Monday, November 19, 2018

How Gamification Won

I remember hearing Rajat Paharia on a panel discussion some years ago denouncing the term Gamification. He was at the time dubbed the Father of the strategic technical discipline. Logically, the commodification of the behavioral practice wore him out. I understand the fatigue.

We've been talking about Gamification in the Human Capital Management space for 10 years, mostly in attempt to simplify the concept to form an opinion for or against it.

A decade later, Gamification is less a buzzword, but unavoidable as a business strategy.


Expelling the G Word
Take away the badges, levels and comparisons of Call of Duty to Business Process. Eliminate the G Word from the lexicon and we can better extol the virtues of Gamification.

You start with 5 intrinsic motivators:
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose
  • Progress
  • Social
Then take a look at how said motivators birth Game Dynamics:
  • Competition
  • Collaboration
  • Community
  • Achievement 
  • Progress
  • Exploration
And finally, create program initiatives that are measurable while scaling the aforementioned diversity of behavior models:
  • Points
  • Levels
  • Missions
  • Badges
  • Quizzes
  • Extrinsic Rewards
A little more expansive than a video game!


Without Intrigue Engagement Is Impossible

We can seek to develop our workforce in 3 ways:
1. Carrots (rewards)
2. Sticks (certification)
3. Gamification (intrigue)

You can dismiss the theory because your tech doesn't do it. You can pretend Gamification is infantile. You can bat your eye at technical developments.....

In reality, if you are unwilling to scale, you will fail!   

Anyone who has ever played a sport knows that if the coach micro-manages, the player will do just enough to stay in the game. Better to teach a player to fish than to pretend regulation drives progress. 

Participation trophies are continually frowned upon in certain cultures, but presenting an ongoing goal progression model works better than telling a person to do their job or they'll be fired. 

If your only motivation is to stay in the game.... you will never score!


Think of the worst boss, customer or relationship partner you've had in your life. My guess is that they shared a commonality:

The status they sought to establish in your life was based on Ego-Influenced Control!   

We all cherish the moment we walked away from a boss who bullied us, a life mate who sought to break our sense of self or the step father who pretended to rule with an iron fist. 

The minute you take control away from a bully, he/she curls up into the corner they attempted to put you in.

If the rule structures in our performance metrics turn from manager control to social amplification, the silos burn down. 

Leaderboards have the ability to promote introverts as a secret weapon!

Badges give employees a sense of purpose and a renewable application for long term success.

... neither are more important in application than the long term effect they have on process. 

The end never justifies the means.

Winning with your best players is a short term transaction. Developing every player is a long term strategy for sustainable success!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave      

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Chance At Gratitude


I woke up early in an East Coast town and (against my better judgment) checked my social media feed. I was met with positivity (?) Two positive posts in a row.... 2! With the mid-term election a day behind us, people may have exhausted their hatred for an hour or two. The trend was beautifully reassuring.

I headed into town for lunch in an empty barroom. I found the words of Anthony Bourdain & Jeff Tweedy. For a minute, time stood still and everyone was OK with one another.

It dawned on me that the frustration that bends my mind every day is self-imposed and that time spent arguing in a room with no doors only serves to divide us.

Little did he know, two seemingly insignificant moments would shape the rest of his life:

The most important moments of his life.... neglected

In the faint restaurant light, a man and his wife sat unreasonably close to my wife and I discussing the terms and conditions of their divorce. Their love had been reduced to a contract. The man spoke in personal terms at a level that everyone in a football field's distance could hear, fueled by four Manhattans and a lifetime of entitlement. He had one final chance to save his marriage and he was fucking up with galactic precision. My wife and I spoke not to one another out of embarrassment for people we did not know. He could have shown up and saved his family but he chose his ego over kindness (for the very person, of any person, that he should have appreciated most). There was no salvation in this story and I could hear his "wife" counting the seconds until she no longer had to endure this caveman's nonsense.

