Thursday, July 31, 2014
As I looked into his eyes, I could see them welling with tears. As he began to speak, his voice cracked, “Mr. Ron we’ll will miss you so much. It has been my honor to know you.”
As I listened, my eyes teared up in synch. These guys had no idea what they have meant to me over this past year.
As I walked from department to department, the reaction was mostly the same — we were saying our goodbyes. Having spent close to 15 months in a new environment with a workforce that could rival the United Nations — including multiple languages and customs — I was proud of myself for having connected with them.
Every unique experience must come to an end
As I walked out for the last time, the security guard who manned the front gate came out and gave me a big hug. Through broken English he said “picture,” and pointed at his cell phone. We embraced and took our photo. By this time, the gate was full with everyone wishing me congratulations, and one of my co-workers offering to give me a ride home as opposed to having to catch a taxi.
Posted by Ron Thomas at 2:29 AM
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
“This is not good. One of the guys on the marketing team I work with just got fired. OMG, they just fired another one. It is just crazy around here now.”
As I read the text messages, I could feel the tension that must have permeated this workplace.
The text was from someone who had been in the world of work for four years out of college. This situation with them went on for two days, and as I got the blow-by-blow, it felt like being in a war zone.
The question that probably popped in her mind was, “Am I next?” When I asked that question, her response was, “I honestly don’t know, but I do know that I am backing up all my work just in case.”
So when the dust settled, the leaders of this company called an all-hands-on-deck meeting to talk about the new corporate strategy. Oh, they also discussed the layoffs.
Who are these people?
Posted by Ron Thomas at 1:16 AM
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I recently received a note from my good friend Sharlyn Lauby(aka, the HRBartender) in reference to a question that shereceived from one of her readers:
How did you prepare for your new human resources role in Saudi Arabia? The country has different cultures, business traditions, and labor laws.
What I realized is that the story behind me making the move from New York City to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia could possibly fill a book [to be announced at a later date].
My thoughts were about how you prepare for this type move, especially if it is an independent move sans large company with a mobility program and all their support.
So, as I thought through my approach to this question, I wanted to capture some of what I learned and what to look for, not only for moving to Saudi Arabia, but with any expat opportunity that might come along.
While you can find tons of information on any country, the best way forward is through expat blogs. Regardless of the country, somebody took it upon themselves to write about it.
Posted by Ron Thomas at 4:47 AM
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
“She said to me… ‘you might be president of PepsiCo, you might be on the Board of Directors, but when you enter this house you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother… so leave that damn crown in the garage.’ “
You have to admire the older generation. They will always speak their mind. When I read this, I thought of my parents and how their plain-spoken ability to cut through all the BS and hit the bullseye with their message.
The above statement was from Indra Nooyi’s mother in reaction to her daughter’s election to the Pepsi Board of Directors. The 58-year old Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo and mother of two daughters delivered some surprisingly frank and candid insights on work-life balance in an interview with David Bradley, owner of the Atlantic Media Company, at the Aspen Ideas Festival this week.
The anointment: You are now crowned
I have seen more careers than I can count ruined by the constant wearing and acknowledging of the “crown.” One VP, recently promoted, told me that he blocks one of his reports out since HE is the one that has the two initials at the back of his name. And from what I gathered, the direct report was just floating ideas to him. But because he had the “crown,” he was the determinant of all ideas.
Posted by Ron Thomas at 4:55 AM
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
“I’ve been picking up the phone and calling my most important clients,” he said. “You can’t stop because there’s no email.”
This was a quote based on the outage of MS Outlook this past week. The Washington Post headline blared MS Outlook outage brings offices back to the 1980’s.
For the people who were working in corporate, this was an era when there was no email to speak of, and for that matter, no computers. I had an office on Sixth Avenue in New York at that time and all I had was a phone on my desk. That was it.
Afraid of being out of touch?
But I was in sales back then and that was all I needed. I broke every sales record at that time with just a phone. Even today, when I need to get it done and over with, I simply pick up the phone and dial.
Posted by Ron Thomas at 8:13 AM
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Saturday, June 21, 2014
“This is the most significant investment we’ve made in our partners since the introduction of Bean Stock.”
I read that statement with interest the other day. Starbucks staff, referred to as “partners,” will now be eligible to receive partial tuition for the first two years and full tuition for the final two years of college.
“We've always known that our partners work hard every day,” Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks’ Americas region, said in a phone interview. “This is the best way we can serve them.
Check out my latest post at CEO.com
Posted by Ron Thomas at 9:31 AM
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
That quote is from Albert Einstein. That is such a poignant quote when we think of change, new solutions, and how we approach problems.
I figured out a long time ago that it takes the same amount of energy to be negative as to be positive. But, I have also noticed a pattern that when some new idea or new approach comes out, people come out of the woodwork with skepticism.
Give credit for a new approach
Just the other day I read about Zappos restructuring their recruitment process. Almost immediately, all the naysayers came out of the woodwork about how it was not going to work.
Posted by Ron Thomas at 8:39 AM
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
“Too many people looking for jobs save their elevator speeches for job fairs and interviews. Remember the first rule of sales: ABC (Always Be Closing). Give your elevator speech to everyone — at family gatherings, in the waiting room of the dentist, at coffee hour at your church or temple. You never know where the next job is coming from.”
That was from a classic Harvard Business Review article.
This past week I attended Talent in Emerging & Growth Marketsconference being held in Istanbul, Turkey. I was honored to serve as the co-conference chair as well as one of the Day 2 keynote speakers.
The sponsors put forth an amazing array of talented HR professional from around the world. A few of the speakers who were senior level HR representatives who have since become independent consultants. This was precipitated by HQ moves or restructuring, or other things like that.
Every interaction counts
Posted by Ron Thomas at 4:53 AM