Monday, September 30, 2013

Is Pushing Social Media A Good Idea?

Over the last three and a half years I've integrated social media into my personal and professional lives. I am a very social person, so imagine the perfect fit for me when twitter, facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and many other tools suddenly were important tools my business as a human resources leader. 

Quite frankly, I'm not sure how anyone can be truly effective in HR if they are not using these tools for business.

Making The Jump
I'm often asked about my level of social media engagement and I offer the same answer every time. I started slowly...did lots of watching and learning...and then gradually started to participate.  For those that believe getting active on social media requires a massive change in their life to suddenly "get it" they are way off the mark.

Nothing in life happens overnight (think of the starving actor who waits tables for ten years and then is "discovered.") Relax. There is plenty of time to figure out which tools are best for you, and how to incorporate them into your work.

To Push or Not To Push
There is a new reality to the era of social media. Whether or not you have the desire (read here --> are afraid to try) social media, the truth is you have to. You no longer have a choice, particularly if you want your organization to be considered current. As leaders, it is very difficult to "tell" our team members to use social media tools yet not be active ourselves. 

That is why I started. That is why you need to start too. Leading the way is still part of the leadership job description, right?

What about pushing others outside of your span of control who absolutely should be active on social media? Is your Marketing Executive active? How about other members of your company's leadership team? Is your CEO active? Article after article show that CEOs need to be on social, and that those that are active are trusted more than their own company's press releases.

If you're a social media leader inside your organization should you push others to get engaged? It's a difficult position to be in. 

Pushing too hard means you'll risk driving a wedge between you and your colleagues who are intimidated or who don't understand the power of social media as modern business tools. Conversely, not advocating strongly enough means you're letting your organization down.

Which approach is best?

How About You
Regardless of what you think about social media it is now a dominant force in the world of work. Adopting it yourself is a required first step; but pushing it across your organization is a much trickier prospect. What are you doing to make sure your organization doesn't look like it has it's head in the sand? 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I woke up thinking I can't...

I went to work thinking I can't...

I sat in a meeting thinking I can't...

I met with an employee thinking I can't...

I wanted to eat healthier but thought I can't...

I started to exercise but thought I can't...

I wanted to try social media but thought I can't..

I wondered about taking risks but thought I can't...

I wanted to try new things but thought I can't...

I hoped I could get certified but thought I can't...

I wanted to push myself but thought I can't...

...and then I realized...of course I can.

You can too. Stop the negative self-talk and get going.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.



Monday, September 23, 2013

Under Siege

Have you ever felt like your workload is simply too much? Is your task list always current? Any deadlines approaching quickly? How about that Inbox...down to zero unread? 

Sometimes it we're surrounded. I don't like that feeling. Sometimes that feeling persists for days or weeks. I really don't like that at all.
One way to deal with the self-induced stress that swirls inside our heads is to simply stop and breathe. I'm not talking about dropping into a downward dog pose, but literally to just stop what you're doing and allow your mind to take a break.

We all spend so much time moving as fast as possible, caught up in a corporate world of unattainable stretch goals, loaded schedules and unrealistic expectations that we never simply stop.

Stop. Take a slow deep breath and allow yourself a few moments. Trust me, the work will be there thirty seconds from now.

Now you need to take the next step and get back in control. It's time to begin a daily ritual of using your task app and get yourself on top of the chaos. Starting each day with a quick review and re-prioritization of what needs to be done is essential. 

The symbolism is powerful here. Each day starts with you deciding what is going to happen and why. Sure, issues will come up and you'll have to make adjustments (that's called life); but overall you'll be driving the process.

Do you allow yourself time each day to do your work? Or, do you allow your calendar to fill up with meetings? You're not a doormat, so stop acting like others can walk all over your day. 

Readjust your schedule, say no to some meetings, and send other team members in your place. Take action to preserve not only your sanity, but the quality of your work as well.
How About You
Open your mental gates and attack! Stop feeling like you've been holding on for months waiting for relief. It's time to take the offensive on the lists, and projects, and expectations laying siege to your state of mind.

