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    Tuesday
    Mar022010

    HRevolution 2010

    The American Revolution lasted for 8 years with Colonial soldiers enduring atrocious conditions and hardships.

    The French Revolution lasted 10 solid years and helped popularize the guillotine.

    Luckily for you, the HRevolution 2010 will not be (nearly) as long and as dangerous.


    The only things in peril are tired ideas, same-old same-old concepts, and the notion that you are just one little cog in the machine and can't make a big impact in your job, your organization, and your profession.

    So here is the real scoop:

    The HRevolution2010 unconference is coming to Chicago on May 7th-8th!


    Cutting edge HR social media thought leaders and practitioners from around the country will be converging for 24 hours+ of mind-bending, trend-setting discussions, yet space is limited to only 110 people, so... SIGN UP NOW!

    3 reasons why this year's even will rock:

    People.

    First and foremost, it's the people. And the crew coming together for this year's unconference is fantastic. With about twice the capacity of last year's event, HRevolution 2010 will blend old faces with new in an intimate setting where networking and relationship building can happen the way it was meant to.

    Logistics.

    We've locked up a phenomenal and highly professional space for the event that could not be more perfect for an unconference. HRevolution will take place at Catalyst Ranch, which is one of Chicago's premier event locations and—bonus!—is centrally located with easy access to hotels, restaurants, and night life.

    Catalyst Ranch is known for bringing a level of fun and sophistication to events that is unparalleled—no other space provider so naturally blended expertise on white boards, afternoon snack service, stereo systems, and the amount of Play-Doh they recommend for 110 people into a single conversation. Rest assured, HRevolution is happening in Chicago for a reason, and we want you to leave the event loving Chicago hospitality.

    Topics.

    The beauty of the unconference format is that it is designed to leave you with practical, useful knowledge. When you get back to work on Monday, and when someone asks you, "What did you get for the money," the answer that flows oh-so-naturally from your lips will blow them away. And you, too, maybe.
    So if you're in HR, if you're dabbling with this social media stuff and thinking "Should I or shouldn't I... How do I...," then get here on May 7th-8th. You will meet the people and learn the stuff and be in the place that will help you put it all together.

    Things you need to know:

    The event registration page is here - HRevolution registration.


    More information about the event can be found here - Official HRevolution2010 Site.

    Storm the Bastille of 'old' HR and join us in Chicago this May!

    Events

    Friday
    Feb262010

    Culture Can't be Wrong

    On the way to trulondon last week I read Chuck Klosterman's excellent book titled 'IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas'

    One of the articles 'Cultural Betrayal', contained the observation 'Culture can't be wrong'. The main point of the piece is the idea that if 25 Million people watch 'American Idol' each week, and you can't see the point and despise the show, that the 25 Million people are not 'wrong'. You may not share their tastes or affinity for pop singing, or karaoke-bar style performances, but in a way you are the one that is 'wrong'.

    What does all this have to do with technology, workforce, or anything remotely near what we typically cover on this site?

    Not much probably, but let me take a crack at what I see as the connection, a take on technology and perhaps even social media elitism. At times in the new media echo chamber there is a kind of self and mutual reverential society happening.  Like we are all in some cool, elite clique and boy the folks that have not jumped on board, or don't 'get it' are somehow not in our cool kids group.

    So here is my take:

    You are not 'better' or smarter than your buddy who has never heard of Twitter while you are sitting feeling cool about hitting the 1,000, 2,000 or whatever follower mark that is currently consuming your thoughts.

    You are not of more value to society simply because you refuse to play 'Farmville' on Facebook. Something like 60 million people play Farmville.  Some of those people are your friends, co-workers, nurses, firefighters, teachers, and coaches.  60 million people!

    How many of your suppliers, customers, and shareholders are in that group? How many of the people that can directly and impactfully influence your organization's success are in a group that participates in a game that you may have shown public disdain for?

    Failing to understand that group shows a marked lack of awareness and appreciation for what is actually happening in the world. Ignoring that group will result in missed opportunity.  Insulting that group (and you know some of you do) could be a disastrous error.

