A few months ago, SHRM announced that it was holding board elections.
I had to laugh because an election at SHRM, a professional human resources membership association, is barely an election. They pre-select a slate of candidates to run unopposed through a very cumbersome ballot process. SHRM leadership reports that it has a quarter-million members on its rolls. Do you know how many vote?
About 8,000, and that’s being generous.
One of the people running for the SHRM board of directors is my good friend Steve Browne. He’s known as the people’s choice and someone who understands the membership base, which is true. I’m not sure what that says about those other chumps on the board, but if you want Steve to represent your members while you eat cake, so be it.
The one problem with Steve Browne being the “voice of the people” is that many people who belong to SHRM — and are actively involved on the volunteer side of the organization — sorta suck. Not kidding about this. Instead of solving their problems or making tough decisions about when to support SHRM and when to take a stand, they whine.
So much whining.
It’s no wonder the SHRM board wants a man of the people. People are messy, and you can’t get any work done when someone is slamming you on a blog about social media and HR conferences.
Steve Browne represents “hope and change” in as much as any politician represents change: he can only do good work if you do good work. I worry that he’ll ascend to his position on the board and every HR blogger from Pensacola to Fresno will be on his ass about free tickets to the next SHRM conference.
And I also worry that if his social friends and colleagues don’t get their acts together, his tenure on the board will be fraught with doing “staffer” work and helping the organization solve fake PR crisis after fake PR crisis.
Steve Browne is being elected to provide strategy — and hopefully some oversight — to an association that has let its members down over the past 15 years. Do you want to help him right this ship?
Don’t ask him for anything.
If you see a problem that you can fix, try it. Make an effort to be your own SHRM leader. Don’t complain unless you can offer solutions. And set some boundaries and leave him alone for six months.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Don’t make his tenure more challenging by whining to him about inconsequential stuff that, in the long run, really doesn’t matter.