Wednesday, 18 September 2013

It's time to celebrate our failures as well as our successes!

It's that time of year again when the HR profession put on its best suit and black tie or cocktail dress and celebrates its amazing achievements at various awards ceremonies for the Best This and Most Impressive That. Drink is (allegedly) taken. Cameras are clicked. Tweets are tweeted.

The rest of the HR world looks on not quite sure whether to feel inadequate, jealous or cynical of those who have navigated their way (in uncomfortable bow-ties or toe-crunching high heels) to the awards ceremony.

But let's admit it, the amazing achievements of the award winners will not be analysed in great detail by anyone other than the judging panel. Perhaps we should be keen to learn if the success of others could be applied to or emulated within our own organisations. But our enthusiasm is sadly limited.

It's time for change.

It's time for honesty.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you The Most Spectacular Failure in Implementing an HR Initiative Award.

To qualify for this prestigious new award, all you need to do is document how you failed to plan properly or forgot to take into consideration the views of key stakeholders, communicated the reasons for the initiative badly, allocated insufficient budget, bought the wrong IT system to support the initiative, or simply misjudged the readiness of the organisation for your amazing strategic intervention.

The benefits to the rest of the HR community would be immense. We'd gratefully learn from your mistakes, put a last minute halt to our own organisations' plans to fall into the same trap and reconsider what initiatives we are committed to over the next year.

We'd certainly carefully read of your blunder with a sense of "Phew! There but for the grace of God ..." when the supporting article appeared on the pages of People Management.

And, most importantly, we would all have a good laugh! Only one question to be answered: Who would be brave enough to sponsor such an award?


  1. Tongue in cheek or not, if we are serious about development & learning then you'd think the space and appreciation would be given to something like this... How else will we create lessons & parables to guide good practices?

    Ah. Wait a minute. Maybe that means that there aren't any lessons & parables in HR. What does that tell us about how HR has been guided in its practice?

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