More Folks I Learn From !!

In November, I started to share some folks I learn from and wanted to continue that effort as we enter a new year.  I hope that one of the things ALL of us do as we move into 2014 is that we strive to continually learn.  We can’t afford to be stagnant in any way.  I hope that these recommendations spark an interest for you to check out someone new and see if what they say helps you think of HR in a different way.  I value what they do and who they are !!  Let’s get started . . .

John WhitakerJohn Whitaker (@HR_Hardball on Twitter) is a force !!  Being from Texas, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.  When I first talked to him he said he was giving me a nickname because he gives everyone a nickname.  In fact, he goes by “Whit” and not John himself.  Whit brings it every time he strikes a keyboard to write a post.  He is a featured contributor to Fistful of Talent (an incredible HR compilation blog of great HR voices by the way !!), and his own blog, HR Hardball, flat rocks !!  I know that John also does presentations as HR events which stretch the everyday practitioner to look at the profession from different angles.  We all need folks who can bend our brains a bit.  Whit does this effectively and is a treat to take in !!

Gemma ReucroftLet’s now go over to the UK for Gemma Reucroft (@HR_Gem on Twitter).  Gem brings a grounded sensibility to HR, but doesn’t “settle” for the norms.  In fact, she challenges norms every time she posts.  As a fellow HR practitioner, she isn’t just espousing things HR folks “ought” to do, she’s practicing what she writes about.  I love that she keeps things simple and stripped down.  It makes her work very accessible and applicable to what you do in HR.  Her blog – hrgem: Thoughts on HR, work and doing good people stuff – captures who she is and her approach to our field. I have her blog highlighted in my Feedly list and eagerly wait to see what she has to share.  Make sure you connect with her !!

Mary FaulknerBack to the states and to beautiful Colorado !!  That’s where you can find Mary Faulkner (@mfaulkner43 on Twitter).  I met Mary at the SHRM National Conference in Chicago this year, and found out what a brilliant leadership, training and OD professional she is.  I have found it hard to connect with many OD folks because for many of us, it’s wrapped up in our HR generalist roles.  Mary is solid and her blog, Surviving Leadership, is one of the most straightforward blogs around.  She is just “breaking onto the scene” in social media, but you wouldn’t know that.  Her content is fabulous and is something I take to heart when looking at the leadership and OD efforts at work.

Make sure to connect with Whit, Gemma and Mary !!  You’ll be glad you have new outlets for resources in your work.  Be on the lookout for more folks I learn from.  There are a ton and I hope that there will only be more and more throughout the year !!

 

 

Folks I Learn From !!

Recently, I’ve been trying to think of more ways to put resources in the hands of other HR pros. When I saw the recent post from Trish McFarlane on HR Bloggers as well as the new e-book from David D’Souza - Humane, Resourced: A Book of Blogs, I wanted to chime in as well.

You see, I have this incredibly audacious goal !!  I want to see the ENTIRE HR community connected, informed and able to rock in their roles.  I desire to see the “social” HR folks connect with HR practitioners and vice versa.  I believe that the more we’re genuinely connected, then we can share the resources we enjoy in order to do a better job in Human Resources.

Feed Your HeadAlso, I’m a voracious reader who always yearns to learn.  There are so many great ideas, thoughts, concepts, trends and movements to be taken in.  Often, people shy away from information because they load in the filter of “Well, I can’t do that in my organization . . .” and they shut down.  If you do this, stop it !!  What company wants an HR person who only focuses on what can’t be done ??

What if you took the stance of, “I’m not sure if I can use this, but it’s important for me to learn about it.”  Who knows?  You may be able to take something from all you take in and apply it to your culture and situation.  How do you ever plan to change the norms in your organization if you continue to practice only what you know today?  If someone reading this uses the “I just don’t have time” excuse at this point, then just stop reading.

It is an opportunity to use your time differently, creatively and constructively !!  Wouldn’t you love to have that freedom everyday?  I do, and it is exhilarating !!

So, I wanted to put some folks out there in front of you and off the blog roll so that you can consider connecting with them and learning from them.  I do this each week when I send out the HR Net, and now I wanted to highlight some folks every so often to make sure you’re being exposed to folks I learn from !!

Paul HebertFirst up is Paul Hebert.  He works for a cool company called Symbolist.  Paul and I have known each other for years now and we chat often.  I learn from his blog writing as well as our deep conversations.  I mean that.  We say hello, ask about families and then jump in deeply to talk about all facets of HR !! He’s an incredible resource and you will enjoy how he looks at the human facets of engagement, culture and recognition.

