Building the Perfect People Manager: Assertiveness and the Introversion/Extroversion Scale...

Had the opportunity to present/workshop on "Leveling Up Your Managers of People" to a Vistage CEO group earlier this week.

We had a great two-hour conversation about the best way to build a people manager development program, and it left me more convinced than ever that an investment in your core managers of people - the ones actually interacting with your employees - is a key investment in 2021 and beyond.

That's obvious, right?  Too bad we talk all day long about "leadership" (it's sexy, no doubt!), but we rarely get around to what our first time managers actually need to survive and thrive in their daily conversations with their direct reports on the front lines. Vistage-600x400-20190131_6f16da50af95e8511ca2a9e6a50991c9

Sucks to be them.  But it's right there, waiting for time, attention and investment from HR and the leadership team of any company you're a part of.

With do much opportunity, where do you start? Well, how about at the beginning, starting with how you choose/hire managers of people?

Domain expertise is important, but overvalued in the hiring process for first time managers of people. We're addicted to the fact that the best individual contributor in your business must be the best candidate to fill an open first-level people manager role.

It's a lie. At my Vistage talk this week, I showed the C-level a chart of 7 behavioral characteristics that comprise the behavioral DNA of any employee.  I asked them to rate the most important ones to getting great results as a manager of people.  They didn't need my help, they got it, and they selected the following:

--Assertiveness. YUP. Let's face it, being a manager is all about confrontation. That's confrontation with a small "c", not a big "C", folks. To the mid to low assertiveness person, every conversation needed to get a small change or tweak from an employee feels like it might be a massive thing. The result is these folks will delay necessary on the fly coaching. It's not that big of deal, and delivered with a quality coaching tool, employees will be connected and actually engaged by the feedback.

--Introversion/Extroversion. This one's a bit trickier, because we naturally feel that extroverted people are more likely to engage their direct reports. That's true in a broad sense, but the downside is highly extroverted people talk more than they listen. If you want behavioral change from your direct reports, you have to make the employee talk and be part of the solution. Better to have a mid-range person on the introvert/extrovert scale from this to happen. While the C-levels in my group correctly picked this one, they followed the conventional belief that max extroversion is a good thing related to managing people. Turns out, it's more complicated than that.

To close this post up, the most important behavioral trait in my eyes in hiring managers of people is ASSERTIVENESS.  Low assertiveness means your people manager will feel conflict at every turn and will rationalize reasons not to have the conversation they need to have today.

Can you hire a low assertive person to be a people manager? Sure, but you'll have to tell them what's required and to perform as they need to, they'll likely feel their batteries drained on a daily basis.

There's a thousand things that go into building a team of effective people managers at your company. The best place to start is to evaluate candidates in a more intense way when hiring managers of people.  Once you accomplish that, you can build your leadership academy on your own or use a system like the BOSS Leadership Training platform to jump start your efforts.

Good luck getting your manager development program in place in 2021!


Post-Election Skill for Leaders: Making All Feel Welcome & On Equal Ground...

I read this post recently by William Wiggins at Fistful of Talent on Transgenderism. It's a simple, insightful piece on being aware. 

Prior to reading William's post, I finished Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac. It's the story of how Uber rose from humble beginnings to become a Unicorn, then stumbled from the top as it's bro-tastic culture caused it to be tone-deaf to the world around it via PR fiasco after PR fiasco.

Both are highly recommended reading. One is 500 words and one is 80,000 words.

Then of course, like you, I've been through the shit show that is the 2020 Election Season.

There's never been a bigger need for awareness for making all feel like they belong and are welcome than post-election 2020. 

The lesson? Being a leader in modern times is tricky. Consider the following realities:

  1. You're a leader.
  2. You're full of personal thoughts, a specific background and some form of bias. You think how you think. Politics included.
  3. When change comes and you're asked to lead everyone, it's easy to react as if it's a burden or worse.
  4. You can say it's all gone too far you shouldn't be asked to manage people on the far right or the far left. Many will agree with you.
  5. But - you'll ultimately acknowledge the views of the group of people in front of you - everyone - or you won't be allowed to lead anymore. Unless you're in a groupthink organization where everyone thinks the same.

History shows this cycle to be true. Your job is to lead everyone. When you don't engage or find the good in a group of people in front of you, you won't get the results you want or need as a leader in your organization.  When you think about the election we just went through in 2020, it's easy to become polarized and lose sight of this universal truth.

Saying that the vocal people on the left want to ruin America is lame. Saying that anyone that voted republican must be a racist is lame. Both are intellectually lazy. 

