April 30 was supposedly Opposite Day, an imaginery annual celebration when words and actions have the opposite meaning of what is ordinarily intended.
Because I am somewhat oppositional myself, I came up with my own rules for this holiday. First, it lasted all week. Second, I interpreted it broadly as a nudge to examine habitual patterns and an opportunity do something just a little different from the routine whenever possible. For example, I woke up to tea instead of coffee several mornings, took a new route to work, played around with my lunch and e-mail habits. I used an alternative perspective to examine a conflict with a colleague and chose different approaches when raising concerns with my husband. My ideas was to be aware of places in my life where I’m on auto-pilot, examine my routines and open myself up to additional opportunities and adventures.
As I experienced my Opposite Week, it occurred to me that some of us in human resources are having our own opposite week right now as we head into the HRevolution, an unconference of dynamic, creative, cutting edge HR professionals who are want something different than the same ol’ same ol’, business as usual, HR as administrative / routine / reactive / transactional / compliance-driven.
So this weekend when we meet up in Chicago, there’s an HRevolution agenda, though people are free to abandon it and make up their own. Topics will range from Teamwork in the Age of Social Media to What the @#$% does Diversity Mean Today? to HR Blogging questions answered. We have facilitators but no lecturers. The only rule I’ve heard is a ban on power point presentations, though I’m sure if someone came in with a totally wicked and ironic twist, it would be enthusiastically received. If you’re not familiar with this event, you can read about it here or here or here.
Back to my Opposite Week, what I learned is that routines do have value. They help us to work on time and prevent us from exhausting precious energy continually reinventing the wheel to complete basic, repetitive tasks. Counter-intuitively, I have read experts who argue that routines actually free us up to put our creativity to use where it counts the most. At the same time, overrelying on habits probably stifles our creativity and spark. A degree of balance is in order.
On a parallel track, what will we learn from HRevolution this year, I wonder? Are there any old routines that might support and benefit the “New HR”? Will we find that the old, ‘tried & true’ has some value to blend with the new, progressive evolution of HR? Or will we want to toss it all out and start on a fresh, new page?
As someone said earlier today, what will we do differently on Monday?
As always, share your comments.
photo by: TGIGreeny