Friday, 20 August 2010

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable,

but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." (George Bernard Shaw)

I really like this quote because for me it sums up one of the quandaries of working in HR – we have to be by the book in terms of employment law and the advice we give, nevertheless are encouraged to look for means of providing a more innovative support to our organisation, if not leading and creating means for this innovation to occur.

A recent piece by Vineet Nayar in the Harvard Business Review I felt outlined this really well. He used the term ‘ristakes’ for when we might be looking for a means of improvement which although might allow for improvement in efficiency/service, yet leaves your vulnerable to problems if they initially do not work out.

We can all recount examples from our own professional life of instances where we have come across parties resistant to change and the difficulties this has caused – some might argue it is an every day occurrence working in HR!

Nevertheless, I think there is something to be said for the spirit of looking for means to improve upon what is in place and encouraging a mindset engaged with change.

If you are looking for some everyday examples for inspiration, perhaps the Next Generation HR research recently undertaken by the CIPD might be of use? I found the sections referring to how HR can be both partner and provocateur of interest.

In the meantime don’t be afraid to take some ristakes and keep making mistakes – remember, like Edison said, you are not failing but finding ways that do not work!

And if it were not for his mistakes we might all still be in the dark…

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