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    Entries in HR (342)

    Saturday
    Apr082017

    Situations where you should mark Emails as "Urgent", ranked

    It's Saturday!

    Woo hoo!

    I woke up this morning to the sun shining, the snow melting, (yes, it was STILL snowing yesterday where I live), the birds chirping, my Liverpool Reds on TV, and not one, but two early morning business emails both marked as "Urgent".

    Since I believe many readers would benefit from a better understanding of when, why, and in what circumstances one should mark an email as "Urgent", I present my unscientific, unresearched, subjective, and COMPLETELY biased breakdown of the situations where you should mark an Email message as "Urgent".

    Here goes....

    10. Never

    9. Never

    8 - 2. - Never

    1. Never

     

    Never mark an email as "urgent".

    If your message is truly urgent, then email isn't the medium to convey that message. Call, or text. Or get off your butt and walk down the hall to my office.  And besides, who are you to decide your problem is really "urgent" to me? Maybe I don't really care. Maybe I have 37 other problems that are more pressing. Maybe that little red flag you just dropped in my Inbox has the opposite effect that you intended, and I shuffle it to the bottom of the 'respond' pile because I just got annoyed.

    And if you are the boss, or CEO, or owner, then you don't have to make your messages as "urgent", if the folks on your team are not reacting to your directives in the way you see as appropriate, then you have a people problem, not an email problem.

    Never mark email as "urgent". Especially on a sunny, springtime Saturday morning.

    Of course you could disagree with these rankings, but of course, you would be wrong.

    Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday
    Apr052017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 280 - Dave Ulrich, Victory Through Organization

    HR Happy Hour 280 - Dave Ulrich, Victory Through Organization

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Dave Ulrich, University of Michigan, RBL Group

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish welcome Dave Ulrich, author of the recent Victory Through Organization, over 30 other books, Professor at the University of Michigan, one of the foremost experts on Human Resources, and known as the "Father of modern Human Resources" back to the Happy Hour to talk Human Resources, creating organizational capability, and how Human Resources can continue to evolve to support the organization.

    Dave talked about the new book, the key can be summed up in the very first sentences of the book - "HR is not about HR. HR begins and ends with the business." From that launch point, we talked about Dave's research (with data from over 30,000 respondents), the importance of HR as the enabler and driver of organizational capability, why the famous McKinsey "War for Talent" is only partially relevant to HR leaders, and some of the ways HR leaders need to adapt and grow in order to support the creation of organizational capability.

    We also talked about NBA basketball, the Oscars, and the Spice Girls, (yes, and every one of those topics tied back to the overall theme of the show, that organizational factors have a far greater impact on business performance than do individual factors). 

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

    Dave's most recent book, Victory Through Organization, is available here.

    And thanks to the HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse, learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

    This was one of the most interesting, informative, and fun shows we have done. Thanks Dave for joining us!

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and all the podcast apps - just search for HR Happy Hour to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Monday
    Apr032017

    Most of us are on Plan B (or C or D)

    What do you want to be when you grow up?

    Ask any 8 - 12 year old that question and you will probably get one of the following careers in response - Movie Star, Pro Athlete, Musician, Astronaut, Firefighter, (increasingly) Video Game Developer, or maybe YouTube star, (apparently that is a thing now).

    What you won't get much of in response are more common occupations like Office Clerk, Home Health Aide, Salesperson, or Bus Driver.

    Not a shock, right? But I wonder if there isn't more to think about from the disconnect between what we really wanted to be doing with our careers, and what (many of us), end up actually doing in our careers. A recent survey of more than 400 teens conducted by C + R research suggests that most of today's teens have career aspirations that are extremely out of synch with the true nature of the labor market.

    For example, 20% of surveyed teens expressed a desire for a career in "Arts, Design, Entertainment, Media, & Sports", a field that makes up only about 1% of American jobs in the workforce. And fully 0% of teens indicated a desire to move into "Office and Administrative Support" occupations, (like HR or IT), even though that category encompasses fully 15% of American workers today, making it the largest segment of the labor force as tracked by the BLS. 

    This is not surprising data; I mean who wouldn't rather be a relief pitcher for the Mets or a Hollywood movie producer than say, an HR manager? 

    Heck, even to this day when people ask me about my career goals, 'Point Guard on the Knicks' still comes up as a delusional option.

    Why does any of this matter? Who cares what your boss or your colleague or even you wanted to really do with your life when you were 12 or 14?

    It is possible that it does not matter. 

    But it is also possible that it is a good idea to be reminded every once in a while that most of us are not really doing the thing we used to dream about doing. 

    That does not mean we can't love what we are doing now, and be excited about how our careers have panned out, I am not saying that. And even if we can't be doing the thing we'd really want to be doing, (I am too old, slow, and have too unreliable a jump shot to actually play for the Knicks), I think the key to making peace with the Plan B ( or C or D), that we landed on is finding some elements of Plan A inherent in what we ended up with.

    If you really wanted to be an artist or an athlete or an explorer, then what can you find in your (less glamorous), HR Manager role that at least hints at or reminds you of why you were attracted to those childhood dreams in the first place? What can you invent to make the role you have more like the one you always wanted?

    How can you become the most artistic, expressive, courageous, legendary HR Manager ever?

