Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Giving You The Best That I Got

Personal excellence is not a lost art.  You know, we can work to be excellent at all that we do.  My wife shared with me that a friend stays motivated to fold laundry because she thinks about where the kids will be when they are wearing the clothing and the fun & learning they'll be experiencing.  She imagines this and is excited to be a part of it.  Wow.  I am "cranky pants on steroids" when I am left to empty the dishwasher.

At the workplace, many would just laugh at such a perspective.  Why would I be excited to make another widget for someone to use doing something that I don't really care about?  Engagement with the task at hand is not easy to maintain at a high level.  There are days when it's just not exciting to represent a company in service or production. My question, though, is does it have to be?

Self-fulfilling prophecies happen.  If you tell yourself that you'll fail, you will.  If you are sure that a certain person won't be attracted to you and therefore wouldn't say yes to a date, you're probably correct.  We believe the imposed hype much more than we should.  In physical exercise, this is referred to as unhealthy self-talk.  The exercise isn't the issue; it's the negativity that runs through your head that's a problem.  Isn't it possible that a reason you are not at the performance level you'd like to be or at the management level you'd like to be is because you don't really believe you can?

When a decision is made to accept a job offer, it is not common for the new employee to walk in thinking, "How can I do the least amount of work possible and still get paid?"  I'm not saying this never happens, but it is not the common approach.  Most will want to do a great job by giving great effort.  At what point did giving the best that you've got become passe?

Listen, even though I may not know you, I know you.  We all get hung up on lousy managers, lousy processes, lousy total rewards plans...I get it and I have belly-ached about those things, too.  But one thing I am more sure of now then ever before is that I allowed those things to take away my power to be excellent in what I do.  I settled for half-best rather than the best best I could offer.  I downplayed my talents in order to make room for the complaining.  I robbed myself of personal growth because I was frustrated, angry or fed up with the work I was doing or the company I was doing it for.  No more.

Let's walk into the new year convinced that we are awesome, convinced that we can be excellent at what we do.  Let's stop playing those negative tapes and make the decision, despite all of the reasons to complain, to excel at our work.  We spend so much time working, why not make it rich and valuable?  Why not change our perspective so that we pursue excellence?

I understand that some of you will read this and think I am being too sensitive or too Stuart Smalley-like.  I would have to come back to you and say I am not.  This isn't about feeling good, primarily, although that will be a by-product.  I am coming at this a bit more strategically.  According to the World Economic Forum, the United States has fallen to fifth in ranking; the US was last in first place in 2008.  Each year since has seen another step down the world business/economic health rankings.  

The US worker is one of the best in the world, hands down.  As such, we must reflect what we are.  To compete in the global market, which we ALL do to some degree, we must function at a higher level of excellence than our competition.  Giving the best that we've got is necessary more than ever; our country has to regain lost ground.  Product development, technology and innovation, and improved processes are crucial; however, without excited and committed human capital, these initiatives will fall flat.  We make the difference.

The new year is right around the corner.  Take some time to realign your enthusiasm and your commitment to the work you do.  You are in the role you are in for a reason.  Believe in what you know how to do.  It matters to your co-workers, your management, your company and your should matter to you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Hear A Symphony

In my living room sits a piano that belonged to my wife's grandmother.  It's an upright and it sounds beautiful.  My wife dabbles on it from time to time.  What I wished for was that at least one of my three children would want to play the piano.  What I am currently dealing with are three children with little desire to do so and one bitter, Italian dad (can you guess which one I am?)

I had visions of being serenaded by my kids, you know, something similar to what the kids in The Sound of Music did.  I mean, am I asking for too much?

Simply, yes.  My vision for The New Partridge Family is not shared by the "company" I lead at home (please don't tell my wife I said I lead the company).  Forcing my objectives onto the group will not yield the product I desire, and even if I demand that they comply, what kind of music will I hear?  My expectation of soul-stirring singing with instruments in accompaniment will fall flat as the hearts of those performing will not be committed to the task at hand.

