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    Entries in smb (26)

    Wednesday
    Jul042018

    Fourth of July Rewind: The Best Introduction Ever

    NOTE: Reprising a post from July 6, 2016 - enjoy before you fire up the grill!

    This is the best speaker/performer/sportsman introduction that you will hear all year - maybe ever.

    It comes to us courtesy of the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest held on July 4th and delivered by Master of Ceremonies George Shea, as he introduced competitive eating legend, and former champion Joey Chestnut.

    Forgive the very shaky quality of the video embedded below (email and RSS subscribers click through), as it was recorded by me with my phone from a DVR replay of the event.

    Trust me, you want to give this a minute and a few seconds to watch/listen.

     

    Here's the full text of the intro, in case the dodgy audio was tough to decipher:

    Two years ago on this stage he asked his girlfriend to marry him. And then last year one week before the contest the wedding was called off. And then on the 4th of July he lost the title of World Champion. And he was beaten and he was broken and he was alone. And nothing that he owned had any value, and his thoughts had no shape and no meaning. And the words fell from his mouth without sound. And he was lost and empty-handed, standing like a boy without friends on the school yard. But then he remembered that he is Joey Chestnut. And there is a time for pain and there is a time for punishment. A time for doubt and a time for dominance. A time for forbearance and a time for fury. And there is never, ever a time for submission. Ladies and gentlemen, the former champion of the world here to take back what was once his  - Joey Chestnut!

    Did that bring chills down your spine, or what?

    Awesome.

    Why write about this, or bring attention to it at all?

    Because it is a perfect example of someone, (Shea), going the extra, extra mile. It is a master class in combining facts, context, emotion, and excitement to make his audience interested in and excited about what is about to happen.

    Because it is an amazing 1:15 showing a person (Shea) at the absolute top of his game. And not for nothing, shortly after this introduction, Chestnut went on to reclaim his Nathan's Hot Dog Champions title, (and Mustard Belt).

    The next time it is your job to introduce someone for a speech or a presentation you'd do well to watch Shea's introduction of Chestnut a few times to find some inspiration. 

    And the next time I get introduced for a presentation, I am going to demand that George Shea gets the job.

    Happy 4th of July!

    Monday
    Feb052018

    Please don't follow this email advice

    I don't know why I still keep the Inc. site in my feed reader, (remember feed readers?), because about 80% of the articles are inane '5 Ways to Crush XYZ process' or 'Celebrity ABC in one sentence gave us a master class in leadership'. Awful. 

    So it was with a kind of hate read perspective that I clicked through my Feedly link to this latest gem from Inc. - A study of 386 million emails says this is a perfect time to send an email'. As I mentioned, I clicked ready to hate the piece, and hate it I did.

    Here are the four pieces of Email advice which drive increases in email open and reply rates that Inc. gleaned from a study of 386 million emails sent by the provider Yeswar. I will list each of the four, and because you demand no less, provide my thoughts one by one.

    1. Open with a short, direct informal greeting. 'Hey' seems to work best

    SMB - Short and informal seems fine to me. But I don't like 'Hey' unless it is with someone you have a fairly deep work history with. I know this is quibbling, but can we go with 'Hi' instead? And never, ever lead with 'Greetings'.

    2. End with gratitude. The three word phrase 'Thanks in advance' had the highest response rate.

    SMB - I am pretty sure 'Thanks' would do. I actually prefer the slightly more formal 'Thank you' as it also feels more personal at the same time. And the 'Advance' part also feels a little like you are trying to guilt me into doing something - responding, taking some action, etc. Again, I know I am quibbling here. But it is my blog, so so there.

    3. Save your important emails for the weekend, if possible, when there is less competition 

    SMB - Now you have gone and done it Inc. You have ticked me off. Your advice to get more attention and get noticed is to pile in to the days when most folks are taking a sanity break from the incessant demands of email. Sure, the data may tell you this is the right thing to do in order to get a few percentage points increase in open rates, but is that worth infringing on most people's days off? Does anyone really want to read even more email on the weekend?

