Friday, August 21, 2015

Because Self-Loathing Ever Solved Anything..........


I saw a film about a guy who was so consumed with creating an alternative reality that he overlooked the fact that he was the lifeblood of his organization. We all want to be CEO (or at least we think we do). We have ideas about what we would do if we were "running the show"... but we're not and we probably never will. So, there may come a time when we have to accept our role in our organization and perform it with exceptional grace.

The times I have failed in navigating an organization have usually resulted from a lack of patience. In politics, most lose their first election. Sports are filled with stories of failure creating the experience and courage to finally succeed. Many Entrepreneurs have developed and closed up to 10 companies before they finally found their extraordinary idea.

Sometimes we have to accept where we are before we can get to where we want to be. 

Our excellence reveals itself in supplementary roles that lead us to greater opportunity.

Your Life or Your Work
We've come to learn that time spent in the office can actually be less-productive than remote work. Meetings can be a time suck, we get caught up hearing about our co-workers personal struggles and when we actually need something our resources may be consumed in other work. 

I know, however, that structure is necessary to success! Work/Life Balance is now mandatory in creating meaningful work, but consider the following:

~ Do you hate your work because you don't have a girlfriend?
~ If your personal life was more abundant would you be more productive at work?
~ Is it your Boss' fault that you have trouble interacting socially?

Find It Within The Structure
There is a rule breaker in each of us. I always tell people that they can oppose any idea as long as they have a better one. If you oppose the system without an alternative, you are just complaining! No one ever gained anything through complaining.... save it for (un)Happy Hour.

We cannot be stifled by an inability to adapt. We need new ideas and the courage to try new things to stay relevant. There is a difference between Constructive Disruption and complaining through the virtue of inability.  

Navigating the Emotional Component  
We spend the majority of our waking hours at work so it's hard not to take our profession personally. In fact, if you are not emotionally invested in your work, you are probably a dispensable commodity. It may not be your organization's fault that you have failed to engage in your work

The key is to differentiate what is worth fighting for!

How often do we allow a mundane detail to derail a meeting? Then, there are times when we keep our mouth shut and hide our passion for the sake of harmony. 

How do we discern when it is time to put our flag into the ground?


Who is responsible for Employee Engagement: 
The CEO?
Middle Management?
Human Resources?

How About You Take Control
We can wait around for our Manager to tell us we are doing a great job. We could take that thing our CEO told us at a company banquet to heart. We can hold high our certificate of achievement.

OR.... We can take control of our own professional development!

There are things you have to do and things you want to do. My advice is to check the "have to dos" off your list so you can get to what you want to do.

If you do your job well, you will be rewarded.... with money, additional opportunity and an eventual promotion. If you are not receiving the aforementioned accolades or you are too impatient to wait for them.... Quit Your Job! If you are too cowardly to find a better job, quit complaining about the one you have.

Come up with a bold idea, build a network to support you and develop data to validate your proposed organizational development.... OR DON'T but stop telling us how you "would do things if you were in charge".

Work hard, be creative and find avenues for evolution.... then get a pair and be bold enough to share your vision!

Or Don't and keep your trap shut!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave    

Monday, August 10, 2015

Creativity, Self-Expression & Professional Advancement

Let's cut the crap and be frank about Employee Engagement:
You ever feel like your being lied to? Is said Bullshit masked as a Best Practice?

Stop believing the hype and be realistic about what works, what doesn't, and what you can do that no other organization does.

It's Shiny & I Like It!
I love Medium because the platform is sexy. I love about.me because the imagery drives the perception. I love Instagram because of the ability to photoshop regularity into awesomeness.

You can pretend there is no ROI to graphic design... but you are wrong. If your platform is clunky, no one will use it!


Everyone Sings!
There is an artist is each of us. We all sing in the shower! Everyone reading this post has pretended to be in a movie at one point in an average day. Admit it, you've done it.... and there is NOTHING wrong with that!