What if you decided that rather than be late to the game, you made it a priority to make all feel welcome and on equal ground in your company or on your team as a leader?

What if?

I'll tell you what if, my friend.  If that was your approach, you'd find the people in question - the special class of people currently causing others discomfort (the groups change over time) - incredibly willing to work for you and just as importantly, freed to do their best work.  You'd be maximizing your ability to get great work from the resources you have.

When you choose to lead everyone and not take the polarized bait the world wants to feed you, a funny thing happens. Performance and the ability for someone to do their best work goes up.

None of us are perfect when it comes to the change cycle outlined in #1 through #5 above.  Stop reading things in your bubble and start thinking about the best way to bring everyone on the team into the fold in 2021.

Performance goes up as bullshit goes down.  Just be crystal clear on what's bullshit in this cycle (anything that makes you slow to accept that reasonable people can think differently).


5 Reasons I'm STILL Bullish On America: Election Day 2020...

Election day is here. So many voices shouting, so let me add my thoughts to the mix with a bi-partisan thought that's not said enough these days:

AMERICA: STILL THE BEST THING GOING. Yikes

Let's start with my favorite songs from Hamilton, which you can find on Disney+. If you're looking for a reason to feel good on election day, you could do much, much, much worse.

Yorktown

One Last Time

What Comes Next?

It's been a rough year in America. Pandemic, George Floyd, second phase of the first wave of the pandemic and now, one of the most disruptive elections in history. The economy is questionable and things have never felt more divisive - which obviously spills over into the workplace, thus the post on something you thought had nothing to do with HR... 

Note that I'm hardcore moderate that thinks both polar extremes politically in the states are 100% crazy.

Here's 5 reasons I'm still bullish on America, with some HR/management thoughts embedded within:

1--We live in a country where you can actually tell the leader to "F off" directly to him/her via his social account. He might even "@" you! I just think it's interesting and a complement that our society/constitution allows for that and people aren't afraid to do it.  Try that in Moscow, Wuhan, Istanbul or Cairo these days, friends.

I don't agree with the decision to tell a leader from any party to F-off publicly. But I'll support your right to do it until the day I die. Side note - be careful with this approach with a leader in your company. Like the Dixie Chicks in the early 2000's, you'll find out that your right to free speech is protected, but the free market can and will remove you from corporate consideration. Also note the Dixie Chicks are now The Chicks, because Dixie didn't survive the cut in 2020 but "chicks" is OK, but as FYI, I've issued an advisory for dudes not to get comfortable using that term. Got it? Cool.

2--We have a history in the USA of being getting fed up, then vocal and moving for change. It's a long history and I could list all the problems America has had through the years - but you're aware of the history. Instead, I'm going to focus on what actually happens over time in America. People are vocal, critical mass is formed and change happens. It's easy to say it takes too long  - it sure does  - but just grab a live look in at St. Petersburg, Tabriz or Shenzhen for perspective. Also noted that it remains very much a work in process - as the George Floyd events illustrate (see my posts on the aftermath of George Floyd here and here, as well as these posts by great writers at my other site (FOT) if you doubt my intent). It's a rough look for the USA right now, but I believe America is 100% going to get this right - both now and in the future.

3--America is still the premiere melting pot of the world.  When I look around at the world my sons live in, I'm happy and proud that their world is more defined by meritocracy via equal opportunity more than mine was growing up. They see race, national origin and gender less than our generation did, and are accepting of people who don't look like them totally kicking a## in various walks of life. Why? America. Also see this map from the Washington Post that is a visual representation of the most and least racially tolerant countries in the world. Spoiler alert: Racism is a problem around the world, and while the USA has so many miles to go, we have some common ground to work from. (Note: I ran this map by some of my liberal friends and they had a hard time processing it. But still, it's the Washington Post on the left and they haven't pulled it down, which to me means it's solid for me to quote).

When I see a Black, Asian or Indian kid/family achieving in America, I'm not threatened. I'm proud they are American. I love it when the melting pot kicks ass. 

4--There's still a role for moderates in America. If you're not feeling the polar extremes of either political party here, it's OK. While the polar extremes are less tolerant than ever of your lack of willingness to commit, you've become the swing voter block that drives both sides crazy. You're also probably uniquely qualified to manage people as you've learned to see different points of view and co-exist with the highest % of people. This just in - the best managers of people are the ones who can get as many people in the bus to where we are going in 2021, 2031 and 2041 as possible. It's hard to do that when you say - as both parties do - you're either with me or against me.

