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We can do much better than this. But we don’t. On the contrary, we exploit these platitudes and repeat them ad nauseam with the same emphasis as if we have just discovered a new territory in the Amazon. The forest that is. And this is not only done by middle of the road professionals, most of them full of good will and good intentions, but also by well paid academics and consultants occupying a podium in ‘specialised’ conferences. Here are some:

We need to break down silos in order to align people on a common goal.
Really?

Aligning people to a vision requires a proper communication of that vision.
No kidding.

Top leaders need to be good role models if they are to be change agents.
Amen

Communication, communication, communication!
Wow!

Companies with good employee engagement are more effective and profitable.
I would have never guessed.

People are demotivated when they don’t see good leadership.
Oh! I get you.

We need to get the best talent and retain it. This is the key to success.
Yes, man.

But these are far more than platitudes. They are wrong platitudes.

‘Break down silos’: people immediately think re-organization. But the real silo is behavioural. You can have everybody (post reorg) under one roof and still a silo.

‘Aligning people to a vision requires a proper communication of that vision’. Visions have been communicated ad nauseam; alignment has not necessarily improved

‘Top leaders need to be good role models if they are to be change agents’. The real change agents are unlikely to be top leaders. But, hey, don’t stop.

‘Communication, communication, communication’. No, we need less communication . People switch off. Channels are saturated. It’s behaviours, stupid!

‘Companies with good employee engagement are more effective and profitable’. Yes; also companies that are more effective and profitable have good employee engagement.

‘People are demotivated when they don’t see good leadership’. People are demotivated by a million other things, don’t attribute to ‘leadership’ the cause of all motivations

‘We need to get the best talent and retain it. This is the key to success’. Yes, we need above all to find the talent that we already have, but have not noticed, and make sure it stays.

If engineers were trained on the same rigour as these ‘HR principles’, bridges would fall down, motorways would have holes, and electricity supply would be a lottery.

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