The dullest people in the world have a strong creative force (they have repressed it because the one time they tried to speak in front of a group, everyone laughed at them). There cannot be Innovation without Creativity! We face extinction every day and we figure out how to keep moving forward.



What Color is a 12th Place Ribbon?
If you know the answer to that question you have compromised your ability.

There is absolutely a way for everyone to win in the workplace. You don't have to be an asshole to be successful! The best Leaders understand that Leadership is an act of servitude.

We need to be authentic in our expectations. We need to push one another to live a life that is meaningful. Life is too short to allow 'best practices' to create a convenience-driven existence that is shrouded in quite desperation.

You Wouldn't Allow Yourself to Be Regular... So Why Do You Promote Programs That Turn Your Employees into Cogs in a Gearless Shit Storm!

Rise Up! Think Proactively! Put Work In!

... it will be hard! You stand to embarrass yourself and little failures are inevitable.

So Why Even Try?

If Not YOU then Who?


The workplace is evolving with whiplash intensity. Progress is based in a combination of bad ideas, failures and the willingness to be vulnerable. Success will no longer be a protected climb. Transparency is here.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chasing The Gjallarhorn


Last week I quoted Jim Valvano's advice to be moved to tears every day. I was recently moved to tears in the seemingly most moronic of ways when an astronomical revelation of adulation was brought to my attention. Apparently, one of the greater achievements in playing the game "Destiny" is earning a Gjhallarhorn.

~ Why would anyone get so excited to receive a capability upgrade on a stupid game, you ask?
~ How much time is spent on such a meaningless achievement?
~ What type of lifeless douche do you have to be to get excited over such an innocuous event?

Without the slightest need to investigate the response to these questions, my only retort can be:

WHO CARES?

To hear excitement coming from young people inspires me to live a better life. To get back to what matters, to recreate the joy of accomplishment, to remember that there still can be joy in this napkin of a world. I'm not concerned that it took a little person six months to achieve the aforementioned badge of achievement. This accomplishment can be held as high as a trophy or any certification.... why not allow people a little bit of joy...?

As we grow older, pessimism replaces wonderment, uncertainty is replaced with predictability and the magic gives way to joyless process.

The question is pretty simple: How Do We Get It Back?

When was the last time you were moved to tears? Remember the Little League Championship, the speech contest you won, a movie you witnessed or that time you were overwhelmed by the beauty of the world around you. These things happen all the time, we've simply forgotten how to recognize them.

Before You Got Jaded
The world celebrates visionaries in ones. For every person crazy enough to change the world there are thousands who came up with an idea and were chastised for disrupting process. Others gave up trying new things because it brought them more work without adding to their credibility. In order to change the atmosphere you have to be creative, bold and resilient. Very few of us possess even one of those virtues.

Bystander Behavior
The responsibilities of the day fill our calendars from inception through sunset. We simply do not have time to laugh, cry or think. When the work bell rings we scurry off to forget what we have learned. We tend to find joy in things that disconnect us from our work. We live a double life of production without reward... supplemented by free-time spent complaining about our jobs.

It doesn't have to be that way....!

Chasing the Gjallarhorn
Occasionally, we are awakened from our disengaged work trance by someone who thinks different. Have you ever been knocked off your schedule through the positive force of another. That person who tells you your idea is not stupid despite your behest. That person who counters your complaints with a request for a better idea. That person who pisses you off because you know they are right.

...And then you take action.

Back a man in the corner long enough and he is going to come out swinging.

Find your Gjallarhorn!

... that achievement that would move you to tears (or at least laughter). That thing deemed impossible that can be conquered. That action that would implement enough change to silence your critics.

You have to be willing to make a fool of yourself, to try and fail, to propose and counter, to stand up for what you believe in, to rise against mediocrity.

... and they say video games are a waste of time....

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Leadership Simplified


Every Summer I have the pleasure to teach at the worlds elite Student Leadership Conference. It has become evident that Leadership training requires a new approach.

