Showing posts from October, 2011

Creating a Culture of Recognition

I had the pleasure of attending Globoforce's workshop on Building a Culture of Recognition last week. The workshop itself was conducted by Derek Irvine and was very well done. Derek set expectations for the "desired behaviors" for attendees upfront and then used recognition throughout the workshop to encourage attendees to participate. They definitely practice what they preach.
The premise for building a culture of recognition is that recognition leads to a more engaged employee and that engagement leads to better customer service and an increase in profits and revenues.
Another interesting tenet of their philosophy is that more employees need recognition not just the usual top 10%. Globoforce believes that in order to truly MOVE engagement scores you need to recognize those employees that are in the middle of the bell curve. Those employees that are your steady workers, the ones that show up everyday and do consistent work. We need those employees to keep our orga…

HR Themes from 3 Conferences

The conference season is in full swing and I had the opportunity to attend three wonderful conferences last week.
1) SHRM-Atlanta's HR Conference 2) The Performance Institute's Performance Conference 3) The University of Alabama's HR Management Conference
It is so interesting to participate and listen for themes to emerge. As I wrote notes for each one of the workshops/keynotes I attended, I began to see familiar topics. Here are the common themes from all three conferences:
1) Alignment-seemed to be the most popular theme. Whether it is alignment of organizational goals to the departmental level or aligning HR activities around organizational goals, the topic was mentioned at each conference. My personal opinion is that HR has a huge opportunity in the alignment area. As execution is the reason strategy fails...HR can exercise its strategic muscles in this area. "Execution trumps strategy every time," Rich Berens, Root Learning at the Performance Conference.…

HR You're A Rockstar

This week I am attending/presenting at three conferences, SHRM-Atlanta, The Performance Institute and The University of Alabama's HR Management conference.

I am always excited to attend these conferences as I meet great people and learn a ton of new things.
Today, at SHRM-Atlanta's conference the energy was high and so was the knowledge sharing. If you want to check out the twitter stream, follow hashtag #shrmatl11. With record attendance with over 1100 HR professionals and resource partners, the day was off to a great start. Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon gave the opening keynote. She is fantastic, and at 33, what a dynamo. Kat talked about an organizational learnng building competence, confidence and connections to the business.
I guess what impressed me most today were the great conversations that I was able to participate in. They inspire me and validate for me that the work that I do is truly important. Here are some snippets from my conversations today:
1) The economy is s…

One More Great Lesson From Steve Jobs: Innovation Begins As A Social Movement

Why is the loss of one CEO the cause for universal mourning? Because he symbolized the kind of entrepreneurial capitalism that generates the fun that comes with creating the new.

Hardly anything unites Americans anymore--except for the death of Steve Jobs. His passing and the deep mourning for him across political, generational, and cultural divides remind us that we all can agree on one thing--that it is Jobs’s kind of capitalism, entrepreneurial capitalism, that we love, because it generates the incredible fun that comes with creating the new. His death reminds us that the big, disruptive innovations almost always come from entrepreneurs who embody their following and enable the dreams and talents that they have inside and haven’t yet expressed. It reminds us that all net new job growth in the U.S. comes from startups and businesses five years old or younger that begin in garages, college dorm rooms, or Starbucks caf├ęs.

Above all, Jobs’s passing reminds us that entrepreneurial capital…

Love Poems From The Heart

Check out poems on my poetry blog at

What Guy Kawasaki Learned From Steve Jobs

Many people have explained what one can learn from Steve Jobs. But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced first hand what it was like to work with him. I don’t want any lessons to be lost or forgotten, so here is my list of the top twelve lessons that I learned from Steve Jobs.

Experts are clueless.

Experts—journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers, and gurus can’t “do” so they “advise.” They can tell you what is wrong with your product, but they cannot make a great one. They can tell you how to sell something, but they cannot sell it themselves. They can tell you how to create great teams, but they only manage a secretary. For example, the experts told us that the two biggest shortcomings of Macintosh in the mid 1980s was the lack of a daisy-wheel printer driver and Lotus 1-2-3; another advice gem from the experts was to buy Compaq. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.

Customers cannot tell you what they need.

“Apple market research” i…

"Lost Talent"

I had lunch yesterday with a good friend who is currently looking for a new position. Our discussion went from who we worked for in the past, real funny stories I must say,  to current employment opportunities, to what we plan to do in the future. One topic lead to another and then "lost talent". Yes  "lost talent". He shared with me his concern that the longer he was out of work the less marketable he felt he would be. How true that is in today's world. Articles abound on how companies are reluctant to hire individuals with great talent, skills, and work ethic. 

