Friday, August 2, 2013

Precision Is Often Messy (In HR)

I've been thinking about work a lot lately. Not just my work, but all work. It seems there is an expectation out there that work should be done perfectly, every time, regardless of the dynamics involved. If we simply plan enough, allocate the appropriate resources, and involve enough people who understand the issues, the final product should be precisely what is needed...and should be received just the way we expect.

Hmm. We still work with people in our jobs, right?

Precision Is A Wonderful Concept
In the world of human resources there is always one clear reality: no matter what decision we make, it will directly impact the employees in our organizations. Many times those decisions are good, but sometimes they are not what people want to hear. That's okay, because it is impossible to make every single person happy all the time.

Beyond the happiness issue however, comes the expectation of any professional worth a darn that they will strive for perfection in their work. "Getting it right" and putting in the time and effort to get one's "ducks in a row" is critically important.

But does that mean the result of our work is supposed to be perfect? Is perfection a goal, or is it something we expect to be reality every time?

Reality Check: Life Is Messy
Like you, over the years I've been involved in many projects, organizational changes, communication campaigns, and employee meetings, and on and on. Just like you, I put a lot of time and energy into planning, forecasting, researching, discussing, and executing on a host of issues. 

Yet there seems to be a messy part here and there as a result of the action taken.

Is that bad? Is that normal? Do we have unrealistic expectations about how things "should go" in our work? Is there something inherent about working with human beings that triggers some messiness in life?

If I had an easy answer, I'd share it. The fact is people have their own filters, biases, views of work, and at a fundamental level see things differently that we do. They're supposed to! They aren't us...we're all unique with our own experiences, pressures, responsibilities and expectations of work.

Should we expect our planning to result in their complete acceptance and understanding?

How About You

Do you strive for absolute precision in your work? That's great if you do! Here's the hard part, do you expect everyone else to accept your definition of precision; or, will you accept the reality that our precision can get a little messy from time to time?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.



  1. Not everyone can achieve precision at work, it is something that comes with exposure to critical tasks and experience. Perfectness in work depends upon the employee’s responsibilities and his delicateness towards his work. An employee who constantly contemplates on the way he works will be successful in executing the work perfectly.

  2. Yes Jay, I love precision in my work. However it is too ideal to expect precision from all team members across projects. Sometimes it happens! May be that is what it makes HR domain, so dynamic and interesting.

    During HR & Payroll automation projects, even some of the requirements are emerging out of this people issue - lack of precision

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