Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Resolutions Are For Suckers

I have long been a member of the New Year's Resolutions Club. I think long and hard about how I'm going to change my life and become something that I'm not...er...I mean something better. I've written personal lists, professional lists, exercise lists, organizational lists, and other lists I'm sure...I just can't seem to remember what they were.

Good Intentions
It's not that setting goals for yourself is a bad idea. In fact, committing to making improvements in one's life is a great idea...as long as the changes are realistic. That's where I've struggled over the years.

So this year I'm going to try something new...no resolutions, or goals, or delusions of becoming some sort of Hollywood fantasy version of myself. I'm simply going to try and do my best. No, that's not very flashy or exciting or inspiring. But if I can do my best each day, I might just make real progress instead of finding myself at the beginning of February lamenting that I'd fallen short once again.

How About You
How many of you have goals for the coming year? Are you dreaming of a better you at home, work, the gym, or with the family? Good luck with that. Maybe this is the year to avoid the disappointment of attempts at change that fall short; and to simply focus on bringing an honest effort each day. Happy New Year.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of leehippie and discotreats

Friday, December 23, 2011

Out of My Element

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to participate on a team that consulted for a large hospital overseas. It was the first time I worked on a project like that, and to say it was an eye-opening experience is the understatement of the year. Much has been written about moving out of one's comfort zone, but this assignment was something far beyond taking a baby step and trying something new.

Frame of Reference...Where?
Although I traveled to a country that required its citizens to be fluent in their native tongue as well as English, the entire healthcare system was organized in a dramatically different way compared to what I'm accustomed to. The norms, procedures, customs, politics and expectations were all new. I quickly found myself trying to force-fit my world-view onto their situation so I could "fix" the many challenges facing this organization.

Uh-oh. Since when was forcing my view on someone else a good idea?

Listen, Learn, Listen Some More
I very quickly realized I needed to slow down and stop being so...well...me. I was the visitor, I was the outsider, I was also being viewed as an expert to bring a fresh perspective. I needed to understand what these talented people were going through before I jumped to any conclusions or solutions. (That is hard for me to do.)

Learning is Good
Once I slowed down and took the time to soak up all of the information that was so generously being shared with me and the other members of our HR Team, I could begin to not only appreciate the challenges but also identify options to make changes within their system. The project wasn't about me, or the American healthcare system, or what was wrong with their system. It was about working together to bring ideas to the table to make progress. Last time I checked, making progress is a good thing.

How About You
Are you the "expert?" If so, how do you let others know? Is it through a series of regular proclamations that are shared with those around you; or, do you listen, learn, and lead those around you to make progress?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of lisafrancesjudd

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Are You Missing Out?

I recently conducted a search for a Professional Recruiter that needed to be experienced using social media. I wrote about my good fortune here with the person who has joined our team, but thought it might be interesting to offer some examples of applications I received and what that showed me about the state of social media adoption with experienced HR pros.

I Said Social Media, Right?
Call me crazy, but since I basically used social media exclusively to advertise the position, and mentioned it in the blog post, I thought it would be safe to assume that those interested in joining my team would have some level of comfort with social media tools. (Or at least would have read the requirements.) Right?


Good Try, Better Luck Next Time
As might be expected during a difficult economy, we had a number of people apply who didn't meet our requirements. What was surprising to me though were the responses from many experienced recruiters when reacting to my "social media experience" expectation. A few examples follow:

“No, not really – we had a dept that posted job ads on various sites – have never done it myself."

"I have a LinkedIn account, but it’s 'personal' – I believe social media should be 'from the company' because the information is 'out there forever'.”

"No – but it sounds awesome!"

"Not yet, but it seems okay."

"I have a Twitter handle but don’t use it much – my company’s 'not there yet'.”

"My company is 100% against the use of social media in recruiting, so I’ve done some 'on the side' myself."

"Twitter?  I’ve never had a need to use it, but it’s fine – I’m all about it!"

...and here is my favorite...

"I have become a subject matter expert on sourcing talent via social media, including LinkedIn, Taleo and Twitter, but have no personal twitter handle (I had a bad experience with inappropriate comments and getting a computer virus from tweets)."

