Monday, June 8, 2009

New words for a new world

Revolution starts with language. Once we get through this credit crisis, the revolution we will be facing is a revolution of confidence. As head counts are cut, jobs eliminated, and offices closed, we will still be faced with running the business and winning. To do this, it will be vital to recruit and inspire talent in new ways. The days of fat and surplus will disappear. Entitlement will disappear. We will move into an age of performance with inspiration, where working together will be what makes the difference, not personal gain. In this environment we must think about re-inventing. Human resource departments around the world will have to reconfigure, regroup, and rethink. I have always hated the name 'Human Resources'. I don’t view people as a resource, I view them as the very essence of progress.

My oldest son Ben is the Talent Director for Saatchi & Saatchi Europe and the Middle East. My sister is the General Manager Human Resources at Orica in Melbourne, Australia, one of my best friends, Joe McCollum, is the Group HR Director at the Daily Mail. In New York, Milano Reyna, one of my most trusted partners, is the Worldwide Human Interests Director at Saatchi & Saatchi.

I’m attracted to HR people because of their twin drivers of unleashing potential and nourishing personalities. I wish though we could find a better name for the human resource department. At Saatchi & Saatchi, Milano calls his group 'Human Interests'. The Bank of New Zealand have called their group 'People and Culture' (a good start but it sounds too much like the Sunday Times supplement).

Maybe the simplest solution of all is to call HR 'The People Group'? Or maybe 'Talent' is the key word.

If anyone out there has got a good idea, I’d love to hear it.

Once the language changes, then outlook, behaviors, priorities will follow. We’re moving into an age where inspiring talent to deliver great results and operate at peak every day is the name of the game.