Put down the cold meds
Last week, I attended a training session at the SHRM Mothership (love that term from @sbrownehr) in Alexandria. The training was on the HR Business Partner model: implementing in your organization, best practices and how to transition to a Business Partner role.
It was a well organized and helpful training session and today I want to talk about one thing (among many others) that really stuck out and could be used on day one back at the office.
Let me set the scene: How many times has someone come to you and said the following:
“I need to fire Joe, he’s terrible”
“I need another FTE.”
This sounds familiar? I thought so. What happens in these situations? Shrug your shoulders and figure “Well his boss approved the new FTE so time to put the recruiting hat on.” Maybe in the case of Joe ask for backup and rubber stamp approval or disapproval?
The first problem with the above scenarios is that these issues are a surprise to us. I know, I know, I’m dreaming right? Maybe you are at a place where you just want to know when and why somebody got fired? Well it’s like a lot of things…you have to believe you can get to a higher level. If you don’t believe you can get there why even bother trying?
The second problem here is the typical knee-jerk reaction. We all want to solve problems right? So the knee-jerk reaction is the ultimate problem solving technique. We listen half-heartedly. We make up our minds while the person is still talking and then put forth our glorious solution. HR scores another!!!!
This is like taking cold medicine when you have a really bad cold/infection/something. Sure, the cold meds will get your nose to stop running, but it’s not fixing the underlying problem. You are only treating the symptoms not the disease. It’s the same thing when we make quick judgments.
It takes more time, effort, and money to address the disease but guess what happens when you just keep addressing the symptoms? You get drug resistant TB. Who wants that in their company? Addressing a deep seated mutant disease is way more expensive then treating the common cold!
Bottom line: change is won in inches. Instead of focusing on the relationship you don’t have, focus on what you can do today: ask questions, LISTEN, ask more questions, LISTEN and repeat.