What Fight Club can Teach HR
What can you do to thrive in a high speed, volatile environment where the “new normal” has obliterated best practices and the trusted strategies that used to be effective? You start a Fight Club. I know… not your first guess, but bear with me here.
For those of us who now look at soap and lye differently, Fight Club is a classic cult movie where a clash against the fast paced world of consumerism is met with destructive yet meaningful chaos, organized and structured in a way that would make many organizations envious. Indeed, successful business models of today require agility to move quickly towards the newest trend, so strategic talent combined with effective learning and leadership is critical to a sustainable future.
Our main character, hell bent on creating a force of brutes to wreak havoc within their respective communities, a.k.a. Project Mayhem, provides effective and stunning examples of how to build a nimble, innovative and adaptable organization that empowers its members and achieves its short and long term goals.
“We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.” -Tyler Durden
To understand Fight Club, you must also understand with the lead character (who remains nameless) – he is our “everyman” who is unhappy with his job, his manager and his life. He feels disconnected from society and fills this emptiness by outfitting his apartment, and coveting products from major advertisements.
“People I know who used to sit in the bathroom with pornography, now they sit in the bathroom with their IKEA furniture catalogue. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy stuff we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives.” -Tyler Durden
After losing all his possessions, our everyman teams up with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), and together they start a fight club. I could explain how this works, but as you may already know, the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. With the general goal of awakening the masses to the overwhelming messaging stemming from Madison Avenue, specific and unsavory goals were set out, and the Project Mayhem workforce was immediately aligned with the organizational plan. Clockwork precision ensued within valuable team activities that included blowing up corporate structures, hogtieing and threatening a local politician with castration, and stealing fat from liposuction procedures to create high-end soap. These team activities were designed bond the workforce and move the organization forward. And they did.
Tyler Durden understands the value of strategic talent acquisition and recruitment. In a fast-paced environment, talent that is adaptable and can handle multi-roles and functions will be the new rock stars. Do you understand explosives and lock manipulation? Can you shoot and hack computers? Fluid job descriptions that reflect change and flexibility will be the norm, and large staff movements in and out of an organization concurrently will happen based on the need for talent in strategic areas. Tyler Durden recruited the right talent through a simple and straightforward policy, which also guaranteed an applicant’s high motivation. It may even seem familiar.
“All right, if the applicant is young, tell him he's too young. Old, too old. Fat, too fat. If the applicant then waits for three days without food, shelter, or encouragement he may then enter and begin his training.” -Tyler Durden
Once the perfect team is secured, the learning and development process in the “new normal” must train up to twice as many people in half the time. Resources must be accessible on a broad scale and provide the critical real time learning that allows for communication and collaboration within the workforce. Leadership criteria and the way we indentify high potentials have also changed to embrace more collaborative and listening traits. In a Fight Club “stretch assignment,” members are taught how to empower others through effective interaction and persuasive communication, which will undoubtedly last far beyond the initial lesson.
“By this time next week, each guy on the Assault Committee has to pick a fight where he won't come out a hero. And not in fight club. This is harder than it sounds. A man on the street will do anything not to fight. The idea is to take some Joe on the street who's never been in a fight and recruit him. Let him experience winning for the first time in his life. Get him to explode. Give him permission to beat the crap out of you. You can take it. If you win, you screwed up. ‘What we have to do, people,’ Tyler told the committee, ‘is remind these guys what kind of power they still have.’” -Tyler Durden
When life and business hit mock speed, it seems all you can do is keep up, forgetting the real power that still lies within us all. How do you regain control of your life and business? How do you rule the day instead of just trying to make it through? Talk to the people who do it everyday, listen to the case studies that work, and get the proven strategies you need to thrive and grow at the HCI Human Capital Summit, April 8-10th at Disney World, Orlando.
The theme of the Summit is “Building Successful and Adaptive Talent Management in a VUCA Environment,” and 4 track areas will provide critical strategies in 1. Strategic Talent Acquisition 2. Workforce Planning & Business Strategy 3. Learning & Leadership Development 4. Engagement & Social Media. This year’s Summit will also feature over 10 Keynotes including Dan Pink, Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers, and Nate Silver, predictive analyst and founder of the FiveThirtyEight blog.
Register today for the HCI Human Capital Summit and understand how organizations like GE, Nike, Humana, Boeing, Avon, Kaiser Permanente and 4 Seasons Hotels prosper and grow in a VUCA environment. Listen to Chris Johnson, expert in personal health, demonstrate successful strategies to reconnect to your family and steps you can take to get more enjoyment from life. The first fifty registrants to the Summit will receive a special bar of soap.