Previous month:
June 2016
Next month:
August 2016

July 2016

Dallas Police Department "De-Escalation Training" Looks a Lot Like Great Training for Managers of People...

It's ironic in the aftermath of the Dallas Police Officer shootings/assassinations that given all the violence, the Dallas Police Department is actually a leader in trying to figure out a better way to de-escalate situations that have historically resulted in shootings.

Let that soak in a bit.

I have to say, I'm digging what they are doing in Dallas with this training.  Work with me through this piece that describes what the DPD's initiative to drop shootings looks like (Italics are from this USA Today Opinion piece, bold with green background represents my comments):

Thanks to deliberate changes in tactics, such as officers training in de-escalation techniques and using less-than-lethal force in situations where they’d previously be instructed to fire weapons, complaints DPD
about overly aggressive policing in Dallas had dropped from more than 150 in 2009 to fewer than 20 last year. And most dramatically, police shootings dropped too.

The root of the change, according to the Dallas Morning News, was aggressive and consistent re-training. Officers did not learn to de-escalate in classrooms. They practiced on the streets. Supervisors used footage from real-events — at least half of all department cars have dash cams, and many officers now have body video cameras— and came up with a set of de-escalation protocols that give officers more time (and more tools) to make judgments about whether to use force.

What's interesting about this is how true it rings for the talent pro in all of us.  More training.  More role play.  Practicing skills as close to live as you can get.  Watching others have success, fail and everything in between.  The incorporation of video.  This is all straight from the 2016 talent pro's notebook.

Time seems to be the key factor; no officer wants to get to the point where he or she has to decide in a split second whether the guy who is fishing through his pockets is reaching for a gun. The department wisely assumed that there will be moments during these confrontations when de-escalation techniques truly can work.

Something as basic as noise levels can affect the environment of a given situation. If officers all shout at the same time, that makes a suspect — hell, it makes anyone — really nervous. If an officer approaches that same suspect with open palms and a calm voice, the suspect will usually reciprocate.

Not always, of course. Officers need to have back-up here, and they will still face those horrible moments when only their guts can be their guide.  But in Dallas, and increasingly in other cities, officers have a goal: unless the suspect is armed with a gun, don’t try to end the situation quickly; try to prolong it. Don’t rush the suspect. Give him space and give him time. The more time the police have to de-escalate, the better the odds that the situation will end without anyone hurt or dying.

Hey! Instead of shouting, let's take our time. Let's let that person be heard. Don't be in a rush when you're dealing with someone in front of you.  Sounds like a best practice in manager of people training, right?  Like cops, managers in Corporate America have become too used to simply using authority as the reason someone should do what they want.  You know the answer - as a cop or a manager of people, but you're going to get a better result if you let the person in front of you participate.

If implicit racial bias still makes the lives of black men, women and children more threatened, then we owe their lives sustained attention. New police techniques and mindfulness help officers see suspects — or perhaps, confused people caught up in chaotic situations — as individuals. And although the evidence is tentative and still needs years of field-testing, it seems to work.

I don't claim to understand what's going on at the heart of all the police shootings, and I'm not here to throw in the cursory, "All Lives Matter" comment to the Black Lives Matter movement.  

What I do know is quality training when I see it - that focuses on participation by all parties in any conversation. I'm sad that those police officers lost their lives. But I'm proud as hell of the Dallas Police Department for being the leader in de-escalation training in response to the trend of too many shootings. 

The leadership in that organization must be smart as hell.


If You're Going to Fail, Fail Small, Grasshopper...

My friend, Tim Sackett, has a post/video up about Failure Being The New Black.  His hypothesis is that we've all been fed a load of crap when it comes to failure.  His point is that all the new age thinking that failure is good in careers/business is total BS - and we ought to be more focused on success, not failure.

I'm going to cut down the middle on this one.  Is failure OK?  I think it is at times. Fd company

Is big failure OK?  No - because you should have done some homework and seen it coming.

