Seth Godin just wrote an article about the importance of being well known in your industry. The piece is called Famous to the Family, and it shamelessly steals from concepts around market share, minimum viable segment strategies and micro-niche targeting.
But because he’s Seth Godin, he gives a hat-tip to himself and says, “I wrote something about this three and a half years ago, but I forgot, and so did most people I talk about this with.”
It’s still a good post to read. There are probably six people in your industry who impact your life and shape the future of your career. You may or may not know them — and they may not be practitioners — but people with money in your market know them.
In my industry, we call those people “HR Famous.” I’ll wait for Seth Godin to give me a hat-tip because I first wrote about this phenomenon back in 2010, which is something I stole from a guy who was making fun of me. The term “HR Famous” has gone viral among my friends. And what’s even weirder is that an ecosystem of influencers has emerged to lay claim to the rightful throne of being HR famous.
But the truth is that being HR famous — or any-industry-famous — takes time and energy being deliberate, focused and helpful. Not many people I know really fit that bill. It’s too bad because I know a lot of great people who are on the cusp of that fame.
So who is best known for HR in America and beyond? Who is called to offer valuable insight and guidance on HR trends and strategy, including things like talent management, talent acquisition, HR technology, compensation and benefits?
Hell if I know off the top of my head. If I played 20 questions, as Seth Godin suggests, I could give you the man. And it’s probably a paunchy white guy. Wait, no, I take that back. Could be an older chick with a crabby attitude who’s constantly being shitty to younger women in her industry. But I don’t have time for this game.
If you want to be famous to the family, or even HR famous, you have to give somebody a reason to know your name in the first place. Want to be the foremost thinker on HR trends in America? Want to bridge the gap between HR technology and human resources professionals who are in the line of fire? Want to help companies formulate winning talent strategies?
You better bring it.
Someone else is out there who is already HR famous. And she’s not budging without a fight.
Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.
HR famous is the worst kind of famous
Being HR famous is the best kind of famous because it’s lucrative and nobody’s trying to kill you or stalk you. I would consider Dave Ulrich to be HR famous. Being someone who goes around telling someone that you’re HR famous is onnoxious
mmmm I think the notion that HR Famous translates to actual influence on the world is a little stretched. Hollywood’s famous are notable for not really being able to move the needle politically- obviously Ronald Regan et al. have proven that’s not an absolute, but its rare, and those folks are a LOT more famous than anyone in HR, which is kind of a backwater anyway even in the business sphere of fame.
Also: in America, fame and infamy get it done to about the same result- we aren’t very discriminating on that score.
It seems to me that the people who dramatically move the world are very often outsiders – or they got their break outside anyway.
So enjoy well deserved HR fame, but don’t be surprised if the big changes come from other directions.
Only HR people would be so literal. Famous to the family is not “famous” in a big sense. Did I write this poorly? Or do people just want to tell me what they think about fame? Because you should see my inbox.
If we are being literal, the single biggest name in the HR space might be Jim Collins. I can’t go through a meeting without someone talking about the goddamn bus. So I would argue that he’s HR famous.
There are some really stealthy guys I know who staff about 90% of CHRO jobs in America. They are HR famous (“to the family”) but not to you because, quite honestly, you (and most people) don’t need to know them.
Clay Felker, who started “New York” magazine had, what I think, is the final word on fame:
“The only kind you want is to be famous only among other famous people.”
Anything else is simply annoying.
No. You did not this poorly.
Everyone’s got “famous” folks in their circle. What’s famous to me isn’t necessarily famous to other people. Famous to me? #teamfaulkner And I’m super good with that.
Watch out, though. ‘Cause I [i]will[/i] bring it.
Never saw the term “HR famous” before but I like it! Makes a ton of sense. Haven’t read Godin’s article yet, but the person who’s famous to me is able to influence constantly and consistently on topics I can further evangelize. It doesn’t hurt to do it in such a way that is memorable to me either. In other words, I typically remember points in the pieces written in SHRM, but not the authors. But, I totally remember the time when Biro or Boorman or Ruettimann said this or that.
Also, not sure what’s not to get. I don’t expect the mentioned authors to go viral. My daughter will never say ‘Dad, come watch this fetch (she wouldn’t say fetch) vine on how to better engage millennials!’ HR’s not that sexy.