Revolution: Breaking Down the Wall of Old HR?

by Michael Haberman on November 9, 2009 · 4 comments

This past weekend an event occurred that probably most HR people did not know about. It was the HRevolution conference that was held in Louisville. I was unhappy I did not have a chance to attend. I wish I had. Some of the best of today’s “young” HR thought leaders were there. These are people who carry sharp sticks and like to poke the “beast” of current HR thought. They ask the hard questions we should all be formulating answers for. Lance Haun (thelance on Twitter) talks about this at his blog Rehaul in his post “You say you want a revolution?” Although it has passed you can find out more about HRevolution by visiting here.

I love the name, it has so much meaning for me. First CHANGE. I think change is good and it is time to make the “beast” move. I like the word evolution in it. It also means CHANGE. But unlike most peoples conception of evolution as slow change there is the theory of PUNCTUATED EVOLUTION or Punctuated equilibrium. This theory means that not all change occurs gradually, that some evolutionary changes can occur rapidly. (That is the short version.) I think we can make HR change rapidly.

I come back to the word revolution in meaning turning. I think we need to keep this movement going. I appeal to Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks,  Crystal Peterson, Steve Boese, Laurie Ruettiman, Jessica Lee, Kris Dunn and other “beast stickers” to keep the momentum going. I think it may be fortunate happenstance that this occurred the weekend just before the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1987 Ronald Reagan, in a speech at the Berlin Wall, said “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Let me pharaphrase that famous speech. “If you seek prosperity for employer and employee alike, if you seek great people, great systems, effective teams, employee dignity then come here to this gate. Open this gate. Tear down this outdated and stale way of doing things.” Make this past weekend a clarion call for action. Take up your hammers and chisels and begin chipping away at old ideas, stale ways of doing things. Question the “tried and true” and get away from “that is the way we have always done it.” Make the old guard of HR take notice.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Miller-Merrell November 9, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Mike, Nicely done. We must be on the same wavelength because I posted a similar blog post on my site earlier this morning after watching the CNN coverage. Check it out.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR


Steve Boese November 9, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Thanks Mike for posting about the HRevolution, and more thanks for imploring everyone to keep it going, and take action. It was hopefully just the start of some really exciting things.


Trish McFarlane November 9, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Thank you for posting about HRevolution. I must admit, I've never been called a "beast sticker" before, but in the context you used, I'm proud to bear that title. Seriously, this was just the first step of many that we will need to take to keep our momentum of change. Like your analogy of "chipping away" the wall, we, as HR pros, can work together to come up with tangible output from the HRevolution.

One day is not enough to solve anything or answer all of life's questions about what the future of HR will look like. One day was enough to bring inspiration and encouragement to 50 people. Now we need to come together to make something out of it….before HRevolution 2010!

Thanks again,


Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR November 10, 2009 at 8:53 am

Well done. Along with the breaking the wall can we throw that table in there as well!!


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