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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Leading in Today’s Workforce: Let Your Personal Style Come Through

“You should never be afraid to let your personality and style comes through.”


That has been a foundational statement for me during my career.

My first job out of college was working in the sales division for IBM. I always tell people that IBM was the Google of its day. As part of the role of becoming a sales associate we were all sent to “sales school” where we had to learn to sell the products, sell the benefits of those products, and extend the brand into the client organization.

It is more comfortable being you

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Giving Is the Very Best Workplace Communication

Sometimes, the best leadership examples come from someone who does not have the lofty titles.
We watch in amazement how one tiny gesture ends up giving us the wow factor in multitudes (as the video below shows). Ordinary people, or those in professions that would not be synonymous with leadership, set an example for all of us to follow.
It always brings a smile to my face when I see these random acts play out.
My first foray into human resources was in training & development, but one of the things I found limiting was that when someone would call me and want to send “John” to a management class.
In their mind, we were supposed to miraculously send this person out as a bad manager, and what we would get in return was a flawless leader? However, what usually would return was an individual that was pumped for a few days, and for the most part, then settled back into the comfort zone

What is your vision of leadership?

A good leader knows that respect is something you earn: from the customer, employees, investors and, eventually, the industry at large. To earn respect, listen to your people, and treat your employees like people.
Treat them as if they are partners in your business, because without them it is all a bad dream. Do not ever get into the mindset like they are subordinates.
A global CEO remarked to me a while back that regardless of nationality, everyone want to be treated with respect and recognized for their hard work.
GustavoDudamel160Treating people with respect also breeds happiness, and the happier your employees are, the more likely they will stay, grow, and refer others to your company. In other words, happy employees equal happy customers. Everyone is in this strategy thing together, not just the senior team.
I recall a story that I read about Gustavo Dudamel, the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic. When you normally think of leadership there is always a certain image that always pops into your head.
You would not normally associate an orchestra leader with organizational leadership. The board was skittish about hiring someone as young as he was in his mid-20. What he did after he was hired is still talked about to this day.

Every interaction counts

Doodle told the Philharmonic board that his first performance would be special and it would be a private affair. I could almost imagine the glances around the room. He told them the attendees would be made up of the parking attendants, ushers, plumbers, electricians, and porters. He wanted all the people who made each performance happen to be a part of it. He wanted his orchestra to play a special performance for “his” people
The vast majority of these people had never attended a symphonic performance. He told the story that as he looked out into the audience, he saw tears running down their faces. They were all dressed in their “Sunday clothes.”
The orchestra members told of the pride they had in that special performance. It gave them such a joy to perform for this special audience, that in a lot of cases, are the overlooked people within an organization.

Real leadership lessons vs an off-site

I learn more about leadership from these type events that all the seminars and off-site event can offer.
What we need to do is more connecting with our team whether you are a supervisor, foreman or an EVP. It does not matter where you are on the totem pole. People want to be treated with respect. If you want it you have to give it. Leadership is a two-way street.
There is no one-way street anymore, and as a matter of fact, all of our interactions could benefit from this approach Those interactions could be the game changer in a lot of different ways.

Giving is the best communication!

I recently saw one of the most profound videos on Facebook the other day. The story was about a little boy caught stealing medicine who was caught by the storekeeper.
He said that he had picked up these items because his mother was sick. Another shopkeeper saw the interchange and stepped in and not only paid for the items, but gave the boy some groceries to take home.
Years later, that same shopkeeper suffered a heart attack in his store. When he got to the hospital they were able to save him, but the hospital bill was enormous. However, the doctor that was treating him turned out to be the same child that he gave the groceries to and paid for the medicine for his sick mother.
As the family agonized over this huge bill, the last scene shows the new bill and the balance is zero — as in paid in full. That same child that became this man, this doctor, gave a helping hand and returned this favor the shopkeeper did for him 30 years later. In his letter, he reminded the man’s daughter that he was the young man her father helped out and that this was his way of repaying.
According to this script, the child grew up to be a doctor, but there was another scene in the movie where a homeless person wanted something to eat. As was his custom, this same shopkeeper did not discriminate; the homeless man also received a small bag of food, the same as that child.

Every interaction counts with EVERYONE

As we venture out each and every day, we never know, or consider, that the people we interact with each day could someday play an important role in our lives. Our problem, especially in our organization, is that we gravitate towards the lofty titles.
From the VP’s on up, they always get the star treatment and we walk past others without even the most basic “good morning, how are you?” Those five words could have a powerful impact on the receiver.
I was reminded of a story from an HR Director who told me that her CEO always talks about how he connects with his employees. The flip side is that he walks in every morning, walks past numerous offices and cubicles, and never utters just the basic “good morning” greeting.
Remember the things you do and all those words you speak. The way you treat others has a lasting effect on all those around you, and an eternal effect on you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Planning For the Worst: Compassion Is the Key When Layoffs Come

“Are we all set. Yes, we are all in compliance with the cost savings. All the numbers are correct. Just give me the go ahead and they are all gone.”
Then the conversation changed.
The executive listening to this rundown told the HR person to stop. Do you know any of these people? The answer was no.
Do you know whether it will be difficult for them to find jobs in your area? “I have no idea” was his reply.
Why does HR seem to like laying off people?
What are your plans for trying to help them land something? “I have none” was his reply.