Michael CartyNext is Michael Carty.  We’ve only known each other through social media, but I know that we share an incredible amount of similar likes (HR, Global HR and Rock Music) !!  Michael is the consummate curator and works for a phenomenal HR resource – XPertHR.  He hails from the UK and it is on my bucket list to meet in person sooner than later.  Michael is someone who has a pulse on the global perspectives in HR.  Whether it’s through his writing or in his compilations of tweets and blogs on Storify, he keeps others aware of a broad pallet of issues and trends.  He’s a phenomenal person (and resource) to know !!

This is just the start and I hope to feature more folks each month.  Make sure you’re getting more and more connected to the greater HR community !!  You’ll only be better for it !!

 

What are you reading ??

Whenever you talk to HR people these days, heck really ALL people these days, they always bemoan that they don’t have enough time.  I don’t buy it.  If your perspective is that you’re too “full” it’s because of the things you are choosing to fill your time with.  It’s true !!

Look.  I know we all lead incredibly full lives, but there are amazing statistics about how much time people spend watching TV, using technology, etc.  And, many people don’t have a problem catching a movie or a great dinner out on the town.

This isn’t a post on time management because I honestly don’t believe in it.  Instead, I think you need to look at life as – what do I choose to fill my time with ??

ReadOne thing that almost consumes me is reading !! I find myself taking on two to three books at a time plus countless blogs.  Why ??  Because reading allows me to continuously learn about endless things.  Those within my field and about life in general.

Recently I’ve read QBQ! – The Question Behind the Question by John Miller and two great books by Andy Andrews – The Traveler’s Gift and The Noticer. I’m also waist deep in trying to take in The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.  What’s so cool about the Ayn Rand book is that it was a gift from the great folks at Kinetix.  Each year at Christmas they send out a classic book.  I take it as a reminder to delve in and read something that I may have not seen in years.  It’s a fantastic, and memorable, thing to do for people.

As for blogs, it’s hard to highlight them enough.  There are so many folks who do great work.  I have them listed in my blogroll on the site, but here’s the difference.  I have all of these blogs in my Feedly reader.  I make sure to read them all because I think that there are tons of information that needs to be taken in, used at work and shared with others.

So, this week – start reading.  You’re kind enough to read my blog and I truly appreciate that.  Expand your scope even wider.  Take up a book.  Find a new blog to read and follow.  You’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover !!

Challenge for you as well – List what you’re reading in the comments section below.  Let’s share the great items you enjoy.  Fill it up and let’s see what happens !!

A Positive State of Mind !!

Lately, the HR Blog world has had a negative vibe.  I understand that what we do in Human Resources can be challenging, frustrating and even overwhelming.  We are dealing with people.  I think it actually could be the definition of “human being.”

The other trend I’ve noticed is that most of HR is focused on fixing what’s wrong.  The real limitation of this is that the majority of the things that are truly “wrong” with people makes up only about 10% of the folks you work with.  However, that makes up 90% of our focus.  It results in programs, policies, and efforts that miss the best employees all together !!

Honestly, it tires me out.  Doesn’t it tire you out?  I try my best to be positive every day and in every situation.  Whenever I’ve brought this approach out, it gets looked at as being somewhat of a Pollyanna.  Someone who doesn’t recognize the reality of the swirl of day-to-day life and negativity that tries to swallow us whole.

Stay PositiveI don’t see positivity as a “way of life.”  I see it as a choice.  I can choose to fill myself with those things that are good and uplifting.  I can choose to surround myself with people who look for the best in themselves and in others.  I can choose to believe that EVERYONE has value !!  And, I can also choose to be positive with others when I interact with them.

Sure, that’s also challenging !!  I’m not naive.  In fact, I know that I’m probably seen as challenging to others, have had blue funk days, and am quite sure that I’ve disappointed others for a variety of reasons.  Having setbacks don’t lessen a positive outlook.  In fact, the ability to face the peaks and valleys of life is a necessity.  Again, you face a choice.

I’m going to look for, and highlight, #PositiveHR when I see it.  I think it’s time to turn the tide in the field and in Social Media forums.  It doesn’t mean we can’t be critical.  We should be. It doesn’t mean that things shouldn’t improve.  They should.  HOW those things are done is the difference !!

People want positive things around them and in their lives.  Everyday.  Honestly, they’re yearning for it personally and in their workplaces.  They’re especially looking for it in, and from, HR !!

You’re starting a new week.  I’m sure the week ahead is full of all kinds of opportunities and obstacles.  You have a choice.  Will it be positive ??  I can tall you what my approach will be.

I’m Manic !! Who Knew ??