The goal should be designing change in your company in a way that makes failure as small as possible.  To do that, you have to be disciplined in your approach to experimentation.

There are a lot of buzzwords out there that I could use here - Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban - just to name a few.  I'm an expert in none of those - but I think we can learn a lot from broad principles pulled from some of these development methodologies.

Let's say you're going to change how recruiting is delivered at your company.  You could put a big project plan together, slides, etc - and go on an approval tour in your company to show how this change is going to rock everyone's world.

You might believe it - but it's 50/50 at best that it's going to work.  If you fail, that's a big failure and not OK - and you're just proving Tim's point.

But if you simply carve out 5 open jobs, create a hypothesis of what you think will happen if you treat those a different way, then conduct an experiment and measure the results before deciding to try and sell the change globally - you're actually using broad Agile/Lean/Scrum/Kanban principles.

It's called Minimum Viable Product - which is designed to test your assumption before you spend a lot of money/time and potentially fail spectacularly.  Let's say there are 10 sub-strategies related to your big recruiting change.  Why not test one of those strategies on 5 jobs and see what happens, then evaluate it in an objective fashion?

Small failure is OK, big failure is not.  It sounds like a cliche, but failing fast - and cheap - is the way to go.  It's also the way to prove ideas for big change as part of a bigger plan.

If you fail spectacularly, you probably suck.  You should have broken it up and experienced the lighter pain waaaaaay earlier.


VIDEO: Who To Hire When Your Culture Sucks (Kris Dunn at Cayman Islands #DisruptHR)

Let's face it - most of you don't operate in an environment that can be categorized as a "Best Place to Work"... We like to think all of our cultures are unique for the right reasons, and without question, some of them are.  

But most aren't. I could make the case that culture is actually hyper-local, with micro-cultures that exist around each one of your managers of people actually being more important than attempts to define your corporate culture.

That's why my talk at DisruptHR in the Cayman Islands focused on the following topic - "Who to Hire When Your Culture Sucks".  If you exist in a hard-knock environment that you're trying to change on a day-to-day basis as an HR/Talent Acquisition leader, this talk is for you.

In classic DisruptHR form, it's a small investment of time.  20 slides, 15 seconds apiece, 5 total minutes.  Take a look!  The slides move automatically so you can judge how I dealt with that!

(email subscribers click through for video)

Who To Hire When Your Culture Sucks | Kris Dunn | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.


The Fox News Harassment Suit vs CEO Roger Ailes Is A Classic Case of No One Standing Up to Ugly Old Guys...

How many of you watch Fox News?  I'd say no more than half - because that's how polarized America is these days on politics.

But now we have something from Fox News to unite us - a harassment suit brought by former Fox and Friends anchor, Gretchen Carlson, against Fox News Chief Roger Ailes. Here are the basics to get you started:

"Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has sued the network’s president, Roger Ailes, claiming that he fired her after she rebuffed his sexual advances. Harassment 101

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday morning, the former daytime host says the Fox News mastermind repeatedly harassed and demeaned her with “severe and pervasive” sexual harassment before she was officially fired on June 23—the final day of her contract.

According to the lawsuit, Ailes tried to convince Carlson to sleep with him “by various means,” including the inclusion of “sexual and/or sexist comments” into everyday conversation. Last September, the 76-year-old executive allegedly told her: “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better.”

Meh. Make sure you have images enabled on this post - so you can see the split screen picture of Ailes and Carlson. Creepy, right?  

What can you learn from this?  There are hundreds - make that thousands - of companies in America where top male executives act like fools with behavior that can easily be thrown into a harassment suit.  How that behavior is handled is pretty much in direct correlation with the power of those individuals.  The more power the person has at the organization, the less likely those around him - HR, but more importantly his direct reports on the operations side - are to confront that individual with how stupid and reckless he's being.

