“If I am not valuable to me, to whom else will I be valuable?” — J M Sampath

Are you in some HR Coma?

As a leader and an organizational culture steward, it’s vital to grasp that being ‘conscious’ is much more than being just ‘awake’. Here’s what comatose businesses look like and hope you don’t belong to this ward.

Any HR practitioner worth his/her salt would not even blink an eyelid when it comes to choosing a favourite echelon on Maslow’s ladder of motivation. More often than not, evolved and accomplished industry observers and players would bet on the top-most drawer in that notoriously rusted-to-death pyramid-shaped HR cupboard. They would skip past lower levels called safety, materialism or ego and invariably place their bucks, strategic dice, and hopes on that thing we call – self actualization.

Yes, money or safety or security or material wherewithal or social affiliations matter when we want employees to be booted and rebooted every day. But the quintessential forces of complex human behavior and its manifestations are beyond the sockets of daily battery chargers.

Plus, any organization which can afford commoditised HR interventions can easily copy and paste such machines on and around their environments. Where and how does it make your business stand out? And step ahead of the curve?

Darwin’s recipe about evolution has undergone a massive shift past all these years, specially when it comes to leadership genes and Organisational DNA. The fit still survive of course, but the notions and determinants of fitness have long moved past hygiene factors like training, skills, compensation, brands, career graphs, promotions, perks etc. The new strands of the fittest genomes now are made up of that hard-to-copy element called – consciousness.

Employees don’t just need an umbrella to hide within till they slumber, hibernate before hopping on to the next kerb. Employees are neither algorithms nor pets. They have distinct identities, ideologies, cultural contexts, thinking patterns, value algebra, stories, ambitions and are ironically always, always defined by a common denominator called ‘mind’.

We are not talking of Metaphysics here but a simple cognizance wonderfully highlighted in a paper ‘The Changing Face of Human Capital in The Era of Consciousness- Development Path for HR’.

Like Dr. Kalpana Sampath, and Dr. J.M.Sampath aptly argue here, it’s imperative that organizations start waking up to the notion of treating development and culture at abstract levels and nut just as chores to tick off on HR calendars, checklists and report cards.

An evolved and adeptly (passionately) developed organization would always find the powerful marrow called consciousness streaming seamlessly across silos, functions, cubicles and political turfs. It is this X factor that keeps and organization fluid and agile for no matter it is challenged with.

Such organizations are not blinkered with headcount but they instead focus on the asset-oriented visualization of ‘Human capital’. Such firms do not allow redundancies but they always keep room for sculpting capacities and not just piling up skills or competency-warehouses.

It’s arguably an era of consciousness for HR leaders as the paper outlines well - an atmosphere where convergence, connectivity, openness to breakthrough thinking, receptive mindsets, relatedness, looking at employees as capital asset instead of workhorses to be fed or trained, treating human ingredients in a knowledge worker context, clear vision and articulate-well-oriented leadership are embedded inextricably and seamlessly.

The leaders here have to grasp that esoteric but not impossible zone called consciousness and for that it is essential that they are well poised on ideological pillars. Employee and organizational values should not intersect but they should be symbiotically aligned. A climate that cultivates ‘CORDS’ framework the way it is illustratively suggested in the paper, accelerates that direction.

Leaders have to be context-sensitive, proactive in spotting appetite for actualization, and at the same time not myopic enough to be caught at merely competency-mapping.

In short, they have to think beyond archives and take the big shift to strategic pulses. Start looking at your assets beyond the prism of conventional HR. Evolution lasts, while every other gimmick fails. Be the leader who works on the soul of an organization with consistent, deep-footed, hands-on and passionate approaches. Let your jaywalking competitors stay in the rut of post-mortems disguised as OD programs.

And that’s only possible when organizations rip themselves out of comfortable hypnotic inertia. Get ready to be kissed by the prince called ‘Consciousness’. Else, stay snoring.

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