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    Wednesday
    Mar282012

    #HRevolution 2012 - Open for Registration

    A few years back a couple of enterprising HR professionals hatched a plan to stage a new kind of Human Resources event - one that was more open, and informal, and participatory, and social, and affordable than the typical and traditional conference or seminar. And from that initial small step, the HRevolution was launched. In 2009 the first HRevolution event was held in Louisville, KY and soon thereafter, the event and the community that supports it has become entrenched in the HR landscape.

    I have been lucky enough to be a part of the HRevolution organizing committee since that first event in 2009, and I have seen HRevolution grow and evolve while still creating unique opportunities for HR professionals, recruiters, consultants, and vendors to come together to discuss and debate the future of HR.  

    I am really pleased to share the announcement of the details of the 2012 event, so here goes:

    HRevolution Chicago (aka #HRevolution #5)
    October 7, 2012
    McCormick Place
    8:00 am- 4:30 pm
    Click here to register

    HRevolution will for the second year partner with The HR Technology Conference in a ground-breaking event in both content, format, and delivery of ideas that are key to the practice of human resources.

    We believe and continue to work hard to ensure that HRevolution is not your typical conference.  Our main purpose is to grow your professional and personal network, and expand your ideas around the practice of Human Resources. You will network with 200 of the brightest and most innovative leaders in the industry. 

    Other highlights of the HRevolution event include:

    • Fully participatory sessions
    • Opportunity for participants to bring work issues to debate, discuss, and find solutions
    • Workable and practical ideas you can take home to your organization
    • Increased reach-  since HRevolution is fully integrated with social platforms, you will be reaching hundreds of thousands of professionals

    All past Hrevolution events have sold out, so be sure to register today!  Early bird pricing for the first 25 registrants will be $150.  General registration is $200.  Where else can you have access to top industry professionals for that low price?  Nowhere!  And thanks to our generous sponsors who help defer your costs, you can get both value and quality at HRevolution 2012!

    But wait! There's more!

    Special HR Technology Conference Discount

    HRevolution is excited to be co-locating again with the world-famous HR Technology Conference & Expo – this time Oct. 8 – 10, 2012 in the self-contained West Wing of McCormick Place, Chicago.

    HR Technology is one of the must-attend HR events of the year, and continues to grow in relevance and importance. Learn how technology can help you with every aspect of HR including managing your workforce, recruiting and attracting quality employees, identifying and developing your top performers, and much more.

    Best of all, after you register for HRevolution you get a whopping $600.00 discount off the HR Technology® on-site rate. Look for the savings promo code at the bottom of your HRevolution confirmation email.

    So I hope you will take a look at all HRevolution has to offer. If you have attended one of the previous events, then I don't have to convince you of the event's value. And if you are new to HRevolution drop me a line and a can tell you more. Better yet head over to Twitter and ask 'What is this #HRevolution I keep hearing about?' I am pretty confident you will get a dozen testimonials from past attendees within a few hours.

    Tuesday
    Mar272012

    March Madness and the problem of peaking too soon

    Taking a bit of a risk running back-to-back sports posts this week, but I need to make sure that Tim Sackett doesn't surpass me in next year's 8 Man Rotation E-book, but after watching some more (not all that much, admittedly), of the NCAA Men's College Basketball tournament, ('March Madness'), I wanted to weigh in with a short observation and perhaps note some parallels to work, specifically what can happen when projects drag out too long.Bill Russell - 1956

    Here's the observation - March Madness is the only major sports-related championship tournament (or playoff or process) that actually gets less interesting and compelling as it progresses. At the start of the 68 team tourney, fans and casual observers around the country are excited and energized, eagerly filling out tournament brackets where we pick winners of games played by teams we have never seen play, and often never even heard of. These bracket challenges, even when just for bragging rights amongst friends and co-workers, give us more of a stake and rooting interest in the action. The tournament's first full round is usually highlighted by a few startling upsets, adding to the overall sense of excitement and hype. And since many of these early games are played on weekdays during 'normal' working hours in most of the USA, (something that almost never happens in major US sports any longer), for many fans taking an extended lunch, or sneaking some looks at the online live stream from the office add to the fun. Lots of games, some underdogs, (not that many) winning, and for at least the first day or two, a chance to maybe even win some cash if your bracket seems to be holding up well.

