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  • Phil Marsland

Out of the HR comfort zone


Hey You!! Yes it’s you I’m talking to. Got your attention? Good. Because I feel the need to provoke. Provoke you to remember that there’s a world out there. A world that exists outside of the you and your team and your organisation.


This is often a struggle for HR. There is a drive for you to get qualified, to learn, to get a job. And then what happens? Well for many in our profession, that’s it. They are overwhelmed with multitudinous demands and expectations from their organisations. Starting principled and good intentioned, rubbed smooth and care-worn by constant compromise. Dying a little, every day, maybe?


You may be uncomfortably numb, emotionally tuned out and just being the organisational doer, somehow justifying stuff to yourself, and going home and crying into a bottle, or two. Sometimes its about confidence, maybe being a little reserved “networking’s not for me”. Maybe you go to a couple of employment law updates, but sit at the back with the person that you sit next to everyday, whispering in hushed tones, and then scurry back to work without speaking to another soul.


But ask yourself – if you just talk to the same like minded people all the time, where is your thinking? Where is your HR practice? I’ll tell you where it is – exactly where you left it when you walked out of the Level 7 classroom. You see you can only see as far as you think. If you limit your thinking to the known, the safe, the familiar then that’s all that you’ll ever see. Its called confirmation bias, and its one of 189 cognitive biases.


And I would suggest that your thinking, your once up to date practice, will ill equip you for the changes to the world of work that we face. You’ll be less relevant than you could be, less useful to your organisation than you could be. Redundant before you actually are redundant.


So, what the answer?


Get out of your comfort zone. Do it. In a way that you can cope with. But push yourself because all learning is at the edge. The edge of your comfort zone. Go to seminars and conferences, Interact with those around you, talk to speakers. And this is the most important point…….…..really, really hear what they are saying. Try to understand it. Try to work with it.


And that is very different from completely agreeing. Indeed you may totally disagree. And that’s ok too, as you will have stimulated and refreshed your thinking and your practice.


You will be all the better for it.


So my challenge ends with a choice. Wake up. Be brave. And get out there. Or don’t

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