5 - AMERICA ALWAYS COURSE CORRECTS. We've had a lot of dark times in our country and we've made some questionable decisions. What I love about America is that WE ALWAYS THROW THE BUMS OUT. Every. Single. Time. Regardless of party. In addition, just when you think you know what the answer will be, America rises up and pleasantly surprises you. Who saw a 6-3 vote FOR LGBTQ+ rights in a Supreme Court loaded with Republicans? No one, and you'd be fair to be skeptical on why that wasn't celebrated more. So be active, shoot your shot and trust the process. If you don't like how things are going in the USA - all you have to do is wait - we are junkies for change and can't accept too much of a single point of view. (side note - the picture in this post is my 4th of July t-shirt. It says, "YIKES", with subscript that says "England 1776")

Let's dig into that "Yikes" reference to close this July 4th post. This recent article from The Atlantic called "The Decline of the American World" digs into the perception of America around the world, especially in Europe. I found the article to be incredibly balanced and why it certainly focused on some negative perceptions of our country, it also featured hot takes by many that the world needs America to be great.

The article is highly recommended. I can't let you go without sharing the close of the article with you, focused on what Charles Dickens found in America:

"Over America’s history, it has had any number of crises—and any number of detractors. Le Carré is just one of many who have delved into the conflicting well of emotions that the United States manages to stir in those who watch from outside, part horrified, part obsessed. In his travel book, American Notes, for instance, Charles Dickens recalls his loathing for much of what he saw on his adventures through the country. “The longer Dickens rubbed shoulders with Americans, the more he realised that the Americans were simply not English enough,” Professor Jerome Meckier, author of Dickens: An Innocent Abroad, told the BBC in 2012. “He began to find them overbearing, boastful, vulgar, uncivil, insensitive, and above all acquisitive." In other words—it’s the aesthetic again. In a letter, Dickens summed up his feelings: “I am disappointed. This is not the republic of my imagination.”

Dickens, like le Carré, captured America’s unique hold on the world and the fundamental reality that it can never live up to people’s imagination of what it is, good or bad. As it watches today, it recoils but cannot stop looking. In the United States, the world sees itself, but in an extreme form: more violent and free, rich and repressed, beautiful and ugly. Like Dickens, the world expects more of America. But as le Carré observed, it is also, largely, an aesthetic thing—we don’t like what we see when we look hard, because we see ourselves."

Translation: The bumper sticker for America could easily be, "AMERICA: WE'RE MORE EVERYTHING THAN YOU ARE".

Which is why we'll be back. Happy election day, America. You are imperfect, dysfunctional, and at times, hard to look at.

But you're still the best thing going. Regardless of the outcome this time around, I believe you'll get this right, as you've gotten so many other things right.

See you at the cookout. 


What To Do When a Person of Influence Asks You For Extra Work...

Every couple of years, this question makes the rounds - "What would you tell the 25 year old version of yourself?" I've noticed that going around recently, so here I am.

Of course, there are 1,000's of things you could respond with. But assume we're talking about the world of work for a second. That probably cuts the answers down to the 100's, not 1,000's.

Now do forced choice - you can only share one thing.  It's tough to narrow it down. Ax

The reality is your response is likely to be focused on what you're experiencing in your career on a given week the question is asked. 

So what would I tell the 25-year old version of myself?

It's pretty simple. I'd tell them that you never - and I mean NEVER - say no or deprioritize a request from someone with power and influence over their career.

Let's dig in a little deeper. Let's say you're the younger version of yourself. You're a good to great performer, and people at your company have grown to regard you as someone who can be trusted to get things done. That means over time, people of influence at your company are going to be exposed to you, hear about you, and in many ways come to regard you as someone with potential and whom perhaps is performing above their pay grade.

That means the people of influence at your company are going to come to you with a request to do work. That request may or may not be a part of your normal job. That request may or may not come at a time that's convenient for you. That request may or may not be something you know how to do and it possibly could required you to roll up your sleeves and figure a bunch of shit out.  

Yet you've performed, and the request comes.

What happens next is the test.

All of the "may or may not" statements above are the debbie downers about the request. It's not your job, you're kind of busy this week or month, and it's in an area that you're not super interested in.

Let me be crystal clear. All of those things can be true. Average people say they are too busy or attempt to negotiate a later date to get the work/request/project done. True players - the ones who are promotable 2-3 levels above their current organizational level - never say no.

This rule has been true since your grandparents were on the factory floor or creating copies via real carbon copies (look it up).

As we've grown related to better workplaces, mental health and a sense of well-being, you'll read tomes on how to get the best out people through a variety of progressive people practices. You can believe all of the new ways of workplace engagement, but don't be fooled - when the call comes for help from people with influence because they've heard about you, it's test. They don't realize it's a test, but it is.

