Can you see yourself in the picture above? If not, you probably can't do what it takes to be an authority in Talent Management, Human Capital, Human Resources Management or whatever the hell we're calling it these days.
Background of two events I participated in last week that got me thinking along those lines:
1. Presentation and Workshop in Omaha: I did a presentation and workshop in Omaha this week entitled, "How to Raise Your HR Game By Thinking Like a Money-Hungry VP of Sales". The concept was that HR pros can learn a lot from Sales pros. When we were starting the workshop, I purposefully was animated in pulling chairs from the audience and setting them up on stage. The workshop audience knew what that meant - Someone was going up on stage to display the skills we were going to cover. You would have thought I was asking them to come up and beat a dog.
2. Plateau Software panel on Authority on Talent: I participated in a panel that asked the question, should and can HR ever be the "Authority on Talent"?
My take at the intersection of my experience in these two events this week: Unless an HR pro can go up on a stage in front of their peers and display a skill that's in their wheelhouse, they won't be able to perform the skill and deliver the knowledge in a pressure-packed situation that's real. At least not to the level that everyone expects when they talk about "great HR".
Translation: Most won't be the authority they want to be if they're unwilling to stretch themselves from a "performance on command" perspective. Life's a stage, and if you really don't want to do a simple role play on stuff in your knowledge area, you won't perform up to par when the ammo is real and people have high expectations.
My friend Ed Newman called this "Situational Fluency" on our panel on Thursday. When Ed was building his last business and looking for consultants, he looked for people he thought could display the ability to go into any situation without knowing what was coming and not only survive, but thrive.
That takes command. That takes presence. It also takes situational fluency, which is basically going into a professional form of improv and knowing that you can thrive - with a combination of technical knowledge, confidence and yes, acting skills.
Life is improv. So's HR. Get on the stage if you want to be an authority to people outside of HR.