The nineteenth century French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said that the three requirements for happiness are stupidity, selfishness and good health. And he went out of his way to insist that if stupidity is missing, all is lost.
While there is a degree of irony at work in the Flaubert observation, what I think he had in mind is that, as human beings, it is assumed we will naturally act in our own interest, but to act in a solitary way to pursue a narrow and insular self-interest ends up being a form of stupidity that nullifies the result we set out to achieve.
We only have to look at the political landscape of the past few years to see some striking contemporary examples of people who forget they derive their authority and legitimacy from the larger group, whether it be the party or the voters, and they delude themselves that they have done it all by themselves.
Scientists sometimes talk approvingly of the selfish gene. What they are usually talking about is the gene that prompts us to look after our own interests by seeking opportunities that enable us to pursue those interests through mutually beneficial cooperation with a group.
A psychologist from New York’s Stern Business School, Jonathan Haidt, takes up that idea by pointing to examples such as hunters that come together in groups to pursue large prey they couldn’t catch alone, and people living in nearby houses who agree to keep an eye out in neighbourhood watch groups. He mentions also co-workers who help out their colleagues on an unspoken understanding that the favour will be returned.
This idea of people coming together to achieve what cannot be done alone is, of course, one of the reasons AHRI exists. When I wrote last month about AHRI’s five pillars, I noted that the first Member Career Partner pillar is the one that enables the institute to do things for the profession as a whole that individual members cannot do by acting alone.
In keeping with the priorities set out by our AHRI board and our council of state presidents, this year we are embarking on a mission-critical implementation of an enriched certification and recognition model for professional members. The new model will not only lift the measurable standard of achieved knowledge and skill, but also appropriately acknowledge members who demonstrably achieve that professional standard. In addition, AHRI will advocate the merits of employing those members to business, fully confident that they know what they’re doing and are able to get on with doing it.
I hasten to add that no current AHRI member who remains financial will be disadvantaged by our plans to instigate this major undertaking. While all new members seeking professional certification from January 2017 will be required to submit to the new arrangement, existing members who maintain membership will be ‘grandfathered’.
I am excited by the endorsement of the AHRI board to conduct a communication campaign to actively sell the benefits to business of this new arrangement. That will be an immense boost to members who want their professional standing fully accepted and appropriately respected by employers.
In addition, I am equally thrilled that we are heading in the same direction as our global peers in the US, Britain and Canada, and for the same reasons. We all understand the shifting ground that is now and will continue in the future to make it tougher to do business globally, and as a consequence HR will become increasingly a more demanding profession that requires substantially greater degrees of sophistication from its practitioners.
This is the first you will have heard of our plans for Pillar 1, but rest assured. It will not be the last.
You can view AHRI’s 5 pillars and related articles on the website.