Human Resources, Complacency and Making Mistakes

From the dusty archives is a repost of what was on my mind this time last year. Older post but a still relevant message for all.

There's no room for complacency in my HR.

In a recent Fast Company article, Why RIM Lost Its Crew, Its Groove, the author writes that complacency was one of the factors killing RIM. That's big. {If you weren't aware, RIM makes Blackberry. No worries, I own a Blackberry and didn't always know that either.}


A complacent satisfaction with present knowledge is the chief bar to the pursuit of knowledge.                                                                                     B.H. Lindell Hart

Complacent HR is content with the status quo and (did I say this already. . .?) there is no room for complacency in my HR. It threatens progress, it threatens growth and for HR leaders, it could threaten your very existence.

Let's take a look at an employee relations action you worked on and lost. You actually didn't lose it, you pulled it back before it was decided upon. You actions are good. Your odds are better than good on appeal.

Why would you do such a thing? You missed things. Things that, on appeal, could be problematic. More than that, you could not let your boss decide on an action that was anything less than complete.

Replace an employee relations action with a strategic workforce plan, a new recruitment initiative or an incentive award program proposal that misses the boat and it comes down to one thing: you got complacent.

Are these signs of complacency familiar to you?

  • You utter,"good enough" in the face of unanswered questions.
  • Your meetings on key issues end with without commitment or decision.
  • Your candor is lacking and your support goes to the loudest bidder.
  • You stick to what you've always done even when it stops working.

What else? You base your decisions solely on past actions, you begin to believe your own press, and you do not stay current on the legal landscape.

The good news about complacency is that it can be killed easily and the first step is admitting you have a problem. Then, you collaborate.

You speak with others. You seek feedback. You listen. Signs of complacency are more obvious to outsiders than insiders. You don't hold back. You do whatever it is you do to exit your funk. You get back in the game with both feet and even though it sounds counterintuitive, you make mistakes.

Mistakes cure complacency. Trust me, I know.

Photo credit: Jessica Hagy, Indexed