I love things that make me think !!  I relish something that truly challenges the way I approach life, work, values, etc.  Following the norm has never really appealed to me, and I love hanging around contrarians.  You know, people that take the boundaries of what is normally expected and then stretch them in ways in directions that just didn’t seem so readily visible.

Meet Dr. Daniel Crosby - a friend, colleague and contrarian.  He is an accomplished consultant to many industries, speaker at several conferences and now an author !!  Recently, a non-descript manila envelope arrived at my house near the holidays with Daniel’s address on the return label.  I opened it and there was no note – just a book.

Not That Great BookThe title hit me square between the eyes !! “You’re Not That Great – A Motivational Book.”  I was laughing so hard because it took me by surprise.  How did he know?  What this book just for me?  Then I opened the front cover, hoping for a bit of his wonderful satirical wit . . . and it was blank.  Must have come straight from the publisher.

So, even though I didn’t get a special note (which he actually covers very well in the book) I jumped in !!  Once I started I couldn’t put it down. (And didn’t even really want to !!)

The book challenges you on every page and makes you use your mind.  Normally when you read business books (especially about HR) you find more and more of the same things with someone’s “twist” on them.  Not this book.  It goes into great places to tear down your preconceptions and makes you understand the traps your brain puts you in when it comes to items like giftedness, self-esteem and being a bit crazy.

I loved the chapter that states “Mania is a state of abnormally elevated mood that could almost be thought of as the opposite of depression . . . hypomanic (that is, slightly manic) individuals tend to be more creative and more prolific than their non-diagnosable peers.” (p43)  Sweet !! Daniel often wants me to “cheer up” because I seem to be too positive.  Now . . . I’m hypomanic !!  Dig it !!

You can see yourself in these pages and they are extremely applicable to what we do in HR !!   The psychology of people is intertwined with every facet of HR.  Instead of reading another tome on how to improve your talent management or some insane performance management system – read this instead !!

Learn how you tick, how others tick and then see what approach works.  Daniel helps affirm the fact that we are unique, slightly flawed and 100% human !!  Make sure to delve into this book.  I am rereading it already to be able to understand myself and also work with the GREAT people around me.  It’s worth the investment !!  Get yours now !!!

I added the extra !!! for Daniel because . . .

Complex Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of the 20 x 200 Blog

Heading South !!

I’m not good at this “quick post” thing, but I’m heading to SHRM National in literally a few minutes from now and I’m geeked to say the least !!

So, I’m going to be tracking things and blogging more regularly than I do during the next week.  Just a head’s up.

What I’m really hoping for is to network, see friends, and most importantly – meet great new HR folks from around the globe !!

If you’re going, I hope to see you and I hope that you take the time to meet new folks, get connected and make our great profession even better !!

Blog soon . . .

Blogs, Blogs Everywhere There’s Blogs !!

The amazing Five Man Electrical Band left their indelible mark on musical history with their one-hit classic – Signs.  The lead singer is struggling with signs all around him telling him “do this, don’t do that,” and it struck a chord with me.

You could say the same today with blogging.  Everyone is encouraged to get their voice out there, and to do it through a personalized blog.  Don’t get me wrong, I love blogs and my Google Reader is packed with amazing work from people I respect both in HR and in business in general.

What has been puzzling me lately is  . . . what do YOU, the reader, want to read?

You can read one post on a site that encourages you to do things one way, and another will come out a week later completely opposite of what you just read.  How can someone cut through the “noise” of what’s being written?  Or, should you cut through it?

I’ve been guilty of tweeting and retweeting blogs as much as anyone else.  However, I don’t cast out the “Hey, read this” button until I’ve read the post myself.  I have my faves and some get my attention every time they post.  The filter I use before sharing it though is that I take in that person’s perspective and do my best to learn something from it.

So, what do you like to see?  I’m not going to embed a survey for this.  I’d like you to leave comments.  List what you like from topics, themes, etc.  You can even list your favorite blogs and bloggers.  I’m open.

As an HR pro, you should be active in learning more and taking in what’s new.  I encourage you to read several blogs from the areas that interest you.  You never want to be stale.

So, lay a comment out here on the site and let me know.  I’d like to make sure that you’re not just being “told” things from my blog.  I know my friends would like to hear what you have to say too !!

It’s Been Quite a Year !!

One year ago, I jumped into the blogosphere after I received my site as an incredible gift from my sister-in-law, Kathi Browne.  Quick side note – she’s incredibly talented and I think you should click through on this link to get more connected to an incredible business and HR resource  . . . but I digress.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect entering the world of blogging.  It was daunting to be honest because I read the great work of so many each day.   I wanted to make sure that this wasn’t a hobby, but would strive to be three things: genuine, consistent and encouraging.

