• Changedoc10

    Great article on the importance of relationships.  Thinking of Fast HRM from a systems point of
    view, it feels to me that Human Capital represents the parts of a system whereas
    Relational Capital represents the interactions between the parts.     Our traditional organizational frame has
    always focused on the parts.   Fast HRM,
    and the environmental forces that make it necessary, instead tells us that what
    happens between the parts is more important than the parts themselves.
     

    I’ve been watching an HR
    organization evolve into a learning organization.  While this team has not consciously adopted a
    Fast HRM approach, I see some similarities. 
    Their journey requires them to alter their mental models of HR from the traditional
    mechanistic hierarchy to a more organic network.  Through this journey they have been drawing
    maps of their networked structure – very different from the typical pyramid
    diagram.  It actually looks more like spaghetti
    and meatballs, with network nodes scattered all over and interconnections
    between the nodes shown as lines.  These
    lines represent the relationships between the nodes as tangible and intangible
    transactions.

    The lines show the interactions of
    individuals in their HR network system.  The
    more relationships identified the more complex the map becomes.  Each relationship is identified for the value
    it brings to the network.  They slowly
    begin to see that the particular manner in which they interact can have unexpectedly
    profound consequences on the behavior of the network:  things happen faster or slower; certain
    relationships require more trust than others; some interactions generate
    greater complexity than the individuals themselves display.

    As the relationships are explored
    further and the map expands they see the network structure emerge more fully
    and naturally.  They begin to feel less like
    an “organization” and more like an interdependent structure of relationships whose
    interactions affects either their individual behavior or the behavior of the
    system as a whole.  The light bulb goes
    on when they realize that what happens and how it happens depend less on
    themselves as individuals and more on the network:  the network of relationships.
     

    Of course, this does not happen very
    quickly.  It usually takes two to three
    weeks – with some considerable soak time built in between – for any team to begin
    to change their thinking.  We talk about
    the two benefits of relationships:   growing organizational intelligence and being
    able to “see” the interactions so things don’t fall through the cracks of
    organizational hand-offs.  Relationships,
    and the interactions they produce, are the currency of what we call “flow”.  Flow of knowledge, flow of information, flow
    of meaning, flow of products, flow of services, flow of people.

    Building relational capital means building
    more high quality connections within and outside of your HR network.  As a node in the network each individual should
    be aware of new links emerging anywhere in the network: not just the usual
    places one may have always found them.   Research in network science has shown that well-connected
    nodes are more likely to attract new links while poorly connected nodes are
    disproportionately likely to remain poorly connected.  This has important consequences for Fast HRM
    in terms of speed and trust.  Finding short
    paths to the right information becomes particularly important in times of
    crisis or rapid change, when problems need to be solved in a hurry and no one
    has a clear idea  of what is needed and
    who has it.  The more relationships you
    have, the more connectivity you have; the more connectivity you have, the more
    trust you have and the more trust there is, the faster and greater the
    flow. 

    Creating and sustaining Fast HRM
    is really about making connections.