Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How Working in the Mideast Made Me Get Serious About Work-Life Balance

The official workday here in Saudi Arabia begins at 8:30 am.

When I turn the corner headed to my parking spot, there are the usual suspects waiting for the gate to open. The time is around 7 am. The majority of the people coming in around this time are Americans.

The other day I was standing in the guard house around 8:15 and I noticed the rest of the workforce coming in. The majority of these workers were non-expats.

At the end of our work day, which is 5:30 pm, the majority of the people you see leaving are non-expats along with a sprinkling of Americans, me being one. My work style has always been this: in early, but leave at the official quitting time.
When the “whistle” blows, I am out.

Burning the midnight oil 

Last weekend, I was out running errands and was in the neighborhood the office is in. As I drove by I noticed a few cars parked at the work campus. Every car was owned by my fellow Americans. The non-expats always tell them that they are crazy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Need a Career or Job Change? The Keys to Change Are In Your Hands

“You are so right! I do own the keys to my career! Love it!”

One of my most pleasurable activities is following up with people who have read a blog post that caused them to send a note. This response was from a Chief HR Officer who is striving to be a new style senior level HR person.

The problem is her leadership team is stuck in the old ways of HR and can’t see the forest for the trees.
In our email exchange, I used the expression “you own the keys to your career; no company ever owns that.”
That is a statement that I have always believed in. When I hear of people discussing their situations, while valid, they should always remember who is in charge. That is something that no one can take away from you.

Get in and move up is an old concept

The strategy at one time was to get into a major company and build your career there. Over the years, theoretically, you would climb the proverbial ladder to more responsibilities, title, and the accompanying benefits that result.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Living the Brand: Infusing Employees With a Greater Purpose

This is from China Gorman, CEO, Great Place to Work
I love Southwest! ‪#‎SWA‬. The pilot of our flight to Orlando just approached them sitting next to me with two extreme special needs boys (4 and 6 years old) to ask if the boys wanted to board first and get their pictures taken in the cockpit before everyone else boards. The pilot was just walking through the boarding area, noticed the family and asked. Really. One of the many reasons I give Southwest my corporate and personal business.”
And this was one of the comments in response, from Gerry Crispin, Co-Founder CareerXroads
Empathy and care for your customers. That’s how companies excel. But I also think that guy is probably a great human being to start with, then add a great culture and workforce engagement and… boom.”
I saw the above exchange on Facebook the other day and my thoughts went immediately to the Southwest pilot. There was no advance notice; the pilot was simply doing what he perceived as something good to make the customer’s day.  There’s nothing in the rule book or policy manual that says you have to be nice outside of your normal job duties. This is a perfect example of an employee living the brand.

Mission accomplished

I went over to the Southwest website and pulled up this mission statement:
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and Company Spirit.”
As I read this I thought back to a time when my wife and I were on a beach vacation. We noticed that three women kept passing us as we sat in our beach chairs. After the third pass, I noticed that they were now coming towards us. I was wondering what this was going to be about.

Do you really work for Martha Stewart, they asked? Yes, I replied; how did you know that? They said it was because of the cap I was wearing.

Then I realized that I had on a baseball cap with the Martha Stewart name prominently displayed. A half-hour later, we had all become “friends.” I told them how much I enjoyed our conversation and asked for their address. I told them that I would send over some Martha Stewart swag.

When I returned to the office, I shipped them caps, t-shirts, cookbooks and a few magazines back to the address they had given me. The recipient was absolutely incredulous that I had responded, and secondly, that I gave them some gifts.

I did it because I believed in the brand and wanted to share with them since they also believed in the brand. Our mission statement at that time was “Turning dreamers into doers.

Our conversation on the beach centered around how they had baked cookies, decorated cakes, and cleaned with a home remedy. They talked to me about how when the magazines arrived, they literally plotted out what they would try. Yes, they had become doers.

A greater purpose than your job

A company is in business to make money, but there has to be a greater purpose. More importantly, the employees must buy into that greater purpose. You can spend all day working with wordsmiths to come up with a mission statement, but if it does not resonate, it may as well be a foreign language.

I see phrases with terms like “operational excellence,” “product leadership,”  and “customer intimacy,” and I think, “what does that mean?” Yes, what does it mean and can my employees connect to those terms and phrases?
Your mission statement must differentiate your organization from others, and it needs to define a unique position in the marketplace. A copycat or “me-too” statement will not have enduring value.

Successful organizations distinguish themselves from others that provide similar services. Strategy without differentiation is really no strategy at all.

The best mission statements are inspiring, clear, memorable, and concise. There are numerous web sites which have a plethora of sample statements you can peruse.

But, if you have to go to website to come up with something to define your mission, you have not given your business a lot of thought. If you have to hire a consultant to come up with a slogan, you are sadly missing the point. Where is the burning desire of what your organization is trying to do?

Peter Drucker once said: “People buy with their hearts, not their minds.” I say that the same is true with employees.

Customer and employees are the same

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Growing Your Career: Let Your Goals Be the Rudder That Guides You There

A headhunter called this week and their client is interested in me for a CEO role. Never really thought of myself at that level. I don’t know if I should call back. I want your thoughts. Current role VP, Operating Committee member, etc.

Need to discuss this opportunity. I have a job offer but it would require me moving to Charlotte. Current situation: working as HR Manager for six plus years, no movement and none in sight.

Received a resume which showed 4-5 roles with same job title: Recruiting Manager.

This past week was career advice week. This is how it started.

Facing tough career decision

Wow, I thought sarcastically, these are real tough decision. I sure would lose a lot of sleep over all of them.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yes, It’s Time to Finally Bid the HR Generalist Goodbye

I do not have time for LinkedIn or any of that, but I DO make time for my pedicures. Super serious HR lady at #gbrshrm.”

This was one that I saw posted last when someone was asking what HR could do that would create more employee engagement. The big answer: “company picnic.”
Robin Schooling’s posted the comment the other day concerning an HR person who told her that she does not have time for LinkedIn and other stuff, but she makes time for pedicures. Both these Facebook comments give insight into the mess that HR finds itself in today.
Trying to step out of this simplistic, gut feel solution to be taken seriously in today’s climate of constant change will require a lot more than this type of approach.
Why HR is in a funk