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    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #1 - The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    Is it me, or did things seem to get just a little bit slower this week? I swear I noticed the first signs of 'Getting geared up for the Holidays' this week, at least judging by the relative calm of my email inbox. Or maybe it could be that I am just less popular and important than I like to think.

    Yeah, that probably has something to do with it too.

    But I'd prefer to think the quiet today was more about holiday distractions. And that, coupled with after almost a decade of blogging in one place or another, every topic I thought about hitting for the end of the week felt tired and played out, I decided to start a new series to run on Fridays until the end of the year - Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendations for 2017.

    Each Friday I will share something I would love to receive as a gift this season, and since according to my view of the world (and massive ego), if I like something, then you (and the people in your life), should love to receive as well.

    I will try to make the gift recommendations affordable, appropriate for pretty much everyone, and easily obtained. And finally, there are no affiliate links or kickbacks on any of these items. These are just cool gifts that I think anyone would love. And please, please resist your temptation to order and send these gifts to me. This is not what this is about.

    Wow, that was a long preamble. Here goes...

    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #1 - The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    If you are of a certain age, say about 35 - 55, you probably consider Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes to be one of the most important and memorable cultural touchstones of your youth/early adulthood.

    The adventures of six year-old Calvin and his companion 'stuffed' tiger Hobbes, ran from 1985 - 1995, and in that decade, came to re-define and re-imagine what a daily comic strip could be, how it could look, and how meaningful and poignant it could be.

    The reclusive Watterson retired the strip on December 31, 1995 in an epic sending off of Calvin and Hobbes, standing on the top of a newly snow-covered sledding hill, racing off into the future to find their next amazing adventure. And with that last sledding run, millions of Calvin and Hobbes fans were left to read and re-read the old strips, sometimes again and again, until even our reprint collections became worn out.

    So for the Calvin and Hobbes fan in your life, or for kid of say 10 or so to 15 who may have never had exposure to the classic strip, the first 'Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation' is this 4-volume boxed set containing every Calvin and Hobbes strip that ran between 1985 - 1995. You'll see Calvin's continuing 'fight the power' struggles with his parents, teachers, and classmates, his incredibly imaginative adventures with time travel and shape shifting, and most importantly, the amazingly powerful and touching bond between best friends Calvin and Hobbes.

    I loved Calvin and Hobbes. I still love Calvin and Hobbes. And I think this complete set of the C&H strips would make an amazing gift this year.

    So that's it, hope you liked the recommendation. Unless I get some violently aggressive and negative comments, I will be back next Friday with another holiday gift recommendation.

    Have a great weekend!

    Let's go exploring!


    Self-driving bus crashes, proving all buses should be self-driving

    In case you missed it, a fairly significant pilot of self-driving vehicles, in this case shuttle buses, launched last week in Las Vegas. In this test, shuttle buses developed by French company Navya ARMA will carry passengers along a half-mile route in downtown Las Vegas, (that part of Vegas that most of us who go to Vegas for Conference and conventions tend to ignore). The Navya ARMA buses rely on GPS, cameras, and light-detecting sensors in order to navigate the public streets. According to reports, the year long test hopes to shuttle about 250,000 passengers up and down the Vegas streets.

    Pretty cool, right?

    Guess what happened in the first couple of hours after launching the self-driving pilot program?

    Yep, a CRASH.

    The first self-driving bus was in a minor accident within a couple of hours of the service's launch when a (human driven) delivery truck failed to stop in time and collided with the stationary shuttle bus.

    According to a spokeperson from the American Automobile Association, "The truck making the delivery backed into the shuttle which was stopped. Human error causes most traffic collisions, and this was no different."

    No one was hurt, the damage was minor, and the self-driving pilot program continues in Las Vegas.

    Why bring this up, especially on a blog that at least pretends to be about work, HR, HR Tech, etc.?

    Because these kinds of technology developments, of self-driving vehicles, robots that can sort and organize inventory in warehouses, robots that will greet and provide basic customer services in retail environments and hotels, are being developed, improved, and deployed at increasing rates and in more and more contexts.

    Self-driving technology in particular, especially for commercial vehicles, is by some estimates within 10 years of becoming a mainstream technology, potentially displacing hundreds of thousands of commercial truck drivers. And as an aside, this piece describes how the trucking industry is clearly not ready for this and other technological disruptions.