Friday, February 6, 2015

What Do Organization’s Need Today? A CEOs Who Really “Gets It”......

While waiting for a minor surgery this past week, I asked for reading material. Out comes a newsletter, a printed one.
This hospital — American Hospital Dubai — had just hired a new CEO, Mr. Peter Makowski. His introductory greeting was on the first page of the newsletter under the headline, “From the Desk of the CEO.”
I love it when they get it
What I found in that newsletter was a quote from the new CEO. He gets it. In his introductory message to his employees, he said that his job as CEO was based on the best description that he has heard to describe a CEO’s role.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

What I Learned About Nurturing Talent from My Middle East Gardener

You coddle your people way to much.”
If they do not like this company, let them leave. We can hire someone else at a cheaper price.”
The only people who I consider talent at my network are the people on the air. That is all I care about.”
I’m sick of all this culture stuff. Give me a break.”
All these comments were from senior level executives during conversations concerning engagement, culture, or just their people. The third statement was from the head of a major cable network during a discussion at a dinner party back in New York. That was a very spirited discussion, to say the least.
My wife always tells me to just leave the HR stuff when we go out and lets enjoy the evening. But for some reason if it comes up, I will engage.
Who is in charge now?
I thought of those comments this week during some downtime I had between flights. I once had a former boss tell me that this fancy stuff has no value, but as I travel the global landscape, I am noticing that the pendulum has swung.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A New Way to Work: When Your Office Space Reflects Your Core Values

Landmark Hospitality
As I left a recent presentation at one of our clients, I noticed the design of the hallway leading into the area. My comment was “wow.”
It stopped me in my tracks. The walls were adorned with a blow up of their core values. The other side of the wall were positive thoughts from famous people. I called it a Hallway of Positivity.
With all the talk about culture in organizations today, it makes me proud when I see organizations go all out in trying to create this atmosphere. I sure there are some that will say something like, “yes, but do they live it?
A visual focus on what your culture is about
Landmark Hospitality
Good question, but my take is that during this design process, they could have just agonized over the color of paint and let that be it. But as I walk through their hallways, there are subtle signs throughout that hone in on the same message. That message is, “this is what we are about.”
Today your organization must use every opportunity to talk about what they are about. It is kind of like the soft sell in advertising — keep it front and center at all times.
As I thought more about this, I realized that this type design enables and has the ability to stimulate human flourishing. Walking down a bland hallway, entranceway or walking down that same space with a stimulating color and quotes creates the atmosphere.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Are You Ready For Your HR Career to Finally Go Global?

My name is xxxxx — where are u headed?
I replied that I was heading to Dubai and the conversation started (which was eased by the champagne served in business class).
My seatmate was from Russia. As the conversation continued, our other seat mate chimed in, she was from India. The couple sitting across from us was from Cape Town, South Africa. As I looked around the plane, it seems that we had a mini-UN of travel aboard.
Where is Dubai, anyway?
I was headed back from holiday in the U.S. Our first stop was London, and then we all separated as I was headed back home to Dubai.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

HR Advice to Start 2015: Resolve to Listen More to Your People This Year

“But, it is the General Manager who so sets the tone and culture in an organization.
That statement, by a local reporter, followed the recent firing of New York Jets football coach Rex Ryan. As I watched the news over the holidays, I saw that there were a lot of sports people who lost their jobs.
As another famous football executive, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, explained years ago, “you are what your record says you are.”
How did you do?
As one year ends and another begins, it is always a good time to reflect on our work and accomplishments for the past year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Becoming a Talent Specialist: You Just Need to Find Your HR Sweet Spot

We have had approximately 22 speakers over the past few day. Our focus was on Employee Engagement. We have sliced/diced it every way possible.
We have heard theory, metrics, branding, and plain old common sense — all in the guise of getting our employees more engaged. But in order for each of us as HR professionals to get our organizations back on track, we must be engaged with what we do.
Those were my closing words at the recent Employee Engagement Forum held in Dubai Dec. 7-8. I speak at a lot of conferences in the Middle East, and in close to two years working in this region, I have participated either as conference chair or keynote speaker at approximately 18 various conferences from Istanbul to Nigeria and throughout the Middle East.
Finding your HR “sweet spot”