“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.” ~ Alan Alda
That quote really speaks to me. Maybe it’s the idea that I should not take myself so seriously. Maybe it’s the encouragement to take risks. Mostly, I like the part about being bold.
What does that mean? To me, it means going beyond what others will do or expect. It means being willing to face my fears and go forward anyway. Being bold means being decisive and not hesitating.
I have surrounded myself with mentors of all ages, races and genders and have taken their advice throughout my career. For years, I have attempted to fill my skill gaps, to be a tough (but fair) leader, and to help teach and promote others along the way. All this time, I had a vision of what my life would be, but not a crystal clear picture. Until now. Now is my time to be bold.
2013 has been a year of great self-reflection. I have been a HR practitioner and leader all my life. I love this industry and the people who, like me, operate on the island of HR. Sure, the pundits talk about how we need a seat at the table and how silly that is. They criticize the HR practitioners for not understanding things like business nor technology. But what they don’t realize is they have no idea what it is like to wear these shoes or how challenging it really is.
- Have they ever had to sit across from someone as they are terminated as part of a “reduction in force”? Have they heard the stories and wiped the tears? Have they had to provide the workforce planning advice to the leaders that made the decisions for the RIFs?
- Have they comforted an employee who just found out that a loved one died or that they have a deadly disease? Have they had to wade through insurance Summary Plan Descriptions to determine if that illness is covered and what the employee needs to do?
- Have they fought to ensure that companies comply with legal standards to protect the employees?
- Have they had to work with outdated technology, or even no technology, and still be able to give leaders enough information to make business decisions?
- Have they had to convince someone to fund their big ideas or their ability to grow their teams?
No, most have not.
All these questions lead me to where I stand today. At a fork in the road.
There is the path to continue as a HR practitioner and leader and there is the other path which leads to helping many companies, many leaders, and many employees.
My signs were everywhere. It was time to move boldly.
I’m thrilled to share that I have decided to leave the practitioner ranks and join one of the top research and consulting firms. Brandon Hall Group. Led by Mike Cooke and a brilliant team of leaders, analysts and researchers, BHG has been able to provide unparalleled research, recommendations and solutions to their clients. They have done amazing work in Learning & Development, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and Human Resources. As their new VP of HR Practice, I hope to bring my experience as a HR leader to guide CHROs and other executives they advise. When you combine quality research with actual experience, the results are spectacular.
So what now? For me, it’s all about not leaving any of myself safely on shore. I will dive in. I will explore. I will bring my very best forward to you, to Brandon Hall Group, to clients they serve, to HR vendors and to the HR community at large.
If you’re a leader who wants to join me in working together in 2014, please let me know. I’d love to help start your new year off with quality information and guidance as you plan your 2014 strategy.
2014 is shaping up to be the best year yet. Now, go out there and be bold!