The NBC News reported on Sunday that the Washington State Department of Transportation reported that a construction project to construct a tunnel in Seattle had been halted because the world’s largest boring machine had been stopped by an 8 inch diameter steel pipe. When I stopped for a moment to consider this I asked myself in our HR functions what is our 8” diameter steel pipe?
The majority of HR professionals will tell you that they meet that 8” pipe every day. We are told by a manager that a position needs to be filled ASAP and then they drag their feet on their end of the process. We try and introduce a new policy or procedure which will align HR with the strategic initiatives of the organization and are told several reasons why it won’t work. Do these responses seem familiar?
o We tried that before and it didn’t work
o That is just not how we do things here
o It is too complicated our employees will never go for it
As we begin the New Year it is time that we step back and look for that 8” diameter steel plates. They are the obstacles which cause us to never reach our goals. Some are hidden within our corporate culture. Others are an aspect of the fear of doing something different. They are based in the old attitude that if it is not, broken don’t touch it. However in reality everything we do in our organizations is broken in some fashion. Everything we do can be improved with some minor corrections in path.
So as a New Year’s Resolution ask yourself what is my organizational 8” diameter steel pipe and what do I have to do to get through it? E-Mail me at and let me know what your 8” plate is and how you plan to get through it if your world class borer can’t.

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Comment by Keith D. Halperin on January 6, 2014 at 3:25pm

Thanks, Steven. I think it's important to determine whether we're paid for action or results. Many corporate bloatocracies often pay us not for what we achieve  but for creating activity. Consequently, not achieving things is only a problem if we're expected to actually achieve them.




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