Some riders mock the horses for being afraid of bins. But they are not afraid of bins. Horses are an evolutionary success story, in part, because they detect minute changes in their environment. “What flattened that grass overnight?” is an important question to a prey animal. There is nothing minute about a line of bins appearing along the road overnight.
Humans share this innate suspicion of a change in our operational landscape. We too survived yesterday – so we too learned to trust that environment. We sense danger when we are asked to perform differently – particularly when we, personally, cannot see any threat in stasis. We may or may not prove adequate in the new environment – and it may require initially unattractive levels of effort, risk and courage to adapt. The stakes can rise. Cynicism or a victim mentality can rapidly emerge - given that the mortgage prevents fleeing the situation.
Yet we, unlike the horse, are able to use intellect and overcome our emotional instinct to flee. Through self-awareness, thought, weighing up risks and desired gains and through hard work and courage, we are able to adapt and thrive.
I call our emotional response “the Tiger”. The intelligence that can become mindful of the Tiger and take rational and informed decisions to act, despite its roar, “ourselves” and the well-tested and globally deployed framework to deal with the situation: The Ten Rules for Taming Tigers.
If change in the workplace has reached an exponential rate, it follows that those leading the efforts to help people to understand and adapt to those shifts are having to change even faster.
The HR Community makes a more critical contribution to the health, success and longevity of a business and its people than ever before. Yet historically, some “people people” were often as “cobblers’ children” when it came to meeting their own needs to cope with and lead the change in culture and attitude, leadership and skills. This is no longer sustainable.
Is HR’s place in the C-Suite permanent, central and sufficiently influential? That is down to us to achieve – it’s not a gift from colleagues. Are the hard calls being made and the truths told to other leaders? Are global standards in cultural shift, training, change, engagement and empowerment (as well as all of the vital “hygiene factors” that it fall to the HR community to design and implement) being fully understood and deployed?
If we are to rise to those challenges and put ourselves in a position powerfully to influence senior colleagues and the future of the business, then the Tiger will roar. But backing away from astute and necessary risk and a clear plan for the future at that moment could be unwise – and must be taken with self-awareness. We must know whether we ourselves, or our Tiger are taking the decision.
Tuesday, 29 September 2015