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    Monday
    Jul062015

    CHART OF THE DAY: On Tesla and Disrupting Markets

    Quick question for a busy Monday - which auto maker have you seen the most reporting and commentary about in the last few years?

    Maybe General Motors - the largest US auto maker and who has been in the news plenty in recent years, mostly for a slew of recalls.

    Or possibly one of the major Japanese or Korean manufacturers like Toyoata or Hyundai that seem to be continually closing the gap in US market share from the traditional leaders, GM and Ford.

    No, I bet the auto maker you have read and heard the most about lately is the electric car maker Tesla, who for lots of reasons, (innovative products, charismatic leadership of Elon Musk, and interest in modern and ever cloud-based technology for cars), has garnered insane amounts of press and media coverage. 

    So here is another question for you, and the subject of today's Chart of the Day - How much market share does Tesla actually have in the USA? Take a look at the chart below, courtesy of The Truth About Cars, then some quick comment from me. And as always, comments remain FREE.

     

     

    Some thoughts:

    1. So according to the chart for the first half of 2015 Tesla's USA market share is, well, we don't know what it is because on this chart Tesla does not actually register. They must be included in the 1.9% of 'Other'. 

    2. According to a similar data set over at Autonews.com, we see that for the first 6 months of 2015, Tesla sold about 10,200 cars in the US out of a total market of approximately 8.5 million vehicles.  So if my math is right, that puts Tesla's US market share for the first half of 2015 at 0.12%. That's a little bit more than a tenth of a percent. Other makers in the same general space in the market as Tesla include Maserati, Bentley, and SmartUSA.

    3. Here is why this is interesting to me, and where I think that there are some parallels to what we see in any technology market. There is a completely outsized focus on Tesla relative to their actual position in the market and one could argue, the market value of their business, when placing it in context. The pundits and the media, even what passes for the HR/Talent media, love, love, love to focus on the 'new' story, often at the expense of the most relatable story for their audiences. Chances are you have seen 1,493 stories about Tesla in the first 6 months of the year. Chances are also pretty good you don't know anyone that actually owns a Tesla.

    4. It is awesome in HR and Talent to think about what is next, what is likely to dominate how organizations are organized, how people are engaged, how workplaces will function in the future, but the truth is the vast majority of us, (and our leaders), have to think about the next 6 months of 2015, not what the world of work will look like a decade from now. It is important to think about this when reading about HR's version of Tesla, which of course is Zappos, and whatever new experiments they are running over there.

    5. Tesla probably is the most disruptive and innovative auto maker in the world, but the truth is the real impact of their disruptions won't be seen until they truly can deliver sufficient volumes of more mass-market cars, (Tesla's are $100K or so, high-end luxury cars today), and/or the big boys like GM or Toyota decide to try and compete more directly in this segment. It is the same in HR whether it is Holacracy or 'no resume recruiting' or 'no more performance reviews'. It takes a long time in mature industries for these disruptions to move past 'niche' and into the mainstream. Your challenge as an HR/Talent pro is to know when to move with the Teslas and Zappos of the world and when to lay back and lease the newest Camry. 

    Interesting stuff...

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Jul022015

    Three Talent Management Observations from the First Day of NBA Free Agency

    I continue to be on record as stating that HR/Talent pros can learn just about everything they need to know about talent management, leadership, team dynamics, managing for performance, and a million other things from careful observation of professional sports - and most notably the NBA.

    Yesterday was the first full day of the league's free agency period - the time where teams are free to recruit, negotiate with, and sign to new contracts those players whose contracts had expired - thus making them 'free' agents. As usual, Day 1 of free agency led to a flurry of announced and rumored deals between NBA teams and the most coveted of these players, three of which I want to mention here, as they all reveal some interesting insights towards talent and how top talent and exemplary organizations think.