Often, in the organizations we serve, we are tasked with fitting "square" employees into "round" jobs.  We have become accustomed to by-passing talent and ability in order to meet basic skills requirements.  When I was working for the major distribution center for a national retailer, I could and did perform the tasks of sorting, re-packaging and tagging that took place.  I met the basic skills requirements, but would that have been the best use of my talent or skill?  Couldn't there be people in your organization that are misaligned?  Are you listening to the music and reporting on what you hear?  Who's out of tune?

I very much enjoy classical and operatic music.  When I hear those instruments working together to tell a story through music, my mind is transported.  I know I am hearing greatness, but not because the players are playing their instruments well.  Rather, it's because the players love playing their instruments well; it's what they were made to do.  Do we ever ask in a performance review - What do you think you were made to do?  OK, un-cringe.  It's not about religion or personal belief systems necessarily, but more about aligning talent to the best possible role.  Isn't that a responsibility in HR?

Mentoring programs and coaching sessions are great; I do them, I know.  However, those things will just be meetings if the other person involved does not see purpose and passion in what he/she is doing.  My kids aren't playing the piano because it's not what they are passionate about.  Baseball, soccer, dance, art...those things get my kids excited to perform and to do it well.  What a miserable existence to force someone to do something they don't want to do.  Why would it be any different for the employees at our companies?

Sometimes, the answer may be that an employee does not fit with the organization.  It is okay to realize an employee is not performing to the level needed and with the passion required.  Fit matters.  Often, the employee is already aware so the conversation about fit should go smoother.  The ability for our organizations to achieve greatness is, in part, a product of our strategic interface with all personnel and in understanding the KSA's involved.

Look for where the organization is out of tune and address it.  Don't just grit your teeth at the awful sound and hope it passes soon.  Be proactive.  Our role in human resources allows for our expertise to shine in such a capacity as this.

By the way, you may have asked yourself whether I can play the piano.  As long as playing the two keys needed for the Theme from Jaws counts, then yes, I play.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bend Me, Shape Me

Flexibility in the workplace is not a new concept.  For years, we've heard about it from both the employee and the employer perspective.  There have been books and articles written about the 5, 8, or 10 steps in workplace flexibility (I know that there are other numbers of steps, but you get the idea).  Lectures have been given, speakers have been paid and enthusiastic companies have implemented short-lived flexibility plans.  SHRM has resource after resource of material and case studies for review.  So what more can be said?

How about this question: What is the business case for workplace flexibility?  Too often the goal seems to be flexible people with flexible schedules working for flexible companies.  What the heck does that even mean?!  One thing I do know is that profitability is not supposed to be flexible.  It's supposed to increase and move along a trajectory of growth.  I don't want the success of a company to be measured in its constant ability to reinvent itself at the cost of its core product or service all in the name of flexibility.  What if Apple decided that since being flexible is the latest rage, it would add a restaurant chain and a apron manufacturing subsidiary to its business?  Silly and over-the-top, right?  However, the point is that many of us in HR forget about what the company we work for is really about.

The company is about making money.  Every person working in the organization is in sales (just ask Todd Cohen).  What the company is selling is its product or service to the global market.  We don't want to take our eyes off the ball for the sake of being flexible.  What if it won't work to have flexible staffing for your organization?  What if you really need people to work the manufacturing equipment from 9AM to 5PM?  Those employees cannot telecommute.  They might not be able to have "fluid hours" (a new phrase I've heard).  Sometimes, the work has to be done in a certain time and in a certain way.  So, I ask you, are we to say that company is not flexible?

Sometimes being inflexible is just what's needed.  Sticking to what you know the business is about ought to be protected by the C-Suite and HR.  There is a vast difference between studying markets and preparing for changes in production, assembly and marketing compared to putting programs in place to make employees happy at the destruction of the work itself.  Some of those companies have granted their employees the most flexible schedule imaginable...the companies closed their doors.

