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This blog is about hrdisruption.


The world is VUCA. Everything changes. The future has never been less certain than it is today. At least, that is what we believe. The world has always been volatile, but the change comes faster. The world has always lived with uncertainty, but people lived in stable generations. The world has always been complex, but not that connected. And finally as we cannot know everything, ambiguity is part of life.
So if it’s the acceleration that is the biggest of changes. How should we cope? What are tendencies we can capture and surf on? How should we organise ourselves? What is the perfect organisation to do so? If disruption is the name of the game, should we be disruptive?

To disrupt or be disrupted, is that the question?

And what about people? What about HR? Are they really the most important and most decisive factor in this turmoil? Should we fear the jobless future? Or is doing business still about humanity?
And finally, how should the profession formerly known as HR cope with all that? What will be the hrdisruption?
As you can read, there are many questions. I will be tweeting and posting about this the coming week. I have lined up some questions, but also resources about this. Feel free to join the conversation by adding your own opinion and resources with the hashtag #hrdisruption.

Collaborative experiment on hrdisruption

This is a collaborative experiment. I will write a blog on this, next weekend. I hope to capture the spirit of the discussions in that blog that I will post on

This is a collaborative experiment. Join the hrdisruption debate and tweet or share using #hrdisruption.

If silence is my destiny, than that blog will remain empty 🙂
Practical: in the week of March 20, 2017 a series of questions and resources will be tweeted and shared on LinkedIn. You can react on those posts, or add other posts using the hashtag #hrdisruption. I will use (some of) that content in a next blog on architects. Of course I will quote appropriately. This blog will be the 200th published blog on Join the debate and let’s create a collaborative guide to hrdisruption.

David Ducheyne is the founder of Otolith. As a former HR and business leader he focuses now on humanising strategy execution.


  • ann van de Perre says:

    in a world full of disruption there is more than ever a need for authentic leaders who create stability and resilience and constructive disruption, who stick their head out and swim, instead of floating ….How do HR leaders pass the test of authentiicity ….how do they inspire the next generation …and build the organizations of the future ?

    • Dale says:

      Individuals can past the “authenticity” test by first recognizing whether or not they act in that manner!
      The second thing is–because organizations may have large employee base, you would not expect an HR person or top leadership to be known to all. The real test comes in creating an ENVIRONMENT or CULTURE that exemplifies what you are trying to achieve. It does not have to be an environment of the entire organization, it can be as small as an individuals workspace. Create it and they will come!

  • Dale Hudson says:

    David et al,
    I may have jumped the gun a bit but the following is my thinking on the subject you have so eloquently stated.
    Whereas traditional leadership theories have much to say about the many consequences of poor or failed leaders and also about practical measures that may prevent or mitigate these consequences, these traditional theories say very little about a leaders internal processes that gave rise to poor or disruptive leadership practices in the first place. How is it then that some leaders are more innovative, more resilient, and more engaged than others given the same events, under the general heading of leadership, in the disruptive or VUCA world in which every leader knowingly operates?
    Traditional leadership is an attempt to explain and lead followers in terms of what has already happened, that is, the evidence for innovative, creative, and strategic thinking results from leadership that is more or less developed and already functioning more or less well (Bowlby, 1969); from this evidence attempts are made to “reconstruct” and perpetuate the type of leadership that preceded what is now being seen. These driving forces to repeat old ways of thinking and acting (insecure leadership) and to defend ones professional competency (no matter how dysfunctional it has become) are significantly powerful and are experienced in a cumulative fashion (Cassidy & Shaver, 2016). However, even more powerful are those forces, acting internally, that serve to sustain our self-esteem and professional competency, that give meaning and value to the work we do (engagement), and to connect with others.
    A leaders connection (relationship) with his/her organization and to followers is complicated, with varying structures, shifting priorities, disruptive technologies, and multiple audiences to appease. And yet, the fundamental style, patterns, and attitudes (internal processes) of a leader aligned with the organization is seen as the “one best way” and places pressure on followers to adopt and thereby to confirm a leaders often misleading and worse, false models of the self, of others, and of the self in relation to others (the organization included; Cassidy & Shaver, 2016). Additionally, because the internal processes of a leader are often unconscious, there is a fundamental and systematic difference between a leaders style of leadership and current leadership theories (Argyris).
    In all leadership roles, there is an informal dependence on other people that
    is in many ways much more important and more powerful than the power or the authority that
    is implied…It’s not about you, It’s about them. It’s about a relationship between you and
    them (Dean Robert Doss, GBS, Stanford University).
    The concept of attachment (Attachment theory; Bowlby, 1969) describes, from our earliest beginnings, the formation and quality of relationships or enduring connections made between individuals, particularly during times of stress, uncertainty, and fear. Attachment focuses on the unconscious models we all carry around in our heads, which operate automatically, and determines how we understand the things around us and how we take action. Along with everything else, these mental models are brought into the workplace and contribute to a leaders success, or they can hijack their performance and destabilize them for long periods.
    Recent Gallup research points to worldwide engagement around 17%. Additionally, the success of change initiatives is between 10% and 20%. These appallingly low numbers suggest a different perspective (disruption of current thinking or what we believe about traditional leadership theories) is warranted. Consider the following:
    In 1927, there were a series of studies were conducted at the Hawthorne Electric Works located in a suburb of Chicago. Led by Elton Mayo from Harvard University, the aim of the studies were to establish the impact of changing working conditions and employment arrangements on the workers productivity.
    The studies were concluded in 1932 and the results were virtually the same for every change made at the plant: The workers productivity would increase but fall back when a particular study was completed. The unanswered question was why? In 1958, Henry Landsberger, reviewing the results from the Hawthorne studies, concluded that the changes in productivity were due to the amount of attention paid to the workers or how the researchers treated them. Some call it researcher bias (Landsberger coined the term, “The Hawthorne Effect”) because the researchers had unknowingly injected themselves into the study and impacted the results! Really? If management was truly interested in increasing worker productivity the answer was right at their feet; the support, availability, and concern they showed to the workers had more to do with increased productivity than did the changing working conditions or employment arrangements! Think about how different leadership practices and the theories that guide them might be today if they realized that the most important aspect to improving worker productivity (i.e. engagement) lies in their relationships with the workers however transitory or temporary those relationships might be!
    Should this perspective outlined prove not to be so, or for those who may resist the arguments made above, the question then becomes what theory, style, or behaviors from leadership is more explicit and more plausible to take its place?
    The point of view outlined from this comment is different. For the reasons outlined, since the quality of relationships varies as does the kinds relationships, it seems promising to select the internal processes of why connections with others is so important to leadership functioning and how these connections can be maintained and repaired and to do so as a starting point; and having adopted this perspective, follow it through for as long as it seems to yield the kinds of results so lacking in today’s leaders (Bowlby, 1969).

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