    But once the tournament progresses and the teams are whittled down from 64 to 32 to 16, the excitement generally trails off. Most 'Cinderella'-type early upset winners lose in their next game, (not always but pretty often), our bracket selections begin to start unravelling as it is revealed that picking winners in college games is not in our core competencies, and the several day break in the middle of the tournament tends to take the air out of the entire spectacle.  And as the rounds progress knocking the field down to 8 and then the Final Four, traditional powers of the sport usually re-emerge, and fans are subjected to what seems like hours of platitudes from network announcers about the remarkable leadership skills displayed by middle-aged million-dollar head coaches.  By the very end, many fans are left to ask questions like, 'This thing isn't over yet?', and 'Do we really need another Rick Pitino book?'

    March Madness is great, spectacular even for about two days and then it slowly loses steam, energy, and becomes far less compelling as it meanders to its finish. Sure, the actual championship game sometimes provides a bit of a spark, but often becomes immediately forgettable once the last strains of 'One Shining Moment' fade away. And if you don't get the reference, that is ok, 97% of the rest of the public is right there with you. Only the most ardent fans could tell you who won the championship just one year ago, and I challenge anyone reading this post to name the title winners from 2010 or 2009 without looking it up.

    So that's my observation about March Madness. Starts great, loses momentum, drags on too long, then lifts a bit at the end, and finally most of us are really glad its over.

    Seems to have quite a few elements in common with many of the projects that work on all the time. Lots of fanfare at the beginning, maybe a lavish kick-off meeting and some rousing speeches, then quickly morphing into a kind of long slog with many fewer people remaining engaged, then hopefully, a success at the end, (a shipment, a 'go-live', a completed contract), almost immediately folllowed by an Outlook invitation for a 'lessons learned' or 'post-mortem' meeting.

    People love March Madness. And most of us love new projects and the excitement of that bit of the unknown inherent in both.

    The trick is to make that excitement sustainable past the opening night. 

    Monday
    Mar262012

    Tebow: How many leaders are too many?

    There are two reasons I had to finally weigh in on the (admittedly over-analyzed), Peyton Manning - Tim Tebow NFL saga that has played out over the last two weeks. One, I need to make sure I have submitted enough sports-related dispatches for next year's installment of The 8 Man Rotation E-book, and two, since Tebow has been traded to my beloved New York Jets, I simply felt obligated to comment. So, apologies in advance if you are already tired of the story - come back tomorrow for something more interesting.Don't look behind you Mark.

    Most of the HR-related analysis on the deal has tended to focus on what the Broncos' decisions suggest about Talent Management  - that acquiring superior talent is more important that keeping popular but less-talented around, and that a keen understanding of what capabilities and competencies are required for success should drive talent decisions. Those are both good points, but as a Jets fan, I want to focus on their decision to bring in Tebow and what it might say about their (shakier) talent strategy and the potential implications to the success of the team.

    In professional football it is generally agreed that the quarterback position is the most important on the field, and the quarterback is seen as the team leader. For young quarterbacks, developing leadership skills and earning the respect of teammates might be equally as important as improving the practical skills of the game. For the New York Jets current starting quarterback and three-year veteran Mark Sanchez, cementing his status as the team leader has been a kind of rocky ride. His first two seasons saw kind of unexpected success, with back-to-back deep playoff runs, but this success was tempered by a disappointing 2011 season marked by a failure to make the NFL playoffs and numerous reports of dissension amongst the team. Sanchez play on the field was inconsistent, (not uncommon for young quarterbacks), and the presence of strong personalities on the coaching staff and in the locker room have also made it hard for Sanchez to truly become the team leader, generally seen as a necessary step on the march towards competing for championships.

    But the Jets' ownership has enough faith in Sanchez' ability and potential, to just a few weeks ago reward him with a contract extension, and a guarantee of at least two more years as the starting quarterback. At the time the contract was seen as a commitment by the team to Sanchez not  only as the quarterback, but also as the de facto team leader. It was a bit of a risk certainly, as any contract is, but it was also a signal to the players and fans that the ownership and coaching staff was 100% behind the player who is effectively the most important player on the team.

    Fast forward just a short time and via a series of events that started with the Indianapolis Colts decision to release NFL legend Manning, and now the phenomenon known as Tebowmania has relocated to the New York Jets. Tim Tebow enjoyed an incredible, unusual run of games last year for the Broncos that seemed equal parts incredibly poor play, inspired and winning comeback performances, and solid character and leadership capability, unusual for such a young player in the NFL. In fact, when talking about Tebow, observers almost always talk 'character' and 'leadership' as much as they discuss the practical aspects of actually playing quarterback in the NFL.