How About You
Are you one of the HR pros that are still anxious about social media? If so, you're missing out. Social media is a tool for business. Every business. Now is the time to get started. The HR social community is incredibly supportive, so do not be afraid. We all had to take that first step...I did.

I'd love to hear from you .

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of bizznesscard

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Can't Wait to Fail...Again

No, I'm not crazy. At least I don't think I am. But I do know this...when I fail I do a hell of a lot of learning. It's not that I look forward to things going poorly or letting down my various customer groups. But the reality is sometimes I fail. Sometimes we all fail. So I've decided that I need to stop worrying about it, and start embracing the learning that follows. Here's the catch, the only way you can take something positive from failure is if you admit that you've failed. If you're one of those leaders who is constantly making excuses for why things didn't work out I need to tell you something...

You're the problem, not the people, or systems, or circumstances. It's you.

Get In The Game
Let's be honest. Failure is no fun. It can be embarrassing, raise concerns about competence, and in extreme cases put one's job at risk. But the truth is we fail all the time. Think about how many ideas you've had over the last year. Did every strategy work out perfectly? Did you achieve every earnings goal, turnover rate, hiring target, expense reduction plans, or sales quota? Of course not.

Here's how I look at failure. I tried something. I took action. I moved out of my comfort zone and went for it. Standing still out of fear means the rest of the world just roared by and you missed countless opportunities to contribute. Don't be that person. Be the one that steps into the fast lane and holds on for dear life. It's what leaders do.

How About You 
Don't settle, don't get comfortable, and for crying out loud don't let 2011 end without you having failed at something. No one is that good.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of yourfreegraphics

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Have a Great View from My High Horse

Dealing with difficult issues in the workplace can take its toll. Not in the way you might think though. Sometimes juggling sensitive issue after sensitive issue can give the HR pro (read here => me) a bit too much self-confidence. That's not a bad thing, but here's where the "takes its toll' part comes in to play. If we get so immersed in issues where we, by the mere fact that its our job are making extremely important decisions, its critical that we take a step back and do a reality check.

Reach out to those that absolutely can be trusted and review what you're dealing with and the options you're considering to move forward. Make sure you're on track, and haven't inadvertently overlooked an important topic, person, or political issue. Most of the time you'll be handling the situation just fine. For me, its an opportunity to make sure I'm not blindly moving ahead and risking making a mistake.

How About You
Have you ever said this before: "Nothing surprises me anymore." There's danger in that statement. You might just be getting too complacent with your reactions. Take a minute, and hop off that horse. It has saved me time and time again.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of hifiwigwam

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Heavy Burden

Having lots of responsibility is a wonderful part of leadership, at least it is for me. The auhority to make my own decisions, execute my vision, and the power to make 'plans to change' into a reality get me fired up.

But sometimes, "being in the know" isn't much fun at all.

When we're made aware of a problem there can be an uncomfortable period of time while we're processing what we've just heard. During this time we usually have many thoughts running through our head as we try to sort out the mess we've just learned about. We're paid to be problem-solvers, and when we receive information that feels more like a burden than just another routine issue, it can be a real challenge to solve that problem quickly. Add to it if the stakes are high (for the person involved, or HR) and it makes the burden so much heavier.

Knowledge is a heavy burden. Developing the skills and having the courage to take action appropriately is not for the faint of heart.  How many times have you heard someone say "I would never want your job in HR?" And how many times have those same people been critical when it comes to other aspects of HR and are quick to add their "advice?" Our jobs are different than most others in our organizations. When we receive information that is troubling for us, it is a unique challenge that most others do not have to deal with. It's our job to figure out the next step. That is our struggle.

How About You
How do you process that initial set of issues that are handed off to HR? Are you paralyzed with insecurity? Anxious about making a bad move politically? Or, do you take some time to understand the circumstances, and then proceed...even if proceeding means heading into a storm?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of texasenterprise

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Great Leadership in Just 5 Minutes a Day!

We've seen the infomercials, the commercials, and all the other advertisements out there trying to convince us that hard work is no longer necessary. Simply invest a few minutes a day in your health, weight management, body, positive-thinking, leadership, fill-in-the-blank...and you will transform your life. Really? Six pack abs in 5 minutes?

