Friday, May 23, 2014

In Commencement

To The Class of 2014 -
A page has been turned, maybe ripped or possibly burned. Either way, the slate is clean and possibility is afoot. With possibility comes fear, but fear is overcome by preparation and action. If something is keeping you up at night, sometimes you have to bounce out of bed and fix it. The unknown is not solvable. Action is our lives most important virtue.

Young people are often criticised for having great ideas but an inability to act upon their dreams. My experience has taught me otherwise. It is important, however, to note that experience is the greatest medicine for that which we may hold in pre-judgement.

What does your dream look like? You may want to start a company, work for a corporation, bring water to desolate areas, teach, perform, or play. In any event, the abilities to dissect, quantify, qualify and plan are essential. Indeed, what you learned in science, math and history will not stay in your under-compensated returned books.

Consider this: Books are not worth reading if you don't take time to digest what you have read. People are not worth talking to if you do not listen to their advice. Technology is not worth investing in if you cannot socialize the system.

The system by which we read may change, we may lose friends, and apps are ever-evolving. The one constant we all face is that we cannot progress without other people. Your core knowledge may help you pass a test, your resume bullet points may get you an interview, and your social network may provide introductions; but if you cannot relate to people no degree can save you!

Revisit what you genuinely believe in and build a foundation for decision making. Our destiny is driven by our decisions. Ignore that which has been taught to you if you do not agree with the intent. There is no reason to dedicate yourself to something that does not ignite your interest. Recreate yourself every day. When you embrace change you fail more often than if you do not. If you do not embrace change you fail permanently.

Find someone to love, a soundtrack for your life, a team to follow, and an artistic outlet.

Be yourself.

Allow no one to put a finger in your face.

Be humble in victory and accountable it defeat.

Allow yourself to cry but make sure you laugh more often.

Call your Mom on Mother's Day!

Eat and Drink what you want but be willing to work it off.

Treat the wait staff the same way you would the CEO.

Give people the benefit of the doubt.

With every ounce of knowledge you acquire make an effort to consider the alternative side of the argument.

Know that YOU are the judge & jury of your own destiny. No one's opinion matters more than your own. No one spends more time with you than you! Set expectations for yourself higher than those of others and over-perform!

Most importantly....

Be willing to start at the bottom and work harder than anyone else. This is the only method for success that cannot be refuted.

Now is the time to dream big. Regrets dwell within the mansions of those who never tried to do what they genuinely enjoy. There is only one word to characterize success:


Leave the door open on your way out.....

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The New War Over Talent: SHRM vs. HRCI

It's official, the Society of Human Resource Management is in the certification business. The recent announcement has sent shock waves through the Human Resources community. HR Professionals are in equal parts confused and excited over what was and what will be their future employment qualifiers.

Hank Jackson has delivered a bold message:
Certification should amplify an applicable professional skill set. It should not include memorization and regurgitation for the sake of qualification.

Here are 2 very-well written blogs to inform the subject:
SHRM Certification, It's Personal to Me by Bette Francis, SPHR

Crocodile Tears for all the Certified HR Folks Out There by Lance Haun

It appears as though the long-term affiliation between SHRM and HRCI has ended with a challenge of epic proportions. The two associations will lock horns to determine the preferred education track for our organizational educators. I am not interested in obtaining certification at this point so I don't have a dog in this fight. I have, however, never been shy to offer a perspective from the fringe.

Are We Proving Stereotypes?
HR has long been classified as risk adverse. If the profession is pushing back on SHRM's entree into the world of certification are we validating the aforementioned stereotype? HRCI has enjoyed a spacious lane on the unoccupied highway of HR Certification. Does SHRM's toe dipping ripple uncharted waters?

Confusion over which organization to trust to qualify your occupational destiny may be a troubling matter. The unsettling nature that comes along with choice may indeed make the tidy house of HR a little messy. The whole thing smells of Capitalism. If you are willing to admit that uncertainty freaks you out, are you casting yourself away to the sea of the less-ambitious?

The Potential Impact 
For years we have been arguing that HR needs a seat at the proverbial table. Now, SHRM is putting their money (and yours) where their mouth is. We asked for bold leadership and we got it. We asked for more opportunity and we got it. Our feedback has been collected and analyzed... and (believe it or not) action has been taken....!

Now What?

