How This Amazing Maya Angelou Quote Applies to HR: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

May 27th, 2015
Written by: Dana Papke

At a recent TPO staff meeting we were discussing the leadership mindset that shifts when they realize (a) how every business decision is a people decision; and/or (b) that they’ve outgrown their infrastructure—or lack thereof. One of our consultants then brilliantly pointed out the relevance of this timeless quote from poet Maya Angelou:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, leaders in smaller or early stage organizations tend to operate by touch and instinct—rather than by process–then with growth and the addition of more people, the leader can no longer be involved in every decision and initiative.

That’s the stage where they are “do(ing) the best they can until (they) know better.” And of course the leader’s goal–as in the quote–is to “know better (in order to) do better.”

So how does the leader get from doing the best they can to knowing better and doing better?

In our experience the answer involves getting an expert, independent perspective on how your organization looks, feels and operates from your employees’ perspective. This is known as an HR audit, and it should cover areas including Compliance, Recordkeeping and Regulations, Recruiting and Hiring, HR Systems and Processes, Policies and Procedures, Compensation and Benefits and more.

The purpose of the audit is to help leaders “know better” in certain high priority areas so that an appropriate plan of action can be formulated—with the ultimate goal of “doing better.” 

Thanks to Maya Angelou for providing us with an inspirational quote that fits so well into TPO’s mission—and our clients’ business goals.

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