They're lying.

Work Hard, Get Results
There are no easy paths to getting the results you want. I've tried shortcuts, doing what I thought was just enough, and believing my own self-talk press releases. Let me tell you those strategies don't work.  There simply are no shortcuts at any stage of the journey, whether it's in our personal life or professional life. The only times I've truly been successful are when I commit myself to achieving something. Yes, I spend time talking about it, and planning for it. But then I DO something. Hey, there's a novel concept!

Hacking Up HR
Recently my team and I realized we had some fairly inefficient and cumbersome processes that were slowing down our recruitment efforts. We mapped out our problems, identifed solutions, and now we're implementing them. It's the "doing" that separates leaders from talkers. Yes, I'm a big talker, but if I don't involve my team in addressing problems and then execute on those plans I shouldn't be in a leadership role.

How About You
Very few things in life bring great results with little or no effort. Decide on the most important things in your life and get started. Whether its finally trying P90X (which I can personally confirm DOES work), or venturing out of your safety zone at work to make sure real progress is made, get fired up about the hard work ahead. Besides, how great does it feel when you've accomplished something really difficult? Wouldn't you like to experience that feeling again?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of iteachthings

Monday, December 5, 2011

Your Own Significance

There can be a fine line between believing in yourself and believing only in yourself. I am clearly in the camp of those that feel self-confidence is an essential leadership trait. I struggle to follow those that are meek and soft-spoken, even if they are in significant positions of power.  Yes, I respect their role, but how does one inspire passion, innovation, risk-taking, and action when they appear to be scared of even the slightest confrontation or difficult decision? Not fair? Maybe, but I'm hard-pressed to identify a long list of effective leaders who are quiet.

Confidence is Good
So where is that proverbial fine line between confidence and arrogance? I'm constantly searching for it, and often only recognize it after I've crossed it. I hate when I do that, but I continue to do it anyway. Working with leaders who exude confidence in a down to earth way (rarefied air for sure!) is a pleasure.  In those few instances in my career when this has happened its had a profound impact on how I went about my work. Somehow that leader's style inspired me to work harder, try new things, and strive to replicate their behavior. I wonder if my behavior impacts how my team members go about their work?

Arrogance is Bad
Sadly, I've also learned several valuable lessons from less than effective leaders I've encountered over the years. None of them were bad people, they just struggled in a role that required leadership as a central responsibility of their job. This is where "leadership" gets tricky. 

All leaders must understand the business they are in (this is particularly important for HR if they are planning on contributing in any way); but if leadership is essential to the success of the company how can someone who is committed to them self before all others effectively lead?  I submit they can not. I bet if I asked you to name three ineffective leaders in your organization right now you could do it.  Why...

"Because we're all good at making excuses for why we won't take action instead of earning our pay as leaders and freeing our dedicated employees from weak members of the leadership team."

How About You
Self-confidence is a wonderful trait, and for those leaders who use it to make themselves, their teams and organizations stronger they can be truly inspirational. For those that are so convinced that they are essential to the very success of the organization above all others please take heed. You are setting the behavior example...do you really want everyone to act the way you do?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of activerain

Thursday, December 1, 2011

All We Ask Is That You Join Our...Cult!

Finding the perfect job.  The "dream job."  Ahhh, so enticing.  The grass looks so green over there...but how do I get from here to there?  I believe everything they're telling me about this opportunity, and it sounds perfect.  I believe.....I'm expecting this to be just what I've been searching for...

Really?  Wake up.

Nothing is Perfect
One of the issues that has challenged me in my professional life is the notion of expectations. At work we often have such lofty expectations for employees that we forget they are people, not machines. They will have moments of brilliance, and moments when they struggle ( I am really good at the struggling part.) Accepting that variability in performance is key to creating a welcoming culture. 

Beware the Corporate Cult
Sometimes however, a different agenda comes into play. An agenda based on a command and control leadership style. Even though this approach has proven to be incredibly inefficient in the modern workplace there continues to be companies that actually believe this is a good idea. In fact it can be woven into the very fabric of these organizations. Although they may claim to be "progressive" or "current" or even "cutting-edge" their behavior displays a very different reality.  A reality they will want you to buy-in to.  Immediately.

