Daniel Pink and Lime Cat HR Lady

by Frank Roche on May 24, 2011

in Management

That’s a picture of Sarah Chambers and Daniel Pink right after WorldatWork’s Total Rewards 2011 keynote. (Just to be clear, Sarah is most definitely not Lime Cat HR Lady…read along.) Mr. Pink had just spent an hour goring the ox of bad assumptions of how to manage and pay employees. The collective air was sucked out of the room when Mr. Pink challenged reward and punishment philosophies that are prevalent in American business.

“We act as if our employees are coin operated,” he said. “Put in a quarter — get some behavior. When that behavior starts to wane, put in another coin.”

I’m going to write a lot more about the keynote. But what happened right before I took that picture is remarkable.

Challenge Convention and Lime Cat HR Lady
There’s me, along with hundreds of HR people, at the HR bookstore. Daniel Pink, who concluded his talk with the words, “Challenge convention,” was there to sign his book, Drive. There were two lines — a super long one to buy the book, and a line with only 2 people in it to get Daniel Pink to sign a book. So…I picked up a book and went into the Get It Signed Line.

“Wait a minute,” you have to pay for that first. It was some HR Lady behind me.

“I’m challenging convention,” I said.

“Oh, what, you’re going to steal the book?” she said.

I turned. You know what she looked like. Lime Cat hairdo. Her best green pantsuit. Carrying a career full of FOLLOWING THE RULES.

“I’m going to have him sign it, then pay for it,” I said. I wasn’t feeling the HR love right that second. I stared at the gray roots sprouting from her single process red SuperCuts hairdo. By that time it was time to get my book signed.

Daniel Pink was super nice. Took that picture with Sarah. I hope he signed Lime Cat HR’s book like this: “Challenge convention” means it’s time to stop being a hall monitor.

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