 

I will follow you into the dark

I've had the amazing privilege in life to work for people who have appreciated me. I was allowed to coach my daughter and her friends from the tender age of 2 onto their mid-elementary years. They used to really like me and now they're too-cool-for-school. But, that's OK. Our fleeting time together helped form their mentality, they will be more successful for it.

On an evening when her older brother and Mom were away, my 10 year daughter dropped her shield. No phone... no friends to stand behind... Halloween candy securely tucked away. The little butthole decided to spend a few minutes with her dad. After enjoying a few episodes of Uncle Halsted's program, we headed to bed. She waited by my side to brave the dark and for a minute she was a kid again.

What a privilege........


BIG events will come and go:

Your kids might get married or go to jail.

Your team might win a championship or win not a single game.

You might choose to be miserable in a room full of love.

You might stop trying.

Or.... Maybe..... at the moment when you are called upon to save all that is important to you.... you'll sit in the seat of the person next to you and stop embarrassing those who chose to love you.

It seemed in the course of a single day the winter had arrived in the East Coast. I jumped in a cab. I was on my way home......

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave         

Friday, November 2, 2018

Behave Yourself


It was an honor to be included in Dr. Bob Nelson's new book "1001 Ways to Engage Employees". I shared a case study with Dr Bob which showcased how we used the SCARF methodology to enhance a major technology company's performance management strategy.

Managing employee performance has moved from annual write ups to high touch, systematic career development. The example I shared with Dr Bob was effective for two reasons:
  1. The process was simple
  2. The employee was afforded a range of performance objectives to stack rank in order to help their manager better understand their motivation
 As I enter my 12th year in the Human Capital Management space I've seen big ideas come and go while some ineffective systems have remained in-place (for lack of time to overhaul them).

Failure in performance-based systems occurs when too much user input is required or when employees are forced to conform to initiatives that don't align with their personal career goals.

Behavioral Modeling starts with a menu of 5 Intrinsic Motivators:
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose
  • Progress
  • Social

We can structure a motivation path around rewards (carrots) or certifications (sticks) but employees would rather be inspired by an element of intrigue.

Some work for money. Others enjoy the glory of winning. Allowing a choice scales to all corners of Behavioral Economics.

Application
If your employee were to stack rank the 5 intrinsic motivators listed above would you help them exercise strengths without a demand to prioritize that which does not intrigue them?

Technology rules but accessibility can be an issue. Over-worked, communication fatigued employees are called upon to access multiple sites to understand the internal programs available to them. If it takes 30 minutes, 12 sites and an Ethernet cable to access a program portal, odds are said program will be under-adopted.

Buyers in the HCM space face a logic bending hurdle:
Sun-setting legacy technology involves 12 months, 2 FTE's and a significant loss in opportunity cost.

Therefore, vendors in the space are allowed to lack ingenuity without repercussion.

You don't have to overhaul legacy systems to enhance program access. There are elements of performance management than can be written on a napkin.

Trust and Transparency drive Employee Engagement. Giving employees choice for career path empowers them and provides a guide for development.

Revisiting the Engagement Ecosystem   
If you had to take 12 e-learning courses to be rewarded $50, would you do it?

If the knowledge afforded in the learning path is beneficial to your career development, won't the attainment of knowledge present applicable reward?

Do you need to be paid to thank your peers?

If you knew recognizing an overworked, underpaid member of your support team would put a smile of his/her face, would that not be incentive enough to encourage their effort?

If you complete a project on time and under budget would you prefer a gift card or a week off?

Happiness driven by profession is a myth. People are inspired by opportunity to advance which heightens their engagement in their work which inspires them to work harder which presents greater achievement which gives their work purpose. A rush of dopamine fills the brain on the way to the train on a Friday after a successful week. Those seeking to enhance their success carry said dopamine in their brain on a Monday morning as well.

The amount of money one makes does not drive engagement, it sets expectations.

Purpose-driven work that is consistently challenging is the only path to true success.

