February 20, 2008
Radio Advertising is No Exception
As we've seen with our radio advertising clients, businesses come in many types and sizes. But they all have one thing in common. They are run by people.
Yes, I am master of the obvious today. But stay with me.
Seth's post about "HR" is worthy of a few moments of consideration. Why do we refer to our people as "human resources". It's really pathetic when you stop and think about it. Yes, people are "resources" for a business. Pens are "metal and plastic resources", do we need to call them that?
Can we get any LESS human than thinking about employees as "human resources"? Yes, thinking about everything as a "resource" is perhaps a helpful business exercise - for example, when looking at your business resource allocation, and perhaps comparing to profit centers. But getting stuck in that paradigm sucks the human-ness out of the business - and when you're running a business staffed by...humans, this will ultimately be self-defeating because it cultivates a mechanical decision-making mindset. Let me put it this way: you treat a "resource" differently than you do a person. This applies especially when you're in the "maximize output/efficiency/profit" frame of mind.
The truth is that this "HR" is outdated language - left over from a different age - an age in business when machines were the major resources and people were just there to run the machines. Back then it was "check your brain at the door" and do as you're told. Today it's different - it's the "knowledge" economy verses the "industrial" economy. The key to business success is in cultivating, encouraging, developing the natural human intelligence, interests and talents of the people who choose to spend a large chunk of their lives putting effort toward the betterment of your business (and in so doing, the others around them).
So it's time to update the language we use. Seth's idea is to replace "HR Department" with "Talent Department". Definitely a step in the right direction. For one thing, it honors the people who've chosen to contribute to the improvement of that business. Why shouldn't they be honored for spending a large part of their valuable life and talents toward that? For another, it presupposes talent, rather than questioning it. It doesn't say "prove yourself" it says "become yourself" and all that you have to offer. One is dark, fear-based, self-questioning, limited. The other is light, creative, optimistic, energizing, unlimited. Which one will produce the best business outcomes?
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Being Direct, Lester Wunderman