You've got this.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The HR Skills Gap

I really love human resources work. You should too. What other profession deals with the most challenging human behavior? Who else is expected to have a global view every day while still managing the details of workforce planning, new technologies, staffing shortages, endless regulations, and still be ridiculously positive every step of the way?

Human Resources, that's who.

Balance is Hard
The list above is not a joke. Those of us who practice human resources for a living understand all too well how incredibly difficult the world of work has become today. We don't serve in roles where we provide our expertise but don't have the responsibility to execute. Quite the contrary. We have to integrate all that we know, learn, and in some cases pay for, and then execute. Oh yes, and that is on top of our full day.

Part of that elusive balance for me comes in the form of apps like this and this.

Staying Current is Harder
One of the opportunities HR professionals have today is to stay current. Too many times I hear of HR teams that are mired in transactional work (and thinking) which only serves to drag us farther behind.

When I meet with, connect, or interact with other HR pros inside and outside the US, I sense a tremendous amount of pride in not only the work they are doing, but in the organizations they're working for as well. That's powerful! 

It seems to me there must be someway to connect these HR practitioners in a way that allows them to feel comfortable taking risks, trying new tools, and by all means getting active on the various social channels that have become the new way HR operates (or should operate!)

How About You
There is a team ready and willing to help, but there is a shared responsibility with getting over that skills gap. If you're going to be current you have to take the first step...and so many others, including me, will be there to help you once you decide to go for it. 

Are you ready to jump that gap?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Getting to Neutral

He was on the fast track. Brought in to the organization to help turnaround a woefully ineffective department. His arrival was filled with high energy, creative ideas, and a level of brainpower not seen in that department before. Fundamental problems were tackled, poor performers were moved out, and a new team was born. Everything was on the right track.

Until it wasn't anymore.

Being Really Smart is Good

Our specialized world has seen the role of generalists fade into history. Whether we're talking about information technology, engineering, health care, human resources, or a host of other professions, it is rare to see someone who can jump from role to role and not only understand the details, but also create valuable work product. 

When we find leaders that are bright enough to understand the details of a job and have the interpersonal skill set to bring the team along too it's terrific. This combination of brainpower and personality can make all the difference in the life of a team.

Being Unable to Understand Boundaries is Really Bad

We all struggle to work with people who are really bright, yet lack the leadership awareness to understand how crucial interpersonal skills are when leading others. How can this be? Perhaps the most important leadership skill of all is the ability to communicate effectively. So where have we failed the bright minds that can contribute so much, yet end up failing miserably because they can not interact with others? 

Whether they are socializing too closely with their team members, participating in office gossip, or clearly showing who their "favorites" are, these leaders ultimately fail due to their inability to understand how important boundaries are in the workplace.

Should the organization tell new leaders that they aren't supposed to socialize with their direct reports? Is it a secret that playing favorites will ultimately bring down the leader, not the people who aren't on their favorites list? Isn't this obvious?


Being Humble is Really Necessary

So how does the leader attempt to salvage an almost impossible situation? The first step is understanding that they are wrong. Simply because they are smart and have a vision of how things are supposed to be means nothing. 

Crossing the line with the team negates the innovative ideas, breakthrough thinking, and opportunities further down the line in their careers. Everything stops until self-awareness kicks in.

The second step, and most difficult of all, is to publicly acknowledge their failings. This is where most leaders bristle at the thought and fall short of the potential for turning their situation around. You see the world loves giving people second chances. We all watch as tearful apologies are aired over and over on television. Why do we watch? Because we get a level of satisfaction from knowing we were right, they were wrong, and now things can get back to normal. Right?

How About You

The long and painful process of recognizing personal failure is not easy to get through. The only real goal is to hope that through a sustained effort of publicly apologizing to the team, truly changing behavior, and improving one's interpersonal skill set that one day that leader will get to a level of neutral with the team. Neutral isn't sexy, but it beats the heck out of failure.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Who Helps You Succeed?

"In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. 

It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others."

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I've written about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's influence as one of my personal heroes many times here on NoExcusesHR. Today's quote speaks as a personal challenge to ensure I don't get too caught up in "me." Instead, I have to remember that without the amazing team of professionals working with me I would have very little.

Who helps you succeed?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.