Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.

A 10 year overnight success story

Here at Elephant it’s our 7th birthday this month. Over the last 7 years we’ve gone from strength to strength and have just taken on our 15th team member. It’s exciting times!

I met with someone last week who had looked at what we do now against what we had been doing when we started out and made the comment ‘you’re the quintessential 10 year overnight success story’. Which I guess we are (although we’re only 7 years in!).

Which got me thinking….

We seem to love saying that things are an overnight success. That people have basically managed to create something without any effort and it’s been incredibly successful and made them millions of dollars. I guess because that story is exciting, and means any of us could also do the same.

In fact most ‘overnight’ success stories involve many years of preparation and hard work. But who wants to hear that? No-one, so we pretend it’s not the case.

This also applies in HR.

Many of the HR initiatives that we put into place, we seem to expect that we launch them and they will be an ‘overnight’ success. In fact the ones that are successful and change our businesses for the better often take a lot of time and effort, refinement and review to make them work.

At the start of this year I was very pleased to hear that a company I worked for many years ago is still using the training programme that I put in place. That training programme took a couple of years to develop, pilot, put in place and then refine as employees used it. I then made sure the final product was as future proofed as much as possible so it would continue working. I didn’t expect it would be perfect to start with. And it seems like the hard work paid off.

Performance reviews are another area where we see that many HR teams either spend far too long on trying to make the process perfect (which it never will be!) or not enough time on finding out what the process needs to achieve. They then launch it on the business and expect it will work immediately.

But to make it work, you have to have managers and employees involved. They after all are the ones using the system. It also takes hard work and time to refine and get a process to work well and then report and do the analysis to check it’s delivering what’s needed.

I think we need to stop promoting things as being overnight successes and actually acknowledge that good things take time. Getting Elephant to where we are today has taken blood, sweat and tears and we’re still all working incredibly hard. And that’s the story we should be focusing on. That hard work can pay off in the long run.

As the old Pantene shampoo advert used to say, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.


2 comments on “A 10 year overnight success story

  1. amandasterling
    July 14, 2014

    I’d rather hear that it’s a load of hard work than it’s an overnight success.

    Makes me feel better about long days and a never ending to do list 🙂

    Congratulations on reaching 7 years!

  2. Sarah Mannion
    July 15, 2014

    Well said – yes if it is a quick fix for HR it is probably about ticking a box and a transactional focus. Any of the successes we have achieved have taken a lot of research, planning and stakeholder involvement to make a real difference. So much more rewarding in the end with more lasting results. Well done Angela and the team you are on an exciting journey and are doing a fantastic job!

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This entry was posted on July 14, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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