Please hear me clearly, I am flexible.  I am a pretzel.  In HR, we have had to walk into each day ready to conquer whatever comes our way.  However, that is to be done to protect the core steady belief in the mission and vision of the organization.  We have to take hold of those non-negotiables and refuse to apologize.  The company's success will depend on someone somewhere making a decision and sticking with it.  We cannot be flexible about everything.  You're not a bad HR person if you cannot be flexible all the time.

Re-read those mission statements.  They are matter-of-fact and unapologetic in what the goal of the company is.  Inflexible?  Nah, right on the money.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Less Bell to Answer

One of the toughest things to do is to dismiss an employee.  Even when the cause is based upon poor performance, attendance issues or insubordination, it can be a tough conversation.  It's likely that the person being terminated has financial and/or familial obligations that will be affected by this dismissal.  An HR professional and the manager involved often know about these obligations but must forge ahead with the right course of action.

What's even sadder is the sigh of relief that co-workers and management may make after this person's termination.  You can almost hear William Wallace yell, "Freedom" to those in the surrounding cubicles.  The frustration and annoyance that person brought will not be missed and the relief is palpable.  

In an exit interview, I would love to share with the terminated individual the relief that this dismissal is bringing so many others.  There will not have to be a team of people covering for you when you're not here.  There won't be a need to do your work for you due to your lack of drive to perform well.  No one will have to walk on egg shells because of your short temper and entitled attitude.  Obviously, these would be extremely tough points to bring up, and the timing would be like pouring salt on a wound.

So, think proactively.  Am I that person?  Am I the person who, although still working, acts like the terminated person described here?  Will anyone miss my contribution should I not be here any longer or are most counting the days until there's enough documentation to terminate me?

Sadly, the people who need to hear this message the most will read this blog and think of others for whom it applies.  The reality is that every person in each organization has a role in the health of the fabric of the company.  When there is a tear in that fabric, it does not affect just that area, but the entire piece.  Once a tear begins, the entire fabric is weakened at that point and it's usage expectancy is short.  Turnover is expensive and it's vital to address those areas of concern with those people who need help.

In the Fifth Dimension song "One Less Bell to Answer," Marilyn McCoo (of course I know who it is without performing a search) sings about her love that is now gone and shares all the reasons why it's good he's gone.  Yet, ultimately, she sings, "I should be happy, but all I do is cry."  I liken it to an employment relationship.  When someone is terminated, there are reasons to rejoice.  The aggravation is gone, the forced micro-managing can stop, but the reasons to cry are just as many.  The time wasted, the morale impacted, the money spent...all of this and more.

Companies need to address issues as a matter of constant performance review, not an annual report.  Coaching is constant.  Work the team daily.  If someone is not a fit, you'll know much sooner than later and can make those cuts without much pain.  Allowing a sore to fester is never the answer.

And if you're that employee who is the cause of grief and frustration, stop it.  You know better and can make better choices.  You're intelligent and capable; it's likely how you got the position in the first place.  Today is the day to make the decision to work towards healthy interaction, participation and production.  You can do this.  

The company needs your involvement; it's why you were hired.  Remember, people should want to answer the door when you ring, instead of being relieved when you leave the keys on the table on your way out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Gratitude.  It's the week for it.  Thanksgiving gives us all an opportunity to reflect and express gratitude.  Often, we find this easy to do with our loved ones - family and friends.  Perhaps there's a co-worker who slips into that mix, but what about our companies?

It may be difficult to feel grateful, honestly.  You may barely have enough time to read this.  You're doing three jobs under the umbrella of "trying to do more with less."  You may look back over the last four or five years without a pay raise and wonder if it's all worth it.  I mean, where are your flowers?  Who's celebrating you?

You've been told, "You should be thankful that you even have a job!"  Unemployment is still incredibly high and it doesn't look to be getting any better any time soon.  So, just shut your yap and do your job, right?  Is that based on gratitude?  Doesn't that sound a bit demoralizing?

I think of my grandmother, who was a saint on earth, and her complete commitment to work.  She would often say how fortunate she was to even have a job.  She took a SEPTA bus (the public transportation system in Philadelphia) to work each day until she was 81 years old.  When she said the words, "I'm lucky to have a job," they weren't said because she drank the corporate Kool-Aid, but rather, the tone was convinced and soft. You heard her heart in the words.

