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    Wrap-Up - June 7 - 13, 2010

    Another week another collection of posts!  And as I look back on this past week of posts I thought, 'A Brady Bunch pic, really?' Good thing there is no editor on the site. palette of delacroix

    I thought I would start posting each Sunday the summary of the week's posts in Tabbloid format. As you might recall from an earlier post, Tabbloid is a free service that lets you create a custom PDF format 'newspaper' from your selected blogs and other sites RSS feeds, and have that newspaper delivered via email on whatever schedule you choose.

    Here is this week's collection of posts, in handy PDF format - Steve's Blog : June 7-13, 2010.

    I hope making content accessible in this way is a help to someone out there, I will continue to post these collections on Sundays for the time being.  I hope that if you find them useful, or actually download the PDF and give/send it to someone that otherwise would have never seen these posts, you would take a second and let me know in the comments. 

    This is one way to try to break out of the echo chamber, but it is certainly not the only way, and if you have other and better thoughts on how to do this, I would love to hear them.

    Some other highlights from all the great posts and articles I read this week that I recommend:

    HR Exposed: Put Some Pants On - Kathy Rapp writing at the Fistful of Talent reminds us all that getting in the game is still an issue for some in HR

    Searching for Soul - from the always solid Brains on Fire blog, a call to think less about technology, tactics, and products, and more about people

    Rising Together - from Lisa Rosendahl writing at the new Women of HR site.  Breaking glass ceilings one at a time - awesome.

    When You Use Bad Stock Photography You Make Baby Jesus Cry - from Frank Roche at KnowHR.  HR Technology vendors are often guilty of his on their websites. Use some real people!

    Charles Barkley says what we're all thinking about MJ's mustache - from Ball Don't Lie - some really funny comments from Sir Charles on MJ's shaky decisions with facial hair.

    Thanks for stopping by this week and have a fantastic upcoming week as well!



    The Why of Work - Show Recap

    Last night Dave Ulrich joined us on the HR Happy Hour show to talk about his latest book, 'The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win'.  It was an excellent show, and you can listen to the replay - here, or using the player below:

    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio


    Some of the key points from the show:


    • Leaders need to make a difference in organizations, and leaders that best develop their 'meaning making' capacity will make the most important differences for organizations and for communities
    • People find meaning and purpose in different ways, some are driven by a quest for greater insight, some for achievement, some for connection, and others are motivated by empowerment. Understanding your personal sense of purpose making will help you better connect your work and your organization with a greater sense of meaning.
    • Many external factors contribute to and influence the organization and the individual in their drive to understand the create more meaningful workplaces, these can be grouped and assessed in categories of Social, Technological, Economic, Political, Environmental, and Demographic.
    • Workplaces that are meaning filled and abundant organizations can retain and attract more committed and engaged employees that in turn directly create value for customers, shareholders, and the community.

    It was a fast-paced and informative show, that quite honestly did not have enough time to cover all of the topics we wanted to touch upon, and we are going to try and have Dave and possibly Wendy Ulrich join us again in the future.

    Last item - last night we formally announced that Aquire Software is the first official HR Happy Hour show sponsor, and we look forward to more exciting and interesting news on that front.

    Give the show a listen and let us know what you think.






    The Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy - Part III

    He is at it again!

    The great Jeff Van Gundy, former NBA head coach for the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets and current TV analyst, who has been the subject of not one, but two posts here on the blog, gave us more sage wisdom to chew on during the telecast of Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers this past Tuesday night.

    During a timeout the camera cut to a shot of the Lakers team huddle, and we saw the team's star and best player Kobe Bryant emphatically and forcefully giving instructions to several of his teammates. Bryant had the rapt attention of the other players, and while the audio did not pick up what he was actually saying, it was clear from facial expressions and body language that he was delivering a tough message. Perhaps a message that the other players were uncomfortable hearing.

    Observing this activity in the huddle, JVG shared with us this gem: 

    You don't want your best player to be your best liked player.

    Think about that one. When the best player is also the leader of the team, that often means having to get in the other player's faces, to make sure that the effort and passion is there, and also to simply instruct and coach.  When the best player takes on those responsibilities, and stops worrying about being 'liked' all the time, chances are overall team performance will improve. 

    Being the 'best' carries with it another level of commitment not only to personal excellence, but to doing the kinds of things that can impact the performance of the other players on the team.  In basketball that may mean sharp criticism, aggressive play in team practices (Michael Jordan was notorious for this), and putting in extra time in the weight room or doing additional running or sprints.

    In the workplace the same kind of rules can apply. When the 'best' or most respected employee consistently sends the right message, displays a high level of integrity, actively supports and coaches the newer members of the team, and essentially models the kind of behaviors that indicate the expected 'way we do things', then the other members of the team, and the overall organization can improve, and can win.

    It doesn't really work in the converse, a sports team can almost never be led by the last guy on the bench.  He or she may understand the key leadership skills, but without that respect or standing that comes with actually excelling on the court or field then it is less likely the team will choose to follow.