Say yes to the extra work, the longer hours, the problem to solve - and you've shown yourself to be part of the bigger chase.  Say no or try and schedule a later time and you'll never be asked again.

Maybe you don't want to be in the chase - that's OK!  Just remember not everyone is asked and few are rarely asked twice once someone hears "I could probably spend some time on that next month."

It's OK to not want to be in chase to the top.

Just remember that that not everyone is asked, and saying no is a long-term choice.


Talking About Glassdoor's New Diversity Ratings with Joel Cheesman...

In Episode 18 of BEST HIRE EVERKris Dunn chats with Joel Cheesman, founder of Poach and Ratedly (as well as a co-host of the aptly-named Chad and Cheese Podcast) about the addition of Diversity Ratings on the Glassdoor platform. 

Joel and KD discuss the new rating and what it means for company reputation, the complicated relationship between Indeed and Glassdoor and how smart EB/Marketing/HR/TA pros can use the DEI focus to grow and protect their careers in a recession.

Please subscribe, rate and review (Apple) and follow (Spotify) to get the latest delivered to you.  Click here if you don't see the player below!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

1:25 - Joel breaks down his work at Poach and Ratedly. Poach follows employee sentiment and tells you when to reach out to great talent at a company that's thinking about jumping. Ratedly aggregates review sites so you can track what's being said about your company without logging into 15 review sites.

4:40 - Joel covers and outlines new Glassdoor ratings in the area of DEI and Diversity. Are you ready for your employees to rate your company on diversity?  Sure you are...

8:30 - KD and Joel talk about the number of ratings needed at a company for the diversity rating to appear - a disadvantage for SMBs.

9:30 - KD breaks down big company current DEI ratings on Glassdoor and Joel reacts.  It's complicated.

12:05 - Joel breaks down the complicated relationship between Indeed and Glassdoor, which are owned by the same PE firm. The companies had a 28% drop in revenue during the COVID period.

14:50 - Joel and KD talk about who has more leverage in the world of HR and TA - Glassdoor or Indeed. 

16:40 - KD asks Joel about the potential to show Glassdoor ratings on the Indeed platform, etc.

19:20 - Joel breaks down the challenge specifically for Employment Brand and marketing pros during the downturn, and how DEI branding presents an opportunity for them to survive in a pandemic flavored recession.

RESOURCES AND SHOW NOTES:

------------Joel Cheesman

Poach.ai

Ratedly

The Chad and Cheese Podcast

Joel Cheesman on LinkedIn


------------Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kris Dunn on Twitter

Kris Dunn on Instagram


Are Ageist Microaggressions a Thing?

2020 has been a hell of a ride. Pandemic, recession, re-invention of the workplace and an intense focus on racism.

Without question, we'll make it through to 2021. Things will be better on all fronts. Let's assume the events of 2020 will put us in a better place related to racism, although that topic is a journey, not a destination.

What classes of people aren't getting a lot of attention that are routinely discriminated against? 

For me, old people, overweight people and ugly people all come to mind. Some of you just laughed out loud, but it's true. Attractiveness still rules the selection process, whether we're consciously aware of it or not.  But protecting the candidate who's unattractive (so subjective) is down the road. For now, let's focus on what we actually have laws on to prevent discrimination.

Let's focus on age discrimination. Ageism

Here's where it gets tricky, friends. A recent Business Insider post: talked about the microaggressions older workers face in the work place. Here's your task - I want you to read the items in bold and tell me whether the comment could be used in a age discrimination case or whether we're all just too senstive:

"Maybe we shouldn't give that project to John, he might have trouble learning the new technology." 

The belief that older workers aren't technologically savvy or capable of learning new platforms is damaging and untrue.  

A 2016 Dropbox survey of more than 4,000 IT workers around the world found that workers ages 55 and older and those ages 18-34 used nearly the same number of forms of technology a week — 5 and 4.67, respectively, Fortune reported.

"We're looking for a youthful, energetic, agile worker to join our team." 

This type of language can make an older worker feel like they might not fit into your company culture. At best it's exclusionary, at worst, it's discrimination.  

"Ok, Boomer!" 

Many young people have taken up this phrase as a catch-all response to a problematic comment made by someone older than them. But it makes older workers feel dismissed or humiliated. If a coworker has said something you don't agree with, you can easily voice your opinion or state a fact without attacking them personally. 

Discrimination in the workplace. It's a real thing for older workers, but I have to tell you this as someone who suddenly has realized he could easily be working for a younger dynamo 10-15 younger than him - the goal of any older worker has to be to look, feel and talk like someone who these things, if said, would seem not to fit him/her.