    Stop acting like a smart-aleck social media smartypants.  Don't be an elitist. Don't be that person.  Don't.

    Culture can't be wrong.

    Thursday
    Feb252010

    The Talent War Room

    One of the highlights from Day 1 of The Conference Board's Talent Managment Strategies Conference was a session lead by Ed Colbert, Global Director of Organizational Effectiveness for Dow Corning Corporation.

    Ed framed the entire session by sharing a story about how shortly after he was given his role as the Director of Organizational Effectiveness, with responsibility for Talent Acquisition, Learning and Development, Succession Planning, and Workforce Planning, he read an article about how the Director of Player Personnel for a major league baseball team went about his talent management duties.

    The Pro Personnel Director's office had one wall covered with pictures of all his team's current starting players, with additional sections describing each players strengths and weaknesses, and some statistics indicating trends in the player's most recent performance. An adjacent area on the wall contained the same information for all the team's substitute players on the current active roster.

    The next wall of the office contained pictures and player profiles of the organization's top prospects in the various affiliated minor league teams. These pictures and profiles were organized by role (pitchers, catchers, etc), readiness (players closest to be ready to contribute to the major league club higher on the wall), and color coded by overall 'potential' rating.

    Finally the back wall of the office had pictures and profile information of players on other teams (both major league and their affiliated minor league teams) that this Director of Player Personnel was monitoring or tracking for as potential acquisitions for his team in the future. These players represented or had demonstrated both potential targets for filling current needs on his team's active roster, as well as more long-term prospects that seemed to match the team's philosophy or style of play.

    As Ed from Corning read the article he came to the conclusion that this Director of Player Personnel had the very same job as he did. The goal of both roles was 'To put the best team on the playing field today, and ensure continued success in the future'.

    Assessing the current players was performance management, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the players was talent profiling and development, examining the capability in the minor league teams was succession planning, and evaluating the external markets for players was talent acquisition and workforce planning.

    In fact, Dow Corning has taken the sports metaphor so far as to title the internal communications leader their 'Sports Information Director' and some of their corporate recruiters as 'Talent Scouts'. The Talent Scouts are not just handed open Job Reqs to fill, but rather they are assigned an organization, department, or capability (similar to how the Director of Player Personnel manages the team's talent), and asked to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current people on their 'team', assess the likely pools of internal successors, and understand and engage the external community of potential talent to further develop Dow Corning's capability to put the best team on the field. It is sort of a 'mini' Player Personnel role, a more active and proactive approach, rather than simply reacting in classic 'search' mode when a position comes open and needs to be filled.

    Finally, Ed made the point that while managing the player personnel for a 25-person baseball team is quite a bit more manageable than what most organizations have to grapple with, that the fundamental concepts are really the same. Keeping the process simple, even to the point of using the walls of an office, or even a 'Talent War Room', to keep abreast of the organization's key talent, and most critical roles are keys to a successful talent management strategy and the execution of that strategy.

    I knew all that time I spend watching, thinking, and talking about sports would pay off.

     

     

    Wednesday
    Feb242010

    The Talent Management Strategies Conference

    Today and tomorrow I will be attending The Conference Board's latest Talent Management Strategies Conference in New York City as a guest of the Conference Board.

    The event's subtitle - 'Leveraging Your Talent to Drive Business Outcomes' is meant to describe the overall focus of the event, trying to share information from some of the world's leading organizations on some innovative and effective strategies for leveraging talent to drive results.

    Some of the sessions that I am most looking forward to attending are:

    'Talent Management Leader: Head of Player Personnel', obvious since I am an easy mark for Talent Management and sports metaphors. This session looks to emphasize the importance of understanding the talent on your own team as well as the talent of your competition as they do in professional sports in order to find ways to maximize your advantage. I hope to ask some pithy question about drafting, whether coaches are important at all on top teams, and who will win the NBA championship.

    'Creating an Employer Brand to Attract and Retain the Right Talent', a look at how Children's Healthcare of Atlanta used employee perspectives, blogging, and other strategies in their branding efforts.

    and finally - 'How Social Networks Boost Collaboration, Productivity and Engagement', a look at how enhancing collaboration, enabling better understanding of employee interaction, and facilitating relationship building have led to important benefits for Google, Inc.

    I am glad to be joined at the event by fellow blogger and an all-around superstar Jennifer McClure, the Cincy Recruiter.

    Be sure to follow Jennifer's and my Tweets about the event on the hashtag #tcbtalent.

     

    Disclaimer - The Conference Board is providing transport and lodging for me to attend the event, but all tweets, posts, comments etc. about the event are entirely my own, and The Conference Board has not asked for any special consideration.

     

    Tuesday
    Feb232010

    Real Excitement

    This past Saturday as part of the trulondon Unconference event, Keith Potts and Felix Wetzel graciously hosted several of the conference attendees as their guests at an English Premier League match,  Portsmouth vs. Stoke City. Keith Potts and Steve at the match

    Here is the connection between the HR and Recruiting event and the match:  Keith is one of the founders and Felix is a Director of a company called Jobsite, the largest job board in the UK and a sponsor of trulondon as well as the shirt sponsor of Portsmouth Football Club

    If you are not terribly familiar with shirt sponsorship, I took a quick run at describing the idea here.

    But the real point of the post is not simply to thank Keith and Felix for the tremendous experience, which I assuredly do, but rather to talk for a moment about the passion and excitement that we observed from both the Portsmouth supporters as well as the many Portsmouth FC staff that we encountered on our visit. 

    From the start of the game to the final whistle, the majority of the Portsmouth fans sang, chanted, and banged on drums to support and exhort their team. This singing and chanting was entirely organic, and required no artificial prompting from the Public Address announcer.  There were no 'Let's Make some Noise' displays on the giant videoboard.  There were no heavy metal or hip-hop tunes blared to try are create a lively or fun atmosphere.  And there was not a hint of a 'kiss-cam'. Bottom line: there was no fake excitement.

    And in total, it was by far the best sporting event I have ever attended. 

    This match, and I suspect many matches in the league, substitute spectacle for authenticity, replace contrived enthusiasm with genuine passion, and connect with supporters, club employees, and the community at large in a way that at least to me was unique and remarkable.

    I understand that sports, especially major-league, big time sports have little to do with how the overwhelming majority of organizations operate.  But there are, I think,  some interesting lessons and potentially some insights that can be learned from sports and in particular how teams exist and interact in a complex environment of internal and external stakeholders.

    Community

    The football club, and the other organizations that are part of its support network are to a large extent deeply intertwined in the local community. Match days are significant events, some sponsors like Jobsite are also significantly vested in the community, and in many ways the club, the experience, and the network help to define and shape the area.  For organizations, striving to find ways to become more vested in their locak communities can often yield extremely positive results.

    Passion

    Passion for a sports team is often deep, unwavering, and endures over the years.  For organizations, engendering that same kind of passion can prove difficult if not impossible.  But the passion for your products and services, your employee value proposition, and your brand are what could sustain you when times get hard, and external economics play against your.  Teams in the English league can get 'relegated' for poor performance (send down to a lower tier and status league), but the support and passion of the fans tends to remain.  The most successful organizations can find a way to generate this passion across its constituencies for the long term.

    Togetherness

    After the game (which sadly for Portsmouth was a 2-1 defeat) the various employees from the Director of Operations to the cooks, waiters, and bar staff at the club were all noticeably and understandably saddened and dissapointed. But in their seemingly collective pain, I really got the sense that they were still 'together' and really bound by their shared mission, desire, and hopes for the the future. While without exception every employee that I encountered at the Club did their jobs with skill and efficiency, they were also mindful of the bigger picture.  And they were seemingly invested heavily in that picture.  Do your job and support the overall goals and objectives of the organization at the same time.

    The interesting thing is that attention to and care of these areas can in some ways overcome some poor results on the field (and even off the field).  Portsmouth is at the bottom of the league standings and is even in danger of the UK equivalent of bankruptcy.  And while the immediate future looks a bit harsh, I have every confidence based on the people we met, and the support and passion we witnessed that the club will make it through.

    Thanks so much once again to Keith and Felix and to all the great people at Portsmouth FC.