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Bright, Shiny Objects and the Future of HR

Many of us have had the experience of listening to a talk and suddenly making a connection between the speaker’s big idea and a challenge we face at work. To listen to David Rock, of the NeuroLeadership Institute, for example, is to have one’s eyes opened to recent neuroscience research. One discovery Rock shares is that when people realize they are being compared with others, a “threat response” in their brains sends cortisol levels skyrocketing and makes it hard for them to take in other information. If you oversee your company’s annual performance review process and it centers on the delivery of a single number derived from a stack-ranking exercise, this insight could be a lightbulb going on.

Or maybe you’re listening to Rob Cross, of the University of Virginia, revealing that your company runs according to a hidden structure that looks nothing like its official org chart. Informal networks matter much more than hierarchies. Whatever the source, you find yourself doing what so many HR leaders have done before. You grab that bright, shiny object and take it home, in the form of pages of excitedly scrawled notes and an intense resolve to get your team working on it.

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Author

  • John Boudreau and Steven Rice

Date

  • July 1, 2015

Publication

  • Harvard Business Review

Topics

  • Operations
  • Talent