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January 2018

Warren Buffett’s #2 Would Hire HR Generalists Over HR Specialists...

Let's start out with a definition of what an HR Generalist is from my viewpoint:

HR Generalist - a HR pro at any level who is in charge of a client group of employees - M_Awesome-Tee-For-Hr-Generalistmeaning they provide HR services to a location, a business unit, a functional area or geographical area.  As part of this role, they provide counsel, service and insight across the HR Body of Knowledge - comp, benefits, recruiting, employee relations, legal, etc.

An HR Generalist can exist at the individual contributor level or manage people, as well as exist at the HR Rep, HR Manager, Director, VP and CHRO level.

Some people define an HR Generalist as a early career HR title.  Don't be fooled.  An HR generalist is more about mindset and world-view than it is about a title.  If you serve a client group and they come to you seeking counsel on every item under the sun, you're probably a generalist.

Good news - The guy behind Warren Buffet thinks you're the valuable type of talent that exists inside an organization.  More from The Hustle:

Behind every lauded genius, there tends to be a No. 2: A Pippen to Michael, a Woz to Jobs, and, dare we say, a Munger to Buffett.

For 40 years, Charlie Munger has served behind the scenes as Warren Buffett’s most trusted business partner.

He’s played a pivotal role in managing Berkshire Hathaway’s $178B stock market portfolio (Q3 of last year), advising him to invest in electric vehicle powerhouse BYD back in 2008, and many others.

While Munger has worked tirelessly over his 70-year career, there is one thing (or, technically many things) he contributes to his success.

Knowing a little about everything

According to Munger, his theory on work ethic, AKA ‘expert-generalism’ goes somewhat against the ever-popular 10,000 hour rule.  

According to Quartz, rather than “lasering” in only on investment theory, his strategy is to study “widely and deeply” in many fields that he could one day apply as an investor.

Bill Gates once said, “[Munger] is truly the broadest thinker I’ve ever encountered… Our longest correspondence was a detailed discussion on the mating habits of naked mole rats and what humans might learn from them.”

You can be an expert-generalist too

Orit Gadiesh, the Bain & Co. chairman who coined the term, describes expert-generalism as “the ability and curiosity to master and collect expertise in many different disciplines.”

Research shows EG’s have:

Hmm, sounds like the world could use a few more EG’s.

If you're an HR generalist at any level, be proud.  You're a trusted advisor that understands that the world is gray, and you also know how important you are in helping those in your client group navigate all the complexity and chaos that comes with managing a workforce.

Simply put, HR Generalists are the most important cog in the HR world.  Be proud, because you are irreplaceable.  

 


How To Show Creatives In Your Workforce That Planning/Communication Is Necessary...

For non-creatives, managing creatives can be tricky business.

I mean, really - you're not creative and you're going to try and tell them how they should run their creative desk?  How dare you!

My experience is that creatives, while organized in their own mind, often don't see a gap related to how others view them and the services they provide.  Creatives are a valuable, rare commodity, so many managers will avoid engaging them to deliver services in a way that the team/company/client can more easily understand - out of fear of losing the resource.

A lot of that gap comes down to planning and/or communication.  What can I expect, when can I expect it?  Many who rely on creative services treat it as a mystical resource.  

Creativity takes time.  Creativity can't be rushed.  It will be done when it's done, but you want high quality, right?

All of which is true.  However, I recently ran across this example of how one creative mind works when it comes to planning and organization.  take a look at the spreadsheet below - it's a planning doc from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.  Take a look at the picture (email subscribers may have to click through to view, and all can click on the picture below to blow it up) and we'll talk about it after the jump.

Jk-rowlings-phoenix-plot-outline_1457414808

More on this doc from Open Culture:

At the height of the Harry Potter novels' popularity, I asked a number of people why those books in particular enjoyed such a devoted readership. Everyone gave almost the same answer: that author J.K. Rowling "tells a good story." The response at once clarified everything and nothing; of course a "good story" can draw a large, enthusiastic (and, at that time, impatient) readership, but what does it take to actually tell a good story? People have probably made more money attempting, questionably, to pin down, define, and teach the best practices of storytelling, but at the top of this post, we have a revealing scrap of Rowling's own process. And I do, almost literally, mean a scrap: this piece of lined paper contains part of the handwritten plot spreadsheet she used to write the fifth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

One of the most economically successful creatives (in this case, an author) relies on a spreadsheet to plan and execute story arcs and plots.

