Human Capital Newsreel

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Management 101: Connecting With Employees Beyond Their Job Description

Think back to grade school, high school, college, or your past jobs; I want you to think of the teacher or manager that during this period had an impact on your life. If you can’t relate to that time period, think of the person that connected with you in such a way that you still think of them. I want you to be able to explain why that person is special.”

This was my group discussion question as I led a manager development group the other week here in Dubai.

I wanted them to think of how that person connected to them and meant so much in their lives. This towering figure is one that comes across our minds from time to time, the warm glow comes from the positive interaction that you both had.

I reached out to one of my favorite teachers a while back and she was so shocked to hear from me. The thrust of my conversation was “thank you.”

Employee-manager equation

Are You Creating An Organization Where Anything Is Possible?

“Once a year, engineers at Facebook are encouraged — but not required — to ditch their jobs and try something else out within the company for 30 days. It’s a program that started in 2011 called
‘Hackamonth.‘ ”

As I read this quote the other day from a recent Business Insider article, I just had to smile. That’s because I am just so amazed at how the “newer” companies try out new ways to engage workers. As the article states, many of the new features and products at Facebook came about as a result of this “hackamonth” initiative.

Google also has a version of this, but I understand that it has been modified somewhat.

Creating the incubator throughout the organization

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Creative Leaders Create A Culture Where All Ideas Are Encouraged And Valued

The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.”  — Sir Ken Robinson

I came across this powerful quote the other day and it stopped me in my tracks.

It brought me back to a time-honored session that I would always roll my eyes at — the brainstorming sessions that no one wanted to be a part of.  It’s when everyone is sitting around the table with their minds running at warp speed trying to come up with a great “idea.”

Yet, this leader knew that this was the way that we are going to innovate. But, he ignored the vast majority of ideas because they did not come from his most favored people in the room.

There was a commercial years ago that played out this scenario.  You had a room full of people all looking bored. There was one “slacker” in the group that came up with an idea. However, it was as if he was not even in the room. Dead silence. No one listened and they basically ignored him.

A no holds barred discussion


Listening To Employees: You Need To Do It One Conversation At A Time

“The only number that matters is ‘one.’ One cup. One customer. One partner. One experience at a
time. We had to get back to what mattered most.”

I am a big fan of Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks. In reading this statement above, Schultz described how his company faltered and lost its way. It strayed from coffee into a host of activities which basically begin the slow drip of non-profitability.

This statement is kind of a back to basics approach, but it would make a great mission statement. It would also make a great leader’s mandate.

How is that, you may ask? How many times have you spoken to a senior leader, and in the midst of that conversation, they were checking email, fiddling with their phone, or basically doing something else?  Yes, they pride themselves on multi-tasking, but are they really listening?

Lesson learned

Friday, July 3, 2015

What Does Real, Genuine Leadership Look Like?

“This may sound crazy, but it’s hard for us when someone turns down a raise,”

That was a recent comment from the Board President at the University of Cincinnati. Not only that, but it’s the third year in a row the university chief, President Santa Ono, has donated his bonus.

Since 2013, he has turned down his six-figure bonus and declined a raise. His reasoning is that he donates it to various funds and to help the college students.

What does leadership look like?

When Will Employees REALLY Become Your “Most Important Asset?”

“How much does it cost?”

This is a question that I am hit with as I intro my presentation. It literally takes my breath away. My response is we can discuss that after I am finished.

But, I need a change in mindset from cost to expense. If you look at employee development as an expense, I may be wasting both of our times.

This approach took courage, but after a while, I realized that if that is the way that executives look at engagement, I know that I am in the wrong place.

A few statistics we all need to consider

This takes me back the notion that employees are our “greatest or most important asset.” Are they really? Those buzzwords should be outlawed.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

When It Comes To Ongoing HR Development, It’s Really Up To You

“Can I see a show of hands of people that watch CNBC or any other business channel? Can I also see a show of hands of those that read the business section of your newspaper?”

Both those questions were asked over the past two weeks at different HR conferences [the HR Leaders Africa Summit held in Lagos, Nigeria, and the Lebanon HR Summit]. I decided to ask those questions and I was shocked by the number of responses. Maybe two or three hands went up, and there were at least 50 people in the room in both cases.

And you want a seat where?

My response was, “and you want to be strategic business partners?” My next question was, “what are the major discussions within your industry?” Again, the response was blank stares.

We Could Learn A Lot From How The World Handles Employee Vacations

“No, that will not work. I leave for holiday on the 8th of June and will not return till around the 15th
of July.”

That was the response from a Chief Learning Officer who we have been trying to get together for a meeting. However, it hit me as he told me this that yes, this was vacation season. But more importantly, he would be taking close to five (5) weeks off.

The summer holiday season is upon us and this is a common refrain from expats throughout this region (I work in Dubai, in the Middle East). This is a common practice here, and the only people who it gives pause to are people like me.

Vacation is no big deal

An Imperative For Today’s HR: A Sharp Focus On Data And Analytics

This past week I participated as conference chair for the first ever workforce analytics conference in the Workforce Analytics Forum that was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
the Middle East —

It was amazing to see the various industries from telecom to health care, privately owned to multi-nationals, presenting their analytics and wrapping it into a business case.

I remarked in my closing statement that this level of rigor and alignment would not have been possible even a few years back. But now, to have a conference dedicated to this new level of HR was astounding.

Welcome to the club