But I Didn't Know
Ask these simple questions to gain a better understanding of your "dream company:"
- Do they believe they do "it" better than everyone else in the industry?
- Do they support any semblence of work/life balance?
- Do they automatically assume their processes are "best practices" and should be adopted universally?
- Do they expect you to devote inordinate amounts of your personal time to the company?
- Do they expect employees to speak, behave, and perform in a very specific and uniform way regardless of background or skill set or ethnicity? (formerly known as "scripting")

This my friends is a classic example of the Corporate Cult.  It's not that their intentions are bad, or that bad people are leading that organization.  My problem is that with such a closed-minded view of how things should be, huge opportunities are lost.  Opportunities to learn, challenge, debate, learn some more, and hear different perspectives on issues that could move the company forward are completely missed. 

"Rejecting diversity in the name of institutional arrogance is the epitome of the Corporate Cult."

How About You
Are you contemplating making a move to a new position?  Check it out first. Ask questions. Are your new team members transparent (hello social media) so you have a good feel for what they're like IRL?  Or maybe you've been seduced by the Cult...er...company you're working for today. Maybe it's time to take a closer look at yourself?  I know I'm going to. 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of allthoughtout and buildings

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Outmaneuver the Old Guard

A true story...

Many years ago a young man was being blocked from moving ahead within his professional discipline by a committee of his peers.  The reviewing body had the authority to block his transition to the highest level of his profession, in effect, ending his career.  You see, this young man had struggled a bit, and the old guard was not interested in wasting anymore time on him.

However, one member of the committee saw something in his colleague that he felt was worth a second chance.  The challenge however, was that it was time to vote to move him ahead or to block his movement to the final level.  The vote was taken, the young man was not successful, and in most circumstances that would not only be the end of the story, but the end of the young man's career.  (By the way, he had completed a Master's Degree and was already working in his field at the time of the vote.)

As the group began to depart, the member of the committee who saw potential in the young man asked that he be allowed to speak.  Believing he caught the man in an error the  Chairman said "you can not open any further dialogue in this matter. Only those that opposed his promotion may be allowed to speak, and you clearly are in support of him."

Enter procedural maneuvering...the lone voice that supported this man asked that the register of votes be reviewed. Knowing he would lose, he voted against the man in the first round of voting to ensure he could take the floor and speak on his behalf. Absolute genius.

Not only did the procedural move capture the group's attention, it forced them to reconsider their position entirely.  Following an eloquent presentation on the man's behalf, the group passed him through on the second vote.

How About You
Who do you see around you that could use a second chance? Just because someone isn't a good fit in one area, doesn't mean they won't add value somewhere else in your organization.  Take the time to understand all of the options, and then stand up for someone who deserves your support. That's what leaders do.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of deborahshanetoolbox

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Hired A Recruiter - Update!

I've been searching for a new recruiter to join my team.  I took an unorthodox approach (imagine that?), wrote about it here, and quite honestly didn't know what to expect.  I summarized my search this way:

"I have a vacancy and I want a kick ass Recruiter who embraces social media to be part of my team."
Jennifer Novak

Today I am fired up to tell you I achieved my goal...I hired a kick ass recruiter.  In fact, many of you know her, which makes this hire an absolute coup. 

Please welcome Jennifer Novak a.k.a. @NextJenHR to the Human Resources team at All Children's Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Our terrific Recruitment Team is looking forward to Jennifer's energy, experience, and forward-thinking style as we continue to hack up HR here in the sunshine state.

Please welcome her as she transitions to our team!

As always, I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of @NextJenHR

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flames of Ignorance

I am troubled.

I  am troubled about the negativity that continues to be directed at our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friends. Yes, friends.  They live and work in our communities, organizations and neighborhoods. Add to it the bizarre decision by this organization and it seems we are openly attacking innocent people based simply on their sexual orientation. Since when is it okay in a civilized society to attack innocent people? I am aware that bigotry and ignorance exist, but it is disappointing to me that governments and organizations in the "modern" world would actually move ahead in such a mean-spirited way against other human beings. This my friends is totally unacceptable. 