A lot of your creatives don't plan like this.  I think it's worth sharing to show the level of detail one famous creative mind includes when planning work product.

In addition, the doc serves to make an additional point.  If J.K. Rowling goes to this extreme to keep her own head straight, might more planning and communication from your creatives to those who are waiting for creative product from make sense within your company and on your team?

It's one thing to have it in your head.  To truly reach the highest level of creative service inside a company, your creatives need to be organized - and then tell the world what their work funnel looks like and when they can expect delivery.   

 


You People Who Get Groggy In Meetings Amaze Me...

If you're like me, when you see a person in a meeting start to redline out into something resembling sleep, you're amazed.

I know, I know.  There are sleep disorders that cause people to be unable to stay awake in a meeting or any another work situation that involves someone talking for intermediate to long periods of time.

But my fascination remains.  How do people go to sleep in meetings when their boss is talking - or their boss's boss is talking?

In today's world, we point to sleeping disorders as the reason.  We used to call it natural selection, and the level to which someone was penalized for falling asleep in a work situation was directly and positively correlated with how much they contributed to the business:

Strong contributor nodding off in meeting:  We just make fun of them behind their back.

Weak contributor nodding off in meeting: "Did you see your boy Jim in the REM stage? I'm going to let you take care of that."

Translation: If Jim can't get his s**t together, I don't want to see him in meetings, which means he might not be in the company.

I've been given a natural gift.  I don't look groggy in work meetings, even when I haven't slept in 24 hours and I'm in a brain funk that rivals the deep fog of the SF bay area.  Of course, that doesn't mean I've heard a damn thing you've said in that meeting, only that I have the ability to not offend those in charge/presenting.  I also can't fall asleep on airplanes.  Another minus side related to sleep and me - I've got an internal clock that wakes me up at the time I've thought about getting up - even if I don't have to on a weekend, etc.

These thoughts about work sleep brought to you courtesy of the Twitter moment below, which wonders aloud how people in movies fall asleep automatically, which is followed by people talking about sleep patterns on nights before they have to go the airport, etc.  Funny stuff, worth 3 minutes to flip through the whole thing.

Work and sleep are a weird combination.  Email subscribers click through if you don't see the Twitter moment below.


The Darwinian Nature of Candidates Seeking Remote Work...

We've noticed something interesting on the recruiting trail at Kinetix.

We're a recruiting company and from time to time, we seek to fill remote-based positions, both for ourselves and our clients.  That's not unusual, because I'm sure a lot of you have remote-based roles you have to fill.

What's interesting is the way people talk about the expectations of a remote-based role when they're interviewing

Remote workers who are great hires have likely worked remotely and understand the true reality - working remotely means a lot of times you work harder than you do in the office. Homer remote The day slips away from you and you suddenly have been sitting at your desk for 9 hours without moving.  It can be productive, but there's no natural stop time.

Of course, the other side of the reality is that remote roles can provide some flexibility related to your personal life.  If you have to pick up a kid during the work day, you can likely get that done, but that doesn't mean your work day is over, or even that you're not working in the car while you're traveling to the pick up.

Here's what we've noticed on the recruiting trail related to remote candidates. There's something Darwinian going on related to the way people talk about working for home, and what they do once they're granted home-based work.  Observations:

  1. There's a class of employees who talk about remote-based work in terms of what it can do for them. They espouse the benefits for their life - they can do laundry! They can pick up their daughter!  They say these things to the recruiter... Um hmm..
  2. Then there's a class of employees who never talk about what remote work can do for them personally.  They might be thinking that in the back of their mind, but they'll never say it.
  3. When you hear these two classes of employees talk, you can expect that the behavior transfers past the interview - It's actually how they''ll approach work when they're in the job. When you call #1, you'll get voice mail more often than you do with #2.  

