Take the Stage !!

This past weekend my wife and I took a trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Knoxville, Tennessee. It’s always great to get together because we’ve always been very close siblings. Unfortunately we don’t live as close to each other as we’d both like, but that just means that when we do get together it’s even more meaningful. After the normal “catching up” about our gaggle of adult children, we settled in to just visit and talk.

One of the wonderful things about my family is that we’re very easy going. We don’t feel the need for a ton of structure which allows us the flexibility to be more adventurous. We had never really explored downtown Knoxville together, so the four of us decided we’d try to fill our Saturday visiting some very local attractions. We kicked off the morning meandering through the East Tennessee Historical Society, and it was magnificent !! The displays were thorough and interesting. Each artifact revealed a point in time with such flavor and color. We were near the end of the exhibits when my brother hustled us along because he had a surprise planned.

I was a bit bummed that we rushed out, but our next stop was well worth it. We walked down a few blocks to the Knoxville, Tennessee Visitor’s Center. I wasn’t sure why this would be better than where we had just been. However, my brother was right. It was incredible. In front of us were two sections of folding chairs with five rows in each. Ahead of the chairs stood a stage and a microphone on a stand. You see, the Visitor’s Center is also the home of the public radio station WDVX. It’s also the home of the “Blue Plate Special” radio show which offers a “heapin’ helpin’ of live music.”

My new magnet and reminder to unlock the talent in my organization !!

As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, I’m a music freak !! I enjoy most forms and genres of music – especially if it’s live. On the stage was a young musician named Jared Hard. He was singing his original music which was being simultaneously broadcast on WDVX. He has an engaging approach along with fantastic skills as a storyteller. The Blue Plate Special show only airs original music from local and regional artists. So, some of the people who appear are there for the first time to share their talent and get more people to recognize them. This was the case for Jared and I was geeked that I was able to hear his music and appreciate his talent. I will make sure to keep an eye on him and pick up his new album.

After listening, it made me think of how this applied to HR. I loved that this public radio station set the example of taking a chance on talent. Is this something that we do in our companies? Do we give people the stage or just expect them to show up in their cubicle or work space? Have we tapped into all that someone has to offer, or do we expect them to fit neatly into some typed job description?

Unfortunately, I think far more time is spent confining people to pre-defined roles than allowing them to show what they can do. We still follow the outdated model of someone earning their stripes over some imaginary gauntlet that we say “everyone” had to go through. Why do we continue this practice when we complained about it happening when we began a new job?

We are overdue in eliminating this approach. I feel we should learn from this local hidden gem and set up the “stage” for our employees to come forward and show what they can do. You are sure to find some true artists who’ve been yearning for their chance. You have nothing to lose in trying this. The more you learn about what people can do, the better they can contribute across your enterprise.

We have to understand that “talent” isn’t only about hiring the best possible people. It’s allowing them to flourish and share all they can do. Unlock the hidden talent in your company. Let people take the stage !!

Do You Love Your Job ??

Today is a first for Everyday People !!  I’m away on vacation with my amazing family, so I decided to have a guest post.  This is the first guest post ever for my blog, so I only have the BEST person to break this barrier – Dr. Daniel Crosby, PhD !!

Daniel is a dear friend and an incredible resource.  He is doing great work with Suited Jobs that you MUST check out !!   Suited is a tool that provides fit scores for
your company culture, job and provides suggestions for work that might better
suit you. Now, for the good Dr. !!

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One-sided relationships never work. This maxim sounds true, yet too many of us think that it doesn’t apply to our jobs.

Being highly committed to your job not only helps your employer, it helps you. Researchers have pointed out several benefits:

  • You’ll go above and beyond to be innovative and creative in your work.
  • You’ll be more motivated.
  • You’ll take less stress home with you.
  • You’ll be more likely to be recognized for your work.

Take an honest look at your relationship with your job. When was the last time you did something for your job you didn’t have to do? When was the last time you went out of your way for your job and didn’t complain? When was the last time you woke up excited to spend time with your job?

If the fire is no longer burning, just take a lesson from James Ziemer and find reasons to be committed to your work.

Love Your JobJames Ziemer, the former CEO of Harley-Davidson, started with the company in 1969. Only he didn’t start as an executive. He entered the organization as a lowly freight elevator operator. In this job, he was responsible for hauling motorcycle equipment from floor to floor. Only he wasn’t hauling just any old parts. To Ziemer, they were the crown jewels of the company.  In the years that followed, Ziemer became familiar with the operations of other parts of the business; he later worked in the manufacturing, engineering, accounting, parts and accessories, and finance departments. All of these experiences, in one way or another, would prove instrumental as he took on an executive role. Ziemer’s early experiences with Harley-Davidson were inextricable from the perspective he held while sitting at the top of the company.

Remember Ziemer’s story when thinking about your own work day. This new perspective can change how you look at mundane tasks and help to rekindle the old flame. Think of your job tasks as paving the way to something bigger and better.

Making cold calls? Sales skills will come in handy when negotiating your first large-scale acquisition.

Crunching numbers? You’ll need that skill when calculating your own salary.

Remember to look at the big picture. You might not be sitting pretty with your trophy job at the moment, but you’ll be proving to yourself that you are ready for more than just another quick Hollywood-type fling.

Remember when ??

Recently, LaRosa’s, opened a new location called Eastgate.  I’m fortunate to be the Executive Director of HR for this iconic Cincinnati company, and we had a pivotal role in this store opening.  HR interviewed every new potential Team Member because we were looking to add 70+ folks to this much larger pizzeria !!

You may think that this isn’t such a unique story.  I mean, EVERY HR person does recruiting !! That’s not always true.  I haven’t had to interview for over five years.  It’s great to be in a role that is highly strategic, but it felt fantastic to be back in the field to meet potential new employees.  We interviewed the candidates on-site and in booths in our restaurant.  Again, not unique, but it was for us because typically the hiring is done by the Manager in his/her pizzeria.

So, why was this experience cool ??  Interviewing is just a “natural” skill in HR.  There’s nothing special about it.  Ahh, that’s where you’re wrong !!

You see, the great new people we were talking to were going to be filling an incredible role !!  They are the front line connection to our guests who eat at our locations.  Getting the best people is key for outstanding guest experience !!  Every hire counts.  Every one.

Hired 2Also, I forgot an incredible experience that I should have never taken for granted.  The cool thing about a store opening is that we interviewed people, and then offered them a job right on the spot if they were going to join our team.  To see a person get a job is a gift.  Not giving them a job, but seeing their reaction.  Often, we are a person’s first job ever.  We also had people who were looking for new opportunities or a chance to work for our great company.  In every case, the joy of their reaction was spectacular !!

This new beginning should never be overlooked or seen as something mundane.  When you hire someone, you change their lives !!  Often in HR, we become numb to the great things we get to do that alter people’s lives and careers.  Don’t overlook it.  It matters.  If you don’t think so, ask a jobseeker.

Take a new approach to what you do HR.  Look at it as how it impacts and affect’s humans.  Trust me, you will never be jaded again !!  It will always give you that new sensation !!