    1. LeBron James and the 1-year deal - While the norm across the NBA on Day 1 of free agency has been for the most prized free agents to agree to 4 and 5-year deals for very large dollar amounts, (Kevin Love, Draymond Green, DeMarre Carroll, etc.), the league's very best player Lebron James is reported to only be willing to accept a 1-year deal from his current team, the Cavaliers. This short-term deal, while being riskier for James, (in case he gets injured), secures his leverage with team ownership, as he can demand that the Cavs do everything possible to field a contending caliber team, with the threat of losing James looming at the end of each season. Keep LeBron happy and you get to keep him. So while lots of talented players are willing to take 4 and 5 years, the best player doesn't need that security, he would rather keep the power shifted in his direction. The same probably holds true for the best, most-talented pros in any field. You need them more than they need you.

    2. Gregg Popovich will not call you at midnight - Popovich, the longtime coach of the San Antonio Spurs, one of the league's most admired and successful teams of the last 15 years, eschews the practice of attempting to begin wooing free agents at the stroke of midnight on July 1, the official starting point of free agency. According to Pop, "I'm not calling anyone at midnight, I'll be in bed. And if that's the difference in someone coming or not coming, then I don't want them." That stance cements two points in the recruiting process for the Spurs. One, they don't need to try and impress free agents with the (silly) gesture of the midnight phone call. And two, they realize that any player that requires that kind of a gesture in order to have their ego massaged is probably not the kind of player the famously unselfish and team-first Spurs are interested in having anyway. This is a great example of an organization living up to and reinforcing their specific culture in the recruiting process.

    3. LaMarcus Aldridge is not impressed - One of the most in-demand free agents this year is LaMarcus Aldridge, formerly of the Portland Trailblazers. In his meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers, a storied team that has recently fallen on hard times, Aldridge came away unimpressed. The reason? The Lakers presentation focused too much on off-the-court opportunities that the Los Angeles market can provide, and not enough on how the team plans to actually get better at playing basketball.  Aldridge has his pick of about a half-dozen teams, the market price for a player like him is pretty well defined, so money is not really an issue, so it actually boils down to the work and the opportunities to be on a competitive team that matters to him. The Lakers are trying to play off a reputation that might have mattered 20 years ago, but is lessened in its value today. Lesson here? You might have been a top place to work in 1998, but that matters almost nothing today to talented pros who want to grow in their careers. 

    As these three short examples indicate, the power dynamics at play between organizations and the best talent are always fascinating to watch. While different, they all lead us to just about the same place - he/she who holds the power gets to make the rules. And that balance is just that, a balance. Which means it can shift, subtly at first, but sometimes dramatically, leaving the unprepared side to wonder what the heck just happened.

    Have a great July 4th holiday weekend in the USA.  

    Quick editorial note - I am on the road for most of the next two weeks, making my first trip to China and Hong Kong in preparations for next years' first ever HR Tech China Conference. So posting may be a little sporadic over that time.

    Tuesday
    Jun302015

    SLIDES: Busting the Common Myths in HR Technology - #SHRM15

    I had a great time (early) this morning co-presenting along with Trish McFarlane at the SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Trish and I were really glad to see somewhere near 300 folks brave the 7AM start time to hear us talk about HR Technology and more specifically, HR Technology implementations.

    The size of the crowd, the high level of attendee enthusiasm and engagement, and the really long line of folks who came up to chat after the session was completed was a great indicator of the continuing and increasing importance of technology to the HR professional.

    The slide deck we shared is up on Slideshare and also embedded below, (Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through).

     

    The big messages that Trish and I shared were a few - that even in the age of modern SaaS technology platforms the fundamentals of great project management remain important. Executive support, a dedicated project team, intentional attention to change management, and making sure the 'right' users at all levels of the organization are appropriately engaged in the implementation project are just as important in 2015 as they were in 1995.

    This was a fun session to present, and Trish and I want to thank everyone who came out this morning as well as the folks at SHRM for allowing us to be a part of the event.

    We'd love any thoughts, comments, suggestions any one has on this deck as well!

