An HR New Year’s Resolution

Posted By on Dec 29, 2009

happy new yearIt’s that time of year when we reflect on the past and revise our goals for the future. For many, January 1st represents an opportunity to break free of many of the challenges in our personal and professional lives. After perusing a number of articles describing the most successful techniques for sticking to your newfound goals, one element stood out above all the rest – pick just one resolution.

With that level of focus, here is my 2010 HR New Year’s Resolution…

Listen More/Talk Less

Now don’t accuse me of cheating by squeezing two resolutions into one. I could have said “listen more”, but that wouldn’t have necessarily ensured that my yapping was held to a minimum. I also could have offered “talk less”, but that may not have kept my ears and mind open during the muted periods. Thus, “listen more/talk less” is my realistic hybrid. It should be obvious why this is a good strategy for HR (or anyone), but if it’s not, a few quotes can drive the point home:

  • Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.” ~ Epictetus
  • It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

I believe that there is an answer to every question our HR industry faces. It’s out there. It already exists. That’s not to say that innovation is dead, but instead that HR has done a historically lousy job of seeking answers from within. So, in 2010, I’m going to ask a lot a questions, I’m going to speak with hundreds (and hopefully thousands) of you, and I’m going to make it my resolution to document the answers and share them. If nothing else, I’m going to learn, and that’s a resolution I know I can keep.

So in the theme of “listen more/talk less”, what’s your one HR resolution for 2010? What are the questions you’d like to see answered? Share your thoughts below, have a wonderful and safe New Year, and let’s keep the conversation going.


  1. Mine is going to be “Stalk Mark Stelzner”. That way, I will be close by to listen in on all these conversations and I can be at least the 2nd or 3rd smartest guy in the room!

    Good resolution, my friend. Here’s to a happy 2010!

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  2. Several people have said that HR needs to do better PR. Wouldn’t it be great if in 2010 we started sharing HR wins we experience or see? I’m not suggesting that we stick our heads in the sand about what needs to change – that has no value. But if we hear about each other’s wins, not only will we be encouraged by them, we’ll also learn how to implement winning ideas ourselves.

    This has been a great year Mark and one of the reasons is because I met you and Yasha. Happy New Year!

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  3. Mark, I have to absolutely agree with you. I’ve found that many HR professionals already have solutions, and if you can tap into those solutions, good and bad, it may help others with the necessary judgment calls on future issues.

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  4. For me, I would like to see HR get more closely aligned with so-called Enterprise 2.0 initiatives inside organizations. I get a bit concerned that this is the next significant opportunity for HR and that for many HR leaders they are not yet prepared for the challenge.

    And I agree with you, for 2010 ‘Less talk, more rock’ is sound advice.

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  5. @Michael – Looking forward to hanging out more in 2010 Mike. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    @Alicia – Yasha and I were so happy to be able to spend time with you and Marc in ’09 Alicia. And if you hear of the “HR wins” described in your comment, please do let me know.

    @Joye – Thanks Joye. We just need to promote a culture of sharing. Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

    @Steve – Great comment Steve. I’m already seeing HR miss several of these opps and hope they step up to the plate. Let’s bring on the “rock”. :)

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  6. Fantastic thoughts here! Agree completely. Actions often speak louder than words. Listening is highly underrated.

    A hearty toast to you Mark. Look forward to seeing you in 2010.

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  7. I share the concern that HR thought leaders seem to shy away from web 2.0 and the latest developments on Mobile which is set to most definetely impact the world of work. The changes we have to align to is unlike anything we have seen since the Industrial Revolution.

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