Presenters: Channel Your Inner Fonz When You Are Live

I just saw something wonderful.

I have to give a shout out to William Tincup (Tincup and Co) from Drive thru HR and co-host Lars Schmidt from NPR.  I am a fan of DTHR, a daily HR radio show; a show dedicated to highlighting HR pros for 30 mins a day. The same question asked every day of the pro, “What keeps you up at night?”  It think the answer after this broadcast would have been “teaching bad presenters how to be better”.

At #SHRM12 as a part of the new social media hub “the hive”, William Tincup did a live broadcast at the conference of Drive Thru HR.  Cool.  REPEAT – this was LIVE.

You all know what happened.  The inevitable.  Tech problems on a global scale.  The mics didn’t work, the telephone feed- which took a long time to get up and running- had a terrible echo, blah, blah.  No slam on SHRM– that happens regularity.  What doesn’t happen regularity is the presenter (in this case the MC) keeping their cool.

The wonderful Mr. Tincup didn’t sweat it, his voice was calm his body language was calm, he just Fonzed it up.  He made a few low-key jokes, it was cool.  He apologized to phone guest, on the air asked to reschedule, and then interviewed the co-host.  Let’s just say he made some lemonade folks.

Its a little sad that this is groundbreaking behavior.  But when something rare and extraordinary happens, I gotta give it a little love.

Good job boys.

Jim Collins: Second Verse Same as the First; HR Still Hasn’t Learned

Some may say they have been there done that w/ Jim Collins. Especially bloggers.  But I still am a fan.  I mean, you’d have to admit that Good To Great did kinda turn HR over a bit…it a good way.  Albeit it years ago. Right seat on the bus and all that.

Some of the bloggers though are still frustrated that years later HR pros still put strategy first; people second.  To the point of eye rolling.  To the point that they don’t even want to hear Jim Collins anymore.  BUT, Jim Collins is still making a zillion bucks telling HR what HR should have gottent years ago.  People decisions are the most important in any corporate world.  Especially the HR World.  Until HR gets this… Jim should continue to preach it.
 I am lucky my CEO (Daxko), Dave Gray, has gotten this for a long time- so we are ahead of the curve, and frankly I don’t have to pitch this too hard (if at all).  That’s why I wanted and (hopefully) got my job.  The VP of People (me) and the CEO (Dave) are sympatico.
So, Jim still is asking the 16K audience at Shrm12 (of which 14K of these HR folks seem to be hearing these concepts for the first time) “what makes a great company tick? What marks the people who lead them?”  He suggests studying failures to see what makes a company tick.  Studying  success is a waste of time.  However when you study the contrast between success and failure, that’s when corporate breakthroughs happen.  I do think the study of failure is much more interesting, but freakishly hard to do.
Greatness is not a function of circumstance, but of conscious choice and discipline.  Disciplined people decisions are the most important corporate decisions.
Big Takeaways from Jim (quoting him):
  • People first/ strategy second.
  • Humility is the X factor of great leadership.
  • Leaders should aspire to be the dumbest person in the world.
  • Quit trying to be be interesting and start trying to be interested.
I think that says it all. You arrogant leader.

#SHRM12 Shuttle Failed Me; But I Found Some Inspiration

So the shuttle failed me today.  I was on my way to a session from my buckhead and my shuttle took an hour to get there and to the conference.

Never fear.  In the spirit of my last post I  loved the one I was with.  I met a lady at the “bus stop” named Colleen Wright, Director of HR for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  She is a trench HR pro who I struck up a conversation with: about the heat, about the size of the conference, and naturally about HR.
Here is what was great about the conversation.  She was a trench HR pro, out of the blogger circles, out of the fringe HR spin.  And she got it.  A trench HR pro, educating ME on the virtues of authentic, engaging HR.  It’s importance, its relevance, etc.
Why is this newsworthy.  Because maybe… just maybe the word is getting out. I loved it.
I know this is a small post.  But mighty.

Key to #SHRM12: Stay away from the Super Excited

So I just got to the W hotel in Buckhead and am on the shuttle to the big SHRM12 conference.  It’s hot as crap.

Now, i will warn you.  This is a big conference and you are going to run into a lot of people who are “Super Excited!”.  Please ignore these people.  They will zap your energy and make you want to never come to another conference again.

You will also run into people who are going to continually give you their elevator speech… “yes I have my MA  in HR and I was the chapter president of my local shrm.  I am super excited that I am going to get to wear 5 ribbons on my badge!”.  For those of you who don’t know, there is a booth at the Expo where you can get all kinds of ribbons to add to your badge signifying if you are a member, a president of a chapter, etc.   If you run into someone with any ribbons, steer clear.  They take this WAY to seriously.   Gang, I am actually sitting next to this person on the shuttle right now. So, they are out there.

Make your conference experience your own.  I love energy, but stay away from Super Excited… they will make the conference about them.  You want this experience to enrich YOU. There is alot of cool stuff to see and hear.  Keep your cool… and you’ll walk away with a lot of great knowledge.