    4. If you can swing it, send emails between 6AM and 7AM, or else around 8PM

    SMB - Assuming they still mean to send said emails on thw weekend, to me, it doesn't really matter what time on the weekend you hit 'send'. For most folks, weekend emails are just going to accumulate into a mass of 'unread' stuff that you have to wade through on Monday morning, (or I suppose, on Sunday night, if this data can be trusted). 

    A few year ago someone advised me to send 'important' work-related emails, at least to people who are tough to get to respond to messages, on Sunday nights, for the same kinds of reasons that were pointed out in the Inc. piece. While the advice, at least according to this data, might be good, I didn't follow it back then, and I am not following it now. 

    I just don't want to be the person who hits you up with an email.at 7PM on a Sunday night, a time where for most of us we are taking a little break, spending time with friends or family, working on our own projects, or even just zoning out with some Netflix. I just don't want to assume that my message is valuable enough to infringe upon 'your' time. Your Executive Time even.

    Ok, that's it, I am out. Time to have a look at the unread email that came in over the weekend. I will admit to not checking it over the weekend. Take that, Inc.

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Feb012018

    Steve's 12 Rules For Life

    Apologies if this '12 Rules for Life' meme is a bit worn out (I confess to have only just seen it in the last week or so here and here and since I am pretty much absent on most forms of social media these days I have a feeling these kinds of things come and go and I usually don't catch them), but since it reminded me a bit of blogging say, 10 years ago when these kinds of themes were passed around in blog 'tags' and comments, I thought I would give it a shot.

    So here goes - in no order of importance, relevance, research, or general applicability. 

    And, there are lots of more important rules - like the ones concerning family, relationships, etc. that I have no desire to even try to offer advice, let alone rules. Consider these the most unimportant, but somehow vital 12 rules for life you will ever read. If you read them that is.

    And now here goes...

    1. Pick up the tab - You don't have to do this all the time, just sometimes. There is nothing more awkward than handing a server or bartender seven different credit cards to try and settle a $132 check. Pick up the tab and you just made six friends. And made a deposit in the bank of good karma. You may need that one day.

    2. No talking in a public restroom - with the exception of someone in authority if they need to shout 'The building is on fire, everyone evacuate!'

    3. Do whatever you can to control your schedule. Most of us will end up with some kind of job or career where bosses, colleagues, customers, clients, etc. all have some kind of claim on our time. The more you can limit the number of people who can lock up your time and the amount of time you have to be available to others, the more you will be able to focus on what you truly want to do, and I bet you will be happier overall. Call it your own 'Executive Time' if you have to, and block your own calendar.

    4. Don't stress over the dessert or the third slice of pizza or the french fries or whatever you consider your dietary weakness. No one ever looks back on their life and says 'Gee, I wish I drank more water and ate more salad.' 

    5. Jog/walk/move a little bit more. Sometimes when I travel I have to take two pretty long connecting flights in a row. And sometimes I see the some of the same people get off the first plane, where we had all been sitting for three hours or so, and immediately park themselves down in another seat to wait an hour just to get on another three hour flight where once again, we will all be sitting. It baffles me. And while you are at it, you don't need to find the closest parking space to the grocery store or post office or theater. Park a little farther out and walk for two minutes. It's fun. 

    6. Never place a bet on any animal that can't talk. Betting on ones that can talk is also advised against, but it is fun. Except for tennis. Don't bet on tennis, it is pretty likely the match is fixed.

    7. Don't spend too much time on social networks. I know, that 'rule' is everywhere. But even Zuckerberg has admitted that Facebook (heavy use of Facebook anyway), is not that great for you. Check it like you check your snail mail - a quick scan for a minute as you bring it in from the mailbox and then maybe for 15-20 minutes later as you sort out what is important, what can be trashed and what you need to read. Reading long lists on blogs is, however, very admirable and good for you. So keep doing that. Well done.

