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    Friday
    Apr242015

    CHART OF THE DAY: The World Economy in 2030

    Today's Chart of the Day comes to us courtesy of Bloomberg - a look at the World's 20 largest economies by GDP, stacked up and showing both their relative sizes today, and the estimates for where the Top 20 will rank by 2030 - just 15 years from now.

    As always, we will hit you with the chart, then some FREE commentary from me (it is my blog) after the data:

    So for the HR/Talent pro what is there to make from the data on the World's largest economies in 2030?

    Three things come to mind:

    1. Look around. If you and your organization is US-based, or derives its sales and income primarily from US customers, you probably have a few years, maybe as many as 10, before you need to really worry about how these shifts in size and scale might impact your business and livelihood. You might be ok for a while, maybe for a long while, but if double-digit growth in sales and income in on your organization's 5-year plan, then it is going to be really challenging to achieve that target unless you start (or increase) the business you are doing in the faster-growing countries of the world.

    2. China. Of the Top 20 economies China is expected to grow the most in the next 15 years, coming really, really close to topping the US as the world's largest. What are you doing today to help your organization better prepare to compete for your piece of this huge and growing market? Do you have the right kind of talent that can work in and understand this market? Are you able to talk confidently about the unique HR/Talent challenges you'd face, both with managing expats as well as recruiting locally?

    3. Slow growth in the old world. Places like Germany, France, Italy - heck, pretty much all of Europe are predicted to grow much slower, and thus make up a smaller portion of the world economy, over the next 15 years, than emerging powers like India, China, and Brazil. This is not really news, but again for the most part in the US we still tend to think of Europe and European countries as having much more influence in the global economy than perhaps we should.

    No HR pro lives in a vacuum. No organization operates completely immune to the larger market forces that surround us all. It's important to know where the future might take us, and perhaps even more important to know how to speak the local language when we get there.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday
    Apr232015

    Expressive, boisterous, and unpretentious

    Expressive, boisterous, and unpretentious - not sure they would be the first words that would come to mind if I were asked to describe myself, but according to IBM Watson's Personality Insights Demonstration, based on a text analysis of my post about text messaging earlier this week, those are the most accurate descriptors.

    It is a fun tool and exercise to try, (you can play along with any of your, or someone else's writing samples here). Simply paste in a block of text, click on 'Analyze', and Watson will let you know how the text sample equates to personality elements like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and more.

    The tool even generates a neat narrative explaining the person behind the text sample, who knew that 'My choices are driven by a desire for modernity'. That is pretty accurate, I think. Well maybe. 

    What's the point of the tool, if not just for a bit of fun?

    According to IBM -

    The IBM Watson Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to infer cognitive and social characteristics, including Big Five, Values, and Needs, from communications that the user makes available, such as email, text messages, tweets, forum posts, and more. By deriving cognitive and social preferences, the service helps users to understand, connect to, and communicate with other people on a more personalized level.

    Better understanding, ability to connect with others, and to enable improved interpersonal communications all sound like pretty worthy goals, so at least I am interested in any technological means to assist us humans with these challenges.

    Oh, one more thing, the Watson Personality Insights tool also generates a neat looking graphical analysis of the writer's personality - here is mine from the aforementioned post about text messaging.

    Like I said, really neat. Although from the looks of the chart I probably need to work on my 'self-transcendence' a little bit. Whatever that means.

    You can take the IBM Watson Personality Insights tool out for a spin here, and if you do, let me know what you think.

    Wednesday
    Apr222015

    UPDATE: The uniform is here for me, I'm not here for the uniform

    A few months back I wrote here on this blog, and over on Fistful of Talent about the idea of professional folks donning a corporate 'uniform', i.e., wearing the same clothes more or less every day like Steve Jobs with his black turtleneck or Mark Zuckerberg and his hoodie. The reasons that Jobs and Zuck and even President Obama (who wears pretty much the same dark suit every day), usually offer for their lack of sartorial variety are pretty consistent - having important, stressful jobs requires them to make lots of decisions every day, not having to 'decide' what to wear in the morning removes one more decision from their lives, thus freeing up mental cycles for more important matters.

    But one of the curious aspects of the 'corporate uniform' idea is that it is almost exclusively an option seemingly only open to men. Jobs, Zuck, Obama, even some Australian TV host - the professionals that seem to be able to get away with turning a blind eye to fashion are almost always men. Women, we think anyway, are more prone to be judged as professionals at least in part by appearance including choice of clothing.

    And that leads me to the reason for revisiting the 'corporate uniform' topic, this recent piece from Business Insider titled 'This woman has worn the same outfit to work every single day the past 3 years'. Matlilda Kahl, who works in advertising, has adopted the 'uniform' approach like Jobs and Zuck, and surprisingly, has not had any real issues at work with this decision. From the Business Insider piece:

    For the past three years, art director Matilda Kahl has been wearing the same outfit to work every single day.

    “I just wanted to save some time and energy,” she told Business Insider.

