After two decades of exciting work for a major company, I faced reality: nothing will be as thrilling as the challenges I faced during that time. Much stress, much anxiety for sure, but not the kind to propel me forward toward other goals. So, what to do? Move to another big company and do the same thing in another environment? … No thanks.
I tried some introspection exercises (as you know, I am a psychologist, so it comes naturally). I went back to the basics. I asked myself, what did I want to do when I was a child? This thinking brought me to the fact that, in reality, I always wanted to leave my mark on my environment. Not on the planet, not on history, but on people around me, at my scale.
The next step was to choose the field to which I could bring something different. My last job experience, as communications manager for HR corporate management of a worldwide company, brought me a lot of satisfaction. Our department had started with almost nothing and had to create everything it needed. We implemented a revolutionary change in a 150-year-old company: whereas every location around the world had its own communication strategy, we were charged with changing all that and implementing a new, fully-centralized organization.
After defining our objectives, our first priority was to listen to people; we had to understand the past and the present of the company. Then we drove the change to a new way of managing people, using all kinds of media. We did all this while keeping in mind the need to maintain the well-being of the vast majority of the employees. And it worked. We succeeded not by relying on the standard services of a major consulting company selling “ready-to-wear” solutions, but rather by developing our own methodology and our own ideas.
It became clear to me that it was my “cup of tea”. Creativity, inspiration, efficiency and collaboration.
In addition, during that time I was President of the Belgian Association for Work and Organizational Psychology (APTO 2000-2010), and I was running a big project at that time. This project was to organize a “Congress” where all Human Resources experts would meet and better understand each other’s challenges. As HR Communication Manager, I could observe how poorly various departments (HR, Legal, Recruitment, Training, Workforce Planning, etc.) communicated with each other. In fact, sometimes it was even worse, and these departments did not want to communicate with each other at all, assuming they have nothing to share (and not wanting to threaten their image before the company’s employees). HR, as a whole, suffers from a bad image before employees, and it was unlikely to improve that image by claiming that each entity is different from the others.
So, now I have identified my challenge and my chance to leave my mark by finally building the Meaningful HR Congress in Brussels.
More on www.meaningful.be
One word about the picture that illustrates my blog. This picture is a creation of Maud Bekaert. I met Maud few months ago. She presents herself as a letter carver, but in fact she is a true artist. I really love her craft and especially this piece of work, which fascinates me. More here
Leave your mark !!