Are We Ready To Surprise Ourselves?

Are We Ready To Surprise Ourselves?

Many years ago, I was identifying the right person to be my head for talent acquisition (TA). I have always liked meeting good HR talent all through my career. As I was doing that, I liked someone. I finally told him I wanted him to join the team. Very naturally, he asked me what the role was. I said, “Head of Talent Acquisition.”


His face looked shocked. He responded that he never had any experience with hiring. Worse, he was coming from a very different industry and cultural context. Most importantly, he said, “I will be taking a big risk with my career.”


I remember leaning into him that Saturday afternoon and telling him that no one really takes a risk with their career. It is the manager and the organisation that take the bet! I explained to him why he’d make a great TA head. I then added, “If you fail, I will lose face with the CEO as it is my call to hire you. If you fail, the organisation will suffer. But a year later, you will never ever say that you have not hired before. And it is my job as your manager to ensure you do not fail.”


The person finally took the plunge. We made a great team and did some breakthrough work in that company till I rotated him to a bigger role three and a half years later. Today he is a CHRO somewhere.


Someone needs to think beyond plug and play. We need to take punts beyond the obvious. People are waiting to surprise us. But are we ready to surprise ourselves? This is a big reason that talent thinking has stayed conservative beyond all the spiel from the pulpit for years.


Read more Story Bytes by Prabir: 


Don't Shoot the Messenger!


A Manager Can Make It or Break It


Never Too Early, Never Too Late


Do Anything, but Don't Lie!





Prabir Jha is the Founder and CEO of Prabir Jha People Advisory. He has been the CHRO of two Fortune 500s and two NYSE-listed Indian majors.


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