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    Wednesday
    Feb202013

    The Google background check: How long can you hold this against someone?

    Check this interesting piece on Deadspin last week from the world of High School sports titled 'Disgruntled Goalie Scores On His Own Net, Flips Off Coaches, Skates Off The Ice Forever. On the surface it seems like a kind of amusing, if a little sad, tale about a senior high school ice hockey goalie, feeling like he had been slighted and had unfairly lost playing time to a sophomore goalie. The senior then used the occasion of the team's last game to vent his frustration with his coaches and the situation in a classic flame-out fashion.  

    I won't embed the video here, or mention the goalie's name - both can be found at the Deadspin piece, but in case you don't have time to check the footage (you do, it's literally about 12 seconds), here is the gist of what went down:

    With three minutes remaining, and Farmington up by one, (he) corralled the puck behind the goal. The video picks up there as he skates it in front and casually slips it into his own net. He sends a middle finger to his bench, fires off a salute, and skates back to the locker room. The game was tied, and Farmington—with a third-string goalie in net, the sophomore was out with an injury—would concede another goal a minute later to lose.

    You can certainly chalk up the senior's demonstration/protest/tantrum to a youthful indiscretion and an immature way to express his anger.  Sure, he was wrong to put the puck in his own net, he was wrong to flip off the coaches, and he was wrong to put himself above the team in that way. Whether or not he was a better goalie than the sophomore really isn't important here, but for anyone that has been in that kind of situation, you can at least feel for the kid's point of view. 

    Again, in the end, it's really just a kid acting out inappropriately, like most kids will do at least once in a while, and that most of us probably did ourselves when we were that age. No big deal really, it was only a silly hockey game, and the kid will learn his lesson, (or maybe he won't), and everyone will move on and forget.

    But I wanted to call it out on the blog this week, after having a quick scan through the 75-odd comments on the Deadspin piece, and noticing at least a half dozen comments similar to this one from someone named 'Loose Cannon':

    /Googles '(the kid's full name)'

    //discards resume, moves on

    - Hiring Managers

    Again, I'm leaving out the kid's real name, as I think as evidenced by the comments from 'Loose Cannon' and several others he is never really going to be able to erase this incident from the interwebs. No matter what he goes on to in his life, a Google search for his name, like many, many Recruiters and hiring managers will execute, will bring up these words and images that show immaturity, selfishness, and lack of respect for authority.

    But I kind of feel bad for the kid. Not because of what 'Loose Cannon' thinks, (I have a feeling he isn't hiring anyone anytime soon), but rather for the fact that this episode is going to trail him for a long, long time - maybe forever.

    I know I did some stupid things back in the day, things I would not want my potential next boss to read about it in detail.

    Our young goalie friend here doesn't have that option now. 

    Let's hope the HR person or recruiter that does the first Google search on him in a few years can empathize.

    It will help if he or she was also brought up in the YouTube age I think. 

    Tuesday
    Feb192013

    EBOOK: The 8 Man Rotation: The 2012 Season

    It's like Christmas in February for the HR pro/sports fan.

    What am I talking about? Well, here goes.

    I'm sure even if you are not a sports fan you are familiar with the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Many years back, the big shots at SI concocted a scheme to try and goose sales of their weekly sports magazine in one of the most dead spots of the year in the sports calendar - February.

    Their solution to try to boost sales in the period after football season had ended and before baseball season had started?

    Pack the 'sports' magazine with images of bikini-clad models cavorting on exotic beaches. And it worked - the 'swimsuit' issue remains a top seller. Certainly, SI came up with a solid strategy that has served the magazine well for a long time.

    Well, your pals from The 8 Man Rotation, Lance Haun, Tim Sackett, Kris Dunn, Steve Boese, and Matt Stollak are coming at you with our own contribution to help you navigate through the last few weeks of Winter - yes, it's the release of The 8 Man Rotation: A Look at Sports and HR - The 2012 Season!

    The 8 Man Rotation 2012 Season Ebook is the third edition in what has become a February sports tradition on par with the legendary SI Swimsuit issue.

    But the 8 Man Rotation offers something different, (not better I suppose, but certainly different), than models on the beach, it brings over 140 pages from the 8 Man Rotation gang, all about the intersection of HR, Talent Management, Recruiting, Leadership and sports.

    Sports is the perfect metaphor for much of what we care about in HR and Talent - recruiting the right talent, coaching and performance management, coaxing the best results out of everyone on the team, dealing with 'superstar' talent and finding ways to balance talent, ego, ambition with team goals in order to achieve greatness. 

    It's what sports are all about, and more or less, it's what HR and Talent pros also try to deliver for their organizations.