6 other women have come forward with their own tales of Ailes creepers over the weekend.  That's what happens when no one can tell the boss he's acting like a perve.  Compare the Ailes allegations to those that Carlson made in the same filing against the Fox and Friends guy that everyone loves, Steve Doocy:

"In particular, the lawsuit points a finger at former Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy.

On or around September 3, 2009, Carlson complained that Doocy created a hostile work environment by “regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way,” including “putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast.” Doocy also allegedly mocked her during commercial breaks and, in Carlson’s estimation, treated her as a “blond female prop."

That sounds like filler in a court filing to load it up with as much as you can.  If all you have on Doocy is that he was condescending and told you to shush, that's not exactly a smoking gun.

But the overall account of Ailes with Carlson sounds like a guy who thought he could do anything he wants to do.  This suit will come down to the fact that it's really being positioned as a retaliation suit - with Carlson losing her job.  Her claim is retaliation after she said no to the humpty dance, Fox News claims she was let go due to poor ratings.  We'll see what happens.

The opportunity for you as an HR Pro is to use this situation to wake someone up.  More than a couple of you work in a company where a top exec is a total pig.  If you can't confront it for political reasons, get to someone that has the ear of the pig in question - and use the Ailes case as fodder to show them what can happen - and urge them to have the "stop acting like a total d**k"" conversation that's long overdue.


The Time You Wanted To Be Blink 182, But Sold Out To The Man...

We've all got guilty pleasures that wouldn't stand up to the world's judgement.

Some of us watch shows on TV that we wouldn't want the world to know about. Others have browsing histories in Chrome that are California-5728de26c873f damning at best.

Me? I like Blink 182.  A lot, probably too much.

Blink 182 is out with a new album and a new tour.  Of course, the hard core Blink fans out there in my readership question whether this is really Blink 182 - since they did it without founding singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge, who is apparently off researching UFOs. Blink subbed in Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio, which is kind of like Mark Wahlberg subbing for a Steel Dragon legend in the movie Rock Star.

My point?  We've all got brands, and over time, those professional brands evolve. Every one of us has something that made us special, and for the most part, we had to hide some of what made us unique to conform to the cultures we had to live in at work.

Blink 182 is back to to their roots of what made them special with their new album. How do I know this?  Consider the first track on the record, which is 17 seconds long (email subscribers click through for video below):

That's right - here's the lyrics:

Woo, woo
I wanna see some naked duuuuuuudes
That's why I built this poooooool

If there's one thing that has defined the Blink 182 brand, it was being hopelessly juvenile. My guess here after a bit of research is that the Blink 182 crew aren't gay but they're also not bigots.  They're just on brand of making fun of everything they can.  That's the case as California ends with another microsong, “Brohemian Rhapsody” (sure), whose lyrics, in full, are as follows: “There’s something about you / That I can’t quite put my finger in.”

Geesh. Those guys.

This the same band that brought you the album title Enema of the State and broke onto the scene at the MTV music awards by performing "All The Small Things", complete with dozens of little people running around the stage.

These men will be boys.  You're judging me right now for writing this post.

As you do that, reflect on this: Whatever makes you special professional - the thing you've had to push to the background to get paid and make a living - would you be better off by bringing it back?  By letting your freak flag fly?

The reality is by doing that, you're limiting where you can earn a living - because most of the world wouldn't understand. But some of the world would get it, and it would probably make you much more valuable to those people.

It's OK to judge me for writing this post.  Just email me your Chrome browsing history and we're even.


Flat Results + Doing the Same Thing = More Flat Results.

If there's one thing I've learned in a career of being a manager/coach (both in corporate America and in sports), it's that when I'm not satisfied with the results I'm getting, I almost always should have changed what I was doing earlier.

Flat results + Doing the same thing = more flat results.

Why do we keep doing the same things even though we see diminishing results?  That's easy to answer - because the way we are doing it has a history of being successful.  You got great results doing it the way you've been doing it.  You go through a rough patch and you're sure that it will turn around.  Except it doesn't.  

