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    Entries in Technology (218)

    Monday
    Sep082014

    Want to shift power dynamics? Stop saying 'I' so much

    Think about the last conversation you had with your CEO or an Exec at that big new client you are trying to impress. Even better, if you have one, take a look at the last email exchange you have had with one of these big shots. 

    What are you looking for in these interactions?

    How many times you use the personal pronoun 'I'.

    As in 'I am writing to ask you about....' or 'I was referred to you by...' or 'Since you are a distinguished executive, I wanted to reach out to let you know I am a talented.....'

    That kind of thing. It turns out that we don't use the word 'I' so much in these interactions because we are self-centered or conceited, we use 'I' because in these kinds of interactions with whom we perceive to be more powerful people, we get really self-conscious, and start playing the 'I' card way too much.

    This conclusion is based on research from James Pennebaker, from UT-Austin and is reviewed in this piece from NPR - Our Use Of Little Words Can, Uh, Reveal Hidden Interests

    Here is an excerpt from the NPR piece that explains why we use 'I' so much in these situations:

    But some of his most interesting work has to do with power dynamics. He says that by analyzing language you can easily tell who among two people has power in a relationship, and their relative social status.

    "It's amazingly simple," Pennebaker says, "Listen to the relative use of the word "I."

    What you find is completely different from what most people would think. The person with the higher status uses the word "I" less.

    To demonstrate this, Pennebaker pointed to some of his own email, a batch written long before he began studying status.

    First he shares an email written by one of his undergraduate students, a woman named Pam:

    Dear Dr. Pennebaker:

    I was part of your Introductory Psychology class last semester. I have enjoyed your lectures and I've learned so much. I received an email from you about doing some research with you. Would there be a time for me to come by and talk about this?

    Pam

    Now consider Pennebaker's response:

    Dear Pam -

    This would be great. This week isn't good because of a trip. How about next Tuesday between 9 and 10:30. It will be good to see you.

    Jamie Pennebaker

    Pam, the lowly undergraduate, used "I" many times, while Pennebaker didn't use it at all.

    Pretty simple, yet kind of profound too, I think. There, I just did it myself. Two times in fact.

    How could 'Pam' have shifted the power dynamic just a little, while making the same request? How about something like this:

    Dear Dr. Pennebaker:

    My name is Pam, a student in your Introductory Psychology class last semester. The class was enjoyable and the lectures were extremely valuable. Regarding your recent email about doing some research with you, would there be a time for us to meet and talk about this?

    Pam

    Not too bad, right? Still respectful enough, but not as cloying/begging. Not constantly trying to 'prove' in the message that the Professor should take the request seriously. 

    Anyway, check out the piece on NPR for more on Pennebaker's work. 

    And stop saying 'I' so much.

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Sep042014

    Maybe you're spending too much time on Twitter

    Recently Twitter made available to all users of the service its advanced analytics tools that show interesting statistics around impressions, (how many people actually saw a tweet), engagement, (replies, favorites, retweets), and trends over time on these metrics.

    To check it out for your own tweets, just sign in to Twitter then click on http://analytics.twitter.com/

    Below is a screen capture of the top part of my Twitter analytics review from this morning, take a look and then a few comments from me after the image:

    Apologies if it is a little hard to read, but the couple of points I wanted to call out from observing my own data and that might be applicable to you are not really dependent on the precise data points anyway.

    Point 1 - Hardly anyone sees the average Tweet. As of this week I have about 25.4K followers, give or take a few. The average impressions, (people that actually SEE my wonderful Tweets), ranges between about 500 on the low end and 1,200 on the high end. So if you do the math, that means only about 2% - 3.5% of my followers even see the average Tweet. Of course, I have little idea which of my followers these are, but that is a separate point.

    Point 2 - Of the people that actually see my Tweets, about 1% of that group actually "engages" with the update - (replies, RTs, favorites, link clicks, etc.), resulting in an engagement level, when compared to the overall number of followers I have, is almost akin to me simply shouting my status updates and pithy tweets out of the window. Maybe 1 in 10 of my Tweets have 0 engagements, meaning no one replied or clicked or favorited, etc. That is the tweet falling in the woods and having no one there to hear it scenario.

    Point 3 - I think we all, me included, need to keep Twitter, (and every other social network probably), in perspective as to its true reach, value, and the imprimatur it foists on those who have seemed to "figure it out". I have way more followers than the average Twitter user. But I am not sure that really means all that much when looking at some of this data. And I am not even talking about the folks who have bought followers or somehow gamed the system in other ways. That is another story totally.

