It’s as Simple as Hugging a Goat

Kathy Rapp Candidate Pool, Change, Change Management, Communication, Culture, Engagement and Satisfaction, Executive Search, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Interviewing, Job Market, Kathy Rapp, Leadership, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, Talent Strategy

Petting zoos are a staple at small-town rodeos. Chicks, bunnies, ducks, pigs – and of course, baby goats. I’m beginning to believe goats are the new avocados. Stay with me, here. For the last few years, avocados have been the “it” food. Smashed, sliced, spread – every way you can top toast with avocado has been featured on menus at the trendiest of restaurants.

So back to the goat explosion. Goat cheese, goat milk, cabrito, and of course, goat yoga. Yes. It’s a thing. The goal of goat yoga isn’t to sweat; it’s to have a baby goat climb on your back while you’re holding a plank. Pure, simple, joy – or so I’m told.

How can a seemingly odd combination bring relaxation and elation at the same time?

It pulls out our inner child – and it’s simple.

Simplicity has been a recurring theme for me personally and professionally. In reflecting on the last few client conversations I’ve had, I’m hearing “less complex” and “simple” more and more when it comes to the ideal HR leader profile or what organizations are looking for from HR.

Here are a few sound bites:

  • An F50 client spoke about what worked at this highly matrixed, global organization: “practical, humble, ability to work lean, positive, entrepreneurial – and simple.”  He spoke about it being a complicated business, so the work HR does shouldn’t make it harder.

  • A global manufacturing president identified the #1 element we needed to vet in his new HR leader – an ability to live and work in a small town and how it would impact the whole family.

  • A European headquartered client upgrading HR in the U.S. with someone who “dares to challenge the established truths, but also recognizes our people want to do a good job and love to work at our company. Trust their intentions.”

  • The head of operations for a large logistics company indicated he wanted a sounding board, a partner and someone unpretentious who could “put on a ball cap and run the bases with the rest of the team.”

  • A working cattle ranch is the home office for a tech company. Dress code – “cowboy casual.”

  • “The function has gotten too complex along with being too siloed,” claimed a COO of a large healthcare system. “We want agility, flexibility, and people in HR who want to work together to better the organization.”

  • The CAO of an energy firm explained she was “low power-differential and didn’t want an HR leader with more ego than her. She indicated she needed someone with the ability to keep pace with the business and that meant less “selling of HR” and more rolling up of sleeves.

Is all of this a coincidence?

Nah. In a digital age where there is a ton of noise around AI, VR, blockchain and every shiny object in-between, I believe there’s a quiet, calm uprising around simplicity.

At this rodeo, I held a baby goat. It snuggled, squirmed and bleated ever so sweetly. Then I handed it to my daughter and took the picture above. Pure. Simple. Joy.

I challenge you to find a goat to hug and then reassess what is really needed in HR right now.