“The greatest gift we can receive is to have the chance, just once in our lives, to make a difference”
This quote comes from Doctor Strange, another master character developed by the legendary Stan Lee over the years. You and I believe that Stan Lee’s greatest creations were the Marvel Super heroes Hulk, Dr. Strange, etc. In fact, Stan Lee’s greatest creation was Stan Lee himself. For he did what was unthinkable, when DC was going down in the 1950s, Stan Lee revived the world’s interest in comic books once again through his super work. And this time, it was not limited to the kids, Marvel engaged all generations, it glued all ages, all genders. Such was the unifying nature of Stan Lee’s creations.
Do HR professionals have something to learn from Stan’s great career? For sure, since Stan’s career is not only about creating engaging characters, it is about creating characters who created an impact, who were empowered, who further created leaders.
Stan Lee is no longer with us but as HR let’s study what we can learn from his illustrious career:
Solve problems and create people who solve problems
Stan Lee created super heroes. As HRs, it is not expected that we can follow suit. However, he created superheroes but relatable, he created characters who solved real problems. As HR who are expected to be great at operations, it is imperative that we solve real problems related to the work place be it be in the form of improving the hiring process, increasing the employee engagement, making the work culture. It is also their duty to create leaders or for that matter employees who solve real problems on the table and not just in their CVs.
Developing talent requires persistence
Expertise does not get built in a day, you cannot become an expert by doing things once or twice. Stan Lee did not stop after creating the first few marvel films, he persisted for more. It is a great lesson for HR and especially for Talent Managers, that developing talent is a long term process. It requires investment in terms of Money and more importantly in terms of time. The ROI is huge, like we see now in Marvel doing Billions of business, but it requires significant amount of investment and persistence.
HR function has slowly transformed into something which needs to Foresee the risks which the organization might have. Of course, that is required. However, more important is, that HR takes the risk to move the organization forward. Human Capital is the most important investment an organization makes and if it is made risk-averse, the capital will not realize its full potential. Stan Lee started creating super heroes in the second innings of his test match, he could have chosen other things to do, but he took the risk to challenge DC (who almost had the monopoly) and create these super heroes what the world loves today. HR needs to take risk, organization needs it.
95 years cannot be merely summarized in 3 points or 2 pages, it is just a small attempt to understand what best can we learn from this genius and for sure the HR industry has a lot to learn from him.
As Captain America said, “I am with you till the end of the line”. Stan’s experiences and learnings are with us till beyond the line.
This post is contributed in house by Mr. Divya Kr Gupta, he is a true HR from the core of his heart and die-hard Marvel Fan. He is helping Focus to built its Human Resource Management Product Cilfi.