Simply put, if you're hearing someone ballsy enough to say that you're bad with tech or calls you a boomer to your face, you've probably acted the part in some way.

I know that's hard to hear, and there's a lot of bad actors on ageism that are running around corporate America these days.

But Age Discrimination isn't going away. Be the ball and look, act and feel like someone who could be decade younger. Be curious about tech, new things, etc. Upgrade your wardrobe just a bit to trend younger without looking like a fool.

I'm not asking you to do Tic-Tok. I'm asking you to take action and prevent people from putting you in the "too old" box.  Good luck out there.

(Capitalist Update: I left the draft spelling of TikTok as it appears above when I published as a test of sorts. While this site isn't designed for perfection and I routinely have readers send me notes on grammar preferences, I was wondering who would come forward not only with the spelling correction, but also tell me it made me look old. I got about 3-4X the email I normally get, including 6 people who said or alluded the spelling made me look old. Interesting test. Some of those people did it out of care for me, some don't know me and basically used it to point out my age. Interesting add to the story.)


Trust vs Performance + BlackRock's New Intimate Relationship Policy (The HR Famous Podcast)

In episode 35 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee discuss their favorite Halloween candy, dig into BlackRock’s recent policy change that mandates employee report all romantic relationships, including those with all company partners and vendors, and wrap it up with a discussion on Performance vs. Trust via a famous Simon Sinek video. 

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player below) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

1:30 – Halloween is right around the corner! JLee is modifying the normal Halloween routine for her two young kids. She’s excited because her kids are getting into Star Wars and they’re doing a Star Wars family costume.

3:00 – Tim’s family is doing a Michigan vs. MSU football/Halloween neighborhood tailgate. He is trying to decide if he wants to be Biden or Trump for his costume.

4:15 – What is your favorite Halloween candy? Tim is team Reese’s pumpkin because of the peanut butter to chocolate ratio. KD likes the bite size (better known as fun size) Snickers. JLee likes a classic Kit Kat.

6:45 – First topic: BlackRock is now requiring all employees to disclose any sort of romantic relationship with anyone in the company or anyone related to the company, including all vendors and partners, which includes 1/5 of the known world by definition. The company may make alternative work arrangements depending on reporting from employees. 

8:00 – Tim, the HR Famous workplace harassment expert, thinks that this new policy is stupid because it limits so many romantic or sexual relationships.

9:30 – JLee doesn’t want to know every possible relationship between employees from an HR perspective. She says it’s TMI!

10:30 – KD says that this policy follows a few scandals with relationship reporting at BlackRock involving high level employees. 

14:30 – The gang suggests a hashtag for Blackrock – #sexlessnation

15:00 – JLee tells us what questions would have to be asked about these relationships. 

16:20 – The HR Famous crew wishes the best to the BlackRock HR crew with this new policy. #sexlessnation

19:30 – Second topic of the day: Simon Sinek’s video Performance vs. Trust. In this video, Sinek talks about the Marines and how value trustworthiness vs. high level performance.

22:40 – JLee thinks that this is a hard lesson for a leader to learn because you often only learn you can’t trust someone once someone has made a mistake.

23:30 – Tim brings up Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book Talking To Strangers and how humans tend to default to trust when often people are not being trustworthy.

26:00 – Shoutout to Ed Baldwin and the book The Thin Book of Trust by Charles Feltman. He defines trust in his book as sincerity, reliability, and competence. 

27:00 – KD and JLee would love if Simon would button up his shirt one more button!


Coaching Your Team on Responsiveness: Don't Focus on What's Fair, Focus on the Game...

If you're a manager of people, at some point you're going to get an escalation that sounds something like this:

"I just heard from Sharon, Rick isn't answering her emails and she's rightfully frustrated." Inbox

Boom. There's a lot packed into this, so let's examine what the concern is:

--You have an employee who is reportedly not responding to someone

--The assumption is this is a performance issue

--The facts are that Rick has not met Sharon's expectation for responsiveness

Now let's examine what we don't know:

--Is Rick a high performer or otherwise?

--Is Sharon (the one who is saying her emails and other messages are going unreturned) an external client or an internal teammate?

--What's the level of the internal teammate who's reporting to you the Rick is ignoring Sharon?

Anyway, there it is. The feedback that you have a direct report who's being non-responsive. If Rick is a low performer, the feedback is simple - do better, Rick!  Do you need training, Rick?  Let me tell you what good responsiveness looks like, Rick.

But if Rick is a good to great performer, that's where it gets dicey.

How do you tell a good to great performer, who is likely pretty responsive to most people, that someone has an issue with their responsiveness?