That's why I think a great interview technique is to float some questions about why someone would want to work remote, then shut the hell up.  Just let them talk and work through it.  

They don't need your help. Darwin was all about adaptations, and you'll see these adaptations alive and well on the recruiting trail for remote-based work.  

Both classes of employees love the benefits of working at home.

But you should never hire a remote-worker who hasn't evolved enough to NOT talk about all the things they're going to do with that flexibility.  They haven't evolved and they're not ready for the responsibility.  If they lead with the benefits for them personally rather than the benefits for them professionally, you're likely to be disappointed with the results.

The real players?  They never let you know that they're doing laundry or gong to a dance recital... They just do it, knowing that they're going to deliver more performance than they could in the office.


What Is Your Pettiest Reason For Being Lukewarm On A Candidate?

I'm asking. You know you have some type of petty thing - that's caused you to rank a candidate lower than they should have been.

I'm not talking about bias with a capital "B".  I'm talking about bias with a smaller than lower case "b".   It's so petty that the "b" in bias is actual two font sizes smaller than the rest of the word.  

Mine?  I have a hard time with candidates who take me out of my normal messaging environment.  Namely, the ability to use iMessage across different devices and communicate with team members is a preference - not a necessity.  I've hired people that I can't message on the iMessage platform before, and will in the future.  Best candidate wins. 

But when I pick up my phone to SMS a candidate rather than iMessage from my mac, I need to remind myself best candidate wins.  Twice.

What's your pettiest reason for being lukewarm on a candidate?  Hit me in the comments, or message me.  Unless you're not IOS - if that's the case, definitely hit me in the comments.


APPLE: The Real 2nd (or 3rd) Headquarters Your City Wants...

As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado.
Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize's a set of steak knives.
Third prize is you're fired.

-Blake (played by Alec Baldwin) in Glengarry Glen Ross 

------

By now, you know that Amazon is holding a giant RFP/Bake-Off/Contest pitting 20 finalist cities (down from 200+ that originally applied) to determine where a 2nd Headquarters for the company will be located.  The process, deemed "HQ2," solicited bids from cities for where Amazon will spend an estimated $5 billion build a new, second headquarters for 50,000 employees/new jobs.

What you may not know is that Apple announced a similar, less ambitious initiative that may be the prize your city really wants.  Here's the rundown from various reports:  Baldwin

"Apple announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it plans to build a new campus in the United States, as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five years.

Where will the new campus go? Apple said only that it will be announced later this year, and declined to comment if it already had a location in mind.  

While Amazon openly invited a bidding war, with hundreds of municipalities whose officials prepared packages of tax breaks and other perks for the tech company, Apple didn't comment on whether it was soliciting bids or planned to have municipalities compete for the new campus. 

It's not Apple's style to do a public contest — but given that Amazon received 238 different bids from cities, it's safe to say that there are some economic development agencies putting together packages for Cook and Apple. 

Apple's new campus won't be its "second campus" and is unlikely to rival its current headquarters, at 1 Infinite Loop, or its new $5 billion headquarters, Apple Park, both in Cupertino, California. 

The jobs available at this new campus are unlikely to be high-skilled programming jobs making the next iPhone that come with huge salaries often found in California. Apple likes to do its engineering and design close to home in California, both for reasons of security as well as work culture. 

As Apple noted in its announcement, the new campus will initially house "technical support for customers." Much of that work is currently done in Austin, Texas, as reported by the New York Times in late 2016."

Here's an example of the kind of tech support work that could take place at the new campus: 

"During the recent visit, Stephanie Dumareille, a senior adviser on iOS issues who is fluent in English and Spanish, patiently answered questions from a customer who was worried about saving her résumé online and did not know whether she was using a Windows or a Mac computer."

Glassdoor estimates a $38,000 annual salary for technical support agents at Apple in Austin." 

Is that close to what Amazon is proposing?  No. But it might actually be the second prize your city wins where, upon reflection, your city is glad it didn't win the grand prize (Amazon).