Much like the reality of one achieving a job promotion; the process is over and it's time to put the work in.

Think More Like a Sales Person
Each day I face the unenviable reality of my job being one part Human Resources and one part Business Development. These competing ideologies that exist within me require two core skills :
1. Flexibility.
2. The ever-present need to consider the other side of the argument.

As a sales person, I achieved my greatest success when I stopped listening to my peers and started listening to my customers. I was threw going to sales training events so I started attending HR events. I wanted to sit with the people to whom I was providing a service. I've identified my life's mission:
Make the world a better place by building companies that love their employees  

Sales Professionals should listen to their customers (not always agree with their peers). HR Professionals should follow suit. The ability to think more like a revenue producer will be of maximum benefit to HR Professionals (because you are revenue producers).

The SHRM Certification Competency Model focuses on the following:
* Relationship Management
* Ethical Practice
* HR Expertise
* Business Acumen
* Critical Evaluation
* Global & Cultural Effectiveness
* Leadership & Navigation
* Consultation
* Communication

Are You Ready to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?

As we gear up for #SHRM14 you can bet there will be heated debate over the future of the HR profession. It's going to be fun to watch... from the fringe!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Growing Up Oberst

I remember where I was when I first heard Bright Eyes. This was a musical collective from Omaha who blended folk and electronic music. Intriguing in the Pearl Jam afterlife. Their front man was articulate, energetic and incredibly young. It was seemingly the first time I was looking up to someone younger than I. I enjoyed that feeling.

In the years gone by Conor Oberst has released impossibly emotional acoustic music, performed with big bands, made country rock records, and played in hard rock bands. He is a young man of many attributes. Someone younger than I who has taught me a lot.

On May 20th Upside Down Mountain by Conor Oberst will be released. This musical masterpiece comes with my highest recommendation. Here are a few lyrical snippets and how they relate to our work lives.

Though so far I have cheated death, I know some day I'll get caught
This record takes a forlorn look back. Do you remember your crazy years? Did you have any? God knows I did. It seems divine intervention has been my friend over the years, I'm not sure why I've been so lucky, but I'll take it. I obeyed my parents authority to the letter of the law, had I known they were scared shitless I may have pushed the envelope.

When we reflect on this life will we remember the test we failed or the girl we kissed on the swing? With this in mind, why do we stress over the unknown instead of marveling at the wonderment of uncertainty.

I used to think time was of the essence, now I just wish I could get some sleep
"There are hundreds of ways to get through the day" - an excerpt from Hundreds of Ways

In your 20's you seek freedom, in your 30's your spirit has greater purpose, when you turn 40 you just want to find some peace.

When I was a young man I was all action and no strategy. I worked really hard but wasted a lot of time doing unnecessary things. I have found success at every stage of my life mostly because I've been willing to work really hard. The one great truth I have discovered is that if you are willing to put in more effort than anyone else you will ultimately achieve any goal set before you.

Your silly dreams aren't worth a mention but they keep collecting in my brain
"When I break my heart I know that yours get broken, I just wish that kept me in line" - an excerpt from Night At Lake Unknown

Any headshrinker worth their salt will tell you that your desire to succeed relates back to your need to make your parents proud. Last week, we examined Kevin Durant's need to feel validated as a son to single-parent. We've seen those who replicate their parents occupation, politics, and dating habits. There are those who do exactly the opposite of their parent's intention.

Generational stereotypes have never been so prominent in the workplace. The kids are taking over without any respect for their elders and the old fogies just want to know that they are still relevant.

Have we forgotten the dreams we share? Regardless of your age there are people who you intend to make proud.... be they your sons and daughters or moms and dads. The intention of our actions is not to dispel the credibility of those of a different generation but rather to make them proud!

"So just go out with a bang like Hemingway. Some will say you're brave, some will say you ain't" - an excerpt from Common Knowledge

In the final stanza of this great record, Conor Oberst looks at the romance of reckless living and shakes his head. Having lived and learned he understands that only the things that engage our divine intention exist in longevity. Our lives are a collection of fits and starts.

Remember the times you have cried: the girl who broke up with you, the baseball that hit you in the face, the deal you didn't close. None of it left a but a smooth scar.

