Whenever people in human resources feel alone or stressed, they will say something like, “People in my town just don’t get it.”

Let me give you some examples.

“I live in Sacramento, and these HR people just don’t get it. It’s still all about compliance.”
Cleveland is a wonky town. They just don’t get social media.”
“I moved to Chicago sixteen years ago, and they still don’t get talent acquisition.”

Those statements, all of which I’ve heard in the past 30 days, are probably true and not true at the same time. If something is fabulous and a little dangerous, nobody gets it. When everybody starts to get it, it ceases to be fun and cutting-edge. Time to move on to the next idea and roll that Sisyphean boulder up the hill that is HR.

(Be careful what you wish for, people!)

While it’s true that some parts of every country are less open and tolerant than others, that’s mostly wrong. I just spent time at an interesting HR conference with 500 people from 47 states and several different countries. A large swath of the world has at least one person who gets it.

Find that person. Be her friend.

And I would encourage you to think about how, if nobody gets it, maybe it’s you. Maybe your idea isn’t fully baked. Maybe you need the wisdom of your nerdy crowd to tell you that it’s time to go back into the HR incubator and work a little harder on your big idea to change the world.

And maybe, just maybe, you need to pay attention a little more. There might people around you who do get it but think, “You fight that battle, young lady. I’m over here providing political cover so you can be HR famous.”

Most of the time, nobody gets anything great. Not right away, anyway. That’s how life works. Even the best products or ideas need thoughtful research, marketing, and advertising strategies before people hop on the bandwagon. It applies to the Apple Watch as much as it applies to getting your local HR lady on Twitter.

So don’t dismiss your local community. Don’t fetishize other geographic locations because your town seems lame and they seem cooler. And don’t assume that you’re the first to market with a brilliant idea.

Sometimes, nobody gets it. Most of the time, it’s you who doesn’t get it.


  1. “And I would encourage you to think about how, if nobody gets it, maybe it’s you. Maybe your idea isn’t fully baked.”

    This is so true. Whenever I bring up HR analytics, especially anything predictive, I get glazed over looks from my fellow HR team. That’s why I’m determined to build prototypes, create charts and graphs, or at the very least make my ideas more tangible.

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