Simple - Don't make it about Rick (your employee in question). Make it about the world. The reality is that in a 24/7 world, if you're not responding within the hour, anyone can claim that you didn't get back to them.

Responsiveness is a game. When you get tied up and buried a bit, you allow the world to lay a narrative of being non-responsive at your feet, and if that's not how you live your life, that sucks.

So to any good to great performer who gets accused of being non-responsive (especially with anyone who is an external client), my advice is this:

1--Treat any request in your inbox as a ticking time bomb. You can say you're gong to get back to it, but you don't know when the bomb is scheduled to go off.

2--In most cases, all you have to do is acknowledge receipt of the message and set a general expectation that you'll get to it soon.

If you're coaching a good to great performing direct report on non-responsiveness, don't play to lose. You play to lose when you want to dig into the situation and micromanage their life.

Instead, play to win. Tell them any incoming request has the potential to turn into a call of non-responsiveness, and tell them the simple answer is to acknowledge receipt and put a general sense back to the party in question about when you're going to get the request.

The working world can be a shitty place at times. Play to win and use these thoughts when it comes to coaching on responsiveness.


Here's to the Real Innovators: R.I.P. Eddie Van Halen..

If you celebrate innovators, flags at half mast this week for Eddie Van Halen. You can’t celebrate Jobs and Musk without pouring one out for this brilliant artist who changed everything for a generation of GenX minions.

Long before there was social media, YouTube or anything else that created stardom from nothing, there was Van Halen. While the initial Van Halen had another star in David Lee Roth, the cornerstone was Eddie Van Halen. 495D7D2C-C072-4F4B-843B-295B336C1920

Like all the greats regardless of profession, Eddie took what was known and expanded on it creatively. The result was magic - guitar riffs that the world had never seen, distributed through emerging platforms that only GenX and Boomers remember like "Friday Night Videos."

While the world and band changed around him (Sammy Hagar, WTF), Eddie kept doing what he had always done - creating - including player the guitar with power tools, bringing keyboards into the platform for the band and more.

Along the way, he was the happy creator you always thought you knew and imagined what it would be like to hang out with him.

In business, we have the expectations that the great ones were always a**holes.  For every rule, there's an exception. When it comes to Rock History, Eddie Van Halen was the ultimate creator who changed an industry and became an icon.

Unfortunately, rock is dead. And now - so is one of the godfathers -and that sucks.

RIP Eddie Van Halen.

(picture from a canvas in my home office)


Faking It vs. Being Authentic at Work: A Primer...(with Podcast after post)

I'm on the record that I like people who have the ability to "fake it until they make it".

Of course, there's a lot to unpack in that statement, namely whether people can do more harm than good with that approach - not only to their organizations, but also to themselves.

A different and more important question surrounds the ability to bring your authentic self to work, vs. being in an organization where you feel like you have to "fake it" to survive and thrive. That's different than "faking it until you make it" (which is more knowledge, skill and ability based), right?  

Faking it to survive in an organization is no way to live. If you can't be you and have to proactively hide the real you in a professional setting, that sucks.

Take a listen to the podcast below with industry expert and friend Jason Lauritsen as we talk through the benefits of bringing your authentic self to work. Turns out, it's a process and harder than it looks, but I learned a lot from the conversation with Jason below.

KD

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

In Episode 16 of BEST HIRE EVERKris Dunn chats with Jason Lauritsen on the always hot topic of Faking it at Work vs Being Authentic at Work. Jason and KD discuss what being authentic really means as a candidate and an employee, the risks and rewards of being authentic, and the zombie-like existence of those who choose a life of faking it at work (whether by choice or via tough economic circumstances). 

KD and Jason also discuss building teams as a hiring manager on the recruiting trail via authenticity.

Please subscribe, rate and review (Apple) and follow (Spotify) to get the latest delivered to you.  Click here if you don't see the player below!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS
 
1:43 - Jason and KD talk about his current focus - speaker, writer and consultant in the world of HR and healthy workplaces, and he's currently ramping up online courses for that domain.  He's also learning the harmonica, KD actively envisions him breaking the harmonica out is pocket and jamming with a house band. Which. Is. Awesome.
 
4:00 - Jason and KD set the stage by talking about a post he did this month on being authentic at work vs faking it.  Jason reacts to someone who encouraged people to fake it at work, defines his view of being authentic in the workplace and why it's so valuable.
 
10:35 - Why do people feel compelled to fake it in the recruiting process or the workplace?  Jason and KD chop it up.
 
12:13 - KD and Jason talk about how average level opportunities go down when you're authentic, but the intensity of opportunity across what remains goes exponentially up.
 