One Nation Under God…Really?
To further complicate matters, some of these folks actually attempt to use religion, primarily Christianity, as the rationale for their position.  The reality is that the teachings of Christianity, other major faiths, and the tenets of human decency regardless of one’s faith perspective, are about as far away from these hate-inspired and homophobic attitudes as one could imagine. Families today are made up of many diverse situations, but that doesn't mean they aren't loving families. I wonder if Rick Santorum would refuse life-saving treatment from a gay physician who was married to another gay person?  I bet his perspective might shift just a bit in that moment, don't you?

Make A Choice
So with all this venom flying around us we are faced with quite a dilemma.  What does one do about all of this “unReligious” inspired hate?  Well, I for one am no longer comfortable sitting idly by and letting the racists and fear mongers control the message.  Leaders of people, ALL people, do not see color, or age, or orientation…they see people.  So the next time a person, or organization, or State allows a few voices to rally the masses to take shameful action in the name of “what’s right” remember these words from Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

How About You
What are you going to do the next time you hear an innocent person being attacked simply because they are gay or lesbian?  Are you going to remain silent so as to avoid confrontation; or, will you step up and show everyone around you that you are a leader.  Do not allow yourself to become mesmerized by the flames of ignorance...while you’re watching someone else is feeling the burn.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of politicalmonkey2010

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ask Not What You Can Do For Yourself

We're heading into the annual stretch of time here in the States known as "the Holidays."  We start thinking about our families, our time away from work, our lists, our parties, our, our, our...  Hmm...

Why do I know so much about this "our" syndrome? Basically because I spend a whole lot of time each Holiday season perfecting my skills at accomplishing the list above.  

One New Thing
It's not that I am completely self-absorbed during this time of year, far from it.  But as I begin to see the television commercials, lights, and hear Christmas music on the radio, I'm trying to get out of the rut of being so focused on "my stuff."  So here's what I'm thinking...

What if each of us picked one new "good" thing to do over the next 45 days for someone else? This should be in addition to what we normally do. As I've been thinking about what I do each year there seems to be a certain sameness to my efforts.  I think it's time to change things up!

How About You
Regardless of your faith perspective, this time of year brings a different feel to life. Are you up for doing something special; or is the Egg Nog malaise already setting in?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of 123rf 

Friday, November 18, 2011

We All Need to Change

The concept of "change" has become such a dominant part of the massive reorganization underway with my team, that we don't even consider it something new.  It's just a natural part of our work lives as we push the practice of HR to the limit.  It's rewarding, scary, exciting, and frustrating all at the same time. Many of you may be experiencing various stages of change in your personal or professional lives too. The most important component of all of this controlled chaos, for me, is to keep my sense of humor.

Here's to "change."  Enjoy your Friday.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quick to Judge

I've done it. I bet you have too. I'm not proud of it, but I'm willing to admit I stumbled and fell into the trap of labeling myself as "The Honorable." That's right, suddenly I anointed myself Judge, and had no qualms about being judgmental.

That's not good HR. That's not good leadership. That's just not good.

Icebergs Tell A Story
We all know about icebergs. We only see a small part of what makes them complete.  The same holds true for those around us.  We only see a small part of what makes them a whole person. So if we know we're starting from a deficit point of view and only have limited information about people, why in the world are we (read here "I") so quick to judge?  Is it because we want to solve problems quickly?  Is it because their behavior is so obviously off base that "we know" what should be done without even thinking? Or, is it that we've grown a bit too comfortable in our roles? Hmm, that last one stings a bit, doesn't it?

How About You
Are you willing to take a close look at your own style and ease off on the judgement throttle?  It's hard to do.  Important work is always hard to do.  Although you may feel a bit uncomfortable with this change, just imagine how your employees feel when you judge them...day after day after day...
I'd love to hear from you.
No Excuses.
pic courtesy of athropolis

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hunting Talent

Needed:  Experienced professionals interested in joining a world-class organization doing cutting-edge work.