You see, my grandmother was a teenager during the depression.  She began as a seamstress when she was a child and never stopped working.  The environments and the work changed, but she didn't stop working.  She had three children and went right back to work after delivery.  She didn't have FMLA or a temporary disability...she had a family and she needed to make ends meet.

I lived with my grandparents for seven years.  When I would come home from work and begin whining about customers, bosses and co-workers, she would start singing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers."  Now, she only knew the first line of the chorus (the same as the title), but she would make up the rest of the words.  It was ridiculous.  I tried to teach her the right words a hundred times.  She didn't care.  That wasn't the point.

Gratitude is a decision.  My grandmother was a waitress for the last forty plus years of her life.  It was not glamorous.  She did not make a fortune.  She didn't make excuses, instead she made everyone who walked into the restaurant or cafeteria feel like he/she was the only customer in the place.  She took pride in what she did, not because of the money or the status, but because she felt it was the right thing to do.  And she was grateful for it.

As I sit back and think about our current employment situation and the corporate cultures that have been allowed to fester, I am saddened by our state of gratitude.  Whether we flip burgers or cook up mergers, we should be thankful for what we do.  It's not because the work is to define us, but instead, we should be defining the work.  My work should be an outlet for who I am.  When I work, I am reflecting my unique ability to contribute and to help others succeed.

With this attitude, I have stopped looking for work to "bring me flowers."  Instead, I bring them to work.  My gratitude should be palpable and infectious.  I should be the catalyst for change.  I don't want to sing the same old song with Neil and Barbra.  It's time for a different melody.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Give Me One Moment in Time

Remember your first "big boy" or "big girl" job?  Do you remember how excited you were the night before you started?  Do you remember the care you took in setting up your work area on the first day?  Do you remember how eager you were to take notes in order to understand everything you had to do?  Do you remember the smile that stayed on your face that entire day?

What happened to that moment in time?  Where is the enthusiasm?  What happened to that eager conscientiousness?  Has the company you work for sucked the life right out of you?

I remember working in education years ago.  I had great plans.  I reopened the school library, established an after-school homework "crew" for those at-risk and increased scores for national testing.  Unfortunately, the atmosphere I was in did not encourage its teachers.  Many of those would cry or express outrage each morning.  This is not the stuff of enthusiastic engagement.

So why?  Why does this happen in many companies?  The answer lies in a few places.  First, we have an unrealistic expectation of work.  When work is the goal, it is a let-down.  The work itself can garner some enthusiasm for a while, but it is temporal.  The lasting elements are found in how that work contributes to the larger mission.  When a company does a poor job in disseminating a consistent message of mission, it is quite easy for the work to seem unrelated.  As this happens, disappointment, frustration and blame set in.  Departments begin to look at other departments as the problem, as if it's because of "them" that your department isn't succeeding.  Our workplaces are to be filled with people who fulfill a vital part of the workflow process rather than the norm of workplaces filled with work done by workers.

Secondly, we forget to be leaders instead of followers.  In every department or cubicle, you are a leader.  You may not have a team reporting to you, but you at least have yourself to lead.  Often, we are too easily influenced by negativity at work.  Listen, I am a fan of "The Office."  Michael Scott is one of the best characters created on network television.  But think about actually working at Dunder-Mifflin.  Wouldn't you just hate it?  Wouldn't you just become another participant with Oscar, Dwight and Angela in commiserating about how awful it is to work there?  There are people reading this right now who live in that environment and have fallen into the bad habit of participating in negativity.  Be a leader in your conversations, in your self-discipline and in your career (rather than your job).

Thirdly, we hate those new people with all their enthusiastic rah-rah.  Many of us have worked in places where the establishment is so embittered that when new recruits arrive, the long-timers look them over like "lifers" in a prison movie.  The look is about how can I break you down?  How can I wipe that smile off your face?  This place stinks so don't think you'll be happy; be ready to be miserable like the rest of us.  Many have trained themselves to hate what they once had - excitement, pride in the work, passion to succeed for the sake of the company.  We've got to re-train ourselves and get back to what we know is right!