The 20,000 jobs that Apple wants to bring to your city is likely to cost less per job from an incentive perspective and here's another big key - your current metropolitan workforce is much more capable of filling these jobs today than it is related to the Amazon HQ2 project.

Amazon's HQ2 impact is going be amazing.  But most of the people in your city aren't going to benefit directly from it.  When you think about the projected Apple jobs - let's say at a 38K annualized salary wage, with an opportunity to earn 50K via OT, bonus, commissions and a career path to higher levels - this project is likely to do more for those impacted by our changing economy that the Amazon project.

Can you teach a factory worker to take support calls for Apple?  Not all of them - but some of them to be sure.  Imagine the impact if Apple went into Detroit with this project and focused on workforce development in a variety of ways.  It would be a huge win for Apple, but just as importantly, for Detroit.

Somebody's going to win the second prize in this economic development project and be happy they did.

Make the call, Detroit.  Get your slides together, Cleveland.  Go pitch Apple on how they can create a great American story by working with your city.


VIDEO HANGOUT THURSDAY - The Psychology of Recruitment: Brain Hacking to Get Agreement...

If you’re a client or follower of Jobvite, you know the Recruiter Nation Live series.  It started with the Recruiter Nation Live Conference in San Francisco last June, and continued with the Recruiter Nation Live Roadshow that brought real recruiter talk to 9 cities in North America over the last three months of 2017. 
 
The feedback was great – you loved it, so we’re back with the latest in the series – the Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series, hosted by Fistful of Talent and me.  Once a month, FOT will host a live Hangout designed to keep the conversation among HR pros and recruiters going – focused on things you can use, like the best-kept secrets of today’s smartest and most efficient recruiters, Jedi-mind tricks proven to make you more persuasive/get great candidate response and strategies to hold your hiring managers accountable for their choices–so everyone wins.

 ----------------------------------------------

Our next hangout is at 1pm ET on January 25th (Thursday!).  It's an informal thing - we fire up the video and a few slides (emphasis on "few") and run through a few things in 20-25 minutes...

Topic - GETTING READY FOR THE JANUARY 2018 HIRING RUSH!! (WITH FOTers DAWN BURKE AND KRIS DUNN)

REGISTER FOR THE HANGOUT BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!!

TOPICS/THE GOOD STUFF - 

The Psychology of Recruitment: Brain Hacking to Get Agreement
 
While technology continues to have greater importance in our day-to-day lives and jobs, knowing the things that make us uniquely human is just as critical. How you use social psychology, and our decision biases to help connect, engage and influence a job candidates is where you can make a huge difference. 

Join Paul Hebert and Dawn Burke of FOT for this 25 minute video hangout as they riff on:

1--How you can use aversion to your advantage - even when the person doesn't have a job to lose.

2--Understanding how getting small commitments can drive even bigger ones.

3--Leveraging "framing" when you talk to candidates to help you lock in salary and other things you might normally have difficulty discussing with candidates


It will be fun and fast. You'll want to join us because it will turn your recruiting game up to 11.  Or if it's already an 11, it will turn it up to 12.

(Hint - one of the weirdest influence techniques is included in this session. Listen in and Paul will explain it.)

REGISTER FOR THE HANGOUT BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!! 


When Your Boss Acts Like a Dinosaur and You Just Serve Up The Brontosaurus...

In case you missed it, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is the latest leader VP level FTE of the free world to espouse the benefits of having his underlings print stuff out for him to chew on.  Damn kids!  Where's my digital information printed out on something I can take notes on?  Or use to throw away my gum?  BTW, I'm almost out of Big Red - send the intern to the store. 

OK, let's look at the quote and analyze it after the jump.  More from Newsweek:

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that he prints out President Donald Trump's tweets and uses them to inform decision-making on foreign policy. Tillerson

The Texan was speaking to his predecessor Condeleezza Rice at a Stanford University event on Wednesday, at which he said the president is "world-class at social media," on which he reaches millions of people via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with messages that sometimes even his own team remain unaware of. 

"The challenge is getting caught up because I don't even have a Twitter account that I can follow what he is tweeting, so my staff usually has to print his tweets out and hand them to me," Tillerson told Rice."