    The fearless Matt 'akaBruno' Stollak has once again pored through a year's worth of posts from LanceHaun.com, The Tim Sackett Project, HR Capitalist, Steve's HR Tech, and his own True Faith HR to collect a fantastic compilation of posts on recruiting, development, strategy, and more - and all with the sports angle that fans of the prior editions of The 8 Man Rotation have come to expect. 

    So head on over to The 8 Man Rotation site to check out and download your FREE Ebook - The 8 Man Rotation: A Look at Sports and HR, The 2012 Season.

    And one more thing - you can catch The 8 Man Rotation gang LIVE on the HR Happy Hour Show this Thursday, Feb. 21 at 8:00PM ET, talking about all things 'Sports and HR'.

    Monday
    Feb182013

    It was better the old way

    Chances are pretty good that we've all accepted some version of one of following maxims in the last few years:

    Business is moving faster than ever before.

    The pace of change (technical, societal, economic) is rapidly accelerating.

    Advances in technology continue to outstrip our capacity to adapt.

    Even the personal technology that many of us have adopted - smartphones and tablets primarily, drive home this point almost every day. Once you have even a average number of Apps loaded on your iPhone, say about 20 or so, almost every day at least one or two of them has a new version for you to download.

    And if you ignore that little visual cue on the App Store icon for a week or two, you'll likely be faced with perhaps a dozen or more updates queued up and waiting.  It's quite likely that the Apps you rely on every single day, (News reading apps like Pulse or Zite, social networks like Facebook or Twitter, image Apps like Instagram or Camera+), push a brand new version out every month if not sooner.

    Even if any individual new App version by itself is not all that comprehensive or significant, when taken in the aggregate, and considering how many times per day/week you engage with these apps, that is a lot of technological change being foisted on end users. 

    But wait a second, we are supposed to loathe change, right? Particularly technology changes that are forced upon us against what we believe are our best interests and preferences.

    Push out a new Windows or MS Office upgrade in your organization and stand back to wait for the shouts of outrage.

    Dare to migrate to a new ERP or HRIS system, even a 'better' one than what is currently in place, and prepare for 12 months of 'In the old system, I knew exactly how to get that information. Now - who knows?'

    Try to migrate collaboration and interaction out from Email and into some new, 'Facebook for the Enterprise' tool and prepare for a long, slow, path to adoption, (if you ever get there).

    Our collective and individual experience and affinity with the world of Apps - with their rapid iteration, incremental changes, and persistence in nudging us along to accept those changes I believe is making us less and less 'change averse', at least when the change feels small.

    Push out a dozen small changes each year - to a technology, a process, a policy - and people get used to it, they worry less about the implications of each change, and they are more inclined to see you the creator as someone 'continually focused on making it right'.

    Drop a big, hairy, massive change on people all at once - well good luck with that and let us know how it goes.

    We hate change because too much of our experience with change has been the old way - like getting dropped into a foreign country with no understanding of the language or landscape. But chopped up and served in more incremental pieces - that is the kind of change we all are coming to expect and, maybe even embrace.

    I think that's why your Mom tried to trick you into eating your broccoli by cutting it up into the tiniest pieces possible, or mixing it into something tastier.

    NO ONE wants a plate of giant broccoli.

    Have a Great Week everyone!

    Friday
    Feb152013

    VIDEO - Disdain the Mundane and other lessons from Clyde

    When I saw that the ESPN 30 for 30 video short series latest creation was a feature on New York Knicks legend Walt 'Clyde' Frazier there was no way that I was not going to post about it on the blog.

    Some background - ESPN a couple years ago, in conjunction with the network's 30th Anniversary year, commissioned a series of original documentaries called simply 30 for 30, which covered a wide range of sports-themed stories, from the perspective of 30 different, and many well-known directors. If you care about sports at all, you should really spend some time catching the original 30 for 30 run, (my favorite, which I blogged about here, is 'Once Brothers', a moving look back at the Yugoslavian national basketball team of the 80s).

    More recently, the 30 for 30 series has expanded into shorter pieces, like the above mentioned piece on Clyde Frazier titled 'Disdain the Mundane', (embedded below, RSS and email subscribers please click through). Check the video below, and then I'll hit you with 5 life and career lessons from Clyde taken straight from 'Disdain the Mundane'

    1. 0:56 - On finding a work/life balance

    Clyde speaks: 'As a rookie, I wasn't playing up to expectations, so in order to pacify myself, I went shopping. I might not be playing good, but I look good'.

    Lesson: Work matters, but it can't be the only thing in your life. Stepping away, finding some solace, especially when in a tough patch at work is the way to keep your sanity.

    2. 1:14 - On standing-out

    'I see this borsalino hat, brown velour, but it had a wide brim. And those days, like now, they were wearing the narrow brim. I never like the narrow brim. The first time I wore the hat, everyone laughed at me - my teammates, the opposition. But I said, 'Hey man, I look good in this hat, so I'm keeping it on.' Two weeks later the movie Bonnie and Clyde comes out, and everyone says 'Look, there goes Clyde'

    Lesson: Go along with everyone else, wear the narrow brim hat, and you are just another guy with the same hat everyone else has. Go a different way, stand out a little - and now you are not just some dude, you are 'Clyde'.