1. Allow employees to chose their path to success
2. Make programs easy to access and operate
3. Reward fairly
4. Create new challenges 

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Collabratory


Sales people are naturally competitive, in fact, most people are competitive (whether they choose to admit it or not). Competition fails to impress because it is perceived to be rooted in jock culture. No one is impressed by chest pounding (especially in this day-and-age). We all want to prove our excellence. We all want the glory of victory. Few of us are interested in shouting our greatness from the mountain top.

I remember being in a job interview many years ago, explaining MY greatness. The interviewer stopped me to voice a request:
  • Try saying "We" instead of "I"
  • ... You know we have the ability to compete together and EVERYBODY WINS
I was startled by the idea. I was humbled that he'd allow me to retract the answers I'd filled with self-importance. WE went through the previous questions turning I into We, taking the individual from the mountain top and replacing him/her with a group of climbers.

My purview opened and I was forever changed. Half way through my career, I had new life.

It would be misleading if we were to ignore the fact that people can be annoying. It is also impossible to succeed without others. Inevitably, it is one's responsibility to find their piece of the pie and to share it with others. Every day of work is ever-complex and opinions mount. It is necessary to learn how to work with others; to be humble in victory and accountable in defeat.

Extroverts are usually assumed self-confident. I've found the most-confident people don't see a need to be verbal unless necessary. Those most-worthy of recognition are usually willing to step aside for the benefit of others.

People neglect to share for two reasons:
1. They fear their ideas will not be adopted
2. They fear the offer to go above and beyond the call of duty will only produce more work without sufficient reward

Become a Student, Then a Teacher
We tend to look to organizational hierarchy to guide us to intelligence. The higher up the chain, the smarter you must be....

This is a dangerous proposition!

The best contributors do not always make the best leaders due to the self-centered nature of their succession path.

Those who cannot do.... manage.

Tenure does not determine excellence. If we measure idea adoption and/or change management to be guided by tenured management types, we are missing the point.

The goal of collaboration should be to create a level playing field for contribution without the baggage of authority sponsorship. Everyone should use their individual strength to create a collective strategy. This capability does not exist if the strategy for development is driven by a party of one.

Hierarchy creates bureaucracy which feeds micro-management. Progress is not possible if rigidity of role structure is expected to fuel momentum.

If the aforementioned is in place there is one certain outcome:

The brilliant and motivated young minds are forced out by mediocre rule followers who seek to remain in silos.

Because Collaboration is Complex
Most people wish to do their assigned job to the best of their ability. The default strategy to success is learn the plan, follow it and seek to progress a little more each day. There is enough assigned work on our plate to fill the day, why would we ask to do more work that does not have a determined outcome?

Progress is the result of change. Change only happens when someone is bold enough to try new things. The process of trying new things often involves neglecting that which we are good at to experiment.

If we do not experiment, we will not evolve.

That which we are good at today will be our downfall tomorrow if we fail to evolve.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave   

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Our Happiness Dilemma

This month I enter my 12 year in the Human Capital Management space. Trends have come and gone but our function remains in the positive part of Human Resources. Continually, we seek to serve the function of bringing people together, our extended goal is progress through encouragement. The paths out of the forest continue to shift but we are all ultimately just trying to find a clearing the in the distance.
... a place to feel welcome
... a feeling that everything will be OK
... reassurance that the expenditure of our waking hours might make a difference in this sad and beautiful world.

The basis of Human Capital Management is:
1. Technology
2. Rewards
3. Course of Action

The technology provides the rainbow, rewards the pot of gold, and then there is a whole lotta bravado! (Bravado: good name for a recognition program).

Fulfillment houses hire motivational speakers and technology companies bring in yoga instructors...

At some point, the idea of Happiness in the workplace became the ultimate interpretation of rewarding progress.

Life is too short to hedge happiness on your professional existence and the through-line of "work" being a vanguard to "happiness" is about as reliable as the ROI of Employee Recognition.