Despite that though I am really interested in this years line-up.  And you all should be too.  It seems that SHRM over the years has gotten key-note speakers that really do appeal to me more and more. Malcom Gladwell, who I have heard before, is always a favorite.  If you havn’t had an opportunity, please check this guy out.

Did I say it is hot on this shuttle?

Facebook Friend Snubs; You May Be Asking For It

How do you handle rejection? How you handle rejection in HR will make or break your career. Indulge me in a little story.

Today for the first time, straight on, openly, someone denied my friend request on Facebook. Ouch. See I sent a friend request to someone and never got a response (for like a year). I thought, maybe it got lost in the shuffle. So, since we seem to run in the same writing circles, I messaged them asking to friend me, IF and only if they were cool with it. I also said if you aren’t that’s OK cause I know FB is something a little more personalized. When I wrote them that “out”, I really meant it.

Then they rejected me. They indicated that maybe after SHRM12 they would (I guess after they got to know me better). The response was a nice one (this person is nice after all). But it politely declined my invite. Wuh? Holy crap. Really? So after I shook it off and got over myself, I thought about it more clearly.

Disclaimer:  This is not a post slamming this person.  I have denied requests as well.  Also, some really do keep FB limited to personal friends.

A few thoughts:

  • Rejection sucks. You can’t change that. I don’t care – even the coolest of the cool hate to be rejected.
  • Chill.
  • Take adults at face-value.  What you see is what you get.  This person didn’t accept my friend request a year ago; I shouldn’t have made justifications for it; it just is.
  • It is OK to get rejected.
  • It is really OK to get rejected if you TELL them they can.
  •  You should NEVER have to ask someone to be your friend twice. In real life you should never really have to ask them once, friendships aren’t forced, they just are. I learned that lesson in Jr. High. Now, Facebook you may ask twice because the premise is asking for friends. But really, just once peeps unless a door is opened another way.
  • Not everything is about you.

HR Takeaway:

  • Your ideas will get rejected regularly, cause you have no authority.
  • Handle professional rejection calmly and patiently.  Being obnoxious about it is just dumb.
  • With adult co-workers what you see is what you get most of the time.  You shouldn’t have to make too many excuses for certain actions.
  • Don’t give co-workers that automatic “out” to your ideas. For instance, don’t position yourself to be rejected. What do I mean. Don’t say, “I really have this wonderful idea for succession planning… but if you aren’t feeling it, or think it is too premature to roll out that is OK”. You’re projecting 12 reasons why it doesn’t have to work.

So how should I have asked for the friend request?  Instead of “friend me please….if you want (head bowed down)”, I should have said “I’ve seen your posts and think we have similar HR styles.  I’m VP of People for a tech co, Write for Fistful of Talent and the Insomniac and may even be a potential customer.  I think we could learn alot from each other so I’m reaching out….”

I very well could have been rejected again, but WOULDN’T have been asking for it. 

I have to say, I respect the fact that this person had the decency to respond to my message.  Others just ignore, delete, and hide behind the media.  Good for this person for having a little courage.

But even if they “like” me better after SHRM, I won’t ask again.

Cork or Screw Top: Is the HR Flavor the Same?

HR pros, are you and HR cork or HR screw top?

I was watching No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.  I am in love with him.  My husband likely knows this.  He had a great episode featuring Paris’s greatest new culinary awesomeness and he was with Eric Repirt, Michelin chef and regular judge (with Anthony) on Bravo’s Top Chef.  Anthony Bordain and Eric Repirt are legendary chefs educated the old-school way, but strive to highlight new twists in the culinary world.

The French, famous wine aficionados, take their drink seriously.  A conversation about wine went something like this (all paraphrased by the way).

Anthony asks Eric, “so what do you think about cork in the wine bottles vs. the new screw tops?” 

Eric:  Silent (through his look you could tell he was not a fan of the new screw top). 

Anthony:  Ok, but tell me, is there any flavor difference between the two?

Eric: Stammer, stammer, retort, stammer…

Anthony: Fine, but you haven’t answered the question….Is there any flavor difference?

Eric:  Stammer, stammer, retort, stammer…

Anthony:  Do you really think there is a flavor difference or are you driven by the emotional attachment of the cork?

Eric: silence, awkward but knowing smile on face.

Anthony:  I rest my case…

Frankly, I was a little shocked that Anthony seemed to suggest the new screw top was just as good as the cork functionally.   

So as an HR pro, are you cork or screw top?

  • Cork = the established way of doing things.  Corks, like how they look and feel.  They like that classic tactical feel that’s not been question for years.  And bending them, like a cork, is difficult.  Since they are effective as a FUNCTION they rarely question changing.  I’m getting the job done.