Make a choice today to be different.  This isn't about self-help; it's about corporate health.  Wouldn't you rather be motivated to get to work each day?  Wouldn't you want to enjoy your time at work?  Think about how many hours you spend at work.  Why not make it great?  And think about what the entire company will be like under such an influence. 

Choose a moment in time today to reclaim what you once were.  Don't allow anyone to decide for you how you should think about work.  If many are negative, then they've made that choice.  You don't have to.  

I love working with recent college graduates.  Their energy and desire to learn is palpable.  It energizes me and causes me to remember, with fondness, how much I wanted to tackle the world with my great ideas and enthusiasm.  You know what?  I can still tackle the world.  I might need some Advil, but I can still do it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You're the First, the Last, My Everything

How do you become indispensable in a world of disposable employees?  Well, that's hard to do and it may not be your desire.  You may be looking for another job even as you're reading this.  Perhaps you've just been "dialing it in" for the past two years and you're ready for a change.  Well, okay, but how about thinking differently for the next role?

What if you could be seen as a font of information?  What if you took your position so seriously that those around you saw you as the expert?  What if your boss viewed you as a critical, healthy member of the staff?  It's possible for this to be the case and for it to be genuine.

In the past, some of you may have experienced a job where you were too much the "everything."  No one would make a move without checking with you, and then once the move was made, they would come back to you to see if it was done correctly.  You really were the first, the last...the everything.  The thought of taking PTO would almost not be an option because your cell phone would ring all day anyway.  That is not the healthiest position to be in.  There is a better way.

Becoming the expert in your responsibilities is your job.  You've got to take a view of your position that it is yours.  The onus is on you.  Take that job and make it yours through your diligent effort to know all that you need to and how to implement it effectively.  You should be performing at the highest level.

And what you should also consider is equipping others to be ready to do the same.  Teach those under you to make confident decisions and to be ready with the knowledge needed for success.  Create an atmosphere of excellence.  The perspective is not do this so that you will be seen as the office suck-up; move beyond the politics and status quo of your organization.  Understand that you've been hired to bring this kind of excellence.  Just because there may be some who do not subscribe to this point of view, do not allow that to thwart your power and drive.

By allowing your department to function at a higher level of achievement, you will be seen not as the only point of information, but as a leader of information.  Those in your department will share the burden of being excellent, which is much easier to handle with many hands!

And for those of you who really are standing with one foot out the door, perhaps approaching your work this way will change your disposition.  That doesn't mean that you won't move on to another opportunity, but rather, that you will approach it as someone with a strong work ethic and high desire for excellence.  Wouldn't it be fantastic if your current employer could recommend you to another role because of the leader you are?  What if the recommendation from your superior read like this: "You're my sun, my moon, my guiding star, my kind of wonderful, that's what you are."  Um, well, maybe not quite like this, but you get the idea.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rumour Has It

You know the walk into work in the morning and there is a small group of employees chatting in the breakroom.  As you walk in for your coffee, an obvious hush falls over the room.  Finally, one of the previously quiet co-workers asks you if you've heard.  Heard?  Heard what?  As you reveal your ignorance, another co-worker proceeds to fill you in.  About five minutes into the trauma being shared, you have an epiphany...why didn't I stop at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee?

Morale in the workplace is so tenuous.  It's a fragile figurine from Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie."  Walking into situations like the one described above takes thoughtfulness to respond.  Think about how you've reacted in the past.  Do you participate in the conversation?  Typically, this is the easiest reaction.  I mean, who wants to be the party-killer?  The problem with this reaction is two-fold.  One, you can't seriously think that this same group of people won't kill your reputation the minute there's reason to do it, do you?  When blood is in the water, the sharks look for it all over the place.  What might be said about some other employee today could be easily replaced by what would be said about you tomorrow.  And secondly, it contributes to mediocrity in the workplace.  Why push yourself to be the best if you just open yourself up to criticism?  Who wants to be the subject of a group of employees' rumor-fest? The "did you hear's?" will occur if someone performs well or is recognized for being special in some way.