What changed?  You've got a changing environment around you - the situation is different, the competition is different, people with influence showed up and are changing the way people listen to you, etc.

But you keep doing it the way you've done it before.  Damn them all to hell - it worked before, it can work again.

Except sometimes it can't.  And if you're like me and do an ex-post facto review of "what happened", you'll look at yourself be critical that you didn't react to the circumstances better.

You should have changed what you were doing earlier.  As soon as you felt the flat results, you should have started tweaking.

Do yourself a favor today.  Don't try and power through bad results doing things the same way.

Change it up and see what happens.  You'll be glad you did.


ASK THE CAPITALIST: When Should I Mention The Vacation I'm Planning In The Interview Process?

A reader asks...

KD -

My current company is a mess - I'm currently interviewing and have great traction, but I'm concerned about a vacation I've planned Doctor
for late August.  When should I tell a prospective employer that I've got a Disney trip planned?

--Pritesh from Charlotte

----------

Hi Pritesh -

First, let me say "wow" - Orlando in August?  It will only be 120 degrees, down from 124 in July.

On the vacation front, here's some fodder for you to consider.

  1. I followed up with you to learn that you're a marketing guy who expects to make 90K in your next job.  There's never been a 90K person that couldn't figure out a way to still take that vacation when they switched jobs.  If you're in a process with a company that can't help you figure that out (wants to force you to give it up), walk away.
  2. You don't tell any prospective employer too early that you've got a vacation on the books.  Doing so makes it seem like you have the wrong priorities.
  3. The right time to tell them about your vacation is before you come back for what you understand will be the final round of interviews, which for most companies who employ people at your pay level is going to be round #3.  It's sad that 3 rounds of interviews is the norm, but it's true.
  4. Once you confirm that the next round of interviews is probably going to be the last round, you say something like, "Hey - before you put me in front of anyone else, I should let you know that I already have money down for a vacation in late August.  I hope that won't be an issue, but figured I needed to let you know before we go to the next step."
  5. Time it like that, and you maximize your chances that the vacation will be covered by company policies.
  6. There's some game-playing that can happen on behalf of the company - they might ask you to take it as unpaid time according to their "accrued leave" policy.  Don't even hesitate - if they go that direction during the interview process, ask them to let you go in arrears according to their leave policy or simply ask the manager to work it out with you without involving payroll.

Take that advice, and odds are you'll be taking your vacation, on the new company's leave policy.

Or you could go senior level and time your job change until after your PTO account is empty at your current company.  Your call!


There's a Little Bit of Kevin Durant In All Of Us...

By now, most of you have heard that Kevin Durant, one of the top 5 professional basketball players in the world, made the decision over the 4th of July to leave his current team (Oklahoma City) and join what's widely regarded to be the most talented team in the NBA (the Golden State Warriors).

Reactions to the Durant news on the 4th were quick - and at times harsh.  At issue is whether Durant is running from a challenge (getting OKC to its first title) or simply exercising his collectively Backpack bargained right to take his talents elsewhere - something the rest of us take for granted.  What you believe is directly related to your world view on talent and what you think athletes owe the franchises they play for and the cities those franchises represent.

When we're critical of these types of sports moves, we forget how much freedom we have as normal employees to switch companies.  In fact, Durant's a lot like us.  Consider the following truths related to the Durant move:

--He had spent 9 years with the same organization.  I'm a big believer that type of tenure can cause talent to wonder what's on the other side of the fence.  Durant clearly wondered that, and now he's gone - taking less money in the process.

--Durant reached for the cool brand that exists today.  The Warriors are the equivalent of the company in your city that built a slide in its lobby that you hate to recruit against.  Damn - who can compete against a slide?  You know it's not real, yet you bleed as the second and third employee chooses to go there.  The Warriors are the cool brand, and Durant's 54M dollar contract means he can even get a nice studio apartment near work in the Bay area.  That's nice.

