The hard appeals to us, the hard is commercial. The hard is sure and certain. The hard is the thing that we yearn for. As humans we long to be hard, to be formed, to be clear, to be resolute in our existence. The hard makes sense, it makes it easy, it makes us believe and belong.
And anything that stands in the way of this is unhelpful, it is counter productive, subversive nonsense. That needs to be put in its rightful place.
The soft is for the uncommitted, the inconclusive and the indecisive, the soft is for the softies, the losers and the weaklings, the almost rans and the wannabes. The soft is what makes us vulnerable.
Giving people choice is soft.
Telling them what to do is hard.
Giving people responsibility is soft.
Taking control is hard.
Considering the views of others is soft.
Being decisive is hard.
Looking after the wellbeing is soft.
Measurement of output is hard.
We know what we need and what we want, we know what we value and where we excel. We understand what makes us tick. What’s soft is hard, what is hard is soft.
The rest is just a choice.
One of the biggest problems within the HR profession, is a lack of innovation. By this I don’t mean harebrained schemes dreamed up in those horrible “away days” that come to nothing, or worse, that actually come to something…….pointless. I mean true innovation. The creation of new and different ways of thinking about situations, and the definition of exciting future realities.
Because we worry too much about “the practicalities”. The moment that anyone starts to suggest ideas, to progress thoughts that are maybe slightly out of the everyday is also the moment that others start to provide reasons why it wouldn’t be possible.
Because we have to deal with practicalities right? We have to take into account the reality?
Yes. And no.
You see the problem with staying rooted to the practicalities is that you are anchoring your reality to the now, to the understood and known and therefore any solution you pitch will also fall into the understood and the known. It won’t be a game changer, it won’t radically alter anything. It will be humdrum.
When you frame your thinking in the ordinary, your solutions will be ordinary.
Now I know that at this point people will start telling me that there have been innovative solutions for mundane problems. Think Velcro, think Tippex, think Elastoplast. But innovation that shifts our paradigm does so because it pays no account to practicalities….it redefines them.
Think the internet. Think the steam engine. Think the transistor.
These are not answers to problems; these are enhancements to society. If we accept the workplace is a community, then we too should be striving for innovative enhancements rather than tactical solutions. Not every idea that we ever come up with will fly, but if we stop worrying about the here and the now and start defining the future, we’re more likely to find a shining jewel.
Practicality is the enemy of innovation.