We are still cursed with the Industrial Age concept of Human Resources. Despite wonderful shifts over the past half century–created by great people in HR and leadership world wide–we still trip over the mindset that sees people just as other assets of the company.
Here’s a case in point. When a machine stops running as expected, we know it is broken. We either try to fix it or replace it. When a person does not behave as expected, we try to fix them (though we may call it development). And if we can’t fix them, we replace them.
I am not saying that we should let people behave in ways harmful to their and our success. Nor am I saying that we are unenlightened or unfair in how we treat people. I am saying that we tend to remedy poor people performance and poor machine performance in the same way: we fix or fire them.
Deming taught that “fix or fire” is wrong headed. Most poor performance comes not from broken people but from from broken systems, improper structures, and ineffective management.
Let’s build and fix the systems, structures, and the way we run them. Let’s maintain clear goals that everyone finds compelling. And let’s inspire the people to jump in, be their potential, and generate wins for all.
In your corner,
PS: And if we can come up with a better name than Human Resources, that’d be great.