Everything I Know About HR, I Learned from Han Solo

Han Solo is the greatest space cowboy of all time.  Just thought we’d get that out of the way.

Also, your HR team would be a whole lot better with more Han.

You’re not asking why.  You know.  But in case you grew up in the time of the prequels, if you see Han as a minor character in a greater saga — or if, heaven forbid, you were raised to think Greedo shot first — then pull up a chair.  I’ve a few lessons from the Solo un número de vaquero.  (That’s Solo Cowboy #1 for all you gringos out there.)

Don’t think.  React.

This is one of my favorite online images, and it captures the man perfectly.

It’s not about blame. It’s not about being right.  It’s about reacting.  And how did Han develop lightning quick reflexes?  Practice.  A thousand holster draws in front of the mirror.  A thousand smirks after the making a “pew pew” sound with his gun pointed at nothing.  A thousand times dreaming of walking in on Vader and Fett doing the tango and taking them both out at once.

We’re tasked each day with challenges that require us to react quickly.  If you don’t think ahead and be ready with a response, you might miss your moment.  Worse, you might not be able to react when there is a real crisis.  The human response of “fight or flight” is often augmented with the option of “freeze.”  Not for Han.  He’s practiced each scenario in his head a thousand times.  He has thought it all through, and knows how good he will look in every situation.

Have you?


Han Knows His Business.   And His Worth.

Being a space cowboy is hard work.  Think back to the Mos Eisley Cantina, and you’ll recall that Han knew he was the right man to transport an old man, a boy, two droids and no questions.  He set his price high and stuck to it, despite knowing there was a bounty on his head that brought him the unwanted attention of Greedo and his ilk.  (Bounty hunters.  We don’t need their scum.  Amiright?)

When was the last time you saw an HR pro stand their ground and demand what they are worth?  In this day and age, not as often as they should.  We do the profession a disservice by not respecting it.  Get your degree.  Get your certification.  Support others in doing the same.  And make sure you are getting everything you deserve in your work.  If you aren’t, don’t be afraid to look for it elsewhere.

No One is a Bigger Fan of Han Than Han.

There is a line between confident and cocky.  For most people, anyway.  Long ago, Han sought out that line, found it, insulted it, and then kneeled on its windpipe.  Han knows no boundaries.  He is who he is, and if you aren’t OK with that, it’s your problem.

HR is not a glamorous profession.  When we are at our best, we are forgotten by a large part of the organization.  That’s why you need to be ready to flaunt your own accomplishments once in a while.  Not to the point that you cause an issue, mind you, but enough that people recognize you bring more to the table than a birthday cake and paper hats.

Yessir, Han Solo.  An American…um…Corellian Classic.  And just the kind of attitude that could bring  your HR team the swagger it needs.

Be like Han.


This post was written by Dwane Lay, SPHR. He is a recovering IT geek who now focuses his time on process improvement in HR. Dwane currently works as the Head of HR Process Design for Dovetail Software. In this role, he analyzes current HR processes and recommends improvements to aid in adoption efforts for clients, as well as serves as Dovetail’s subject matter expert on HR reporting and analytics.

I had the pleasure to meet and spend time with Dwane at the Louisian SHRM Conference a few months ago. Not only is he ridiculously knowledgeable about HR and lean process — but he is also incredibly kind, fun and funny. I can’t wait to see him at the Illinois SHRM Conference in 3 weeks!

You can read more of his writings on his blog (LeanHRBlog.com), follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Don’t miss any of the posts in the “Star Wars” series:






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