Naivety is an often-misunderstood term. Many people equate it with ignorance or unrealistic expectations. However, in an upcoming interview on the Rebel Human Resources podcast, author Josh Berry explained why naivety is an important and powerful tool in our toolbox.
Berry explained that the root of the word "naive" comes from the Latin "nativus," which means "native" or "natural." It originally referred to someone who was "natural" or "unspoiled" by civilization. However, the word's meaning has changed over time due to colonialism and the idea of "civilizing" other cultures. Berry argues that we should return to the original meaning of the word and embrace naivety as a way of approaching problems with fresh eyes.
Berry's research suggests that naivety is a powerful tool in the world of human resources and leadership. So much of the work in these fields is not explained through rational thought, but rather by taking things as they come, being open-minded, and starting from a point of trying to understand what's going on. Naivety can help leaders and HR professionals approach problems with a beginner's mindset, which can lead to innovative solutions and new perspectives.
I would also suggest that the idea of "best practices" is often BS because every organization and every person is so drastically different. Instead of trying to find a one-size-fits-all solution, leaders should embrace naivety and ask themselves what their assumptions of human behavior are. They should write policies for the 95% of people who won't abuse the system, not the 5% who will.
Ultimately, embracing naivety is about shifting the way we think about things. Instead of blindly following the way things have always been done, we should question the root of our processes and policies. Why do we have a 40-hour workweek? Do we need it? Does it have to be Monday through Friday? By asking these questions and embracing naivety, we can break out of the status quo and find new and better ways of doing things.
In conclusion, naivety is an important tool for leaders and HR professionals to embrace. It can help us approach problems with fresh eyes and a beginner's mindset, leading to innovative solutions and new perspectives. Instead of blindly following best practices, we should question the root of our processes and policies and embrace change. By doing so, we can break out of the status quo and find new and better ways of doing things.
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