    This is not meant to be another, tired, 'Robots are taking our jobs' post, but rather another reminder that technology-driven disruption will continue to change the nature of work, workplaces, and even our own ideas about the role of people in work and the economy. And HR and HR tech leaders have to take a leading role in how, where, when, and why their organizations navigate these changes, as they sit directly at the intersection of people, technology, and work.

    And lastly, if that Las Vegas delivery truck had been equipped with the same kinds of self-driving tech that the Nayva ARMA bus has, there is almost no chance there would have been an accident.

    But it might have be fun if it happened anyway. I'd love to see two 'robot' trucks argue with each other on the side of the road about which one was the doofus who caused the accident.

    Have a great day!


    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 302 - Tim Sackett and Talent Acquisition Technology

    HR Happy Hour 302 - Tim Sackett and Talent Acquisition Technology

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Tim Sackett

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources, popular writer and speaker on all things Talent Acquisition and keynote speaker at the upcoming Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference.

    On this show, Tim shared his perspectives on how technology continues to change the Talent Acquisition function, how roles for sourcers and recruiters are impacted, and some of the keys for corporate talent acquisition leaders to make the most of their technology investments.

    Additionally, Tim talked previewed his upcoming keynote at the Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference, (November 28 - 30, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida), how to balance the 'people' side of recruiting with the technology, as well as the one single area of Talent Acquisition Technology that Tim thinks more corporate leaders should be investing in today.

    Finally, we talked about innovation across the board in HR and Talent Tech, the role of technology in candidate experience, and Steve teased his NBA podcast, tentatively titled 'Bounding and Astounding'.

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

    This was a really fun show with a long time friend of the HR Happy Hour Show - thanks Tim for taking the time and we hope to see lots of HR Happy Hour listeners at the Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference later this month.

    Reminder: HR Happy Hour listener survey here.

    Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    And finally, subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts.


    The rules for when you request a meeting with someone else

    WARNING: Some borderline old-guy 'get off my lawn' about to follow...

    The situation: You have the kind of job where a fairly large, variable, and growing collection of folks are contacting you to set up meetings and phone calls. These are usually for valid work/business reasons, so the requests themselves are reasonable, but I have noticed with more frequency that folks are not following (at least what I think are) the normal, customary, and pretty simple steps, and protocols in this situation.

    So because no one asked, herewith are the rules for when you request a meeting with me, (not actually me, just using the collective me here. Is that a thing? Who cares, it's my blog).

    1. If this is the first interaction you are having with this person, explain (succinctly), who you are, what you do, the company you are working for or represent. Make sure you convince the person you are not insane.

    2. State clearly the purpose and goal for the requested meeting. Bonus points if the purpose/goal of the meeting actually helps this person solve one of their problems, and not just helps you.

    3. Adapt to the technology, communication, and other preferences of the person who you are requesting to meet with. This means adapting to at least the following:

    A. Communication preferences - email, text, LinkedIn, etc. Example, and this one happens to me a ton, if you send me a LinkedIn message asking for a meeting, I am 99% of time going to provide my email address and ask you to email me details, an invite, etc. This is due to the fact that I, along with just about everyone else in the world, manages my time on a calendar that is integrated with my email. No one manages their time on with a LinkedIn calendar because such a calendar DOES NOT EXIST. I'm ok with being contacted on LinkedIn, but I am not ok having to manually update my calendar because you prefer to use LinkedIn.

    B. More about calendars. If you are requesting the meeting from someone else, DO NOT send them a link to your own Web Calendar or scheduling tool as ask them to find a time for the meeting. YOU are asking for the meeting. It is really cheeky and presumptuous to make a meeting request and then ask me to do your work (managing your calendar) for you.

    C. Adapt to the time zone preferences of the person you are requesting the meeting with. Again for me, I am usually on ET. Your request or offer of day/time options for the meeting needs to state the time in ET. It is ok, even preferable, to list your time zone too, (if it is different). But don't ask me to have a meeting at 3PM Mountain Time and force me to figure that out. I know this is a small gripe, but once again, you are asking me for my time.  

    4. Confirm the meeting is set by 'accepting' the calendar invite. This is really for both parties of the meeting, but we really don't need another round of emails that 'confirm' the meeting is set. 'Accepting' or 'Replying Yes' to the calendar invite is the confirmation.

    5. Sometimes, the person you are requesting the meeting with does not or can't meet with you. It happens. And sometimes they either don't give you a reason for declining the meeting or give you a reason that you don't like. It happens. Accept it. You are still a wonderful person, I promise.

    That's all I have for a quick rant on this. I didn't even mention at the top that I am writing this in my favorite writing spot ever, the Delta Sky Club. Nice to be back out on the road. And solid upgrades on the snacks, Delta.

    Did I miss any 'meeting request protocol' rules?

    Let me know in the comments.

    Have a great week!


    Most of the time, distractions are your fault

    I had an acquaintance reach out to me recently who wanted my advice on an issue he has been experiencing in his workplace since, as he said to me in his note, 'Know something about HR'. While that is entirely up for debate, I had the sense that this person didn't really have many options to look to for some help, so I agreed to try to help and we had a talk.

    The gist of the problem, without getting into the details and the original causes of said problem, as they don't really matter, was that he has had a series of run-ins, arguments, and increasingly loud and hostile disagreements and interactions with a co-worker in an adjacent department. He and this person don't directly work on the same team, but their paths do cross from time to time on larger projects, division meetings, in the hallway, etc. There have been a couple of nasty email exchanges, allegations of some office refrigerator lunch shenanigans, and last week, a loud, screaming really, argument that was so loud that it caused the VP over both their departments to emerge from her office and send both parties home for the day. And to be clear , this is just personality conflict kind of stuff, nothing physical or sexual harassment related at all.

    When I talked to him, my acquaintance was exasperated because, at least according to him, none of this was his fault, he was not the source of the hostile behavior, and he really wants nothing at all to do with this co-worker. He just wants to show up, do his job, and go home. Which I suspect most of us do too. But for some reason, my acquaintance claimed, the HR folks who have gotten pulled in to this matter, and the VP and department managers are 'blaming' (his word), him equally for these workplace dramas and interruptions, and have not seen his side of the story. And this, he claims, is not fair. (I can read the minds of just about everyone still reading this laughing at the idea the the workplace should be 'fair'. But I digress).

    After hearing all that, again, just the one side of the story but coming from a person I think is pretty honest and trustworthy, I had to at least try to offer some advice. Kind of like when the contestant on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire uses their 'Phone a Friend'. Even if you have no idea of the name of the 17th European Monarch who lost some obscure battle, you better at least take a guess.

    So here was my guess/advice.

    These continuing issues that take time and attention from managers, colleagues, HR, and even execs get lumped into a large bucket called 'distractions', i.e., 'Stuff no one who has other things to do wants to deal with.'

    It doesn't matter who is 'right' or 'wrong' in this. If my acquaintance and his co-worker can't figure out a way to work this out, or effectively ignore each other, it is pretty likely that the VP will hit the point of 'I don't need to keep hearing about this nonsense' and one of the two people involved will have to go. Maybe a transfer, (might be unlikely because it is a small company), but more likely a 'Clean out your locker, it's time to go' for one or the other.

    And it won't matter which one started it or is 'wrong' or is being the bigger jerk.

    To many leaders, owners, execs, and even HR folks the solution to the problem isn't about sorting out who's right or who is wrong. The solution is about eliminating the distraction.

    That's why companies like Yahoo and IBM, after unearthing a few cases of remote workers more or less slacking off, decide to do a wholesale revocation of their work from home policies. That's why ESPN, after a couple of instances of on-air talent posting some arguably controversial content on social media issues a new, updated, and broadly worded social media policy that specifically requires employees to avoid posting content that would 'embroil the company in unwanted controversy.' And you know what 'unwanted controversy' is? Yep, another distraction.

    So I left the call with my acquaintance with this thought - if what you are doing (or being pulled into), is helping to create the same kind of 'unwanted controversy' or 'distraction' that no one with an important title wants to deal with, then you had better be prepared to be told it's time for you to go.

    I don't know if that was good advice or not. But it seems like if he fails to understand that things at work are often not fair, and distractions are like Superman's Kryptonite to business leaders, then he could be in for some bad news.

    Have a different thought on this? Let me know in the comments.

    Have a great day!