Human Capital Newsreel

Loading...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

When It Comes to Successfully Leading People, Soft Skills are the Key

We had two very distinct corporate headquarters and now we just have one. At our corporate office in
Boston, the doors were locked on the executive floor and you couldn’t get in with your badge unless you worked on that floor.

Now everyone’s badge works on the floor. I also moved the coffee machine outside my door so people had to walk by my office to get to it. Now I can tell people to stop in and say Hi.”

That statement was from CEO Linda K. Zecher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She was recently profiled by Adam Bryant in his weekly interview series, Corner Office in The New York Times.

By the way, this weekly article allows you to peep through the crack of the C-Suite. It is a must read for HR professionals who are looking for insight from senior leadership and their thought processes.

A different scenario, indeed

However, as I read about this one with Linda Zecher I thought of my own experience and it was diametrically opposed to her version. In my version, the new CEO comes in and immediately re-launches what was a normal floor where everyone roamed into an “executive floor.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Building Ambassadors, or Why You Need to Offer More Than Just a Job

“I am so thankful that I got this new job. I now work for a non-profit and we are spearheading all these new initiatives, connecting children and health care. I am on a mission. Never been so excited about a job before from my past of working for profit companies.”

This email message came to me the other morning from one of my colleagues in the U.S. I am hearing more of this type talk from people over the last few years.

This brought me back to a time one of our rising executives quit a promising job and career because her dream job materialized — one that would allow her to work with animals. At the time, I was sitting there listening to this and in the back of my mind, I just did not get it.

Yes, I have changed

So, as I read this “thankful” message the other day, I got ready to respond and noticed that the tag line on my email reads:

We are dedicated to building a better society by helping companies to transform their workplace.”

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The 5 Words Leaders Use That Do More Damage Than Good

The most misunderstood phrase in corporate speak is “People are our greatest asset.”


Those five words do more damage than good.

That was the hook as I began my speech this week at theGreat Place to Work list announcement in Dubai .

I have gotten so that when I hear that phrase, to me it is a signal that whoever said it is not really connected about those assets. If you have to say it, you probably do not believe it yourself.

Does the talk reflect the reality?

But we all see it: The CEO’s talk it, the EVP mentions it, the website is full of the same statement. But I wonder sometimes if I stood outside their building and did a man on the street interview, I wonder what that “asset” would say?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Calm Down, Don’t Worry: A Lesson in Service From Government Workers

Mr. Ron, don’t stress yourself out. We will find it. We always do. You will get a call within 24 hours,
the policeman assured me.

I live and work in Dubai, and I had jumped in a taxi at the end of the day and headed to the mall to pick up an item. When I jumped out of the taxi, being consumed as we all are from time to time (talking on cell phone, writing a note, etc.), I was distracted. I paid the driver and jumped out.

Problem was, I left my wallet on the seat in the cab.

Multi-tasking? It should be banned

When I got to the bank and reached for my wallet, what I had done thought sunk in. I realized that because I had been multi-tasking with the phone to my ear, I had left my wallet in the cab.
In a panic, I found a security guard who “walked” me to Lost & Found. Once there I was asked a bunch of questions and they repeatedly said “Mr. Ron, we will find it; you need not worry.”

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What’s a Top-Rate Organization? One That Gives People Keys to the Culture

“They have a common goal and they have to get there together.”

That was a recent comment made by the coach of an NFL team, Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles. His comment that “culture beats scheme” was made in reference to trading one of his star players, who from all indications, was known as a prima donna and high maintenance.

“When he talks about culture, he’s talking about a 360-degree approach,” says David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California Sports Business Institute.

He added, “A scheme might be limited to perfection on the field. Look at him as a CEO. Take that perspective. He’s not a team president in a player-personnel sense, but he’s president of the team itself. He has to understand every facet of the business. He has to communicate what his goals are to every player all the time, like a businessman has to with every employee.”
I love the 360 degree approach to culture. Are you buying into all facets of the organizations existence, or only your favorite parts?

Message sent and delivered


Thursday, March 5, 2015

When It Comes to Employee Wages, We Just Need to Do the Right Thing

This pay initiative is an important part of our strategies to continue attracting and retaining the best TJX Chief Executive Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement.
talent in order to deliver a great shopping experience, remain competitive on wages in our U.S. markets and stay focused on our value mission,”

Having noticed from afar the recent groundbreaking announcements that have come from major retailers in the U.S., that decision has given me cause for hope.

First Wal-Mart and now Target has, on their own initiative, decided to raise the wages of their workers. That is a good sign. I particularly liked the above statement, tying it to “attracting and retaining.”

Doing what is right

Cumulatively this may sound like a big drag on company earnings, but I see it more as a stimulus to their bottom line.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Leading in Today’s Workforce: Let Your Personal Style Come Through

“You should never be afraid to let your personality and style comes through.”


That has been a foundational statement for me during my career.

My first job out of college was working in the sales division for IBM. I always tell people that IBM was the Google of its day. As part of the role of becoming a sales associate we were all sent to “sales school” where we had to learn to sell the products, sell the benefits of those products, and extend the brand into the client organization.

It is more comfortable being you

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Giving Is the Very Best Workplace Communication

Sometimes, the best leadership examples come from someone who does not have the lofty titles.
We watch in amazement how one tiny gesture ends up giving us the wow factor in multitudes (as the video below shows). Ordinary people, or those in professions that would not be synonymous with leadership, set an example for all of us to follow.

It always brings a smile to my face when I see these random acts play out.

My first foray into human resources was in training & development, but one of the things I found limiting was that when someone would call me and want to send “John” to a management class.
In their mind, we were supposed to miraculously send this person out as a bad manager, and what we would get in return was a flawless leader? However, what usually would return was an individual that was pumped for a few days, and for the most part, then settled back into the comfort zone

What is your vision of leadership?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Planning For the Worst: Compassion Is the Key When Layoffs Come

“Are we all set. Yes, we are all in compliance with the cost savings. All the numbers are correct. Just give me the go ahead and they are all gone.”
Then the conversation changed.
The executive listening to this rundown told the HR person to stop. Do you know any of these people? The answer was no.
Do you know whether it will be difficult for them to find jobs in your area? “I have no idea” was his reply.
Why does HR seem to like laying off people?
What are your plans for trying to help them land something? “I have none” was his reply.