We'd prefer not to be stressed out, we'd also like it if our boss was cool. It would be great if our work made a difference. But, as Kevin's Dad said a long time ago, "work is work".

Fortunately, I belong to a group of extraordinary individuals who actually want to discover customer problems and wrap a solution around them. This takes a consultative approach rooted in heavy research and design thinking; concepts the trunk salesmen of class rings who created recognition 1.0 couldn't begin to understand.

Happiness?

Achievement creates fulfillment which breeds a sense of pride; this may also be disguised as happiness.

Stress builds and then dissipates when you challenge yourself and extend beyond your perceived capabilities.

When bias is debunked change happens.

As people stop working in silos, collaboration bests competition.

If we compete with our enemies in a fair format, contempt turns into respect.

We want to challenge ourselves. We want to help ourselves remember our potential. We want to evolve by doing more than we ever thought possible.

Smiles are reassuring. Fist pumps are empowering.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave   

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Shimmering Reflection


At the start of any given day I have two goals:

I know people who are in pain. Their lives have been forever changed by an event or series of events that cannot be forgiven. The convenient thing to do is be glad it's not you and turn away. I've never been good at that. There are people who simply cannot figure out how to get through today. Is there a way to change what was and help them become what can be? Probably not.


How do you tell someone you understand their pain if you don't. How do you relate to someone who has lost a part of themselves without repair.

You can start by caring.

... and continue by counting your blessings.


Angel Kisses
There was a moment when my smart ass kids and their Mother had a laugh from the bottom of their souls. For that moment all the unkind remarks, missteps and disappointments were forgotten and we were just 4 people trying our hardest to be human... together!

I walked out of the house and the sun kissed my face. I hopped in my car, turned on the radio and headed off into the world.... confident because I had a parachute of love on my back that would save me from any free fall for which I might position myself.

Not everyone is so lucky. But, we all encounter brief moments of synergy when the sun kisses our face. I'd like to think in these moments the people we've lost along the way are toasting us from Heaven.

... and to remember that we are all worth fighting for but we're better off hugging!

 

Real Fortune Never Frowns
I'd never minimize the profession of another. But, I always have to remind myself that it could be worse.

We all get frustrated. Certain things don't go our way. We over-promise and under-deliver. We try and fail. It seems there are times when everything comes down at once and the meadow is hard to see through the brush.

Life is hard.

... and then people surprise us.

You get a note from an old friend. Your kid says something that reminds you of the great opportunity in innocence. That person who you hate says something that makes you love them. The angry guy laughs. Your team wins. Your dog wakes you up by licking your face.

... and the sun kisses your face.

... and for a moment you remember that everything is gonna be OK... because it is!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave     

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

HR Tech 18


 With the HR Technology Conference upon us, all my friends are abuzz...... !

What new technology is coming?
What's developing in the AI, Bot and Big Data spaces?
What are the new buzzwords?
Are the old Vanguards still relevant?

At HR Tech, exhibitors, entrepreneurs, program managers, bloggers and end users all meet up to find systems to make work better.

Having been in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space for over a decade, I see technology from deep in the trenches every day. There are no trends or fancy buzzwords.... just a lot of Human Beings doing really great work across the world.

System evolution is always exciting, new bells a whistles are fun, but what really works?

Every day we enter the workplace face-to-face with business problems. Our duty is to solve them.

In the HCM space there are two distinct paradigms we face every day:

How can we engage users in system adoption?
What carrots are most compelling at sticks end?

Behavioral Modeling
Let's disregard Employee Engagement and Employee Experience and Performance Management and SCARF and Holacracy for a moment to answer 2 very simple questions:

What do you want your employees to do?
How can you help them do it?

Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) should contain:
  • Work Content
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Personal Goals
  • Organizational Goals
  • Growth Opportunity
  • Rewards & Recognition
In order to holistically address the above, we have to focus on 3 areas of application:

1. What Intrinsic Motivators are the life blood of Employee Purpose?
2. What dynamics must be inventoried to apply organizational strategy?
3. How do we program mechanics to achieve our goals?

