanned and unfamiliar. That's what made it a challenge. That's what made it interesting.
I ask you this - what are you doing in your job and the jobs of those that work for and with you to make them a bit uncomfortable? What are you doing to inject a bit of unknown into the daily routine?
What are you doing so that everyone will sit back, say "whew" - talk about how hard it was and then say...
"I can't wait to do it again."