I understand that there are many things in business and HR that raise both concerns and frustrations.  I’m not naive, and I experience those things in my roles both as an HR Director and in my volunteer life with SHRM and Boy Scouts.  The difference is that I choose to take a different path, and suppose I always have.

There are more opportunities to be positive than people choose to take.  It isn’t how most people look at things, and that’s a shame.  So, as I enter my next year of blogging please note that I hope to lift our profession up even more and move it ahead.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a critical eye toward things, but it does allow you to approach things differently.

Thanks for sticking with me this first year.  I truly appreciate everyone who chooses to read this blog.  I hope that we continue to connect.  If you feel so inclined, drop me a line at sbrowne@larosas.com or write a comment.  Connect on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, or join the HR Net, etc.  We can only get better as a profession if we do it together.

Until next week . . . and hopefully years to come . . . Peace to all !!

Connecting the Dots !!

Most people start the New Year with resolutions that quickly fade or fail leaving people with a feeling of sluggishness.  Sweet !!

I want to offer an alternative and that is to make 2012 intentional !!  Let’s start with a story . . .

I went to SHRM Leadership this past fall with other SHRM State and Chapter leaders and directors.  Many people spent time with folks from their own state or region because they’re familiar with each other and it is a great time to get away.  I, on the other hand, spent much of my time meeting great folks from Illinois, Florida, Alaska, Kansas, SHRM staff, etc.  I couldn’t get enough of meeting HR folks from other areas to see how we connect.  To me, this was the best way to spend time because there are so many amazing HR pros all over that do great things.  I had to see what they were doing.

So, I’d like to throw out this challenge (and opportunity) to all of you in the HR community – In 2012, start connecting the dots !!

I know that the whole “social media” thing can be overwhelming and noisy.  However, I find there are  folks developing and sharing great content that you can use in many facets of our work.  We need to stop thinking that isolation works for us as a profession and do what we can to be more connected.

Now, I’m not sure what that looks like for you, but let me list some suggestions:

  • If you’re someone who reads blogs – take a step and leave a comment.  Bloggers love to hear from folks who read their work.  If you feel compelled, then comment.
  • If you haven’t been to a local HR forum, then go to one.  Try them out and see where you can connect in person with other great HR folks !!
  • If you haven’t been to a conference or Unconference, then make plans to go to one this year.  You’ll find incredible people, just like you, connecting and learning more to advance the profession.
  • If you haven’t met folks in person, then take the steps to do that !!  One of the true highlights I had in 2011 was meeting social media HR folks in person.  It has led to incredible personal and professional relationships.
  • If you’ve just been service oriented in HR at work, change that and be intentional !!  Organizations expect HR to be dynamic, relevant and integrated.  Take the steps to make that happen !!

It’s just a start, but I hope that you take the next step to be more intentional.  I’ve already been making plans to meet more great HR folks in person and I’m using the same list for myself.  It’s time to take action !!  Will you join me ??

The Inner Sanctum !!

One observation I’ve had about HR professionals is that they have historically been very isolated both professionally and personally.  This has to be either by choice or by design within organizations.  This observation continues to be affirmed when I attend conferences of any size.  HR people seem astonished that others would intentionally like to be connected to them.

Something I’ve been trying at my work, and toying with in general is this philosophy – Model the behavior you expect in others.

To that end, I’d like to talk to you about the Inner Sanctum !! (cue scary theme music)  What I mean by this is that I have a tight knit group of HR professionals who make up my personal inner sanctum.   This isn’t a “Personal Board of Directors” as you may have seen in other blogs.  There is something more substantial to this group.   They have some incredible shared characteristics that I think are essential for this to work.  They are:

  • They all challenge me in some way !! – These are boundary stretching folks and I need that in order to not remain stagnate myself.
  • They are willing to be candid !! – They speak their minds openly both positively or critically. They aren’t afraid to address my blind spots.
  • They are consistent !! – Each of them is incredibly consistent while remaining creative and unpredictable. They each have strengths that I learn from.
  • They are all genuine !! – Something I cherish in others is to be “who you are.” These folks don’t have pretense and don’t support it in others.
  • They are all my friends !! – I mean that. We talk about all things in our lives. Families, work, faith, ups, downs, etc. All subjects are regularly discussed.

Without this group of people to gird me in what I do in HR and business, I would be less effective. It’s just a fact.  I think that having folks you can count on is a professional differentiator.  This isn’t networking or being in a clique.  It’s intentional, fascinating and exhilarating !!

This week step out.  Start looking at who would make up your Inner Sanctum and then pursue it.  If you choose to do this, you’ll see a marked difference in how HR looks, feels and acts !!  I hope you do it and let me know if you do !!