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It's resolution time

Will 2017 be HR's 'most disruptive year ever'?
REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

By Ian Hendry

This is the time of year when the economic prognosticators are out in force with their 2017 predictions. The points of view make interesting reading, but vary quite considerably. Who will be right and who will be completely wrong?

Think back a year. Who predicted the many political and economic upsets we experienced in 2016? Brexit and Trump are two prime surprises, and we can appreciate Casey Stengel’s astuteness when he remarked “never make predictions, especially about the future.” If nothing else, perhaps 2016 is our forewarning to condition ourselves to always “expect the unexpected,” and heighten our ability to be both agile and resilient.

This is also the traditional time of the year to make New Year’s resolutions. Research tells us that only eight per cent of people are actually successful in achieving their resolutions, which means most of us fail miserably and, knowing this, we don’t even bother to make resolutions anymore.

Through the festive period, it is likely that we have been successful in enhancing both our debt load and our waist lines, and given our guilt, resolve to do better. Not surprisingly, in 2015, Nielsen research found that “staying fit and healthy” was the largest new year’s resolution at 37 per cent, followed closely by “losing weight” (32 per cent). I must admit that both should apply to me too, but if I am going to make a resolution, it will be about having an open-mindedness to rapid change.

Charles Swindoll’s insightfulness when he said, "Life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 per cent how you react to it,” particularly comes to mind.

In a world of rapid change, Erika Andersen, in a new book entitled Be Bad First, makes the point that we must get good at things fast, if we are to cope with the future. She advocates four mental skills that are crucial to learning. They are:

Aspiration: World-class learners have a strong desire to learn new skills.

Neutral self-awareness: Great learners can assess their skills objectively.

Endless curiosity: Curiosity is the desire to learn.

Willingness to be bad first: Discomfort is an inevitable part of exploring new ideas and skills.

HR prognostications of the profession’s future are alive and well too, and Josh Bersin (Deloitte) has made the statement that 2017 will be the most disruptive year ever for HR. The key will be in the alignment of technology that results in greater employee engagement, teamwork, and innovation with how today’s employee works.

As Erika observes, success will require a keen desire to learn, an ability to objectively assess our competence in all areas, a willingness to explore the future endlessly and to embrace experimentation. A resolution to do such things will put you ahead of the pack. A tough challenge, but a worthy one, and if you can lose weight too, even better. Let me wish you a happy and healthy new year. 

© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

Suanne Nielsen

Suanne Nielsen is president of the Strategic Capability Network and senior vice-president and chief talent officer at Foresters in Toronto.
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