I listen to American news quite a lot. My favourite news programme is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. I like it partly because of what I know about the news reader, Brian Williams who covered New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina long after others had stepped back. More pertinently at the end of each broadcast they have a “Making a Difference” report, which features things that people are doing within the community to resolve problems and make a difference.
I’ve listened to many reports that have inspired me and others that have brought tears to my eyes. The one that had an indelible impression and stands out most in my mind is one that featured a project run by Usher the singer. He had set up a project working with young disadvantaged and disengaged young people. A young man was interviewed. He was asked what made him turn his life around. He responded, that Usher believed in him until he was forced to believe in himself.
As someone that used to be a youth worker in London, working with young people who came with no sense of purpose and were often transformed like caterpillars to butterflies I can completely identify with this.
Whether engaging on a community level or at an HR level within organisations, my starting point is always that each and every individual has value – of which they can add/apply to their environment. Sometimes individuals are fully aware of what they have to offer. The frustration may then arise if they don’t know how to express themselves properly and demonstrate what they have to offer; if they are in the wrong role or if people don’t realise what they have to offer.
Beyond this, there are so many that have capabilities and potential beyond what they are aware of. It’s great when other people recognise this and support individuals to realise their full potential.
I also believe that HR has a key responsibility in this area. I believe that HR process and systems such as Competency Frameworks, Performance Management processes, Succession Planning programmes and Mentoring schemes are only truly worth while when they help to bring out the best in people and as such enable their employers in return to get the optimal outcomes from them.
Critically, the right systems and processes will never be effective if the individual does the have the wherewithal, the attitude and disciplinary and he/she does not have management that effectively operates the systems and support the individual. They do say that people do not leave organisations, but rather they leave managers.
Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.