15:27 - Jason and KD carve up definitions of fake it, fake it until you make it, being authentic and more related to the workplace.  Turns out being authentic isn't just letting your freak flag fly, it's hard work and intentional, and protects relationships rather than destroying them.
 
23:40 - Jason and KD talk about being authentic on the recruiting trail, breaking down what it means for candidates and hiring managers.  How does it differ from employees already working for a company? Jason/KD discuss.
 
Along the way, Jason and KD discuss the expert definition of being authentic, as well as some of the greatest advantages and risks to anyone in the workplace who focuses on being authentic.
 

If You Work From Home, How Bad Do You Miss the Commute?

I've been blessed to have mostly worked from home over the last 10 years. When I did commute weekly, it was a doozy - 3 hours, one overnight and then back the next evening.

And you know what? As hard and shitty as that commute was going in and out of the ATL, I miss it a bit. Atlanta-traffic

A commute is a great time to get quality calls in. It's a great time to throw on a podcast. And of course, it's a great time to turn Drake or Metallica up to "10."

If you continue to work from home, who's going to help you with this intro or outro to your day (the commute) you'd never thought you'd miss?

How about Microsoft? Some of you just replied, STFU, right? I get it.

More from the Wall Street Journal:

"Microsoft's latest idea for Teams, though, may give many pause for thought.

As my colleague Mary-Jo Foley reported, one new feature of Teams -- coming in 2021 -- seems to be the Microsoft Virtual Commute.

I can already feel your shoulders rising toward your ears. Is Microsoft really going to make you sit on a virtual bus, while virtual passengers listen to actual loud music while cutting their virtual toenails? I very much hope not. The intentions here seem pure enough. This is an attempt by Microsoft to protect your mental health.

"The virtual commute feature is designed to help people mark the start and end of their working day, a more difficult prospect for those working at home."

It is, indeed, difficult as employers are taking liberties to squash the (remaining) liberties of employees. Microsoft itself discovered that more than half of company IMs were being sent between 6 pm and midnight. (And somewhere, Bill Gates smiles.)

I'd like to believe this, of course. But when I look at traffic jams at commute time -- they're building up again here in the Bay Area -- I worry that commutes tend to resonate with stress rather than its opposite.

More troubling, perhaps, is what Microsoft would actually like you to do during this virtual commute. Kamal Janardhan, general manager for workplace analytics and MyAnalytics at Microsoft 365, told the Journal that users will be asked to write a list of things they expect to accomplish during the day.

The Journal added more details. The virtual commute helper "will ask how users are feeling before they start work. If they say they are feeling overwhelmed, the virtual commute assistant will ask if they want to block time off in their calendars to focus on work or de-stress."

That's right. Microsoft's version of the end of day commute is to get you to build a list of s**t you have to get done the next day. 

No podcast. No music. No personal calls to bitch and complain to a trusted friend.

Instead, Microsoft's going to put on some classical music and make you build your to do list. Soon, there will be enhancements so you can prioritize your Wednesday and maximize productivity.

Most of us working from home miss the unwind period of the end of day commute. We might not admit that automatically, but there's something about rolling in your car and doing whatever the hell you want for 30 minutes with your time.

No update to Teams is going to give you that release or freedom.

A good, relaxing commute does not have 2-Factor Authentication.

You can quote me on that.


PODCAST with KD: Data Analysis on How Much Your Hiring Managers Suck at Interviewing...

In Episode 15 of BEST HIRE EVERKris Dunn chats with Siadhal Magos, co-founder of Metaview, on using a data-driven approach to make Hiring Manager interviews more effective. Siadhal and KD talk about how voice to text transcription of interviews can enable AI,  giving Hiring Managers feedback on their effectiveness and improving an organization's selection process over time.

Please subscribe, rate and review (Apple) and follow (Spotify) to get the latest delivered to you.  Click here if you don't see the player below!

 

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

2:00 - KD asks Siadhal (based in London) to set up what Metaview does with transcription and analysis, which is the basis for some of the great data observations on hiring manager interviews Siadhal will share.

6:49 - Siadhal and KD talk about his experience at Uber, where he built and led product teams in a period when the company grew from 7,000 to 17,000 people in under two years and learned a lot about where organizations struggle with interviewing.

12:00 - Siadhal breaks down what the data says about where hiring managers struggle the most in interviews related to getting the info they need.

19:33 - KD and Siadhal talk about what is a good goal for interviewer speaking time (vs candidate "air"/speaking time).

25:33 - Siadhal talks about what the data says related to the sweet spot for the right number of questions in an interview.

