Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Will HR Have A Legacy When It's Gone?

Legacies are often framed in a personal context. What will be left behind when we're not around anymore. The lives we've touched, the communities we've lived in and the work we've done. What will people say? Will we be so incredibly impactful that something might even be named for us: a street, a library, a park? Probably not without a sizable donation to local government or a charity. 

What About HR? 
As I peek into my crystal ball I can not possibly imagine the HR function of the future looking anything close to what it looks like today. Technology completely dominates our work, or will very soon, which means much of the work we do today will simply be automated. Wait, hasn't that happened already?

Social media has started to replace email, telephone, fax and other forms of communication. That trend is obviously going to continue. You remember fax machines, right?

The logical extension of all this communication is coordinated messaging, branding, employee communication and having a consistent message across many platforms. That's why more organizations are integrating the work of Human Resources and Marketing (mine is too!)

Chasing Legacies
You've seen it happen as employees move toward the end of their careers. That sudden focus on making sure they have work product that survives after they have transitioned out of the working world. 

It seems to me that they shouldn't worry about that; but instead, should focus on the reality of how difficult the transition can be from being a respected professional to someone who is about to go through a major life transition.

How About You
I don't think people, or functions, should get worked up about leaving a legacy. In the future, when HR, Marketing and Finance are integrated into a large "Professional Services" team, no one will worry about department names. They'll all be focused on supporting employees, driving the right culture forward, and executing on the strategies that will make their companies successful.

Now I think that's a pretty good legacy to look forward to.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Through Hell

Sometimes it is all simply too much to handle. The stress of the job, home, school, relationships, deadlines, and the reality that stress breeds more stress.

When that happens, what do you do? Winston Churchill's famous quote has served as a reliable and motivational support throughout my career. But sometimes a catchy phrase or helpful message on a sticky note next to your computer doesn't do enough.

What do you decide to do?

Churchill was not only a charismatic leader, he was also pretty damn smart. If you find yourself going through hell right now, don't give up. Don't quit. Don't stop trying. Reach out to your colleagues for support. 

But above all else... 

Keep going. 

How About You
Take it one little step at a time, but you absolutely can not stop moving forward. We all go through a little hell from time to time...but that doesn't mean we have to stay there.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's All About Me

Giving feedback to others is something I do on a regular basis. Whether it is a member of my team, another leader in the organization, or a peer, I am regularly interacting with others and sharing my perspective on their performance. That probably sounds a lot like your job, particularly if you are in a human resources leadership role.

But what happens when the feedback is about you...or me?

360 Degrees of Power
One of the most exciting parts of 2013 for me is the opportunity to participate in a 12 month leadership development program. It is the most comprehensive program I have ever experienced in my career. One of the key components includes a powerful 360 degree feedback evaluation.

I recently received my feedback...all 60 pages...wow. That's a powerful report!

360 Degrees of Humility
I was fortunate to have 17 willing colleagues, direct reports, bosses, and others donate a big chunk of their own time to complete the survey. Simply asking for their input felt like a burden, let alone knowing that it would take thirty minutes to complete the survey.

Do you have a spare 30 minutes each day? Me neither...so needless to say I was feeling a bit humbled before the process even started.

360 Degrees of Opportunity
As I went through the lengthy report (admittedly it will require time to process, re-read, and process even more to fully appreciate all of the information) I learned some important things about myself:

- I'm a good communicator, with high energy, and am very driven
- I'm a respected member of our leadership team and am knowledgeable in HR
- I also get caught up trying to manage too many details that slow down my work (and that means others' work too...not good!)
How About You
Overall my results were quite humbling. I am blessed to work with a terrific group of people who are willing to let me try different approaches for delivering #HealthcareHR. Their support and understanding is amazing and has me energized to continue to work hard, and modify my style where appropriate to be as effective as possible.

When was the last time you received 60 pages of feedback? More importantly, did you do anything about it?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Thinking Differently

Think DifferentlyI love trying new ways of doing things at work. I like pushing the envelope, at least in the various corporate cultures I’ve worked in. 