I don't want to be completely negative.  I am sure there are some workplaces where the gossip and rumor-mill does not exist.  I am sure that some companies have total engagement of employees who are on-task the entire time while at work.  However, the amount of companies that fall into this category would be the same if I were to count the number of men and women in the current music industry who can actually's a small number.

Stop participating.  You have to work in this environment.  Why would you stand for the stress of keeping up appearances?  Is this high school?  Aren't we done with those days?  I mean, I still love my Swatch watches (and I still have both of them), but I don't engage with others as I did then.  I don't want to watch my back or to be worried that excellence is something to be mocked.

Be excellent!  Be loyal to the workplace and to your co-workers!  If the disease of rumor and gossip is present, address it.  Don't let it slide.  Remind those involved that it's just as easy for any employee, including them, to be the topic tomorrow.  You're there to be productive, not destructive.  Take a stand!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hello, Is it Me You're Looking For?

The latest statistics show a decrease in unemployment numbers.  Regardless of which way your political bread is buttered, the economy is beginning to open up and that means growth.  For many companies, they struggle with how to implement healthy growth strategies.  Humareso desires to help these companies have a plan.

Adding positions within a company may be a part of the growth strategy.  Sourcing and recruiting for these candidates should be more than just posting an ad online and hoping for a great candidate.  The amount of resumes in response can be overwhelming, and what occurs more and more is a weak resume review.  

So, what can you do?  How can you do more to stand out?  How can you be prepared to be what a company wants?

Well, I wouldn't recommend sending a singing telegram or having your mom call on your behalf.  I would have your knowledge and skills ready.  Start with these:

  • Adaptability: Are you flexible?  Can you multi-task?
  • Problem-Solving: How do you handle problems?  What reasoning skills do you use?
  • Leadership: Who has followed you (what type)?  What style do you use?
  • Work Ethic: How have you demonstrated that you are self-motivated?
  • Passion: Do you have the ability to generate enthusiasm around you?
  • Willingness to Learn: Do you handle change well?

These are only a handful of skills to review in creating a resume and in preparation for an interview.  There are many more skills that should come up, but for all of them, be ready with examples to back up what you affirm.  An employer wants to understand who you are and how you will benefit the company.

So, it really could be you that an employer is looking for.  Get motivated to put that best foot forward.  If it means playing Lionel Richie to motivate you, then do it...just be sure your windows and blinds are closed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Get Into the Groove

What would it mean for you to fire on all cylinders each day?  Have you ever experienced that?  I have and it's a complete rush!  I often wonder why it doesn't happen more often for us.

Usually, there are external factors that distract us from the work at hand.  Annoying managers, complaining customers, broken processes or sub-par technology vie for first place as to why we can't get our jobs done or at least done smoothly.  We tend to work thoroughly with a desire to succeed (statistics back up that fact), but we do usually fall apart in one area.  Power.

We give power to so much outside of us.  Those factors that I mentioned above may not ever change.  Those managers will always be annoying (to a degree), customers will complain, processes will be a work in progress and technology is ever-changing.  Those things, however, do not represent you or what you do.  Too often we settle for those reasons and excuses.  For example, why does technology deserve power in your work process?  If it's not working, then figure out another way to be exceptional for a client.  

When I got my first job, I was thrilled.  I was a dishwasher at Friendly's Restaurants.  It's funny because I loathe emptying the dishwasher at home...I wonder if it's connected.  Anyway, I remember my boss often telling me, "Make it work," whenever there was an issue with the Hobart machine or the rude servers who tossed (literally) dishes at me.  While his lack of compassion is not recommended, I do appreciate his message.

We have to make it work more than we do.  Innovation is born out of problem solving.  Be a problem solver and improve processes.  Figure out how to reduce customer complaints.  What would need to be improved upon?  What experience is the customer having and how could it be better?  If the technology is not working, then grab a pen.  Think about the goals of your position and of the company.