    8. Sign up for TSA Pre-check. Even if you only travel a few times a year it is worth every cent. 

    9. Figure out the three things or types of work that you like to do the most, (or which you want to become more proficient), and make sure you reserve time every week to work on these three things. Keep (loose) track of the time you spend on these things and do a kind a self-audit every few months to determine two things. One, are you actually making time to do the things you really want to do? And two, are you getting better at these things? I think the thing that holds us back the most at work and maybe even in life, is that we are not good or comfortable with self-examination and making an honest assessment of things. If that sounds like a bit of a confession/admission you are right.

    10. Set expectations (where you can). In a project or a negotiation or even just 'normal' business, people are generally going to be happy or at least satisfied as long as they are not disappointed or surprised. If you have to, set an email auto-responder during your busy times, (maybe all the time), that lays out when people can expect to hear back from you or the time it will take for you to take some action. If you email me today, (it's a Thursday as I write this), and I auto-respond I will get back to you by Monday COB, then at least you understand not to expect a reply on Friday. This is also a confession/admission of sorts.

    11. It's ok to be a snob about something, (wine, beer, cheese, movies, books, etc.) but not everything. Popular culture is called that because it's you know, popular. Lots and lots of people drink Coors Light, eat at Taco Bell, and go on Dunkin' runs. Jumanji grossed about $340M in 2017. And the people that drink Coors Light and hit the Taco Bell on the way to catch Jumanji? You have to work with them, serve them as customers, and socialize with them. You are not any better than them because you like some triple-hopped craft IPA that was brewed in someone's backyard. 

    12. Don't listen to anyone's rules about how to live. Except for number 8 above. You will never regret not waiting in the 'regular' line at security.

    If you decide to post your '12 Rules' somewhere let me know in the comments, or add a rule or two of your own there. 

    Have a great day!

    Friday
    Jan262018

    n = 1

    1. Do for-profit organizations enact general or across the board wage/salary hikes just because more favorable tax policies will result in increased corporate profits? Or do they raise compensation for the basic and fundamental 'talent' reasons we all know about - worries about retention and attraction of people, and the need to compete more aggressively for these people? 

    2. It is not just the United States that seems to want to make immigration more about merit and the need to find workers with a Liam Neeson style 'particular set of skills'. Check out this piece describing the challenge in Japan - facing a declining (and aging) native population and having difficulty recruiting high-skilled workers. If you are a mobile, highly skilled, and adventurous type, I'd say your options for traveling the world and making a great living have never been better.

    3. A recent Marist poll reports that 94% of US workers think it is unlikely they will lose their jobs to automation. One of the reasons cited was 'I don't think a robot would love my job as much as I do'. But I wonder - (sorry Tina Turner), 'What's love got to do with it?'

    4. Want to get a job at auto manufacturer Volvo? You may need to interview inside/with a car (see below, email and RSS subscribers may need to click through)

    5. We did a fun and I think interesting HR Happy Hour Podcast this week - check out Trish McFarlane and I with our new series 'The H3 Hot 3' where we talk pay equity and fairness, leadership when the leader is always right, and why/how change and change management can be so difficult.  

    6. Did your city not make the short list for Amazon's new HQ? Be careful, some losing cities are are now wallowing in an existential crisis of self-examination. My take? I think it is always good to face up to your own weaknesses and limitations. But it isn't great to dwell too long on them. And my city, (for now), will get over it. We still have the Garbage Plate.

    7. Sports take of the week: I am so disappointed in how my New York Knicks are playing. But I am still excited to see HR Tech companies Infor, (Brooklyn Nets), and Ultimate Software (Miami Heat), as official NBA jersey sponsors this season, (and as I predicted way back when). Also, check out the extremely cool Heat 'Miami Vice' alternates that were unveiled this week.

    8. The 2017 Oscar nominations are out. I have to this point seen 2 of the 9 movies up for Best Picture. Going to grind through the other 7 in the next few weeks to get ready for the annual HR Happy Hour Oscars Preview and Predictions show next month. Who do you like for Best Picture?