    3. 1:48 - On learning your trade 

    'When I was Clyde, I was still learning. I used to go on 5th Ave. and just walk. In the 70s, 5th Ave. was the most fashionable street in the world. I used to see different colors people had on, and I'd go to my tailor and I'd make them up, because I actually saw them right there.'

    Lesson: Understand you don't know everything, and the only way to really get smarter is to find people that know what you want to know, or at least can help you better articulate where you want to go. And the best way to do that is right on the street as it were, live and in-person.

    4. 3:10 - On working with innovative people

    'They (the tailors) know I'm looking for something different. I don't want just your basic, generic thing. Usually when I go to a new guy I tell him - 'Hey man, show me something you think nobody would wear.'

    Lesson: You want to continue to do great work? It helps to find like-minded people that are up to that challenge, who can think differently, and who won't get in caught up in devising reasons to say 'No.'

    5. 4:07  - On lateral thinking

    '(when he embarked on his post-NBA broadcasting career) 'I said, 'Man, I've got to improve my vocabulary.' So I used to get the Sunday Times, the Arts & Leisure section, when they critique the plays - riveting, mesmerizing, provocative, profound - all this stuff, dazzling. So I have books and books of words and phrases, and once I learned the words I could start relating them to the players.'

    Lesson: You don't get better at something JUST by studying that one thing. Clyde realized that basketball was 'performance', not unlike movies, books, plays, etc.  So by studying the language that the New York Times critics and reviewers used, Clyfe was able to bring a fresh, distinctive element to his basketball broadcasts, further cementing his status as an innovator.

    Awesome.

    Clyde is a legend. Cool, canny, cunning, creating.

    Rockin' Steady.

    Disdain the Mundane.

    Go Knicks.

    Have a Great Weekend!

    Thursday
    Feb142013

    'And we're going to track one of our employees'

    There you go, happily wandering around the internet and the social networks. A Twitter conversation here. A Foursquare check-in there. Maybe a quick cruise up and down your Facebook feed dropping a few 'likes', and uploading a cool snap from your weekend trip to winery or petting zoo or ballpark. It's fun, it's social, and in 2013 for many of us, updating, connecting, and participating in social networking and contributing to the colossal Big Data set that is the social graph is an essential part of our lives.

    Sure, every so often we get a little tired of it all, maybe we take a Facebook vacation, or go on a little Twitter hiatus. We forget to update our LinkedIn profile for a while, (at least until we decide we need a new job), or decide 'checking-in' every time you get a coffee on the way to work is kind of silly. But eventually we come back. Too much of our lives, personal for sure, and increasingly professional, are wound up in the social web. 

    That essential nature of social networking that not only compels us to Instagram our pancakes before digging in or fighting over meaningless 'Mayorships' at your kid's preschool also leads to a kind of softening in our views of privacy and security. Through a combination of often confusing and shifting privacy policies, and a pessimistic, (probably realistic), rationalization that no matter what 'privacy' settings or controls one chooses, that their data, once submitted to the great big social graph in the cloud, will eventually become if not public, at least privy to people and programs for which it was never intended.

    We sort of get it, we get the tradeoff, we (mostly) accept it as a 'cost of doing business' where the value we derive, (fun, connections, business opportunities), is greater than or at least equal to the darker side of social - loss of privacy, more and more ads, the occasional backlash in the form of 'If your not the customer, you're the product' bitterness. Ok, that last one is mostly my pet peeve.

    But despite all that, and our real understanding that nothing on the internet is ever truly private, it is enlightening to catch a glimpse, a snippet, of just what is happening with all that social exhaust we leave as we traverse the social networks and live our lives online.

    The UK's Guardian site managed to get a hold of a pretty amazing video created in 2010 by the defense and security firm Raytheon, that features a short product demonstration of a tool called RIOT (Rapid Information Overlay Technology). The Raytheon system was designed to exhibit just how simple and powerful social network data can be for the purposes of identification, tracking, and predicting one's movements. Take a look at the video below, (RSS and email subscribers please click through)

    Pretty incredible, right? And remember this video of RIOT is from 2010. No doubt development has continued on RIOT, and no doubt that Raytheon was or is not the only company interested in this sort of thing.

    But a great reminder nonetheless. 

    We KNOW the data that we publish, push, and post on social media is never private.

    But we don't usually get to SEE a reminder of what that actually means.

    What's your take? Creeped out by RIOT? Or simply do you chalk it up as the way the world works today?

    Happy Thursday.

    Aside - Did you notice the Raytheon demo guy from the video looks just like comedian Louis C.K.? Weird.