Engagement Ecosystem 
Now, let's apply it.....

Two elements of technology are most important when seeking to amplify program adoption:

1. Consolidation
2. Integration

Employee Engagement is not a matter of the ends justifying the means. The process of getting over the rainbow is most important.

ALL of the by-ways of your EVP have to be systemic and easy to access.

Employees should have the autonomy to select the areas of your EVP that are most important to them, to participate accordingly and to have a weighted motivational scale to help them achieve success.

Learning, Leadership Development, Ideation, Teamwork, Core-Value Participation and Soft Skill Development are all key components in the challenge of helping your employees become the greatest version of themselves.

Whether you are in the exhibitor hall, attending keynotes or finding new engagement avenues in break out sessions at HR Tech; keep the above mentioned in mind.

There may not be one all-encompassing technology to assist in every employee adventure but everything should tie into a synchronized workforce vision.

Technology doesn't work without a sensible strategy, ease of administration and an ultimate intent to make everyone better while avoiding unnecessary minutia.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave       

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Love Headlock



 

Summer has given way to the fall. The humidity is blowing over the hills, sweat replaced by shivers. Soon bags will float upon the air and jackets will leave the closet.

I'm ever-humbled by my love for the human race when I see young people enjoying the summer. There is nothing finer than over-hearing kids talk in excitement of spending time with friends without the daunting presence of adult oversight. They're out there on bikes, on the beach, walking down to the store, enjoying a little bit of time between growing up to practice being young.

These moments in-between are sacred.

Life can be difficult. People can be annoying. Emotions can overhaul logic. People fail and blame others for their failures. People worry about inconsequential detail. Friends leave. Friends return. People learn to love and others learn to hate. 

The wonderment of living is discovering the element of surprise.

... when young people surprise us with their adult capabilities
... when old people learn to escape bad habits
... when creativity presents discovery of a new frontier
... when we forgive
... when we get back to living

... with smiles on our faces and full hearts in the presence of others; enjoying a little bit of time between growing up to practice being young.

The winter brings along shorter days, colder mornings and a feeling that one might prefer to hide from the larger world; but I won't! At some point, I found symphony. There is a strange feeling of destiny when things come together. Most days are tough and frustration can drag us back into the bunker but every once in a while we recall the simple beauty of everything around us.

We hold our children in the palm of our hand and in a moment they are off to college. Our parents leave (forever). Friends die too soon. We lose a job, make bad decisions and hurt the people who love us most.

Then, on a Monday morning, when we least expect it, an old song comes on the radio that reminds us to live. We hear from an old pal. Someone admits that thing they did to hurt us so many years ago was the wrong thing to do.

Leaves will fall, the gutters will fill and the sun will go away.

We remember to love ourselves and we headlock those who need help with the love we've been given. The circle is complete and divine.

.... and for a moment everything makes sense.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Plane Thief

"boys and girls in cars, dogs and birds on lawns"

On August 10th 2018, Richard Russell stole a plane. I don't believe he should be glorified by the act nor do I consider him a villain.

The entire fiasco has been met with bewilderment.

My friend John Roderick has a lens on the situation that is educated from an aeronautical as well as a mental health purview.

If we can reserve our judgement on destruction of extremely valuable property and the multiple lives Rich endangered, we might be able to see the man who has been laid to rest beneath the trees.

Listening to the air traffic control recordings we hear someone who is in equal parts calm, apologetic, alert to avoid harming others while at times attempting of humor. Certain comments hint that he is aware his stunt went too far.

Richard Russell performed maneuvers in the sunset that no pilot had in the history of flight.... and he's not even a pilot.

As his joy ride nears it's end, our rebel pilot proclaims that he's not quite ready to end the journey. He'll attempt (and accomplish) one more barrel roll then "set the nose down and call it a day".

