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The Dinosaur Follies

September 22, 2010

So yesterday, with all seriousness, someone asked me: “You’re in HR.  Tell me why I have to change how I do stuff at work?  Everything has to be so PC now.  Why can’t it be like it used to be?’”

I admit I was rather flippant in my reply:  it was 95 degrees and I wanted to get back into the AC, plus I really couldn’t believe someone was still using the phrase PC.

So my answer was “because if you don’t evolve, you’re a dinosaur.  And you know what happened to the dinosaurs.”

Now, obviously, this was not a particularly original thought; we’ve talked for quite some time about the evolution of the workplace and the evolution of HR. I pondered it quite a bit after HRevolution myself.

So why do individuals resist the inevitable?

  1. A routine can be comforting – if someone has talked, acted, interacted with others and done things in a certain way for XX years, there’s a sense of comfort and stability in that
  2. There’s an inability to see the bigger impact – without a context or explanation to define the reason for evolution (or often a personal experience to support that personal definition), people tend to live in their own sphere and not envision the larger cultural shift that may be taking place around them
  3. Fear fear fear – what appears as stubbornness or resistance may have an underlying reason – fear of failure, fear of having to learn something new, fear of new expectations and on and on

The future could be a scary place, we won’t know until we get there.  While some people are rushing headlong into new possibilities, others are much more tentative.  And I don’t care if it’s at work or with my neighborhood association, I want to make sure that I help people see the context, need and reasoning behind the necessity to evolve.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. HRMargo permalink
    September 22, 2010 7:06 am

    Right on Robin!

  2. Caryn Sarvich permalink
    September 22, 2010 7:16 am

    Good reminder, Robin, about the critical impact of communicating the “why” clearly. As one who is typically rushing ahead and embracing change (I’m easily bored, I admit, and am energized by change), I’m frequently frustrated by the negativity and resistance expressed by others.

    Perhaps using personal stories, helping resisters find a new routine/comfort zone and assessing the impact fear vs. sheer stubbornness is playing, will help me be more effective.

  3. Amy Underwood permalink
    September 22, 2010 12:41 pm

    So true, Robin

  4. September 22, 2010 5:40 pm

    Interesting, no-one ever asked me that particular question!!

  5. John Jorgensen permalink
    September 23, 2010 8:29 am

    I hate the idea of “we do it this way because we have always done it that way” without considering why it is done that way. Ugh.

  6. Robin Schooling permalink*
    September 24, 2010 8:45 am

    @Caryn – I agree that the “why” is such an important part of any message, and the personal story (i.e. personalizing the message) helps the resister understand

    @John – ugh indeed

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