There is a Leader in all of us. Leadership CAN be learned. We cannot, however, teach Leadership in the same fashion we would economics. There is not an all applicable system that we can plug people into and spit them out as Presidential. Leadership requires courage more than process. How can we teach courage?

The Leadership Challenge
The new challenge we face in Leadership is debunking the dictator-driven operating system made popular by yesterdays micro-managers. In the same manner that selling is more about listening than talking; Leadership is an act of servitude.

A few elements to implement:
  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words: The moment you corrupt your advice through disingenuous actions you have lost the privilege of influence.
  • Rally Around A Cause: There must be a common mission that everyone who serves the organization genuinely believes in.
  • Be Constructively Disruptive: You are allowed to challenge any idea as long as you have a better one.
  • Pass The Torch: Every Leaders goal for each of their team members should be to help them advance beyond their current role.
  • There IS Crying in Business: In the immortal words the great Jimmy Valvano, "be willing to be moved to tears (every day)".    

A Little Commonsense
It is not the content but the people who teach it. It is not the process but the people with whom you share it.

You can game plan and systematize all day long, but if your teachers do not genuinely believe in what they are preaching, no one will follow. Through the process we develop kinship.... human connection drives us forward. Put anyone in a classroom with a bunch of strangers and their greatest accomplishment will come not from passing a test but from passing along their goodwill.


An Inability To Accept Injustice
We are all moved by the fight for Civil Rights. Every great revolution starts with one person who identifies a wrong and is no longer willing to accept that way of living.

Reflect on your moments of courage.... my guess is that each of them began with your inability to accept the ignorance of others dismissed as tradition.

We can not stand by and allow naivety to be dismissed as progress.

No organization has "we've always done it this way" as a core value.

Perhaps our greatest oversight is in pretending that Leadership is an extroverts role. Every point of progress has been cultivated by someone who could not sit on their hands and allow walking in circles to be dismissed as determination.

Are you willing to accept the way things have always been?

Do you have a better idea?

What are you going to do about it?

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave    

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Group Photo


Before our lives were documented and shared in real time there was mystery and romance. We took photos, had them developed and picked them up a day later. Picking up photos was an exercise filled with wonderment... much like receiving a letter in the mail or meeting a person with whom we feel a kinship.

We need not think in terms of digital photos replacing framed pictures. Facebook updates will not displace our need to call an old friend. There exists a need for nostalgia and mystery in the midst of all this turnkey interaction. A person is not a profile or a brand. You will not discover what embraces one's heart by reading an online resume.

Everyone can contribute to making your life better. You may just be too impatient to open the photo album.

Before there were selfies, there were group photos. There was a time that we cared to gather a group and document our time together as opposed to just taking pictures of ourselves.

The Wonderment?

I used to keep my photos in a Monkees lunchbox. On a Sunday afternoon I could open the box and see pictures of myself with thousands on people; the greatest joy in this exercise was remembering someone I had forgotten. Where had they gone? What had they become? Hopefully they are OK!

Self affirmation has never been easier to attain. You can post a picture of yourself in social media and 100 friends will tell you that you look great.... even if you don't. Branding yourself can be a great use of social tools. Pretending you lead a life that you do not will catch up with you.

The Group Photo

How much time do you take to embrace others as opposed to turning the camera on yourself. If narcissism fuels your success you may be in denial.

"Happiness not shared is wasted" - Chris McCandless

People are difficult: they have contrary opinions, egos and a limited amount of time. Too often we propose a meeting with an old friend simply to tell them how well we are doing (or worse to complain about our lives).

Your friends should see you laugh and you should be there to embrace them when they cry. If you cannot pick up the conversation where you left off 10 years ago... those people probably are not your real friends.

It is easy to "like" a photo or post a comment. It's far more difficult to travel 200 miles to see a friend before they die.

It takes far more time to make a few meaningful connections in life than it does to develop 100 followers online.

That which is easy is never sustainable........Open up the photo album.........

