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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mr. Ron, don’t stress yourself out. We will find it. We always do. You will get a call within 24 hours,
the policeman assured me.

I live and work in Dubai, and I had jumped in a taxi at the end of the day and headed to the mall to pick up an item. When I jumped out of the taxi, being consumed as we all are from time to time (talking on cell phone, writing a note, etc.), I was distracted. I paid the driver and jumped out.

Problem was, I left my wallet on the seat in the cab.

Multi-tasking? It should be banned

When I got to the bank and reached for my wallet, what I had done thought sunk in. I realized that because I had been multi-tasking with the phone to my ear, I had left my wallet in the cab.
In a panic, I found a security guard who “walked” me to Lost & Found. Once there I was asked a bunch of questions and they repeatedly said “Mr. Ron, we will find it; you need not worry.”

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What’s a Top-Rate Organization? One That Gives People Keys to the Culture

“They have a common goal and they have to get there together.”

That was a recent comment made by the coach of an NFL team, Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles. His comment that “culture beats scheme” was made in reference to trading one of his star players, who from all indications, was known as a prima donna and high maintenance.

“When he talks about culture, he’s talking about a 360-degree approach,” says David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California Sports Business Institute.

He added, “A scheme might be limited to perfection on the field. Look at him as a CEO. Take that perspective. He’s not a team president in a player-personnel sense, but he’s president of the team itself. He has to understand every facet of the business. He has to communicate what his goals are to every player all the time, like a businessman has to with every employee.”
I love the 360 degree approach to culture. Are you buying into all facets of the organizations existence, or only your favorite parts?

Message sent and delivered

We have all at some times worked with difficult people. You know the kind: People that were brilliant in various phases of their professional lives, but overall, were a handful to deal with. In lots of organizations, we looked the other way while under our breath we whispered what we would like to do.

However, this NFL coach sent a strong message — either you buy into the 360 degree culture he is trying to create, or, you can pull out the suitcase.

For any leader trying to craft a message and build the culture of a winner, you sometimes have to make drastic decisions, because in the end, “no decision IS a decision.”

At one time I worked in an organization where we had one of the “big shots” who went through administrative assistants like Kleenex. There was always the flare-up, and her poor administrative person would bear the brunt of it. In fact, we had one situation where this young person went out to lunch and never returned. That was a first for me, but I was incredulous when hearing the response from the leader to this situation.

The talk from her was all laughter about how this person, fresh out of college, had just up and quit. There was never an ounce of conversation about how this woman had caused this unfortunate set of circumstances. In her mind, the onus was on the person that had just walked out.

Making excuses that were sickening

“You know how she is, she just gets upset sometimes but deep down she is a good person.”

“She is our top business development person; she generates a lot of business.”

“She would have arrived at the office the next day and bought that young lady flowers; she always buys flowers after those blow-ups.”

As I heard all those excuses being made about this supervisor, I knew that I would not be a long-termer in that organization. How these people could let this tyrant [now they are called bullies] run rampant was beyond belief.

However, all this calamity came to an end when a new CEO arrived. The bully, finally, had met her match.

Strike while the iron is hot

The CEO had been briefed about her star pupil, however, she did not deal with it on her arrival. She bided her time until another blow-up happened. The fact is that people like this supervisor cannot help themselves unless the seek professional help. Self-therapy will not create a better person, so it was only a matter of time before there would be another flare-up.

When it happened, the CEO pounced. She immediately called her in and discussed the situation, letting her know that she would not tolerate this type of behavior from ANYONE. That should have settled, it but for most chronic bullies, they can’t help themselves.

A few weeks later, another screaming match ensued. Within an hour, the prima donna supervisor was escorted out of the building. There was a “wave” of emotion from the workforce spread over the various floors. Yes, the bully had finally met her match, and now she was history.

It spreads like wildfire

That sent a resounding message that reverberated throughout, and it was simply this: Behavior like this will not be tolerated.

That message jolted a lot of mini-bullies that had begun emulating that supervisor’s horrible behavior. When this type of outlandish behavior manifests itself, people notice and they feel that they too can get away with it. That is why it is so important to stamp it out immediately.

We have to take these situations head on. If your organization is crafting or tweaking your culture, you have to push it in a mad frenzy to make sure that not 90 or 180, but 360 degrees of effort are pumping at all times. If you want to get it right, no stone should go unturned in trying to create that atmosphere.