Requirements:  Give up your  job, tenure, retirement accrual, vacation seniority, relationships with colleagues and overall standing in your current organization to start all over again.

Now that sounds like a great opportunity doesn’t it? But that's exactly what we're asking people to do in the reality of today’s world of hunting talent. Give up everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve in their organization and begin again with us.  That can be a tough sell.

Retaining Is Easier Than Hunting
One of the things I find interesting about Talent Acquisition is that so often leaders overestimate their own skill set and the environments they’ve created.  After all, the data  clearly indicates employees are much more inclined to leave ineffective leaders than they are to leave ineffective organizations. 

So if we’re facing a large number of vacancies shouldn’t we first take an objective view of our own leadership style (myself included) and its impact on our departments?  Let’s face it, if we can keep our employees, we don’t need to pay the overtime, push the remaining staff to cover open shifts, and wear ourselves out trying desperately to find high demand talent in a low supply world.

Hunt Your Team
Plenty has been written about paying attention to your employees whether it’s rounding, holding staff meetings or involving them in decision-making.  Lots and lots has been written.  Why do you think that is?  Because leaders still don’t do it.  That’s why. 

Plenty has also been written about evaluating your own performance as a leader so you can make a positive impact on the team.  Lots and lots has been written.  Why do you think that is?  Because leaders have so many blind spots to their own challenges that they use easy excuses to justify their poorly performing areas. 

Ever heard this one – “we’ve had a lot of turnover, but it’s been good turnover.”  When you have so much “good turnover” that you are now facing a major staffing crisis, it’s time to take a look in the mirror.

Hunt Yourself
Stepping up and taking responsibility for creating a difficult environment is not a weakness; in fact, it is one of the most courageous things a leader can do. If you’re worried that admitting you’re not perfect will hurt you consider this: you already have many eyes on you due to the situation you’re in.  Take action now to correct it versus leaning so hard on that “good turnover crutch.”  That tired approach just doesn’t work any more.

How About You
Have you fallen into the leadership excuse trap of blaming others for your current set of challenges?  Why?  No one is out to get you, actually there is a lot of support that can be rolled out….you just need to take that first step.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of sureshkumar and findyourcalm

Friday, November 11, 2011

Retaliation Hurts

It’s become part of my standard message.  Since I’m fortunate enough to be a Human Resources professional (and I mean that very sincerely), I’ve had ample opportunities over the years to investigate allegations of leadership retaliation against their own employees.  I tell them that they “simply can not retaliate against their employees for raising concerns” no matter how disappointed they are that they are in this situation. 

Unfortunately I’ve seen the pain in the faces of their employees when they are back in my office, only this time it’s not about the original issue => it’s about how their leader retaliated against them for raising that original issue.

I see the disappointment, the frustration and the fear. 

Coming to You Made Things Worse
This is perhaps the worst thing we can hear in Human Resources.  The worst thing that is, unless we’re willing to do something about it.  Allowing leaders to “get away with” retaliation is a credibility-killer.  But how does the motivated HR pro go about re-addressing behavior with a leader that has already been spoken to, except now the issue of retaliation has to be added into the mix?  Any takers for this assignment?

Colleagues Do Not Equal Friends
I’ve been blessed throughout my career to develop very close relationships with those that I work with, whether they were members of my team or peers.  For some reason they tolerated me and for that I am grateful.  But one thing that became clear early on was that my colleagues are not, and I would submit can not truly be your “friends.” 

I don’t mean work-friends; I mean the kind of friend that you rely on when you are at your absolute worst.  The kind of friend who you treat poorly in a weak moment, and you wake up the next morning to find them calling to make sure you’re okay.  That type of friend isn’t typically the same person you’ll be developing a corrective action plan to share with the corporate office during the next monthly budget review.

Understanding Power
So when one of these “work-friends” stumbles and retaliates against their team it’s time for HR to step up.  In my world stepping up equates with confrontationNot everyone is comfortable with the notion of confrontation.  It’s easier to “let things settle down” or to “let the adults involved work this out.”  That’s bull.  If they could work it out they would, but it is absolutely impossible for one simple reason.  The leader holds the power, and the employee who feels they have been retaliated against does not.  They are going to tell the leader whatever they feel is necessary to make the bad behavior stop.  Period. 

