12 Karmic Laws of HR

Paul Hebert Change, COVID-19, Good HR, HR, Paul Hebert

I’ll be honest. 

The world scares me right now. 

I feel like we devolved into a global Lord of the Flies Netflix series that, like The Walking Dead, won’t end but just keeps mayhem on infinite repeat. It’s draining and exhausting. I know you feel it too.

I also think many of us are starting to look inward to find strength and guidance because everything outside our front doors is such a bizarro world. 

I find myself doing more self-reflection. More reading (especially things that challenge my assumptions – do more of that!) I also find myself looking for calming wisdom from Buddha. Ever since a trip to LA years ago when I found a book of Buddha in the nightstand next to the good ole King James, I’ve been a bit of a fan. I’ve sort of adopted the 12 Laws of Karma as a checksheet for myself. 

I think HR could use a bit of calm right now so I adopted the 12 Karmic Laws for HR to help you all move forward with confidence, caring and conviction during this time.

So – here’s my riff on the 12 Laws for HR Pros…

1. The Great Law – “As you sow, so shall you reap.” This is also known as the “Law of Cause and Effect.”

How you treat employees is how you are treated. Want respect? Give respect. Remember, you are not just HR, you are an employee too. Never forget that.

2. The Law of Creation – Life doesn’t just happen. It requires our participation. We are one with the Universe, both inside and out. 

As an HR Pro you have to get in and DO something. You can’t simply push paper. You have to be part of the process and provide input, thinking, and action. Don’t delegate everything. Be a player in the game…don’t be a spectator.

3. The Law of Humility – You can’t change something if you refuse to accept it. If what we see is an enemy, or someone with a character trait that we find to be negative, then we ourselves are not focused on a higher level of existence.

Wow. Does this resonate today? Remove your biased-colored glasses. Accept you probably have them. We ALL DO! It’s part and parcel to being human. There is no “but not me.” It is you. Work to reduce/eliminate your biases. 

4. The Law of Growth – “Wherever you go, there you are.” For us to grow in Spirit, it is we who must change, and not the people, places or things around us. When we change who and what we are within our hearts, our lives follow suit and change too.

[sidebar: I always quoted that line after I heard it in the movie “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”. I never knew it was a Karmic Law. Huh.]

Know you must grow before you can ask others to grow and change. Start with you. START with YOU. Learn. Learn. Learn. The more you internalize that continuous learning is foundational to adding value in an organization the more you will do it. Do it every day. EVERY.DAY.

5. The Law of Responsibility – Whenever there is something wrong in my life, there is something wrong in me. We mirror what surrounds us, and what surrounds us mirrors us; this is a Universal Truth. 

You are the cure, and the cause.

Some call it locus of control. Know and believe you control your world and your reactions to it. When you believe you can change yourself then change happens. Want change in your organization? Change yourself first. Ask yourself “What can I change about me that will catalyze a change elsewhere else in the company?”

6. The Law of Connection – Even if something we do seems inconsequential, it is very important that it gets done as everything in the Universe is connected. Each step leads to the next step, and so forth and so on. Someone must do the initial work to get a job done. Neither the first step nor the last are of greater significance, as they were both needed to accomplish the task.

This law is something I fall down on a lot. I plan big. I see the big picture and then get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. Focus on the baby steps. Plan them. Check them off as you go. The planning is simply the first step. Do that. Then the next thing. Don’t look for overnight change. Look for incremental change. That is how many things happen. Don’t be seduced by the outlier conversation that only disruptive change matters. Change itself matters. Even small ones.

7. The Law of Focus – You cannot think of two things at the same time. Because of this, when our focus is on Spiritual Values, it is impossible for us to have lower thoughts such as greed or anger.

Don’t get wrapped up in areas that don’t help move you or your organization forward. Don’t become a manager surrogate because someone isn’t doing their job. You can’t be all things to all people. Focus on your role and your sphere of impact. Allow others to do their jobs – or replace them. Don’t enable – enhance. 

8. The Law of Giving and Hospitality – If you believe something to be true, then sometime in your life you will be called upon to demonstrate that particular truth. Here is where we put what we CLAIM that we have learned into actual PRACTICE.

Walk the talk. Simple as that. Humans can sniff out hypocrisy and insincerity like a beagle finding pot at a Phish/Bob Marley double bill concert. Be true. 

9. The Law of Here and Now – Looking backward to examine what was, or forward to worry about the future, prevents us from being totally in the here and now. Old thoughts, old patterns of behavior, and old dreams prevent us from having new ones.

Experiment with what you know. Challenge assumptions. Change your patterns. Read new information you would normally ignore. Seek devil’s advocates. I liken this to having a child’s mind. Assume nothing. Learn everything. Listen and learn. Don’t listen to respond. 

10. The Law of Change – History repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to change our path.

History doesn’t repeat. Our reactions to what is going on does. Force yourself to change and will get comfortable with it. Use a new browser every three months. Change policies if you can to enhance elements of engagement. If you feel like things are stuck then learn something new to help you unstick it. If you’re feeling in a rut just imagine how those who can’t choose to jump out of the rut feel? You must look at change as your job – the enablement of it – not the stifling of it.

11. The Law of Patience and Reward – All rewards require initial toil. Rewards of lasting value require patient and persistent toil. True joy comes from doing what we’re supposed to be doing, and knowing that the reward will come in its own time.

See the big picture. Remember Law # 6. Everything is connected. Enjoy moving through the process. Know you’ve planned well and are working hard. We live in an instant-on world and we need to pull ourselves out of that now and then to really appreciate the progress we make on the way to the final goal. Take time to relish that.

12. The Law of Significance and Inspiration – You get back from something whatever you have put into it. The true value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it. Every personal contribution is also a contribution to the Whole. Lackluster contributions have no impact on the Whole, nor do they work to diminish it. Loving contributions bring life to, and inspire, the Whole.

Care about what you do. Put emotion and passion into your work every day. Don’t go through the motions. You’re not shooting screws in a factory, you’re impacting lives, careers, families, the future of the country. You have a critical role in making the world better. Your employees spend ⅓ of their lives under your design. Make what you do every day worthy of them and their lives.

I’m sure if I had a better understanding of the day to day of HR I could be more specific on how to apply these 12 Laws, but I hope you can see yourself in them and apply them.

Print out the laws and frame them. Remind yourself the world is big but so is your impact if you can keep yourself from straying.

Until we meet again.