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave    

Friday, July 10, 2015

That Which We Choose To Accept as Gospel


Recently, the Society for Human Resource Management released their annual Employee Recognition survey.

It was conveyed that the top three challenges HR Professionals face are:
Employee Turnover
Employee Engagement
Succession Planning

... no real surprise.....

The problem is that surveys seldom tell the whole story. Here are a few potential questions to pose:

1. If you were responsible for putting together your company's Employee Recognition program are you are going to defend it's viability at all costs?
2. If you weren't, are you automatically prone to seek alternatives?
3. Was the survey worded to confirm program viability or to challenge it?
  • Human Resources professionals do not lack organizational strategy, but we are passive aggressive.
  • Surveys that seek to validate do not create actionable change management.
The problem is not your Employee Recognition Program, it is the intent that it has never revealed.

All companies have a reward and recognition program in place, but the degree of adoption is what is genuinely important.

If you do not seek to understand what sucks about your program it will remain a transactional "nice to have" not a critical organizational component.

Think about the last survey you took.... were you honest about the GAPs in your strategy or defensive of the choices you seek to validate?

Employee Recognition is merely the entry point to Employee Engagement... If recognition is the endpoint, engagement remains unattainable.


If you continue to believe that you can micro-manage employees, you are sadly mistaken. Your employees may not submit their discontent with the free lamp you gave them for 10 years of service on a program survey.... Glassdoor & other Social Media outlets may tell a different story.

Progress Measurement
More than a reward or cash, people want to know their opportunity for organizational advancement (in real time). You cannot wait until the end of the year to tell your employee she is doing a great job. Nor can you allow only the middle manager to be the ticket taker on the road to employee progress. 

Employees should have clearly defined goals. Completion of said goals should be broadcast to the masses. Corporate Citizenship should be valued equal to performance metrics in developing the leaders of tomorrow. 

Managers Masquerading as Leaders
Are your middle managers building their legacy or covering their ass? 

Scenario: Tom has been married 3 times and has kids in grade school and college alike. He'll be dammed if he is going to give up his place in the middle of the hierarchy. You are paying him $500,000 a year and each year he drives away 4 people who are more talented than he is. 

Either don't know...don't show...or don't care that your organizational future is being corrupted. 

If your door is open but your employees fear the implication of engaging HR, your managers may be protecting their point at the helm of the sinking boat. 

You can have a pot of gold at the end of the hallway but if no one is given a key to unlock the door your greatest benefits are gathering dust.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave   

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Live from #SHRM15 - Emerging Trends in Human Resources


We Did It! Certifications were earned, inspiration ignited, new products and services purchased, new reading materials acquired, t-shirts earned, new friendships forged and new employment opportunities extended.

Dear Friends, The 2015 SHRM Annual Conference has now concluded.

You can find my coverage of the event here:
Snap Shot (Day 1)
Knowledge (Day 2)
Inspiration (Day 3)

This was the best of the 8 SHRM conferences I have attended for a few reasons:
1. Speakers were informative and inspiring.
2. The Exhibitor Hall was light of Swag and heavy on meaningful conversation.
3. Attendees were purposeful in their networking and astoundingly positive.
4. The SHRM Staff and Volunteer Core did an AMAZING job with Meeting Logistics.
5. The SHRM Bookstore was full of relevant material.
6. The Smart Stage afforded snap shot insight from some of the best thinkers in the industry.

As we head home to share what we have learned, I feel compelled to advise the trends I see developing in HR!

Fewer Employee Recognition Vendors
In years past, companies thought that developing a platform, buying gift cards in bulk or reselling trophies would engage employees. The idea of copy catting legacy vendors to turn a quick buck has proven a failed strategy. In recent months we've seen Grass Roots cease US Operations and Achievers acquired by The Blackhawk Group.... hundreds of other Employee Recognition vendors have tried and failed to succeed in the industry.