Shake off your old way of thinking and embrace a new mode.  Change the record that's been playing and get into the groove of engagement and enthusiasm.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

All I Need is A Miracle

(Re-post - Recovering from #shrm13 - great time!)

So, it's early morning.  You are groggy from working late the night before.  As you make your way from the bedroom to the bathroom, you stub your toe.  After you share your thoughts aloud on that incident, you stumble to the shower.  The water is cold and it is staying that way.  Great, the pilot light went out on the water heater.  So, you text your boss to say you'll be a few minutes late.  Just after the send button is hit, you bobble the phone and into the toilet it goes.  Um, okay.  This day has to get better, right?

I feel like screaming even just reading back what I just wrote.  What a frustrating start to the day!  Unfortunately, while the circumstances may be different (I hope!) each day, many experience that desperate frustration, but not at home.  It's usually the place of employment that causes angst for us.  As you walk in the door, those "oh no" issues hit you like Chase Utley up to bat.  Haven't you had those days where after 20 minutes of being at work, you reach for your keys and debate making a break for it?

If you find that you are not alone in your workplace in having this perspective more often than should be, then there is a problem.  So, what do you do?  Simple, take action.

Seek out your manager and ask him/her to lunch.  Let's face it, if you want a willing ear, a meal is a great way to do it.  If your manager is the problem, then ask for the superior above that person to grab coffee with you.  Try to do it outside of the office.  Find neutral territory.

Make a decision not to complain but to be constructive.  The fact that you want to make work better shows that you care.  Embrace that perspective, but choose your words carefully.  Share your heart with your supervisor, which means both negative and positive.  You are addressing with your boss how you are feeling; this is different than saying, "everyone feels that work stinks."  Don't raise barriers but work to build a bridge.

These words are not meant to be trite.  There is a great benefit to being humble in presentation.  You want things to be different.  Processes and procedures need help, so share what you see.  You are doing it to make things better; don't just wait for change to happen somehow.

A miracle doesn't happen everyday.  Haven't you closed your eyes after another issue passes your desk in the hopes that when you re-open them, there would be a difference in what you see?  Man, that disappointment is real, isn't it?  So, you be the miracle.  Make a difference in the growth of your company today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Call Me Maybe

So, the usage of a cell phone has changed dramatically over the past five years.  It's really unbelievable to consider what a smart phone is capable of.  I remember watching "Hart to Hart" on ABC in the late 70's (no comments, please...I loved Stephanie Powers) and they would talk to each other from a car phone.  I thought that technology was amazing!  And then came the bag phones...

With smart phones being the most popularly used cell phone type today, it's important for companies to make a plan to utilize the apps that these devices have.  For example, the new millennial generation thrives on technology.  Many of those folks use their smart phones and even tablets to apply for jobs.  When companies don't have mobile-ready sites or applications, direct recruiting will be hindered.  CareerBuilder and Monster have those apps in place already, but that may not help an organization with its recruitment strategy if those partners aren't included.

There is no denying the daily reliance on cell phones today.  Grabbing your keys and wallet/purse before you head out the door now means grabbing your phone, too.  My parents and in-laws, who are in their 60's, are texting and updating their status on Facebook using their smart phone app (I mean, it's important to know that Bingo is happening in 10 minutes).  If that generation is attacking the technology this way, imagine what it's like for the up and coming generation.  There is no room for companies to ignore the interfacing that has to be done and done well with the tablet and smart phone app users.

Remember when the phone was used to make calls...that's so 2004.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Ah, school days.  Such a great time of renewal, especially for learning.  A time of new relationships and new authority.  As a parent, freedom...hallelujah.

What I see from a business flow is also a time of new relationships and new authority.  Companies begin to get back into the swing after the last couple of months of vacation-covering and vacation-experiencing.  Growth of the employee base that is purposeful for the corporate mission will lead to long-term health.  Whereas my children are only going to be in the new grade from September to June (I hope!), new employees should be in the role for longer than that.

