and make it all the way to lunch when - scanning the swag bags and sensible shoes - I get the cold sweats. Heart starts racing, fight or flight kicks in and I depart the area for the nearest coffee shop wondering, "What the heck?"
It was suffocating.
Hands on the wheel, sun on the face and open road ahead - I drove. It was too much. Too much drinking the same Kool-Aid, accepting the same ideas and morphing into one indistinguishable HR mass.
I can't morph. I won't morph. And you can't make me.
You can come talk with me, but you can't talk with me about HR. Ok, you can talk about HR but not the way you usually talk about HR. Don't talk with me about FMLA, benefit programs, award calculations or market based-compensation.
Talk with me about reenergizing a wall-flower incentive awards program, linking everything workforce development to the strategic plan or responding to changes in leadership styles. Talk with me about LPN to RN upward mobility and whether tuition programs are a benefit of employment, a talent management tool with expectations or something completely else.
Talk dirty to me <no, not that kind of dirty - remember the brand> but the kind of dirty that really messes with the HR status quo.
Talk with me about relationships. Talk with me about how we are not in the HR business but how we are in the relationship business.
Listen to me when I tell you that my job satisfaction, my view of HR as a profession or my assessment of my own abilities can be so utterly dependent on the state of my relationships at the time. My boss has my back and I am unstoppable. Leaders (union included) question my motives and I am temporarily stalled.
Relationship is how work really gets done. And credibility is the key that unlocks the door, the coin of the realm, the thing that makes this whole thing work.
If I were to hop onto the stage to talk about credibility, would you come and listen to me?
An introvert and a commitment walk into a conference . . . and walk out with purpose and direction.
Photo credit iStockphoto