Sunday, November 8, 2015


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Only Time Will Tell If You REALLY Believe That Employees Come First

There are only three agenda items at our executive meetings: People, sales, and profit.

In what order I asked? “That is the order,” was the response.

Everyone in the room looked on like an approving parent.

I belong to a group in Dubai that we called UAE HR Leaders Forum. It is a Whatsapp group that is just absolutely amazing.

We use the social media app to keep in touch throughout the week, pose questions, ask for assistance, etc. Every day there are numerous questions going back and forth about projects, vendor assistance and guidance?

The conversation above was a Chief HR Officer for a major retailer in the region describing how his leadership extols the virtue of their workforce. They are people driven and proud of it. Their thought is that their people come first. They know, and rightly so, that they will in turn take care of their customers.

Employees first, customers second

Are You Making Sure To Change Your Talent Along With Your Strategy?

I have never had strategy and talent explained that way. I am a professor at a Business School here in Dubai and I teach strategy. We should put something together.

At the end of one of my speeches, I was approached by this professor who gave me his background: Ph.D Business, Dean of the Business School, and strategy and logistics expert. I was impressed, to say the least

The title of my presentation was Strategy and Talent: The Key to Organizational Success. As an instructor for the Human Capital Institute, our version of Strategic HR centers on that slide. Strategy changes and the talent equation changes.

Sounds simple enough

The Tide Is Turning – The Old Ways Of Managing A Workforce Are Evolving

These were recent headlines that came across my news feed:

Would You Give Staff a Three-Day Weekend? Global Retailer Uniqlo is Giving it a Go

Facebook Co-founder Calls Out Tech Industry for Lack of Work-Life Balance

How Working Long Hours is Hitting Your Health

How Companies Are Changing Old Ways to Attract Young Workers

In Big Move, Accenture Will Get Rid of Annual Performance Reviews and Rankings

These were headlines that made me go, “Yes, Baby!”

I speak at a lot of colleges in the Middle East, specifically to the HR programs, and one thing I tell them is that the workforce needs you. Your generation is going to bring some organizations out of their industrial stupor.

Begrudgingly, some will make the move and some will keep their heads buried in the sands. The ones that take the step and enter into a new world where every rule and workplace policy is reviewed will stumble at times — but in the end they will win.

The tide is turning

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Better Engagement? It Trickles Down From Managers to Your Employees

I do not care whether anyone here likes me or not.

Please do not come to me with this, I should be the last person that you come to with questions, go figure it out.

Now I just do my job and what is required. Nothing more.

This one-sided conversation was sent to me the other morning from one of my mentees who is struggling with a bad boss.  She loves her job, but the manager dynamic is fragile, to say the least.
The conversation made me remember a terrific white paper that I recently read — State of the American Manager — produced by Gallup. This is a must read for any organization that struggles with engagement.

One of the most glaring statistic was this:

Managers account for at least 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.”

The drill sergeant disguised as manager

Monday, August 24, 2015

Maybe Amazon’s New World Of Work Isn’t Right For Someone Like Me

“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk,” said former Amazon employee Bo Olson, who worked in book marketing. Or, they very wisely chose to leave.

Explanations like “we’re not totally sure” or “I’ll get back to you” are not acceptable, many employees said. Some managers sometimes dismissed such responses as “stupid” or told workers to “just stop it.”

Ideas are critiqued so harshly in meetings at times that some workers fear speaking up.

“You learn how to diplomatically throw people under the bus,” said a marketer who spent six years in Amazon’s retail division. “It’s a horrible feeling.”

“You either fit here, or you don’t”

Your Best Employee Role Model? It’s When You Have Active, Engaged Managers

“I love this job. The work I do is so interesting and I am finally in a job that I am learning so much.

My problem is that this manager of mine is totally out of control. Everybody knows it, even her boss, but he just looks the other way. That is why I am beginning my search. We have loss so many good people over the year I have been here because they just will not tolerate it.”

That was an interesting insight I was given the other day. It caused me to think of a seminar on employee engagement I ran in Cairo a few months back where one of the participants gave another interesting insight. They said, “Fire all the bad managers since that is where engagement begins.” Applause erupted.

Whatever your views on bad managers, and/or engagement for that matter, it comes down to two people in the room. The relationship that managers create with their team will determine the level of engagement within your organization.

It starts one connection at a time.

Does your department resemble a wake?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Does Everyone In Your Employ Know Your Organization’s Purpose?

“We believe in our mission and values. We are a connected company and our engagement is strong.
Our people believe in what we do. As a matter of fact, we have a leadership development session coming soon where we are bringing in a world class mountain climber to talk about being a leader.”

This was what I heard from a CEO who I had just met. I must say I was impressed — that is, until I met with their head of HR sometime later. She was incredulous and just shook her head.

That conversation came back into focus this week as I read a recent Gallup study titled A Company’s Purpose Has to Be a Lot More Than Words. I was informed that Mr. CEO I had heard from is the same guy who comes in every morning and walks through the workspace headed directly to his office without offering even the most basic pleasantry, “Good Morning.” He goes into his office and closes the door. So much for being connected.

The big disconnect.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Management 101: Connecting With Employees Beyond Their Job Description

Think back to grade school, high school, college, or your past jobs; I want you to think of the teacher or manager that during this period had an impact on your life. If you can’t relate to that time period, think of the person that connected with you in such a way that you still think of them. I want you to be able to explain why that person is special.”

This was my group discussion question as I led a manager development group the other week here in Dubai.

I wanted them to think of how that person connected to them and meant so much in their lives. This towering figure is one that comes across our minds from time to time, the warm glow comes from the positive interaction that you both had.

I reached out to one of my favorite teachers a while back and she was so shocked to hear from me. The thrust of my conversation was “thank you.”

Employee-manager equation