Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Delivering The Goods

The role of human resources has evolved considerably since the days of Harry Levinson. If we're doing our jobs effectively we should be at the forefront of many organizational initiatives: employee impact, driving accountability, aware of and educating leadership on the ever changing regulatory environment, leading the way with social media, pushing leadership to make decisions, and so many others.

Our job is not to simply toil in a transactional world of forms and compliance paranoia. That was work and lead the human resources function now.

Risk Is Your Ally
In order to move from the comfort of saying "no" as quickly as we could spit it out, and transitioning to a mindset of "I'm going for it" we must first embrace risk. Now I'm not advocating a reckless leadership style. What I'm saying is that we in HR must push ourselves, and our organizations to try new strategies to communicate, engage, hold accountable, and recruit like we've never done before.

The world of work (which is made up entirely of people by the way) has changed so dramatically in the last few years it seems to me that those of us in the people leadership profession are now poised to make the most dramatic impact we've ever made.

How About You
For most of us taking that first step is a bit scary. I know it was for me. But once I realized that not only would I live through it, but I would actually begin to transform my HR team and how we interact with employees and the world, I realized there was no turning back.

Do you deliver the HR goods?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's The Relationship...Duh

I know, I know...our days are packed with stuff...meetings, email, drama, and well..whatever the heck else comes up. That's how we roll in HR. We seem to be in jobs that have a steady stream of issues, pressure and sometimes crises that come at the most inconvenient of times. When those issues pop up, we need to ask if we've invested the time necessary beforehand to make sure we are ready to react.

What do I mean by 'ready to react?'

More Meetings
One of the strategies I've adopted in my HR practice is to meet regularly with other key leaders in the organization. These are on the calendar, scheduled for an hour, and are a priority whether or not I have anything to discuss. Some may say this is simply not possible due to their hectic schedules, and they just can not squeeze any more time into their day. Fair enough...but tell me about how much time you spend when a problem arises? Do you have time in your day for that?

I didn't think so.

Now Is The Best Time
I have found that the relationships I have with my key colleagues are much stronger using this approach than they ever were in the past. Think about I have the luxury of knowing the leadership team outside of the normal meetings and occasional organizational conflict that arises. We trust each other, and understand what each of us is going through in our respective roles because we've talked about it during our one-on-one meetings. If that isn't worth your time, I don't think you quite understand what HR is really all about.

How About You
How do you spend your time at work? Do you think it's worth connecting with your key organizational leaders? If so, I'd like to know how it's working out. For me, it's changed everything.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Take The Fall

It's interesting to watch people react to failure. In a world dominated by a CYA mentality, the reactions to problems are as extensive and varied as there are people in our organizations. As an HR practitioner, I see the maneuvering that goes on when problems arise and leaders run for cover. Instead of diving into the issue (which requires leaders to not take failures personally => big issue I know!), they all too often look to place blame.

Don't they realize these maneuvers are so embarrassingly transparent that everyone can see what's really going on? I liken it to the lame attempts to grab power during times of change. The power grabs rarely work, and quite honestly erode the leaders credibility in the eyes of those they attempted to outwit.

What If It's A Member of Your Team?
Let's have this scenario hit a little closer to home. Let's say that the error that occurred is from a member of your staff. How do you react? Are you quick to have a stern talk and reach for a disciplinary form; or, is there another option? What about taking the fall on behalf of your team member?

If you're in a leadership role you probably have invested the time to build your professional equity with those that are dissatisfied with the error. Right? To me, that means you have an opportunity to shield your employee from the blame (or worse, a loss of trust) that is undoubtedly headed their way.

How About You
How do you handle those awkward moments when the area you're responsible for has dropped the ball? How you decide to manage your emotions, and the subsequent action you take will speak volumes about your leadership style.

Have you ever even tried taking the fall?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Don't Waste Another Day

TGIF! The end of a long and busy week! Time to kick back and relax! It's all about finding some "me time" this weekend!

Or maybe not.

Leading Outside the Office
We all work hard, get up ridiculously early to get to work, and spend more than half our waking hours commuting to, working at, and commuting home from work. Squeezing in a couple of hours of family/personal time each day sometimes feels like only a few minutes. But when we reflect on the many positives in our lives, its important to remember there are many who would trade places with us in the blink of an eye. They might be a neighbor, one of our kid's friends, or someone who needs a quick helping hand at the store.

We can make a difference in their lives.

