Remember the lesson in high school english class when you read The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost? You know the poem about the two roads in the woods and Frost goes through a decision making process to select a path. In the end he chooses the road less traveled, and it apparently “made all the difference.” Our teacher explained that if you always take the same path everyone else does, you could end up with a pretty boring life. This lesson resonated with me. My two older brothers went to Central Catholic high school and played football. I went to the public high school, chose springboard diving for a sport and was involved in theater and music. By the time my HR career got going, I was married, started a family – and we got busy with four kids in the first six years. My days of risk taking were in serious jeopardy. Firmly planted on the road well traveled.
But one day a crazy thought occurred to me. I might know enough about recruiting technology to start a consulting business and get off of the corporate hamster wheel. I was fully prepared for my wife to say “are you crazy?” – but she said “ok – sounds good”. Apparently the choice of two roads will present itself so long as you are paying attention.
Starting and growing The Newman Group was an adventure that I will cherish forever. I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with some amazing people, clients and employees a like. The road less traveled became part of our philosophy. We had a saying “sometimes it’s better to zig while everyone else zags.”
Eventually I agreed to sell the Newman Group to Korn/Ferry so that we could scale the business well beyond my means (not sure if this was a zig or a zag). My role evolved into a business unit executive running an operation double in size. Throughout the entire journey, I always viewed myself as an HR Practitioner, only now I have a whole different perspective. Running a P&L will do that to you. Somewhere along the way I transformed into a business leader, the same customer I used to support as an HR Manager.
This blog is dedicated to the business leader inside of every HR Practitioner in hopes that it will inspire more to choose the path less traveled.