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It’s Time to Go Old School in HR

It’s Time to Go Old School in HR

by Frank Roche on October 28, 2008

in KnowHR

[Photo credit: Library of Congress]

We’re still waiting here in Philadelphia for the Phillies to clinch the World Series. (In typical Philly luck, we’re having a Nor’easter and there’s a no joy in Mudville.) All that extra time on my hands meant that I could look through hundreds of pictures in the Library of Congress’s archive. Lo and behold, I found this picture of a Fred Lauder, who played baseball for Philadelphia in 1912. That’s right, it was 96 years ago. In fact, professional baseball has been around since 1869.

The remarkable thing about that is that baseball is still pretty much the same game for nearly 140 years. Imagine that, rules that work for more than a century. Compare that to some of our HR programs, pay approaches, and performance management “systems” that come and go with the seasons. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I say it’s time to go old school in HR. How about getting back to basics? Things that work?

Wouldn’t it be great if you were the one who stood up for doing the right thing in HR and your ideas stood the test of time? Here’s my contribution: Great businesses don’t need performance reviews. Albert Einstein wouldn’t have done better work if his performance had been reviewed. Ditto Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Ernest Hemingway, Bill Gates, Christopher Columbus, Louis Pasteur, Galileo, the Wright Brothers, Harriet Tubman, Beethoven, Katherine Hepburn, Lao Tzu, and Michelangelo.

I say go old school and start working with adults. Why don’t you be the one to make the leap, start managing and quit “managing performance”? In the old school, people know what to do and how to do it. A crummy performance management “system” will never be a proxy for that.

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