Leading Inside the Office
Part of our daily routine is just that...routine. When we're rushing around the organization to this meeting or that meeting, signing stacks of paperwork so they can be sent to someone else to sign too, I wonder if we ever slow down enough to notice the people outside our departments?

In our rush to power through our routines, do we notice those who need a helping hand? Just because they have a job doesn't mean they aren't in need.

We can make a difference in their lives.

How About You
What are you going to be doing this weekend? Hopefully you (and I) will find a way to balance some down-time with some giving-time too. That's what real leaders do, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Show No Mercy

Files, email, conference calls, meetings, stacks of paper, phone calls, tweets, voice mail messages, and on and on and on. Sometimes work can become so...well...routine...that we forget just how impactful human resources can be.

One of the most important, and often most stressful roles HR plays, has to do with employee terminations. During those difficult times it's important to remember that regardless of how stressful the moment is for the HR practitioner (which other than an employee death, terminations are the worst part of HR); we must not perceive separation meetings as an opportunity to punish.

Impersonal Is Best
I'm not sure who originally advised HR leaders to only "stick to the facts" or "remain professional and somewhat distant regardless of how emotional things get." I get it, but maintaining our professionalism is supposed to happen all the time right?

I guess my definition of professional includes the "human" part of human resources. For example, I believe it's perfectly appropriate to acknowledge how difficult the situation is, particularly for the employee who is losing their position. It's a fact, isn't it?

How About You
Have you ever been released from a position? Maybe it was from a unfortunate mistake, or a reduction in force, or perhaps you were caught up in the recent economic chaos. Whatever the reason, if you've had to sit in the other chair during a separation meeting, you fully realize that how the message is delivered can be extremely important.

Separation meetings are not HR power trips. In fact, they are one of the rare moments HR practitioners can show a sensitive side of themselves despite the difficult and complicated circumstances involved.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Messages to the Workforce

We're all hiring these new members of the workforce. What messages are we sending to them?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Having Goals Is Dumb

Summer is officially winding down. Schools are open in the South, and soon will be everywhere else. Vacations are just a memory now, and the anticipation and excitement about all that summer has in store has become a more mellow and subdued feeling.

You may be experiencing those same emotions at work. Perhaps that long sought after promotion has drifted off your radar screen. Or maybe projects that you were so fired up about didn't quite get off the ground the way you expected. Could it be that you've reached a certain level of success and there doesn't seem to be anything new on the horizon?

Maybe things are just a bit...flat.

Traditional Goals
Goals have become such an over used term that they often lose their luster. Personal goals, professional goals, life long goals, exercise goals, weight loss goals, and on and on and on. It seems we're always looking ahead in every aspect of our lives...never quite getting there...never being good enough.

Maybe we haven't quite figured out the right way to use goals.

Modern Goals
Have we ever considered that making each day a meaningful and productive experience could be the most effective goal we could set? I know we all create lists and obsessively manage our calendars to be as efficient as possible. That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm wondering if we could adopt the mindset that each day is a special moment in our lives and careers and that we have the opportunity to change everything? Forget our lists for a minute...they will be there when we flip those 'to do' items to tomorrow just like we've done so many times in the past.

Maybe having modern goals means we're going to attack each day as if we were about to change the world?

How About You
Do you feel stuck...empty...a bit flat? There is so much more ahead of you than what is behind you. What you do today matters more than you think. Go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Everything You Have

"Don’t compare yourself negatively with the giants or anyone else, rather, use them as models. Then get on with whatever it is you can accomplish with your life, and give it everything you have.”
— Dr. Irene Kassorla

How About You
How are you going to give it "everything you have" today? Then again, maybe it's easier to look at the successful people around you and lament your fate. Yeah, that's probably a lot easier.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Wanna Be Somebody

I've been thinking a lot about professional responsibility lately. In particular, my responsibility to give back to those who are up and coming in the world of business (any business.) Yes, I work closely with the team that reports to me, but I'm not necessarily thinking about HR.

What? More Work?
One of the common...uh, I mean, my misperceptions about giving back is that I'm too busy. Really? Were the people that helped me out sitting around with their feet up? Of course not. The reason they made an impression on me was that they were productive, professional, and yes - busy. Hmmm.

Figuring This Out
Whether it's a formal mentor/mentee relationship, providing support to a new manager, or even connecting with a graduate student, the burden is not nearly what you or I might think. As the world of work continues to change so dramatically, it is incumbent upon us to help new and aspiring leaders understand this new world.