It has been a gradual progression that started with testing out an amazing new software tool called PowerPoint many years ago…to requiring certain members of my team to be active on social channels or they won’t be allowed to work for me…to fully integrating social into all aspects of my personal and professional life.

As time passed, I realized I needed to think differently or I would be a dinosaur.

Check out the rest of this post where it originally appeared at ceVoke!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Generation Hexed

"She's been here forever. I thought she was going to retire soon. We can't count on her to come up with any innovative ideas...we'll need to look outside the company for help on this project."

"We better make sure we don't hire too many millennials onto this team. Everybody knows they never put in extra time...it's all about them."

"I wish the baby boomers would just get over themselves. They act as if they are the only ones who know anything around here. They don't even realize how ridiculous they sound talking about bootstraps and not putting out effort. They don't even try to stay current with today's world of work. It's embarrassing for them, and they don't even know it."

I work with an amazing group of people. The team I work with has employees whose ages span sixty years. Yes, that is 60 years, from their 20s to their 80s. They're productive, pleasant to work with, and support each other because we've made a commitment on our team to embrace generational diversity. 

It wasn't a document anyone had to sign, it wasn't a proclamation I made in a meeting, and it certainly wasn't the result of a corporate training initiative.

Our team behaves this way because we are adults living in 2013.

Stop Whining
I wonder how much more productive our respective workplaces would be if we never complained about any generation? Think about that for a minute....no noise about others, but simply a realization that not everyone is exactly like you and me, and we move forward. 

Is that so hard? Am I oversimplifying this issue? Do I need a lesson on why people in their 50s think a certain way, and why other people in their 20s think a different way? I don't remember needing a training session on how to interact with other people when I go to church. It seems we all just naturally respect each other and treat each other well.

Imagine that...deciding to treat other people well regardless of how old they are? That would never work in the corporate world, right?!

How About You
Maybe it's time we stopped obsessing about difference? Perhaps there is a new opportunity, to focus instead on respect, civility, and a willingness to listen first and open our mouths second? 

Do I need to roll out a massive training program to make sure everyone in every job understands everything about everyone?

Um, no I don't. I need to hire people that respect others.  

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Precision Is Often Messy (In HR)

I've been thinking about work a lot lately. Not just my work, but all work. It seems there is an expectation out there that work should be done perfectly, every time, regardless of the dynamics involved. If we simply plan enough, allocate the appropriate resources, and involve enough people who understand the issues, the final product should be precisely what is needed...and should be received just the way we expect.

Hmm. We still work with people in our jobs, right?

Precision Is A Wonderful Concept
In the world of human resources there is always one clear reality: no matter what decision we make, it will directly impact the employees in our organizations. Many times those decisions are good, but sometimes they are not what people want to hear. That's okay, because it is impossible to make every single person happy all the time.

Beyond the happiness issue however, comes the expectation of any professional worth a darn that they will strive for perfection in their work. "Getting it right" and putting in the time and effort to get one's "ducks in a row" is critically important.

But does that mean the result of our work is supposed to be perfect? Is perfection a goal, or is it something we expect to be reality every time?

Reality Check: Life Is Messy
Like you, over the years I've been involved in many projects, organizational changes, communication campaigns, and employee meetings, and on and on. Just like you, I put a lot of time and energy into planning, forecasting, researching, discussing, and executing on a host of issues. 

Yet there seems to be a messy part here and there as a result of the action taken.

Is that bad? Is that normal? Do we have unrealistic expectations about how things "should go" in our work? Is there something inherent about working with human beings that triggers some messiness in life?

If I had an easy answer, I'd share it. The fact is people have their own filters, biases, views of work, and at a fundamental level see things differently that we do. They're supposed to! They aren't us...we're all unique with our own experiences, pressures, responsibilities and expectations of work.

Should we expect our planning to result in their complete acceptance and understanding?

How About You

Do you strive for absolute precision in your work? That's great if you do! Here's the hard part, do you expect everyone else to accept your definition of precision; or, will you accept the reality that our precision can get a little messy from time to time?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.