Companies struggle with knowing HOW to find those employees who are excited to enter into a great time of learning.  Sourcing, selection and recruitment are skills developed.  It is not automatic that every manager or director will be competent in finding great talent.  Who is teaching that management level to interview well?  I walk into many companies that do not offer any type of training or coaching in the recruitment process to their management.  How would we expect success?  What about the liability of EEOC violations in interviewing?  A shot in the dark cannot be the way.

Yes, this season is about getting back to life, but it's time to, also, get back to reality.  A realistic approach to finding qualified, compatible candidates has to be defined.  When were the last job analyses done?  When has the desire to be diligent about understanding the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for a particular job be encouraged?  Do you understand the long-term benefits of such a commitment?

Maybe by the time the leaves begin to fall, some of those great new hires will be sitting right next to you because of the changes your company has made to the hiring process.  A new classmate at the office.  You could trade that bologna's been in your desk for two weeks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

O Company, My Company...Don't Get Comfortable!

It’s very easy to hit auto-pilot on your company’s existence.  There are no big issues, production is basically level and employees come to work most days.  Seems to be fine.

Is the goal of the American company to cruise?  T. Harv Ecker is quoted as saying, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”  Perhaps this is familiar to you, but is there motivating power behind it?  The words might ring true, but the goal of the saying is not to merely recognize a truth; rather, it is meant to inspire growth and to turn away from the apathy or stagnation in which you might find yourself or your company.

I have found it interesting to watch companies miss strategic growth initiatives because of being comfortable and thinking that’s good enough.  Ask Kodak or Blockbuster about missing business development opportunities.  Where would those companies be if they had paid attention to the markets and to technology more intently?  What if they had led the charge rather than being punished for missing the charge altogether?

Strategic business growth takes a bit of pain and discomfort.  There will be trials and errors, but that will help to establish a culture of innovation and of growth.  The healthiest plant is pruned so that it will flourish more and produce fruit.  Why would that concept not apply to an organization?  Sustainable corporate growth comes out of a strategic, thoughtful plan with the goal of capitalizing in a particular market or markets.  Companies are desperate to find a way to do this.

While this may not happen in companies today because they are comfortable, it is certainly not the only reason.  Companies may not have the resources, know-how or time to develop and drive a plan.  I have not found the company that says it does not want to grow and become more successful (I’m sure they are out there), but good intentions will not change the direction a company needs to go.  A plan is needed.

Humareso is here to make that plan happen.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh, the Amazing Companies We Work For...or Not

Amazing.  That word is used very often in our American culture.  Has it lost its meaning through overuse?  Does it cause a reader or hearer of the word to stop in his/her tracks as it was intended?

The dictionary defines the adjective “amazing” as causing great surprise or sudden wonder (  When the word is used today, does that ring true to the noun it is describing?  I have had an amazing vacation and my children are amazing, but does the meaning in those contexts lose its force when I have also said that my shoes are amazing or that the chocolate water ice I just ate was amazing?

If everything is amazing, then nothing really is. 

So, when it comes to businesses, does the word amazing enter your mind?  Do you only have pictures of Google and Apple when you think of the word connected to companies?  Is the reason those companies are amazing due to their technology, their dress code or their in-house dry cleaning service (ok, I really do like the last one).  In a world where many things are amazing, why is it a rarity to hear it used of a company?

In the US today, there is a lack of “amazingness” due in large part to the overall health of the companies we work for and own.  A natural pulse of the organization is missing, mostly due to the desperate view of production.  Those quotas are often the primary “what I care about” for management and shareholders.  While I would never say that those numbers don’t matter, what I would say is that those numbers may be a percentage of what they could be if there was a commitment to organizational health and true organizational development.

This is a worthy concept and one that needs much more unpacking.  For now, ask yourself a few questions:
  •          What do I think of my organization?  Is it amazing?
  •          What do I understand of the stated values of the company versus the real values of the company?  Is there a difference?
  •          Is the health of my organization something I have even considered?  If so, in what context?

It is quite possible that you are a key person in the health check of your company.  Take some time to consider.  And have an AMAZING day!