“Don’t make me get down.”

Human Resources is an industry primed to take on a key role in the new business order. Of course, we’ve been primed for this since the mid 1990’s, when the “Strategic Business Partner” model began gaining traction in HR circles. Some people remember where they were when Elvis died, others of us remember the first time we heard the HR Business Partner “revolution” was upon us.

I hate to trivialize the struggle HR has endured in its effort to become a more “strategic” and valued support organization, but I think we have become too clever for our own good.

Human Resources is (and was) always based on one thing – common sense. Instead of complicating the HR offering, we should be simplifying our scope.

It’s a broken record in Human Resources; “We want a seat at the table!” We envision ourselves in critical places of influence, guiding Fortune 500 companies to newer, better, more “strategic” futures. The “seat” is a mirage. We need less clamoring for the “seat,” and more feet on the ground. Less debate about our “strategic role” and more actions of subtle influence.

“How do you mean?” I’m glad you asked…

My Grandfather was an honest-to-Pete working cowboy back in his day. When regarding a couple hundred head of livestock, one of his nuggets of wisdom was this; “don’t be fooled, we ain’t really in charge.”

Influence can be imperceptible to the receiver. Somehow two or three men on horses can drive 1,000’s of heads of cattle. They don’t control the herd….they guide the herd.

It’s really not that complicated.

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.