Saturday, February 26, 2011

HR Lessons and Trickle Down Leadership in The Devil Wears Prada

Editor’s Note: With the Academy Awards taking place Sunday, TLNT asked  some thought leaders to write about their favorite movie with a management or HR theme. We’ll feature these up to the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 27.

By Ron Thomas

“Don’t be ridiculous, everyone wants this,” Editor-in-Chief Miranda coolly stated as she rode through the beautiful streets of Paris in her chauffeur driven S Class Mercedes. The CEO stated in the elevator that “a million girls would kill for that job.”

This was the brand as they saw it in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.” This was the brand that Andy (played by Anne Hathaway) saw and most definitely the brand that the gatekeepers in HR kept in mind when they decided who could come to interview.

This movie has HR footprints all over it, from branding, recruiting, employee engagement, management dysfunction, succession planning, leadership, mentorship. All the ills of the organization are woven through the narrative of a movie about a young college graduate getting her first job. She’s all wild eyed and eager  – until she is thrown into this sink or swim playground.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Lesson at Time Inc: How Long Do We Keep Those Out of Touch With the Culture?

It was like a surgeon strategically wielding a scalpel taking out the organ that the body rejected.

“I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner,” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes stated in a memo. And with that, it was over and done with.

The Chairman and CEO of Time Inc, Jack Griffin was fired on Thursday evening by Bewkes. Six months was all it took and the decision was made.

As I worked out on Friday morning, this announcement flashed across the TV screens. My reaction? Wow.

How many times as HR professionals have we seen that happen? Yes, we have seen it at lower levels but not at the top of the mountain. That does not happen very often. There have been times that you have seen employees that you would have cheered for the opportunity to wield the scalpel to, as was done over at Time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Building a Brand: What Would Your HR Department “Elevator” Pitch Be?

If you had to create a commercial for your HR department, what would it say? In creating brochures or other collateral material, what would be the value that you would bullet point?

I thought of this during the recent Super Bowl. There was just so much chatter about the ads. The marketing/advertising departments at these companies that advertised put in long hours getting their message out. To the advertising industry, the Super Bowl stage is the apex of the year.

This stage has become what I would call the American Idol of the industry.

Create your HR Brand

If your HR department had to create an ad about the value of your brand and the importance of your function, what key points would you use to craft a relevant story?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Personal Branding: It’s All About Creating Great Footprints in Our Life

This winter has created a terrible snow situation here in the New York City metro area. There is snow everywhere.

I looked outside this morning and could see footprints of various animals walking through the snow. Their footprints were all visible showing the directions that they were headed.

As many of you who follow my blog know, my daughter recently started her first post-college job. In resigning from the two part-time jobs that she was working, she did her exit interview. She was so excited that both companies said that they would rehire her. They told her that anytime she wanted to come back part-time, they would accommodate her.

My response was “you created a great brand during your stay and you made the connection.”

It is all in the brand whether it is the organization or you personally.

I told my daughter a story about how I was invited to lunch a few months back by a very good friend Mark Winkler, AVP Circulation at Martha Stewart Living. We decided that, rather than meeting at the restaurant, I would come up to his office.

This was the first time that I had been there since I left in 2008. I was a little hesitant at first since I had been gone so long. I knew the company had gone through a lot of changes and there were a lot of new faces.
But there were still lots of people that I was looking forward to seeing. I had kept up with them by e-mail, Facebook and all the social media tools.

Creating footprints

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A New Way to Engage: Are You Ready for an Organizational Pit Stop?

While sitting through a presentation by the Medici Group last Friday, one of the slides caught my eye.
Franz Johanssen, an international management consultant whose workshop helps companies innovate through the “intersection of ideas, concepts and culture,” gave a stunning presentation.

As we often do, sitting though presentations, there are times that our mind just wanders. We sometimes have so many other thoughts pushing through our space that we are there and at the same time we are not there.

The slide was the photo of a pit stop. I must confess that I am not a fan of car racing by any stretch of the imagination, but this slide really got me to thinking.

Organized mayhem