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.
I've been fortunate to do a number of webinars through the years. Most of them have been about things that allow us to raise our game related to the HR services we provide to the companies we work for.
I'm doing a webinar this Thursday, November 30th at 2pm EST - and THIS ONE IS ALL FOR YOU - NOT FOR YOUR COMPANY.
The official title is "5 Ways HR Pros Can Use “Framing” To Drive Results, Influence and Authority". The street smart title is "Never Allow People Who Don't Respect You or HR to Use You Again".
Full description below - I hope you'll join me, because I'm pretty passionate about this one.
5 Ways HR Pros Can Use “Framing” To Drive Results, Influence and Authority
The best talent – not good talent, not good to great talent, but the BEST – have one thing in common:
The most talented people consistently "frame" their goals, work and outcomes via varied communication strategies.
What is “framing”? And how can you harness its power?
Join Saba and Fistful of Talent Founder Kris Dunn as we answer those questions and more during our November 30th webinar, 5 Ways HR Pros Can Use “Framing” To Drive Results, Influence and Authority.
Gain insights into:
• How A Players use framing to communicate goals, challenges, progress, wins and finished work product.
• The importance of integrating a variety of communication techniques to enhance awareness and visibility – including face-to-face communications, email, reporting and more.
• Mastering different communications styles to influence peers, direct managers and skip-level executives in your organization.
• How effective framing leads to career opportunities and continuous development.
• How to foster the framing competency in managers and employees you serve as an HR pro.
Take control of the narrative. Register today for 5 Ways HR Pros Can Use “Framing” To Drive Results, Influence and Authority.
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.
Deep thoughts today, people... Deep thoughts.
Was at a conference last week and heard a keynoter basically proclaim the following (I'm paraphrasing):
"Behavioral interviewing is dead. Just google the term and you'll find thousands of pages designed to help candidates beat behavioral interviewing."
People are tying to help candidates beat behavioral interviewing!! That means it's ineffective as an interviewing technique, right?
When behavioral interviewing doesn't work well, it's because you haven't giving your managers the training they need to be successful. Actually you might have given them the training. What you haven't done is given them the gift of failure.
For anything related to manager training, failure=role play as part of your training. You've got to give them real practice using the skills you're teaching them. If they don't fail as a part of your training, there's ZERO chance they're going to try and use the skill in the real world.
If you don't force people to fail in your training, they'll never be effective in their real lives as managers.
Is behavioral interviewing the end all/be all? No. But it's an effective way to drill down on candidates (no hypotheticals! What did you do specifically in that situation? Not the team - you!) if you give your managers the training they need.
I'm cool if you don't like behavioral interviewing - shine on, you crazy diamond. Just don't fail to give managers what they need and then blame it on the Internet. That's called rationalization not to train.
PS - If you're in the market for cool training your managers will actually like, check out my training series called BOSS - Leadership Skills for the Modern Manager. It's full of stuff that will engage your managers and give them the skills (and initial failure) they need to get better! Bonus - below is the first video we show as part of our behavioral interviewing training - featuring Vince Vaughn and Owen Willson (email subscribers click through for the video).
The world is changing, and the people paying the bills want different things from HR. Here's five things to look inward at and determine if you've got what it takes to lead an HR team and be a viable partner to the business leaders who will hire you in 2022. Remember, I'm talking about leading HR, not participating in running it:
1. You've got a mack daddy processor upstairs. Meaning you can take large amounts of information in and make quick, accurate decisions. Not IQ. Speed with accuracy.
2. You're as assertive as the salespeople in your organization. Great HR people have always needed to be assertive, but the need for comfort with confrontation continues to escalate. Bonus points if you can sell.
3. A comfort with no rules at all. HR people have always been good at creating structure, but HR leaders are being asked to value structure less as we get further into this century. You might hire people to do that for the function, but valuing structure over figuring stuff out on the fly for future HR leaders? Things change too rapidly these days for the old status quo to stick. High challenge, slightly ADHD HR leaders are on the rise.
4. You are organized enough at the leadership level to execute. You'd think low rules means low details. Actually, low rules with mid to high level detail orientation is in vogue. It's called the ability dream AND to execute, baby.
