I received an invitation the other day from X (I won't embarrass the organization) for a Leadership Series on “Lessons Learned from the Corner Office.” Comprised mostly of CEO’s (because HR professionals don’t sit ‘in the corner office’), I was promised to be schooled from the podium in what we suck at, how I might be more like them, and how I might go about making them happier.
I need another CEO to tell me how to do my job like they need me to tell them how to do theirs.
there is powerful perspective elsewhere
Once…just once…I’d like to get an invitation to an HR event that has nothing to do with Big Wigs. I want to spend an hour hearing from some ordinary run-of-the-mill people who actually have the keys to the kingdom, not a bunch of highfalutin ones who merely think they do. I want to hear from typical employees. I want the people who are out there slugging through it every day telling me what works and what doesn’t. I want to take a dose of their reality. I want them to share the grit and the grime – the stuff we rarely get to see. I want them to tell us how we can make work more meaningful…more purposeful. More than anything, though, I want them to tell me how to be more relevant to them.
No CEO - or COO, CIO, CFO, CMO, CXO - in the world will ever be able to impart this wisdom with justice. Yet again and again we look to them to do so. They are merely a voice…a solitary voice…in a sea of countless others. And after a while, their voices all sound the same. My learning needs are more dynamic than any CEO can give alone. I need to hear it from the bottom up, inside out, every way ‘til Sunday.
get it from the heart
So let’s stop this silly game of misdirected self-aggrandizing. Being in the room with a bunch of CEOs doesn’t make us more important and it certainly doesn’t make us any smarter. I’d rather have a mediocre public speaker give us their perspective on work from the heart than some polished CEO hit us up with their canned presentation. Next time you’re putting a luncheon agenda together, [Insert Your Local HR Trade Association], think about giving the podium to someone entirely different…seriously, anyone in the workplace – from the maintenance (wo)man to the line manager –has something meaningful to share with HR. And next time you get asked to stand behind that podium, Madame CEO, kindly pass.
Simply-Engineering Human Resources & Work
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