    I guess my final point is that I and everyone else needs to keep data like this in mind and not just when thinking about Twitter or social networking in general. It is really more about figuring out where and how to spend your time and effort such that you are getting closer to whatever it is you are chasing. And if Twitter is a part of that strategy for you, then you definitely ought to dig in to your analytics and get behind the data.

    What do you think, have you checked out your Twitter analytics? Are my numbers representative or am I just bad at Twitter?

    Wednesday
    Sep032014

    VIDEO: A glimpse of wearable tech for HR?

    I have given a few presentations this year on how advanced technologies like wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and robotics might change work and workplaces, but often in these talks it has seemed like the concepts have felt a little remote or not totally relevant to folks in the audiences (usually HR/Talent pros).

    It is one thing to envision how connected machines, robots, or drones are going to change work on the front lines, but how much, really, will they impact the day-to-day work in HR, Talent, or Recruiting? I suppose HR pros have a right to be a little skeptical about the nature or level of likely disruption.

    Well before you get too comfortable in concluding that HR will be kind of immune to these kinds of technological advances, take a look at a quick (2 minutes or so) video, (embedded below, Email and RSS subscribers will have to click through), of what potential wearables might have in HR, recruiting, etc. The video is a demo of a Google Glass application prototype from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, and I think you might be able to see some obvious, (if creepy) use cases for your work in HR or recruiting.

    The technology, dubbed SHORE (Sophisticated High-speed Object Recognition), gauges emotions such as anger, happiness, sadness and surprise and projects this information directly onto the screen of Google Glass, sort of annotating the face of the person you're speaking with. 

    Pretty cool right? 

    An application that gives you a better read on the emotions of the person with which you are speaking?

    Isn't a lot of HR/Recruiting centered on actually speaking with people, getting a read on them, trying to possibly get behind what they are actually saying?

    Wouldn't this kind of a technology, (when further developed and refined), have some role in HR/Recruiting?

    Wednesday
    Aug272014

    The Gamers are Taking Over the World

    The Video Gamers that is...

    Five quick links that hopefully will get you thinking just a little bit differently or more broadly about the role and value that video games, particularly multi-player online games are having in society, and ultimately workplaces.

    First the big news from earlier in the week:

    Amazon to buy video game broadcasting site Twitch for $970M (CNNMoney)

    Amazon agreed on Monday to pay $970 million to acquire Twitch, a service that lets users watch and broadcast video game play. Each month millions of people tune into Twitch to watch friends and strangers play video games, including competitive tournaments.

    An acquisition by Amazon and the lofty price tag would seem to validate the rise of gaming as a spectator sport. Advertisers are often willing to spend top dollar to reach audiences lured by live sporting events.

    "Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

    Just how popular are video game tournaments, not just online but as big-time events?

    League of Legends eSports Finals Watched by 32 Million People (The Verge)

    Riot Games has claimed that its largest eSports event yet, the League of LegendsSeason 3 World Championship broadcast over Twitch livestream on October 4th, was watched by 32 million people, 8.5 million of whom were watching at the same time. The numbers shatter previous records for eSports viewership, and show that video game streams can rival TV in terms of scale and reach.

    But is anyone, besides the big medial companies, actually making eSports an actual, you know, career?

    The Highest-paid Professional Gamers in the World (Business Insider) 

    Playing video games for a living is the dream of pretty much every adolescent male at one point or another. Believe it or not, there are gamers who are doing exactly that. And they're making some serious money. e-Sports Earnings has ranked the 100 players with the highest overall earnings from competitive gaming. Over 60 gamers have earned over $100,000 in prize money. To top it off, that's not even counting the sponsorship deals and income that many of these players receive from streaming their practice games on services like Twitch.

    Well, so what really? And this is a (mostly) HR/Talent/HR Tech blog, so why are we visiting video games again?

    Should You Put World of Warcraft on Your Resume? (HBR)

    The cognitive and social skills demanded in complex multiplayer games can be every bit as subtle, sophisticated and challenging as stud poker or bridge. Indeed, I know Silicon Valley and (admittedly younger) hedge fund quant teams who bond and boost morale through their Minecraft bouts. I may not fully understand the details of what they’re doing but there’s no doubt that these interactions are building relationships as well as protective structures. These teams —and the organizations that employ them—would likely welcome colleagues and candidates with authentic video-game passion and talent. Trust me, these folks will not be golfing at Torrey Pines.