    Before the Sanchez contract extension, there were serious questions around the team's faith in him and their commitment to his continued development. Then, with the acquisition of Tebow, these same questions are naturally re-emerging. The larger questions I think, are about what it signals about leadership in the organization and the importance of commitment to key team members and an understanding about the role of leadership inside the organization. Tebow, for all the circus atmosphere that surrounds him, is seen as a high-character guy and a natural leader. Sanchez, as the incumbent quarterback, has not yet firmly grasped the role of team leader, and now with the acquisition of Tebow, his job has become that much harder. The minute things start to go poorly on the field, fans and the media will start calling for Tebow to assume Sanchez' spot. And if Tebow does come into the game, and performs well, (not a given, but possible), and then says and does all the right things afterward, (almost certain), then Sanchez' position becomes more untenable.

    The Broncos have been lauded for doing all the right things in this situation. Signing Manning was the first right move, then moving out Tebow was the next correct move. To Manning and to the team, the signal was clear - Peyton's our guy. And with him on board, the presence of Tebow was only going to be a distraction. Their management recognized and abided by that old football axiom, 'If you have more than one starting quarterback, you don't have any.'

    Mark Sanchez is certainly no Peyton Manning, does not have Manning's track record and does not get afforded the same respect. But just two weeks ago, Jets management had committed to Sanchez (and guaranteed him at least $20M). The contract said essentially, 'Mark is our quarterback and leader. We think we can win with him.' 

    But with the signing of Tebow, who as a winning-type player naturally will want to compete with Sanchez for playing time as well as team leadership, the Jets have essentially told Sanchez that only two weeks later they are hedging their $20M bet.

    Only one guy can play quarterback at a time. And only one guy can be the team leader. What's tough on the organization is when ownership can't figure out who that guy should be.

    Friday
    Mar232012

    Off Topic - Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before

    If you are a user of the Google Chrome browser, then you are certainly famiiar with the way Chrome displays your Top 8 'most visited' websites when you click to open a new browser tab. For me, these Top 8 most visited sites, (see image on the right), never seem to change all that much if at all. And I am not sure if that is a good thing quite honestly. Whether it is a list of most frequently visited sites, a familiar and kind of static collection of blogs in a RSS reader, or the tendency many of us have in social media to follow and connect with thousands of people but actually converse with about 20, it is really easy to fall into an information rut, seeing the same kinds of content from the same sources, or as the author Eli Pariser has described it, a filter bubble.

    A filter bubble can occur when we either proactively choose to limit the number and diversity of our information sources, or, as is a key feature of the social network Facebook, a system and algorithm determines what content and information it thinks we should see, based on our past preferences and behaviors. But by explicit choice, or more passive acceptance of smart filters, the end result can be, paradoxically, in a networked, connected world of almost unlimited information, that our consumption and exposure to content becomes pretty narrow. We read things we already know, from sources we access every day, and that are shared with us by the same small group of people we know well, (and who, mostly, think like we do).

    So here are the questions for today - what do you do to try and ensure you are seeing a wide enough range of viewpoints and sources of information? Do you try and seek out new and different, (perhaps divergent), writers and thinkers to supplement the same five blogs you read every day? How do you seek out people that might disagree with you?

    And finally, who is out there doing amazing work that you think the rest of your community might not know about?

    Have a Great Weekend!

    Thursday
    Mar222012

    Counting them down: The #FOT25 Talent Management Blogs

    Over at Fistful of Talent, the latest installment of the Top 25 Talent Management Blog Power Rankings was released. Well, not totally released... 

    Yesterday FOT published the names of blogs ranked 25 through 6, leaving the Top 5 Talent Management blogs to be revealed live on the HR Happy Hour Show tonight at 8PM ET.

    Yes, we will count them down from 5 all that way up to Number 1 tonight, we will be joined by several of the Top 5 bloggers, some of the crew from FOT, and hopefully some HR pros and blog readers to talk about their favorites. We will also dish on the state of the HR blogosphere in general, as it indeed has changed quite a bit in the last few years.

    It should be a fun show in the best Casey Kasem tradition.  Just don't ask me to read any long distance dedications...

    To listen to the show tonight and find out your Top 5 Talent Management blogs, here is the scoop.

    The show will stream live tonight starting at 8PM ET on the show page here. You can also use the listener line at 646-378-1086, (Press '1' if you want to join the conversation). Finally, you can also listen right from this post, using the widget player below:

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    It will be a fun show and I hope you can join us to count down the Top 5 FOT blogs and share your thoughts about the list and the HR blogosphere as well.

    Many thanks to Fistful of Talent and particularly Holland Dombeck for all the great work putting this together.