universeMy last post seems to have struck a nerve with a lot of people (yay!). And I do hope I can get some conversation going, either through comments or other blog posts, from folks within HR. I was serious about being inclusive. But interestingly, the first post that I’ve seen in reaction to what I wrote actually takes the conversation up a few levels, outside of organizations altogether.

It’s a post from Simon Heath over on his blog, Work Musings. As I made the points that HR is stuck in the machine ways of management, Simon looked around and suggests that we’ve got similar issues in more than just our workplaces–areas like religion, education, economy, credit, poverty, and hunger. From the post:

Here’s what I think. The way we work today is inextricably linked with the way our societies are structured and the way that wealth is distributed across the world’s population. However you view attempts to improve the experience of work and being at work, unless you want to take on the Sysiphean task involved in breaking down the culmination of over 10,000 years of human civilisation that has resulted in this chaotic, warring, polluted, unequal and utterly beautiful world of ours, you’re going to be dealing with issues that have relevance to only a very small sliver of the 7 billion souls on this blue marble. We need to have a sense of proportion about the task we are setting ourselves and we need to craft solutions that make our organisations more socially useful, sustainable and accountable.

I think he’s right, but as overwhelming as it sounds, I think we can handle it. It’s like I said about Human Resources–the point here isn’t to fix the mess we’ve made. The mess has emerged from this crazy, complex system we live in. Our challenge is to create from here on out a better world. This includes better workplaces, but as Simon points out, it includes a whole lot more than that.


Jamie Notter