    In basketball, there are dozens of 'best' players, but there are only a precious few great players.

    Inside organizations that same ratio probably applies.  Every group has their best performer, but only a few make an impact on the team and the organization in the broader sense. 

    And you don't necessarily get there by being liked all the time.





    Stand out by following all the rules

    Disclaimer - I am not a recruiter, career coach, resume writer, and claim no expertise of any kind on the job search process.  

    But something that I see and read quite a bit about that is related to the job search process makes me wonder. It is the seemingly standard resume advice that more or less goes like this:

    1. Recruiters and HR staff will examine your resume for less than one minute before making a screening decision. I have even heard this is more like 30 seconds.

    2. You should have a cover letter, but there is a pretty high likelihood no one will read it.

    3. But in case someone reads it, it better offer a compelling reason for the Recruiter to read your resume. Except of course if the Recruiter follows the process that many of them seem to adopt, that is to head straight to the resume before reading the cover letter. So mostly the cover letter is intended to convince someone to do something they have already done.  

    It would be funny if the cover letter said something like: 'Thanks for reading my resume, you must have been impressed since you are now reading this cover letter.  Let me tell you a bit more about how fabulous I am.'

    4. But here is the one 'truism' that for some reason bothers me the most - the common advice to not do anything different, unusual, or out of the ordinary on the resume itself. No images, logos, strange or different colors or fonts.  No cutting-edge design at all that might distract or annoy the hiring pro. Keep the the typical formula, plain white paper, two pages max, 10pt Times New Roman font, nice clean bullet points of your major accomplishments, etc.

    In other words, make sure your resume looks exactly like every other one in the pile or in the recruiter's overstuffed e-mail inbox.

    The Evil HR Lady wrote about this issue, referring to a online service called Vizual Resume that offers a collection of interesting and different templates for the creation of more distinctive resumes. Other similar services like VisualCV also offer options to create more visually appealing, engaging, and perhaps more compelling documents and testaments to someone's skills, background, and capabilities. And there is at least one iPhone App for resume building and transmitting.

    Is the advice to genericize all the design elements of the resume the best to give and for job seekers to follow? In an incredibly difficult job market, where competition for positions in many fields and regions is historically high? Whatever you do candidate, don't do anything to make your resume stand out from anyone elses.

    Sure, playing it safe with format, design, or interactive elements won't rule a candidate out in a competitive search process, but it won't make anyone's qualifications stand out from the rest either.

    Am I way off the track on this? Maybe some real recruiting pros can set me straight as to why the standard advice seems to have the effect of making it all the more difficult to get noticed.

    Why has the technical revolution that has impacted and dramatically changed almost every aspect of the workplace had such a difficult time disrupting the classic resume?





    The Talent Wheel

    Yesterday Mike VanDervort sent me a link to this, a really powerful, yet simple graphical and interactive World Cup schedule calendar tool.

    The image at right is a screen shot from the interactive tool, but the image alone really does not do it justice, I recommend taking a minute or two to check out the site and try out the graphical calendar.

    In a simple, one page display the calendar allows the user to display data about the World Cup schedule in several dimensions - by participating country, by Group, by date, location of the stadiums, and by stage of the tournament.

    For example, clicking on a country name on the left hand side of the wheel displays that team's scheduled games with date and time information, highlights the locations of the games and their dates.  Alternatively, selecting a specific date on the wheel will display all the games for that date, with teams, time and location information highlighted.  

    For a World Cup fan, the calendar is a bit addictive.   

    After playing with the tool for a bit I wondered if the ideas from the powerful, simple, and kind of fun application of the World Cup calendar could be applied in the workforce technology context. Imagine the sections and spokes on the wheel begin populated with organizational dimensions like functional department or region, core competencies or specific skill sets, current or future major organizational initiatives or projects, and perhaps details like past performance appraisals or position in talent pools for succession plans.

    As a project manager or business leader looks to staff a project, or find a potential candidate to fill an important new role, he/she could navigate the 'Talent Wheel', highlighting the relevant skills, experiences, or other important information from the spokes of the Talent Wheel.  The tool would then present the relevant information in the center of the wheel for display or optional export. 

    Or perhaps the Talent Wheel could be configured to better reflect and display organizational reporting relationships in today's large and much more complex matrix structures.  Since organizations and workforces are much more complex than the schedule of a sports tournament, perhaps the wheel could be designed to accept a few input parameters before the display is actually generated, allowing the user to narrow or more precisely design the Talent Wheel.

    Either way, I think the main points to consider are these - the World Cup calendar presents moderately complex, multi-dimensional data in an interesting, powerful, interactive, and fun manner.

    Can you say the same thing about the systems that you are using to analyze workforce data?

    Or if you are a designer of such systems, are the tools you are creating as engaging to use as the World Cup calendar?

    Do your users actually have fun using your solution?

    Thanks Mike for pointing this out - it is surely an addictive site!