    Monday
    Jun292015

    The Top Three Reasons HR (or any) Tech Projects Fail

    I am in the final stages of prep for my and Trish McFarlane's SHRM Presentation tomorrow on HR Technology Implementations which means that lately I have spent more time thinking about technology projects these last few weeks than I have in a while.

    And while the presentation tomorrow won't specifically cover the reasons why projects typically fail, the idea of why HR (or any other enterprise technology) projects fail has crossed my mind more than a few times as we have prepped for the session tomorrow.

    So since nothing matters unless it is blogged about, and since I have been thinking a lot about my experiences (successes and failures) with HR and other tech projects, I offer up for your consideration the Top Three reasons that HR tech projects can fail. Again, this is based on my experiences over the years, not on any official research or survey data. But I guess in a way it is a survey of sorts. Just with a smaller sample size, just me. So n = 1. 

    Here goes:

    1. Scope Issues - The project starts out as something simple, even manageable, say a new Applicant Tracking System for the USA offices. But then someone realizes the new technology has new hire onboarding capability and even integrates with third-party content systems to serve up learning content and wouldn't it be great to include these functions in addition to the ATS? And oh, since we are at it, why don't we lump in the Europe and Asia Pacific offices as well? And then suddenly the simple, scope controlled project is now a little out of control. And in my experience expansions of project scope are almost never met with commensurate expansion of things like time, budget, and resources. So projects that were staffed and planned for X become inadequate when the project becomes X + 1  (or 2 or 3).

    2. Internal Resource Availability - This happens all the time. Let's say the project is the implementation of a new Payroll system, but many organizations will not dedicate the Payroll Manager 100% to the project, as she has her 'real' job to do. Sure, the project team has access to the Payroll Manager, but it is never enough, and the Payroll Manager is always getting dragged back into the day-to-day issues of her real job. So the project team has to wait around and waste time trying to figure out what they actually can get done. Pro Tip: find some way to backfill at least 50% of the job duties of important internal resources while the project is being implemented. Find a temp, find another less critical internal resource to step in, whatever. But so much time and money is lost on projects because expensive consultants and integration folks can't get access to the needed internal resources when they need them.

    3. The 'We have to do it this way' guy - This last one is harder to spot initially than items 1 and 2, but is no less destructive. This is the manager or process owner that simply WILL NOT COMPROMISE on his or her pet issues, specifically ones where the new system/process requires some flexibility. I am not talking about mission-critical or must-have bits of functionality, but rather small things like titles, labels, or how a particular process flow works. The 'We have to do it this way' guy uses these issues as kind of a wedge to try and derail the process and project overall. And once this guy starts to get some traction, he will try to recruit others to his cause, and suddenly the project team has to justify their approached and decisions about every last little thing.

    There are lots more ways that projects can run off of the rails, but these three are really the most common ones in my experience. Tomorrow at SHRM Trish and I will talk about these issues as well as a few others - hope to see some of you there!

    Friday
    Jun262015

    Ways to describe basketball talent, ranked

    Following up yesterday's post on last night's NBA Draft, (and yes, the subject of that post, one Kristaps Porzingis was indeed selected by my New York Knicks, long may the Porzingis era reign), with a new edition of the ever-popular Ranked series on the blog.

    Today, after watching about 5 hours of draft coverage, (and pre-draft and post-draft shows), I offer up ways to describe basketball talent, ranked:

    10. Efficient

    9. Wingspan

    8. Fluid

    7. Motor

    6. Elite-level athleticism

    5. Second jumpability

    4. High ceiling

    3. Toughness

    2. High basketball IQ

    1. Tremendous upside

    Quick note - If any readers are heading to the SHRM Annual Conference next week in Las Vegas, your humble HR Happy Hour Show hosts, (myself and Trish McFarlane), will be co-presenting a session on HR Technology implementations, (I promise it will be more fun than it sounds), on Tuesday June 30 at 7:00 AM. We will have some HR Happy Hour Show swag to give out as well as busting some common myths about HR technology. Hope to see some of you there.

    Have a great weekend!