"This is not rocket science, this is survival in the workplace."

I continue to be amazed that leaders fail to recognize this power differential.  Their desire to be “liked” by their employees produces a major blind spot that results in the response of “we’ve worked it all out, and everything is fine now.”  Really?  Says who?  For those leaders that justify their inappropriate behavior because they don’t want to hear that they aren’t perfect are heading down a slippery slope.  A slope they will eventually slide all the way down to the bottom and crash and burn.

How About You
What do you do when you’re made aware of  retaliation?  Is it time to grab the nearest broom and rug and start sweeping?  Or, is time for a gut-check and to remember exactly what you’re being paid to do?  Those employees are counting on you.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of egmnblog and athnan


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

HR and Marketing Are Best Friends...Or Should Be

Did you ever wish you could get time back?  I do, particularly when I think about all of the meetings, strategy sessions, focus groups and vendor calls all intended to help me decide on the best creative campaign for my recruitment advertising needs.  Yes, a SEPARATE ad campaign from the rest of the organization’s advertising efforts.  Why?  Because every modern organization was built in “Silo-ville” that’s why.  God forbid we actually integrate our strategies, messaging, and creative ideas to maximize the brand!

The Good Ol’ Days Sucked
The examples listed above are all true experiences from my “formative years” in HR.  I actually worked in an organization that required Nursing leaders to approve the creative ads for various recruitment initiatives.  Since when are Nurses, or HR staff for that matter, the Marketing professionals?  Guess what, they’re not.  I submit that neither group should be making those decisions. 

Happy Days Are Here Again…for the 1st Time
Gone now are the days of competing ad campaigns with Marketing, interference from others, and a mixed message to our external customers about the organization. Now HR and Marketing are completely integrated relative to creative advertising, communication strategies including the extensive use of social media, our evolving exploration of a Talent Community as well as the general coordination of production. 

We meet weekly to ensure every detail is managed efficiently and professionally.  The results have been nothing short of fantastic.  Check out our facebook page to take a quick look at what teamwork can produce.

How About You
Are you still pretending to be a Marketing professional?  Do you have vendors pitch their programs to you with promises of great results for your recruitment blitz plan?  What about your company’s overall Marketing plan?  Do you meet regularly with the leadership in that area to ensure you maximize the message, the spend, and the brand?  On second thought, please don’t.  While you’re wasting all that time and money confusing your customers, I can make my move.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of corporate-eye and my iPhone

Monday, November 7, 2011

Killswitch Engage...Your Job

“Things don’t feel quite right in this job.  It’s not that the people are bad, aren’t committed to doing good work, or are disengaged.  But there’s something missing…it’s hard to describe.  I get along with my colleagues, but somehow I don’t think I fit here anymore.”

Have you ever felt this way? It can be a lonely and scary place, particularly in an economy as tight as this one.  But what should you do? Maybe the time is right to begin looking for something new?  It’s almost an impossible topic considering the staggering unemployment rate right now though, isn't it?

“…somehow I don’t think I fit here anymore…”  That voice keeps pushing you.

Hopeless to Hopeful
Before you hit the kill switch on your current position, invest the time and develop a search strategy.  There are great resources available to help you make good decisions, not hurried or emotional ones. Simply because you happen to be in a difficult spot right now doesn’t mean you’ll be there forever.  In fact, it can be quite empowering to make the decision to leave a position that simply is not satisfying at all.  I know, because I’ve been there.

Burning Bridges Are Difficult to Cross
I recently interviewed someone who is frustrated in his current position.  He’s bright, motivated and eager to be in an environment that has hacked up traditional HR.  But he went out of his way to avoid criticizing his current employer.  Instead, he expressed his enthusiasm for the opportunity that exists in moving out of his current role versus tearing down his employer.  Big difference - and one that did not go unnoticed.

How About You
Are you feeling like you are the “bad fit” at work?  It’s okay.  Take control of your life, form a plan, and move ahead. Nothing lasts forever, including the nagging feeling you’re experiencing right now.  Let me know if I can help.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of killswitch