Listening to his final commentary brought tears to my eyes.... I'm not perfectly sure why, but I heard a man who was on a flight to nowhere discovering the realization that the ride was over.


The Long Winters had a song that pulled at my heart strings: the piano was graceful, the multi-layered drum tracks erratic, the repetitive narrative meaning something different every time. Only years later did it dawn on me that said song was about flight.

I, too, had once written a song about being lost in space.

I always thought of the recording studio as a place to create what could not necessarily be replicated on stage. There is nothing like being in a dark room with headphones on making an instrumental into a narrative. I guess it's kind of like being a pilot of a ship built by one's band mates as they watch on from the control room. I appreciated the gift and I always took on the responsibility with divine privilege.

We live in a time when people seek "likes" as their 15 seconds of fame. The closer we grow in the virtual world, the farther we get from human interaction.

Life can be hard and confusing... and sometimes we just need a friend.

Rich may have forgotten that you don't always need interaction to find salvation. We find it in songs and in books and in the sunset on a Friday evening. Some times when we least expect it, everything does a barrel roll. If we're able to endure the G-Force, we figure out how to get a little bit better.

There are times when we try so hard and nothing adds up. Then a raindrop on our face reminds us we are alive.... the look of a child reminds us of our innocence.

The joy of life exists within the flight path..... not how we take off or where we land.

"... from here I can touch the sun ..."

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Tuesday in Oxford

 
It's 10am on the streets of Oxford, Ohio and you can hear a pin drop; a revelatory contrast from just a few hours prior. For the 7th year in a row, I've traveled from California to Ohio to facilitate Leadership training for undergraduate men..... specifically Fraternity men.

I majored in Fraternity in College for reasons in equal parts inspired and degenerate. While I wouldn't trade the experience for any other, my perception of fraternity life comes with halted exuberance now that my son is 6 years away from his pledgeship.

The experience of Fraternity living is mired in stigma. Some have viewed us as beer guzzling, sex-crazed, meatheads determined to devalue the college experience.

I've come to understand differently.....

People always wonder why I would leave the comfort of my Silicon Valley mansion to sleep in an Ohio dorm room for 5 days every summer.

Is this a chance to party with College kids?
Are you re-living your more-lively years?

No and No.

The Phi Delta Theta Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute is an alcohol-free event. The Phi Delta Theta Fraternity practises Alcohol-Free housing. These practises in Moral Rectitude are in one part an affect of the reckless behavior of my generation and another part an expectation of our memberships potential to Become The Greatest Version of Themselves!

I've achieved professional success and fortune thanks to my fraternity experience. I learned more about business being President of our fraternity than I did in any business class or internship.

20 years after my college graduation abuse of alcohol, sexual misconduct, hazing and misappropriation of motivation are not extinct on college campus'. Having kids less than a decade away from stepping foot on campus.... the aforementioned behaviors are no longer met with a chuckle from my throat.

The function of fraternity has evolved.... as a network for professional advancement, a think tank for education and a place where boys become men. Our mission for personal development does not just relate to being ones brother's keeper but extends to the community at large.... to protect women, to support those in need, to truly realize one's potential thanks to resources that are not provided those who seek to ignore the group dynamic.

What A Special Privilege!

I've lead the Shaffer Honors College of Leadership since it's inception. We've put roughly 300 men through training that has reminded them of the importance of teamwork, networking, ideation and ethics. Without knowing if the rock hit the bottom of the pond, I'm assured that the ripple it creates will help a great many get to shore.

So we look to the future as people who have had irreplaceable experiences in Fraternity life. It started as a social circle and became a tree of life. Fraternity men are now our sons and  sorority women our daughters. The excitement gives way to concern. I hope my son meets the ME I was in college (without the bad parts) through the experience. But we know that isn't possible.....

So.... we allow young men to be young and harness the responsibility of helping them transition into Manhood.

What A Special Privilege!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave