Three ways to integrate wisdom into your HR practice

For busy HR professionals balancing the demands of an organisation, professional development, and life outside of work, it can be difficult to find new inspiration.

From a recent deep dive into the wisdom movement thanks to the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco, here are three pointers that I hope can add some fresh food for thought into your HR practice.

1. The small things are the big things

Its very easy to get lost in strategy documents, employment negotiations, long range planning or the detail of administrative work.  Its so easy to lose sight of the important things you can do to add value to your organisation – often times these are in the simple gestures and words that someone in your position can use to convey a warmth and inclusiveness vital to organisational engagement and hence productivity.  Connecting with people in real ways frequently, taking the time to soften the tone of an email, spending that extra 15 minutes coaching vs directing someone on a work related problem, stopping the voice in your head in order to really listen to someone, and taking the time to drink in a small win.  These are the small things from which other bigger things are borne.

2. Follow your passion

Time and time again I heard at Wisdom 2.0 of people doing amazing things.  None of it was borne from a desire to make money or gain fame or notoriety.  It was wholly about pursuing a passion.  For example take Brandon, the guy behind Humans of New York, he had no idea how it would all end up, but just needed to follow his passion of photography.  To be truly engaged and successful in the fullest sense of the word, dig deep and reflect on your passion, and how you can bring this to your work.  Once you have done this for yourself, you are in a better position to do it for others.  Furthermore, to act as a role model in your organisation, being authentically you, sends a strong signal that will enable others to follow your lead.

3. Embrace the whole

Every situation has an upside and a downside, every person has strengths and weaknesses, every project has pros and cons, every day has good bits and bad bits.  One of the enduring memories of any visit to San Francisco is the sheer inclusiveness – sure its not without its problems – but as a whole San Francisco is a very inclusive, liberal place, that doesn’t shy away from hiding its less attractive parts.  Likewise, I think it pays to embrace the bits of yourself or others that you’re frankly not that fond of.  We all have bits of us that we prefer to hide away but if we can embrace all of ourselves for what we are, this helps us do a better job, by an honest reflection and discussion of our strengths and weaknesses.   If you’re having a bad day, then embrace the bad bits too, or the bits of a project that didn’t go well.  This allows us to learn and grow, and ultimately become better at what we do.

Lets face it, life is busy and work can be very demanding.  By taking time to attend to the small things; identify and follow your passion; and embrace the whole, you can find new perspective, energy and ultimately perform better at work.


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