A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you


The Frontier Project…a reflection

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy:  Am I or the others crazy?”

Albert Einstein


I had the distinct pleasure this week to be a part of an event put on by Talent Anarchy called The Frontier Project.

Nearly impossible to explain correctly, I will describe it as a think tank. Forty or so professionals, either brilliant, curious or a mixture of both, gathered to talk about the role of Human Resources – what it was, what it was not, and what it could be.

I will rely on The Frontier Project’s founders, Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen, to communicate how the two day event went and to share the results of our brilliance and curiosity. Keep an eye out on the event’s website as that’s where the report will likely be.

This post is my attempt to communicate what The Frontier Project did for me.

As do most events where professional networking (aka socializing for me) is possible, The Frontier Project had me resting my head on the pillow much too late in the day but with the energy of a recent graduate. In my opinion, there is no better way to get fired up about your career than sharing minds, great conversation, good food and, lest I forget, tasty beverages.

fired upTo that end, I ask you, “when was the last time you met with your colleagues to have a conversation about your trade?” I don’t mean when was the last time you met to discuss a specific piece of garbage you are dealing with at work but instead, I mean your career in general.

If it’s been awhile, may I suggest you do something about that?  Engage him/her with your thoughts and ideas about the work you are challenged to do.

  • What could you do better or differently?
  • What skills do you think add value to the work?
  • What do you think you need to develop?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • What is it about this field that turns you on?

Trust me, meaningful discussions about these things will get you fired up.


The Frontier Project, with its fantastic venue and decent coffee, not only got me fired up about my career but allowed me to learn…and remember.  Because I no longer “touch” HR operations every day, I don’t know about a few things (ok, few is probably a fib…I don’t know about a lot of things) and this event helped me, to some extent, “come back into the fold” regarding HR processes and practices that have escaped me (perhaps it was me that escaped them but you get my point).

While I have no intention of returning to HR generalist work and certainly don’t yearn to write a job description or assist in the completion of paperwork, the dissection of these processes, the discussions about these processes, etc. was good for me, and I propose it would be good for you as well.

I akin it to me pulling a shift every now and then at my FroYo shoppe. I intentionally do this at least once every two weeks for the sole purpose of not losing touch with what I expect my staff to do, for not losing touch with what our customers expect, want, and receive, etc.lightson

There’s extreme value in that, and I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit my knowledge, and to identify what parts of my expertise are no longer relevant. Things change and only through visiting the work do schmucks like us become aware of these changes!

That being said, when was the last time you visited your front line? When was the last time you engaged with your staff about the job classification process? When was the last time you sat in on orientation?

Perhaps there is a space in your knowledge bank that is dusty, rusty or no longer needing the mental real estate.


Finally, The Frontier Project pointed out, in somewhat of a startling discovery, that I am not curious enough.  And, if my inability to play legos with my 6 year old boy is any indication, I am not nearly imaginative enough.

I don’t know if it’s my age, if it’s this particular moment in time in my life, or if it’s because of some other reason but I realized that while I incessantly tease my clients and colleagues about being creative, about pushing themselves outside of their paradigms, about daring to be different, etc., I sit in my comfortable career, perhaps grateful that these folks have not required me to practice what I preach.

While I am temporarily sparing myself the blame and shame of hypocrisy, I remain disappointed in my limitations. Therefore, I commit to seeking help in this regard.

Whether it requires meeting with and immersing myself in discussions with the emerging workforce, reading books about topics I know nothing about (excuse me, where are the books on ANALYTICS?), or watching crazy sci-fi movies, I will start to re-energize my curiosity and develop my imagination.

I will, as I heard numerous times these past few days, work to develop a beginners mind.


The Frontier Project…that’s what it did for me.


If you were standing on the frontier and looking at the future of your trade, what would you see?



ChangeFuture of HRHuman ResourcesLeadershipRole of HRSatisfactionSkill DevelopmentTalent AnarchyThe Frontier ProjectValue

Heather Kinzie • May 23, 2013

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  1. Genie Dillon May 23, 2013 - 3:53 pm Reply

    Interesting reflection with excellent reminders to think outside of our routines and put on the explorer hat (and gear – cup of coffee, Fro-Yo, Tennis shoes, and a smile) and find out what is happening and what others are doing that creates energy, success, and happiness in our work. THANKS Heather for the reminder – sounds like a wonderful experience with the Frontier project. Let’s meet at Fro-Yo and explore together sometime 🙂

    • Heather Kinzie May 28, 2013 - 10:06 am Reply

      Genie, I’m up for meeting with you anytime! Thanks for your kind words about the post!

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