Seth Godin, marketing guru, has a very interesting blog entitled Sheepwalking. He says “I define “sheepwalking” as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.” He indictes schools and companies for teaching and hiring compliant, mechanized people. “And many organizations go out of their way to hire people that color inside the lines, that demonstrate consistency and compliance. And then they give these people jobs where they are managed via fear. Which leads to sheepwalking. (“I might get fired!”)” He says that two groups suffer as a result, the employee and the customer.

Often in HR we are guilty of perpetuating “sheepwalking.” We reward people for obeying the rules instead of being innovative. Innovators are harder to manage.

Perhaps that is because many human resources people are the ultimate sheepwalkers. We are so stuck in the “rules and regulations” environment that we stop being creative. If that is the case we need to break out of it. Time to read a book like Mavericks at Work.

So if the next time you look in the mirror and you look a little sheepish and wooley… well you know what I mean.

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