So whatever your “scheme” is let your culture be in the driver’s seat. That is the navigator, or your North Star for your destination. It is paramount that each of us hold each other accountable because in the end, it will take all of our efforts, working as seamless as a crew team, to make it happen.

So, give your people the keys to your culture, then sit back and marvel at the results.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

When It Comes to Employee Wages, We Just Need to Do the Right Thing

This pay initiative is an important part of our strategies to continue attracting and retaining the best TJX Chief Executive Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement.
talent in order to deliver a great shopping experience, remain competitive on wages in our U.S. markets and stay focused on our value mission,”

Having noticed from afar the recent groundbreaking announcements that have come from major retailers in the U.S., that decision has given me cause for hope.

First Wal-Mart and now Target has, on their own initiative, decided to raise the wages of their workers. That is a good sign. I particularly liked the above statement, tying it to “attracting and retaining.”

Doing what is right

Cumulatively this may sound like a big drag on company earnings, but I see it more as a stimulus to their bottom line.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Leading in Today’s Workforce: Let Your Personal Style Come Through

“You should never be afraid to let your personality and style comes through.”


That has been a foundational statement for me during my career.

My first job out of college was working in the sales division for IBM. I always tell people that IBM was the Google of its day. As part of the role of becoming a sales associate we were all sent to “sales school” where we had to learn to sell the products, sell the benefits of those products, and extend the brand into the client organization.

It is more comfortable being you

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Giving Is the Very Best Workplace Communication

Sometimes, the best leadership examples come from someone who does not have the lofty titles.
We watch in amazement how one tiny gesture ends up giving us the wow factor in multitudes (as the video below shows). Ordinary people, or those in professions that would not be synonymous with leadership, set an example for all of us to follow.
It always brings a smile to my face when I see these random acts play out.
My first foray into human resources was in training & development, but one of the things I found limiting was that when someone would call me and want to send “John” to a management class.
In their mind, we were supposed to miraculously send this person out as a bad manager, and what we would get in return was a flawless leader? However, what usually would return was an individual that was pumped for a few days, and for the most part, then settled back into the comfort zone

What is your vision of leadership?

A good leader knows that respect is something you earn: from the customer, employees, investors and, eventually, the industry at large. To earn respect, listen to your people, and treat your employees like people.
Treat them as if they are partners in your business, because without them it is all a bad dream. Do not ever get into the mindset like they are subordinates.
A global CEO remarked to me a while back that regardless of nationality, everyone want to be treated with respect and recognized for their hard work.
GustavoDudamel160Treating people with respect also breeds happiness, and the happier your employees are, the more likely they will stay, grow, and refer others to your company. In other words, happy employees equal happy customers. Everyone is in this strategy thing together, not just the senior team.
I recall a story that I read about Gustavo Dudamel, the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic. When you normally think of leadership there is always a certain image that always pops into your head.
You would not normally associate an orchestra leader with organizational leadership. The board was skittish about hiring someone as young as he was in his mid-20. What he did after he was hired is still talked about to this day.

Every interaction counts

Doodle told the Philharmonic board that his first performance would be special and it would be a private affair. I could almost imagine the glances around the room. He told them the attendees would be made up of the parking attendants, ushers, plumbers, electricians, and porters. He wanted all the people who made each performance happen to be a part of it. He wanted his orchestra to play a special performance for “his” people
The vast majority of these people had never attended a symphonic performance. He told the story that as he looked out into the audience, he saw tears running down their faces. They were all dressed in their “Sunday clothes.”
The orchestra members told of the pride they had in that special performance. It gave them such a joy to perform for this special audience, that in a lot of cases, are the overlooked people within an organization.

Real leadership lessons vs an off-site

I learn more about leadership from these type events that all the seminars and off-site event can offer.
What we need to do is more connecting with our team whether you are a supervisor, foreman or an EVP. It does not matter where you are on the totem pole. People want to be treated with respect. If you want it you have to give it. Leadership is a two-way street.
There is no one-way street anymore, and as a matter of fact, all of our interactions could benefit from this approach Those interactions could be the game changer in a lot of different ways.

Giving is the best communication!