5. You've got skin like a fat, old rhino (low sensitivity). When you receive bad news or the rare glimmer of negative feedback, you're down for about 30 seconds and then you're moving on. Companies are increasingly looking for HR leaders who aren't afraid to fail. Failure is a necessary byproduct of attempting to add value. Safe sucks increasingly these days.
Want an easy way to to score it? Say yes or no to whether you really deliver each of 5 features, add up the yes votes and use this key:
+5 - Welcome to the club. If you are who you say you are, I'd like your resume for my clients, even if you're 28 freaking years old.
+4 - Yes, please. You missed on one thing - you're still a player.
+3 - I'm going to call you an HR "citizen". Good enough to get what the business line owners are talking about. Missing a DNA strand or two, but servicalble.
+2 - The world needs ditch-diggers too. There's still something for you to do in most HR departments with any size, but it's not leading the function.
+1 - Darwin called. He said the kids these days are growing the HR equivalent of opposable thumbs, and I don't see any thumb buds on the sides of your hand stumps. Too bad.
That's my list of the behavioral traits I see in play as we move toward the middle of the decade. Will there still be +1 and +2 HR leaders? Yes.
Will the replacements for those leaders look like their predecessors? My intel says no way.
Was working on a webinar deck this morning related to this title. Here's what I came up with, take a look and let me know what you think. I'll share the webinar link when it goes live....
WHAT WORLD CLASS HR LOOKS LIKE
You know them – they’re the HR pros that make it look easy, flowing from meeting to meeting with style and grace – but not in an empty way. These HR pros look and sound great, but actually get things done as well. They’re loved by their peers on the leadership team, routinely talked about with equal parts fear and admiration, and seem to love what they do.
What makes these people a part of the ruling class in HR? I've got 15 attributes of the world class HR pro, broken down across the following DNA characteristics:
--The Ability to Be a Talent Agent – The best HR pros know that getting the best talent is key. We’ll show you how they do that as an individual recruiter, in how they build a recruiting function and build an employment brand.
--A Knack for Street-Smart People Development – Forgot the training department. The HR pros we look up to bootstrap their own training resources for both individuals and managers while serving up spend on development based on performance – always taking care of the top performers.
--Financial Chops that Rival PWC – The real players in HR budget with a purpose, are keenly aware of other department’s strengths and weaknesses from a P&L perspective and apply their FTE power in a direct relationship to financial strength and opportunity within the companies they serve.
--A Willingness to Jam All Transactions Down to Their Lowest Possible % - The greatest trick the devil ever played was making humans feel satisfied when they mow the grass. We’ll show you three ways the best HR pros counter this trait of humanity by ensuring the value of their team isn’t linked to transactions.
--The Ability to Say Yes AND the Skill to Negotiate Like a VP of Sales – We saved the best for last. Top HR pros know how to negotiate – we’ll show you two ways they excel at negotiation and cover how the ability to say yes inside your company is key to this strategy.
Does that sound like any HR pro you know? I hope so!
You're going to love this one...
In his 2015 book, "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future," Ashlee Vance shares the story of how Musk stopped working with his longtime executive assistant in early 2014.
According to Vance, the assistant, Mary Beth Brown, asked Musk for a significant raise after she'd been working with him for 12 years. In response, Musk told Brown to take two weeks off, during which he would assume her responsibilities and see whether she was critical to his success.
When Brown returned, Musk told her he didn't need her anymore.
OK, couple of things. While Musk generally is on the record as saying this book is accurate he strongly denies the reporting of this encounter. Brown also denies the reporting that she lost her job through the rigid efficiency study conducted by Musk. Also, after Brown was no longer in the role, Musk says he needed the position, as evidenced by the fact he hired 2-3 specialists (PR, etc.) rather than a generalist executive assistant.
Still, where there's smoke, there's fire. My take is that Musk probably did consider whether the position still worked for him based on the way his business has changed.
Add this to the list of things to be careful asking for. The most common error employees make is taking an offer to their boss expecting a counteroffer. The boss, rather than countering, wishes the employee luck in the new position.
Want a raise? Interesting. How about you take a couple of days off while I determine how vital you are to the organization?
Elon Musk. The most interesting man in the world.
If there's one thing HR Pros hate, it's taking on unnecessary risk. After all, you're the one that thinks about legal things, and more often than not, you're the one left to answer for what happened when the lawyers come in. Could that by why there's so much CYA going on in our profession?
One of the things I've never thought about in my years writing as an HR pro is how lawyers on the other side (i.e., the ones that are suing your company) approach a deposition. That's why this post by John Hollon over at Fistful of Talent is a must share. John found a piece of video gold from an employee-side attorney that gives the playbook on his general game plan to take down HR pros in depositions.
I can't share the video since it's hosted by the firm and not on YouTube, but below is John Hollon's rundown of what the video says. Click through to see the video and also see John's analysis as a non-HR pro who's covered our industry at a high level for years:
Yes, I think HR would love to see how employment attorneys plan to wring information out of them.
In the video, Lawrence Bohm talks about the five (5) things lawyers should do when taking a deposition from HR:
The bottom line to this other than it feels sleazy to everyone on our side? You can't protect yourself from all of this, but awareness of what the game plan is by you can raise your awareness and probably save you from looking like a total moron - because you're not.
Can sleazy lawyers still take what you say out of context? Of course - but when you're forced to give details that make you or the company look bad, being aware of what the other side is after can ensure you get context into the record of the deposition.
And getting context into the record is something that might save your reputation - or job.
If you choose to click through and read this, you have experienced a large uptick in the volume and aggressiveness level of pitches from HR vendors. I could say more to introduce this post, but the best path is just to allow a CHRO friend of mine tell you how he feels.
"Dan" is a CHRO for a large employer in the US with thousands and thousands of employees. He's a good and talented guy is not moved to overreaction. He sent me and a few other friends this note last Friday to say WTF related to what he's experiencing related to outreach from HR vendors... I changed the names to protect the source and the vendor, see his note and enjoy:
Fellow “Really Cool” HR Friends,
Well, you may object to my sneaky inclusion of myself amongst the hipsters, but I digress . . .
So, my Friday RANT which has been building for years . . . the NUMBER OF ACTUAL SALES (or even sales visits) TO ME THAT HAVE RESULTED FROM INITIAL “MARKETING” like you see below? Free craft beer if you guess correctly . . .
Who are these people? I guess they’re at least getting a sniff or two from maybe a .001% population who just cannot say no to a “live” sales call when they read the Oh-So-Compelling email. But it still bewilders (read: angers) me that the most likely millennial group of sales types have deluded themselves into thinking that with a carpet bomber email blast – from an email list that the “receiver” DID NOT approve – will endear them to the prospect.
Besides, I know who’s behind the “keyboard” on sales emails like John from Schwing below, which now forces me to hit the delete button nigh on 25 times a day, or if I’m feeling Catholic guilt, spend 30 seconds (it adds up) replying “no thanks” politely. It’s a lovable millennial, who hit send on the mass marketing email from his smartphone while he’s on break at the violent Berkeley protests against free speech (if said speech happens to be lean right).
I have a new personal rule . . . if you prospect me with inane “first approaches” like the below email (and his Co, Schwing, I’m sure is just swell), I will permanently black list you from ever being granted a live audience with me or my team.
Harsh? No. Short-sighted? Probably, but the B.S. marketing has gone too far. You want bi’ness? Hold a happy hour in our fair city, and pony up to our SHRM chapter for access. Let us confirm that you’re not a Watson computer “marketing” to us. That you actually drink beer or wine.
And the folks who sell the contact lists should be publicaly hanged in the the park here on our campus so that there’s a good view until the bodies decompose.
Oh, by the way, HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! And get off of my lawn.
That's an epic rant. And correct. His frustration is felt by most of you, who note an uptick in the number of emails, but also in the number and brazenness of the follow ups. My favorite follow ups to the cited initial emails and calls include:
What I love about America is this - anyone can start their own company. That includes the HR Space.
What I hate about America is this - anyone can start their own company. That includes the HR Space.
Honk if you feel Dan's pain. HR vendors, take note. If you're part of the problem, it's probably time to pivot on your approach.
BONUS - including one of my 100 Best All Time Movie Clips for HR - pitch scene from Boiler Room included below (email subscribers click through for the video):