It's better to remember how to laugh...!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning to Scale Excellence

I was in a bar full or weary travelers a few weeks back. We sipped our beverages with our eyes on the floor dreading the journey ahead. It was a somber scene. Just then, an extremely odd and slightly inebriated young lady burst into the bar. Within minutes she had introduced herself to everyone in the place. The collective was initially annoyed by this young lady's disruptive exuberance but she eventually won us all over. What was a pity party turned into a celebration of our good fortune because someone dared to add a spark to the room. How quickly our misery can turn to jubilation.

In business we are constantly judging others. Is that guy worthy of his position? Is that lady deserving of her book of business? He's only successful because he takes credit for the work of others. She is disorganized. He is ruining the customer's confidence. We sure do know how to beat up on one another.

There is a reason why there are 10 people on the court and 20,000 in the stands. We judge and criticize because we either do not possess the skill or we don't have the courage to try. The hardest thing to do is to pull up your bootstraps and risk failure. It's far easier to pretend you were great once and to tell such tails from a lonely bar stool.

Each person has a unique set of skills that has its divine place in our collective success. Sometimes we fail to give people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes people fail to see their own excellence.

We need to see the greatness in everyone and to help them see it in themselves. Yes, it will be hard!

Why So Serious..?
You don't need to talk to me. Is what I said to the bubbly drunk girl who lit up the bar with her spirit in that lonely airport. "I know" she said and kept smiling at me. I quickly forgot why I was acting like such an asshole.

Our perception and attitude steer each day. We face unfair circumstances, the incompetence of others, and conclusions that are beyond our control. Our time with our peers is spent complaining...what a waste of precious time.

The Weight We Carry
Kevin Durant recently gave glory to god and credit to his family and teammates as he was rewarded for his individual outstanding achievement. Some thought his tears in the moment were a sign of weakness, in reality he had offloaded the weight of expectations. As a son to a single mother, Kevin Durant lived with a sense of abandonment that made him continually question his greatness. Now he had been validated and could sleep soundly at night.

The expectations we put upon ourselves are always greater than those of others. We put things off for fear of confrontation and they snowball. Avoiding discomfort turns mistakes into catastrophe. If we put things off long enough we become obsolete. Then we find ourselves on the corner stool, remembering when we failed to try.

Simplicity Overlooked  
You may be exceptional at your job but possess no personal excellence. You may have an abundant social life that effects your true potential on the job. Everyone has pliable skills that make them magnificent. We need to allow for them to shine.

Patience is a virtue. People will screw up and let you down and make poor choices and act out of character. You'll meet a person who allows their ego to punish their charm. You will meet smart people who are inarticulate.

We need to learn to give people a break, to accept faults in others, to remember we are imperfect, and to move through this life in discovery of what is genuinely important.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

How To Get Rich!

Many people of great fiscal wealth have made life changing decisions recently. This begs the question:

What Makes One Rich?

Traditionally, we define riches in accordance with financial gain. In business (especially in sales), revenue is judge, jury and executioner. The unfortunate reality is that padding one's bank account is not a sustainable strategy. There are those who will say money is the only thing that matters in business, these people ultimately end up acting out of character. So ask yourself this:

How Much Would It Take To Forfeit Your Integrity?

Each massively successful person faces a #careercurveball - The fork in the road takes one of two directions:
1. Make Bad Choices to Keep Up with The Jones'
2. Give Back

Those who consider cash to be the definition of their success may think empathy a weakness. They put their sights on the weaknesses of others and seek to exploit them. The conclusion of this strategy is alienation of one's co-workers..short term gain for long term oblivion..burnt always catches up with them.

Don't believe me? Ask a retiring CEO his/her greatest career regret. It is never losing a deal or falling short of a certain financial milestone. When our career has ended we will regret the times we acted out of character, the person we fired to preserve our personal climb, or the dance recital missed to sit in a boardroom across the country.

On your death bed, do you want to be holding onto your child's hand or a bag full of money?

Then there are those who, at said fork in the road, make a choice to prioritize others over themselves. There are personal sacrifices involved, hard decisions have to be made, and trust that will be betrayed. Regardless of our professional road map we all face that fork in the road. It comes at different times for different people. Some face the truth after losing a job, others take a stand against injustice, and there are those who get sick of living with themselves.

Don't waste your life trying to be someone you are not. Don't allow that to which you are morally opposed to guide your decisions. Don't try to be like people you dislike.

Don't Forget to Remember!