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My Thoughts on the Frontier Project #FTP1



[New post from Tom Miller – President and founder of Symbolist. You can read more about him and where he’ll be this year on our Leadership page.]

I just returned from spending time in Omaha with the gang from Talent Anarchy and about 40 other business professionals from around the US.  I’m still not sure what to call the gathering – the gig was more than a conference, almost a revolution… A Confelution? Nah…  Let’s just say people that are interested in the future of HR got together to see what would happen.

Jason and Joe facilitated the two days using a process designed to force participants to largely self organize and quickly make decisions about the topic in play.  The power and health of the meeting was in the hands of the participants and outcomes were determined by the collective wisdom of the group.  Setting aside the effort to look into the future of HR, it was interesting to be part of the group dynamic and to watch the ebb and flow of communication.  My sense is there’s not enough of this kind of work going on in organizations.


It’s always scary to rely on emergent thinking to produce a result because the result is unknown until the group makes it known – and that feels risky to people in power who think they are supposed to have all the answers.  It also feels scary for people who are not accustomed to providing answers and are now faced with new accountability.

So what happened in Omaha?

We formed opinions on what HR would look like in 10 years and what following that path would require of us individually and as organizations.  We created a “Vision.”

It’s tempting to lay all the information out in this post and maybe that’s what should be done (someone else will do it well, I’m sure) but that’s not what I want to do because,  A.) I’m still processing the path and B.) I think something else happened that’s more important and more impactful.

I saw people develop energy around making a difference in their respective organizations. 

Light bulbs went on, eyebrows were raised, assumptions were trampled, BS was called often and firmly – but in a constructive environment that felt safe.  Respect was given to all, space was there for the taking – some grabbed more than others – but all had access.

I hope there is courage to act on the ideas I saw being formed.  I am assessing the contents of my “courage bucket” to determine what needs to be withdrawn to deal with the path my brain took.

Nice job, Joe and Jason, for creating the environment where this kind of thinking could occur.  Thanks for letting me, and Symbolist, be a part of this “Confelution.”

One response to “My Thoughts on the Frontier Project #FTP1”

  1. Symbolist says:

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