The Wrath of the HR Gods Has Me Bouncing and Flapping

Somewhere in the back of my mind I suspected it could end disastrously, but I went ahead anyway.

I published the The Ten Worst Job Interview Questions Ever and invoked the wrath of the HR gods. A few weeks later, I was asked to participate in a Reduction in Force with many of my co-workers. The timing was bad for this to happen, but I guess it shows that opportunity does knock when you least expect it.

One thing that helped me prepare for the aftermath was Barry Moltz's book Bounce. In a Q&A I had with Barry about the book he said this:
"I get sick and tired of people saying that failure is there is always something to learn from failure. We are continually reminded by those around us that failure is an important ingredient in the next success, possibly even a prerequisite. We tell ourselves that failure “happened to us” so that we could learn some important lesson that would later propel us to even more success.

Sometimes failure just sucks. There is absolutely nothing to learn."
Was there anything to learn from this? Working for an acquiree in the financial services industry wasn't the best place be in early 2008? Analysis over. Time to turn the page and bounce.

One thing I did was create mikedewitt.net. It's a place where I can showcase things I've written and done in more depth than a resume or blog. It'll also be the place where I publish my future experience design work. I've collected some things from Spooky Action and BusinessPundit to start, but there'll be more coming in the future. I'm even finishing up the Business Process Transformation video. Why don't you pop over and give me some feedback (we bouncers have thick skin)? Besides, haven't you always wondered "What does that guy do when he's not bloviating here?"

So now that I've bounced, it's time to start flapping. No, not literally. I'm referring instead to the "Butterfly Effect". Lisa Haneberg, one of my favorite management authors, recently explained the concept in her essay The Butterfly Effect:
"Simply put, the butterfly effect is the notion that something as small as a flap of a butterfly’s wings can make a big impact – like causing a tornado on the other side of the world. The flapping wings move the air and the effect reverberates. If the butterfly hadn’t flapped its wings or had flapped in a different direction or with more or less force, the tornado may not have occurred in the same place or time, or at all.

Actions lead to reactions - sometimes. We flap our butterfly wings and things happen that we cannot predict or control. If we look back on our lives over the past five years we might be able to piece together the small changes that impacted the larger ones, but often we have no idea. People we don’t know and who don’t know us are flapping today in directions that will change our circumstances next week.

Complex systems – they’re fuzzy, enigmatic and wonderful. And we can put the imperfect unpredictable nature of humanity to work to improve our lives and the planet. The key to harnessing the power of the butterfly effect is that small, daily, directionally correct actions can change the world. Our goals define the futures we want to create. When our flaps are focused and frequent, our energies reverberate in a direction aligned with our goals.

Conversations are like invisible relay races. We love to talk about the conversations we have had. We tell our friends about what our others friends are up to and we spread interesting news like butterflies on speed. We talk and things change. If we communicate well and repeatedly, things change quickly – the relay is on and we have hundreds of flapping butterflies on our team. Conversations are the most potent types of butterfly flaps especially when you share your goals and seek diverse input from others."
You really owe it to yourself to read Lisa's essay in it's entirety.

So here is my flap in your direction. My resume and background are over at mikedewitt.net. I'm a technology and change management expert. I love to help organizations leverage technology for big business benefit. Do you need some of that or know someone who does? I'll give 1% of my first year's gross pay to the person who reads this post and whose flap starts the chain that leads to that work (I'm also happy to donate the money to your favorite charity). You can reach me through the comments or e-mail me at mdewitt@alum.mit.edu. Let's brew the perfect storm, shall we?

Special note to Bob Hruzek: I think this qualifies for the mash-up project. What say ye?

posted by Mike at 8:28 PM


Blogger Robert Hruzek said...

Looks like a wiener to me, Mike; you have at least two of the topics mentioned: friends and technology. Also, your offer of 1% makes you a hero to me! (Plus, you wrote the article, so what the hey, I'll throw in writing, too.

By the way, mikedewitt.net is an excellent site! Very informative, and it showcases your knowledge very well. (Maybe now I can figure out exactly what you, er, do!)

Oh, and sorry 'bout the HR thing. But knowin' you, I'm sure you'll bounce back higher, like flubber!

5:16 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the kind words, and the mention of flubber. You can't say 'flubber' without cracking a smile! :-)


6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Perhaps you can update the 10 Worst Interview Questions based on your current experiences. Or...more dangerously...the 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone after a RIF. You could turn that into a web contest: people try to anticipate what will be in your top 10 list. Too bad channeling St. Vince doesn't pay ...you do it very well.


7:50 PM  

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