Fear and Loathing in HR

From Monday’s Lean Blog:

“Many workplaces are effectively crippled by fear, including hospitals (or some might say “especially hospitals”). Hospitals are notorious for having “name, blame, and shame” cultures. Dr. Deming wouldn’t have liked that.”

I’ve been a big fan of Dr. Demming since I first read about him.  He and Peter Drucker shaped my management philosophy more than anyone else I never met.  One of his core beliefs around managing people is that performance reviews are waste, and we should allow those in our organization the freedom to experiment, fail, learn, and experiment some more.  Simple but brilliant.  I think that’s how I define genius.

Anyway, this post, centered around the work environment at Facebook, talks about the importance of environment on success.  Taking it back to our world, what is the perception of HR in your organization?  Are you the person to whom others go for help, or are you the bouncer that escorts people out of the building?  Do you help build the business plans and talk about talent development, or do you force managers to fill out performance reviews once a year, just because they should?

HR is in position to impact not just who works in your organization, but how they work, what their support system looks like, and how their career is shaped.  This can’t be done if you are wallowing in waste and bloated processes.  You have to lean out your work, eliminate bottlenecks and paperwork, and give people what they need to perform.  Then you can work on changing the environment, the culture, and the future.

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