Networking Works Two Ways
Networking is a word that gets plenty of buzz lately, primarily because the methods used to effectively network have evolved so much with the introduction of social tools.

Connecting with a potential mentee, and candidly discussing how to use social tools to network is not only a great discussion topic; but it also helps those of us who are very good at having birthdays to appreciate a younger person's view on this topic as well.

How About You
Are you helping any one out right now? Maybe a new leader in your organization or student in your community could use your guidance? Or, perhaps you're just too busy doing all the things your mentor used to do between sessions with you.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Used To Rule the World

I was raised in an environment with a heavy focus on leadership that included my parent's roles, their expectations for me, and numerous examples of how to handle situations as they came up in real life. I didn't know any other path for me growing up.

Then I Grew Up
Landing my first formal leadership job at twenty-seven was exciting. I had been groomed for this moment, right? I was ready! Ah, youth. Yes, on one hand I was ready from the standpoint that I really wanted that opportunity. I worked hard to get that position, and dove in with both feet. But I hadn't actually managed any employees before that time.

That presented me with a whole new set of Yes, opportunities!

My Ideas!
I had wonderful ideas back in those days. I had a vision that I just knew would work. Combine that vision with my decisions and strategies and I was confident everything would turn out just fine.

Then things didn't turn out just fine.

Oh...It's a "We" Thing
It's amazing what a little experience and a big slice of humble pie can do for one's career. What started as an enthusiastic and fairly narrow perspective has turned into a much more open-minded (at least some of the time!) view of how work actually gets done.

Building teams that feel empowered to take risks, contribute their ideas, and most importantly to feel comfortable telling me when I'm making mistakes is a much more productive way to go through life.

How About You
Are you so focused on "you" that you're not involving those around you? Are you following my early lead and can not figure out why your plans aren't working? Maybe you'll eventually realize what I did...that I was in my own way all along.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Almost two years ago I decided to take a risk. I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting myself into; and to be honest, I was a bit scared of making myself look (even more) goofy than I do already.

But I went for it anyway.

So Many Blogs
At first the concept of getting into blogging seemed a bit overwhelming. Not only would I be putting myself out there (that's making a huge assumption that anyone would actually be reading anything I wrote - you get the point); but there are so many great blogs on so many topics that I was quite sure I would simply be lost in the crowd.

But I went for it anyway.

So Little Time
Next hurdle...finding the time to write. This part has actually turned out to be the easiest of all the's why:

"Once you realize how powerful blogging can be just for you and no one else, you make the time to write. Ideas pop into your head at all times of the day and night, and you find yourself keeping track of every one because it might just turn into a post."

So even as I continued to be concerned about time constraints I captured every idea for future use (thank you iPhone notes app.)

I just kept going for it.

How About You
Sometimes I stir the pot, add to an ongoing dialogue, raise a little hell,  or spark a reaction in others. But mostly I blog for me. There's room for you too. Are you ready to go for it?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Encouragement Before Engagement

The human resources community seems to be obsessed with employee engagement. I count myself among this group. I want the people who work for my organization to feel connected, to believe in the mission, and to demonstrate that commitment in their work. There are all sorts of tools to help me measure, assess, and dig deeper into the mysterious world of employee engagement as well. 

As I step back and take a look at this whole process it sounds like I want an awful lot from the employees, doesn't it? Maybe you want all of this too. I think I may have put engagement first, when in reality engagement is only a result, nothing more.

Encouragement First
How many of us have appreciated an encouraging word or gesture over the years? Maybe it was when we were struggling with a project and a coworker or supervisor supported us through a frustrating time. Maybe it was when you were dealing with a difficult employee and a colleague helped you see the end point versus getting caught up in the moment. Or maybe it was when you were huffing and puffing trying to finish your first race and a random bystander shouted out your race number and told you to stay strong.

Whatever the source, encouragement is effective. No argument there.

Negativity Kills
The arch enemy of encouragement is negativity. This menacing attribute is toxic in just about every circumstance. Wherever it rears it's ugly head, negativity is a killer at work or home. The impact on morale, productivity, creativity and yes engagement, is simply not tolerable.

How About You
Today you'll decide if you're going to be an encourager, or if you're going to be the one that wallows in a world of negativity. Make the right choice, and you might just end up with a group of employees that are actually engaged.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm Hiring...Can You Recruit?

