On January 18th several websites staged a day of protest to demonstrate their opposition. In particular, Wikipedia, the online information reference site (and sixth largest website globally), went dark, meaning that you couldn't view any of the site's web pages. It wasn't a surprise; Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, announced the action in advance, even offering advice to those that may be affected ("Student warning! Do your homework early.").
So, inspired by Randy Duax, I tweeted on Tuesday that I was available to answer questions while the site was down. I became a one-man wiki.
|The start of my troubles...|
The next day
|So far, so good...|
|Dwane's getting tricky...|
Fortunately for me I predate both the dinosaurs and the Internet, which meant that I knew of other resources I could turn to, both online and off. Utilizing the tools at my disposal (mostly disdain-see below) I was able to find the answers my inquisitive colleague was seeking, as well as earn some social currency from my peers.
I admit that, while amusing, the exercise got me thinking. We often take for granted certain resources, especially those that we find useful and free. The Internet provides a wide range of services. Anyone with access has a way to gain information, help organize that information, communicate with people globally, and most importantly, post cute pictures of cats. It's only when they've been compromised that we realize its existence, and complain of the inconvenience or hazard that woke us up from our blissful state.
The same holds true for people. At the end of the day we, not money, are what makes the world go around. As business leaders it's important that the resources we utilize to achieve organizational goals, particularly the human ones, are recognized, valued, and developed. And we should ensure that we're aware and prepared to deal with disruptions that could impact operations. Like I mentioned before, the online blackout was known in advance. What if it was done on the spur of the moment? Or imagine if Google, Facebook, or another similarly ubiquitous web site went completely dark. Now imagine if employees or our company's customers did something similar. Amusement would have quickly turned to anger and regret. I've pointed this out in other blog posts but it bears repeating.
For my fellow HR pros out there this goes double for you. People are supposed to be the priority of your work. If you truly value them then demonstrate it through action. If you can't or won't then find a different job.