Prophet Motives


I had the pleasure of attending IQPC’s HR Shared Services and Outsourcing Summit this week.  It was a wonderful collection of HRSSC leaders from around the contry coming together to talk about their challenges, their successes and their plans for future improvements.  These are some of my favorite HR teams to be around, as they have embraced Lean philosophy and data driven performance like few other groups.


I was fortunate to be asked to run a workshop on HR metrics, which I greatly enjoyed.  While there were a few attendees that were looking for a list of metrics at the start, they all seemed pleased with the approach we took instead.  We looked at how to determine the right metrics to track, as well as the best way to present data as information.  It was a great two hours, and attendees were very vocal about the value they got from the time.


What really stuck with me, though, was a comment made later in the evening.  We were discussing the difficulties of change management, particularly the frustrations of leading projects.  The comparison was made that leading change is very similar to being a religous prophet.  How so?


It’s not about perfecting your dogma.  It’s about gathering followers.


I was struck by the simplicty of this idea.  Too often we focus on perfecting the idea before telling others.  We work tirelessly to ensure the plan is flawless, only to have it blown apart by in the first meeting by people who “just don’t get it.”  We fight alone to champion a cause, only to become disillusioned at the lack of progress.


But it’s not about the idea of perfection, nor the perfection of ideas.  It is about followers.  It is about networking your dream, finding those who share your passion, and building a tribe around the needs of the the future.


A stunningly simple idea, but powerful.  A large flock of followers is the secret of the most successful prophets in history.  Be it religion, independence, civil rights or just a better way of doing business, the leaders with the most influential followers usually has the best outcome.  And when it comes to building a shared services center, implementing a case management solution, or just making sure you have the ability to pick a technology partner that best suits your needs, having the ability to make the call yourself usually means having a lot of supporters behind you that believe not just in the cause, but in you as a leader.


So how’s your flock look these days?

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