Talent Takes Time !!

This weekend I had an incredible time with my son and 5,000 other Boy Scouts at Peterloon.  This isn’t a post about scouting, it’s about talent.

You see, this weekend my son was the “Senior Patrol Leader” meaning that he was in charge of the entire weekend.  He made sure everything was packed, ready to go, the camp was set up and the boys/adults had a productive time during the event.  He had to organize activities, keep track of details, encourage great behavior and address behavior that was a little more “challenging.”

During the camp tear down, I was about to “direct” some scouts to take care of things, when my son stepped in and said, “Dad, that’s not what we’re going to do.  That’s not a good use of our time.  I want to see the boys move the dining flies, tear down the chairs and then put things in the trailer.  Then we’ll eat.  We need to get these things done so we can stay on track.”

Did I mention my son’s 15 ??

This is the same young man who has done all of the goofy things boys do.  He’s incredibly funny, creative, witty and caring.  I am sure he will be successful in whatever he chooses to pursue.  His ideas are so far out of the box as to how to approach people that he finds people following his lead and innovation.

He’s a great example of why talent takes time.  If you would have told me that my son would become the young man I saw taking charge this weekend when he was young, I would have laughed out loud !!

Too often in organizations, HR follows the bright shining star who bursts onto the scene.  Everyone follows this person exclaiming their talent and the gold mine of leadership that he/she is sure to be for years to come !!  At times, this plays out.  However, too often the supernova is just that – a super nova.  They dazzle, draw attention and may do something short-term that astonishes everyone around and has great initial success.

Talent happens over a slow burn.  Talent is sustainable.  Talent is consistent and remains constant . . . over time.

So, when you clamor for the next “Talent Management” seminar or best practice, step back and review the employees around you.  Who is that person or department that consistently builds others up?  What person(s) make others shine through bringing their whole team along?  Are you trying to develop a series of supernovas, or true talent?

I can’t wait to see what happens in the future for my son.  I know it’s impossible to predict.  He’s surprised me so far.  I’m sure the great people around you will surprise you as well . . . if you just look out for the talent all around you !!

 

 

Read a Good Book Lately ??

A good friend of mine (and of many), Becky Robinson, started this great new group calle Team Buzz Builder.  If you are part of the the “team,” you are asked to read new books and then give your opinion about them.  This is new to me, but I wanted to be involved because I am a voracious reader !!

In fact, right now I’m finishing up the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy, just wrapped up the great read Social Gravity by Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen as Talent Anarchy, finished a book by Thomas Cahill and am about to pick up a book by Dietrich Bonhofer.  I love having 3 to 5 books going at one time.  It may be a little erratic, but I dig it.

Every once in awhile a book stops you in your tracks and makes you delve more into it and enjoy every moment.  I recently came across just such a book.  It is Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni.  I couldn’t put it down – literally !!  The book is fast paced and yet the most insightful book around the topic of professional development that I’ve ever encountered !!

The book struck a true cord with me because it’s approach made so much sense.  As HR professionals, we keep looking for THE system that will finally address the lack of feedback and/or performance metrics in our organizations.  We continue to hold onto the ancient notion that the annual “sit in front of my supervisor who rarely tells me how I’m doing so he/she can focus on my weaknesses” is effective.  It’s not.

Employees long for development regardless of their level in an organization.  The notion of “up or out” doesn’t come close to how lean organizations operate these days.  Beverly and Julie have written out a perfect method to address all forms of development and have made it relevant to ANY industry type.

HR – please take note of this.  I’m not a person to just share my opinion if it’s not something I’d be willing to practice.  I’m using this book as our “script” at looking at development internally at the Leadership level and in our pizzerias.  I’m getting a copy of the book for each of the SHRM Chapter Presidents in Ohio because I want to see them develop as leaders and for them, in turn, to develop the HR folks in their chapters.

The book is a must read because it’s applicable.  How often do you find that ??  I recommend you read the book first and make your determination.  I’m all in !!  I hope you will be too !!

 

Play Ball !!

This week I head out to the 40th Annual Ohio HR Conference – HR: A League of Our Own !!  Geeked isn’t even a strong enough word for how excited I am !!

The Conference Committee has once again put together a spectacular event including national speakers, buckets of HRCI credits, incredible Resource Partners and other surprises that will make for a sold-out show !!  Standing room only !!

I know that we are in the midst of State Conference season.  As I was packing my gear getting ready to head north to Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, Ohio, I wanted to share some things I’ve found that make a conference successful !!