  • Screw top = new innovative, more effective and efficient HR.  The screw top works more efficiently. It isn’t stuck in the bottle but on top.  It is not enmeshed in it’s function yet completes the task.  It is quickly accessible to the drinker, easy to flex, takes less time to break open, and allows the drinker to open without additional tools (aka the wine opener).  Plus being a literal screw top is often needed in the new HR.


As a wine drinker, frankly I am emotionally attached to the cork.  I do like the ritual of opening the bottle, smelling the cork, etc.  I think the screw top is less sexy than a cork and frankly, by default, couldn’t imagine a screw top preserving flavor as well as the cork. I mean doesn’t the cork add some kind of corky natural enhancing taste!?

It apparently doesn’t.  HR doesn’t’ need to be sexy all the time.  It needs to function, but quickly. Especially if your company’s growth demands it.

#SHRM12 advice: Love The One You’re With

I worry too much.  I beg you…don’t. 

This will be the third national SHRM conference I am attending.  The first time I attended, I was pretty caught off-guard with how big this thing was.  It wasn’t impossibly big, my imagination just failed me on how big it could have been and ultimately was.

So… you do need to spend some time planning what you want to do.  Hell… 4 planning hours total should do it.  If you need a little help with this, check out China Gorman’s post Maximizing Your Conference Investment.  Spend a little time creating a basic map of what you want to hear, what you want to see and who you want to network with.  

But I find a lot of people are getting serious stomach pains about being at the right place, with the right people, at THE right networking event.  I get it…I live it.  I beg you; please do not let any sort of insecurities delude you that specific items, people, or places are THE events to attend.  Sometimes logistics, oversights or mixed-communications will take you away from the path most traveled.  This is OK.  This may even be a blessing to you from the HR Gods.

Last year in Vegas, I was unexpectedly invited by @GerryCrispin to a dinner with a few HR pros, most I had heard of but didn’t know.  I thought about the plans I had already made and after about 1 minute scrapped them.  I went to dinner with this great group and enjoyed this low-key evening as much if not more than other events.  Events I had researched and planned for.

If your plans fail… embrace it.  Hang with the other person who didn’t make that “exclusive” networking event and make your own event.  Keep an open mind about all of it.  I mean ALL of it.  Do NOT take yourself too seriously.  As long as you choose to engage, there is so much to see and do, I guarantee your experience will still be great no matter what you attend.


  • Do NOT let any one else dictate or define your experience.
  • If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.

PS  —  Going back to the hotel and getting some sleep is very underrated.  When in doubt…chill out with some room service.

Is Succession Planning Zombie-fying you; check out #FOT Webinar

Hey Insomniacs!

 I have to give a plug to a new Webinar coming your way.  If you think performance reviews are a waste of your time… you need to check this out.  If you are bored with performance reviews because they don’t seem to amount to much…you need to check this out.  If you want to hang with the FOT crew…you need to check this out. 

 More stuff:  Halogen is bringing in the team at Fistful of Talent for a quick, street smart webinar on how to bootstrap a talent review and get started with Succession Planning.  Attend “Zombies, Grinders and Superstars:  The FOT Talent/Succession Review” to get the following goodies:

  •  How what you do with performance management at your company is directly related to how you approach talent reviews and succession
  • Why corporate values don’t belong anywhere near your performance management system
  • How items called “potential factors” add flavor to your approach to performance/talent/succession, and how to create potential factors for your company to use in the talent review
  • How to use the talent review process to calibrate performance ratings across your company, box in managers who are soft on performance and create a greater sense of pay for performance in your organization
  • An outline and best practice notes on how to run a talent review meeting, with formats that differ for your company’s Leadership Team, a division/departmental group, or a high potential employee program.

This webinar comes with the Fistful of Talent guarantee:  60% of the time it works every time.  Join the FOT crew as they tell the truth and cut through the smoke and mirrors related to Talent Reviews as a part of your succession program.


Register Today! 

Feel The Thrill – Of Trying Out A New Stall

So I had my third cup of coffee and had to use the “facilities”.  Nothing major here folks- so chill. Anyway, my usual stall was being used.  And I for a minute was a little lost.  My brain wasn’t sure which way to turn or go.  Left or right?  Close to the sink?  Or should I be really adventurous and use the handicapped stall (it’s so roomy).

I left the bathroom and thought; did I really have a complicated conversation in my head deciding what my 2nd alternative stall should be?  Yes, I really did. I mean, do you blame me—I’m used the TP being on the left side not the right. 

Of course you know the rest…by second stall choice was just fine.  Although I still had “phantom TP” pains still reaching to the left for the roll, my trip was successful.   Although I tend to have an adventurous spirit, even I get used to doing things a certain way.  So much so we don’t even realize the little things we become so used to.  We talk about change so much, but creature comforts and routine really are great. 

HR data shows change is hard.  Quickly changing work environments who embrace “failing fast” further complicates the change process.  However, trying new things can be a kick too and usually not as difficult (at times) as we tend to think.  Most of the battle is having a little faith and courage to choose the next stall.