Random and at times, astute thoughts on this:

1.  Condi is pressing her tongue against her teeth - or whatever method she uses - not to laugh out loud at Tillerson thinking he's being cool with this response.

2.  It's hard when you have an otherwise talented boss ask you for something stupid.  Sometimes the caveman just wants to eat, and it's easier to serve him the Brontosaurus than walk him through the issues.

3.  There would be A LOT MORE DINOSAURS in the world receiving this level of service.  But most of us saw administrative assistants go away in the 1990s, never to return.  So while this type of story is rare, it would be more common had the great OD plague of the 1990 not wiped 80% of the admins from the face of the earth.

4.  Tillerson has a legitimate security concern in not having a twitter account.  But I'm pretty sure that there's an analyst at the State Department that can set up autoforwarding to his smart phone via email or even a secure app - let's name it Sexy Rexy - and have it pop the minute Trump tweets.

5.  And yes, someone close to Tillerson has to tell him how bad this makes him look and help him at least have the appearance of looking digital.

It's one thing to have Marge print out the tweets.  It's another thing to tell the world you're on top of twitter and use it for policy by - wait for it - printing stuff from "The Twitter Thing" out.

 

 


How to Involve Employees In Goal Setting - Even If You're 99% Sure Some of Their Ideas Will Suck....

I'm up over at Saba Software talking about goal setting - something that should be on everyone's mind at the start of the year, right?

You must include your direct reports in the goal setting process. I know – sometimes their ideas aren’t great. It’s OK – I'm going to show you how to involve the direct report in the goal setting process without being held hostage by bad ideas about goals. You can include them and maintain control of the process.

The more you can show they had input, the more you win by increased engagement towards the goals. Take a look at this episode of TalentTalks at Saba Software to learn more/how.

Click here to see my video for a 3-step process to including your employees in goal setting - in risk-free, no BS way.

Goal setting

VENDORSPLAINING: Here's a Tone-Deaf Business Conversation...

If you're like me in the world of HR, you get hit by a lot of vendors.  Vendors you currently use get priority to your time.  That's what makes this conversation so damn fun.

The Scene: I'm on a call with an Account Manager for a CRM we use.  It should be noted that the company I work for (as well as serve as a partner and co-owner) is a RECRUITING COMPANY - Kinetix!  Stay tuned for why that is relevant.

Me: So Tom, thanks for the call today and the rundown of the opportunities you see for us to get the most out of your system.  When it comes to the next step, I'm currently in the process of hiring for the vacant role I described, so it Pleasemakes sense not to do any follow up until that person is in the seat, which I think will be early February.

Tom: That sounds great.  Keep in mind that if you need a person with a deep understanding of our CRM, we have some recruiting partners who can help you out.  Just let me know if you need that introduction.

<awkward silence. Bubble over my head would be captioned, "What the #@**!">

Me: Tom, you realize we are a recruiting company, right?  I just wanted to check on your understanding of that since I swore you just offered to put me in touch with an external recruiter.  That sounds like you don't have a lot of confidence in the mission of our company.

Tom: Um. Well. Um. Er.  You know, I had a momentary lapse there. Um. Well. Um. Er...

Me: OK, that's interesting.

<nervous laughter from other CRM reps on call. Secretly they are cheering the combative spirit displayed.  Evident they are not worried about hurting Tom's feelings - or mine, for that matter>

<call goes on - we pick up the call 4 minutes later>

Tom: OK Kris, we'll plan on following up with you late in the first week of February to see if you've got the new person aboard.

Me: That sounds great, Tom.  By the way, if you need a reliable CRM to place that reminder, I know a good one.  Not sure if you've heard of it, it's called Microsoft Outlook.

<more nervous laughter and virtual backslapping.  Apparently, we are all on the same team. That team's name is #ShameOnTom>

--Vendorsplaining!  I'll be here all week - don't forget to tip your server, and please, try the veal.

And yeah, Kinetix! is a vendor as well.  Do business with us and I'll never tell you where you can find a good <insert your company's product or service> even though that's your business!!