Have a game plan !! – That goes for every aspect of the conference.  How long does it take to get there?  Are you firm on which sessions/speakers you want to see?  There are many more questions to consider, but by planning ahead, you won’t be rushing to decide when you arrive.

Meet the team !! – No game is complete without meeting the great folks around you.  I know this may come easier to some than others, but we’re in HR – we should be able to get out and make some great new professional connections.  This includes both attendees and Resource Partners !!  The vendors may be the perfect piece you’ve been looking for to enhance your efforts at work.  Don’t just get the swag.  It is fun, but meet the great folks too !!

Start the Wave !! – This is a big step for most folks, but conferences are not only a great venue for professional development, but they’re also a great place to stretch a little.  Go to sessions that may show a different perspective than what you’ve traditionally attended.  You may find great information that can make your HR efforts a “grand slam” in your organization !!

So, in the end, get off the bench and hit the field.  It’s time to Play Ball for all of us !!  Make sure you are getting out to a phenomenal SHRM State Conference around you.  They are amazing and you’ll love them !!

 

 

So Much Room to Move !!

Rain for hours.  Mud everywhere. Solemn flag retirement.  Scavenger hunt.  Tons of Euchre games.  Food that is flat amazing.  Big word Saturday (you got credit if you used big words during your conversations). Flames shooting from a lantern, and everyone points and says, “Mr. Browne – look !!  Cool !!”

As I type this week’s post, I’ll be honest, I’m exhausted.  I just returned from a weekend of scouting with the great boys and adults of Troop 941. It’s our annual “advancement outing” where we get our new scouts started along their way, and the older scouts also work on things to advance in their ranks. It seems that every Advancement Outing is filled with challenging weather and unexpected surprises.  This one was no different !!

One of the things I truly love about Scouting is that the focus is to let the boys learn, fail, learn again, teach and then move forward.  The hope is that they get the spark to someday reach Eagle Scout.

It’s interesting because the Troop is a microcosm (big word) of the workplace.  Every boy is different and has quirks that make them truly standout.  As adult leaders, we do our best to guide them to making the decisions that will allow them to truly develop.  We are constantly fighting the urge to jump in and fix it all because we learn that our greatest trial is . . . patience.

The beauty of the system is that the boys can do so many things in so many ways to reach their goals.  This drives some adults (and boys) crazy because they feel that tight structure will lend a successful end for one and all.  Some kids don’t even see the structure (which warms my heart !!)

In the workplace, we in HR use policies as our “structure” and we do our best to enforce, cajole and discipline everyone who falls outside of them.  We think we’re doing our job, but not really.  I think policies are broader than most.  They should be parameters that allow people room to move and perform.  They should never be vehicles for control than can never be fully reached and will most certainly not allow people to be consistent.

We need to be like the scouts who look at eminent danger and say, ” Oooh, cool !!”  I learn something every time I get to go and lay under the stars and the rain and the mud.  Amid all that, you only hear playing, laughter and memories being made.  It’s a great “workplace.”  Maybe we’d all enjoy what we did a bit better if we loosened the reigns and allowed people room to move !!

It’s okay to ask “Why ??”

My wife and I are fortunate to have two amazing kids !!  They do well in school, are active in our church and our community.  I’m proud to say that.  For those of you who have kids, or if you’ve even been a kid, you know that kids ask one question infinitely.  “Why ??!!”

It doesn’t matter if things are crystal clear and there’s no reason for this question, it happens anyway.  More often than not, I just want them to do what I say and have some faith that I am not leading them down some dark path with my request to clean their room.

Recently, I heard a presentation where the speaker pulled back my eyelids on this question that often seems so annoying.  He explained that people in the workplace ask “Why” because they’re seeking context, not to annoy.  They want to understand the reasoning for decisions.  Seems to be a great trait actually.  I actually agree with him and when I sat back to think about it, I ask “why” all the time.  So, why do I get annoyed when others do it?

I think it goes back to the feeling that we’d like people just to do what we say when we say it.  If we have to spend time explaining things, then that means we’ve lost time doing something else that “matters.”

It’s time for all of our eyelids to be pulled back in HR.  If we’re not asking why for context, and even to challenge, then we can’t expect the status quo to ever move.  Just going along with everything doesn’t show well and we shouldn’t settle and sit back.  Also, we can foster a culture where it’s not only safe for employees to ask “why,” but it’s encouraged !!

If we continue to promote that we want a learning environment that focuses on development, then we must allow people to ask “why.”  What are we afraid of if we did this?  If employees felt safe, and inquired about their work, wouldn’t there be a greater chance of an enriched workforce?  How cool would that be?