--Durant was working with a crazy person.  You've lost employees for the same reason.  Management couldn't confront the crazy person, so you left the employees to figure it out on their own.  And you lost some peeps because of that.  OKC made the same choice, and Durant left with that at least a contributing factor.  BTW, I'm ALL IN on the crazy kid who remains at OKC.

--Durant, like any employees that choose to leave you, doesn't have perfect clarity on the team he's walking into.  What's his role? He's not sure. The organization that signed him up has less room to put talent around him as a result of the cost of signing him. But the slide was in the lobby, they didn't seem to have crazy people around (surprise, KD!), so he went for it.

For the employees that leave you, the grass is always greener.  Karma has a way of figuring it out.  For KD, that means he has to win a title next year.  For the average employee, that means they're still at the new company 2-3 years from now.

We are all Kevin Durant. We're just don't look like the Grim Reaper with the ability to knock down a three.  

 


The 3 Ways Candidates Get Beheaded Expecting Counter Offers...

My friend RJ Morris had a great post up at Fistful of Talent a couple of years ago related to the deep psychology of the Counter Offer - the moment when you tell your employer you're leaving and they start scrambling to keep you.  Here's a taste of RJ's post, you should go read the whole thing:

"Wow, Sally…that really catches me by surprise. Look, you’re way too valuable to us to have you Dont leave. You have to know that, right? I mean, we’ve been really busy, so maybe I have not given you the right recognition or been able to bring you up to speed on the conversations we had last month at the leadership retreat. You’re very important to us. We had even talked about expanding your role. You’re that important.

And me, I’m probably moving up in the next 6-12 months, and you’re the lady on the succession plan. Let me talk to the CEO and get you some time on her calendar next week, when she gets back from Asia. I know we can accelerate the raise we had already planned for you, plus another bump when you get promoted into my role. Just hang in there, Sally. Things are right around the corner. Big things. Don’t make any firm decisions yet."

RJ's basic premise is that counter offers come across as fake and forced when provided by a boss or employer who's been ignoring the employee in question for months if not years.  RJ's on the money with his take on the issue, but there's an important qualifier that the candidate side needs to understand:

You never take an offer to your employer as a conditional resignation expecting that they're going to counter.  As soon as you do that, you're screwed.  You've overplayed your hand.

Translation: If you take a counter offer to your boss, be prepared that she's going to say, "OK - hate to lose you, but you have to take that offer.  Can I get three weeks instead of two for your notice period?  I'd really like to see if we can get this filed and get your help in training your replacement during your last couple of days".  Whoops! As soon as you start taking an offer to your boss expecting them to counter, you probably fit into one of three categories:

1.  You're an average performer.  You think you deserve more money, but you're actually fairly comped in your employer's eyes for what you do.  I'll accept your resignation, good luck out there!

2.  You're over-comped for the market.  You may be an above average performer, but due to a variety of factors, your company already pays you more than you're worth vs. the market.  No one cares that you want/need more money.  They'd rather hire your backfill and spread the other 1/2 of the FTE across others to solidify them than pay you more to keep you.

3.  You're clueless about your importance versus the political scene at your company.  You think you deserve more money, and maybe you do.  But the way your company handles increases, you need 2 levels of approvals plus HR to get out of the way before a proper counter is to be issued - all unlikely in an environment where CYA is a way of life.  The fact that you brought an offer forward expecting someone to counter you shows your lack of situational awareness.

Real players don't take offers to employers expecting that they'll provide a big counter offer.  Real players go to resign and rarely accept a counter offer due to all the factors that RJ outlined in his post. Unfortunately, there are a lot of candidate types who use the offer to attempt to generate a counter. Those folks usually end up in a world of hurt, and they've only got themselves to blame.

Don't play games with offers if you fit one of the three categories above.  You'll end up without your head.