29:15 - Siadhal breaks down Metaview learnings for follow up question count - what's the floor and the ceiling for follow ups from Hiring Managers? 

34:00 - KD and Siadhal discuss where companies struggle most post-interview when it’s time to make the hire/don’t hire or go/no-go decision?

RESOURCES AND SHOW NOTES:

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

Siadhal Magos on Linkedin

Metaview

------------Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kris Dunn on Twitter

Kris Dunn on Instagram


What I'm Working On - VP of HR Search (Hit me with Referrals, Friends!)

To all my HR Capitalist friends --
 
I just onboarded a search for a VP of HR role at Kinetix and wanted to reach out to my network and see who you might know that would have an interest in this role. OFFICIAL-Kinetix-Logo
 
The specs of the position illustrate a lot of opportunities. PE-held company in the automotive industry, 150 locations and around 1300 employees, but on their way to doubling that size through M&A and greenfield growth. Team of 4, but successful candidate has the ability to grow that as the function matures and delivers. Need an equal combination of strategy and getting things done. Leader can be home-based in Atlanta, Birmingham, Mobile, Auburn or Columbus area as long as they're willing to travel as needed.
 
I've gotten to know the leadership team, and it's a collaborative, low politics group that the right candidate will really enjoy. Base and total Comp is not an issue, what they can provide is both competitive and appropriate.
 
Sound like anyone you know?  Link to the job posting appears below which will give you more details on what the right candidate looks like, and I'm open to any and all referrals and will owe you one if you can take a look at this and provide me 2-3 names you think might be a fit.
 
 
Feel free to hit me on LinkedIn or reply (if you're an email subscriber) to this email with anyone that comes to mind. If you forward this email, be sure to tell the people you thought of to reach out and be assertive in addition to simply applying.
 
Thanks in advance for looking at this for me!
 
KD

The All-Too Human Condition of Hating a Candidate Due to the Referral Source...

Referrals - We love them in the talent world.

Ideally, referrals are made by employees/team members who understand the culture we've created at our company, and only refer the best in their network to us. That's generally true, and even if there's a few referral spammers in your company, we're better off with referrals than without them.

You know what types of referrals we hate and are suspicious of?

THE REFERRAL FROM SOMEONE IN OUR ORGANIZATION WE DON'T LIKE.

If you've got enough experience in the recruiting/team building game, you've been there before.  You've got an open spot on your team, and you're doing your normal recruiting game.  Then it happens.

Rick, a guy you detest, sends you a referral and vouches for the candidate.

Damn. That's the last thing you needed. But the intensity of your discomfort is directed by the following determination:

--The candidate isn't good. AH HAH!  Rick is clueless. Order has been restored to the universe.

--The candidate is really, really good.  Whoops!  Shit just got complicated.

Why does the candidate being good make it problematic? Well, you hate Rick. That means the following things are in play:

1--If you don't interview a great candidate, you're the problem, not Rick.  That's never been a part of the narrative you had related to your relationship with Rick.

2--If you interview the great referral from Rick and don't hire them, it gives Rick an avenue to criticize the selection you do make. 

3--If you interview the candidate and hire them, have you just hired someone sympathetic to Rick when he's kind of been your nemesis during your tenure at ACME.com.  That seems like it might be problematic.

All of these things go through our mind when we get a referral from someone in our organization we don't like. The blind spot is simply to ignore the referral, because you won't engage with a person you don't respect and trust. But if you do that, you're playing small. You're better than that.

The real talent magnets understand that quality internal referrals from sworn enemies or simply people you don't like are GIFTS.  You should absolutely interview them and hire them if they're the best person for the job.

Whether you simply interview or actually hire the quality referral from a known enemy inside your company, you're playing chess - not checkers - with your engagement with this type of candidate.

Mine the candidate for info about Rick. You may learn they don't know Rick as well as you thought they did.  But if they do, be sure and drop some details to Rick about your conversation.  It's fun to watch Rick be a little bit uncomfortable.

Can you hire this candidate?  That really depends how good you are at your job.  If you're great at your job, they're going to enjoy being part of your team and Rick's not a threat.  Rick may actually end up hating the fact that he gave you a great referral, which is a gift in itself.

Great referrals from sources you hate are an opportunity. Play chess, not checkers.


VIDEO: Future Jobs in HR and Recruiting (and how HR Pros can get ready!)

In this video, FOT leaders Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett talk about future jobs in the world of HR, recruiting and talent (from HBR), then discuss how HR Generalists should get ready for the trends by up-skilling through continuing education and development.

(email subscribers click through if you don't see the video below or click here to view)