    And one more, just to offer a hint or two at where things might be heading. And note, while typing this post up I had on some sports talk radio on in the background where the hosts just spent 10 minutes talking about the latest NFL suspension levied upon a player for launching his body/helmet missile-like at a defenseless opponent.

    Gladwell: Why College Football is Like Dog Fighting (CNN)

    In what way is dog fighting any different from football on a certain level, right? I mean you take a young, vulnerable dog who was made vulnerable because of his allegiance to the owner and you ask him to engage in serious sustained physical combat with another dog under the control of another owner, right?

    Well, what's football? We take young boys, essentially, and we have them repeatedly, over the course of the season, smash each other in the head, with known neurological consequences. And why do they do that? Out of an allegiance to their owners and their coaches and a feeling they're participating in some grand American spectacle. They're the same thing. And the idea that as a culture we would be absolutely quick and sure about coming to the moral boiling point over the notion that you would do this to dogs and yet completely blind to the notion you would do this to young men is, to my mind, astonishing. I mean there's a certain point where I just said, you know, we have to say enough is enough.

    Steve here - You were probably surprised a little bit on Monday when you heard about Amazon dropping just shy of $1B on a video game streaming site called Twitch. And if you were surprised that is ok, for now anyway. 

    But I think as a progressive HR and Talent professional you probably need to become more familiar and comfortable with thinking about games and gamers a little bit differently.

    Video games are everywhere. They are mainstream. And more and more people are going to walk into your office and want to talk about the success they have had leading teams in GTAIV or World of Warcraft and hopefully you will get what they are talking about, just like you inherently understand and value 'real' sports backgrounds and success.

    Happy Wednesday.

    Tuesday
    Aug192014

    WEBINAR: The 1st Timer's Guide to Buying HR Technology

    Buying HR Technology (System of Record/HRMS, Applicant Tracking Systems, Performance Management Systems, Recruiting solutions, etc.) should be as easy as buying a high-priced handbag or the latest pair of Jordans! Or Puma Clydes, since I am more of a Knicks fan.

    You see it. You like it. You know it’s going to fit and work for your needs. GO! Make the purchase. But it’s not that simple. Buying HR Technology is hard, confusing and frustrating.  A miss can potentially stall your career and undermine your credibility.

    But fear not, gentle readers, your pals over at Fistful of Talent are here to help, with the latest installment of the popular (and FREE), FOT Webinar series with Buyer’s Remorse: The FOT 1st Timer’s Guide to Buying HR Technology, set for August 28 at 12pm ET and which is designed to help the HR pro navigagte the sometimes tricky waters of the HR technology market and buying process. I will be on the webinar, joined by FOT's Tim Sackett to break it all down in classic FOT-style.

    So plan to join Tim and I on August 28 at 12pm ET and we'll hit you with the following

     

    1. The Difference between a Suite or a Best-of-Breed Product: Why you should care? Which one is right for you to buy? We'll break it down based on your unique needs.

     

    2. The Decision Tree/Process That Helps You Arrive at the Right Decision Regarding Which Solution to Buy. Yes, we can tell you exactly what to buy! But we won’t, because great HR Pros need to understand how to make these decisions. But don’t worry---we’ll show you how!

     

    3. Six Tips and Tricks the HR Vendor Community Uses to Get You To Buy Their Product---which might not be the product you actually need. Learn how to make sure you don’t succumb to these tactics when making your next buying decision.  This section alone will ensure you take control of your next buy like a pro!

     

    4. The Secret for Getting Your Organization to Invest in HR tech and How to Build ROI for your Executive Team. Every buying decision comes down to the why and ROI, and your ability to persuasively and concisely get your organization to support your recommendation.  Sometimes the hardest part of an HR Tech buy is your ability to get approval to buy!

     

    Bonus Feature: CEO Ben Peterson, from BambooHR (an HR solution specifically designed for small-to-medium-sized HR departments), will stop by and do a quick Q&A with Tim and Steve to discuss the biggest mistakes he sees HR buyers make when making HR Tech purchases... and how to avoid making those same mistakes yourself!

     

    Things that are hard:  Riding a bike on a freeway. Getting your kids to eat peas. Buying HR Tech. Join us on August 28 at 12pm ET for "Buyer’s Remorse: The FOT 1st Timer’s Guide to Buying HR Technology," and we'll make buying HR Tech easier. You're on your own with the other two.

     

    Please join Tim and I on August 28, I promise, as always, 60% of the time our advice works every time!

     

    REGISTER HERE: