I'm up on this topic over at my monthly column at Workforce magazine. Hit the link below to go to the digital version and take the quiz...
I'm up on this topic over at my monthly column at Workforce magazine. Hit the link below to go to the digital version and take the quiz...
In case you missed it, it was reported over the weekend that the special counsel examining alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election removed a top FBI investigator from his team for exchanging text messages with a colleague that expressed anti-Trump views. Here's a taste of what happened from Reuters:
"The New York Times and the Washington Post identified the investigator as FBI agent Peter Strzok, the deputy head of FBI counter-intelligence. He was reassigned last summer to the FBI’s human resources department after the Justice Department’s inspector general began looking into the text messages, the papers said, quoting several unidentified people familiar with the matter.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed the reports Strzok was transferred to the human resources department over the politically charged text messages.
Strzok played a key role in the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, the papers said.
During that probe and the 2016 presidential election, Strzok and an FBI colleague exchanged texts that disparaged then-Republican candidate Donald Trump and favored Clinton, his Democratic rival, the Washington Post said. The newspapers did not disclose details of the text messages."
The point of this post isn't drum up feelings related to politics, it's to point out when you're really pissed at someone in many walks of life, you don't suspend them or fire them - you reassign them to Human Resources.
Damn. That hurts to write, but it's true. Mueller couldn't fire the guy from the agency, but he could put him so far in the doghouse it would be obvious to all how he felt about the individual in question.
That statement is to reassign to HR. And it has precedence in pop culture.
A young Dirty Harry played by Clint Eastwood once got punished for renegade behavior by "the man". That punishment? You guessed it - reassigned to what we used to call Human Resources - aka Personnel.
Watch the video below (email subscribers click through for the video) and soak up the vibe of of the insult. Be sure to watch Harry's partner react to the reassignment.
Love you HR - even if other people don't.
And as you might suspect, it's linked to leadership and talent.
I love SharkTank as a show - when I'm not sure what to watch, especially with my teenage sons around, SharkTank is the go- to. It's entertaining, educational and conversation-provoking with my sons able to think about deals, negotiation, etc.
But there's one thing that drives me crazy:
I absolutely hate it when a shark makes and offer and tells the target he/she has to decide RIGHT NOW!!! Without entertaining other offers...
I know what you're thinking. "That's why they call it SharkTank, KD." "Grow up, KD." "Sucks to be them, KD."
You're right. BUT - the very things people like Mark Cuban value most in a partner are the things they're trying to bully them out of. Standing up for yourself - keeping deals/offers afloat why you shop for something better, etc.
The sharks in SharkTank would never be bullied like that. But, they have people in front of them that value their involvement, want to go away with a deal, etc. I'd say over half the time the strategy works. The other half of the time the entrepreneur fails to deal with the expiring offer/bullying tactic in an effective way.
That's why it's about time for the pitching entrepreneurs to wise up and have a strategy to deal with the bully. Here's the strategy they should use whenever a Shark makes them an offer and tells them it goes away unless they accept immediately without hearing other offers:
1--Thank them for the offer.
2--Remind them of the type of partner they want. "Mr. Wonderful, I know you're going to expect me to negotiate for you/us if we become partners, so please allow me to hear any other offers. Since you were first, I'lll guarantee I'll come back to you and give you the right of counteroffer/first refusal if someone else makes an offer that's better than yours."
3--Proceed. If they go away, they go away.
4--If you proceed and there aren't any other offers or you want the original offer, come back to the Shark who tried to use the bullying tactic and say, "Mr. Wonderful, your offer expired and I told you why I wanted to do what I did. I'd love it if you came back in with that offer. While I didn't heed your ultimatum, you now know I'm a partner that can seek the best deal for our business if I'm in a environment that requires negotiation."
I'm shocked more people aren't prepared for this tactic when they appear on SharkTank.
The only time entrepreneurs who appear shouldn't use this talk track is when the Shark gives them 100% of what they asked for, or when 3 or more Sharks are already out. That's common sense.
But if a Shark gives you a lower than expected offer (as the first or second one in) and tries to bully you to accept right then and there, have some spine people. Be prepared and use the talking track above in your own words. It effectively turns the energy against the Shark and forces them to publicly confront what they want in a partner.
Oh, and never take an offer from Mr. Wonderful.
There's a person that's currently cheating life at your company. But it's not who you think.
--It's not the person who's stock options just vested (because the stock could tank);
--It's not the person who just signed the big deal (because you're only as good as your last month); and
--It's not you. Because life if complicated and s##t happens.
Most people take weeks of vacation, because let's face it, that's how we're trained. Gotta get to the beach. Gotta get to the mountains. Rentals only happen in week blocks in some of those nice places. I need a week to really unplug from this place.
Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal knows all of that is a lie. Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal has hacked life, and only takes PTO in one day increments - and the time requested is always on Friday or Monday.
Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal works 4 day weeks at least 25% of the time, and if life/family doesn't happen to them, they'll soon be running that percentage up to 33% of the weeks in a work year, because with greater seniority comes more PTO.
Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal is kicking your ass. If you manage Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal, you've admired the strategy. Some of you may have bristled at the approach.
Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal doesn't care. They're so locked into the strategy (having experienced all the benefits) they're going to make you change the policy to force them to take a week at a time. They're daring you, in a game of PTO chicken - because if you invoke that strategy for them, it's going to impact others who occasionally want to package the long weekend.
Most of you won't change your policy, because you'll look like a complete ass to the people who usually take a week but occasionally want to live the Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal lifestyle.
--Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal has fewer Mondays than you do.
--Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal really doesn't have a "hump day"
--Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal is fully committed to their rock and roll lifestyle.
The only thing that can stop Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal is marriage and the 2.5 kid FTEs that comes with matrimony. If/when that happens, it gets complicated. That's the future, though. Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal will worry about that when it comes.
I see you, Long Weekend PTO strategy Guy/Gal. Keep hacking life.
I think an interesting thing has happened when it comes to careers, and it's probably not a good thing. People have historically judged you by switching jobs too often. That's why I always counsel people to stick it out a year (preferably two) before jumping out of a less that perfect situation.
But in today's high change environment, there's another way candidates are getting judged:
Too harsh? Well, I'm working on my 8th year at Kinetix, which far outlasts any other stop I've made in my career (previous record - 5.5 years. I don't feel less nimble, but I can understand how the marketplace might think I'm "settled in."
"Settled in" is code for:
--set in my ways
--telling young kids to "get off my lawn" at work
--digging the long lunch
--not stirring up necessary change
--understanding it's "beer-thirty" somewhere.
OK, I'm an owner/investor at Kinetix, so maybe my situation is a bit different. Like the Eagles once said, I can check out, but I can never leave - but I don't feel like I've checked out.
Unfortunately for those of my ilk (minus the ownership part) that would like to make a move - The 8-10 year professional grade worker who has risen to Director level, etc - the market might view them as settled in/tired. For some, that's absolutely an accurate description. For others, it's unfair.
If you're part of the latter group - open to a change but wearing the scarlet letter of too much time at your current company - there are things you can do to signal to the world that you don't sleep at work and could actually #### some #### up if they take a chance and hire you. Things like:
1--update your LinkedIn profile (turn off notifications if you don't want your company to be notified)
2--write something that shows your passion for what you do
3--if you're cranking out killer work product that's non-proprietary, share the slides/excel/word docs publicly
4--participate in professional groups/events outside of work
What am I missing 1-company people? What else can people who have been at the same place 8-10 years do to show they are open to new opportunities?
It's hard being a middle-aged professional and straddling the line between being content and being eligible for the external game.
If you want to be in the external game, you've got to act accordingly.
Now get the #### off my lawn.
Who here has every been the subject of a deposition? Who here has ever acted like jerk during a deposition towards an arrogant attorney from the other side?
A young HR capitalist was once the subject of a deposition featuring an arrogant, condescending attorney on the other side. The young HR capitalist reacted in such a negative way that the attorney on his side had to call for a break and counsel the young HRC to stop being a d##k to the other side - even though they had it coming.
Favorite plays from the deposition playbook of mine the young HRC included -
--only answering questions in yes/no format when the question clearly called for more...
--answering questions framed in a negative tense (so you don't believe that manager...) "yes". Because in my mind I'm saying yes to your statement, not going with the informal flow. This is a formal event, right?
--not giving enough details on process because I can't clearly define it as it works a variety of ways - although there is a certain way it's supposed to work, but you didn't ask me that, did you?
No wonder that attorney called for a break during the young capitalist's deposition.
That's why the notes below from a deposition of Google co-founder Larry Page are so fun. Page was recently deposed by attorneys representing Uber in a lawsuit filed by Google related to the allegation of stolen IP from self-driving car company Waymo. Take a look at the notes below from the deposition Business Insider and see my notes in brackets and all caps:
The transcript is full of examples of Page responding tersely to questioning, such as this exchange:
Uber: Google invested in Uber, correct?
Uber: Do you recall when?
Page: My answer is yes. (PRO MOVE - JUST ANSWERING THE QUESTION YES/NO. DID THEY WANT MORE? SURE, BUT YOU ANSWERED THE QUESTION. SUCKS TO BE THEM)
Page said he wasn't familiar with how Google stores source code:
Uber: Do you know the way that Google typically retains things, like source-code materials and design specifications, and things like that?
Page: Yeah, I'm not that familiar with how we do that.
Uber: Is there an online repository, or do — do you even know that?
Page: I mean, there's some code-based repository thingy. (THE SENIOR LEVEL "THINGY" OR "DOHICKIE" REFERENCE. WELL PLAYED)
And this feisty exchange:
Uber: You're not familiar with the details of the trade secrets that are at issue here?
Page: Yes. (ANSWERING A QUESTION CALLING FOR A SIMPLE NO WITH A YES. IT'S NOT LARRY'S PROBLEMS THAT THEY PHRASED IT IN A WAY THAT HE COULD HAVE FUN WITH. "THAT'S CORRECT" IS BORING. "YES" IS MUCH MORE FUN)
Uber: You don't know, for example, what the trade secrets are that Uber allegedly misappropriated?
Page: No, I do not.
Uber: Whenever it was that you learned — let me make sure I'm clear on this. You don't remember, sitting here today, when you learned or how you learned that Uber may have misappropriated Google or Waymo trade secrets. Is that right?
Page: That's correct. (MISSED OPPORTUNITY - HE COULD HAVE SAID YES)
Uber: And you don't remember how you learned?
Page: I mean, that's correct, yes.
Uber: Did you authorize the filing of the lawsuit against Uber?
Page: I mean, I'm certainly aware of it, yeah, and then allowed it to proceed, I suppose. I'm not sure I authorized it. I'm not sure that's the right word.
Uber: Well, could a lawsuit of this magnitude be filed without your consent and approval?
Page: I mean, I guess I'm not — I'm the CEO of the company — parent company of Waymo, and Waymo operates more or less as an independent company.
Uber: Is Waymo authorized to file a lawsuit like this on its own without even consulting you?
Page: I mean, I don't know all the details of that. (I'M FLYING AT 100,000 FEET PEOPLE. YOU REALIZE I COULD BUY YOUR FIRM TODAY, RIGHT? I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT GOOGLE BUYING IT, I MEAN ME PERSONALLY)
Pros moves all the way around. Holla if you've ever been a barrier to a successful deposition - as the actual subject of that deposition.
"Some men just want to watch the world burn."
-Michael Caine in "The Dark Knight"
--We talk to each other before we make decisions or take meaningful action
--We give people a heads up before we announce something that won't feel good to them
--We try to play nice and if confronted, we try to make the person confronting us feel good about our intent.
Of course, those are norms - guidelines if you will, not hard rules. Every once in a while, you run into someone that does not give two ****s about your norms. They do what they want, when they want and generally don't give you heads up that it's coming or make you feel better if you ask them about it after the fact.
You know, ass####s. But in the era of Donald Trump, we're pretty quick to assign full villain status to people who don't play by the rules.
What's interesting about the people like this you think are enemies in the workplace is the following:
You think they're out to get you based on chaos they cause. They probably think it's Thursday.
They aren't even thinking about you. Tearing shit up is just what they do. In the age of Trump, we're likely to cast them as villains and think they're out to get us. That might be true, but in my experience, people who cause chaos can be factored into 3 categories when it impacts you:
1--They're out to get you. It's what you thought. They hate your guts, you're in the way and it's takedown time. 10% of the time, this is the reality.
2--They have a plan and a place they want to be unrelated to you. They have a POA (plan of action) that's bigger than their relationship with you. You're taking it personally, but the "tearing shit up" and chaos impacts multiple people, not just you. They're not even thinking about you, Skippy. 70% of the time, this is the reality.
3--They don't have a plan but love to keep everyone off balance as part of their managerial DNA. Again, it's not about you. Their business is chaos and by the way, the more positional power they have, the better that business is. 20% of the time, this is the reality.
Unless you're experiencing flavor #1 above, your best strategy is to keep an eye on it but ignore it. Go about your business. You do you, let them do them and save your emotional reaction and gun powder for when it really matters.
If you're high sensitivity, this is going to be hard. They're going to wear you out. You think it's the workplace version of Normandy.
It's actually Thursday. What's for lunch?
Ready for some science today? Of course you are. You want to be taken back to the college days where you'd figure out how to game the Dewey Decimal System to find the right cites for that lame research paper you had to write.
Actually, this cite is kind of cool - it comes from the Journal of Developmental Psychology and breaks down Best Predictor of Higher Income Attainment in 12 Year Old Kids... That's right, they measured a bunch of kids 30-40 years ago and tracked them.
Turns out, the rule breakers and the kids who are hard on their parents win. Check out the full abstract below for some details...
Drawing on a 2-wave longitudinal sample spanning 40 years from childhood (age 12) to middle adulthood (age 52), the present study was designed to examine how student characteristics and behaviors in late childhood (assessed in Wave 1 in 1968) predict career success in adulthood (assessed in Wave 2 in 2008). We examined the influence of parental socioeconomic status (SES), childhood intelligence, and student characteristics and behaviors (inattentiveness, school entitlement, responsible student, sense of inferiority, impatience, pessimism, rule breaking and defiance of parental authority, and teacher-rated studiousness) on 2 important real-life outcomes (i.e., occupational success and income). The longitudinal sample consisted of N = 745 persons who participated in 1968 (M = 11.9 years, SD = 0.6; 49.9% female) and 2008 (M = 51.8 years, SD = 0.6; 53.3% female). Regression analyses and path analyses were conducted to evaluate the direct and indirect effects (via education) of the predictors on career success. The results revealed direct and indirect influences of student characteristics (responsible student, rule breaking and defiance of parental authority, and teacher-rated studiousness) across the life span on career success after adjusting for differences in parental SES and IQ at age 12.
One surprising finding was that rule breaking and defiance of parental authority was the best noncognitive predictor of higher income after accounting for the influence of IQ, parental SES, and educational attainment. Given the nature of our archival data, the possible explanations are rather ad hoc and our exploratory results need to be replicated.
For instance, individuals who scored low on Agreeableness were also shown to earn more money (Judge, Livingston, & Hurst, 2012). One explanation Judge and colleagues (2012) gave for this finding was that it might be because of the fact that such individuals value competition more than interpersonal relations and therefore want to advance their interests relative to others. Another explanation might be that individuals with higher levels of rule breaking and defiance of parental authority also have higher levels of willingness to stand up for their own interests and aims, a characteristic that leads to more favorable individual outcomes (Barry & Friedman, 1998)—in our case, income. This may be one of the reasons why defiance of parental authority plays a role in determining income—students who show higher levels of rule breaking and defiance are more likely to engage in negotiations about earning and payment (see Judge at al., 2012) and fight more strongly to achieve personal benefits. We also cannot rule out that individuals who are likely or willing to break rules get higher pay for unethical reasons. For instance, research in the field of organizational psychology showed that employees invest in unethical or deviant workplace behavior when they are not satisfied with their income and when they have a high level of love of money (Tang & Chiu, 2003). Thus, this kind of behavior might in turn lead to higher income. Nevertheless, further research is needed to better understand the construct and its mechanisms.
KD NOTES - My favorite parts of that abstract are as follows...
--individuals who scored low on Agreeableness were also shown to earn more money
--students who show higher levels of rule breaking and defiance are more likely to engage in negotiations about earning and payment
--We also cannot rule out that individuals who are likely or willing to break rules get higher pay for unethical reasons (whoops!)
The kids are alright. It's just that some of them are going to get paid based on how they are wired, and some of them aren't. Embrace the difficult child in your household, people.
It's a profession with limited barriers to entry and literally a million agency/corporate positions available.
It's a profession where the hardest workers and the most entrepreneurial usually get the best results.
It's a profession looked at with disdain by many candidates who are sick of hearing from members of said profession.
I bring this up for the following reasons. I'm just coming off a couple of days at Recruiter Nation Live 2017, a conference put on by the good folks at Jobvite. Great show and good people, glad I went.
Speaking of good people - I heard no less than three times - in different ways - people talking about the fact they had told friends, family members and complete strangers that they should get into the recruiting game. The common factor in all of this advice was that anyone could be a recruiter.
Career a little slow? Not finding the right path for you? Just got out of prison?
You should be a recruiter. Seems like anyone can do it.
My favorite story was one where a guy was in an Uber and struck up a conversation with the driver, and ended up giving him the advice to become a recruiter. The guy messaged him two weeks later and told my friend that he landed his first recruiting job - at a place I'll call TereoTech - which means he'll either be unemployed in a month or become one of the greatest recruiters of all time - because that's what TereoTech does.
Which is the point of this post. Yeah friends, anyone can probably be a recruiter. Present yourself in the right way and appear scrappy as a youngster, and you can probably find a job. If you're older, you can parlay your subject matter/functional area expertise into a gig recruiting people who do what you've done in the past. We call that a specialty recruiter in the biz, and your experience in any specialty probably can give you a shot as a recruiter.
A lot of people can get a job as a recruiter.
But just because you can get the job doesn't mean you'll be successful, or even like it. What dictates whether someone can actually do the job of a recruiter?
Recruiting in it's purest form is sales. Behavioral traits that equate into success for recruiters are as follows:
High Assertiveness - you're going to have to ask for things without shame.
Low or mid-range Sensitivity - rejection is a part of the gig. If you're a diva every time you get rejected, it's probably not going to work.
Low Team - doesn't mean you're a bad teammate. The low Team designation simply means you're driven for high performance via individual scoreboards - you like to win. YOU, not us. Us is nice. But unless you're motivated by seeing your name at the top of a list, you probably won't be satisfied.
There's more, but I'll stop there. The same things that make a great salesperson also make for a great recruiter.
Lots of people can get a recruiting job. Few can be good to great at it.
Shout out to the Uber driver now at TereoTech - you'll know whether it's for you if you can tolerate the good folks at TT requiring you to make 120 calls a day and the rejection that comes with that.
Get a year in at TereoTech and then give me a call - we've got a great team you'll love at Kinetix one you figure out it's for you.
Of course, I'm kidding with that title. I'm not the authority on the PC-ness of white people in roles that are typically exclusively held by non-whites.
--Any leadership position at a HBCU...
--Leadership positions with Diversity titles in Corporate America...
--Matt Damon playing the lead in a movie set in Song dynasty China (I get it - he's a mercenary from Europe, but still.. Can we find a Chinese star for a movie about the Song years?)
White people in certain roles is a non-starter. Many of you would/will argue the other way. But common sense tells me there's more than enough talent in the world without a member of honkytown landing in these roles, even if you're arguing the tried and true "the best person should be selected" mantra.
Turns out you might have bigger fish to fry related to what roles IT IS APPROPRIATE for white people to be in.
From the school of "you can't make this up", the Washington Post reports there's a movement afoot in Portland, Oregon to stop white people from stealing culinary ideas from other cultures, which is called appropriation by those seeking to stop white folks from starting any type of restaurant that's not a Irish potato bar. Here you go:
Portland, Ore., has become the epicenter in a growing movement to call out white people who profit off the culinary ideas and dishes swiped from other cultures.
In the days since two white women were shamed into shutting down their pop-up burrito cart after telling a reporter that they had “picked the brains of every tortilla lady” in Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, Portland has become all but fed up with cultural appropriation within its city limits. One writer has stated, flat out, that “Portland has an appropriation problem,” going on to explain (the boldface emphasis is the writer’s):
Because of Portland’s underlying racism, the people who rightly own these traditions and cultures that exist are already treated poorly. These appropriating businesses are erasing and exploiting their already marginalized identities for the purpose of profit and praise.
Someone in the City of Roses has even created a Google doc, listing the white-owned restaurants that have appropriated cuisines outside their own culture. For each entry, the document suggests alternative restaurants owned by people of color. One “Appropriative Business” is Voodoo Doughnut, the small doughnut chain accused of profiting off a religion thought to combine African, Catholic and Native American traditions.
That's a lot, right? As noted in the lead, I'm a believer in the fact that white people shouldn't be in certain types of diversity roles - there's enough talent in the world where the aforementioned roles shouldn't be filled by someone named Ricky Bobby. But in the slippery slope of workplaces and what's appropriate, I'm drawing the line and saying that if a white person wants to risk some capital and sell mediocre fajitas and Corona Lights, they shouldn't draw the ire of the PC police.
HR Director of a HBCU? No. Owner of LaCocina? Sure.
If someone wants to risk their capital, so be it. The dirty little secret is that the owners of these businesses, white or otherwise, will likely employ an employer base that's majority non-white.
Of course, the great thing about this argument is that the market will decide how far the appropriation movement can go, and if you click through to the WaPo article, you'll see that people are overwhelming bashing the appropriation crowd in the comments, even going so far as promising to patronize the white-owned establishments listed in the Google doc link above to show their support and ensure the owners aren't bullied.
Fire away in the comments. Where can whites play in a non-white world from an employment perspective?