So, start a new behavior today and allow people to ask that infinite question. This time when it’s asked, answer them.  Give them context and see what happens.  I think you’ll enjoy the results !!

Are you full ??

This past weekend I had a real treat by spending it in Amish Country in Ohio.  It gives a whole new perspective on life because this culture chooses to live life differently than the vast majority of us !!

This post isn’t a commentary on the Amish, but it is an observation.  As I watched the buggies passing me by and sampling way too much amazing cheese, I noticed a sense of contentment that I don’t see in many people.  These good folks lives are not only are based on their faith, but also on what they choose what to fill their lives with.  The brash realities of a world that exists in a completely opposite realm faces them every day, and yet they continue to live their lives with pride.

As an HR practitioner, much of my day is surrounded by people – and I dig that !!  One of the true challenges I run into is how to respond to people who consistently seem frustrated with almost all aspects of their work and the people they work with.  The more I listen, and sometimes pry, I notice a pattern.  Much of their frustration is based on the sense that they’re “too busy” and “no one understands.”

When I step back from these conversations I try to look and see what is making them “busy.”  All of us are full.  No one says they have extra time on their hands – quite the contrary.  But, what are we filled with?  Are the things that consume our daily lives productive, or not?  It’s not hard to fill your day with “stuff,” or to focus on the areas you’re most comfortable.  It’s human nature.

But, what if we sat down and made a list (paper or electronic) of what our day consists of?  Would we like what we see?  Do we like what we fill our lives at work with?  Too often I hear people churn on what isn’t happening, or what’s not being done.  There’s validity in that, but the approach isn’t constructive.  Making strides forward with intent with what you have available (culture, resources, staff, etc.) is much healthier.

It reminds me of the good people I was with this weekend.  Maybe we would all benefit if we were a little more “full” like the Amish.  What do you think?

HR Rocks !!!

You just had to know that I was going to use this title at some point . . . .

Next week thousands of HR pros will convene in Las Vegas for SHRM11 and there are people all over the profession with differing views about the event.  But, I tend to lean more toward Charlie Judy’s viewpoint that it is a significant event for HR pros to attend.  The realization that we need to be continuously seeking professional development is a fact and not just something to comply with HRCI.

You see, if we don’t continue to learn more and be effective in our knowledge – we lack relevance.  Remaining relevant in today’s business environment is honestly our biggest challenge !!  You can cloak it in many different ways, but if we aren’t relevant, we will cease to exist.

So, what can all of us do to combat this?  Go to conferences !!

Unfortunately, I can’t attend SHRM11 and I am bummed because many of my friends from all over the country are going to attend and I am jealous.  However, I want to make sure that all of you also consider another great venue that is a viable option – the State SHRM Conferences !!

The “conferencing” opportunities after SHRM National are plentiful and I wanted to highlight a few for you to  consider:

The 2011 Wisconsin SHRM Conference happening 10/12/11 – 10/14/11 in Madison, Wisconsin.  They offer an incredible program with solid keynotes from Rich Horwath and Scott Christopher and are celebrating their 25th Anniversary as a State SHRM Conference !!

The 2011 Indiana State HR Conference on 8/29/11 – 8/31/11 in Indianapolis, Indiana features two great keynote as well – Steve Gilliland and Marcus Buckingham !!  The HR Florida State Conference & Expo also happens on 8/29/11 – 8/31/11 in Orlando, Florida.  Their keynotes include Tony Hseih, Lisa Ling and Daniel Pink !!

The 2011 Illinois HR Conference and Exposition will happen a week earlier on 8/22/11 – 8/23/11 in Chicago, Illinois.  The theme of HR Leaders: Inspire, Support and Challenge will be anchored by keynotes from Ryan Estis, Jason Lauritsen & Joe Gerstandt and also China Gorman.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Ohio’s conference – HR Rocks !!

You see, I’m the Chair of this year’s Conference and I’m so excited I could pop !!  Our program has been certified for 17.25 HRCI credit hours with 9.25 hours being Strategic !!  The conference happens 9/21/11 – 9/23/11 at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.  Our keynotes include Simon Bailey and China Gorman and our program features many of the thought leaders you follow in the world of Social Media !!

I hope you can attend these great conferences and I would LOVE to feature all of the great State SHRM Conferences that happen all across the county !!  We need to understand that there is one more INCREDIBLE benefit from attending these events.

HR gets more connected !!  We need to continue to do this intentionally because we are stronger together vs. trying to fight the good fight on our own.  So, I’d like to offer to all SHRM State Conference folks out there, get in touch with me so we can get further connected !!  It would ROCK !!