    Kahl was tired of running late in the morning, reevaluating her outfits, and stressing about whether her clothes were appropriate for different events or meetings at her creative advertising agency.

    For someone in the creative field who has to make a lot of decisions throughout the day, she longed for one less choice to make.

    During the weekdays, I have so many creative challenges at work to keep my mind stimulated that I don’t feel an urge to express myself creatively through what I wear,” she said. “I finally had enough.”

    “The uniform is here for me, I’m not here for the uniform.”

    A very similar decision and conclusion reached by the much more famous adopters of this strategy like President Obama. One less thing to think about. One fewer decision to make at the start of the day. One less hassle.

    But hat makes this version of the story notable, and interesting to me, is that, obviously Ms. Kahl is a woman, and professional women are not supposed to be able to basically ignore appearance and fashion and style. In fact, in my earlier FOT piece I wrote the following:

    If Ginny Rometty or Sheryl Sandberg or Marissa Mayer wore the same clothes every day (like Jobs and Zuck and Obama), would we EVER stop talking about what they are wearing and focus on their performance?

    Probably not. Men get judged (primarily) by what they do. Women, especially in visible, important positions, never seem to be able to shake the criticism and commentary about things like clothes and hairstyles.

    But to her enormous credit, Ms. Kahl proves this assertion wrong. She is proving that if you can perform on the job at a high level, then no one will care, or they will eventually stop caring what it is you are wearing.

    Which is a fantastically cool idea. Even fashionable.

    Tuesday
    Apr212015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 211 - The NBA Playoffs Prediction Show

    HR Happy Hour 211 - The NBA Playoffs Prediction Show

    Recorded Monday April 20, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Featuring: Ben Eubanks

    Listen to the show HERE

    Fresh off the fun that was the HR Happy Hour Oscars Preview Show a few weeks back, Steve and Trish take a a look at and make their predictions for the just-started 2015 NBA Playoffs, in HR Happy Hour Show style. Translated: As in the Oscars show, one of your fearless hosts knows probably too much about the NBA, while the other brings a unique style and perspective to making their selections and predictions as to which NBA team will be raising the championship trophy in June.

    Let's just say things like local cuisine, team tie-ins to 'Keeping Up With the Khardashians', Las Vegas wagering, and where people we know reside all play an important role in the selections. NBA fan or not, you will not want to miss Steve and Trish's takes on the NBA playoffs.

    Additionally, Ben Eubanks stops by with Ben's HR Book Review, Steve and Trish discuss what states are actually in the 'midwest', we get a German Rondo reference, and we all learn if actually having seen an NBA basketball precludes someone from betting on basketball games. Hint: It probably does not.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below:

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio

     

    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

    This was a really fun show, and we hope you have as much fun listening as we did recording the show!

    Monday
    Apr202015

    The text message is the new phone call

    If you find yourself saying or thinking something along the lines of 'I can't believe he/she texted that! Why didn't they pick up the phone and call instead?' you need to stop, take two or three deep cleansing breaths, and join the rest of us in 2015.

    I thought about this again while reading about a Major League Baseball player who texted an apology to a player on an opposing team who, due to a borderline unsportsmanlike play, had been injured by the first player in a previous game.

    Ask your kids about texting (if you have some). Or if you don't, just find someone between say about 13 and 35 and ask them about the kinds of messages and circumstances where it is completely acceptable to use text (or other messaging tools like WhatsApp) as a medium of communication as opposed to more traditional and formal tools like email or (GASP!), the phone.

    I have banged on this drum a couple of times before, and I know recently so has KD, the HR Capitalist. But somehow I still think more widespread, comprehensive, and mainstream adoption of text and other kinds of short message service apps for internal and job candidate communications still eludes all but the most progressive organizations. And I think the problem has nothing at all to do with evidence of the effectiveness of texting, (everyone reads their texts, usually within minutes of receiving them), but rather from some old-fashioned, preconceived notion that somehow texting is inappropriate for some types of communications.

    But again, ask a 25 year old about what types of messaging would not be 'appropriate' to receive via text and it is quite likely that you will hear a very short, perhaps non-existent list of subjects and topics where a text is not the desired form of communication. And the kinds of thing that might be mentioned by said 25 year old (extremely important family news, a death of a close friend or loved one, etc.), are also not the kinds of things you would email about either, (the easiest, and therefore default method of communication for 99% of organizations).

    Most people send more texts than they receive, read and respond within minutes, and for a growing population of your workforce, have grown up with texting and short messaging as a staple of all their digital communications - with family, friends, and if you would just get on board, with organizations too.

    And now with the imminent release of the Apple Watch, and its likely popularity (and tiny form factor), short, to the point, and informal messaging will only get more popular (and essential for organization's communicators).

    Stop drafting that next 'All employees' email and see if you can't find a way to get your message across in the medium that more and more of your employees prefer, and enjoy. And one that they actually read.

    Have a great week!