I was hanging out with an old buddy a short while ago, catching up on life in our respective fast lanes. As with most entrepreneurs, high speed is my choice. I seldom slow down to smell the roses, much preferring to stomp the pedal to the metal while imagining – and sometimes designing – the future ‘flowering’ of our business. But my friend is a tried-and-true HR guy. He not only stops to admire the fragrance, he even buys a few, just to make people smile. Consequently, he is less than thrilled by the speed at which he is now expected to travel in order make grumpy stakeholders smile. They are just not willing to wait for his particular roses to unfurl.

My friend’s plight made me flash back to that classic article in Fast Company that caused HR people to cringe. Remember the banner headline “Why We Hate HR”? My friend has never forgotten it, and to this day will not touch a copy of that magazine.

It’s time to call a ceasefire! When it comes to building, promoting, and protecting the human infrastructure of any organization, HR and the rest of us need to be partners!

Here are a few things we can do to build productive synergy, even though we may be traveling at very different speeds.

  • First, create ongoing conversations across departmental lines. When you do, you learn more about how other people think, how they do what they do, where you share needs and interests, and the business impact of your mutual efforts.
  • Second, consider how YOUR focus might bring some clarity to that of other departments. Do you think about the message behind your communication, and how it will be received by the other side? Is there a simpler way to solve a problem, or get things working better?
  • Third, keep score! This is a bit tricky, because you need to be doing this for the right reasons. Some people keep score for their personal zero-sum game, in which one wins and one loses. What I’m talking about is keeping score of the give-and-take, just to make sure you are giving at least as much as you are getting. This approach will always produce positive outcomes.

Those are my kind of metrics!