As we discussed this disturbing issue from a top HR executive level (which we both were) we got more and more concerned that companies are really missing the boat. They are also telling the out-of-workforce you are not valuable.  Knowing people who have been out of work for several years that is as far from the truth as can be. What we concluded was that we could not change current hiring principles. 

I …

To Succeed Today, Forget The Old Business Myths

Alexandria Levit found myths that people believe, even though they do not work for 98% of all truly successful people.  She decided it was time to debunk these myths because they are more dangerous and less viable than ever given this post-recessionary climate of ethical scrutiny and intense competition. 

Myth 1: Overnight success is possible Most people persevere for a long time and experience several setbacks before achieving an objective level of success. You’ll be best served if you are able to move your dream forward a little bit at a time and are able to cope when things temporarily go south.
Myth 2: Controversy will propel your career

Being controversial usually generates attention for a little while, but people will probably not trust you in the long run. Instead, work to incorporate the tried-and-true values of honesty and authenticity into your daily work life. Myth 3: Employers want you to be yourself While employers value the unique set of skills and experiences you bring to the…

Red Hat Buys Gluster For Scale-out Storage

Red Hat is buying Gluster and its open-source storage know-how. The acquisition will give Red Hat a strong play in thescale-out file system space as it steps up competition against incumbent IT vendors to host the next generation of enterprise applications. In a statement, Red Hat CTO and VP of worldwide engineering Brian Stevens said:  "Our customers are looking for software-based storage solutions that manage their file-based data on-premise, in the cloud and bridging between the two. With unstructured data growth (such as log files, virtual machines, email, audio, video and documents), the 90′s paradigm of forcing everything into expensive, single-system DBMS residing on an internal corporate SAN has become unwieldy and impractical."

This $136 million cash deal is just the latest instance of a big vendor buying its way into the hot scale-out storage market. Last year, for example, storage power EMC bought Isilon for its scale-out expertise. Before that, Hewlett-Packard boug…

Leadership, After All

The noted artist Willem De Kooning, as he aged, commented that, "you have to change to stay the same." Sometimes, as leaders, we find wisdom in rediscovering what we already know. Having met with numerous Board members and corporate leaders recently, many seem to be off put off by the loss of control over many of the circumstances that previously could be “managed”. Many are questioning whether the old standards still apply. We were struck by the following insight.

Recently, we asked several CEOs about future commitments, i.e. just how far forward they feel comfortable in predicting outcomes. The answer from most was one quarter... three months... astoundingly short given that when we asked this same question a few years ago, the answer was, on average, four quarters.

This suggests that in a time of uncertainty, in spite of the strength of current quarterly results, whether the light at the end of the tunnel is recovery or an out of control train speeding in our direction? And, t…

The How-To's of Deliberate Culture Creation

Last week I wrote about culture, specifically discussing if it is created or does it just happen by chance. Most responses I received via comments and twitter stated that culture is created.
So my question to you last week was:
What is the formula for creating a culture that is a competitive advantage for your company?
I wanted to share with you the responses I received and then add my two cents:
1) The values of an organization must be articulated to employees (how business owners want to conduct business) 2) Those values must be cascaded into everyday processes, policies, procedures, relationships, etc. 3) Human performance has to be aligned with the values as a way of doing business.
(thanks to Debbie King of Evolution Management for 1-3)
4) Hire people that are aligned with the organizational values
5) Review values regularly with all employees by CEO (even review at the beginning of team meetings)
6) Employees should be empowered in the decision making process to determine how decisio…

The Top Ten Lessons Steve Jobs Taught Us

a reprint from Here are the Top Ten Lessons Steve Jobs taught us: 1. The most enduring innovations marry art and science – Steve has always pointed out that the biggest difference between Apple and all the other computer (and post-PC) companies through history is that Apple always tried to marry art and science.  Jobs pointed out the original team working on the Mac had backgrounds in anthropology, art, history, and poetry.  That’s always been important in making Apple’s products stand out.  It’s the difference between the iPad and every other tablet computer that came before it or since.  It is the look and feel of a product.  It is its soul.  But it is such a difficult thing for computer scientists or engineers to see that importance, so any company must have a leader that sees that importance. 2. To create the future, you can’t do it through focus groups – There is a school of thought in management theory that — if you’re in the consumer-facing space building products and s…