So, what does HR Hardball mean?” I get asked that quite a bit, and my standard reply is “tell me what YOU think it means.” The responses vary, but here’s a quick refute of guesses that miss the mark; HR Hardball is not a:

Nope. The name derives as a nice way to explain my interpretation of a philosophy espoused by my Dad; Son, everybody has to eat *poop* sometimes, but you don’t have to acquire a taste.” 

Yes, it’s a gross metaphor, but it’s also brilliant (and PG-rated; after all, my kids read this stuff).


“Today’s special?”

The meaning seems pretty evident, but let me expound for clarity ~ I don’t care who you are, there are times when you’ve bit your tongue instead of responding. Whether we deferred because of  potential consequences, the emotion of the situation, or our own internal doubts, the fact is we have all been there. But we don’t have to make it a habit….and especially not on the job.

When organizations are young, nimble, energetic, and successful (note: “success” is not always counted in shekels), several common characteristics can be found in the interactions between the employees comprising the company: honest, transparent, positive, direct, respectful, and fluid; “fear” of communication doesn’t occur to people in this kind of environment. These are the times of great innovation, tremendous growth, and optimum engagement of the employee base.

Does that sound like your place of business? As a consultant, I can tell almost immediately if a company is living in the sunshine or suffering in the shadows. Sadly, the Human Resources organization is especially prone to having “poop sandwiches” served to them on a daily basis; we hear the complaints, we see the intimidation, we witness the lack of fairness – but often say nothing. That needs to change in an immediate and profound manner. That’s where I can help.

HR Hardball is a brand that sounds pretty catchy; but the purpose is much deeper – I’m really just trying to improve your diet.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more samplings of the Hardball message.