I'm in one of those bittersweet moments as a leader. One of my team members is transitioning back into a clinical role to provide care for some of our most fragile patients. I'm thrilled for her, and more importantly, for our patients who are going to benefit from her expertise as a Pediatric Nurse.

What that means however, is that I need to hire a social media savvy recruiter to join my team. Yes, a social media savvy recruiter...not someone who "doesn't get" twitter and believes sharing information on facebook will "get you in trouble." If you feel that way, please save us both the time and look for an old school personnel gig.

Check out the new HR page to learn more about my organization, the amazing Tampa Bay area, and how we've completely integrated social into Human Resources.

I'd love to hire an HR pro who has their SPHR or PHR, understands hospital-based healthcare, and isn't afraid to take risks. Going for it in your HR practice means much more to me than telling me you've placed 1,000 ads in the Sunday paper. We don't do the Sunday paper here.

We work in Florida, so recognizing Spanish (let alone speaking it) would be a plus; but is not required.

At my organization we save children's lives everyday who otherwise wouldn't live.  Tell me what other company is doing something more important?  That's right, there isn't one.

If you feel you are a good fit to join our team, check out the position, and get in touch with Clare to learn more.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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The Real Me

Game face.
Professional boundaries.
Opening up.
My "A" game.
Giving of myself.
Blah, blah, blah.

Sharing is Caring
I'm not type of person who keeps too many things inside. When I'm passionate about something it just spills out. It may be my work, it may be my family, or it may be my hobbies. But sooner or later, if it gets me fired up, those around me are going to hear about it. Since we all spend so many hours at our jobs, the people around me in the workplace definitely hear about it all...and then some.

But should they?

Professional Is Best...Right?
I've long espoused that we must maintain a level of professionalism in the workplace, particularly for those of us fortunate enough to be in leadership roles. Here's my dilemma: being professional all the time in no way comes close to the real me. Is that bad? I'm not sure. I do know it's real, so maybe I'm on to something.

Too Much Personal Is Bad...Right?
I've also thought for a long time that being a bit more fun and personal with those around me is the best strategy in just about every situation. Showing some personality, kidding around to alleviate the stress of the moment, and generally being a more upbeat member of the team just feels more natural to me. 

But should I be this way at work?

Finding The Balance
Jason Seiden has written some great material on the concept of profersonal relationships. I encourage you to check out his perspective on this issue. Putting all of these issues into practice however, changes the nature of our relationships with those around us. One way of finding our way on this journey could be, as Charlie Judy recently suggested, to develop our own Personal Board of Directors. It's an intriguing concept, and I'd love to hear if any of you have implemented this approach. I haven't taken that plunge...yet.

How About You
Do you think it's okay to share who you really are? Or, is it just simply safer to have a permanent game-face on that never comes off? I like to embrace my passions fully, which usually means my team at work hears a lot about social media, HR, and hockey. Can I go a bit farther and share my musical passions as well? Hmmm, maybe I should wait until I'm fully vested first?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

I Fall to Pieces

Pride is the ultimate double-edged sword. It helps us stay strong in the face of adversity, and it sends us right to the bottom of the pit when we cling too tightly. What an odd combination.

One moment we rejoice at the end of a long project that launches successfully. Another moment has us so stubborn that we can not even see even the most obvious choices in front of us.

The Delicate Dance
I have a difficult time balancing the edges of the pride sword. I've relied on pride as a source of strength to take risks in my HR practice: for strategies I've implemented; new approaches I've tried; and, as a firm belief as I've driven issues to a successful end point.

Sometimes all of that comes together and pride is a good thing. Sometimes.

Falling On The Sword
When I lose my "pride balance" I fall down. Not literally of course, but I fall nonetheless. Falling hurts. It hurts how I feel about myself, how I feel about the quality of my work, and how I believe I am perceived by others.

Oh how quickly I'm able to move from success to failure...

How About You
How do you balance pride's good and bad edges? Have you mastered the trick to wielding this odd emotion; or, like me do you fall to pieces every once in a while?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Just Like Me

Why can't everyone look like me, sound like me, think like me, act like me, dream like me, talk like me, work like me, lead like me, worship like me, celebrate like me, argue like me, agree like me, and just be like me?

Oh Just Like Me !Simple. Because the world isn't made up of a bunch of people named "me." The world is made up of billions of different people, but they all have one thing in common.

They're all people. Just like you and me.

How About You
Try embracing the differences in people. It's a lot easier than hating.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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