HR and the Lama: Seven insights from the NEHRA conference

I attended part of NEHRA’s spring conference last week and had the privilege of hearing Lama Surya Das – the Dali Lama himself refers to him as “the American Lama” – speak on the topic of Enlightened Leadership.

As a society we are in desperate need of enlightenment.  Our businesses are in desperate need of enlightenment.  Pathetically, I think we would all settle for better manners.

Several of the presentations last week focused on mindfulness, inner strength, positivity and personal wellness.  My own presentation talked about the need to be more aware of what is draining our energy so that we may calm our threat response and remove the obstacles to success.

Some takeways for me:

1. Re-evaluate what your HR department is there to do.  This will be different for each organization.

2. Understand the business your organization is in and understand how the HR activities tie directly to the success factors of that business.

3. Remember that the HR devil is in the HR details.  Small administrative details, mundane policies and routine practices all have the potential for life altering disaster from the perspective of the employee.

4. Know that if your organization had the right people in the right positions with the right resources to do the job, a lot more stuff would go right.  This means that recruiting, compensation, job descriptions, performance expectations and efficient termination practices are very very important.

5. Most companies are not ready for mindfulness.  They should be.  I hope they will be.  Some are.

6. Not everyone needs to be saved by HR.  We need to respect that many many people have managed just fine in their life and work without our help.

7. And, apropos of nothing: If you want a seat at the table, bring an entree.

What did you learn at the conference?

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