    If you can, then you probably will accomplish your version of "Point Guard for the Knicks".

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Mar302017

    Career and Life Advice #1

    New series on the blog, (calling it a series in case I decide to try this again, if so it will look like it was some kind of a plan all along), titled 'Career and Life Advice'.

    What makes me qualified to give either career or life advice?

    Nothing!

    That's why the plan is to share career or life advice from folks who have had  pretty demonstrable career success or plain to see amazingly cool lives. Ok, maybe I will try to sneak in some of my own thoughts down the line, we will see.

    First up, some career and life advice from San Antonio Spurs head coach, and noted curmudgeon Gregg Popovich, from an article where Pop was discussing the coaching ability of one of his assistants Becky Hammon, who many NBA observers feel will one day become the first female head coach in the NBA.

    What is one of Hammon's qualities that contributes to her success according to Pop, (and here comes the advice part):

    "She's been perfect," Popovich said. "She knows when to talk and she knows when to shut up. That's as simple as you can put it. A lot of people don't figure that out."

    Boom.

    Solid career and life advice in three sentences.

    And advice we can all learn from.

    Know when it is time to talk and perhaps more importantly, when it is time to shut up.

    In trying to follow said advice, I am going to shut up now.

    Have a great day.

    Tuesday
    Mar282017

    Don't assume everyone knows diversity is an issue at your company

    Pop culture fans probably know the name Aaron Sorkin - Oscar and Emmy award winner of movies/shows like "A Few Good Men", "The Newsroom", and "The West Wing", to name just a few. Sorkin has been a successful Hollywood creative type for years, decades even.  A Few Good Men was written in 1992 for a bit of reference.

    So since at least the release of the movie version of A Few Good Men, (late 1992 and  for which Sorkin wrote the screenplay, and is essential cable TV movie watching to this day), Sorkin has been an important, active, and influential Hollywood person. Around long enough to understand how the movie and TV business works, to know scores of company executives, producers, investors, as well as creatives like himself - other writers, actors, and behind the scene professionals.  

    Around long enough, (and making the assumption that he is not some kind of anti-social savant who only emerges from his office once every two years with his latest script), to be aware of one of Hollywood's most pressing, current, and heavily-discussed industry issues. Namely, the past and ongoing challenges for access, opportunity, and reward that have faced people of color, women of every color, and other less-represented groups. Last year's Oscars brought many of these issues to wider exposure with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and discussion.

    So you would think, or assume, that a Hollywood veteran like Sorkin - experienced, successful, extremely well-known and with a pretty high profile, would have interesting or at least some kind of a view or opinion about Hollywood's ongoing diversity challenges.  You would think he may even have some advice, or a solution to propose. 

    You'd think wrong, apparently.

    According to a report in Variety, and expanded upon in Business Insider,  Sorkin expressed a lack of awareness of the issue, (not a lack of understanding, I am talking simple awareness here), of these issues that was kind of shocking.

    From the Business Insider piece:

    It's really hard to hide from the diversity issue that's plaguing Hollywood, unless apparently you're Aaron Sorkin. 

    The Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of TV shows like "The West Wing" and "The Newsroom" sounded legitimately shocked when the topic came up while he was onstage at the Writers Guild Festival on Saturday, according to a Variety report of the event.

    While Sorkin looked back on his career and talked about issues of the day with moderator Elvis Mitchell, the topic moved to the need for more diversity in writers' rooms for TV shows. It seemed like Sorkin had genuinely never realized it was an issue in the industry.

    “Are you saying that women and minorities have a more difficult time getting their stuff read than white men and you’re also saying that [white men] get to make mediocre movies and can continue on?” he asked the audience, Variety reported.

    While conversation shifted to other topics, Sorkin still couldn't let go of this new insight.

    “You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of color, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?” Sorkin reportedly said.

    Kind of amazing, it seems to me, that an industry vet like Sorkin would have been that unaware or indifferent to an issue which as recently as last year, dominated the discussion surrounding the most important industry event and awards show, a show which Sorkin might even have attended himself.

    But let's assume that was indeed the case, and Sorkin's success over the years, and his position as, well, an older white dude, has kept him pretty insulated from Hollywood's diversity discussion. It's not cool, but it is at least plausible. And if we take these quotes from Sorkin at face value, it seems at least mostly true.

    What do we take away from this, i.e., why should it matter to us and our organizations?

    Because the story reminds us that we can never just assume people with experience, who have been successful in their fields, who are perhaps the leaders in our organization, (and who might, possibly, have a little bit of 'Sorkin' in them), actually are cognizant to the potential diversity and inclusion issues in our companies and in industry more broadly.

    There are probably at least some leaders or influential people (say a hiring manager that hires for a large volume of positions), that might be of the mindset, like Sorkin, for whom these issues are just not a part of their experience and not on their radar as they make people and talent decisions.

    Sure, they may have glanced at your gender and diversity reports on hiring or promotions, but did they really interpret these the way you intended? Are you sure they understand the importance of this issue? Really sure?

    From the Sorkin story we are reminded not to assume the most successful people in the organization are aware of an issue that you think is obvious, that everyone has been talking about, and that you have actually taken proactive steps to address.

    It is probably worth checking on. You might end up as surprised at what you learn, just like our pal Aaron.