Most of us view history from the relative comfort of the grandstands of life. Seldom do we get a chance to play an active role in making or shaping history. Seldom do we get the chance to be a hero who performs some great exploit on behalf of others to ensure they are better off as a result of the hero’s actions.
According to Jon Foster-Pedley, Dean and Director of Henley Business School in South Africa, African heroes are not grandstanding heroes but people with quiet inner heroism and integrity who do not corrupt themselves by over indulging. Instead, says Foster-Pedley, they are committed to educating and developing themselves, believing in their potential and abilities and supporting their families and communities with a deep sense of dignity and ethics. If ever there were a time for Jon’s call to be heard and answered, it’s now.
Now if you thought these kinds of heroes are only found in comic books, think again! You may be surprised to know that they are already walking the corridors of corporate South Africa. They just haven’t realised that they’re heroes born for a time such as this and so haven’t heeded any call to achieving great exploits.
The time has come for HR professionals to achieve heroism – by participating in the National HR Standards Initiative. Thousands of HR Professionals have participated in the standards development and review process. The call is going out to help take the practice of HR to new heights, and the heroes have responded. They have come from corporates and organisations both in the private and public sector. They have set aside their busy schedules to help develop the first set of formal HR Standards for South Africa. These standards will now be launched on 20 and 21 August. The response from the market has been overwhelming, a total of 369 HR Managers are on board to launch the HR Standards in August. They, together with those who developed and commented on the standards, are the new HR heroes in South Africa.
There are many ways for HR professionals to answer the call to heroism. One of them is to help develop others by sharing insights and experience with those who are still needing to learn what they have learnt. Also, all HR professionals will have an opportunity to apply the HR standards in practice, and to keep ourselves accountable to deliver the highest standard of HR excellence, that is what a true HR professional should do.
History is not made by the “someone elses” of the world. History is made by you and me when we rise above ourselves to achieve something we never thought possible. What is it you can do for HR in South Africa? Only you can answer that question. Please answer it – and then act on your answer!