    9. This was a big week in HR and HR tech for acquisitions. ADP acquired WorkMarket. Maestro Health was acquired by AXA. And in a really exciting development, LRP (the owner of the HR Technology Conference and HR Executive Magazine) has acquired Singapore based HRM Asia. I think these are just the first of what should be a busy and active year for investments and M&A in the HR and HR Tech space.

    10. When does the Shamrock Shake come back? The McRib? These are the important questions that torment me.

    Have a great weekend!

    Friday
    Dec292017

    Five things I think I think, year-end 2017 edition

    Winding down 2017 with five quick observations, (not predictions), about HR, work, tech, basketball, or whatever comes to mind in the 21 minutes I have allotted to complete this final post of 2017.

    1. Workplace- Matt Lauer. Robert Wilmers. Harvey Weinstein. John Skipper. All really powerful execs/talents (and I can name dozens more), that seemingly out of nowhere were here one day and gone the next. If 2017 will go down as the year of #MeToo it will also be remembered by many as the year when organization's lack of planning for the future was severely exposed. There is no doubt that in 2018 we will see more of these abrupt terminations and separations - many from high-profile well known leaders, and many others involving people lesser or unknown, but important to the organization's operations. If I were the Chief HR or Talent Officer of any reasonably sized company, I think I would start 2018 working on my organizational talent depth chart. When your COO or CFO suddenly resigns (or is terminated), on Jan 7, will you be ready?

    2. HR and HR Tech- I am going to have to try really hard not to get too overboard with my recent 'Voice interfaces are the next disruption' take, although I really believe it to be the case. I caught a recent video of an 85 year-old grandma learning to use her new Echo/Alexa device her grandkids gave her for Christmas and I couldn't help but think of the power, accessibility, and reach that voice UI make possible. I still think this will be the story in HR tech in 2018 and 2019. As for 'normal' HR, the tightening labor market shows no signs of reversing as we close the year. 2018 will (hopefully), finally be the year when wages (more broadly), begin to increase meaningfully as organizations chase scarce and powerful talent. Your compensation analysts, (ironically), have become much more valuable to your organization.

    3. Media and content- I have to admit, I have missed, (and probably still will miss in 2018), the idea of the 'pivot to video' that many media companies have made in the last couple of years. Maybe it is because I do have the proverbial face for radio or maybe it's that I still prefer to consume 'real' content in writing. And I still think that most HR, tech, and business professionals are not spending their days at work or on a plane or during their commute watching a stream of short videos instead of reading longer form pieces, (and listening to podcasts, but more on that next). I could be wrong about this. Maybe. But the most compelling piece I read about this pivot to video theorized that it is happening not because it is what consumers/audiences want, but rather because it is what Facebook decided it could sell more expensive ad products against, and thus has prioritized video content in user's news feeds. Sounds plausible.

    4. HR Happy Hour- The HR Happy Hour Podcast is now heading into it's 9th year. It remains my favorite creative exercise and (hopefully), the most valuable contribution that I make to the HR, HR Tech, and workplace communities. And it was cool to think that we (myself, Shauna Moerke at the beginning, and Trish McFarlane now), were on to 'the next big thing' before it was even a thing. Sure, I am shilling, but I am really proud of what we are doing. Shamleess plug - HR Happy Hour Show.

    5. Blog- The blog here is now about 10 years in. At the beginning, I started blogging for the students in an HR Tech class I used to teach. Then, when blogging became much more mainstream in the HR space, I wrote for the increasing numbers of readers, (and for the attention, I have to admit). Now, with attention completely divided up into bite size pieces, spread out across thousands of sites, social networks, apps, and new media, (like podcasts), I think now I mostly blog for me. It still is a mentally valuable exercise, gives me a sense of 'At least I got something done today', and keeps me from getting lazy. In a lot of ways the blog has turned back into what the first (web) blogs were created to do - provide a forum for sharing the blogger's personal thoughts. That still is valuable to me and why I still keep up this blog after all this time. The blog is about what I think is interesting, which is the only way I can stay interested in the blog.

    As always, thanks for indulging me and many thanks for reading in 2017.

    I hope you have a fantastic end to the year, and that 2018 brings you everything you hope it well.

    Happy New Year!