Here’s to the Crazy Ones

I was fortunate to recently present at The Conference Board of Canada and its HR Executives forum in my backyard of beautiful Vancouver.

In that 60-minute discussion I presented the relationship between the theories and frameworks that I strongly believe in; connected learning, open leadership and collaborative technologies.

Over the past decade I’ve been in positions to publicly speak, both internally and externally, well over 200 times. I get such a thrill out of the experience, of giving back, of dancing around on stage pretending I know what I’m talking about.

But the most important part of any speaking engagement is the interaction with the audience, the questions and dialogue that occurs during or after, not to mention the opportunity to add more people to my strong and weak ties network.

I cherish each and every opportunity I get.

But this past week, at The Conference Board of Canada session, for whatever reason I couldn’t stop thinking about Apple’s 1997 television commercial that launched the ‘Think Different’ campaign.

You know, the one that asked us to pay tribute to:

“the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the trouble-makers, the round pegs in the square hole.”

It might have had something to do with the iPad announcement. It might be due to my audience participation request when I asked everyone to hold up five fingers high into the sky and yell ‘Happy Birthday Cate” (my youngest daughter’s birthday was the same day) while I panned and filmed using my iPad 2. (she loved it by the way – thank you audience members)

This commercial kept attacking my train of thought throughout the 60 minutes.

I didn’t bring it up and I didn’t try to weave it into the delivery, but it wasn’t until the weekend when I figured out why it may have been happening.

Maybe we need HR to be a little crazier.

It’s a profession who has the singular task of ensuring the organization is engaged, properly staffed, learned, paid, and appropriately leading.

But if it wants to be a truly demonstrable and effective engine of change for an organization grappling with competitive forces, external Web 2.0 technologies, globalization and ‘do more with less’ campaigns, it ought to make a little more trouble, rebel rouse a bit and look at the function of HR in a much different light.

Perhaps, in a ‘round peg in square hole’ manner.

What would Jobs have done if he could have reinvented HR?

What would he have done to ‘think different’?

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Hey! I'd love to read what you think. Surely you have an opinion. Love, Dan.