Employee Engagement partnership requires:
1. A large group of smart, creative human beings seated all around the globe.
2. Technology that is scaled, integrated, protected, social, and mobile.
3. A robust choice of achievement mementos.
4. Consultants that design impactful initiatives specific to your workforce (and your workforce only).
5. The ability to measure with precise efficiency the Return on your program Investment (and to re-scale accordingly).

6. A variety of services ranging from:
a. Social platforms
b. Learning assistance complimented by e-learning technology
c. Meeting support
d. Analytics
e. Workforce consultation with real time measurement.
f. The ability to correlate Customer Satisfaction with Employee Engagement ratings.
g. Assistance in making re-sellers part of your organizational strategy.
h. To track and measure the excellence rating of EVERY employee.      

The aforementioned is really difficult. It takes years of experience, a large workforce of diverse talents and Business CAPITAL that is constantly re-invested into improving the business.

The End of Dictatorships
The generations in the workforce are growing together and learning from one another in an effort to improve the work experience. Most organizations still consider the annual performance review part of their management process... it will not last. Advancements in technology have made it possible to measure and share employee progress in real time. The manager to employee relationship is now assisted by the socialization of each employee's progress report.

Baselines That Create Roadmaps
At #SHRM15 there were learning sessions filled with data that were boring and highly-energetic speakers that didn't make a single point.

The solution to our Engagement Crisis needs to start with hard data and well-designed initiatives. We must then use frequent face-to-face socialization of each employee's specific goals for success. Our leaders need to be interactive, vulnerable, personable and collaborative. Leadership is an act of servitude.

Technology is the starting point. Human Beings have to carry the torch into the workplace (with the willingness to get burned).

In summation:
- Only the truly excellent can execute HR Services Partnerships!
- Performance reviews as we know them WILL change drastically!
- Holacracy is coming... and it WILL work!

See you next year at #SHRM16 in our nation's capital.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave    

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Debriefing Day 3 @ #SHRM15


A poetry slam, swanky Marcus Buckingham sware' and an 80's jam couldn't keep me from waking up at 6am to hustle over to the HR Capital of the Universe. I step into the Vegas heat, my heart pumping pure mini-bar, then jump into a bus blasting a Rico Suave / Maria Maria mash up at 10,000 watts. It's Day 3 at the SHRM Annual Conference and there is no time for Tom Foolery... We've got knowledge to consume.

What a better way to wake up than with HR's Global Ambassador of Awesome Mr. Steve Browne. Steve has been advocating his love for HR for years in social media and through his hard-fought human connections. He is simply one of the most giving people in the profession.
















Mika Brzezinski brought a delightfully empowering message to the female dominated crowd. Her lipstick also matched her sweater (I think you get extra points for that).

In an unfortunate incident J Hud's Crew decided to sound check during Jason Lauritsen's Smart Stage presentation. I hope he throws swag left over from the Exhibitor Hall on stage during her set.

Bryan Wempen Wrote a Book... you should buy it!




The Day Crescendo-ed with a presentation chalk full of data and strategy from Brendan Browne of Linked-In. Not for the less strategic HR Pros, this session was ultra-precise in the step-by-step process of using data to find talent.... and executing the recruiting plan.










So there you have it from one Browne to another and everything in-between. It was another truly inspiring day at the SHRM Annual Conference. I could not be more grateful to have the opportunity to be part of the SHRM Blog Squad! It's been a thrill of a lifetime to write, present and brainstorm with all of the talented positive thinkers in Las Vegas this week.

One More Day to Go!

Dave Kovacovich
#SHRM15Blogger 

Monday, June 29, 2015

#SHRM15 - Debriefing Day 2


My phone awakens me that it is 4:45 am. Time to shake off a weekend worth of Dead Shows and head to Sin City to hang out with my Sisters & Brothers in the Human Resources profession. What could possibly go wrong?

Having been to the SHRM Annual Conference nearly 10 times, my event navigation is far more streamlined than a first time attendee. I head to the Dice Bloggers lounge to pick up my badge.