I recently saw one of the most profound videos on Facebook the other day. The story was about a little boy caught stealing medicine who was caught by the storekeeper.
He said that he had picked up these items because his mother was sick. Another shopkeeper saw the interchange and stepped in and not only paid for the items, but gave the boy some groceries to take home.
Years later, that same shopkeeper suffered a heart attack in his store. When he got to the hospital they were able to save him, but the hospital bill was enormous. However, the doctor that was treating him turned out to be the same child that he gave the groceries to and paid for the medicine for his sick mother.
As the family agonized over this huge bill, the last scene shows the new bill and the balance is zero — as in paid in full. That same child that became this man, this doctor, gave a helping hand and returned this favor the shopkeeper did for him 30 years later. In his letter, he reminded the man’s daughter that he was the young man her father helped out and that this was his way of repaying.
According to this script, the child grew up to be a doctor, but there was another scene in the movie where a homeless person wanted something to eat. As was his custom, this same shopkeeper did not discriminate; the homeless man also received a small bag of food, the same as that child.

Every interaction counts with EVERYONE

As we venture out each and every day, we never know, or consider, that the people we interact with each day could someday play an important role in our lives. Our problem, especially in our organization, is that we gravitate towards the lofty titles.
From the VP’s on up, they always get the star treatment and we walk past others without even the most basic “good morning, how are you?” Those five words could have a powerful impact on the receiver.
I was reminded of a story from an HR Director who told me that her CEO always talks about how he connects with his employees. The flip side is that he walks in every morning, walks past numerous offices and cubicles, and never utters just the basic “good morning” greeting.
Remember the things you do and all those words you speak. The way you treat others has a lasting effect on all those around you, and an eternal effect on you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Planning For the Worst: Compassion Is the Key When Layoffs Come

“Are we all set. Yes, we are all in compliance with the cost savings. All the numbers are correct. Just give me the go ahead and they are all gone.”
Then the conversation changed.
The executive listening to this rundown told the HR person to stop. Do you know any of these people? The answer was no.
Do you know whether it will be difficult for them to find jobs in your area? “I have no idea” was his reply.
Why does HR seem to like laying off people?
What are your plans for trying to help them land something? “I have none” was his reply.

Friday, February 6, 2015

What Do Organization’s Need Today? A CEOs Who Really “Gets It”......

While waiting for a minor surgery this past week, I asked for reading material. Out comes a newsletter, a printed one.
This hospital — American Hospital Dubai — had just hired a new CEO, Mr. Peter Makowski. His introductory greeting was on the first page of the newsletter under the headline, “From the Desk of the CEO.”
I love it when they get it
What I found in that newsletter was a quote from the new CEO. He gets it. In his introductory message to his employees, he said that his job as CEO was based on the best description that he has heard to describe a CEO’s role.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

What I Learned About Nurturing Talent from My Middle East Gardener

You coddle your people way to much.”
If they do not like this company, let them leave. We can hire someone else at a cheaper price.”
The only people who I consider talent at my network are the people on the air. That is all I care about.”
I’m sick of all this culture stuff. Give me a break.”
All these comments were from senior level executives during conversations concerning engagement, culture, or just their people. The third statement was from the head of a major cable network during a discussion at a dinner party back in New York. That was a very spirited discussion, to say the least.
My wife always tells me to just leave the HR stuff when we go out and lets enjoy the evening. But for some reason if it comes up, I will engage.
Who is in charge now?
I thought of those comments this week during some downtime I had between flights. I once had a former boss tell me that this fancy stuff has no value, but as I travel the global landscape, I am noticing that the pendulum has swung.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A New Way to Work: When Your Office Space Reflects Your Core Values

Landmark Hospitality
As I left a recent presentation at one of our clients, I noticed the design of the hallway leading into the area. My comment was “wow.”
It stopped me in my tracks. The walls were adorned with a blow up of their core values. The other side of the wall were positive thoughts from famous people. I called it a Hallway of Positivity.
With all the talk about culture in organizations today, it makes me proud when I see organizations go all out in trying to create this atmosphere. I sure there are some that will say something like, “yes, but do they live it?
A visual focus on what your culture is about
Landmark Hospitality
Good question, but my take is that during this design process, they could have just agonized over the color of paint and let that be it. But as I walk through their hallways, there are subtle signs throughout that hone in on the same message. That message is, “this is what we are about.”
Today your organization must use every opportunity to talk about what they are about. It is kind of like the soft sell in advertising — keep it front and center at all times.
As I thought more about this, I realized that this type design enables and has the ability to stimulate human flourishing. Walking down a bland hallway, entranceway or walking down that same space with a stimulating color and quotes creates the atmosphere.