Reframing Engagement
For decades Gallup has been the default source of employee information gathering. Their survey questions written in 1993 remain the benchmark for workforce engagement in many organizations. It's nice to see that former Gallup Principals, Marcus BuckinghamRodd Wagner, have branched out on their own to re-write the Rules of Engagement. Buckingham rocked the morning keynote.

Caring Is Not Creepy    
We've heard the Zappos story of creating culture to such an extent that Mary Faulkner has made drinking game out of it.




That said, Zappos (drink) Speaker of The House, Jamie Naughton, pulled back the curtain on how Human Resources works at Zappos.

Talent Management is a function of Holacracy: admittedly a work in progress if any company can successfully eliminate bureaucracy it's Zappos (drink). They have replaced the organizational hierarchy with tasks and circles: Employees focus on their strengths and prioritize their time accordingly instead of relying on a title or departmental affiliation to guide their workplace behaviors. They are assigned a circle of advisers to mentor their progress.

Total Rewards Replaced By Personal Emotional Connections 




Zappos (drink) affords employees the standard medical package (which includes fertility aid). Employees are asked to volunteer 20% of their time to activities that fall outside of their core job description. Most compelling is the Zappos (drink) Wishez program. Through this program employees submit a request to a network that any co-worker can address. Requests range from liver donations to morning coffee.

What remains endearing about the Zappos Culture (Drink Twice) is that employees are encouraged to investigate the lives of their co-workers and customers. If a customer is having a bad day, and the customer service representative can sense it, they have a flower budget to send them a special token of their empathy. Not all Wishez are granted but the requests provide a window beyond the workplace that humanizes their workforce & customers.

It's always good to see @DaveTheHRCzar




Robin Schooling made The Smart Stage her bitch!




... and the day's programming concluded with the always inspiring duo of Lauritsen & Gerstandt













Think About It!




See You Tomorrow!

Dave Kovacovich
#SHRM15Blogger 

Friday, June 26, 2015

#SHRM15 Snap Shot


It's Here, It's On, It's Go Time!!!!

Over the next few days the Human Resource Leaders of Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday will be racing through McCarran Airport, their thirst at full quench for workforce management knowledge.

There have been a thousand pieces written in advance of this event and a million post cards are now gracing attendees waste baskets. So, once you've checked in and loaded your i-pad with travel entertainment, reference this conglomeration of knowledge to streamline your #SHRM15 experience:

Meet the SHRM 15 Bloggers

Tons of Nuggets from the HR Blog Squad

* You absolutely MUST FOLLOW the aforementioned HR experts to gather information directly from sessions (in real time) as well as all the breaking news from the conference floor in Las Vegas.

Advice on Navigating the Conference

Don't Forget: Vendors Are People Too

Connect with the future of HR through YPAC

Nightlife @ SHRM





Recommended Sessions:
Monday:
Robin Schooling (the smartest lady in HR on the Smart Stage)

Tim & Kris Talking HR Tech

Total Entertainment: Jason & Joe will literally get the crowd on their feet in #HR Vegas

Tuesday:
WAKE UP with Steve, Trish and a Whole Lotta HR Tech

WAKE UP with THE ONE MAN EVERYONE in HR needs to know

Getting The C-Suite's Attention with the Lovely Jennifer McClure

LinkedIn's Recruiting Wiz Kid on Hiring Better

Wednesday:
Dave & Donna on Running an HR Department of One

* Many of these speakers are conducting multiple session and they all ROCK so schedule your event flow here




That outta get you started.... It's time to learn, network, read, absorb, expand your mind, have a cocktail and possibly grab a few minutes by the pool. Las Vegas is your oyster... slurp it up now because those things spoil in the desert.

I will be in the Bloggers Lounge all week. Come see me or follow/contact me on Twitter -
@davidkovacovich 

See you all in Las Vegas! Travel Safe!

Dave Kovacovich
#SHRM15Blogger